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Old Thirlstane Castle by Lauder  highlighted by the strong afternoon sunlight.
Old Thirlstane Castle by Lauder highlighted by the strong afternoon sunlight.
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Old Thirlstane Castle, near Lauder, is highlighted by strong afternoon sunlight in this Curtis Welsh photograph.

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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

YES INCREASINGLY ATTRACTIVE

Where independence is concerned, Scottish voters seem to occupy three distinctive groups.

About 30% are avowed Unionists who will never vote for a self-sufficient Scotland, no matter how convincing evidence of the wealthy country it would be. That is their democratic choice.

The second group are the people who have placed hope above fear, have studied the assets Scotland has which will ensure a prosperous future in an independent country. Currently this is said to be around 45% of voters, but could now be higher.

So what of the remaining 25%?

I believe these are the pragmatists who in 2014 voted No or not at all, but their number is diminishing.

After it was obvious that “The Vow” was never going to be delivered, along with the exposure of many lies, and the arrogance of “English Votes for English Laws” in the parliament of the UK, the resolve of many No voters was shattered by disillusion. The final straw for others was the vote to leave the EU, after we had specifically been promised that Scotland could only remain a member if we voted No.

Another handicap Scottish voters suffer from is the UK voting system which creates a democratic deficit in Scotland, and indeed beyond.

As evidence piles up from both sides of the Atlantic of even harder times ahead, more and more people are turning to the Scottish Parliament for stability and protection – even in the Borders. More and more people are joining Yes groups, and who would have thought just a few years ago that we would be represented in Westminster by an SNP MP?

I’m sure most of your readers are open-minded, so if anyone would like to find out more about the independence movement, they can go to Yes Scottish Borders on Facebook. I know that not everyone has access to the internet, but I’m sure a library would help. Alternatively, find out about the local Yes group – whatever your political persuasion, you will be made welcome.

Richard Walthew

Duns

PROTECTING JOCK AND JENNY

I was interested to read of the “Trees Tribute” in Stichill district news recently and how the two trees on top of Sweethope Hill have evoked such artistic inspiration.

I always check to see they are there when driving in the area as they are like old friends which give a sense of reassurance when I see them. I should have realised that those living in the area would also have the same feelings towards them, so much so that they christened them Jock and Jenny.

I visited them in February 1978 as I was curious to know what they were and found them to be an ash and rowan, with their trunks densely covered with litchens.

As they are so well loved, and in such a conspicuous position, I wonder if they could be given protection under a tree preservation order. There are very few trees today given names which may go down in modern folklore.

I would be interested to know to which tree the names refer to, or is that pretty obvious.

Long may they remain in their exposed and wind-blasted site.

Roderick Corner

Hawthorn Hill

36 Wordsworth Street

Penrith

CA11 7QZ

PROTECTING RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

The Supreme Court ruling that the Westminster parliament is the only body that has the right to trigger Article 50 does not overturn the referendum vote to leave the EU.

The key ruling was that only parliament has the power to take away British citizens’ rights.

Far from interfering, as bizarrely claimed by Ian Duncan Smith, the Supreme Court has upheld our constitution by ensuring that it is our elected parliament that takes responsibility for implementing the referendum decision.

What is now at issue are our rights and freedoms, not Brexit.

We are to be stripped of our freedom to work, live and retire in the EU, and British businesses are to lose the right to export goods and services to the EU free of trade barriers. Such a dramatic loss of personal freedom cannot be delivered behind closed doors – it has to be debated openly and justified. People voted to leave the EU – not to lose their rights.

We are entitled to demand that our MPs ensure that the Tory government does not take away our freedom to travel, or repeal our right to consumer protection and product safety, or remove our employment rights, or to undermine our economy.

None of those questions were on the referendum ballot paper.

Eric Goodyer

Church Street

Berwick

DIFFERENT SPECIES OF ELECTRIC ENERGY

You may have some sway in highlighting the correct technical difference when discussing the outputs in megawatts of synchronous alternators, which are mainly steam and hydro units, and asynchronous harmonic motors used on wind farms.

They are two completely different species of electric energy connected into the system.

Steam and hydro units produce only the standard required 50/60 cycles per second power, while wind farms can only ever produce distorted harmonic power called dirty power, or THD (This Dirty Power).

It is completely useless for use by any consumer’s 50/60 Hz appliance.

So when any reference is made in “megawatts”, it should be scripted as “standard”, while any other should be scripted as “harmonics”.

Therefore they should never be on the same graph – one is not comparing apples with apples.

Not adhering to this principle for clarity purposes will continue the largest, widest conspiracy of scam, fraud and corruption which has swept the world for the last 30 years.

Bill Harding

(power system diagnostic

electrical engineer)

Taupo

New Zealand

REALITY CHECK FOR THE HUMAN RACE

G.M. Lindsay, in a letter published in your January 19 issue criticising the World Wildlife Foundation (Scotland), rather misses the point.

To save wildlife, we have to save the wider environment. Virtually all life on Earth lives within an envelope not much more than 10 miles thick, between the ocean floor and the mountain peaks. This is known as the biosphere, and we (humanity and every other life form) are quite literally all in it together. We have no alternative.

It follows that it is perfectly reasonable for the foundation to address the degradation of the environment by unnecessary and unsustainable human activity.

Humanity must learn to tailor its consumption to match the resources available – to test the sustainability of the biosphere to its very limit will end in disaster.

The human population of the whole planet 20,000 years ago may have been similar in number to those currently living in Scotland. It has now exceeded seven billion.

Something will give if we don’t face reality very soon.

Christopher Green

Eckford

GREENHOUSE GAS ATTACK IS HOT AIR

Yet again we have allegations that the previous year was the hottest on record.

Greenhouse gas levels may play some part in global temperatures, but there’s strong evidence that many other forces play their part too.

Plate tectonics, ocean circulations and oscillations, changes in the Earth’s orbit, including perihelion, changes in the planet’s angle of tilt, interplanetary dust, changes in the amount of energy emitted by the sun, sunspot activity, global tidal forces and other lunar activity, cloud cover, volcanic activity, the natural carbon cycle, albedo feedback and global urbanisation, to name the main ones.

Any of these can have warming or cooling influences. When a large number give warming influences at the same time, it can result in global warming. Conversely, when a large number give cooling influences at the same time it can result in ice ages.

I do not accept the claim that 90% of the warming is due to greenhouse gases.

Geoff Moore

Alness

Ross and Cromarty

TARGETING FARMS ISN’T THE ANSWER

A 9,900% rise in seal pups born at Blakeny Point, Norfolk, this year compared with 2001.

Up the coast at the Farne Islands, they have counted 2,295 new pups, nearly the same number as at Blakeney Point.

Knowledgeable people writing in this newspaper suggest the seals may be eating salmon.

Well, the numbers certainly show that salmon disappear as seals increase.

I think the Tweed river commissioners would be better employed checking if this is correct, rather than banning farmers from allowing their cattle to drink in the Tweed and its tributaries.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is currently inspecting all farms in the Tweed catchment area, the agricultural college is promising solar-powered drinking troughs and the government is threatening fines for allowing livestock into the rivers.

This is yet another attack on a long-established rural practice.

Meanwhile, find a way to reduce pup numbers to 25, which is the number counted at Blakeney Point in 2001 and, if similar, the Farne Islands would be 25 too, but they were not counted.

Miles Browne

Gordon

WHAT ABOUT BLACK BOB’S CREATOR?

It’s good to see the possibility of a statue of Selkirk’s Black Bob being erected (Southern, January 26).

However, it is surprising that the creator of Bob appears not to be mentioned. The dog was the brainchild of John Hunter, of Selkirk, who created the original stories in the mid-20th century and became the inspiration for his cartoon, annuals etc.

M. Macdonald

Selkirk

DISAPPOINTED READER

It wasn’t until I saw Lawrence Robertson’s letter in your January 26 edition that I realised the Corbie column had been stopped.

I had assumed he was just on leave.

It does seem odd that Corbie should just disappear without comment or recognition.

My wife and I always looked forward to reading the Corbie column – although, over the years, it has sometimes been a struggle to find where it has been tucked away.

Now it seems that The Southern can only muster enough material to fill a single page for its Outdoors feature. Disappointing.

Bob Stock

Abbotsview Drive

Galashiels

COLUMN WILL BE MISSED

I was pleased to see Lawrence Robertson’s letter in last week’s Southern. We too have missed Corbie’s column.

It has, as he said, been full of interest and information every week for as long as we have been in the Borders – nearly 30 years.

His photographs have also been illuminating. As country people and nature lovers, we looked forward to reading his column each week.

The Borders has so much beautiful country and interesting bird and wildlife, as well as plants and flowers in abundance.

There must be many people who have appreciated his knowledge and enthusiasm and will also miss his column.

We hope there might still be an editorial or article in appreciation of Corbie’s contribution to your paper and our community.

Val Beaver

Sunderland Farm Cottage

Galashiels

SALVATION ARMY SUPPORT

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the community for their support during 2016.

Your donations have enabled The Salvation Army to offer the following support to those in the community who have needed extra support:

z 271 food parcels in the Hawick area;

z 100 Christmas food parcels within the Borders;

z 140 children within the Borders received Christmas presents;

z 90 meals, including Christmas Day meals;

z Emergency bed-and-breakfast accommodation while other arrangements are made;

z Clothing, furniture and household goods supplied to fire and flood victims;

z A listening ear for those who need to talk.

Those who received assistance cannot thank you personally, so on their behalf I’d like to say: “For all you do, thank you.”

Lieutenant Caroline

Brophy-Parkin

Hawick Corps officer