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Letters—Fifa puts profit before pride ahead of Qatar World Cup 

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We should stand against homophobia in Qatar during the Fifa World Cup
Issue 2829
Peter Tatchell in Qatar

LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell stages a protest in Qatar (Picture: Peter Tatchell)

The football World Cup will soon be held in Qatar despite accusations of corruption, violations of workers’ rights and the persecution of LGBT+ people. 

Fans have concerns that have largely been ignored. Qatar has been accused of bribing its way to success, some 37 construction workers have died building the stadiums and LGBT+ fans visiting risk the death penalty.

Football authority Fifa and our own Tory government are happy to ignore this though as money talks with Qatar bidding £190 billion to host. Football should be for everyone but capitalism doesn’t allow it. 

The Tory government’s response to campaigners’ and fans’ concerns was to put profits before LGBT+ lives. Foreign secretary James Cleverly shockingly told LGBT+ fans to show “a little bit of flex and compromise”. Adding they would “have to make some compromises.”

But the Qatar state or FIFA won’t compromise. Recently LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell was arrested in Qatar for protesting at its anti-LGBT+ laws. It comes at a time when LGBT+ football fans have won some gains. This is shown during the Rainbow Laces campaign attracting support from top players and teams.

But football does still have a problem with LGBT+ prejudice—trans and non-binary people are excluded from the sport. Authorities fail LGBT+ supporters by not taking bigotry seriously. In England homophobic chants in stadiums are often given free pass by the suits. 

Fifa’s rules refuse fans and players from engaging in “political acts”. This was shown last year when the governing body refused to allow the German team’s stadium to use rainbow coloured lights in protest at Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ laws.

Government’s silence across the world has meant Qatar hasn’t changed its laws or attitude. The World Cup is a prime example of how profit comes before workers, fans and pride. We must challenge sportwashing, homophobia and bigotry whether it’s in Britain or Qatar.

Tiffany Knight-Hughes

Norwich


Poverty is the new normal

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority has just announced that almost half of Britain’s adult population—almost 25 million of us—could now be considered “vulnerable”. It’s all thanks to the terrible toll of high inflation and low wages.

The Financial Lives survey, undertaken in May this year, shows a quarter of all British adults are either in financial difficulty or a hair’s breadth from it. Some 24 million adults were already finding debts and bills a burden and 15 percent of all adults considered themselves “heavily burdened”. Some 60 percent of adults are struggling with inflation.

Of course, we’re not all in this together. People in higher income brackets saw savings grow during the pandemic

Women, young people, the unemployed, gig economy workers, renters, and black people on the other hand were disproportionately hit. That was especially true for those living in the north east or north west of England.

The survey was done before the latest energy price increases took effect. We’ve had a further 5 percent inflation increase since then—much more for the poorest. And now we’ve got another unelected prime minister promising more austerity.

Enough is enough? I certainly hope so. We need a complete overhaul of this rotten system.

Sarah Townsend

Scarborough


Stanlow walkout inspires

As a trade unionist and socialist it was good to hear about the Stanlow oil refinery workers walking out and winning on pay (Socialist Worker, 26 October). It shows me two things. 

First, working class people are fed up with this Tory government. I know we’re used to shambles in parliament, but three prime ministers in a matter of months would be laughable if it wasn’t so painful.

Second, trade unionists are looking for new ways to beat the system. Ballots and official procedures are all good but Stanlow workers show us a different way to win.

I’ve been a trade unionist ever since I left school. I’ve seen highs and lows. I want to see more unofficial walkouts, I want more national strikes and more local protests defending public services.

Bus driver

North London


Benefit sanctions reach new heights  

The Tories are massively ramping up the number of Universal Credit (UC) benefit sanctions. The latest figures available show that for the three months, to May 2022, there were almost 50,000 sanctions a month. It’s the highest monthly rate since July 2014, at the tail-end of the former coalition’s initial sanctions blitzkrieg.

They have been ratcheting up the restrictions imposed. Since the spring, claimants have to take any job after four weeks instead of three months. The latest attack is that the number of hours that people have to work before they can stop “actively” seeking more work is to be raised from nine to 15 hours.

Reports and investigations into the effects of sanctions are censored and blocked. In the summer, work and pension secretary Therese Coffey proposed draconian powers to stop the benefit system being “a cash machine for callous criminals”.

Some 6 million people are currently on UC. It’s a punitive system, designed to churn out sanctions. UC, benefit sanctions and the Department for Work and Pensions need to be scrapped.

Sean McDermott

Glasgow


Black faces high places

Rishi Sunak offers no change at all. Barack Obama made no difference to the majority of black people in the United States. The 1 percent own 99 percent—their race is irrelevant.

Zulf Ali,

On Facebook

  • I don’t care what his ethnic background is, it’s his political views I have a problem with.

Mike,

On Facebook


Courts offer us no justice

Frankly I’m not optimistic that anything will come from the case brought against Lord Mountbatten following new accusations of child abuse (Socialist Worker, 26 October). The big, heavy foot of “the man” will stamp on it before anything incriminating is released. 

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a campaign conducted to destroy the reputations of the complainants—as has been done so often previously in various cases.

Leslie Bridges,

On Facebook


Monroe review falls short

The review of the film Blonde totally misses the point in my honest opinion (Socialist Worker, 26 October). 

It’s not a biopic but was meant to highlight the exploitative nature of Hollywood particularly of women. Ana De Armas’ performance is brilliant, as are others.

Chris Boyd

On Facebook


Resist Hunt’s health legacy 

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is a two-faced careerist who destroyed the NHS following a plan devised by United Health of Minneapolis. Its model is now the template for the 42 so-called integrated care systems which have started to replace our health service.

We can’t allow these Tories to remain in power. It’s dangerous.

Mitchell Torok

On Twitter

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