A Monday morning sunrise looking over Crichness Farm, near Cranshaws.
The image was supplied by Louise Renton, Duns
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
STENCH OF FISHING CHIEFS’ HYPOCRISY
The major fishing port of Grimsby voted to leave the European Union by 70 per cent.
The town and a sizeable area around it is dependent on this crucially-important industry which imports, processes and exports fish mainly to the EU.
As the true impact Brexit will have on the fishing industry is dawning on people, the town is panicking.
Instead of lorries driving straight from ports to destinations in the EU, the prospect of perishable fish products sitting in containers on docksides waiting to be cleared by customs is truly frightening.
In an act of hypocrisy, industry leaders in Grimsby are seeking special dispensation so that profits will not be hit. If their plea is considered by the Westminster government, what would that say about the contemptuous dismissal of similar requests from Scotland?
As the Government backs itself ever deeper into a cul-de-sac after months of negotiations, nothing has been resolved.
One problem in particular seems intractable – the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
The logical outcome of Brexit dictates that there will be a customs border, but neither the EU, the British or Irish governments, nor the DUP (the NI party propping up a fragile Tory majority) want that.
So what is the solution?
As I understand the situation, one of the following has to happen:-
1) Brexit is abandoned. If that happens watch the fireworks; Nigel Farage might actually explode.
2) There is no border; both the south and north stay in the EU. Apart from being an insult to Scottish voters, would that not defeat one of the reasons England and Wales voted for Brexit – the control of immigrants?
3) If 2 happened would there then have to be customs checks of all goods and people entering mainland Britain from the island of Ireland? That would go down well wouldn’t it?
4) Lastly, the problem is eliminated by the north (which also voted to stay in the EU) uniting peacefully with the rest of Ireland. Aye, right.
Another outcome is possible, but unlikely within the time framework: Scotland becomes independent and remains in the EU as most voters wished.
There are problematic customs borders in Ireland and at the Scottish border, but goods and services could then flow unhindered between the Irish Republic, Scotland and the European Union.
Whatever solution is eventually created by Westminster and the EU, it is going to be a destabilising compromise leading to conflict in the future. None of the above will heal the divisions within the Conservative party which is what this unholy shambles was all about in the first place.
How long before farmers, the tourism industry, the City and goodness knows who else, are marching with Grimsby? What an Eton mess!
LIVING IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE
I am pleased for Paul Singleton (letters, November 30) when he says he feels “optimistic about the future for the Union of the United Kingdom” and that opportunities are beginning to fall into place now that Brexit is beginning to “fire up”.
As usual, however, looking at the facts, rather than his unsubstantiated opinions, it’s clear he is living in some sort of parallel universe.
The rest of Europe, and indeed the world, are watching an incompetent, divided and divisive Unionist Government at Westminster imploding – indecisively jumping from pillar to post, and, it would appear, making as many enemies as possible in the process. Democracy and diplomacy are words they seem not to understand.
The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility), in its summing up of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget, makes the simple point that, in spite of all the spin, the Government’s own targets regarding growth, productivity, debt reduction and Brexit benefitting the whole country have failed, sending the economy into a downward spiral. What we are left with is yet more austerity, a falling pound and stagnating wages for our hard-working public servants and emergency services.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May swans off to Saudi Arabia promoting the sale of yet more British bombs which are killing and maiming innocent children in Yemen, and refusing to do the right thing and cancel the proposed visit of President Donald Trump after he supported the extremist, right-wing “Britain First” organisation, whose only aim is to spread hatred and poison, encouraging violence and division.
Mr Singleton’s view that “major political decisions will be made in a traditional manner at Westminster”, which “is by far the best equipped”, were it not so serious, would be laughable and is at the very least highly questionable.
His suggestion that we should “stop migration to this country and all foreign aid” is xenophobia of the worst kind, and indicates his desire to create a small-minded, isolationalist and inward-looking country – the very opposite view to most people in Scotland.
Does he not understand that the NHS, farming, fishing, the service industries - and businesses all over the country - depend heavily on migrant labour, and that migrants contribute significantly to our economy and our culture?
Surely, we in Scotland, with a need to boost our working population, can make a much better job of running our own country (yes, we are a country, not a region of England) by building a welcoming, inclusive and fair society, running our own affairs, making our own decisions and creating opportunities for everyone who chooses to live here.
PLEASE PLAY A PART IN FIGHTING VIRUS
The Borders director of public health has informed me that there is every possibility that this winter may be the worst one we have seen for many years when it comes to the circulating flu virus.
As a result I would like to ask all my constituents to play a part in helping to reduce the spread of flu within our homes, communities and workplaces.
The following are eligible for a free flu immunisation from their GP practice: people aged 65 or over, anyone with a serious health condition, (particularly those with lung disease such as asthma or chronic bronchitis), pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, and children in Scotland aged 2-5 years and not yet in school.
If you are eligible for a vaccine, but have not received an invitation, you should contact your GP practice.
The flu vaccine is also offered to all primary school children at school. Occupational health services should also offer the vaccine to healthcare and social care workers in direct contact with clients.
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, pneumonia, need for antibiotics, missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospital admissions. Good hygiene also plays a part in reducing the spread to other people.
If you are not in one of the eligible groups for the free flu immunisation, you can get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee. Further information can be found on the NHS Inform website, or by phoning 0800 22 44 88.
(MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
POPPY APPEAL IN COLDSTREAM
On behalf of the Poppy Appeal in Coldstream, I am pleased to announce that this year we raised the marvellous sum of £1,324.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed, including the shops and businesses who displayed tins in their premises, the school and the health centre, as well as the individual collectors who gave of their time to help raise this amount.
Well done everyone – yet again Coldstream has lived up to its motto of ‘Second to None’.
(Poppy Appeal organiser) Legion Scotland (Coldstream branch)
The Westminster government doesn’t recognise the close family of refugee children beyond their parents.
This means that many children escaping war and violence can’t be safely reunited with their family in the UK without first making a deadly journey in to Europe.
An amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill New Clause 53 would make sure the UK’s rules are fixed to stop this needless risk to children’s safety.
I urge your readers to write to their MP to ask them to support this.
(deputy executive director) Unicef UK