Eyemouth High School student Jodie Martin-Marshall sent us this view taken during the evening at Little Millbank, Eyemouth.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Firstly, I’d like to start this letter by saying that I believe in the freedom of the press and I would never criticise any person for the paper that they read – although some contributors to this newspaper take great delight in doing so.
In last week’s Berwickshire News, Borders SNP MP Calum Kerr branded Theresa May an opportunist for calling a general election.
I find this quite strange, taking into account the announcements made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon re another independence referendum and trying to put the Prime Minister on the back foot. Who was the opportunist then, Mr Kerr?
This, of course, is the current MP with the small majority who’s very frightened about losing his job in June. Many readers will also remember that Mr Kerr, when he was elected, stated in the Berwickshire News that he wouldn’t take a £7k pay rise and would donate it to charity.
Mr Kerr, perhaps you’d like to tell your constituents which charities benefited from this very generous donation? After all, it’s taxpayers’ money and we have a right to know. Perhaps it’s a charitable donation offset against tax? Answer please.
We should also ask Mr Kerr what he’s done for his constituency? Job creation? Dualling the A1? Affordable housing builds? Zilcho!
We’ve all heard the promises made by Ms Sturgeon and her MPs and MSPs about what they would be doing for the people of Scotland.
We won’t mention Police Scotland, underfunding of the NHS and education in this letter.
Let’s start with her pledge made in October 2015. She pledged that the SNP Government would build 50,000 affordable homes during this term of parliament. How many have been built? Perhaps Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP, could provide the answer to this question? Does this number also include the 500 houses that he’s saying will be built over the next 25 years of the lifespan of yet another wind farm built near Grantshouse. Not bad I suppose – 20 a year.
As a matter of interest, how much is the subsidy that’s paid to the owners of the wind farm over this period? Remember, it’s the end-user who pays these subsidies through their electric bills. I would like an answer to this question, Mr Wheelhouse.
I should also remind you that I’m still waiting for an answer to the question I emailed you on February 25, 2014. Funny how the SNP MPs and MSPs never respond to any question that they don’t like. Do they believe we’ll just go away?
I also find it quite interesting that after the UK – which we are a part – held a referendum on membership of the EU, Ms Sturgeon referred to the people who voted for Brexit as racist. Well both myself and my wife voted for Brexit. Are we racists? 1,018,322 people in Scotland voted to leave. Quite a few racists, Ms Sturgeon. She’ll regret these statements.
She’s still going on about independence and joining the EU. It just won’t happen. Scotland has a deficit of £15bn and this after receiving over £24bn in funding through the Barnett formula from the UK Treasury. Plus another extra £350m in the latest budget.
The EU won’t allow a country with a deficit like this to join. So where does all the money go?
The question that the electorate must ask is: “Do the SNP MPs/MSPs and councillors work for their constituents, or just do what they’re told by the SNP politburo in Edinburgh – I believe we all know the answer to that question. We’ve seen how they vote in both the council committees and also in the Commons. Don’t follow the party line and you’re de-selected.
Finally, funny how the Scottish National Party never mention North Sea oil revenues these days.
South Cheviot View
PLAYING THE RUSSIANS’ GAME
It is a unique experience for me to read one of Richard Walthew’s letters (April 20) which actually was quite funny.
Does he truly believe that the dreary subject of another independence referendum was one which candidates were initiating on the doorsteps, or is this yet another directive to activists from party HQ?
If the topic were ever to be raised, it is more likely to be one which worried or irritated voters voiced in exasperation. A candidate would not win support for a particular one of the three parties named by Mr Walthew, if all three were singing exactly the same negative song.
Blaming your opponents for your own faults is an old game and is one used invariably by the Russians today.
Given its own pre-occupation with indyref2 to the exclusion of everything else, who else is more likely to chose the topic than the SNP or its allies, the so-called Scottish Greens?
Finally, I would suggest that Mr Walthew reads John Lamont’s ‘View from Holyrood’ (also April 20) on council elections. It is just conceivable that after doing so, he might consider it possible that he and the views he expressed in his letter might be wrong.
CONTEMPTUOUS OF HOLYROOD
Although I am not one of his or the Conservative Party’s supporters, I would be the first to acknowledge with gratitude the good work that John Lamont has done as an MSP in this constituency, especially in dealing with local issues.
So it is with both surprise and great disappointment that I see he has agreed to stand again in a UK general election.
Under pressure after the last independence referendum, the Conservative Westminster government gave increased powers to the Scottish Parliament, claiming that by so doing it had met the aspirations of the Scottish people and given us what was said to be the most powerful devolved assembly in Europe.
It was to this Scottish Parliament that Mr Lamont sought election and pledged his allegiance in 2016.
Yet within 12 months at the first opportunity, he rejects the trust the Scottish electors placed in him, showing contempt for the Holyrood legislature by seeking to win a seat in the comfortable Conservative heartland of Westminster.
By this action he is indeed showing his true colours and giving the lie to having any commitment to real and effective devolution. It shows that for him – and the Conservatives – real power rests and can only always in future rest in Westminster.
Holyrood will obviously always be for Mr Lamont second-rate and second-best.
TWO-CHILD LIMIT POLICY MISGUIDED
On Saturday morning I saw John Lamont MSP at his Duns surgery to ask his views on the new two-child limit for child tax credits and the rape clause.
I was genuinely surprised that he supports this misguided Westminster policy as it risks the Conservatives losing their claim to support hard-working families.
Financial support for families with children is far more generous in Germany and a number of other successful European economies than in the UK. It would be most efficient to increase universal child benefit (as this is the cheapest way of providing support to children), but that appears to have become politically unacceptable.
The child tax credit system, although more complex, has the advantage of being relatively easy to means-test and taper to ensure that there are few trap points.
Placing a limit on the number of children supported will effectively result in children being punished. It will increase the numbers of families caught in poverty traps which will hamper overall economic growth, and put further strain on local services.
In the longer term it will damage the economic productivity of the country because children from poorer families tend, on average, to achieve less well at school.
Mr Lamont said people should only have the number of children that they can afford to keep. However, this does not make sense in the real world because individual circumstances can so easily change.
There will be families in the future hit by unexpected redundancy, death or disability of a parent, marriage break-up and unplanned pregnancies (even following proper precautions).
Mr Lamont is effectively saying that children from large families should be doubly punished in these circumstances.
He then suggested that the SNP should use its devolved powers to mitigate the Westminster policy.
However, tax credits are not devolved, so to mitigate the cap will require a separate system to be designed which will almost inevitably be more complex and costly to implement.
We should be striving for a simpler and more efficient tax and welfare system, not a more complex and expensive one.
I voted No in the 2014 referendum, but see this as one reason why I now think Scotland would be better off independent.
As a father-of-four, I am very aware of the cost of bringing up children. I am also lucky to be in a relatively-secure public sector job, but have appreciated the small amount of tax credits that we have received, especially as my take-home pay has declined in real terms since 2008.
In previous elections we are exactly the sort of middle-class family that the Conservatives might hope to win support from, but I will be casting my vote elsewhere in June.
WHY I’M GOING WITH THE TORY
On June 8 we shall be voting in a very important election.
In the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, as in many other areas of Scotland, it will be between the SNP and Conservatives. John Lamont (Conservative) will be up against Calum Kerr (SNP), who won by just 328 votes in 2015.
My vote will go to John Lamont. Let me share with you why I think you should vote for him too:
z Mr Lamont lives locally, Mr Kerr does not. Would you rather have someone who knows what goes on in Hawick, Galashiels, Eyemouth, Kelso, Duns etc. and the rural communities, or someone who lives outside the area/constituency?
z Mr Lamont holds surgeries where constituents can come to him with their problems – more than 200 since 2015 and a total of over 1,000 local surgeries since he was first elected. Mr Kerr, on the other hand, has held none, in the same period.
z Mr Lamont wants Scotland to stay in the Union. Mr Kerr and his party are hell-bent on a separation followed by a “marriage” to Brussels. All the SNP thinks about is separation and very little else, like governing. Please consider the jobs and trade done by Scotland with England. It might just be your job. Please remember the falling standard in schools after 10 years of the SNP. And the uncertain finances in case of a separation.
z Voting for John Lamont will give the SNP a clear sign that we in the Borders do not want another referendum. The last one cost around £18m – paid for by you and me, not the SNP.
A win for John Lamont, plus any other Conservative wins, will also give Prime Minister Theresa May a stronger hand in negotiating the best possible deal with the EU – and not the hard Brexit which we may well get if the SNP gets its way and divides the nation.
To get a good Brexit will be essential to you, me, our children and grandchildren.
Pieter van Dijk
DAFFODIL TEA AT QUIXWOOD
Marie Curie’s Berwickshire Fundraising Group would like to thank all those who attended the Daffodil Tea at Mollens, Quixwood, near Grantshouse, and especially Mrs Mary MacFarlane for throwing her home open for the afternoon.
This was the first time that such an event has been held by the Group and it proved to be very successful raising the sum of £284.30.
Marie Curie nurses cost £20 per hour to provide and the money raised will provide 14 hours of nursing care for terminally ill people in the Borders.
Our sincere thanks to all those who generously donated towards the sum raised.
BOOST FOR SENIOR CITIZENS’ CLUB
Duns Senior Citizens’ Club held its annual coffee morning on Saturday, April 22.
Many thanks to all who attended this event – it was a great success and enjoyed by all. To everyone who supported by helping, attending and/or donating, a big thank you.
We raised £361.50p for club funds – a tremendous effort by all concerned.
JOAN’S FINAL CHAPTER
My sincere thanks to everyone who supported me as I left work as assistant librarian for the communities of Duns, Coldstream and Eyemouth.
It was lovely to see many of you in Duns Library Contact Centre for coffee and cake on April 11. My particular thanks for cards, gifts and kind words.
It was a delight to work alongside you for over 10 years. I shall miss you. Keep up the good work.