Barbara Greer took this image of a few hand-reared flamingoes enjoying the sunshine at Oxton.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BEING ENGLISH A BAR TO POOL FUN
What a sad and distressing letter that I am writing to you.
Our daughter and her family have been staying in Scotland for the start of their summer holidays – they were glamping in Fife, visited the V&A design museum in Dundee and also a wonderful pool, and were bike riding here in the Borders at Glentress.
But then one morning they went to Hawick pool for the flumes and other activities, only for the oldest child (10 years) to be told by two slightly older boys that he could not take part as he was English! What an attitude – he was amazed and distressed.
Our daughter and her three siblings grew up in Scotland and I have lived here for over 50 years, probably before the two older boys’ parents were even born. I am married to someone who is from a very old Scottish family and feel truly hurt and saddened by such a comment.
CHALLENGE FOR BRAVEHEARTS
I loudly applaud Selkirk community councillor Jim Stillie’s call for a statue to William Wallace in the town’s auld kirkyard (Southern, July 18).
Heritage will always be a key factor in the economies of our Borders towns, but any project which would do justice to the dignity and memory of the Guardian of Scotland would be likely to demand resources well beyond those of any community council alone.
Of course, where there is a will there is usually a way. I reckon that anyone who thinks that Borderers working together can’t make things happen has never heard of common ridings.
As for finance, surely there are bravehearts throughout Scotland and beyond who would proudly rise to the challenge.
SPLASHING CASH ON ‘COMMUNICATIONS’
When the Scottish Parliament was established, it was widely anticipated that the UK-based Scotland Office was redundant.
However, it is still with us, and new figures revealed via questioning by a Westminster committee show that under Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Scotland Office spending has soared. At £757,868, the spend on “communications” alone (including Facebook) is now six times the level it was when the Tories came to power.
Mr Mundell has also spent a total of £56,521 on overseas travel, including trips to New Zealand, the USA, Japan, Paraguay and Argentina.
This astronomical increase in spending of taxpayers’ cash has, of course, come at the same time as the Tories’ draconian austerity cuts which have impaired the lives of millions, including the disabled among us.
Such expenditure is surely utterly indefensible.
DRIVING ALONG THE WRONG ROAD
It’s high time the green lobby, politicians and certain sectors of the media took a few deep breaths to calm frenzied minds stricken with climate change fever.
Those who challenge the so-called consensus are often denigrated as heretics, but in fact they are realists who have taken considerable trouble to delve behind the headlines and political posturing, and discovered what may be unpalatable realities to those who believe carbon reduction is the panacea for the planet’s ills.
There are examples too numerous to list here.
However, the current frantic rush to electric vehicles (EVs) will suffice to illustrate how illogical this lemming-like rush to carbon reduction really is.
There is a study on this topic, co-authored by Professor Anders Stromman, none other than a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among his startlingly-frank conclusions he notes that “the production phase of EVs proved substantially more environmentally intensive than for internal combustion vehicles” and that “the global warming potential of EV production can be up to twice that of conventional vehicles”.
This derives principally from the mining and processing of huge amounts of materials and energy needed to manufacture lithium-ion batteries. There is also currently no provision for recycling or disposal of an estimated 11m tonnes of exhausted batteries by 2030.
The “pollution problem” is being moved to where it has no directly discernable effect, while deceitfully assuring the public that emission problems are being addressed. Even with technological improvements and a gradual shift to “greener” energy sources, EV manufacture will, for the foreseeable future, remain highly demanding of energy and resources.
Those who believe that they are driving carbon-neutral vehicles should think again, and leading politicians should hang their heads in shame.
Neil J. Bryce
POLICY WILL BE ALL-INCLUSIVE
I read your article regarding the raising of the rainbow flag in Lauder in your July 11 edition and feel I have to respond to the quote attributed to me – “consternation in the community”.
Frankly, it hit me that I am homophobic and a bigot – that’s how I interpreted it.
The truth of the matter, as I have stated in the letters section on so many occasions and my opening statement at the meeting, is that this is not about the rainbow flags and what they stand for, but the use by individuals of the town hall flagpoles.
I and my colleague on Lauder Community Council, Rachel Whellans, have been tasked to set out a policy regarding the use of the town hall flagpoles, and at this early juncture I can assure all groups – no matter what area of the community, gender or cause – will be able to approach the council for permission to fly representative flags.
At this point I cannot give further details, but rest assured it will be all-inclusive.
What I do take serious insult to are emails to members of the council stating I am unfit for this task, insinuating I am indeed homophobic, and also the accusation that I have only joined the council for this sole purpose of removing these flags.
I have been asked by various community council members over the last five years to come forward, but resisted as I was in business in the town – not a good idea.
I would ask the local community, whatever your views on this particular matter, to await the proposal being published, should it be accepted and ratified by my fellow council colleagues.
Twenty years ago we arrived in Lauder to join a community and to become part of it, not pull it apart. I defy anyone who knows me to state otherwise, such is my confidence in this community.
Sadly, to misquote Margaret Thatcher: “Where there is harmony, may we bring discord.”
Small communities, whether one likes it or not, are not used to views being shoved in their faces – subtlety is sometimes the way.
Lauder Community Council
PLEA TO RACE ACE LEWIS HAMILTON
Following Lewis Hamilton’s stupendous sixth consecutive win at Silverstone earlier this month when he not only broke Jim Clark and Alain Post’s records for this event, but also completed the fastest lap ever recorded for the track; I’m now wondering if there are any plans for him to visit our new Jim Clark motorsport museum at Duns?
Not only would this be more publicity for the museum, which is apparently already gathering much interest throughout the United Kingdom from fellow enthusiasts of motor racing, thanks to television/radio coverage of the opening, but might encourage more people to take up this most exciting sport if they were able to meet up with this courageous man who (like Jim Clark) has such a high regard for all his many fans, as evidenced during his victorious Silverstone post-race circuit of the track, waving the Union flag with one hand whilst driving his F1 with the other.
Please come to the Borderlands soon, Lewis (and dinnae forget to bring that trophy with you!)
FIRST MINISTER GOES INTO HIDING
Scotland has the worst drugs problem in the developed world.
The fatality figure for the year was 1,187, which was released last week in the full glare of media coverage.
Once more hiding in the shadows was the person most responsible for this serious situation, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Once more no TV appearance of apology – just the usual silence. There were mutterings from the Scottish Government blaming Westminster for fiscal reasons, but it will not wash this time. The nationalists have been in power long enough to take responsibility for these terrible figures.
They could, for example, decriminalise drug taking, which has been a great success in Portugal, with a 45% reduction in drug-related fatalities due to the removal of any stigma involved.
How much longer will the Scottish electorate justify this inadequate First Minister? Her secrecy cannot lead the blind forever for soon truth will prevail and everyone will see.
CHARITY ADVISORY GROUP APPEAL
Parkinson’s UK Scotland has an exciting new opportunity for people who want to be at the heart of shaping the charity’s work.
We’re establishing a new Scotland Advisory Group to guide all of our work here. The group will provide a platform through which supporters, people affected by Parkinson’s and professionals north of the border will advise the Scotland team on how best to deliver better support and services for people with Parkinson’s and their carers, families and friends. We also want members to be ambassadors for people with Parkinson’s in Scotland and the charity.
It’s vital that the group reflects the real world in Scotland. We want members to have diversity of background, thought and experience, and we welcome applications from anyone, anywhere in Scotland who wants to help grow the reach and impact of the charity, and improve services and outcomes for the Parkinson’s community here.
To find out more about the group, the role and how to apply to become a member, please visit www.parkinsons-governance.org/scotland-advisory-group-member
Applications close on Wednesday, July 31.
Parkinson’s UK in Scotland
FOREIGN LABOUR, SHIPS AND STEEL
The Holyrood government is facing calls to explain why Scotland has lost out on lucrative construction contracts for the massive wind farm project off the coast of Fife.
Instead of work for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) going to the BiFab Burntisland yard, the main contractor, French state-owned company EDF will give Indonesia the manufacturing work. No doubt the work will be carried out by foreign labour and foreign ships, and use foreign steel.
Why is this question only being raised now since for at least 20 years thousands of wind turbines have been erected in Scotland using foreign steel and foreign labour? The only Scottish jobs are picking up the thousands of dead birds and bats, and disposing of them.
A Scottish Government spokesman (spin doctor) said that any support for Scottish companies “must be in line with state aid rules”. Other EU countries have regularly ignored state aid rules, so it is astonishing that the SNP wants to remain part of the corrupt, unaccountable EU.
WE HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH
Can I be alone in being somewhat befuddled as to what the purpose is of the so-called Citizens’ Assembly which the Scottish government is presently racing towards establishing?
We already have a 129-member citizens’ assembly at Holyrood and a citizens’ assembly in each of our 32 local councils, all of which we taxpayers pay dearly. Surely these existing assemblies should be more than sufficient to represent the people in the country.
Could it be that this “initiative” is an admission that the existing assemblies are failing to address the real issues facing the country? If so, then why do we need them?
G. M. Lindsay