Your picture of the Week

Deanburnhaugh, Roberton
Deanburnhaugh, Roberton

Eileen Randall’s view of Deanburnhaugh, Roberton.

Please email photographs, with a brief caption, to southern-letters@jpress.co.uk

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

WONDERFUL WORKMEN

Yes, there was chaos in Selkirk town centre last week, unfortunately coinciding with work on the A7 – or was it a well thought-out plan to get two necessary jobs done at the same time?

In any event, I would like to take my hat off to the workmen on the job, who had to carry on in appalling conditions to get the task done as quickly as possible – water was at times pouring into the trenches where they were working. Likewise the road surfacing gangs who, in spite of being held up for two days by the weather, still managed to finish on schedule.

Far worse things have happened in the Royal and Ancient Burgh – such as the disastrous flooding which engulfed part of Bannerfield and the rugby club twice within the last 15 years – not to mention Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s failure to pay for his army’s boots, something which crippled the town at the time!

The whole town, I am sure, is hoping that the local businesses will bounce back from this disruption and not succumb in the same way.

David Taylor

Ettrick Terrace

Selkirk

JOHN LAMONT’S HEARTLESS STANCE

I was very disappointed to see that our local MP, John Lamont, voted ‘No’ in the recent Westminster debate about animal sentience.

It is a scientific fact that all mammals and birds, and many other species, have the necessary anatomy to feel pain and even emotions. Having followed the debate, it seems that despite claims, our current legislation does not include this recognition for wild animals, lab animals or farm animals.

A failure to build a recognition of animal sentience into our overarching values and protections as we leave the EU is a wilful and unnecessary act by the one animal (human beings) who can make a difference.

While other environmental legislation may eventually be passed we will at best have a gap where our treatment of animals could be downgraded...all for a bit of political point-scoring.

Sadly, I feel our MP has taken an ignorant and heartless stance on our behalf.

Susanna Arnott

Foulden

GOVERNMENT BY GRIEVANCE

The SNP reaction to the Westminster Budget once again demonstrates its government-by-grievance approach.

Scotland already benefits by some £9bn a year from the rest of the UK to help fill the large hole in our public finances.

Yet when Chancellor Philip Hammond says there will be an extra £2bn for Scotland over four years, it is dismissed as “smoke and mirrors” and a “con” by the SNP, because much of it is conditional on being used in financing housing and growth initiatives.

No doubt the nationalists would prefer it were available for more of their giveaways, as they continue to try to draw attention away from the failures in Scotland’s essential public services.

In next month’s Holyrood Budget it will be interesting to see how finance secretary Derek Mackay justifies his proposed tax increases when the money already raised is, in so many instances, demonstrably mismanaged or spent for popularity rather than where the need is greatest.

Keith Howell

West Linton

LEFT ADRIFT WITHOUT A DEAL

Any doubts that Brexit, having already turned us from the world’s fastest-growing developed economy into its slowest, will ruin the UK were laid to rest in last week’s Budget.

It took account of the vast reductions in the Office for Budgetary Responsibility’s growth forecasts based on our dismal productivity and the negative impact Brexit will have on our finances.

We were told the economy would benefit hugely from quitting the EU, but now it appears that the belt must be tightened even though every sector of the welfare state is in crisis.

However, if you think the current situation is bad, wait until the EU loses patience with our negotiators and sets us adrift in the wastes of the North Atlantic with no deal at all.

John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Now that Brexit is starting to “fire up” and opportunities are at last beginning to fall into place, one can’t help to feel optimistic about the future for the Union of the United Kingdom.

Time to rid ourselves of governments within the UK that are no longer required in a small country and a changing world with a much bigger picture.

In my opinion I believe in future the UK will be run by city councils and civil servants. Major political decisions will be made in a traditional manner at Westminster.

Government can only be controlled from one source and Westminster is by far the best equipped. Trade and NHS are of paramount importance.

We should stop migration to this country and all foreign aid (revenue from this has been going into the wrong pockets for years).

Time for big decisions that will lead to big rewards.

Paul Singleton

Avondale

Gordon

RT SUITS FORMER FM PERFECTLY

What is surprising about Alex Salmond’s show on Russia Today (RT) is that so many seem surprised by his latest attention-seeking plans.

The former First Minister’s raison d’être is separating Scotland from the rest of the UK.

Russia supported Scottish independence in 2014, not from a perspective of self-determination, but because it considered the break-up of the UK would help weaken the West.

Plus has anyone ever considered Mr Salmond shy and retiring?

His lungs constantly crave the oxygen of publicity.

During his failed referendum attempt, he attracted the attention of the world’s media. Now he’s an ex-First Minister and former leader of the SNP, an ousted MP turned light entertainer, occasionally popping up in the media to spout something he believes quote-worthy.

Mr Salmond craves attention and passionately supports the break-up of the UK. A show on Russia Today suits him perfectly.

Martin Redfern

Edinburgh

CHRISTMAS APPEAL LAUNCHED

As a professor of congenital heart surgery and consultant in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Bristol, I see first-hand how devastating it is for thousands of families who have a child living with congenital heart disease.

Around 25 babies every month will be diagnosed with a heart defect in Scotland, which is an estimated 300 a year, and it remains the UK’s most common birth defect.

There are many children with congenital heart disease who face a future of repeated surgeries and many whose hearts have become vulnerable to damage due to hours of being on the operating table. This shouldn’t be the case.

Through my research, I am trying to improve surgical techniques and find a way to stop the hearts of babies and children becoming damaged during heart surgery.

Without funding from the BHF, made possible only thanks to your incredible support, my team and I couldn’t continue our vital work.

That’s why I am supporting the BHF’s Christmas Appeal, which aims to raise £750,000 towards research into heart disease.

We urgently we need to find new ways to increase survival rates and improve the quality of life of children with congenital heart disease.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes to ensure children get the start in life they deserve and I am encouraging everyone to donate whatever they can to support the BHF this Christmas.

For more information about this appeal, please visit christmas.bhf.org.uk.

Massimo Caputo

BENEFITS WITHOUT REASSESSMENTS

More than 1,500 people with Parkinson’s across Scotland are facing unnecessary distress and financial uncertainty because of the UK Government’s insistence on reassessing them for a disability benefit, even though their health will not improve.

As well as causing needless anguish, reassessing everyone with Parkinson’s will cost UK taxpayers over £3m.

The support is meant to help people to manage the extra costs of living with a condition, but the reassessments have seen a quarter of people with Parkinson’s losing some, or all, of their award – despite previously being told they’d have their award for life.

That’s why Parkinson’s UK is calling on the UK Government to move people with Parkinson’s, who have already been assessed as needing the highest rate of care, to the new benefit without any reassessment.

By 2020 these disability benefits will be controlled by the Scottish Government and we want Holyrood to learn from Westminster’s mistakes.

We’ve been promised a compassionate approach to the new Scottish social security system. So what better way to put that approach into action than by honouring existing awards for people whose condition will not improve.

More than 2,300 people from Scotland have already signed our petition for change and we hope your readers will join us by signing it here: www.parkinsons.org.uk/pippetition.

Tanith Muller

(parliamentary and campaigns manager)

Parkinson’s UK in Scotland

DIABETES AT CHRISTMAS

As preparations and excitement for Christmas grows, we recognise that it can be a difficult time for people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, especially if it is their first festive period with diabetes.

It can be a time of temptation, unpredictable or delayed meals, extra nibbles, excitement and stress, all of which can make managing their diabetes more of a problem.

We have published a new booklet, ‘Diabetes at Christmas’, to help families who live with the condition. It gives various options for Christmas dinners, a recipe for home-made, lower-carbohydrate and calorie Christmas pudding and many other tips.

We also have a booklet, ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’, and we hope that the two booklets will help to make life easier over the festive season.

We are happy to send out these, free of charge, to any of your readers – contact IDDT on 01604 622837 or email enquiries@iddtinternational.org.

Jenny Hirst

(co-chair)

InDependent

Diabetes Trust [IDDT]

Northampton

CLARITY NEEDS TO BE CONFIRMED

Some parents might have hoped that their sons could leave the intrusive LGBT campaigning prevalent in Scottish schools behind as they head off to Scouts.

Alas, no. The Scouts have submitted to the all-conquering TIE Campaign.

Their anti-bullying message is a pretext for promoting a radical ideology of sexuality and gender with which many parents disagree.

Contrary to the tacit assumption of the TIE Campaign, it does not follow from the premise that because some LGBT kids are bullied that all children need to told that, in the area of human sexuality, Stonewall is right and the Catholic Church is wrong.

Can the Scouts clarify whether those who regard the philosophy of gender fluidity as a dangerous delusion are still welcome in their movement? Or does “inclusion” not stretch that far?

Richard Lucas

Scottish Family Party

Bath Street

Glasgow