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Letters—Johnson plays a dangerous game with our health

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Issue 2761
Football fan Boris Johnson is happy to put profits and pride above lives
Football fan Boris Johnson is happy to put profits and pride above lives (Pic: Flickr/ Number 10)

The government is putting profit before health—again. This time it’s to prioritise football matches.

After Boris Johnson was warned that the Euro 2020 football tournament semi-finals and final would be moved from Wembley in London to Budapest, Hungary, he abandoned many regulations.

In Scotland nearly 2,000 Covid-19 cases were linked to fans gathering to watch football.

This hasn’t stopped plans for the final to go ahead at Wembley with 75 percent of the 90,000 capacity.

Of the Scottish cases, two-thirds had travelled to London to watch England play Scotland in mid-June, with almost 400 of these watching the game at Wembley.

Football administrators UEFA warned that Covid-19 cases linked to tournament matches cannot be ruled out.

These risks haven’t shunted politicians or bosses into precautionary action.

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Officials claim that the protection offered by vaccines is enough evidence to prove it’s safe for the final to go ahead without real restrictions.

With new strains and different reactions to the vaccine, not everyone who is dosed up is immune from catching and spreading the virus. Many people also haven’t had their second dose.

UEFA claims it’s the responsibility of home nations to decide on the number of fans attending.

Other European leaders have called into question the decision to allow more fans to attend games—but this gives way for others to use the caution to their advantage.

It was enough to convince Johnson to press on regardless of scientists’ advice. The losers will be ordinary people trapped in another wave of the virus.

Rising rates in Britain should mean more precaution and care. If Johnson and his government can so patently flaunt the rules, it leaves many wondering why we have to follow them too.

But it is right to have restrictions in place. What’s wrong is a government set on making money and wanting the esteem of hosting a football final.

Kadra Omar


Stop attacks on trans athletes

Transphobic people have condemned the selection of New Zealand transgender weightlifter Lauren Hubbard to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

One criticism that makes no sense is that she has “displaced women contenders for a place”.

But this is exactly what competition for places does all the time.

Lauren is a woman and has been selected as such.

The transphobes argue that Lauren has an unfair advantage because she developed more muscle mass during male puberty than women competitors.

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But this ignores the facts that following her transition she has lost muscle mass and is not able to lift the weights she was able to previously.

The criticisms focus on just one aspect of the development of an athlete and ignore all the others, including training, commitment, diet and inherited physical characteristics.

Such advantages are already recognised in some sports, which is why weightlifters compete in weight categories, for example.

It’s clear that the motivation for opposing Lauren’s inclusion, and of other trans athletes, is rooted in transphobia.

The fantastic 10,000 strong Trans+ Pride march in London recently shows there is a growing mood to fight back against the war on trans rights. Attacks on trans athletes are just one aspect of this.

Laura Miles


Stand with Sharon Graham in Unite vote

In my Unite Community branch demands have been made to Socialist Workers Party members to persuade Sharon Graham to stand down in the Unite union general secretary election.

The debate in this election is about the future direction and strategy of Unite.

Graham has laid out her proposals for dealing with the effects of the economic crisis by focussing on building up trade union power in the workplace.

Graham puts a stronger case against the right wing candidate Gerard Coyne than the “continuity candidate” Steve Turner.

Arguments about “splitting the left vote” assumes that there is a fixed left vote. But turnout in recent elections has been very low.

It is perfectly possible for Graham to reach out to new forces who are desperate for a fightback and want change.

Simon Hester


System change not climate change

The heat dome in western Canada and north west United States has led to at least 233 deaths in British Columbia alone.

Last Tuesday, temperatures reached 49.6 degrees Celsius in Lytton, British Columbia.

It also caused asphalt and concrete to melt, roads to buckle, power blackouts and water shortages.

President Joe Biden says that the US needs stronger infrastructure to prepare for extreme weather.

Governments have a responsibility to deal with the consequences of such extreme weather conditions. But surely their main responsibility should be preventing such events from occurring in the first place.

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Instead of making empty promises about tackling the climate crisis, they have to commit to a significant reduction in fossil fuel use.

Between January 2020 and March 2021 G7 countries committed over £133 billion to support the oil, coal and gas industries.

The climate crisis will continue while the interests of big business are a priority.

The only way to stop extreme heat waves, famine and flooding is to fight for a system that prioritises people and the planet.

It can’t be one based on greed and profit.

We need system change not climate change.

Maggie Falshaw

East London

Tories are the killers

The Tory Party, and whoever they appoint as health secretary, is more virulent and lethal than any micro-organism on the planet. To link the words Tory and health is to create an oxymoron.

Tory and death, disease and kill are far more appropriately associative words.

Leslie Bridges


Don’t ring Boris Johnson

Apparently, it’s not just Boris Johnson’s mobile phone number that has been freely available on the web for the last ten years, but foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s as well.

I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Who would want to phone these two anyway?

John Curtis


Success in Gateshead

Congratulations to all who stood against intimidation, bullying, abuse of worker’s rights, plus attempts to cut corners on basic building safety at Amazon in Gateshead. This is how it should be done—decisive action and union support.

Gary Nagev


Reject Tory nationalism

Boris Johnson wants his own war like his heroes Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Barbara Cairns


  • Nationalism—why be proud of a country that treats the most vulnerable in society like this. No flag waving from me.

Wayne Taylor


Profit Island’s contradictions

Why is a show like Love Island that promotes a certain body type—muscular for men and skinny for women—also sponsored by food company Just Eat?

These contradictions make people feel like they can’t win, and instead are just there to make money for others.

Katie Coles


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