Letters: Leave Jerusalem off Euro 2020 host city list

These letters appear in the Wednesday 30th April edition of the Independent
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During the next five months Uefa will select 13 host cities for its Euro 2020 football competition. We appeal to Uefa to exclude Jerusalem from this list of hosts.

Israel flouts the UN position that Jerusalem should be an open city for all, making it impossible for most Palestinians to visit the holy sites there, or to visit relatives. The Israeli state supports the confiscation of Palestinian land and homes in East Jerusalem for the use of illegal settlers.

In February this year, Amnesty International published a report entitled Trigger Happy which documents the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces. The report describes this treatment as “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal”.

Just one example of this was seen earlier this year when Israeli soldiers shot repeatedly at the legs and feet of two talented teenage Palestinian footballers at a checkpoint, maiming them for life.

Israel continues to perpetrate its devastating military occupation of the Palestinian territories, flouts international law, totally disregards UN resolutions, and imprisons hundreds of Palestinians, including children, without charge.

It would be a mockery of Fifa’s Mission and Statutes if Jerusalem were awarded the status of hosting  games in this tournament.

Leaders of international football must respond to the pleas from suffering Palestinians to sanction Israel in the community of nations.   

John Austin

Victoria Brittain

Rodney Bickerstaffe

Breyten Breytenbach

Caryl Churchill

William Dalrymple

The Rev Garth Hewitt

Dr Ghada Karmi

Bruce Kent

Paul Laverty

Mike Leigh

Ken Loach

Miriam Margolyes

Mairead Maguire

Kika Markham

Professor Nur Masalha

Karma Nabulsi

Professor Steven Rose

Professor Hilary Rose

Salman Abu Sitta

Ahdaf Souief

Baroness Jenny Tonge

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Alice Walker

Roger Waters


Orthodox economic model has failed

As an economics graduate (from 1970), I am at one with the students at Manchester University who are challenging the paradigm that has dominated the teaching of the subject over the past 30 years (“Manchester students man the barricades”, 26 April). 

The teaching of the subject today appears to be have been captured by “quants” and purveyors of free-market dogma. (Even The Independent’s Hamish McRae recently referred to investment in equities and property as “real” investment in contrast to investment in government which was supposedly “unreal”.)

I am reminded of some words of wisdom of the great Paul Samuelson, the first economics Nobel laureate. When asked what his advice to economics undergraduates would be he replied: “Read history.” That is where all the important economic data lies.

Too heavy an emphasis on arcane theoretical models based on faith in “efficient markets”, where the only requirement for academic success is mathematical prowess, has distorted the discipline and allowed it to be subverted by “right-wing think-tanks” serving the interests of the corporate and financial sector.

The result: the failed paradigm that caused the great crash of 1929 has returned with a vengeance to cause the great crash of 2007-8, and the only response from academia appears to be to rebuild the paradigm and not make the same mistakes next time.

It is not necessary to be a Marxist radical to say that economics has failed to serve the interests of any but the richest and most powerful. It is time for change, and among the correctives should be a compulsory unit on economic history for all economics undergraduates.  

Chris Forse, Snitterfield,  Warwickshire


Are the “Manchester students manning the barricades to overthrow economic orthodoxy” going so far as to question “growth”?

Orthodox economics seems to require an ever increasing population, with an infinite supply of environmental resources, to pay for an ever longer-living number of the elderly. At some point a new economic philosophy will be needed.

R J Buchanan, London SE18


How can we sign on every day?

Your front-page headline of 28 April – “Jobless must sign on every day” – has me perplexed.

I am long-term unemployed and am familiar with the problems my local JobCentre has just dealing with me once a fortnight. You are never seen on time and getting access to the “job points” to look for vacancies on the website can be difficult. Getting access to a phone to ring up about a job can incur a long wait. What will it be like if 10 times as many are forced to visit at the same time? They may have to move the JobCentre to Gateshead International Stadium to accommodate us all.

Derek Holmes, Gateshead,  Tyne and Wear


How are the jobless expected to report to their nearest JobCentre each day or undertake voluntary work when many rural bus services run only once or twice per week or not at all, following severe cuts? Those services that still operate often allow only a fixed time at their destination; missing the return bus could entail a very long walk, as I doubt that JobCentres will be reimbursing taxi fares.

Many of the unemployed in rural areas formerly worked as bus drivers or in low-paid public-sector jobs which have been axed.

Dr John Disney, Nottingham  Business School


The Coalition knows nothing of life in the northern towns and cities of England. Here unemployment has lasted since the decline of traditional heavy industry a generation ago, while many away from London just haven’t got the rail services that make commuting a possibility.

So rather than being helped back to work, all those on the dole face is more attendance at JobCentres (which will surely mean more civil servants to deal with them), and yet more compulsory voluntary work that offers no extra payments.

At least Scotland has the chance to cut away from the capital’s dominance. Perhaps we in the North should have the option to join them at some future date?

Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby,  Lincolnshire


A-level scientists must get into the lab

Charles Tracy, of the Institute of Physics, (letter, 24 April) suggests that students could get top grades in future science A-levels without doing practical work. That is not so. Students can get top grades now with very little lab experience. They will need to do more, and to do the practical work most valued by higher education, to win top grades in future.

Students will be required to do a minimum of 12 pieces of practical work, for which they will receive a separate grade, and exam papers will include questions on the knowledge and skills obtained in the lab – on the student’s ability to take a question or a conundrum, to design an experiment to solve it, and to interpret the results.

Many science teachers are thumping the air with delight at the chance to truly teach experimentation, and to see students develop valuable skills rather than simply jump through predictable assessment hoops.

As I said recently, we will monitor new and reformed qualifications to make sure that any necessary adjustments are made, but I am confident that these changes will benefit students, as many science teachers recognise.

Amanda Spielman, Chair, Ofqual. Coventry


Cornwall takes its rightful place

With Cornwall at last, and not before time, recognised as the UK’s fifth home nation, surely we can now have our team in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. The British Olympics team had a few Cornish gold medal winners, including Helen Glover.

We Cornish loved the UK Olympic Games and supporting our British team, but at the Glasgow games only a Cornish team will do, or perhaps if necessary “England with Kernow” as a transitionary team to 2018.

Tim James, Penzance


“Don’t Cornish people go to Tesco, walk the dog, watch Take Me Out and play on XBox like the rest of us?” asks Helen Clutton (letter, 29 April). No longer owning a dog, I shudder at the idea that the rest of the things your correspondent sees as normal are normal.

Eddie Dougall, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk


I don’t go to Tesco, haven’t got a dog, have never heard of Take Me Out, and wouldn’t know an XBox if I fell over one. Does that make me Cornish?

Michael Hart, Osmington, Dorset