May I expand on Angela Elliott’s comment (letter, 3 July)? Football is a wonderful game but a horrible business.
And may I congratulate The Independent for its excellent daily World Cup supplement, the best of any British newspaper? However, I do hope your letters page doesn’t reflect widespread indifference, lack of appreciation and outright negativity among your readership. Your football writers would deserve better.
As someone who does “get” the World Cup (I have been to five) I can assure those who only see negatives in this most entertaining and exciting of tournaments, particularly after the Luis Suarez biting incident (letters, 26, 27 June), that there are role models for our children. Tim Howard and his team-mates would be a good place to start looking. And what about the charming, commanding and articulate Vincent Kompany, who has done more to reconcile Flemings and Walloons than any politician could?
Football is a great metaphor for our world: a great example of man’s artistry and ingenuity but also an arena where a few miscreants often get ahead of the many who play fair. Given the game’s infiltration of all cultures and communities around the world I think it’s unrealistic to expect it to reflect only the best of British sporting values, whatever they may be!
A message from British Muslims
That over a hundred imams have written an open letter urging British Muslims not to travel to Iraq or Syria is a step in the right direction, but surely it is time for tens of thousands of Muslims to march through the streets of London under the banner “Not In Our Name”. The supporters of Isis must receive this message loud and clear.
BBC acquires a Northern accent
So yet another London-based journalist has a problem with BBC5 Live moving to Salford – “a risk that their programmes might lose their national edge and acquire a non-metropolitan, possibly northern accent” (Mary Dejevsky, 4 July). How awful – as opposed to losing their Home Counties accent?
I applaud the BBC for moving 5 Live north, creating jobs outside the capital, where the so-called recovery barely registers. I am sure those who are asked to appear on TV or radio and have to travel from north of Birmingham will be glad of a more nationally central location.
How awful for those London media types to have to travel to the grim northern outposts of greater Manchester!
Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
On 2 July you published an excellent article on the fight for racial justice. You also showed a “grim up North” cartoon with all the usual cliches – clogs, black pudding and so on. Can someone explain why regional stereotypes are all right while racial stereotypes are all wrong? And please stop using the word “Northern” if what you actually mean is “working class”.
Just enforce the law on the West Bank
In his anxiety to argue the toss with Robert Fisk, whether Palestine-Israel is Jewish or Arab, Avi Lehrer (letter, 3 July) seems unacquainted with the law.
We need not argue over which ethnic group has rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. International law is clear on this point: it is occupied territory, and the rights and interests of the indigenous population (regardless of ethnic identity), as of the moment it became militarily occupied (1967), are strictly to be protected by rules laid down in 1949 following the experience of those under German and Japanese occupation, 1939-45.
The current killings committed by Palestinian youths or by Israelis are the direct consequence of Jewish civilians settling on occupied land in defiance of the law. Every Western state supports the applicability of international humanitarian law regarding these occupied territories. They all promised to uphold it. Yet not one of them has so far had the courage to tell Israel it must obey the law unconditionally.
Instead they are silent accomplices to the killings and the progressive diminishing of the lives of those under occupation, allowing the import of goods illegally produced in occupied territory, and allowing Israeli visitors living illegally on occupied land into the EU.
If Britain and its allies really want peace, they must go through the unpleasantness necessary to enforce the law. Currently, they are simply complicit in the anguish of Jews and Arabs who have been bereaved by the killings.
Lost opportunity to rescue A-level science
I made a late career change into secondary physics teaching. I was shocked at the drop in A-level standards in the many years since I had taken the examination. Approximately 25 per cent of subject content has been dropped in 40 years, and there is much less scientific and mathematical rigour.
I was pleased when I read that A-level sciences were to be reviewed, with greater focus on content and rigour. I have spent the past week studying the new physics A-level changes as proposed by several boards, and am very disappointed at the missed opportunity. Boards appear to have chosen to make no significant change to content, and to introduce more mathematical questions, rather than questions that are more mathematical.
Most schools will continue to enter all students for AS and, as at present, some students will continue to A-level. The significant changes are that AS will not contribute to the final grade, and practical work will no longer be a significant, examinable part of the course. This is a worsening of A-level, not an improvement.
Did Michael Gove intend to make the electorate believe that A-levels would be improved, without intending actual improvement, or have the examination boards outmanoeuvred him in order to maintain their competitive edge?
A A Chabot
Is this art or just trash?
A report on Wednesday was enough to convince me that I am sharing this planet with a seriously disturbed population. Tracey Emin’s Turner Prize-listed, soiled, rumpled bed, littered with personal toiletries, was sold for £2.2m at Christie’s.
If this is the way the seriously rich spend their hard-earned cash, no wonder the world is in such a mess. That money could buy about 20 affordable homes for the less well-off or provide overnight accommodation for 200,000 homeless people.
I only hope that the new owner’s cleaner doesn’t find it when she turns up to work and make the assumption that it was just the result of a night’s drunken revelry, strip and launder the sheets and dispose of the trash.
Cameron won’t reform the EU Like this
The Prime Minister has made a dog’s dinner of trying to gain influence with our nearest trading partners.
This is ridiculous, given that we are the third largest state, by head count, within the EU. We would be in a very strong place to negotiate and reform the European Union, if it were done properly and with respect for others. David Cameron’s problem is his own party. He is now trapped into having a referendum, or stepping down as leader of the Conservatives.
I say to all centre-ground Conservatives and Labour Party supporters who believe that our membership of the Eeropean Union is vital: join the Liberal Democrats.
Tennis without the noises, please
I was interested to read the letter about “strange noises at Wimbledon” (3 July). Rather than spend time analysing the noises, the powers that be should totally ban the whole silly practice.
In conversation with many tennis-loving friends, I have discovered that they, like me, rarely bother to watch the matches any more and certainly turn the sound off when the nonsense begins.
The authorities should realise that their faithful watching public could well be deserting them – so please ban the silly, aggressive noises at Wimbledon in 2015.
The Rev Margaret Roylance
The criterion of accuracy
A little more attention to detail needed I think from Guy Keleny (Errors & Omissions, 28 June) when giving Greek lessons. In the context it should surely be “either ‘criteria ... have’ or ‘criterion ... has’ ”.