Dave Holland sent us this photo of a small herd of deer which he said “popped into the Eyemouth Golf Club for supper!”
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
CONTINUING TO DO AS HE IS TOLD
John Lamont’s surprise, opportunist decision to stand down as an MSP with more than four years to go “serving my constituents” in an attempt to win a seat at Westminster (having failed on three previous occasions) tells us all we need to know about his personal ambitions.
Rather than “putting local people before party politics”, he obviously sees his future as another Tory MP attempting, unsuccessfully, to support a dysfunctional, divisive Conservative government at Westminster, which prioritises whatever is in England’s interests, while the rest of us should simply accept things and keep quiet.
A quote from the “greatest-ever Briton”, Winston Churchill, states: “Any nation which does not defend itself deserves to be crushed” – something all Scots should be aware of.
Mr Lamont’s support for the “Rape Clause”, the disgraceful treatment by the Home Office of good people from other countries who have made a valuable contribution to Scotland and working people, including nurses, who increasingly have to rely on food banks to get by, and a long list of other UK policies not in Scotland’s interests is shameful and at Westminster he would continue to do as he is told.
His announcement reminds me of the only occasion when, as a constituent, I spoke to Mr Lamont’s office to ask two questions – why his expenses as an MSP were more than double other MSPs, and what was his view of the investigation into the actions of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson re postal votes.
Unfortunately, Mr Lamont would not speak to me personally, but I could clearly hear the person fielding the call ask: “Do we have a position on this, or will I just get rid of him?” Well, I was duly got rid off (without answers).
So much for “serving his constituents”.
Incidentally, Paul Singleton’s letter, published last week, criticising First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to America to encourage much-needed inward investment to Scotland, shows staggering hypocrisy.
This is a repeat of the carping claims and negative comments from the pro-union parties at Holyrood which were the cause of China pulling out of a potential multi-billion pound investment in the Scottish economy.
For “covert meetings”, “secrecy” and “no comment”, he need look no further than Prime Minister Theresa May and her approach to Brexit negotiations as a prime example of how not to do diplomacy.
POOR QUALITY OR SLANTED REPORTING
It’s hard to believe what’s currently happening in Scottish politics, no matter which side you come from.
Most national mainstream reporting is controlled by five or six media corporation/moguls, or by the often poor quality, or slanted, BBC.
With Facebook or Twitter you choose your own version of events, but at least you can get diversity of views on the Rape Clause, nurses, police, veterans using food banks, electoral funding fraud, getting on with the day job etc.
It’s also hard to believe that the Moon causes tides on the Earth and that both of them are spheres. But they are. Scientists have proven it to the satisfaction of thinking people. I’d like to think all voters were thinking people who demanded proof before giving anyone their vote.
Theresa May and Ruth Davidson have not proved anything. They produce no data, just mantras to justify their right to lead Scotland and the rest of the UK over a big, hard Brexit cliff. They haven’t a clue what’s at the bottom of that cliff.
In fact, both Mrs May and Ms Davidson made a better job of backing up their assertion that Brexit was bad. See last year’s YouTube.
In Gulliver’s Travels terms, both have changed from being “big endians” to “little endians” between breakfast and lunch. How can you trust politicians who change ends so easily?
Their unfair and futile attempt to deny Scots the right to a referendum to decide what kind of country and culture Scotland is to become will be their undoing.
In the coming general election, if you are a Labour voter, don’t give any Tory candidate your vote lightly.
If you are a fisherman, or a farmer, ask all parties how a hard Brexit (or even a no-deal Brexit) will affect your livelihood when grants are withdrawn and market tariffs cut exports and increase costs.
This election will affect our futures and our children’s futures, more than any other in living memory.
Bill Gardner MBE
A KIND OF NIMBYISM?
Perhaps the rejection of the Howpark wind farm proposal is a kind of nimbyism by the mob of existing wind farmers in the Eye valley, aided and abetted by the supportive planning crew.
The same planning squad, no doubt, who sanctioned the appearance, without trace, of the Peelwalls development on the B6355, a half-mile out of Ayton and put up by phantom workers from a distant land, with minimal input by local trades, needless to say.
How much thought has been given to safe ingress, or egress, to a fast stretch of road on a semi-blind bend?
CUTTING THROUGH SMOKE AND STEAM
Perhaps the greatest success story in recent years for our region has been the Borders Railway.
It has promoted growth, regeneration and inward investment, improved community pride and confidence, created social benefits in education and employment, reduced congestion and emissions, and promoted social inclusion.
The person in the Borders who stood out most in his opposition to the return of the railway, with the exception of the long-forgotten Borders Party, was ex-MSP John Lamont.
While the Liberal Democrats and Labour chuffed and puffed up the hill in support of the railway, the SNP government cut through Mr Lamont’s smoke and steam and, with Scottish Borders Council, delivered the railway.
Mr Lamont was the man who said the railway was a complete waste of money and that very few people in the Borders wanted it, or would use it. What say you now, Mr Lamont? An admission perhaps that you got this totally wrong? I doubt it.
Thank goodness there were those in the Borders, the council and SNP government with the foresight, wisdom and intelligence to bring the railway back to the central Borders. Lamentable John Lamont was not one of them. Poor judgement of economic need and public mood doesn’t look good on his CV.
(former chair, Campaign for Borders Rail)
I have recently returned from a few days in the Highlands and Islands where poor people suffered terrible atrocities inflicted upon them by the powerful during the Clearances.
It is an indictment of our times that 200 years later the poor and vulnerable are once again being cruelly treated by people in power.
On June 8, if you have an ounce of warm Christian or just human blood in your veins, I beg you not to vote for a freeze on pensions as proposed by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
I beg you not to vote for the “Rape Clause”, where women have to prove they have been raped before being granted an allowance for a third child.
I beg you not to vote for the continuing growth in food bank use – already a staggering 1,200,000 handouts to desperate people during the last 12 months.
I beg you not to vote for zero-hours contracts which reduce workers to virtual slaves, often with appalling Dickensian working conditions.
I beg you not to vote for homelessness and all the perils attached to living on the streets, especially for women.
While greed, selfishness and callous contempt for lesser mortals are the hallmarks of most Tories, there are Conservatives who not only talk about compassion, but practice it also. It is to these people that I address the above plea.
Please do not abandon your poorer fellow citizens to another five years of Teresa May’s harsh austerity. Like you, all they want is a decent home, warmth and food for their families. Please do not deny them.
IT’S WHAT PEOPLE DO THAT COUNTS
Jim Gibson (letters, May 4) is great on hyperbole and assumptions, but light on facts and accuracy.
Should I be surprised? No, it is what one hears almost daily from the SNP.
Was John Lamont born in Kilwinning? I have no idea, but surely what matters is what Mr Lamont has done as an MSP for his constituents and will continue to do when he is elected as a MP.
Cuckoo in the nest? By Mr Gibson’s logic the SNP has a few and I list two – Nicola Sturgeon, born in Irvine and not in the constituencies she has represented; Alex Salmond, born in Linlithgow far from his constituency of Gordon.
Mr Gibson may dispute the number of surgeries held by Mr Lamont, but maybe he can tell us how many more than none were held by Calum Kerr? Will it approach Mr Lamont’s numbers?
Peebles – which I know well, having lived and worked there for almost 30 years – is, as most people know, not in the constituency which Mr Kerr represented and which I hope will fall to the Conservatives.
Mr Gibson ignores the points I raised – like Scottish education which was once renowned as one of the best in the world. Now, after 10 years of SNP government, it has dropped from 11th to 23rd in reading, from 11th to 24th in maths etc. This can all be found in the International Student Assessment survey run by the OECD. No doubt it is all the fault of Westminster.
Mr Gibson does not refute my points about the economy, the deficit, the cost of the past referendum and a possible future one which the SNP (with the help of their Green friends) got through the Scottish Parliament only recently.
As to Mr Gibson’s assumption that I might be looking for some kind of job with Mr Lamont, how wrong he is there too. At my age – 79 – I do not look for jobs, but volunteer for causes I believe in – like the No campaign, not another costly referendum, against the intrusion in family life by the named person legislation, a good Brexit and a thriving Scotland inside a prosperous UK.
As to Mr Gibson’s last point, I think it is highly unlikely that any constituents are unaware that Mr Lamont is a Conservative candidate.
Pieter van Dijk
LOOSENING THE TRIPLE-LOCK
Scottish pensioners need to think carefully about protecting the future value of their state pensions before voting in the general election.
In his Autumn Statement in November 2016, Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond said that to save money, the UK Government would have to review the triple-lock on state pensions after 2020. This is the undertaking that annual pension increases will be whichever is the highest of – average earnings, the rate of inflation or 2.5%.
Earlier, Frank Field MP, Labour chairman of the House of Commons’ work and pensions committee, said: “It is time for the triple-lock to be shelved.”
In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government has pledged that, after independence, it will maintain the triple-lock indefinitely.
Anyone wishing to be kept informed about pensions issues and the case for Scottish independence is invited to register their interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to thank all the people of mid-Berwickshire who have put faith and trust in me to continue to represent them on Scottish Borders Council.
My pledge to everyone in mid-Berwickshire is to be a visible councillor, a local champion, and do my best to make a difference in peoples lives.
I would like to dedicate my success last Thursday to my dear friend, former agent and adviser, Craig Wood, who sadly passed away during my last term of office who I know was with me every step of the way.
I am sure he would have been delighted with the result, RIP, my dear friend.
z A massive thank-you to the more than 1,000 people who gave our candidates your first vote in the local council elections, and to the several thousands of you who voted us as their second and third choice.
We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you at the street stalls in Jedburgh and Peebles, and while we have been out leafletting in towns across the Borders.
Finding out what matters to you by listening to you, and from the surveys you completed, helped us to focus our campaign on local issues.
We look forward to continuing to work in our local communities, from Eyemouth to West Linton to Newcastleton, and everywhere in between, over the coming months and years.
Best wishes from candidates Catriona, Charles, Kevin, Kate, Colin, Pauline and Barbra.
Scottish Borders Green Party
z I would like to thank the voters across Mid Berwickshire who supported me on May 4 and did me the honour of re-election.
During my campaign I received a great deal of encouragement and kind remarks from those I met on the doorsteps, as well as a welcome cup of tea on a number of occasions.
My campaign was focused on local issues which I regard as of paramount importance in local elections. National issues have little relevance in council elections as they aren’t what we’re elected to deal with.
Mid Berwickshire is a large area and it is difficult to meet everyone individually during the three-four week election campaign.
In my view, the support I get from the people I represent in this ward is the result of work done over the years. I’m committed to working for all the people in Mid Berwickshire ward.
I’d like to thank all those who helped in any way during my election campaign. In particular, I’d like to say a special thanks to those who managed to deliver leaflets over the wide expanse of Mid Berwickshire.
z I would like to thank the voters of East Berwickshire who elected me to represent them on Scottish Borders Council.
I was overwhelmed by the support and will do my very best for the community.
I would especially like to thank those who helped me run my campaign. Last but not least, a big thank-you to my family who have been a huge support.
ROTARIANS’ COFFEE MORNING
On behalf of Duns Rotarians, I thank all who attended our coffee morning in Duns Parish Church hall on Saturday, April 29, and to those who contributed to our street collection that morning. A sum of £503.39 was raised, which goes local charities.
CANCER CHARITY FUNDRAISERS
I wish to thank the Foulden Village Hall Dancers who raised £750 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The event was supported by Ryan Renton’s granny and granda, who love to dance.
TORIES TAKING RISK WITH FOOD QUALITY
Robert Scott’s letter printed last week is long on rhetoric and short on facts.
He states that Chancellor Philip Hammond has promised the farming industry continued equivalent support post-Brexit when no such assurance has been given. Quite the opposite is the case.
The Tory UK Government will retain legislative authority for agriculture in a power grab which will take control away from the Scottish Government. Westminster’s going to scrap direct support, preferring to risk our food quality and security by allowing imports from countries with dubious production and welfare standards which are currently subject to high tariffs. As Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg confirmed, these tariffs will be “swept away”, opening the floodgates for imports.
The Tories refused to put Protected Geographical Indication safeguards for Scotch beef and lamb into the recently-concluded Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which could lead to markets, hard-won over many years, being lost to Scottish producers.
If Scottish farming receives any support at all post-2020, it is highly likely to be ‘Barnetised’, which will cost our industry, and the Borders region, millions of pounds.
The NFUS is alert to the dangers and fighting hard for a fair outcome for farming, but has no real power in the face of a rampant Tory government desperate to secure trade deals with whoever it can.
The Tories are trying to frame the general election as a proxy mandate for a second independence referendum. It isn’t. This general election is about protecting Scotland’s interests in the new reality of our non-EU status, outside the single market and at the mercy of a Westminster administration whose track record towards our industry is nothing short of calamitous.
Calum Kerr has demonstrated his commitment to the rural economy in Scotland. Will a Tory MP stand against his own party’s determination to sweep away agricultural support in an effort to secure a good deal for farming? I very much doubt it.
MP WAS VERY HELPFUL
I totally disagree with criticism expressed in your letters pages of the SNP’s Calum Kerr, where he is said to have “not held a single surgery for his constituents” since being elected as an MP.
I met him in December last year to complain about the desecration and theft of metal from British warships sunk during the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942 where entire ships have disappeared – HMS Exeter, for example, with only HMS Electra being left intact on the sea bed.
Mr Kerr was very helpful when I met him in his office in Galashiels – and it was productive when he wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence about the matter (and provided me with a copy). It was also a pleasant experience in his constituency office, which was warm and not in some draughty village hall.
He also listened to me very careful and was genuinely interested in this naval matter.