Letters to the editor


Many are petrified of change

It seems that the big difference between Unionists and supporters of Scottish independence is this: YES people have thought about and weighed up the consequences of staying in the union and have decided that they want something better for Scotland.

Others seem to have accepted 300 years of indoctrination from London and will not even open their minds to any alternative.

After involving myself in campaigning for independence for many years I have arrived at two conclusions. There is enormous support for independence by people living in Berwickshire but who were not born in the county.

While of course there are native Berwickshire folk who support independence, there are many more for whom change, any change, is absolutely petrifying. This is sad because they may find next September that change has been thrust upon them by real Scottish patriots in the rest of Scotland.

Whichever side of the counter you and your readers are on – a very Happy Christmas indeed.

Richard Walthew,

Whitsome Crofts, Duns.

Objective information

I wish to provide readers with a more objective view in the independence debate.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research’s new reports into Public Finances and “Can an Ageing Scotland Afford Independence” makes a step change towards providing objective information in the Independence debate. The recent Institute of Fiscal Studies report ‘extrapolated’ existing trends and is informative as ever, but as Adam Smith noticed even economic agents have changing behaviours.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research Public Finance Report looks at future national debt for the UK and for an independent Scotland. It considers how manageable a country’s debt is by comparing the size of that debt to the wealth that the country produces. There are different ways to measure government debt, and different ways Scotland and the UK could agree to share their debt. Regardless, the NIESR’s economists have concluded that Scotland will be in a stronger position than the UK “debt burden will be lower than the UK’s in all cases”

Based upon The Office for National Statistics projections for 2012 “Can an Ageing Scotland Afford Independence” makes clear many other factors have an influence over and above ageing population levels such as productivity growth, fiscal policy, North Sea oil revenues, changes in trade patterns, future cost of borrowing and the division of the UK’s public debt.

Population ageing over the next 50 years will be a significant challenge for Scotland and the rest of the UK (RUK). According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) population projections, Scotland will age slightly faster than RUK (ONS population estimates, 2012-based principal ONS population projections). However, this difference should not be a major consideration when taking the decision about independence as the additional costs of supporting the ageing population as an independent state are much smaller than the costs of the population ageing itself. Scotland will have to bear these costs whether is stays part of the UK or becomes independent.(P.2)

Furthermore they state: “Our conclusions differ from those presented in the IFS report released last month. We find smaller difference between the burden of ageing in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

There are two broad reason for the difference:

1. Our model is different. We take into consideration the behavioural responses of economic agents, while IFS relies on the extrapolation of previous trends. We have a model of the whole economy that includes not only UK regions but also the rest of the world, while IFS only focuses on the public finance sector in the UK but models it in more detail.

2. Our assumptions are different. We use the most up to date ONS population projection for the UK (2012-based principal projection), while IFS uses the low migration variant of the 2010-based population projection (for main scenario). We do not assume a difference in labour productivity growth rates between Scotland and the UK. We do not consider the changes in the North Sea revenues because they are not related to the process of population ageing”.(P.3)(Source: http://niesr.ac.uk/press/can-ageing-scotland-afford-independence-11672#.UqIHsuI9uQI)

In both reports the exagerations imagined by the Unionist side from the IFS report are ‘objectified’ by the statements “debt burden will be lower than the UK’s in all cases” and “difference should not be a major consideration when taking the decision about independence as the additional costs of supporting the ageing population as an independent state are much smaller than the costs of the population ageing itself.”

In both cases one should not forget the ability of a Scottish government to embark on a different economic roadmap, mitigating debt and creating larger growth in the economy as well as changing the demographics over a relatively short time period.

Dr James Ellison,

Springfield Close, Duns.

BGH parking

Courtesy bus is an idea

Regarding the new parking restrictions at the Borders General Hospital.

With the resultant nuisance of drivers leaving their cars in Darnick and Melrose, would it not be an idea if NHS Borders was to purchase/lease land for a car park some one or two miles from the hospital and run a courtesy bus to and fro to suit shift patterns and also “on demand” for general staff only?

This would free up the present car parks for consultants, key staff, out-patients, visitors and maintenance workers. Staff would then be happy in the knowledge that they never would be faced with a hefty fine or, indeed, find that their vehicle had been damaged through it being dangerously parked.

It’s the old story - hospital planners always seem to under-provide when it comes to building car parks!

A. Currie,



Wonderful people

On behalf of my husband Phil and myself I would like to say a huge thank you to the all the folk in the village who gave me so much help during my husband’s stay in the Royal at Edinburgh.

Everyone I met enquired about Phil’s progress, neighbours took us to Edinburgh the day he was admitted, to visit during his ten day stay and shopping.

Many people signed the ‘get well soon card’ and even put up our Christmas lights - nothing seems to have been too much trouble for the kind hearted people of Whitsome.

We wish everyone a peaceful and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Maureen and Phil Stogden,

Main Street, Whitsome.


Cranshaws hosts premiere

For many it has been a moving year commemorating Flodden, with events both north and south of the Tweed.

The Berwickshire News has reported many, so may I please use your pages to thank the many who were involved in our community’s event: In the Footsteps of Flodden?

In the Footsteps of Flodden was a dramatised 15-mile walk through the Lammermuir Hills, from Nunraw to Ellemford. The walk, and a series of playlets en-route, was filmed live - quite literally on-the-hoof! This footage has now been edited into a 40-minute production by a talented (and Lammermuir-raised) filmmaker, Jamie Lochhead.

None of those who packed-out Cranshaws Village Hall last Friday for the film’s premiere screening could fail to be moved by the imagination, sheer hard work and dedication that had gone into its Footsteps creation, delivery and recording.

The film is a moving reminder of the day for all. Especially so for those of us privileged to witness “Ghosts”, the final scene in the ruins of Ellem Kirk, where falling rain disguised the tears of some of the audience, before a moving commemoration at Ellemford to the sound of Lammermuir rain and the haunting pipes of Andrew Ainslie.

Our grateful thanks go to many: but especially the team of local writers who created each of the seven scenes, the talented cast from the Duns Players and Eyemouth and irrepressible producer and director Eloner Crawford, who’s dramatic vision contributed so much. A huge amount of preparation went into the work, so hopefully when the DVDs arrive they will be a worthwhile reminder.

The day would have been impossible to stage without the generous support of the Lammermuir Community Fund and the help and assistance of the local farmers and landowners along the route. Forager Monica Wilde educated us about the culinary and medicinal plants we passed and the Clarty Cloot Band enlivened a damp lunch halt!

The logistics of getting seven casts of performers into the hills ahead of two groups of walkers and then moving a cameraman ahead of them must have been more-than complex! The warm welcome and hospitality at Cranshaws when we finished was a perfect end to a day in the Lammermuirs.

Of course the idea would never have evolved into the memorable event it became without the imagination, passion and commitment of its creator. He spent a huge amount of time conceiving and delivering Footsteps of Flodden, so we are very grateful to David Lochhead that he did.

On behalf of the whole community, and the many others that joined us that day, our thanks go to David, Eloner and all the many, many others involved in so many ways in delivering such a memorable day here in the splendid Lammermuir Hills.

Mark Rowley,

Chairman, Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council.


Event raises £1,450

The committee of the British Heart Foundation, Eyemouth Branch would like to thank everyone who attended their recent coffee morning in The Mason’s Hall, Eyemouth, and also everyone who bought tickets for our Grand Christmas Raffle.

The Christmas Hamper was won by Des Moises and the raffle and coffee morning raised a fantastic combined total of £1,450.

The committee would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who contributes to our fundraising throughout the year whether it is attending our coffee mornings, baking for them or buying or selling raffle tickets.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.

Karen Smith,

Secretary, BHF Eyemouth Branch.


Coldingham projects’ boost

We would like to thank all those who have so generously donated and bought secondhand books in the past 10 years which has resulted in over £25,000 being raised for local projects and causes.

This year we were delighted to give funding to Coldingham’s Senior Citizens Club and also the Scout Troop’s Norwegian trip in July when new tents were much needed. We understand that this will in the long term benefit all groups within that organisation.

We will be closing after the Saturday, December 28, session reopening on Saturday, March 1, having re-stocked.

Linda Russell,

The Grange, Coldingham

blood donors

Volunteers thanked

We would like to thank everyone who helped with the blood donor session when we visited Eyemouth on Sunday, December 8.

A total of 106 volunteers offered to give blood and 96 donations were given. There were seven new donors.

We are grafeul for your help.

Caroline Tutt,

Donor Programme Organiser.

Festive shows

Greenlaw pupils excel

I would like to say a huge congratulations to all the staff and pupils of Greenlaw Primary School for the fabulous Christmas show which they performed last Wednesday.

The children obviously had a great time and their hard work really paid off. Both the P1-4’s ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and P5-7’s ‘Panto Pandimonium’ were extremely well done and the children performed like the true stars they are.

Well done Greenlaw,

Fiona Drewery,



Thanks for great support

Through your column may we please thank all those who supported our recent coffee morning in aid of Eyemouth Scout Group.

We raised the magnificent sum of £405.55 and, thanks to a kind parent, this sum will be match funded by Barclays Bank.

We would especially like to thank Janice and David Walker who were in charge of the coffee and raffle respectively - the Walkers have been supporters of the scouting movement for many years and it is great that they are continuing to do so.

Final thanks to Betty Black from Eyemouth who sent a bouquet from Occasions, Florist for the raffle - Betty does this for every coffee morning held in the Mason’s Hall and we would like to give her a special mention this week.

Thanks again to all our supporters.

Lynne Bogle,

Chair, Executive Committee Eyemouth Scout Group.


Festive Fair

The Friends of Saltgreens would like to thank every one who came along and helped at the Fair in November.

The sum of £501 was raised, well done everyone

Jane Johnston,

Callercove Way, Eyemouth.