John Fowler of Duns sent us this image of Greenknowe Tower, Gordon.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
TRAINING PLACES CANCELLATION
The job of health secretary is one of the most important in any government.
Yet no reply has yet been given by the republican Scottish National Party for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s culpability during her chaotic period as health secretary (2007-12). She is personally responsible for the cancellation during this period of 2,000 training places for badly-needed nurses, saying they were “unnessary”, leading to today’s chaos in Scotland’s hospitals.
If this is the best example of leadership from the SNP, the electorate will run in fear at the next general election
It is incredible to think that opposition parties – Labour and Conservative in particular – have not questioned the First Minister and current SNP health secretary about this serious situation.
The First Minister is too busy opposing anything in Westminster and Holyrood, and the electorate will no longer accept this childish behaviour – especially during Brexit negotiations.
Her main decision lately has been to increase taxes to cover her mistakes and disastrous decisions. Perhaps if we all close our eyes this will all go away.
GRIPPING COUNCIL BY THE BUDGETS
Two articles in last week’s issue of your sister title, the Southern Reporter – ‘Bid launched to save bus service facing axe’ and ‘Calls going out for action to stop roads going to pot’ – reminded me yet again of the fantasy land council policymakers at their Newtown HQ inhabit.
To save paltry sums, more non-drivers – inevitably the elderly and vulnerable – face being cut off and those that can drive there is the prospect of soaring repair bills as vehicles get hammered daily on our dire road network.
Yet education sails merrily on, gobbling up 42% of council tax. The response to this is often that it is a “legal obligation” on the local authority to dispense such largesse to the education sector.
There are many things which councils chose to ignore, seemingly with impunity, that are “the law”. Maintaining a fit-for-purpose road network, achieving and maintaining a certain level of cleanliness on roads and in public places, and adequately resourcing services for the vulnerable will do for starters – all areas where Scottish Borders Council habitually fails.
Budget allocations have nothing to do with some desire to obey “the law”. Local authorities have disregarded legal obligations for decades when it suits them. This preposterous imbalance in budget allocations has everything to do with the power of the educational establishment and the teaching unions, and nothing whatever to do with some concern to be within “the law”.
Perhaps those of us who have never placed any demand on the local education system should start a protest movement to withhold 42% of our council tax. It would be entertaining to watch the council chasing its own tail and spending a fortune trying to recover its lost millions.
CHARITY’S SUPPORT FOR WOMEN
You may have seen news stories about a problem with breast-screening invitations in England since 2009 that has affected many thousands of women who would be aged between 69 and 79 today.
We’ve created a dedicated page on our website, www.breastcancercare.org.uk, where you can watch our minute-long video with Breast Cancer Care clinical director Dr Emma Pennery. People who are affected (or are worried they may be) can read more in the blog.
Our free helpline is there Monday to Saturday on 0808 800 6000 to support people through this and any other breast cancer concerns they may have. Our ‘Ask Our Nurses’ email service can provide expert support in writing.
Samia al Qadhi
Breast Cancer Care)
INMATES REJECTED CIVILISED VALUES
Holyrood’s equalities and human rights committee has backed a proposal from MSP Patrick Harvie that prisoners in Scottish jails should be entitled to vote.
Would that be to vote as part of a society with civilised values which these criminals rejected when they committed their crimes?
As MSPs sit in their ivory tower there is a rising wave of violence and abuse against hospital staff across the Scottish NHS, with more than 16,500 physical and verbal attacks. Scotland is also facing a growing menace from organised crime with more than 3,000 gangsters and nearly 170 crime syndicates.
The SNP soft-touch stance on criminals and sentencing makes a mockery of justice for the victims. We need a strict sentencing and prison regime with no frills that will ensure that offenders, once released, have no desire to return.
Scottish MSPs must squash this proposal or face the wrath of the electorate.
A FUND FOR RURAL PROJECTS
The ongoing effects of weather, bureaucracy and concern for the future continue to put our countryside under pressure, with few avenues to turn to for support.
This can have dramatic consequences for the rural economy and the people who live and work there.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund is committed to supporting community-led projects that will reinvigorate and sustain farming networks and the countryside by providing services and amenities through its grant programme.
Open for applications until June 14, grants are available for up to £50,000.
If you are involved in a community-run or farming-support project, and think that your organisation may benefit – or if you know someone else who might – please get in touch straight away by visiting www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/grants.
The fund has supported a diverse range of projects delivered locally such as a community transport app in Argyll, and projects on Barra, Orkney and Shetland. We are proud to have distributed more than £9m since 2010 to more than 25 projects led by these grassroots organisations.
We believe it is crucial that we help rural areas during these times of change to retain a thriving countryside and encourage a sustainable farming sector in the UK.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund
OPPONENTS INTENT ON ANNIHILATION
We in Britain, surrounded by the sea in Shakespeare’s immortal words, “in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house”, tend to be relaxed about our security.
Not so the Israelis who face opponents – Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran among others – intent on their annihilation.
Events on Monday were not demonstrations, nor even riots, but organised, incited and financially-sponsored attempts to break into Israel. Had they succeeded in breaching the border, Israel would have faced the immediate slaughter of civilians by suicide bombers and terrorists.
The attitude of Hamas to human life is precisely the same as that of the IS sponsors of last weekend’s family suicide bombings in Indonesia, because both stem from the same Salafist ideological roots.
The Palestinians and their supporters, including Jeremy Corbyn and his associates, disingenuously demand ‘a right of return’, knowing full well that this would result in the immediate and complete destruction of Israel.
Do the Germans demand a right of return to East Prussia, the Greeks to Ionia or the Armenians to Eastern Turkey? Of course not. Could Jews exercise a right of return to the Rivers of Babylon or anywhere else in the Middle East, where their ancestors lived for centuries or even millennia until 1948? Inconceivable.
The blame for Monday’s bloodshed should be placed firmly and solely on Hamas and its Iranian and other Islamist sponsors.