Letters to the editor

independence

Empty barrels make most noise

I’ve read with amusement the comments regarding these people who keep telling us that Independence will allow Scotland to be the master of its own destiny.

We should look at the hard facts. Firstly, the financial aid from the UK Treasury that Scotland receives through the Barnett Formula (£9,179.00 per person per year. Not up to date, I tried to get this information from Paul Wheelhouse SNP MSP but he doesn’t reply) will cease. The counter arguement from the SNP is that North sea oil and gas will compensate for this. In reality, the oil and gas will run out. In addition to this, the price fluctuates. At the moment, oil prices are coming down. Also we should take into account fracking. This will drive down the prices even further. No doubt people will say that will not happen. Oh yes it will.

Going on from this, let’s look at employment. The SNP say they’re going to shut the Clyde submarine base. There goes another 1,200 jobs plus the knock on effect to the local economy. Then there’s the Govan shipyards in Nicola (your scaremongering) Sturgeon’s constituency. They rely on MOD contracts. There’s no way they will get the contracts to build Royal Navy ships. The UK will not award contracts to foreign countries. Political suicide!

The SNP has also stated that Scotland will become a member of the EU. Firstly countries have to apply. It’s also not a free club. You have to make a finacial contribution. But there again, it’s only OPM (other peoples money) and don’t they just love to spend it.

Then of course, membership means adopting the Euro. If you live in Berwickshire and shop in Berwick, you’ll have to change your money from Euros to pounds to shop.

Then we get onto retaining the pound sterling. This will not happen. The UK Treasury and the Bank of England will not allow this where you have a potentially unstable currency. The SNP may say that this will not happen. They will never be in a position of strength to dictate to the UK Treasury.

Finally, how will this effect the general population? There will be no inward investment. Companies will relocate, Civil Service jobs that were relocated from England will move back to England. Taxes will rise to pay for the benefits that people receive today.

Oh, I do remember Alex Salmond offering “Sir” Fred Goodwin the support of the Scottish Goverment in his bid for ABN Amro! He wants to run our economy?

To all those who say I’m scaremongering. That’s ok with me it’s just the facts! Hence my empty barrels making the most noise!

Robert Scott,

Lindenbank, South Cheviot View. Chirnside.

Demeaning slurs on Scots

Your correspondent Dr Michael Wilson (letters, February 6, and the only one without an address) writes: “The truth is that no one may want to “own” and support a self-inflicted, non-viable independent Scotland, managed by the self- serving second-rate clowns in that expensive circus at Holyrood”.

Apart from being inaccurate, this statement is also insulting to the majority of Scottish voters who elected the SNP to a stunning overall majority in the Scottish parliament, and within a system designed to prevent such an outcome.

I refuse to discuss the independence issue at a yah-boo level, so by the use of intemperate language throughout his letter, Dr Wilson has, as far as I am concerned, written himself out of the debate.

Much ink has been expended over the question of whether an independent Scotland would or would not be allowed to enter the European Union, with ‘experts’ from both sides being quoted. Surely the pragmatic answer is this; on what possible grounds would the EU reject a newly independent nation which was already a member by association, and has been created entirely democratically, rather than by violent conflict.

A nation with a fully functioning administration and infrastructure, already wealthy and with the potential to be richer still, and with a proven track record of European cooperation. Remember the eastern European countries with their recent histories of war and genocide such as Croatia, Romania and Slovenia, but which are all now EU members. Comparing historically stable Scotland with these countries is like comparing chalk with cheese.

The same reasoning should be applied to all the negative and demeaning slurs heaped on Scots ability to run our own country. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Crofts, Duns.

Cameron not confident

Mr Cameron, in his recent big speech of many words and no substance, reduced his ‘No’ to Scottish independence argument to what he described as ‘four compelling reasons’ – none of which, apparently, he feels confident enough about to see him through a ‘face-to-face’ televised debate with Alex Salmond. Strange that!

So let’s see if the said ‘four’ are ‘compelling’ or not: the first one; ‘economic benefits of being a bigger country’. Well if you’re of Mr Cameron’s multi-millionaire class background, and have no scruples about robbing the poor to give to the rich, (yourself included), you should listen to him. In fact you have 99% of the Scottish population, including the disabled, single-parents, workers, unemployed, farmers, women, small businesses owners, etc. to rip-off to your hearts content.

Mr Cameron’s side-kick, Mr Osborne, has made it quite clear, Scotland within the Union will face years and years of austerity – not however, that as a multi-millionaire, you need lose any sleep over that. And of course your ‘brothers’ within the one per cent super-rich down south will continue to benefit from the flow of Scottish oil revenues - which with a bit of luck and mental gymnastics they can down-play as they now admit they’ve been doing for decades. All the time, of course, getting their pals in the right-wing press to slander the Scots as ‘scroungers’. Reality, however, is a whole lot different – for the rest of us that is.

In an independent Scotland, which all political leaders, (Cameron included), agree would be economically viable and robust, we have the opportunity to spread the benefits of our success to all our people, not just the powerful few.

We need only look to the happiest people on earth, as every survey has attested; to the Scandinavian economies to see what’s within our grasp with a ‘Yes’ vote; high wages, high pensions, quality child care, high profits, quality education, and real welfare benefits for those unable to work, including the sick and disabled.

It’s not ‘magic’: it’s everyone having a real share in their countries wealth - as opposed to our system which favours the super-rich at every turn - whilst denigrating all others who temporally, or otherwise, are unable to contribute.

‘Size’ as Mr Cameron claims as an issue, is not-so at all: it’s ‘system’, ‘fairness’, ‘democracy’ and ‘morality’ that’s at stake here – as the food-banks and low-wage (or no wage) economy of his making attests.

As to the remaining three ‘compelling reasons’ Mr Cameron cites; we know what “greater international clout” means – military interventions based on self-interest and lies, and non-intervention if there’s nothing in it for us. ‘Connections between people’ - surely broadband has reached even the most isolated rich man’s castle or tax-haven by now! And finally; UK ‘cultural impact’ – which seems to imply an independent Scotland would lack ‘cultural impact’ – it apparently being dependant upon some external (presumably UK-wide) life-support. I beg to differ.

I’m beginning to think, it’s not so much a case of Mr Cameron being camera-shy around Alex Salmond, as being held back by wiser council for fear of yet again, inadvertently, making the case for a ‘Yes’ vote for independence.

Lawrence McDonald,

Coldingham.

rugby

Hopeless case to answer

Having followed Scottish rugby for around 60 years, I am obviously used to many more lows than highs – but have never felt without hope.

However, after the last two internationals in Dublin and Edinburgh, I am afraid I feel nothing but despair and hopelessness at what passes for professional rugby in Scotland. The players can only be described as “professional” in that they are being paid, but their efforts are definitely not professional and are only matched by the incompetence which appears to rule within Murrayfield.

The coaching staff and players continuously talk the talk, but appear to be unable to walk the walk.

I am sure we are all sick of hearing about learning curves and journeys, where the curves appear to be downwards and the journeys in reverse.

What kind of organisation would sign up a new coach who is not available for many months in advance, which in itself cannot make life easy for either players or current coaching staff?

It is impossible to run professional rugby with only two teams, which are filled with many non-qualified Scottish players, and there is no proper system to bring young players through from club level to the professional game, such as there is in England, Wales and Ireland with semi-professional leagues where they can experience hard, physical rugby with a view to being prepared for the top level when selected.

This is instead of being cannon fodder for far better prepared teams which must be demoralising – just look at the age grade scores and results to see how the current so-called “system” is not working.

Until we get forward-thinking people who can set up some kind of system similar to that of other countries into position at Murrayfield, we are only going to go further and further downwards.

Forget the farce of the British and Irish Cup where teams qualify by league position and then field an entirely different side, supposedly bolstered by pros, and still get hammered. And as for the international sevens side which consistently achieves nothing, would the cost of that not be better spent on trying to improve our overall game to get to at least the level of the other British teams?

I am going to Rome where in the past I went with hope, but this time I will not even have that.

While it may appear that I am being very critical of the players, they are only the product of a faulty system and would have to be really exceptional to come out of it successfully.

George Storey,

Glebe View, Hawick.

berwick rangers

Meet the new manager

Berwick Rangers Supporters Club have organised a ‘Meet the Manager’ evening on Friday, March 7, at 7.30pm in the Sponsors Lounge at Shielfield Stadium - bar will be welcoming drinkers from 7pm.

Colin Cameron and his assistant Robbie Horne will be introducing the fans to their hopes, plans and aspirations for our club - everyone is welcome to come along and meet Colin and have your questions responded to.

Thank you to Colin and Robbie for agreeing to do this, and to Berwick Rangers Football Club for the use of the lounge area and bar staff.

Rodelle Purvis,

Secretary, Berwick Rangers Supporters Club.

community

Blessed to live in Borders

Our family relocated to the Borders in 2007 from the small, tight-knit community of Kirkwall, Orkney.

We knew it would be stressful for our kids to start new schools and so, in our search for somewhere to settle, schools was our priority. That led us to Earlston High School.

As I was commuting daily to Edinburgh, we were house-hunting in Lauder as it was the least drive and in the Earlston catchment area. When my husband and I arrived in Lauder, I knew we were home. Having grown up in a farming village in western Michigan, it felt like home right away.

We visited Earlston High and Lauder Primary schools, and were both impressed and excited with the staff, relieved our children would be in the care of such great people. We have never been disappointed by our experiences with the schools and have, on many occasions, sung their praises.

We were blessed with son number five, Benjamin, in 2010. It was my first experience with midwifery, being American, and it was a wonderful, joyous time for us. Dr McGowan and the team at Borders General Hospital were so careful and became good friends, as well as the community midwives. It cemented my feelings that we are blessed to live in the Borders, with the small-town sense of community and good neighbours.

However, recently, we suffered a great loss. We were expecting our first baby girl, Sarah. She was due in January and I was being carefully monitored and looked after by the labour team. On December 15 I was rushed to hospital with a massive abruption and our baby girl was lost to us.

As heartbreaking and devastating as this loss has been, I cannot imagine it would have been bearable but for the genuine care and compassion shown to all our family throughout this time by the intensive therapy unit teams (Leigh, Sharon and George), community midwives (Chris, Angie and Catriona), the entire labour ward team, Dr McGowan, Dr Campbell, Nicky, Maggie, Helen, Claire, Mary, Kerry, Karen, Ann and everyone else.

I know that to them it is their job and they would have not thought for a minute to be any other way. But to us they were a lifeline, shoulders to cry on, a hug or an ear, and just company in the middle of the night when sleep was so evasive.

In the midst of such despair, unfortunately it is necessary to make arrangements at time grief makes it nearly impossible to even think.

We again were so very blessed to have had the care and support of Robert and Jacqueline Brown and their staff at Thomas Brown and Sons. Their support and generosity, care and consummate professionalism has been more than we would have ever expected. We know that our precious little girl was in loving care with them, and their consideration of our future arrangements to be with her presented a much- needed resolution.

I found it lifesaving to have such loving and kind people surrounding us at a time of such utter and total darkness.

Unfortunately, my own tainted look on the world had led me to a place that such compassion had become a surprise, and it has restored my sense of home and community.

Kimberly Shaw-Walker,

Thirlestane Drive, Lauder.