Won’t get fooled again
I was quite frankly astonished to read Keith Howell’s response (letters, December 17) to my comments on David Steel, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Keith assumes like a “true believer” that everyone who voted Yes in the independence referendum is a nationalist. This is what we have come to expect from the Unionists’ camp.
He makes the same mistake many Unionists do by praising David Steel to high heavens, and totally ignores what I had to say about the abomination of what is the House of Lords, along with my opinion on the current state of affairs in Scottish politics. He should get his facts right before trying to shut down anyone who challenges the current status quo.
For the benefit of your readers and Keith Howell, I would like to say that I am what the system would describe as a “floating voter”. I have no allegiance to a single party, ideology or religion.
I do agree with some of the points made about the SNP in his letter and completely agree that some of the policies nationalists are pursuing are counterproductive to why Scottish voters voted for them overwhelmingly in the UK elections.
If they are sensible and have learnt anything from the rout suffered by Labour and Lib Dems at the ballot box, then it should be that – 10 years from now – it could be them at the bottom.
The point I was trying to make in my letter was and is that the Scottish people cannot be fooled and taken for granted anymore – unless fear is used once again as a tool to keep the peasants in their place.
Christine Grahame MSP refers (Southern, December 31) to the UK deficit (excess of annual expenditure over income) rising.
When Labour left office the deficit was over £150 billion. It is now only a fraction of that and Chancellor George Osborne aims to be in surplus by 2020.
What is rising is the national debt as this obviously increases by the amount of the deficit each year. The adverse impact, which Ms Grahame appears to recognise, of the cost of servicing this debt is, of course, the reason the Chancellor intends to reduce it. Ms Grahame omits to say, however, that the SNP policy is to increase spending and as a consequence increase the national debt.
Indeed, a letter in The Southern (December 24) from a supporter of Scottish independence bemoans the fact that the Holyrood government does not have the power to spend more than it earns and fund this by borrowing.
This overspending policy, pursued by both Labour and Conservative post-war governments, was one of the principal reasons for the economic collapse of 2007/8.
We all see the consequence of even more profligate policies having been pursued in some European countries. Mercifully, the present UK government recognises the benefit of living within our means, and has the determination and resolution to see this policy through, even if it is unpopular in some quarters.
The worrying aspect is that Ms Grahame and her SNP colleagues are still intent on pursuing these self-destruct policies.
David S. W. Williamson
The SNP’s massively-effective spin doctor team has employed that favourite project management technique with regard to the Forth Road Bridge catastrophe – under promise and over deliver.
But we’ve all seen the documentary evidence making clear the SNP took the decision to delay bridge maintenance five years ago. The point is not the bridge is now open in a limited way – it shouldn’t have been closed to start with.
East and central Scotland has suffered considerable inconvenience directly resulting from decisions taken by the SNP government.
So please don’t patronise us over so serious a matter, Nicola – we’re not that gullible.
Expert opinion wanted
The SNP claims that the fracture in the steel beam that forced the closure of the Forth Road Bridge could not have been predicted.
I hope that through the columns of this newspaper a qualified civil engineer with bridge building experience will inform readers if this is the case or not.
William W. Scott
St Baldred’s Road
It’s time to
cut our coat
Further to your article, “SBC examining Swinney’s budget as Lamont slams SNP”, and council leader David Parker’s statement that the local authority is still inviting members of the public to put forward suggestions how SBC can do things more efficiently.
Instead of adding still more debt to the already-indebted ratepayers and their heirs to service for a generation, the most obvious candidate for cutting expenditure is the proposed Great Tapestry of Scotland building at Tweedbank.
Since the Jura Consultants report in October 2014, the projected costs of this enterprise have already increased by 20%. Given the diminishing resources available for education and infrastructure projects inter alia, the level of public antipathy and disproportionate political capital expended by SBC to justify this project, one means of regaining some degree of credibility, accountability and probity would be for SBC either to:
a) house the tapestry in an existing refurbished building in the Melrose/Galashiels area; b) mothball the project and provide adequate toilets and parking at the railway terminus instead; c) ask Holyrood to fund the entire building themselves at Tweedbank.
Despite scepticism from certain quarters that there was no economic case for the Waverley rail line, this vital piece of infrastructure has already provided a stimulus to the wider Borders economy as to make the case for the tapestry building at Tweedbank less significant and justifiable.
If now is not the time to cut our coat according to our cloth, then when is?
The Department of Energy and Climate Change published figures showing that 49.7% of Scotland’s electricity demand came from renewable sources.
Cue for much rejoicing by the green brigade. However, Scotland will be forced to import more electricity from England when coal-fired Longannet closes in March 2016. Longannet produces 21% of Scotland’s energy.
The SNP government hates fossil fuels, but shifts the blame for Longannet’s closure to Westminster, citing the £40million transmission charges, despite SNP politicians aiming to shut down gas, nuclear and coal power plants in Scotland.
Industry sources confirm that more nuclear, gas and coal power will have to be imported from the rest of the UK. Scotland already imports electricity from south of the border on one in every five days.
In a show of solidarity, SNP and Green politicians, pressure groups Friends of Earth, Stop Climate Chaos Stirling and especially Lang Banks of WWF Scotland should refuse to take “tainted electricity” from Westminster, switch off their lights and heating, and cook over wood chips imported from cut-down trees in America and Canada.
Anti-bacterial research call
Forty thousand fools and charlatans met in Paris recently to exaggerate the degree of climate change and continue the global-warming catastrophe scam.
Had these people been alive to genuine global risks, they would have instead been discussing the growth in multiantibiotic resistance in bacteria. They would have considered the discovery in China of a bacterium resistant to the last-resort antibiotic Colistin.
A world without effective antibiotics does not bear thinking about. Routine surgery would become life-threatening. A great many operations that greatly improve the quality of patients’ lives – for example hip replacements – would not be carried out.
When one species of bacterium has achieved resistance to a particular antibiotic, the resistance soon spreads by horizontal gene transfer to other species.
It is time that we removed public funding from climate change-related studies and invested it instead in anti-bacterial research.
Every one of us can help
On the borders of Europe we have thousands of desperate homeless refugees – some prepared to risk their lives in an attempt to escape seemingly-endless warfare. Despicable acts are carried out by those holding extreme views . Bombing campaigns, with the resultant civilian deaths, are widespread in the turmoil that has engulfed the Arab countries.
Siren voices propagate hate and foment even more violent reaction.
Where can we seek hope? I can only answer that by saying hope is alive and present in all of us. Each of us, as individuals, can bring happiness and goodwill to those we know, those we work and live with, our neighbours and even, if we put aside pride, we can reach out to those we may on occasion disagree with.
Borderers live in peace and are able to open our arms and hearts to the suffering of others. Churches and aid agencies can offer advice on how to help.
Councillor Willie Archibald
(Scottish Borders Council’s Older People’s Champion)
May I thank everyone involved in any way with our recent production.
Special thanks to Borders Youth Theatre for joining us on stage, The Waggon Inn for their “meal deal “ on the Saturday night, our patrons for their continued support and the general public for being such a receptive audience.
Kelso Amateur Dramatic Society