Letters to the editor 09-04

election

A win-win outcome for the SNP

Despite all their robust denials, it is entirely credible and plausible that Nicola Sturgeon and large swathes of SNP central command would indeed prefer David Cameron and the Conservatives to be in No. 10.

Only then could they continue with their decades-old mantra that “Scotland never gets the government it voted for” (despite the fact it was the SNP who put Margaret Thatcher in No. 10 by forcing a vote of no-confidence in Jim Callaghan’s Labour Government). Considering the current situation, perhaps that was their intention, even back then?

If the Conservatives win on May 7, the nationalists can continue with their traditional and facile strategy of blaming every ill that befalls Scotland on Westminster (and/or the 92% majority of English voters in a democracy) – even in policy areas that have already been devolved to Holyrood, such as the NHS, but economically-mismanaged in favour of SNP-propaganda projects.

The alternative scenario, a Labour-SNP “coalition” of whatever arrangement would deny the SNP this comfort zone, make them partially (or completely) responsible for the inevitable economic chaos, unemployment, debt and recession that would soon follow across the whole of the UK, and cause voters in England to wish that the SNP and Scotland would just go away.

Making the UK ungovernable and economically unstable is also a sound strategy for the SNP loons.

Sadly then, whatever happens on May 7, this is a win-win outcome that can advance the SNP’s obsession for yet another in-out referendum to gain absolute power in an independent, internationally-isolated and economically-vulnerable Scotland, despite the fact that 55% of the Scottish electorate recognised reality, saw sense and voted No to independence only seven months ago.

You have to admire the cunning. That is a clever way to deny and circumvent the democratic will of your own people.

Michael Wilson

Clovenfords

Local issues

do matter

The trouble with setting great store by Electoral Calculus predictions is that while they may feed in all sorts of data gleaned from national swings and trends, they take no account of local issues.

As a consequence, they are ignoring two very important factors in the Borders.

The first is the particular character and history of this region where a Liberal/Liberal Democrat has been returned to Westminster for more than 50 years.

The second is the high regard and affection in which Michael Moore is held.

Already known as an effective MP with a deep understanding of the constituency and its needs, Mr Moore played a vital role during the turbulence of the independence referendum campaign and Borderers were fortunate to be represented by someone of his stature.

In the referendum aftermath – with the two sides seemingly more polarised than ever – we need a steady hand at the tiller, steering a calm course between Alex Salmond’s relentless trouble-making and Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s panicky concessions to UKIP and his English majority.

Local views and local circumstances do matter. By omitting them, the predictions of Electoral Calculus lose much relevance.

Mary R. Lindsay

Kelso

Playing up personalities

As the general election campaign gathers momentum in the Borders, many voters will be forgiven for thinking that the official campaign started months ago.

We have literally had a deluge of leaflets and pseudo newspapers from two candidates. They have visited every good cause and are fighting tooth and nail for improvements – and we have dozens of photo opportunities recorded to prove it.

Newspapers like the Border News and the Scottish Borderer have arrived through our letter boxes espousing their great deeds and actions to advance our area. The claims are so similar that it is hardly surprising that their political parties were in a coalition government for the past five years.

Although both candidates make great play of their own personalities, at least the Liberal Democrat acknowledges that he is a member of that party. The other candidate prefers to campaign on his name only and a voter would be very hard put to find “Conservative” printed on his publications.

The instructions from their party offices to play up personality and play down policy is certainly being followed here.

Derek Philips

Clovenfords

Many pictures, but no news

Another week and another communiqué from my friend Michael drops through my letter box.

In the past few weeks I have had copies of a lookalike newspaper entitled the Borders News which contains very little news, but an awful lot of pictures of my friend Michael.

Then there was another publication, this time it was entitled the Scottish Borderer, again with lots of pictures of my friend Michael, but again with very little news.

Readers by this time may be a wee bit scunnered by my name-dropping references to my friendship with Michael. This, however, is occasioned by my first message from him in which he declared his affection for me in the first few words of a missive (which appeared to come from Market Place in Selkirk) in which he addressed me “Dear friend”, so there. I am not only a friend, I am a dear friend, and he did sign it “Michael”.

In his foray into print, my friend Michael has not really served me well enough to await the next issue of his publication with bated breath – no crossword, no racing section, only advertisements for himself doing “things”. I must confess I lost interest after a few seconds, Mike.

Trying to make the best of things, I had the thought that at least all this paperwork must be good for local printers, so I searched through the received bumf for a Borders printer. Not an easy job – my magnifying glass had to come out of the drawer for this task.

It was not good news. The Borders News appears to have been printed in Lincolnshire, but better news for the first missive – the one where Michael declared his friendship – that was done in Loanhead.

For the Scottish Borderer, however, it was back to type (sorry) and it was done in somewhere called Chelmsford.

In my friend’s defence, the central office of his party probably paid for it, but could they not have looked a wee bit nearer home?

I hope my friend is not too disappointed by my criticism of his periodicals, but maybe he will take note. A few more pictures of some other people, Mike, a letters page, a TV section, maybe you could do a thing on cars? Just trying to help, Michael.

Jim Gibson

Bleachfield Road

Selkirk

Candidates’ conversations

With the general election campaign in full swing, we can expect candidates to appear on our doorsteps and stop us in the street.

I am happy to speak with them and discuss the key issues, but might I ask them not to insist on “engaging with me”, or, heaven forbid, “investing in me”?

I will, however, vote for the first one who promises to ban TV advertising on online bingo, betting and casinos – probably.

Martyn Buckley

Ladylands Drive

Selkirk

BANKERS

Money talks in power stakes

Government is powerless. The supreme masters are the bankers, who create our money supply from thin air, in any amount they may decide, to lend to whoever they wish, for any purpose whatsoever, and all as interest-bearing debt. No debt, no money supply.

Then come the monolithic corporations, including those who supply our essential services at the prices they dictate, and all for the profit of private shareholders.

And, finally, the inevitable EU, whose unelected commissioners keep our government informed of the endless regulations with which it must comply.

Politicians are merely commenting on matters beyond their control and making promises they can’t keep. Inevitably, they therefore all sound the same.

And as these real masters of power make themselves richer at our expense, and tell us what to do, we cling to the belief that a change of political colour, or even independence, can somehow make things better.

Wishful thinking.

Malcolm Parkin

Kinnesswood

Kinross

PATHS GROUP

Widespread support

I am writing this in response to the letter by Mags Powell, Earlston Community Development Trust (ECDT) chair, which you published last week.

ECDT is stretching the truth when it says it has worked with Earlston Paths Group. If the trust considers attending a community day at that level, then its statement is somewhat misleading

The Paths Group did attend, but we paid a fee to cover ECDT “unexpected costs” for the event and has had no other involvement with the trust.

The Paths Group has never asked ECDT to become involved in its activities and I can see no reason to do so in the future.

We truly have positive and widespread support in the community and will continue to do all we can to sustain that for future years.

Ian Gibb

(secretary, Earlston Paths Group)

wind power

Generation claim hot air

Wind power generated in Scotland jumped to record levels last month, according to yet another pro-wind press release.

Denmark’s status as global wind power pioneers and the oft-repeated claim that the country “generates 20% of its electricity demand from wind sources” proves, on investigation, to be hot air.

Denmark’s electricity is not supplied continuously from wind power and it has to rely on Norway and Sweden to take its regular excess capacity.

Half of this 20% is either wasted or sold at a loss.

Despite wind turbines, Denmark has one of the highest rates of per capita CO2 emissions and has been accused by the European Environmental Agency of “not living up to the Kyoto criteria”.

Now substitute Scotland for Denmark and you get the picture.

Time to repeal the Climate Change Act 2008 which cost energy users billions of pounds for unreliable renewable energy.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road

Linlithgow

EU

No excessive interference

It was intriguing to note a recent report from the European Union committee of the House of Lords that finds there is no evidence the EU is interfering excessively in any aspect of British life.

This followed the biggest examination by Whitehall of European Union powers, the so-called “balance of competences” review.

Of the 32 reports into different areas of the EU’s operation in the review, there was no report in which it was demonstrated that too much power resided in Brussels.

This is despite David Cameron’s claims that the EU is “becoming a state” and has already accrued excessive powers.

The findings also clearly makes the job of re-negotiating the terms of EU membership far more difficult for Mr Cameron, if he wins the election, as it will be known in other European capitals that the civil service believes there is no real case for repatriating powers.

The single, clear message from the review is that in none of its chapters is there a compelling case for the repatriation of powers from Brussels to Westminster and Whitehall.

So, while the EU needs reform, our relationship with it does not warrant wholesale dismantling.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

employment

No plans to move jobs

Rab Stewart might believe that he has revealed Scottish Borders Council as inconsistent when he argues that we are trying to bring jobs to the Borders while, at the same time, moving skilled IT roles from the council to Edinburgh (letters, April 2).

Unfortunately, as I understand the situation, his facts are wrong. The council has no plans to remove jobs to Edinburgh.

Stuart Bell

(SBC councillor for

Tweeddale East and

executive member for

economic

development)

roads

Not much

has changed

Shortly after reading an informative article in The Southern, written by Andrew Keddie about the shocking state of our roads, I had to smile when, while browsing some of the works of Robert Burns, I came across his “Epigram on Rough Roads”:

Things have not improved much since the 18th century.

Tony Rae

Jedburgh

thanks

North Bridge Dental Clinic, Hawick, would like to thank everyone who has so generously donated and supported fundraising for us to volunteer with Bridge2aid, helping to relieve the pain and suffering from debilitating dental pain in East Africa.

Our charity concert at Monteviot House was a fantastic success, raising about £2,500, bringing our running total so far in the region of £8000. We owe a great deal to Andrew Sherwood and James Letham for offering to give a concert on our behalf and to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lothian for allowing us to entertain our guests in such beautiful surroundings.

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets, and donated so generously on the night and to all the businesses, both local and from further afield, who offered their gifts so graciously.

Without the help from our community we at North Bridge Dental Clinic could not have hoped to raise so much money for Bridge2aid.

Gillian and Ian McInnes