IN MY rebellious youth, little the local Labour establishment said rang true in my head.

On reflection, it would be churlish not to recognise one significant contribution, made by council leader Pat O’Brien and his colleague, John Home Robertson MP.

They ran a sustained and ultimately successful campaign to get a large chunk of the A1 dualled in East Lothian – even more remarkable in the face of a Thatcher Government, long before the Holyrood Parliament. I was reminded of their efforts whilst listening to Highland MSP Fergus Ewing put the obvious case for A9 dualling.

It’s been a long time since anyone in East Lothian seriously pushed upgrading the remaining parts of the A1. That’s a pity, as when it comes to road improvements, persistence really matters.

READ MORE: Calls to complete A1 dualling are renewed

After two decades of delay, English MPs are finally gaining traction on the A1 single-carriageway stretch from Morpeth to Ellingham. If Scotland committed to dualling from Skateraw (at Dunbar) to the border, then the case for closing the remaining gaps would be unanswerable.

There are five key reasons to upgrade the A1 to the Scottish border and beyond:

1. A1 dualling will stimulate much-needed economic growth;

2. A1 dualling will improve overall productivity in the Scottish economy;

3. A1 dualling will improve the efficiency of vehicles, reducing emissions;

4. A1 dualling will increase social cohesion and inclusion by shortening timeframes between visits;

5. A1 dualling will improve accident rates and encourage travel.

The north-east of England is the closest market for Scottish goods and services, home to 71,000 companies. Anything that reduces barriers to that market is of commercial benefit. Tragically, with no development at Cockenzie, the Port of Tyne remains Scotland’s closest direct ferry connection to Europe. Scottish companies need faster, more reliable connections to boost exports and create growth.

With a Westminster election on the horizon, I hope county residents will quiz parties and candidates on their A1 record and commitment. Fresh leadership is required to pick up the mantle from Pat and John, and finally complete the dualling.

Calum Miller

Polwarth Terrace