Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Slow Death of Dumfries and Galloway

Copy of a 'Letter to Editor' -several fired off today - sent to Phil Jones, Chief Executive , Dumfries and Galloway Council.

I am expecting a typically bland reply, but watch this space...

Dear Mr. Jones,
as a post-graduate Glasgow University student at the Crichton Campus and active member of the 'Save our Campus' campaign, I would appreciate some reassurance that having identified the Crichton Campus as a key 'engine' of regional regeneration through its role in
retaining young people within the region and attracting skilled incomers to the region that Dumfries and Galloway Council and its partner agencies and stakeholders will not allow Glasgow University to simply walk away from the region.
As you will see from the following 'Letter to Editors', I suggest that the demographic evidence of the region's 'population crisis' requires that the utmost efforts be made on this issue.
Alistair Livingston
Note: quoted sections taken in edited form from

Dear Sir,
I am seldom at a loss for words, but as the implications of Glasgow University's threat to pull out of this region have sunk in, I have been reduced to stunned silence. Therefore the facts and figures presented below are not mine. They come from a recent Dumfries and Galloway Economic Survey. They reveal a region which is slowly dying as its life blood - our young people - move away.

The demographic changes forecast over the next fourteen years for Dumfries
and Galloway follow the pattern seen across the rest of Scotland. However in
this region they are far more pronounced in their severity. Up until 2018, the
population in Scotland as a whole is expected to decline by 2.4 percent.
Over the same period, the population in Dumfries and Galloway is projected to
decline by 7.2%, which represents a loss of around 10,000 people over the
This decline is heavily concentrated amongst the 0-14 age group and 30-44
year-olds. Therefore, as well as a decline in population, Dumfries and Galloway
faces continuing changes in the structure of the population. The ratio of
the entire population to those of normal working age sometimes called
the dependency ratio is set to rise rapidly. These projections indicate that
the number of people of prime working age (15 to 59 years old) is set to
decline by 18 per cent, or well over 1000 people per year.
The phenomenon of an ageing population is not new, but three features stand
out: the dramatic acceleration in the declining number of school age
children, the even more dramatic reversal of the historic upward trend in
30-44 year olds, and the gathering momentum of growth amongst the over-70s.

The region must get better at retaining young people within the region and
attracting skilled incomers to the region.
The Report goes on to highlight the vital role the Crichton Campus has and will have in retaining young people within the region and attracting skilled incomers to the region.
To conclude: if we allow Glasgow University to renege on its covenant (the Crichton Accord they signed) with Dumfries and Galloway, would the last young person leaving the region please turn out the lights?
Alistair Livingston


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