Letters – 02-05-13

disabled

Weakest are

Government

scapegoats

Andrew Lowe, Scottish Borders Council’s head of social work, will undoubtedly be telling the public that most people have had an increase in their care over the last financial year.

This is technically true. I have received an extra 1p a week.

He is not saying that the council has not been giving any money to Encompass, a non-profit organisation which does our wage slips, tax and national insurance.

If you are severely disabled (I am over 85 per cent), your home becomes a workplace. Encompass tell us which employment laws have changed, helps with recruitment, interviews and hundreds of little things.

While the council was giving Encompass money, it could get matched funding from several charities – now it cannot. Encompass is vital to those of us who receive our care at home. I pay £50 a month.

As an employer I have to have employee liability insurance which has gone up by £115 in the past 10 years, which I have to pay out of my care package. Due to council cuts, I pay £600 more plus £10 in interest. So with the extra 52p, I’m down £609.48 a year for 80 hours’ care, which may not seem much, but to me its the difference between having a bath once a week or once a month.

Not everyone is buying into your policies, Mr Lowe. Disability is the current scapegoat for the government to pin all the financial problems on.

Another European parliament did that in 1938 – it was the Third Reich.

The only reason there hasn’t been mass riots so far is that the weakest and smallest groups, who do not have the capability of fighting back, have been targeted first.

Name and address

supplied

religion

Christian teaching

Alastair Lings (letters, April 25) claims to be “appalled” that three members of the education committee may be folk with an interest in religious education.

He clearly would like to have members with the odd views that he professes. Of course religion has its dangerous fundamentalists – people like himself who would censor anyone with views that he doesn’t like, or understand.

The likelihood is that some members of the education committee will be Christians whose faith is much more recent than the Iron Age. They may even be people who have a sense of history which clearly he does not possess.

The teachings of Jesus – as recent as only 2,000 years ago – are as vital to education as science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, which without morals and ethics can only lead to disaster. We don’t need his acceptance of the teachings of Stalin.

Where would our culture be without the art, music, literature and gifts of Christian teaching?

Mr Lings and his fellow atheist fundamentalists clearly think that kindness, generosity, forgiveness, peace and love – the Christian virtues – must not be allowed to infiltrate what he regards as education. To be educated means that folk need to know what inspired Titian, Handel, Steinbeck and Eliot, Wilberforce and Obama.

The Christian church has made its mistakes during its history, but when we look at the remarkable things it has done – our schools, hospices and hospitals, the abolition of slavery – what, we may ask, has his atheism achieved?

An injection of religious thought and standards in the workings of an education committee can not only be a good thing, but an essential one.

Reverend John Grover

St Boswells

WIND FARM

Poor timing for exhibition

On April 19 the latest glossy leaflet from wind farm developer Infinis arrived on the doorstep of Liddesdale residents, advertising forthcoming exhibitions for the “Windy Edge Wind Farm”, adjacent to Hermitage Castle.

The company is preparing to submit its application this in summer.

Infinis has invited local residents to an exhibition in the Hermitage Community Hall on May 2 (9.30am-1.30pm). There have been two requests to change the times to 3-8pm, so those residents who would be working during the day could attend, but Infinis was not prepared to do this.

I consider this unreasonable, especially since Infinis also intended holding an exhibition in Newcastleton (seven miles from the proposed development) in the Grapes Hotel on May 1 from 3-8pm.

I have previously commented to The Southern about Infinis’s refusal to allow any individual resident (or even a community group representative – e.g. from the Hermitage Community Hall committee) in this locality – where the wind farm is to be sited – to be a member of its community liaison group. Its definition of “local community”, to qualify as a member of the liaison group, is limited to members of the neighbouring community councils or, strangely, if one is a member of the Newcastleton Business Forum, seven miles from the proposed wind farm.

The approach of Infinis to the rural community here starkly contradicts its own website PR blurb: “Infinis is very involved in building strong relationships…”, “...we recognise the importance of open and inclusive consultation…”.

It would appear this inclusivity does not extend to those who will be directly affected, should this proposal go ahead.

Malcolm McGregor

(chair, Hermitage Action Group)

A68 CameraS

Importance of road safety

I refer to the article about A68 safety cameras which appeared on March 28.

I apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding concerning quotations attributed to me in that article.

I fully appreciate and respect the road-safety reasons for the cameras being situated along the A68. I understand that some of the attributed quotations may have caused offence to some of your readers . I certainly never intended that.

Road safety is of paramount importance and cameras play an important part in ensuring that our roads continue to be safe for motorists.

My primary intention was to suggest that, prior to replacing the vandalised cameras, it would be good practice for the Safety Camera Partnership to take a critical look at whether the cameras were in the best and most appropriate locations for their intended purpose. This was in the full knowledge that the guidelines for placing cameras had moved on considerably since these cameras had been placed on the A68.

I certainly never intended to give the impression that motorists should try to avoid the cameras on the A68 and travel on alternative minor routes. All motorists should drive according to the safe legal speed limits set for our roads, irrespective of whether or not there are safety cameras. The speed limits and safety cameras are there for good reasons.

The good news is that since my views appeared in The Southern I have been reliably informed that there is to be a review on the sighting of speed cameras on the A68.

Councillor Jim Brown

(Jedburgh and District)

independence

Currency affairs

Jim Gibson (letters, April 25) poses the question: “What has money got to do with freedom?”

Well, quite a lot actually, as anyone who hasn’t got it – money that is – would no doubt be happy to explain. Freedom is more than an emotional concept.

He also believes there are bigger issues than the type of currency an independent Scotland would use. Try telling that to the peoples of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.

In Spain youth unemployment is more than 50 per cent – and rising – yet they have no control over the management of their currency. This lies with Brussels and the European Central Bank.

If an independent Scotland chooses to remain in the sterling area, its currency will similarly be controlled by the foreign Bank of England and the government at Westminster. If Scotland wished to be truly independent, instead of independent only in name, it would have to adopt its own currency.

But EU rules insist that new applicants must adopt the euro as a condition of entry.Bit of

a mare’s nest that, isn’t it?

Peter Heald

Springwood Bank

Kelso

A708 road

Cash claim

doesn’t add up

In a very elongated letter published on April 18, former Scottish Borders councillor Kenneth Gunn stated that Dumfries and Galloway Council has no less than £18million “ringfenced” for improvements to the A708 road from Moffat to Birkhill.

I have tracked down three of the four D&G councillors for the ward that includes Moffat and they have denied their local authority has such a sum of money – and it is only in hundreds of thousands of pounds.

One councillor said that it “was a figment of a very fertile and highly-uninformed imagination” to claim such a figure as £18million.

I suggest that ex-councillor Gunn gets his facts right before tapping away on his computer.

Susan Hill

Ettrickhaugh Road

Selkirk

ukip

No interest to declare

In reply to ex-Liberal Democrat councillor Jock Houston (letters, April 25), I would like to thank him for highlighting the fact that UKIP policy is for no more wind farms.

However, he is quite erroneous in his suggestion that I would have to declare an interest if I joined the planning committee. I have no vested interest in wind farms, which is the vital point.

As for not following the party whip, I would direct him to www.ukip.org where UKIP policy on councillors is available for all to see.

And, finally, UKIP is very happy with a candidate who puts people before party. National policies are quite a different matter and, yes, I am passionate about leaving the EU as soon as possible, not least because this would save the UK £53million a day.

Sherry M. Fowler

(UKIP candidate for

Leaderdale and Melrose)

Galashiels

food prices

Bankers partly to blame

High food prices are a serious problem across the world.

People on lower incomes in the UK are having to cut back their weekly grocery shopping, while in poorer countries high food prices can be a matter of life and death. The changing climate and the increasing use of food crops for biofuels are part of the problem.

However, bankers are also part of the problem.

Financial speculation by banks and hedge funds is fuelling food price rises, often pushing them much higher than supply and demand can explain.

As a member of the World Development Movement, I am taking part in a campaign calling for strict regulation to curb food speculation. We need to make sure that the finance sector stops making easy money at the expense of hungry people.

John Elliot

Briery Place

Duns

broadband

Partnership approach

It was encouraging to read (Southern, April 11) the report from Michael Moore about the trial of a 3G mobile network in Newcastleton.

On a similar theme the Southern Upland Partnership has organised a series of events across the south of Scotland to tell people about a range of innovative solutions to improve broadband access. At these events there will be experts and community representatives speaking about their experience of adopting these solutions.

The next event is at the Cross Keys Hotel in Kelso on May 8 from 10am. For further details, contact the partnership’s office on 01750 725154 or email piptabor@sup.org.uk

J. Thomas

(member, Southern Upland Partnership).

thanks

Borderers’ warm welcome

We are writing to thank all those who helped make the Tour o’ the Borders such a resounding success.

The weather conditions may have been horrendous, but 1,000 cyclists took part and there were many comments about the warm welcome they received from Borderers.

Despite flooded roads and gale-force winds, the sportive went ahead as planned and this is undoubtedly due to the 70 local volunteers who gave their time to help make sure the event ran smoothly.

Special thanks should go to Peebles High School for the use of its hall to allow riders to dry out and get a hot meal.

We are also grateful to the people who came out to cheer the riders on.

John Anderson and

Neil Dalgleish

Tour o’ the Borders

Peebles

SERVICE

Call to Coastal Command

All ranks from RAF, WAAF and WRAF or next of kin who served in Coastal Command are invited to join RAF St Eval Coastal Command Association at St Eval Church at the annual remembrance service on Battle of Britain weekend (Sunday, September 15, 2013).

For more information about this event, please contact me.

Kenneth Wilson

307 Liverpool Road

Widnes

WA8 7HP

(phone: 0151 423 5241; email: rafstevalcca3959@gmail.com)