Blast against the burden of bureaucracy
BUREAUCRACY has been branded a Borders burden by Provost Les Millar.
He was highlighting the need this year for organisers of common ridings and festivals to obtain temporary traffic restriction orders (TTROs) from the local authority for events that require roads to be closed.
He stressed that the need for the orders was being pushed through by authorities above Scottish Borders Council.
He told the Ex-Standard Bearers’ dinner: “The local police and council officials involved are 100 per cent behind our Common Riding.
“We have a great working relationship with them and they dedicate a lot of time and hard work to making our events a success.”
But he went on: “The inevitable paperwork and bureaucracy is pretty heavy stuff. That’s now been done and should only require minor adjustments in future years. Then there’s the cost. For all the Borders events it will be £17,000 a year. However, the council has agreed to foot this bill and hopefully they will continue with this commitment in the future.”
But the Provost blasted: “This is only one example of the ever-increasing burden that we are faced with when organising the Common Riding. Most of these impositions are coming from national government level. They are being decided and enforced by people who have absolutely no idea what a Common Riding or festival is about. As far as they are concerned, if the word parade is involved then it is an Orange walk.”
Later, Provost Millar spoke of the importance of the flags.
He told diners: “To the outsider looking in, most only see the pageantry and spectacle, but few will realise that the scenes being played out before them go far deeper than simply putting on a good show.
“Our flags are our link to Selkirk’s deep and long past. Each one tells many different stories of how the Royal Burgh has evolved over many hundreds of years. The flags of the Crafts and Merchants tell of how the very fabric of our society grew and developed and how they fought to protect and improve those standards of living. The Colonial flag will always be a rallying point for exiled Souters, and it’s a fact that many of those living abroad would probably not return so often had the opportunity to rally round their society and its flag not been available to them.
“And of course, so much an integral part of our town’s heritage and the symbolic representation of those lost in the defence of others, the Ex-Soldiers’ Flag is indeed a huge part of what we celebrate and remember.”
The Royal Burgh Flag, he said, had a different meaning. It belonged to no group or organisation.
He went on: “It belongs to the town and to the town’s people. It represents everyone in Selkirk – it belongs to us all.”
“I am sure Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Gavin Henderson now realises that it is not simply the act of carrying and casting the Burgh Flag
“It is about engaging with the people. They want to know that they have someone worthy of carrying it. It’s about endearing yourself to the community. Things like attending the kids’ singing club, joining in with the bairns at the Flag practice, visiting Souters who can no longer be at the Common Riding, connecting with young and old alike.
“It is about upholding the ancient rights of Souters who unstintingly rode round the boundaries of the burgh land, repelling any encroachment from outsiders.”
It was a tough task, he told Gavin Henderson, but the Provost said he and the town had every confidence in him.
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Weather for Selkirk
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west