Letters to the editor – October 9, 2014

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Keep bitter views to yourself

With regards to your letters page last week... could Mr Richard West be more bitter about the result of the referendum?

The vitriolic anti-English diatribe that forms his letter is quite frankly an embarrassment, although judging by his previous letters, available to view on The Southern’s letters archives page, accusations by other readers of him being xenophobic towards the English are hardly something new to him.

And how dare he refer to anyone that voted no as hapless. We live in a democracy Mr West – you were on the losing side, you were among the minority, the majority won. That is what happens when you take part in a free and democratic vote. A large portion of the voters are always going to be disappointed. As for his views on the bombing of the terrorists that are ISIS, what would Mr West’s plan for dealing with them be?

He would probably choose to sit back and do nothing until the threat reaches our shores, then he would perhaps become one of the loudest voices claiming that the inaction of Westminster had allowed this to happen. Or perhaps Mr West feels that we could sit down around a table and negotiate with and make deals with people who are capable of cutting the heads off innocent civilians, because after all these people are obviously well-balanced people who are open to debate.

Ged Hogg


No to political rants

Is it not about time a moratorium was placed on any more correspondence from Messrs Loneskie and Wilson whose letters (or should I say rants) have taken up valuable column inches in your otherwise excellent newspaper over the last few months?

William Loneskie’s disrespect for his opponents comes across as petulance (was he not involved with the SNP at one time) and Michael Wilson’s jaundiced and vitriolic hatred of Alex Salmond and the SNP, or, it seems, anyone who disagrees with him, is pathetic.

One could be forgiven for thinking they had been on the losing side, humility is obviously an alien concept to them.

They should take some lessons from P.J. Lewis whose magnanimous and thoughtful letter was a joy to read – what a difference.

As a Yes voter, I was disappointed in the result, but not bitter, only sad that my country lacked the confidence to take its place in the family of nations.

Being 63 years old there will not be a another chance in my lifetime.

But we go on – we go to work, we pay our taxes, we get involved in our communities and, yes, we shop at Tesco, Asda, John Lewis and deal with the Royal Bank, but please don’t ask me to stand for Flower of Scotland.

We need to move on to a less backward looking vision for our country.

David Lothian


Solid rock not so solid now

I just wanted to write in response to John Lamont’s piece in your paper (dated September 25) in which he states, “I’ve been knocking on thousands of doors each week for several months”. In the same piece he goes on to say “now it’s time to move on”. To me that very much sounds like a lie.

We also now have the new, as yet unspecified, powers pledge taking three years rather than the insanely quick timetable put to the people before the vote in order to undermine the momentum Yes had in the closing stages.

This pledge was fronted by none other than the “ex-MP” Rt Hon Gordon Brown.

He’s now appealing for people to sign an online pledge to make Westminster honour their promise – seems he holds no confidence in them doing so. This despite the rock solid guarantee made to the people of Scotland by all three parties that it now seems is not so rock solid.

The UK has the second lowest state pension in the developed world. Only Mexico is lower. Better Together, I don’t think so.

So, John Lamont et al, time to move on? Only when people like you stop peddling rubbish and misinformation.

Alistair White


More power to the people

There should be fewer powers for Holyrood, not more.

Respect for politicians is low and the general belief is that they are all in it for personal gain and that they are all the same anyway.

Politicians should not be fooled by the high turn-out at the referendum. The voters realised that their votes actually counted on that occasion, which was a feeling not experienced for decades.

I believe a return to something like we had with town and county councils should be aimed for. Councillors were not paid and received only strictly-controlled expenses. They stood for election to serve their communities and officials were definitely under the control of and carried out the wishes of the councillors. The present councils are called local but few know the names of any of the councillors who are supposed to represent them.

There were good side effects with that system, as people took the trouble to vote locally so developed an interest in politics, which was carried through to general elections.

Another complaint widely reported in the press is that we now have mainly professional politicians who have never had a proper job and so have no experience of life in the real world and the day to day problems faced by the general public. This could be solved by preventing anybody under 30 of standing at an election as a prospective candidate.

More powers for Holyrood will only put more power into the hands of an elite group and will be no benefit to the rest of us.

William W. Scott

North Berwick

Thank You

Thanks for generosity

We would like to say a very big thank you to all the staff and personnel who supported and donated to the Scottish Public Pensions Agency Sports and Social Club in Tweedbank.

Their amazing generosity has resulted in our group being presented with a cheque for £400 from treasurer Lorraine MacRae.

We are absolutely delighted, surprised and very honoured at being chosen as one of their beneficiaries.

This huge amount of money will be used towards maintaining the caravan and enable us to continue to offer low cost and affordable holidays, short-breaks and respite to the families who live with an autism condition.

Thank you to everyone who continues to show their support to our group – we very much appreciate that there are so many other conditions and causes which reach your heart and how impossible it is to support them all. Thank you for giving what you can and when you can to our Autistic people in the Borders.

Derek Purvis

Chairman, Borders Asperger & Autism Group Support

Support was very welcome

I recently completed my Raid Pyrenean Challenge, cycling from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean through the Pyrenees in 98 hours 20 minutes. Just within the 100 hour limit.

My training had gone well and I did not have any problems on the cycle. My bike behaved itself and the weather and scenery was fantastic, although quite hot on some of the climbs.

I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone who sponsored me and helped raise funds for the Perthes Association. I am happy to say I will be able to send them £1,060. There will also be gift aid added to this total.

Friends and family have been really generous, for which I am very grateful. I was also deeply touched by the generosity of strangers who I met in cafes on some of my training runs. Donations and support was very welcome and certainly put the pressure on to complete the ride on time.

I am also grateful for the article in your papers as I received more than £300 in donations from your readers. These were from friends that I had not caught up with and their donation and notes of support were very welcome.

The money raised will help the Perthes Association to continue to provide hand-bikes and other aids for children who need them.

Ian Stark

Langton Field, Duns

Coffee morning fundraiser

Plenderleith Court Social Club, Kelso, held its annual Macmillan coffee morning and raised £1,133.15.

Members would like to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to Ian Wilson and Co, Gill Orde and everyone for their kind donations. And last, but not least, to the organisers and volunteers – without them, it would be impossible.

Linda Lambert

(sheltered housing manager)

be prepared

Bag levy change warning

From October 20, small businesses in the Borders will have to charge at least 5p for ‘single-use’ bags they give to customers – no matter if the bag is made from paper, plastic or any other material.

Anecdote suggests that some businesses that sell hot food (e.g. chip shops or takeaways) and high street shops (e.g. fashion retailers or hardware stores) aren’t as prepared as they should be for the change.

Until recently, all eyes have been on Scotland’s constitutional future and the FSB are urging those in charge of enforcing the new laws to show some leniency to time-pressed small enterprises.

However, local business owners should get themselves prepared by visiting: http://carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk/

Gordon Henderson

Federation of Small 

minimum wage

Help for those in need

An increase to the national minimum wage, which came into effect this week, is certainly a welcome boost for low income workers who are struggling to make ends meet.

With almost three-fifths of low income working households telling us that their financial situation has worsened in the last year, and two in five reporting that their outgoings now outweigh their earnings, this above-inflation rise is a positive step towards easing the immense pressure on household budgets.

However, with more than half of the 13 million people in poverty now living in a working household, it is clear that more needs to be done to tackle this issue.

With difficult financial times ahead, we want to make sure that anyone struggling on a low income is aware of all the support available to them.

Our free website – www.turn2us.org.uk – can help people check their eligibility for welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.

Our benefits calculator also includes a ‘better-off’ function to show users how a change in employment hours or wages, or unemployment could affect their benefits entitlements and overall household income.

With the real impact of wage increases and other economic improvements unlikely to be widely felt for some time, we hope more people in need can access financial support that could make all the difference today.

Alison Taylor, director of Turn2us



Get your affairs in order

With the law changing this week on what happens to your estate if you die without a will, local solicitors are urging people to get their affairs in order. They are offering their services on a voluntary basis to help people write their will this November during Will Aid’s Make a Will Month.

Instead of charging a fee, they are inviting the will-maker to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid. The suggested donation is £95 for a single basic will and £150 for a pair of basic matching or “mirror” wills.

All the money donated is shared between the nine participating charities that carry out life changing work here in the UK and around the world.

Most charity will schemes are aimed at older people. Will Aid is different. It is open to adults of any age and that’s because Will Aid solicitors know how important it is for everyone to have a proper will.

Whether you are 18 or 80 years old if you want your worldly possessions to go to particular individuals or organisations you need to have a valid will and keep it up to date. If you have young children it is vital to ensure you have made arrangements for their guardianship should the worst happen.

Will Aid is a good opportunity to get an affordable will and give to good causes at the same time.

Will Aid solicitors get very busy in November so it is advisable to book your November appointment as soon as possible. Participating solicitors in this area are Taits and Stormonth Darling WS, in Kelso, and Hawick solicitors Andrew Haddon & Crowe WS, Bannerman Burke and George & James Oliver WS. Visit www.willaid.org.uk or call the Will Aid hotline on 0300 0300 013.

Shirley Marsland

Aid Campaign Manager