To: Alex Salmond, The First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party.
26th May 2014
Dear Mr Salmond,
PET PASSPORTS MATTER!
First of all, I want to apologise for making cheap jokes about your name, your physique and your horse-riding ability, in my post a short while back. On reflection, my owner Gail had a point, I was guilty of being trivial.
Well today, Mr Salmond, I want to address a genuinely important issue.
I am sure you will agree that one of the things that has made Scotland great is that so many of our intrepid and adventurous citizens have performed with distinction on the world stage.
I am thinking of David Livingstone, John Muir, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Glover, to name but a few.
Oh I too would so love to travel, to visit my friends beyond these island shores, and to show the world what Scots born creatures can accomplish. (One can only go so far with an internationally renowned blog).
I am imagining a tour of continental Europe, for starters.
Can you believe that I do not yet possess a passport? I know for a fact that my predecessor Hamish the Westie had one, as I remember overhearing Gail tell a friend that it had cost a small fortune and never was used.
Well surely nobody will dispute that I am worth it, but there is another complication - one that I hope you can address.
So please, Mr Salmond, can you tell me what will happen if I go to the vets and obtain a British passport and then, in September, the human citizens of Scotland vote for independence?
Will my British pet passport still be valid? Will I need a Scottish passport and have to show it at the border when we visit Human Granny in England? Will I still be entitled to a British passport on the grounds that my owner was born and bred in England? How much will it all cost?
I have searched long and hard through the Scottish National Party's policy documents, but found nothing, absolutely nothing, about the crucial issue of travel documentation for dogs.
I would like to think that, even as I type (or rather, dictate to my human assistant) you will have a phalanx of dedicated policy wonks addressing this gaping hole in your supposedly comprehensive 'White Paper' on Scotland's future. I have to tell you that Gail feels less confident of this, saying, somewhat uncharitably, that there are many other glaring gaps in the SNP vision of Scottish Independence that do not appear to have been properly thought through...
Mr Salmond, I am a terrier, hard-wired to be independent minded but also trusting.
I am sure that you can give me the answers to all my questions and that they will be satisfactory.
I await your reply with eager anticipation.
Bouncing Bertie (wire-haired fox terrier),
PS I know you are a busy chap, but perhaps you would enjoy a break and a wee peek at some photos of my recent weekend in Torridon.
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)