ONE of the most bitterly-fought general election campaigns in modern times concludes in an atmosphere of high drama today.
At stake is the UK’s future place in the world and, possibly, Scotland’s future in the UK.
The election in Scotland is a different beast to that in England, with the SNP being a major force and the strongest contender against the Conservatives.
It is widely acknowledged by many leading political correspondents that this is the first time the election campaign has been more “presidential”.
Much of the focus has been on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s personal and political character and their policies have often come second.
But in Scotland it is the SNP, particularly First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her emphasis on an IndyRef 2, and the impact on Conservative seats which has held people’s attention.
This trend is mirrored in the campaigns in both Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale and in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.
Conservatives David Mundell and John Lamont face strong challenges from their SNP counterparts, Amanda Burgauer and Calum Kerr, who was MP from 2015 to 2017.
This is the third election in four years and at the centre of this democratic crisis is whether Brexit will go ahead and what type of departure from the EU the UK will have.
Many voters are undecided, probably more than in previous elections, when Brexit and IndyRef 2 are brought into the mix and there has been a lot of tactical manoeuvring, with some parties electing not to stand in various constituencies.
Mr Mundell gained a majority of nearly 10,000 votes in 2017, while John Lamont had an 11,000 majority.
While both voted to remain in the EU in the referendum in 2016, both quickly accepted the majority position and have supported Brexit since then.
In Langholm Day Centre members gave their personal views on the subject of today’s general election.
Ian Hotson of Langholm is disillusioned by the whole lot of them.
Talking about Brexit, he said: “They have had three years to sort it out but it’s still a mess.”
He is undecided about how he will vote today.
Ian Carlyle of Longtown will not be voting.
He said: “All parties want chucking out. They are all a load of trouble.”
He watched a debate and said they all argued among themselves and didn’t listen.
“The Conservatives don’t help the farmers. A lot of parties say they will but they don’t. The farmers feel they are not listened to.”
Doreen Nicol of Greenbank said she was disappointed the Christian faith did not appear in any policies.
She said: “I feel strongly that it should be included. Other religions are in this country but Christianity has been neglected.”
Aileen Armstrong is voting strategically because she is strongly against a second Scottish independence referendum.
“We should never have had the Brexit referendum in 2016. The government spent billions of pounds on the wrong things in this country.
She is voting for David Mundell and said: “He has a lot of followers in this area.”
Ron, who moved here from Manchester last March, says he feels the Scottish people should decide who represents them in the UK and EU.
Cameron Skillen will vote SNP. He said: “They are the best of a bad bunch.” He doesn’t trust any of them but Nicola Sturgeon is more forthright.
One member, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “I don’t know why everyone is against Jeremy Corbyn. He seems to listen and answer questions better than the others.”.
Helen Moffat of Langholm says she can do without this election. She feels it’s going to be the same mess whoever gets in.”
The general feeling is that everyone is totally fed up of it.
The polling station in Langholm has been moved to the customer service centre in the town hall and people can vote from 7am to 10pm.