Readers' letters - August 9

'˜England football team was less than impressive'
Gareth SouthgateGareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate is in the running for Best FIFA Men’s Coach for 2018. He picked a good squad and they did well getting into the semi final, but they were less than impressive. I thought the standard was poor this year with the big names – Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Italy – all disappointing. England were very boring to watch as far as football is concerned. The passing for passing’s sake is boring and achieved nothing in the last World Cup. I saw two players pass the ball three times between them and then back to the keeper who then kicked upfield and possession was lost and this happened so many times. What happened to dribbling and beating an opponent and making space to create goals? Too often the wingers just cross the ball into the penalty area and hope for the best. The passing game is played at walking pace and is negative and boring to watch. My advice to all managers is to watch some George Best and Dennis Law films and see how football should be played.Terry Watson via email

Save our pubs – and jobsIt was very disappointing to read the latest figures showing that the pub industry is still struggling to survive, with 18 closing their doors for the last time in Britain every week.Sadly this decline has been ongoing for a long time now and the North West is the hardest hit area, along with the South East.The Campaign of Real Ale (Camra) has revealed that there were 476 closures nationally in the first six months of this year, which is 13 more than the previous half year.The Government could help ease this situation as the third of the cost of a pint is made up of various taxes but there is little evidence that they are going to do so. The combination of high beer duty, VAT and rising business rates is crippling the industry and killing off the traditional boozer.And, at the same time, booze in supermarkets and off-licences is comparatively cheap, encouraging people to drink at home. The Government urgently needs to reduce the beer duty and VAT so that the food and drink industry can compete with those shopping outlets.It is easy for people to just shrug their shoulders on reading that yet another pub has closed its doors, but it should not be forgotten that every closure means not just a loss of an amenity but a loss of jobs.Pubs are at the heart of communities, urban and rural, up and down this land, and a cynical observer might think that the Government – of whatever hue – is happy for the places where people gather to chew the fat should vanish.We all know that politics, local and national, is a regular topic while a pint or two are downed and, with the increasing dumbing down of society, I fear the powers-that-be would prefer citizens to be at home mesmerised by their electronic devices rather than discussing societal issues.Paul NuttallNorth West MEPUK Independence Party

Reverse Brexit and win me back

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I thought that some of your readers might be interested in a letter I sent to Mr Corbyn some time ago and to which – surprisingly! – I have never had a reply. Perhaps Mr Corbyn should be concerned with real issues, given that the vast majority of Labour voters did not support Brexit. Although Corbyn, with his penchant for Venezuelan-style economics, clearly did.“Dear Mr Corbyn, reverse Brexit and you win me back! “I had always voted Labour but owing to your support for Brexit, I voted Liberal Democrat in 2017. “I will rejoin the Labour Party if Labour moves formally to support remaining in the single market and the customs union and will campaign tirelessly if you offer a second referendum to reverse the monumental suicidal folly of Brexit. “If you don’t, I will never ever vote Labour again. “Ever. So it’s your choice. I will follow events with interest. This is your chance to win me back. Do you want me?”James BovingtonAddress supplied