Your picture of the week

An overcast sky looms over tranquil waters at Abbotsford.
An overcast sky looms over tranquil waters at Abbotsford.

An overcast sky looms over tranquil waters at Abbotsford.

Rachael Hoye supplied this image. Please email photographs, with a brief caption, to southern-letters@jpimedia.co.uk.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

ETHNICALLY-CLEAN ENGLAND DREAM

It is quaint that there are still among your readers a few diehards who hang on to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dream of an ethnically-cleansed ‘Merrie England’.

No matter that that benighted country faces mass unemployment, food shortages, riots, business failures, relocations of hundreds companies to continental Europe, and an end of its NHS and any social welfare provision.

To say nothing of the millions of young folk whose futures are now being trashed as educational, employment and travel opportunities are hacked away. Their currency has, of course, already collapsed.

No price is too high to clear those pesky Poles, scrounging Slovaks and lazy Lithuanians out of “our country”. All these descriptions are, of course, absurd racist stereotypes, and the irony is that folk from these and other now more enlightened and prosperous lands are already returning in droves as they see England galloping towards the buffer stops.

Even more bonkers is the idea that the EU “fears” the knock-on effect of England going off to its medieval Utopia. Such support as there was for leaving in other member states has whittled away to almost nothing.

Scotland must get out from under quickly now, for the economic collapse is already setting in.

There is, however, a growing and annoying sympathy for the English in some nationalist circles which is unfortunate.

After independence, there should be no sympathy up here for the rest of the United Kingdom. They voted in droves for the economic and social Armageddon that is now coming to pass – in short, anarchy.

Richard West

Inch Park

Kelso

TIME FOR DIRECT RULE ON THE SCOTS?

Don’t let the social media circus and Bank of England governor Mark Carney fool you – the United Kingdom is not the only country to suffer from Brexit.

Germany, on the brink of recession, is on a seven-year manufacturing low, its cars, technology and business equipment continuing to dwindle.

When Germany is in trouble, as the European Union bloc’s paymaster, the whole of the EU is in trouble.

Time for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to sort out Northern Ireland, which is worse affected. £1bn has been thrown at the province by the UK exchequer “for confidence and supply”, quoting Arlene Foster, the DUP leader. An audit should be requested by Westminster to find out where all this money is going – because Ms Foster is requesting more.

The Stormont government has the audacity to remain closed since January 2017 because the north and south of Ireland are behaving worse than children with “irreconcilable differences”. The Prime Minister has visited Stormont and stalemate is still the norm, together with Sinn Fein republicanism.

A similar political situation exists in republican Scotland where a Remainer nationalist minority is blocking a deal with the EU.

Fear of Sinn Fein/IRA is the big one that nobody mentions, but must be settled peacefully eventually.

There is no time like the present. It is time to walk away from the EU as amicably as possible and engage with a much wider world of opportunity.

Why else sign a democratic referendum to leave the EU in 2016? Ask the undemocratic Remainers who still can’t swallow leaving the EU. Perhaps a conclusion by October 31 this year and a glass of something to help it down might suffice.

But my guess is that they will still be moaning on the back-benches of government for years to come.

The Prime Minister may have to impose direct rule on Scotland and Northern Ireland if their governments cannot reach an amicable agreement in the event of a no-deal Brexit which has now become a real possibility.

Paul Singleton

Gordon

A DISGRUNTLED WEE BAIRN

Watching coverage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, supposedly being greeted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House, bought home to me how unfortunate we are to have her representing us on the world stage, as she appears totally devoid of any diplomacy, personality or social graces.

Obviously she dislikes Boris, as she would any representative of her perceived lifelong enemy, but any leader of a government, even one as toy town as Holyrood, should rise above their personal prejudice and project a diplomatic persona in keeping with the occasion.

Playing to her fanatical followers by appearing churlish, stone-faced and generating antagonism would obviously please them, but they are in the minority in Scotland. She regularly states that she speaks for Scotland, but less than one million voted for her, less than voted to leave her beloved EU.

Her obvious dislike of anything English, and a Donald Trump-led America, must inevitably lead their populations to assume that everyone in Scotland shares her views.

This assumption could very likely lead to a fall in visitor numbers. The tourist industry is at present one of the few success stories of the Scottish economy, and any decline would create a huge setback in trying to erase the deficit achieved by the SNP’s mismanagement of our finances.

Personally, I don’t think it unreasonable to expect our official extremely well-paid representative to conduct herself in a manner befitting her position, and not project herself as a disgruntled wee bairn.

Mr G. Holford

Hawick

TELL LOVED ONES OUR FINAL WISHES

I am writing to you in a bid to encourage your readers to talk about death.

National healthcare charity Sue Ryder has found that when the people of Scotland were asked about the more light-hearted aspects of how they would like to spend their last days on Earth, they had very clear ideas. Yet when they were questioned about the real practicalities, very few of them had put plans in place, or even begun to think about them.

Despite 91.9% of people north of the border knowing where they would like to spend their last day on Earth and 86.9% being able to name what their last meal would be, with a Chinese the clear favourite, only 3.8% have made an advance care plan, which is a statement of preferences for end-of-life care.

Death is inevitable for each and every one of us. The period of time following the diagnosis of a terminal illness can be short, as well as incredibly emotional; we want to encourage people not to leave it until then to start planning.

By taking the time to think about whether we would like to die in a hospice or at home, writing a will, setting up a lasting power of attorney or making an advance care plan, it is possible to plan for a better death.

If we let our loved ones know about our final wishes, being able to support us in fulfilling them can bring great comfort to friends and family towards the end of life and beyond.

Sue Ryder is calling on Scots to remove the stigma around the ‘D’ word by starting a conversation with those close to them about how they would like their death to be.

Talking about and planning for death can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Sue Ryder has created a free guide called ‘A Better Death’, which covers some of the questions that you and your loved ones may have, some things you might want to think about and how you can plan for the death you want.

To download our guide, visit sueryder.org/thedword

Heidi Travis

(chief executive)

Sue Ryder

ARRANGING TO PAY OFF WHAT YOU OWE

Many people are struggling with consumer debt – everything from store cards to bank overdrafts.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), household debt in the UK is now at a record high of £15,385 per household – a figure that excludes mortgage debts, but includes consumer debt items such as credit cards, bank overdrafts, payday loans and store cards.

We are fortunate in Scotland to have a way out of such difficulties in the form of a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), which is one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets.

It’s available from charitable organisations such as StepChange and from commercial debt advisers. It is a Scottish Government scheme that is legally binding and prevents creditors from taking further action against people who owe money.

Set up back in 2004, the scheme allows people to freeze interest and charges on their debts and pay their debts off interest-free over a longer period of time. This brings payments down to levels that people can afford and gives people the chance to get their lives back on track. Interest and charges are simply written off.

This is not a form of insolvency: people get to pay back their debt in an affordable way. Lenders like the scheme because they know they will eventually get their money back.

There’s plenty of information about the DAS online at www.aib.gov.uk/debt-arrangement-scheme.

Richard Gardiner

(partner)

TC Debt Solutions

Dunfermline

CARRY ON STRIKING WHILE ON HOLIDAY

I am pleased to see that the schools in both Scotland and south of the border are now on their summer holidays.

So we are getting a break from school climate-change strikes featuring in the news.

No doubt many of the children are at a loose end and can’t wait for the holiday to end so that they can get back to demonstrating.

I have an idea for the meantime.

When their parents tell them to pack their suitcase for their annual jetaway to a hot country, why don’t they refuse to go, and explain to their parents how aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases?

They could call it a holiday climate-change strike.

Geoff Moore

by email

SACRIFICES THAT NEED TO BE MADE

I trust that those who took part in school climate strikes are refusing to go on holiday with their parents if it involves flying.

Further suggestions. No travelling in their parents’ petrol/diesel car; no iPhones or computers; no goods from China, India, Japan or Indonesia; no wood-burning stoves; they must refuse to eat food cooked by gas and turn off gas central heating.

Finally, no climate-changing burgers and chips, lamb chops or tasty bacon for them, despite there being 1bn cattle, 1bn sheep and 900m pigs in the world.

Reducing emissions involves sacrifice.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow

A FAILING PUBLIC SERVICE

Thank you for highlighting the troubles at Eyemouth recycling centre on the front page of your sister title, the Berwickshire News (July 18 edition).

It was clear from Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) response that it does not take its obligation to serve the public seriously.

Thanking the public for attempting to use a failing service was a sad response to genuine concern.

Since then the service has reached an all-time low. The recycling centre cannot seriously be called a recycling centre when it has become impossible to recycle anything.

After more complaints to Eyemouth community council from the public, I paid another visit to the centre. I took the time to speak to staff to see just how bad the problems had become: wood recycling – closed; rubble recycling – closed; glass bottle recycling – closed.

Social media has shown us that while we are sent on a 17-mile round trip to recycle wood, rubble and glass at Duns, a sign at that town’s recycling centre asks Duns people to go to Eyemouth or Kelso. Surely at the very least this goes against the reduction-in-carbon-footprint goal set by SBC. Is it hoped that while travelling on what can loosely be called roads that we fall down a pothole and are never heard from again?

It’s three weeks since the bottle banks have been emptied. Eyemouth swimming pool car park is now piled 3ft high with bottles surrounding overflowing bottle banks. Front-line staff are left to bear the brunt of lack of service from the public, which is unfair.

It is time the SBC administration come out of hiding and admitted that cuts to local services, while overspending on things like iPads and the Lowood estate, have been wrong. It is cowardice for locally-elected members not to take concerns raised to the chamber and debate them.

Eyemouth residents are so fed up that some are driving to Berwick instead of daring to visit Eyemouth.

The blue-sky thinking approach of SBC has shown loud and clear that heads are not in the clouds, but firmly placed in their posteriors.

Stop blaming other political parties for poor public service and stop wasting millions on vanity projects while telling us to play our part.

James Anderson

Provost of Eyemouth