I READ and hear a bit about the concerns about future upgrades to the A9 following the apparent coalition between the Scottish National Party and the Greens to get a real majority in Holyrood, and while I agree with those worrying about how the northern part of our sovereign nation will be served without a proper road, I have to ask the question: “What about us?”

Us being that part of the same nation that lies south of the M8 and which appears at all times to be so invisible to the present Scottish Government that it cannot be included in anything. Hence, I might add, that the entire south is now on the political map in a deep blue hue showing that the Tories are involved in the daily process even although they only won a penny-worth of actual seats but make up their total with unelected list MSPs.

We have waited since a map was drawn up in the 1930s of the “suggested route of motorways” which clearly shows a motorway from Carlisle through to Edinburgh (clearly the M7) and another from Carlisle to Glasgow (clearly the M74). Down here we are still almost managing along with Transport Scotland occasionally filling in the potholes in both these highways along with those on the A75, the A68 and of course the A1 which is not on the map. No plans have been announced for any upgrades or even the long-awaited by-passes for Selkirk, Hawick and Langholm.

The National: Stock image of a pothole

Can we live in hope that someone, somewhere along the road(s), will actually agree to have a feasibility study on these, all still single carriageway apart from the A74M? Roads which give the impression when you drive across the Border from the south or take an exit off the M8 corridor from the north that somehow you have inadvertently entered Amish land in Pennsylvania. Our roads in the Borders and in Dumfries and Galloway are all a joke and while we are encouraged to live and work locally, it’s tough getting anyone to actually manufacture anything or create jobs until a massive improvement is funded.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford: SNP deal with the Greens won't stop road upgrades

That’s why the Scottish Borders lost its world-class woven and knitted woollen industry; that’s why the “sunrise industries” were supposed to fill the gap, designing and manufacturing printed circuit boards with Exacta in Selkirk being the biggest manufacturing base for multi-layer circuit boards for industry and for defence contracts in the world. All gone and no funding available for replacement or for routes to get there with raw materials and to send our products across the globe using a proper roads network. Had that last group been encouraged to stay local and not sell out to foreign investors who subsequently went bust, we could now be filling the huge gap in micro-chip manufacture which seems to have been left to China to make and who seem not to be able to satisfy demand.

“The Borders Railway” you may say was funded more than half a century after politicians closed the only through main-line Waverley Route from Edinburgh to Carlisle. It’s great to have part of a railway again in the Borders but it goes nowhere, has a timetable about to be halved and runs two-car diesel units from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. It doesn’t carry freight so therefore we have to depend on non-existent roads.

The question is, just like the question further north about the A9, will the SNP Government tell the Greens to “get on their bike” if they start laying down the law about “no more road building”? I for one sincerely hope not as we don’t have any proper roads down here in the deep south and it is long since past time that serious investment in infrastructure in both the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway was not just considered but actioned before the little towns across both regions die down even further and finally disappear for ever.
Kenneth Gunn