Your picture of the week

This butterfly trio ' a painted lady, peacock and  tortoiseshell ' landed on the buddleia in Gillian Watson's Lauder garden
This butterfly trio ' a painted lady, peacock and tortoiseshell ' landed on the buddleia in Gillian Watson's Lauder garden

This butterfly trio – a painted lady, peacock and tortoiseshell – landed on the buddleia in Gillian Watson’s Lauder garden.

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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

WHY ALWAYS PENALISE THE RICH?

Contrary to what you read in left-wing newspapers, the most successful people in society are paying by far the largest share of tax to the exchequer.

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) and its report last week, the latest HM Revenue and Customs tax data shows the percentage of British adults paying any tax has fallen to just 57% – the lowest figure this century.

The tax threshold (since the Conservatives came to power in 2010) has been raised from £6,450 to £12,500 per year. This involves 12m people who dont pay any tax. That’s good news for them, but it has its own consequences.

We are reliant on too few for too much. Only 1% of the UK pay 27% of our total income tax, mostly London-based.This puts into perspective the Marxist views of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who “intend to hammer the rich with massive new wealth taxes”.

In a new globalised world the rich would be off abroad within weeks. Only a few days ago it was revealed that more than 12,000 non-domiciled taxpayers (the super rich) have left Britain since 2017, alarmed at the prospect of a Corbyn/Sturgeon-type government. As a result, tax receipts have fallen by a staggering £2bn in just a year.

In a fair society surely everyone should pay some tax. Without this high-earning 1% we would all be paying more tax to keep the wheels spinning, but they never get a good press as, unfortunately, it is not in our national character to praise their personal efforts like, say, Americans.

Why must the rich always be penalised when 43% of our population look on with grievance and pay nothing to the exchequer?

Perhaps after Brexit we may establish a more acceptable system, especially in Scotland where the First Minister and the Scottish exchequer have the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) deficit and taxation in Europe.

Paul Singleton

Gordon

NEIGHBOURS BEFORE FAMILY

With all the talk about what is legal and illegal about the nation’s decision to get out of the European Union, has anyone actually sat down and considered how on earth we got into this mess in the first place?

It was a Tory Prime Minister at Westminster, now acknowledged by Labour politicians to be the English parliament, who took us all into what was supposed to be a common market and nothing to do with a united states of Europe.

General Charles de Gaulle said on three occasions that the answer to our request to join the common market must be “non”, but Edward Heath decided all on his own, without any consultation with the electorate, that we should be part of the trading group and in 1973 he signed the Treaty of Rome to make us members.

Two years later, after a concerted effort by what would now be described as Brexiteers, the new Prime Minister, Labour’s Harold Wilson, agreed, altogether not with much enthusiasm, to let the electorate vote whether to stay in or get out. Sadly, after being regaled with French wine and German butter, we voted to say in.

We have suffered ever since from not being able to trade with our Commonwealth cousins without European embargoes and we are where we are. We threw our family out of the house in 1975 so that we could get on with the neighbours who didn’t like us, but do like our money.

W. Kenneth Gunn

Selkirk

EUROPHILES AND THE FEAR FACTOR

Europhiles are getting desperate as they see a clean break with the EU fast approaching.

They are also very well funded as last week’s four-page cover of The Southern showed. Adverts similar to these are being shown right across the UK and on all forms of media. They have one thing in common – fear.

Let us remind ourselves what the Europhiles said would happen to unemployment and the economy just by voting Leave.

Under their “shock scenario”, a vote to leave would result in an immediate recession, 3.6% lower GDP within two years and unemployment up “by around 500,000”. In their “severe shock scenario” after two years, GDP would be 6% lower and unemployment would increase “by around 800,000” if the populace had the temerity to ignore their and many others’ warnings of “catastrophe”.

Their warnings of catastrophe were false then, and have been proved to be false, just as their similar warnings of catastrophe were if we didn’t join the euro.

When they talk about wanting to avoid a “no deal”, what they want is to keep us under the supervision of the European Commission.

US national security adviser John Bolton said about a no-deal Brexit in a recent visit to London where he met senior government officials over two days: “We will support it enthusiastically and that’s what I am trying to convey. We are with you. We are with you.”

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, chief of French ports, said last week: “There are certain individuals in the UK who are whipping up this catastrophism for their own reasons. This has provoked a lot of concern, but basically c’est la bullsh*t. Nothing is going to happen the day after Brexit. Britain will be a third country, that’s all, and there is no reason why this should lead to any problems.”

And a clean Brexit will allow the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to be scrapped.

The UK government intends to slash the cash given to big landowners and give the money saved to smaller farmers. Did you know that 10% of farms receive nearly half of all CAP payments?

The UK government has guaranteed that farmers will be protected post-Brexit, and that Brexit is a tremendous opportunity to change the way farms are subsidised for the better.

William Loneskie

Oxton

SNP’S MIXED EU MESSAGES

Back in 2014, the independence case was clear.

Scotland was to leave the UK, even though it would effectively mean leaving the European Union with no deal. Rejoining the EU on its terms would have to wait for later.

In 2019, things have changed, but the end result could be the same. The UK leaving the EU with no deal is now considered by the SNP to be the worst thing possible, and is now to be used to help justify leaving the UK. After which Scotland must start the long and tortuous process of trying to rejoin the EU on the EU’s terms.

If Brexit is somehow overturned completely and after years of trying to leave the EU, the UK ends up staying in, then the new SNP position will be that it is still critical that we leave the UK, even though that will have the same effect as back in 2014, namely that Scotland would automatically leave the EU with no deal.

We would then start the process of restructuring Scotland’s public finances to meet the EU joining criteria and try to rejoin the EU on its terms.

So it seems that, for the SNP, leaving the EU with no deal is terrible if it results from UK government actions, but fine if it is a consequence of the SNP taking us out of the UK.

Keith Howell

West Linton

SEEKING FINANCIAL INFORMATION

I am so fed up with cuts to frontline services and jobs by Scottish Borders Council that I have made a Freedom of Information request for the following information:

How many people employed by the council are on salaries of £50,000 or more, and how much does it spend on consultants and lawyers?

A. Cruickshank

Langlee Drive

Galashiels

KEEPING QUIET ABOUT MASSACRES

The forces of Syrian and Russian leaders Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin have committed more than 30 massacres in Idlib and Hama since April 30.

The many senior UK politicians who opposed intervention in Syria following the Ghouta massacre in August 2013 have said nothing.

In July next year we will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenicia massacre.

Russian and Syrian regime forces may very well still be engaged in further atrocities in Idlib, Hama or other parts of Syria.

I hope at least we will be spared any words of concern from Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, Alex Salmond or Caroline Lucas about our responsibility to protect human rights after failing to prevent the Serbs’ atrocities in 1994.

They have remained silent during the last eight years of Assad’s war and never supported intervention to protect civilians in Aleppo, Homs, Deraa or Khan Sheikhoun.

Brian Devlin

Manse Lane

Galashiels

TAKE PART IN RED CROSS CHALLENGE

Would you get involved in a physical challenge if you knew it would help some of the most vulnerable people in the UK?

Here at the British Red Cross we believe that every refugee matters. That’s why we are asking everyone across Scotland to get active and take part in Miles for Refugees, our brand new fundraising challenge that will help refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK to get the support they need to rebuild their lives.

People make desperate journeys because they are truly desperate.

In the face of conflict or persecution, refugees are often forced to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach a place of safety.

Miles for Refugees allows you to pick the distance of one of these journeys and cover the miles during the month of September.

Cycle the distance of Damascus to Athens (1,000 miles), run the distance between Calais and London (108 miles) or select another one of the journeys you’d like to complete, either individually, or part of a team.

Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton is backing the challenge.

You can visit our website and watch Victoria’s video to find out how to get involved.

Whether you choose to walk, run, cycle or swim, the money you raise will help the British Red Cross to ensure that all refugees are made to feel welcome in their communities and are given the support they need to rebuild their lives in safety.

Your miles can change the lives of refugees this September. Learn more and sign up at miles.redcross.org.uk.

Jillian McBride

Refugee Services Manager, British Red Cross, Glasgow

A NOT-SO-GREEN PROPAGANDA TRIP

Teenage climate-change activist Greta Thunberg is going to New York on the eco-ocean-going yacht Malizia II for a climate conference.

This yacht is 100% man-made with no “natural” material, but was built by using fossil fuels to produce strong, yet lightweight man-made industrial plastic and lightweight metals, so lots of CO2 in its construction.

This green propaganda journey is creating more emissions than would have been if she had flown by commercial airline.

Flying would have created four tons of CO2, whereas five crewmen will have to fly to New York to bring the yacht back to the UK, creating 10 tons of extra CO2.

Add on the thousands of journalists, supporters and spectators who travelled to Plymouth to watch Greta’s departure, and the CO2 situation gets even worse.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road

Linlithgow

WALK TOGETHER TO SHOW SUPPORT

As someone who loves to walk, I’m proud to support Bowel Cancer UK’s Walk Together fundraiser.

Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s more than 42,000 people every year, which includes my dad, who has thankfully now recovered from the disease.

Walk Together is a sponsored event that brings people from all “walks” of life together to show our support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones and help stop people dying from bowel cancer.

You can take on a virtual five-mile walk at your own pace, or plan your own special Walk Together in your area.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the country’s second biggest cancer killer. However, it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Sign up to Walk Together to receive a fundraising pack to hold your own memorable walk and help ensure a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether.

Gaby Roslin

BBC broadcaster