Curtis Welsh bagged this image of silage-making near St Boswells.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
As someone who has life-long friends who are gay, friends whose children are going through a process I can’t imagine, I fully back the idea of supporting the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.
However, this little bit of piffle and pontificating at the town hall in Lauder about the flying of two flags supports my serious concerns re the priorities of Lauder Community Council.
I recently, through Facebook, decided to try to help regarding the massive number of dog-fouling offenders.
I admit I was fairly in the face of anyone guilty – I was accused of being a terrorist. But the barrage of abuse and accusations I received were, well, laughable. These are the same do-gooders who would rather make a silly little statement about which they have no way of influencing world thinking – indeed local thinking – and, as ever, ignore real issues, as I mentioned.
I believe this was raised at a meeting, but fear that, as is the usual outcome, the do-gooders shall prevail in total joy at their justification of this feeble nonsense.
It is no wonder that people who actually want to do something never get there.
Finally, I am so proud of my football team and the historic last two years which have been the greatest in my time supporting them I feel I should, like anyone else, be allowed to raise a flag.
No? Quite right. The only flags that should be on the town hall are the Union Jack, the flag of Scotland and the Common Riding Flag.
Time to deal with real issues, not nonsense.
West High Street
THE THREE TYPES OF REMAINER
Further to my letter about Penka, the Bulgarian cow-in-calf who strayed into Serbia and was sentenced to death because her peasant farmer owner couldn’t produce the sheaves of EU documents the Bulgarian border officials demanded on her return.
I am delighted to say that thanks to a 30,000-signature petition, including that of Sir Paul McCartney, she has been reprieved and is now happily back on her pasture. Common sense eventually trumped EU bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, common sense seems to have gone out of the window when Brexit is being discussed. Take Alex Orr’s letter in The Southern Reporter last week where he questions if there ever will be a Brexit dividend at all. I can assure readers there will be.
The UK’s gross contribution to the EU is 17.7bn euros, our VAT payments to the EU 3.4bn euros and our customs contribution 3.8bn euros. We receive 6.3bn euros back for various schemes, some useful, some not, and Margaret Thatcher’s rebate of 4.7bn euros.
Our net contribution is therefore 13.9bn euros, or £12bn, per annum. Furthermore, Professor Patrick Minford has calculated that leaving the EU will give the UK a bonus of £135bn between 2020 and 2025 because of free trade and new entrepreneurial start-ups.
That is the Brexit bonus and also the reason why Michel Barnier and his chums are desperate to thwart Brexit.
Cambridge emeritus professor of French history, Robert Tombs, has defined three types of Remainer.
There are Worried Remainers who have been swayed by Project Fear.
There are Ideological Remainers who have a deleterious view of Britain and march to the EU’s drum.
And then there are Professional Remainers – committed to membership of the EU by their careers and hence personally. This group includes executives of multi-nationals, professional lobbyists, academics and members of think tanks in receipt of EU grants, employees of media companies who wish to reverse Brexit and, of course, politicians, civil servants and diplomats whose working life has revolved around the EU, and who see Brexit as a threat.
Each of these groups believes “that Britain is a diminished and weak country unable to function economically or politically on its own”, Professor Tombs states.
Alex Orr is policy adviser to the European Movement in Scotland based in Queen Street, Edinburgh, and is most certainly a Professional Remainer.
130,000 EU citizens left the UK last year, but 220,000 arrived, while 80,000 non-EU citizens left the UK and 285,000 arrived; a total net increase in the number of people who chose to live in Britain of 295,000 – surely a vote of confidence in the UK’s future post-Brexit.
On the day that Airbus announced its intention to pull out of the UK because of Brexit, costing the Treasury £1.9bn in taxes, it was comforting to know that the government is advertising two posts for aerospace business sector advisers with an advert that says “prior knowledge of airspace and the aviation sector is an advantage, but not necessary”.
Professor Eric Goodyer
A DISTURBING CHAPTER
As you may already be aware, Scottish Borders Council has decided to pilot a scheme where school libraries are run by pupils and volunteers, without skilled and experience librarians in place.
This pilot runs for one year and will operate in Peebles, Kelso and Galashiels secondary school libraries.
If this pilot is deemed successful, it could result in all qualified library staff being removed from every high school in the Borders.
Trade union Unison’s Scottish Borders public service branch would ask every parent to consider what this move means for their child. We believe children in the affected schools could be disadvantaged when it comes to preparing for their exams in the coming year.
Children in the three schools that are part of the pilot will no longer have access to support and guidance from qualified staff. Other pupils and volunteers cannot be expected to offer the current level of support to those using the library for personal study, research or preparations for exams and university applications. We believe students in the pilot schools will be unfairly disadvantaged in comparison to not only the other schools in the Borders, but throughout Scotland.
Additionally, restrictions in opening times due to lack of staffing may result in children who are preparing for exams being unable to study in a quiet place with all the resources they need at hand.
Researching and resourcing information is a skill taught by library staff and without their input many children will struggle when it comes to finding reliable sources of information and separating fact from fiction.
At a time when closing the attainment gap and the focus on literacy and children reaching their full potential is a priority for Scottish Government, we would urge every parent in the affected schools to write to their local councillor and ask them to put a stop to this pilot, and to any future plans of removing the library staff.
Please use our link to sign our petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/SBLibs Alternatively, you can find the petition on our Facebook page – search ‘Scottish Borders UNISON’
Unison Scottish Borders public service branch
This price is far from right
We have just returned from a visit with our daughter in Harrogate.
We bought petrol at Sainsbury’s there. On our return to Kelso the following day we saw that the price of petrol at Sainsbury’s there was 7p per litre dearer.
When are we in Kelso going to be treated fairly?
THE POLITICS OF PRETENCE
Over the last two years members of the SNP leadership have become the masters of pretence.
After the EU referendum result the Scottish Government’s proposals on Europe were portrayed as compromises, when in fact the SNP knew each option was something that either the UK Government, or the EU, or both, could not possibly agree.
When the SNP’s experts produced the Growth Commission report with forecasts of a decade of limited public spending that leading economists describe as austerity, SNP spin doctors simply insist the report does not portray austerity, apparently just because the SNP says so.
And then, in relation to Brexit and EU powers, there are those claims of a “power grab” and an “attack on devolution”, which the SNP knows are gross exaggerations, but still the pretence of outrage and grievance is repeated again and again by SNP leaders hoping to fool the people of Scotland.
All these attempts at manipulating the truth might play well with the SNP faithful, but the public at large have surely come to see through the SNP’s politics of pretence.
CORRESPONDENT’S PETITION POSITION
“It is time the Scottish Parliament was closed down and a referendum should be held to allow people of the United Kingdom to choose whether taxpayers’ money should continue to be wasted on having a Scottish Parliament.”
The above petition was submitted to the Westminster Parliament during 2017 and closed with 1,484 signatures, but may be reopened due to its success and Holyrood’s “unreasonable attitude to Brexit”. Bring it on asap.
RAISING A FAIR OLD SUM OF MONEY
The Friends of Queen’s House, Kelso, would like to thank everyone who supported them at their summer fair on Saturday, June 16.
The excellent sum of just over £1,100 was raised which will help provide materials for residents’ crafts activities, musical entertainment, flowers, outings and the Christmas party.
Thank you very much to all who contributed prizes, baking or helped in any way, and those who came along to support us on a rather wet day.
The Friends of Queen’s House
SUMMER CONCERT CASH
Following the summer concert given by Mosaic, with Harris Playfair and Heather Cattanach, on Saturday, Junwe 23, an amazing sum of £501 was raised for the Friends of Kelso Hospital.
Our thanks to all those who came along and enjoyed the music and supported us so generously.
(secretary, Friends of Kelso Hospital, and founder member of Mosaic)
Support for St Cuthbert walk
Channelkirk and Lauder Church and the organising committee of the ‘Walk with St Cuthbert’ event would like to thank all those who took part in the walk on Saturday, June 9, and for the support given by Channelkirk and Oxton Community Council and SSE Toddleburn wind farm.
Special thanks must go to all the volunteers who gave generously of their time and ensured a very happy, safe and successful day.
AN EXPERIENCE AND A PRIVILEGE
What a great experience and privilege it has been over the past six weeks to have had the honour of being the Selkirk Incorporation of Fleshers’ Standard Bearer for 2018.
I would like to thank my fellow Fleshers, friends and the people of Selkirk for their cards and presents, as well as for all their good wishes and advice. It has been very humbling to have had such great support.
To my fellow standard bearers, what an awesome time we’ve had, as indeed have our lady bussers.
To Peter and his attendants, enjoy the rest of your summer duties.
Thank you, Selkirk.
TALKING ABOUT OUR FINAL WISHES
I am writing to tell you and your readers about a new campaign from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called ‘We need to talk about death’.
Many people struggle to talk about death and final wishes, and we think it would be helpful if everyone could be more open and share their final wishes earlier, so their later years can be filled with positivity, rather than awkward conversations.
Death is an incredibly emotive topic and, unsurprisingly, people don’t always know how to broach the subject. The older you get, the more aware you become of death and, according to our recent research, older people do want to talk about death, but their adult children often feel uncomfortable about it.
We believe it’s important for families to start breaking the taboo, so they can feel prepared for the eventualities of life.
As a nation, we need to start embracing these conversations and promote a positive change in how we perceive and talk about this subject. We don’t expect this to change overnight, but it’s time to take action, be brave and talk about death, and we want Scottish residents to join us.
You can find out more about Independent Age’s ‘We need to talk about death’ campaign, watch our new film and get some tips on how to start the conversation by visiting independentage.org/TalkAboutDeath, or by searching #TalkAboutDeath on Twitter. If you would like to arrange to speak to someone about planning for the end of life or the practical side of coping with a bereavement, you can phone our free helpline on 0800 319 6789.
SOLDIERS AND NHS MEDICAL STAFF
There is a stark contrast between how we treat suspected misconduct by soldiers and NHS medical staff.
For example, earlier this year Major Robert Campbell faced his eighth investigation over the same incident in which an Iraqi teenager drowned, despite having been cleared of manslaughter in a hearing in 2006.
Then last week former soldier David Holden found out he was to be prosecuted for manslaughter over a death at an army checkpoint in 1988.
Medical staff, on the other hand, can maim or kill a great many patients over many years before anything happens.
For example, disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson carried out several hundred unnecessary breast cancer operations, before he was eventually convicted of over 17 of them.
And now we hear that at least 450 patients, quite possibly 650, were killed by unjustifiable administration of diamorphine at Gosport War Memorial Hospital over 12 years. How can this be?
If a British soldier was suspected of a single wrongful death, he would never hear the end of it.
If we do not start to treat our soldiers fairly and with respect, then eventually we will have to show respect to another country’s soldiers.
OCCUPYING MORAL HIGH GROUND
Of course Nicola Sturgeon attempts to occupy the moral high ground over US President Donald Trump’s forthcoming UK visit.
The First Minister can afford to – hers is a purely domestic remit. Besides offering her another Kodak moment, it’s inconsequential whether or not Sturgeon meets Trump.
Theresa May’s government has the task of establishing new trade deals across the world. The Prime Minister would be neglecting her Brexit duties if she spurned the leader of the world’s largest economy.
The nationalist leader has little interest in the UK building bridges with other countries to help grow the British economy and support jobs. Her principal goal is breaking up the UK.
So for her, anything that could weaken the UK, such as a poor US relationship, is to be welcomed.
Sturgeon should remember that US presidents come and go, but the need for a strong domestic economy is with us for ever.
CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT CHILDREN
Now that the school summer holidays are here, it’s easy for health routines to go out of the window as children relax, enjoy the outdoors and get stuck into their favourite hobbies.
But Asthma UK is launching a campaign urging parents of children with asthma to make sure they take their usual preventer medicine and keep up a routine over the school break. The medicine builds up over time, so will help to protect their child from an asthma attack during the summer holiday and once they return to school.
Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK, and three people die from an asthma attack every day. In September, children are nearly three times more likely to be admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack than in August, partly due to seasonal triggers such as cold and flu viruses. If a child hasn’t kept up their preventer medicine routine over the school holidays, they will be at greater risk of reacting to these triggers.
The good news is that by taking a few simple steps, parents can help their child to avoid asthma attacks and enjoy the summer as much as anyone else:
z Keep up your child’s usual preventer medicine routine (usually a brown inhaler);
z Make sure your child has an up-to-date written asthma action plan, which you can download from Asthma UK’s website, and share this with anyone who will be looking after them; as using one means they’re less likely to end up in hospital for their asthma;
z Track your child’s asthma symptoms using a diary or a symptom calendar;
z Prepare for going back to school by arranging for your child to have an asthma review with their GP or asthma nurse to check your child’s medicines, and make sure your child has spare, in-date reliever inhalers to take into school.
We want to reassure parents whose children have asthma that support is available through our nurse helpline. Last year we helped nearly 1,000 parents who called on behalf of their child with asthma. For information and support on how to manage your child’s asthma over the summer or to download a written asthma action plan, visit www.asthma.org.uk/safersummer.
Dr Andy Whittamore
(clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP)
Scotland’s largest membership charity for veterans is on the lookout for volunteers to help tackle isolation and loneliness among the armed forces community.
Legion Scotland’s recruitment drive for its Veterans Community Support Service, which was launched last year, is asking people to spare a few hours in order to improve support for veterans and their families in the community.
For more information on volunteering with the service, which runs in tandem with the Unforgotten Forces project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the support team on 0131 550 1560.