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5 November 2019 Issue 369 The official student newspaper of the University of East Anglia | Established 1992

Students brand SU Interview: Anshuman Mondal officer Amelia Trew "The politics of

as 'hypocritical' Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

Mental Health Crisis UEA students have branded SU officer Amelia Trew as “hypocritical” after Concrete revealed while Ms Trew opposed this paper’s use of the word ‘crisis’ in regard to mental health she used the same word to describe mental health in her SU election manifesto. Ms Trew was elected as the union officer for welfare,

community and diversity in March 2019. It is one of five paid, full-time positions students can apply for. SU officers’ salaries are approximately £19,000. Uea(su) told Concrete Ms Trew opposes the use of the word ‘crisis’ in the phrase ‘mental health crisis’. In a statement Ms Trew said: “We really have to be careful in the way we use language”. She added: “What we don’t want to do is be careless with our choice of words and

Continued on


free speech is never settled, it's always on the move"


5th November 2019


Editorial Journalism awards and coffee cups Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

Photo: Concrete

Working together to get the job done Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

I really believe each issue gets better and better. Again we have an eclectic mix of articles – from looming staff strikes (page 4) to international adventure (page 20). As a former Comment Editor I’ve always had a soft spot for the section. With an election set for next month, the current Comment Editor Matt Branston has laid out his opinion: “The Tories are killing our country” (page 16). Have a read of his article and tell us what you think. You can always tweet us @ConcreteUEA or even submit a response! One story I believe puts a lot into perspective is Global Editor Will Warnes’ piece on the ongoing protests in Chile. In the past week I’ve been speaking to students and recent graduates in Santiago, the country’s capital, and contributed what they had to say to Will’s article. “We had to jump in the river so the shots didn’t reach us… [The police and military] were shooting to kill”, one graduate told me. It’s a shocking read, and with so much of our time spent focused on Brexit, it’s easy to miss what’s going on in the rest of the world. Have a look at the article on page 8. For me Concrete isn’t just a student newspaper. We’re a community of like-minded people, all striving towards the search for truth, and writing about that truth in a captivating and engaging way. We’re not a bunch of individuals – we’re a team, and we always have been.

Last week Deputy Editor Jess Barrett and I headed down to the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London to meet up with some of last year’s editorial team at the BBC Radio 4 Today Student Journalism Awards. I’m delighted to say we won ‘Best Student Programme’ and came runner up for ‘Best Student Publication’. It’s a real testament to the work that’s been done by everyone who’s been involved in Concrete. If you’re reading this I imagine you’ve had at least a glance at our front page. If not – quickly flick back and have a peek. Words are extremely important. The language we all use defines us as people. Amelia Trew, one of five full-time, paid SU officers at UEA, doesn’t support Concrete’s use of the word ‘crisis’ in the phrase ‘mental health crisis’. That’s her opinion. The problem is she’s used the same word ‘crisis’ when she wrote about the nationwide student mental health crisis. As some UEA students have said, this makes her “hypocritical”. Beyond the fact SU officers have a salary of around £19,000, this story matters because Ms Trew is supposed to reflect the student voice and she is accountable to students at UEA. This university is facing a mental health crisis, but as Ms Trew rightly pointed out, this crisis isn’t only at UEA. It’s a national problem. Last year we saw students rally together after four student deaths in just 10 months at UEA. Some were angry. Some were stricken with grief. Many felt a mixture of the two.

Students have come together as a community to face this mental health crisis. Now I hope organisations such as uea(su) and the university will come together alongside students and accept that this is a crisis. From an early age we’re taught to work together. You may’ve noticed my headline is a reference to Bob the Builder. But one key difference between Bob’s onscreen problems and this university mental health crisis is that mental health issues do not have one solution. In fact, mental health has always been and I’m sure always will remain a problem. The words “Working together to get the job done” have a finality to them. But dealing with mental health is not a “job” that can be simply “done”. Instead we need to take actions to alleviate issues surrounding mental health. And as we know, and as Bob the Builder told us throughout many of our childhoods, we have to take such actions together as a community. Scan the code below with your camera to join Concrete today!

What a pleasure to have won ‘Best Student Programme’ at the BBC Radio 4 Today Student Journalism Awards! I’m also so pleased Concrete came runner up for ‘Best Student Publication’. The award ceremony was such an experience – I was so nervous and shaking the whole time. Everyone I met there was lovely, including Nick Robinson and Justin Webb. It was great to chat about the fabulous things Concrete has done in the past but also talk about the exciting projects that we have coming… keep your eyes peeled. It was wonderful to see Sophie, Matt and Shannon from last year’s editorial team and to find out what they’ve been up to since they left UEA. We were each gifted a BBC keep cup – I have used mine almost every day and I have no shame in this. Particularly because I am drinking so much coffee this year, it is nice to save a bit of money when fuelling my caffeine addiction (but also help to reduce my environmental impact at the same time). I would encourage anyone who doesn’t use reusable cups to go and buy one – they’re cute and you can get them in funky designs and it has been keeping my coffee warmer for longer. Also, in arguably bigger news I’ve cracked the code of how to live in the media office. Over the past few weeks I have spent quite a bit of cash on sandwiches and sausage rolls from the various cafes and shops. A friend told me that you can get free hot water from most of the coffee shops on campus. Most students would only use that for tea. But I've started using this hot water for pot noodles. Especially now we're firmly in winter, I appreciate having something warm and tasty to eat rather than rotating around the same three sandwiches and wraps. Come along and chat to us at our Post Pub Pub if you haven’t already, 7PM in Red Bar every time we publish a new issue! This issue is one of our best so far this academic year and it would be lovely to see some new faces! ConcreteUEA ConcreteUEA Front page photo: Concrete/ Harry Chapman Cut out: Concrete/ Roo Pitt Poppy: Wikimedia Commons

The University of East Anglia’s Official Student Newspaper since 1992 Tuesday 5th November 2019 Issue 369 Union House University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ 01603 593466

Editor-in-Chief Chris Matthews Deputy Editor Jess Barrett Online Editors Alec Banister and Jack Oxford News Bryan Mfhaladi Senior Writer: Samuel Woolford Global Global Editor: William Warnes Senior Writer: Piriyanga Thirunimalan Features Features Editors: Paige Allen and Leelou Lewis Comment Matt Branston Science Science Editor: Jake WalkerCharles Travel Sam Hewitson Sport Sport Editor: Jamie Hose Sport Senior Writer: Luke Saward Chief Copy-Editors Nerisse Appleby Reeve Langston Social Media Amelia Groves

Editorial Enquiries, Complaints & Corrections

No part of this newspaper may be reproduced by any means without the permission of the Editor-in-Chief, Chris Matthews. Published by the Union of UEA Students on behalf of Concrete. Concrete is a UUEAS society, but retains editorial independence as regards to any content. Opinions expressed herein are those of individual writers, not of Concrete or its editorial team.

N ews Students brand SU officer Amelia Trew as 'hypocritical'


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Chris Matthews Editor-in-Chief

Mental Health Crisis Continued from front page inadvertently put people off from trying to access services which they need.” However, in her SU election manifesto Ms Trew wrote: “We are witnessing a national crisis regarding the Welfare of Students’ mental health which is increasingly growing as an issue at UEA.” A student supporter of Ms Trew’s SU election campaign, who

"She's just being a hypocrite, I don't know what else to say" wishes to remain anonymous, called the revelation a “controversy”. They said: “I personally think such specific policing of what language we use when addressing what is quite frankly a crisis, is a prime example of why poor mental health is so prevalent”. They added they “will thoroughly support anybody who is being proactive in getting adequate

support for students, whether it’s Amelia [Trew], Concrete or otherwise”. Concrete l a u n c h e d its Mental Health Crisis campaign in September after four student deaths in just 10 months at UEA. The campaign has gained support from the mother of a student who took his own life at UEA as well as from mental health activist Stephen Fry, MPs, and other prominent figures including Gina Miller. Many students and their relatives are also supporting the campaign. Lewis Oxley, a third year English literature with philosophy student, told Concrete: “I think [Ms Trew] is being hypocritical… after all she was elected on that promise”. Mr Oxley believes the mental health crisis is “a ticking time bomb.” He added: “It’s not just happening on our campus, it’s happening all over the country.” According to uea(su) byelaws, one of Ms Trew’s roles as officer for welfare, community and diversity is “being the voice of UEA students on issues relating to student welfare, equality of opportunity liberation, diversity and access to education”. Rosie Matthews is a second year biology student. She believes Ms

Photo: Union House, Harry Chapman (above) Amelia Trew, Uea(su) (inset)

Trew was “hypocritical”. “She’s just being a hypocrite, I don’t know what else to say”, Miss Matthews added. After learning of the SU officer’s double standard another student said: “That’s a bit hypocritical”, adding, “she’s calling it a crisis”. It’s not the first time an SU officer has been in hot water. In 2016 many students called for Jo Swo, then welfare, community and diversity officer, to resign after she

bit an LCR security guard and stole from behind the bar. A motion of no confidence in Ms Swo was withdrawn after a “mistake” by the SU. Uea(su) byelaws state: “Any member of the Student Officer Committee shall cease to hold office if they are subject to a motion of no confidence, submitted by ten or more members of Union Council, passed by a 75% majority of those members of the Union Council

present and voting at a quorate meeting.” Union Council will next meet on 7 November. Ms Trew did not respond to Concrete’s request for comment.

You can contact student services by calling 01603 592761 or emailing Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email

Jane Goodall opens New Science Building Bryan Mfhaladi News Editor

UEA’s New Science Building was officially opened by Dr Jane Goodall on October 24 at 12pm, with several attendees, including Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson as well as Prof Ben Garrod, presenter and professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement. The £30 million building is over 7000 metres squared and is located at the bottom of Chancellor’s Drive, adjacent to the Julian Study Centre. Dr Jane Goodall DBE, an english primatologist and anthropologist, renowned for her landmark study of wild chimpanzees at Gombe in Tanzania, was on hand to open the building. Dr. Goodall said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to see this new building today and look forward to developing an ongoing relationship with UEA and discussing the potential for Roots & Shoots.” The building is one of the few in UK universities to host a

changing place, a changing facility for people unable to use standard accessible toilets and includes a height adjustable changing bench and hoist. On top of that, the building has a ramped entrance, two disabled toilets on every floor, fully accessible laboratories for wheelchairs, hearing loops in every teaching space and motor assisted doors. Dr Katherine Deane, Access Ambassador and senior lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at UEA, said: "A lot of the accessible features in the New Science Building seem like minor innovations to a lot of people but they make such a huge difference to those who really need them. "Over 8% of UEA students have a declared disability and they have the same rights to access education as anyone else, so it’s fantastic that they have been considered from the outset and we’ve delivered a building that is accessible for everyone on our campus and beyond." The building was constructed by local construction firm R G Carter, with FSM Architects responsible for the building’s design.

Photo: Neil Hall


5th November 2019


Lecturers set to strike

Photo: Matt Nixon Bryan Mfhaladi, Chris Matthews and Paige Allen News Editor, Editor-in-Chief and News Reporter

University and College Union (UCU) members have backed strikes concerning pensions and pay and working conditions. UCU is a representative for lecturers and staff from across the UK. The strikes may affect over a million students. In a poll, 79% of UCU members voted and 74% of members backed strike action in the ballot over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). According to an analysis by First Actuarial, a pension scheme provider, university staff are paying far more for their pension but will lose tens of thousands of pounds in retirement owing to changes made to USS. The analysis looked at how recent changes to the scheme, including increasing contribution levels, the closure of the final salary element and a restriction on defined benefits have affected members’ costs and retirement package.

According to modelling done by First Actuarial, the changes to USS mean a typical member would pay around £40,000 more into their pension, but receive £200,000 less in retirement. UCU said the mandate for strikes was an indictment of the

"A typical member would pay around £40,000 more but receive £200,000 less in retirement" state of higher education and that universities needed to address the problems. After university campuses were disrupted last year by unprecedented levels of strike, UCU said it was frustrating that members had to be balloted again. UCU general secretary Jo

Grady said: “The results can only be interpreted as clear support for strike action over pensions, pay and working conditions. The ballots reflect just how unhappy and angry staff are at the state of higher education in the UK. "It is incredibly frustrating that we had to ballot members again, but universities only have themselves to blame after failing to address falling real-terms pay and for refusing to deal with casualisation, workloads and the rising cost of USS pensions. "Universities now have to come back to us prepared to work seriously to address these problems. "If they choose to ignore this message from their staff then strike action looks inevitable." UEA was one of the universities in the UK that managed to reach the turnout threshold of 50% required for strike action. In a statement, a university spokesperson said: “UEA is focused on its mission to support students’ educational attainment and deliver continued research success in a challenging higher education environment and to do that we want to ensure our people are supported

in their work. "The pay award UEA made in August represents a £3 million investment in the University's staff. "The increased pension contributions that UEA is making also cost an additional £3 million a year and means UEA's expenditure on staff pay and pensions has increased by £6 million a year.

"I ended up missing a month of seminars and lectures" "USS pension benefits to scheme members remain unchanged. UEA supports Universities UK's openness to talks with UCU and Unison to explore how the dispute can be resolved without industrial action, which we believe will be damaging for both university staff and students."

Lecturers last striked in 2018 in what The Times called “the worst industrial action at universities in modern times”. Lizzie Tomlin is an English literature graduate. She was in her second year at UEA during the 2018 higher education walkouts. “Because they happened around the same time as bad snow I ended up missing a month of seminars and lectures - especially as it was just before Easter I essentially ended up not having uni for about two months”. She added when she then submitted her summates she “felt they were all really incomplete, and not the best I could have done”. Jessica Cappi was also in her second at UEA during the 2018 strikes. She graduated this year in English literature. The strikes affected two out of three of Ms Cappi’s modules, leaving her with only one commitment a week. “It meant it was mostly independent learning,” she said. She added: “I was meant to be starting work on [a] summative when I hadn’t even had my first formative back.”

5th November 2019


News Northern Ireland legalises abortion and same-sex marriage Alethea Farline News Reporter

Northern Ireland have decriminalised abortion through the repeal of section 58 and section 59 of the Offenses Against Person Act of 1861. The legal framework will be put in place by March 31st, 2020. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act of 2019 has urged the government to implement recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women report, published in 2018. The report recommends that abortions should be legalized when it is a threat to a pregnant woman's mental or physical health. It also suggests that terminations should be permitted in cases of rape or incest and examples of severe fetal impairment. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland campaign manager had this to say about the decriminalisation: "This is a hugely significant moment and the beginning of a new era for Northern Ireland, one in which we're free from oppressive laws that have policed our bodies and healthcare." However, it is not just abortions

News in brief: Noravirus closes holiday park

that have been decriminalized in Northern Ireland as same-sex marriage has also been legalised. The same-sex regulations will be put in place by January 13th. Couples must indicate their intention of marriage 28 days before the big day. This means same-sex couples

"We're free from oppressive laws that have policed our bodies and healthcare" can marry in time for Valentine's day 2020. Campaigners for equality celebrated when laws extending abortion and marriage rights came into force, ushering in momentous social change as Northern Ireland aligned with the rest of the UK. Amnesty International say that when the law comes into places, there will be a moratorium on criminal prosecutions, halting investigations into abortion cases and revisiting previous rulings.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Clive Lewis opposes Extinction Rebellion ban Harry Routley News Reporter

Lauren Bramwell News Reporter

At least 30 children and eight adults have fallen ill at Mullion Holiday Park on the morning of October 24. Several children have been hospitalised after catching a Noravirus, which is believed to have originated off-site. One mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how children were "dropping like flies". Her own family have been trapped on site as they don’t want to return home and spread the illness to others. She also claimed the park had been refusing refunds, but she added that staff were "doing the best they can." A spokesperson from Mullion Holiday Park said work was being undertaken to limit the spread of any virus In a statement they said: "From our initial conversations with Public Health England (PHE) the most likely explanation is that the illness was brought onto the park, rather than originating on-site". Dr Bayad Nozad of PHE told the BBC that environmental health officers had concluded there were no "ongoing concerns with food safety and hygiene" at the site. A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service added that they were called onto the site at around 10:25am on the day of the incident.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has shown support for embattled Extinction Rebellion protests. This came after protestors from climate change pressure group Extinction Rebellion brought London to a standstill forcing the Metropolitan police to place a total ban on all protests held in their jurisdiction from 9pm Monday, October 14 and 6pm Friday, October 18. Labour’s Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, has joined a number of other politicians in preparing a judicial review application, challenging the blanket ban. In a statement, Lewis argued that instead of trying to "block our ears by shutting down their protests, we should be reacting to the danger they’re alerting us to." Furthermore, Lewis said that a ban on peaceful protests was a violation of free speech that undermines the democratic foundations of the country. While suggesting that a balance must be found between disrupting everyday life and making a message, Lewis believes that for the most part, Extinction Rebellion has a justifiable strategy. His support came after a Norwich Green party councillor was arrested in London after he had superglued himself to a road as a form of the protests on October 9. Several Norwich residents have openly been quoted stating their support for Extinction Rebllion.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


5th November 2019


University of Leicester embroiled in anti-Semitic scandal Bryan Mfhaladi News Editor

Investigations have been launched after a University of Leicester student was photographed with a t-shirt bearing a racist slogan. The t-shirt was worn during a white t-shirt social in the university a few weeks ago with the person wearing a top including the phrase ‘Hitler wanted my kind alive’. White t-shirt socials are events where participants wear a white t-shirt displaying messages on their shirts. This all came after a recent photograph at another event had a University of Leicester student wearing a high visibility vest with the phrase ‘I’m a Nazi’ written on it in marker pen. A statement released from the Students Union said: “This action is wholly unacceptable and completely against our core values. Offensive behaviour that marginalises any group within our community constitutes a breach of the regulations governing student discipline and we have launched an inquiry into this incident through a disciplinary process. The entire executive team would like to sincerely apologise for the incident and take accountability for this student's behaviour.” The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a national organisation which monitors incidents of anti-Jewish racism, said it was aware of the incident and was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

Photo: Geograph

National Lottery has pumped millions News in brief:

of pounds into East of England Bryan Mfhaladi News Editor

The East of England celebrates receiving millions of pounds of funding into the arts from the National Lottery, as the National Lottery turns 25. The National Lottery is no stranger to investing in the UK having already invested over £4.9billion across numerous community and grassroot art projects in the last 25 years. Since 2010, the National Lottery has invested over £15.4 million into art projects based in the East of England. Research found that around £6 million is awarded to UK arts projects each week by the National Lottery. Speaking with Darren Henley, the CEO of Arts Council England highlighted on the role that the National Lottery plays in art development. "For the past 25 years, the National Lottery has invested heavily in different projects across the UK, not alone in arts. "The impact of the funding has been evident. Investing into arts encourages potential artists,

changes perception and mentality." He added: “The funding has also targeted places where people have been less engaged with art, places where opportunities are low or with people from tougher economic backgrounds. All in all, the National Lottery is helping people to live healthier lives by investing into what makes them happy: art.” Research done to celebrate the 25th birthday of the National Lottery showed that art and creativity formed a big part of people’s lives across the UK. A third of the people surveyed said they take part in creative activities in their spare time, with a further 43% saying they would like to do more. 57% said they felt happier after taking part in creative activities with 56% claiming to feel more relaxed, and 2 in 5 saying that creative activity helped them feel mentally healthier. Their birthday is a moment to celebrate the impact The National Lottery has in the UK. Since the National Lottery began, over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK. On an iconic, national art level, the National Lottery has funded The Angel of the North,

The Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Southbank Centre, British Museum and many more. In the East of England, in 2011, it awarded Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge £2.32m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create an Education Wing.

The Norfolk & Norwich Sonic Arts Collective received £13,615 for their Yarmonics project in 2018. Yarmonics is a free sonic art and music festival that celebrates the sounds, people and places of Great Yarmouth.

Photo: Flickr

Bad toilet hygiene worse than undercooked meat, study confirms Leia Butler News Reporter

A new study from UEA has discovered that the antibioticresistant E. coli is more likely to spread due to poor toilet hygiene than by eating undercooked meat. The investigation was to find out whether antibiotic-resistant E. coli that cause bloodstream infections are picked up via the food chain, or passed from person to person. Their report in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reveals that antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ strains of E. coli from human blood, faeces and sewerage samples were similar to one another. Lead author Prof David Livermore, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, emphasised the importance of this investigation given the mortality rates of people infected with strains that are resistant to treatment. Prof Neil Woodford, of Public Health England, stated that in order to fight these resistant bacteria, good hygiene and proper hand washing should be encouraged.

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5th November 2019

‘We had to jump in the river so the shots didn’t reach us… they were shooting to kill’

Brexit Box Piriyanga Thirunimalan Senior Global Writer

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

William Warnes and Chris Matthews

Global Editor and Editor-in-Chief

Protests have submerged the Chilean capital of Santiago in the most deadly outbreak of violence since the dictatorial regime of Augusto Pinochet. In recent weeks many have accused the Chilean police and

“Society is tired for not [having] any real answer for our demands” military of using excessive force on those taking part in the protests. One graduate in Santiago, who wishes to remain anonymous for their own safety, told Concrete: “Almost they killed us… we had to jump in the Mapocho river so that the shots didn’t reach us… they were shooting to kill”. Police commanders have reported the injury of hundreds of officers and claimed many have suffered burns from Molotov cocktails thrown by protesters. However, another student told

Concrete: “Me and my friends, we go out to the streets for the protests in a pacific way and the soldiers and the police, they shoot us, throw on us [tear gas]. There are many examples in many cases that the people go out on the street in a pacific way and for no reason the policemen and the military soldiers shoot us, and people die for that.” They added they felt the media was not showing this in its coverage of the protests. Santiago has been locked in civil unrest since a 3% rise in the price of metro tickets was announced. The protests have since spread throughout Chile. Initially the protests stemmed from disgruntled students, but now many of the general public have come to the streets. Yet for many these clashes represent deeper issues as protesters rise up against years of socio-economic inequality. Many are demanding changes within the economic and political structure of the country itself. Another student in Santiago told Concrete: “For many years in Chile [there have] been protests for our basic human rights like education, health, salary, and [against] the corruption in the state. I think that society is tired for not [having] any real answer for our demands.” The Chilean centre-right president, Sebastian Piñera, has declared Chile is at war “with a violent enemy” and, despite

his public apology on national television, is still facing calls for his resignation and the creation of a brand new constitution. Piñera has declared a state of emergency, using night-time curfews and sending tanks and troops onto the streets in an attempt to contain the violence on the streets. He has since scrapped the metro

“For no reason the policemen and military soldiers shoot us” charge increases and postponed a 9.2% increase in electricity tariffs. Yet this has failed to appease protesters and protests have continued. Last week, forces from the United Nations arrived in the country to investigate claims of potential human rights abuses. UN human rights chief and former Chilean president Michele Bachelet has described these allegations as “disturbing”. Social media posts from within Chile have depicted security forces

beating protesters, while human rights groups have demonstrated outside the Supreme Court demanding stricter limits of the military and police’s tactics to control protesters. Over 1,000 Chileans have been injured and more than 100 have been partially blinded. 150 Chilean law professors have also condemned serious human rights abuses throughout Chile in an open letter that stated: “we demand the rights of protesters be respected” and called for: “an active and responsible dialogue, in good faith, to create pathways to solutions”. Chile’s human rights commission, the INDH, have confirmed they are putting together 55 legal cases, relating to five homicides and eight cases of sexual abuse involving both police and military agents. The Organisation of American States’ human rights arm has declared it will convene on November 11 to investigate the alleged abuses and has requested the public and Chilean government provide evidence. Piñera now faces opposition lawmakers attempting to charge him for violation of the constitution and permitting human rights violations during street protests. However, he claims to deplore the loss of life and welcomes UN human rights investigators, stating: “we have nothing to hide”.

After parliament failed to reach a Brexit deal by the initial deadline of 31 October 2019 and blocked the possibility of a no-deal Brexit through a law known as the Benn Act, Boris Johnson was forced to request an extension from the EU. The extension was granted by the EU Council on 28 October, just three days before the earlier deadline of 31 October. The new deadline falls on the 31 January 2020, and the EU Council President Donald Tusk has named the extension a “flextension.” This means that the terms of the deadline allow the UK to leave the EU at any time before the deadline, provided it has been authorised by parliament. Although Boris Johnson had pledged to pull the UK out of the EU by the 31 October, this promise has now officially been broken, and No 10 have claimed that this is at the fault of parliament. The acceptance of the new January deadline comes at a time in which parliament have voted for a general election by 438 votes to 20. It is set to take place on December 12. Although Johnson had previously attempted to establish an early election, this had repeatedly been rejected by the House of Commons. The SNP and Liberal Democrats were particularly vocal in their support for an early election. Whilst previously not campaigning for an early general election, the loss of hope over MPs voting for a second referendum have left the SNP and Lib Dems in a dilemma. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party seem to be split in opinion and have failed to come to a uniform decision on their course of action. The People’s Vote Campaign has claimed that there is a majority in the House of Commons for a second referendum to be held, and that the decision should be in the hands of the people. Although Labour have been pushing for this similar agenda and believe that the deal should be approved or denied through a second referendum, as Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson described, Labour have not sufficiently backed a people’s vote, and remain split in their decisions. Whilst securing the 31 January deadline did not come with much surprise, the vote to back an early general election has created high anticipation around country. Whilst the public prepare to cast their votes on December 12, the anxieties of Brexit show no sign of fading. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

16 sentenced to death for murder of teenage girl in Bangladesh Hannah Cottrell Global Writer

16 people have been sentenced to death in Bangladesh for the murder of an 18 year old student after she refused to withdraw a case for sexual harassment against her headteacher. Nusrat Jahan Rafi filed a case for sexual harassment against the headteacher of her school, Siraj Ud Doula. She filed a complaint stating he had attempted to rape her earlier this year on 27 March.

“Having sustained 80% burns to her body, Nusrat died five days later”

After approaching local police to report the case, a video was leaked showing the chief of police registering her complaint, but dismissing it as “not a big deal”. Despite this, the headteacher was arrested and sent to jail. Allegedly he had issued orders from his jail cell to outside accomplices to kill Nusrat if she did not retract her complaint. Among those contacted were two local ruling Awami League political party leaders and several school students. According to evidence, after Nusrat arrived at the school to take an exam on 5 April, a classmate named Poppy lured her to a rooftop, where five others – including three of her classmates – tied her hands and feet with a scarf before dousing her in kerosene and setting her on fire. The conspirators had hoped to pass off the incident as suicide by self immolation, but the plan

fell through after flames burned through the scarf binding her and she was able to get down from the roof for help.

Her brother recorded a video statement from her in the ambulance on a mobile phone. Having sustained 80% burns to her body, Nusrat died five days later. Nusrat’s murder sparked public outcry and protests broke out across Bangladesh to urge the government to bring in tougher measures against sex offenders. The case was heard at the women and children repression prevention tribunal in Feni, Southern Bangladesh, where judge Mamunur Rashid delivered the verdict. Among those found guilty were former members of the school administration, teachers and pupils. 12 of the 16 confessed to participating in the killing. The death sentences will be sent to the country’s high court for confirmation and they are

thought likely to be appealed. Nusrat’s mother Shirin Akhtar said: “I can’t forget her for a moment. I still feel the pain that she went through.” The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, was quoted in local media saying she was “lost for words to condemn what happened”. Activists said the murder has exposed a culture of exemption from punishment around sexual crimes against women and children. After the murder, Bangladesh ordered 27,000 schools to set up committees to prevent sexual violence. Photos: Wikimedia Commons

President Trump confirms the US will leave Paris Climate Accord Matthew Musindi Global Writer

The Paris Accord is a landmark environmental agreement that was adopted by some major nations in 2015 with the aim to address climate change and its negative impacts. In total, 195 countries who are responsible for 97% of the world’s climate pollution signed the accord. The deal looks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees. During his 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump set out his intentions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Trump himself is a climate denier and once described it as a hoax perpetrated by China. After winning the 2016 election,

President Trump has confirmed that the US will definitely withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and categorised Barack Obama’s environmental clean-up plans as a war on American energy. The accord also provides a

“He now wants to turn the US into a global energy superpower” pathway for developed nations to assist developing nations in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The Paris Agreement includes commitments that go beyond 2020. For instance, in 2015 the US set out to cut economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by 2628% below its 2005 level by 2025, and to reduce its emissions by 28%. However, Trump has stated that his office will no longer work towards that target. Obama agreed in Paris that it is the role of the US to take the lead on climate change, since they have contributed far more than any other nation to the greenhouse gases present in our atmosphere. Trump has argued that the accord has been shutting down American oil producers due to the excessive regulatory restrictions. He now wants to turn the US into a global energy superpower, and the President strives to do this by sweeping away a raft of pollution

legislation to reduce the cost of producing gas, oil and coal. These are all part of Trump’s aim to put America first, consequently,

“These are all part of Trump’s aim to put America first”

Parties to the Agreement Signatories

he would massively set the US off track from the aims that they set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. The repercussions of Trump’s motive here have not been small. Trump has decided to relax pressure on countries like Brazil and Saudi Arabia who are not so environmentally conscious. Environmentalists argue that if Barack Obama was still in power

then he would have acted quicker to press Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro to tackle the issue of the forest fires in the Amazon. When the withdrawal takes effect, the U.S will be the only UNFCCC member state who is not a signatory to the Paris Agreement. It would provide a unique opportunity for China and the EU to take control of the climate regime and boost their international reputations. Opponents to Trump have warned the President that by withdrawing from the agreement he is weakening the US global leadership on the clean economy. It is important to bear in mind however that the process for withdrawing requires that the agreement must be in force for 3 years before any country can formally announce their intention to drop out. This means that the earliest that the United Stets could officially exist is in November 2020. Photos: Wikimedia Commons



Norwich’s most haunted Monique Santoso Features Writer

With its rich history linked to the royal throne and Kett’s rebellion, Norwich is known to be one of the most haunted regions in the UK. In 2016, about 49% of Norwich’s population stated to have experienced paranormal activity, allowing it to clinch first place in the UK’s “Most Haunted Cities” List. 1) The Maid’s Head Hotel, 20 Tombland Located in Tombland is the Maid’s Head Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel in the UK. Dating back to the 13th century, the hotel houses The Grey Maid, an elderly phantom in an outdated grey uniform who moves through the hotel’s halls. Where she walks, an overwhelming smell of musty lavender remains. Prince Edward’s phantom is also reported to be a frequent guest in the hotel. 2) Elm Hill Elm Hill, famously featured in Stardust, is the centre of reports around unexplainable stomping footsteps and supernatural activity attributed to Father Ignatius, an angry and fanatical priest who cursed those who opposed and refused to pray with him. He was eventually driven out by an angry mob, but his furious ghost returns to curse passers-by.

3) 19 Magdalen Street Built over 300 years ago, 19 Magdalen Street has passed through the hands of many owners. Due to the presence of a disturbing ghost named Sara, owners have experienced strange activities. One tenant claimed to find all the mirrors in her shop turned away one morning, only to be told that an exorcism could have taken place in the house in 1980. The shop’s staff have even held a séance to remove the ghost, without avail. Here is a recap of events which took place in Norwich during Halloween. 1) Demonstrations of Palm Reading and Mediumship - The Merchant’s House, 7-9 Fye Bridge Street Suki Pryce joined Norwich for a night of reveal – from your life’s true direction to your true potential. The next day offered an evening of mediumship demonstration by an international psychic medium, Alexandra Oakes. 2) The Haunted House - Bar and Beyond, Norwich Maybe you dropped by Bar and Beyond between 22:00 to 03:00 for Norwich’s biggest Halloween party of the year! Organizers promised a fully decorated venue, free face-paint and fake blood, cheap drinks all night, as well as Norwich’s biggest and best DJs.

5th November 2019

Trick or Treat in the city Jasmine Kumar Features Writer

Spooky season has just passed and Norwich was ready to celebrate Halloween with a line-up of terrifying things to do around the city. Spooky City returned to Chapelfield Gardens on Thursday 31st October, where it was remodelled into ‘Halloween Town’, holding a number of free activities for everyone to take part in. The theme this year was built around filmmaker and animator Tim Burton’s horror productions, with a screening of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. It was the perfect occasion to get your skeleton masks and witches’ hat’s out and have fun dressing for the spooky holiday which was held from 6pm to 8pm. Norwich also presented Ghost Walks at Cow Tower Park at 9pm on October 31st, November 1st and 2nd. The walk began by the Adam and Eve pub in Norwich followed by creepy tales and performers from The Guild Of Shadows, which were guaranteed to send shivers down your skeleton. This was a perfect opportunity to bring your friends and family too, but be aware, you might have been in for a scare. There was also a BBQ at 6pm followed by a fancy-dress competition and with chilling, crisp, winds on this cold night, it was

also important to dress warmly, bringing a coat along was a given. The Adam and Eve pub is the perfect haunted place to be for this holiday as the pub is known to be one of the oldest in Norwich, where the ghost of Lord Sheffield is rumoured to live. During Kett’s rebellion in 1549, Lord Sheffield was stabbed and taken to the Adam and Eve pub. His ghost is thought to enjoy ringing the barbell when no one is around. The pub has been said to be popular with the locals, describing it as ‘cosy’ and ‘a nice little pub’ despite these spooky tales of spirits and poltergeists, it remains a friendly place to catch up with loved ones. If the appearance of Lord

Sheffield is not enough to make your stomach turn, the ghost of James Rush, a man hanged in 1849 for attempted murder, has also dropped in for a pint and a friendly catch up at the Adam and Eve. He is rumoured to often visit with his friend - a medieval French speaking Monk, whom some have claimed has been sighted underneath the old floorboards; remains were found during cellar evacuations in the seventies. These stories are definitely talk for the ghost walk, and visitors are never disappointed visiting this thrilling location during spooky season. Why not go visit this haunted pub for a pint next time you are in the city, located just outside Norwich cathedral.

Photo: Unsplash

Is cultural appropriation the real halloween horror story? Sam Hewitson Features Writer

In recent years, there has been a spike in awareness regarding cultural appropriation in Halloween costumes, leading to a number of universities cracking down on the specifications for what students can wear at this time of year. Most people are aware of the ban the Student’s Union here at UEA have enacted, but the push to reduce cultural appropriation in costumes goes much further than this. The National Union of Students (NUS) have drawn attention to this by publicising the slogan ‘Don’t let Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia and Ableism be the

real Horror this Hallowe’en’. This follows the University of Sheffield’s Students Union creating and distributing posters with the tagline ‘my culture is not your costume’ to contribute to the wider message of ‘check your costume’, as coined by the NUS. Triviality can pave the way for people to stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable on this oneoff annual holiday, which is the mentality the NUS are trying to defeat.  Their statement, published on Monday, reads ‘In recent years, we have seen offensive costumes being sold, including costumes that appropriate race and culture, perpetuate sexist stereotypes and make light of the experiences of Trans people and those with disabilities’.

But on the following Friday, the Women’s Officer at Sheffield SU emphasises the campaign ‘does not enforce any ban. Instead, it’s aimed at being an educational campaign’ which means it is not technically enforced and students still have freedom. The repercussions, however, remain unclear, so it is a fully effective deterrence method. The difficulty with such a phenomenon is the concept of offence is arbitrary. A costume that perpetuates the culture or identity of another group or individual may offend some which it applies to and not others, as some may see the trivial and fun side of the costume. Some members of the affected group, however, may not see the humour behind it and take offence.

An example which applies to me, would be costumes related to Scottish culture. Wearing a kilt, for me, would not be offensive, because I do not have strong enough ties to Scotland to foster strong enough feelings and facilitate me being offended. I can, however, see where this could cross the line for some. If it so happens that a Halloween costume featured a family tartan, for example, and the person were to act drunk to draw on the stereotype that Scotland has a strong drinking culture, then I can see where offence would be justified.  The problem is, a lot of people who dress up for Halloween will not see the offence in the costumes they wear due to their detachment from the culture which is being

perpetuated. In their mind, the act is harmless. To others, it is offensive, and the fact that the offender is blind to their mistake is the icing on the cake. Even when some see the act as a joke, this provides a blanket of safety which gives them the legitimacy they need, but one does not represent all. The fact of the matter is, even playing it safe and choosing to avoid any potentially offensive costumes does not really limit one’s options. Plenty of people, the majority in reality, dress outside of the limits imposed by Students Unions across the country without a problem, so even if you believe the rules and restrictions to be stingy, the limit is not as broad as you may believe it to be.

Photo: Unsplash


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Casting a lens on invisible disabilities Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

Last year, Jenna Chapman, uea(su)’s Undergraduate Education officer made an effort to ensure all lectures at UEA were recorded. However, this service is opt in to record lectures, not opt out. The fact lecturers aren’t mandated to record their lectures means only a small number of lectures are recorded and put on blackboard. Recorded lectures would greatly help those with invisible disabilities. Currently students have to approach each of their lecturers

“Student support are fantastic at supporting me” to request that their lectures are recorded. Third year student Danny Hayes stated: “Being able to record my lectures is enormously important to how I’m able to succeed at university, because it gives me something to refer back to and organise my thoughts for seminars

and essays.” Hayes further remarked: “Likewise my DSA software allows me to edit alongside these recordings and presentations so I’m able to organise myself much better, it’s something I think more lecturers should be using as it’s really helped me in the long term.” Although having recorded lectures would greatly assist those at UEA with invisible disabilities, UEA doesn’t appear to have the right technology to do so – most lectures are recorded on personal devices and then uploaded a few days after the lecture. The DSA stands for ‘Disabled Student Allowance’, a government run programme to provide students with software and other equipment to use at university. The allowance is available for both undergraduate a n d postgraduate c o u r s e s , including those on full time and part time and those on unpaid sandwich courses. Those who are open and distance students are also eligible for the allowance too. The allowance is paid in addition

to your student finance loans or grants. The DSA was set up to help support those with any

form of impairment, mental health condition or learning difficulty to cover any study related expenses you might incur. Student Roo Pitt came to UEA because of how good the support services were rumoured to be. Pitt stated: “Student support are fantastic at supporting me, but obviously I can only speak about my experience. If I ever have an issue they are more than happy to assist me.” Ranstad are a company who work alongside student services to provide services to those with disabilities. Pitt then remarked: “Ranstad are not so great as they are a little slow at providing support. However, student support is good at encouraging them to actually support us. Anytime I’ve had issues with the Photo: Unsplash support of my course, I’ve been able Photo: Flickr

to go to the Support services for help.” Pitt continued to tell me: “Lecturers are always willing to help but don’t always know how, therefore I feel I have to be proactive in seeing what works for me and

“I think more lecturers should be using DSA software” helping my lecturers support me in the best way they can.” On their website, Ranstad state “For the 1.3 million people in the UK with a disability (who are available for work) only half are employed, compared to 80% of non-disabled people. Providing practical assistance through Support Workers can improve their chances of establishing a fulfilling career.” It is imperative students with invisible disabilities are provided with the services they need in order to be able to perform to the best of their ability whilst at university, such as lecture recordings and lecture slides. Unfortunately, UEA is still far from being fully accessible to those with invisible disabilities.

Seasonal affective disorder- I’ll be there for you Leelou Lewis Features Editor

Mental Health Crisis Autumn is a pretty season, with vibrant colours, cozy jumpers and hot drinks, it is the aesthetic part of the colder months at least. Although there are many interesting and enjoyable aspects of this time of the year, I want to highlight a subject of great importance and ways to deal with this (and what to avoid). SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is very similar to depression, though it may not be consistent throughout the year. Instead it occurs in connection to specific seasons. SAD is most common during cold months, when the days grow shorter and people tend to stay indoors, sheltering from the increasing cold. This in turn leads to one of the main causes of SAD; lack of fresh air and Vitamin D. SAD might also be known, or referred to, as ‘winter’s blues’, and is extremely necessary to acknowledge and treat even though it tends to last only for a few months in comparison to other mental illnesses - which might be

consistent throughout the year(s). Some people may experience different severities of SAD, as it can be affected by gender, age and family history. It is more common for women to experience SAD (or milder kinds of winter’s blues), as well as teenagers, young adults and someone with family members who also have similar mental struggles. There are many ways to deal with this issue, and I am sure you are familiar with the common ones such as exercise, outdoor activities, socialising, and so on. These things do help, but

“SAD is most common during cold months” hearing the same suggestions multiple times does not. Therefore here are some different things as to what you can do and what you should, preferably, avoid; Listen to podcasts. This is a growing media, consisting of everything from

motivational to educational, or just plainly entertaining, content, easily accessible and can be enjoyed whilst maybe going for a (cliché) walk - thus, multitasking. Write a journal, maybe not daily, or daily but not long entries. Get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper - view them from an outside perspective. Even though it might feel as though your mind is empty, usually this is not the case. So just write; about your day, what you have seen or heard even if it is just your wall or a picture on Instagram, what were your feelings and reactions to these things? Have a hot drink, some soup, or if you prefer something cold, then have that. Can you share it with someone? Even better! Sit next to or in the same room as a friend, there is no need to interact, just sit in silence, their presence alone might ease your mind. Do stay away from alcohol and extreme amounts of caffeine and sugar, but do not forbid yourself anything you might be craving as these things can be soothing as well. Everything bad is good for you, in moderation. Most importantly, if you feel worse, no matter what you do, reach out ASAP and get professional help.

Photo: Unsplash

There is only so much you, your friends and family can do. When mental difficulties occur and when it feels as though you have tried it all and your loved ones are not enough, someone professional whose job is to supply treatment and/ or medication is the best solution. If you are feeling a change in mood during this season (or any) do not neglect it, but treat it with full seriousness as to prevent it from developing. Do not be afraid, for no matter how lonely you feel, I promise, you are not alone, I feel lonely too, right now, writing this, so if you need it - I will be there for you, as you might be there for me too.

You can contact Student Services by calling 01603 592761 or emailing studentsupport@uea. A full list of support services available can be found here. Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email



5th November 2019

‘The politics of free speech is never Will Warnes talks to free speech expert Anshuman Mondal is a Professor of Modern Literature at UEA and an expert on free speech. We met in his room, which has an unfortunate location within the Arts building. Although full of academics with such creativity and brilliance, the building may give an outsider the impression of a prison from ‘1984’. I sat down with him to discuss the issues present within the realm of free speech. As we begin, I ask him about the idea that the alt-right have weaponised free speech and how, in fact, they have achieved this to some degree. Prof Mondal argues this has come about “through social media because the limits of acceptability and unacceptability on social media have not yet been settled. “This is the politics of free speech at work in social media”. We discussed the anonymity of social media and how the lack of “closure” and “limits” have led to instances such as the German synagogue attack being streamed on Twitch. The

responsibility for these events certainly lies somewhere, but where exactly is a huge debate. Prof Mondal describes the idea of responsibility solely lying at the feet of companies as a bit of a “cop out” answer and it is a wider issue that must be looked at by states also. This debate has raged on since the increase in the spread of fake news, hate speech and extremism on social media websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. With many comedians recently refusing to perform in certain locations due to backlash, I decide to ask

about the problems surrounding comedy within an increasingly liberal society. I ask whether more care should be taken in regards to what jokes can and cannot be said. “Comedy, like every other form of speech acts has been, and always will be, subject to the politics of free speech,” he says. “For example, in the ‘70s, when I was growing up, it was completely taken for granted that racialised comedy, and sometimes outright racist comedy, was an acceptable form of comedic discourse. But then a generation of comedians pushed back against that because their comedy came from a different place: the resistance to right-wing conservatism, xenophobia and so on”. He argues these comedians “not just mocked that racism, but it kind of made racism in comedy so problematic that an entire generation accepted the idea that racism in comedy and racist jokes were not permissible. “This is part of a wider society because that was a move towards a recognition of the limits of racist speech and necessary limits to pursue an agenda in which people were seen as equal. “That has been pushed back against now, part of this weaponisation of free speech. “It’s not a coincidence free speech is the way by which the right h a s tried to

reassert its powerbase”. In developing this argument, I proceed to ask the professor about where racism lies within the realm of speech and discourse. Prof Mondal argues that he does not

“Free speech is the way the right has tried to reassert its powerbase” see the concept of ‘race’ as existent and “people are not naturally seen as unequal because of the colour of their skin or because of certain physical features. It is because of the narratives they are told or the ways in which people are spoken about

which naturalises racism or the idea that people are better than others. So, it is speech that creates race; it is speech that creates racism”, he argues. “Speech is a form of social action. It’s not just a medium of communication. You do things with words, you enact things in the world and things happen because of speech. There is a concept that you are simply letting ideas circulate in the world through speech, so therefore they should be completely unimpeded. However, such an idea is self-contradictory because what you’re saying is ‘speech is enormously important because it allows these ideas to circulate’ and so on. “But, on the other hand, what you’re saying is that speech has no effects on the world – ‘it is only words, both important and not important, it’s both full of substance and empty’… and those paradoxes within liberal free speech theory are really important to understand


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

settled, it’s always on the move’ and UEA professor Anshuman Mondal

why it gets so tangled up with these things”. Interestingly, rather than use the term ‘censorship’, Prof Mondal prefers the label of ‘closure’. He believes the discourse against journalism, in particular, “poses a serious threat” as it is becoming increasingly obvious that some are becoming fearful in voicing their opinions. The killing of the Saudi Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is an example of how journalism is coming increasingly under threat. Khashoggi was sharply critical of the Saudi Crown Prince and the country’s king and it has been widely speculated that the Saudi government was, in fact, behind the murder. This is where some argue that the divide between the socalled East and West are blurry. The discourse in the politics of the West, particularly in the

climate of Donald Trump and Brexit, has become increasingly hostile. Some argue the language used by the President towards the media imposes serious questions about an assault on the concept of free speech. For example, we see

Discourse against journalism “poses a serious threat” the manipulation of facts from the Trump administration and the development of the term ‘fake news’. The reporting of facts by media outlets and news corporation being labelled as

‘fake’ seriously calls into question the validity of how ‘free’ speech truly is. In addition, the increasingly pro-Trump news outlet, Fox News, blurs the line between state-owned media and the freedom of the press. However, the weaponisation of ‘free speech’ is, to a great extent, evident in the UK with the current climate of Brexit. The UEA professor highlights in particular the use of ‘traitors’ and ‘treachery’, “within the discourse of Brexiteers in describing those who wish to remain in the European Union” and argues that “the law of free speech can be a very blunt instrument. A lot of the politics of the concept is about the ethics of what you say and how you say it”. Essentially Mondal is saying the use of a discourse that suggests a betrayal amongst those with a differing opinion to the government begins to imply a calling to nationalists within the country, a targeting of those who see things differently to those in power. How truly free are you to voice your opinion? It is yet another example of the far-right’s use of free-speech as a weapon. Yet, at the same time, we see “China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and, in particular, Bangladesh, also demonstrating the issues with free-speech regimes”. Though differences exist,

perhaps there are more similarities in the discourse of leaders from east and west than initially thought. Bangladesh has been widely criticised for the standards of freedom of speech within the nation. In 2018, the Digital Security Act was published, stating that prison sentences of up to 14 years can be sentenced for those caught secretly recording government officials or gaining information from government agencies using a computer or other digital device. The sentence also stands for those

who spread “negative propaganda” about Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 and the founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Prof Mondal’s conclusion certainly left me with a lot to think about as I left his room. He argues the concept of free speech is “not black and white” and the answers “are difficult to reach and far longer than some may argue”. Rules provide a problematic situation. He states, “The rule could be ‘you do not say anything racist’ but we’ve seen the difficulty of enforcing that because it’s not black and white. “The other rule could be ‘you can say anything you want’. “But, the absence of a rule is itself a rule. Rather than look to the comfort of a once-and-for-all rule (which is what people are looking for when they simply assert their ‘right’ to free speech), we need to get accustomed to the discomforting thought that politics of free speech is never settled, it is always on the move”.



Photos: Concrete/ Jess Barrett (left), Concrete/ Roo Pitt (centre and right)

5th November 2019



Concrete have been busy! We were at the BBC Radio 4 Today awards last week! We won ‘best student programme’ and were runner up for ‘best publiction’!

Photos: Concrete/Jess Barrett

5th November 2019


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5th November 2019

The Tories are killing our country

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Matt Branston Comment Editor

The election is happening. A referendum on Brexit done through the medium of party politics. Exactly what we needed. Thus far, the polling seems to be suggesting a solid Tory majority, though it’s always possible that Corbyn makes the push and manages something special. Unfortunately, the simple fact is that a Tory majority would absolutely destroy this country. In the last nine years, all the Tories have done is move the country further and further in the direction of disarray, harming the NHS, harming the working classes and continuing to sell itself wholesale to the far-right. And now we’re tearing ourselves

apart; the whole country is fighting and arguing with itself, burning down the last vestiges of decency we have over these thoughts and ideas which are being pushed on us from the people who only ever walk amongst us when they’re campaigning for our votes, who don’t care about us. I love Britain. I love the British (even the Welsh, at times). I know we’ve spent hundreds of years being the worst people in the world, but I felt like for some period, we’ve actually been good. United. Together. It’s despicable to see the state we’re in, it’s despicable to see how we’ve torn ourselves apart and it’s because of the Conservative party. I don’t mind small-c conservatism and I didn’t mind the big-C Conservatives. Obviously I don’t support every action that was made under Thatcher or Major or

any Conservative Prime Minister stretching back, but at least it felt like they thought they were right to do what they did. However, under Cameron, May and Johnson, it just seems like respectability is out the window and the party has subsisted to the depths of treachery and deceit of the British people. David Cameron used austerity measures to take money out of the poorest in Britain and then he sold his soul to the Eurosceptics in order to maintain his party’s ability to hurt the poor even more. Theresa May was an utterly unrelenting, shameless, vile person, who as Home Secretary destroyed the police force and tried to get rid of the Human Rights Act, Then as Prime Minister, she lost all the ‘meaningful votes’, let Grenfell Tower burn, oversaw the Windrush Scandal and messed

about with the EU and Parliament for years on her so-called red lines and inability to compromise. And now Boris Johnson, who lied in the Brexit referendum, lied as a journalist, lies as Prime Minister and would sell out the entire nation to get more power (and by would, I mean has). I can’t imagine the further damage that would be done if the Conservatives won this election, dragging us out of Europe, further destroying the economy beyond what austerity has already done, selling the NHS off to the Americans and continuing to hurt the working class of this country as much as they possibly can. I’m not a Labour supporter, but I am praying they win. I am praying for Corbyn as Prime Minister. We can’t survive more of the Conservatives. So-called Comrade Corbyn may

look like a bit of an idiot sometimes, but at least he cares. He wants to help people, not just help his rich mates do well in the markets when they bet against Britain. Imagine going back to a Prime Minister with ideals that are not just financial interests, who thinks he needs to help, not that he’s born to rule. The modern Conservative leadership is disgraceful and you can see it in how they’ve pushed out truly great conservatives like Ken Clarke. As they give up their values and just trudge along, a soulless husk of a party, made purely to ‘get Brexit done’, they give up their last scrap of honour. We could do so much worse than Corbyn as Prime Minister and it seems, with a Tory majority in the polls, we will.

‘I am tired of the countless sexist comments’ Amelia Groves Comment Writer

The other day I was having an internal dispute that I often have: how to be a palatable feminist. In other words, how do I engage actively with feminism, always questioning people’s internalised misogyny whilst not being portrayed as an irritating ‘man-hater’? I used to be one of those girls that didn’t want to cause much of a stir and I was hesitant to label myself a feminist. I didn’t want to be negatively stereotyped as a woman who hated all men and saw their every action as a display of gender dominance. As I ventured into feminism, I learned that it’s about equality for both genders and questioning and restructuring gender dynamics. Of course, not every man is a misogynist or even consciously sexist, but there needs to be a wider acknowledgement of gendered power structures within society. Let me outline two instances where I wish I had spoken up more. Firstly, one of my close friends

asked if I was wearing a particular kind of skirt and when I replied yes, they retorted with ‘ah I like them because when the wind blows you can look at a girl’s bum’. My immediate reaction was horror and they said of course it was a joke, so I let it go. Later when thinking about that conversation, the successful

“To be preyed upon by the male gaze” campaign to make upskirting illegal appeared in my head and I immediately wished I had reacted differently. My issue was that I didn’t want them to think I was ‘boring’ or ‘couldn’t take a joke’, but there is actually nothing funny about this attitude. It links back to ownership

of women and their bodies and males thinking they have the right to ‘have a quick look’ for their own gratification, to be preyed upon by the male gaze. Secondly, I was having a drink with a friend and talking about the future. He proceeded to tell me that his wife would stay at home whilst he provides for the family. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that scenario, but what I did have an issue with was that he did not see his potential wife as having her own agency to decide. Photo: Needpix He hadn’t

even met a female partner, but he had already decided her fate. The freedom to choose is something that differs between men and women. I could go on about the exceeding conversations I have had, noticing unconscious m a l e privilege or snide chauvinistic comments, but the bottom line is that if no one calls it out, then how are we supposed to change attitudes towards sexism? And when it is called out, women are mocked for ‘being angry’, but it is just another stereotype being pushed to shut women up, as if anger isn’t deserved. I am angry. I am tired of the countless sexist comments that fly under the radar. But I’ll let you into a secret: they

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

don’t fly under the radar; they get internalised by women and how they view themselves in relation to men. This further perpetuates casual, everyday sexism and gender dynamics. Society needs a whole restructuring on gender dynamics. In contribution, you can call out a sexist comment when you feel safe to do so. Question why your male friend thinks he has the right to determine a woman’s future. Language and semantics are important. They are how we communicate, verbalise emotion and characterise ourselves. Although the much simpler solution would just be to stop being sexist altogether, destigmatising the right to call out sexism, especially as a woman, is vital in altering people’s confidence in making a stand against misogyny. Speak up, encourage your friends when they question a comment. Forget being palatable and we’ll be one step closer to gender equality.


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

leaving Is blackface ever okay? Enlitened: students in the

UEA dark

Photo: Matt Branston

Martha Griffiths Comment Writer

Mental Health Crisis

Harry Routley Comment Writer

In September of this year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught in a firestorm of controversy with the media, facing criticism for wearing an Arabian Nights themed costume during a party in the early 2000s, with the costume involving the use of makeup to create ‘brownface’. Of course, Trudeau released an apology stating his regret for the outfit and that even though he didn’t think it was racist at the time, he can realise now that dressing in such a manner was unacceptable. However, at least two more instances of brownface were later revealed by the media, causing Trudeau to admit that he could not say for certain how many times he had used brownface. In spite of this, the media furore seems to have had relatively little effect on the views of the majority of Canadians on their Prime Minister. An article from the New York Times asks Canadians for their

thoughts on the scandal and although the vast majority agree that wearing black/brownface is unacceptable, it has different contexts in the US compared to other countries. They can’t blame Trudeau for something that happened when he was young and naïve. They say his policies while in office, defending the rights of minority groups, are far more significant than a costume from almost 20 years ago. Addressing the first point is perhaps most important, black/ brownface certainly has a different context outside the US, but does that mean it is ever okay? In the case of America, I believe that black/brownface has the oldest and most problematic history. White actors wore dark makeup in shows, largely dating from the mid-1800s, to dehumanise black Americans, playing up offensive and dangerous stereotypes. While it may be argued now that wearing darker makeup is used to simply emulate a black character, I believe that it is near-impossible to separate this act from the history

Many of you will have seen the email from UEA regarding their new alliance with The Student Room to produce an app that offers “tailored support you need for study, life and wellbeing”.Enlitened asks you twenty questions a week Photo: Wikimedia Commons and from that, directs you to articles Photo: Wikimedia Commons that will supply advice; you can also make suggestions to the university behind black/brownface. on how they can improve and vote While I think that changing the on other people’s ideas if you agree. colour of your skin to ‘play’ any The cynic in me was sceptical from existing ethnic group, including the beginning, but for the sake of whiteface, is unacceptable, arguing fairness I downloaded the app and that black/brownface is acceptable waited for their confirmation email. on grounds of equality ignores that It didn’t take long for the problems whiteface was never used by black to begin; the questions I was being people to dehumanise and humiliate asked were far too vague and I’m still them, acting as part of a wider trying to work out what one of them system of violence and humiliation. actually meant. Also, I feel really While the power of this history motivated to help incite change with may even apply globally, especially the randomly generated username in countries with a colonial history, of VigorousSnail. What the app such as the UK and Canada, I and its creators don’t seem to do believe there has to be a line understand is that, funnily enough, for people who look for a way to human emotions and needs cannot respectfully emulate characters of a be summed up in twenty questions different ethnicity. with answers on a spectrum from Earlier this year, French Cosplay strongly disagree to strongly agree. champion Alice Livanart was barred On a quick scroll through from a competition for entering the app as I write this, the list of with a prosthetic suit modelled after trending ideas ranges from cheaper a black video game character. sports facilities, to free pints, to an I believe her own defence sums app for the SU. up the story and my own thoughts You will note the lack of anything on black/brownface in the best to do with real wellbeing support possible way, stating that while here. In fact, the first mention blackface is unacceptable, her of mental health ideas comes up costume wasn’t blackface, simply an as suggestion number 48 and homage with all the best intentions doesn’t say anything that we didn’t behind it. already know: support services on

campus have to be better funded and easier to access. The problem is that the app is unregulated and just because you get lots of fellow students supporting your idea, does not necessarily mean the university actually has to act on what you have suggested. It’s a great way to make students feel like they are making a difference whilst actually doing very little to help those who really need it. I guess the real reason for my animosity towards the app is the fact that I am tired of being patronised about my mental health and wellbeing. Rather than have a serious dialogue about what needs to change, we are offered an easier alternative that requires less effort. From the time my depression was misdiagnosed as a Vitamin-D deficiency by my GP when I was 16, to the Student Support Services never getting back to me after the counsellor I was seeing left abruptly, I, like so many others, am tired of being fobbed off with cheap ‘quick fixes’ and hollow words regarding mental health. Whilst Enlitened is great for making recommendations, such as cleaning the bean bags in the nap nook (which I strongly support), it is not going to be the saviour of health and wellbeing for UEA. We need to be having a serious conversation about these topics and no amount of dog walking or free croissants (available once you’ve answered fifty questions) will ever change that. Stop hiding behind an app and start talking to your students. You can contact student services by calling 01603 592761 or emailing

Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email

Veganism: the real problem with fake meat Sam Gordon Webb Comment Writer

Demand for vegan food grew by 987% in 2017 and is now the fastest growing takeaway choice in the UK. Almost half of the UK’s vegan population made the transition in 2018, a clear sign of the movement’s growth. By 2025, it is widely expected that one quarter of the UK population will be vegan. Meat has long been viewed as bad for your health. The World Health Organization has classified red and processed meats as cancercausing and NHS advice is to cut down where possible. A 14-member international team of scientists put this view into question recently, finding no

conclusive evidence that eating red and processed meat causes cancer, heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Unsurprisingly, the vegan community were outraged, an “egregious abuse of evidence” as some put it. However, is it not possible these calculations were plausible and the reaction was just excessively aggressive? After all, meat eaters are not bad people and it’s worth noting that many vegans only made the transition last year. In fact, a staggering 45% of the UK’s vegan population only stopped eating meat in 2018. The sad consequence of this are vegans who ‘mock’ meat with their own processed alternatives. And if not replicating it, then making it sound meaty, referring to the aubergine “steak” and bean burgers

with beetroot spilling out like blood juices of a slaughtered cow. To me, ‘true’ vegans have no desire to eat even fake dead things. Only plant-based food will satisfy the ‘true’ vegan, made by those who do not seek to imitate meat, but instead replace it all

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

together. The meat alternative brand Quorn are culprits of this, producing Swedish style meatballs without the meat, fish and chips without the fish, and steak without the... steak. It may be so that the vast majority of buyers of Quorn products have environmental and health concerns, taking less offense with the notion of killing animals to eat. On the other hand, the animal rights vegan would be best placed to avoid these products altogether. It detracts from the central ambition at the heart of the vegan movement, namely a desire to replace meat and not to replace and replicate it. The task for these vegans is to convince the meat-eating world that plant-based food is in fact tasty, just as much as a fine steak or battered haddock.

Still sceptical? Go try ‘Wild Thyme’ in Norwich City Centre. Expecting to see a sad menu of ‘meatless’ meat, this place proves to be anything but boring. You will find a laid-back emporium of vegan delights, serving creamy pastas, succulent vegetables and moist puddings, nothing killed in the process and nobody pretending otherwise. Wild Thyme sets a strong precedent that will hopefully encourage more vegan restaurants to follow suit, ditching not only meat, but the very look of meat too. Vegans choose to go meatless on environmental, nutritional and moral grounds. But how about taste? Veganism is much more than a task of rejecting meat - it is about embracing delicious plant-based food and spreading the love. Bon appetit.



5th November 2019

Norwich science festival reviews ‘Our Plastic Planet’ Gene eating: the truth about diets Jess Scragg Science Writer

Elena Damian Science Writer

‘Our Plastic Planet?’ was hosted by Lizzie Daly; a wildlife biologist with a particular passion for the oceans. Her interactive presentation began with the cold truth: the entire ocean is now polluted with plastic. Every second 20,000 plastic bottles are being bought, and more than 80% of them are ending up either in landfills or in the oceans. Gyres such as the great Pacific garbage patch are a horrifying apocalyptic image for marine wildlife. Where we see the product of a quick everyday supermarket decision, animals see their greatest danger. Turtles, sharks, dolphins, plankton and humpback whales were just a few examples of marine

life endangered by plastic pollution. Working all over the world, Lizzie saw this extensively complicated problem first-hand. Most of the audience were primary school pupils and it was encouraging to see how well educated they were on all of this already. It makes you look back and think how different the world became in just a couple of decades. I remember teachers telling my cohort from time to time about recycling/reusing and people were practising it because it was ‘good’ and ‘polite’. As children (those of us who started primary school in the early 2000s), we rarely saw any of the images showing how much animals suffer because of pollution. We weren’t taught about the seven types of plastic and which ones

can be recycled or reused, or that a plastic bottle can leach extremely harmful chemicals if exposed to even the slightest increase in temperature and we should never use it again, or that every toothbrush ever manufactured still exists. At the ‘Our Plastic Planet?’ talk, we received all that information and towards the end, Lizzie stressed the importance of outreach work in schools, since education systems all over the world still don’t address the real global dangers that singleuse plastic presents. So how do we solve this? Educating ourselves and encouraging others to do the same. Lizzie quoted the famous saying: ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’ and I couldn’t agree more.

Photo: Unsplash

On October 19, Giles Yeo, a Professor of Cambridge University who specialises in the science of diets and weight loss, presented his research in a talk at the Forum. The delivery of which, as well as being informative, was funny and engaging. He broke his talk down into six truths: The first truth: it’s not supposed to be easy. If someone is selling you an easy simple way to lose 10 pounds in a week - they’re lying. Weight loss is difficult and for some, their genetics make it even harder. In fact, our body weight can be linked by up to 70% to genetics. Some people’s brains are more sensitive to the signals from food which means they sense less calories being taken in and are driven to eat more. These people have a predisposition to hunger. The second truth: eat a little less of everything. Many diets tell you to cut out entire food groups: don’t. Too much of anything is bad, and too little of anything is as well. The third truth: if food takes longer to digest, it makes you feel fuller. Proteins and complex whole grains take longer to digest and

release energy more evenly; filling you up until your next meal. The fourth truth: don’t blindly count calories. Calories should be treated more as a rough guideline than a blind truth. Some foods are more calorically unavailable than others. Sugar is very calorically available, sweetcorn; not so much. The fifth truth: eat more unsaturated fats. Fat doesn’t equal bad. There is actually a link between eating unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and nuts, and lower mortality. Finally, truth number six: Don’t fear food. We need to learn to love food again. We need it to live. Find the foods that work for you and just try to eat slightly less of them than you would like. So, what was the answer? What is the ultimate diet that we can all go on and achieve the body of our dreams forever? Well unfortunately, there isn’t one. As Yeo said, our bodies are the result of thousands of microdecisions we have made over the last couple of years. A diet may make your body smaller in the short term, but as soon as you go off it you will most likely gain the weight back. Learn more about your food and what works for you and try to be as healthy as you can, while still enjoying the food you’re eating.

The future of human spaceflight Mali Hitchcock Brown Science Writer

This year marks 50 years since the Apollo 11 mission, but what is the future of human spaceflight over the next ten years? This talk, chaired by journalist Richard Hollingham, included a panel of guests all with different backgrounds in spaceflight:

“It is not surprising why 83% of scientists voted Remain” European space agency engineer Vinita Marwaha, science journalist Sue Nelson, extreme medical doctor Beth Healey and material science researcher Christopher Ogunlesi. The event consisted of 10-minute talks from each guest about their area of research, followed by a question and answer session. The first speaker, Sue, talked

about equality in space science and how the area is becoming more diverse. She talked about Wally Funk, who was part of the Mercury 13; a group of women who were part of the NASA astronaut program in 1961. However, the program was cancelled and the group never got to go to space. Excitingly, however, we were told that a woman will set foot on the moon by 2024, and that recently the first all-woman spacewalk took place on the International Space Station. I found this a very inspiring segment, especially for young women with a passion for space science. Vinita and Christopher both spoke about the engineering side of human spaceflight. Vinita spoke about working on the design of spacesuits and Christopher spoke about his research into using ‘moon dust’ to 3D print tools on the moon so that less weight is transported up. These engaging segments helped the audience understand the many physical factors needing to be considered for space travel. Lastly, Beth spoke about her interest in the medical side of human exposure to extreme conditions. Part of her research has included

expeditions to the Arctic and Siberia, and she has also worked for the European space agency. The understanding of the psychological effects of astronauts

“The psychological effects [are] still unknown ” spending so long in a confined space is still unknown. The session was an outstanding event and was accessible to all ages and backgrounds. All speakers were very engaging and contributed equally to the discussion, but it could have benefitted from a longer Q&A session as there were so many questions! I enjoyed the variety of backgrounds of the panelists as it was very eye-opening. It was exciting to hear the final consensus that in the next ten years, the first woman will have landed on the moon!

Image: Flickr

Photo: Unsplash


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

Two whales found dead in the Thames Monique Santoso Science Writer

On Tuesday, October 8, a humpback whale that was previously spotted in the Thames was found dead by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR). The humpback, lovingly nicknamed Hessy, was a rare breed thought to have died due to being nutritionally compromised. However, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) conducted a necropsy and found the primary cause of death was a wound caused by a ship strike on its jaw. This examination, as well as the postmortem, has also shown scars of ‘historic entanglement’ on its dorsal fin. The 30-metric ton, juvenile female, was found motionless on mudflats along the river at Greenhithe, Kent by the BDMLR (the average lifespan of a humpback whale is 45 – 50 years). It had previously been predicted that the whale would only be in the river for about a week before swimming out with the next high Spring tide. The humpback whale, however, at only 27 feet, did not

have a lot of fat reserves, and Julia Cable from the BDMLR said, “It is swimming up and down the river, so it is using more reserves all the time.” The charity was reluctant to send out boats to monitor Hessy, as they feared it could stress the mammal. Humpback whales have the longest migration pattern of all living mammals. They move in late autumn to winter breeding grounds and calving grounds in warmer tropical waters before returning south in the Spring. This particular whale likely arrived in the Thames due to navigational error from the North Sea during the Spring tides last week, when water levels rise significantly. Nevertheless, warming waters have caused whale species to have to migrate much further to reach their feeding grounds, decreasing the time they have to forage for food. The Thames is not an optimal feeding ground for humpback whales, whose diet consists primarily of crustaceans, plankton, and small fish. Humpbacks are deep divers. When found, Hessy was nutritionally compromised and had no evidence of recent feeding.

Less than two weeks after the humpback whale’s death, another whale was found dead in the Thames at Denton, near Gravesend on October 18. Unlike Hessy, there were no sightings of the second whale and Port of London Authority was surprised to find it. The second whale, 32 feet in length, had turned up just miles from the first. ZSL’s cetacean strandings investigation said, “There is no reason to assume the two recent whale strandings in the Thames are in any way linked.” After the post-mortem examination by the ZSL, the second whale was found to be ill because of the parasitic worms, Bolbosoma turbinella, inside its intestinal tract. Scientists found that it was a sei whale, a species endangered since 1970. This was only the seventh sei whale to be recorded in the UK. Like the first, this whale also had no microplastics in their stomach and intestinal tracts. However, unlike Hessey, the second whale had no evidence of previous entanglement, ship strike or traumatic injuries and was in a moderate nutritional condition. There was, however, evidence of blood accumulation in the liver of the second whale, which is proof of

its health being compromised due to being stranded outside its natural habitat. Sei whales migrate to mate in the Northern Hemisphere in autumn months and their diet, like humpbacks, mainly comprises crustaceans and krill. Different to humpbacks however, whose populations are currently increasing in free waters,

sei whales are constantly depleting due to their being a favoured species in commercial whaling. Global warming, increasing pollution, ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are all threats to the life of whales. In order to ensure the flourishing of whale populations, it is important to support charities and organizations fighting for conservation.

Photo: Unsplash

Everything you need to know about organ donation Leia Bulter Science Writer

There is an average of 6,270 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK. Across the past 10 years, 6,000 people, including 270 children, have died before receiving the transplant needed to save their lives. From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered potential organ donors, unless they choose to opt-out, or are in one of the excluded groups. The opt-out system does not apply to children under the age of 18 years old. The Government estimates that the new system has the potential to save up to 700 lives a year. The changes in England are down to ‘Max and Kiera’s law’ after Max (11), in need of a heart transplant, was saved by Kiera’s organ donation. Max and his family have campaigned ever since to encourage organ donation. Currently, on the UK’s transplant waiting list, 30% of people have been waiting for more than two years. Family refusal is currently the ‘biggest obstacle to donation’, says the NHS. According to recent statistics, 4 in 10 families refuse to allow a donation. This is usually due to religious beliefs or a lack of education and awareness around the benefits of organ donation. There are many positive elements

of organ donation: one person’s donation can save up to eight lives (donations including a heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, intestines and lungs). These organ donations give people a new lease of life and the opportunity to do things that they could never do before. Families often take comfort in the thought of their loved one’s organ living on in another, giving

“One person’s donation can save up to eight lives ” them the gift of a fulfilled life. Furthermore, faith and beliefs are always taken into consideration before organ donation goes ahead to make the right decision regarding the donation. However, ethical issues around organ donation and the opt-out method have been raised. There is the risk that the change in the law is open to abuse, with the possibility of death being hastened to secure an organ needed by another person in need. Additional concerns have been raised about the mental impact on the deceased’s family if organs are removed without

consent from them. England’s new law follows Scotland who were granted Royal Assent on 19th July 2019, giving formal confirmation that the opt-out method will become law. In other parts of the UK, such as Wales, their policy is ‘deemed consent’. This means that if you haven’t registered an organ and tissue donation decision, you will be considered to have no objection to becoming a donor. In Northern Ireland, the current policy is to optin to organ and tissue donation. Though more and more people are donating organs, there are certain communities that are struggling to receive donations. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are particularly needed on the register. A quarter of the people on the current waiting list are from these communities, and there are campaigns active to raise awareness. A spokesperson for the British Transplantation Society said: ‘As a community we are committed to increasing transplantation opportunities for every person in need of a transplant, and we are continually developing and testing new technologies and techniques to further improve the organ donation and transplantation pathway, as well as continuing to highlight the need for more organ donors. This ongoing effort will allow us to make the best use of each precious organ and lead to the highest benefit for our patients.’

Photo: Unsplash



5th November 2019

Bhutan: the ticking time-bomb of travel? Sam Hewitson Travel Editor

There is always something very satisfying about finding a hidden gem, no matter what that may be. In the case of travel, there is nothing worse than arriving somewhere to find hordes of people have beat you to it, hence, one tries to beat the crowds. Enter, Bhutan: the hidden gem of Asia, which boasts being the first carbon negative country in the world, and is on track to becoming the first entirely organic nation.

I t is quite the trailblazer in many ways, but Bhutan also has a unique tourist policy which has been developed with the intention of preservation. Travelling in Bhutan costs $250USD per day for a visa, which is a lot. $65 of this fee goes to the government as a Sustainable Development Fee in order to

contribute to environmental maintenance, education and more, so that eases the pain a little I guess. The purpose of this, however, begins to transcend the idea of sustainability. Such a fee naturally reduces the numbers visiting the country, acting as a deterrence. In my humble opinion, this is a very smart idea. Too much tourism is a very real and increasing issue, as demonstrated in neighbouring Nepal, and also Croatia, which has suffered in recent years due to the ‘Game of Thrones Effect’, a phenomenon coined to detail the sudden influx of tourism that the place cannot cope with, usually because of media exposure. Of course, having watched this happen to Nepal somewhat, and having the natural beauty it does, it is easy to see why

in Travel 2020’ yearly publication, placed Bhutan at the top of the Best Countries list, and I

“Too much tourism is a very real and increasing issue” have some strong opinions. Granted, it claimed the top spot for genuine reasons. It is beautiful. The pictures I have seen make the place seem so idyllic, with ornate temples and rolling, emerald green hills in the background. I can’t deny it, I want to go.

Travel Writer

I went to LA just after my 18th birthday and my friends and I picked out a beautiful restaurant/ bar to go to on our first night. It was quite a prestigious place, one of Lisa Vanderpump’s lounges, so the bar was set high. We got there and it was absolutely stunning. The Instagram opportunities were fab, it had a gorgeous floral wall, and the decorations inside were amazing. Alas, it went downhill from there. We had some people in the group who were American and above the legal drinking

it is being promoted as naturally preserved and untouched makes it more desirable, which encourages people to flock to the area and undo the beauty they are there to witness. I do not think that the daily fee is going to deter people for long enough, especially if exposure is going to pick up. This would then begin the downward spiral of all the tourism issues being avoided becoming realities. Western influence may start to infringe on ancient Buddhist culture, litter will increase,

Photo: Pixabay

t h e government are trying to preserve this as best as possible. Lonely Planet, in their ‘Best

L o n e l y Planet emphasised in their video about Bhutan that trailers are free from litter, and

The City of Angels (and devils) Leia Butler

‘its natural beauty and reverence remain protected’ by the daily fee. However, I do not agree that its place at the top of this list is beneficial at all. In fact, I argue this is damaging. The video states that because of the fee, ‘it won’t get anymore crowded’, which for the time being may be true, but this will not last. Heavy promotion from one of the most reputable and widely known travel companies is going to put it on consumers radars, regardless of the price tag. If it comes so highly recommended, then surely it is worth saving up for? The policies Bhutan have enacted are accompanied by the fact that it is a

age there, so we ordered some cocktails. They were really yummy, and as the sun started to go down at 'PUMP', the candles were lit, and we sipped our drinks blissfully. Little did we know, some of those drinks were spiked. Only one of us was affected, (it was only later I realised I’d swapped drinks with her earlier that night), but she was affected badly. She was shouting through the streets of LA chatting utter nonsense and talking to random strangers. At this point, we hadn't realised she'd been spiked, so when she pulled a knife out on a police officer while stopping for

a chat, to say we were confused is an understatement. Luckily the officer was really nice and pointed us in the right direction to get home safe. What a legend. The poor lass was under the weather the next day, and we realised there had been some foul play. So, my travel tip for LA is to get some anti-spiking protection nail polish, and some spiking testers. We'd watched our drinks carefully, but these things can happen in the space of a split second. Stay vigilant and protect yourself, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Photo: Flickr

relatively unknown place anyway, so removing one of those actualities makes the other more redundant. More to the point, the fact that

and pollution most likely will be a problem as a result. I am not going to encourage you to visit Bhutan, you have to decide that for yourself, and in doing so, work out your priorities: tourism or preservation? It is evident to me that Bhutan cannot have both.

Costa Rica: the unfortunate side of caring for animals Rosie Flood Travel Writer

Cutting a long story short, after over a year of saving up, a couple of friends and I arrived in Costa Rica to volunteer at an animal sanctuary. To give a quick indication of the nature of the next three weeks, almost immediately one of the members of our group began copiously vomiting. Once the vomiting was finally under control, we could get stuck into caring for the animals. Eager to make an effort, I volunteered to bottle feed some newly born possums who had been abandoned by their mother. The next thing I knew, my name had been added onto a rota for 2am that morning and it appeared that I was going to be bottle feeding them throughout the night. Deciding that refusing

to wake up at 2am would give the impression that I hated the work, I concluded that I would have to follow through with my obligation. The possums were only about

the length of my little finger and it was very much stressed that if we cut any corners or rushed feeding them, they would die. Massively sleep deprived but also with possible animal deaths on my conscience, I spent at least an hour carefully feeding random possums in the middle of the night every night for the next five days. To give more context to the story, because they were so premature, every night at least one of the possums would die. The prospect of sifting through multiple possum corpses was an interesting one to consider when setting your alarm for 2am. Upon reflection, whilst I’m hugely grateful for the opportunity to travel across the world, this was not what I visualised when I considered the summer after my A levels. If anything, I expected much more sleeping, and much less death.

Photo: Publicdomainpictures


5th November 2019 | @ConcreteUEA

The Giant's Causeway: a giant disappointment Sam Hewitson Travel Editor

Freshly out of my second year at university, and following recent developments in my life, I took a spontaneous trip to Ireland with my friend from home during the summer. Planned ten days in advance of our departure, we chose to explore Dublin, drink Guinness,

“I expected the Giant's Causeway to be, for the sake of irony, giant” but most importantly, take a trip up north to the Giant’s Causeway, which was one of the main attractions I felt towards Ireland. Having booked the wrong day at first, setting me back £80, we embarked on our tour not really knowing what we would find. Prior to the Causeway, we were taken through the beautiful Northern Irish countryside, past ruins of castles and rolling fields, to eventually arrive at the Causeway in high spirits following a good day thus far. With our hopes restored, and after a long walk down to the coast, we were surprised to then be

disappointed with what we found. I vividly recall an episode of The Simpsons, in which they visit Ireland and go to the Giant's Causeway. which established an image in my mind of the sight I was there to witness. My mind painted it as a staggeringly high and expansive natural wonder, extending for miles round the coast and the waves battering into the rocks. I expected the Giant’s Causeway to be, for the sake of irony, giant. Instead, we found a smaller, underwhelming formation. Not only was it a reduced and a less impressive sight than my naive self had imagined, but it was also horrendously overcrowded. There were long queues to get round certain parts of the rocks, and there was always somebody sat at the tallest point with the best view, guarding it with their life as if it was the top of the climbing frame in a children’s playground.

“We found a smaller, underwhelming formation” A massive tourist group moved obnoxiously in a flock around the area trying to snap the best shots

Photo: Sam Hewitson with a clear lack of regard for others, and I witnessed one young man falling off one of the pillars trying to move out of their way. There is a clear safety hazard to having hundreds of people on an already unstable and dangerous piece of land. Selfish enjoyment reasons aside, there needs to be a reform of some sort that restricts the number of visitors at a given time.

Despite all of this negativity, however, the views of the hills and sea were absolutely breathtaking. Looking out over the sea, the Scottish islands were visible, and the weather was gorgeous on the day we went. The Causeway itself, albeit underwhelming, is still a spectacular natural structure and I am glad I visited it. Climbing from pillar to pillar

made me feel like a child again, and I did get some cool photos. I only wish, however, for there to have been less people obstructing my view of the landmark I was there to experience. Because of this, the visit served as a stark reminder that the travel industry is full of realities that do not always match the image that it builds up in our minds.

A guide to adventuring without anxiety Jess Barrett Deputy Editor

Mental Health Crisis Anxiety can negatively impact your wellbeing and having an anxiety attack whilst travelling can be detrimental to how much you enjoy your trip. Everyone uses travelling as an opportunity to explore new places, spend time with family and friends, and relax. However, someone’s travel anxiety can get in the way of all of this. For a lot of people the fear of flying, being mugged or getting food poisoning whilst abroad

“Most travel anxiety isn't left at the airport” can inflict so much anxiety that it can stop them going on holiday or using particular transport, or

in the worst cases, it can prevent people from travelling all together. Other triggers for travel anxiety include visiting unfamiliar places and having to look after your money and passport – these can all feel like a large responsibility and can lead to travelling being stressful when it shouldn’t be. Most of those who travel can feel their heart beginning to race as they load their bags and jackets onto the conveyor belt through security, wondering if you have left any liquids in your rucksack. However, most travel anxiety isn’t left at the airport, it is taken on the aeroplane to your chosen destination. Having an anxiety attack whilst in a foreign location can also lead to added stress because of the language barrier. As someone who has suffered panic attacks in the past, having a panic attack in an unfamiliar place can lead to further distress, as you are unsure of who or where to turn in order to seek help. The key thing to remember if you feel yourself starting to become anxious about travelling is that there is always something you can do if worst comes to worst. If you get lost whilst abroad,

you could make sure you always carry a paper map with you to guarantee you can navigate your way around if you find yourself lost. Better still, try to carry a portable charger with you so

“There is always something you can do if worse comes to worst” you can use your phone to help guide you back to a familiar place. If you’re worried about running out of money whilst abroad, whether that’s because you’ve splashed out on food, or might have been mugged, you can always contact a family member or a friend to bank transfer some money so that you can get by for the rest of your trip and then go to a cash machine. Most cities have cash machines dotted around, leaving you able to access funds where you need, but these withdrawals often have a charge by your bank attached them so make sure

you check the percentage your bank charges before you travel. Another worry many of us face is if you get food poisoning or become ill whilst on your travels. Make sure you purchase travel health insurance. This is particularly important as our EHIC cards will soon no longer work. This might help to take a small part of the worry and anxiety we experience away. If you have a fear of flying, ensure you take something with you to distract yourself. A pack of cards or a book might seem like simple suggestions, but concentrating on something else other than your anxiety might help you forget that you are high in the sky. For those that don’t have medication to help conquer their anxiety, breathing exercises and meditation are solutions to help control it. Relaxing your muscles and counting whilst concentrating on your breathing can help you to centre yourself whilst on your travels, and also provide a distraction from all of the things you may be stressing about. The National Institute of

Health has conducted research showing that controlling your breathing through meditation can help to relieve those suffering from travel anxiety of their symptoms.

You can contact student services by calling 01603 592761 or emailing Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email jo@

Photo: Pixabay


5th November 2019


Former Norwich City centre-back, Duncan Forbes, dies at the age of 78

Photo: Wikimediacommons

Jamie Hose Sport Editor

Duncan Forbes, the much-loved former centre-back for Norwich City FC, donned a pair of yellow and green wings on Wednesday October 23. He passed away at the age of 78 at Woodside House Care Home in Heartsease, Norwich, in the presence of his family. He leaves his wife, Janette, and two sons, Elliott and Scott. The Scot had a career with the team longer than most, racking up a total of 33 years as a player, Captain, member of commercial staff, manager of Club Canary, trip organiser and finally chief scout in the run-up to his retirement in 2001.

There were brief flirtations with other clubs but in his heart, Forbes was married to Norwich City. He joined the team from Colchester in September 1968 for

“There were brief flirtations with other clubs...” a fee of £10,000, a meagre sum by today’s standards. After leaving the team, he played for Great Yarmouth Town before moving on to Diss Town as a player-coach.

But he returned to join Norwich City’s commercial staff within a year. In 1988, Forbes became the team’s chief scout, a position he held until his retirement 13 years later. During his time playing for the team, he made a total of 357 appearances, and scored a total of 12 goals. He was awarded the Barry Butler Trophy, the fan’s player of the season award, in 1970, and went on to captain the Canaries to their first ever Second Division title and promotion to the league above. However, his turn at the wheel wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, with the team suffering losses in the League Cup finals in both 1973 and 1975. But his popularity with fans of the team was never up for debate.

In 2002 he was inaugurated into the Norwich City Hall of Fame, and in March 2014, a Premier League match against Stoke City was used to raise funds for his care, after he

“... but in his heart, Forbes was married to Norwich City” was moved into a care home the previous year. Forbes had been receiving treatment for Alzheimer’s since 2007. Before the match, Norwich

City players warmed up in commemorative ‘Forbes’ t-shirts which were auctioned out after the game. In addition, all of the profits from the day’s programme were donated to his care. In remembrance of Forbes, a minute silence was planned for the home game for Norwich City against Manchester United on October 27th. Spectators were asked to arrive early before kickoff to find their seats and pay their respects. But instead of the silence a round of applause burst across the stadium after the commentator read out a summary of Forbes’ time with the club. It was followed by a tearful round of the club anthem, ‘On The Ball City.’

Triumphs and trials for UEA Tennis Ellie Bradshaw Sport Writer

It’s been a slightly hit and miss start to the year for Tennis. Many of our sessions have been cancelled due to rain, but this hasn’t stopped people joining! We’ve had great turn outs to our tasters and Do Something Different events this year, such as our Welcome Tournament, which saw over 60 people turn up. Trials were also a success with many attendees making the BUCS teams and Development Squads. Our captains are working hard to develop the skills of our squad members to prime them for matches in BUCS, Fast4, Sunday League and Team Challenge. Following a week of loses on

9th October, we were pleased to have wins from all teams on 16th October - a great testament to their resilience. We look forward to some more successful matchplay and results. Recently, our Tennis Activators, Alex Lee and Stephanie Corbyn, attended the LTA’s National University Training event. The day consisted of learning how to develop our tennis programme and club values through a variety of interactive talks. Our Publicity Secretary Ellie Bradshaw also delivered a talk on the importance of social media use in promoting university tennis. Alex is particularly keen to create competitive opportunities for all levels within the club, such as with a ‘Fast4’ formatted competition. On a slightly different note - our

socials have been as busy as ever, with both Returners and Freshers attending our events. We started the year with our Animal themed Freshers social, followed by many sports nights and our 999 Bar Crawl with Badminton and Squash. Plenty more socials are planned, including our sober social (bowling), Winter Ball at the Assembly House and Tri-Racket Football Tournament! We also plan to do a quiz to fundraise money for the club in the future to pay for new balls and other equipment. We’re particularly keen to also raise

Photo: UEA Tennis Club money for Movember and already have several people signed up. With so much planned for this semester, we hope our club

members are eager to get stuck in and anyone still considering joining does so too!


5th November 2019 | @Concrete_UEA

Ice to meet you Scarlett McNicol Sport Writer

Yes, there is an ice hockey team at UEA and no, sadly there is no rink in Norwich. We head on over to Peterborough for our training, two hours every fortnight. It’s an hour and a half away, but it’s well worth the trip. The team, Avalanche (or just Avs to everyone who knows us), is fortunate to have some extremely

“It’s exciting to see how many women the team now has.” Photo: Trish Thompson Photograhy dedicated members, a large part of which is down to the family atmosphere that the team has. Last year the Avs took on teams from all over the country in chilly combat, accompanied by our B team, who we’ve affectionately nicknamed the Abs! It was the first time in history that UEA has been able to take two teams to nationals. This year we’re building on that success, and we hope to run some

dedicated development team games and get the Abs to nationals with us again this year. With a game pencilled in with Kent, the whole team is excited to get even more ice time this year. The biggest change this year for the team is the movement from Division 3 South Non-checking (we still play a contact sport, but you are no longer allowed to intentionally skate hard into opponents) to

Division 2. After winning 9 out of our 10 games last year, the Avs are presented with the challenge of tougher teams, especially after saying goodbye to some of last year’s players. But it is a great opportunity for the team. The sport is still attracting wide appeal this year, taking in plenty of new players who all showed great promise in their initial training this

year, filling the whole team with confidence. It was clear that everyone was excited to get back on the ice, especially with many players having had the summer off. We went through several drills, ending the night with a scrim (a small practice game). It’s exciting to see how many women the team now has. As we’re a mixed team it’s always nice to

see as many of them on the ice as possible. But it would be wrong of me to suggest that hockey was the only ice-related sport on offer. UEA Ice also has dedicated figure skaters, as well as rec skaters who come along each week to get on the ice. With figure skating competitions being held later in the year, now is an excellent time to get into winter sports at UEA.

Anthony Joshua: freedom fighter or fool?

Luke Saward Sport Senior Writer

On December 7, Britain’s Anthony Joshua will attempt to reclaim the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world titles he lost to Mexico’s Andy Ruiz Jr and avenge the sole defeat of his career. Exciting, right? Well, not for everyone. The stage is set for one of the biggest matches of the year, but it is where that stage is being set that is upsetting fans and other members of the boxing community alike. Saudi Arabia is a country known for its human rights violations, such as imposing the death penalty for

Photo: Wikimediacommons homosexuality. Yet it is the outskirts of the

“Joshua should take the fight - not only to Ruiz Jr” capital city Riyadh that will be host to 15,000 onlookers of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist. Felix Jakens, the Head of Campaigns for Amnesty International UK, accused Saudi

leaders of using sport to attempt to mask the public’s perception of travesties, such as the Saudiled military operations in Yemen. Tolls number thousands of civilian deaths, with many more due to a famine caused by the ongoing conflict. However, their appeals appear to have failed where New Yorkbased Human Rights Foundation’s succeeded in getting Nicki Minaj to pull out of the Jeddah World Fest in July this year. With Amir Khan’s fourth-round stoppage of Australian Billy Dib bordering upon an exhibition, Joshua’s bout will be, for many, the largest Saudi sporting event in

recent memory. Promoter Eddie Hearn believes this will be: “helpful

“Joshua’s latest career move... will be an opporunity missed” to Saudi Arabia’s progress in the field of human rights”. But will Joshua publicly speak against the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi? Will

he condemn the imprisonment of women’s rights activist, Loujain alHathloul? It seems not, with the Briton commenting that he expects the boxing “to open up the barriers”, stating that he will “abide by the law”, and those who cannot attend “can still watch”. Joshua should take the fight – not only to Ruiz Jr – but to Saudi policies on human rights, with the chance to encourage acceptance in of one of the most hostile nations on Earth. However, it appears that Joshua’s latest career move – although not a wrong one, will be an opportunity missed.


5th November 2019


UEA Netball hopeful of promotion Yasmin Scott-Gray Sport Writer

UEA Netball Club (UEANC) have got off to a superb start to their 2019/20 BUCS season. This year is a huge year for the club and particularly the two BUCS teams as they both have promotion set in their sights. The BUCS season began with the 1st team at home against De Montfort University 1st team, which drew a great home crowd to support. The girls played their absolute hearts out, demonstrating that they

“Away games can often be tough without your own fans for support” meant business for this year. They had a comfortable win with a final score of 77-36. This win is something which can be credited to the whole team, as everyone put in a solid performance, from those who were turning over the oppositions attack to the shooters who collectively got 77 goals between them. In particular, Tara Chapman and Deanna Hollings were named players of the match as they really stood out. The 2nd team also had a great start against Bedfordshire University, despite their first BUCS game of the season being away from home. Their final score was 87-7, and once again you can see the effort which was put in by each and every

Photo: UEA Netball Club member of the squad. The players of the match were awarded to Yasmin Scott-Gray and Millie Maguire after a really good game from them both. The following Wednesday also resulted in a double BUCS win for the netball girls. The 1st team travelled to Nottingham to play their 4th team

and won convincingly, with the final score being 60-45. Away games can often be tough without your own fans for support and with the long journey before play, however the 1st team still did a fantastic job. The 2nd team had their first home game of the season where they faced Coventry 3rd team.

The home crowd did a great job of keeping the girls’ spirits high and they had a really great game with the final score being 49-25 to UEA. In spite of a few dips throughout the game, UEA ran away with the 3rd quarter and continued to increase their score. This was not only a testament to how good the team is, but also

how far they continue to push themselves. These BUCS results are a really positive reflection of how hard both teams have been working during their training sessions leading up to the games. Both teams are fighting hard to win every game of the season. Hopefully, this will result in a promotion.

UEA Boxing: it’s not like ‘Fight Club’ Imogen Ince Sport Writer

As UEA’s ‘This Girl Can’ Week reaches its end, it’s safe to say that this campaign has made an impression on me – I’m happy to announce that this girl ‘could’. You see, I had spent the majority of First-Year either sitting or lying down, to the point of muscular atrophy, so I decided that it was finally time to get active. After dabbling in many a taster session, like some exhausting, sweat-inducing speed dating, I finally discovered boxing. I

originally coerced a friend into joining me, thinking that if my nose was going to be broken I’d at least know the name of the person who did it, but I’m fortunate to say that nothing on my face has been rearranged yet. The truth is that boxing is less ‘Fight Club’ and more of a lesson in self-esteem which just so happens to teach a mean uppercut. No one pushed me beyond my limits. No one shamed me for the fact that I couldn’t do fifteen press-ups in a row. The atmosphere is encouraging, even for me, the slacker at the back who pretends that lying on her stomach is the same as a plank.

The reason I’m saying this isn’t just to document my lack of upper body strength but to show that you don’t need to be a professional sportsperson to enjoy this aspect of student life. You’ve heard it all before; UEA’s facilities are Olympic grade, with enough space to host over 50 sports clubs, which can all seem a little overwhelming for someone trying to find a sport that suits them. What matters most isn’t what you may feel is a more ‘impressive’ sport and not what looks best emblazoned onto the back of a jacket, but how comfortable and happy you feel in your chosen environment.

Photo: UEA Boxing Club

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