Letters to the Editor – June 19


The Big Debate

BBC Radio Scotland’s The Big Debate will be broadcast live from Jedburgh Town Hall on Friday, July 4, and we’re looking for members of the public to join the audience.

The experienced news and current affairs presenter, Gordon Brewer, will be joined by a panel of guests from the world of politics, the arts, science, business and other areas of public life to discuss topical issues. But it is the members of the audience who pose the questions.

We are looking for audience members who really want to join the debate and submit questions about the big news stories of the week. We look for questions on the most stimulating moral, political and social issues of the day – the current issues that will get people talking.

We hope people will take the opportunity to quiz and challenge, policy makers, writers and thinkers.

People can apply for a ticket and submit questions online by following this link: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-15190428

Alternatively, email: bigdebate@bbc.co.uk, or call 0141 422 7776.

Audience members must arrive by 11.30am for the live broadcast at noon.

Sarah Heardman

BBC Scotland News
Email: bigdebate@bbc.co.ukufhg

Jim Clark

Take a holiday to avoid event

If your correspondent Jean Cunningham ( Southern Reporter, June 5 ) dislikes this event so much then I suggest that next year she organises her holiday for that weekend, then surely she will not have to suffer any disturbance caused by the rally.

She also suggests that The Jim Clark Rally should not take place in this area again. To me it is totally ludicrous that a part of the Scottish Borders, with a strong connection to one of Scotland’s most famous sportsmen should not stage an event held in his honour. Her attitude is smacks of NIMBYISM – she doesn’t want the noise and disturbance near her, but would quite happily see it moved elsewhere.

I for one hope it continues for years to come and that the people who come from all over the UK and further a field continue to enjoy it and also keep putting much needed cash into the local economy.

David Cumming


Move rally to old airfield

In reply to Ged Hogg, Kelso, I take much offence at his words “(Jean Cunningham’s) vitriolic condemnation of a sport”, I did no such thing.

I have spoken to other people who also feel that after the tragic deaths of three people, the Jim Clark Rally would be better held elsewhere. One suggested on an old airfield, perhaps the one in the Borders where Jim Clark practiced in the first place.

Ged Hogg says more people have probably been killed fishing or hiking in the Border hills. I don’t think there would be any danger of other people being killed by them, do you?

There were two bad accidents in the recent rally, which raises a question over the whole issue. Why this time?

One can only hope that the injured will make a good recovery. A young rally driver will also have to live with the fatal crash for the rest of his life, whatever the results of the findings. One can only sympathise with him and the family and friends of the deceased.

Near us there are several road signs, put up primarily to deter speeding motorbike riders. They say: To Die – For What? I think this sums up the Jim Clark Rally.

Jean Cunningham


Rally must continue

The accidents at the Jim Clark Rally were a dark afternoon for Scottish Motor Sport and our sympathies must go to the family and friends of those who died. However, in the rush to judgment, it is important to keep a sense of perspective.

Each year around 20 people die on Scotland’s hills. More people have died on the football terraces of the UK than in motorsport events since 1900.

Motorsport is dangerous – that’s part of the appeal of the sport. It is 20 years since Ayrton Senna was the last Formula 1 driver to be killed on a race track and we have come to ignore the danger.

Sir Jackie Stewart fought hard for safety in motorsport and the safety aspects must be continually reviewed at all levels of the sport.

Competitors in these events accept the dangers when they sign the entry form. They are protected by roll cages, safety suits, helmets, seat belts. Spectators also accept responsibility when they attend a speed event. Mechanical failure and human error can cause cars or parts of cars to end up in unlikely places.

Spectators have to be kept from standing in dangerous places. On a long distance event such as a rally, this is difficult. If you attend an event, you accept the risk.

I have raced motorbikes, cars and made my living as a race car photographer in the US for a number of years. I was responsible for my own safety.

Two of those who died were long-term motorsports enthusiasts.

The Jim Clark Rally has been a safe event for its 40-year history. We must learn from these incidents.

To eliminate all risk is to retreat to the world of video games and driving simulators. The event must continue after a proper review of the incident.

John Black


wind farms

Rejection was the right move

Full marks to Scottish Borders Council, and especially to Councillor Keith Cockburn for their robust stance on the proliferation of wind farms here in the Borders.

The unanimous rejection by the planning committee of the proposed development at Cloich, near Eddleston, is a very welcome step in the right direction.

It seems that there is increasing awareness that wind farms are excellent at generating money for developers and landowners, but not at generating electricity; and that their impact on wildlife, tourism, amenity, and on our quality of life, is simply unacceptable.

In an ideal world, of course, that would be the end of it; local government has reflected the views of local people and local communities in rejecting this application.

But as the Cloich proposal is for a wind farm of more than 50mw, it is now referred to the Scottish Government for decision, and the ministers may choose to conduct a public enquiry to determine the way ahead.

But ultimately the decision will rest with the Scottish Government, on whose impartiality, objectivity and judgement we must rely.

Yet at Cloich, the developer is Partnership for Renewables (PfR), an offshoot of the Government-funded Carbon Trust; and the landowner, who stands to gain financially from this development is the government-funded Forestry Commission Scotland. Further, in this region of Scotland, the Forestry’s primary purpose, as set out in their objectives, is not to plant trees, nor to nurture them, nor to care for our environment, but to generate income from wind farms. So, where is the impartiality, the objectivity in this process?

So, Scottish Borders Council have it right; This decision, especially where Government has an interest from which it cannot stand back, must be left to local Government. Or, as their motion has it, “Scottish Borders planning policy is the best mechanism for balancing protection with appropriate developments.” It’s called democracy.

James Taylor



Why ignore the cycle paths?

We see endless complaints from cyclists requesting additional facilities to allow them to be safe on the roads.

I wonder why the cycle path from Selkirk to Galashiels, built at great expense, seems to be ignored by the lycra brigade who ride two abreast on the A7 rather than using it? Is it uncool to use it?

If a cycle path is available, cyclists should be compelled to use it.

Jim McGuckian


Thank you

Independence debate

I’d like to say a big thanks to Jedburgh Grammar for organising the recent debate on the independence referendum that I took part in.

The debate was respectful, and well chaired by the BBC’s Ken Macdonald.

I enjoyed answering the students’ excellent questions on issues including the currency, broadcasting and the military, and appreciated speaking to some of them afterwards about the opportunities for young people and the Borders from a Yes vote.

As a Scottish Green, I’m voting Yes to improve our democracy, start to close the gap between the rich and the rest of us, and devolve power within Scotland so that our Border towns enjoy more autonomy.

More information is available at scottishgreens.org.uk/independence.

Jason Rose

61 High Street, Musselburgh

Selkirk rosettes

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Selkirk who bought Common Riding rosettes which we make and sell in the following shops – Rodgerson’s Newsagents, Liberty Star, Scott’s Selkirk , Colin Turnbull and Moira Mitchell Hairdressers.

We raised £1,900 to give back to the Common Riding, which is a great amount.

I would also like to thank the staff in the shops for selling the rosettes for us.

Many thanks to everyone.

Sheila Lockie, Moira Squance, Eileen Spiers


Christian Aid donations

I would like to thank all those in the Galashiels area, including Caddonfoot, Stow and Heriot for their generosity during Christian Aid Week.

The wonderful sum of £5,120.45 was collected.

The detailed figures are: House to house collections £3,439.81; street collection 214.18; church collections 921.12; events and other donations 545.34.

Thanks are also due to the churches and the many collectors as well as those who helped at the count.

We live in difficult times, but the money collected will go to help those who have been so badly affected by conflicts and particularly those who live in abject poverty and who have little or no food, and have no access to clean water. Please be assured that none of this money is given to any government.

Angela Miller

Organiser, Galashiels 
Christian Aid Group

A day to remember

On Friday, June 13, I fulfilled my boyhood dream by representing Selkirk as Royal Burgh Standard Bearer at our annual common riding. The day was filled with many happy memories that will last a lifetime.

I would like to thank the Souters of Selkirk and the wider community for turning up in vast numbers at all the various functions since my appointment. To the Flute, Pipe and Silver bands once again you have all been great.

I would also like to thank all those who sent good luck wishes and for the many gifts I have received, they will forever remind me of my term in office.

Special thanks must go to my family and friends who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, I can assure you all your help was very much appreciated.

Finally, a special mention to my Attendants, Burleymen, ball partners and other Craft and Association Standard Bearers who all carried out their duties in a manner which befits the positions they have been afforded.

Thank you.

Greg MacDougall

Royal Burgh Standard 
Bearer 2014


Battle of Arnhem

In September, three months after the 70th anniversary of D-Day, it will be the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem. On Tuesday, September 16, I will lead a coach party from Scotland to attend the special Arnhem Ceremonies, including a parachute drop at Ginkel Heath. We will also attend the ceremony at Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery where Dutch children lay flowers on the graves. King Willem of the Netherlands and Prince Charles will be in attendance. We will have full tour of the Arnhem battlefield area and follow the route of XXX Corps after the breakout from Normandy. We will visit the site of the Rhine Crossings and the Reichswald Forest.

We also visit the post Great War home of the ex-Kaiser Wilhelm at Doorn.

We have a few places left and I will be happy to supply full details to any reader interested. They should contact me at the address below, call 01368 866826 or email me at johndavidraw@gmail.com

David Raw

Beach Cote, Golf House Road, Dunbar, EH42 1LS