Letters to the Editor


Paying the nationalists’ price

How can we so quickly have forgotten the acrimony, lies, delusional propaganda, threats, intimidating behaviour, angry divisions in families and across society, and the economic and planning blight that the SNP’s 2014 referendum inflicted on Scotland for almost two years?

Are we foolish enough to believe the nationalists ever again on issues such as our boundless wealth thanks to our (now moribund, costly and redundant) oil industry?

Meanwhile, they bleat endlessly about the processes and implementation of the Smith Commission (the “Vow”), while being utterly delinquent in their duty to manage and take responsibility for matters in Scotland – such as the police, NHS, education, etc.

Their latest trick, to avoid having to be grown-up and accountable for their fiscal mis-management, and what they know will transpire in the near future (following the transfer of taxation powers to Holyrood), is to reject the transfer of the very powers they have demanded for so long and to which they agreed as partners in the Smith Commission.

Rather than being handed a huge cheque by HM Treasury (with an additional £1,400 for every man, woman and child in Scotland), paid for by English taxpayers, they know what will happen at the polling booths in future when they have to raise our taxes to cover their profligate spending and waste, and finally be held accountable for spending it.

Immediately after they failed to get their Yes vote last September, their first vindictive act was to slaughter the private housing market in Scotland by raising stamp duty to eye-watering levels compared to the rest of the UK.

Just wait until the SNP gets its hands on setting income tax rates and bands – then there will be another flood of economic migrants/refugees escaping to England.

The bottom line is clear – the more fiscal power gets transferred to the SNP in Edinburgh, the more it will pay you not to have any income or assets to lose.

South of the border, and internationally, the nationalists’ endless wingeing, malcontentment, selfish demands and spoilt-child behaviour now make one embarrassed and ashamed to admit to being Scottish.

Michael Wilson



torn in two

Just over a year on from our historic decision to reject independence, where is Scotland now?

Ex-First Minister Alex Salmond surprisingly chose to mark the occasion by publishing the referendum victory speech he never made.

Is he really oblivious to how drenched in irony it is? He was to talk of extending “an immediate hand of friendship” to No voters, of respecting our differences, of renewing his “commitment under the Edinburgh Agreement … to implement the will of the people”.

Alex Salmond clearly intended to be magnanimous in victory, but he and his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, show little intention of being gracious in defeat.

It is harsh to accuse an elected British politician of being undemocratic, but Ms Sturgeon’s brazen decision to demand a second referendum whenever she thinks she can win leaves Scots with little alternative but to do so.

If they had won, nationalist politicians would have embraced the Edinburgh Agreement – now they disregard it. The majority who voted No are ignored. Where are all those “once-in-a-generation” or even a “lifetime” promises?

The SNP hierarchy have played us for fools.

But for me, worst of all, having failed to break up the United Kindgom, Ms Sturgeon’s relentless threats of neverendum have torn Scotland in two – friend against friend, relative against relative, colleague against colleague.

For that, the SNP cannot be forgiven.

Martin Redfern


The queen


to none

It would be hard for anyone on either side of the independence fence to take issue with the headline on John Lamont’s column, “Queen an example to us all” (Southern, September 24).

Surely nothing could be less controversial than the Queen’s recent visit to the Borders?

But why do Scots persist in calling Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II?

The use of the term “second” surely implies that some previous Elizabeth was once monarch of the United Kingdom. This is clearly a mistake, no less wrong despite tedious repetition. The late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, that much-respected Scotswoman, was queen consort, not a monarch in her own right.

The Tudor Queen Elizabeth never reigned in Scotland. The implication that Elizabeth Tudor ruled over all of Britain is typical of the widespread ignorance that consigns the present Queen’s ancestor, Mary, Queen of Scots, to a supporting role in UK history. Let’s not forget that Queen Mary forms part of that ancient lineage that links our Queen back to King Robert the Bruce.

If, as seems quite possible, an independent Scottish nation chooses to remain a monarchy, rest assured our Queen Elizabeth will continue to be second to none.

Douglas Hunter



Blessing in disguise

I was fortunate enough to take part in the ecumenical service of blessing for the Borders Railway – on reflection, I wonder whether it ought to have been an exorcism.

On a Saturday, my wife, son and I caught the 4.22pm train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank just in time – although it turned out that time was not an issue. The engine had broken down. My wife wondered if it was the same engine which had broken when she attempted to get home the previous Tuesday, and whether, on reflection, they might have considered trying to fix it.

After half an hour of waiting, we were told to get off the train and make a pilgrimage up a narrow flight of stairs to another platform, where a two-carriage train was waiting for the crowded inhabitants of our four carriages.

We now engaged in a game of Sardines, and had worked out just how many people we could fit in while still all being able to exhale, when we were told that this train too was not working.

In scenes resembling Jacques Tati’s “Mr Hulot’s Holiday”, we were to return to our previous platform where another train may or may not be waiting for us. This was jolly fun for the able-bodied, but those with shopping, luggage, children or disabilities were muttering darkly.

However, within the hour, those of us who could physically fit on the train were up and moving. My son managed to find a den under the legs of those fortunate enough to sit down, while I eyed the luggage rack and wondered if it could bear my weight.

I’d like to thank the folk who worked on the train – they were polite and decent, and it was not their fault. But I would also like to thank the “powers that be”.

The Borders has felt divided recently over issues concerning the railway, independence and other local politics. For one brief journey, this whole, very-crowded train was entirely united – against a common foe.

Reverend Philip Blackledge



An insular and parochial slant

The SNP’s response to the BBC charter review seeks to undermine this internationally-respected British institution rather than show genuine concern for the quality and diversity of our broadcasting.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop calls for the licence fee raised in Scotland to be spent on Scottish programmes. This blatantly ignores the benefits of sharing resources across the UK to produce high-quality and popular output made available to all.

When First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says that the BBC’s output no longer reflects the “varied and rich political and social realities of the UK”, this needs to be interpreted in the context of SNP rhetoric, whereby the SNP Government want ‘Scottishness’ to be emphasised in all things.

In a world that is ever more international, particularly in all aspects of broadcasting, only Scottish nationalism would favour putting an insular and parochial slant on the BBC in Scotland.

Keith Howell

West Linton

road safety

Flashing sign in Birgham

Sometimes I wonder if it is ever worthwhile trying to get something done about a problem.

For many years I, alongside others, fought hard to get road safety measures in Birgham. Eventurally, a flashing 30mph sign was erected where most needed.

Now it has been taken away after six years (approximately).

Many people say “good”. Really?

It was erected after four accidents had occurred in three years. None have happened since.

I for one am pleased about that. Why not others?

Jean Cunningham



Contrasting approaches

How interesting to see the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, being interviewed in hushed and reverent tones by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News – his waffling responses going unchallenged and uninterrupted.

What a contrast to the hectoring and aggressive treatment dished out to Prime Minister David Cameron after his election victory.

Malcolm Parkin


carbon capture



Opposition MPs and MSPs are furious with the Westminster Government because Drax has abandoned a £1billion government-backed carbon capture scheme.

Drax blamed the government, but the firm’s shares have been hammered by falling commodity prices – which have dragged down the price it can charge for electricity – as well as the removal of various green subsidies for burning biomass.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is intended to capture coal emissions and store them underground, but there are no commercial fully-operational ones worldwide.

The Drax plant in North Yorkshire is one of Britain’s biggest coal-fired plants, but also burns wood pellets.

Forests in the US and Canada are cut down, then they are processed into pellets and then shipped and transported thousands of miles to the Drax plant. Not very green to rip out trees which absorb CO2 and burn the pellets which emit CO2.

Scotland’s attempts at CCS have failed, despite taxpayers’ money being thrown at the problem, and more was wasted on research into tidal power, wave power and offshore wind farms.

“Scotland the Saudi Arabia of renewables” – if you believe that...

Clark Cross

Springfield Road



St Boswells car boot sale

I wish to thank the generous people of the Borders who attended our car boot sale at St Boswells.

Borders General Hospital maternity unit is raising funds to help send some of its staff to Zambia to train doctors and midwives in basic life-saving skills for emergency situations. In turn they will cascade this training, so helping to save the lives of many mothers and babies.

At the sale I was touched by the number of people who paid more than asked for items bought, and also those who did not want to buy anything, but gave donations for the cause.

If anyone wishes to contribute, contact Dr Magowan at the maternity unit.

Ann Lynch


Border General Hospital

Melrose tea party

I would like to thank all those who supported the tea party in Melrose Parish Church Hall recently when we heard about the history of Caldwell’s Ice Cream.

Nearly 60 people had a very interesting afternoon and enjoyed savouring the ice cream, as well as a tea.

More than £250 was raised for the Melrose branch of Arthritis Research UK. This sum will go directly to the research work of the charity.

For this generosity we would like to thank everyone who attended and all those who helped to make this such a successful event.

Trefor Davies

(branch chairman)

Kelso coffee


A big thank you to the staff and friends for all the help put into the coffee morning at Plenderleith Court, Kelso, on September 22, and to everyone who donated in various ways.

The event raised £1,100.

Francine Fortune