Sunrise in Melrose, taken by Hilary Baines.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
WAITING FOR A KNOCK AT THE DOOR
We have three councillors in Leaderdale and Melrose – two independent and one Borders Party.
Can’t say I’ve actually seen any sign of them in Lauder over the last five years, but, possibly, I just missed them. Maybe with the council election coming up on May 4, they will be knocking on my door fairly soon.
I’ve had a leaflet from David Parker detailing all he has achieved and his plans for the next five years.
Must say I’m a bit puzzled at some of his proposals.
He plans to “actively pursue the provision of community allotments in Lauderdale”. As far as I can see, about a dozen houses in Lauder don’t have gardens, so where exactly is the demand in Lauderdale for allotments?
Creation of a tarmac pedestrian and cycle path from Lauder to Oxton. On the face of it, a great idea which I fully support. The only problem is that a couple of miles from Lauder, the current path is diverted round fields, up a hill, through a wood behind a house, out onto a small private road before rejoining the public road at the top of the hill, followed by the walk back down.
Has he managed reach a formal agreement with the farmer to put the path across his land?
Hasn’t happened in the 30 years I’ve been living here.
Resurface and upgrade the Lauder-Stow road. Always welcome, but the road has been closed through the day since March 6 for that work to take place. Walked over from Stow the other days and new drains look almost complete and worst stretch of roadway is all resurfaced. Is he planning more works?
My favourite is encourage Transport Scotland to complete Lauder town centre enhancements, specifically pavement improvements and parking in West and East High Street.
I live in West High Street. Perfectly good paving slabs, only laid when the new water main was put in, were torn up and replaced with a dodgy tarmac surface with a pattern pressed into it, supposedly to make it look like small slabs. It traps dirt and now floods every time it rains. Not much of an improvement or enhancement.
Parking. West and East High Street is the main A68. Where exactly would this parking go? Possibly on the new improved and enhanced pavements where a lot of cars already park?
My main hope for the forthcoming election is that we get a councillor who actually asks the people directly affected by their plans what they think – and act on what the people say.
PLEASE, NO MORE POLITICAL BEDLAM
Separation Attempt 1, we remember, was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
But now the nationalists are back in less than three years demanding another go.
Which part of “no” is it that they don’t understand? Brexit is just an excuse – if not that, it would be something else.
The good people of the south of Scotland don’t want another two years of political bedlam.
Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s strident claims, she does not have a mandate for a second independence referendum. There have been no “material changes in circumstance” since last time round. We are still material members of the EU and will be for at least two years.
Only 45% of those Scottish voters eligible to vote actually voted to remain in the EU. Hardly a convincing victory, especially as there was no real Leave campaign in Scotland.
Remember how Leave campaigners were attacked by political thugs in Edinburgh and Glasgow?
The motivation of the SNP is treacherous.
It wants to break the Union – even though it’s the Union which keeps Scotland, with its deficit worse than Greece, afloat, and furnishes the £1,200 per man, woman and child of extra expenditure paid for by the English taxpayer to bankroll all the freebies for which the SNP is unstinting in claiming credit.
Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and their cronies are on a monstrous ego trip at the expense of the Scottish people.
Only a clear manifesto commitment without weasel words put before the electorate in the 2021 Scottish election would give a mandate to usher in another two years of stressful political bedlam. No such mandate has been given.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond arrogantly claim to represent Scotland.
They don’t – they represent their followers.
David Cameron gave the nationalists everything they wanted in 2014 – timing, the question, the format.
Why should Prime Minister Theresa May do the same again?
There will be no Yes/No question next time. The Electoral Commission vetoed the Yes/No format for the EU referendum as giving advantage to the Yes side.
The question when Separation Attempt 2 eventually comes round can only be: “Do you wish to remain in or leave the United Kingdom.
‘LITTLE SCOTLANDER APPROACH’
In June 2011, Lord McCluskey, a former Solicitor General, said Kenny MacAskill should be removed as Scottish justice minister after calling UK Supreme Court judges “ambulance chasers”.
Then First Minister Alex Salmond “fully endorsed” his justice minister on his attack on Lord Hope of Craighead and Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, both former Lord President of the Court of Session.
Annabel Goldie, then Scottish Conservative leader, said at the time: “His trenchant dislike of and the hostility to the very concept of a British court is evident by his little Scotlander approach, and his and Mr MacAskill’s ill-advised and provocative rhetoric.”
Prior to the 2014 independence referendum, Mr MacAskill said: “If we win the Yes campaign we can follow with a (another) referendum to abolish the monarchy”(and form a republic).
With his close relationship to Sinn Fein and SNP republicanism, this man is a nightmare waiting to happen.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is now in a rapidly-declining position with Scottish voters. How long before a no-confidence vote from outside the Sturgeon “family” in the Scottish Parliament?
THE GREAT SNP GIVEAWAY
I recently challenged your correspondent, Richard Waltham, to publish the “compelling evidence” that would justify his claim that Scotland would become a wealthy country after independence.
His attempt in your March 2 edition certainly made interesting reading. If the figures concerning our resources he provided are correct, it must amount to extremely poor management of our finances by the SNP for us to have a £14.8bn black hole in our economy and depend on the Barnett formula to balance the books.
He asks that with all these resources, where does the excess go? That’s fairly obvious – the SNP give it away. The nationalists try and buy support for their dream with giveaways we can’t afford.
In the unlikely event of them achieving their goal, they could walk away – job done – and leave the remaining parties to implement the huge cuts in services required.
Also, his view on our education system was as best disalusional. Prior to the SNP’s tenure, Scotland had the reputation of being one of the best – now we are among the worst.
In closing he insinuated that Westminster is against independence because it would lose access to these resources – there is a probability that many more years of SNP rule could result in there being none to lose.
EU AIMING TO CASH IN ON OUR MONEY
I enjoyed Alex Orr’s letter in last week’s Southern.
Sadly, he did not answer my question from the previous issue. That is, what is the point of voting for independence if you then apply to join the European Union? No one seems willing or able to answer this question.
Speaking of the EU, Nicola Sturgeon seems to be back-pedalling a bit on membership – she now appears to only wish to join the European Economic Area. This may have something to do with the one third of SNP supporters who voted to leave the EU.
What the First Minister is now proposing is the worst of both worlds. EEA membership comes with all the EU rules of full membership, plus massive cost, but no say in those rules.
The EU is a neo-liberal capitalist institution which gives not a jot for working people, but is there to look after the interests of the elite.
It is working on abolishing cash so it can introduce negative interest rates where we pay banks for the privilege of keeping our money with them. They may even charge us for withdrawing our own money and when the next crash comes, this same self-serving elite will steal our money.
An independent Britain at least has the possibility of preventing that from happening by changing our government.
As for his “democratic deficit”, Mr Orr has the remedy in his own hands.
At the next election all he needs to do is to vote for the Labour party.
PEOPLE OF ALL PARTIES AND NONE
While the SNP, the Greens and some smaller parties support independence, they do not own the Yes movement which is populated by people of all parties and none.
Within the Yes movement there are many autonomous groups all working towards the shared vision of a more equal, fairer and prosperous Scotland. These groups include Pensioners for Independence, Business for Independence, Labour for Independence, Bikers for Independence and Women for Independence.
Many independence supporters do not belong to any of these groups, but are members of their local Yes organisation – which are in all parts of Scotland.
It may surprise your readers to learn that there are also many Conservative supporters of independence, and their number has been swelled since Brexit as they realise the enormous financial and social damage which will be inflicted upon the UK once we leave the EU.
The Yes movement welcomes anyone who shares its objective and if any of your readers would like to join a Yes group they may do so by contacting any member. We are a democratic and friendly group and, unlike the No campaign of 2014, do not indulge in lies, false promises and dark propaganda.
On another matter, in your edition of March 2, I posed the question: “If (Scotland) is such a basket case, why is Westminster brutally determined that Scotland will never be independent?”
I’m still waiting for an answer.
WHY NO ROW OVER FEMALE-ONLY CLUBS?
Professional golfer Rory McIlroy attacked the Muirfield club over its delay in admitting women members.
He said that it was “obscene” that two ballots were needed, “horrendous” that 123 members voted ‘no’ and was “unimpressed” by its return to the Open rota.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and fellow indignants – Scottish Tory and Labour leaders Ruth Davidson and Keizia Dugdale respectively – were quick enough to condemn the first ‘no’ ballot.
So why are they and McIlroy not complaining about women-only golf clubs and the various other women-only organisations and demanding change? – St Rule Golf Club in St Andrews, Aberdeen Ladies’ Golf Club, Fife-based Lundin Ladies’ Golf Club, Carnoustie Ladies’ Golf Club, Elie and Earlsferry Ladies’ Golf Club.
I think male-only and female-only clubs are a good thing since they serve a vital purpose.
In the case of women it is a chance to be shot of the male of the species for a few blissful hours and relax.
SWITCHING OFF TO HIGHLIGHT CAUSE
I’m writing to encourage your readers to join thousands of people across Scotland and be part of the world’s biggest environmental campaign, Earth Hour.
WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that’s become a global phenomenon, with hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights to show they want action to combat the threat posed to people and the natural world by climate change.
In 2016, the event spanned 178 countries with the lights going out on 1,000 iconic landmarks from the Eiffel Tower to Sydney Opera House.
Over 100 Scottish landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, Eilean Donan and the Kelpies, went dark, while over a million individual actions were taken globally to change climate change.
This year Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, March 25, at 8.30pm and we’re asking that local communities – be that your school, workplace, street, village, pub or club – to sign up at wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour and think about holding their own Earth Hour event.
Events are being held across Scotland, from ranger-guided walks and acoustic music nights to religious services and family fairs.
Visit our website to see events being held by groups across Scotland and put yours on our Earth Hour map.
Make your Earth Hour matter by bringing your community together on Saturday night, March 25, to change climate change.
END POLIO NOW COLLECTION
As organiser of the End Polio Now collection, I would like to thank all members of the public who donated in Jedburgh High Street.
A total of £242.80 was collected on the day and, as there were no expenses, this sum has been forwarded to End Polio Now.
Mr A.G. Rae
Rotary Club of Jedburgh)