Letters to the Editor

one-party state

Insulting the intelligence of

Scottish people

We all know that the Lib Dems are finished as a party since their betrayal of the people of this country – and it seems Labour has joined them at the bottom of the pile.

What hypocrisy and fearmongering from an ex-MP who is now siting in an unelected chamber along with many of his colleagues (Jeremy Purvis) who, even after losing their seats, have been given access to power and privilege through the back door (“Steel fears an SNP landslide in May elections”, Southern, December 3).

Since the last general election some Unionist politicians who lost their seats have been appointed to the House of Lords – an abomination in a democracy.

The Liberal Democrats had their chance and they blew it for the sake of short-term gain and at the expense of students in England by voting for tuition fees.

The people of Scotland are no longer ignorant and can see through the views perpetuated by politicians like David Steel.

Scotland has no viable alternate political party who can take on the SNP, other than the Greens.

David Steel may be having sleepless nights and feeling disturbed about a one-party state in Scotland, but he has only himself and his party, along with Scottish Labour, to blame for this sorry state of affairs.

What on earth is he talking about when he claims in your article that should the SNP win an overwhelming majority in May 2016, it would be uncontrollable and dangerous.

How dare he insults the intelligence of the Scottish people? Does he now think that the people are not fit to elect politicians who can govern and look after the needs of all the people, rather than a few, or is he simply scared that the SNP, along with other parties, want to abolish the House of Lords, hence undermining his position and privileges?

Bosco Santimano

Rosetta Road


film night

Volunteers keeping town’s heart beating

How very nice to read Ally Entwistle’s article in last week’s Southern about enjoying her evening in Duns with Mr E at the film night in the Volunteer Hall.

It’s good to know that we are contributing to quality time for couples.

The latest Bond film, Spectre, was shown in partnership with Film Mobile Scotland who have access to recently-released films and will be working with us in the new year to show some of the best films on general release for both adults and younger audiences.

To make this partnership work, we need good-sized audiences and whilst we do all we can to publicise these films, there is nothing like word of mouth to spread the news.

Ally’s article encourages us to keep going and do more.

A Heart For Duns (AHFD)has been managing the Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community since Scottish Borders Council gave up the lease. Apart from Liz Brown, our administrative assistant, and Emma Lindsay, housekeeper, AHFD is staffed by volunteers who give up their time selflessly and with great enthusiasm. We are fortunate to have so many people so willing to help and, as Ally said, be “helpful, chatty and efficient”.

Support for A Heart for Duns is essential if the hall is to remain available for all sorts of community functions, so I would encourage you to follow Ally and support this local initiative. There will be more films, but there will also be much more in 2016.

J. Andrew Lester

(A Heart For Duns)

Edrom Newton Steading


Better off get the best deal

A Scottish Government report reveals the affluent get a better deal from their GP services than the less well off.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon talks much of her commitment to fairness in society, but, as far as the NHS is concerned, is she delivering?

Total Scottish spending on the family health sector, including GPs, has fallen by £83million over the past five years, from £2,546million to £2,463million. And now we learn the average spend per patient per year is £7 higher in the top 10% of affluent areas compared to the bottom 10% of deprived areas.

In Scotland people in deprived areas die more than 10 years earlier than those in affluent areas – and yet more NHS cash is spent on the comfortably off.

The First Minister naturally chose November 30 to cite St Andrew as standing up for the under-privileged in society. Looking at the SNP’s record on the NHS, does Ms Sturgeon?

Martin Redfern



Outstanding women

Nominations are open for the Saltire Society’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ 2016 campaign.

A partnership between the Saltire Society and Glasgow Women’s Library, the awards provide a brilliant opportunity to celebrate everything Scotland’s women have achieved and to recognise their huge contribution to culture and society.

Now in its second year, the campaign will be open for nominations for three months leading up to next year’s International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, when a shortlist will be announced. From this list, 10 women will be chosen in July next year to be inducted into the ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ community, joining last years’ inductees such as Scotland’s makar Liz Lochhead, novelist Jackie Kay and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Nominations can be made via Twitter using the hashtag #saltirewomen or by completing an online form at the Saltire Society website. Women from any background can be nominated, but they must be living, and contemporary examples of Scottish women who have made an exceptional contribution to culture and society.

Sarah Mason

(programme manager)

The Saltire Society

High Street




in a spin

I see the House of Lords has cottoned on to what I said weeks ago, that the new powers to be given to Holyrood would interfere with Westminster’s supreme authority, thus requiring Westminster to get agreements from devolved assemblies before it can legislate for UK business.

Obviously, the SNP can run rings round British negotiators, even if the nationalists have proved beyond doubt they are useless at running Scotland’s services.

Eric R. S. Davidson




Nationalist vanity project

So Francis Hamilton (letters December 3) thinks the tapestry “will hugely enrich our lives in the Borders”.

Aye right.

The essential truth is that £6million of taxpayers’ money is being spent on a nationalist vanity project at a time when our council is cash-strapped for the basics.

William Loneskie



Will crossing open again?

I see that the Forth Road Bridge’s closure also extends to pedestrians and cyclists.

If their minimal extra weight is considered problematic, then the structure is clearly in more trouble than the public is being told.

My guess is that the bridge will never reopen to traffic.

But what are the safety implications for people living nearby in the case of total or partial collapse?

John Eoin Douglas

Spey Terrace


Climate change cash pledge

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon swanning into the Paris climate conference and pledging £12million of Scottish money for poor countries affected by climate change must surely stick in the throat when lack of maintenance has closed the bridge carrying the most important road in Scotland, for which she is solely responsible.

Malcolm Parkin


Westminster’s fault claim

The Forth Road Bridge is now closed to all traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.

It will not be long before we hear the cry, “It’s all Westminster’s fault”.

Clark Cross



Meningitis fight not over

We would like to thank everyone who has supported Meningitis Now during 2015.

It is only through people’s kindness and generosity that we’re able to fight the disease on all fronts – funding preventative research, raising awareness and supporting survivors and their families.

With your support, we’re determined to drive towards our vision in 2016, where no one dies of meningitis and everyone affected receives the support they need to rebuild their lives.

2015 has been a landmark year in the fight against meningitis, with the introduction of the life-saving meningitis B vaccine for babies. This could, over the next decade, prevent more than 4,000 children under the age of five contracting the disease.

Meningitis can strike anyone at any time and is no respecter of the festive season. Our Freephone helpline on 0808 80 10 388 will be open throughout the festive period.

To donate, or for a free symptoms information pack or more information, please visit www.MeningitisNow.org.

Sue Davie

(chief executive)

Meningitis Now



Grateful rescue centre

I would like to thank the people of Jedburgh and surrounds for their generous support of both our collection at the Co-op and coffee morning in the British Legion which jointly raised just over £500 for Arthurshiel Rescue Centre.

I must also send special thanks to Mary Ferguson without whose drive and enthusiasm none of these would take place.

Sheena Chappell


Arthurshiel Rescue Centre