Commuters boarding the 7.18am train to Edinburgh from Berwick-upon-Tweed, England’s most northerly town, were pleased and relieved at the referendum’s outcome on Friday morning.
“It’s better for the whole country,” said Kimberley Dixon, a 33-year-old actuary, as she boarded the train. But she warned: “Now there needs be a fairer settlement for England.”
Berwick has changed hands between the English and the Scots at least 13 times in its history; the station stands on the exact spot where the English parliament met in 1292 and King Edward I rejected Robert the Bruce’s claim to the Scottish crown.
Stephen Gamsey, a 51-year-old business analyst, thought the Scots had made the right decision in the referendum but was worried about the UK constitutional change which is now looming. “There will be an English parliament. Each country will run itself. Everything will be split up.”
Retail manager Andrew Cockburn welcomed the referendum No vote. “Personally I’m happy with it; the wife is Scottish and she is happy with it too.” Like many Berwick residents, who are very aware of Scotland’s Barnett formula-funded social care and financial concessions, he thought there was nothing wrong with the way things were.
Ian Thompson, an operations manager for an investment business in Edinburgh, said he was not surprised at the outcome, having seen a large amount of money moving from Scotland in the period before the vote. “A lot of people were worried about it,” he said. “We have seen time and again in history that the direct power lies with the money. Money will dictate what happens in politics.”
Politicians, he added, offer enough money to make people in would-be breakaway countries stay.
As the train doors glided shut, Charlie, who works in a property business in Edinburgh, said he was relieved it was not a Yes vote. For the property sector, he said. “It would have been absolutely horrendous. A complete nightmare.”
Now, he expected, the debate about constitutional matters would go on and on. Charlie, who lives just in Scotland but drives to Berwick to catch the train north to Edinburgh, said he had heard the English would be given additional parliamentary powers. “Quite right too.”
Simon Dakers, a solicitor who lives in Berwick and commutes to Newcastle, said he was personally relieved it was No because of the complications it would have caused for crossing the border, just two miles north of the town. Freedom of movement is very important in the area. “Being a border town we jump over.”
As the train pulled out, cyclists Alistair McLean and Charlie Ryan, who had just got out at Berwick, said they thought the huge referendum turnout was impressive. “It’s a model and an inspiration,” said Mr Ryan, a support carer. Mr McLean thought the outcome best for northeast England, where is managing director of a travel business he founded, Activities Abroad. And, possibly speaking for many people throughout the UK suffering from referendum fatigue he added; “I was getting sick of the media coverage. I’m glad it’s all over.”