Thursday's Letters: A tale of two cities – and one strong case for the World Cup

I HAVE never laughed so much as when I read that Greg Mulholland (MP for Leeds North West) thinks that by putting down an Early Day Motion in Parliament and "puffing up" Leeds United's status will somehow cause all the "movers and shakers" in British football to suddenly drop everything and fall at the feet of this comedian of an MP (Yorkshire Post, October 19).

The Sheffield bid team has been actively working away on winning a location for the 2018 World Cup Games since the beginning of the year, and has already made a series of presentations to some of those who ultimately make the decisions about such things.

Before Mr Mulholland opened his current salvo, he should have reflected on Sheffield's football history:

n The oldest football club in the world – Sheffield FC, which last year celebrated 150 years of continuous football playing,

n The oldest football ground, and still in active use, Sheffield Hallam ground in Crosspool, a suburb of Sheffield.

n Many of the rules for the modern game of football were first drawn up and implemented in Sheffield.

He should also have taken time to reflect on the influence Sheffield characters have currently on English football:

n Keith Hackett, former leading football referee, from Sheffield, currently a member of FIFA – the world football governing body (who will make the decision about the UK bid).

n Dave Richards – the Chairman of the Premier League Chairmen (ex-Sheffield Wednesday chairman), representing the owners of most of the top football players in the world.

n Richard Caborn (MP for Sheffield Central) – longest serving Sports Minister, in any government, in the last 40 years.

Add to this the fact that Sheffield was named as the first City of Sport in 1991 (has Leeds ever been considered for this accolade yet?) with its top facilities including Ponds Forge – the best Olympic-size pool and diving pool in the country, and Don Valley Stadium (only in mid-August chosen by U2 for one of their three UK tour venues).

There is a lot more for Sheffield to crow about, but insufficient space here to do so.

Before Greg Mulholland starts to (indirectly) denigrate my city, he should reflect on these things, and find a way of working with the people of Sheffield to supplement our potentially world-class winning bid.

From: Phil Proctor, Sheffield.

We all pay the bill for cheap booze

From: Coun Nader Fekri (Liberal Democrat), Hope Street, Hebden Bridge.

ALMOST 10,000 people could die every year because of their drinking. Research from the University of the West of England shows that 90,800 people could suffer avoidable deaths from alcohol-related causes in the next decade if we continue to drink at the average rate of the past 15 years.

The research maps the whole population's level of drinking with the number of deaths from alcohol-related causes. The new findings also show there has been a trebling of deaths from 3,054 in 1984 to 8,999 in 2008, as consumption has increased.

The numbers include diseases directly caused by alcohol and alcohol poisoning, and do not include deaths caused indirectly by alcohol, such as those from drink-driving or cancers which have been caused in part by drinking.

Professor Martin Plant has said that the UK has experienced "an epidemic of alcohol-related health and social problems" and he recommends introducing a minimum unit price of 50p, which would cut alcohol-related hospital admissions, crimes, and absence days from work. These chilling figures are a stark reminder of the shocking death toll caused by excess alcohol consumption. The Government's failure to invest in alcohol treatment services and their refusal to stop alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices is having a devastating impact on our health.

The high cost of cheap alcohol is becoming clearer every day. The Government must heed the advice of its own experts and introduce a minimum price for alcohol, otherwise the death toll will continue to rise and the NHS will pick up the bill.

Folly of hunt ban repeal

From: Duncan Anderson, Mill Lane, East Halton, Immingham.

WHEN the Labour Government first proposed removing cruelty from hunting by introducing the Hunting with Dogs Act, the Tories reacted by scaremongering and saying that the countryside would be closed forever and farriers would be queuing for miles to get onto the dole.

There were some in the Labour Party at the time – and I was one of them – who said by taking the cruelty out of hunting there would probably be more riders interested in going hunting, and that the hunts could organise their drags from one village pub to another, something that can't be done with foxes.

The Tories have just announced that I and others like me in the Labour Party were right, and now that the cruelty has been removed more people are going hunting and enjoying the countryside.

The strange thing is that the Tories want to reverse this increase in people going hunting and enjoying the countryside on horseback by revoking the Hunting with Dogs Act and reintroducing the "blooding" of young children on their first hunt.


The mess we're in

From: John Abbott, Newland Avenue, Hull.

TOM Scaife (Yorkshire Post, October 12) was either not listening to what anyone was saying at the Conservative Party Conference or deliberately chose to misinterpret it through a smog of recycled Neil Kinnock slogans.

To take one example, the proposed one-year Government pay freeze would not apply to anyone earning under 18,000. This hardly supports Mr Scaife's contention that the Conservatives want to give the poorest a "good kicking". Nor do large chunks of David Cameron's keynote speech.

As to the suggestion the Conservatives are exaggerating the economic mess, 22,500 of debt for every child born in Britain, 111 tax rises from a Government that promised no tax rises at all, 100bn looted from pension funds, five million people on benefits, the 10p tax foul-up and all the recent sleaze scandals hardly suggest Labour have been doing a great job. Perhaps it is Labour who should be rebranded – as the Totally Useless Party!

Treaty runs in to conflict with historic Bill of Rights

From: G Wood, Station Road, Poppleton, York.

THE EU Lisbon Treaty has now been ratified in 26 member states

resulting from its acceptance by the Irish government, while it is expected that the Czech government may well follow to ratify in due course.

With the apparent ambivalence of the Conservative policy on the matter of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, it appears that there is a real prospect that it will, de facto, assume the place of a governing framework for law in the UK in the not too distant future. In other words, a constitution.

I leave aside the legality or otherwise of British government ratification by the Prime Minister, Mr Brown, without the consent of the British people.

As you know, we do still have our own historic Constitution, written and codified under various Statutes and Acts of Parliament and other constitutional settlements, including the Magna Carta.

I name but two of these: The Bill of Rights, together with the Coronation Oath Act. Both of these were passed by Parliament in 1689 and are unrepealed and therefore remain as current constitutional law for the governance of

this country.

As you will also know, it is clear that our Constitution and the usurping Lisbon Treaty are wholly incompatible and mutually exclusive.

Consequently, at some point in the future, a decision must be made by a British government as to which of these will stand as the one single, and authoritative basis of governance for the UK in the immediate, and almost certainly for the foreseeable, future.

The incompatibility of the two competing constitutions is revealed in the explicit prohibitions expressed in the Bill of Rights concerning governance of Britain by any alien government, body or organisation. This states that the British Crown observe that "no foreign prince, person, prelate, or potentate has, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm".

While there will be those who may regard our Bill of Rights as a somewhat quaint or outdated remnant of our history and irrelevant for today, I remind you that its importance in the current debate cannot be overestimated.

I hope you will agree that it is a matter of paramount importance that the British people be made aware of the position of the political parties on this issue well before any General Election.

Let Premier fight in Afghanistan

From: Roger M Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.

SO, the belligerent butcher of Downing Street marches on, sending another 500 of our troops to die in Afghanistan (Yorkshire Post, October 14).

Does this "man" take any notice of the people of this country?

I certainly doubt it. If anyone was to be sent to Afghanistan, it

should be Gordon Brown, with Tony Blair as his batman.

From: Dr Bob Heys, Bar Lane, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire.

AM I alone in my feelings of disgust on hearing BBC presenter Andrew Neil describe "a stream of MPs" of all parties leaving the chamber before Gordon Brown's statement about the deployment of more troops to Afghanistan?

Opportunities to succeed

From: Vickie Moss, St Aiden Close, Market Weighton.

REGARDING your front page article (Yorkshire Post, October 19), how incredibly sad that anyone without a degree is considered a "failure". Success in manual skills appears to be totally denigrated.

Everyone should not go to university. Many children are destined to be skilled using their hands and brains and should be encouraged to further those skills. I transferred from grammar school to a technical college where I had the opportunity to succeed. I feel sorry for children today, no wonder they are under stress.

Browned off

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby, York.

NEWCASTLE Brown has found a new home. Roll on the day when No 10 Brown finds one.

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