bathimpact The University of Bath Students’ Union Newspaper
Volume 15 Issue 10
Your newspaper. Your news. facebook.com/bathimpact
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Your new SU Oﬃcer team ~ Page 5
Referendum deadline extended
Tom Ash Features Editor sitting member of the Students’ Union Elections Committee has resigned, following the decision to extend voting in the referendum on the Articles of Governance past the published deadline. In an email informing the committee chair of his intention to resign (see page 4), Media Ofﬁcer Elliott Campbell branded the decision as ‘fundamentally undemocratic’. A vote held on 7th March passed the motion to extend the referendum – which had failed to hit its quoracy target and thus would otherwise have fallen – by ﬁve votes to four. Of those who voted in favour, three are current SU Ofﬁcers – Peter Hachfeld, Ellie Hynes and Scott Burﬁend – who drafted the proposed changes, and one is a member of SU staff. The four who voted against the motion
were all non-sabbatical representatives from different areas of Union activity: Sport, Education, Media, and Diversity and Support. By law, the Students’ Union is required to review the Articles of Governance every ﬁve years. As part of this process, proposed changes were put to the membership in a referendum which ran concurrently with the ofﬁcer elections. However, whereas turnout for the ofﬁcer elections was 28.5 per cent, turnout for the referendum failed to meet the quoracy of 5 per cent, the minimum turnout required in order for the motion to pass. In a statement, Returning Ofﬁcer and NUS ofﬁcial Jamie Scudamore said “The attention over the past two weeks, has quite rightly, been on the election of the union’s leaders for the next academic year. There has therefore been little resource or cam-
paigning on this issue, which can be quite difﬁcult to engage with at the best of times.” This paper has learnt that Scudamore also indicated to the Elections Committee that their role was to advise him, and thus their vote was in any case not binding on his decision to keep voting open. Anonymous SU pundit Election Spy waded into the debate on Facebook, commenting “The Returning Ofﬁcer is an SU appointed ofﬁcial from the NUS. The NUS has a long track record of standing up for the interests of unions against the interests of students.” The Students’ Union has published the changes it wishes to make to the articles in a document available on bathstudent.com, as well as the rationale behind each point. Many of the proposed amendments are changes in terminology, such as amending the antiquated ‘Sabbatical Trustee’ to
society comment e 11
Don Foster Interview
bathimpact meets with Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, and asks tough questions about student living and the loan book sell-off.
The information age
Ben Butcher talks about the dangers of treating information in a throwaway fashion, and the importance of making moral decisions, that may not always be convenient.
‘SU Ofﬁcer’, or ‘Bath University Students’ Union’ to ‘University of Bath Students’ Union.’ Other minor alterations involve either clariﬁcation or the removal of ‘unnecessary wording’. Some alterations, however, would modify some of the Students’ Union’s processes for make future changes to policy and regulations. One such proposal would see the Board of Trustees, comprising the ofﬁcers and three external members, able to make ‘minor amendments’ without consulting the members in a referendum. One example of such an amendment, according to the document, is the proposed changes in terminology; however, the amended articles would not preclude other small changes. Another amendment would also allow the Board to ‘set policy for the purpose of safeguarding the SU’s reputation’.
bite looks at propaganda
On bite page 3 Ainaa Azhar takes us on her journey along the campaign trail of the SU Ofﬁcer elections. We ﬁnd out that sometimes, propaganda is necessary.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
The referendum that wasn’t W
ith all the fuss over elections, the fact that there has been a referendum too may have passed you by. The Student’s Union has sought to amend its Articles of Governance to take account for some of the minor changes which have taken place over the past couple of years – all you Freshers’ don’t remember when they were called Sabbs, do you? For these minor changes to take ‘proper’ affect a referendum is required. Hence the referendum which nobody has voted in. bathimpact feels strongly that the referendum process has been no better than a farce. The student body had no idea the referendum was happening, and even those of us who are savvy in SU affairs would’ve be lucky to hear about the calls for agents for the Yes and No campaigns – the Yes campaign, of course, being headed-up the SU Ofﬁcers. The totally inability to attract anybody to run
the No campaign has meant that the referendum has been totally one-sided. This doesn’t really matter in the grand old scheme of things though as referendum has not even been capable of getting 5 per cent of the student population to vote in it. A referendum which isn’t quorate is useless; fear not though, an ingenious solution has come from the Returning Ofﬁcer for the referendum. Jamie Scudamore, NUS Unions Programmes Development Ofﬁcer has decided to extend the time the poll is open for. Yes. You hear us correctly. As the SU has not been able to get the referendum quorate the it is just extending the time the polls are open instead of going back to the drawing board and starting the process again. Yay! Democracy! Looking at the amendments themselves, they are at best ambiguous and at worst exploitable. It is perfectly reasonable to reduce the possibility for a referendum of the student body over
minor amendments to the Articles of Governance. We at bathimpact have no principled objection to this, if anything it is a logical step to streamline and better the work of the Students’ Union. What bathimpact takes issue with though is the actual outcome of these supposedly well-intentioned amendments. Amendments which suggest that the Board of Trustees can essential veto any policy supported by a majority of students through a fair referendum if it damages the SU’s “reputation, ﬁnances or legal responsibilities” We take issue with the reputational aspect here. What exactly does “reputation” mean? We at bathimpact do not know. The vagueness here is ridiculous. The SU Ofﬁcers have said that this will be clariﬁed in regulations, but where are these regulations? Do we have a draft? What scrutiny will they undergo? What the amendments discussing reputational damage actually amount to is a major power grab
by the Board of Trustees from the student population at large. There is no other way to describe this than unacceptable. Any decision by the Board of Trusties can be overturned by a referendum; but that decision can, in turn be vetoed by the Board, trapping us, the students into a scenario where ignoring our views can be legitimised. On top of that, there is a proposed addition to the Regulations “will enable ‘policies’ to be put to the student vote without the cumbersome requirements of the referendum process and with a lower quoracy (2 per cent).” Fine. But, just how can any person vote with reason without being provided with a draft regulation or some idea of what scrutiny they will undergo – ultimately, they can’t. The SU’s referendum has been a farce. Poor campaigns, unwieldy amendments and the extension of polling. Well done. You’ve really made Bath SU the model of all democratic institutions.
All male SU Ofﬁcer team
he last couple of weeks on campus have been a little different to normal. The banners were up, candidates were campaigning and social media was buzzing with reports and speculation on the actions and potentials of the prospective SU ofﬁcers. Members of media have been very busy with the coverage across campus, and we at bathimpact cannot pretend to be sad to see it ﬁnish and be able to get back to the rest of our lives. We were all there to celebrate the election results, and watched as the future team took the stage. This team will be the ﬁrst allmale SU ofﬁcer team since the 2007/08 team, and while it will most likely have no effect on their ability to perform their roles, there
may be unintended consequences of the lack of female leaders. The channels through which people ﬁnd themselves qualiﬁed to run for the various sabbatical roles are already set up in such a way that often, women are disadvantaged. This isn’t true for the classically more “feminine” roles, such as Community Ofﬁcer, which has had ﬁve female ofﬁcers in the past seven years, compared to two for Activities, one for Education and two for President. Next academic year it will be ten years since the last female Sports ofﬁcer, and there haven’t been more than two women on the sabbatical team since 2008/09. Without seeing female role models succeeding in these positions of
leadership, it may be hard to break out of the cycle of a lack of female engagement. There also appears to be a lack of conﬁdence felt by prospective female candidates in their potential to be elected, especially when taking into consideration events such as as the reported case this year in which a female candidate was told by a voter that they had voted for the opposition because “he’s a guy”. In a university made up of 46% female students, opinions such as this are regressive and confusing. There is no easy solution to what is a very complicated, insidious problem. All of the elected ofﬁcers were chosen by the student body as the best people for the jobs, and we at bathimpact wish them all
the best. The important thing to recognise is that situations such as this are most likely symptoms of a much greater problem in the student psyche. This lack of female representation, which while more obvious in the much more visible SU Ofﬁcer team, is reﬂected throughout university society committees. The balance is improving, but there is still work to be done to encourage women to be a part of it. There must be reasons why women aren’t running for elected positions, and why when they do run, they are less likely to be elected. Until these problems are addressed we must question whether the representation we are given can ever be balanced and fair.
Concerning postgraduates The following is a letter to the editor. The writer wished to remain anonymous. It’s Monday 24th February and the frenzy of SU Ofﬁcer elections is once again beginning to quietly bubble and so once again I read with tempered interest the manifestos of all eleven candidates. A pretty standard bag this year I thought, all rather normal promises made regarding buses and 8:15s and nothing too out there like a personalised door to door rickshaw service or the elimination of any grade below 60%. So far so last year I said to myself. Quickly though I came to the one promise I have seen time and again and it’s the one that just makes me fume as it reveals just how little candidates appreciate the diversity of our heterogeneous student population. I’m talking about that perennial assertion to “better integrate the international and postgraduate students” whatever that feel-good drivel
actually means. Now, being an Essex boy I’m not quite sure I can claim to be an international student (although a few times during my seven years at Bath I have wondered) but I can safely say that for the last two and half years I have been a postgraduate. Having done my ﬁrst degree (and second as well) at Bath, I am lucky enough to have a rather privileged perspective on the differences between life and study as an undergrad and a postgrad here and I would feel remiss if I didn’t share these insights with the children (I mean candidates) wanting to be the future leaders of our SU. This is what postgraduate students want: to be left alone! Seriously, give us our space, stop emailing us and stop trying to ‘integrate’ us; we are neither nomads nor hermits nor cultural criminals needing re-education. To paraphrase an old saying, ‘we’ve been there, we’ve done that’. We’ve done our time. Sports clubs,
societies and the like are fantastic opportunities and I would encourage everyone to take part and you know what, I did. But as fantastic as these opportunities are, you need time, energy and friends to do these things and get the most out of them; three commodities that postgrads have in short supply. Between my job, my teaching commitments and my actual research, I work pretty much from 9-5 or beyond every day and most weekends too. I just about have time to sleep and eat and on occasion go for a guilt-ﬁlled drink and worry that I’m not doing enough research. In this, I am quite sure that I speak on behalf of all other postgrads too. I beg anyone thinking about standing in future elections, stop treating us postgrads as if we are some vulnerable group of scared, shaking voles blinking at the sun or worse, Freshers! We don’t want your emails, we don’t want to be on your
committees and we don’t want to be treated like some amorphous blob of students who need hand holding through the rigours of university life because (at risk of repeating myself) you know what, we’ve done it. We want to a have our lunch in Claverton Rooms without seeing the tell-tale blue hoodies of the sporty or the ﬂip-ﬂops and trackies of the campus dwellers and we want to enjoy a pint in Plug without our students drunkenly coming up to us (although my students should continue to do this as I love you all). The reason each and every candidate who promised and who no doubt in the future will promise to ‘integrate’ us, because it sounds like the sort of thing you say in an SU Ofﬁcer manifesto, is going to fail. The person who promises next year to “let postgraduate students just get on with it” will get my vote and, for their sheer ballsy honesty, the votes of many other postgrads too.
The bathimpact team Holly Narey Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomos Evans Deputy Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
Ben Hooper bite Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Edworthy News and Comment Editor email@example.com Tom Ash Features Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Connor McGregor Morton Sport Editor email@example.com
Pedro Gomes Photography Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Gemma Isherwood Online Editor email@example.com
Poppy Peake Publicity Ofﬁcer firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriela Georgieva Design Editor email@example.com
Elliott Campbell Media Ofﬁcer su-media-ofﬁcer@bath.ac.uk
Advertising Enquires Helen Freeman H.Freeman@bath.ac.uk 01225 386806
bathimpact Students’ Union University of Bath Bath BA2 7AY 01225 38 6151
The opinions expressed in bathimpact are not necessarily those of the bathimpact editors nor of the University of Bath Students’ Union. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct and accurate at the time of going to print, the publisher cannot accept any liability for information which is later altered or incorrect. bathimpact as a publication adheres to the Press Complaints Commission’s Code of Conduct. Please contact them for any information.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Feminism shouldn’t even be a thing anymore.
Lily Allen on equal rights. Ms. Allen also stated that she felt everybody is now equal, bemoaning the fact that there is no male version is feminism. The singer also stated that she does not feel men are the enemy, but that competition between women is the problem.
updates & events UPCOMING EVENT
photo of the fortnight
A photo from Mount Everest, taken by photographer Mariusz Kluzniak. The picture, taken by Mr Kluzniak in 2013, has been gain-
ing interest on reddit over the past week, with commenter sentiments be-
Where: University of Bath When: Saturday 31st May
ing ‘looks like another planet!’. At the
time of writing, Mr Kluzniak’s picture was the 17th most upvoted thing on reddit, sitting comfortably on the front page. Mr Kluzniak’s photostream
on Flickr also features photos of the Toronto Skyline, and Madagascan lemurs.
Fortnight in ﬁgures
Amount in loan guarantees promised to Ukraine from US
national Women’s Day is celebrated, with red for ofﬁcial holiday, orange for holiday for women, and yellow for unofﬁcial holiday. Celebrated on the 8th March, International Women’s day originally started as ‘International Working Women’s Day’, and is held up every year by the UN as being a platform for the improve-
The US’ total foreign aid amount for last year
A graphic showing the countries where Inter-
The University of Bath Summer Ball. After having sold out in record time in 2013, the UoB Summer Ball is back in full swing for another year! Acts include Hot Dub Time Machine, Greg James , and headliners Rizzle Kicks. Tickets go on sale for all students on 17th March.
ment of women’s rights, as well as for political and social awareness in general.
Follow us on twitter @bathimpact
Home Secretary Theresa May has said that policing stands damaged after the ﬁndings of a review into the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation. The report found that a Metropolitan Police ofﬁcer spied on the Lawrence family, and Theresa May has stated that “it is still deplorable” that Stephen Lawrence’s family have had to wait so long for the truth to emerge.
INTERNATIONAL The US State Department has described the attack in Kunming, China which happened on Saturday 1st March as ‘an act of terrorism’, after the state-run Chinese media criticised the US government for not using the phrase from the outset. During the attack in Kunming, eight attackers stabbed people at random at the train station, with more than 130 people sustaining wounds.
LOCAL A cat who stowed away in a diesel tank has been taken in by the RSPCA and treated for minor burns. The cat is thought to have fallen asleep on a warm fuel tank, and was found at Bristol bus station after the coach driver heard the cat meowing whilst unloading passengers’ luggage. The cat managed to travel from Barnstaple to Bristol, and the RSPCA is now attempting to ﬁnd the owners of the cat.
HEALTH Doctors in the US have revealed that they may have cured a second baby born with HIV. It is thought that the baby has been cured through early treatment, where the baby was given antiretroviral drugs just four hours after birth. This is the second case, following the curing of an HIV-positive infant from Mississippi last year.
UPCOMING EVENT ‘The Science of Breakfast in Weight Management and Health’, Part II. Another in the University’s open lecture series, Dr James Betts from the Department of Health will give some insights into the ways breakfast can affect your health. Where: 8W 1.1 When: Wednesday 19th March
Tuesday 11th March 2014
s Media Officer, I take my responsibilities to the Union seriously. My responsibilities as a member of Elections Committee are to help to ensure that the elections and referendum processes are conducted correctly, in accordance with the Articles, Bye-Laws and Regulations of the Union, as well as in the spirit of a fair and democratic process. A decision to extend the referendum voting period beyond that set out at the beginning of the referendum process is problematic to me in terms of meeting these obligations, and that of my ethical obligations as a student representative.
The decision to extend the voting period because quoracy is not being met is, in my opinion, a fundamentally undemocratic decision. Quoracies provide democratic legitimacy to an election process not by demonstrating a basic level of support, but by demonstrating a level of interest and engagement with an issue. Quoracies are intended as an audit of the interest and engagement of the student body, and extending a referendum period because that level of interest has not been hit in the anticipated time period denies the function of this control. If we extend the voting period in order to hit quoracy, then what is
the purpose of quoracy at all? Secondly, I cannot convince myself that this decision is being made in the interests of democracy or the student body. Whatever language this decision is framed in, because there is no ‘no’ campaign, a decision to prolong the voting period in order to hit quoracy is, in my eyes, tantamount to doing so simply to pass the amendments. While the Deputy Returning Officer and members of this committee might have an interest in seeing it pass, it is my belief that the purpose of Elections Committee is to first and foremost to uphold the values of democracy.
A final factor is that this decision is, to my knowledge, unprecedented. If it is considered detrimental for referenda to fail based on a lack of quoracy, why was the voting period not extended in the Matt Benka vote of no confidence referendum, for example? I appreciate that this is my own view on the matter, but I cannot in good conscience sit back and say nothing, so unfortunately the only course of action that I feel I can take at this point is to resign from my position on Elections Committee. I hope you understand. Best wishes, Elliott Campbell
Adrian Taupe bathimpact Contributor An investigation that was underway into a fire that broke out at Moles Nightclub and recording studio in Bath on Saturday morning has concluded that an electrical fault caused the fire, according to the Bath Chronicle. The fire was apparently contained in the downstairs area of the nightclub, though the extent of the damage is yet to be determined. No one was hurt during the blaze. There has been no update thus far as to implications for club nights and gigs, and the Moles website hasn’t announced any cancellations.
Dear Elections Committee Moles Elliot Campbell’s resignation from voting watchdog on fire
Following two weeks of campaigning and record voter turnout, on Friday 7th March five new Students’ Union Officers were elected for the coming year. The winners were announced in The Plug by Elections Committee chair Rhiannon Norfolk. The first results to be called were those for the post of Education Officer. This was the only contested race which was won in the first round, with Paul Goodstadt (Economics) defeating Natural Sciences student Katie Barnby by 2067 votes to 1645. Re-open Nominations (RON) received 133 votes. Next up was the post of Community Officer, which uniquely had a first-year student, Penelope Bielckus (IMML), running for election alongside Tommy Parker (Maths) and Sara Ali (Business Administration). In contrast to the previous post, Community saw a four round process which saw no candidate elected in the first round and so eliminated RON (154), followed by Sara Ali (first round: 933, second round: 942) to leave Tommy Parker (1689, 1702,
2058) the victor over Penelope Bielckus (963, 968, 1176). With two positions already filled, Activities followed. The only uncontested election saw Freddy Clapson (Economics and International Development) face down a strong RON campaign by 2993 votes to 900. In contrast to the one-horse derby of Activities, Sport was the tightest race of the elections, with Lacrosse Chair Ben Jessup challenging incumbent Tom ‘TomTom’ Janicot. A shocking result saw Jessup returned as Sport Officer by 2010, the first time in recent memory that an incumbent has been defeated. The final role of the evening to be filled was that of President, a three person contest between Kat Agg (Physics), Pete Griffiths (Sport and Exercise Science) and Jordan Kenny (Sport and Social Sciences). RON (98 votes) was eliminated first, followed by Kat (771, 776), leaving Jordan (2051, 2061, 2425) to face down Pete (1397, 1402, 1564) in the final round and become SU President 20132014.
SU Officer election night results
You naughty Sabbs breach of email regulation, and another for a breach of physical campaigning rules after a ‘pass the peg’ was put on a student who did not give consent. The sanctions for Pete included two social media blackouts, and one for physical campaigning. For Community, fresher Penelope Bielckus received a physical campaigning ban after misuse of stickers, where students had not chosen to put stickers on themselves. For Activities, Freddy Clapson received a social media blackout for a fixed period after misusing emails. For Sport, both candidates received
sanctions; for Sport incumbent Tom Janicot, a social media blackout was given after, like Freddy, there was a misuse of emails for campaigning. As for Ben Jessup, he received a physical campaigning ban after receiving a warning for negative campaigning. It should be noted that official warnings were given to both candidates themselves as well as campaign teams. The sanctions have been plenty, and regulations have (whether on purpose or not) been breached on several occasions. There must be something in the air this year.
The SU Officer elections have been and gone, and now is the time when campus can get back to normal. However, this might be a more difficult state to get back to than last year, due to the way the elections unfolded; from the controversy surrounding the final questions to candidates, to the at times catty ‘RON Potato’ campaign, to the antics of Election Spy, this year has been one for the books. Even on top of this, however, are the actions of the candidates themselves throughout the campaigning period. This year has seen a steep rise in the numbers of candidate sanctions for various campaigning ills, and this situation isn’t exclusive to one particular officer position, but across the board. With the exclusion of Education, all of the SU Officer positions have had a candidate receive a sanction. For President, Pete Griffiths received three sanctions; one for breach of social media regulations, one for
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Your new SU Ofﬁcer team You came out and voted for them, and here we present the SU Ofﬁcer team for 2014-2015 with manifesto highlights
Social space was a central part of JK’s manifesto. He promised to “ensure that social space remains non-commercial”, and went on to promise to push for social areas being included in any plans for future buildings. The age-old cash machine issue was also addressed, with a proposal to look at options for a cash machine at the bus stop.
JK had some big ideas for an on-campus christmas market, complete with ice rink and ﬁlm showings. While this is a nice idea, with a rival market already a yearly event in town, it will be interesting to see whether this is feasible.
Personal development was also a key issue, with careers advice and volunteer recognition both getting a mention. He called for better support for postgraduate, international students and those searching for or returning from placement years. He also highlighted the importance of improved national representation
Tommy Parker Tommy pledged to continue the campaign against the student loan book sell off, to “ensure that Bath students are informed and in line with the national movement”.
Tommy stated the wish to organise a Diversity and Support group fair, to advertise the different groups and the issues that they tackle. Student safety was mentioned as an important issue, and Tommy plans to run campaigns about important issues linked to this, such as consent, sexual health and alcohol awareness.
Improved publicity for volunteering fundraisers was mentioned, as well as providing a toolkit to encourage more student-led charity fundraisers. He also highlighted the importance of working with the University and letting agents to ensure accommodation and solve guarantor issues for students.
Freddy Clapson Freddy wants to improve visual identities of activities through the introduction of SU Activities t-shirts.
He also wants to change the way the SU updates students about Societies by sending regular emails, and installing more noticeboards for socities to use.
Another main aim for Freddy is to focus on promoting Student Enterprise by working closely with the University’s Enterprise department to develop a marketing stratergy .
Paul Goodstadt Paul promised to work with timetabling to try and ensure that “that no students have exams on the same day and, where possible, consecutive days.” He also wants to keep ISB free by pushing for alternative contingency days.
Developing more online and mobile learning resources such as personalised timetables, by capitalising on the large number of students with smartphones and making a number of apps.
Feedback was another issue Paul picked up on his manifesto, promising to bring some new life to the push for better feedback, by aiming to encourage the university to make feedback easier for lecturers to give, as well as putting more pressure on staff to engage with students.
Ben also pledged to develop social sport at Bath by encouaging sports clubs to increase thier involvement by offering incentves. Disabled sport was also an are Ben wanted to develop, promising to capitlise on the spotlight on the Univeristy to “establish a diverse programme of disabled sporting opportunites”.
Ben also promised to continue the campaign to convince the University to build a match sized 3G pitch, and work to organise a Varsity festival that would be the highlight of the sporting calender.
PRESIDENT COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES EDUCATION
Improving facility access for Students was one on Ben’s aims for the year, where he pledged to ensure the right balance between sports clubs and external bookings. Creating a range of sports passes that meets individuals needs was another key manifesto point for Ben.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Student volunteering worth millions A
per cent of respondents, suggesting that even with the deadlines placed upon them by academic studies, students can still manage to find extra time for good causes. The reasoning behind volunteering varied between students, however the report identified a general consensus that students volunteer to help their communities. 78 per cent of volunteering students wanted to ‘improve things or help people’, whilst two-thirds saw it as a way to develop key personal skills needed
in later life. Using the average hours of volunteering and the current set minimum wage of £5.03 an hour for 18 to 20 year olds, the report calculated that student volunteering is worth around £175 million a year to the UK economy. This considerable amount has caused a renewed focus to be placed upon encouraging more students to volunteer, with the report looking at students’ views on the matter. 40 per cent of students have claimed that increased links
between academic courses and volunteer opportunities would promote the prospect of volunteering to more students. One third would like to be given more chances to participate in one-off volunteering events, feeling that this would make volunteering more accessible. Out of those students who do not currently volunteer, most claimed that a lack of time was the preventative factor; their academic studies, paid work, family commitments and other activities used up too much Bath RAG
Jess Elliott bathimpact Contributor new study, commissioned to tie in with the annual Student Volunteering Week, has revealed that one third of the student population currently volunteer in their communities. The National Union of Students (NUS) have used the study, entitled the ‘Student Volunteering Landscape’, to highlight the work done by students across the country. Over 2000 students were surveyed using an online questionnaire, with volunteers being interviewed by telephone between July and December last year. The study found that around 725,000 students (a third of the UK’s student population) engage regularly in volunteering activities, with the most popular being the organisation of events, fundraising, and the teaching of others, mainly children. 56 per cent of volunteering students claimed that they would prefer to volunteer their time to a school or educational organisation or a charity, compared with other establishments. The report also found that those who volunteer give an average of 44 hours a year of their time, with 65 per cent volunteering at least one hour a week. At least one hour a month was volunteered by over 90
Bath is no stranger to student volunteering; Bath RAG recently held their annual sleepout on Parade
of their time. The report found that these students were more likely to begin volunteering in order to improve their CV, in contrast to the reasoning of those already involved. The students surveyed who do already volunteer mostly began volunteering during their school careers, with 38 per cent first getting involved during their primary or secondary school years. 48 per cent of these students found volunteering opportunities through their friends and family, with their place of study coming a close second to these. However, the report also suggested that 18 per cent of currently volunteering students feel that they cannot afford to do any further volunteering, on top of their current responsibilities. Vice-President of the NUS Raechel Mattey, has responded to this report, saying that students have proved that they are capable of "contributing to their communities in a very positive way". The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, has endorsed student volunteering as a means for students to improve themselves, claiming that “volunteering can be a hugely beneficial way to gain experience and develop skills and it’s good to see that students across the UK are embracing it as a way to develop themselves alongside their education”.
International student fees on the rise A
lmost 175,000 international students in the UK experience their university fees increasing without reason, prior warning, or support every year according to NUS research. This was found to be the case at almost half of all UK universities. A new NUS petition and campaign ‘Fix International Student Fees’ has been launched with the aim of getting fixed tuition rates for all International Students studying at universities in the UK.
They have been joined by 180 Students’ Unions, and are calling on Business Secretary Vince Cable and Universities’ Minister David Willets, along with Vice-Chancellors and universities across the UK to implement a fixed rate tuition fee system for the 58 per cent of international students not protected from rising fee costs. A statement by the NUS said: “These increases in fees are unfair, and exploit international students. They put the academic success of many international students at risk each year.” Alongside
this, NUS International Officer David Stevens has stated that the campaign has “one simple goal”, and this is to abolish in-course fee increases and create fixed-free guarantees for all international students. David Stevens stated: “The unpredictable increase in fees is unfair and exploits this group of students. They put the academic success of many international students at risk each year. International students already pay astronomical fees for the privilege of studying here. They are an important part of the social, cultural
Tommy Parker bathimpact Contributor
and academic make-up of university life and should not be treated as cash cows." The numbers of international students coming to study in the UK declined in 2013, and this is the first time the numbers have dropped in almost 20 years. This is in addition to a recent figure produced by the NUS saying that almost half of the international students in the UK have stated that they do not feel welcome in the UK. International students contribute almost £8 billion to the UK economy, but this amount is expected to decrease due to a general downward trend in student numbers. It is thought that almost half of all UK universities do not give details about increased fees – those other than the expected fees at the beginning of the degree course to international students. Most of these universities increase fees in line with inflation, despite the fact that there is no legal obligation for universities to do so. One example of this is Sheffield University stating on their website that “tuition fees increase every year and an annual increase of between five per cent and eight per cent should be expected and budgeted for.” The University of Bath is itself guilty of doing this, due to its policy of increasing fees for international students according to inflation. Studies conducted also show that an increase of more than £1000 during the duration of their courses makes international
students three times more likely to consider leaving their chosen university.. Research conducted by Edinburgh University Students Association found that some students are also forced to remain in the ULK and are as such unable to see their families, or are unable to afford resource materials when their tuition fee costs increase unexpectedly. Research from other Students' Unions has also shown that international students have been forced to take up additional part-time work, take out supplementary loans, put financial pressure on their families, and miss holidays at home in order to pay for additional fee rises. Dr Edmund Schlussel, a postgraduate trainee teacher and a member of the National Executive Council at the NUS, said: “Unregulated, uncapped international students fees put a pressure upwards on the price of fees for home students too. “Fixing fees and matching them with fees for home students would make study more available for both home and international students and help make sure the courses are not determined by what will make the most money for the university.” The International Students Association here at Bath University has also taken up the campaign, with the production of a webpage on bathstudent.com detailing a list of signatories for the ‘Fix International Student Fees’ campaign.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Please stop raining on my parade S
thing that upsets anybody, is a big deal in the sense that nobody deserves to be miserable. It all boils down to this – when somebody loves something, it is important to them. Provided it makes someone happy, and it doesn’t hurt anybody else, I feel a passion is something that can only be good for someone.
For example, maybe somebody’s deep-seated love for Star Trek opens then up to an interest in astronomy – and maybe someone else’s love for San-X characters shows them they have an interest in learning Japanese. Maybe somebody’s interest in the life of Mark Zuckerberg helps them realise they really, really want to
get into Harvard, or maybe someone’s need to buy every single copy of Elle magazine just makes them really, really happy. Either way, whatever it is – someone’s passion and love for something should be encouraged, rather than the opposite. The problem with taking something somebody loves and making piddy77
Helen Edworthy News and Comment Editor omething that I have been noticing for years, to the point that I felt I had to write something about it, is the fact that we often don’t encourage each other. Not to suggest people don’t at all, because I still see it around – people encouraging each other to get fit, or to go and get the thing they want from Fresh that they’ve been talking about for twenty minutes. Both are perfectly fine things to encourage, but this isn’t the sort of encouragement that’s been getting to me. The issue I have would be better explained if I talk about it less in terms of not encouraging each other, and more in terms of outright discouragement. It may seem petty, but it’s something that I’ve seen people get upset about time and time again, and so it must be pretty important. The issue I have is this; I hate it when people discourage other people from loving something they hold very dear to them. As someone who has always had something they have loved more than anything else (albeit not the same thing my whole life), this is a phenomenon that I’ve felt several times. I realise this is not a big deal in the scheme of things, but I am also of the belief that anything that upsets me – or any-
If your friend has an impressive CD collection, chances are this is the thing that makes them happy
fun of it is that it can hurt more than that person may be comfortable verbalising. It’s difficult to know how much something that someone you know is passionate about means to them – especially if they know they might be made fun of for it, and so they try to be quiet about it initially. More than that, if someone starts to show how much they like it, it’s a sign that they’re comfortable showing who they are to other people, and so then making fun of their favourite thing can again really hurt them. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if somebody loves something, if you’re their friend and they talk to you about it, they should be encouraged completely. Their love for something is a good thing, and shows that they know how to take care of something important to them. I feel this is only a good thing – and throwaway comments about what somebody should or shouldn’t enjoy do not help someone feel comfortable. This is especially the case if the thing someone loves the most was very dear to them at a bad time of their life, and they used this thing to bring some brightness to their days. The point has now been drawn out more than I’d have liked it to, but what I’m trying to say is this; don’t make fun of your friends for the things they love.
The vibrant lights of Panama City W
hen I first arrived in Panama, from the first night I was hit by the stifling heat. After leaving the rain and cold back in the UK, the humidity was a shock. As I climbed into a unnecessarily huge 4x4 to be driven to my new apartment in the capital, Panama City, the realisation dawned on me that I was alone in a country I had never been to before and I was going to stay for 6 months – all of a sudden I couldn’t help but miss the bad weather. Then the excitement kicked in. Driving to what was to become my new home, what looked like a normal, big, yellow American school bus from a distance turned out to be quite the opposite when it road up next to the car. The bus was graffitied all over with loud music banging from huge speakers, no windows whatsoever and what looked like two stripper poles with drunken girls dancing up and down them in the middle of what appeared to be a dance floor. I was to find out that they were indeed stripper poles and that this decked-out school bus was actually a “chiva”, which is basically a 3 hour party on a ‘discontinued’ American school bus that drove round the city in the early hours of the morning with
an open bar, a DJ, and loads of people crammed into it dancing. A popular party-scene with the locals, it was one of the most fun experiences I have had in Panama to this day. Arriving at the apartment, which was on the 45th floor of one of the skyscrapers right in the city centre, was incredible. A great pool, ‘social area’ for barbecues and a balcony with a stunning view over the vibrant city – it was incredible for an intern’s living situation. I was soon introduced to the equally vibrant nightlife by my sociable flat mates, and a series of house parties, soirées and meals out ensued with Panamanians, Colombians, Venezuelans, Frenchies, Argentinians, Spanish and El Salvadorians. Panama has more to offer than just it’s, admittedly vibrant, party scene.. It’s beautiful and unique – the city is like a collision between the United States and the rest of Latin America. Whilst giant shiny skyscrapers dominate the city and international banks and companies operate throughout, the people remain traditional, hard-working, and cultured. The friendliness astounded me; everywhere you go you are greeted with a ‘buenos dias’ or ‘buenos tardes’ without fail – however there is also the not so friendly greeting of ‘gringo’ and the hissing that sometimes happens from unfamiliar men. The fact
is that Panama is still recovering from the aftermath of the US invasion in 1989, even if the majority of the physical destruction is repaired the psychological scarring remains. As a foreigner, I was advised to avoid whole areas in which I would definitely not be too welcomed. The American devastation of such places, such as the ruthless destruction of El Chorrillo, has likely contributed to this ‘anti-gringo’ attitude. The reality is that even now the US still has a huge and mostly resented influence on Panama, and it will
probably be a very long time before it fully loosens its grip on the budding nation. I could see this influence when floating along the Panama Canal - it was nice to see the money rolling into a Latin American country, although it is hard to believe that the US does not exploit the canal in some way. Cruising from the Pacific side to the Caribbean side, the wildlife, jungles and Puente de las Américas are mesmerising in person. The technicalities of the canal are also impressive, with the locks
to go through, rising and falling water levels and closing of the gates. I will never forget the Panama Canal, and I feel very lucky to have been present for its 100th birthday. For those about to embark on their year abroad, I urge you to push yourselves a little out of your comfort zone and go somewhere a little different, and although at times it may be tough and you will miss home, you will discover truly magical places and make some close friends along the way. marissa_strniste
Alex Egan bathimpact Contributor
The Panama City skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, which contrast with the city’s Old Town
Tuesday 11th March 2014
On looking a gift horse in the mouth Simon Rushton bathimpact Contributor he BBC’s director general has called for the licence fee, which currently only covers the watching of live television, to include the use of iPlayer. This came in a speech made to the Oxford Media Convention and comes as the renegotiation of the licence fee starts for its renewal in 2016, after being frozen by the coalition in 2010. According to the BBC, this freeze led to the loss of 2000 jobs from the corporation. This move will, I’m sure, receive a very bad press, due to the fact that the licence fee is already a contentious issue within the mainstream media. It seems that the BBC is a very easy body to attack, partly due to its inherent neutrality but mainly due its guaranteed source of income - which infuriates the majority of the other broadcasters. There have also been many claims that the BBC cannot be trusted, including a claim by the chairman of the Conservative Party. Needless to say, the press and other broadcasters’ views on the BBC can make it very easy for the government to sell any decision to further run down the BBC as being something ‘in the public’s interest’. Coupled with its neutrality, within the Royal Charter, it is inherently difficult for the BBC
to criticise and rebuke the negative press it receives. The lack of trust is, I would hope, solely in their management. Saying this, how many large organisations and especially media outlets have people high up that could not be trusted? However, as a media outlet it is impossible not to trust their integrity. I cannot remember a time when the BBC has run a smear campaign against a politician, or delved deeply into the private life of a minor celebrity, nor a time when it has attacked immigrants or wind turbines. I struggle to see why people, if the
Benjamin Butcher bathimpact Contributor e live in an age of abundant information. Everywhere we go we are bombarded with facts, which leave few things invulnerable from clarity. Where we don’t find truth, we search for it - asking questions and finding answers; it seems it is a real age of enlightenment. The downside of this is that little shocks us anymore; despite the information being there, we are so overwhelmed with information – both depressing and exciting – that when knowledge which a
hundred years ago would provoke great reaction appears, we are almost weary of it. So, almost a month ago, when Oxfam released the statistic that the ninety-five wealthiest men in the world owned as much money as the bottom fifty per cent, the fact was consumed and digested, before being flushed down the toilet of indifference. We know there is gross inequality, heinous poverty and a preventable climate disaster which will fundamentally change the way our world works, yet we shrug it off as an anecdote of our own failures.
media are to believed, object to the licence fee. It currently costs a household 40p a day. For that measly sum you couldn’t buy a packet of crisps. On the other hand, with the BBC you are treated to hours and hours of entertainment from ten national radio stations, two terrestrial television stations, five main digital ones and a fantastic website. These all crucially, and fairly uniquely, lack annoying adverts, which is only a further factor in their impartiality. I also find that the majority (or pretty much all) of the TV I watch is on the BBC. If you think about it,
all the great programs are shown and made by the corporation: Top Gear, Sherlock, Doctor Who - the list can go on. These shows not only lead to the creation of jobs, but they also land the BBC millions of pounds each year, which helps keep people employed and the licence fee down. As well as this, the BBC time and time again shows off its quality of broadcasting of live sporting events, including the Olympics and Wimbledon. Would the national euphoria of Andy Murray becoming the first British male to win the Gentlemen’s Singles at the tournament since Fred
Perry be the same if it was shown only to people willing to pay upwards of £500 per year? Or would a ‘generation be inspired’ by Team GB’s Olympic performances if only those whose mummies and daddies had a disposable income for Sky could watch? I somewhat doubt it. Now my support for the licence fee is clear, but the crux of the matter is should it include iPlayer, which has like many students, been my gateway to TV whilst at university? My head says ‘no, don’t be ridiculous; why should you pay for something you’ve had for free for so long?’. However, if the other broadcasters want a level playing field then they should let the BBC charge for the iPlayer as their catch-up services, such as 4oD, all contain adverts during programs, which are already being hosted on sites that are themselves littered with adverts. Therefore, it only seems reasonable to let the BBC receive an income from, what is (let’s not forget) their intellectual property. At the end of the day, the choice is between whether we should keep funding the world’s most established and arguably most trusted media outlet and whether we should just wave goodbye to this great British institution and be left with biased uncontrollable media outlets. I know which I would prefer.
The perils of the age of information
The statistic should terrify us more than it does, but instead we simply frown before accepting that we have made the bed we sleep in. The structure is what it is; dismantling it and reconstructing something more tenable is impossible and there will always be those who suffer and those who don’t. But the global house we live in does not need to be knocked down; it needs to be renovated. We can no longer afford to cover the damages with cosmetic measures, but rather need to make it into something that will not only be able to house this generation, but the many
The age of technology has made information easier to get to, but also easier to throw to one side
which will come afterwards. This year has been enlightening for me. Working for a large NGO which spreads its work into every part of developmental policy at the international, domestic and local level has taught me that pessimism and the general ‘it-is-what-it-is’ mentality will get us nowhere. Rather, we must optimistically approach every nook and cranny with the ultimate goal of long-term change. It is not surprising that almost every issue human rights organisations, environmental groups and development charities work on overlaps in an uncanny way. Take womens’ rights; it is generally believed that educating women will not only help many developing countries receive economic growth through a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation, but indirectly help other pressing issues including tackling unstable population dynamics and climate change. Making policies coherent with wider goals is one of the key ways world leaders can create a fairer, more sustainable world. This is something the European Union, who are the primary brokers on regional trade, is attempting to achieve. When drawing up new agreements, they – in theory – must attempt to avert the worst impacts of liberalisation. The idea that trade should work for everyone is not merely ethical, but common-sense. Wanting to bring an end to
gross inequality does not have to go against the main principles we, as capitalists, buy into. Bankers should keep on banking; oil companies should keep on drilling. But within that there needs to to exist structures which rein in the worst abuses which enable an inherently unequal society. Recently, the European Union passed legislation which will ensure multinational organisations report on the human rights and environmental effects their companies – and sub-companies – have in the countries they work in. It is policies like this which will help fix the system. It is not about replacing it, but working with the facts and realities we live in for the benefit of everyone. As I finish this, I can feel the eyes-rolling. But it is so important that, from time to time, we take a minute to read those facts again without our cynical lenses in. One in eight go hungry each night. One point three billion earn less than a dollar a day. The amount of money avoided by multinational companies from the developing world is $160 billion. You may not want to boycott or go vegan. You probably can’t be bothered to campaign or write letters. That’s fair. The point I want to make is that, in this age of information, we don’t take it for granted. You don’t need to join a commune or scream for revolution, you just need to know it’s wrong. The world only starts to change when people question it.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Step up and speak out for your SU Anthony Masters bathimpact Contributor fter another flurry of elections in our Students’ Union, it should be discussed why voting is so important. Last year, the University of Bath Students’ Union garnered a turnout for their Officer elections of 4,247 students, or about 28.0% of the electorate. Initially, this turnout seems quite low, but it was one of the highest amongst student associations in the country. The 2009 European Parliament elections had a turnout of 34%, but we can improve. The Elections Committee, the candidates, and the wider union all work to induce and encourage students to vote. A higher turnout intravenously translates into more legitimacy for whoever is elected. This is fundamental when the President and other Officers represent the student body to multiple University committees as well as the Vice-Chancellor. In an email to all students, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell said: “The well-established system of student representation which exists here at Bath is vitally important both to you as students and to the effective running of the University as a whole.” There have been many successes over the years for the SU and the University, which was considered to be the ‘Best Campus University in Britain’ by the Times
and Sunday Times Good University Guide. As an understatement, it has been fairly publicised that our University achieved the highest scores in the 2013 National Student Satisfaction (NSS) survey, with an overall satisfaction rate of 94%. The Student Centre was fiercely lobbied for by the SU, providing a great relaxation space and a grand house for our vital and essential Academic Representation Centre. On the day the Student Centre’s doors slid open, former SU President Daniel ‘Dot’ O’Toole noted that – much to his pride – students sat in the new building “as if it had always been there”. On academic matters, there have been great strides made regarding feedback. According to the NSS survey, the average positive rate for feedback questions was 61% in 2010; 66% in 2011; 70% in 2012 and 75% in 2013. Both of the candidates for the Education Officer role wanted to continue this great momentum, representing your crucial concerns about the University’s feedback policy. Another exhortation, occasionally heard from postgraduates, is that their abstinence from the SU means they can refrain from voting. The Community Officer – as well as the other members of the team – highlights student concerns to the wider community,
such as the local council. SU campaigning ameliorated the limitations placed on shared housing, which is commonly used by students at all levels of study, in the city of Bath. The Education Officer leads the Research Academic Council, which considers prominent issues for postgraduates like procedures relating to the student-supervisor relationship. If postgraduates drive for accreditation for their tutoring work, this would be achieved through the Research Academic Council and
Tommy Parker bathimpact Contributor Democracy - whether you love it or hate it, we’re stuck with it. Our Students’ Union continually shows its commitment to democracy, through the forms of referenda and the way we elect out Students’ Union Officers. Another way the SU shows its commitment is allowing the ‘Re-Open Nominations’ (RON) candidate. ‘Why do we have this?’, ‘Why is it important?’ I hear you ask – well, let me try and answer these questions. First of all, I should describe how alternate voting works, because the fact is that not everyone is as sad as I am and researches (or is even interested in) voting mechanisms. Alternative voting is different to the first past the post system, as it involves ranking rather than ticking a box. When you get your ballot paper (if it hasn’t crashed) you get all the candidates’ names and you then rank them in order of preference. Then when the polls close, all the first choices are counted up. If no candidate has gotten over half the votes, the one with that was most unpopular is eliminated. Then, all those eliminated votes get redistributed among the remaining candidates in the form of what was put as their second choice, and so on and so forth until half quoracy is reached. This is how you would have voted in the recent
elections. Asleep yet? No? Good; then I’ll continue. Whilst voting for next years’ SU Officers, you will have noticed two further candidates on the ballot; the aforementioned RON and a ‘No Further Preference’ (NFP) option. Since NFP is pretty much the same as abstention, we won’t be concentrating on this option too much. The interesting candidate in these elections is RON. For example, say we have four candidates A, B, C, D and say you like A and B but don’t like C or D, you would most likely vote A, B, RON, C, D. This means you think opening up the ballot again for more
candidates is preferable to C and D. Incorporating RON in the ballot paper allows a block on any candidates that you don’t feel are appropriate for that position. This is especially important when there is only one candidate running, because without RON they would be elected, and could then potentially cause harm or be detrimental to the institution they are elected into. Take, for instance, the recent unopposed race for Activities Officer. During the first week of supporter gathering, a RON campaign appeared. This campaign was then lovingly named RON Potato on the
the Postgraduate Association. Lastly, the final toll for apathy is that all the candidates are the same. Despite differences in priorities, methods and values, these common similarities may seem as if the candidates are separate protruding limbs of a single amoebic blob. If you feel that the present composition of Officers is unsatisfactory, then I dare you to do better. To wet your tongue for student representation, be an academic representative, or seek election as a Faculty representa-
tive or on executive committees for societies and sports. Being an event manager for Freshers’ Week or One Bath will give you excellence experience, as well as allowing you to find your prospective electorate’s needs, tastes and concerns. You can get involved in the Media Group, where you will learn many things about your SU through osmosis, or you can just shout ‘Sport!’ whenever you see the current SU President. This is our SU, and I urge you to step forward.
The University may not have a physical polling station, but there are plenty of ways to get your voice heard
The importance of RON campaigns premise that a potato could do a better job. This online smear campaign exploded all over Facebook with genuine rebuttals buried under a mixture of falsifications and satire. Potatoes started to appear around campus next to Freddy Clapson’s banners and a potato was even given a chair during the questions to candidates. How should such RON campaigns be dealt with? It is a choice on a ballot paper and as such is open to the electorate, but such campaigns in themselves aren’t about why people should vote but why people shouldn’t vote. The powers that be have a rule of no negative campaigning against
The RON campaign for activities has been created on the premise that a potato would do a better job
any other candidates; the grey area is whether such rules extend to the student body as a whole. One solution is to have any RON campaigns be treated like a candidate, where a representative attends meetings and follows the same rules as other candidates, such as expenses and sanctions. The problem is that campaigns are student le, and due to this are like splinter groups, where the actions of a few aren’t representative of the campaign as a whole. So, it is impractical to police them in this sense. As well as this, because of the fact that the internet makes anonymity easy, such campaigns easily dissolve into slander and (what can be considered in some cases as) blatant bullying. Candidates should be held accountable to their actions, but such rebuttals should be professional rather than personal. If the campaign’s aims are to hurt instead of inform, then RON is a problem rather than a solution. RON is like a back-up; a ‘get out of jail free’ card or a way to stop bad candidates. It forces the unopposed to not get complacent. They are away for us, the people, to express our dislike of a candidate and to make sure we are represented to the highest standard. The basis of democracy is the best representation of people’s views, and RON - for better or worse - enables the best chance for this to happen.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Labour voting reforms approved Ramiye Thavabalasingam bathimpact Contributor
elected through a ‘one member, one vote’ system. These reforms will have a great impact on the election of the leader, as Ed Miliband himself had heavily relied on the trade unions when he was elected party leader in 2010. Furthermore, these reforms also reduce the powers of trade unionists who are ‘afﬁliated supporters’ of the party. For example, in order to vote in leadership elections, all union members must now opt-in to becom-
d Miliband’s proposals to reform the historic relationship between the Labour Party and the trade unions were approved by the vast majority of party members at the beginning of March. These proposals will alter the role of trade unionists in processes such as electing the party’s leader and selecting candidates for election. The reforms have been backed by more
than 86 per cent of party members, an overwhelming majority, which suggests that this has been a long awaited change. The most signiﬁcant reform to be implemented is changes in the election of the Labour Party leader. At present, the election process involves an electoral college wherein party members, MPs and MEPs, and trade unions each have one third of the votes. Under the new reforms, however, the party leader will be
Ed Miliband has often been criticised by opponents for his links to the trade union movement
ing an afﬁliated party member, and they must now be willing to donate money to the party. Afﬁliated members will also no longer be able to select parliamentary or local council party candidates. Len McCluskey, leader of Unite which is one of the trade unions, has argued, however, that “this is our party - and we are going nowhere”. Trade unions have played a key role throughout the history of the Labour Party, but the changing nature of the relationship between the two suggests that the unions’ inﬂuence over the party will be weakened. At the moment, trade unions provide a large proportion of Labour Party donations, with ﬁgures from 2013 suggesting they account for 77 per cent of all donations. These reforms may, however, have a negative impact on the Labour Party, as Unite is set to discuss whether they should cut £1.5 million in their annual afﬁliation fees in the coming weeks due to these changes. This could be a major blow to the funding of the Labour Party. Whether these changes will have as great an impact on the Labour Party as the historic change to Clause IV of the party’s constitution in 1995, is, however, questionable. Whilst the so-called ‘Clause Four Moment’ sig-
niﬁed the change from ‘Old’ Labour to ‘New’ Labour – in other words, from socialism to social democracy – these new reforms will not deﬁne the party to such a degree. Unions will still have 50 per cent of votes at Labour Party conferences, and changes to funding are set to be phased in over ﬁve years. This suggests the party’s relationship with the unions will not be altered dramatically. On this issue, Ed Miliband has said, “I don’t want to break our links with the working people and the trade unions. I’m proud of our links.” However, the Labour Party has been hailed by Lord Owen, former leader of the Social Democratic Party, for these changes. This highlights how the Labour Party is continuously distancing itself from socialism, as it has gained the support of the man who left the party in the 1980s to form the more moderate SDP. Lord Owen has said, “This is a brave and bold reform by Ed Miliband and one I strenuously argued for as a Labour MP at the special conference on Saturday 25th January 1981.” Whilst these reforms may not be as radical as the changes to Clause IV, they do emphasise the party’s shift towards the centre of the political spectrum.
sial package, it also introduced – for the ﬁrst time in a long time – direct grants to many students and much more forms of support to students from less well-off backgrounds. TA: Why is the student loan book being sold off? DF: One of the things the Government is doing is seeking to ﬁnd in the current economic crisis, in which we’re spending £120 million every single day to just pay the interest on the nation’s debt, is ways
ket at the moment who are looking for opportunities. It’s clearly a longterm investment - it’s not going to be short-term proﬁts - but of course in the current climate there are a lot of people who are looking to do that. It’s a sign of the turning round of the economy that we currently have. TA: How can investors make long term proﬁts then? DF: I think... well, I’m no great ﬁnancial investor, so frankly you’d have to go to the people who put in bids, and they’re the ones who will have to justify whether or not they can make money for themselves and for their shareholders. Clearly, if you’ve got outstanding debts that people are repaying over a period of time, you’ve got an interest rate attached to that. Clearly, you can make money, but you have to balance that against what you’ve paid for buying the book in the ﬁrst place. I’m not an economist; it’s for others to work out whether they’re capable of doing it. TA: It seems to me though that either you have to put the interest rate up to make a proﬁt, or the loan book has to be sold off. DF: Alternatively, you can be much more efﬁcient about the way you operate it. One of the things that’s happened with some of the privatisations – I’m not claiming this is true for all privatisations, some of them I’ve had concerns about – is that in the vast majority of cases, the way in which any money can be made from it is by providing a service more efﬁciently and more effectively, and thereby reduce your running costs.
bathimpact meets Don Foster MP Tom Ash Features Editor
few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Don Foster before a Q & A session at the University, kindly hosted and organised by IREP. My immediate impression was of a politician who gives off an air of charisma and is genuinely at ease when talking to his electorate, but at the same time keeps his cards close to his chest. As you may soon notice, he is a master of skirting around uncomfortable questions; I would encourage readers when reading the interview to reﬂect on what he
did not mention as much as what he did. TA: Why are you choosing to stand down at the next election? DF: I’m 66, I’ll be 73 by the time the next Parliament ﬁnishes and I think it’s probably time for somebody younger to come and represent the people of Bath; and equally, there are many other things that I want to have the opportunity to do, not least to spend rather more time helping a charity that I think is really important called Water Aid. TA: A major issue for students at Bath is the price of housing, which has increased faster than the rate of
Loan Privatisation Sally Williamson Bath SU Community Ofﬁcer Over the last 4 years of the coalition government, a number of changes have been made to the Higher Education system in the UK, broadly in the direction of privatisation. The increase in tuition fees, the sale o f student loans, and the cuts to the Student Opportunities F u n d (which was lobb i e d
against, and signiﬁcantly reduced) are just a few examples of this. My personal view is that privatising something so fundamental as education only creates barriers. While I appreciate the ﬁnancial difﬁculties institutions are under (hence increased tuition fees, and now increasing student numbers) this only highlights the importance of government funding. Dr Andrew McGettigan, an expert in the economics of HE and the changes to education in the UK, has written a book on this, and will be coming to speak in Bath at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases on the 24th March at 6pm for a talk and a Q&A session. The event is open to anyone, is free, and is a great chance to ﬁnd out about the consequences of the national changes to Higher Education in the UK.
inﬂation. Why do you think this is? DF: The key reason is very simple: the shortage of housing and the popularity of the city for people to come live in and to work in. One of the things we’ve been desperately trying to do and are now really getting to grips with is to get more affordable houses being built that will help everybody. TA: I saw an article which compared the price of student living in Bath with the price of living in London and suggested it was actually quite similar. DF: All the ﬁgures are that the prices of housing and the rental costs are very comparable to London. We have some of the highest prices in the country and of course that’s difﬁcult, and if you bear in mind that unlike most places that have got a university, we’ve actually got two universities, so two groups of students looking for that elusive accommodation within the city, and bearing in mind the shortage of accommodation and therefore the prices than can be afforded both for sale and for rent, they will tend to be somewhat higher than elsewhere in the country. TA: But London students also get an increased maintenance loan, do you think that’s something that maybe Bath students should have? DF: One of the things we’ve got to continually look at is the whole business of the student support package. There was a lot of controversy, and I was certainly very much in the centre of it when the decision was made to increase tuition fees. It’s worth reﬂecting, however, that when we introduced that controver-
The thing that really matters is to make sure that handing it over to the private sector doesn’t mean that students are worse off as a result
of relieving that pressure on government; one of the ways of dealing with it is to get rid of some of the ﬁnancial burdens and put them into the private sector. A lot of the privatisations that have gone on under all political parties’ governments over the past few years are to do with just that - the student loan book is just one example. The thing that really matters is to make sure that handing it over to the private sector doesn’t mean that students are worse off as a result. TA: Why would an investor want to buy the loan book then? DF: An investor would want to buy it in the same way that there are many investors in the ﬁnancial mar-
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Percentage of voters by gender
There were slightly more male voters than female, with a total of 2400 male students
and 2163 female students voting. This is
similar to previous years; in 2013 52.3% of voters were male, and 47.7% female.
Percentage of voters by year of study
Percentage of voters
First year students made up the majority of voters, a total of 1670. Second year voting numbers were also high, at 1294 total votes. Fourth year students were the next biggest voting group with 849 votes. Next were third years, with 671 votes. There were 75 fifth year student votes, 3 sixth year, and 1 eighth year vote.
Year of study
Relative voter sway by number of Facebook friends
candidate was plotted against their relative voter sway (The percentage of a candidateâ€™s
2000 Number of facebook friends
The number of Facebook friends of each
first round votes multiplied by the number of candidates for each role). There does ap-
pear to be at least a weak correlation, especially when viewed within each race, shown through colour-coding. Dark blue shows the
presidential race, with the top right point representing the new SU President Elect,
Jordan Kenny. Itâ€™s also noticeable that the role of Community (green) seems to be buck
60 90 120 Relative voter sway (%)
the trend as the candidate with the second
150 highest relative vote sway had the least Facebook friends. It is however difficult to discern whether this value is an anomaly or not.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Percentage of voters by faculty
The spread of votes from different faculties was consistent with previous years. 1706 vot-
ers were from the Faculty of Science, 1532 from Humanities and Social Sciences, 848 from Engineering and design, and 469 from the school
Engineering & Design
Faculty of Science
of Management. This distribution seems to reflect that of students active involvement in the SU, with the Faculties of Science and HSS being the forerunners, Engineering and Design tailing behind, and the School of Management being, relatively, the least engaged segment of students. The number of Facebook likes for each candidate’s page, and the number of each candidate’s CTV video views were plotted against their relative voter sway. The correlation between this two was arguably present, albeit very weakly. Whilst a lack of correlation is nothing particu-
Humanities & Social Sciences
larly strange with regards to CTV video views, it’s certainly quite surprising that there isn’t a clearer, and stronger, link between it and voter sway. Considering liking someone’s Facebook page as being seen as tacitly expressing support of their candidacy. Either way the difference between the strength of the correlation between these two raises some concerns as to the importance of the value of these resources, particularly against having more Facebook friends, possibly lending weight to claims that SU Elections are fundamentally popularity contests. However looking at this data, it can be observed that, although there’s no strong overall correlation, each positions generally seemed to gather broadly similar numbers of likes and views, suggesting that although these aren’t excellent indicators of success, they are relatively good indicators of the Student Body’s interest in each position.
Relative voter sway by number of Facebook likes
Relative voter sway by number of CTV Video views
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Pedro Gomes bathimpact Photograpy Editor
Is there anything more interesting than visiting different places and comparing their cultures just by observing their different ways of living? I recently traveled to Milan, one of the closest Italian cities to Switzerland. One advantage I found was the weather, the higher average maximum temperature in Milan is 17.2C while in Amsterdam is 13.8C, it is also lower maximum income tax, being 9% lower in comparison. On the other side, Amsterdam has a notably lower unemployment rate, being 3.5% against Milanâ€™s 5%. Low unemployment rate means better career opportunities and economic growth,
Photography by Pedro Gomes
Another point for the Netherlander city is if we considagainst Milanâ€™s 2.01 when measured by the Global Cities dimensions: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement).
Tuesday 11th March 2014
something to consider when comparing these two cities, having a more dynamic and creative development perspective. There are lots of details to have in mind that will depend on our individual way of living, such as not being
able to smoke in public in Milan in contrast with Amsterdamâ€™s unique coffee shop culture with legal cannabis. Or the fact that Amsterdam has higher portion of men, and Milan has higher portion of women. Although the difference maybe not be noticeable, it might be a point to consider for the single ones. Another interesting point is the titles these cities have. Amsterdam got the highest position in the ranking of Happiest Cities On The World, published by Forbes in 2009. On the other hand, the Global Language Monitor declared Milan in 2009 the Fashion Capital of the World. Overall, in my opinion Amsterdam would win when considering moving, but Milan perhaps would be best if youâ€™re just planning h o l i d a y s . E i t h e r w a y, t h e y â€™ r e b o t h w o r t h p a c k i n g t h e c a m e r a .
Photography by Pedro Gomes
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Aurora borealis spotted in Britain
How could the Northern Lights be seen so far from the North Pole? Rebecca Whysall bathimpact Contributor itizens across the United Kingdom were recently treated to extraordinary displays in the night sky in the form of ‘aurora borealis’ , more commonly known as the Northern Lights. The rare phenomenon is usually only witnessed at the North Pole; however, this particular sight was observed by numerous regions, from the north of Scotland to as far south as Jersey . The Northern Lights are a stunning spectacle of coloured lights that appear in the sky predominantly at night and are the result of clouds of charged particles called ‘solar winds’ that escape from the Sun. As a solar wind approaches the Earth’s magnetic ﬁeld, it is distorted so that some of the charged particles are able to enter the Earth’s atmosphere – namely at
The Northern Lights are the result of clouds of charged particles called ‘solar winds’
the magnetic poles, North (aurora borealis) and South (aurora australis). Once inside the atmosphere,
The Northern Lights have recently been sighted from locations as far south as the Channel Islands the charged particles collide with the solar wind that was responsi- This enables the aurora borealis gas molecules such as nitrogen ble for the most recent display ini- to reach more southern points in the atmosphere, such as the region and oxygen . The collision results tially occurred on 25th February . Astronomers and scientists above the UK. in the gas molecules becoming ‘exIt is predicted that the optimum cited’ and producing a glow similar alike have found that the reason to a ﬂuorescent tube. The colour is for this unusual sighting in Britain time to observe the aurora boreadependent on the particular gas is due to the Sun being at the peak lis is around 12am to 3am (when molecule that is involved in the of its energy cycle . This has re- the sky is at its darkest), which is collision; for example, the most sulted in superior solar winds be- also known by astronomers as the common auroral colour is a pale ing ejected from the Sun, contain- ‘magnetic midnight’. This is a pegreen which is produced by oxy- ing increased amounts of charged riod of time when an observer on gen molecules, whereas nitrogen particles. The number of particles the Earth’s surface, the magnetic molecules produce a blue or pur- entering the Earth’s atmosphere in North Pole and the Sun are all in ple colour. Although the process a speciﬁc period of time is there- alignment with each other. It is sounds somewhat rapid, astonish- fore signiﬁcantly higher than usu- commonly asserted that the more ingly the solar wind can take up al. Because of this, a greater dis- northern you are in the world, the to two or three days to reach the tortion is imposed on the Earth’s greater the chance you will have Earth, enter the atmosphere and magnetic ﬁeld and this allows the in observing the Northern Lights, undergo a successful collision with charged particles to penetrate which is absolutely true. However, a gas molecule. It is thought that the atmosphere at lower latitude. there are additional ways of in-
creasing your chances of witnessing this beautiful sight, even if you live in the southern parts of the United Kingdom. For example, positioning yourself away from large urban areas and on high ground will limit the amount of light and air pollution present in the immediate atmosphere. This prevents the light from the aurora borealis from being masked and will give a more extensive view of the sky. What’s more, numerous websites have been created to allow us to monitor the geomagnetic activity of the Earth in real time. The sites also offer email, text and Twitter alerts to notify you when an aurora borealis is likely to be
Numerous websites have been created to allow us to monitor the geomagnetic activity of the Earth
seen in Britain; giving those dedicated followers a chance to grab their cameras and ﬁnd a good observation spot. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to witness this wonderful phenomenon in person ultimately comes down to patience, and you could say an ounce of good luck.
Prof Science - Cancer treatments D
Cancer is a group of over 200 types of diseases, each with different causes, symptoms and treatments, all of which share some common features. The hallmarks of cancer include: evading growth suppressor signals, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing growth of blood vessels, sustaining proliferative signalling, and activating invasion and metastasis. Genome instability, which generates mutations in essential cell regulatory pathways, and chronic inﬂammation enable uncontrolled tumour development. According to Cancer Research UK, one in three people in the UK will develop some form of cancer in their life. That means every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, with more than a third of cases in those aged over 75. Furthermore, there has been a 30 per cent increase in cancer cases since the 1970s. The sheer number of causes and risk factors is endless. Most
important factors contributing to the risk of developing cancer are certainly life style and genetic make-up. More than 40 per cent of all cancer cases in the UK are linked to tobacco, alcohol, diet, inactivity, UV radiation and occupational risks. Exposure to carcinogens in your job is a risk factor not to be underestimated. Each year around 13,000 cancer cases are caused by occupational hazards; your lungs and upper respiratory tract, and your nose and sinuses, are all put at risk by hazardous fumes. Some cancers are caused by infections with a virus or a bacterium. These cancers include stomach cancer caused by Helicobacter pylori and liver cancer caused by Hepatitis B and C virus, to name just a couple. But it is not all doom and gloom. Although the number of cancer cases has increased drastically, the survival rate has also doubled. Thanks to advances in biomedical research, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. In the ﬁght against cancer, researchers have become very creative: last year, the 15-year old high school student Jack Andraka invented a diagnostic paper strip that could detect pancreatic cancer at its early stage. This test detects mesothelin, a pancreatic cancer speciﬁc protein, in a patient’s blood sample on a paper strip coated with meso-
thelin-speciﬁc antibody laced carbon nanotubes. As the mesothelin proteins attach to the antibodies, the gaps between the nanotubes widen and the conductivity changes, which can be detected with a simple ohmmeter. Similar tests are in development for other types of cancer. In order to detect cancer cells accurately, scientists have developed nano-scale bio-markers that speciﬁcally interact with proteins released by tumour cells and not healthy cells. If these bio-markers are injected into the blood stream, proteins from the cancerous cells interact with the bio-marker and snip off a part. The chopped biomarker can then be tested for in the person’s urine. But diagnosis is only half the story. To get cancer under control we need effective treatments. Many researchers around the world are working on alternatives to standard radio- and chemotherapy. A team of scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a tiny ‘ﬁshing’ rod that reels in brain tumour cells and guides them into a pool of anticancer drug hidden within the rod. This protects healthy surrounding cells from the toxic drug, while guiding tumour cells to their death. Other research groups employ advanced whole cell analysis tech-
niques, such as metabolomics, to map a tumour cell’s metabolism. This allowed a group from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to identify potential therapy targets for pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most genetically varied types of cancer. No two cases have the same genetic mutation, but they all have the same metabolic change that allows them to proliferate uncontrollably. Drugs already exist to block and potentially reverse this change in metabolism. However, as with all new treatment meth-
ods, it will require several years of intensive testing before it will be approved and allowed on the market. The greatest challenge to ﬁghting cancer is its enormous variability, which diminishes any hopes for a silver bullet therapy. But clever minds around the world are coming together to invent ever more creative solutions. With advances in our understanding of cancers, optimised treatments should be common place in the not too distant future.
ear Professor Science, Every day people get diagnosed with cancer. More and more people die from it. Is there any hope for a solution? -Todd
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Dopamine: social media’s best friend H ow long do you spend texting, tweeting and noseying on Instagram? Can you resist the urge to check your Facebook newsfeed when the characteristic red notification icon appears on your home screen? These attractions to social media are all associated with the functioning of the dopamine system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus of the brain, which has a whole range of functions including thinking, sleeping and moving, as well as reward-motivated behaviour. The chemical was discovered in 1958 by Arvid Carlsson and Nils-Ake Hillarp at the National Heart Institute of Sweden. Arvid Carlsson was in fact awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work which showed that dopamine is not just a precursor of the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine, but a neurotransmitter too. For several years, dopamine was believed to control the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment; however, recent research shows that dopamine in fact causes us to seek out and desire pleasurable behaviour, rather than enjoy the pleasure itself. So-called pleasur-
able behaviours include physical aspects such as food, alcohol, sex and drugs, as well as more abstract concepts such as the discovery of information. The two feelings of anticipation of pleasure and experiencing pleasure are so separate that they are controlled by two different systems. Whilst the dopamine system is involved
in anticipation, it is the opioid system that allows us to enjoy certain behaviours. Nonetheless, these two systems are complementary, as the feeling of ‘want’ generated by the dopamine system is often satisfied by the action produced by the opioid system. Issues arise when the desire for something is not entirely ful-
Spencer E Holtaway
Suzanne Clare bathimpact Contributor
filled. This dissatisfaction creates an endless cycle, fuelling an even stronger desire, so the pleasurable action is consequently carried out again. Brain scan research illustrated that our brains show significantly more activity when we anticipate a reward compared with when the reward is actually delivered, suggesting that the dopamine system is more prevalent than the opioid system, as we seek more than we are satisfied. This is supported by the process of evolution, seeking is of paramount importance for survival, as lying dormant and watching the world go by would not bring about a change in inherited characteristics. Dopamine may increase a person’s social media dependency, fuelling their curiosity to find out what somebody is doing, or discover the latest gossip in their network of friends. The buzz that your phone makes when your inbox receives a new message acts as a stimulant for the dopamine system which then creates the desire to open the message. According to a recent study by Retrevo, who surveyed just over 1,000 Americans, 56 per cent of social media users say they need to check Facebook at least once a day, whilst 12 per cent stated that they feel the need to check every
couple of hours. It is the dopamine which initiates the process of seeking enjoyment from social media, but once pleasure and enjoyment has been found, the process repeats over and over again. However, without the anticipation created by dopamine, the same response to social media would not be achieved. This idea of a pleasurable activity in the absence of dopamine producing no enjoyment was discovered in an experiment with rats, conducted by Dr. Kent C. Berridge. After extensive destruction of dopamine neurons, the rats became oblivious to food and many other rewards, and would starve to death unless nourished artificially, despite food being readily available. There was no change in the rats ability to walk, chew, swallow or generate any other movement components required for eating, they but failed to use these movements in order to gain food. So as people begin to rely on social media more and more, where will this lead us in the future? Face-to-face communication is becoming less important whilst people live their lives hooked to their phones. Do we blame the dopamine system or do we blame advances in technology making social networking more accessible?
passed on cannot. Imagine a series of tornadoes blowing through a junkyard, but every time two parts of a Boeing 747 are fused in the correct way, they are kept like that for the next tornado that blows through and so on, until we have a complete plane. This is how natural selection works. Finally, many sceptics of evolution claim that we cannot observe evolution. However, this is a falsehood. Everyone has heard of resistant bacteria which gain their resistance through observable evolution. Perhaps the most
fascinating experiment in biology is currently being curried out by Richard Lenski. He has tracked the evolution of E.coli in different populations, over thousands of generations. During this time he has observed the evolution of whole new metabolic pathways (the ability to digest citrate). This is evolution in action! Evolution is one of the most important theories in biology. Darwin said “there is grandeur in this view of life” and I have to agree. Do you? How many of these misconceptions did you fall for?
How well do you know about evolution?
by no fault of their own, so, I have compiled my top three evolutionary misconceptions. Be aware that this list is by no means extensive and is merely a list of those which tend to be more common. The first is this: If I ask you to picture the theory of evolution, what’s the first image that pops into your head? I bet a pint in the Tub that it was the great chain of being; the diagram that depicts a chimp morphing through successive forms into a man . Am I right? Unfortunately, this diagram is downright incorrect. Evolution does not propose we evolved from chimps, but that we share an ancestor with them, like you do with you cousins. This diagram is a curious mix of evolutionary change and our previous ideas concerning nature, the Scala Naturae: the belief that life is organised into progressively higher beings, culminating in humans, - and dependent on your theological tendencies - angels and then God. This unfortunate misconception has lead to possibly the most infuriating question biologists are faced with – “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” Now you know why: we share a common ancestor with monkeys. The second misconception is Hoyle’s fallacy. Sir Fred Hoyle was a respected English astronomer, and whilst he was certainly great at his particular field of science, he made the odd mistake when it came to evolutionary biology. His most famous analogy, for which
his fallacy is named for, is comparing biological evolution with a tornado blowing through a junkyard and forming a Boeing 747. On the surface this looks like a reasonable analogy; how can random mutation form a complex organism by chance? Humans have a genome that is mind-bogglingly large and over 3 billion base pairs long - how can this arise by chance? Simple: it doesn’t. This analogy ignores a fundamental part of evolution, natural selection. Whilst mutations can be considered random, whether these mutations are
Harry Hornsby bathimpact Contributor he United Kingdom has an illustrious scientific history, boasting intellectual greats such as Francis Bacon, Bertrand Russell and, perhaps most notably, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverers of the theory of evolution. In academia, the theory of evolution is considered fundamental to our understanding of biology; the University of Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry recently held their annual ‘inspirational speaker’ lecture. This year we were lucky enough to have Royal Society member Professor Steve Jones lecture on the evolution of snail shells. However, on the first day of this month, the National Secular Society unearthed information that the Department for Education was complicit in allowing free schools to remove questions on evolution from examinations. This is a worrying cause of events and is parallel to removing questions on the theory of gravity. Up until recently, rejection of evolution was considered primarily an issue located in the United States, but one only needs to look at the creationist zoo located in Bristol to see that this phenomenon is spreading. Given the near universal acceptance of evolution by scientists, why is it that a proportion of the general public are more sceptical? In my experience, most reject evolution based on misconceptions they have been taught,
A common misconception is that chimps are our evolutionary ancestors rather than our cousins
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Tuesday 11th March 2014
Crimea and the politics of power were not surprised but actively happy. Within hours of landing, local Crimeans were gladly taking Russian passports handed out by envoys in an act of solidarity with the country many would define as their homeland. Over 70 per cent of the area speaks Russian as their first language, with only 24 per cent being native speakers of Ukrainian. It was with this allegiance which many felt to Russia that the Kremlin was able to say they were merely ‘protecting Russian nationals’. Naturally Russia’s occupation of the Crimea at the end of February has as much to do with geopolitics as it does with their right to protect. From the beginning of both nations, the Ukraine has found itself either under direct Russian control or within its direct sphere of influence. For many, this often manipulative relationship culminated in the Holodomor, a manmade famine forced by the Russians on the country which resulted in the death of up to twelve million Ukrainians. Since the fall of the Cold War system, Russia has resorted to economic blackmail, most prominent in 2008 – a few years after the pro-EU Orange Revolution – when the Russian government cut off Ukraine’s gas pipes at the height of winter. For Russia, much of it stems from the desire to have access to the Black Sea. The strategic port of Sevastopol, which still today
houses a large portion of the Russian fleet, has granted the country access to the Mediterranean. Russia’s fallout from the postCold War system is also a prominent reason for their aggression. After years of fluctuating economic recovery, the former Soviet states turned their eyes to the booming European Union who quickly helped them democratise and enter the free market economy which had been off-limits to them. For the Russians, this dramatic fall
Daniel Robinson bathimpact Contributor hilst the eyes of Western media focus on the events unfolding in Ukraine, one must not overlook the protests in Venezuela, which are the largest in over a decade. At least 18 people have died from the clashes between the anti-government protestors and those still loyal to President Maduro. The protests, which began in early January in the western states of Tachira and Merida, demanded government action in combatting the high levels of physical and economic insecurity. A month later,
the chaos ignited into a national affair when students protesting the attempted rape of a female student were violently repressed by government forces. On 12th February, the protests turned deadly after three were shot dead. Since then, demonstrations are occurring daily consisting of students, the middle class and the hard-line supporters of the right wing opposition group, The Table for Democratic Unity (MUD). Resisting the government has taken on a number of forms, most commonly burning blockades called ‘guarimbas’ which halt transit through industrial and residential areas, thereby bring-
ing them to a standstill, alongside country-wide protests. Unlike its Ukrainian counterpart, this uprising’s roots can be found in the issue of class, which has divided Venezuela for years. Indeed the rightwing opposition mostly consists of the middle-class, led by the previous mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, Leopoldo Lopez, and Maria Corina Machado, both belonging to the hard-line element of the MUD. The fundamental reasons for these protests lie with the economic ruin that plagues the country, which according to the opposition has been caused by governmental misman-
from grace has never been fully accepted. For years, the Kremlin has kept its neighbouring countries in line via forced dependency; how can Belarus disagree with Russia when its gas reserves are owned by the majority state-owned Gazprom? Russia had been keen to expand this reliance through the expansion of the Union State, a supranational structure with comparisons to the EU. It would have been the ultimate way to rebuild its fallen
sphere of influence; reunite its satellite states with what cynics might describe as a rebrand. But for Crimea (and South Ossetia before it), the issue comes down to ethnicity. Questions will be raised about sovereignty of the Ukraine, but for many Crimeans they are simply being reunited with the Motherland. What for students in international relations might be seen as history repeating itself is for them simply a Russian Manifest Destiny.
Benjamin Butcher bathimpact Contributor t has been almost one hundred and sixty years since Alfred, Lord Tennyson lamented Britain’s futile charge ‘into the Valley of Death’. It was the height of Britain’s role as world policeman, when forces would be deployed in a vague commitment to create some kind of balance between global powers. The ‘six hundred’ rode at Balaclava, a small valley in the Crimea which at the time had been invaded by the Russians who were attempting to gain access to the Black Sea. In an era when power is so difficult to define, the irony that the Crimea is yet again quickly becoming a decisive square on the global chess board should not be missed by anyone. It has been almost three months since the Ukraine exploded in a spontaneous showing of pro-European sentiment. As the European Union lauded the protests as evidence that the Russian style of governance is a relic of a bygone era, it became easy to get caught up in the media’s one sided coverage of the events. After the death of over 70 mostly peaceful protesters and the subsequent resignation of the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, it soon became clear that the protesters weren’t representative of the entire nation. As Russian troops began to occupy the Crimea, many were surprised to see that its local populace
President Putin has argued for Russia’s right to intervene in the Crimea to defend Russian speakers
Venezuela: Another revolution?
President Nicolas Maduro, inaugurated last year, still has a large public following in Venezuela
agement of the economy and extensive corruption. With a record official inflation rate of 56.2 per cent, $10 billion worth of debt to foreign suppliers and alarming levels of product scarcity, the shop shelves lie barren, with people struggling to obtain bare essentials and support themselves. The opposition also protests against rampant crime and widespread feelings of insecurity, exemplified by the fact that Venezuela possesses the fifth highest murder rate in the world, with 24,000 murders in 2013 alone. The government’s response to the protests has exacerbated this feeling of insecurity by having responded in an authoritarian manner, forcing a media blackout and encouraging official and unofficial aggressive responses to the protests, for the purpose of intimidating civil society. The people protest against this government in hope of sending it a message that they will no longer submit to Maduro who, after the death of Chavez last year, only managed to win the elections last April with a slim majority of 50.6 per cent versus the opposition’s 49.1 per cent, a result they believe to be fraudulent. The opposition believe the government has undermined its democratic legitimacy by imprisoning political opponents such as the hardliner Lopez and more than 500 protestors, some of whom claim to have been
tortured. It is these aforementioned crimes that the protestors wish to correct, with some wishing to simply send a message to Maduro and the world, whilst others wish to topple the president, leading some to deem this as a ‘slow coup’. Meanwhile, the government defends itself from the cries of the opposition, denouncing them as ‘fascists’. President Maduro, whose incumbency began in April 2013, has urged his core constituency, the poor of Venezuela to stand against the opposition and meet them with rival protests. Maduro claims the protests are a plot by the United States to stage a coup and that the economic ruin which plagues the country is the fault of saboteurs and corrupt businessmen. Whilst the actions of the people serve to send a message to previously deaf ears, letting President Maduro know that the people are no longer willing to accept the status quo, it is questionable whether this movement will succeed in bringing about anything else. Unlike in Egypt and Ukraine, Maduro has not suffered major defections from any leading figures in his party and the poor still remain loyal. However, as tensions rise and the government continue to ignore the issues surrounding the economy and security, the protests don’t look to be close to reaching a solution that satisfies both sides.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Internet companies’ share prices soar Is this the second coming of the Silicon Valley technology bubble? In November last year, microblogging site Twitter launched its Initial Public Offering, with shares priced at $26; this quickly soared to $45 by the day’s end, valuing the company at $18 billion. However, when Twitter published its ﬁrst public ﬁnancial statement, it showed a loss of $511 million for the ﬁnal quarter of 2013. If the Twitter IPO awakened the cynics, then the astonishing acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook has got them all agog. The fourth-largest ever acquisition in technology his-
are growing ever louder. On the face of it, the statistics seem to be cause for much cheer and optimism: Silicon Valley has some of the highest growth rates and income levels in the USA, and it has even been credited with having catalysed growth across the California Bay Area. Yet, the astronomic valuation of technology companies that seem to lack any discernible means of revenue has fuelled fears that the industry is ﬂoating within a fragile bubble that could burst anytime soon.
tory, Facebook has paid $16 billion to buy WhatsApp, a messaging platform that earns a very modest annual revenue by charging $1 user subscriptions. Both Twitter and WhatsApp are very much part of a larger trend: for instance, the photo-sharing website Pintrest has been valued at $3.8 Billion, despite only earning an estimated income of around $100 million a year, and the photo messaging application Snapchat has been valued at $4 Billion, despite having zero revenue currently. Mergers and acquisitions activity in Silicon Valley are also at a record high, and the current trend seems to be for technology entrepreneurs to develop exciting new start-ups that attract the attention and suit the strategic needs of the largest ﬁrms, thus ensuring extravagant buy-out deals. There are other, subtler signs of the Silicon Valley economy overheating too: San Fransisco rents are at an all-time high and residents of the city who work in lower-paying, non-technology jobs are being driven out due to no longer being able to afford the escalating cost of living. Class tensions and social alienation are rife, and countless stories of the arrogance, excess and insularity of the new generation technology tycoons abound.
Still, there does seem to be some substance beneath all the hype: the recent technology boom has been fuelled by a sharp change in internet usage, and each of the previously discussed companies have hundreds of millions of users, a number that continues to grow with each passing day. These companies have unique propositions, they have signiﬁcantly changed the way that people behave and interact on the internet, and they pose serious strategic growth opportunities for technology giants such as Facebook. According to Ernst & Young, the opportunity opened up by rapidly accelerating technology adaption, both by private users and by corporate ﬁrms, is a key reason for the frenzied economic activity in this sector. Nevertheless, there remains a fear of ﬁckle users abandoning these newly-established services in the near future, and youth exodus is already a reality, with 11 million teenagers abandoning their Facebook accounts in the search for newer, more interesting social media platforms. All of which means that the technology sector is sure to remain the most exciting and dynamic area of the economy, with detractors and supporters alike following every rise and fall in stock prices with the greatest attention.
thing more. Each year, in an attempt to stimulate primarily men’s primal instincts, 800,000 women are trafﬁcked. The industry is estimated to be worth $36.5 billion globally, as women are evacuated from poverty before spending the rest of their days on their backs as a fat businessman squeals with delight. We have always had the need for sex. It is little surprise therefore that, long before we had accountants or bankers, prosti-
tution was established as the oldest profession in the world; willing or not. As I ﬁnish writing this, a song comes on the radio. It’s ‘Can’t Forget to Remember You’ by Shakira and Rihanna. It’s a terrible song. But I can’t help but put on the video as a record producer a thousand miles away, trousers round his ankles takes a second from his orgy to count the money my view just gave him.
In a surprise move, Facebook recently acquired mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion
ex is everywhere. It’s the Diet Coke advert on TV where ravenous women drool over the gardener who’s just trying to do his job. It’s the bar staff who occasionally ﬂirt with a lonely customer in hope of an extra tip. It’s Scarlett Johansson selling out the Palestinian people for a soda machine. If you look for it, you will ﬁnd it; and if economics has taught us anything, it’s that where there is supply, there is usually demand. Of the more reliable studies, it is estimated that men think about sex around 34 times a day (19 for women). Of course, this varies from person to person, but in general we can make the assumption that lucid thoughts rank right up there with the desire to sleep, eat and force Robin Thicke to sing ‘Blurred Lines’ while dressed in women’s underwear. It’s not crude or wrong to think about it - no matter what the moral minority tell you - but in fact it’s one of only seven things we are really programmed to do. The problem is, like the food industry, advertisers have noticed this. I’m not going to go into depth on how ruthless Madison Avenue types have, over the course of ﬁfty years, single-handedly deﬁned what sexy is; but rather how fully it is exploited
for economic gain. The retro days of cute blondes seductively sucking on cigarettes, staring at the lens in a little black dress – or LBD if you will – are gone, but you don’t need to look far to see that the general principle of exploiting that image has lingered. The same does, inevitably, hold true for men: think David Beckham losing all his clothes over the course of a thirty second advert. It would be interesting to know whether, without the advertising imagery, we would be so damn horny all the time. Not wanting to lose out on the commoditisation of sex, our very own university has got in on the act. Fuzzy Duck – marketed by some GENIUS as the ‘best place to pull in the world, like, ever’ – in my ﬁrst year had a sophisticated night called ‘Golﬁng Pros and Tennis Hoes’. Meanwhile the subtlety behind naming a night Score knows no bounds. I mean, it’s clever because you can score a goal and with a woman! Then in town you have Smut, Delight, G-Spot, Squirt and other creative nights. For good measure, chuck in a bunch of boozed-up guys set up to think sex is on the table; what could go possibly wrong? Of course, none of this blows your mind. We all know it happens, and - whilst some of you work tirelessly to put an element of couthness back
in our world - we indulge the system and the system indulges us. We have fun, get laid once in a while, and somewhere a coked-up advertiser snorts a line off a hooker’s back using the ﬁfty-pound note our sexuallyactive minds have given him. There is a dark side of course. Whilst the demand for sex for most of us is merely an idea, stimulated by men in tight t-shirts or Kate Moss doing her thing, for some it is some-
Vishala Ramswami bathimpact Contributor he city of San Francisco might be situated on the San Andreas Fault Line, but recent fears are less about potential seismic destruction and more about impending ﬁnancial devastation. The astounding economic performance of the Silicon Valley technology industry has given rise to a number of sceptics; as the stock prices of technology start-ups continue to soar, the murmurs that a second internet bubble is coming
Tuesday 11th March 2014
BUST production of The Miracle Worker s a linguist, I rarely find myself in the situation of being unable to communicate verbally with someone. (If this opening sally seems conceited, that’s because it is; amateur theatre critics have a proud tradition of hubris after all, and who am I to deviate from the norm?) In seriousness though, from time to time I do meet people with whom I have zero linguistic compatibility, and it is immensely frustrating. Language, quoique ce soit, is a trait that we all share, for the most part; it is the link through which we form bonds with other people; it defines how we think and how we treat the world around us. When verbal interaction collapses – when words fail us – we have to fall back on the pantomime of body language and clumsily-formed gestures. It is for this reason that I have immense respect for deaf-mute people, who communicate so quickly and gracefully in sign language, of which there are hundreds of elaborate variations, each imbued with meaning. Nevertheless, imagine being unable to communicate, without the assistance of an interpreter, with the vast majority of a world which has little interest in or awareness of your language. For me, that sounds rather unpleasant. Now imagine being unable to see as well: take away all visual reference points to the world, as well
as the possibility of communicating by sign or gesture. This is the world of Helen Keller, whose autobiography was adapted for stage by William Gibson into a play entitled ‘The Miracle Worker’. It is this work that Bath University Student Theatre (BUST) elected to tackle over the course of the past weekend, and tackle it they did. As I took my seat before the performance, a number of possible concerns were flashing through my mind. Chief among them was the non-verbal communication which would inevitably form a major chunk of BUST’s oeuvre. Having grown up in Shakespeare’s own county and thus been exposed to horrors of many an amateur production’s exaggerated body language, I was a little concerned that the whole thing would be over-acted. Needless to say, my fears were allayed over the course of the evening, as the depiction of Helen Keller’s (Phaedra Florou) relationship with the eponymous miracle worker, Annie Sullivan (Janna Chapman) dances elegantly along the thin line between over- and understatement. Annie is contracted by Helen’s family as a teacher-mentor for their daughter, who has been deafblind since early infancy and has no way of communicating with the outside world. Chapman’s character undertakes to teach her pupil language by signing an alphabet into her palm, thus liberating her to explore the
world through words. The process, as demonstrated throughout the play, is sometimes difficult and heart-wrenching. Helen’s indulgent parents (Lizzie Wood and Charles Craven) are forced to reassess how they express their love for their daughter and distance themselves from her; several visceral scenes underline the conflict and disagreement within the Keller family as they come to terms with the fact that their upbringing of Helen is largely the reason for her lack of communication and discipline. An interesting sub-plot also develops involving Helen’s older half-brother James (Oscar Brennecke-Dunn) and their father Captain Keller. There is a semi-Oedipal undercurrent running through the scenes between the two men, as James interrogates his father about his biological mother and learns to stand up to him; the tension between the two is visibly well executed. Indeed, even though the play centres on Helen and Annie’s relationship and both were excellently cast and portrayed, special praise needs to be reserved for Brennecke-Dunn’s interpretation of James, which ticks all the right boxes in terms of attitude and mannerisms, without trying to steal the limelight. Sometimes it’s the mark of a good actor that they understand that less is more. On the back of the few short scenes in which he appeared, Annie’s mentor Dr Anagnos (Andrew Mas-
Svenja Bunte bathimpact Contributor The Photosoc official photo competition is back this semester! Following the theme of sport to fit in with
last weekend’s Bath Half Marathon, we set our photographers the task of wowing us with their shots of athletes. We went for two very different photos as the winners.
The first photo, showing a motivational high five during the race is by post-grad Nello Formisano, a second year PhD student in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. The photo was taken during the half marathon in Mounmouth Street, close to Queen Square in Bath. The camera is a Nikon D90 and the lens used a Nikon 35mm. It shows quite a different perspective of a very colourful race mainly raced by young
sey) gets my pick for unsung hero/ best supporting character; comic timing is often difficult, but he manages it as a foil to Chapman’s character. Were I to be critical of anything in the play, it would be the accents. The whole story is set in the Deep South, and thus one would expect a thick American drawl from all the main characters but Annie, who is
from the North. A couple of the cast had this down pitch-perfect; others, maybe just in contrast, were either not so convincing or tended to slide between northern and southern accents, sometimes even slipping back into the tones of good ol’ Blighty. Pedantic linguist’s nitpicking aside, overall it was a very convincing and well-rounded performance.
Tom Ash Features Editor
The real life Helen Keller (l) with her teacher, Annie Sullivan
Sport photography competition people. The second photo, by our very own Marie Strasser, shows a dancer. We love the perspective on this. Marie commented: “I am delighted at being the winner of the photo competition. It feels good to be recognised for my work, my ideas, and my talent. I had great fun when taking this photo and I thank Anna who so untiringly and gracefully performed on a trampoline in front of my lens.
Photography has become an integral part of my life and I always try to advance my knowledge and my skills.” The photo was taken on an Olympus E-300. Thanks to all the participants, we will be looking forward to receiving yet more photos in the next competition. Enjoy the photos, and look out for more in the next issue. Or even better still, try and wow us with your creative skills yourself!
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Will the euros be worth the wait? Michael Powell impactsport Contributor
atching two men choosing random numbered balls from a pot doesn’t sound like enthralling television. However, when a football cup draw is due, excitement amongst fans always builds with huge anticipation as to who each team will face. For example, The FA Cup 3rd round draw is arguably the most anticipated non-playing date on the footballing calendar, with the hope of the big names drawing each other or having to face a tricky tie against a minnow and facing a potential ‘giant-killing’. The German Cup is equally intriguing despite a very different format. Teams are seeded which removes the opportunity for the big teams to meet each other early in the competition, but guarantees a plum tie for any lower league team having qualified for that stage and guaranteeing low league players chance to play their heroes, which the week-in, week-out league format never presents. The Champions league draw, whilst also seeded, ensures some intriguing fixtures and groups too, none more so than the Real Madrid, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax group from last year. When the world cup draw was made in December, fans were once again intrigued as to who their nation would face, and the live television coverage of all these events underlines their interest from the footballing world.
And then two weeks ago came the draw for Euro 2016. Except that as predicated, it turned out to be the most disappointing cup draw in recent history. The reason for this? A change in the format for the competition devised by UEFA president Michel Platini. Instead of the usual 16 teams competing for the continents leading national prize, at France 2016, there will be 24 teams. Whilst smaller nations may benefit, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will never get a better chance to qualify for the European Championships, it makes a mockery of the qualifying procedure. England’s group seems particularly tame, but with the top two finishers from every group plus a best thirdplaced team qualifying, none of the major nations will have any trouble in progressing. On the face of it, that might sound like a good idea because when the main competition comes around, all the players and teams people want to see are playing. However, it results in the majority of qualifying matches being pointless and almost reduced to ‘friendly’ status; and we all know how farcical they always turn out to be. It also means there is no intrigue in the build up to the event, with ‘alsorans’ playing in the key games for the final few spots at an extended tournament. Yes, it’s disappointing someone of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s calibre won’t be gracing the World Cup, but the excitement of Sweden’s
Thomas George Brady impactsport Contributor n the 30th of January this year, my beloved West Ham United ground out a gutsy and resolute 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, prompting the Portuguese to launch a verbal tirade against Hammers manager Sam Allardyce and his defensive tactics. He notoriously labelled Big Sam as an exponent of “19th Century’’ football, and implied that West Ham displayed no interest in winning the game. Flaws in the historical accuracy of Mourinho’s aside (football in the 19th century would have had less to do with doggedly defending the 18 yard line than chasing a pigs bladder across streams and through fields), it does pose some interesting questions about the way football ‘should’ be played. A good point with which to start might be to highlight the rank hypocrisy of Mourinho’s comments. This is the man, after all, who achieved multiple wins against Barcelona during his tenure at Real Madrid by playing anti-football in which the main tactic appeared to be to kick the shit out of the likes of Iniesta and Messi. Ditto for when he won the Champions League with Inter Milan. These scenarios cannot
even be compared to West Ham’s plight, in which for over half a season they have been hampered by injury problems that were frankly ridiculous. And, in fairness, Mourinho went on to admit that he would have employed the exact same tactics were the roles reversed. Brian Clough famously once said ‘’If God had wanted football to be played in the air he’d have put grass in the sky’’. The current trends around the continent and indeed the world would seem to indicate that he was right. The Champions League is a strong advert for passing football, even the counter attacking teams tend to keep it on the floor. But domestically, the picture isn’t quite as clear. West Ham, with a fit squad, have largely vindicated Allardyce’s tactical approach, winning 4 out of 4 in February. Tony Pulis is far from popular with regard to the style his teams adopt, but he took the reins at Crystal Palace with the squad looking woefully out of its depth, and transformed their work ethic and overall performance, ultimately into a team that looks a genuine contender to stay up. David Moyes achieved consistent excellence with a direct approach with Everton for 11 years. One could also point to teams like
play-off matches against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal last November more than made up for that. Straightforward qualification games may not be such good news as it first appears for National Associations either. Managers such as Roy Hodgson will be relatively happy with the system, and it improves the chances of younger players to make an impact with managers more likely to choose experimental squads. However, with travel and ticket prices continually rising, how many supporters are realistically going to turn up to Wembley on a Tuesday in night to watch an understrength
England team take on a European minnow. With a capacity of 90,000, and more importantly a massive building cost to repay, the system creates a nightmare for FA chiefs and they’re counterparts in other European heavyweight nations. As a Welshman, the new system is quite exciting, because it gives us a realistic chance of actually qualifying for a major event, and providing the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale, the chance to shine on the global stage, which he undoubtedly deserves. But as a football fan, I feel the system is just another money mak-
ing exercise from UEFA chiefs, once again neglecting the interest of fans and devaluing Europe’s premier event. Let‘s hope that if the qualifying campaigns are as boring as anticipated, once the tournament itself starts we have something to savour. Although, with the first couple of rounds guaranteed to provide large mismatches, even that looks like an unlikely prospect. Regrettably, it appears that 2016 could be another summer just spent waiting for domestic football to come around again, rather than enjoying the bonus coverage of a national tournament that even years always give us.
Erik Daniel Drost
Is there even a proper way to play?
Jose Mourinho was very critical of West Ham’s tactics at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season Swansea and Norwich as examples of a passing style which has yielded more errors than slick flowing moves. You might think I’m biased, but it’s worth pointing out that I am not necessarily a fan of Allardyce, Pulis and other stalwarts of the direct approach to the game. I find Big Sam’s
constant insistence that he is some sort of tactical genius to be risible. When we move into the Olympic Stadium I don’t want to pay 50 quid to watch my team have 28% possession of the ball at home. But there is something to be said for good oldfashioned grit and organisation, working hard as a team, and de-
fensive solidity. Because ultimately football, and all sport is about winning. Appearing to be stylish, appealing to watch, certainly should be a priority, and when direct football isn’t successful, there is precious little else to enjoy about it (believe me). But overall, sport is about results, however they are achieved.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
For Team GB, it would be fair to class the games as one of the most succesful in recent history
poro 1972 when there were only 35 events, compared to 98 in Sochi this year, and they also had a biathlete kicked out for drugs use. The stories of the Games were dominated by fairy tales which never quite had the magic ending, such as the first Jamaican participants in bobsleigh since 2002 and inspired by the famous story of Cool Runnings, although they slid into a disappointing 29th place finish out of 30, although they will have been proud just to finish. Elsewhere, Russia’s first ever participant to be born in the USA, Vic Wild, competed, and won gold, in the snowboard parallel slalom, afterwards stating that the USA just wasn’t that into it, man. Another Russian competitor, Alexey
Sochi cost more than all the previous winter olympics combined Voyevoda, best known as the former arm-wrestling world champion and wrestler, also won two golds for his country in the two man and four man bobsleigh. The strangest story of all belongs to the small Pacific nation of Tonga. Their first ever competitor in the Winter Olympics, competing in the Luge after narrowly missing out on qualification in 2010. He finished in 32nd, which wasn’t a bad showing for his first major event since securing bronze in the American-Pacific Championships in 2011, but that wasn’t what attracted attention- Although born under the name Fuahea Semi, he changed his name in 2012 to Bruno Banani, which is also a famous brand of underwear in Germany. It was no coincidence. He entered into the ‘endorsement deal’ in order to promote its new line, named Coconut Power, which the company said was inspired by him, attributing his sporting prowess to the quality of the coconuts he consumes. Surely he must have been the only thing stranger than the Russian diagrams showing how to correctly use a toilet in the athletes bathrooms. The most heart-warming story
of all, and the one that the IOC will be most keen to promote, is that of Dachhiri Sherpa, Nepal’s only entrant, and a cross-country skier. After learning to ski from some Dutch tourists, he made his competitive debut in the 2003 Asian Winter Games, but went on to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, although he finished 94th. Now 44 years old, Sherpa qualified again this year, stating before the race that “There is a very big chance I will finish last. The placing is not important if I can teach young people in Nepal about the Olympic spirit. This spirit is in my heart.” He in fact finished 86th out of a possible 87, only 17 minutes behind the leader, but 10 minutes ahead of the last placed Peruvian. Sochi was far from the dream Olympics for the IOC, as Thomas Bach steps in as the new head of the organisation, replacing the prestigious, and somewhat ancient, Jacques Rogge. The most expensive Olympics in history was the next step from London 2012, and the next will be even more interesting, the Olympics first trip to South America as Rio de Janeiro host the Games. That’s if it’s indeed ready in time. kyo628
rom the Arm Wrestling World Champion to a man named after an underwear brand, Sochi 2014 hit all the headlines for just over two weeks in February. Before it even, started Russia’s first Olympic games as host was breaking records, as it became the most expensive Olympic Games ever- with an investment of nearly £31 billion, £6 billion more than was spent on the Beijing Olympics of 2008. Political debates over gay rights, the shocking conditions for many of the athletes and a malfunctioning snowflake/Olympic ring were all overshadowed when the main sporting events finally began on Saturday 8th February. For Team GB, it would be fair to class the Games as one of the most successful in recent history, with a total of one Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals, three more than in the previous campaign in Vancouver, despite lying in 19th place in the medal table for the second time in a row. As most people know, it was Bath girl Lizzy Yarnold who secured Britain’s only gold, with a spectacular time of 58.09 seconds in her final heat of the Skeleton, beating her nearest competitor, the American, Noelle Pikus-Pace, by 0.97 seconds. Four years after Bath alumni Amy Williams secured Team GB’s only gold in the Women’s Skeleton, it looked like there might be a similar situation again, but the Curling teams of both sexes produced, with the men’s team securing silver in a 9-3 final defeat to Canada, while the women’s team secured bronze in their hard fought game against Switzerland, winning the deciding point in the final round. GB’s first medal, won by Jenny Jones, was arguably the most notable though, winning Bronze in the Slopestyle Snowboarding to ensure Britain’s first ever medal on the snow in a Winter Olympics. Since 1924 when the Winter Olympics first began, Team GB have won 26 medals on the ice, but this is the first won on the snow, and it looked as though she may miss out after placing fifth after the first run, with only her first place in her second run, scoring 87.25,
saving the day, as Austrian Anna Gasser fell on the final run to guarantee a medal for the 33 year old from Bristol. Elsewhere in the medal count, it was mostly what you would expect for a Winter Olympics, although Russia capitalised on home advantage to leap to top of the table, with an impressive 33 medals, 13 of which were gold. The biggest surprise in the top 10 would be the presence of Belarus, winning only three medals in Vancouver in 2010, but doubling that tally to finish 8th thanks to five gold medals and one bronze, four of which all came in the lesser-known biathlon event. Elsewhere, both China and South Korea were disappointed after unexpectedly climbing the table in 2010. With both countries investing highly in these sports it was expected that both, particularly China, may fair better despite the geographical disadvantages, but they finished off in 12th place with 9 medals and 13th place with 8 medals respectively. Germany also had a disappointing Olympics, while their 19 medals seems pretty impressive on paper, it is their worst medal count since Sap-
Sam Leveridge impactsport Contributor
Was it a Winter Wonderland?
Morton’s Mumbles & Moans We’ve come to that point of the fortnight where I must once again write about sport or something, and I must say, I’ve got nothing interesting to report, really. When the Bath Half was taking applicants, I was still ill and therefore didn’t apply to do it. I wasn’t even in the city at the time; I had to go home for my sister’s birthday. There were, however, a lot of people who ran the race. Most people I saw did it for some charity or something, which is obviously good. My cousin came to Bath the other week and commented on how people in Bath “love to run,” after seeing the vast numbers of runners just out jogging in preparation for the race. It’s a pretty recent phenomenon, people going out for runs, and it seems silly when I think about it as it is. The hunter-gatherer would look in shock as people whittle away precious calories on a little jog. (Or energy from food, I mean, no caveman is going to give a shit about calories) So, this fortnight I look at ‘the marathon,’ and also ‘why in God’s name would anyone want to run one?’ The distance of a marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards, apparently. Sounds pretty hellish to me, to be honest. My Dad used to be a pretty avid runner (and still is, for the most part) and could literally run a marathon every weekend if he felt like it, but it still seems pretty horrendous, even with the health perks. If you think about it, humans are pretty impressive animals: no other animal could keep going for that distance at that speed without food intake, which is pretty awesome. But I digress… Anyway, the marathon is commemorative of some Greek soldier running from Marathon to Athens to tell the guys in charge that the Persian hordes had been averted. Incidentally, the Persian king at this time was the daddy of the pierced up lanky bloke in 300, for those of you who aren’t history aficionados. The want for humans to compete is also a pretty crazy instinct, and even though all of society is built up from people helping one another, it still feels jolly good to give others a good thrashing, doesn’t it? But I don’t understand the need to run quite that distance. I like running, as those of you who actually read this thing’ll know, but can’t one just beat someone at something different to get your kicks? Anyway, I’m just saying words now, so I’ll let you get on; my rambling is making me tired, and I want my dinner. Cheerio!
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Bath’s Pavilion to host Fight Night
Gabriella Sherry tells us about the upcoming Fight Night 2014
ickboxing Fight Night is coming to Bath, so let’s get ready to ruuummbblleee! The Bath Kickboxing club are training hard, preparing for the grand finale of the Bath v Bristol Derby. One set of titans is not enough for us, however, so our army will soon be going up against Bristol AND Oxford, to try and level the playing field. Doors and bar will open at 18:30 on the 4th of April, with the battle commencing shortly after. We want YOU to join in with the huge crowds, who are set to support the troops down at the Bath Pavilion. The fighters, who are set to take centre stage, range from first time fighters to national champions, with Bath setting the standards high for what will no doubt be an explosive event, illustrating technical and strategic skills. The Bath kick-boxers have an impressive history, with annual medal hauls averaging over 120. There will also be performances from the Bath Cheerleading Squad and BodySoc to get the party started, and to rally the crowds to support our fighters! The first 150 early bird tickets are only £5, and they will then go up to £7, so get in there early for discounted prices. All profits will be
donated to Cancer Research UK, so we hope to see you all queuing for
your tickets. Look out for us on Parade to get hold of your tickets- you
will be supporting a vital charity as well as YOUR university fighters.
And to all you kick-boxers out there… what is your profession?!
again called into action to make a good save with his legs at the back post, but moments later when what should have been an easy ball to collect squirmed through his grasp he needed Liam Stephen’s to clear the ball for a corner. Liam Stephens was again involved when his 35 yard attempt dribbled harmlessly wide as he slipped over in the process of shooting. This pretty much closed out of the half and was a bit of a metaphor of the half for the 4th team who never looked like scoring after Mardell’s excellent goal. The second half kicked off and quickly Steve Sides found himself in on goal only to put his 1 v 1 chance wide of the target under little pressure. 4s found themselves under the cosh for much of the early go-
ing of the half, and looked in trouble when a foul on the edge of the box gave 3s goal scorer Matt Allen another chance to show off his shooting prowess. His superb free kick, however, found Harry Carmen in inspired form to tip the left footed drive over the bar, which I’ll have to give the save of the match. The 4s were presented a great opportunity when Harry Carmen’s long kick was headed on by Jordan Guttridge caused confusion between the defender and on rushing goalkeeper both missed it and Guttridge was pushed over when jumping for the bouncing ball. The 4s number 8, Ant Corner stepped up to send Wilder the wrong way and casually place the ball in for 2-1 to the 4s. This half was fairly similar to the
first, in that there was a lot of play in the midfield but seldom elsewhere. Fewer opportunities arose, but the 3s had a good opportunity when Sam Howells put the ball through the defenders legs on the edge of the box, only for his shot to take a deflection and trickling into the arms of Harry Carmen. The referee found himself on the end of some more stick from the coaches and players alike when Ollie Box of the 4s appeared to be clear in on goal only to be stopped in a head on collision by Simon Murgatroyd, leaving him in a crumpled heap on the floor. I can assure you that he still lives up to the name given to him within the club as Ugly Murgs though, the decision was highly contentious but overall didn’t really matter with 4s
winning and 3s not getting any sort of advantage from the continuing play. Two of the most notable incidents happened off the pitch the first being 4s manager Matt Walley taking exception to some suspect defending launching his pen at the ground which bounced back up and nearly lodged in my leg, and the 3s manager Pat Gavaghan throwing his note pad toward the stricken defender Simon Murgatroyd after Sam Griffiths wonderfully flighted cross evaded everyone. Very little happened after this leaving the 3s stunned and 4s victorious, as the 4s just scraped a 2-1 win to climb up to 3rd in the league and leave the 3s three points off top albeit with a game in hand.
Continued from back page; This however didn’t seem to spark any sort of fire in the 3s, with a lot of the early goings seeing both teams giving up possession all too easily, without capitalising on it. The 3s got themselves a corner, only to see the attacker put the ball wide of the right post. The 3s found their attack attempts constantly thwarted by 4th team captain and stalwart centre back Lewis Tanner with brave tackles and powerful headers curtailing any hope the 3s had of scoring. The best football of the half was played by the 3s who were left scratching their heads when stand in referee called offside. At this point in the half the 4s were still waiting for their second chance of the half, having seen most of their play cut out in the midfield. Though, the manager assured me that playing a single striker was part of the tactics- and if their tactics were to leave the striker completely isolated and not deliver the ball to him then they were a great success. Finally, the 4s had their chance of the half, only for the low cross to be comfortably collected by James Wilder. Minutes later saw the 3s finally got their equaliser, when Ollie Box’s peculiar head first dive in the centre circle was easily evaded and played to the right wing where Matt Allen cut inside and from 20+ yards unleash a wicked curling shot on his left foot past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper. 4s goalkeeper Harry Carmen was
3s team beaten by 4s in ‘Bath Derby’
impactsport Tuesday 11th March 2014
The rest of the 4s V 3s on page 27
Running ain’t bad, by half Ellie Hynes Bath SU President n a wet and windy Sunday, I and the other SU Officers, along with Fresher Gabby of Norwood 5, took to the streets of Bath to run the half marathon to raise money for Bath Mind. Unfortunately we were without our resident hippy, Scott Burfiend, as he was nursing an injured knee. We were joined by the activities manager Polly Hawker, and bar manager Mike Dalton. Education Officer Pete Hachfeld was not short of confidence in the build up to race day. However, due to the unfortunate combination of blisters, chafing, and the unpredictable speed of a veteran bar manager, Pete was beaten to the finish line by Mike. To raise the spirits of the valiant racers, our delicate flower, Scott Burfiend, cheered from the sidelines with a mighty crew of Advice and Representation Staff. In the crowds of runners, this was not the easiest of tasks – only
Will new Euros qualifying ruin the excitement?
impactsport Contributor Michael Powell talks about the changes to the system of qualifying in the Euros, Page 25 has the full story
Playing football has no rules, except the rules impactsport Contributor Thomas George Brady looks at the futility of the idea that football should only be played one way, Turn to page 25 to read it all
TomTom was visible above the sea of fundraisers, fun runners, and assorted fancy dress. Myself and Tomtom were
tasked with ensuring the reluctant Sally Williamson made it to the finish line before sunset. URB did a fantastic job of lifting our spirits
with banging tunes and support from the sides. It was a valiant effort form all runners and spectators. Sport. Sport. Sport.
Unlikely victory for Bath’s 4s A
Edward Attwood discusses Bath’s football 3s loss fter three weeks, countless postponements, tons of rain and three reports since the return of sports, the battle have all been waiting for was here, the University of Bath football 4s joust with the Uni’s 3s. There was a lot of animosity in the build up to this game from both sides, with one team complaining about it originally being postponed, whilst the other was desperate for its postponement, and my housemate James Wilder complaining, and I quote, “God sake I can’t believe it’s been called off, I got dressed and everything!” I struggle to see how getting dressed merits disappointment at the cancelling of a game, but James Wilder is a very different person to the rest of his club. Nevertheless the game itself did not disappoint, and within minutes of it kicking off Matt Mardell found himself on the edge of the box, after the 4s lone striker Jordan Guttridge jumped higher than the biggest man on the pitch, Simon Murgatroyd, to drive home. The ball looped over 3s goalkeeper James Wilder to crash in off the crossbar, though I cannot conﬁrm or deny that it was a lob but given James Wilder’s track record in conceding lobbed goals, you can excuse me for sitting on the fence on this matter. Continues on page 27
The most interesting parts of Sochi 2014 impactsport Contributor Sam Leveridge looks at the ups and downs of Sochi, along with the downright strange, too, Turn to page 26 for more
Why columnists should watch sport impactsport Editor Connor McGregor Morton reflects on the pain of getting good at sport again, page 26 has the full column
Fight night at the Pavilion: Kickboxing for charity Gabriella Sherry, the female captain for kick-boxing talks about the upcoming fight night at the Bath Pavilion, page 27 has the full story
If you are interested in sport and want to contribute, then contact impactsport Editor Connor McGregor Morton (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more details about how you can get involved. We’re always looking for writers, photographers, people to take part, or just all round sports buffs to help out. So, if you have a story you want to share, don’t be afraid to get in touch!
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Tuesday 11th March 2014
bite facebook.com/bathimpact We really do try you know. We sit in our oﬃce, week in week out. Criticising, shouting abuse at the Christian Union from the window - and occasionally popping down to repent and get food.
Our newspaper. Complete bollocks.
EDITORIAL Annie Clark - St. Vincent Album of the biweek
The 4th LP by Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) continues her upward trajectory in terms of consistency, hooks and experimentalism – a frankly incredible balancing act. Her pop/rock/funk/electronic hybrid remains unique (both glassy and gritty), and has only been honed sharper. Though not as emotionally open as Strange Mercy (2011), it’s just as cohesive, lyrically evocative, and more awe-inspiring musically and vocally.
Game of the biweek
Winter is coming and the only enemy is nature. This isn’t your ordinary city builder game, the emphasis is very much on harvesting and making sure your people can survive the depths of winter. You’ve been banished from your mother land and you’re taksked with building a new civilization - in the fucking woods. The trees look REALLY cool!
The Indonesian mimic octopus is basically the underwater equivalent of Daniel Day-Lewis. Whilst most octopuses are content to simply blend in with surrounding rocks and coral, the mimic octopus takes it a step further by imitating other species in order to ward oﬀ predators. It can take the form of a lion ﬁsh, sea snake, jellyﬁsh or a ﬂatﬁsh. With such an incredible range, I’m surprised it hasn’t received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Mollusc. Rating- 9/10
Mollusc of the biweek
could understand myself better if I just asked other people to do it instead. In that way I’d be killing two birds with one stone, and this is something we’ve lost, maybe not in the last thirty years; but somewhere along the way, I get the feeling we didn’t always sit around, isolated in single rooms – to spend our evening trawling through 9gag. I don’t actually do that, but I often isolate myself in inward reﬂection, a constant train of thought which always ends at the same station. I just tell myself the same old things, in moments of passion or rage and I don’t always learn. Only, if I did ask someone else, they’d never tell me the truth. Everyone is just like North Korea in that sense. I too, am like a North Korean citizen in NO SENSE at all, except that I am stuck in my system of eternal self-reference with no comparison. I’m self-obsessed in a self-obsessed society. Again. I’m very privileged and probably shouldn’t speak about North Korea with such levity. Now, those of you who haven’t already burned this ballbag attempt at quasi philosophy are possibly wondering how I can say this. Those poor souls, who I have massive sympathy for, have no choice in the matter; they are born in to a system with no out. There’s no blue pill, no red pill, no leather clad freedom ﬁghters with a wide array of sunglasses. So we have the option right, we have an out? Well, in many ways we do. Our lives here in the UK are fucking easy and I’ll go as far as saying that most students here at Bath are rather privileged. I think most will also agree that privilege doesn’t necessarily lead
to happiness, quite the opposite it seems. In fact, the older I get, the more it seems capitalist societies are doomed. We have no escape from ourselves, mass urbanisation took us out of communities, yes it took us out of poverty gradually, and we were given universal suﬀrage because of two great wars. Capitalism led to what Manuel Castells calls a ‘network society’, a society that rests on ﬂows of information, people and innovation. This is also a separated society in so many aspects; the interconnectedness has somehow made us less connected, less communal. The network society rests on a dark criminal underworld; that is rooted at the heart of capitalism. It’s a transformation which gave us the knowledge, freedom of speech. We have a greater ability to cure diseases, tackle inequality and illiteracy – to increase our population. These are all wonderful things right? We are safe, we have freedom, but we’re not fucking happy. Our identities and communities are becoming fractured. We no longer have anything to ﬁght for. We are stuck not only in our seat of power in the global north, in our Capitalist bubble. But we are stuck within ourselves. I’m not sure what I’m getting at, I have a dissertation to do and this is just my way of venting. In China, University students live in dorms of about four to six. This is always something that strikes me, strikes me as really quite nice. Obviously it’s always nice to have space, to hang posters and to masturbate away the wee small hours. Anyway. China! opensourceway
s always, I’m going to talk about me and myself, because A. I’m a twat and B it’s all I truly know. I’m not going to talk about all those states that pump out propaganda like Eton pumps out bellends. It’s depressing and we all know that it happens. We hear about the poor North Koreans in their world of complete horror, completely without autonomy, they are constantly watched, they only eat cabbage, they are controlled, and they are prisoner to the only environment, most of them, have ever known. Much like the Cornish. Cultural relativism always, always gets the better of us. We simply cannot put ourselves in their shoes, no matter the hardship we have suﬀered in another realm. It is thought by many that globalisation has given us alternative lenses with which to look at the world. That’s a rather contested debate but the counter argument argues, well the opposite. We may have more knowledge about things today, but the overburden of information makes us unwilling to seek out new outlets but instead makes us subservient to all powerful media sources and state sponsored propaganda. So I’m not going to attempt to analyse the ins and outs of propaganda. That’s something which is a shade worse than constant self-reﬂection. Instead this editorial looks at the idea of selfpropaganda, which some might call denial, but this is more subtle than denial and is much more widely accepted. Most probably because self-propaganda is part of the human condition and is inherent in our inability to gaze beyond our subjective point of reference. It’s ‘other’ relativism if you will. This manifests itself in various forms. It strikes me that self-reﬂection is a form of propaganda; I spend a hell a lot of time thinking about my actions, documenting them on pages of diaries. Asking myself why I act in certain ways. Though I think I understand myself fairly well, I feel I
This week’s theme is:
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Lessons from the Campaign Trail
written by Ainaa Azhar
In the summer before university I wrote copy for start-ups. Or basically it was ‘lessons in saying ‘bespoke’ when you mean Made in China’. So when a dear friend decided to run for the SU elections, I relished the idea of helping out. It was a rewarding experience where I also learnt that persuasion is beyond presenting a solid case. Propaganda is not always deceitful or misleading. Whilst we associate it with fairly suspect ideology or salesmen, it is an effective means of spreading ideas. One that just so happens to be incredibly beneficial if you are trying to convert the faithful or sell Whitening Cream. Knowing how to convince large groups of people without ultimately pissing them off is an important weapon to have in your arsenal – even more importantly doing it without them knowing.
Here are some observations that may prove useful for all you future Frank Underwoods out there.
1. Disarm with Vulnerability Earlier this year when Jack Dorsey (of Twitter fame), announced a list of daily Good Practices, acting vulnerable found its way into the Do List. This was no hippie, kumbaya-synergy-bullshit; it’s some legit Linkedin lingo. Reaching out and owning up that you are not perfect – that you too possess a flaw beneath that impeccable bone structure - is making the first step to a personal connection. You’re exposed, and people like you for that. There is a form of sympathy for the afflicted, and your fellow humans have let their guard down. Now is prime time to sell them what you’ve been trying to for so long. Furthermore, the feedback loop ends there. Backlash is rare if you cover-yo-ass well and any opposing response would be futile. It’s akin to seeing someone abhorrent hobble down a staircase with an injury, feeble and meek. In that position of power, one cannot hit another when the latter is down. Even in deceit there are lines which one does not cross.
2. The Common Enemy
There is a seminal paper on the ‘Group Norm Theory of Prejudice’, the importance of which I will not attempt to stress. I’m in the wrong degree to do so - we don’t spend time talking about feelings in mine. Basically, in times of adversity, an individual’s need for security intensifies feelings of belonging to the in-group, thus ‘the enemy of your enemy is your friend’. It also implies that anything that could cause concern for the security of whatever you hold dear can be deemed a legit enemy, and consolidate the in-group. Negative campaigning is not allowed, but your fixation doesn’t have to be a person, it could be a concept. Perhaps, make it about something angst-ridden teenagers and middle-class punks love to hate the most: The establishment, or the right to an opinion. A common enemy doesn’t need to be anything tangible. It could be an animal, mineral or even vegetable. Same shit different story. Ville Hyvonen
3. Consolidate grass-roots, go extreme You will have people that will back you up no matter what. Some of them may have qualms about your new-age lifestyle or even your questionable haircut. At the end of the day though, their votes are in the bag. Then there are those who just wish you were stronger on some issues. However, strengthening your stand would risk isolating everyone else. You’re already under suspicion for being intolerant and polarizing views. Welcome to the Gridlock. There is no gaining ground without losing full support or eroding existing approval. Do you invest time and energy by convincing the uninitiated? No. Save your breath, and solidify what is already yours. Go harder on your divisive issues. Claim your cavalry – and proceed. Ribzy Tron
4. Stating The Obvious Generally, you and I like being right. There’s a solitary nod of approval when you whisper the right answer to something on University Challenge. You gloat slightly when someone gets hurt by disregarding your advice. I don’t want to say I told you so… But I do. Multiply this general rule to your target audience and you’ve got a winning formula. Buses are horrendous. There is not enough funding for xyz. There’s no space anywhere. I only know this because I listen to you, and you highlighted this. I listen well to your demands. I aim to serve. Thank you for your vote. Point is, there is nothing wrong with convincing people it was their idea all along, but you managed to get it right because you’re the perfect representative. Good on you. Just like romance to job applications – you can’t knock on someone’s door and beg him/her (or it) to love you. Yet we can try, and we always do.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
e R c i s u M
e i v
Written by Luke L. Peel
Album review: DARKSIDE Psychic
Live Review: Radstewart and Mowbird @ Le Pub
This album, this fucking album. The collaboration between Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington has produced a musical artifact that will create a stage for you to set your mind loose. It is a saga that has successfully explored downtempo to an unprecedented level. The multi-instrumental blend of post-punk guitar, 80s-esque synths, groove and neo-psychedelia combined with some dreamy vocal lines takes you through what can only be described as a journey. From the raw blues feel of ‘Paper Trails’ to ‘Heart’, the catchy interlude, and an eleven minute instrumental to start you off
(a commendable feat indeed). This is not an album to simply jump into; it needs to be sat through in its entirety for the build-ups and bursts of psychedelic melodies to be appreciated. I still haven’t come to terms with how, somehow, there are great lengths of repetitive guitar licks and rhythms that often disintegrate into noise and yet are essential to lifting a high out of nowhere. Released in the latter half of last year, this debut sets a more than hopeful precedent for the future of downtempo, experimental electronic music and the fruitions of DARKSIDE.
Written by Alexander Iliya Coles
or those who come from Newport, South Wales they’ll know that we don’t have much. But we have one thing that I will defend till the very end and that is that we have one of the greatest music venues in the entire world. Well, maybe not, but it’s bloody good. This holy land for Newport’s music lovers is the legendary ‘Le Pub’. It’s well known that ‘Le Pub is for lovers and boy was it loved when on Saturday the 22nd of February the lovers of Newport found themselves inside it’s beautifully peeling walls, for a gig that felt like the entire South Wales music scene, had been waiting. Legendary local record store ‘Diverse Music’ had assembled a lineup of (reasonably) local artists so beautiful in its creation that, honestly, good times were the only way this could go. First up were up and coming slacker rock band ‘Radstewart’. Having released only one EP thus far (the fantastic ‘Whig Crooks & Beer Swindlers’) this is a band truly at the start of their careers and quite frankly it was extremely exciting to see them in such an intimate venue. It seemed that pretty much everyone in the room agreed on how they are the next ‘one’s to watch’ from the South Wales music scene. They combine witty lyrics with ‘Pavement’ inspired guitar work and vocals, which hypnotized everyone on the night, in the audience into their wonderful world. I got the chance
to catch up with them after the gig and I have to say they were four of the loveliest guys I’ve ever had the chance to interview, in the back of a van. I don’t have the page space to document what they said but if you check out my blog on all things pop culture at http://www.tumblr.com/blog/alexilijacoles feel free to listen to the entire interview for free. On after and headlining were ‘Mowbird’. The four piece surf punk outfit from Wrexham promised much, and boy did they deliver. They’ve just released their excellent debut LP ‘Islanders’ on Shape Records and if you’re a fan of surf-punk or noise rock I highly advise you get it. It really is something special. Refusing to start until everyone came closer to the stage they took ‘Le Pub’ by the scruff of the neck and showed it how to party, Wrexham style. Their DIY ethic shone through all night and in a set of highlights they cast the most magical spell over the crowd, as the lovable rogues form North Wales provided the most perfect end to the most wonderful night. Oh and as a quick foot note ‘Le Pub’ is a 50 minute train ride away so if you haven’t been already then hop on the damn train and come enjoy the best kept secret in South Wales. Good music, good beers and friendly staff, you can’t help but love it. So join me and become a lover too.
Album review: Moodoїd The Moodoїd EP In light of one of the most exciting movements in the past few years, I was happy to hear that some of the attention has been taken from Tame Impala fronting the newest wave of psych-rock. This little EP has been put together by a group of extremely strange Parisians who may or may not have entered a parallel universe during the making of this… thing. My French is fairly limited but I’m certain that this album doesn’t make much sense both musically and lyrically. But, fuck it, I enjoyed it regardless.
The music is a sort of mismatch of folk, pop and prog-rock. I say mismatch because it really doesn’t quite sound right until you realize that it ain’t meant to. Listen to ‘Je suis la montagne’ and tell me you don’t feel like a fucking mountain, sky high. Then watch the music video and if you still don’t get it… man. You need to get what they got. Anyway, I lied, this EP was in fact produced by Kevin Parker the frontman for Tame Impala, and you can tell, he had a ball. Enjoy.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Public Domain CC0
Hot Tin Roofs - The Bell, Bath Wednesday 12th March
Bath Comedy Festival - Bath 28th March - 6th April
Local jazz swing legends Hit Tin Roofs return to the bell to play their unique style of upbeat spanish swing. Retro seems to be in at the moment, and a visit to their website, www.thehottinroofs.co.uk (see i used the www. prefix there?) results in music playing every time you open a page, which reminds me of the old myspace days. Do go to this though, it’s bound to be a sassy night.
The festival is taking place at absolutely EVERYWHERE in Bath, it’s going to be fucking AWESOME. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is notorious, well, Bath film festival is also awesometorious. It’s been running for 5 years and this year looks like it’s going to be even bigger and even better. There really is something about arts festivals, that is special. The only problem is purchasing online isn’t so great, but it’s not Edinburgh - so just buy on the door.
Charli XCX - Start the Bus, Bristol Tuesday 25th March ents24 said “With comparisons ranging from Shakespears Sister and beyond, Charli is not your run-of-the-mill musician. With a plethora of emotive dark pop songs, and backed by a growing army of top producers and worldwide fans, we can expect big things from this Goth-pop starlet.” I say. I’m almost 30, I don’t usually like anything but pop music, but FUCK Charli XCX is GOOD. The Correspondents - Old Crown Courts, Bristol Saturday 29th March The Correspondents come back to the Avon region after playing their amazing set in Chocolat, Moles, last November. They’ve spent a fair bit of time releasing their album but it’s finally out and they’re touring it over the next few months. If you’ve never seen them, go! Their live sets are extremely energetic, with frontman Mr Bruce’s fantastic dancing alongside some really uniquesounding electro-swing. They’re definitely a treat.
Kill Your Darlings Sequel - The Cube, Bristol Wednesday 12th March “Kill Your Darlings is a monthly night of literary variety and cabaret from a collective of novelists, poets, theatre-makers and comedians. Each month the resident performers present new work based on a collective theme. This month, our theme will be the appropriate “Sequel” and our headliner is the wonderful Sara Pascoe. It might be shambolic; but it will always be inventive, fun and surprising... maybe even a bit of a knees-up.” (ents24) Peter White - The Hen and Chicken, Bristol 14th - 15th March This guy isn’t only funny, he also looks a hell of a lot like John Cusack. erm, I don’t know what else to say? He’s from Canadia. God Bath is shit.
Arts Shakespeare Unplugged - Egg Theatre/ The Bell, Bath 6th - 16th March The three-week Shakespeare Unplugged Festival celebrates the work of the Bard in a wide range of performances at the Egg Theatre and other venues across the city of Bath. New adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, specially commissioned new work and fascinating insights into the contemporary relevance of his writing, feature in live performances and events for young children, teenagers and adults. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance - St Mary the Virgin Church, Darlington Street, Bath 3rd - 5th April “Shobana Jeyasingh Dance presents a beautiful mesmerising work, strikingly set within an historic church in the City of Bath. Six women dressed in red costumes, dancing within the pews, weave a story that moves between power and quiet reflection. Are they charting a journey from cradle to grave? Or cast adrift on a wooden sea?” Things we do for Love - Theatre Royal, Bath 16th - 26th April This is a play about love. One guy loves this girl, and the girl doesn’t know but they live in the same building and he has created a shrine to her. It’s kinda like ‘Not Going Out’ meets that bit in love actually. Also, Natalie Imbruglia is in it. Remember her? She was in neighbours and that was a good show.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Paris Fashion Week
Rei Kawakubo This guy looks like he’s just woken up and tried to shove all his clothes on in a daze and put his arms and head through all the wrong holes. I have no idea how he managed to get down the catwalk when he probably can’t see a thing. Tights are kind of creepy, cool elfy shoes though.
Gareth Pugh You know when you go into a shop and try a hat on that’s way too big for you and you can’t see out of it? Yeah apparently that’s fashionable now. The material and shape of the dress itself is actually quite nice, and she looks so warm, almost like a cloud/sheep but that hat... that hat. However, Pharrell seems to like the idea.
Acne Acne’s here with another strange hat. This one looks like she’s wearing either a jockey hat or a bike helmet with a beanie on top. The rest of the outfit isn’t too bad, the suede jacket actually looks quite comfy and the colours are nice and neutral. This could actually be nice if the hat wasn’t ridiculously big.
ImageAmplified Vicky Bustillo
Olympia le Tan’s selection this year was themed around magicians. With other models wearing top hats and bunny ears, there was almost a Playboy feel to it. However, this cropped fluffy pink cardigan is stunning, especially cut just above the waist to accentuate the flare of the skirt. The headscarf is a fun flashback to the 50s.
Little Black Riding Hood? Knee High boots are completely on point right now, especially patent ones. This velvet cape is gorgeous and they are surprisingly warm. Teaming a white shirt with the feminine version of a bow tie, gives the outfit an innocent, casual feel. The hat is amazing, a black fedora, it just looks effortlessly cool.
This dress is gorgeous, the neck shape is flattering and elegant, however the casual fringing and loose rope material makes the dress suitable for casual daytime occasions too. The scooped hem gives it a Grecian feel, but check those thick brogues for practicality. The dark colours make it suitable for any season.
Yohji Yamamoto The padding on this outfit is so thick you literally would not be able to get through the door. It would be like walking round in a sumo wrestler suit. Yohji is Japanese as you can tell from the flowery oriental patterns; however this is just too much. Also, that looks like knickers on her head.
One of the nicest outfits from the whole week (I think!). The crisp white shirt and beige trousers combine perfectly for a smart summer suit look. Buckled shoes are popping up everywhere, and these have a slight heel to make them even classier. This shows how a masculine outfit can look ever so feminine and flattering.
Cara Delevigne showcased this amazing candy-coloured look embracing a slashed turtleneck sweater and matching sweatpants under an oversized tweed coat. Not forgetting every student’s favourite essential- the trainer. If Chanel says trainers are okay, trainers are most definitely okay.
Olympia le Tan
Fashion Editor Molly Maguire
Manish Arora This jacket is super cool, but there’snowhere to put your arms? What if you need to pick something up?! Or wave at someone?! The items separately aren’t too bad, but together it looks like my granny putting everything on without noticing how badly they go. Clashing is in, but this is taking it to a new level.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Your SU OďŹƒcers like youâ€™ve never seen them before Tom m
r - Comm u ni t
Jessup - S p o rt
Paul Go od
dy pson - Activ i Cla t ie
dt - Education sta
Fr e d
Tuesday 11th March 2014
What may have, but at the same time definitely didn’t happen.
Angry working class satirist Contributor
ast week saw the 33rd anniversary of the annual Bath half marathon – a celebration of half of the effort that Pheidippides displayed in his warning of approaching enemies from Persia in 490 BC. Though it was a rainy affair the people of Bath clapped on in joy as the competitors of all shapes and sizes, some in costume, panted along the undulating circuit. Meanwhile less jolly occurrences were taking place. Robberies were occurring all over Bath, as the impoverished students from Bath Spa University gave up their routinely carefree Sunday comedowns and meth hunts to bring balance to the wealth gap that exists between Claverton Down and wherever Bath Spa is. They “robbed us blind” as one posh little tyke put it. A staggering 96 per cent of the University of Bath populace took part in the marathon, though only one individual saw fit to wear an elephant costume. Almost all of the homes left empty by participants were looted and it’s said they got off with quite a haul, some commentators are claiming that Hollister is
due to open a new store next week to tackle the deficit in mundane pastel coloured attire; whilst others claim a black market underworld of second hand ski equipment is “directly linked to the theft of stockpiled posh people winter holiday equipment” A UKIP spokesperson had this to say: “We are outraged at what’s gone on, and after some research fabrication (see Psychology undergraduates’ handbook), we have deduced that the ‘attack’ was not in fact carried out by Bath Spa students, who were incidentally all too busy watching old episodes of Art Attack; but was in fact the work of a new Somali pirate terrorist organisation which has developed boats with the ability to sail on the land” The spokesman was quick to assure us he wasn’t racist before lighting up his pipe and disappearing back into the 1960s. The economist has released a report of dissent and mass protest that is erupting amongst the Chinese middle classes; rubber nuclear missiles were deployed in Beijing’s Dongcheng district to disperse crowds. This recent surge in social action, according to the Economist is “di-
rectly linked to sharp increases in middle class yuppies seeking gratification through exercise commemoratives “. The article goes on to conclude that since the 1980s jogging and other recreational fitness pursuits have been on the increase, but only in today’s network culture are we incessant, as a society in the west, of glorifying our jogging activities by the acquisition of medals. China is the world’s number one iron ore importer. The aforementioned recent surge has led to a marked increase of iron ore import costs. It was also remarked that the UK and USA have diverted iron ore shipments destined for the Middle Kingdom, and brought them to NATO shores to satisfy the growing demand for SHIT medals. A spokesman from Xinhua China daily said “without medals, for our annoying pedometer laden middle class, we could see the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party” he was immediately killed by a ‘suspicious’ passer-by, in plain clothes. Who knows what effect this will have? It all depends on how many boring marathons take place in the interim and on this guy in the picture.
Millions stolen while Bath ran L
Look at this guy running. We think he may be running on the spot
Changes to articles of governance T
he Students’ Union has decided to introduce a novel method of governance amid claims that democratic exercises are stiflingly slow. “It took me almost twenty minutes just to walk into my office,” said SU President AAAaaGGAaaraabbb()))), “this is just not good enough, from now on, the SU is going to make decisions based on whatever happens to be heard at the time.” The new system, dubbed Anarchy, will mean that any decision, no matter how stupid or unfeasible, will be taken if it is suggested at the right time. In a trial run of the policy, the SU Activities Officer was released into the wild and 2,112 cash machines were installed on the newly created “Asssaabb_,,.” bus. The SU President claimed “well at least I’m living up to my manifesto”. Democratic students should not fear, however, as the student body will be constantly polled on which system they prefer to the point that rather
than debating what policy direction the SU will take, they will instead focus on debating which method of governance they choose, so in effect the SU will not change at all. SU Sports Officer xxaaaAAAAv fully supports the new system and claims that it will work wonders for student fitness. “Just think,” he said while stood precariously by a ledge, “with the amount of running around in circles students will be doing just trying to check their emails they won’t even need more 3G pitches. My job just got a whole lot easier!” He then proceeded to get his Score ticket from his pocket and look at it 309 times before beginning a half hour winding walk to his office via the SU shop, where, after four times going to the counter, he decided to purchase five bottles of washing up liquid. “It’s what the SU Activities Officer would have wanted,” claimed a startled student clutching a paving stone from The Parade, “he’s in a better place now. Besides, I don’t really care about what decisions the SU makes, I just want them
to do funny shit.” When asked on her position on the subject, the Vice-Chancellor said, “I don’t have a clue what you’re on about. EVERYTHING you’ve just talked about makes no sense at all... people running round in circles? Wor-
shipping their fishing rods? Are you insane? You can’t even write a cohesive article; you should probably have stopped about 100 words ago. You can’t even pluck up the courage to make a satirical joke about me so instead you’re using me out
of character as some sort of chorus to break the fourth wall of this narrative.” This article took two days to write because everytime the author got close to his PC he walked to the other side of the room in an endless loop. Coventry City Council
Jonathan Archer better than internet explorer
Nobody votes in Coventry because Coventry. Also look how yellow everything is, nobody votes Liberal
Tuesday 11th March 2014
dom brassey draws comics
Big Brother is watching
Until 2004 propaganda village’s loud speakers regaled the citizens of bordering ROK with daily broadcasts, originally aimed at encouraging the Southerners to cross
Written by Barnaby Lamper
ry to imagine a world where no one could understand each other or communicate ideas. No, it’s not America, despite their political system. The thing is that a society cannot exist without a shared method of communication; a language. This is obvious but it can be disturbing how closely a society’s ideals and its language are linked, bringing us to this week’s topic: Propaganda. How a simple change in a language can have dramatic effects the society. Now this may seem rather a grand standing statement and I can already hear the calls that language is ever changing, and this is true. However language is changing as society changes and as terms for objects, actions and peoples change from one word to the next, so do all the connotations for those words. Take an example from Britain, the word impoverished has become ‘on benefits’ and with it society’s attitude is changing from concern to contempt. It is hard to spot propaganda in our own society as one man’s propaganda is the next man’s common sense. So let us look at a society which was controlled by propaganda for half a century: the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union controlled Russia from the end of World War I and the areas that became known as the Eastern bloc after World War II until its collapse in 1990. The presence of Big Brother was felt through the restriction of individual speech and thought, by an exhaustive propaganda campaign. Interestingly part of this campaign was the reclassification of words to fit the Party’s cause. For example the definition of ‘paranoia’ changed from ‘the belief of being permanently watched’, which soviet citizens were in any case, to ‘the desire for freedoms of speech and thought’ and so those who
disagreed with the regime were considered mentally unstable by society. It may seem hard to believe that people would accept such blatant adulterations of language but the Soviet Union existed for many generations and young people would grow up learning these new meanings of words, never questioning their origin. Take the term ‘provocation’ for example. This was utilised in many forms. During the rise of the Bolsheviks there was an extensive espionage war between the revolutionaries and the police. Police covert agents would provoke revolutionary cells into action for which they would be arrested. These agents became known as “provocateurs” and the new Bolshevik government referred to action against the state as “provocation” because of them, implementing the idea of a lurking enemy to control its citizens. Fast forward fifty years to the height of the Cold War, during this time Western action against the Soviet Union was still referred to as provocation. Even American spy missions, in which provoking the Soviets would mean failure and the death of the spies, were referred to as provocation as this was now just the common word. To Soviet society the western world was permanently provoking them, taunting and entrapping them and one word helped create the Soviet endemic distrust of the West that undermined peace conferences for half a century. It’s not just in authoritarian states that we can see words changed to suit a government, we can also see it closer to home in the UK and USA. In times of war a government is charged with defending its citizens and so must plan to defend its borders. In battle situations, however, plans tend to collapse the moment they encounter real people
who might not want to lead a suicidal charge, just so the artillery can get into a better position. Therefore what the government needs are citizens that will blindly do as they’re told, cue wartime propaganda. In the wars of the twentieth century the US and UK governments have routinely used adulterated language to build wartime propaganda. Firstly prowar campaigns made the word ‘soldier’ synonymous with ‘hero’ - while making pacifism a dirty word, so that joining the army became the social expectation. In the case of the Vietnam War the US government even managed to pass a conscription bill, making such things legal goes to show how effective state propaganda can be at rallying ‘unjust’ wars. Secondly the name of the enemy was changed to dehumanise them. Psychological studies have shown that most people, even trained soldiers, will refrain from firing on another human if at all possible and even if forced to fire, will shoot to miss. This is a bit inconvenient for a government that wants enemy battalions wiped out. The enemy is renamed so that they can be shot without moral quandary. In World War I the Germans were changed from our European brothers to the ‘Hun’, a wild nomadic tribe, but more importantly to Imperialist Britain, sufficiently foreign to be shootable rather than Caucasian Europeans that look just like us. Similarly during the Vietnam War the People’s Army of Vietnam was renamed as the Viet Cong or ‘Gooks’, a new danger of the jungle to be hunted rather than fellow humans. We just have to look back on history to see that it is not only cruel dictatorships that twist words to suit their own purpose. But what of today, surely we cannot be fooled by this transfiguration of words now? Surely modern democ-
racies cannot have linguistic changes enforced upon them in the twenty first century? Well, like I said, it is hard to see clear propaganda within our own society so let us look at two states which come under heavy scrutiny: America and Russia. Across the Atlantic there is the Pro-life, Pro-choice abortion debate raging and whilst I will try and keep a neutral stance on the topic (I’ve always thought life to be overrated anyway) the naming is a masterpiece. Nobody would vote for the baby-murder or forced-pregnancy campaign but both pro-life and pro-choice imply that that is what the other stands for. Through campaigning and debates, the term ‘pro-life’ has become associated with evangelism and ‘pro-choice’ with liberalism, and while a hundred years ago all Americans would have declared to be pro-life and pro-choice, as they understood the terms, today it is a very different situation. However, the most current, and most chilling example of linguistic change effecting society that I can see is within Russia. Language that is normally reserved for paedophilia is being used in conjuncture with homosexuality. Here we can see the effects of this propaganda in the making as Russian society changes to reflect ‘traditional values’ as connotations are added to the word gay, people being attacked for their life choices by the changing society shows us the power mere words can hold. So here I end my parade of changed words and their outcomes. I see politicians on the news everyday repeating dogmatic slogans and phrases, often with little context, to try and embed them in our heads, get them stuck into our subconscious, and for us to use them ourselves for then our language has changed to suit them. Words have power and the powerful know it.
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Snuzzly Puzzly Zone
1. What does a coleopterist study? 2. In tiddlywinks, what is the name of the round disc used to propel winks into the pot? 3. What is sports presenter Gabby Logan’s maiden name? 4. Systema is a martial art from which country? 5. Which woodwind instrument does Woody Allen play professionally? 6. What is the capital of the German state of Saxony? 7. John Fogerty was lead vocalist and guitarist with which rock band? 8. The Salk vaccine immunizes against which disease? 9. In Ancient Rome, which class of gladiator fought with a weighted net and a trident? 10. What is the only equestrian event in the modern pentathlon?
Rules for JigsawDoku: Enter the numbers 1–9 into the grid so that each number appears precisely once in each row, column and barred block.
For all puzzle 1 Chief male servant (6) solutions, visit our 2 Large triangular bone above the facebook page and coccyx (6) 3 Pilgrimage to Mecca (4) like, to view. 4 London borough (6) 5 Speak indistinctly; insult (4) 6 Painting on plaster (6) 7 You’re reading one! (4) 8 Force out of an established position (8) 13 Assault riﬂe manufactured by Steyr (3) 14 Stick used in billiards, snooker etc. (3) 15 Everything (3) 16 Infant sponsored at baptism (8) 17 Tree in the genus Quercus (3) 18 Spirituous alcoholic drink; machine for separating cotton from its seeds (3) 19 By way of; through (3) 21 Kind of tea (Chinese: ‘black dragon’) (6)
1. Beetles, 2. Squidger, 3. Yorath, 4. Russia, 5. Clarinet, 6. Dresden, 7. Creedence Clearwater Revival, 8. Poliomyelitis (polio), 9. Retiarius (pl. retiarii), 10. Showjumping One-Upper
Rules for One-Upper: Enter the numbers 1–5 into the grid so that each number appears precisely once in each row and column. A bar between two cells indicates that the numbers either side diﬀer by 1; the absence of a bar indicates that the numbers diﬀer by more than 1.
Puzzles created by Dorian Lidell
Rules for Nullspace:
Across 9 Oblivious, unconscious (7) 10 Legendary siren of the Rhine (7) 11 Last Whig UK Prime Minister (in oﬃce 1846–1852, 1865–1866) — Dull, Honourless Jr. (anag.) (4,4,7) 12 First Labour UK Prime Minister (in oﬃce 1924, 1929–1935) — a scary old madman (anag.) (6,9) 16 Whig UK Prime Minister under George III (in oﬃce 1763–1765) — ginger Glee lover (anag.) (6,9) 20 Whig UK Prime Minister under George II (in oﬃce 1754–1756, 1757– 1762) — deaf cow, keen slut (anag.) (4,2,9) 25 Conservative UK Prime Minister (in oﬃce 1957–1963) — am chill and moral (anag.) (6,9) 29 Student, pupil (7) 30 Of a poem or song: mournful, plaintive (7)
Enter digits from 1–9 into the empty squares in such a way that each connected region of squares containing the same digit has area equal to that digit. Diagonals are not considered ‘connected’.
Written for Holocaust Memorial Day
So many stories So many faces So many children’s races left unrun So many lives lived away from the sun So many wishes So many lives So many people consigned to the ﬂames So many families, so many names I think with horror, and I think with tears Even through the telescope of seventy years When I think of those deeds that were forcibly done When I think of them dying, away from the sun.
Poem by Lily Morris