Symptomatic of a wider malaise

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IN a world of conflict, the debate in Lauder about the best site for a new health centre seems trifling to say the least.

But as one elderly resident points out in our report on page 2, the arguments – to be decided by a health board referendum over the next fortnight – have been marked by “unpleasantness” within the community which he hopes will evaporate once the votes are counted.

Such rancour may be regrettable, but it is not in itself a bad thing.

When staunch pride and traditionalism, manifested in a sense of duty to preserve common good land for amenity purposes, meet aspirations governed by harsh bureacratic realities, it is almost inevitable.

Interestingly, both sides of the argument in Lauder feel that the other has been given undue media exposure – another measure of the passionate views held by the opposing camps.

On one thing, however, the people of Lauder and Lauderdale are all agreed: that four doctors operating in a cramped surgery, built originally as a nurse’s house, cannot deliver the kind of health care we should all expect in 21st century Britain.

In Lauder the vote will come and go and life will go on whatever the outcome, and recriminations will, in time, ebb away.

A more depressing prospect is that the stultifying malaise of our times – the symptoms of which require our public bodies to wade through a welter of red tape and statutory criteria to deliver anything – will never be cured.