Letters to the editor

independence

We must stop being cautious

As about 50 countries have successfully become independent since the Second World War, I find it puzzling that there are still people who are dubious about Scotland doing the same.

Why is this? I believe that one cause has been 300 years of misinformation, deceit and plain lies propagated by Westminster and sections of the London based press - Scotland is too small a country: the population is not big enough: Scotland is too poor. And the propaganda continues today but with even greater hysteria.

Goebbels said that if a lie was repeated often enough the people will believe it. This seems to have happened to quite a few voters because with a little examination all the scare stories are revealed as pure hyperbole.

Another aspect many people do not seem to have grasped is the vast chasm between politics in Scotland and south of the border, demonstrated by there now being just one Scottish Conservative MP.

Ever since the bleak years of Thatcherism, policies passed by Westminster have become ever more draconian, whichever party is in power.

This rightward trend has been driven by some extreme organisations such as UKIP, the BNP, EDL, the Traditional Britain Group and others. Membership of some of these groups include unsavoury individuals you would not care to meet in a dark alley – Nazi supporters, thugs, misogynists, even ex-convicts.

So if we do not want more policies such as the Poll Tax, Bedroom Tax and harmful privatisations thrust upon us, then we must stop being cautious and naïve and make sure that all Scottish policies for the Scottish people are made in an independent Scottish parliament.

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Crofts, Duns.

Cameron runs scared

It is clearly disappointing, but not unexpected, to see UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, run scared from debating the issue of Scottish independence with Alex Salmond (September 28).

Mr Cameron put his name to the Edinburgh Agreement and received the plaudits, and a joint award, for this; he issues proclamations on the apparent strength of the Union; is head of a UK Government publishing swathes of reports commenting on issues ranging from currency to defence in an independent Scotland, and will put preserving the Union at the centre of the forthcoming Tory conference.

However, when it comes to speaking up to preserve that Union in public debate he is posted missing.

His apparent defence is that it is not for him but for Alastair Darling as leader of the ‘No’ campaign to debate with Alex Salmond. However, Alex Salmond is not leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, it is of course Blair Jenkins.

And as UK Prime Minister there is an obligation on Mr Cameron, and one he should relish, to engage in a televised debate to promote the Union’s continued existence.

Let us also not forget that this is the same Prime Minister who pledged to fight for the Union with “every fibre of his being”.

It appears, however, that this “fight” does not extend to speaking up for the Union in public debate, a shameful act of gross hypocrisy from a man who is too feart to fight.

Alex Orr,

Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.

church

Causes are close to home

It’s hard to avoid concluding, that had your correspondent G.M.S. Lauder-Frost (Letters; September 26) been around at the time of Christ, he’d have been in the forefront of condemning His disrespect for ‘tradition’ also.

Christ did just about everything the ‘traditionalists’ abhorred, breaking the Sabbath, consorting with so-called ‘fallen’ women, and preaching a doctrine that most (even some of His Apostils) couldn’t understand or agree with – and little understood since.

Thus the 2,000 years tradition, which your correspondent bemoans the loss of, includes 500 years of persecuting unbelievers across Europe – with particular attention to Jews, the burning of thousands of women (and sometimes whole families, their pets and playthings), sponsorship of wars and crusades and treating women as second-class human beings.

So, far from apportioning blame for diminished Church attendances to so-called ‘political-correctness’ or ‘trend’, the real causes are much nearer to home. And the secondary cause is information technology, which has vastly expanded the opportunity for making informed choices regarding just about everything, including issues of faith. And finally, the rapid rise of interest in pure spirituality.

Those struggling within the Church to regain what little credibility they can muster, should look in two directions, firstly to Rome for behavioural inspiration (whilst Francis is around) and secondly beneath the literal meaning of the Bible to it’s true message, and only requirement; Love.

Lawrence McDonald,

Coldingham.

FLODDEN race

Appalled at trail race

I was appalled to read the article about hundreds of runners taking part in a unique overnight trail race to commemorate the Battle of Flodden.

From what I can gather this event will be over some of the battlefield.

The battle was an event which should not be repeated or re-enacted it is something which should be remembered with respect and dignity. The site is after all a graveyard to many brave men and should not be trampled over by people who want a ‘quick fix’ and make money out of the event.

There have been many suitable events commemorating the battle this year and this is what we should be doing commemorating and not celebrating.

On Durty Events website they say there will be “beer tent, live music and some other bizarre and interesting stuff”. I think this is a very inappropriate way to remember those men who fought for their country in 1513.

Joyce Watts,

Marlfield Lodge, by Coldstream.

cancer support

Amazing result at Duns event

On Friday, September 27, a Coffee Morning was held in Southfield Community Centre which raised an amazing £407.

This will be utilised for various functions at the Macmillan Cancer Support at Borders General Hospital. We would like to thank all who very kindly donated Money, Raffle Prizes and Home Baking to enable us to achieve such an amazing total.

We would also like to thank Border Farm Supplies for the money they very kindly donated. Thanks to those who atended and those who managed to drink coffee at more than one venue in aid of Macmillan.

Our grateful thanks to John at Southfield Community Centre for all his help.

Debbie Thorburn and Joyce Blaikie,

Duns.

pink bake-off

Charity event a big success

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone (too many to mention) who helped and supported the Pink Bake-off for Breast Cancer Research held on Saturday, September 21.

The total raised was £359.37 (this included money raised on the day and extra donations from cakes sold afterwards and donations through Just Giving.

I would like to say a special thank you to Lana Gold who helped me to set up on the day and donated prizes.

Also thanks to my ‘celebrity’ judges - Mary Raspberry and Paul Holyrood (AKA Maureen Gillie and David (Rocky) Wilson).

Thank you also to all the entrants who baked some fantastic cakes.

Dawn Matthews.

scots language

Heart of our culture

It is good to see figures being produced for the first time from the 2011 census on the number of those speaking Scots (September 27).

Now that we know that 1.54 million people speak the language and where they are located we can begin to plan how to support communities of Scots speakers and encourage these communities to value their language and pass it on to future generations.

After centuries of neglect it is time for action to be taken to safeguard the language for the future and we are calling on the Scottish Government to draw up a Charter for Scots outlining how the language and its dialects can be supported more effectively.

Children are the key to the future health of the language and we’d like to see new efforts being made to encourage innovative projects aimed at creating a sense of pride and self-worth amongst Scots speaking school pupils.

For centuries the Scots language has been at the heart of our culture, it has helped define us as people and has been one of the key outlets through which we have expressed ourselves artistically and creatively.

Scotland without the Scots language would be a pale imitation of itself and we must do everything we can to encourage and promote it.

Michael Hance,

Director, Scots Language Centre, Perth.

well done

Emma wins top UK award

Please could we say a massive congratulations to solicitor Emma Horne who won a top UK award from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Emma beat off stiff competition to be awarded the title of ‘Young Practitioner of the Year’ at the Hilton on Park Lane in London.

Emma, solicitor with Morisons and in association with Borders Aspergers and Autism Group Support (BAAGS) have arranged a free legal advice clinic for families and carers of people with Asperger Syndrome/Autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, learning disabilites and other mental health conditions to be held on Monday, October 14, at the Focus Centre in Livingstone Place, Galashiels.

Private consultations are available between 10am and 4pm to discuss any financial issues such as community care, caring for someone who lacks capacity, how the social care changes may impact on a person’s care, and preparing for the future etcCall 01896 668 961 or email baags@btconnect.com to book an appointment.

Derek Purvis,

BAAGS.

metrication

Britain can’t be metric nation

Contrary to popular belief, Britain is not a metricating nation nor can it be one.

Extant British Common Law inviolably prohibits everything that the people reject as it is the law of the land and the people. Since 1897, the British people have rejected the metric measurement system as inferior, restricting, inflexible, long-winded and of limited utility.

Surveys repeatedly show 97% of people reject metrication.

The imperial weights and measures for all purposes have been expressly authorised by the Imperial Parliament in Westminster. No amending Act has ever been introduced. No law, political manifesto or Queens’ speech has ever stipulated metrication.

Britain’s metrication is based purely on the wish of two past civil servants and a failed sop for Britain’s then refused entry into the EEC. Since then, Edward Heath’s wilful treason against his own people in 1972 has rendered all pro-Europe legislation illegal as treason is neither lawful nor legitimate.

By law, Britain cannot become a metric nation. It will be a serious offence to attempt otherwise.

Rex Poulton,

Wilton, Salisbury.

charities cup

Thanks for donation

I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to the Berwick Charities Cup Committee for their recent donation of £300 to the North Northumberland Hospice.

The committee work very hard over the year to raise money for a number of local charities. They are a regular supporter of the hospice helping to enable us to provide a range of palliative care services in our local community.

Well done and thank you once again.

Chris Foreman,

Trustee.

idioms

Reduced to psycho babble

I write to protest about the inane and uncalled for idioms that unfortunately are creeping into general usuage in what was once our beautiful language.

It may well be a big ask for people to get their heads round this but at the end of the day, when we need some space to get the bigger picture, will we find ourselves reduced to psycho babble.

I, for one, sincerely hope not and I hope you will pardon me for not thinking outside the box.

R. Kennedy,

Duns Road, Coldstream.

great north run

Grateful for donations

I would like to thank the kind people of Coldstream and surrounding area for their kind donations in supporting me and Macmillan Cancer Support when I ran in this year’s Great North Run. Particular thanks goes to the lovely ladies of the Coldstream Committee for Macmillan who tirelessly collect donations for me every year. As usual it was a fantastic day and very inspiring to take part in.

Joanne Ayling,

Station House, Sprouston.

railways

Reversing Beeching cuts

Proposals to re-open any of the lines closed by Dr Beeching are always said to be hugely expensive.

How is it then that private individuals along with teams of volunteers have managed in their spare time to relay run and maintain narrow gauge 27 inch lines for tourist steam trains? Diesel locomotives are available to buy today of this gauge. Could relaying some Beeching lines using narrow gauge be cheaper and affordable? The track bed is almost always still there and in some places sleepers also. 95% of the job is already done for us. Is this a better way of relieving pressure on the rail network than spending the money on HS2 instead?

Nigel F. Boddy,

Fife Road, Darlington.