Your letters to the editor – September 5

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No east-west divide here

As the manager of Eye-mouth Museum and Tourist Information office, I would like to thank Alasdair Drysdale for his wonderful letter praising our beautiful Berwickshire coastline (Southern Letters to Editor, August 22) – I couldn’t agree more!

Of course, here in Eye-mouth itself, we are proud that we still have a working harbour, though sadly not as busy as the days when you could walk from one side of the harbour to the other without getting your feet wet.

Times change, though, and now we are a popular port for touring yachts which helps keep the town busy. For rainy days, we are very lucky to have three excellent museums (Eyemouth Museum, The Maritime Centre and Gunsgreen House), as well as a wide range of independent shops selling everything from charcuterie and traditionally smoked fish to art galleries and gifts.

However, as someone who was born and raised in Selkirk, I make sure we explain to visitors how important it is to branch inland to experience for themselves the wonderful countryside and friendly towns of the central Borders. I am pleased to say there is no east/west divide here!

Lynne Bogle

Kirk Square, Eyemouth Museum


Argument does not hold

With reference to Mr Graham Bell’s comments in the article “New tribunal fees will make things fairer for all, says business leader”, in last week’s Southern.

Could I make the following comments? Whether an employer is a good employer or an unscrupulous employer is irrelevant, or an employee is a good employee or bad employee, as there is good and bad in every organisation, including small business.

The fact is that many employers do not understand their legal responsibilities under industrial law and legislation and often make decisions, whether intentional or not, which breaches employee’s rights, leaving employees with no other option than to challenge their rights in an employment tribunal.

Members of a trade union, when challenging their employers, have experienced workplace representatives to guide them through the company’s grievance and disciplinary procedures, and represent them at hearings, which in most cases arrive at the right outcome and hopefully the need to go to tribunal.

In Unite the Union, if the company’s procedures have been exhausted and there is a legal challenge to make, the case goes to the union’s solicitors who advise if there is a legal case to answer, and if so, would lodge the case to employment tribunal so that the evidence can be heard and a legal judgement made.

Hardly a “no cost option” as stated by Mr Bell, as there are considerable costs to be met by the union in bringing members’ cases to tribunal and employees who are not a member of a union will have to meet the costs themselves.

Mr Bell also makes reference to speculative or vexatious cases being broughtforward and that the fee will deter such claims.

Such cases were and are already covered by the law. Indeed, if such cases make it to tribunal and are found to be speculative or vexatious all the costs of bringing the case, including the employer’s, can be passed to the employee making the claims.

It would also be my opinion that a no win no fee lawyer would not take a case to tribunal unless winnable as there would be no money in it for them if they lost.

So in conclusion, all the £1,200 fee does is deny employees their human rights to have a legal judgement made in an employment tribunal with regards to industrial issues, and in my opinion was implemented by a con dem Westminster Government hell bent on attacking working men and women’s terms and conditions of employment so that their rich business friends can reap the profits and encourage the good employers Mr Bell talks about into becoming bad employers.

Eck Barclay

Chairperson, Unite the Union
Scottish Borders Area Activists Committee

Road safety

Right on about lines and signs

Richard West, in his letter in the Southern Reporter August 29, is spot on with his observations regarding the white lines or lack off them on our local roads.

Perhaps he forgot to add the road signs that often can’t be seen by overgrown hedges or trees, or the signs covered in green slime from the same overgrown greenery.

If road safety is such a high priority with both the council and the police why are these things being over looked? Where has the money gone that was saved from not doing any painting or cleaning? As a child I do not recall road paints being so faint or signs so dirty. It’s probably not such a problem to locals who use the roads on a regular basis, but to strangers or visitors to our region then it is no wonder that accidents do happen. And to be fair this issue is Scotland wide, as a recent trip to Edinburgh highlighted to me - I had to keep saying to myself make sure you are in the right lane! But wait, there are no lanes on the roads in parts as all the paint is worn away.

Kevin Currie

The Shambles

syria conflict

Disappointed at MP’s vote

I note with disappointment that a formal response from our local Liberal Democrat MP (Michael Moore) to my correspondence, printed below, was to vote alongside his Conservative colleague David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) to take the UK into yet another pointless war.

One of the ironies is that both of these ‘Right Honourable gentlemen’ are in the same Government that is currently laying off soldiers who are risking their lives in Afghanistan.

It is a great relief to many of us that the Labour Party’s counter proposal ensured that neither of the proposals were passed; although Labour does not seem to be opposed to intervention in principle.

Can anyone find it hard to believe that that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is run by the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, granted chemical export licences to Syria (purchaser so far undisclosed) which can produce Sarin (a nerve gas) last January, some 10 months after the Syrian civil war began.

While it is concerning that the gung-ho Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg appears as keen to ignore the peaceful aims of his party as he is to retain his fragile hold on power, it is reassuring that there is at least one British political party (the UK Independence Party) which opposes taking the UK into new foreign wars.

Dear Michael,On the eve of the centenary of the Great War, I sincerely hope you will do everything in your power to deter the Prime Minister and his gung-ho Foreign Secretary from engaging Britain yet again in a conflict which is well beyond our sphere of influence and completely beyond our comprehension and competence.

Having seen and paid for the devastation wreaked upon Iraq, and subsequently Afghanistan, by an ill-judged and false assumption of chemical weapons and their threat to Britain, it would be tragic indeed to repeat this error in a country so hopelessly divided as Syria, where old enmities are centuries old and moreover where the Great Game is being played out unto this day.

England’s reputation was never enhanced by its forays in the Crusades and is certainly not to be improved by launching yet more attacks on a country that deserves to choose its own fate; and not one desired by the arrogance and naivety of Western politicians, many miles away in their congenial coastal resorts.

I urge you to listen to the voices of caution, and take every possible step to avert yet another disruptive and tragic waste of life and what little remains of Britain’s reputation for fairness and discretion.

The possibility of Russian action is additionally concerning and not to be ignored.

Steven Keane

UKIP Scottish Borders
Ellwyn Terrace

thank you



We would like to thank everyone who helped with the blood donor session in Galashiels on August 25 and 26. A total of 353 volunteers offered to give blood and 309 donations were given. There were 14 new donors. We are grateful for all your help.

Caroline Tutt

Donor programme organiser

Hospice success

On behalf of The Turbo Turkeys (Gordon & Euan Nicoll and Cavan Rodgers), we would like to thank family, friends, NHS Borders staff and the people of Selkirk and Galashiels for helping us raise just over £600 for Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) as part of the Beat the Borders Challenge on Saturday.

We all completed the 40-mile cycle in a respectable time of just over three hours; Gordon and Euan continued on the route completing the 18-mile walk from Ashkirk to Melrose, including the challenges, in a time of just over six hours (total time of just over nine hours). We believe Euan was the only person under 18 years old to complete the full gold course. Thank you again to everyone who donated and supported us on this challenge.

Gordon Nicoll

Pinkfoot geese

Wind turbine hazard

I am writing to express my concern at the potential hazards to wintering pinkfoot geese from the proposed wind turbine development at Rumbleton Rig.

It is a matter of concern that the usual morning flight path of the geese from their roost on Hule Moss to feeding grounds and their evening return to roost on the Moss would be directly over the proposed wind turbines.

Further, evening winter mist and fog on Greenlaw Moor is by no means uncommon. Under these circumstances geese tend to become disorientated or ‘lost’ and would therefore be at increased risk of injury.

It should be appreciated that for many years Hule Moss, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, has been one of the most important reserves for wintering pinkfood geese in the UK.

It is essential that this important local environmental issue be fully considered in connection with any planning applications.

Ian W. Fingland,

West House, Greenlaw

Civic week

Memories of Coldstream

How do you put into words, tears, goose bumps and increased heart beats?

This is what we experienced during Civic Week in Coldstream.

We were invited to come from Canada to celebrate this very special 500th year of the Battle of Flodden. We really had no idea what was in store for us! The whole week was just one incredible event after another – the opening ceremony, the beloved bagpipes, church dinners, plays, parades, the ride out to Norham, the “pink” tractor parade, the awesome ride out to Flodden, the charge up the hill, the tailgate picnic, the turning in of the sash, and the exciting fireworks .

As incredible as these events were, the highlight of the week for us was the people we met.

What makes a community are its people and we got to share this week with some very wonderful people who made us feel so welcome.

We came home with a suitcase full of great memories.

We take our hats off to the organisers and participants of this great festival – we enjoyed a fabulous holiday, one which we will never forget, all due to your hard work.

Brian and Sheila Swan,

Tweedside, Harvey, New Brunswick, Canada

lifeboat day

Events raise nearly £2,000

Many thanks to all the visitors and supporters who attended Lifeboat Day in Eyemouth last Saturday, helping to make it such a success despite again suffering with poor weather.

The day raised nearly £2,000 from the combined events which everyone seemed to greatly enjoy.

Special thanks to all the volunteers and helpers including Herring Queen Committee and Eyemouth Initiative, who helped organise the event, set up and break down the stalls on the day and generally provide all their time to make the day go so smoothly.

Again Reston Concert Band were outstanding in providing such marvellous entertainment and the painting donated by Mr David Dougal was the main attraction for the raffle helping to boost sales enormously.

Additionally there is a special vote of thanks to all those who gave donations and to the local businesses that gave their support in many ways - Eyemouth Rib Trips provided a thrill for both old and young alike and Giacopazzi Ice Creams for providing the stall and donating the ice cream itself.

The next event will be a production of The PlayBoy on September 28 at Eyemouth High School - tickets are on sale now!

Andy Frost,

Eyemouth RNLI