Churchill v Thatcher is a no contest

Today as I type Margaret Thatcher, a frail old lady who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, is buried. But also today £10million is being spent on that funeral and some 4,000 police are on duty.

There was no debate about the expenditure or indeed how that funeral should be conducted. To equate the death of Margaret Thatcher with that of Winston Churchill does not hold water.

For all his faults and political controversy – and there were some – it is undisputed that his voice, his presence, his leadership united a nation at war and under threat of invasion.

Margaret Thatcher made a virtue out of disunity.

Today voices of criticism are muted while those who applaud her politics and legacy command the airwaves.

But tomorrow, as someone once reputedly said in a movie, is another day.

Caerlee Mill

It was with a great deal of sadness that I watched the almost-inevitable demise of the mill and, of course, the impact on those who have lost work in these hard times.

Skills which have literally taken generations to hone should not be lost and it is my hope that with the help of various agencies who I know are working on the ground, those skills can be used elsewhere.

Sheriff courts

The response to the consultation of Scotland’s sheriff courts is out. Peebles is and was on that “hit list” of closures.

The issue for many of the smaller courts, but not Peebles, is that they are older-style buildings not suitable for today’s court system or have not enough court business to justify their continuation.

That latter position is the Scottish Courts Administration’s view of Peebles. It is the agency responsible for the network of courts and so on. I responded opposing the closure not only as your MSP, but as a former court lawyer myself.

However, while I continue to oppose closure, I am not, as my mother used to say, putting all my eggs in one basket. As you may have read before, I am pursuing as an alternative to Peebles the establishing of a justice centre in Galashiels which will have good connectivity for public transport with the bus terminus and the train station.

There is a role for Scottish Borders Council in assisting with premises and this is actively under way, and I can assure you, until I have that justice centre in the bag, the fight for Peebles goes on.