Tight contest plays out in Borders battle between sitting Tory and rising SNP


Opinion by Russell Bruce

With just over a week to go to the Scottish elections, things are hotting up in a tight contest between the SNP and the Tories in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire.

That it is a straight choice is the one thing Paul Wheelhouse and John Lamont agree on. Like the General Election result in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, this is shaping up to be another close result. Back then, the SNP’s Calum Kerr beat Conservative candidate John Lamont to become the new Westminster MP.


The latest epistle left on the doorstep from this shy Tory candidate claims: “Only a vote for John Lamont can stop the SNP locally”. Having lost in his Westminster bid, the Tory candidate is struggling to hold on in the Scottish Parliament.

Interesting pitch. The converse is obvious, only the SNP can beat the Tory candidate. Not that he makes much of being a Conservative. So proud of his party, he makes no mention of his political connection in his election leaflets. The only clue is in his email address in small print. It is a strange way to run a campaign – almost as if he is ashamed of standing as a Conservative – too many negative associations.

John claims to stand on a platform of ‘putting people before party politics’, yet he was against the hundreds of millions of pounds the SNP Government has invested in infrastructure and tourism in the Borders.

images-1With Labour in meltdown and the Lib Dems still on the lows of the general election it is looking too close to call here in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire as the SNP and Conservatives battle it out in the final days.

What voters need as they head off to the polls is an indication of what Paul and John can offer them.

So we thought a comparison of what Paul and John have done for our area might be useful to the electorate, with a wee look at what they plan to deliver over the next 5 years. We couldn’t find anything much from John. But did find a few things the Conservatives would take away if they got the chance.

Then we looked at their personal record on public expenditure. Paul was the clear winner when it came to keeping his expenses down. Tory John looks a bit high maintenance. See what you think: