Your picture of the week
Autumn – a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. John Tucker took this image of hawthorn berries and bramble fruit by the River Tweed at Faldonside.Please email photographs, with a brief caption, to:[email protected]
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BEING DRIVEN BY A DANGEROUS FOOL
I’m sure we all felt a large dose of sympathy for John Lamont after reading his comments in last week’s Southern, being forced to go back to Westminster when he’d “much rather be in the Borders”.
If only the Supreme Court judges had known the inconvenience they were causing him, they might have reviewed their unanimous judgement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in both advising the Queen and in proroguing parliament.
Unfortunately they didn’t, and so he had to return to the green benches and sit doing what he’s told for the next week or two, as per usual.
However, enough of Mr Lamont (a phrase being repeated I’m sure by increasing numbers of his constituents).
This week the Scottish Tories, having given up on their previous woeful attempt to stop walking catastrophe Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, swung behind him in support of a no-deal Brexit.
Abandoning even the pretence of trying to oppose something designed to bring so much harm on us all, the Scottish Tories now support food price surges, shortages of fuel and medical supplies, widespread Channel port delays, flight and ferry disruption, and all the rest of it.
It won’t be expressed in quite this way in their manifesto, of course – expect something along the lines of ‘No to a second independence referendum’ instead.
The United Kingdom is like an out-of-control car being driven by a wildly-incompetent, feckless, dangerous fool. The road signs are saying, ‘Warning – Beachy Head: sheer drop!’ Scotland is stuck in the passenger seat.
It’s time to get out of the car.
DISINTEGRATION OF ENGLAND
It is indeed entertaining to see the speed at which England is falling apart, taking with it its vile public schoolboy erstwhile governing clique.
It is truly the planet’s number one pariah state, the social, economic and cultural laughing stock of the world, headed rapidly for an economic, cultural and social dustbin.
The EU is truly splitting its sides, as indeed am I. It is a country but a whisker away from troops on the streets, blood in the gutters, mass unemployment, food shortages et al, all self-inflicted by an electorate that will pay any price for ethnic purity.
All other over-intellectualised analyses of Brexit are bunkum.
Downing Street and its hapless occupant more and more resembles the Berlin bunker in 1945.
Who could have imagined even weeks ago the disintegration of the Tory party and civil war between the judiciary, parliament and the demagogue who claims to be in charge?
Meanwhile I’ll park up at Carter Bar, buy a burger and watch the smoke rise from the ashes of that benighted, toxic and doomed polity.
A REASONABLE STEP, MR LAMONT?
I see from last week’s Southern that John Lamont MP considers the Prime Minister’s prorogation of parliament “a reasonable step”, despite this act being declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.
We are now seeing TV adverts telling us to be ready to leave the EU on October 31. So far it appears that there is little likelihood of a new deal being agreed in time to avoid a no -deal Brexit. Time is ticking – and Boris Johnson has made it clear that he will not apply for an extension.
Are we to assume then that Mr Johnson fully intends to leave with no deal? Unless the House of Commons agrees to that, which is so unlikely, the no-deal departure would be unlawful under the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Act 2019.
In these circumstances, would Mr Lamont consider this also to be a reasonable step?
Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for
Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Christine Grahame MSP claims that the Prime Minister showed “disgraceful behaviour” (View from Holyrood, September 26).
No he didn’t. Boris Johnson was standing up for the majority of electors who voted to leave the EU – no ifs and no buts – over three years ago.
What was disgraceful was, in the words of veteran nationalist Jim Sillars, “the Speaker’s decision to seize control of the executive’s foreign policy and its negotiations with a foreign power, by the Surrender Act”.
There can be nothing more disgraceful than nationalists who claim to be all for Scotland prostrating themselves before a foreign power, surrendering control of energy policy, defence policy, foreign policy, agricultural and fisheries policy, and ultimately financial policy to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
And something else is disgraceful. The independence referendum was warranted a once-in-a-generation event. But Ms Grahame and the other nationalists want another vote. Would they have wanted another vote if they had won, not lost?
DEFYING DECISION OF THE PEASANTRY
I freely admit my ignorance of the law. I assumed that if someone acted unlawfully, they must have broken a law.
I have not read or heard on the news which law Boris Johnson broke.
Perhaps someone could enlighten me, although I suspect the political Supreme Court imagined a law that has not actually been passed.
Why have those MPs who prevented no-deal not been dragged before the courts because they did break the law, which they enacted, which said that Britain would leave the EU on March 29 with or without a deal?
Where was Gina Miller when John Major prorogued parliament to avoid cash-for-questions scrutiny?
One would think that the establishment and media were working to overturn the decision of the peasantry.
CORBYN BOOT BOYS ON THE MARCH
At last month’s Labour party conference in Brighton, Marxist comrade Jeremy Corbyn and his boot boys were on the march again.
Unsurprisingly, their communism rings loud and clear, and shows they are still in control.
Labour, dripping with the politics of envy, will scrap private schools and deprive families of the advantages many of Mr Corbyn’s circle enjoys.
Meanwhile a poll shows members want to ditch the Queen, are ashamed of Britain and blame the UK, not the IRA, for terror attacks in Ulster.
Sound familiar? They sing from the same hymnsheet as the republican Scottish National Party (who behave much better in Hollyrood than Ian Blackford and his colleagues in Westminster).
If voters wanted a chilling glimpse of a Soviet-style future of a Jeremy Corbyn/Nicola Sturgeon government, they got it in spades from this Brighton conference.
With regard to the prorogation proceedings decision of the Supreme Court, a solution might be for the next parliament to legislate to strip the court of any jurisdiction to challenge prorogation.
The Supreme Court is the last UK resort for justice in law – and argueably not political judgements, and in my opinion should have found for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
INDYREF SHOW SET TO RUN AND RUN
While speaking in Berlin last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon conceded, when answering a reporter’s question, that if some years after becoming independent, the people of Scotland wanted a referendum about rejoining the UK, then there could be one.
Given this, and the continuing talk of rerun referendums, perhaps for clarity we should adopt the film franchise idea of not only numbering the different versions, but also giving them a catchy sub-title.
So, the original 2014 referendum could be ‘Indyref – the classic edition’. If we have the rerun, whether next year, as Nicola Sturgeon wants, or perhaps more realistically a couple of years after the 2021 Holyrood elections, say in 2023, that could be ‘Indyref2 – the rematch’.
Then if the First Minister wins that, given how strongly she has argued for a people’s vote on any Brexit deal, we must assume she would want to give the people of Scotland a say on the terms of a departure deal negotiated with the rest of the UK. So, perhaps a further two years on in 2025, and that could be ‘Indyref3 – the confirmation’.
Next, and perhaps finally, but you never can tell with these franchises, if the people of Scotland get disenchanted with the SNP’s poor handling of all the powers of independence and a lack of progress in securing membership of the EU, some five years on, which would be 2030, we can have ‘Indyref4 – time to think again’.
Of course there is always the other option of respecting the 2014 result and accepting that the majority have not changed their mind since. But while the SNP producers in Holyrood are calling the shots, the threat of never-ending sequels will always be with us.
WARM WELCOME FROM THE TERIES
We have been visiting Hawick for a few years now and are very impressed with the town.
Recently we stayed overnight in a car park with our motorhome.
We had a bearing go on our driveshaft. The garage opposite, Hawick Autocare, could not have been more helpful. I ordered the part and had it delivered to them. When it arrived they came over to us and said to bring our van over to them and they fixed it straight away.
We had a knock on our door one morning and were greeted by two council hostess congratulating us on being the 5,000th and 5,001th visitors welcomed to the town by them during 2019. They presented us with a tin of Hawick Balls.
We would also like to say how friendly and helpful all the shops were – we even got proper mutton pies from the very good butchers. Wilton Lodge Park was wonderful – the dogs loved it – and the museum was good and free.
Scottish Borders Council has got it right and a lot of other towns could learn from this.
Denise and Steve Upton
AIMING TO LIGHTEN SENSORY OVERLOAD
Shops, cafes and other businesses can be a sensory overload for many autistic people.
They can be crowded, unpredictable, loud, bright and can mean an extremely stressful experience – with staff and the public not knowing how to help.
Sadly, this means many of Scotland’s 58,000 autistic people find going to cafes and shops too stressful and simply avoid them altogether. They close themselves off and their world shrinks – one of the reasons why two-thirds of autistic people tell us that they feel socially isolated.
That’s why here at National Autistic Society Scotland we are promoting a week of Autism Hours from Saturday, October 5, to Saturday, October 12, where retailers and businesses can offer a more autism-friendly service.
Small adjustments, like dimming lights, turning off music, setting aside a quiet space and making sure staff are extra aware of autistic customers can go a long way to making autistic people and their families feel more comfortable.
More than 1,250 businesses and retailers across Scotland have signed-up to hold an Autism Hour this year and create an autism-friendly shopping experience for their customers.
Autistic people and families can find out about Autism Hours happening near them by visiting our interactive map at www.autism.org.uk/autismhour
National Autistic Society
CHALLENGING THE ADMINISTRATION
I thank the Southern for publishing my views on cemetery maintenance, and the cutting of services and jobs by the Scottish Borders Council administration.
This at a time when cash is being splashed on consultants, lawyers and non-essential projects.
I also thank members of the public who support my views – and with that support I will not give up the challenge to get change.
DIGGING IN AT ANCRUM
On behalf of Ancrum and District Heritage Society, I would like to express our thanks to all who have supported the archaeological dig in the village over the last two weeks.
Visitors to the site have been amazed at what has been found and the closing talk in the village hall was given to a packed audience. There will be a final results talk on October 31 when we hope for more details of all that has been discovered.
We were able to undertake this dig through funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and the Fallago Trust.
All that has been found is now back under the ground and we must wait to see if and when we will be able to discover more of the huge bishop’s palace which once graced Ancrum.