It’s now time to get on with the job

The long familiar political landscape of the Borders was not immune to the ballot box sea-change which swept over Scotland last week.

The word “historic” is often over-used, but its aptness cannot be denied in describing the virtual demise in the Lib Dem vote and the surge in support for the SNP in our region.

Amid these peaks and troughs, the performance of the Conservative Party was remarkably low-lying. It is, after all, the party which does exactly what is says on the tin and is thus above the criticism of betrayal which undoubtedly contributed to the Lib Dem slump and the loss of such an able performer as Jeremy Purvis.

But with the new MSPs sworn in and Christine Grahame, to the bewilderment of many, having sought, albeit unsuccessfully, to abdicate her party allegiances for the role of Presiding Officer, the reality of the challenges faced by all levels of government in Scotland must be contemplated.

As council leader David Parker points out today, the Borders is now well represented in the legislatures in Edinburgh and London.

But how that voice can be heard above the din of deficit reduction, at a stroke or by degrees, remains to be seen.

Already, we are being warned that the freeze of council tax for the next five years will cost the SNP government £3billion, calling into question a range of major infrastructure capital projects including the Borders railway.

Yes, last week’s results were historic – but so are the deep-rooted problems of low wages, lack of private sector investment and an ageing population which makes our economy so uniquely fragile. Let’s hope our new representatives never forget it.