Letters, Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

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Football must use replay technology

HAVING watched once again the travesty of a wrong decision by officials supposed to be refereeing a game of football – Sunderland v Liverpool on Sunday, March 20 – it’s obvious we need the instant feedback of technology that is available.

For the referee to change his mind on the recommendation of a linesman who was on the other side of the pitch and could never have seen where the incident took place is, in my view, unbelievable and very strange. Even the Liverpool players said it was not a penalty.

This is not sour grapes, it’s just frustration, the same frustration that happens week in, week out at all football matches throughout the divisions. People pay good money to watch football and the clubs are paid good money for matches to be televised so why is the outcome down to one man and his helper?

Whatever the reason for the wrong decisions, these people can cost clubs millions and put them out of business altogether. It’s decisions like this that make people wonder “Is it worth going to a match?” And who can blame them?

The attitude of officials is one of “Oh, well, I goofed. So what? It’s done”. This is not acceptable. We are asked to respect referees and linesmen. How can they be respected when their egos take over and they class themselves as demi-gods in the football world?

Niall Quinn wants more people to come to watch matches. How can he expect this when people are not up to their jobs as regards making sure everything is done to officiate properly and, above all, fairly?

The instant-replay technology nowadays would stop all the controversy and would not slow the game down. That’s the excuse the FA give and the referees and everyone else know this excuse is rubbish. They use it at rugby matches and have technology with tennis, so why not football?

Are the referees and linesmen the be all and end all? They think they are. I don’t think so. Most linesmen and referees are not capable of keeping up with the game nowadays. They are not fast enough or as fit as footballers. They can’t be expected to be.

So to be true to their obligations to see fair play and the true outcome of matches, they ought to accept the help of technology and be true to the thousands of fans who come to watch the games and spend money perhaps they shouldn’t in the present economic climate.

C. S. Wasey, Wayman Street, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland

Famous actress

IN reply to Mrs Davison’s letter of March 17 inquiring about Christine Norden.

My eldest sister knew her and I think she lived in the Millfield or Chester Road area and her original name was Molly Thornton.

M. Weldon

Shocking murder

I WAS so pleased, as many others will be, to see in the Echo that Sunderland City Council is to hold an inquiry after the brutal murder of Harriet Davison.

The wicked person who killed her is likely to be a troublemaker wherever she is put, simply because she is a corrupted liar.

My sympathy is with Harriet’s relations.

E. Parker, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Business is key

WITH reference to a previous letter, “MPs’ good work”, as hard as these MPs work, Mrs Hodgson and company are in opposition and their endeavours would not be worthwhile unless there was confidence in the economy and the future of industry in the North East.

We must remember that under 13 wasted years of Labour rule, which was supposed to herald a great change, the UK fell out of the top 10 most competitive countries in the world. It is only in this past year that Britain has begun to improve, moving back towards the top 10 again.

MPs can work as hard as they want, but their success depends upon how business-friendly the Government is, and thankfully, this Government has taken the steps towards this, which has encouraged companies such as Rolls Royce to remain committed to the North East.

Martin Talbot, Local Conservative candidate, Washington South

Roads rage

LIKE Eddy Moore (Echo, March 9), I have been enjoying about 20 years of confusion on reaching the Trimdon Street roundabout after climbing the Silksworth Row dual carriageway.

Ten per cent of the traffic turns right for Farringdon Row and the rest is for Hylton Road/Trimdon Street or Queen Alexandra Bridge. I think the best plan is for the left lane of Silksworth Row to be marked for Hylton Road and the right lane for Trimdon Street, Farringdon Row and the bridge. It can all be done for a few buckets of white road paint!

I also enjoy the ever-changing challenges of the Toll Bar roundabout. We are on Version Three at the moment ... facing traffic turning right out of Toll Bar Road for Ryhope was a row of no entry signs across Ryhope Road. After complaints they have gone. Now traffic is faced with three unmarked lanes. You have to aim for the farthest – easy if there is oncoming traffic waiting at the other two but, if not, somebody is going to go through the middle oncoming lane.

As an after-thought ... there are so many vehicles parked on the first 300 yards of Hylton Road the council should install parking meters!

Dodgems, Wearside

Nature hits back

EVERYONE takes nature for granted, naturally. Nature controls the world we live in.

In bygone days people used to worship volcanos, like they were living matter, with virgins thrown in them. They realised the power of the volcano, thinking it should be kept happy.

Technically I suppose Earth is a living matter, but most think they can abuse it.

We have seen how man abuses it with war and nuclear bombs.One should expect one day nature will retaliate, as it does. A tsunami or Japan today.

We abuse the body – the body retaliates. We abuse the planet – the planet retaliates.

Abuse on one side of the planet can give way to the unexpected on the other side, eventually. We work hard to create over a matter of time; nature destroys in minutes.

A life is created and can grow into something beautiful and perfect over nine months. Between one second and about one hundred years nature can decide to end it.

It is all taken for granted – it is nature. Will we ever learn to live by nature’s rules?

J. A. Stott, Wear View, Hunwick, Co. Durham

History lesson

A HISTORY lesson for J. Young of Fulwell.

When a country declares war on another, morality has very little to do with it. War is a country’s policy by other means.

In 1939 Britain knew she let the Czechs down badly and decided to support any state in eastern Europe (i.e. Poland) invaded by an aggressor (i.e. Nazi Germany). Yes, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Finland. But it wasn’t in Britain’s interests to go to war with the USSR at the same time she was fighting Hitler. What matters is a country’s best interests, not morality.

With hindsight we see that Britain’s interests were best served by avoiding conflict with Soviet Russia. They ended up as allies and Britain would not have won the war but for the sacrifices made by millions of Russians on the Eastern Front.

The land J. Young refers to as eastern Poland is now divided between Belarus and Ukraine. In 1920 the Russians attacked Poland and were badly defeated. The Poles took their chance to extend their eastern frontier. This was the area Stalin took back in 1939 and kept after the war.

My grandfather was one of many British servicemen who fought in the Italian campaign and Monte Cassino. At the war’s end they were told to stay in Britain and not return home, because Stalin intended to set up a Communist regime there.

The irony was that Britain, having gone to war to support Poland, could do nothing in 1945 to prevent their Soviet ally doing what he liked in Poland.

W. Kaczmarek, Chester Road, Sunderland

Funeral costs

I WAS not surprised to read Mrs Clarke’s comments about the extremely high cost of funerals but I was surprised to hear that she could not get a positive response to her enquiries from local funeral directors.

Any member of the National Association of Funeral Directors will be able to provide an estimate of the costs as well as answer any questions and give confidential advice on how best to plan for the inevitable.

I am fourth generation of family business with 50 years’ experience and, to my memory, the phrase extremely high cost has endured. The cost always seems high because, if you’re lucky, you may only deal with it perhaps twice in a lifetime. However, if it was as common as fish and chips then you would notice the cost rising along with everything else.

In fact, in real terms the cost of a funeral has actually come down. If Mrs Clarke is as old as me she will remember as a little girl being able to buy fish and chips for less than a shilling or four new pence. At that time the average cost of a funeral was £35, which would have been about 875 fish suppers.

If you fancy fish and chips now it will set you back about £6. The average cost of a funeral is now over £3,100, which will only buy you around 516 fish treats. Quite a difference, in anyone’s terms.

I can’t deny it is still a lot of money, but isn’t that only more of a good reason to plan ahead and get the best advice, at no cost, on how to deal with it?

Peter Johnson, Peter Johnson Funerals Ltd, Newcastle Road, Fulwell

Broken promises

IN reply to Wesley Crossland (Echo, March 17) he overlooks very important points.

When I voted Conservative at the last election it was because of these policies: one, the promise of a referendum on being in or out of the EU; two, a promise to come out of the Human Rights fiasco; three, the promise of a cap on immigration.

None of these promises show any signs of being kept.

Mr Crossland has no idea who I will vote for at the next election. I pride myself on never being two-faced. After the next election I will inform him which party I have voted for.

M. Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Power to his pen

LADS, listen to Mick ‘The Pen’s’ latest comments about us OAPs.

Don’t sit around soaking your feet in a bucket while watching Emmerdale Farm. Emmerdale Farm? Is he bonkers or what? Mind you there’s nothing wrong with soaking your feet in a bucket. He should stick his head in a bucket. It might improve his thinking.

Quiet, lads, while I read the rest of his letter. He says we should take up Sunderland Libraries’ offer of free computer and internet lessons.

Is he aware we OAPs have our own five-year-old-grandchildren, computer and internet experts, who keep us up to date with what’s going on? It will open up a great new world for us.

What other ground-shaking ideas does Mick have for us? Nothing really – other than his usual gripe about our other halves, headscarves, trainers and tartan trollies. He’s off his blinking trolley if you ask me.

Calm down ... remember, he does enliven our night out with his OAP letters to the Echo.

Oh! Then sorry about telling him to stick his head in a bucket. He’d probably be unable to get it out.

So, let’s wish him more power to his pen. Raise your glasses, lads. Keep those letters coming in to the Echo, Mick.

Cheers!

Pal Palmer, Dame Dorothy Crescent, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland

Here we go again

WHAT is so enviable about our form of democracy that we must forcibly export it to the Middle East? We all know that our brand doesn’t do what it says on the tin?

If we enjoyed government of the people for the people by the people, mass immigration would merely be a figment of Blair’s imagination, Brits would get British jobs ahead of visitors, bankers would repay the tax payer before taking obscene bonuses, tax loopholes for the rich would have been plugged years ago, all the errant MPs in the expenses scandal would have faced a court, the EU would be a trading club, there would have been referendum to adopt the Nice treaty and one to decide in or out of EU.

The invasion of Iraq would have been avoided, British forces would not be in Afghanistan and we would have missed at least three conflicts in the past 15 years, but we would have maintained resources adequate for defence, which of course is the principal obligation of any government.

Successive governments have found it repellent to consider corporal punishment at home, for even the most heinous of crimes, and perhaps rightly so, but the same governments have eagerly embarked on crusades creating endless carnage while attempting to deliver our brand of liberty to regions where we are despised or merely tolerated to suite the convenience of a particular regime at a particular time.

Why is it that a single glimpse of the world stage turns these seemingly grey, unprincipled and indifferent politicians at home into crusading globe-trotters hell bent on dispensing universal justice? Are they all megalomaniacs?

Our journey with the last government via involvement in almost every theatre of global conflict has left the nation a socially derelict, overcrowded and virtually bankrupt society. It would take the undivided attention of the Coalition to avoid disaster but they seem determined to tread the same sorry trail as the last lot. Will they never learn?

Either teach history at Eton or recruit the next PM from Venerable Bede, my granddaughter’s school, which has an excellent history department.

Here endeth a tongue-in-cheek rant of enormous therapeutic value to the author but of no value to politicians who will continue to labour selflessly with unerring skill to avoid the terms of their manifesto.

D. Gillon, Sunderland

Council pay

FURTHER to your article “The price we pay for council chiefs” (Echo, March 21) I would like to make it clear that my comments on the chief executive’s remuneration were made in a general interview some weeks ago and not specifically in response to the Taxpayers’ Alliance report.

They do not reflect the position of the Conservative Group which supports the recommendation of the DCLG that council officers in receipt of over £200,000 take a 10 per cent pay cut and those over £100,000, five per cent.

We remain convinced that council leader Paul Watson’s assertion at the recent budget meeting that the chief executive had reduced his income by 11.6 per cent was, to say the very least, misleading.

Coun Tony Morrissey, Conservative Group leader

No need to march

COULD someone explain to me the point of a Gay Pride march?

I don’t understand why a pressure group describing itself as gay feels the need to organise a march through Sunderland or any other town or city. Taking part in a public demonstration to let us know that they are proud of being gay makes about as much sense as a group of people organising a demonstration to let us know they are proud of not being gay.

My advice to the organisers of the march is to come down to earth and join the majority of people who don’t give two hoots as to what a person is or is not. What matters most is quiet dignity.

R.M., Sunderland