Stuart Cobley took this picture of Duns Parish Church under repair.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Ill-conceived pilot scheme
I refer to the page 2 headline in the November 17 issue of your sister title, The Southern Reporter, which read, ‘Rebel Edgar beaten on parking proposal’.
That appears to be indicative of the confusion that exists in the present ruling administration at Scottish Borders Council.
Councillor Edgar is not just a member of this ruling administration but he also happens to be the portfolio holder opposing a recommendation made by the chief roads officer.
This is the department Councillor Edgar is responsible for which speaks volumes about the influence he exerts there on our behalf.
Perhaps with an election approaching he anticipated the outrage that would follow from affected town centre business people on learning that Scottish Borders Council had rejected their calls to implement effective on-street parking control by introducing Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE).
In spite of overwhelming evidence from those directly affected, the decision was taken to kick this issue into the long grass and waste more time and money on a proposal to pilot an ill-conceived voluntary scheme involving the issue of parking disks that will be totally irrelevant in enforcing the current regulations.
It was also decided once again to urge the police to do more.
To meet the many demands made for their services the police obviously require to prioritise their resources so it is unrealistic for them to be expected to enforce parking regulations on a regular basis.
This is a situation that is not new because it first became apparent over 40 years ago when the business case was successfully made to introduce traffic wardens to the Borders towns for the first time.
It is abundantly clear that the time has come to take more effective control over the enforcement of parking restrictions in our town centres and a process (DPE) is available to replace the existing arrangements as they have now fallen into disrepute through abuse.
By applying for DPE powers it would enable the council to tailor parking enforcement to meet specific local needs while addressing traffic management issues, also align with other policies such as town regeneration and road safety.
Police Scotland terminated the employment of traffic wardens in early 2014, a move that affected all Scottish Councils. Some already have DPE up and running yet in the report to councillors it is apparent that the opportunity to consult with other authorities and Transport Scotland to ascertain how this worked in practice or explore the financial viability appears to have been missed.
For too long this has been a contentious issue aired regularly at Community Council and Area Forum meetings also recently at a hearing by the Petitions Committee of the council.
The recommendations made after two year council member/officer working group have been ignored.
There has also been a £35,000 survey commissioned by the council the outcome being nothing effective being done.
If there is a ‘Cruelty to Christmas trees’ association, SBC headquarters should be reported for the poor little tree they have erected beside the war memorial.
It should have been left to grow for at least another year. Last year’s tree was beautiful, this poverty little thing wont need many lights - perhaps that the idea, saving money on electricity!
A funny way of showing hatred
Sometimes I read with bemusement letters denouncing the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon and anti-English racism.
It’s as if the writers are living in a miasma of Unionism, isolated from the real life which is going on around them. So perhaps it’s time for a reality check.
As an unabashed Englishman, I have lost count of the times I have written to you stating that during all the 50 years I have lived in various parts of Scotland, I have never experienced any discrimination or animosity against me or England.
During the two year campaign for independence when I was among mostly Scottish activists, I was made nothing less than welcome. Any hostility directed towards me usually came from Unionists who are “proud Scots” – but not because I am English.
Furthermore, I have yet to hear an English person complaining about ill treatment in Scotland.
So unless accusers can come up with corroborative evidence of discrimination, I suggest they stick with actuality rather than fantasy.
So the SNP is hated is it? Well, Scots have a funny way of showing their hatred.
The results of the 2016 Scottish general election, held under a system of proportional representation designed to prevent the domination of any one party, showed that the SNP received 46.5% of the vote against the Tories 22%. So I think we can be sure that most Scots know exactly which party is looking out for them.
After the 2015 UK general election, still held under the utterly undemocratic First-past-the-Post system, the Conservatives received less than 37% of votes, meaning that 63% rejected the Tory’s attacks on the poor and vulnerable, and their appalling management of the economy.
By the way, Nicola Sturgeon is rated the most effective and popular politician in Britain today by most commentators; a status Theresa May must envy.
In conclusion, I do hope that contributors to your letters page will put aside their personal prejudices, and comment on Scottish politics in an objective and realistic manner.
A good start would be reading national newspapers for grown-ups.
Guilty of being huge optimist!
It is unfortunate that, yet again, I have to correct Mr Singleton, and now Mr Martin on matters of fact (Berwickshire News letters, November 24).
I am described, by both, as “an SNP member” and a “dyed in the wool SNP supporter”. I have to tell them both, I am not, never have been, and do not intend to become a member of the SNP.
However, I must plead guilty to the charge of being a “huge optimist” since I look forward to our country becoming an independent nation in the near future.
It is a pity that Mr Singleton chooses to interpret a simple request to support his opinions with facts as a “personal attack”.
The fact is that the “fantasy land” he refers to is a country with one Conservative MP, one Labour MP, one Lib-Dem MP and a Prime Minister no-one has voted for, which is currently being dictated to by a Unionist Government which Scotland did not vote for. This blind allegiance to such a government raises the question - exactly who is living in “fantasy land”?
Mr Martin’s choice of language - “Visceral hatred” and the assertion that “irrational hatred of the SNP is totally justified” is unfortunate and smacks of the xenophobic and racist language from Westminster before, during, and following the Referendum on membership of the EU, when Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain.
After the Brexit vote we have the falling pound, increased government borrowing, continuing austerity, declining wages, and the disgraceful treatment by the Home Office, of good people of all nations, who wish to make their homes here, and make a valued contribution to our economy and our culture.
Scotland is a proud nation with a democratically elected Government at Hollyrood and a record number of MPs at Westminster who strive to represent the interests of our citizens.
It is a country which welcomes everyone wherever they come from - including England! I have many friends and acquaintances who are English and, it may surprise Mr Martin, some ARE members of the SNP!
They, like me recognise that an independent Scotland is more than capable of running its own affairs, and creating a welcoming and inclusive society, which works for the benefit of all its people, unlike divisive and dysfunctional Westminster Governments which do not deliver for them.
Steam could be the solution
My recent experience of the Borders Railway shows that the only trains which seem comsistently to run timeously are the specials drawn by steam locomotives some of which are more than 75-years-old.
Perhaps the answer to Scotland’s current railway crisis is to build many more to similar or even modernised designs.
If Scottish engineering companies are no longer up to this, then India still has the capability and I’m sure that a large locomotive order to the Indian sub-continent would do much to repair the damage by Mrs May’s recent visit.
John Eoin Douglas
Old style student politics
Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf must be extremely tempted to respond to Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale’s strident demands for his resignation over problems with Scotland’s railways by saying “Fine. I’ll go if you’ll take the job and we’ll all see if you manage any better”.
The truth is: the Scottish government operates under financial and legal constraints set by Westminster.
That won’t change soon. Even if Ms Dugdale were to become Transport (or First) Minister tomorrow, she would have the same civil servants in post to advise her and the same contractors or service deliverers involved on relatively long term contracts so any decisions she could make would be little different to those taken by the SNP.
Whilst Ms Dugdale has always seemed to me a happy bubbly person who would be great company in the pub, her tribal opposition to anything and everything the SNP does makes her seem a complete boor.
Her approach to political discourse is an unnattractive harkback to old style student politics and she could learn greatly from the current generation of student politicians in NUS Scotland who exhibit a much more nuanced and consensual approach to political debate and decision making.
Work has now been done
Well my letter last week regarding the unfinished work on the A1 road at the Cedar Cafe seems to have done the trick - or it is a timely coincidence.
I can report that the lines and cats eyes are now on the section of road.
Thanks for printing my letter.
Error with raffle tickets
With our Annual Christmas Raffle tickets now being on sale to the public, it is through this section of the Berwickshire News, that Coldstream Amateur Football Club would like to outline an error with the printed tickets.
The raffle tickets are advertised as on sale for ‘Coldstream AFC and Coldstream Jnrs FC’ following an initial agreement to split the fundraiser between the two clubs. Unfortunately the tickets had already gone to print when we were notified that this was no longer to be. Therefore we would just like to highlight that the fundraising and sale of tickets are solely for Coldstream Amateur Football Club only.
We hope that this does not cause any confusion or issues and thank you in advance for your continued support.
Coldstream Amateur Football Club Committee
Coldstream is ‘second to none’
Once again I would like to thank everyone who helped in this year’s Poppy Appeal - the collectors, all those who displayed tins in their premises and above all the good people of Coldstream who are never slow to contribute to a worthy cause.
This year we raised £1,313 for the Appeal and once again the Burgh has proved itself ‘second to none’ in generosity.
Well done everyone.
(Poppy Scotland Appeal Organiser)
Breast Cancer Now
On behalf of the Breast Cancer Now charity I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who attended our recent coffee morning in the Eildon Centre, Coldstream. The marvellous sum of £652 was raised.
Once again I was thrilled with the loyal support we get at our fundraising.