Laughably, the Conservative Scottish Borders Councillor & Convener Alisdair Hutton has been reported by BBC News as being in the USA on a chance to "promote the Borders across the Atlantic".
However, Mr Hutton, amongst other things, a former Conservative MEP & now Convener of SBC, won't be telling his audience the other side of the story .. the truth, in other words, which as a long time Borderer myself, I know from my own horrible experience living in the region .. which is that the Borders is run by something akin to a criminal gang .. an administration about as honest as a Drugs Cartel.
Yet, while Mr Hutton will be master of ceremonies at the 50th anniversary dinner held by the American Scottish Foundation in New York later this month at New York University's Club, what he won't be telling his audience is that the Scottish Borders is run by such an incompetent & corrupt administration that when it loses taxpayers .. or even investors funds ... it gets itself off the hook in all manner of devious ways and no one gets compensated. It seems a wonder these days what Conservative Party funds have done for people or those they have been involved with in the past ...
Just look, for instance, how Scottish Borders Council dealt with a $8 million dollar fraud in it's Education Budget ... blaming the whole thing on one man .. but where obviously, as I found out myself which was reported in Scotland on Sunday here Police probe claims of backhanders at council .. that many others were involved but of course .. got off the hook ... Link here : The Budget Chronicles a long & sorry saga here : Police probe £4m council deficit and here : Borders tax plan falters
Scottish Borders Council then dodged a Scottish Parliament investigation into the scandal, where officials from the Council were either retired or put on sick leave so they wouldn't be able to testify at the Parliament or give evidence in other parts of the investigation.
This kind of crooked conduct by the region's administration also extends into other areas, such as Social matters, where a woman was allowed to be abused for years by those who were supposed to be caring for her ... the Council seemingly knowing all about it .. but, doing nothing ... read here ; Miss X report passed to procurator-fiscal .. but the Council seems to have got itself off the hook again in this case, by removing documents from the investigation .. as Christine Grahame MSP claimed in a report here : Vital Miss X file removed, claims MSP and since the Borders social work chief quits .. they could bury the whole thing .. just like all the other scandals the Council seems to get itself into.
Then there was the incompetent way the Council handled the transfer of public housing stock to a firm set up from within the Council itself .. read here : Housing transfer plan in trouble .. which has resulted in a lot of broken promises to the regions tenants.
Yes, Alisdair Hutton won't be telling his audience about all this .. and the many other scandals which have hit the region .. from fraud & embezzlement by officials of Common Good funds & Land to private companies & indivduals .. to deliberate undervaluing of piblicly owned properties, to fiddled expenses claims, to bullying & harrassement & exploitation of workers, to fiddling complaints & investigations in serious crimes, and of course not forgetting members of local government who have been caught up in their own scandals .. which range from everything from charges of kerb crawling for prostitutes in Salamander Street, Edinburgh, to fiddling planning applications .. and there's a lot more .... a LOT more .. from this scandal hit region which never seems to improve. Phew .. and some people think there's corruption in China .. they should just take a look at the Scottish Borders !
I got involved in exposing some of the scandals of Scottish Borders Council ... as, being a resident of the region, I was sickened by the way it was being run ... and you know what ? it hasn't changed a bit.
The same crooked faces are still there in 2006 running their little empires, while the Borders languishes somewhere in the 19th Century ... and the politicians of the Borders - whether they are in Westminster, or the Scottish Parliament .. haven't done much at all for local affairs .. in fact .. mostly, with the odd exception, I would say .. the local politicians are a damn disgrace ... and I often wondered if they only got their positions because they got the sheep & rabbits to vote for them .. of which I think probably outnumber the local human population these days.
Even when people exposed the corruption at the Council, they themselves were targeted in merciless campaigns to hound them out of existence .. something which they did to me after my own local Councillor Wight revealed to me in a meeting there were backhanders flying all over the place in the education budget scaldal ... all of which was reported in the earlier Scotland on Sunday article I quoted.
Now .. don't get me wrong about the Scottish Borders ... I think the region is a lovely place .. in terms of countryside .. and there are some lovely towns too such as Kelso, Hawick, Selkirk ..but without a doubt .. local government in the region has turned out to be worse than the Russian Mafia. There are also plenty good people in the Borders .. but they don't run the region ... that is left to those who think they are a cut above everyone else .. but they aren't .. they are a few cuts below everyone else .. especially when it comes to honesty or transparency.
If something goes wrong with a public service, or a mistake is made by an official .. it seems the entire infrastructure of the region is brought into play to make sure there is a cover up.
For instance, in the Education Budget fraud scandal .. those officials who were 'retired' or put out on sick leave, with excuses they could never work again .. went on to even higher positions in private companies with higher salaries .. after the investigations into the frauds had concluded ... but they couldn't have escaped questioning on the affair if it hadn't been for those in charge of the region who 'put them out to grass'.
The "Miss X" rape scandal where Scottish Borders Social Work Department knew for years what was happening but did nothing .. and even worse, removed evidence & staff from the investigation .. again, another example of what goes on in the Borders when there is a need to cover up .. and it happend of course, to me in my case against the crooked lawyers, and particularly when my mother died at the local hospital.
I remember, for instance, when my mother died at the Borders General Hospital, through medical negligence, how everyone clammed up to lie about what happened in my mums death, and even how the Procurator Fiscal who was involved in the investigation, used the Police to try and protect the guilty from a proper investigation after I had to do a brain scan on my own mum in the Hospital there were people actively encouraged to write letters praising the Hospital for it's case - but the letters were fake. The Doctors who were involved protected each other .. and I went through a meeting with the then Administrator of the BGH John Glennie (now Chief Executive of NHS Borders) and Dr Gaddie . the then Medical Services Director .. who simply lied & dodged the questions I put to them in a meeting, which I was accompanied by two shocked members of the local Health Complaints Advocate system.
The crooked accountant Norman Howitt of Welch Accountants Hawick & Galashiels who ripped off my my family and stole my mothers pension & bank books, trying to set up secret trusts to keep the money for his own control ended up as a Board Member of the Borders College, was promoted to being a senior partner at his accountancy firm, has a position at Scottish Building ..is a Board member of Eildon Housing weasled his way into all other walks of life .. along with the crooked lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors and Estate Agents, Kelso.... both rewarded highly by the region .. for being .. crooks .. and that is how it works in the Scottish Borders .. so it's not a very safe region to be investing in, as long as there is this culture of crookery.
Visitors to the Scottish Borders, and those who haven't lived there, or have experience ot the place, have the perception it is a quaint region .. lovely countryside, easy living, everything .. hunky-dory ... but as you can see, it is certainly very far from that.
"Something from the past" ... well, that's good for the tourists .. and the Councillors, flotsome poor quality politicians who would never get in anywhere else, a few crooked construction company owners, and not forgetting of course the regions crooked lawyers & accountancy firms & others who like to keep the Borders that way, so they can have their little fiefdoms ... but it's very bad for the locals .. bad for jobs, bad for investment, bad for just about everything else .. and is an almost perfect recipe for corruption, as scandal after scandal has demonstrated. I for one, would be very cautious about investing in the Scottish Borders with this lot in charge .. but maybe if we had a case of "regime change" .. and I think the Borders is certainly in need of that more than some countries in the Middle East ... we might see a region which thrives, rather than one which lives in the past ... and one which you can see, is run by a bunch of crooks & incompetents.
I will be writing more about my experiences in the Scottish Borders later this week and how one of Alisdair Hutton's Conservative colleagues, Councillor Mr Hugh Wight, (Jedburgh & District West) lied in meetings with myself & local Jedburgh Community Council members concerning a threatening & violent neighbour,& helped drive me out of my own home .. in what became a well organised, vindictive & malicious campaign against me by those who wanted me out.
What did I learn from all this ? exposing corruption comes at a price !
Councillor builds US connections
A leading councillor from the Borders will head a prestigious event designed to bolster Scots-American relations.
Scottish Borders Council's convener, Alasdair Hutton, will be master of ceremonies at a meeting of the American Scottish Foundation in New York.
The 50th anniversary dinner is to be held later this month at New York University's Club.
The society will present its Wallace Award to Euan Baird, former chairman of oil service giant Schlumberger Ltd.
Mr Hutton said: "This is a great honour and a chance to promote the Borders across the Atlantic.
"This gathering will bring together many people with Scottish roots and I look forward to giving them an up-to-date picture of the Borders as the ideal place to invest in and visit."
Mr Hutton has been writer and presenter with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo since 1992.