Interloper, outsider, stranger – words often used, in derogatory terms, to describe those who don’t hail from a particular area.
In a world where people are far more mobile than they used to be, friction between locals and non-locals is increasingly prevalent, sometimes leading to the rise of sinister, extreme groups whose creed is hate and intolerance. But, fortunately, here in the Borders we are far removed from that level of hostility.
However, there are genuine fears of change when a region – such as the Borders – is faced with a big influx of new residents. That concern is today raised by one of our letter contributors in respect of the number of good burghers of Edinburgh who will chose to make their home in this area once the railway from the capital to Tweedbank is up and running later this year.
Fears over property prices rising beyond the reach of many of the indigenous population and loss of identity have often been voiced.
But there are positives. In other areas incomers have been the saviour of failing rural enterprises, such shops, post offices and pubs, breathing new life into them. A bigger population means more homes, resulting in increased opportunities for local tradesmen.
Perhaps rolling out the welcome mat rather than raising the drawbridge is the best way to ensure new Borderers can play a positive role in maintaining and enhancing the way of life we currently enjoy.