Walter Baxter photographed this RAF Hercules on a low-flying sortie from Black Andrew Wood, near Yarrowford. Please email photographic contributions (including a brief caption) for this page to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
MP was nowhere to be seen
At the Pink News awards, Borders MP David Mundell said: “It’s so important we continue to speak out to end prejudice and campaign until equality for everyone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is without question”, and “we can’t be complacent ... we must face up to and tackle homophobia wherever it exists” (Southern, November 3).
A major reason for prejudice and homophobia has been discriminatory laws, many of which have now been repealed.
Sadly, people can suffer the consequences of bullying or criminalisation for a very long time. For example, in 2013 police in Manchester and Northumbria were demanding DNA samples from men convicted of consensual sexual activity decades ago.
In October the UK parliament debated the Sexual Offences (Pardons Etc) Bill which would have helped right the legislative wrongs of the past. Unfortunately the bill was talked-out by Conservative MPs. When Mr Mundell could have made a difference to LGBT people’s lives, he was nowhere to be seen.
Delay is far from fine for doctor
I am a doctor working in Borders General Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
In January I parked my car in the short-stay park, as there was no room in the long-stay one.
I meant to move it at lunchtime. However, I spent the day dealing with two very sick patients, one of whom went to the intensive therapy unit, and it was after 2pm before I got my lunch break, by which time my car had a parking ticket.
After a second notice, I wrote to Minster Baywatch, which administers parking control and enforcement at the hospital, explaining the circumstances. I heard nothing for a further six months, so I assumed I had been successful in my appeal against the fine.
However, I have just had a further notice of the fine – now increased by a further £55.
Having been in touch again, I am now told that they only accept appeals made within 28 days of the original notice, and I was liable for the full fine of £145.
I am unhappy – firstly, about the ridiculous nature of the fact that my appeal was deemed to be too late, when they have taken more than six months to tell me this, and that they have increased their charge.
Secondly, it needs to be made public that moving your car to avoid a fine is more important to Minster Baywatch than patient care.
Kicking up a stink over pink
Who decided that the Scotland football team should wear pink for the match against England tomorrow night (Friday, November 11) in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley?
I know the pink top has been used on a previous occasion and, apparently, it is making an appearance tomorrow because it doesn’t clash with the white English strip.
Whatever happened to the traditional Scottish strip of navy blue with navy blue sleeves? No colour clash there, one would venture to say.
In this modern country of ours with its political correctness, where we aim for sexual equality, promotion of women’s rights and open-mindedness towards all, I would suggest about 90% of Scottish football fans firmly believe that if you look like a big Jessie, you’re liable to play like one.
Boot this match into touch
Why hold the England v Scotland football match on Armistice Day anyway?
It should be a time to remember our fallen, not a day for tawdry sporting fixtures.
John Eoin Douglas
Petitioners better to stand united
The Firework Abatement Group believes stand-alone petitions will not further the cause of change in firework legislation.
We feel that, as a united front, we stand a much greater chance of getting the subject of fireworks back on the Westminster government agenda.
Our aim is to have all current firework petitions under the group’s umbrella.
The group has been campaigning for restricting back-garden fireworks use to traditional dates. We achieved a parliamentary debate on June 6, 2016, producing a body of work to substantiate our findings.
If you would like to join our campaign or have a general question, please join our group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FireworkABatement. If you require any further information, please contact Julie Doorne on 01529 455491.
Julie Doorne, Jill Cutsforth and Diane Ford
‘Experts’ far from unanimous
MSP John Lamont’s column opened dramatically last week, quoting a recent report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that said the biggest “threat” facing Scotland was that of another independence referendum.
This, Mr Lamont claims, was the unanimous conclusion of “experts” north of the border.
Ruth Davidson’s identical claim at First Minister’s Questions was dissected forensically on the lively website Wings Over Scotland and, unfortunately for Mr Lamont, the report is available online for anyone to examine (search for “RICS UK Commercial Property Market Survey Q3 2016”).
For its third-quarter report for 2016, the RCIS surveyed 281 companies in the UK. Fifteen of these companies were Scottish.
Nowhere in the summary or full version of the report is there any mention of a referendum on Scottish independence.
The overriding concern is that of the reaction to Brexit. Some individuals chose to make specific remarks, and these are recorded. Of the 15 Scottish companies surveyed, four representatives wrote comments. Three of these worried about the possible effects of a referendum on independence (one was quoted in Mr Lamont’s column).
So, the worried “experts” amount to three people. Of the other 12 Scottish “experts”, 11 weren’t sufficiently bothered to make any comment at all, while the other did comment, but mentioned no concerns about an independence referendum.
Mr Lamont’s claim that “every single surveyor from Scotland came to the same conclusion” is inaccurate nonsense.
Just which is the ‘nasty party’
Considering Prime Minister Theresa May has, in the past, referred to the Tories as the “nasty party”, I had to laugh when I read that the SNP was being called the nasty and xenophobic one (letters, October 20).
Let’s remind ourselves what the previous and current governments have gifted to our Great Britain.
They created austerity which has failed to solve Britain’s financial problems because the fiscal deficit is now bigger than that of all Labour governments combined; are custodians of a plummeting pound; introduced the iniquitous bedroom tax; have assessed thousands of people as “fit for work” who then died; removed cars from disabled people, making them housebound; held a Brexit referendum to heal a split party – failed; promoted xenophobia so morons could abuse anyone looking foreign; increased university fees to £9,000; have overseen a massive increase of foodbank use; are privatising the NHS; have given tax cuts to the already wealthy; indulged the parasites who avoid or evade their due taxes.
Now how does the “nasty” and “xenophobic” SNP government emerge from this exercise?
Well, it created a welfare fund to help desperate people survive; have balanced the books every year; protected vulnerable people from the bedroom tax; helped claimants suffering late benefits payments and sanctions; are doing everything possible to retain Scotland’s European market; assured all foreigners in Scotland that they are welcome; freed university students from fees; is doing all in its power to protect the NHS; made prescriptions free for everyone; is keeping bus travel for pensioners free; retained free care for the elderly.
I’ll leave readers to decide which is the “nasty party”.
FM should quit over deal collapse
Yet another secretive and dour approach from the First Minister regarding the collapse of a £10billion trade deal.
The outcome of this cancellation by the Chinese SinoFortone and Railway No3 Engineering Group is due to the incompetence of Nicola Sturgeon and her so-called advisers.
It will prove very damaging to any further possible trade deals with the Chinese government and cost billions of pounds to the United Kingdom Exchequer.
The SNP is ruled by a small clique of members close to the Sturgeon ‘family’.
Now is the time for the First Minister to resign due to this and the enormity of errors of her handling of fiscal matters so far before her decisions become irrevocable.
Defibrillators in the valleys
Thanks to donations from the Scottish HART charity and Scottish Ambulance Service through the Resilient Communities scheme, and funding from Scottish Borders Council, the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys now have seven defibrillators.
We hope that the Langhope Rig Community Benefit Fund will enable the community council to maintain and replace these as required for the foreseeable future.
The defibrillators are located at the Glen cafe at St Mary’s Loch, and the village halls at Cappercleuch, Yarrow Feus, Yarrowford and Ettrickbridge.
There is also one on the wall of the shop at Honey Cottage at Hopehouse, Ettrick, and inside the Waterwheel café at Philiphaugh.
Training has been provided to community volunteers, but more can be arranged if necessary through contact with your local community councillor.
(chair, Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council)
for the RDA
A huge thank you to everyone who supported the Ettrickbridge and Dryden Riding for the Disabled Association in its recent fundraising events.
To the people who attended the dinner in The Woll, where Richard Pitman gave so generously of his time to be the guest speaker, to the racegoers at Kelso who supported the charity tea room and to all who worked so hard to make these events so successful.
We raised £1,743.
A night of music and dance
Our grateful thanks to all those who supported the recent ‘Musical Evening – with a touch of Dance’ in aid of Arthritis Research UK – Borders Challenge in the Victoria Halls, Selkirk.
Between the Hawick PSA Male Voice Choir and then Ian and Eric, ‘The Langholm Lads’, on the accordion and drums, a thoroughly good toe-tapping evening was had by all.
The sum of £1,000 was raised towards the much-needed research work undertaken by the charity from Borderers will benefit in years to come.
As well as all who attended, we are very grateful to those who helped on the evening and the generous donors of raffle prizes.
(Melrose branch chairman)
Spelling out my appreciation
I would like to say a big thank you to all who took part in the Border Town Prize Anagrams to raise funds for Borders Exploration Group’s expedition to Bolivia next year.
Forty correct answers went into the draw.
The winner was K. Wright, near Melrose.
Also thanks to the Jammy Coo, Lilliesleaf; Halliwell’s, Jackie Lunn, the Post Office, McCall’s and Camerons for selling the anagram sheets.
Cash boost for cancer charities
I extend a very warm thank you to everybody involved with the whisky auction and stovie supper last Saturday night in Coldstream.
The event was in commemoration of Scott Noble and to raise funds for cancer charities and treatment, specifically Marie Curie and the cancer treatment room at the Macmillan centre, Borders General Hospital.
The evening raised the magnificent sum of £2,300 – and there are still some donations to come in.
So thank you to the Hirsel Golf Club for hosting the event, Linda, Karen, Carole and Sally, of the ladies’ cancer dinner committee, Rob Bell for his background music, the inimitable Harry Brydon for his auctioneering skills and to the people who attended the evening and donated so generously.