Your picture of the Week

Alemoor Loch, west of Hawick
Alemoor Loch, west of Hawick

Curtis Welsh was passing Alemoor Loch on a scorching day recently when he saw this lone fisherman casting his eye over the deserted waterscape.

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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

A THOMAS THE TANK RAILWAY

My wife and I attempted to travel from Edinburgh to Galashiels on August 1 at approximately 4pm when we were told over the tannoy on the train that we had to leave as it was cancelled.

So we and our luggage made our way with difficulty to a platform on the other side of the station to get the next train. There was a very large crowd of prospective travellers waiting there for the next train, which had already been anounced as having only two carriages, to the groans of most of these prospective travellers.

Just after this train was due it was anounced it, too, was cancelled, so we all started to walk back off the platform when I noticed a ScotRail employee, so I asked if she would kindly tell her bosses that I said, “This service is sh*t”, to which she replied, “We know”.

My wife and I went for a meal and eventually got a train at around 7.30pm, which I understand was the first one to run since around 4pm.

Whether it is a “signalling problem” or a “faulty set of points”, it all smacks of lack of maintenance – i.e. cost-cutting.

Who runs this Thomas the Tank railway? – it’s certainly not the Fat Controller.

Alistair McCarter

Galashiels

ENGLISH FACING UP TO ARMAGEDDON

It is almost touching to note, through your columns, that there is still a handful of hard-core xenophobes chasing the Brexit dream.

Have they not noticed that even in the heartlands of “little England” polls now indicate a majority in favour of remaining in the EU? That economists predict 60% food-price inflation in two years? That captains of industry now openly speak of widespread civil disorder within three years? That the Brexiteers-in-chief have jumped ship? That, generally, even the English electorate are looking for a second referendum escape clause?

Finally, the English begin to comprehend the social and economic Armageddon that is just around the corner.

But as I have said before in these columns, they should not be indulged with sympathy. The trick is for Scotland to get out from under the crumbling occupying colonial power.

Richard West

Inch Park

Kelso

GOING BEHIND THE ELECTORATE’S BACK

The top 10 non-European Union exports from the UK total £225.6bn per annum.

So what can justify Prime Minister Theresa May fussing around EU member states grovelling for 8% of our GDP, our annual imports figure from the European Union?

Who are our senior Brexit negotiators? They are: Mrs May, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

What have they got in common? They are all Remainers and are looking to land the Chequers deal behind the backs of their electorate.

Parliament should be re-called and a vote of no confidence served on these cabinet ministers who obviously have no respect for the democratic referendum vote of the people of our United Kingdom. Time is now running out and likewise the patience of the country.

Paul Singleton

Gordon

ECONOMIC PAIN AWAITS SCOTS

The latest analysis of the SNP’s Growth Commission report, this time by economist Professor John McLaren of the Scottish Trends website, reveals that the level of economic pain an independent Scotland would need to go through would be greater than the report was prepared to admit to, with a number of glaring cost omissions and underplaying of necessary spending cuts.

Yet economics might not be a key driver of whether the First Minister decides to press the indyref2 button.

Political leaders hate being followers of events, and as Nicola Sturgeon demonstrated with her initial hasty call for a second referendum in the wake of the EU referendum result, she is not immune to the temptation to rest back control of the political agenda from others.

Perhaps with her promised update on indyref2 in October, we will find out which Nicola Sturgeon is in command – the realist, the opportunist, or the gambler.

Keith Howell

West Linton

HELP SHAPE COUNCIL SERVICES

Local residents are being encouraged to fill in Scottish Borders Council’s household survey for 2018. It asks people about their lives in the Borders, how satisfied they are with the council and the services it provides, and their involvement in local decision-making.

The latter asks people about how they may get involved in the decision-making process, including attending community council meetings.

Results of the survey, which will be available in the autumn, will help the council shape future services.

This is the first time that the survey will not be sent directly to a selection of households, but rather anyone who lives in the region can complete it.

If people don’t want to fill it in online, paper copies are available from libraries and council contact centres. Alternatively, people can contact me direct ask for a copy to be posted to them.

The online version of the survey is available at https://scotborders.citizenspace.com

Clare Malster

Scottish Borders Council

NONSENSICAL GESTURING

Sadly, I have to respond to Alastair Lings once more. This will be my last on the matter.

I think I made my point fairly clear previously regarding my issues re the community council, flags etc.

Mr Lings says I should come up with ways for the commuity council to “help” members of the LGBT community. As far as I am aware there is no need for help, as I can’t see or have heard of anyone needing “help”. What I do see is the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Lauder up to its oxters in dog filth.

Let me be clear: if any member of the LGBT community needs any form of help, please come to my door and you will be met with nothing but warmth and friendship. As I previously said, where there is no news, do not create it with nonsensical gesturing.

I’d be grateful for Mr Lings’ “help” if he would come to Lauder and assist me with cleaning up the stinking mess in our streets and parks. But that requires physical help – not gesturing on a subject created in someone’s mind.

David Millar

Lauder

KEEPING THEIR PEOPLE POOR?

For decades we have yearly paid millions of pounds in aid to African countries. Surely if it was being successful it would now no longer be needed.

However, it seems that the need is as great as ever.

Are the governments of these countries keeping their people poor so that the tap does not get turned off?

William W. Scott

St Baldred’s Road

North Berwick

CLIMATE-RELATED DEATH STATISTICS

The recent heatwave has seen an unprecedented number of scare stories in the media, but perhaps the most misleading is about the number of people dying from climate-related deaths.

UK Government statistics for England and Wales state that, on average over the last 12 years, 39,000 people die each July versus a much higher total of 51,000 each January. This suggests that cold outside temperatures lead to higher mortality when compared to warmer temperatures.

The same government department also has a section on excess winter mortality. For 2016/17 it states that England and Wales had 34,300 excess winter deaths.

The NHS website states: “Cold weather increases risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Yet the climate alarmists’ solution is to deploy more renewable energy. But this will increase energy bills, resulting in colder homes.

Geoff Moore

Alness

Highland

LOOKING TO IMPROVE SERVICES

At Royal Mail we never forget that we form an essential part of the UK’s social fabric.

We know our postmen and postwomen are valued members of the local community as they deliver letters and parcels six days a week – in all weathers. We’re also continually looking to make our services even better to give customers greater convenience as they shop online.

I’d like to make your readers aware of a few changes to their doorstep deliveries so there are no surprises.

Customers expecting tracked items from large retailers are among those to benefit from these changes. If they are not at home when we deliver, they’ll now receive email/SMS notifications on the whereabouts of their delivery. For customers who have provided their contact details, the notifications will confirm when their items have been delivered to a neighbour, as well as specify the neighbour’s address.

The ‘Something for You’ card is also going digital, making it easier for customers to retrieve their item if they are not at home when we deliver. Email and SMS notifications will let customers either re-arrange their parcel delivery for another day, or collect their item from their local customer service point using relevant identification.

Customers will no longer need to go home to collect the physical card – which we’ll continue to post through letter boxes.

And, finally, customers taking pre-paid parcels (including returns) to selected Royal Mail customer service points will receive an acceptance scan as soon as they drop off their item, thanks to new scanning technology.

Gerry McAuley

(delivery director)

Glasgow Mail Centre

Mike Hewitt

(delivery director)

Edinburgh Mail Centre

AVOID GETTING HOT UNDER THE COLLAR

While many of your readers will undoubtedly have enjoyed the recent good weather, I wanted to remind pet owners about the change in care required for our four-legged friends during high temperatures.

I am particularly concerned about the brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, bulldogs and Boston terrier to name just a few. I’ve seen some very distressed dogs and the hot weather is sure to cause extra difficulties for them.

It’s always important to ensure there is a plentiful supply of water available to pets, but this is even more important during spells of hot weather. Keep a number of full water bowls available throughout various points of your house and garden to ensure your pet has constant access.

Walking pets during sunny spells can often spark a heated debate, as people discuss the exercise needs of their pets versus the risk of walking in the heat. If the heat is uncomfortable for you, it’s definitely going to be uncomfortable for your pet. Change your walking routine by taking them out early in the morning or later in the evening, avoiding the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. Try visiting locations that offer areas of shade and places for pooches to cool off.

It might surprise readers to know that dogs, like us, can suffer from heatstroke. Symptoms can include excessive panting and drooling. Dogs suffering from heatstroke need to be cooled down gradually, so avoid ice cubes and freezing water.

Instead let them lie down on a wet, cool towel or a cooling mat, and keep on eye on them should their symptoms worsen.

John Burns

Burns Pet Nutrition

SPEAK UP ABOUT CRIME

To celebrate our 30th anniversary and new brand, the charity Crimestoppers Scotland has launched a series of ‘CommuniTea’ events, inviting people for a cuppa and a chat to find out about how they can speak up about crime, 100% anonymously.

In Scotland alone, 15,718 pieces of actionable information were received by Crimestoppers in the year 2017/18, a 17% increase on the previous financial year.

If you are interested in holding an event, please visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/volunteer or call 020 8835 3700.

Crimestoppers