Letters: Racism not tolerated at our club

 

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Our club was deeply disappointed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's
column (23 October) when she wrote that "Millwall fans and others
too still behave like animals when they watch black players".

At Millwall FC, we have done as much, if not more, than any other club to highlight the need for equality in our game. The Lions launched one of the first anti-racism trusts back in 1994 and were praised by the FA for having "an exemplary attitude towards, and intolerance of, racist behaviour".

A slogan we adopted years ago is "Lions have pride, not prejudice" and that sums up our position. So to brand our fans as "animals" when they watch black players is not only insulting to them, it's plain wrong.

We do recognise that, sadly, a small minority of football fans behave in a manner that is unacceptable, and if an individual is found guilty of racial abuse we will ban them from our club for life. What we hope for is an even break from commentators, and acknowledgement that Millwall FC is not the problem but rather contributing significantly towards the solution.

So we'd like to invite Yasmin down to The Den to see for herself what the reality is.

Andy Ambler

Chief Executive, Millwall FC, London SE16

As a lifelong Millwall supporter, in a mixed marriage and a father of mixed-race children, I am disappointed at the negative statement on Millwall fans in Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's column.

My wife and I have brought our children up to be proud of all aspects of their heritage, including their long line of Millwall-supporting forebears. My son attends many Millwall home matches with my dad and me and can be described as a Millwall fan, as can a growing number of black, Asian and mixed-race fans who hopefully will play a big part of the future of our club.

Our two most recent Players of the Year, Nadjim Abdou and Tam Mkandawire, voted in by fans, are both black. Nadjim (or Jimmy as he is known to his adoring public) is also a Muslim. Millwall players are judged on how they play and nothing else.

Yes, a small minority of our fans hold dubious views on a wide variety of subjects, including race. But if you assembled 7,000 solicitors, there would be a smattering of bigots.

I tell my children that prejudice is prejudice, and you cannot be selective about who you discriminate against, including Millwall supporters.

My sincere hope is that bigots and racists will not be misled by Yasmin's article and think that at Millwall they will find a ready audience for their ignorance.

Adam Avery

Bromley, Kent

Murdoch media made a target of Mitchell

There is no victory for progressives in Andrew Mitchell’s resignation. In fact, thanks to Ed Miliband’s opportunist, win-at-any-costs alliance with the Police Federation, we’ve taken a step back to government by right-wing foreign media mogul. Now, despite Leveson, we again have Murdoch journalists posing as reliable and respectable members of society.

Mitchell was not prosecuted for insulting behaviour towards the police, nor was any complaint brought against him internally, using institutional public-sector procedures. Instead, this grievance was publicised via an anonymous briefing to The Sun.

Gavin Lewis

Manchester

Chris Payne (letters, 22 October) seems not to have understood the events surrounding Andrew Mitchell’s resignation. Far from being the victim of political pressure from the police, Mr Mitchell was eventually forced to resign by political pressure from his own party.

Police officers are trained to take accurate notes of events and dialogue as soon after they happen as possible. They had nothing to gain, and much to lose, by misrepresenting what was done and said by Mr Mitchell.

These events were a few days after two police officers had been murdered. I think Mr Mitchell’s behaviour through the whole affair has been contemptible.

William Roberts

Bristol

Surely no one believes George Osborne bought that second-class ticket himself? No, some aide bought it for him by mistake and he just headed off for the class of carriage Posh Boys always use without looking at it.

As for Mitchell, of course he called the police “plebs”; they remember it so well because it’s a word only Posh Boys use, and they had to look it up.

W B McBride

Bristol

Climate change’s Scottish refuge

The 1947 partition of India has left the people of Bangladesh trapped against a hardened frontier, while the seas rise behind them, and cyclonic storms eat their land away. Without such a border, people would have been able to respond to environmental signals and disperse gradually inland. The independence of Scotland would have the similar effect of isolating the northern third of the UK’s land area behind a frontier at which passport checks, new investment rules and visa requirements will one day apply.

As climate chaos increases, the northern parts of Europe, Asia and the Americas are expected to become refuges for people displaced north by storms, droughts, heatwaves and fires. It seems unwise to give up a part of the country that will soon be so valuable.

It is even more unwise not to consider the broader implications of climate change for human settlement within Europe as a whole.

 And the most unwise thing is to give up on efforts to preserve climatic stability because it seems too hard to do.

But in case this doesn’t work out, we must preserve enough strategic depth to allow our populations to adjust over time, including through northward movement. On these grounds alone, Scottish independence is a disastrous proposition for the people of the UK.

Dr Julian Caldecott

Bath

Now let me see: after a curiously lacklustre Unionist campaign Scotland secedes, leaving the rump with a permanent Tory majority. Both new states have to apply to join the EU. Scotland does so at once but will Boris even bother? I think we should be told.

Dr David Wheeler

Carlisle

Violent intruder in the night

Last November, a man got into my house at night and trapped my sister for an extended period. He armed himself three separate times and attempted a sexual assault. My naked sister wrestled the knife from him and drove him out of the bedroom, a bedroom suddenly plastered with blood and vomit.

She called the police who went to the wrong address. The man re-armed himself and bashed down the bedroom door to continue his attack. As a result, she lost her job, had to move out because she feels unsafe, and still has nightmares.

Just to underline the seriousness of this, the man got 18 years, 12 for aggravated burglary and six for sexual assault, reduced to 12 for pleading guilty. He has 101 arrests and 38 convictions, but he can be out in six years, with good behaviour.

Remind me again why we are discussing the rights of people to defend themselves in their own home, at night, against intruders?

Name and  address supplied

Red faces over green petrol?

Chemists do the theory stuff and mechanical engineers the nuts and bolts, so the discipline of chemical engineering was formed to make processes viable.

Any self-respecting chemical engineer would tell you that the new “process” for making petrol from thin air might rank above turning lead into gold but probably falls behind cold fusion. It isn’t, unfortunately, going to reinstate Teesside’s infant Hercules status.

Carbon dioxide needs very large amounts of energy (as in photosynthesis) to convert it to anything useful and more so when it has been captured by sodium hydroxide. Then more energy is needed to convert methanol into a useful fuel or chemical feedstock.

The Independent must have been sadly lacking a headline. Can we expect “London bus at North Pole” or “Lancaster bomber found on moon”?

Alan Pearson

Great Ayton, North Yorkshire

I'm broke too, so call me Starbucks

Starbucks has justified the non-payment of tax in the UK by arguing that its internationally successful operation makes a loss in this country. As it happens, my bank statements clearly show that enormous and continual increases in the cost of essentials – gas, electricity, food, water etc – have resulted in more money going out of my account than is paid in. Like Starbucks, I make a loss in the UK. Given that the Government appears to accept Starbucks' argument, why am I still paying tax on my pension?

Robert Bottamley

Hedon, East Yorkshire

Today, choice is a fallacy

We don't want to choose a hospital because we cannot possibly know about it. All we want is reasonable care and a human face. We don't need choice of gas company when they merely resell the only product, gas, at a profit when they add nothing to the product, don't touch it, don't store it or deliver it. Middlemen confuse us with a maze of tariffs. Choice is about competition and in most cases is a fallacy.

J Lawson

London N11

Bubble bursts for high-cost bubbly

A director of a high-end London wine merchant moans, "There is a decline in [sales of] champagne above £100 a bottle; now customers are buying more £50 to £100 bottles (Business, 23 October)". Good grief, it must be tough at the top these days. If economic conditions continue to deteriorate, I can recommend an excellent quality cider from the Co-op at just £1.50 a bottle.

Keith O'Neill

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Latest fad: watch BBC bite itself

Could the high viewing figures for Panorama's investigation of Newsnight mean that rather than going down in history as the BBC's shortest-ever serving D G, George Entwistle will be celebrated as the accidental inventor of a popular new format? I look forward to Blue Peter's hard-hitting investigation of The One Show and Nigelissima's devastating exposé of The Great British Bake-Off.

Stefan Simanowitz

London NW3

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