Your picture of the Week

This image of the Black Hill was taken on the road just out of Earlston at Sorrowlessfield
This image of the Black Hill was taken on the road just out of Earlston at Sorrowlessfield

This image of the Black Hill was taken last Wednesday by John Fowler, of Duns, on the road just out of Earlston at Sorrowlessfield.

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On March 29 last year, Sir Tim Barrow handed European Council president Donald Tusk one of the most important letters in Britain’s post-war history – a letter which stated that the formal process of this country regaining her sovereignty under Article 50 had begun.

Despite numerous attempts to derail that process by an unholy alliance of so-called Scottish nationalists, who lost 21 out of 56 seats in the 2017 general election, and other MPs who also believe mystically that Brussels Byzantine bureaucrats know best, and that we should yield to their directives without question, the process of escape is on track and Britain’s iconic blue passports will be issued within two years.

Before the EU referendum, numerous millionaire “experts” – from Chancellor George Osborne, the Canadian Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and the French head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine La Garde – queued up to panic the populace with predictions of mass unemployment, years of recession and an emergency budget if we voted to leave the Soviet-style organisation.

What has happened? Unemployment is at a 42-year low. Manufacturing order books are at a 30-year high. For the first time, the UK is top of Forbes list of best countries to do business.

Ah, but what about the £35bn Brexit bill we have to pay, including pensions for the said bureaucrats, the Remainers cry? Well, it is a far cry from the £100bn that EU sources originally claimed for their own. And it will be spread over the years until 2030.

By comparison, had we voted to remain, Britain would have had to pay the EU in contributions to its budget £120bn by 2030. I call that a good deal.

Britain, despite her small size, has the world’s fifth largest economy, the world’s fourth most powerful armed forces – and as I write the second of our magnificent new aircraft carriers has been floated out at Rosyth, the best intelligence-gathering service, is blessed with innovative engineers, scientists, creative artists, has a civil service and the rule of law which is admired across the world, and a global reach in soft power which is unmatched.

No wonder millions have migrated to the UK in recent years and the port of Calais is besieged by migrants desperate to reach these shores whatever the cost.

Unshackled from the foreign power which has dictated 70% of our laws for decades, Britain’s future will most certainly be on an onwards and upwards path, make no mistake.

William Loneskie



At the risk of becoming a serial correspondent, may I reply to J. Fairgrieve’s challenge, to explain how Scotland gains from being part of the United Kingdom (letters, December 21).

My first inclination was to go down the financial route, starting with the Barnett formula etc., but for every figure I highlight, I’m sure he will come up with figures to the contrary. Basically, the financial argument is open to interpretation. If you believe Big Eck’s (Alex Salmond) Diane Abbot moment when he stated that due to our oil reserves, after independence we would have been one of the richest countries in the world, that’s your choice.

So, putting the financial aspect aside, the one main thing the Union provides is the feeling of stability and protection. The stability is the fact that the UK has one of the strongest economies in the world, and the protection is that although only a small country, the UK has the power to protect itself in the event of conflict, and it also sits at the top table in the event of multilateral decision-making.

These facts, I’m sure, contributed greatly to the fact that Borderers overwhelming voted ‘No’ in the 2014 independence referendum.

Then he asks why, if we cost so much, do unionists wish us to remain.

I feel that the vast majority over the border are similar to us unionists in Scotland in that they feel safe in numbers and, whatever it costs, would prefer to support a united UK. Again, especially in the Borders, unlike the separatists, we don’t feel Westminster is hell-bent on destroying us. We don’t have the ‘them and us’ rhetoric which the SNP strives to impose on us.

But, ironically, its English equivalent – the BNP – might just achieve both their dreams in years to come, by procuring a referendum to break away from those “whinging Scots” – a mindset which, thanks to the SNP never being happy with whatever concessions are given, could become a reality.

I’m positive that any points made above will not alter J. Fairgrieve’s perception of the injustice being imposed upon us by those horrible people over the border.

But I would, in turn, like to ask a question which comes up regularly in conversation between ‘No’ voters, and even a lot of ‘Yes’ ones, and has always been avoided by the nationalist hierarchy. If he can come up with a logical answer, I bow to superior intellect.

The question is, why is the SNP so desperate to break up an alliance hundreds of years old to achieve independence, at any cost? – and then run cap-in-hand to the undemocratic, corrupt and soon-to-be-bankrupt EU which, rather than support the nationalists financially, will demand millions to let them join the asylum. Achieving independence, and then immediately relinquishing it to be ruled by an undemocratic super state, is beyond logic.

I, along with many other folk, await a reply.

Graham Holford



Nicola Sturgeon maintains the new blue UK passports are “insular (and) inward-looking” – an unsurprising attitude given her life’s mission is to break up the UK.

What is extraordinary is her response, claiming Scottish separatism to be “open, inclusive, civic (and) internationalist”.

She should spend time on social media checking out what some of her dyed-in-the-wool supporters are up to.

They routinely post mocked-up images of blue Scottish passports, often accompanied by angry rants about “English invaders”.

They post photos of their driving licences with the Union flag obscured by the Saltire. The nationalist leader’s more devoted supporters refer to the UK flag as “the butcher’s apron”, and from time to time videos appear online of angry nationalists ceremoniously burning the UK flag.

And does Ms Sturgeon do anything much to stop this? No, because she needs their dogged determination to attempt to keep separatism in Scotland alive.

Martin Redfern



Not only will the new UK passports be the wrong shape and size, but, instead of a proper dark blue, they are to be produced in a shade akin to that of Scotland’s national flag (the Saltire) which I can only presume is a doomed attempt by Theresa May’s government to appeal to SNP voters.

John Eoin Douglas



This is the time for making New Year resolutions and I trust that politicians, climate scientists, government spokesmen/women, the BBC, Green party supporters, spin doctors and others of that ilk promise to refrain from using the following words and phrases in 2018:

“Lessons have been learned”, “It is not a figure we recognise”, “The best emission reduction targets in the world”, “It’s all Westminster’s fault”, “Scotland leads the world”, “Save the planet”, “We must eliminate fossil fuels”, “We are committed”, “We will set up a committee”, “It’s the right scheme in the right place”, “Wind and other renewable sources play a vital role in meeting Scotland’s energy needs”, “Extreme weather”, “Catastrophic climate change”, “Global warming”, “Rising sea levels”, “Scotland will generate 100% of electricity from renewables”, “Restrain temperature increase to 2C” and “Police Scotland is a success story”.

Clark Cross