Dramatic skies at Linkum Shore as seen by ‘The Wednesday Wanderers’.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
FISH KILLING CAN’T BE JUSTIFIED
We, the ghillies and boatmen on the Tweed, object in the strongest terms to the actions of the Gardo netting station in killing spring salmon.
Whilst we release back into the water all the spring salmon we catch up to July 1 every year, as we have since 2010, Gardo net is killing all the salmon it catches, which (a) cannot be justified in pure conservation terms and (b) is directly contrary to all recognised scientific advice that killing spring salmon at current population levels is not sustainable.
We believe these actions by Gardo will seriously impact not only our own jobs, but also the jobs of many others in the Borders who depend on a viable 10-month salmon fishing season.
Nigel Fell (Boleside beat), Bob Harrison (West Learmouth), Arthur Elliot (Upper
Pavilion), Doug Tait
(Tweedmill), Jake Patterson (Upper Pavilion), John Eddie (Tillmouth), Mick
Charlton (Middle Pavilion), Kevin Wright (Milne Graden), Rod Dixon (Upper Dryburgh),
Matthias Viethen (Ladykirk), George Inglis (Lower
Dryburgh), Peter Lee
(Pedwell), Craig Duke (Upper
Mertoun), Edward Dodds (Drygrange), Kevin Patterson (Tweedswood), Andrew Rohleder (Gledswood), Ian Farr (Bemersyde), Michael Farr (Rutherford), Colin
Pringle (Makerstoun), Colin Bell (Upper Floors), Ritchie Donavan (Upper Floors),
Jonathon Mackereth (Lower Floors), Bryan Jewels (Lower Floors), Billy Jack (Junction), Pud Murray (Junction), Gavin Brown (Junction), Bob Jewels (Upper Hendersyde), John Kitchingham (Hendersyde),
Nigel Fenton (Hendersyde), Craig Walker (Sprouston),
Billy Williams (Sprouston),
Lee Craig (Carham), Bob Smith (Carham), Tom Davis (Lower Birgham), Ryan
Morrison (Lower Birgham), Martin Ritchie (Upper North Wark), Calum Manson (Lower North Wark), Richard Farr (South Wark), Patrick
Robertson (South Wark), Malcolm Campbell (The Lees), Paul Hume (The Lees)
LASHING OUT AT A PERCEIVED ENEMY
There was the strangest selection of letters in last week’s Berwickshire News.
Correspondents attempted to fill your readers with the dread of a virus and vultures, no less. Add to that comments on the negative/positive variations between the Borders and Northumberland because of devolution and there emerges a picture of frantic lashing around, trying to hit out at the perceived enemy.
The fact that these letters had nothing positive or forward-looking to say reveals all about the SNP and its supporters. Their main problem is, of course, that we all know that the SNP sees every election through one prism only – independence. Nicola Sturgeon said so on Sunday night while being grilled by Andrew Neil.
They have no positive tale to tell in their 10 years in charge of education and health in Scotland – quite the opposite.
In this part of the country, where 65% of us voted for the Union in that long-ago referendum in 2014, you cannot win an election on independence. This electorate is far too aware of the layers of history, commerce and family to contemplate a border at Lamberton.
John Lamont has won the admiration and respect of his constituents through representing them and being ever ready to deal with the many issues brought to him. This paper recorded surgery 1,000 at Foulden village hall last year.
He earned the 55% of the vote he won at the last election by going out to meet people in their home communities, representing their interests and dealing with their concerns.
As our MP, he has said that his first duty will be to his constituents, and we have a long record on which to judge his commitment to us. He is our clear choice on June 8.
WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THEY SAY
I think it is important to judge our politicians on what they do, rather than on what they say.
On May 18, there was yet another fact-free letter in the Berwickshire News regarding John Lamont’s surgeries.
What would be more interesting would be to hear from people who have had a problem resolved by John Lamont, and not from one of his cheerleaders.
Let us not forget, MSPs are paid to try to resolve constituents’ problems, and by the way, John Lamont manages to find time in his busy schedule to trouser more in expenses than Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Surgeon put together.
I have personal experience of the help an elected member can give.
A high-speed broadband problem I had spent three months pursuing BT/Openreach about was resolved in 48 hours by Calum Kerr MP. I did not need to attend a surgery, I contacted him by email and I was continually updated on the progress of my complaint and its speedy resolution.
I am not an SNP member and I have no axe to grind, but am quite certain Calum Kerr is capable of resolving the 6,711 cases he claims on his website.
John Lamont may make claims about surgeries, but regularly attending an empty room resolves nothing.
A BREXIT TRANSFORMATION
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is losing even more votes in Scotland – particularly in the fishing industry.
Landing fish in Scotland has fallen 40%, from 700,000 tons to 440,000. Although the number of registered vessels has fallen just a quarter to 2,015, three-quarters of these are small vessels that only fish inshore.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermens’ Federation, says Brexit will “transform Scottish fishing from an industry worth less than £500m a year (landing prices) to one worth in excess of £1bn”.
So much for SNP claims last month of a “gigantic sellout by the UK Government”.
As the UK is way down the list of European fish consumption in 16th position, we don’t eat enough fish anyway.
Our fishing industry is innovative and can probably make us self-sufficient in the very near future.
Yet another example of lack of vision from the Republican Scottish National Party and its inadequate leader.
NO PLAN IN PLACE FOR AGRICULTURE
What plan is in place to ensure farming can continue in the Borders beyond 2020 when CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) grants come to a halt?
Well, if John Lamont’s Conservative party forms the next government, the answer is no plan whatsoever.
Unprofitable farms will simply go to the wall and be absorbed into a few conglomerates capable of self-sufficiency, and in a post-Brexit trading relationship of serious trading barriers, challenges and high costs.
The SNP, by contrast, in the event of having the power to do so (given Theresa May’s indications to lessen Scotland’s powers, rather than increase them), has stated its commitment to provide a replacement for CAP and for as long as is necessary – meaning till farms are self-sufficient.
Party loyalty is all well and good, but if I was a farmer I’d think twice about where to put my ‘X’ on June 8 – I’d be voting SNP.
And what about fishing? Any celebration of freeing-up restrictions and limiting foreign access will be short-lived as the stench of our rotting, tariff-applied fish, held up at continental customs, wafts in our direction, smothering what’s left of the industry. The Tories have nothing in place there either.
In fact, the mantra of “strong leadership” falls flat on its face in consideration of Mrs May’s abysmal failure to have any influence on European Union leaders where her Brexit priorities are concerned, as evidenced by the publication, last month, of the EU’s choice which ignores all of them.
As to the dream that none of this matters as the Commonwealth has been waiting all this time to come to our rescue, now that is straight from Tory ‘La-La-Land’.
ETHOS OF GREED AND SELFISHNESS
An attraction of living in the Borders is the friendliness, kindness and helpfulness of the people.
However, one of the aspects of Border life I have great difficulty understanding is why do so many of these gentle people vote Tory? It seems to me that the Conservative party represents everything that is the antithesis of Borderers’ values.
We are supposed to be a Christian, or at least humanist, country, living by the standards Jesus Christ preached – care for your neighbour and the stranger, be tolerant of those who are different, reject barren commercialism.
The Conservative ethos is one of greed and selfishness, and a callous disregard for anyone who is struggling with life for whatever reason. These cold attitudes have led to policies such as the “bedroom tax”, work-capability assessments, “rape clause”, “dementia tax”, pensioner poverty and benefits sanctions, leaving people in penury. All of these policies have created misery for the disabled, unemployed and poor. But do we care?
I know there are people, wealthy people, who will declare that those suffering as a result of Tory policies have brought it upon themselves. You only have to listen to Katy Hopkins to know this.
Yet mental illness, unemployment and injury can befall anyone at any time – is it not our duty to look after them?
If you are contemplating voting Conservative on June 8, please pause and think. If you are comfortably off, you will suffer no hardship whichever party becomes the government.
So this time please consider those less fortunate than yourself and vote for a party which does care for them.
I have written twice to John Lamont during the last week or so in a (so far) unsuccessful attempt to invite him, before the election, to declare his support, or otherwise, for a number of Tory policies. Specifically: the disgraceful and cruel behaviour of the United Kingdom Home Office in deporting decent people from Scotland; the “rape clause”; ending the triple lock on pensions; cutting winter fuel payments to the elderly; cutting social care and imposing further austerity across the country, hitting the disabled, the poor and the vulnerable of our nation.
His response to date has been a non-committal and evasive “have you read the Conservative manifesto?”
So there you have it: an admission that Mr Lamont wishes to go to Westminster to serve as a lapdog for Theresa May, not for the benefit of Borderers, but to support punishing and retrograde policies which are against the interests of the majority of the Scotland people.
I have also asked Mr Lamont to justify his expenses at Holyrood, being double those of all other MSPs, including the First Minister, and leaders of the other major parties.
A resounding silence was the reply.
ZEALOTS PEDDLING MISLEADING FACTS
It’s a well known fact that when people criticise the SNP, the zealots come out and heap scorn on the people who are telling the truth and exposing the many midleading facts that they’re peddling. As to my many fans who keep mentioning me in the ‘Letters’ section can you please make your contributions to my fan club through the Conservative and Unionist party.
Going on, I didn’t realise that there were so many experts involved in the negotiations with the EU re Brexit. Every week we read in the letters section of what’s going to happen when we leave. There are some who said that if we left the EU, the economy would collapse, massive job losses etc. It’s worth mentioning that in Germany, the car manufacturers have warned the German Finance Minister that if punishing tariffs are placed on the UK, this will have a major impact on German motor manufacturers due to the fact that they export 820,000 cars to the UK per annum. Just to clarify, the negotiations haven’t started yet. Unless of course some of our regular contributors have a direct link with Jean-Claude Juncker and he’s secretly briefing them. For the record, the UK of which Scotland is a part voted to leave the EU. If anybody would like the breakdown on the figures for the people who voted for and against I can always print them off. It’s a done deal. End of story.
In last week’s Berwickshire, someone from Hawick wrote in saying that John Lamont should pay for the by-election. Interesting comment. He seems to forget that Alex Salmond before the 2014 Independence referendum stated that it was a once in a generation opportunity. A couple of years later they want another one. If this is the case, shouldn’t the SNP who’re going against the wishes of the Scots, carry the cost of another referendum? Nearly £11 million. Will they go for it? Answers please?
Then we have the lady from Ayton who blames the Conservatives for the underfunding of services in Scotland. Perhaps she’s not aware of the Devolution of Powers to Scotland Act. Everything that she mentioned is devolved to the SNP Government in Holyrood. They’re the ones responsible for the underfunding of the NHS, Police, Transport etc in Scotland. Ms Sturgeon can blame the UK Government but the problem is caused by her ruling party supported by the Greens. I should mention the EU grants to the farmers where the SNP government are given the lump sum and are responsible for the payments in a timely manner. Unfortunately, they can’t even get that right.
With this General Election coming up, it gives the Scots the opportunity to show Ms Sturgeon that we don’t want a second independence referendum. We want to get on with our lives, our young people to get jobs and have affordable housing without a massive debt and future tax rises hanging over the heads of the Scots caused by the mismanagement of the economy due to 10 years of SNP rule. Looking at the SNP MPs in the commons, we’d be better with cardboard cut-outs and a voice recording of Ms Sturgeon with Mr Salmond behind her pulling the strings for all the good they do. Your call on June 8.
AN EFFECTIVE LAPDOG FOR THE PM
We received the Scottish Conservatives’ newsletter in the post last month. Its core message was one of expressing opposition to the prospect of another independence referendum, while at the same time omitting any details regarding the party’s own policies for the general election.
Surprising, I felt, given that the electorate rightly wants to know what a party stands for on these occasions.
In contrast, from what I’ve seen in recent months, the SNP’s Calum Kerr was an active MP who appeared to have solidly focused on his day job. As a candidate, he is targeting, rightly, the upcoming Brexit process that the Conservatives have taken us into. A process which stemmed from their own internal party squabbles and which now threatens this constituency’s long-term future via a likely hard Brexit.
I noted with interest ex-Environment Secretary Owen Paterson’s recent comments around funding paid to the agricultural sector, where he proposes Theresa May adopts the New Zealand model and cuts funding altogether. Agriculture is one of the Borders’ main economic drivers and I wonder how many of Paterson’s political colleagues share his views and what the impacts would be on jobs and families locally were they implemented post-Brexit?
We also see the May government turning on its own, with the likelihood that up to 10 million pensioners will have their winter heating allowance taken away (fortunately, in Scotland, current SNP policy provides existing protection that counters this), the removal of the triple lock on pensions, further impacts on business taxation and the abhorrent “rape clause”.
I can only wonder for whom the Conservatives now speak, when they’re targeting their own too? Well, perhaps if you have a healthy offshore investment fund, you’ll be fine.
Now I see why the Scottish Conservatives didn’t champion their policies and stuck to their constitutional rhetoric – after all, who can defend the indefensible? “Vote Tory and be at least £200 a year poorer” isn’t a great message if you’re a Tory candidate.
The Borders needs a strong voice, and one that will actively champion this region in the years ahead. As far as I can see, Calum Kerr has done a good shift in the last two years. He’s been an old-fashioned, hard-working MP who has delivered good results for his constituency, the Borders rural economy as a whole and the next generation of digital infrastructure integration this region desperately needs.
I believe Conservative candidate John Lamont, who appears to have no policies whatsoever, will be an effective lapdog for Theresa May’s rapacious government and nothing more.
GRATEFUL BREAST CANCER CHARITY
On behalf of Breast Cancer Now, I would like to thank the people of Cornhill and district for their valued support at our bingo night in Cornhill Village Hall, when the great sum of £573 was raised. Their generosity and help were certainly very much appreciated.
Also on Saturday, May 20, in The Eildon, Coldstream, a coffee morning added £611 for this very worthy charity. The local band of helpers who come along each year are the backbone of the charity and every penny raised goes direct to it.
The support of the people of Coldstream and district, family and friends is second to none.
Another big thank-you must go to everyone locally who bought quiz sheets, which have also been sold all over Britain and southern Ireland, and the total sum so far is in excess of £1,000. Many thanks go to Ella Purves for setting the quiz.
MONEY FOR MANCHESTER
We would like to thank everyone who supported the Berwickshire Conservatives’ coffee morning on Saturday, May 27. The entire proceeds, amounting to £318.31, were sent to the British Red Cross fund for the Manchester appeal. We had a happy morning and are delighted to be able to contribute to the fund.
EYEMOUTH COFFEE MORNING
We recently held a coffee morning in The Hippodrome, Eyemouth. We would like to extend our grateful thanks to Paula and Ian for their help and kindness in holding it there, the people of Eyemouth who attended, holiday visitors and, of course, all who contributed in any way to help make it a success.
Berwick and Eastern Borders branch of
Multiple Sclerosis Society