Louise Renton, from Duns, captured this view from the top of Crichness, Cranshaws, during the recent wintry weather.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
EDUCATION AND IGNORANCE
Town-based correspondent Richard West holds some bizarre ideas about “snowflake day”, and some equally strange ones about the teaching profession (letters, January 25).
School closures are dictated by the local authority, whereas medical centres are administered by the NHS.
Teachers cannot award themselves time off under any circumstance. Many children are bussed into school, often along back roads which are ungritted, whatever the weather. Why, then, should the profession be “called to account”?
There is a whole raft of legal requirements of which Mr West is unaware.
He then changes tack to dispute the overwhelming evidence about the hours worked by modern teachers. He clearly has no experience of the job nor knowledge of the realities of modern education.
Mr West conveniently forgets some of the harsher realities of the so-called good old days that he evokes.
A couple of decades ago one teaching union had the slogan, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”.
DAVID AND THE DOCUMENTARY
We are looking for a photograph of or information about David Harper, an apprentice draper who lived in Market Square, Duns, before and during the early part of the First World War?
We plan to include him in a documentary we are filming about the history, traditions and culture of the Tweed catchment area which will be shown at venues throughout the Borders and north Northumberland, and will then be available on DVD.
We are a small, locally-based video production company and you can find out more about the topics we are covering in the film by looking at our Facebook page, Our River-Stories of the Tweed.
You can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone on 07986 047901.
FLAGGING UP ‘UNION JACKERY’
I am proud to be writing this on the 258th anniversary of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.
The British (English) nationalists who write to your letters pages are mistaken. They state that it is unnatural and negative for Scots (and many English living here) to wish to make their own way in the world, and make their own decisions.
The opposite is the truth – it is a normal state of affairs for many small independent countries all over the globe.
They are successful, welcoming, inclusive, and doing rather well, thank you very much, and Scots are smart enough and capable of doing the same.
The latest of many examples of “Union Jackery” from the more rabid and extreme Little Englander Unionist press (most of them) involved Tory MSP Murdo Fraser et al, regarding the fake story and pretend outrage about the flying of the Lion Rampant instead of the Union Jack.
It was based on untruths – either through ignorance or deliberately.
But why let facts get in the way of their never-ending, hypocritical, anti-Scottish Government propaganda?
Perhaps they yearn for a return to the “glory days?” of the empire when Britain ruled the world – tartan was banned, Scottish culture and language quashed, and the Clearances paved the way for rich landowners to use Scotland as a playground for their own benefit?
I have also to say that Christopher Green (letters, January 25) – in a desperate attempt to slander our democratically-elected First Minister and former First Minister by comparing them to Trump, Kim Jong-un, Putin, Erdogan, Le Pen and Farage – hits a new low, even for a Unionist like him.
He scrapes the very bottom of a very empty Unionist barrel, and thereby completely discredits his opinions and his position.
PS: I was pleased to note that Scottish Secretary David Mundell has apparently (unless it’s fake news) taken the good advice offered to him and dispensed with the services of failed Carillion interim CEO Keith Cochrane as a paid adviser.
PLAYING WITH SYMBOLISM
Over the course of the last decade the SNP has invested a great deal of its political capital into presenting the SNP and Scotland as one and the same, as well as emphasising imagined or exaggerated differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Amongst other things, this has involved treating the Saltire as though it were the SNP’s alone, rather than other parties, or indeed Scotland’s as a whole. An understandable tactic perhaps for a party wanting to foster a strong sense of nationalism. Yet playing with symbolism can be a risky business, particularly when the people have a habit of deciding for themselves what symbols they value.
The SNP’s recent dismissal of concerns about new rules for the flying of the Union flag over Scottish Government buildings demonstrates as little respect for the truth as it does for the sensibilities of all who are happy to view themselves as both Scottish and British.
Part of the SNP reaction has, of course, been to mock those who are sensitive about the rule change, which apparently formalises what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described as the “long-standing” practice over recent years, as the number of days the Union flag is flown has been reduced to just one, namely Remembrance Day.
The previous First Minister, Alex Salmond, refers to a conversation with the Queen in 2009 in which he implies the use of the Lion Rampart flag was agreed, although he has not clarified whether he explained to the Queen that he intended this as a replacement for the Union flag.
It is likely that the majority in Scotland do not feel a particular strong attachment to one flag over another when it comes to the Saltire and the Union flags, but it seems the current Scottish Government prefers to manipulate the balance to favour a more insular view.
WHO PAID FOR TORY BROCHURE?
I do not mind when readers reply to my letters – but I do mind when I am misrepresented.
At no point in my letter about Scotland in Union, published on January 18, did I claim that it is an English organisation.
I am a member of a local group which supports independence and is also non-political. We receive no funding whatsoever from the SNP or the Scottish Government.
I haven’t forgotten “Scotland’s Future”, a comprehensive guide showing how Scotland can be independent and available to anyone who wanted a copy. I also remember the UK Conservative Government producing an anti-independence brochure, which was delivered to every household in Scotland, whether we wanted it or not. Who paid for that?
The charge that the SNP is intolerant and hostile to challenges simply displays ignorance about the ethos of the party. Its democratic credentials and inclusiveness are as transparent as it’s possible to be.
Independence will not happen unless it is the will of the people. No party hostile to the electorate would enjoy near-40% support, as the SNP does.
By all means reply to my letters, but please read them first.
EDDIE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MOVED
We would like to thank everyone who came to Lennel churchyard and/or Coldstream Parish Church on Monday.
Knowing that so many people held Eddie in such esteem has gone some small way to lessening our grief.
Thanks to your generosity the magnificent sum of £812.52p will be donated to the BGH ITU in his name. We understand that any such donations are used to fund further training perhaps not covered by the NHS, so, hopefully, future patients will benefit.
Eddie would have been so moved by the turnout.
He loved Coldstream and his friends more than anything, and you have all done him proud.
Helen Park and Edd Park
COLDSTREAM COFFEE MORNING
Honour Our Troops would like to thank everyone who supported our coffee morning which was held last Saturday in Coldstream, and helped us raise £325.90 in total.
Honour Our Troops)