Provost David Anderson has defended the Common Riding against any accusation of it being wrapped in aye-been cronyism.
In an oblique reference to a letter in The Wee Paper in which a reader suggested a microphone should be used to introduce the standard bearers and their flags for the benefit of visitors, Provost Anderson declared: “I don’t think we should tinker with the special atmosphere that we enjoy at the Common Riding ceremonials.
He was speaking at the Ex-Soldiers’ dinner.
He explained his stance: “The tension on the standard bearers’ faces as they concentrate; the outbreak of a big smile as they complete the final three-and-three. That’s enough for me.
“We run Selkirk Common Riding for the people of Selkirk, not as a tourist attraction. We welcome visitors. We embrace new people that come to live in our town, and there are plenty sources of information for those that are interested in the finer historical detail, especially with the new Common Riding brochure.
“The Common Riding morning is not the right time to give a history lesson. It is a time for linking arms with friends, family, neighbours and even strangers, and getting swept along with the unique Selkirk Common Riding spirit. It is a celebration of our community – it is a commemoration of our history and traditions.
“We get accused of ayebeen cronyism by people who don’t seem to understand that that is actually a compliment, not an insult.
“To quote from the trust deed, ‘the purpose of the Trust is to preserve, and perpetuate in all time coming, Selkirk Common Riding and all ceremonial aspects thereof, in its historical and traditional form’. If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.”