Homophobia must have no place in sport

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From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

Like John Watson (The Yorkshire Post, November 11), I was brought up “where good manners and respect for others was paramount”. Heartily that I sometimes disagree with him, I respect him because his remarks are never personal.

However, I am not too concerned about the singing of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot during New Zealand’s haka at Twickenham. Isn’t the haka itself disrespectful anyway? There are more serious issues rugby union needs to address. I am not a great follower of rugby but my beloved football is regularly under fire from readers who do not go to matches so I feel as entitled to my opinion as them.

If I were a rugby union fan, I would be more disturbed by a report in a national newspaper that in the same match at Twickenham openly gay Welsh referee Nigel Owens was subjected to racial and homophobic abuse by a section of the crowd. It is worth mentioning that Owens, one of the top referees in world rugby, had attempted suicide before coming out as gay in 2007.

I am aware that, to its credi t, rugby has taken gay players into the fold in recent years but it is safe to say that racism has been banished from the British football leagues and lingers only in some benighted East European cultures. I am confident that before very long, homophobia in football will die the same death.

I can’t resist a parting shot at rugby fans who see their sport as “apparelled in (Wordsworth’s) celestial light”. Unlike football, the skulduggery which has long existed in rugby union is usually invisible, except when artificial blood is introduced onto the pitch.

Hot air from alarmists

From: David C Ayre, Knaresborough.

THERE have been many letters and articles recently about climate change and the part CO2 plays in it.

However, everyone just accepts that CO2 has a greenhouse effect. This is not the case and never has been. The myth originated back in my school days when the working of a greenhouse was explained by the fact that glass was opaque to infrared but transparent to visible light, thus letting the energy from the sun in but not letting the reradiated heat out.

This is not quite correct as the incoming IR from the sun is blocked as well as the lesser reradiated heat. In fact the way the greenhouse works is by stopping heat loss by convection. Carbon dioxide does not do this. True it absorbs IR both incoming and outgoing but these cancel out as the heat is eventually dissipated by convection.

There are dozens of independent scientists who accept this and have done much independent work to show that climate change is caused by natural factors. Extrapolation results using Fourier Analysis and reconstitution show the climate has topped out and is starting to cool. Studies of the sun’s cycles also show that we can expect the climate to cool over the next 50 years to another solar minimum.

So all that the climate alarmists are doing is sending us down a route which will see us short of power and reliant on foreign imports while the people with the vested interests in climate change propaganda get rich on the Government’s handouts.

Where my tax money goes

From: David T Craggs, Goldthorpe, Rotherham.

I HAVE just received for the first time ever a tax summary statement from HMRC. It is for the tax year 2013/14. The form makes interesting reading because it sets out in an easily understood pie chart where the income tax I pay actually goes.

As a senior citizen I pay 25 per cent towards welfare, which more than covers the winter fuel allowance and free TV licence I get. I pay 15 per cent towards education, although I have no-one in the system. I don’t begrudge paying that.

A surprising 12 per cent goes on state pensions, exploding the myth that once you reach state pension age you make no further contribution. Four per cent goes on defence, even though I have no say on the conflicts the Government decides to take the country into. Just 1.1 per cent goes to overseas aid. I feel I can live with that. And finally, 0.7 per cent goes towards the UK’s contribution to the EU annual budget. I can live with that, also.

I now look forward to the 2014/15 statement to see what has changed, if indeed anything.

Ill conceived

From: M Dobson, Feversham Crescent, York.

I CANNOT see what all the fuss is about regarding £1m redundancy payments and lucrative short- term contracts in the NHS. The organisation is so obviously awash with money that York Hospital has recently installed six coloured floodlights to provide decorative night-time illumination to, of all things, the plant room structure on the roof of its admin block. Enough said.

Pros and cons

From: Rita Brook, Green Lane, Lofthouse, Wakefield.

EXCUSE me, but access to telephones for prisoners (The Yorkshire Post, November 12)! Jail has become a cushy number – a safe and warm environment, three meals a day, smuggled drugs and cigarettes etc. What next? A key comes to mind.