A week today we will take the most important political decision of our lives. Across the Borders, in the privacy of the voting booth, we will each face the question: should Scotland be an independent country?
It’s the moment of truth as we weigh up what’s best for our families, our communities and our country.
I am proud to be a Borderer; I am proud to be Scottish; and I am proud to be British. For me the answer is straightforward – I want to continue to be a part of this family of nations which we call the United Kingdom, so I will be voting ‘No’.
Looking around me, I see families whose stories tell the tale of these great British Isles – parents and children from all corners of the country; life stories of careers down south, up north and all parts in between; shared experiences with others across the UK in our armed forces, on the sports field or in the culture of Coronation Street and the Olympics.
I don’t have to look far to see people earning a living in our textile mills, farms or tourism, working easily with customers and suppliers in all four nations of our country.
I can see in our great health and other public services people drawn from all over Britain, working hard for local communities.
Rivalries exist, of course, but we thrive on the opportunities that being part of a country of 60million people allow – whether selling coat hangers, fibre optic cable or high-quality food.
And when times are tough, those same 60million stand alongside us in solidarity to keep things going, pay pensions on equal terms and support people back into work.
Visit our Scottish Parliament – all our valued public services, especially health, are under our control here in Scotland, shaped by our decisions and our needs.
What we teach our children, how we build our communities or keep our homes safe – all these and more are decided here in Scotland already. And in two years’ time we start deciding our taxes here, too, with other powers to be devolved before long, as well.
Beyond these shores, we face a world grappling with new economic realities, political instability and threats from terrorist and others.
With our neighbours in England, Wales and Northern Ireland we sit together at the top tables in Europe, the UN and NATO where the big decisions are weighed up and taken. Of course, the UK is far from perfect – there is much we can and should change. But let’s do that together, rather than taking the irreversible step of going it alone.
Let’s be confident together and stick with the family of nations that is the United Kingdom.