Readers' letters - March 29

Should England pull out of the World Cup?
Should England pull out of the World Cup?
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England should pull out of World Cup tournament

As a lifelong football supporter, the sight of our World Cup players trying on their suits causes me a great deal of concern in the current climate. Regretfully, I believe the FA should seriously consider boycotting the tournament in the light of increased diplomatic tensions between our country and Russia. Surely the primary consideration must be the security of both players, staff and travelling fans.
Our Foreign Secretary has expressed concern that the British diplomat responsible for liaising with the fans has been sent back to the UK as part of the Russian retaliatory response to our PM’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, following the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
One cannot imagine anything more counter-productive for the UK’s ability to help fans in Russia.
Masked Russian fans ran riot at the Euros in Marseille two years ago, attacking indiscriminately and our own fans behaved disgracefully at the friendly with Holland.
The potential confrontation is a cocktail that must remain unmixed. We have all been reminded of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which Adolf Hitler used to promote the Nazi regime. This is Putin’s tournament and are we going to allow history to repeat itself and give him every opportunity to raise his profile on the world stage? Morality has not always been football’s strong suit but surely its ruling body should think that colluding in this propaganda coup is unacceptable. Russia does not deserve to host such a prestigious tournament. We are all proud our country has qualified but, just imagine, should we be fortunate to repeat our 1966 success, the idea of our captain shaking hands with Comrade Putin as he receives the trophy is unthinkable. Withdrawing will be unpopular, but a boycott is the only course of action in the light of the Kremlin’s total disrespect for international law.
Jim Oldcorn
via email

Be more Frank about this issue

Rather like the BBC’s Frank Gardner, those of us with disabilities are sick of complaining about accessibility.
Sadly, Mr Gardner’s experience of being left 100 minutes on a plane due to a lost wheelchair is not unusual, and one many members of The British
Polio Fellowship can identify with.
Only when someone with Mr Gardner’s profile gets this treatment does this hit the headlines, yet I have lost count of the times our charity has spoken out.
It is time to be more Frank about this issue.
It is surely possible to come up with a better system of keeping a wheelchair with its owner during flight, rather than treating our mobility and freeedom as a piece of baggage (as we are, sometimes).
Members of The British Polio Fellowship with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can often move from a wheelchair for the duration of a flight, but not all living with disability are so lucky. For them, no chair means no travel.
By 2040, one in seven of us will be over 75 and almost certainly living with a disability or using a wheelchair.
A way must be found to offer a better service to wheeelchair users now,
or face a crisis in years to come.
Anyone who needs The British Polio Fellowship’s help can visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call
0800 043 1935.
David Mitchell
National Chairman
The British Polio Fellowship

‘Mentally ill patients failed’

One in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year, yet often mental health care falls below the standards we should expect.
Last week we revealed that some of our most vulnerable patients, many of whom have complex mental health conditions, are being badly let down by the NHS, causing them needless suffering and distress.
In our report, Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care, we found that some patients are not being treated with dignity and respect of their human rights and this is further compounded by poor complaint handling.
Our investigations shine a light on severe failings but this is not done to attribute blame.
We aim to ensure that the organisations complained about make changes to prevent the mistakes happening to others.
In this instance, this is to ensure that mental health patients get access to the treatment and support they need.
This is only possible due to patients and their families taking the important step of complaining when things go wrong.
The vast majority of complaints are resolved locally.
However, if you are not satisfied, you have the right to bring it to us – the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – for an independent and impartial view.
Rob Behrens
Parliamentary and
Health Service Ombudsman