Letters to the editor

independence

‘No’ campaign has excelled in comedy

Conditional love is disguised control, and therefore not love at all: whereas unconditional love is the real deal.

David Cameron and his cross-border ‘No’ to Scottish independence campaign is very much of the former stock. They claim to love Scotland, whilst threatening all sorts of non-cooperation in the event of the people of Scotland expressing their will for independence – even to the degree that such spiteful un-neighbourliness would damage their own interests.

Take, for example, the issue of our retaining our traditional currency to facilitate inter-state trade etc., with our nearest neighbour. The advantages could hardly be more blatantly obvious, or more mutually agreeable. And besides, the matter of what currency we use in Scotland is ours to decide, not anyone else’s.

Conditional love and spitefulness aside, the one area in which the ‘No’ campaign has excelled, has to be comedy. Reliant on the delusion that no template exists where gaining independence is concerned, their own enthusiasm for confusing independence with being ‘all alone’, and the hope that their would-be audience has no knowledge of the world; their projected fantasies know no limit.

In such an atmosphere, even the tiniest issue can be distorted into an insurmountable problem. On TV recently I saw an otherwise, apparently, intelligent ‘No’ supporter, seriously propose that finding a place for officer training for our new Armed Forces would be a huge obstacle. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry; the former because of the feebleness of effort at insulting our abilities, or the latter at how cheaply some people will sell their souls.

Back to the comedy front, some recognition should be given to the creator of the ‘We’ll need border controls’ farce. Whether this is to stop people fleeing north to escape Tory-Lib austerity measures, or food-aid heading south, no one has yet said.

Either way, even the least educated will know there’s a wide-open border around Northern Ireland and acquisition of even a rowing boat closer to home can get you a long way.

And there’s no need to worry about colliding with the thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians due last Christmas, it looks like they finally translated the word; ‘austerity’ and it stinks of the same cruelty and injustice in their language as it does in ours.

Oh! Congratulations, by the way, to the Westminster government for giving themselves an 11% pay rise. You must be so proud!

Lawrence McDonald,

Coldingham.

Presidential position

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso’s message to BBC presenter Andrew Marr last week that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU merely confirms what he has been saying for years.

That is, as an accession state, Scotland’s membership in the European club would have to be accepted by all its members, including those, like Spain, that have an interest in keeping us out to send a message to their own nationalist movements.

Once again the SNP’s claim that Scotland would enter seamlessly into the EU upon a Yes vote has been shown to be pure fantasy.

Barroso’s comments underline the fact that a newly independent Scotland would face a tortuously long process to regain its European membership.

In the meantime, what would happen to our farmers’ single-farm payments? What would be the position of the 160,000 people who work in our financial services sector? Exactly what conditions of membership would be foisted upon the Scottish people?

There’s no reason for Scotland to embark upon this uncertain path. We already enjoy the fruits of EU membership as part of the UK and we mustn’t throw away our seat at Europe’s top table in pursuit of Alex Salmond’s pipe dream.

Struan Stevenson MEP,

The European Parliament, Brussels.

Many grey areas remain

I was born in the Netherlands, came to England in 1961, to Scotland in 1962 and applied for and was granted British Citizenship in 1989.

That was for me a major decision. After an absence of over 15 years my wife and I have returned recently to Scotland and live a short distance from the Scottish/English border. Though we have followed the pros and cons of independence there remain for us many grey areas and below are a few.

If Scotland votes for independence I will have to make another important decision: do I stay British or will I become Scottish? And if I become Scottish what will happen to my state pension and how will its future value change in relation to the British state pension? And if I decide to remain British - if that is allowed - what happens to my National Health status; which country will pay for my medical expenses? And will I be allowed to vote?

The answers to these questions are of course not only of interest to me but also to the many citizens born in England and who live in Scotland.

And what about the people born in Scotland - like my children - but who live outside Scotland can they elect to be Scottish or British and what are the implications if they decide one or the other?

At present when I land at Edinburgh airport from Amsterdam, Paris etc. I need to show my passport. If Scotland becomes independent and joins the EU it will have to accept the Schengen agreement, ie no borders between (most) EU countries. That means if I fly from Amsterdam or Paris into Edinburgh I will not need to show my passport. When I come from Amsterdam or Paris etc into London I will have to show my passport at the UK border, just as at present. These checks at the UK border are made, I assume, for very good reasons.

Is it therefore not likely that when I want to do my weekly shopping across the border in England I will be asked on the English side for my passport?

Pieter van Dijk MBE,

Woodlands Park, Foulden.

Holyrood v Westminster

The present Scottish government has given us the following: free bus pass, free prescriptions, free university education, council tax frozen and an end to bridge tolls.

London gives us: food banks, fuel and energy poverty, dying people told they are fit to work. to date Trident has cost us £100 billion. Interest rates on Britain’s debt. Are the Scottish public aware Mrs Thatcher moved the fishing boundary between Scotland and England from Eyemouth to Carnoustie. Six thousand square miles. London wants out of Europe. Who will then subsidise the British farmer. I am surrounded by people who love England but they will not live in England.

Mrs William Mitchell

Home Farm Cottage, Coldstream.

Benighted dullards

Alex Orr (letters, February 20) informs us that for the rest of the UK (gdp somewhere in excess of US$2 trillion, population a smidgeon short of 60 million) to try and prevent Scotland (gdp US$240 billion, population a tad over 5 million) from continuing to use sterling would be tantamount to economic suicide. Lacking the intelligence of the Scots that Mr Orr rates so highly, the benighted dullards who live south of the border may fail to understand that the dog should do as the tail says and persist in perversely organising their affairs in ways contrary to the diktats of the SNP. Since, by then, Mr Orr hopes that Scotland will have granted them independence, what precisely does he think Salmond, Sturgeon et al will be able to do about it?

Neil Stratton,

Heiton Mains, Heiton.

Westminster is shaking

When the independence debate started, I warned you that eventually Westminster would deploy its dirty tricks brigade.

Up to now the Project Fear/No campaign has been issuing Alice-in-Wonderland warnings about the dire consequences for Scotland should we have the audacity to vote for self- determination. All their threats have proved empty.

Now London is wheeling out its big guns to frighten Scottish people into voting against a better, fairer and brighter future. Why? I think there are two main reasons. Until recently there has been a complacent belief in the Westminster village that Scots would vote NO. But, as has been reflected in opinion polls, more and more Scots are realising the benefits of being in control of our own finances and budgets, and this has shaken the Westminster establishment.

The other reason is this. For decades, if not centuries, London based politicians and media have tried to brainwash Scots that our country is too poor and too small to be independent; we were the subsidy junkies of the UK. But what most Scots know, and what all three unionist parties have had to admit, is that Scotland most definitely CAN be a financially independent country. What they have not yet admitted is that Scotland contributes more taxes to the London Treasury annually, than it ever receives back via the block grant. For these two reasons the unionist parties, faced with the vision of losing the golden goose, will say anything to avoid an independent Scotland.

If any Scots ever believed that the Union was a partnership of equals, then Chancellor Osborne has just exploded the myth (though Mrs Thatcher did it years ago with her Poll-Tax experiment). Ignoring the fact that the pound sterling is the legal currency of all four countries of the UK, he dictates that we cannot use it after a YES vote. People will have noticed that when Mr Osborne delivered his lecture, he took no questions from reporters or the audience, and gave no interviews to any radio or TV stations. Had he done so he would have exposed the paucity of his intimidatory remarks – for neither he nor any future chancellor can stop us using the pound, and he knew it.

There is something else people should know about this vindictive nature of the London establishment. When foreign ambassadors present their credentials to the Queen, it is done with much ceremony and in the public gaze. When newly independent Eire sent its ambassador to the palace, he was demeaned by being forced to use a back entrance. I believe Scots will see through Mr Osborne’s bluff.

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Crofts, Duns.

candidate

MSP dreaming of London

Conservative MSP, John Lamont, has obviously not lost sight of his long held dream to flee the Borders for London, with much fanfare in recent days confirming his intention to stand for Westminster.

Undeniably, his constituents will be left feeling very short changed that for the second time during his MSP tenure, Mr Lamont is happy to abandon the very communities he should be serving right across Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire at Holyrood. If Mr Lamont is elected to Westminster, constituents will be forgiven for pondering how “Two Jobs John” will be able to represent them in Westminster and Edinburgh. After all, it’s a physical impossibility to be able to vote at the same time in two places so far apart.

John Lamont is using his well paid, publicly funded position as an MSP to promote his own personal agenda of becoming a London MP. It is shocking that he spent his first three years as an MSP without taking any responsibilities on Holyrood Committees in order to concentrate on Westminster electioneering, and now we will have him campaigning around the doors in Galashiels (which of course is outwith his MSP constituency boundry), when he should be representing Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in Edinburgh.

It will be interesting to see what commitment he will now give to Holyrood in the run up to the Westminster election next year. Perhaps “two Jobs John” should concentrate on the one job he was elected for and is paid to do.

John Paton Day,

Darlingfield Farm Cottages.

garden waste

Dangerous trend

The withdrawal of the garden waste service is the latest manifestation of a dangerous trend.

Our councillors now look up not down, responding to government diktats rather than to the needs of their constituents. They are more concerned with saving the planet than emptying green bins, more concerned with ‘sustainable transport’, than straightening out Borders roads and mending potholes. This is what happens when Central Government finances local councils. It is bad for democracy, bad for our councillors, and bad for everyone except a little clique of government ministers at Holyrood who are being allowed to dictate to the rest of us. It is time our councillors stood up to them.

Bryan Webster,

Houndlaw Park, Eyemouth.

Birthday gifts

Charitable donations

I would like to thank family and friends who donated money for my 80th birthday. The sum of £200 was donated to Breast Cancer Breakthrough. I would also like to thank Diana Baxter for the beautiful buffet, my granddaughter and Joan for lovely cakes, and the girls from the British Legion, Jackie and Sonya.

Florence Richards,

Parkside, Coldstream.

70th ANNIVERSARY

Wynsome Maydes sought

May I again ask for all past Wynsome Maydes to make contact with me, we wish to invite them all to our 70th anniversary Crowning Ceremony this year. If you know of an Ex-Wynsome Mayde who is no longer in the area, we would much appreciate it if you could pass the message on to them. I would also like to ask anyone if they have past photographs of Wynsome Mayde Crowning ceremonies, it is my aim to put together a display in honour of the 70th anniversary.

Finally, could I ask anyone interested in participating in the 2014 Wynsome Mayde Court to pop along to the Volunteer Hall, Duns on Saturday, March 1, from 10am-2pm, where Duns Summer Festival are holding a table top sale, to ask any questions they may have regarding participation.

Ann Lindsay,

Duns Sumnmer Festival.