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to John Bercow


SECOND EDITION March/April 2012


"IT BECAME A GAME A conversation with a FOR THEM" torture victim





In Bali



newturn March/April 2012



Face-lifting the Favelas

Can the carnival city shirk off its violent image




The end of Facebook’s privacy

How does Facebook make its money?


Diego Garcia: Democracy’s Dirty Little Secret? Investigating the Queen‘s Privy Council

Japan and Feminism


How women can help Japan

What about Guantanamo, Mr. Obama?


Looking at the President’s failure to close Guantanamo


A Conversation with a Torture Victim The telling of one man‘s story


It’s time to show some teeth

An insight into Viktor Orban‘s Hungary


Kill or Cure?

Iran‘s drug policy problem


“I’m No Trappist”

An interview with John Bercow


Let’s Talk Shorting


How short sellers can bankrupt governments

Is Football recession proof?

Why football‘s finances are sustainable


Share Holder Activism

The differences between Public and Private


China in Africa Re-assessing China‘s involvement in Africa


40 Wes.

An Analysis of Wes Anderson’s Style


A Glocal World

Lord Malloch Browns’ thoughts on globalisation

Surf’s Up

5 Words with Surf legend Jonathan Paskowitz


Cockfights in Bali


A photographic essay of Bali‘s illegal blood sport

Bad TV

How critique on TV can often translate as praise


Sporting the Nation

An insight into how sport can reunite the nation


newturn magazine est.2011


David developed his editorial skills at an internship at Cicero, a renowned German political monthly, which also published his articles and interviews in their online magazine. He has been the editor and initiator of Perplex, a poetry magazine based in Munich. David is currently a third year Philosophy student at UCL.


Matthew is at present a regular contributor to the New Wolf, an independent magazine based in London. He also has his own art agency, Blue Period LTD , an endeavour which focuses on the development of emerging artists from the UK and abroad. He is currently studying Anthropology and Archaeology at UCL.


Najia Mukhtar is a Politics Phd student at SOAS. After working for 8 years as a financial analyst at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, she has returned to university to pursue an interest in international politics.


Josh has contributed to a variety of publications, including the New Statesman, BBM Magazine, New Reviews and The Huffington Post. He is the former Opinions Editor of Queen Mary’s Cub magazine and he won LSJSN Student Commentator of the Year at the London Student Journalism Awards in 2011.


Adam interned at the Scottish parliament in 2010. He is currently in the second year of a Economics and Politics Bachelor at LSE.

Virginia Wuttke GRAPHIC DESIGN © Virginia Wuttke. All rights reserved.


John McLoughlin SR. ILLUSTRATOR © John McLoughlin. All rights reserved.

© Alissa Fulton. All rights reserved.

Robert Pritchard SUB-EDITOR

Clelia Colantonio Mia Kennedy Claudine O‘Sullivan Charlotte Whiston Matthew Dale JR. ILLUSTRATOR JR. ILLUSTRATOR JR. ILLUSTRATOR JR. ILLUSTRATOR JR. ILLUSTRATOR © Clelia Colantonio. All rights reserved.

© Mia Kennedy. All rights reserved.

© Claudine O‘Sullivan. All rights reserved.

© Charlotte Whiston. All rights reserved.

© Matthew Dale. All rights reserved.

GET INVOLVED est. 2008 The young people‘s political organisation

Babatunde Williams CHAIRMAN


NEWTURN MAGAZINE IS RECRUITING If you like what you’ve read and would like to get involved, please get in touch. We are looking for experienced editors and writers to join our team. Additionally we are in urgent need of a graphic designer, a treasurer and a secretary. If you are interested in any of the above positions, please send us a short bio focusing on previous experience and attach some work samples if available. If you want to run for editor or want to write for us please also suggest a topic for the next issue. Contact:



Dear Readers,

One night

in December the German intelligence boat “Alster” was floating about 40 kilometres off the Syrian coast. Out of nowhere a small armed Syrian motorboat arrived and, although no conflict ensued, the crew of the Syrian boat spoke loudly of their government’s intent. Stefan Paris, the uptight speaker of the German Defence ministry, called it ‘nautical rudeness’ and ‘bad seamanship’ - for the Syrian vessel cut across the course of the Alster, bearing its artillery and threatening to fire. This absurdly confident gesture on behalf of the Syrian sailors reflects the stubborn political attitude of the Assad regime, an attitude which grows ever more precarious by the day. Unfortunately, Assad isn’t just posing with his artillery à la Kim Jong-Un; the death toll is rising all the time. The question we must all ask ourselves now is how this situation resolvable: with another painful intervention that will surely increase tensions in the region, or do we let Syria be turned into an international pariah through more passive political engagement? Would sanctions, were they finally approved of by our special friends China and Russia, make a difference? The answer, sadly, is not all that clear. And so as the beginning of this letter suggests, the politics section is more concerned with how minor events echo larger socio-political issues. For example, we have moved from talking about a man determining the politics in his country (Assad) in the first issue, to a man whose life has been determined by the politics of his country. Interviewing an African torture victim – whose name and country of origin we are not allowed to publish out of concern for his family’s safety – we gained an insight into the psychology of a person during and after one of humanities most shameful practices. Moreover, shedding light on Teheran’s heroin shacks, we concentrate on a country that has more going on within it than just its nuclear development and is, surprisingly progressive in one aspect. Of course, there is much more, we have an interview with John Bercow, a guest piece on Globalisation by Lord Malloch Brown and an intriguing piece on Obama’s Guantanamo Bay policy. The economics section has substantially grown in quantity and quality and the articles range from football to shortselling. We have an interview with FT editor Simon Kuper regarding the sustainability of football’s finances and an undercover feature by our anonymous man in the City. The Culture section has a beautiful photographic insight into illegal cockfighting, a pretty ‘rad’ interview with surf legend Jonathan Paskowitz, whilst a couple of pages further on, David Merrick rages against the mediocrity of TV in a furious opinion piece. Aesthetically this issue was a whole new challenge. I had to guide six illustrators whilst coordinating two Graphic Designers, in two different countries, in two weeks – a process which, if not a little confusing at times, has turned this issue into a more complete publication. A special mention has to go to Alissa Fulton, our new junior Graphic Designer, who has done a tremendous job on the layout and is, just as I’m writing this at four o’clock in the morning, completing this issue. Finally, after the release of the first issue, we won the Queen Mary’s young entrepreneur’s prize, which made a print run of two thousand copies for this issue possible. The last doubts have vanished, Newturn magazine is here to stay.


newturn March/April 2012



Kill or Cure?

Iran’s drug policy problem

Illustration by John McLoughlin


Face-lifting the Favelas

Can the carnival city shirk off its violent image


Diego Garcia: Democracy’s Dirty Little Secret? Investigating the Queen‘s Privy Council


What about Guantanamo, Mr. Obama?

Looking at the president‘s failure to close Guantanamo


A Conversation with a Torture Victim The telling of one man’s story


It’s time to show some teeth

An insight into Viktor Orban‘s Hungary


“I’m No Trappist”

An interview with John Bercow


A Glocal World

Lord Malloch Browns’ thoughts on globalisation



Face-lifting the Favelas Rio de Janeiro

As Rio de Janeiro prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, can the carnival city shirk off its violent image and bring peace to the streets, which, for so long, have been pock-marked by the bullets of competing gangs?

is a city of contradictions, where beauty lives next door to violence, and where, unlike most mega-cities, the poorest have the best view. Indeed, almost a quarter of Rio’s population lives high up in the hills, overlooking stunning landscapes. Sadly, here, inside the city’s notorious favelas,the beauty of the panoramas is easily forgotten. Plighted by on-going drug wars the favelas have long cast a shadow on the country’s exotic appeal However, with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games drawing ever closer, Brazil’s government has finally taken an active stand against the drug traffickers, a stand which has resulted in astonishing success.


Rio de Janeiro entered a downward spiral of misgovernment, corruption, and decline when the capital of Brazil was moved to Brasilia in 1960. Drug-trafficking gangs ran what was virtually a parallel government in their territories; Antonio Bomfim Lopes, Rio’s richest drug lord, financed medical treatment, flights to visit relatives, and RS 21,000 worth of Christmas presents in exchange for unswerving loyalty. Gangs receive support from the community because they improve people’s livesthey bring in money where there was no money before, and so for a short while improve the general livelihood. However, it is for this reason that such marked violence started in the first

Picture by balazsgardi (Flickr)


Picture of the view from the Rocinha Favela by seier + seier (Flickr)

place. “I would leave the house for a walk with my daughter and by the time I got back, we weren’t allowed in because there was another war going on,” says Franscisca Avelina, a dressmaker from Rocinha, who moved to Brasilia in 1994 due to the intolerable violence. Indeed, Francisca believes that the “violence grew” because people began fighting over this newly injected money, to such an extent that “no one respected anyone anymore”; even kids started “carrying revolvers” on the streets. The new ‘Programme of Pacification of the Favelas’ attempts to address both of these issues in turn. First, the drug lords are chased away by a specially trained police force. Then, Units of Pacification Police (UPP) establish themselves in the towns in order to make sure the drug lords do not return. Finally, the social sector of the programme promotes partnerships with the private sector and civil society organisations such as NGOs, to link the favelas up to electricity, streets, schools, leisure centres, thus fully integrating the favelas into the city. “Until recently, our police force was trained for war. Now, they are trained for civil service,” says State Security Secretary Jose Beltrame. When Rio hosted the Pan-American Games in July 2007, security was increased for the duration of the games and yet as soon as the closing ceremony was over, the security ceased to exist. “I don’t want to see that happen again,” states Beltrame.

become somewhat of a showcase success story, with President Obama visiting the favela in March 2011, prompting a trend of state visits to these shanty towns. In Chapeu Mangueira, 250 of the most unstable homes have been rewired for electricity, over 1,500 bulbs swapped for energy-saving fluorescents, and 400 new fridges installed. “It was normal to go three or four days without electricity,” says a citizen of the favela in an interview with Globo News. “Now if there’s a problem, a team is here in half an hour.” The cluster of favelas which make up the Complexo do Alemao is now linked by a 5km cable car

Rio is one of the few cities where the poorest have the best view.

However, it appears the Security Secretary’s efforts have borne fruit. Already, 300,000 people are living in secure areas covered by UPPs. In the favela Cidade de Deus, the murder rate has lowered by 80% since the UPP was installed. In fact Cidade has


newturn March/April 2012



try’s criminal justice system, which fails to bring drug-lords and ring-leaders to justice. Some members of the population still mistrust the police; their corruption and the unnecessary killings. Given that members of the force have switched over to the side of the drug traffickers mid-operation in previous years means the UPP will have a hard task in proving itself different this time around. And finally, the elephant in the room; is it all too good to last? The question even Franscisca can’t help but ask herself: “Where did the drug dealers go?” The possibility remains that they are hiding somewhere within the favelas, an idea which makes her and many other faveladwellers nervous. However, she manages to comfort herself with the knowledge that UPP is watching them “24 hours a day.”

Where did the drug dealers go?

Up until now, Rio de Janeiro has evoked two starkly differing images: the first is one of beauty and optimism, of frivolity and carnival; the second - and far less glamorous- is of the growing gap between its super-rich and its super-poor. However, today, the latter is becoming less apparent, and it is the Rio of carnival and colour that is being established as the city’s main image. Although the problems of Rio’s favelas have not been entirely eliminated, these marked improvements are giving their denizens the hope that their lives can change for the better. “The people finally feel like they have a voice,” says Franscisca with a significant touch of pride, “They will fight to keep it.”

and houses a branch of Banco Santander, the first bank in a Rio favela. Cidade de Deus has opened its first health clinic. And Rocinha, the ultimate challenge of the UPPs, was taken over from the gangs without the firing of a single shot. But Rio’s troubles are not quite over. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have voiced dissatisfaction with the repressive methods used by the UPP and the number of civilians killed by the national police force every year. They claim no amount of police operations can fix the wider flaws of the coun-

VICTORIA WALDERSEE wrote for student newspapers in Brazil and Uruguay, and is now studying Chinese and Development Studies at SOAS. 10


Diego Garcia:


population was unlawful. Laws LJ doubted whether prerogative power permitted the Queen to exile her subjects from the territory to which they belong. In considering the principle of peace, order and good government in the “British Territory” of Diego Garcia, Laws LJ stated that the population ‘are to be governed not removed’.

Democracy’s Dirty Little Secret?

In 2004 the Queen in Council, acting to rubber stamp malevolent instructions from the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw flouted Britain’s High Court ruling with two secret orders. Overturning the High Court ruling, it purported to abolish the Islanders’ right of return. In 2006 the High Court overturned these unjust orders. Lord Justice Hooper considered the legality of the ordinance and stated of the population ‘they are to be governed not removed’. The government appealed the and in 2007 were again defeated this time at the Court of Appeal. In his judgment, Sedley LJ stated: ‘I respectfully agree with the view of both Divisional Courts that… the permanent exclusion of an entire population from its homeland for reasons unconnected with their collective wellbeing… cannot be lawfully accomplished by use of the prerogative power of governance.’

The Queen’s Privy Council can expel UK citizens and exile nations like in Diego Garcia - an unchecked and dangerously unaccountable power BY NATASHA BOLSIN

Lisette Talare

Again the government appealed and in the House of Lords five members of the Privy Council handed down a ruling of three to two confirming the eviction of two thousand British citizens from their home. Lord Hoffman found that the Human Rights Act 1998 did not have any application and her husto the British governed territory of band within weeks of Diego Garcia, yet simultaneously found each other, according to her that the expulsion orders of the Queen ‚they died of sadness‘. The reason were valid. The case is now before the Eufor her profound grief is attributable to ropean Court of Human Rights whose the power of a secret unelected, unaccountdecision is expected in the near able cabal in Britain - the Privy Council. Ms. Tafuture. Two questions arise late was a British Citizen and former resident of the isfrom this sad episode. land paradise Diego Garcia where generations of Chagossians Firstly, in a democratic had lived. She and two thousand other British nationals were society, what is the justification for an abruptly expelled from their home in 1971 and driven into povunelected and unaccountable body that can erty and exile over 1,000 miles away. This Exile was declared approve far-reaching orders such as exiling whole nations and unlawful by the High Court in 2000, but this in turn was overwaging unlawful war? Secondly, how close to tyrannical govruled by an “Order-in-Council“ in 2004 with the explicit apernment is an unelected body proval of the Queen. The In 2004 the Queen flouted Britain’s High with executive power whose occasion was neither critiCourt ruling with two secret orders purpoting monthly orders are reviewed, cal nor extreme. at the highest level, only by to abolish the Islanders’ right of return The so-called Privy Counits own members? One group cil appear before the who knows the answer is the Chagossian Islanders. Queen so that she may grant Royal Prerogative to their schemes. Walter Bagehot describes Royal Prerogative as ‘a power, according to theory, for extreme use on a critical occasion’. In November 2000 Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Gibbs had NATASHA BOLSIN is a final year law student at King’s, ruled in the High Court that the expulsion of the Chagossian having previously studied History at the University of Sydney. died on the 4th of January 2012. In the 1960‘s she had lost two of her children


newturn March/April 2012


United States

What about Guantanamo,

Mr. Obama? After some initial promise, Obama has failed to deliver on his campaign pledge to close down Guantanamo. The most recent developments, in fact, take US policy in the opposite direction. BY NICOLAS KOSTOV

On his second day

in office, amidst the traditional handshakes and smiles, Obama signed an order to shut down the US prison at Guantanamo Bay within one year. Its existence represented a ‘betrayal of American values,’ Obama told reporters, and probably created more terrorists than it ever destroyed. Three years on, however, inmates are still being held at Guantanamo Bay. What’s more, Obama signed a law on New Year’s Eve which some legal experts say codifies indefinite detention as official US policy for the first time. For the last 10 years, the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been used by the country’s military as a legal black hole. The US Department of Justice advised in 2002 that the facility could be considered outside US jurisdiction. By then calling the nearly 800 susClosing the prison did pects tied to the floor of not go down well with military planes and taken there for questioning ‘ilright-wingers who smo- legal enemy combatants’ thered the debate in a rather than ‘POWs’ or suffocating layer of fear ‘criminals,’ the US ensured these people also had no rights under the Geneva Conventions. Wikileaks published a US Government memo advising that the questioning of


Illustration by Matthew Dale

suspects could be ‘cruel, inhuman, or degrading.’ It is not torture, it said, unless the pain inflicted is equivalent to organ failure. Obama found all this intolerable and vowed to use his solid majorities in the US Congress to close the facility. But things have not gone to plan. The idea of closing the prison did not go down well with rightwingers. They aggressively opposed the policy and smothered the debate in a suffocating layer of fear. Transferring suspects from Guantanamo to a high security prison in Illinois became a very real national security threat as citizens from New York to LA worried about a 9/11 bomber moving in next door. In a series of votes in Congress, both parties signaled their displeasure at the President’s policies and Congress eventually used its spending oversight function to prohibit the White House from financing the closure of the prison. Reluctantly, Obama ordered the military tribunals to restart, but vowed to fight on. In a bold move he put Signing this Act makes five alleged architects of 9/11 on trial in a federal Obama the first US court. The intention was President to enshrine to prove that US civil- into law the indefinite ian courts could handle detention of prisoners even the most dangerous of the Guantanamo contingent. The move backfired and following more National Security fear and political pressure, the trials were abandoned within two months. Since then, Obama has thrown in the towel. On New Year’s Eve, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after it passed Congress with super majorities. The Act seems to allow the military to indefinitely jail terrorism suspects, both American and foreign, without charge or trial. Obama argues it simply codifies existing standards but strong supporters and irate opponents are far less dismissive. They believe that signing this Act makes Obama the first US President to enshrine into law the indefinite detention of prisoners, a practice only possible previously through an Executive Order. Obama says he will not use the powers the Act grants him but future Presidents may choose to be more aggressive. The failure to shut down Guantanamo is perhaps the most obvious failure of Obama’s first term in office. The majority of the blame for the continued abuses at Guantanamo lies with Congress but the episode is representative of Obama’s leadership style: an emphasis on compromise and a worrying passivity that too often allows his opponents to set the agenda.

NICOLAS KOSTOV worked as a news reporter for the

Nation Media Group in Kampala, where he wrote on various topics including parliamentary politics, sex scandals and eating offals. He is a fourth year ESPS student at UCL.


newturn March/April 2012



“It became a game for them” Documented from afar, the mass media often pay little heed to the effects torture has on the individual. Taking a more personal approach, we follow the story of one man and his journey leading up to, and coming back from, his torture. BY MATTHEW BREMNER


cussing terror. His smiling face, stylish clothing and lounging form conflict with my imagination; I had not thought that he’d be so ordinary. Perhaps my prejudices, based – admittedly - on false premises, make him seem this normal. Again my ignorance is palpable; but I was sure he would look different. Yet his presence, so relaxed, seems impervious to both my preconceptions and his own internal pinches - as if his “ordinariness” assumes the role of his emotional armour, his shield against his quite unordinary life.

thinks that he can behave differently has never touched the bottom of life: he has never had to breathe his last in a world without heroes.” So echo the words of the Russian writer Varlam Shalamov, a man whose thirty years of torture in the Gulags left him with nothing but his own ruin. It is a sentence I cling to nervously, hoping that it might, if I think about it enough, provide me with some sort of standing - a base from which to conduct this interview sensitively. But how could it? It’s only a sentence after all, and description has never yet surpassed true experience. Waiting in the offices of Freedom from Torture, I have the profound sense that I have no right to be here. Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, a little over sensitive, but I feel - without question - guilty. I imagine their stories, their sufferings and what they might think of my naïve and limp questions, or my callow attempts at understanding their lives. And indeed, I feel as if my own life is not quite qualified enough for this assignment and that, in my ignorance, I might ask the wrong questions- intruding where I should not. But then again, what right do I have to begin imagining the life of a torture victim? And isn’t it a bit sick that I should see my life as in some way subordinate to the more horrifying life experiences of others? In truth, it is with total naivety that I begin this conversation.

I begin with asking him about his story - where he is from and what he did in his community. He tells me that he was originally from Africa (for the purposes of this interview we are not allowed to disclose Hassan’s country of origin), and grew up in a town outside his country’s capital. Speaking of his role as a campaigner for education, a sort of make-shift “village reformer”, he remarks that he had identified a problem in his home town and was determined to fix it: “I saw that kids were dropping out of schools, not because they didn’t enjoy going, but because class sizes were often well over 200 pupils per teacher.” His remedy was to set up free programs outside of the formal schooling regime, in which the children could supplement their learning and revive their thirst for knowledge. To ensure the scheme’s success, he would not let the children join the local football team (an unthinkable punishment) if they did not attend class. And indeed, it was this work-hard-play-hard mentality which saw him become an integral part of his town’s

One Man’s Story

Hassan is an unassuming man. Measured in his speech and careful with his body language, he seems drilled in the art of dis-


a refusal to aid Presidential aims to his name, Hassan was on that list. One night soon after these tumultuous events, government soldiers came to Hassan’s home. They attacked him in his house, and despite his best attempts to resist he was abducted and taken to a detention centre. “The next thing I knew was I was in a cell. There were two unconscious bodies next to me, blood was everywhere. I did not know whether they were dead or not.”

politics. In the 1990s a national football competition was organised in his country to encourage the sport at grass roots level. Believing success in this tournament would benefit his community, Hassan entered his team into the competition. With little hope of progressing past the first round and with a team which came, as he himself puts it, “from nowhere”, Hassan managed to guide his ramshackle eleven into the semi-finals stages of the tournament. Played in the national stadium, and with the whole country watching, he won massive respect from his local people, and moreover, from those in higher and more dangerous places. Indeed, his reputation became so strong that several years later one of his ex-university friends visited him with the offer of a position in government - a role in which Hassan was expected to rally support for the President, whose position was under threat from a rebel army. In many ways it might have given Hassan more power to affect change within his community, but he tells me that he declined the offer. His relationship with politics, he says, was akin to that of “fire and water”, and so he told his friend that he saw no role for himself in government and ended it at that. He looks at me, a wry, ironic smile on his face, “I suppose this was my downfall”.

Hauled out of the cell each day, he tells me that they would hang him in the shape of the number fourteen for hours on end: “My flesh felt like it was being ripped apart, the pain was unbearable”. He was asked time and time again about the rebels: “Where were they? How many of them were left? Who else

He looks at me, an ironic smile on his face, “I suppose this was my downfall”

Hassan still has family back in his native country and so for their safety has decided to remain anonymous

was helping them?” Hassan knew nothing. Yet, the torturing did not cease. When the hanging did not work, his torturers poured water over his face for sustained periods to simulate the sensation of drowning (a technique known as waterboarding). They put his mouth over a car exhaust pipe and started the engine so he could not breathe. They would starve him, humiliate him, and even threaten to kill him. He tells me that he became like a toy to them, the information for some reason became irrelevant, it was, as he says incredulously, “like the trial of a new technique each time, a test to see how much I could take.” I ask him how he got through this. “There is a moment when I don’t remember anything. You are so much in the pain that you lose consciousness”, he pauses here, as if preparing himself. “At that moment you don’t think about life or anything, you just think about what you have done to deserve that type of pain…” His voice fades. “Of course, there were moments when if I had had the opportunity I would have taken my life.” I ask him to expand on this extreme experience of pain: which was the hardest to take, the physical or the mental punishment? “The pain can be taken; the physical part of it was bearable. It is the mental side that becomes unbearable. The fact that you know that there is nothing else to think about but the pain that is coming, and nothing else to remember but pain that has happened.” Perhaps more harrowing is when he moves into the present and talks about how the pain still affects him now: “Even a long time afterwards the pain is still vivid, you actually feel the pain. When I sleep I think about the past, always dreaming about the feelings of helplessness, of anger and hunger. I feel my past physically and mentally.”

The following year, a rebel army tried to overthrow the government and assassinate the President. Despite the attack being quelled, and the government remaining intact, the President still wanted answers. He demanded to know if the resistance was still alive and whether it was planning to reform. And so at his request the government began to seek out anyone who they thought might be connected to the attempted coup d’état, and of course, with


newturn March/April 2012


Torture “this is true to a limited extent, there are people who do fake their stories. However, the trouble with the culture of disbelief is that it (unrealistically) increases the magnitude of the (fakery) problem.”

The Torture of Promise

After almost a year of torture Hassan escaped from his captors. With the assistance of one of the kinder prison guards he was smuggled out of the detention centre and back into the real world. However, having made it through one such struggle Hassan had to embark upon another journey, an arguably more difficult journey, the road back to normality. Yet, this was not the normality of his previous life, but the hope of normality as a political refugee in the UK.

Indeed, it is the governmental procedure which propagates this culture of disbelief in the first place. Until only recently, migrants were forced to sit down on bolted down metal benches, only three or four feet away from a glass screen, and shout out their stories to the British immigration officer behind it; all this being done within earshot of the hundreds of other migrants. The system turned immigration halls into cattle markets, and completely undermined those migrants that had a legitimate claim for asylum but felt unable to tell their story because of a particu-

Unfortunately, this hope, felt by the majority of asylum seekers when entering the UK, is soon crushed when met Former Conservative MP and CEO of Freedom from Torture Keith with the reality of Britain’s Best speaks out against the draconian measures employed by unwelcoming bureaucracy. the UK immigration system. Indeed, year after year the lar facet of their culture. Trans-Atlantic Trend Survey shows the UK as having the most anti-migrant sentiment out of countries including the USA, For people coming from Iran, for example, this is often the case. Canada, France and Germany. Moreover, according to the In a country where homosexuality is illegal, male rape is often Chief Executive of the British charity Freedom from Torture, used as a form of torture. One of the main reasons for this is Keith Best, what is even more disturbing is that it is the most because it strips away any possibility of rehabilitation; sodomy profoundly ignorant. For example, opinion polls will claim that is a crime punishable by death and therefore people are afraid to talk about it for fear of being executed. Thus when these people, many of whom are political refugees being tracked by the Iranian government, are requested to give their reason for asylum surrounded by people they do not trust (some of whom could be secret service operatives) they feel incapable of doing so. The prospect of declaring: “I’ve been raped” is one which terrifies them because they fear it might result in their immediate deportation back to Iran. These cultural constraints, caused by the more underlying problems of the initial screening process, suppress the truth. They cause people to lie, and so perpetuate the stereotype of the “migrant freeloader”.

“There is nothing else to think about but the pain that is coming, and nothing else to remember but pain that has happened” the UK takes almost 20% of the world’s refugees; in actuality, the true figure stands at around 2%. Moreover, most people believe around 50% of the population were born abroad, when in fact, only 11% of the people living in this country are of foreign birth. Indeed as Best surmises, “the ambient climate into which these people come is not at all a friendly one.” Yet, perhaps the biggest problem is how these people are dealt with by the UK government. Pervasive among the officers of the UK Border Agency is the so-called culture of disbelief, in which it can appear that most immigration officers hold the majority of those requesting asylum to be doing so on false pretences. Now, as Best admits,

As I ask Hassan about his own rehabilitation journey, it is unsurprising to find that much of his story concurs with those told by Keith Best. Talking animatedly, he tells me, “when you real-


as he gets stronger and more distant from his past, he is able to shape his experiences more positively. He thinks for a moment and then jokes. “Well ideally you want to have amnesia, but that is just not possible…”He trails off, a boyish grin etched on his face. “So yes, you have to re-shape these experiences. We know that the past is part of us, and so we have to protect and inform the future generations. By having this mentality, by being the voice of survival, it gives you something.”

ise that you can go to UK you have hope, it is a hope you can’t explain - like a sickness for which you know there is no cure, but then you get told there is a cure and if you take it you will be free from struggle.” He pauses to think, and then quite suddenly his expression changes to a more serious one - I sense the caveat. “This all changes when you get to immigration though. You come to seek asylum because you want protection, but when you start talking about your story they say that you are lying.” However, Hassan’s immigration experiences were easier than most and he managed to secure his UK residency relatively quickly. Indeed, he asks me to imagine having to wait 5, 10, even 15 years to be told that you can stay in the UK permanently – a life in which each day might be the day that you are told you are going home.

“Ideally, you want to have amnesia”

It is a considered response, and one that I think is representative of his rehabilitation. He is able to dress his horror in humour, like he is able to dress his own body in the clothes of the everyday. Naturally the past is still there: the marks on his body, the thoughts in his mind, but whereas the past left him naked, his emotions raw and uncovered - the future has enabled him to dress his words up so that they hurt a little less each time they are said. Indeed, Hassan’s division of himself has allowed him to become resilient towards his memories, although they are not entirely fossilised in the past, they seem to appear a lot more bearable to him in the present.

Re-dressing the Past in Present

Moving on from the perils of immigration, I try to direct Hassan to the more positive story of his rehabilitation. He talks rapidly about the sense of relief he felt when he realised that many others had gone through similar, if not worse, situations than he had. In addition to this, he acknowledges with great enthusiasm, the attentive care he received at the hands of the therapists from Freedom From Torture, crediting it as an integral part of his rehabilitation: “At first I was scared to come here, I thought

Hassan‘s division of himself has allowed him to become resilient towards his memories it was a mental hospital… but when I saw that there were people who knew nothing about me, yet sympathised with me and tried to make me feel human again, it gave me something to fight for.” Unfortunately, it’s a system that not all will experience. According to Freedom from Torture, many victims are placed in accommodation which is uninhabitable, and in places where people are far from sympathetic about their needs. In these inhospitable locations their terror is only exacerbated and the recovery made that much harder - it is no wonder therefore that Keith Best describes the system as “farcical”. As the interview reaches its end I ask Hassan to explore his relationship with the past. He tells me that through therapy he learned how to separate his past from his present and future, and how he began to understand this division in terms of two different people: the tortured person and the person who has overcome his experiences. Pushing further I ask him whether,

As I leave Hassan the one thing that resonates with me is what Keith Best termed our “profound ignorance”. Indeed, I have seen it in myself, in my preconceptions and subconsciously selfish attitude; in the ambiguous reactions of the people I talked to before the interview, and worryingly in the British government. A government which is often caught disbelieving suffering because it thinks it too unimaginable to be true. For more information on torture and the rehabilitation of torture victims visit:

MATTHEW BREMNER is the Deputy Editor- in-Chief of Newturn magazine


newturn March/April 2012



It‘s time to show some teeth Even if the economic dispute with Hungary is resolved, the European Union should keep a close eye on what Viktor Orbán has planned for his country – and not hesitate to sanction should it become necessary. BY OMAR EL-NAHRY


an economic crisis, questioning the way politics is made seems to be a logical step. Whereas these doubts have translated into broad social movements in some countries (including the now-famous indignados in Spain), a country on the Union‘s fringe seems to be taking a different, albeit more worrisome course. In Hungary, elections held in 2010 have given the right wing substantial political power. It was JOBBIK, the far-right ‘Movement for a Better Hungary’, that made it into the headlines with its anti-Roma, nationalist outbursts and its alleged links to various violent groups.

Picture by OECD

however is: Can Europe afford to stand by and watch democracy being damaged in one of its member states? In a worst case scenario, political change in Hungary could serve as a role model for other nationalist parties in Europe, especially in the Eastern member states.

With the continuation of the financial crisis, Hungary is back in the news. Being the first economy bailed out by the EU in 2008, it is in need of another big loan. But the central European country is under intense scrutiny for its politics as well as its economy. It seems that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has set out to transform the country according to his worldview and, as some critics have alleged, into a centralised one-party state. Over 200 laws have been passed that affect the country‘s very structure. Ranging from a controversial media law that allows the government an unprecedented amount of control over stateowned media to the re-drawing of electoral boundaries, they have attracted a great amount of criticism both within the country and internationally. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that the ascent of Orbán’s Fidesz-party represents the decline of a democracy that was hardly earned after the end of Communism.

Europe has already taken significant damage on the economic front. An attack on its core values however, or a perceived reluctance to defend them, may deal an even more critical blow to the Union. Politicians and institutions now need to take a firm stance not only with regard to the economic situation. They need to make it absolutely understood that undermining basic principles of the Union will not be tolerated. Should the Hungarian government not change or negotiate its policies, measures could be taken, including exclusion from the European community. Europe has to make a strong case regardless of Hungary’s apparent defiance. Not only is this necessary to deter similar developments in other countries, but more importantly to maintain Europe’s credibility. The economic damage may be repaired as soon as the economy picks up, but damage to the reputation of the Union as a champion of democratic freedom may be harder to reverse.

The ascent of the Fideszparty represents a decline of democracy that was hardly earned after the end of Communism

Strangely, criticism seems to focus on the new laws’ economic implications. The main dispute with the EU, it seems, has been about the power the government intends to give itself over the central bank – a fact only recently resolved, opening the way for an emergency bail-out loan. The most important question

OMAR EL-NAHRY is a third-year student at UCL

and former editor of the UCLU European Society’s magazine Eureka.



Kill or Cure:


Picture by S. Sabawoon

Iran’s Drug Policy Problem Whilst the Western

A severe heroin problem blights Iran. Government acceptance of harm reduction has led to some improvement, but real progress may depend on a complete change of approach.

media focusses on Iran’s nuclear programme and volatile foreign policy, the burning problem for many Iranians is heroin. Endemic substance abuse is holding back the country’s economy, feeding a dangerous AIDS epidemic and corroding its social fabric. On the streets of Tehran, whole buildings are taken over by addicts looking for a place to shoot up. Many are young and unemployed, lacking economic opportunities and often alienated from mainstream society. Widespread needle-sharing amongst them has ignited a dangerous AIDS problem that earlier in the decade threatened to become a national disaster. Overtaking opium as the drug of choice, heroin floods cheaply across the border from neighbouring Afghanistan. Of all the opiate users



newturn March/April 2012


Heroin infections. According to figures from Harm Reduction International, Iran now has over 420 operational needle-exchange programmes, which are often run by NGOs in cooperation with government institutions. Even many Iranian prisoners have access to sterile needles, a step which is considered by many to be the pinnacle of a progressive drugs policy. No such access is available to British or American prisoners. In addition to this, many drug rehabilitation centres in Iran provide methadone and other opiate substitutes to addicts, helping them to reduce their heroin use whilst leading functional lives and reintegrating with the wider community.

in the Middle East and North Africa, over half now live in Iran. Given this, it is surprising to hear that on a visit to Tehran last year, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, described Iran’s drugs policy as “one of the world’s strongest counter-narcotics responses.” He is not alone in this judgment. Many drugs policy experts have lauded Iran’s policy on drugs as amongst the most liberal, even progressive, in the world. “Its counter narcotics efforts, good practices and concerns deserve the acknowledgment of the international community,” Fedotov continued.

Of all the opiate users in the Middle East and North Africa, over half now live in Iran

These comments reflect Iran’s impressive embrace of certain harm reduction strategies that, whilst not condoning the use of drugs, aim to make drug use as risk-free as possible. For drug users who inject heroin, one of the most effective forms of harm reduction is needle-exchange, whereby clean syringes are distributed to avoid the transmission of HIV and other dangerous

These are bold and pragmatic steps. The evidence suggests that the measures are already having some positive impact. The 2011 UN World Drugs Report reported that the number of injecting drug users was down by 20,000 over the last two years and figures from UNAIDS show that AIDS transmission,

Opium harvest in Afghanistan, the world‘s biggest opium exporter


whilst still very high, is slowing. Where it tries to manage drug use in a practical way, the Iranian government is having some success in getting to grips with the tragedies that threaten its country. But this is far from being the whole story. Whilst Iran’s efforts to implement aspects of harm reduction are admirable, they exist within one of the most repressive legislative environments in the world. This is the Iran the West knows all too well. The Iran ruled by Sharia law; employing gross corporal and capital punishment, and showing little respect for human rights. For its fundamentalist clerics, the use of drugs is an inherent and despicable evil. Forced into accepting harm reduction programmes by the threat of a major AIDS problem, they have justified such programmes as a balancing act between the evil of drugs and the evil of disease. The draconian use of flogging, caning and the death penalty is commonplace. In 2010, approximately 590 people were executed for drug offences. The majority of these were drugs traffickers, but some report that there is often an arbitrary ‘assumption of trafficking’ for those found in possession of drugs. This is clearly a human rights issue, but it is also a pragmatic one. It is impossible for Iran’s harm reduction programmes to work to their full potential when they coexist with such a repressive attitude to drugs. Harm reduction has to function within a proper legislative framework designed to help drug users rather than threaten them.

best means of deterrence, they have executed thousands whilst not getting to the root of the problem. These responses have failed both in principle and practice. Their emergency embrace of harm reduction has alleviated the situation to an extent, but expecting such programmes to truly flourish is like planting a seed in gravel and waiting for it to flower. What’s needed is a whole new outlook on drugs - an acceptance that the state’s role is to help users, not to bully them. A new generation willing to ask the relevant questions about why people turn to drugs and how to assist them when they do.

I went to the office of Harm Reduction International to discuss this with Patrick Gallahue, an expert on the death penalty for drugs offences. “We don’t believe the concept of ‘evil’ is useful in discussion about drugs or disease,” he told me. Going on to emphasise that Harm Reduction is really a way of thinking about drugs policy, he stressed that corporal and capital punishment clashes with the very ethos of their approach. Harm reduction, rather than just a finite list of specific measures, is an attitude towards substance abuse, and the behaviour of Iran’s regime is impossible to settle with this.

Iran’s policy on drugs is amongst the most liberal - and even progressive

Iran professes to be fighting a war against drugs, but for too long it has been fighting a war against drug users. Until it learns to tell the difference, it can never fulfil the promise of its progressive policies.

The very instincts of the Iranian establishment tell it to punish drug users. Based on an unflinching belief in brutality as the

HARRY COATH has interned at the International HIV/ AIDS Alliance and studies PPE at Oxford.


newturn March/April 2012


John Bercow

“I’m No Trappist” The Speaker of the House of Commons is committed to party political impartiality, but John Bercow hasn‘t let that stop his passion for politics. He calls the Daily Mail the ‘Daily Fail,’ has a penchant for putting on posh accents and wants to ensure Parliament doesn‘t turn into an ‘institutional toffocracy’ INTERVIEW BY TOM STEVENSON

Illustration by Claudine O‘Sullivan

John, thank you very much for joining us. You were once, in your youth, Britain‘s top ranked junior tennis player. What on earth made you leave that for politics?

MP with some very strong views on policy. What led you to run for the position of Speaker of the House of Commons, a position that demands impartiality?

Well, the truth is that I was never quite good enough at tennis. I was county champion and so on, but I wouldn‘t have made it as a professional, and I never particularly wanted to. As far as my interest in politics, I have always been a passionate believer in Parliament. I believe in the value, and history, of Parliament as a representative democratic institution.

I was in a position, for various reasons, where my becoming a minister was very unlikely, and to tell you the truth I didn‘t particularly want to become a minister, nor do I think I would have been particularly good at it. The Speaker of the Commons is an extremely important and influential role in Parliament. So when the opportunity arose, I found out that there was considerable support and so I ran.

You were known as a firebrand at party conferences, and an


“I can‘t ever imagine a situation where Britain would be without the monarchy”

Does Prime Minister’s Questions still serve a democraticfunction, or is it just theatre, and is that acceptable? We famously have a much livelier

chamber than probably any other country, but I can‘t tell you the amount of representatives from other countries who say they wish they could haul in the Prime Minister or President and question them directly as we do in Britain. So I think it does serve a democratic function. That kind of accountability, even if the decibel level sometimes gets rather high, is very important. In recent years there has been an increase in orchestrated shouting, and that‘s something I‘ve tried to change.

Tony Benn once suggested the Speaker could replace the Queen as head of state if Britainever became a republic, what do you make of that idea? Well, I would make absolutely clear that I have great admiration for Her Majesty the Queen, who I think is an outstanding monarch and head of state, and that I think she deserves all our respect as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. I also have great respect for a man, Tony Benn, with whom I have often disagreed but nonetheless listened to with great interest and passion on all sorts of political issues.

The people have to be interested in Parliament though... isn‘t the drama rather interesting? Absolutely, and we wouldn‘t want to lose all the drama and turn MPs into Trappist monks, but we also need to have serious substantial debate. Planned artificial heckling, especially when it gets to the volume that it sometimes does - which Deep Purple would have been proud of -doesn‘t add to that.

But do you think the Speaker would be a suitable head of state should Britain ever become a Republic? I can‘t ever imagine a situation where Britain would be without the monarchy. As Presiding Officer you are of course responsible for selecting which MPs may speak in Parliamentary debates. Do you ever feel like an old-fashioned school master choosing children with outstretched arms to answer questions?

Your early career, by contrast, was marked by very strong party-political opinions... do you not feel constrained, and aren‘t you ever tempted to influence things, by choosing certain people to speak for instance?

The analogy that I favour, and the one that I strive to live up to, is closer to that of being a referee or an umpire in the House, but the one area in the comparison is quite fitting is when members attempt to violate the conventions and rules of the House, and especially for use of unacceptable language. Then I do feel a bit like a headteacher. Some members have in the past gotten themselves reputations for this. George Galloway would be an example, or Dennis Skinner who had a reputation and was suspended from the House many times. One instance where I had to ask for a colleague to withdraw a remark was when Tom Watson called Michael Gove a “miserable little pipsqueak”. He said he would withdraw it “out of deference to you Mr. Speaker”. You can make up your own mind what he intended to say there.

Your political opinions don‘t disappear over night, but out of respect for the office of Speaker I feel no strain at all for not, say, participating in debates. But Ministers don‘t participate in debates except where their office is responsible. I would never try to ‘influence’ a debate like that, because it would undermine the office. But I have very good access to ministers, who certainly answer my requests far quicker now than they ever did when I was a backbencher. So I‘m no Trappist monk either, to return to the earlier metaphor, and I have absolutely no regrets about being Speaker. I don‘t expect this to be the case, but if I were to die tomorrow, I would die a happy man.

“Overall the women of the House are markedly better behaved than the men”

So who are the trouble-makers?

TOM STEVENSON is a final year English student and Managing Editor of Queen Mary’s CUB magazine. He also writes regularly on international affairs for the Huffington Post.

The one thing I can and will tell you is that overall the women of the House are markedly better behaved than the men.


newturn March/April 2012



A Glocal World Globalism in Crisis? Former UN Secretary Lord Malloch Brown gives his opinions on the rise and fall of globalisation and its effects on international development. BY LORD MALLOCH BROWN

I see now


as being a time of crisis for globalisation. It is a fractured, threatened idea, identified as the creature of a banking elite of concentrated wealth on a scale never before seen in human history at one end, and low-cost exploited labour at the other, migrating income away from the voters and consumers, the backbones of western political life. Yet I remain a sentimental globalist, for reasons rooted in my experience.


worked at the World Bank, they preached a kind of strange capitalist version of comparative advantage where they argued that Africa shouldn’t focus on manufacturing but should allow a wave of cheap imports from outside. In country after country one saw erosion and collapse of local manufacturing and service sectors and a failure to put necessary investment in key public sectors like health, education and infrastructure. I prodded and cajoled at the bank to have a more passionate and humane vision of international development, and moreover, tried to make them understand that national capacity and the protection of countries during their economic transition from the worst kind of dislocation and job loss was vitally important.

In the 1980s, I saw globalisation in its early stages. The first evidence was, interestingly, not the emergence of global arrangements to manage issues, but the overthrow of national dictatorships by the competitive force of a global economy. Time after time when the strong man went so did the closed, vested economic interest. As head of the UN Development Programme I sponsored the Arab Human Development Report, first published in 2002 which asserted that in the Arab region there were massive deficits of democracy, the rights of women, and secular education. Here was a region which sought to cut itself off from democracy and liberalised markets and as a result, despite oil, was moribund, festering, isolated. The Arab Spring was in such a significant way a response to that. The frustration of those in Egypt and other countries in the region spilt over, not because of the sheer paucity of opportunity and participation, but due to the sense of comparison with the rest of the world - why are countries that were poorer and even more closed off shooting past in the fast lane?

As head of the UNDP, I tried to make sure that we took advantage of our status as the “local friend of development� by offering the most clear-minded strategic advice and support we could. I also insisted that we help weaker states build a more just global order. One of the most significant things we did was setup the Millennium Development Goals. These objectives, prosaic though they sound, girded development efforts after their adop-


sation glorifies the hidden hand of the market and so becomes the enemy of a democratic global arrangement. We face the 21st century choice: to make this kind of participatory, liberal global order work; or to see a more Orwellian vision of the world breaking back up into competing power centres – the US versus China, Europe wringing its hands in the middle, Africa and Latin America trying to stay out of the way of the falling debris as the giants clash. The neighbourhood has gotten too small to allow the old model of Westphalian interstate politics, competition and conflict to remain the prevailing international order. It is just too dangerous and the challenge is too great for that kind of model of international relations to be left uncontested.

tion in 2000, allowing poorer countries to prioritise their own private and public spending –health, education and job creation took precedence over state public work projects or industrial flagship projects. They began to establish the idea that a global society needs a global social safety net; that poverty is not just a local and national responsibility but a global one we all share.

Globalisation glorifies the hidden hand of the market and so becomes the enemy of a democratic global arrangement

We need create a world of rules and regulations centred on the UN and organisations like the G20 where authority is shared in a sensible way, allowing re-empowerment at a national level of politics. We need regional institutions like the EU and the African Union. We need an increasing focus on localism; I suspect an independent Scotland, greater fragmentation of the UK, and reordering of borders. Some issues will go global, some regional, some national and others local - a much more complicated jigsaw of governance representing a more participatory world which stands by principles of fairness and inclusion. Globali-

LORD MALLOCH BROWN is a former political

editor of the Economist and former Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth.


newturn March/April 2012





China in Africa

Re-assessing China’s involvement in Africa

Illustration by John McLoughlin


The end of Facebook’s privacy

How does Facebook make its money?


Japan and Feminism

How women can help Japan


Let’s Talk Shorting

How short sellers can bankrupt governments


Is Football recession proof?

Why football’s finances are sustainable


Share Holder Activism

The differences between Public and Private



IPO Marks End to Faceb

How Much Longer Wil Its initial public offering marks the end of Facebook‘s privacy and makes for the biggest ever tech shares offering, valuing the firm at almost $100 billion. But is the 7-year-old, and only recently profitable, company worth anywhere near that amount? BY MARLEY MILLER

When Time

magazine named Facebook’s 27-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg as their 2010 Person of the Year, the NBC-show Saturday Night Live created a sketch in which Julian Assange – the then imprisoned Wikileaks forefather - was asked the difference between himself and the media mogul.

Illustrations by Mia Kennedy

This week, the final boxes were signed and dated as preparations for one of the most hotly-anticipated initial public offerings (IPOs) ever came to a close. Facebook filed for a stock issuance worth $5 billion – a figure that will probably increase nearer the issue date sometime in spring – valuing the firm somewhere between $75 and $100 billion. Yet, the question still stands as to whether a 7- yearold, and only recently profitably, company is worth anywhere near that amount? Or is Facebook just arriving fashionably late to the dotcom-crash party?

“I give private information on corporations to you for free, and I’m a villain. Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year.” Thanks to Facebook’s “share” button, the message then, somewhat ironically, went viral. But barely a dent was made in the social network that boasts 845 million current monthly active users (so called MAUs). A month later, Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that does “God’s work”, injected $500 million into Facebook, valuing the firm at $50 billion and thus, confirming Zuckerberg’s hallowed status.

Facebook is relying on your farm! The IPO documents signalled the end of Facebook’s financial


book’s Privacy:

ll Yours Last?

agreed upon in May 2010, Facebook has been receiving 30 per cent of the face value paid for Zynga games. Other developers from AvenueSocial to Zoocha make up 3 per cent of revenue.

secrecy. The previously well-hidden company accounts showed that in 2011 Facebook had a revenue of $3.711 billion, up 88 per cent from $1.974 billion a year ago. Its net income of $1 billion is up 65 per cent from $606 million. Although these numbers align with leaked early estimates for the firm’s 2011 income, some experts were still left dismayed. “That is a surprisingly low number,” Tim Loughran, a finance professor at University of Notre Dame told Associated Press. “Facebook needs to find more ways to get revenue from their users”. Currently, Facebook is only making roughly $4.39 from each user per year. Meanwhile, Google’s $38 billion revenue works out at about $30 per user.

Next time an “app request” pops up on your screen, just remember: although it’s just a silly farm to you, Facebook’s counting on your harvest! Facebook’s primary source of income remains advertisement. This year, advertising accounted for 85 per cent of Facebook’s income down from 95 per cent in 2010 and 98 the year before. With the increasing reliance on sales made by Zynga and other app developers, the IPO documents understandably added: “We currently generate significant revenue as a result of our relationship with Zynga, and, if we are unable to successfully maintain this relationship, our financial results could be harmed.”

Yet, perhaps the most shocking statistic unveiled is just how important the app platform Zynga is to Facebook. The firm, whose appempire stemmed from the Facebook classic FarmVille, generated $445 million of Facebook’s 2011 revenue, making up 12 per cent of total earnings. Since an addendum was

If Facebook is to really deserve its place as the biggest ever tech IPO – overtaking Google’s $2bn – it needs to shed its laid back college-dorm project vibe and ramp up revenue from its apps and ads. And apps appear to be where the money’s at, after all they are what really differentiates Facebook from similar sites: Google’s strategy relies almost entirely on advertisement, accounting for about 96 per cent of its total revenue; MySpace’s $109 million revenue is generated solely from advertisement, as is the $100 million Twitter made in 2011. So, next time an “app request” pops up on your screen, just remember that although it’s just a silly farm to you, Facebook’s counting on your harvest!


newturn March/April 2012



“If you‘re not paying for it, you‘re not the customer; you‘re the product being sold”*

ExactTarget survey, only 42 per cent of Facebook users agree that marketers should interpret “Like” to mean that they are a fan or advocate of the company.

Whilst growth of its app platform continues to pick up pace, Facebook may need to put some time into cultivating its advertisement space to push up revenues. “I worry the billions of dollars they generated last year aren’t as solid as they need to be, because advertisers who spent the money aren’t as thrilled with the results they got for it”, stated Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott.

Google, on the other hand, is wearing its advertising strategy on its sleeve. Its new “Ad Preferences” section allows users to see the profile built on them and adjust it to their character. The public can also view what demographic Google thinks it belongs to. How it thinks I’m a female OAP, I’m not sure. What it does illustrate is that Google’s top-secret algorithms are far from perfect.

In order to succeed in advertising, Facebook would have to shell out further user information to agencies.

“Visually, Facebook ads are eye-catching, but in terms of accuracy of targeting, they are not even close to Google’s ads. A lot of the companies we talk to are finding it very hard to succeed on Facebook.”

Facebook’s current revenue is a rough match of Google’s when they filed for an IPO in 2004. Although its revenues are now 10 times smaller than that of the bastion of tech-innovation, Facebook is growing far more rapidly. No wonder the internet giant appears so eager to crush Zuckerberg’s expanding empire. The (so far unsuccessful) introduction of Google+ last year will aim to mimic and improve on a lot of the functions of Facebook. With additional features such as “Hangout”, a Skype-esque videoconference app, the new social networking platform will attempt to draw in Facebook’s current users by manipulating Google’s searches to place it higher up in results.

However, in order to succeed in advertising, Facebook would have to shell out further user information to agencies. In the past, Facebook has faced strong opposition over its lack of respect for personal privacy. Last November it reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for making public information that users believed to be private. Its current advertisement strategy is reliant on a constantly-growing,

Regardless of the success of the market debut of the Harvard-socialexperiment-cum-multinational-giant, Zuckerberg has signalled his original goals have been reached. In a letter to potential investors he stated, “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected”. Keeping 57 per cent of voting stock, he will still remain firmly at the helm of Facebook but after stating his intention of taking a $1 salary from 2013 and with an active user base fast approaching 1 billion people – 14% of the world’s population – where can he now go? As far as investors are concerned, a growing user base is key. Zuckerberg’s next challenge: China.

and increasingly-addicted, user base of people in the coveted demographic for advertisers – twothirds of users are aged between 18 and 49. Facebook’s “Like” button has encouraged users to share more information by asking to which brands they give the thumbsup. From these public approvals, a profile of the user can be built and ads selected accordingly. For companies points (or “Likes”) mean prizes and so many offer competitions and giveaways for their Facebook fans. These enticing schemes skew the preferences of the user and so the info fan pages provide is less useful for advertising purposes. In fact, according to an

MARLEY MILLER is the Assistant Economics Editor for the Social Europe Journal and Vice-Chairman of the Newturn society.

*Originally written on the blog MetaFilter by user blue_beetle




Japan and Feminism: An Economic Solution How women can help the Japanese economy BY RICHARD TREADWELL


Illustration by Clelia Colantonio

The idea that the state could help solve the problem of female employment equality is shared by Queen Mary lecturer Dr Rainbow Murray who said that if the state were to provide childcare then Japan‘s talented females could work and pursue careers more suited to their abilities. State-funded childcare would be a controversial measure. However, when questioned further, about whether it is fair that somebody without children should have to pay for the childcare of somebody else‘s, Murray defended this potential policy proposal by saying that having children was providing a service to society and should be recognised as exactly that.

has often been accused of being Eurocentric, obsessed with the white and middle-class. Heroes of feminism hail from the Western world and much of the praise for this movement is, quite rightly, focused on the effect it had in terms of increasing the opportunities available to women in the public sphere and giving many talented and underestimated women a job. However, the economic benefits of such a movement are often overlooked. The talent pool available to British businesses dramatically increased and the effect of this increase should not be underestimated when assessing reasons for the financial growth during the late nineties.

The second strand of the problem is far harder to deal with Japan’s working population is shrinking rapidly and although than the first, and that is the engrained attitude towards workthis catastrophe is far more subtle than the Tōhoku earthquake ing women held by large numbers of both Japanese men and in 2011, its effects could be just as devastating. How bad is women. The problem is not unique to Japan, with the need to the situation? Let‘s see some statistics: Japan‘s population of reshape ‘sexist’ attitudes towards women and feminism just as 127m is predicted to fall to 90m by 2050. As recently as 1990, important in the Western world. An example of how sexism is working-age Japanese people outnumbered children and the deeply engrained in the Japanese way elderly by seven to three; by 2050 the Is it fair that somebody without of life is vividly displayed in the social ratio will be one to one. children should have to pay culture of Japanese businesses. WorkThere is however a solution to this ers often need to work long hours due for the childcare of someone workforce problem. Japan can tap into to basic pay being poor, making overthe world of female intellect and skill else‘s? time necessary. After work there are and use women to expand their workforce. The problem they semi-compulsory drinking rituals that often go on until the earface when trying to do this is two-fold. First of all there is the ly hours. Such rituals are often held in gentleman‘s clubs. This structural problem that there is not enough state-regulation is hardly a lifestyle to aspire towards for a potentially top busithat ensures women are given a fair chance. In Britain, since nesswoman. Changing such practices will be a tough process. New Labour’s election in 1997 opportunities for women have A new feminist movement could be the answer but reading the increased; there was a record-breaking number of female MPs papers and seeing that Japan‘s working population is dwindling in Parliament; the Equal Opportunities Act was passed in 2004 will hardly inspire women to start one. If women can battle meaning local authorities had greater duties toward carers. Jathrough the macho system with the help of the state and gain pan would do well to learn from this. Right now, most Japanese top jobs in government and business then they can, in turn, businesses have codes of practice that are designed to protect shape ideas in the private sphere as well. women‘s rights in the workplace. However, as long as such codes remain self-regulated there is little hope that women will RICHARD TREADWELL studies Economics and be able to rely upon them to improve conditions. Politics at Queen Mary University.


newturn March/April 2012


Financial Crisis

We need

Why might this self-fulfilling prophecy happen? It usually starts with a very large or a very public sale of that particular asset. A very large sale, relative to the size of the market, causes the market price to fall. Every day, there are scores of traders who are paid to focus on this market in order to profit from short-term price changes. The traders see the price of the asset falling or see the news that XX Hedge Fund has announced that they are short-selling that asset; and they short-sell it too. They do this out of fear. Fear that the hedge funds are privy to information they aren’t and so sell quickly to not lose out. So, the initial short selling can cause the price of the asset to fall. And with major crashes, like the 1987 crash or the Asian crisis of 1997/8 (in which short-

to talk about


Short selling, or betting that a stock will lose value, provides an important market function. But when short sellers attack, they bankrupt governments. BY ANNA STANSBURY

There‘s something

sinister about short sellers. They profit from other peoples’ misery as stocks, bonds, or other assets fall in value like vultures circling around a dying company, waiting to eat... But, as with vultures, they usually perform a useful function. In the face of popular hatred of short-sellers (and all-things-financial), the financial regulators and industry are quick to vaunt short-selling’s benefits. Short-sellers increase liquidity in a market, so any genuine buyers/sellers will have a much easier time getting hold of the asset, or selling it. They find out and publicise valid negative information about a company or government, which means that its stocks/bonds will be priced at their proper value. And anyway, if the short sellers are right and the stock falls in value, why stop them making money from their good guess? The problem comes, so to speak, in the minority of cases when the vultures turn predator. Instead of waiting for a sick or wounded animal to die before eating it, some descend and kill it themselves. If they hadn’t, the animal may well have recovered. Short-selling can do the same – causing a self-fulfilling prophecy as betting on a falling asset price causes it to fall – perhaps far more often than our financial industry lets on.


fulfilling prophecy, as pushing down the price of government bonds by short selling causes the government to become less solvent, justifying further price falls. Does this ring a bell? It’s happening in Europe right now. Of course, underlying factors play a role in these events. But in this kind of case – Italy’s a great example – the short-sellers can cause far more of a problem than was ever justified by the underlying issues. The vultures are going for the kill when the animal’s only wounded.

sellers were heavily implicated), the asset value can take years to recover. In the case of government bonds, the problem is even more pronounced. Short-selling large quantities of government bonds pushes down their price. As the bond price falls, the government must pay more to finance its debt. This makes the government’s finances shakier – its debt obligations are larger relative to its revenues. “The markets” lose confidence and sell the bonds. The price falls. The cost of refinancing debt rises. Government finances become more endangered. And so short selling creates a self-

The problem arises when the vulture turns predator

The most common method of short selling is to borrow assets from their owners in order to sell them, then buying them back cheaper before returning them to the owners. The owners in question are mostly pension funds and investment funds. Just the funds, in fact, which people like you or me (if I had a pension, or savings) put our money into. These funds are paid fees for lending their securities to hedge funds who sell them short. This sounds like a good idea. The pension fund manager has bought a stock, and believes it will rise in value in the long term; a hedge fund manager believes the stock price is going to fall in the short term and is willing to pay the pension fund manager a fee to borrow the stock. The pension fund manager is in a great position – if she is right and the stock rises, she makes money on the stock, plus the fee. If she’s wrong and it falls, at least she has the fee to offset the loss on the stock’s face value. But the problem comes when the short selling causes self-fulfilling prophecies. In those situations, we are lending our pensions to hedge funds so they can cause them to fall in value.

Short selling causes governments to become less solvent

For a start, this absurd situation needs to be more widely recognised. The securities lending industry is estimated at about $1-2 trillion worldwide. Although the majority of this lendingfor-shorting is undoubtedly harmless, if even a small fraction is causing asset price falls because of self-fulfilling prophecies, pension-holders and fund-holders are getting a very raw deal; governments/companies and anyone else on the receiving end of a self-fulfilling prophecy short are getting a very raw deal. The only people benefiting are the hedge funds.

ANNA STANSBURY studies Economics at Cambridge University and is Policy Director of The Wilberforce Society, Cambridge’s student think tank.


newturn March/April 2012





Is Football

Recession-proof ? some football clubs. Darlington and Wrexham are two of the latest names in British football to be staring at financial ruin. Much has been said about the financial sustainability of football and many are considering a crisis in lower league football funding. For example, David Conn of The Guardian wrote of Darlington that ‘the Darlington Arena is a rattling monument to the reckless buying, selling and mismanagement of historic football clubs.’ Simon Kuper, football anthropologist and sports columnist for the Financial Times disagrees. ‘I don’t think there’s a crisis,’ he says. In an interview from his Paris home in January, the co-author of Soccernomics is steadfast. ‘There’s an extent to which some [lower league] clubs are too small to fail.’ It simply is not the case, he reckons, that the debt crisis in football is unmanageable or a cause for alarm. Sustainability is plausible and likely. Most clubs, he says, are ‘immortal’. ‘[It’s] incredibly rare that they disappear.’ In fact the club is routinely protected from the collapse of its sister business. Pointing to Aldershot in 1992, he remarks that ‘it was the company that failed, not the club.’

Simon Kuper is a sports columnist for the Financial Times. Here, he talks Michel Platini, football’s global appeal and why football finances are perfectly sustainable. BY JOSH WHITE

At the end

most popular sport in the est clichés associated soundbite that rings post-match interviews Saturday; the reminder, drilled out of TV sets and newspaper headlines at every major cup final, that “We’ve Never Had It So Good”. But football truly is a cultural, economic and global phenomenon. A cumulative twenty-five billion viewers followed the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The Premier League is broadcast to over six hundred million people in two hundred countries worldwide.

of the day, football is the world. One of the tritwith the game. The in a dozen managers’ every

Kuper is something of a dove to the hawks of Conn and others in

But the story is quite different in the boardrooms of

Bayern Munich is still the only top club without debts


the British press (especially) who moralise mawkishly at the bedside of English football. Despite the global financial crisis, there is no indication that fans are turning away from football. Kuper showed exactly this in 1994’s William Hill Sports Book of the Year Football Against The Enemy, in which he documented the fans’ unique expressions of their cultural, national and social identities via the game. The development of football is such that we are seeing more anthropologies, sociologies and histories of the fans that make up the game - studies and writers that remain shy of club loyalties. (Kuper does not tell me which football team he supports.) And especially at the moment, the demand for football is still high, even in the lower leagues. ‘Thirty million people went to league football matches in 2008, at the height of the recession. At about £10, watching football in a recession is a cheap means of entertainment.’ Football, he says, is ‘recession-proof’.

sharply. ‘They’ve been building their brand around the world for years. The big clubs of the 60s are largely the big clubs [and global brands] of today.’ With growing audience across the world, it may be the case that ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’ when it comes to the spread of the Premier League brand. (Ratings for Premier League matches on American television networks are breaking records, he reminds me. Fox will even be showing a Premier League game directly before the Superbowl this year.)

Most clubs are ‘immortal’. It’s incredibly rare that they disappear

We must separate, Kuper says, the moral critique of football spending from the business critique. This normative proscription against the ills of debt and deficit are zipped around in a recession. But UEFA’s financial fair play rules (UEFA decrees that clubs spend only from within their income and means) aim, surely, at protecting the game from the harsh extremes of capitalism, don’t they? No, he says. The failings of the rule on club debt are twofold. ‘Firstly, what problem is it meant to solve? Clubs don’t go bankrupt. Secondly, the rules are a nightmare to enforce. There’s nothing to stop clubs keeping their spending off the books.’ So then how can UEFA compel clubs to act? ‘Real Madrid, Manchester City, AC Milan are examples of strong clubs versus weak regulators.’ So a ban from the Champions League is inconceivable? ‘The rules help traditional clubs. [Michel] Platini’s is a moral initiative. He doesn’t like foreigners to come and spend money on football.’ The problem with the rules, he says, is that ‘like Valencia, once you can’t spend anymore, you can’t compete.’ It sounds like a cynical attempt by Platini and UEFA to keep the top clubs powerful and the smaller clubs dutiful. ‘It’s not what he [Platini] intended,’ Kuper says, ‘but it’s the sausage that came out of the grinder.’

So are clubs taking for granted the permanent revenue stream from fans? The Glazers at Manchester United introduced a compulsory purchase of cup tickets for season-ticket holders. ‘United get a huge additional grant [from this],’ Kuper says, ‘but British football is incredibly durable’. Match day revenue accounts for only around one third of a club’s annual income, and there are empty seats in Blackburn and Wigan, he says, ‘because they are poorer areas’. ‘Arsenal have a massive match day

We must separate the moral critique of football spending from the business critique revenue, which makes up half of their income because they are in London and because of who they can attract.’ And, on top of this, fans are not building real opposition to big finance in the Premier League. ‘However much debt you have, your club will always survive. Fans always want rich businessmen to invest. The more you pay [in wages], the better players you get.’ The attraction of the Premier League to foreign investors is not subsiding. ‘It’s tempting to want to say something apocalyptic, but football is a successful product with enduring brands.’

Platini, Sepp Blatter et al are wrong to decry the game as immoral and fatally weakened by greedy financiers .If Kuper is right, there is no indication that we will soon see any drop in the popularity of the sport. Football is so enduring and permanent, so culturally unique and nonpareil, that the question of sustainability seems like exactly the kind of cliché that Kuper the contrarian relishes debunking. Football - the sensation could survive the recession unscratched.

The Premier League cannot be matched financially. For the most ambitious players, after Real Madrid and Barcelona, it’s the Premier League. It doesn’t even need to be the most successful league in the world. There is always a global support base, always enough to go around.’ But what about when clubs are not performing on the pitch? Does that not affect their global revenue? ‘Liverpool aren’t performing on the pitch,’ he says,

JOSH WHITE is the Politics Editor of Newturn Magazine,

writes music reviews for BBM Magazine and New Reviews and has written for the New Statesman and The Huffington Post.


newturn March/April 2012




Shareholder Activism:

What’s the point?

Photo By One_Glass_Eye (Flickr)

Private versus Public, Ownership versus Control. Our anonymous man in the City investigates the ins an outs of shareholder activism BY ANONYMOUS


activities thus combining ownership with how and what the business does. Unsurprisingly a lot of time and effort has been placed on aligning the objectives of managers and shareholders of quoted companies to ensure both owners and managers mutually benefit. The last government introduced the concept of “responsible ownership” encouraging institutional shareholders to take an active role in overseeing good corporate governance. The government believed that institutions which simply sold their shares when they did not agree with the management plans or performance were demonstrating short term thinking causing markets to mis-value companies. Instead, the thinking went, they should actively address the source of their concerns through aligning their objectives with the managers of the business.

activism is much in the news these days; even the state, in its role as a bank owner, freely pronounces its views on directors’ remuneration policies. The mood of the news is one of more heat than light, of a constant dis-enchantment on both sides between shareholders and those that run companies. Given the millions or even billions invested in businesses, why wouldn’t shareholders take an active role? In fact to the many tens of thousands of successful private businesses in the UK, the thought of shareholders being inactive is unthinkable. As someone who has recently run a FTSE 100 company and currently runs a smaller private company, the different approach to the role of the shareholder was a real eye opener. After all, whether a shareholder owns share in a private or publicly quoted business the rights and obligations are broadly the same-so why are they deployed differently?

Scratching away the veneer of alignment shows up a whole host of conflicting issues which challenges the aims of being a responsible shareholder. For example, the institutional shareholder itself is owned by shareholders whilst, at the same time, acting as an agent or money manager for its investors who may well have different objectives to the owners of the institution. Individual funds, within the institution, are focussed on dif-

Much of the answer lies in the difference between “ownership” and “control” of the business. Shareholders of a business quoted on a stock exchange, own a part of the business but rarely control its direction or what it does. In private business shareholders are very often the managers of the business


the big dividend awaits from the hard-earned profits. That is until the Finance Director who is drawing a big salary (from the shareholders profits) informs you that to cope with increased customer demand, a new IT system is required which will cost somewhere near to 90% of distributable reserves or, in simple terms- the dividend. In the same situation in a quoted company, shareholder dividends would normally be ring-fenced and paid out first leaving bank borrowings to take the strain of the cash required. In a private company, even if the Bank was amenable to providing a loan(unlikely in today’s climate) the only real recourse is to fund the expenditure from free cash in the belief that next year will deliver even higher dividend prospects from the growth will follow. Active shareholder behaviour in a private business comes with a wholly different set of issues than that of a public company. Institutional shareholders broadly steer clear of private businesses because, although they admire the alignment concept, they are less enamoured with an uncertain dividend stream or frankly the increased chance of losing all their money. It is a simple fact that a very large percentage of private businesses go bust with the main reason being that they run out of cash.

ferent objectives such as yield or capital growth which expect different things from a company. I remember presenting to a large institutional shareholder which held shares in both of these types of funds; as I spoke one half of the room (the yield fund) nodded when the plans to reduce capital expenditure were announced, whilst the other half shook their heads as they believed it meant lower growth! Large investing institutions raise the money they eventually invest by marketing themselves as better than the fund next door. They produce tables to demonstrate how good they are at becoming an owner at a low value and selling at a higher value at the right time- normally just at the time that the managers need their support to fend off an unwanted takeover, or a request for more cash to improve the business.

Institutional shareholders broadly steer clear of private businesses because they are less enamoured with an uncertain dividend stream.

Managers in public companies are not short of conflicts either. Annual bonuses encourage short term behaviour which drives up profitability with the share price normally following but may not be sustainable resulting in the shares falling back to the previous level. Remuneration policies are always a source of friction. It is an inherent and almost unavoidable conflict of interest - shareholders complain that the increases in pay come from the money that they own, managers point to the external salary benchmarks hinting darkly that they may move on if they fall behind. Reckless takeovers are legion in the public market place. Takeovers use existing shareholder funds or raise new shareholder funds to mount a „once in a lifetime opportunity“ in the face of compelling evidence that they seldom work, just look at the recent examples in the banking sector. Management hubris or weak ownership?

So what, if anything, ties the shareholder activities in these different environments; why if they are both owners are they active in different ways? What is the point of being an active shareholder? The answer probably lies in the managing of risk. Being an active shareholder is that you are better able to judge, on a relative and absolute basis, how your money will be used. The whole purpose of investing £x in any business, publicly or privately owned is to make £x+ over your chosen time period. Notwithstanding all the conflicts and mis-alignments that exist in quoted companies, utilising a few of the owner’s rights allows you better insight into future value and reduces risk. Of course, simply remaining non-interventionist, and selling the shares when the mangers fail to impress remains a valid and, as some studies suggest, better method of creating value. There is a growing body of empirical evidence however, which suggests that sustained activism over time reduces the conflict between ownership and control to the benefit of all shareholders. As for me and many like me in private business, the alignment of ownership and control allows risk to be managed more effectively. In my business at least, the risk levels are demonstrably higher than my previous FTSE company experience but so too, hopefully, are the rewards.

In a private business it all seems a lot simpler. Worrying about cash in the bank, your customers’ demands and your work colleagues motivation and sensibilities, replace the never-ending presentations and questions from institutional shareholders. Fear of failure lurks behind every decision to spend what is your own money, not that of some semi-detached institution which has kindly invested in you because you are a FTSE company. Ownership and control are all too clearly aligned as the strategy and tactics are constantly assessed and re-assessed by the same people who created the plans in the first instance. At least when ownership and control is separated there is the opportunity for independent scrutiny. Bankers who, previously, were falling over each other to lend money, now have the temerity to challenge your thinking and arbitrarily reduce the forecasts by 50%.This is because “private businesses always exaggerate”-the corollary being that public companies never over-estimate! Still, at the end of the year in which no salary has been drawn,

ANONYMOUS Former CEO of a FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 company.


newturn March/April 2012



Reassessing Chinese Involvement in Africa China is accused of supporting some of Africa’s worst regimes but is this involvement helping the continent’s development? BY ANJLI PARRIN

Much international

attention has recently focused on China’s expansion into Africa, honing in on business deals conducted with government officials such as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, which may exacerbate poverty levels in a region that has suffered from corruption, poor infrastructure and a lack of respect for basic human rights. The conventional argument is one of Chinese neo-colonialism, depleting the continent of vital and valuable resources.

Illustration by John McLoughlin

se involvement has been important for two key reasons. First, regional road contractors simply do not have the expertise or technical skill to create roads of such proportion. Second, in a country riddled with corruption, the Chinese have embarked upon the first major roads project since Kenyan independence in 1963. Previous contracts have been allocated over the years, yet the bidding process has always been unclear and the preferred tenders ambiguous. By contrast, this project has been carried out without risk of diverted funding, and has therefore directly profited the people of Kenya.

Not all Chinese involvement has been negative. In particular, Chinese contractors have been involved with a joint African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Union project, which aims to create a route that runs from Cape Town to Cairo. Once completed, this road will have massive benefits for the local populations of the countries through which it runs, boosting growth and job opportunities

Chinese contractors have been involved in a project to create a route that runs from Cape Town to Cairo

In Kenya, a crucial link is being created to join missing elements of the Cairo-Cape Town transcontinental highway, with the help of the Chinese. Part of this involves creating a superhighway, expanding the former colonial-designed road system from four lanes to eight, and adding flyovers, interchanges, and box culverts. Furthermore, Chinese contractors have set about replacing the roundabouts in Nairobi, substituting them with flyovers to reduce traffic and ensure greater efficiency. The Ojijo Overpass, which opened in August 2011, was the first flyover in Kenya.

In the last forty years, Western states have had the opportunity to undertake similar projects in sub-Saharan Africa, but have failed to do so. However, since the Chinese government has begun taking greater interest in the continent, this has motivated the US and its allies to engage more and undertake more development projects. Although there are areas where the Chinese are playing on perilous ground, the competition between the US and its allies and China to win these projects has given a vital boost to many of Africa’s emerging economies.

Although these developments may appear rudimentary, Chine-

ANJLI PARRIN is a final year Bsc. Government student at the London School of Economics, and a citizen of Kenya.




Bad TV

How critique on TV can often translate as praise

Illustration by John McLoughlin



An Analysis of Wes Anderson’s Style


Surf’s Up

5 Words with Surf legend Jonathan Paskowitz


Cockfights in Bali

A photographic essay of Bali’s illegal blood sport


Sporting the Nation

An insight into how sport can reunite the nation



Wes. Wes Anderson’s new movie Moonrise Kingdom - which sees Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton joining his usual ensemble - will be released in May. It’s time to shed some light on his intricate style, and establish him among the most talented directors of our times. BY DAVID VAJDA

“I think

you’ve just got to find something you love and then do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore”. These iconic lines of Max Fischer in Wes Anderson’s first big hit Rushmore (1997), are very representative of the director’s own intent: Anderson has found his Rushmore and clings tightly to it. There are few other directors who can claim a more coherent style - both in content and in form – than Anderson. This consistency is also what distinguishes him from Michel Gondry and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, directors who, on the whole, are associated with a similar ‘dreamy’ style. All of his films adhere to a Kantean-like structure of remarkable detail, observed in aspects ranging from the elaborate décor of the set to the font of the credits (always in Futura). Accepting this, we should try to venture beyond the melancholic happiness and “quirk for its own sake”- both clichés publicly imposed upon Anderson’s work- and understand his films for what they really are: aesthetic masterpieces.

Tenebaum. He’s playing the worst tennis of his life. What’s he feeling right now?” Tennis Announcer 2: “I don’t know, Jim. There’s obviously something wrong with him. He’s taken off his shoes and one of his socks and... actually, I think he’s crying.” Richie’s open display of emotion in The Royal Tenenbaums is an example of the tragic weakness inherent in a lot of Ander-

The Characters

Tennis Announcer 1: “That’s 72 unforced errors for Richie


It is almost as if we are reading a picture book instead of watching a movie

Darjeeling Limited (2007)

son’s characters. After experiencing a loss – in Richie’s case Margot to her new husband during a tennis match, in Darjeeling Limited the brothers’ loss of their dad, and in The Life Aquatic, Zissou’s loss of Esteban to the Jaguar Shark – each character bathes in his own insecurities and always falls short of the hero we want him to become. They lose, they fail and they fail again. Yet, this pervasive human inadequacy also lays the foundations for the comedy. It is due to this psychological realism- sadness in humour and humour in sadness - that we can identify with Richie Tenenbaum, Steve Zissou and Co. despite the fact that their stories are set in highly stylised, ideal worlds. And even the lack of a conceptual introduction to the characters does not harm

Wes Anderson at the set of Darjeeling Limited with Jason Schwarzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson

of time; entire characters are established with a gesture, an accent or a sentence. An idealised narrative in a stylised setting juxtaposed to the all-too human characters amounts to what can be described as a cinematic definition of nostalgia. Our memories paint the past in warm pastel colours so that our saddest or most embarrassing moments suddenly appear worthwhile and beautiful. Anderson has found a way to put the sentiment of our memories on the screen without becoming melodramatic – a

There are few other directors who can name a more coherent style their own this process of identification. Wes Anderson is a master of packing the maximum amount of information into a minimum period


newturn March/April 2012

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

fact best exemplified by his peculiar cinematography.

ever happens, I don’t want to lose you as my friend” The man (Jason Schwartzman) counters, “I promise that I will never be your friend, no matter whatever“ The girl: “If we are going to fuck tonight, I will feel like shit tomorrow.” His reply: “That’s ok with me”.

The Shot

Anderson appears to have a phobia of angles – in all his films his shots of preference are frontal. Often he will pan from frontal shot to frontal shot , both shots being at an angle of 45 degrees from one another. In Darjeeling Limited for instance, the camera is hardly ever out of sync with the train. It either runs at 90 degrees – like in the legendary opening slow motion when the brothers run to catch the train whilst dropping their baggage – or is in line with it, as in most of the interior shots. This simple range of symmetrical shots creates a one-dimensional relation to the action – it is almost as if we are reading a picture book in-

The oxymoronic loving indifference of Jason Schwartzman character in this dialogue from Hotel Chevalier, the prequel to Darjeeling Limited, epitomizes what is inherent in Anderson’s dialogues - subtlety. Less is more, and explicit information is withheld rather than shared. It seems almost as if words are withdrawn for the sake of a flawlessly composed dialogue. This lack of spoken words leaves room for the grand gesture, which, at least according to the Anderson school of film-making, communicates more than any string of words ever could. In Hotel Chevalier instead of having sex, Jason Schwartzman, in never-ending slow motion, takes a naked Natalie Portman to the balcony in order show her the view of Paris; Peter Starstedt playing in the background. This is not simply quirk, it is the imperfect romance we all urge for, created by one of the biggest aesthetes in modern cinema.

It is almost as if we are reading a picture book instead of watching a movie stead of watching a movie. On the one hand, this gives his films an aura of unity and on the other it gives us the opportunity to focus on every detail of the set. Even in his first animation, The Fantastic Mr.Fox his camerawork adheres to these principles. And Anderson is ruthless with his perfectionism – he sometimes insists on over 60 takes until he is content; a trait which certainly didn’t go down well with Gene Hackman on the set of The Royal Tenenbaums.

The Dialogue

DAVID VAJDA is the founder and editor-in-chief of

While they are kissing, the girl (Natalie Portman) says, “What-

Newturn Magazine.



Surf-legend Jonathan Paskowitz

Five of the Paskowitz kids looking for waves in the Midwest. Ca. 1974 (Picture from the documentary Surfwise)

Death? I was drowning at Sunset Beach once. I went out, it was big – like 6-8 foot – and it kept getting bigger and bigger. Finally a set of waves came and everyone around me said: “Oh, it’s coming right to you.” But I didn’t want to catch it, it looked like it was too big for me and I was in the wrong position. But they kept pointing and shouting, and the pressure is on - so you paddle. At Sunset Beach once you make that commitment there is no kicking out. The wave is just too high above you and too far out - you just have to hang in the tube until it crumbs you. That’s INTERVIEW BY PETER STEINER what I did but it just struck me really hard. I went through all the phases of drowning until I literally had an outer-body exSchool? perience and was unconscious. I saw myself as a grain of sand No school most of the time. Just Home-school. We read a lot of in the great beach of life or like a star in the sky or whatever books, would recite poetry to each other and read the diction(smiling) I was like: “It’s all good, ary. We were on a non-stop surfing trip. I saw myself as a grain of sand everyone dies”. And then I saw Our lives were a non-stop surfing trip. in the great beach of life or like this guy below me paddling like a monkey and I thought he was in a Religion? a star in the sky or whatever worse position than I, until I realMy dad is Jewish so we all had to be Bahised it was me. And suddenly my body woke up on the beach. Mitzwah’d. We went to a synagogue in LA, but I think the

Jonathan is one of the notorious eight Paskowitz siblings who grew up together in the 70s in a camper van in America. While the kids won one surf competition after the other, their disciplinary father forced them to adhere to a rudimentary diet and lifestyle without school or money.

Rabbi and his helpers didn’t take us seriously. My mom is from Mexico and we were like really really dirty little Mexicans. He was like (putting on a Hebrew accent): “Jewish? What are you telling me? You guys are Jews?“

Kelly Slater? The best surfer I have ever surfed with in my life – ever. And he is still the best and he might be doing it for quite a while. He is also like the greatest guy you’ll ever meet. He never turned into an egotistical, big-headed anything. He is just this sweet little guy from Florida.

Big waves? I think Big-wave riding is gonna keep going until people surf like 1000 foot waves on Venus or something.

PETER STEINER is a third year History of Art student at UCL and one of the best surfers at ULU. 43

newturn March/April 2012

Illegal Cockfights in Bali


“It’s a close atmosphere, everyone’s crammed in.”

Medewi, West Bali.

Whilst we’re travelling

down the road to the next village, Andy, a local fisherman, mentions to us that there is an illegal cockfight taking place tonight. He says that it’s going to be held somewhere in the area, but he’s not sure where yet. We express our interest. Andy goes off, telling us he’ll find out more about it. Venues for cockfights change all the time we’re told, it’s so the police don’t catch wind of them and shut them down. It’s a secret until the last moment. When Andy comes back, he tells us he knows the place and that it’s in the middle jungle, he says he’ll take us there. When we arrive, there’s a massive crowd. Most of them look like local fishermen. They’re screaming as they wave their money in the air, gambling. It’s a close atmosphere, everyone’s crammed in. A man stands in the centre of the ring. He passes the owner of the cock a sharp blade. The owner fastens it to the cock’s ankle. This happens for the other cock as well. The owners hold them tightly spurring on them on by irritating their combs. It makes them aggressive, Andy tells us. The cocks take the middle of the ring. The owners’ have a firm grasp. They’re picking at each other’s beak, flailing around, but the owners’ still hold on. There’s more and more aggression in them. They shriek. The deafening noise starts. As soon as one cock gets stabbed by the other, the fight is technically over. Sometimes, it only lasts for a few seconds. The owner of the winning cock gets the dead body of the losing cock, except for the thigh, which is given to the provider of the knife blades.

ALEXANDER VAJDA studied philosophy at La Sorbonne in Paris. He is currently applying to film schools in Berlin and




‘Bad’ Television Do entertainment programmes on the telly get away with poor politics? Do we let them? David Merrick shares his thoughts on the underbelly of our evening viewing. BY DAVID MERRICK


sumption, or the way that certain shows are watched.

one encounters so many complaints about television that it is difficult to keep track. It’s blamed for the fact that we no longer spend our evenings reading literature, listening to music, or god forbid, conversing. It creates a society of ‘zombies’, incapable of unmediated thought and imagination and slowly growing obese on their couches.

Well, where should I start? Let’s take satire for instance. ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I Got News For You’ are the culprits I have in mind. But the point applies equally to any programme which aims to basically ‘extract the Michael’ from current politicians and celebrities, and make fun of all world affairs deemed important enough to make news headlines. Harmless, right? Wrong. It’s not that I don’t like laughing – nor, actually, that I don’t even find these shows amusing. Actually, it’s the fact that these programmes can make one laugh, and can make one feel good, that I have a problem with. Perhaps there are some things one just ought to feel bad about. Plenty of people in the world – unfortunately – seem to feel they have the permission to make racist gags, or even joke about events like the Holocaust. If

It isn’t that one cannot make a TV show that successfully criticises television – one can. However, one must be very careful Television is used as an ideological weapon both in the political and the economic sphere; it encourages violence and underage sex; and, worst of all, there are too many bloody adverts! Somehow there is hardly ever anything good on anymore – not even on Christmas day; which used to constitute a quasi-religious festival of ‘repeats’ and ‘one off specials’. Yes, all these niggles have, I think at least a grain of truth. Here, I chose to take issue with two particular aspects – one concerning the content of certain television programmes, and the other relating to con-


ter, in a lighter mood, one’s anger is diminished, and the fact that these things are really so very, very disturbing and worrying is masked. But these things ought not to be masked; one ought to be disturbed by them, worried, angry – and anything that ‘makes us feel better’ about them becomes a means of perpetuating them. There is something oxy-moronic about certain forms of satire, even when it has the best of intentions; for isn’t there is always something friendly about mockery; no matter how brutal the insults seem to be? In making fun of its subject matter, does satire thereby defend and affirm it?

you have ever encountered this, I hope that your reaction was the same as mine – utter revulsion. Some things just aren’t funny, and cannot be made light of. Now, I’m not saying that ‘Mock the Week’ and other such shows do exactly this – but only that they do something very similar. Laughter is often a way of dealing with life, of coping with serious problems. This is why we encourage friends with troubles to ‘laugh it off’ – once we find a situation or event amusing, it ceases to be so painful or so burdensome. My issue with these programmes, then, is that they help us, often distant audiences with potentially more power), to ‘laugh off’ events, situations, and even people that we ought very much to take seriously and, as it were, ‘keep on’. I can’t help but feel that, once a joke about the Conservative Cuts, the Iraq war, or Israeli settlements in the West Bank has been made, even if it is one which is (or at least seems) highly critical, one feels bet-

Often, people know that a show is terrible, and will declare that they are well aware of this, but have chosen to watch it anyway

A more subtle point can be made about Charlie Brooker’s new show, ‘Black Mirror’; a television-series which, in Brooker’s own words, is about “the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy”. Though each episode has an entirely new cast and setting (and apparently even a different ‘reality’), the purpose of each is roughly the same: to provide a critical commentary on certain aspects of contemporary society. I recently watched the second episode, entitled ’15 million merits’. The ‘reality’ of this episode is a future in which we power the world by riding bicycles, thereby gaining ‘merits’ which function both as ordinary currency and as a means to customise our virtual avatars. With a certain amount of points, one can attempt to escape this slavish existence by entering an X-factor-like show called ‘Hot Shots’. So far, so good: Consumerism, competition and excess! But Brooker’s criticism runs deeper still. As the episode progresses, an enraged citizen makes his way on to ‘Hot Shots’, but instead of performing, holds a shard of glass to his throat, and rants for a while about the inauthenticity of modern life. At the end of his speech, however, the Simon Cowell lookalike ‘Hot Shots’ judge tells him how wonderful his ‘performance’ was; and offers him his own show where he can rant to his heart’s content. Thus, Brooker seems to want to say not only that there is something deeply wrong with our present society, but that attempts to criticise it can easily be subsumed by Mass Culture and thereby become a part of the problem. What I think is a particularly interesting angle on this scenario is that in choosing to ‘get his message across’ by means of that which his message aims to criticise, Brooker reveals himself as either, more serious about making money than he is about changing things, or, as genuine in his criticism, but stupid in his choice of method. Let me elaborate. It isn’t


newturn March/April 2012

racters, Brooker is actually perpetuating that which he seems to be criticising. In the episode I mentioned, the ‘Hot Shots’ crowd does not consist of real people, but rather of the passive, digital doppelgangers (our Facebook selves) which we now all have and look after as if they were real. This constitutes a clear statement of Brooker’s dystopian vision of the future. But how does he try to prevent this future dystopia from coming about? By creating a TV series, which possibly continues the very processes he ought to oppose! At first I thought the irony was deliberate, but the Black Mirror fans I’ve spoken to think that I’m mistaken. I’d ask you to watch the show and see for yourselves, but, in all honestly, I hope you don’t get hooked!

that one cannot make a TV show that successfully criticises television – one can; just like one can write a book which successfully attacks bad books, or a film that successfully criticises bad films. However, if this is to be the method, one must be very careful. And Brooker, I feel, really isn’t very careful at all. Black Mirror aims to be critical of modern life, of various elements of mass culture. But the show is eminently ‘modern’ and ‘cool’; the characters are such that many people can ‘relate to them’,

Television is used as an ideological weapon both in the political and the economic sphere some may even wish to imitate or emulate them. In short, I suspect one of the main reasons this show is so popular is that it is a reflection of modern life, not because it’s critical of it. Viewers enjoy the show because they recognise themselves and really don’t mind what they see. And by portraying the worst excesses in such grotesquely caricatured fashion, their danger can be somewhat obscured by hilarity. It seem to me that by opting for the television series form, by creating likeable, modern cha-

This brings me to my concern about television consumption. The issue here is about what I’ll refer to as ‘enlightened false consciousness’. The term belongs to the Neo-Marxist, Peter Sloterdijk, and is used in his discussion of people’s tendency to acknowledge the weakness or problematic nature of some practice, and yet indulge in it regardless. Absolution is gained through believing that the ‘enlightened’ attitude they adopt is sufficient to licence the behaviour they theoretically condemn. The enlightened false consciousness lurks in all spheres of culture-consumption; there’s ironic reading, ironic listening, ironic going to the cinema, all sorts. Watching ‘trash’ TV is just one pertinent example. What I’m talking about is this: Often, people know that a show is terrible, and will declare that they are well aware of this, but have chosen to watch it anyway. It is as if they say: ‘My taste is not as bad as you think; I know this show is awful!’ This is supposed to make it okay to continue watching the show. In other words, a declaration of enlightenment is supposed to mitigate the fact that one is interested in trash. Well, here’s the point: the adoption of a pseudo-enlightened attitude doesn’t mitigate anything at all. On the contrary, it’s just this attitude which is responsible for the continued existence (and rapid reproduction) of dreadful television. Bad things happen when good men do nothing; bad culture persists when those who claim that they have better taste nevertheless watch The Only Way is Essex. The ‘enlightened’ distance one supposedly creates, typically, isn’t really any sort of distance at all. In most cases, it’s really just an act, a means of dissimulation and deception, either of oneself or others (usually both). To claim a show is awful, that it ought to be taken off air, and yet watch it religiously, week in, week out, is just a means of acting in bad faith. It would actually be better if one admitted to oneself one’s real preferences; doing so might even be an impetus for change. As


Illustration by John McLoughlin

the more insidious messages that it disseminates (consciously or otherwise) in the guise of entertainment.

with many things, the first step is admitting that you really have a problem. It might seem like this point consists of little but cultural snobbery and I’m sure that this is true to some extent. However, this charge is also false in an important way. If you think, like me, that certain TV shows are not just ‘trash’ but actually dangerous and disturbing, then the problem runs much deeper. For adopting an enlightened attitude to sooth one’s conscience is very much like listening and laughing ‘at a distance’ to a racist joke. Obviously, to do this is just as bad as laughing at such jokes ‘in good faith’. Actually, it’s worse. Those who realise that certain practices are bad are the only people who might be capable of opposing them; so a method that enables participation ‘with good conscience’ cripples any possibility of criticism and resistance. In general, if you have to remind yourself that you know something is bad in order to enable yourself to do it – then you ought not to be doing that thing at all.

MAILBOX Send us your thoughts on this issue‘s articles.The best letters will be published. Letters to the editor, with the writer‘s name and occupation/Uni should be emailed to the respective editors: POLITICS ECONOMICS CULTURE

Letters may be edited for reasons of space and clarity.

I started this article with a list of complaints about television. If you agree with any of the rest of what I’ve said, perhaps the next time you sit down to watch telly you will do so with a critical attitude, and hence be able to resist, in a small way, some of

DAVID MERRICK is playwright from Derbyshire. He is known very well to himself.


newturn March/April 2012



Can Sport Reunite

the Nation State?

Dominic Weeks examines sport’s impact on nationhood, and whether it is capable of transcending domestic political quarrels. BY DOMINIC WEEKS

When the flags

das that are sometimes amplified in sport, offers some hope in its thinking on this subject. The organisation recognizes sport as having a unique ability to mobilize and inspire, and holds in high esteem its positive effects on matters including social integration, gender equality and conflict prevention. There are plenty of examples in international politics where this is true, and indeed, some are even worthy of a schmaltzy endorsement from the bigwigs in Hollywood.

come down and the national anthems celebrating the gilded heroes are silenced, questions about the legacy of this summer’s Olympic Games in London will extend beyond the real estate. Organisers and politicians, intoxicated by a summer of success, may be tempted to proclaim that the 2012 Olympic Games in London brought Britain together across the lines of class, race, religion and geography. If so, and a monumental achievement it would be, Lord Coe might well feel that his ambition to create “a Games for everyone,” was achieved.

As the security of the union between England and Scotland looks more precarious than ever, sport can bridge the gap in certain instances

South Africa is perhaps a unique case in point given the depth of division that spans its history as a nation. Clint Eastwood’s take on how the 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph made great strides to unite the fledgling post-Apartheid South Africa in the film Invictus, is where most minds will wander. The film portrays South Africa’s Rugby captain François Pienaar being set the mission of winning the tournament by none other than Nelson Mandela himself. The movie, and the novel it is based upon, may be guilty of hyperbole, but at the very least Mandela was shrewd enough to see that people’s love of sport, even a game like rugby ,primarily a white

However, at a time of significant dissatisfaction with the economic and political landscape what are the actual prospects of Team GB sporting success bringing the nation together? Can Team GB, with athletes from all regions and socio-economic backgrounds, act so as embody the country at large and consequently bring us a little closer together? The United Nations, while recognising the many political agen-


ballers of his generation, was consequently the number one football idol in South Africa. In 1987 the AC Milan star dedicated his European Footballer of the Year Award to the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela a powerful gesture, and a sign to black South Africans that others, outside of the country, saw their plight and were prepared to stand up against the prevailing injustice. Domestic football also had an impact on South Africa’s social scene. As of 1978, football allowed mix play in national tournaments, becoming one of the first areas of mainstream life which was not subject to apartheid. It would have been fascinating to see the impact of South Africa’s footballers defying the odds when they hosted the tournament a couple of years ago, but sadly Bafana Bafana hadn’t read the script and crashed out in the group stages. Closer to home, the antipathy that exists between the auld enemies plays out very differently in different sports and may well grab some column inches in the build-up to the Games. As the security of the union between England and Scotland looks more precarious than ever, sport can bridge the gap in certain instances. With no test match team of their own, cricket fans north of the border routinely support the England team, though perhaps not in great numbers. Golf mad Scots are also happy to lend their support to golfers like Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, even outside the confines of the Ryder Cup. It can be a two way street as well. In June, Wimbledon’s Murray Mount will be a cacophony

Illustration by Charlotte Whiston

man’s pursuit, could invest the nascent flag with some meaning that reached across communities. But sport’s role in beginning to break down the barriers of Apartheid didn’t begin there. While rugby and cricket belonged to the ruling whites, football was popular among the black community. Due to international sanctions South Africa was unable to compete on the world stage and consequently had few stars of its own to laud. The Dutch superstar Ruud Gullit, one of the finest foot-

A nation’s sporting success can have an astonishing effect in terms of restoring or enhancing national pride


newturn March/April 2012

on flags bedecking the highways and byways of this sceptered isle. During the 2006 World Cup, many journalists who had headed over to Germany shortly after SportsDirect let loose a seemingly limitless supply of St George’s Cross paraphernalia at home in England, remarked the distinct lack of German flags hanging from cars and windows on the host nation’s streets. Commentators noted that the Germans still remained uncomfortable in shows of overt nationalism and were prone to reject this form of “pop” patriotism as tacky. In a research paper published in the academic journal Political Psychology in 2003, authors Thomas Black and Peter Schmidt stated that a substantial proportion of Germans feel no pride in being German. Interestingly East Germans studied were more likely to link national pride with sporting success, replicating the emphasis that the GDR placed on sporting success as influencing national esteem.

of diverse British accents cheering on Andy in unison. Overall, however, sport tends to unite the Scots behind their own quest for nationhood rather than underline the strength of the Union. The Olympics Games in London has brought this issue prominently to the fore; with the Football Associations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland issuing grave warnings to their players about the dangers to their footballing sovereignty if Team GB proves to be a successful. Even more explicit than this was when the First minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, suggested during the games in Beijing that Scottish athletes have the choice to wave the Saltire over the Union flag.

Wimbledon’s Murray Mount in June will be a cacophony of diverse British accents cheering on Andy in unison

While divisive as regards the UK, the Scottish antipathy towards the English in football is interesting politically. An article written for the journal Scottish Affairs in 1999 credited the success of the Yes vote in the referendum for a Scottish Parliament in 1998, in part, to the success of the national football team’s qualification for the World Cup in France. Similarly, there was speculation that, had Scotland managed to add another goal to Archie Gemmill’s famously mazy run against Holland in their final group match in Argentina in 1978, and thus qualified for the knockout stages, the outcome of the following year’s referendum on devolution would have been very different.

But the unexpected success of the German team in that tournament led to a startling outpouring of national elation and patriotism, accompanied by a deluge of the requisite car flags. As Germany basked in black, red and gold, then German President Horst Kohler remarked „For me this is something beautiful ... a sign that the country is increasingly returning to normal, that one can show uninhibited pride in your national flag and drape yourself in it.“ It was seen as a sign that a new generation was self-confident and happy about being German and that the shame associated with the Nazi past and the long period of partition that ensued, need no longer dampen patriotic tendencies.

In Rugby, the Scottish also indulge the old rivalry, but there are examples of how this sport has helped to bridge political divide. Balancing the politics of Ireland has not always been easy for the Irish Rugby Football Union, with unionist supporters from the North complaining about the tricolour’s prominence at home games and the pre-game anthem disputed at times, but there is pride in both nationalist and unionist communities that the team is above and beyond the centuries old political wrangling. Should the Irish team triumph in England in three years, there will be celebrations throughout the Emerald Isle, and on both sides of the political divide.

A nation’s sporting success can have an astonishing effect in terms of restoring or enhancing national pride. It’s a particularly heady cocktail when the success happens on home soil, with the eyes of the world transfixed. Some might baulk at this as a form of jingoism and also suggest that there are greater achievements that should stir patriotic fervour. And true enough, the feel good factor may not last much longer than it takes to clear away the confetti after the closing ceremony. One thing Britain could use right now, however, even just for one brief, shining moment, is something we can all cheer for.

The sunnier climes of Spain provide another fantastic example of how sporting success can unite a nation that has diverse regional identities. When Barcelona and Real Madrid lock horns, Catalonians and Castilians are at bitter enmity, but the Spanish national team has the ability to unite, particularly given their recent global superiority and the role played by Catalonians such as Xavi, Piqué, Fàbregas and Puyol.

DOMINIC WEEKS is a prolific football blogger. He is

One thing we can definitely expect this summer is a sea of Uni-

originally from England, but currently resides in the USA.



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