Your picture of the Week

Curtis Welshs addition of foreground colour adds a welcome aspect to this traditional image of the Eildon Hills from Scotts View.
Curtis Welshs addition of foreground colour adds a welcome aspect to this traditional image of the Eildon Hills from Scotts View.

Curtis Welsh’s addition of foreground colour adds a welcome aspect to this traditional image of the Eildon Hills from Scott’s View.

Please email photographic contributions, with a brief caption, to southern-letters@jpress.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

APPEAL TO SAVE KLEIN STUDIO

I lived in the Selkirk area during the 1970s.

At that time, textile designer Bernat Klein had a studio built at High Sunderland. It was designed by Gattonside architect Peter Womersley.

Klein and Womersley were highly regarded in their respective professions. The studio was held as a fine example of modern architecture and won several architectural awards. It was something the region should have been proud of.

I recently returned to the area on a nostalgia trip. I was horrified to see the state of the studio now. How can it have been allowed to fall into a state of such uncared for dilapidation? The building should be part of the region’s heritage.

I understand that the building is now in private ownership, but nothing has been done to it for 10 years.

Can it not be rescued? Can cash not be obtained from the Lottery fund, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the textile industry, the fashion houses who benefited from his vision, the tourist board, Historic Environment Scotland?

These are some suggestions, but it needs a professional fundraiser to work on it.

If the building could be brought back to life it would be an asset to the area.

It could be turned into an arts centre. Klein’s work could be returned to where it belongs, instead of being scattered to a handful of museums and other locations where it is not on public view.

I know this is a major task, but it could be done if there is a will.

Please, someone, take it on board.

David Herrod

Lancaster

WHY SHOULD WE BE PAID LESS?

I would like to thank all those Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituents who voted Labour in the recent general election and helped us move from fourth to third, increasing our votes by over 66% and our share of the vote by more than 75%.

However, if those Labour supporters who told me they were voting negatively – whether for the SNP to try to stop the Tories, or for the Tories against the SNP – had actually voted positively, for what they believed in, then we would have done even better.

Tactical voters cancelled each other out and didn’t affect the result. Labour tactical votes were wasted votes.

Nevertheless, after the election, the Borders still has wage rates lower than the Scottish and UK averages, and lower than every neighbouring constituency.

With a Tory government in Westminster and an SNP one at Holyrood, we can now wait to see if fine promises made during the election campaign result in actions which change the position.

At the next general election, which may be sooner than expected, we can judge whether the gap in wage rates has been closed. After all, why should Borderers be paid less? And why is Labour the only party raising this issue?

Ian Davidson

(Labour and Cooperative

candidate)

MUST DO MUCH BETTER, JOHN

John Swinney’s latest proposals for change in Scottish education might have been better received if they had been delivered at the start of the SNP’s 10 years in power.

As it is, the need for a series of changes in emphasis in the approach to teaching, to “free teachers to teach”, along with adjusting the way education is managed, suggests that whatever spin is put on it, the SNP has made a hash of our education system during its period in power.

Of course the nationalists must put their best efforts into getting it right now, but as with the sense of drift in other aspects of Scottish public services, the concern is that many years of a government with its priorities elsewhere will surely take an enormous concentration of effort to reverse.

The SNP could demonstrate the real priority it wants to put into education by removing the distraction for its leadership in seeking a second independence referendum before the next Holyrood elections.

There are risks for the SNP’s main ambition in taking that course, but at least it would show the people of Scotland it is serious about doing its best for our children’s education.

Keith Howell

West Linton

GETTING IN A FLAP OVER ROYAL FLAG

Driving through St Boswells last week, I spotted the Scottish Royal Banner flying proudly in the breeze over a prominent corporate building beside the A7.

My immediate reaction was one of surprise as when I left the house the Queen had been occupied with her guardsmen in London and I doubted that she would be nipping up to the Buccleuch Arms after the ceremony for lunch.

It must be the First Minister and Holder of the Great Seal down for a weekend break, or perhaps the Lord Lieutenant on a visit. Might it be the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meeting up for lunch? More likely to be the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, I decided, probably stopped off for a pie and a pint. These are, after all, the only bodies that can legitimately fly the royal flag.

As there was no immediate hubbub in the car park to indicate any of these happenings, I had to conclude that the ensign was there purely as an indication that the howff was open for business and if this was the case, the flying of the said banner is strictly illegal.

It may be that the co-owner of the establishment and who is also our new MSP is possibly not acquainted with our quaint customs and does not wish to use the Saltire in case she gets associated with the nationalist movement.

If she does not wish to fly the Saltire of Scotland, which would be perfectly legal, the only alternative is to break out the Union flag.

I will watch with interest.

Jim Gibson

Bleachfield Road

Selkirk

FLAGGING UP DEATH OF INNOCENT FOLK

This week Scottish Borders Council will be flying a defaced Union flag from its buildings as a prelude to Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 24.

We are expected to show our support for the armed forces.

Sadly, there is little worth supporting. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya lie in ruins, and the UK is still bombing Syria at the behest of the USA. Meanwhile, innocent people are being killed on the streets of Britain in revenge attacks which the security services warned about in 2003.

The armed forces should not be blamed for the disastrous failures in the Middle East.

The blame lies with the politicians who instigated and supported the unnecessary attacks. Also, those politicians must bear responsibility for the revenge attacks on UK soil, and the erosion of our civil liberties.

Borders MP David Mundell has consistently supported government policy in the Middle East and must be held to account. As a new MP, John Lamont is not responsible for the tragedies. However, in the Scottish Parliament in 2013, he made excuses for the invasion of Iraq and I fear he is another warmonger.

If we want to live in freedom, in a peaceful and prosperous country, we should not support belligerent politicians.

Alastair Lings

Tweed Road

Galashiels

MAY AND CORBYN PARTNERSHIP?

I wonder if the new UK Government could be made up of all parties – a kind of large coalition.

We need to move away from fighting about who is best to manage the NHS, tackle immigration, fight poverty and food banks, mange carer issues, deliver good economic and environmental policies towards the real problem in our country – that of the evil of terrorism that we are witnessing dressed up as the will of some higher power.

Political ideas about what’s best and whose best to do it are surely better resolved by working together. How about a May and Corbyn partnership? M & Co.?

Surely our ability to safely walk down streets and on bridges in any town or city, eat out or attend a pop concert without the fear that it will end up in disaster should be our main concern.

I wonder what it will take for our country to wake up to the evil that is being allowed to rampage through our country by turning to our creator and ask for him to intervene and put an end to this evil. Only good can defeat evil, just as only love can overcome hate.

What will it take for us all to recognise that there is a loving God who is real and perhaps who is waiting for us to reach out to him, rather than hope this will all just go away.

D. Currie

Kelso

CHILDREN CAN BE A LONG-TERM BENEFIT

The fact that the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is the gay son of a Hindu immigrant father shows how much the Irish Republic has changed in recent decades – and yet I can’t help feeling strong misgivings.

Like the three most important politicians in Europe – Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May – and all bar one of the Scottish party leaders, Mr Varadkar is childless.

Politicians have a notorious tendency towards short-termism and looking no further than the next election.

Parenthood, on the other hand, encourages people to look to the long term. How many of us have heard our parents say, or as parents ourselves said: “I worry about what sort of world we are leaving to our children?”

For example, would a German chancellor with children have thrown the country’s borders wide open, so that in a single generation Germany will be transformed from a European Judeo-Christian nation in to a bi-cultural multi-ethnic one in which European culture, laws and morals are all subject to permanent challenge by an ever-growing section of the populace who reject our Western values?

None of this is to say that a person can’t be childless and yet be a fine leader – counter examples are not difficult to find.

However, Europe’s increasingly childless governing elite is reckless, intellectually sterile and out of step with normal people, for the majority of whom parenthood is central to their life experience.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove

Edinburgh

DAVIDSON MUST TREAD CAREFULLY

Ruth Davidson has clarified that the Scottish Tories won’t split from the main UK party – but does her EU position, in any case, distance her from Prime Minister Theresa May?

The possibility of an autumn election means Ms Davidson can’t risk losing ground. If SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon finds a face-saving way to retreat – temporarily – from indyref2, Ms Davidson will need more than anti-independence on which to campaign.

Does Mrs May’s preference for a hard Brexit makes her increasingly toxic?

Ms Davidson apparently supports single market access and doesn’t share Mrs May’s anti-immigration stance. While the Scottish Tory leader’s softer Brexit views chime well with many here, Ms Davidson will have attracted many euro-sceptic votes on June 8.

Ms Davidson must remain principled. However, if she uses her 13 Westminster votes to pressurise Downing Street into pursuing a softer Brexit, she should tread carefully.

Without a special fisheries deal, such a stance will lose her support, particularly in north-east Scotland where her party holds several seats which, with a resurgent Labour party, may be difficult to replace elsewhere.

The Scottish Tory leader may well distance herself from a perhaps fatally-wounded Mrs May, but Ms Davidson holding an EU position deemed credible by the majority of Scots will be crucial to the Scottish Conservatives’ long-term survival.

Martin Redfern

Edinburgh

HONEST SOUTERS

We visited Selkirk early in May and enjoyed a stroll around the town and a good chat in the Forest Bookstore.

Sadly, between the shop and car park, I lost my purse, and didn’t realise until we got back to our holiday cottage in Melrose. I phoned the police, and then we returned to Selkirk and retraced our steps and asked in local shops, but no purse was found.

We then went to the Bank of Scotland branch, so that I could try to cancel my bank card. The manager there could not have been more helpful – he not only put a stop on the card, but assured me that no transactions had taken place since the loss, and arranged for a new card to be sent to my home address (where it was on our return).

He did comment that people in Selkirk were honest and hoped my purse would be handed in.

I had almost given up hope, but on Saturday, June 10, I received a letter from the police to inform me that they had my purse and arrangements were made for it to be sent in the post, at no cost to myself.

Today (last Thursday) it arrived, with all the contents safe, and I would like to publicly thank Miss R.H., who handed it in, the police, the bank manager and also the lady at Forest Bookstore for local information.

I am writing to Miss R.H. to thank her personally, and will also be sending a donation to local charity Fresh Start Borders as a token of my gratitude.

It is so good to be reminded that many, many people are honest and upright citizens.

Jennifer Suggitt

Darwen

Lancashire

KELSONIANS WERE VERY WELCOMING

A big thanks to the people of Kelso for the very warm welcome they extended to members of ‘Motorhome Fun’ who recently held a small rally on Kelso racecourse.

The feedback from the rally attendees was universally positive with everyone commenting on how friendly and helpful people were. The racecourse staff were supportive and accommodating.

We hope to return to Kelso for another rally in the future.

(Kelso Motorhome Fun rally attendees)