Pamela Notman photographed this image of Haining Loch while enjoying the recent good weather.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
TORIES’ MISJUDGED PIECE OF NONSENSE
Today (Thursday) we vote in European Union elections which, a bit like the snap Westminster general election of 2017, we were told would never take place.
Ironically, this may be the most important EU election ever held in Scotland.
Like everyone else, I’ve had flyers through the door from all participating parties – all except the Tories.
Instead, I’ve had one from “my Scottish Conservative and Unionist team” led by a certain Ruth Davidson MSP. This hardly mentions the EU, but does go on and on about an independence referendum – 12 direct mentions in fact. Nicola Sturgeon is referred to 13 times, whereas Ruth Davidson, leader of “my Scottish Conservative and Unionist team”, is curiously only mentioned twice.
In this EU election flyer’s brief mention of the EU, it tells us that we have to crack on with Brexit.
This is odd. I recall “team leader” Davidson campaigning strongly against Brexit only a few short years ago. She declared that the “EU’s economic advantages to Scottish firms clearly outweigh any disadvantages and that it should not be viewed as a meddlesome burden”. To Ms Davidson: “The advantages we gain from EU membership clearly and categorically outweigh any disadvantages that come with it.”
She openly called Leave campaigners “liars” during a BBC debate on the subject, and also stated: “You don’t fund hospitals, and you don’t control immigration, by crashing the economy and that’s exactly what leaving the EU would do.”
So, here, in summary, is the pitch “Ruth Davidson’s team” is making:
The Leave campaign was led by liars, but we should believe them now. Brexit will crash our economy, undermine funding for the NHS and cause major problems for Scottish firms. In this situation, however, the only really important issue for us is that Scotland, which voted 62% to 38% to remain in the EU, must shut up and accept all the damage Ruth Davidson herself predicts will happen.
In a nutshell: disaster is heading our way – vote for us and we’ll make sure you can do nothing to stop it.
How could any sane person actually support a proposition like this? Has anyone ever put forward such a self-damaging election pitch?
Dear reader, please do vote today, but I would respectfully suggest that the message we need to send is not to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose clarity and consistency on Brexit and the EU have won widespread praise across these islands and beyond, but to Ruth Davidson and her “team” who produced this insultingly-misjudged piece of nonsense.
DISPARAGING THE BRITISH
The shock on the faces of BBC staff and pro-EU politicians on camera when the result of the 2016 EU referendum became clear was a joy to behold – but as far as I am aware that has never been re-broadcast.
What has been shown on BBC4 and is still available on iPlayer is ‘Storyville: Brexit Behind Closed Doors’, two films which follow the negotiations from the EU side.
In these documentaries, EU politicians are seen swearing regularly, disparaging the British, showing absolutely no respect for the UK side, and unable to believe their luck at being faced with such a supine negotiation stance.
When our foolish “negotiators” fell into the trap by signing up to the EU’s “Withdrawal Agreement”, an adviser to EU Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said: “We have made them a colony!” Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is recorded saying: “I’ll have done my job if, in the end, the deal is so tough on the British that they would prefer to stay in the EU.”
Verhofstadt – the EU’s answer to Dr Strangelove – is seen in despair after the Withdrawal Agreement is thrown out by the Commons.
The referendum vote in 2016 was a blow to the heart of the European project, the project to transform the EU into a super-state with its own laws, taxes, military, foreign policy, energy policy, transport policy, making national governance subject to dictacts from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and a court supreme over national law.
That is why many Europeans have applauded the UK’s decision to leave this megalomaniac club. Estonian professor Igor Grazin, for example, said: “When the British people defeated the EU in the referendum, you did it for all of Europe. You defeated our adversaries. You should be demanding surrender terms, not offering them.”
No wonder the Brexit Party is soaring in the polls for today’s (Thursday) Euro election. Nigel Farage has proved a charismatic, energetic, very well-informed and, indeed, brilliant leader and deserves to do well.
However, here in Scotland things are quite different, given the threat from the well-funded SNP to break the real union which protects ordinary people – the United Kingdom. Every vote for Ruth Davidson’s party is a vote against that happening. That is why Scottish Brexiteers should vote Conservative.
SCOTLAND IS NOT A SPECIAL CASE
“Scotland for Europe. Let’s say it loud and clear,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
But like it or not, Scotland has already cast its vote – in the Brexit referendum of 2016. As a member of the United Kingdom, Scotland is no different from our other member nations. It does not get separate treatment.
Consolidation is now the answer and a possible replacement for the Scottish nationalists at the ballot box.
Why has Prime Minister Theresa May’s senior Brexit adviser, Remainer Oliver Robbins, requested a Belgian passport from unelected EU official Guy Verhofstadt?
Obviously he will need somewhere to run after the conclusion of Brexit.
Scotland’s First Minister has failed to advance her case for independence through good government.
She has failed to deliver any policies that have improved our economy, health or education services.
Despite Brexit (her favourite excuse for unsuccessful policies), Scotland is less better served than by her predecessor in 2014.
The irony is that she will not admit any wrongdoing, which compounds the whole equation.
The First Minister should stop watching republican Southern Ireland and the Sinn Fein government and accept that Scotland is a very important part of our sovereign United Kingdom which has no place for republican influence.
Perhaps today’s (Thursday) European Parliament election in the UK will bring back a semblance of reality to us all.
BETRAYED OVER BREXIT
As a life-long Labour voter who has been betrayed over Brexit, I find that, despite having nothing else in common with Nigel Farage, the only vote I can cast that has any chance of forcing the Westminster parliament to do as it swore and take us out of the EU, as we instructed them to do, is for the Brexit Party.
The Greens, SNP, No-change UK and Liberal Anti-democrats are pushing to overturn our democratic decision.
The Tories “negotiated” a “deal” that was designed to make us stay in the EU.
A vote for the Brexit Party is the only way to enlighten the arrogant, we-know-better Remainer parliament and give it forewarning of what it might expect at the next general election if MPs continue to ride roughshod over the British electorate.
THE NO-POLICY CONSERVATIVES
It is still possible that Brexit will not happen, and that has been sensibly anticipated by the SNP which has produced a comprehensive manifesto for the European Parliament election today (Thursday).
In the meantime, what does the Conservative election leaflet urge us to vote for – no more referendums.
That’s it, no policies, no manifesto.
It’s a rerun of the last Westminster general election. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservative party in Scotland, who advocated so passionately that the UK must stay in the EU, now has nothing to say about it.
Outside Scotland it seems that the deeply-unpleasant Brexit party will be the beneficiary of the chaos created by Westminster for three years and, as usual, Scotland will suffer the results of an outcome it did not vote for.
The right to control our own future is ours to fight for.
UNSTABLE EU PARLIAMENT FEARS
The outcome of votes cast across the EU in its parliament elections will play a key role in how Brexit is ultimately shaped.
In these polls traditionally dominant centre-right (EPP) and centre-left (S&D) parliamentary groups are forecast to lose significant numbers of seats – and the majority they have held for 40 years.
The liberals (ALDE) and greens should be stronger, and the right-wing, EU-critical populists in Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen’s new European Alliance of People and Nations much stronger.
Majorities will be harder to form and less stable; nation-first parties seeking “less Europe” and more power for member states will have a greater influence on policy.
The European Parliament has to sign off on the Brexit withdrawal agreement (assuming it is ever passed in Westminster) and this could be problematic if the current stable majority, which has generally backed the European Commission’s Brexit approach, is disrupted by a large contingent of populist, EU-critical MEPs.
The new parliament will also have a considerable say in the make-up of the new commission, which could involve British MEPs, and will eventually negotiate the EU’s future relationship with the UK.
Finally, MEPs will have to agree the future relationship itself.
In all of these areas a more divided, polarised and unstable European Parliament with potentially conflicting demands could create considerable problems for the UK.
FARMING TRYING TO IGNORE CHALLENGES
Neil Bryce (letters, May 16) is right in that climate change assertions, and indeed any assertions, should always be scrutinised.
Indeed that’s what science is, an endless checking and scrutinising of results.
Science only really tells us what is false and thereby a tiny little bit more of the truth.
Take the melting of ice in the Antarctic for example, which Mr Bryce states is puzzling scientists by not happening.
According to NASA in December, ‘A new NASA-led study has determined that an increase in snowfall accumulation over Antarctica during the 20th century mitigated sea level rise by 0.4 inches.
‘However, Antarctica’s additional ice mass gained from snowfall makes up for just about a third of its current ice loss.’
Sadly, the Antarctic is melting and sea levels are rising.
The scientific evidence for climate breakdown is overwhelming – 99% or more of serious scientists accept that it is happening.
There are a few opinionated non-scientists like Nigel Lawson who may think otherwise and, shamefully, the BBC used to give him and his ilk equal airtime in the name of balance.
That is a false balance and, thankfully, that policy has been dropped.
It’s hard to see why Neil Bryce feels he needs to try and argue for it almost out of a sense of nostalgia.
Our planet and our species really do face the direst of situations.
We have only 10 years to turn it all around and develop a sustainable form of living on this earth.
You can’t have endless economic growth and population growth on a finite planet.
We all have to take action, and that includes the farming industry which has tried to ignore the challenges for far too long.
IN SERIOUS NEED OF ATTENTION
Now that our A68 and A7 trunk roads are resplendent with the best of lay-bys, would it be too much to expect the potholes, sunken drain covers and blocked gulleys to be dealt with?
I know that the money comes from different budgets and that the trunk roads are not the responsibility of Scottish Borders Council, but our roads seriously need attention before they deteriorate beyond repair.
SPORTSPEOPLE’S LIVES WORTH LESS?
While the death of one of the many thousands of participants who have voluntarily taken part in the Jeremy Kyle Show over the 14 years it has entertained millions is regrettable.
ITV’s kneejerk decision to cancel it is somewhat strange when it continues to air sport like boxing and motor racing where deaths and injury are no strangers.
Clearly the lives of sportspeople are considered less valuable.
John Eoin Douglas