Airing Lauder’s shame

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Having attended Lauder fancy dress parade for many years, I have become increasingly disappointed at the behaviour of some of the participants who seem to think that half-naked and drunk men swearing and making two-fingered gestures to their friends in the crowd is suitable family entertainment.

I have had friends from England staying with me during the last couple of years and after attending some wonderful fancy dress parades in other local towns, they were appalled at the totally unacceptable behaviour of some of the participants at the Lauder event.

I really thought it could not get any worse, but the Jimmy Savile entry this year took things to a new low and completely unacceptable level.

It was no surprise that this reached the national media and I listened to some of the comments on BBC Radio 2 with shame and embarrassment that people were actually talking about my hometown of Lauder. Some of the callers to Radio 2 unfortunately made the mistake of comparing the issue with past films and features taking a rise out of characters like Hitler and Bin Laden, arguing that British people had a history of laughing at the evil deeds of the past.

Where the idiots at Lauder went wrong, however, was that they actually had the victims of the evil deeds (i.e. men in schoolgirls’ uniforms) parading and posing to the audience. This almost glorified the actions of Jimmy Saville rather than condemn them.

As far as I know I do not think we have had the victims of either Hitler or Bin Laden posing on stage to give us all a good laugh.

The fact the committee allowed this to happen and, even worse, the judges awarded the entry third prize is completely beyond me, and I hope that both will be stepping down before next year’s event.

If not, I dread to think what they might think suitable for a future prize. There have certainly been many new and ‘hilarious’ child-abuse stories in the news recently for them to choose from.

(name and address 
supplied)

LACK OF ACTION OVER ENTRY

I was appalled at the Jimmy Savile entry in the Lauder Common Riding fancy dress parade.

While I have sympathy with Elaine Brotherstone’s comment that it is difficult to censor entries, I was shocked to read that this float received third prize. The common riding committee most certainly had control over this.

That these young men thought it suitable to trivialise the suffering of Savile’s victims shows, at best, their real lack of understanding and, at worst, their condoning of such behaviour.

However, the common riding committee should have more sense, or perhaps they don’t? I am sure there are circumstances where they would act as censors – e.g. where nudity was involved.

What a pity they did not act before upsetting so many people who all know the lasting effects that sexual abuse has on its victims.

Joy Snape

Earlston

NO LAUGHING MATTER

In my personal capacity as a trustee of both Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) and Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre (SBRCC), I must express disgust and disbelief that those organising Lauder Common Riding should consider it acceptable to defend those who chose to portray an abuser of young and disabled girls and boys for the purposes of supposed entertainment.

This is not lampooning or satire, but a directly disrespectful blow to the suffering and dignity of anyone who has survived sexual violence.

The staff and volunteers of RCS and SBRCC work tirelessly to enable those survivors, their families and friends to recover from the devastating damage wrought by the perpetrators of sexual crimes, whenever and wherever they occurred.

Those appalling consequences are evident right here, right now in the Borders. Every survivor is someone’s child, partner, sibling, friend, neighbour or colleague – perhaps yours.

It is not a matter for comedy.

S. Edgar

(address supplied)

FREE SPEECH AND RESPONSIBILITY

I do not agree with last week’s editorial or with organisers of the fancy dress parade that the Jimmy Savile float was allowable because we should not have censorship and are all entitled to free speech.

Savile is the subject of an ongoing police investigation into child abuse. The only silver lining to the affair is that people have felt more at ease in coming forward to report such abuse. This float will have the opposite affect.

With free speech comes responsibility.

What will happen next year –a priests and choirboys float?

Richard Booles

Galashiels