Letters: Southern Reporter June 12

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Have your say

chocolate king

Plea for info on Gala man

I wonder if your readers can help me find a little more detail about Charles Schulze who financed the Continental Chocolate Company in Portobello pre-1914.

Charles Frederick Lees Schulze was born at Galashiels in 1878. He was the oldest of three boys (his two brothers were killed in the First World War) and he also had two sisters. His mother became a famous violinist who held concerts all over the world. In 1922 their father had a replica of the door to Amiens Cathedral added to the porch of Old Parish and St Paul’s Church, Galashiels, in memory of his two sons.

Schulze was a very prosperous merchant in Galashiels and lived in a large mansion called Brunswick Hill on Selkirk Road where he died aged 90 on 27 January 1930. 
If anyone can provide more information, they can email me at alfoley21@sky.com

Excuses

Councillor sparks anger

I refer to the article in last week’s Southern Reporter (Council colleagues slam retrospective bid by Aitchison).

Councillor Aitchison’s sweeping comment referring to all sales professionals, “there is a lesson there that nobody should accept what sales people say”, is unjustified and causes great concern for sales professionals.

Why should a councillor in his position who has embarrassed himself and the process within the council’s planning department deflect his own wrongdoing and pass off the problem by saying it’s someone else’s fault.

Councillor Aitchison has obviously not learned from his mistake, and trying to pass blame shows how selfish and inconsiderate he really is.

A person in his position should take ownership for mistakes and show people that even in his position people do make mistakes. His comments make me and the hundreds of other sales professionals reading this article extremely angry and disgusted as he is insinuating that all sales people are not to be trusted.

Martin Graham

Auld Coal Crescent, Bonnyrigg

green waste

Kelso recycle plant design

I realise that the Scottish Borders Council has to make savings in areas which are perhaps less important to the majority of their residents.

This is particularly the case when the Council Taxes we pay remain static in the medium term.

Therefore like many other gardeners,I have been taking my garden waste to the recycling area provided in Galashiels. As this site is a good half hour from Kelso (with the resultant cost of diesel),I thought that I would try two other recycling plants that are not much further from my house, namely Berwick upon Tweed and Wooler. Both these sites in Northumberland are modern and much easier to use than the Galashiels site.

Before SBC sets up the new recycling site in Kelso (in 2015, I believe), I would ask them to look at the two Northumberland sites and base the design on them rather than the older fashioned Gala site.

Tony Reed,

Sutherland Gardens, Kelso

Rock research

Search for band info

I am researching the early career of the rock group Slade. Sometime in 1965 Dave Hill and Don Powell from the group played the Town Hall in Hawick.

At this time they were members of a group called The ‘Nbetweens.

The group had never played in Scotland before and remember the venue but not the date.

If anyone could supply me with any information about the appearance I would be very grateful.

I can be contacted by email: christopher.selby1@btinternet.com or on 01922 456469

Chris Selby

Borders railway

Tapestry cash question

As a former railwayman (I was a track worker), it seems that SBC’s proposals to build a home for the Holyrood Tapestry at Tweedbank is perhaps because they have realised there will be few off-peak passengers on the Borders Railway south of Midlothian, and this proposal is to shore things up, so to speak!

I reckon that if the tapestry attracted 50,000 visitors a year, then perhaps 20 per cent – around 10,000 – will come by rail, and the rest mostly via car. Certainly few if any visitors from south of here will travel by train from Edinburgh and that is where the biggest potential tourism market is.

What I fail to understand is how they hope to find up to £5million for the home of the tapestry when they had to end the garden waste collection to save £400,000. The maths simply don’t stack up.

How many more great magical and expensive ideas will SBC come out with over the coming years to try to get passengers for a railway that will be a white elephant as far as passengers travelling on it south of Midlothian is concerned?

Roy Brown

Murray Place, Selkirk

jim clark rally

Perspective required

Once again Jean Cunningham displays the knee-jerk reaction that seems to be so prevalent in her regular letters to this publication.

She condemns the Jim Clark Rally without apparently even bothering to ensure that she is in possession of any facts.

The rally has taken place on our roads for many years with very few incidents and brings people, money and exposure to the area, not to mention the joy it brings to the thousands of visitors who converge on our towns to watch the event.

Whilst these deaths are lamentable, they should be taken in context.I would suggest that in the 17 or so years that the rally has taken place on our roads, more people have died pursuing other sports such as fishing in our local rivers or hiking on our local hills.

Mrs Cunningham needs to get some perspective before unleashing her vitriolic condemnation of a sport that does a lot of good for our local economy.

GED Hogg

Kelso

thank you

Border Samaritans

Our thanks to all who have supported Border Samaritans over the past couple of weeks. Our annual fundraising plant sale near Lilliesleaf raised over £850. Many thanks to all who braved the weather and also to those who donated plants, an invaluable contribution.

There was a large turnout at Friday evening’s quiz night at Quins in Galashiels. Many thanks to Sylvia Scott and the quizmaster Matthew. The evening was a great success, raising £280.

Samaritans support people who are in emotional distress. We are a volunteer service provided, and run, by volunteers. Our two types of volunteers are: people who engage with callers ‘listening volunteers’; and the people who do other tasks to support the branch ‘support volunteers’, helping with fundraising, administration, publicity and recruitment. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who has skills to offer and would like to be part of our support team.

Arabella Lewis

Border Samaritans, 
West Port, Selkirk
borders@samaritans.org

Coffee morning success

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Hawick I would like to thank all who supported our recent coffee morning at Trinity Church Hall. We raised £600 which will be divided between our two international projects: Roll out the Barrel – an innovative idea for carrying water in barrels that roll along the ground so saving people having to carry water on their backs or head – and Go Go Olive – a project in Zimbabwe which teaches women to knit toys thereby giving them employment in a country where few women have jobs.

Mairhi Trickett,

convenor of Rotary 
International Committee

QUEEN’S BATON

Wishing Jack all the best

It is gratifying that a large field has been assembled locally to carry the Queen’s Baton en route to Scotland’s Commonwealth Games as it makes its way through the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Selkirk.

While not in any way wishing to denigrate any of the folks who have been nominated to carry the baton through Selkirk, can I offer my own sincere congratulations to a man who is a born Souter of Selkirk, of impeccable character and has been for the past half century a wonderful ambassador for the town.

In the field of athletics and road running surely there can be no better example of a dedicated man than Jack Knox, who almost single-handedly has built up and maintained the sport in Selkirk. But for Jack there would be no young athletes in the town.

His enthusiasm and his drive to achieve the best for all ages in athletics is only equalled by his modest demeanour.
I am sure that the proudest person in Selkirk next week, as he carries the Queen’s Baton through his native town, will be Jack Knox.

“Haud Up Yer Heid, Jack, Ye Come frae naething sma’!”

I hope that you and Joyce have a wonderful day.

Kenneth Gunn

Selkirk

Abolish aPD

Tax is killing our country

If you want a perfect case study of why Scotland’s economy will benefit from independence, then air passenger duty (APD) is it.

Air service providers are unanimous in wanting a cut in air passenger duty to support travel in and out of Scotland. There is a lack of direct flights from Scotland and international connectivity is vital for export businesses.

In ‘Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government has outlined plans to cut APD by 50 per cent in the first independent parliament and then phase it out all together as revenues allow. Westminster, however, has increased this tax; announcing an increase to APD in the Chancellor’s statement; December 2013.

Air passenger duty has been increased by 160 per cent since 2007. In November last year, Scotland’s largest airports produced a joint report recommending ADP be reduced.

Aberdeen Airport managing director Derek Provan said: “This report shows, quite simply, that APD is damaging Scotland. It is damaging our economy, our tourism potential and our ability as a nation to bounce back from the recession.”

Glasgow Airport managing director Amanda McMillan argued APD would “continue to damage Scottish aviation by making routes unviable and decimating Scotland’s links to the rest of the world”.

The benefits of reducing APD include promoting more travel to Scotland for business and tourism, and creating more international links. The attractiveness for companies to invest in Scotland and the affordability of tourist travel to Scotland depends upon transport links.

A report by PWC showed that reducing APD would increase other tax receipts such as VAT. Barcelona, for example, gained 20 more international destination routes after abolishing APD.

On Tuesday, Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said that “Scotland could be far better connected without the iniquitous yoke of APD. It puts our country and importantly our vital tourism industry at risk. People and airlines will go elsewhere.”

As it stands APD remains firmly under the distant, disinterested and economically dysfunctional control of the Treasury at Westminster.

Scotland’s airports operate in a different economy to those in London and the South East. Heathrow and other London airports have been overwhelmed with increased demand and lack the facilities to keep up with passenger growth. This is what has caused political tension over proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, as well as proposals for another London airport.

In these circumstances it is in Scotland’s interest to promote more air travel, but it is less necessary for the major airport authorities in London and the South-East. London is already one of the global centres for business, finance and travel. It has benefited from large scale public investment in its transport infrastructure.

Preswick airport, in comparison, has suffered from declining passenger numbers and required government intervention earlier this year to keep the business going.

The interests of Scottish aviation has therefore diverged from that of London and the South East which – like the economy at large – have developed an asymmetry in investment and support. This can be rectified through autonomous tax systems. This principle has already been recognised in the case of Northern Ireland, where Westminster suspended the APD rise to maintain airport links between Belfast and New York.

So, in conclusion, the case of air passenger duty is a perfect illustration of why Scotland’s economy will perform better with the powers of independence. The ability to make decisions that respond to unique economic challenges is the natural state for independent countries across Europe. It allows governments to pursue opportunities, create comparative advantages, and in so doing increase jobs, investment and economic growth.

When the government cannot control fiscal levers to enhance asset utilisation – like our airports – the result is that the prosperity of the people in Scotland is reduced.

I would argue the Borders is ideally placed to be able to capitalise on increased tourism, driven by control over this type of policy control.

The opportunity to take complete control of fiscal policy lies on September 18 and a Yes vote for independence.

Alistair White

Harleyburn Court, Melrose