Your picture of the Week

This spectacular sky shot was taken from the Waterloo monument, near Monteviot, by Barbara Greer.
This spectacular sky shot was taken from the Waterloo monument, near Monteviot, by Barbara Greer.

This spectacular sky shot was taken from the Waterloo monument, near Monteviot, by Barbara Greer.

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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

RAILING AGAINST LACK OF SERVICE

A warning to travellers using taxis from Tweedbank railway station.

On Monday, July 16, my cousin (a visitor from Norway) and I went by train to meet relatives in Edinburgh. We were returning to Melrose on the 9pm train and phoned three local taxi firms (one of which claims to offer 24-hour service) to ask for a lift at 10pm from the station to Melrose. Each one told us they were “finished for the night”.

Luckily, a passenger called Barbara heard our problem and offered to drive us from her home in Newtongrange to make sure we arrived back safely.

It appear the taxi firms would rather leave two lady pensioners stranded than bother to turn out for a short journey.

Barbara brought us home, for which we are most grateful to a complete stranger. Our faith in mankind was restored, but not in our local taxi services.

Ewa Bell

Quarrydene

Melrose

ALARMING DETAILS SLOWLY EMERGING

Last week Cass Cassidy railed against the “reckless and incompetent behaviour of the UK government throughout the entire Brexit talks”.

It’s impossible to disagree with that judgement – these days we see government recklessness and incompetence at unprecedented levels.

I’m a Remainer, but scared, not arrogant, as Cass Cassidy accuses us of being. I’m scared of what we will face with Brexit. People voted to stay or remain, with little detail about what leaving entailed. Many promises were made, some cheerfully acknowledged to be false. We all remember the £350m a week promised for the NHS.

Now the details are slowly emerging – and they are alarming.

The government’s own assessment for a no-deal Brexit expects that the UK will suffer shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight. It anticipates that the port of Dover could collapse on day one, with huge traffic jams halting imports and exports (25% of our food comes from Europe). Many UK businesses, their exports held up, will suffer crippling logistical and cash-flow problems.

The impact will be enormous and long-lasting.

Arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg says he expects it will take 50 years for the UK economy to experience the benefits of Brexit. He, of course, needn’t fear, with his huge personal wealth and having diverted much of his business to Ireland – but is that what Leavers voted for?

No deal is deemed increasingly likely and is, in fact, desired by hard and wealthy Brexiteers, because it leaves them entirely free to trade with Donald Trump’s USA where food, drink, pharmaceutical and health corporations are straining at the leash to get into UK markets, particularly the NHS. US food imports are restricted at present because of their lower hygiene standards.

To do a deal we would need to lower our standards and accept such things as hormone-injected beef and chlorinated chicken. Worse, many Scottish farmers, working to high standards, will be unable to compete with the cheap imports. Who wants this, except those who will make a profit out of it.

The slogan which was heard throughout the EU referendum campaign was ‘Taking Back Control – of our borders, our parliament, our ability to make trade deals wherever we wanted’.

The UK can make trade deals by itself, but without the security and big bargaining power of being in a club of 28, we have no real power to make deals that don’t give away much more than we get in return.

Taking back control of our laws and parliament is another tricky one.

Earlier this month Vote Leave was found by the Electoral Commission to have broken electoral law. It was fined £61,000 and the case referred to the police.Dominic Cummings, former director of Vote Leave, has been asked by Westminster’s digital, culture, media and sport committee to attend and give evidence about rule-breaking, but he has refused

Yet parliament was the great, honoured institution that Cummings and Leavers wanted power to be restored to – but, job done, he arrogantly and recklessly snubs it.

We have been sold a pup.

Cass Cassidy’s solution is that Nigel Farage heads Brexit to ensure that the will of the people is obeyed – that is of the 17.41m voting Leave, as opposed to the 16.14m Remain voters. No constituency has ever voted Farage into the UK parliament, though he continues to enjoy his salary and expenses from the European parliament, the institution he despises.

He knows which side his bread is buttered, do you?

Kate Duncan

Paxton

TIME TO GET REAL WITH REAL ISSUES

I read with interest the reply from Alastair Lings, published last week, re my letter about the rainbow flags in Lauder on the town hall.

I can easily understand his sentiments, but, having been here for nigh on 20 years, I can assure him that in my experience, having lived in Edinburgh for 37 years, I have never seen such a welcoming community re the LGBT community – and that’s across all Border towns I have visited – so I don’t think we need to do too much more, far less flag flying – some of the folk involved would probably rather have nothing said.

As I stated via Messenger to the gentleman behind this, it was more of a conduit to raise the point that the community council would rather get behind a symbolic gesture rather than take on something which does affect the community – dog fouling.

So let’s just make this clear – fly any flag you want – just get real with real issues because otherwise there is no point of a community council. And why would anyone think that the community council was anything other than inclusive? – where there is no news, do not create news.

I will stand by words, pontificating – and achieving nothing.

I could mention a legion of items far more deserving of publicity which would enhance the life experience of Lauder residents which, quietly done, would enhance the reputation of Lauder Community Council. I’m afraid flag waving isn’t one of them.

David Millar

West High Street

Lauder

MAJORITY DOESN’T EXCUSE TYRANNY

William Loneskie (letters, July 19) is spot on in describing English, or more accurately, American English, as “the international language of business, law and culture”.

In fact the hegemony of English has been established in Scotland for so long that I can’t imagine how he believes that Gaelic could possibly “diminish “ it in any way. Moreover, the fact that Gaelic is obviously a minority tongue does not in itself make it irrelevant.

Tyranny of any kind is not excused by numerical majority – in fact it is an accepted condition of most civilised societies that it is not.

Unfortunately we Brits have a reputation for not taking other people’s languages very seriously, although English does have a long tradition of borrowing big technological words from the Greeks et cetera.

As a contrite monoglot I think we would all benefit from being more, rather than less, inclusive about other people’s languages and diversity.

Incidentally, I know nothing about the plans of Police Scotland (aka Poileas Alba), but I believe that BBC Alba (with subtitles) is well worth watching. Seemingly Gaels are smart folk with lots to say.

Douglas Hunter

Ancrum

RERUN INSTIGATORS BETTER BEWARE

There is no shortage of wishful thinking among those promoting the idea of referendum reruns, whether on EU membership, Scottish independence, or both.

The same might be said of those agitating for a general election, or a leadership challenge against Prime Minister Theresa May.

The main instigators convince themselves that previous opinions will be overturned, or otherwise interpreted to benefit their own underlying ambition.

Yet if election and referendum results of recent years have taught us anything, it is that those seeking to impose their will upon us will quite likely get an unpleasant surprise. The people have a habit of voting not just for what they most believe in, but also against that which they most despise.

Those who imagine they know best might do well to consider in which category they will most likely be judged.

Keith Howell

West Linton

THE YOUNG LADY MY FATHER MET


I wonder if your readers could assist me with my family history research.

My father met a young lady while he was based with the Royal Welch Fusiliers at The Haining in Selkirk in 1941/42, prior to the invasion of Madagascar. Her name was Elskavoy McDevitt, of 3 Heatherlie Terrace, Selkirk.

I wish to obtain a photograph of Elskavoy and/or discover more about her. She died in 1992 and my father in 1998. Elsavoy wed in 1953 and her married name was Boles.

I have studied local newspapers and found any number of articles with regard to Elskavoy, from tennis to scoring seven goals in a hockey match, six in another, passing her Highers to becoming headmistress of Selkirk’s St Joseph’s Catholic primary school, a Selkirk Amateur Operatic Society member and helping out with many Second World War initiatives. She seems to have been a popular personality in the town during the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s.

I visited Selkirk in 2016, talking to someone at the museum who put me in touch with a man who had been stood up on a date by Elskavoy in the early 1940s. I have also spoken to a member of the operatic society who had been with the troupe for 50 years and been in touch with Hawick Museum, but all to no avail.

Roy Dadge

31 Elmsway

Ashford

Surrey

TW15 2SH

tel: 01784 255832

email: r.dadge@btinternet.com

MILITARY PERSONNEL

Changes to tax policies by the Scottish Parliament mean that military personnel based in Scotland will pay up to £1,200 a year more than if they were based elsewhere in the UK.

It is typical of the SNP-dominated government to rush in without considering potential problems.

However, UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson is preparing a compensation package for armed forces personnel north of the border to mitigate against the effect of the SNP tax burden.

It would be nice if Nicola Sturgeon said “thank you” to Westminster, but it is well-known that the words “Westminster” and “thank you” never appear in the same sentence.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow

RIDERS’ RESPONSE WAS WONDERFUL

I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all the riders who took part in the rideout to Hume on Tuesday evening last week.

A number of residents in wheelchairs were assisted by staff at Queen’s House Care Home down to Angraflat Road, Kelso, to see the riders and their horses pass by.

The residents waved energetically, enjoying the splendour of the moment. Every rider responded to the residents with cheers and waves of their own.

It was a wonderful occasion, giving a real sense of community spirit and creating lasting memories.

Belinda Hawkin

(senior registered nurse)

Queen’s House Care Home

TAKING STEPS TO RAISE CASH

Many thanks to all who supported the Macmillan Cancer Support dance at Sunnycroft Farm, Selkirk, recently.

The superb sum of £700 was raised for the charity and we are grateful to the Gray family for allowing us the use of their premises and all who provided raffle prizes. A good evening was had by all.

Marjory Tennant

(secretary, Ettrick Valley committee)