Alistair Buchan took this image of winter sunrise from Gattonside.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A dripping roast for lawyers
Robert E. More’s letter, published in last week’s issue, denigrating the eminently-sensible suggestion by Clark Cross that drunks who account for 40% of accident and emergency attendances at our hospitals should pay for their crass stupidity, merits a response.
By his own admission, he is a highly-paid court lawyer earning a fine living defending people who make a habit of breaking the law and ultimately causing mayhem at the expense of the general public. For him to say that these offenders “come from a background of abject poverty” and that these drunks “resort to alcohol or drugs to escape some social ill” is absolute nonsense.
Nobody in “abject poverty” can afford the luxury of a motor car which requires to be taxed, insured and also expensively fuelled. Drug addicts likewise have to pay sweetly for their “cheap” thrills.
Mr More states that “there is only so much which the criminal justice system can achieve”. How right he is – nothing can ever be achieved by trying to defend the indefensible.
The present system is a dripping roast for lawyers.
ARROGANTLY IGNORING SCOTLAND
As a nation, Scotland hasn’t voted Tory for 60 years and, despite overtaking Labour, still languish at less support than Margaret Thatcher’s low point.
Yet particularly since the Brexit vote, the Tories act as if the people of Scotland overwhelmingly support them and will accept anything the party wants to impose on them.
Before the independence referendum, Ruth Davidson promised us that voting “No means we stay in” the EU. She and David Cameron signed a pledge saying “power lies with the Scottish people ... to decide how Scotland is governed”. Cameron went further by saying “all the options of devolution are there and are possible” if Scotland voted No.
The Tory rhetoric was clear. Both Theresa May and Davidson said Scotland was an “equal partner” in the UK. Cameron promised “no going back to the way things were”.
But what have they done since winning the 2015 election and the Brexit referendum that puts 80,000 Scottish jobs at risk and will result in lower living standards as the falling pound threatens inflation? A referendum that they only held because of splits in the Tory party. A Brexit Davidson said was based on “lies”, yet now tells people will be wonderful.
Despite saying a No vote meant power lay with the Scottish people and that we could have all options of devolution, the Tories voted down proposals by 95% of Scotland’s MPs that more powers should be devolved. David Mundell, Scottish Secretary and sole Tory MP north of the border, haughtily denies powers those MPs and the elected government of Scotland wish to see devolved.
We hear a Tory Prime Minister who hasn’t even put her plans to a public vote signal she will ignore the compromise the Scottish Government put forward for Brexit. Meanwhile, Tory Lords say they want to use Brexit to finish what Thatcher started.
In short, the Tories are acting as if they think the people of Scotland will just meekly accept whatever they impose.
Scotland voted No on the promise that the Tories wouldn’t return to the way things were done in the past and on the basis power lay with the Scottish people. Scotland voted to remain in the EU and the European single market to protect jobs.
The reality under a Tory Westminster government doesn’t come anywhere near that.
It is their arrogant actions that are narrowing the choices for Scotland’s future, meaning the only way we can have an equal partnership with the rest of the UK is independence.
FEARS FOR LOCAL SERVICES
With the British Red Cross calling the state of the English NHS a “humanitarian crisis” and Tory-run Surrey Council planning to raise council tax by a whopping 15% – just like Tory-run Moray Council threatened 18% last year – it’s clear now what the people of Scotland can expect for their local services if the Tories get to run their local council.
But since Prime Minister Theresa May sounds like she’ll arrogantly ignore a compromise put forward by the Scottish Government to keep us in the European single market to save jobs, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tory council candidates think they can get away with treating voters as fools by pretending they support low taxes and efficient public services.
Their behaviour is a clear case of “actions speak louder than words” – and their actions show they want to treat Scotland like they did in the 1980s with cuts that damage public services and stealth taxes.
Graham C.B. Roberts
ILLUMINATING AND INSPIRATIONAL
For almost 30 years, Corbie’s column has served your newspaper and the people of the Borders uniquely well.
Corbie has taken us gently by the hand and encouraged us to look at and learn about the wonderful natural world on our doorsteps. We have been inspired, informed and fascinated. We have had illuminating insights into both familiar and unusual plants, birds and animals. We have shared Corbie’s enthusiasms and his appetite to learn.
All this and excellent photographs.
You will therefore not be surprised that my colleagues and Corbie’s many other followers feel a sense of loss now that the column has been stopped. This is compounded by the fact that there seems to have been no editorial acknowledgement of the great value that Corbie’s writing has brought to our community over so many years.
(chairman of Scottish Wildlife Trust Central Borders Group)
LEARNING FROM DARK CHAPTERS
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday, January 27, is ‘How can life go on?’, raising challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations in the aftermath of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
At around 6,000 events taking place across the country, people will reflect upon the horrors of the past and remember those who were killed, while honouring all those who survived and went on, with bravery, to rebuild their lives.
Every January, when we listen to the testimony of survivors, we don’t just learn a little more about the darkest chapters of human history, we are also reminded of where hatred and bigotry can lead if left unchallenged and unchecked. Today, that lesson is more important than ever, which is why I urge you to attend an event in your community, listed here www.hmd.org.uk.
You can also play your part by watching the film on howcanlifegoon.hmd.org.uk and sharing it on social media.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Latest official statistics on homelessness in Scotland continue to show a downward trend in the number of people being assessed as homeless.
But an increase in the number of households with children living in temporary accommodation – 3,174 at the end of September last year, a 13% rise on the corresponding number a year previously – is a real cause for concern.
Temporary accommodation is not ideal for any household, but can be particularly disruptive for children. These statistics show the need for a continued focus on providing enough good quality, affordable homes with the right type of support in place to ensure every Scottish household has a safe secure place to call home.
CIH (Chartered Institute of Housing) Scotland
ACCENTUATING THE POSITIVE
I am despairing over all the negativity and pessimism about Brexit.
Once we were a proud island race, unafraid to stand alone, as in the Second World War.
We do not need the crutch of Europe, or its single market and all the strings attached to it, and our independent-minded First Minister ought to be able to see this.
Europe is too big, too cumbersome, too expensive, too federally-minded, and is already fraying at the edges and in some centres.
We will be better off when we regain our own law-making and the full control of our borders, even though the first few years will undoubtedly be tough.
I firmly believe that if we all pull together and strive to make leaving the EU work, we will become a proud island race again, able to trade globally.
Let us show some positivity about this for a start.
WHICH ONE IS IT, PRIME MINISTER?
I am left a little confused after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech on Brexit.
In the run-up to the EU referendum, Ms May, campaigning on the Remain side, argued that leaving the single market would leave the UK economy “worse off”. Now, only a few months later, Ms May is looking to take the UK out of that same single market.
This leaves us with two obvious conclusions. Either Ms May was wrong in her pronouncements in the run-up to the referendum, or she is taking us down a road which will leave the UK economy “worse off”.
The British public clearly have a right to know which one it is.
IF BREXIT HADN’T COME ALONG...
As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ramps up her anti-UK rhetoric, many No-voting Remainers are feeling guilty.
The SNP leader is using their June 2016 vote to justify indyref2. If they had voted tactically and backed Leave, would we now be hearing her almost daily threatening another separation referendum?
I believe they shouldn’t feel responsible. Breaking Scotland away from the UK is, as Ms Sturgeon admits, her teenage dream.
If Brexit hadn’t come along, then Ms Sturgeon would have identified some other trigger before the end of this Holyrood parliament. Indeed, while we have a nationalist majority in Holyrood, it’s inevitable the SNP will seek out some grievance or another to demand a referendum.
It’s not No voters who should feel guilty. It’s Ms Sturgeon who should, for threatening to break the uncaveated Edinburgh Agreement and renege on her promise that the September 2014 vote was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
NON-REPUBLICAN CLAUSE ACTION
Due to the SNP’s alliance to Sinn Fein, if there is another independence referendum we should ask for an irrevocable non-republican clause to be included to cover our sovereign interests.
The Berwick branch of the KOSB Association will hold its annual general meeting in the Kings Arms Hotel, Hide Hill, Berwick, at noon on Saturday, February 18.
It must be emphasised that this is the Berwick branch AGM, and not the Regimental Association AGM, which will take place on July 29.
IS HAROLD STILL ALIVE?
I am researching my family history.
My mother-in-law’s brother, Harold Douglas, who was killed in 1942, married Mary Jane Chapman just before his death. They had a son – also named Harold.
Mary Jane later remarried – to George Gladstone Cessford in 1950. She died in 1967 in Melrose.
Harold junior may still be alive, maybe not, but someone, somewhere in Melrose or the surrounding areas could maybe shed some light.
If anyone does have any information, I would appreciate it if they could contact me via email at Vienna_101@hotmail.com.
Mrs A. Andrews
OWNER SHOULD BE ASHAMED
I visited my dad’s grave at Kelso old cemetery on Monday, only to discover that a dog had fouled on it.
I am disgusted that a dog owner would allow this to happen. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Name and address supplied