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gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1095 Monday 13th March 2017 JOMEC is moving to a new building in Cardiff Central


Credit: Cardiff University

Shocking new figures reveal amount of money collected in library fines Harry Webster


ew figures have revealed the staggering amount of money collected by the University in library fines in the 2015/16 academic year, raising concerns amongst students as to what their money has been being spent on. In the year beginning on the first day of term in September 2015, Cardiff ’s libraries received over £170,000 in fines, with around £145,000 of that figure being attributed to undergraduate and postgraduate students alone. The figure - which excludes money paid to replace lost or stolen items - has been vaguely said to go towards information resources, such as the purchasing of new books and journal subscriptions. One third year English Literature student, Harry Borg, expressed dis-

may being hit with a £28 fine, after failing to renew his books over the Christmas period last year. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, Mr. Borg said, “I was shocked at the amount of money being attributed to my account. I use the library service to save money in not paying for books. “Being an English student, some of modules are very large, and often there aren’t enough copies of the text books I need in the library. I therefore find it had to believe that money collected in fines in being fully reinvested in the libraries resources.” By contrast, Isabella Nicholson, a third-year journalism student, said she “didn’t mind” being hit by library fines - citing the subsidised access to online journals as being extremely helpful to her degree. “For the majority of my essays is made up of research published in online journals - which cost a fortune to subscribe to individually. As

long as I know my money is going to the maintenance of such services, I don’t mind fines.” The University has however adopted a new management system for its library services in the last year Fines are now only awarded when an item is overdue after being requested by another student The new ‘ALMA’ system also automatically renews books, and allows students to return their books to any of the University’s libraries; two functions that the University argues has led to a “dramatic” decrease in the number of fines being granted. The new system has since been praised by some students, with third year politics student, Adam George, telling Gair Rhydd: “The new library system is much better -the automatic renewal system is fantastic, but more importantly, the request system has paid dividends

for me doing my dissertation. “I’m able to get the very specific subject books I need on time.” Speaking of the change brought about by the new library system, Mo Hanafy, Vice President Education, Students’ Union said, “It’s really positive to see that the new fines system has had such a positive impact on students. There really seems to be a recurring pattern that the libraries team and the elected officers do such great work when they come together. Fantastic news.” Meanwhile Tracey Stanley of the University Library Service said, “The University Library Service has introduced an automatic renewals service for items out on loan, from August 2016. “Most items will usually renew automatically, providing there is no reservation on the item. We’d ultimately like to achieve zero fines, with all requested books being returned on time.”

ardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies is moving location. The official announcement was made a couple of weeks ago that a state-of-the-art building in the new Central Square by the train station will be JOMEC’s new home. Professor Stuart Allan, Head of Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, said: “The School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies is one of the leading Schools in the UK and internationally. The BBC’s global reputation for media production, together with the innovative design of the new buildings, will make this a centre for excellence that will be genuinely world-class. “This is an exciting opportunity, and the School is striving to make the most of it for the benefit of our University and its students as well as for Cardiff as the creative capital of Wales.”

Cardiff schools move up in world rankings


ournalism at Cardiff University is ranked 34th in the world, making it into the top 50 in the Media and Communications subject area for the first time. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject, it’s Cardiff ’s highest ranked subject in the tables, compiled by evaluating 4,438 universities across the globe and 42 subject areas. Other top subjects include Architecture and Psychology, ranked 39th and 43rd respectively. In total, ten subjects are in the top 100 this year, compared to eight last year, and 23 subject areas in the top 200. Professor Elizabeth Treasure, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Our long term challenge remains to improve standards across the board and achieve an overall top 100 world ranking.” The latest overall ranking puts Cardiff at 140th in the world, down from 122nd the in 2015.

2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Maria Mellor Deputy Editors Toby Holloway Emily Giblett

the free word

Get places in life through hard work

News Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster Comment Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders Columnist Helena Hanson Advice Anwen Williams George Watkins Politics Adam George Ellise Nicholls Science Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert Societies Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris Taf-Od Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher Sport James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie Digital Media Editor Emily Giblett Social Media Coordinator Olivia Watts Cartoonist Tom Morris Copy Editors Molly Ambler Phoebe Grinter Conor Holohan Lydia Jackson Olivia Botting Hannah Woodward Get involved Editorial conferences are each Monday at 6:30pm. Write to the editor editor@gairrhydd.com At Gair Rhydd we take seriously our responsibility to maintain the highest possible standards. Sometimes, because of deadline pressures, we may make some mistakes. If you believe we have fallen below the standards we seek to uphold, please email editor@gairrhydd. com. You can view our Ethical Policy Statement and Complaints Procedure at cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/complaints Opinions expressed in editorials are not reflective of Cardiff Student Media, who act as the publisher of Gair Rhydd in legal terms, and should not be considered official communications or the organisation’s stance. Gair Rhydd is a Post Office registered newspaper.

Self-doubt is the enemy of success

Maria Mellor


t’s a life lesson people learn at different stages in life: it could be when you’re a kid and are the first one of your peers to learn how to read, maybe it was doing your GCSEs or your first weekend job. For a lot of us, we’re realising the true merits of hard work in our third year of university. Sure we have worked before - we made it this far through our degrees without too many setbacks - but it took fear to properly get us on our toes. In first year I did the reading for my course, wrote my essays and studied for my exams. In second year I did all of this and ran the science section of this very newspaper. For the first semester of third year I studied for my degree and was editor-in-chief, overseeing all the sections. Now there’s all of this plus applying for jobs. Then when I’m not applying for jobs I am making my-

self look good for potential employers by vamping and re-vamping my CV, making business cards, signing up for networking events and mailing lists, making friends with people in the sector I want to go into. Then every year there’s still room to make time for socialising, keeping up with hobbies and general self-care. I never thought I would enjoy being busy so much. It’s stressful and at times has me tearing my hair out but I take pride in my achievements. This may all sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but all around me I see people doing the same. There are members of my team with part time jobs, internships and passion projects. There are people contacting me weekly asking how they can get involved in the paper. There are the new recruits we have hired who are ever so helpful. Still everyone I encounter has this fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, or just plain fear of the future. You can either let it get the best of you or use it to your advantage. Let it drive

you to do better. What’s more, don’t let what other people bother you. In the past I have been put off doing things because I have seen other people doing it so much better than I thought I could ever do. Now I tell myself, if you never try then you’ll never know. With this attitude, you can teach yourself pretty much anything, whether it’s Adobe Photoshop or that instrument you’ve always wanted to play. That’s what the internet is for-you can find a ‘how to’ on pretty much anything. It’s not just in Gair Rhydd who is working hard and achieving good things either. In CUTV I have watched the lovely ladies on the ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ project come up with some great plans for their series about feminism and what it means to them. The first episode is up online now - watch it and you might even catch me talking about being a #GirlBoss. Further afield I have discovered a couple of useful resources that might

be helpful if you’re in a similar position as me. Firstly social media in general is great - nearly every big employer is bound to be on social media in some capacity. Find them, drop them a cheeky tweet maybe replying to something they’ve done or showing how you appreciate them. Use their hashtags - they’ll love that! Second is a website called ‘Glassdoor’. You can find out inside information about your prospective employer, or even your chosen position in the company. The internet can be your friend in multiple ways - make sure you use it to your advantage! Also always be mindful of what you put on there. Cardiff University has launched a new campaign you may have seen - #Social7. They give their seven top tips to make sure that one silly tweet doesn’t ruin your opportunities. You don’t have to limit what you put online, there’s no need to look like an emotionless robot, but make sure you take the appropriate measures to get what you want.

Campus in Brief Campus in Brief

Wales Wales

CARDIFF NEW MULTIMULTICARDIFFMET MET PLANS PLANS NEW MILLION CAMPUS MILLIONPOUND POUND TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS TOTOATTRACT STUDENTS ATTRACT 2000 2000 STUDENTS Cardiff Metropolitan University to develop developaanew newSchool School Cardiff Metropolitan Universityhas hasunveiled unveiled plans to ofof Technology, setset to to open the growing growingneed needofofemployemployTechnology, openinin2024 2024ininorder orderto to serve serve the in South Wales’ growingtech techsector. sector.Although Although a location ers ers in South Wales’ growing locationisisyet yettotobebe confirmed, a brownfieldsite siteininthe thecity citycentre centre adjacent adjacent to confirmed, a brownfield toCallaghan CallaghanSquare Square owned WelshGovernment, Government,looks looks to to be be aa likely andand owned byby thethe Welsh likelychoice. choice.InInorder ordertoto make scheme financiallyviable, viable,the theuniversity university would make thethe scheme financially wouldlook looktotopartner partnerwith with technology companies in the hope to produce ‘work-ready’ graduates trained technology companies in the hope to produce ‘work-ready’ graduates trained in fields such cybersecurity, security,artificial artificialintelligence intelligence and in fields such as as cyber anddata datascience. science.





Words and Design by Emily Giblett

Words and Design by Emily Giblett

Hawaii has become the first state in America to file a law Hawaii has Donald becomeTrump’s the first suit against state in America to file a law revised travel ban. The execusuit against Donald Trump’s tive order, branded ‘Muslim revised execuBan 2.0’ travel by the ban. state’sThe Attorney tive order, branded General, is set to take‘Muslim effect on 16th 2.0’ March, andstate’s will place a Ban by the Attorney 90-day ban General, is on setcitizens to take from effectsix on countries where the a 16th March, andIslam will isplace most popular and afrom six 90-day ban onfaith, citizens 120-day ban on travel countries where Islamofisallthe refugees to the faith, USA. Speaking most popular and a about the revised directive, 120-day ban on travel of all Hawaii Attorney General Doug refugees to the USA. Speaking Chin told the BBC, ‘Nothing of about the has revised directive, substance changed: There is Hawaii Attorney General Doug the same blanket ban on entry Chin told the BBC, ‘Nothing from Muslim-majority coun- of substance changed: There is tries (minushas one). ’ The new the same ban from on entry order bansblanket individuals from Muslim-majority countries including Libya,counSyria and Sudan, does not new ban tries (minusbut one). ’ The those travelling from Iraq, a order bans individuals from significant including change from the Syria countries Libya, original order. and Sudan, but does not ban

those travelling from Iraq, a significant change from the original order.



HAMMONDTARGETS TARGETS HAMMOND CIGARETTESAND AND NATIONAL CIGARETTES NATIONAL INSURANCEININ LATESTINSURANCE LATESTBUDGET BUDGET Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of theofExchequer, released the details Phillip Hammond, Chancellor the Exchequer, released the of details of hishis firstfirst budget last week. Some of the main areas affected by the budget last week. Some of the main areas affected new by the new budget include personal taxation, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, fuel andfuel and budget include personal taxation, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pensions. Class 4 National Insurance, affecting self-employed individpensions. Class 4 National Insurance, affecting self-employed individuals who earn between £8,060-£43,000, is set to rise from 9% to 10% uals who earn between £8,060-£43,000, is set to rise from 9% to 10% in April 2018 and 11% in 2019. The annual rate of inflation is set to April 2018 in 2019.and Thetheannual of inflation riseinfrom 2.3% to and 2.4%11% in 2017-18, budgetrate projects that a is set to rise from 2.3% to 2.4% in 2017-18, and the budget projects further 650,000 people will become employed by 2021. The price ofthat a further people become employed 2021. The price of tobacco will650,000 be raised by 2%will above RPI (Retail Price by Index) inflation, tobacco will be raised by 2% above RPI (Retail Price Index) meaning that a packet of 20 cigarettes will now cost 35p more, and inflation, the meaning a packet of 20will cigarettes now cost 35p more, and the price of a 30gthat pouch of tobacco now be will 42p more expensive. price of a 30gwill pouch of tobacco will now be 42p more expensive. Duty on alcohol increase in line with RPI inflation, meaning that a pint of beer will be will 1p more expensive, pint of cider 2p more, a Duty on alcohol increase in linea with RPI inflation, meaning that bottle of whisky a bottle of gin 32p more. New measa pint of beer36p willmore, be 1pand more expensive, a pint of cider 2p more, a ures will be order and to curb abuseofofgin overseas pension bottle of introduced whisky 36pinmore, a bottle 32p more. New measschemes. Based in England, £300m will be allocated to help fund ures will be introduced in order to curb abuse of overseas pension 1,000 PhD places and in STEM subjects. There will be an schemes. Based infellowships England, £300m will be allocated to help fund upgrade of £216m funding for existing schoos, whilst £320m has 1,000 PhD places and fellowships in STEM subjects. Therebeen will be an set aside to create 110 new grammar schools. upgrade of £216m funding for existing schoos, whilst £320m has been £100m will be kept aside to place more set aside to create 110 new grammar schools. GPs in A&E departments next £100m will be kept aside to place more winter.

GPs in A&E departments next winter.



30g TOBACCO 42p


42p 35p 20 PACK OF CIGARETTES 35p



Editors: Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster @GairRhyddNews news@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/news

Wetherspoon’s stirs concerns for Wombany Street music scene

Ellise Nicholls

The Full Moon club and Clwb Ifor Bach have sent complaints to the council.


etherspoon’s stirs concerns for Wombany Street music scene Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has provoked public criticism with plans to open its first Cardiff hotel. The proposal, agreed by Cardiff Council, is to use the empty floors above the Gatekeeper pub for the space to build 17 rooms. The pub sits between Womanby Street and Westgate Street, a place known for its live music venues such as Full Moon Club, Clwb Ifor Bach and Fuel. Steve Bines, from the Full Moon Club, said that although UK regulations helping small music venues were introduced in 2016, this wasn’t adopted in Wales. This means that any noise complaints made by customers at the new hotel could have a significant impact on existing businesses. In response to the planning application, two well-known live music venues, the Full Moon club and Clwb Ifor Bach have sent complaints to the council. Given the nature of music venues, they said noise from their clubs is likely to affect the hotel residents. The clubs worry that if Wetherspoon customers complain to the pub

chain owner, the blame could be put on their venues, despite them being long established venues for live music. But the developer of the hotels room says “the proposals do not affect the immediate commercial area or affect the amenities of any adjacent buildings.” The creation of the hotel rooms will benefit “tourism and commerce” in Cardiff. According to WalesOnline, a lawyer acting on behalf of Clwb Ifor Bach and Gub Bars LTS, said that the venues “form an integral part of a vibrant night time leisure and entertainment scene along Womanby Street which maintains an extremely popular focus for Cardiff ’s night time economy. “And with such vibrancy comes a certain degree of noise at evening times as revellers move along the street and between venues. Moreover, existing establishments also provide smoking areas for customers, some of which are visible (and audible) from the streetscene. “I am conscious that hotel rooms exist to serve a particular purpose to enable persons to enjoy a night of sleep. And to this end, it is rightly assumed that those individuals occupying the proposed rooms will be seek-

ing the right to a decent night’s sleep.” In other words, the proposed development would be in breach of the council’s own noise restrictions. Whilst they have made it clear they are not against the principle of the creation of a hotel, they can foresee that there may be a significant number of complaints about noise on the street from people staying there. They worry that if investigated, the council would be led back to venues like theirs. “The risk of any such complaint will of course be magnified if a series of complaints from residents are raised to the proprietors and they then decide to make a complaint on behalf of the aggregated impact on their business. “This represents a real and absolute concern for my client, who is well versed in the problems that have faced other established music venues elsewhere in the UK - the high-profile examples of Ministry of Sound, Fabric and Motion Club being foremost in the media in recent times.” Someone else against the plans is founder and director of Cardiff Music Awards, Ed Towned. He says the council try to protect the city’s live music venues. “We’re looking to the council to

protect live music in Cardiff. It is such a fantastic export.” Someone called “Music Supporter” has recently started a petition, that reads: “Womany Street has been a cultural hub in Cardiff for 40+ years. “The introduction of a hotel would force the closure of live music on the street. Without Womanby Street Cardiff ’s live music scene would effectively die. Please support the music scene in Cardiff, we have plenty of hotels, plenty of rooms, we don’t need another. “Support live music in our community, boycott Wetherspoon’s.” After being live for just one night, almost 2,000 people have signed the petition. The planning permission is valid for five years and, as part of the permission, sound insulation conditions have been put in place as a means to “ensure that the amenities of future occupies are protected”. A JD Wetherspoon spokesman said: “There are no on site and opening dates confirmed for the hotel project at The Gatekeeper, in Cardiff, as yet. “However the work is planned for sometime this year. We do not see any reason why this would have an impact on the live music venues in the area.”

Pictured: Wombanay Street’s music scene could be under threat. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

We’re looking to the council to protect live music in Cardiff. It is such a fantastic export. Ed Towned, Director of Cardiff Music Awards


Cardiff man arrested in international slavery operation Emily Murray

The exploitation of vulnerable people within Wales will be given the highest priority by South Wales Police. Detective Inspector Tudor Thomas


Cardiff man has been arrested as part of an undercover operation into modern slavery A 43-year-old-man has been arrested in Cardiff after an alleged international operation into modern-day slavery. The arrest took place in the Llanishen area following a seven-month operation set out by the South Wales Police via Europol and the Czech Police Organised Crime Unit working as part of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Detective Inspector Tudor Thomas, of South Wales Police, said that this joint operation is the first of its kind in South Wales. The covert investigation worked jointly with partner agencies in the UK such as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), National Crime Agency and Bawso who conducted parallel investigations looking into benefit and tax fraud offending within the UK. The man has been released on police bail while further investigations take place. Thomas commented on the arrest saying: “The joint working protocols between the Welsh and Czech investigations have enabled simultaneous activity in both countries to be able to focus on the entire criminal network involved in trafficking vulnerable people for the purposes of labour exploitation. “The exploitation of vulnerable peo-

ple within Wales will be given the highest priority by South Wales Police, our partners and todays arrests demonstrate the International commitment to tackle modern slavery and protect people from harm.” Stephen Champman, the Welsh Government anti-slavery co-ordinator, said: ‘Slavery is a global problem. “Our aim is to make Welsh hostile to slavery and to provide the best possible support to survivors.” This is not however the first time Wales has been at the centre of of such an operation, with Gwent Police’s ‘Operation Imperial’ launched in 2013 being the largest investigation into forced labour in the UK to date. The operation began in search for missing man, Darrell Simester, who was subsequently found to be held against his will working on a farm outside Newport. Mr Simester’s captor, David Dornan, aged 43, was subsequently charged with four-and-a-half years imprisonment under the Modern Slavery Act. The mass media attention granted to Mr. Dornan’s trial resultingly led to another man, Michael Hughes aged 46, coming forward to tell detectives how he had been held against wills for 25 years. Four men: Patrick Joseph Connors, 59; son Patrick Dean Connors, 39; and nephew William Connors, 34, were consequently found guilty of making Mr. Hughes perform forced labour in

2013, and were charged with a combined total of 27-years imprisonment. Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths at the time spoke of the violence that the two men had received by their enslavers, saying that the defendants “had complete control over the two victims

and both were broken men.” Upon the conclusion of the operation, Ch. Supt. Griffiths noted that forced labour was “prevalent across the UK”, and that their findings would be passed on to help other investigations across the UK.

Pictured: Police enclose a crimes scene. (Photographer: Carl Thornton, via Flickr)

Air pollution in Wales a “public health crisis”

Lucy McDaid


ir pollution in Wales is amongst the worst in the UK, and has been deemed a “public health crisis” by Public Health Wales. According to the organization, air pollution is the cause of around 2,000 deaths a year in the country - a statistic equivalent to roughly five deaths a day. A major reason given for the crisis

is diesel engines. Road tax for diesel cars was reduced in 2001 and increased air pollution levels have been recorded ever since. These engines cause harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide to accumulate in the air, and the Welsh health body have claimed that this is a more serious issue than both obesity and alcohol consumption. Huw Brunt, a Consultant in Envi-

ronmental Public Health Protection for Public Health Wales, has noted that air pollution is secondary to smoking on the list of public health priorities, but claims that “obesity, inactivity and alcohol, they actually come behind air pollution.” Brunt highlights its impact on both short and long-term health, suggesting that the long term consequences are more serious, affecting the heart, lungs and possibly even causing cancer. In January of this year, the Welsh government’s environmental department also revealed that South Wales was experiencing increased levels of air pollution as a consequence of ‘cold, still weather’. According to the department, it had reached seven out of ten on the scale because settled weather conditions were failing to move the pollution. They similarly identified diesel engines as the main instigators. Cardiff, was not however the worst affected area in the country, with Hafodyrynys Road in Crumlin, Caerphilly, supposedly being the most polluted street in the UK outside of London. The road has breached EU pollution limits 57 times in 2017 alone.

Roads with high levels of air pollution have to be identified as Air Quality Management Areas, and there are currently 41 of these in Wales, whilst 894 locations are monitored for nitrogen dioxide levels. The people allegedly most at risk from this air pollution crisis are children, elderly people and anyone with existing lung respiratory problems such as asthma. Speaking to the BBC, Huw Morgan, chairman of the Welsh Pollution Expert Panel, claimed it might be time for parts of Wales to start implementing restrictions on diesel vehicles in some “very specific areas” where air pollution is high. Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, last week referred to Wales’ air pollution as a “crisis”, and urged First Minister Carwyn Jones to hold a multi-agency summit to look into solving the problem The Welsh Government have since responded by consulting with local councils to look into how they are currently dealing with the issue, and have sought to reassure the Welsh population that they are dedicated to the improvement of air quality and aim to reduce emissions.

Pictured: Traffic is a primary cause of air pollution. (phot credit: Wikimedia)

Obesity, inactivity and alcohol, actually all come behind air pollution. Huw Brunt, Public Health Wales

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COMMENT 7 Editors: Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders @GairRhyddCom comment@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/comment

The truth about student elections Pictured: A satirical take on this years SU elections. (Cartoon by Tom Morris)

Tom Morris

What we’re really doing when campaigning is advertising the services of Cardiff Students Union to the many students at Cardiff University.


y first real interest in student politics began at the student media ball of 2015, where then Gair Rhydd editor Michael O’ConnellDavidson heckled every sabbatical officer that took the stage: “20K!” It took me a while to realize he was referring to their salaries. (It wasn’t until later that I learned Mike was being paid as well, though not nearly as much). During the autumn semester of 2015 I emailed Hannah Sterritt, then VP Societies, asking how she made her position. She recommended becoming Societies Editor on Gair Rhydd, and as I already intended to get a GR position it seemed like a good role to go for that might give me the experience needed. I watched the 2016 elections with some interest, but only later did I think that maybe I should have tried running, just to see what it’s like. And believe me, now I know: no-one knows what it’s like to run unless you have done it yourself. I’ve made my short foray into student politics, been soundly bested, and am now retreating in order to do nothing more than provide hot takes on union goings on from this very paper’s pages once more. This year, candidates had a lot of help. The SU election team (mainly called Steve) directed candidates towards strategies, voting statistics, and the ins and outs of the rules regarding budget, where to make noise, when to catch a bus to the Heath and so on. Candidates got £30 each to spend on their run. This meant they could spend £30 on items they would not otherwise have bought and would not be using af-

terwards for the election process. Some things are exempt such as costumes, paint, and petrol; and the first 400 flyers are printed free. This means two things, first ensuring that the rich and privileged candidate cannot blast past the poorer students but also to help those who have no money to compete at all, as they know that £30 of their costs will be reimbursed. Another rule is that candidates can’t bad mouth each other, can’t criticise each other’s manifestos, campaign styles, and so on. This means that you get ridiculous situations such as turning up to a lecture to find two or three other candidates of the same category as you about to lecture the class. In these situations I tried to remedy the situation by telling the class: “I’m sure you’re bored of us by now, so my main policy is to let you get back to your lecture. Remember to vote, and vote Tom!” This, of course, didn’t work. A good mix of annoyingly frequent interruptions and reminding people to vote for anyone, avoiding the trap of looking selfish, seems to work best. Just because you can’t attack each other doesn’t mean you’re not a politician though. You’ve got to watch what you say; you’ve got a lot of people to impress that you might not normally see eye to eye with, from Welsh speakers to the young Conservatives. About halfway through the week, then, it dawned on me: there is not really a need for the big palaver if all we’re really doing is choosing new representatives of the union to lead it next year. It is a weirdly torturous job interview, and

it’s definitely not being a politician because of how you have to be civil with your rivals. I came to the conclusion that what we’re really doing when campaigning is advertising the services of Cardiff Students Union to the many students at Cardiff University. It makes sense if you think, why are so many people, most of which are not usually involved with the SU, invited to make decisions about the activities the SU runs, which aren’t always just for Cardiff University students? For example, there are Cardiff Met and USW students who get involved, there are graduates/alumni who continue to turn up to societies they loved during their time at Cardiff, sometimes even siblings. None of these people can vote, yet all Cardiff students can. The fact that not many do is irrelevant- one in five is enough to keep the SU’s engagement figures perky. Keeping that in mind, the election process encourages candidates to be as annoying as possible. You skip your own lectures in favour of others; maybe first years’ as they’re the most populated or maybe third years as they’re most likely to vote. There’s also the Facebook group spam. Get into as many groups and lectures that are not your own as possible. It’s some kind of weird turf war, where each school or society is a capture point around the campus. This also means that if you have, say, a group of people who’ll go round putting posters up for you, allowing you to focus on actually doing the shout-outs and connecting with people in cafes, and also a car to get between places quicker, you have a decent advantage.

The best spammer wins- so why don’t candidates put their case forward in Gair Rhydd? Well one answer is that as mentioned the elections serve as a way to advertise the Union to those who are not normally engaged with it- the same people who don’t read Gair Rhydd anyway. The real answer is that Gair Rhydd is, although editorially independent of SU HQ, a Union publication. Under the Education Act (an actual law!) any opportunity given to publicize your campaign through student media needs to be given to all candidates. This is why Xpress and CUTV had to interview all candidates and not just those who could make it to interviews. I intended to place an article in Comment about the future of student media and how I intended to improve the media office and students’ perception of student media as VP Societies. I could not do this however as it would not be as easy for other candidates to do and would be considered pre-campaigning. Would I do it again? No, as I’ll either be graduated or busy with a Masters. I said in my GR interview that it would have been a good idea to run last year- I was of course referring to Aidan. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him, and thinking about it now after finishing the week I don’t think I’d have done it twicethe exhaustion was hardly worth it, especially after realizing it’s basically just a “friendly” competition where you prove to the student populace how annoying you are. “May the best man win,” I jokingly told Temi at the start of the week. And the best man/woman does winbut not for the job they might originally have thought they were running for.

Why are so many people, most of which are not usually involved with the SU, invited to make decisions about the activities the SU runs?



Free heroin to be given to addicts in Durham Ron Hogg endorses reform in the way the police tackle drug crime

Dylan Graham

Drug addiction should be treated as a medical problem and that drug addicts should not be criminalised.


on Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham, believes that the UK must adopt alternative drug policies as the current system is failing. This comes less than two years after Mr Hogg endorsed a program that helps cannabis users to deal with their habit rather than being prosecuted. The new scheme aims to reduce the number of heroin users from stealing to fund their addictions, as well as lower the number of drug related deaths. This adds to the ongoing debate of drug legislation in the UK, with supporters of policies such as this claiming that drug addiction should be treated as a medical problem and that drug addicts should not be criminalised. However, critics of this scheme claim that it will just feed addictions rather than help people get clean. It is also controversial as many believe that the money being used to fund such a program should instead be spent on catching suppliers of drugs. The cost of supplying medicinal heroin is roughly £15,000 per person per year, however, this is a third

of the cost of keeping someone in prison. With heroin related deaths on the increase in recent years, it seems that there should be a revaluation as to how to tackle such an issue. Due to the controversial nature of drug legislation, none of the main political parties in the UK are committed to radical change in policy, something that Mr Hogg believes is necessary to overcome the current issues caused by drugs. It is my opinion that there needs to be a drastic change in drug legislation policy in the UK. The current criminalisation of drugs has been the stance for decades now and there have been no signs of a reduction in drug use, and drug related deaths from heroin have been increasing. If the results from this scheme prove to be positive, it could be detrimental in changing social attitudes towards a medical understanding of addiction, rather than a criminal one. The bottom line of policies such as this is to get people into recovery and to change their lifestyle. Due to the polarised nature of the current political climate, I think it’s important that people see the com-

Pictured: Ron Hogg initiates radical change in how drug addiction is handled.

“ passionate nature of this scheme, looking past it as simply ‘funding addiction’, but instead helping people in the long-term to improve their lives. Ultimately, drugs are never going to disappear, and it is therefore important to acknowledge and over-

come the problems that they cause to people, instead of waging war on the issue and pushing drugs into the criminal underworld where they cannot be monitored. The new scheme is set to be implemented by the end of the year.

Ultimately, drugs are never going to disappear, and it is therefore important to acknowledge and overcome the problems that they cause.

To Uber or to ambulance?

NHS propose the use of Uber to transfer non-emergency patients Hollie-Jane Winstanley

The lack of consideration to the kinds of patients the taxi service will be transporting is truly ridiculous.


ike many taxi services, Uber has it’s positive and negative reviews. Yet in the end it is what it is; just a taxi service. NHS asking for Uber taxis to transport non-emergency patients is not only dangerous on both the driver and the patients side, isn’t it preventing a duty of care that the NHS have to the patients? Yes, Uber cars will be accessable to all kinds of patients thanks to UberAccess and UberWav but have Ceracarers really considered the task that would be entitled to them and Uber drivers? In theory, the prospect of using a public taxi service to transport non-emergency patients could be a positive step in the right direction, and having carers that will help assist patients in the taxi is again quite clever. However, the lack of funding this idea has, as well as the lack of consideration to the kinds of patients the taxi service will be transporting is truly ridiculous. There are so many illnesses which are both visible and invisible, that to place a patient who is still under the care of the NHS; whether they are non-emergency or outpatients, is frankly more of a danger to the driver

and carer if there is a lack of the correct facilities. For example, transporting cancer patients who are well enough to travel with carers but unable to travel by themselves or drive themselves is beneficial to all involved, yet what if something were to happen to the patient whilst in the Uber taxi? There is only one trained carer there to help the patient, with an unqualified Uber taxi driver stuck in the London traffic trying to get to the hospital. Not the best idea really. If they were to still travel by the ambulance services available there is much better equipment to deal with possible health issues along the way, even if the Uber taxi is for non-emergencies. Personally I think having a stranger transport someone with illnesses such as Dementia, Parkinson’s disease or someone who has had a stroke, puts them under unnecessary duress. The responsibility of their driving spikes, and if something were to happen to the driver because of the patients’ mental state or lack of control; even with a carer present, it would be a lot of stress for the Uber taxi drivers.

This seems excessive when there are already ambulance drivers that are better equipped to handle patients with a range of these issues. Let’s not forget that the main goal for the NHS in signing up to this regime is to rid patients of bedblocking, and with so many cases of

patients going home still ill because of the rush to get beds, is there any need for another incentive for the people who we trust with our lives, to rush into forcing someone out of a hospital bed that they so desperately need? Bed-blocking will not stop just because of an Uber taxi service.

Pictured: The NHS are considering using Uber. (Source: Rolf Larsen via flickr.)



Cardiff Met clamp down on gendered terms

Does the ban of day-to-day phrases such as ‘fireman’ infringe on freedom of speech? Anna Dutton

Banning the use of certain words would require a system of constant monitoring.


report was issued this week saying Cardiff Metropolitan University have introduced a new code-of-conduct that discourages the use of gendered words like ‘fireman’ or ‘housewife.’ The university stated it wished to promote an environment in which ‘everyone is treated equally.’ A nobel premise, however, restricting what people can say, some may view this restriction as a violation of free speech. The intention behind banning these words seems plausible; they are simply trying to re-define the gender stereotyping derived from these words. It is true that traditonally using the phrase ‘house wife’ might conjure up an image of a woman who spent most her time in the domestic sphere. However, in today’s society, this of course isn’t the case as there are now many ‘house husbands’ as well. The practicality of this ban is more ambiguous. Banning the use of certain words would require a system of constant monitoring. This would be necessary in order to catch people out when they use

the gendered terms. In addition, codes of conduct laid out by the university are also less likely to be adhered to in peer groups or living environments outside of the academic sphere. Therefore, it is less probable this would be adopted in all environments, and thus the net effect of its usage would not have such a major impact as first thought. Furthermore, by disallowing certain words, to an extent, free speech is hindered. People by law can use whatever words they choose, even if it is not deemed politically correct. This is not suggesting that the use of these words should be increased or unaltered, but that free speech will permit people to break the ban. Dr Williams would support the claim that this rule is more ‘authoritarian’ by arguing that ‘the words have come to encompass more than just men. They are more general.’ To an extent, this seems true because a ‘fireman’ for example, is not immediately thought of as being a man anymore. But, there still seems to be some issues as an element of unconscious bias still exists, if more subtly, in

Pictured: Cardiff Met are trying to prevent the use of overtly gendered terms. (Source: (cup)cake_eater via flickr.)

society; gendered toys for example. Furthermore, for a long time, social norms were more rigid in what were defined as a typically ‘female’ or ‘male’ roles; these associations are trickier to revert. The university has said these practices will ‘promote fairness’ and encourage a more inclusive atmosphere. The premise would benefit everyone, but the practice is unlikely to be as effective as the theory be-

cause it is impossible to ensure noone uses these terms. Therefore, because the benefits seem more difficult in practice, Cardiff University would not benefit from introducing this as it’s impractical; it is unlikely any student, or person, will monitor their own speech so vigorously. In summary, the premise is amicable, but it is unlikely to be successful in reality as individuals are ultimatley entitled to speak as they choose.

The premise would benefit everyone, but the practice is unlikely to be as effective as the theory.

Jenni Murray reignites transgender debate

Why Murray’s comments about trans women were not only irresponsible, but harmful Caragh Medlicott

Does she really not realise that for most trans women they have spent their life up to their transition in deep turmoil?


enni Murray has sparked huge controversy with her highly debated article in the Sunday Times on whether trans women can actually call themselves real women. Really you can get a feel for the godawful tone of this article simply from the by-line: “Can someone who has lived as a man, with all the privilege that entails, really lay claim to womanhood? It takes more than a sex change and make-up.” I honestly can’t believe this is a conversation we are still having. First off, Murray assumes all trans women will have had gender reassignment surgery which is a pretty big assumption. Secondly Murray talks about gender reassignment surgery like it’s a fun little activity one undertakes on a whim, rather than a hugely drastic and painful procedure. Certainly not something you do for the fun of wearing a bit of make-up and a dress. Murray, like many people, seems to have a basic misunderstanding of what it means to be transgender. While I am not trans and would never claim to understand what it is like to be so, I think it is fair to say this idea that Murray has of it being some kind of superficial extreme game of dress up is completely wrong. In her article Murray describes anger at trans presenter India Willoughby‘s claims that she is a ‘real woman’. Murray says this has to be false assertion considering Willoughby had ‘spent all of her life

before her transition enjoying the privileged position in our society generally accorded to a man’. Enjoyed? I mean seriously, enjoyed? Does Murray think trans women wake up one day and go ‘hm, you know what I think I fancy being a woman now’. Does she really not realise that for most trans women they have spent their life up to their transition in deep turmoil, disconnected from the body they have been born in, suffering serious gender dysphoria (defined as ‘a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity’). Yes, many trans women will have experienced male-privilege pre-transition but surely this is somewhat overshadowed by their inner struggle they will have had while trying to perform masculinity and then the sexism and transmisogyny they’ll likely experience post-transition. I also find this ‘you-can’t-be-awoman-because-you-haven’t-livedyour-whole-life-as-a-woman’ narrative impossible to get my head around. I wasn’t aware every woman has had a cut-and-paste experience of womanhood growing up and it is that identical experience that is integral to being female. Murray completely ignores the nuance of privileges we experience in growing up from gender, race, class and sexuality. And even in addition

Pictured: Jenni Murray’s comments have reignited the transgender debate. (Source: NHS employers via flickr.)

to that the different experience we have just as individuals. Quite in the manner of someone saying ‘I have a black friend and they don’t mind me using the “N word”’ Murray brings up Jenny Roberts a trans woman who says she’s ‘not a real woman’ as an example which is meant to convince us that if one trans woman feels she’s not a real woman then surely all the rest of them are wrong too. Really Kellie Maloney’s response to Murray can frame a far better opposition than I ever could and I strongly suggest you read the whole Guardian article summarising her points, but I will leave you with a

brief quote on the pain Murray suffered pre-transition and the damage Murray’s comments have caused: ‘ “I would cry myself to sleep, I would drink myself to oblivion because I didn’t know how to deal with what was going on inside myself, so to read that someone dismisses me with the stroke of a pen, it doesn’t help when an established broadcaster does this.” Really, it’s very easy for Jenni Murray to come out and condemn trans women saying they haven’t had the real experience of a real woman, without her even thinking about the fact she has no idea what it’s like to experience life as a trans woman.

Murray completely ignores the nuance of privileges we experience in growing up from gender, race, class and sexuality.



European Parliament vote to strip Le Pen of immunity

Conor Holohan

Are the pictures more horrifying or more illegal to distribute now than they were back in 2015? Of course not, this is an excuse by the EU to target Le Pen.


uropean lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting Marine Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity. The leader of the French populist party the Front National is currently fighting a presidential election campaign, but is now vulnerable to prosecution in France for distributing violent imagery. In 2015, Le Pen got into a spat with a French journalist who compared her party’s beliefs with those of ISIS. In response Le Pen tweeted 3 graphic photographs of ISIS executions including the beheaded body of journalist James Foley, captioning them ‘THIS is Daesh’. Without her parliamentary immunity, Le Pen is open to prosecution under French law and could face up to three years in prison should a successful case be brought against her. The first question; why, when these tweets were posted back in 2015, are the EU suddenly so eager to lift her immunity? Are the pictures more horrifying or more illegal to distribute now than they were back when they were tweeted in 2015? Of course not; this is an excuse by the EU to target Le Pen, who they rightly fear that she could act as a final nail in the coffin of the European Union should she win the French presidency. Le Pen, who has dubbed herself ‘Madame Frexit’, obviously plans to

take France out of the European Union. She demands that France honours its history and constitution, and wrests legal supremacy back from unelected and distant officials who are lobbied by large corporation interests on a scale not seen in most national European parliaments. Le Pen’s election and a subsequent Frexit could be a significant blow to the EU, and along with Brexit and a Eurosceptic leading the polls in the Netherlands, could be a pivotal factor in the collapse of the European project. However, this act of political desperation will most probably serve Le Pen’s prospects of being elected French president well rather than damage them. Like Trump, Le Pen, has successfully painted herself as the anti-establishment candidate, and stitch-ups like this vindicate her argument that the establishment are working against ordinary people in the interests of the corporatist status quo. What’s more, it is legally unsound to prosecute people retrospectively in this way. People should be punished for crimes in accordance with the laws at the time of the crime and in the place the crime took place. If a law was introduced today to outlaw a certain action, you could not then retrospectively punish those who had perpetrated the offence before the law was passed. In the

same way, when Le Pen tweeted the graphic images, she was under the impression that she was protected by parliamentary immunity, and to remove her immunity in order to prosecute her can only be seen as a form of retrospective punishment. It is all the more concerning when you consider the role that politicians play, and that their free speech should be protected even more vehemently than that of a citizen. It is most important in representative democracies that parliamentarians can contribute to the public discourse in absolutely any way they see fit, as they have been elected, and are looked to to represent and drive public opinion. To stifle the free speech parliamentarians is to deprive the public space of intellectual diversity and will lead to totalitarian tendencies as we have already seen in many aspects of EU one-size-fitsall principles and policies. This is not the first time Le Pen has had her parliamentary immunity stripped – it was lifted before in 2013 when she likened the public display of Islamic prayer in France to a Nazi occupation, though she defends the remarks by insisting that France is a secular nation and that she was referring to a disregard for French secular culture rather than being purely prejudice against Muslims. The race hate charges levelled at her were dropped in 2015 under

the Free Speech Act. Francoise Fillon, the centre-right candidate who was supposed to represent a more moderate form of Le Penism and absorb enough of the right wing vote to beat her is now expected to lose big amid various corruption scandals. Some opinion polls are stipulating that threequarters of voters would prefer it if Fillon withdrew from the race, especially since his home has been searched by corruption investigators over the last week. As Fillon of the Les Repbulicains loses support en masse, Le Pen’s remaining contender is the pro-European centrist establishment-politician Emmanuel Macron; representing a dying breed in Europe, Macron is seen by many as the ‘Hillary’ candidate So, much like with Brexit and with Trump, Le Pen against Macron will be more than just a question of left and right, but a question of the ‘real people’ against the establishment. Le Pen believes that it is a question of patriotism against globalism, and this is certainly true of Trump and Brexit too. If there’s something we can learn from Trump and Brexit and extrapolate from in regards to the upcoming French elections, it is that the silent majority is on the populist side, and is understated in the polls. As it stands, Le Pen leads the polls by 25% to Macron’s 24%, while Fillon trails behind at 21%.

Pictured: Le Pen has lost her prosecution immunity. (Source: European Parliament via flickr)

To stifle the free speech of politicians is to deprive the public space of intellectual diversity and will lead to totalitarian tendancies.


The things women do for beauty Maria Mellor


Pain is just part of the process

hen I was an impressionable young teenager, I read an article in a magazine that said if you stand with your toes pointing inward, you would look more demure and therefore boys would find you more attractive. I did exactly that, training myself to nonchalantly turn my legs inwards just in case someone was watching. As an adult, and as a feminist, I now want to say ‘who cares what boys think?!’ I want to stand Wonder Woman-style, flying my freak flag for all to see. But, still, there’s that niggling feeling in the back of a my mind: what if I look stupid? What if people find my insecurities and judge me for it? I know it’s not just me thinking this, subconsciously or not. It’s not just boys you have to worry about judging you - it’s society. Last week the internet went crazy (as it does) about Charlotte Crosby of Geordie Shore fame. She posted a picture on her Instagram of her having a nap with her co-star Stephen Bear that quickly got picked up on and blamed for being photoshopped. The smartphone on the sofa next looks warped, showing that something has been done to make her butt look smaller or rounder. So many people have laughed at it and commented on it, but what it says to me is that she has an insecurity she is trying to hide. Photoshopping is a measure Charlotte Crosby has taken, as have many others, in order to form her body into a better version. Much like young pigeon-toed me, she has put herself out for the sake of beauty. I don’t even blame her for it. When you see something about

yourself that you don’t like, you want to hide it. You’ll cut your hair in a certain way, avoid wearing certain clothes, put makeup on your insecurities. At school, girls like me were selfconscious about our arm hair. Girls aren’t supposed to have hairy arms (or so we thought) and so we shaved that hair off. For a few months even I would take a razor to my forearms to get rid of that dark hair I hated about my Indian heritage. Not only was this only giving in to social pressures and self-hate, it was incredibly uncomfortable having prickly cactus arms that needed constant maintenance. Similarly with any kind of hair removal there’s pain, discomfort and anxiety when it grows back for god forbid someone notices. We women are subject to a multitude of social pressures that we internalise and add to our own negativity. If you have ever worn a pair of high heels you’ll know what I’m talking about. It took me until I was 19 to realise that there is no such thing as a pair of comfortable stilettos. Yet countless women parade around in these shows that make asses and legs look better. Some events even demand that women cannot wear flats as part of the dress code. Never mind that they cause blisters, callouses and bunions. Beauty backfires. Charlotte Crosby gets ridiculed for something she worked at to perfect. Shaved arms rub up against the person you’re sitting next to, causing them to shuffle away. Stilettos make what could have been a great night just that extra bit shorter as you sit down in a corner or go home when it gets too much.

Could we just give these things up? For a start, it would bring ridicule from the opposite end of the spectrum: ‘doesn’t she WANT to look good? Why doesn’t she take care of herself?’ You see these kind of messages plastered all over websites like the Daily Mail which even mocks women for their appearance when leaving the gym as if every female should get dolled up for a simple sweat session. Even if dress codes allowed it, I doubt swathes of women will be ditching their heels and growing out their leg hair for the sake of comfort. There’s the argument that it makes us feel better about ourselves, and of course it does, but that’s because we have an inbuilt system of comparing ourselves to cultural standards. There is a phenomenon present in our society called ‘body monitoring’ - the process of checking how you might look from an outsider’s perspective. It might be checking that your posture is okay, or that your hair is smoothed back in the way you

like, or again, like young me making sure my feet are slightly angled so that supposedly I looked more modest and approachable. According to research, women habitually monitor their bodies every 30 seconds on average. This seems a little excessive a number to me, but the point is that it happens. The male gaze is trained to look at the woman and the female gaze is trained to look at herself. We talk about objectification all the time but I’m not sure a lot of people know what it means. This whole process of body modification is a symptom of societies problems with treating women like a sculpture to be critiqued. Therefore in order to not be subject to negative criticism, or the criticism we internally monitor ourselves with, we pluck and plump and preen. Women do so much for the sake of beauty. It makes the feeling of being beautiful that little bit harder to obtain.

Pictured: Above: Charlotte Crosby and her supposedly photoshopped bottom (Source: charlottegshore via Instagram) Below: Hang up your heels, your feet will thank you (Photographer: Chris Goldberg)

Beauty backfires. Charlotte Crosby gets ridiculed for something she worked at to perfect.

What if people find my insecurities and judge me for it? I know it’s not just me thinking this, subconsciously or not. It’s not just boys you have to worry about judging you - it’s society.

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‘The fear’

Attention third years! You have just two months left to work out what the hell you are going to do with the rest of your life. Helena Hanson

I have this new emotion that plagues me on idle Sundays when I am trying to watch fourhour long reruns of Come Dine With Me.


It is deadline week. Midterm deadlines are awful. Like really, really bad. I always know when my midterm breakdown is imminent, because I start doing really strange things to distract myself from working. Like spending an hour rearranging my underwear drawer or taking up knitting, or watching sixteen episodes of Peep Show in a row. Not only is the midterm deadline stress escalating, but my anxiety scale skyrockets the moment I think about graduation, getting a job and becoming an actual, functioning adult. I have a this new emotion that plagues me on idle Sundays when I am trying to watch four-hour long reruns of Come Dine With Me. A feeling of dread and panic and absolute apprehension for the future, a feeling I have since nicknamed ‘The Fear’. The Fear has rumbled within me pretty constantly since my return to university following the Christmas break, but it strikes me the worst when I am doing my level best to do sweet F.A. I can no longer enjoy Sundays, or hour-long ‘sits’ on my bed in my towel after a shower. I can’t even enjoy my afternoon naps anymore, because now, I always feel like I’m supposed to be doing something. I should be applying for more jobs, or more work experience or I should be doing some extra reading or I should be figuring out how to pay taxes or how to take our landlord to court when he definitely refuses to return our house deposit in the summer. I should be figuring out where I am going to live in just three months time. I should be deciding whether I will return home to North Wales, or

whether I really should go travelling to Thailand in order to find myself, before I inevitably sell my soul to a corporate business, work a seven day week to pay off the debt of my education and slowly begin to despise myself to the core, until I am eventually dignified with the sweet embrace of death. I want to graduate, I do. I’m tired of learning and exhausted with education and I’m ready to go out and share what I’ve learnt over the past seventeen years with the world. But I don’t know how to graduate. I don’t know how do life after university, I don’t know how to ‘adult’. Adulting is doing stuff like making meals that don’t just involve beans and bread, and not picking up every 5p you see on the floor and going to dinner parties. Dinner parties! Imagine having to make polite, appropriate, small talk with other actual adults about actual adult things. Like the euro, or the stock market, or Graham Norton. Imagine having to drink wine responsibly. Imagine having to drink wine by the glass and not by the bottle. And there will be wine snobs, people that tell you how to drink wine. They will be called Alexander and they will be from Surrey and they will swish red wine around their cheeks and wear a shell necklace and tell you that the only wine that they drink is from the finest blue grapes squished individually by the only the big toes of Spanish princesses. Although my irrational fear of Alexander is pretty bad, my biggest fear is graduating and having to go back home to live with my mum and dad again. I will go crazy. My parents will go crazy. My fragile emo-

tional state can no longer deal with my dad shouting “YOU NEED A PLATE FOR THAT” every time I try and carry a piece of toast upstairs and my mother telling me that she knows I haven’t had a vegetable for nine days and insisting on making me eat vegetable stew for the following week. There’s an actual scientific phrase called the “teen reprise” which essentially is when you go back home to live with your parents, you immediately return to being a teenager. Your acne will come back and you’ll get fat and angry again and everything your parents do will be SO ANNOYING and you’ll make friends with kids six years younger because they’re the only ones still going out every weekend to your local nightclub and you’ll have absolutely nothing to do but watch Facebook videos for hours and stalk your ex boyfriend on Instagram. At home you won’t be able to have the heating on for twelve hours a day any more and you can’t leave plates to go mouldy on the side any more and you can’t roll in at four am and throw up in the bath any more and you certainly cannot use the washing machine for just one shirt anymore, oh my GOD can you imagine what your dad would do ? A couple of weeks ago, I spent six hours, six hours filling in a quiz online to find out my ‘perfect’ job. It was pretty in depth and I filled it in over a course of about three days. Divided in sections, the questionnaire asked about my work ethic, personality, personal dislikes, values and skills. I was so confident that this questionnaire would reveal my life plan. Alas, after six hours of an-

swering questions about the most intimate details of my professional and personal life, the website concluded that my absolute perfect, ideal, dream job would be…a dairy farmer. I don’t know how my journalism degree, experience in media and passion for travel led them to believe my fate lay within dairy farming, but I was absolutely more confused about my life by the end. Maybe I DO want to be a dairy farmer? In one mind I see myself in pencil skirts, and Ted Baker silky blouses with rose petal buttons and pointed stilettos in pastel suedes. I will be successful and powerful and beautiful and wealthy, clicking around a sky scraper office in London, carrying a clipboard and wearing an expensive pair of glasses and perfectly glossed Louboutin-lips. I will go home to my children, Noah and Elizabeth, who are being privately educated and are excellent at remembering their please and thank you’s. They will be dressed only in JoJo Maman BeBe and have pink cheeks and we will have a marble staircase and a cinema room and Giles, our in-house butler, will always park my special edition Range Rover in the drive for me, so I never need learn how to park. Although I’m terrified, ‘The Fear’ is good, I think. Having to make decisions means I have options, and choices to make, which can only be a good thing. Growing up is scary, and imagining a world where it is no longer okay to binge watch Netflix and eat a baguette and houmous as a healthy balanced meal makes me a little bit sad. But hey, I can sleep easy knowing I can always become a dairy farmer, right? RIGHT?!

Pictured: The future is coming! Run! RUN! (Photographer: William Murphy via Flickr).

There is an actual scientific phase called the ‘teen reprise’ when you move home and immediately become a teenager again.



Editors: Anwen Williams George Watkins @GairRhyddAdv advice@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/advice

Postgraduate medicine GEMs of knowledge

Pictured: Study it good gurl. (Source: Sheila Sund via Flickr.)

Daniel Davies


reparing to do a medical degree after your undergraduate studies is a big commitment so it needs some thought. To bust the myth, not all GEM students are from science undergrad backgrounds, far from it. Yes, okay, some medical schools want a science graduate but not all of them, in fact, the skills you could bring as an arts student gives you many advantages on all us science grads. The science element for an arts student may make the early parts of the med degree a struggle, but if you’re smart you’ll get there, and by this stage chances are you’ve already aced the dreaded GAMSAT. I’m going to have to mention them, entry exams! Sat in the summer before you apply (Via UCAS as an undergraduate before October 15th) the chances are you’ll have to sit at least one. Different med schools want different ones so you’ll need to check their entry requirements before applying, however, if you’re a particularly clever one then the likes of Cambridge don’t need any at all. For the rest of us average Joe’s then most likely the GAMSAT is the one you’ll be diving

into, which encompasses five and a half hours of exams in the one day, yeah 5.5 hours! There are two sections, a multiple choice verbal reasoning in the humanities and social sciences section directly followed by the two essays in the written communication section. These are both sat in the morning without a break, and are followed by a mammoth afternoon session of reasoning in biological and physical sciences. Like they state sections one and three are reasoning so should be answerable using the info they give you, not to poop the party but that science section is going to require some knowledge. In fact, without science A levels I can’t imagine i’d have done too well, so a good science background will be needed for that one. The other two exams are UKCAT and BMAT, which are accepted but some other unis. I have no experience with the BMAT, but the UKCAT is really hit and miss as I have done it twice - both with very different results so I really think it is more hit and miss. Once you’re over this hurdle getting an interview is usually quite me-

thodical, if you hit all the minimum exam scores and have the other entry requirements, you should be a-shooin for interviews. Most interviews will take place between January and April after you apply and use differently methods. More common nowadays is the MMI, multi mini interviews, this is seven or eight stations all with different topics such as ethics, communication or work experience. This has the advantage of being segmented, so if you come across as the village idiot in one section the next station is a new dawn and you can resume being the beaming pillar of humanity that you are! This is not the case with traditional panel interviews, this normally comes in the form of one or two interviews with a panel of a few professionals such as doctors and nurses, but also students or a member of the public. This is useful as you have longer to build a rapport, but if you get off on a bad foot could be a disaster. The overwhelming tip for interviews is be yourself, and make sure you can relate the skills you’re telling the interviewer to things you have done oth-

erwise what you’re saying is useless. The choice to go back to university after already completing your undergraduate degree is a big decision, not only will this shape your career but also will be a huge financial challenge. Despite this for many of us the desire to become a doctor will not be quashed by a bit of hard work or a few more thousand pound debt at the end of it all, so best of luck its a long road!

Student Advice

Student Advice are based in the Union and at the Heath and offer help on a range of services, from finance to housing to mental health. They run drop-in services at the Heath: Tuesday: 12:00- 14:00 Thursday: 12:00- 14:00 On Cathays it is more frequent: Monday- Friday: 12:00- 14:00 Appointments are available 9:0017:00 on a weekday basis. Contact them at: advice@cardiff.ac.uk

The overwhelming tip for interviews is be yourself.


Pimping out your uni room Sarah Harris

MTV eat your heart out


imping out your room is hard when you’re a university student. 99% of accommodations have stupid rules about not sticking anything on the wall or having unauthorized electrical equipment or even candles. The candle thing kinda sucks because once you reach a certain age, a nice old candle from the Yankee Candle Store becomes sort of a go to gift and yeah, the rest of it is pretty crappy too. I got lucky in first year having got a decently sized room in Senghennydd Hall with two huge ass notice boards, which I wisely covered in Polaroid pictures instead of timetables and exam dates. I’ve always had a bit of a knack for decorating rooms. When I was around 12 I went through a mini phase of wanting to become an interior designer (a few weeks later, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer and now I’m doing a degree in Journalism and Sociology so that worked out well) and spent weeks moving around the furniture in my room trying to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. The fondness for interiors stuck

with me even though my career plans changed massively. Within my first few hours at University I had successfully managed to get around the ‘no sticking things on walls’ rule and had taped the 3-meter fairly lights that I bought for seven quid on to my wardrobe, shelves and doorframe carefully avoiding the freshly painted walls. As hard as it seems trying to get your room away from home to look like something out of an American sitcom, there’s about a dozen ways to get around this. If you don’t already know about this wonderful store that is filled with the most pointless yet fun stuff in the WORLD then you NEED to visit the ‘Tiger’ store in St David’s or if you live in Roath, there’s a store located on Wellfield Road and even one in University Hospital Wales. I think the majority of money I’ve spent whilst I’ve moved out (that hasn’t been spent on food) has been spent buying items I will probably never use in Tiger. I’m not saying the store if full of completely useless items. You can find pretty much anything you need in there from a clothes rack to a laundry

bag. It’s also a super great place to buy little trinkets to make your room look a little nicer, like fake candles/flowers, picture frames etc. The worst thing about most accommodations is the fact that there are never really any lounges unless you’re lucky and ended up in one of the fancier ones like Taly Gate which has slightly more kitchen space and makes it easier to have gatherings. My room back in Senghennydd was the appointed gathering/pre-drinks room, mainly because it was the only one that was always tidy but also because my friend was fascinated with my fairy lights. Accommodating 10+ people in a tiny room with barely enough space for yourself wasn’t an easy job. Many drinks had been spilt on my carpet and trying to walk to the toilet in the dark after a night out was a death wish but it also gave me an excuse to buy more unnecessary furniture. If you’re lucky enough to have a ‘Home Sense’ store in your hometown then take advantage of the cushions aisle! You can never have enough cush-

ions and they make your room look 100x more comfy. I found some snazzy blue pillows that had Frida Kahlo’s face embroidered in to them for about a fiver each (using the face swap filter on snapchat with these is always funny). If you don’t have a Home Sense store, Matalan and TK Maxx also do an excellent range of cushions and comfy bed sheets. It’s not as hard as it seems to make your room look like something out of MTV cribs. Okay maybe you won’t have the 98” 3D LED Smart TV or a suede sofa bed but fairy lights and pretty cushions are close enough. Scouring through all the vintage and charity shops in the arcades can call for some pretty interesting finds and you’ll most definitely find something that meets your taste and if you’re completely clueless about how to jazz up your room, take comfort in the fact I’ll most likely have to start my own interior design company when I fail my course due to the fact that I spend most of my time on Netflix rather then dong my seminar work.

You can never have enough cushions and they make your room look 100x more comfy.

Getting a better night’s sleep Emily Murray


Counting sheep not working for you?

rying to juggle your time between uni, social life, seeing family as well as dealing with deadlines, relationships and money on your mind no wonder you’re struggling to fall asleep before 3am. Your sleep pattern says everything about you. How easily you fall asleep and for how long can be tracked back to all aspects of your life: your diet, exercise, daily stresses, relationships, workload and also the environment you’re sleeping in. All these different areas need to be taken into consideration First things first, with a million things whizzing around your head you can’t even begin to settle into a restless sleep. Make rid of them by writing lists of everything that’s on your mind: what work you want getting done tomorrow, a shopping list for the week etc. Or, if you’re just annoyed about something, just vent. Open up a note on your phone and type away. Get all those worries and tensions out and then delete it. You’ll immediately feel better. A problem shared is a problem halved, even if it’s just with a blank screen. It all seems a lot less overwhelming and a lot more achievable when we write things down. It also takes those thoughts out of your brain leaving your mind quiet - allowing you to feel a lot more peaceful. Now that your mind is at ease, your body is the next step. Buy some bubble bath, light some candles and just melt into your bathtub for half an hour. Put on your favourite non lyrical music maybe a soundtrack from a movie and let your mind have a little break. This is all well and good for the

evening but there are a lot of other things that could be contributing to your irregular sleeping pattern. A big factor that affects our sleep is food. With deadlines looming it’s OK to leave having dinner ‘til 9pm, but try not to have sugars or caffeine after 7pm as this is bound to keep you up. Instead, try having a cup of green peppermint tea before bed. It’s sweet and doesn’t have caffeine but is also known to relieve stress as well as having antibacterial properties that help digestion. The natural inflammatory ingredients help you relax and the menthol even prevents illnesses like colds. My biggest advice to give to you is give yourself a no phones in bed rule. It’s so important to not be playing on your phone before bed. There’s that oh-so-popular meme about being a zombie all day and then once you’re in bed you find yourself scrolling on Facebook until the early hours of the morning. Your phone keeps your mind fully stimulated and, what’s worse is, you will never have had your fill. The only thing that makes you put your phone down is the sunlight starting to come through your blinds. Scroll until your hearts content when you’re downstairs with your housemates watching TV but once you’re in bed put it away. Leave it off or put it in a housemate’s room if you’re that addicted. But it really will help you get an earlier night and a more settled one. Nothing groundbreaking is going to happen in 8 hours (especially when everyone else is sleeping…). If you feel like you want something to help you unwind, try a book instead. It’s more

beneficial for your mind to be reading Stieg Larsson over the lad bible and much more thrilling. Plus, there’s no lit up screen tricking you into staying awake longer. If a novel seems too much for you try short stories or poems. Now your mind has been distracted and you’ve finished sipping on herbal goodness it’s time to get all the senses relaxed. Spraying lavender on your pillow makes you continue to inhale the sleepy scent throughout the night keeping you dozed off. It’s worth investing in some earplugs too. Pluggerz, which you can buy from boots, are made specifically for sleeping and are great because they only block out background sounds like

noisy neighbours and road racket that would prevent you from sleeping. They’re also extremely comfortable and easy to put in. An eye mask is very useful too. If you’ve tried all this and really nothing is working then I’d suggest going to your gym an hour before it’s closing time. The endorphins might still be kicking about afterwards but once you’ve had a nice hot shower, put fresh PJs on, written your lists, sprayed lavender on your pillow, tucked yourself up in bed with your green tea, popped your earplugs in and have your eye mask at the ready you’re bound to be exhausted my friend.

Give yourself a no phones in bed rule.

Pictured: I wish I slept this well. (Photographer: Chris Waits via Flickr.).


The small panic attack guide Staying calm and fighting the fear

Pictured: Left: It’s all about the stimulus. (Source: dalvenjah via Flickr) Below: When you’re so tired but you can’t sleep (Photographer: Aaron Edwards)

George Watkins


anic attacks are awful. Most of us have experienced one at some point in our lives for one reason or another. Here’s my mini guide of some small things you can do to beat them. So what actually is a panic attack? Imagien you were in the Stone Age walking along, when you’re confronted by a sabre-tooth tiger. Your body would ready you to deal with this threat stimulus by pumping adrenaline round your body. You would then have two options: fight or flight. The former would involve you remaining in the situation, while the latter would involve you

runnign awy (obviously). This instinct is still in us after all this time, to help us deal with threats. It’s why people scared of spiders will panic when meeting the stimulus of a spider crawling on their hand, for example. Panic attacks area version of this response. they feel awful, but they can be dealt with. When the adrenaline begins to pump through your veins, you can tackle it so that you can get on with your day once more. First comes breathing. Don’t underestimate how important this is. Put your hand on your belly and feel each breath in for three and out for seven.

Most of the physical symptoms of a panic come from overbreathing. Feeling faint, for example, comes from your brain having too much oxygen, which is why you feel weak. With this in mind, it makes sense to try to control your breathing. Sit down if you’re standing and vice versa. Changing your position can help some of the physical symptoms and help you change your perspective. Talk to someone and explain how you’re feeling. Besides helping it get off your chest, it will help regulate your breathing. For the rest of the day, try to rest

and make sure you’re looking after yourself enough. Self care is easy to forget about if you’re having a hard time. Cut down on caffeine/ alcohol or drugs (if applicable obviously) to make sure your body is calm and in good physical shape. There’s all sorts of tips you might read elsewhere. My advice is to see what works for you. Try to see what the trigger has been for the panic and you should find your anxiety levels will steadily drop. Anxiety is normal, and it affects many people. If it continues, consider seeking professional help.

Dealing with insomnia George Watkins

It’s worth trying a variety of tips and seeing what works for you.


t’s three in the morning, and you’ve managed to work out every pattern on the ceiling a good five times. Why can’t you sleep? It’s incredibly frustrating, and there’s all sorts of reasons why insomnia can happen. Here are a few possible ideas about what might be causing it, and what you can do to beat it for good. Stress and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can have a huge impact, leading you to feel immensely tired in the daytime and increase the spiral even further. Besides talking therapy (which is often hugely beneficial), exercise can be a great cure. Even a small amount can help reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and adrenaline in your body, and help you call it a day on those feelings of angst and frustration.

How to nab that elsuive shuteye Are you drinking a lot of caffeine? It can be difficult to know how much is too much, but considering the effects it has on waking your body and mind up, it will come as no surprise that it will often cause havoc with your body clock, making you feel alert at times you really do not want to. Then there’s the issue of sleep hygiene, which doesn’t mean how many times you wash your sheets. It’s a strange term to try to define, but it essentially means a combination of your bedtime routine and the area you sleep in. Have a look at your bed? Have you got clean sheets? Is the mattress in good shape? Is there anything you need to change? Then there’s your room itself? Is it clean? Surprisingly, even though it might feel like something you wouldn’t

be caught dead doing, making your room more comfortable and somewhere you enjoy spending time in can really help. Candles are optional. The final area to think about is medicinal remedies. Lavender is great, and fairly cheap. You can sprinkle a bit on your pillow before you sleep. There’s also teas, such as chamomile, or Horlicks, both of which can help you drift off. Sleep aids by prescription are worth discussing with your GP if you might be interested in going down a stronger route. Just be careful that you don’t become totally reliant. In short, you need to have a deep think about where you think you’re falling short. What do you need to do that could help? It’s worth trying a variety of tips and seeing what works for you.

Try to see what the trigger has been and syou should find your anxiety levels will drop.


R A M 9 2 S D E W




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Editors: Adam George Ellise Nicholls @GairRhyddPol politics@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/politics

Northern Ireland Assembly election results

The DUP come out on top but Sinn Féin edges closer and closer to power George Cook

Sinn Fein are now only 1 seat behind and the Social Democratic Labour Party finished third with 12 seats.


fter the resignation of Martin McGuinness, former leader of Sinn Fein and one of the most prominent figures in Northern Irish politics over the last half century, due to the Renewable Heat Energy Scheme implemented by the Democratic Unionist Party which was linked to claims of fraud, the power sharing agreement was facing the threat of a failure that would have widespread consequences. Developed as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, power sharing aimed to achieve a multi-party consensus in the governing process after a deeply troubled, divided and violent history. The results of the election suggest a significant shift in the views and social attitudes of Northern Ireland and its people. Whilst the DUP remain the dominant party with 28 seats, Sinn Fein are now only 1 seat behind and the Social Democratic Labour Party finished third with 12 seats. Now, after a surprising election result, the two parties now have three weeks to form a new government and therefore a new power sharing agreement. This election also captured the imagination of the electorate like few others, demonstrated by a turnout of just under 65%. Arguably, this is because of the arguments against the renewable energy scheme and the links to fraud, especially after the leader of the DUP,

Arlene Foster, refused to resign in the crisis. In English mainstream media, the election has featured; but not to the extent at which many expected which is surprising considering the national implications of the election. Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, said Theresa May and James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, were at risk of repeating past mistakes. These comments were not only made post the election, but also after the British Government attempted to reduce prosecutions of former soldiers from The Troubles.

The position of the British Government has, largely, been to assess the situation in a couple of weeks’ time when a possible power sharing agreement could have been reached. However, if this is not the case then Northern Ireland could return under the ‘direct rule’ of the British Government from Westminster removing devolved powers. Although some have argued that the DUP could simply govern because they received the majority of votes, this would culminate in a deeply worrying situation given the history around division and a lack of representation for different groups in Northern Ireland.

The complexity of this election is arguably far greater than any other. The DUP are an important ally for Theresa May and the Conservatives in Westminster meaning the situation is extremely precarious as the government do not want to appear to favour any side. There is the real possibility, if and when we leave the European Union, that there will be a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic resulting in a more hostile relationship between the two nations. This is a pivotal moment in the Northern Irish and also British history.

Pictured: Northern Ireland assembly election seats 2017 (source: Wikipedia)

Sweden brings back military conscription I

Molly Ambler

Favour towards conscription is spreading rapidly across Europe.

n the wake of Trump’s latest astonishing comments and the recent world events like Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the terrorist attacks in France, most notably Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, Sweden is following suit with other European countries and reintroducing conscription for both genders. Sweden has emulated Norway in reintroducing military conscription for both genders. The plans include 13,000 recruits being called up each year and from these 13,000 only 4,000 will be called upon to serve. The conscripts will join the army aged 18 and be conscripted for 11 months service. This new system is expected to come into effect on the 1st January 2018. The current system in the majority of EU countries heavily relies on volunteers for their armed forces with few or no penalties when someone refuses to serve. Sweden and Norway are not the only

European countries to be considering this move; in Switzerland, a referendum was held in 2013 in which 73% of people favoured the introduction of conscription. The current system in Switzerland allows youngsters to choose between joining the military or the civil protection force. Favour towards conscription is spreading rapidly across Europe with polls in France showing 80% of the public would like compulsory military service to return, however only 36% in Germany share these sentiments. This solution, as well as being a reaction to the increasing pressures across the world, may also be a solution to youth unemployment. The Swedish Defence Minister, Peter Hultqvist, said the left-leaning government is reintroducing the draft because of a deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden. Mr Hultqvist told a public radio ser-

vice that, “We have had trouble staffing the military units on a voluntary basis and that needs to be addressed somehow.” Sweden has not seen conflict for two centuries, yet has decided to reintroduce conscription amid this tense climate across the world. This policy will only affect people born after 1999. This move has been hailed as “an intelligent proposal given that we have seen for a number of years now that volunteers are not sufficient to supply either the quality or quantity of soldiers” by Johan Osterberg, a researcher from the School for Advanced Defence Studies. Sweden is not a member of NATO, however did sign the organisation’s partnership for peace programme launched in 1994 to develop military cooperation between NATO and non-member countries. Sweden has recently also stepped up its military efforts, sending 150 troops to the island of Gotland in September, sit-

ting between the mainland and a number of former Soviet Baltic states amid rising tensions with Russia. There is also the aim to hold a full battalion on the island by 2018. Sweden, along with other European countries, appears to be increasingly concerned about rising tensions with Russia and the USA under the Trump administration. Will a reintroduction of conscription become a trend across all of Europe?

Pictured: Swedish Armed Forces Intelligence and Security Centre (photographer: Spc. Justin De Hoyos)


Cardiff student starts petition for LGBT+ sex education in schools N Adam George

The petition currently has over 11,000 signatures and is waiting for the government to respond.

atalie Forssman, a first year Spanish and Italian student at Cardiff University, has started a petition calling for the government to make LGBT+ sex education compulsory within the national curriculum. The petition currently has over 11,000 signatures and is waiting for the government to respond. Gair Rhydd spoke exclusively to Natalie to discuss her reasons for starting the petition and what she hopes to achieve. Last week the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced government plans to make sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in all schools in England. This means that all children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships as a part of the national curriculum. Children will also be taught, from an appropriate age, about sex. However, these lessons will only focus on heterosexual sex and relationships and Natalie believes that this “alienates the LGBT+ community.” We asked Natalie what she hopes to achieve with the petition and she told us that it is all about equality and inclusivity. “I am hoping, with the increasing amount of signatures and campaigning, that the government can consider implementing LGBT+ inclusive education into the curriculum.” Many campaigners have criticised

the government for not committing to LGBT+-inclusive SRE in all schools. It can be seen that the omission lets down the many LGBT+ pupils throughout the country that require positive support in order to develop into the healthy adult that they deserve to be. In continuing to separate, single out and ignore the needs of LGBT+ pupils, the government is cementing the stigma, selfdoubt and bullying that is already present. Natalie told Gair Rhydd that she set up the petition after speaking to a lot of LGBT+ people and discovering the lack of education they have received. “I have many friends, and have spoken to many LGBT+ people, who have told me that they went into their first sexual experience (often losing their virginity), not knowing what to do.” Natalie continues “I personally feel that it is extremely unfair for LGBT+ youth to experience a wealth of awkwardness regarding their sexual health and sex lives, when already many have to deal with prejudice and homophobia.” It has been two weeks since the petition passed 10,000 signatures, ensuring a government response. However, this response has not yet been received and Natalie admits that she is “worried that the Conservative viewpoints will clash with

Pictured: Left, A British classroom (photographer: James F Clay); Below, Janusz Korwin-Mikke (photographer: Piotr Drabik)

my ideals.” It is a well known fact that many Conservative MPs oppose same-sex marriage and believe that gay sex should not be encouraged. Natalie argues that the petition itself doesn’t actually ‘encourage’ gay sex but just aims to ensure participants remain safe. “We are ensuring that if and when LGBT+ people have sex (which will occur regardless of the opinions of the Tory Party), they engage in safe sex which provides them the best chance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.” The Cardiff first-year believes

that introducing LGBT+ SRE would benefit everybody. She believes that due to a lack of education, young members of the LGBT+ community often delay visiting sexual health clinics due to embarrassment. Natalie is aware of the dangers that this poses and also believes that it is causing an unnecessary strain on our NHS. “Delaying STD checks can result in serious illness, which at the end of the day, nobody wants - not the individual, nor the NHS, nor the Tories who have to fund emergency sexual health treatment.”

Polish MEP faces investigation after sexist rant Janusz Korwin-Mikke claimed that women should be paid less

Ellise Nicholls

“Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent


Polish nationalist member of the European Parliament, recently punished for antimigrant statements and making Nazi salutes, has provoked outcry after he said women “must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent”. Mr Korwin-Mikke – an independent MEP with his own political party – has previously been censured by parliament. The Polish MEP told his fellow MEPs, while on the floor of Parliament in Brussels, “Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent [than men]. “They must earn less. That’s all.” The video of the speech quickly went viral, as well as an impassioned response by a socialist MEP, Iratxe Garcia Perez, who told Korwin-Mikke, “I am here to protect all European women from men like you.” The MEPS were debating the gender pay gap, identifying the causes and possible solutions, and their debate sparked an international outcry, especially coming so soon before International Women’s Day. According to Eurostat, the pay gap

varies considerably in Europe ranging from as little as 5.5% in Luxembourg and Italy to a much larger gap of 26.9% in Estonia. The gap in Poland is relatively small, around 7%, or in other words, about half of what it is in Spain. In the United States, while the pay gap varies state by state, the average is around 20%. The parliament’s president, Antonio Tagani, is investigating whether the Polish MEP broke the body’s rules in his recent remarks to European parliament. Rule 11 of the Rules of Procedure says that MEP’s conduct “shall be characterised by mutual respect” and that they “shall not resort to defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behaviour in parliamentary debates.” The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group urged the Parliament President to sanction the Polish MEP for his “shameful” behaviour. The parliament press office told the BBC that penalties for the behaviour could range from a reprimand to a fine and temporary suspension. James Green, a GOP official in Utah, apologized in February after making similar comments about the

biological arguments for the pay gap. His letter, “Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences”, published in Wasatch Wave and the Park Record, reads “Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace

because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families. They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.”


Keeping Britain’s Veterans Out of Prison I

Lydia Jackson

t has recently emerged, according to the latest Council of Europe figures, that Britain has the largest prison population in western Europe at 95,248, which is nearly 20,000 more than France and 30,000 more than Germany. This is somewhat shocking, considering that per 100,000 people there are 149.7 incarcerated in England and Wales and 147.6 in Scotland. In comparison, France has 118 and Germany has 81.4. The largest cohort:

Despite the latest government statistics outlining the veteran prison population as comprising of a seemingly small 3.5% of inmates within Britain, ex service personnel are the largest societal cohort within prisons. Veterans have been outlined as a group with a poor housing situation, with many individuals experiencing homelessness prior to entering prison. Another trend outlined is their poor or limited social relationships, with a disproportionate number of veterans experiencing a divorce or lack of relationships in comparison with wider society, as well as mental health issues such as PTSD.

Care After Combat:

Veterans have been outlined as a group with a poor housing situation, with many individuals experiencing homelessness prior to entering prison.

Tanya Harrington

Care after combat has focused on these limited social networks as a reason for integration difficulties within exservicemen, which in turn leads to high rates of reoffending. It is a charity which works towards the rehabilitation and mentoring of veterans, specifically focusing on those whom have been incarcerated. On average, each prisoner in England and Wales costs £84, which is above the European average of £76.62. Therefore, the charity’s role is of great poignancy within Britain, where there is a certain advocacy for reducing the number of people that are imprisoned. The charity was initiated in May 2015 by Jim Davidson OBE, a well-known comedian, and presenter of the Generation Game, alongside Falklands veteran Simon Weston OBE.

Mr Weston is also an author and public speaker, and is in a better position than many to advocate the needs of exserviceman during their resocialisation into civilian life. In 1982, whilst on tour in the Falklands, Weston was aboard the Sir Galahad in Bluff Cove as a Welsh Guardsman when it was bombed from the air and set ablaze. 56 men lost their lives, and though the veteran survived, he suffered from a life changing 46% burns aged only 21. From Caerphilly, he has since been recognised as one of the top 100 Welsh Heroes in 2004 and 2014, and the feature of five BBC documentaries. As an individual that understands the physical and mental hardship of post services rehabilitation and integration, Weston, alongside Davidson, has founded a charity that is pioneering through its provision of professional assistance through a mentoring process, something which has not been offered previously by other charities in order to reduce reoffending. The Phoenix Project: The first twelve months of the project, which has been named Phoenix, saw the ‘recruitment’ of 82 veterans between the ages of 19 and 72 from three Category B and C prisons, HMP Winchester, HMP The Mount and HMP Wayland. The project was later extended to Category D prisons, including a number of HM Prisons in Wales, and excludes prisoners which had committed crimes of a sexual nature. The initiative provided peer mentoring during the final 18 months of sentencing, which then proceeds to continue for a minimum of twelve months after release. The Phoenix project has almost completed its second year of implementation, and has displayed some extremely promising results thus far. Of the initial 72 veterans recruited into the first twelve months of the process, sixteen have been released, with none of them reoffending.

This result is particularly impressing, considering that 45% of the adult prison population that is released tends to be reimprisoned within 12 months of release. Mr Davidson, who is also the Executive Chairman of the charity claims that “the results clearly demonstrate a successful outcome and is a template for further success”. Reducing the costs: The prison population has been on the increase since 1980, but has seen a sharp increase in recent years, with a 91% increase since 1993. Therefore, charities such as this, which aim to reduce numbers by tackling the larger cohorts of inmates are of extreme societal relevance, and should thus be made aware of and supported. Furthermore, the costs associated with each reoffender are calculated at

approximated £185,000 per person, therefore the mitigated finances relating to this project are of great value. As is the human cost. Care after Combat also offers an alcohol intervention programme named ‘Footprints’, comprising of educational, physiological, psychological and sociological elements. Its third element is ‘Carp after Combat’, which helps veterans through their transitional period into civilian life through using fishing as a method of engagement for those who may be finding things difficult, and to aid them with speaking openly and building relationships. The charity has also seen the launch of a recent partnership with the NHS, and appears to be tackling all angles in its attempts to reduce the costs of the difficulties of veterans during their socialisation and re-integration to civilian life.

Corbyn’s tax return met with criticism


ast Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn released his full tax return for the year 2015-16. Much like many of the Labour leader’s actions as of late, the release, which came in the form of several images uploaded to his website, was met with intense scrutiny. Firstly, there appeared to be trouble with the press release about the event. In one article, Business Insider claimed not to have received a press release, and mentioned that other media outlets were experiencing the same confusion. Once access had been gained to the full tax returns, critics were quick to note that Corbyn’s salary for his positions as Labour party leader and leader of the opposition appeared to be missing, raising speculation of a “bungled” or falsified tax return, and implying that the Labour leader could

have underpaid his taxes for the year. Even an aide for Corbyn told The Guardian “it did not look quite right,” and stated that the issue would be raised with the accountants responsible. In an attempt to rectify the situation, the Labour party published a statement noting that, for an as of yet unknown reason, Corbyn’s allowance as leader of the Labour party was published under “pensions and benefits” income on the tax return. A Labour spokesperson also told reporters that “the extra payment following Jeremy’s election as Labour leader of £27,192 is recorded in the tax return under the heading of ‘public office’.” However, the damage was already done. A show of transparency which may have been applauded after Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announce-

ment that he would not be publishing his own tax returns ended up inviting more speculation regarding the integrity of the Labour leader, and effectively diverted all media attention from Hammond’s statement.

Corbyn’s spokeswoman accused “media organisations” of making false claims without evidence, but the fact remains that if the tax return had been more clearly laid out, this media reaction may not have taken place.

Pictured: Above, Veterans honored during ceremony at England WWII cemetery (photographer: Staff Sgt. Brian Stives); Below, a HMRC tax return (source: Images_Of_ Money via Flickr)



Editors: Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert @GairRhyddSci science@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/science

NASA finds new system of exoplanets

Joshua Green

This system stands out because of how many planets there are like our own planet, Earth.


his year certainly has been quite turbulent and has already proven to be a year with many twists and turns. Some of us are looking to 2017 as a year of change and exciting prospects and some of us are looking for silver linings in an otherwise gloomy climate. Regardless of your political leanings, one thing that tends to unite us is new discoveries. The discovery of the exoplanets around the star TRAPPIST-1 (named after the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope that found it) in February this year captured our imaginations in ways related to that of the original moon landings and that of the CURIOSITY Mars rover. But why should we care about these exoplanets and what does it mean? First off, explaining what exoplanets are would be a very good step! Simply an exoplanet is a planet that does not revolve around our own sun. The reason why do we get excited about finding them however is a bit more specific. Generally speaking, around any star there is a place in which life is more likely to be. This region is called the Habitable zone or the ‘Goldilocks’ zone. This zone is where conditions are ‘just right’ for there to be water-based oceans which means the planet has just the

right amount of solar energy hitting it. This is exciting for two reasons as exoplanets not only become areas in which other life could be found but also where human life could be supported in the future. So what’s so great about the TRAPPIST-1 system? The system itself is 40 light years away from our solar system and was discovered by a joint team of NASA and a Belgianled research team. What is also very interesting about this system is that the planets orbit so close to the dwarf star that, by comparison, all seven of the exoplanets would orbit closer to our sun than Mercury does. Out of the seven planets that orbit the newly found ultra-cool dwarf star three of them are right in the middle of this ‘Goldilocks’ zone. Even with these planets being close to the star it is important to remember that the star itself is a very cool star which makes the habitable zone to occur much closer to a sun than usual. This system stands out because of how many planets there are like our own planet, Earth. Researching these planets much more extensively will potentially be able to answer questions scientists and indeed, all of us, about the origins of life. Further tests

Pictured: This dwarf star is ultra-cool (Image source: Hubble ESA).

of course need to go ahead such as atmospheric analysis to try and find key indicators of life. If life is not present on these planets then researchers could look into why and, perhaps, lead to a fundamental change of what we look for as habitable planets.

However, one can imagine that, if we found life on another planet not only will this encapsulate all of our desire for discovery but will also shake our fundamental foundations; our perception of ourselves not being alone in the Universe.

SpaceX reveals plan for circumlunar voyage

Michael Maccallam

The trip will involve a loop around the moon before skimming the surface and then going beyond.


ince man’s first steps on the moon, our fascination with space exploration has grown to unprecedented heights. Times have changed since the race between the Soviet Union and the USA, but a new race is emerging between Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, a race that seems to have moved significantly in SpaceX’s favour with the recent news that two of its customers will be flying to the moon in late 2018. The announcement was met with widespread enthusiasm, with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk saying that it will be “an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years”, walking in the footprints of the original Apollo astronauts. Following questions about how this immensely complicated mission would be carried out, Musk assured everyone that SpaceX has been working in co-operation with NASA in order to ensure a successful operation. Speculations quickly arose about the identity of the two private citizens, but after Musk refused to reveal their identities, he soon said that “it’s nobody from Hollywood”, but that they do know each other. Despite their anonymity, we can most likely assume that they must be in a very financially stable position,

as tickets for an opportunity like this will undoubtedly be worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions. The journey in late 2018 will be a chance to see how far innovations in space technology have come, with Musk being optimistic for the future, saying that the two will “travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them”. Although the trip will not involve a lunar landing, they will still receive full training, with Musk stating that “we expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year”. When asked about the inevitable risks, he said that SpaceX will be doing “everything we can to minimise that risk, but it’s not zero”. The trip will involve a loop around the moon before skimming the surface and then going beyond, and is an important milestone in renewing our endeavours for space exploration, since no US astronauts have been sent to the moon since the 1970s. SpaceX’s closest rivals at Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic have suffered setbacks in their similar ambitions recently, when in 2014 their space vehicle was destroyed, and there is ambiguity surrounding when their paying customers will embark

Pictured: Fly me to (or around) the moon (Photographer: Don Miller).

on their first flights. With such setbacks at Virgin, it seems clear that SpaceX will be the first commercial company to travel into deep space, a journey which hasn’t been made since the astronauts of the Apollo programme. What has taken many people by surprise is the sheer timeline of these events. SpaceX have been successful with their Dragon

shuttle delivering back and forth to the International Space Station, but it’s surprising how suddenly they are willing to make the jump to a circumlunar voyage. Unmanned tests will be conducted later this year, with the manned mission expected in late 2018, and time will tell if the mission fails, or if this marks a new age in space exploration.


Taking the horizon from grey to green: China’s forest cities Caterina Dassie

As more and more “living walls” will be built, the quality of life of both human and animal citizens will improve.

Kat Pooprasert

The increase we’re now seeing is likely related to the obesity epidemic.” says Siegel.


hen thinking of China, many tend to recall the idea of the most polluted country on Earth, but will this last for long? Italian architect Stefano Boeri wants to change this common view, switching the color of the horizon from grey to green. In 2014, Boeri completed the world’s first vertical forest skyscraper compound in Milan. Furthermore, inspired by the Italian prototype, the architect has recently made plans for an analogous project in the city of Nanjing, China. The different buildings will be made of 2,500 cascading plants and 23 different kinds of trees, among which there will not only be offices, but also a museum, a luxury hotel and an eco-friendly architecture school. The structures are presently being built. In no more than a year we may see green backgrounds in Chinese news reports, or at least in Nanjing. The memory of children not able to go to school because of the pollution in the air may therefore be left behind. Boeri’s plans do not stop here. Indeed, later this year he intends to begin the construction of a ‘forest city’, which will be ready by 2020. The green complex, or ‘skin graft’ as Boeri named it, will have between 100 or 200 different sizes of buildings. The Italian architect is determined to change the quality of living for one of the most powerful, but unfortunately polluted, nations of


Pictured: Could we be seeing more green in our skies? (Photographer: Paul Joseph).

the world. However, he is well aware that some skyscrapers covered in cascading plants will definitely not be enough to defeat China’s pollution. By measuring how much carbon dioxide the Bosco Verticale, Milan, has absorbed, Boeri hopes the one in Nanjing will both remove 25 tons each year and produce 60 kg of oxygen each day. This project aims to help China’s struggle with pollution by improving the quality of the air, removing the urban traffic dust, increasing the production of oxygen, and absorbing as much carbon dioxide as possible. In addition, diversity of trees and plants will produce more humidity, which will help the regulation of the temperature inside the building throughout the differ-

ent seasons. Certainly, the way the vertical forest will be designed will help to save energy every year but will also provide a habitat for birds and insects pollinators, such as the endangered bees, which are seeking a more diversified environment. Nanjing’s vertical forest will be the first in Asia, although other constructions following analogous concepts have already been built in the region. For example, Singapore’s Parkroyal on Pickering Boasts is made of over 15,000 square meters of terraces covered by gardens and waterfalls on the inside. But have those buildings the same purpose as Boeri’s projects? Have they just an environmental purpose or are they just becoming a trend? After the first

vertical forest, in many luxury hotels around the world having similar ‘living walls’, on a smaller scale, is becoming more and more popular. An example is the Pershing Hall in the Champs-Elysees golden triangle, Paris, where there is a vertical garden made by botanist Patrick Blanc. Not to mention the Palace on Buckingham Palace Road in London, where The Rubens created a 10,000 plants ‘living wall’. Whether vertical forests are being constructed out of fashion’s purposes or in order to defeat a pollution crisis, they are now becoming increasingly popular. As more and more ‘living walls’ will be built, the quality of life of both human and animal citizens will undoubtedly improve.

Colorectal cancer rising amongst the young

new finding by the American Cancer Society shows that the rate of colorectal cancer amongst the young adults (younger than fifty years) has been on the rise in recent years in the United States. This was unprecedented as colorectal cancer has always been a disease associated with increasing age, and is more common in those fifty years and older. Researchers found that three in 10 colorectal cancer diagnoses now occur among those under 55 and the rates among young and middle-aged adults have returned to what they were for those born around 1890. It is well known that few under fifty are diagnosed with colorectal cancer but since 2000, the incidence has rise from 5.9 new cases per 100,000 people to 7.2 per 100,000 in 2013. In fact, in those under fifty, there has been a twenty two percent increase in US colorectal cancer incidence rate between 2000 and 2013 and a thirteen percent increase in colorectal cancer death rate. Surprisingly, this rise was contrasted with the falling rates of colon and rectal tumors and deaths in those fifty and older. However, in those fifty and older, there has been a thirty two percent decrease in incidence between 2000 and 2013. Additionally, there has been a thirty four percent decrease in colorectal cancer death rate in those fifty and older.

Pictured: Cancer in the young is still a novel concept (Photographer: Steve Davis

“People born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950,” says Rebecca Siegel, MPH, of the American Cancer Society. Despite this, overall colorectal cancer incidence and death rates are on the decline. This drop is mainly due to decreased smoking and red meat consumption and an increase in aspirin usage, a drug that can treat inflammation

and spur tumor growth. All of this is also coupled with improvements in screening and treatment methods. Researcher proposed that the increased incidence in the young is mainly due to the increased prevalence of obesity, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyle, all of which are strong risk factors for the development of the disease. Rebecca Siegel describes that “the i1ncrease we’re now seeing is likely related to the obesity epidemic.” Fur-

ther, she says that “there are delays in diagnosis because younger people aren’t aware of symptoms of cancer and their primary care doctors aren’t thinking about it in their younger patients”. To combat with these troubling statistics, Siegel emphasized that screening should start at age 50 for an average-risk individual and at age 40 for those with a family history of colorectal cancer or adenomas in a first-degree relative.


Artificial life in Cambridge: Humans soon?

Joshua Green

This research has attached to it a lot of enthusiasm around the prospect of artificial human embryos being created.


he concepts of ‘Artificial life’ grown inside a laboratory are practically instilled into the imaginations of us all. Whether we are young or old or whether the stories we construct make us excited for breakthroughs or fearful for the consequences everyone is familiar. It certainly makes for intellectual conversation, both scientifically and ethically, and this conversation has no doubt evolved thanks to recent research completed at Cambridge University. This research took place within the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience research and was led by Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz. What did they actually do you might be asking? This research was able to successfully produce mice embryos without the use of the usual methods of an egg and sperm. How is this possible? The research team used two different types of genetically modified stem cells from mice. These two types of stem cells, sourced from the mice, were placental and embryonic. The final part of the research, of which has been called a bioengineering ‘masterpiece’, was the implementation of a 3D ‘scaffold’ for the stem cells to be placed on at each end. This

structure was then placed inside a chemical ‘soup’ that replicated the conditions in mice’s wombs. What the research team noticed was that, previously, only using one type of stem cell was proving to be impossible as there was no embryo growth seen. When the researchers used the two different types of stem cell began to ‘talk’ to each other. Using this setup, the team were able to form a living mouse embryo by the moulding of these two types of stem cells. The ability to grow these mice embryos is an exciting discovery for people within this field of research. This research has attached to it a lot of enthusiasm around the prospect of artificial human embryos being created. In the status quo researchers currently can use a human foetus leftover from IVF treatments. However, there is a 14-day cut off period in where the foetuses must be destroyed after this time. It is hoped that this breakthrough will allow for the growth of almost infinite ‘artificial’ human embryos in where scientists could study the growth of the embryos over time to check for issues that come about during development. It is easy to generate sensationalism and a good old scare when talking about certain advances in the life sci-

Pictured: Is it possible to one day create a human embryo in the lab? (Photography: Tareq Salahuddin)

ences. The scientific world is, however, very cautious about this type of research especially due to the concerns surrounding ‘GM babies’ or ‘designer babies’. The ethical ramifications, especially when the research opportunities open up in countries with very little regulation, are very significant.

Although the scientific community has praised the important work many experts have come out and have stated they want guarantees and ‘international dialogue’ to occur to make sure that these fears, mostly confined to science fiction, do not become reality.

Novel painkillers without side-effects

Stephanie Rees

If successful this new mechanism would significantly improve the quality of life for patients, prevent countless opiod related deaths.

Pictured: Could these novel drugs without their side effects be superior than our current painkillers? (Photographer: Evan Blaser).


pioid analgesics, otherwise known in simple terms as painkillers are some of the commonest drugs in our everyday lives. Drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, are commended for their strong pain-relieving properties and are currently the most powerful class of painkillers available. However, painkillers are associated with a series of unpleasant and dangerous side effects ranging from constipation and drowsiness to respiratory depression – the most common cause of death in acute opioid poisoning. Opioid analgesics exert their action by binding to opioid recep-

tors which are widely distributed throughout the brain, as well as in the spinal cord and GI tract. Due to a lack of specificity of these drugs for opioid receptors only where tissue damage exists, the side effect profile is quite frankly scary. Researchers at a teaching hospital in Berlin, Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, believe they may have discovered a way to counteract the extensive side effect profile of opioids by identifying a new mechanism of action which produces pain relief only in injured tissues and thus avoids unnecessary production of side effects. With the aid of computational

simulations, the researchers analysed the interactions between morphine-like molecules and opioid receptors. The findings showed their prototype – NFEPP, to only bind to and activate opioid receptors in an acidic environment (mimicking the acidic conditions observed in inflamed tissues), whilst non-acidic areas remained unaffected by the drug, suggesting the feasibility of selectively bypassing healthy tissues to act only at injured tissues. The prototype then underwent testing in rat models experiencing inflammatory pain; it was shown to exert pain-relieving action without the standard presence of side effects.

The study’s first authors, Dr. Viola Spahn and Dr. Giovanna Del Vecchio, explained, “This means it produces pain relief only in injured tissues, and without causing respiratory depression, drowsiness, the risk of dependency, or constipation.”. Since the trial is still in its early stages, further testing is required. However, if successful this new mechanism would significantly improve the quality of life for patients, prevent countless opiod related deaths, as well as paving the way for other drug discoveries via similar mechanisms. Ultimately, such will help us improve one of the most prescribed class of drug in the world.

Student Led Services are student groups that come together to provide FREE services to help or support other students & the local Cardiff community.


Cardiff Healthy People Society

fruit & veg co-op

sexual health awareness group (SHAG)


cardiff student minds

find out more at cardiffstudents.com/activities/sls

tickets available at:


Tocynnau ar gael ar:




Editors: Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris @GairRhyddSoc societies@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/societies

Milly’s Note: It’s that time of year...

Milly Dyer VP Societies


his week we have tickets on sale for both Go Global (24th March) & the Variety Performance (20th March). Tickets can be found on the website events. Go Global is our annual event celebrating the cultural diversity of

Cardiff University. We have a huge variety of performances happening this year and I am so excited to see what our Societies have planned! The Variety Performance is a showcase of our dance and perfor-

mance Societies. This year we have performances from Societies such as Comedy, A Cappella, Broadway and many more. It would be great to see as many faces as possible at the events so please all buy tickets and come along!

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Volunteering champs named Society of the Month

Milly Dyer VP Societies


ongratulations to the Student Action for Refugees (STAR) for being selected as Society/ SLS of the Month for March! This month, the Society have worked on a variety of different cam-

paigns and events. They chaired the Welsh Equal Access Working Group with other Societies and Welsh organisations. Their campaign #ReuniteRefugeeFamilies was hugely successful, working with Amnesty International and focused on campaigning for refugee children. In the final week of February, they held their annual Refugee Rhythms event in Y Plas, with 800 attendees. The amount raised at this event is currently £1100, plus 200 free tickets were given to the refugees and asylum seekers attending.

Pictured: Election candidates (including future president Hollie Cooke and your editor) visiting STAR.

The Duchess of Malfi is a hit Charlie Knights

Rachael Popplewell


Act One brought another classic play to the Cardiff stage.

grew up on Shakespeare, the dramas and comedies of that period. My parents bought me my first complete works when I was eight, and I instantly fell in love with the Jacobian heavy drama style. Duchess of Malfi is another production from that period, except that it was written in 1612 by playwright John Webster. Duchess is a macabre, tragic play on the intrigues of an Italian aristocrat and her pursuit of love. When a production contains intrigue, murder, love, incest, and even lycanthropy, what more can you really ask for? The production starts with the widowed Duchess (Poppy Parker) marrying below her station, and


slowly devolves as her two brothers Ferdinand (James Cole-Ezen) and the Cardinal (Alec Cook) are adamant she not marry again, and exact their revenge, eventually destroying themselves in the process. The set was spectacular, very nice use of window frames lit from behind, artfully used in particular scenes to provide silhouettes of characters waiting on the wings. Poppy Parker’s portrayal of the Duchess of Malfi was intense. Managing to be sarcastic and funny at the beginning, getting a few good laughs out of the audience. Then as we moved to the climactic scene of her death in a bathtub it was gripping and heart-wrenching. The

brothers as well provided a very dark, very harsh counterpart in the first half to the love story. Ferdinand was the particular highlight I would say, showing real character development over the course of the story, and becoming a character who made the audience flinch when he entered a fit of rage. I’m always a sucker for a good costume as well, with the play being filled with mostly silvers and blacks, the only splash of colour being the Cardinal’s red tie, which tied in incredibly well with the minimal back drop and stark contrasts within the play itself. There are always risks with going to see a production on opening night, and unfortunately we

saw that with the cast. Line slip-ups were more common than I have seen in an Act One production, which was a real shame. However it was a two and a half hour Jacobian English slog with an incredible amount of dialogue so I cannot fault them. It was a bit difficult to connect with at times as wellI couldn’t quite put my finger on why but that might just have been with the content of the play. On that note, congratulations to the cast for their fundraising efforts, as the cast managed to raise £205.47 for Cardiff Women’s Aid during their run. An important cause, and inspirational to see that kind of extra thinking by the cast and crew.

Art Soc to hold exhibition

he Art Society will be holding another art exhibition after the huge success of the winter exhibition. We will be holding it near the start of April, but the date is still to be confirmed. It will be held at the Little Man Coffee Co, a lovely little coffee shop in the city centre. Little Man is a unique venue where they

regularly host exhibitions, food pop ups and much more. It’s the perfect space for creative people to get together! We would love to receive submissions from anyone who’s interested, no matter what your experience or talent is. This event is in aid of our charity, so it would be fantastic to get as many submissions as possible.

I was absolutely taken aback by the pieces we displayed last time, so I’m incredibly excited to see what else we will get! If you are interested in exhibiting or even just visiting you can contact me by email at rpopp2012@hotmail. co.uk or find me on Facebook. I have also booked room 4C at the SU, Sun-

day the 12th 16:30-18:00, Sunday the 19th from 16:30 onwards, and Saturday the 25th from 18:00 onwards for people to work specifically on exhibition pieces. At this session you will have full access to our materials at no cost. Anybody is welcome whether you are a member of the society or not!

Contains intrigue, murder, love, incest, and even lycanthropy.


Tom Morris


Jailbreak: How they got to Cyprus and back

ailbreak 2017 was yet another phenomenal success for Cardiff Volunteering, with the winning team, Yolo Partner, reaching Cyprus, and getting back in time to claim their first place! Second place was Team Lost who made it to Benidorm and back, with Team Euphoria getting the bronze for their jaunt to Mondevile, France. Joanne from Yolo Partner told me how they did it. First I asked how they settled on THAT name, she said: “beside our parents, we’ve never beg anyone for money in our entire life, so we was thinking we should do it since we will never get this chance after university anymore, you only live once right?” After a whip round all the bars and restaurants of Cardiff, Yolo

Pictured: Yolo Partner’s breakdown! Pics: Joanne Bong

Mali Taylor Powell

Tom Morris


Pictured: Cyprus locals taking selfies with beached Yolo Partner

never forget these three days.” Team Lost took a different tactic. Team member Lucas Romeo writes: “We actually did the opposite of what our name suggested, and were incredibly organised!” They arranged lifts and then got sponsorship from local companies like Keylet and the Vulcan. “We focused on telling people in Cardiff we were supporting a local charity, and they could gain advertisement from our video edit.” Chris Tyrell, also of Lost, said they had planned to get to Cyprus but went for Benidorm instead: “Seeing as part of the challenge was to create the best video possible, we figured it would be better to cut the

distance short, and make a quality edit.” I asked whether Lost’s trip to Benidorm was more like the TV show Benidorm or like Lost, to which Tyrell said: “One of our challenges required us to recreate a famous movie scene, the strongest, most handsome of us (me) braved the freezing cold ocean to film a scene from Casino Royale. That’s right, it was cold. And wet, it was raining. So I gotta say, it was more like Lost than Benidorm.” It sounds like all teams had an amazing time, and I hope to do it next year- oh, wait. If you’re in first or second year, make sure to try it next time, before it’s too late!

Student Sleepout 2017 to be held

f you were suddenly made homeless and had no family or friends to help you, what would you do? Try to go unnoticed in the corner of the pub until closing time? Walk the streets all night? Find somewhere that seems safe and hope you can get some sleep? It is a daunting thought, and Cardiff Volunteering are organising a Student Sleepout on March 31st to raise awareness of the fact that over 4,000 young people in Wales have been classified as homeless within the last 18 months. We invite you to camp outside the Students’ Union with nothing but a pillow and a sleeping bag to see if you can survive a cold and uncom-


Partner met a stag do. The merry bridegroom-to-be paid for the team to get to London’s Victoria Station, where they spent the £300 they’d raised on return tickets to Cyprus. They had the plane tickets and they were in London- unfortunately, they weren’t in Gatwick, so they had to beg the bus drivers to let them have a free ride- rules forbid participants spending any of their own money, or the money from the charity pot, on transport- it all has to come from begging money and blagged tickets. They made it to Cyprus at last but of course they now had to get back. The girls bought some bikinis at the airport and headed to the beach. Cyprus residents weren’t so friendly and they only raised three euro. That was until they started charging the residents to take selfies with the girls as they lounged on the beach. A kind bartender offered them a room for the night, but they declined as they had to get back to meet the deadline. Halfway to Victoria from Gatwick, the bus tyre exploded. Quick on their feet and no time to lose, the girls tried to hitchhike but instead hopped on the Tube, which got them to Victoria in time for the Cardiff bus. They got back in the nick of time, and Joanne says “We will

fortable night. Our 2016 Student Sleepout raised an incredible £1500 to go towards our projects that work with the homeless. Student Sophia Stancer participated and had this to say: “It was still hard to imagine how so many people endure a much worse experience than ours repeatedly, in even worse weather conditions, with many suffering from mental illness and personal issues too. Homelessness is an affliction that has the potential to affect any of us, at any point in our lives.” Although we provide you with friendship, warm drinks and even bathrooms, it’s a tough night and

gives a small insight into the lives that young homeless people are living every day. So if you think you can brave the night sleeping out on the steps with the Cardiff Volunteering gang, here’s what you can expect: From 7.30pm, you’ll be crafting your shelters from cardboard boxes and anything else you can scavenge. You’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and/or clothes to keep you warm through the night. There’ll also be some light snacks and hot drinks to warm you from the inside. When it hits 8pm, we’ll be heading outside for the night, until breakfast is served between 7am and 8am. You’ll also receive a t shirt if you

make it till the end! Sign up is £10 per person (includes a t-shirt and breakfast). For those who fundraise £50 or more you also get a special Sleepout hoody! We also ask for funding of around £20. Funds that you raise will go directly towards supporting Cardiff Volunteering’s work with local homeless charities. (You’ll need to set up a MyDonate page that is connected to our main Student Sleepout fundraising page.) If you’d like any more information, or if you’re a journalist and would like to report the event, please get in touch: Volunteering@ Cardiff.ac.uk.

It was more like Lost than Benidorm.

Funds raised support Volunteering’s work with homeless charities.

Spotlight: Crafty times at Stitch Soc

erhaps best known as the society that won the “Best Newcomer” award at the 2016 Societies Ball, Stitch Soc can now be found knitting away every Tuesday at half past 7 on the fourth floor of the SU. A few core members of the committee are always there, along with regulars and, president Kalika tells me, spotters who come every so often. Everybody works on their own little woollen or cross-stitched projects, so you might wonder why they can’t all work alone, at home in their spare time. This would be a mistaken assumption, as the stitchers

love a good chat. Indeed, veterans of the society tell me that most of them didn’t know each other before they begun the society. They all approached the societies desk pondering the question of setting up a society based around the handicrafts, and the Union put them all together. That’s not to say stitching has to be solitary. The main reason each person works on their own project is how long they take to completetreasurer Sam’s scarf won’t be done until next Christmas. If you can work fast though, you can start doling out gifts: one member, Becky, gives out small projects like a flower bouquet

as raffle presents- the money from the raffle going towards her “year of charity.” Charity and collaboration may yet come together for stitch soc- they tell me they are considering creating a patchwork quilt, using their combined skills for good. Attendance has died down a little as of late at Stitch, but it’s the same for most societies as we head into the exam season. If you’re looking for some like-minded people and a relaxing little activity after uni, you could do worse than join them for a session or two. They’re keen bakers too, and to the quality of the snacks I can attest.

Pictured: A cross-stitch in progress.





Arofan House

Vere Street, Cardiff, CF24 3DS 0292 104 0580 arofanhouse@thestudenthousingcompany.com

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for Sept 2017



Golygyddion: Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher @Taf_od tafod@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/tafod

Ail fyw’r ‘Ewros’ Yn y llun: Carfan Cymru yn dathlu yng Nghaerdydd (Tarddiad: Flickr gan Jon Candy)

Osian Wyn Morgan

Er y dechreuodd y ffilm ar nodyn emosiynol a thrist, gyda theyrnged i gyn-reolwr Cymru, Gary Speed.


r ddydd Gŵyl Dewi, es i wylio ffilm ddogfen Jonny Owen, ‘Don’t take me home’, a oedd yn arddangos llwyddiannau carfan pêldroed Cymru ym Mhencampwriaeth yr Ewros yr haf diwethaf, ac mae rhaid dweud – roedd y ffilm yn hollol wych! Er mai ffilm am lwyddiant anhygoel yr ewros ydoedd, dechreuodd y ffilm ar nodyn emosiynol a thrist, gyda theyrnged i gyn-reolwr Cymru, Gary Speed, a gyflawnodd hunanladdiad yn 2012. Llwyddodd Jonny Owen i dalu teyrnged deg a pharchus i Gary Speed, gan ei ganmol am drawsffurfio’r garfan o dîm o chwaraewyr dihyder a di-uchelgais, i grŵp o chwaraewyr hyderus, aeddfed a balch, a oedd yn barod i gystadlu â rhai o dimoedd gorau Ewrop. Er yr wyf yn cofio misoedd cyntaf Chris Coleman fel rheolwr yn dda, tan i mi wylio’r ffilm, nid oeddwn wedi sylweddoli ar letchwithdod y sefyllfa y rhoddwyd Cris Coleman ynddo. Mewn cyfweliad ar gyfer y ffilm, eglurodd Coleman pa mor anodd yr oedd iddo gamu i mewn i ‘sgidiau Gary Speed, a

oedd wedi chwarae ochr yn ochr â Coleman i Gymru yn ystod ei yrfa, a hynny o dan amgylchiadau mor ddifrifol. Eglurodd Coleman yr oedd ychydig yn betrusgar ynglŷn â newid tactegau Gary Speed i ddechrau, a hynny o ran parch iddo ef, ac oherwydd y ffaith yr oedd y tîm wedi perfformio’n dda iawn tua diwedd cyfnod Speed. Fodd bynnag, yn ôl Colemaen fe benderfynodd yr oedd rhaid iddo newid y ffordd y roedd y tîm yn chwarae i’r ffordd yr oedd ef eisiau iddynt chwarae, ar ôl iddynt golli 6-1 i Serbia. Digon anodd ei wylio, felly, oedd hanner awr gyntaf y ffilm, a aeth i’r afael ar farwolaeth Gary Speed a chyfnod anodd Chris Coleman fel rheolwr ar y dechrau, ond fe daflodd oleuni newydd ar y digwyddiadau, a chredaf y gwnaethpwyd y penderfyniad cywir gan y cyfarwyddwr i roi pwyslais ar y cyfnod anodd hwnnw. Fodd bynnag, fel y byddai rhywun yn disgwyl o ffilm ddogfen a oedd yn adrodd stori mor ysbrydoledig ac anhygoel, roedd gweddill y ffilm yn llawer mwy cadarnhaol. Tywyswyd y gwylwyr

o amgylch Ffrainc, gan ddilyn y tîm o le i le, gan ddefnyddio cymysgiad amrywiol o glipiau newyddion, cyfweliadau, a fideos a ffilmiwyd gan gefnogwyr a chwaraewyr. Roedd cael ail fyw’r gemau, gan wrando ar beth yr oedd Chris Coleman a’i chwaraewyr yn meddwl yn ystod y gemau, yn brofiad gwych, ac roedd fel pe bai’r gwylwyr yn yr ystafell newid gyda’r chwaraewyr. Er yr oeddwn yn gwybod y sgôr i bob gem, ac yn gwybod pwy, pryd a sut y sgoriwyd bob gôl, roeddwn dal yn teimlo ton o hapusrwydd drwy fy nghorff ar ôl gweld un o ‘free-kicks’ Bale yn hedfan i mewn i’r gôl! Yn ogystal, roedd cael gweld fideos o’r chwaraewyr y tu ôl i’r llenni, oddi wrth y cae, yn chwarae ‘ping-pong’, yn cael ‘jôcs’ gyda’i gilydd neu’n yn ymlacio, yn eithriadol o ddiddorol, ac yn taflu goleuni ar bersonoliaethau’r arwyr oddi wrth y cae. Llwyddodd Jonny Owen i greu ffilm gynhwysfawr, ddoniol, diddorol ac ysbrydoledig, a oedd yn creu croen gŵydd, ac yn dod a deigryn i’r llygaid (O lawenydd ac o dristwch!). Roedd o’n

Dysgu’r Gymraeg gyda’r Taf-Od

ffilm ddogfen hollol gampus. Mewn rhyw ddeugain mlynedd, mi ddangosaf y ffilm honno i’m mhlant, ac er na fyddai’r profiad cystal â byw drwy’r ewros, fel yr oedd gennym ni’r anrhydedd o wneud, oherwydd yr emosiwn a’r ymdeimlad yn y ffilm, rwy’n hyderus y byddai ei wylio yn gwneud cyfiawnder ag un o’r hafau gorau erioed, ac y bydd y genhedlaeth nesaf o Gareth Bales, Aaron Ramseys a Hal Robson Kanus yn cael eu hysbrydoli gan y ffilm, a gan yr haf bythgofiadwy yn Ffrainc y llynedd. Ar ôl i’r ffilm orffen, dechreuodd pawb yn y sinema gymeradwyo. Nid wyf yn siŵr os mai cymeradwyo’r ffilm, y cyfarwyddwr, y cefnogwyr, y chwaraewyr neu’r rheolwr, yr oeddwn, ond mae un peth yn sicr - mae’r ffilm yn haeddu canmoliaeth a chymeradwyaeth. Digwyddodd rhywbeth arbennig yn Ffrainc yr haf diwethaf, diolch i Jonny Owen am roi’r digwyddiadau anhygoel hynny ar ffilm am byth, gan olygu y gallwn ail fyw’r profiad tro ar ôl tro. Heb os, byddai byth yn diflasu ar ei wylio!

Learn Welsh with the Taf-Od



Un = One Een

Dau = Two Die

Tri = Three Tree

Pedwar = Four Ped-w-ahr

Pump = Five Pimp

Chwech = Six Chwech

Saith = Seven Saith

Wyth = Eight Oith

Naw = Nine Now

Deg = Ten Deg

Llwyddodd Jonny Owen i greu ffilm gynhwysfawr, ddoniol, diddorol ac ysbrydoledig, a oedd yn creu croen gwydd, ac yn dod a deigryn i’r llygaid.




Rhys Dafis

Roedd Castles yn ychwanegu ychydig o amrwyiad i’r noson, roedd HMS Morris a Cowbois yn wych, a gorffennodd Candelas y noson gyda bang fel arfer.


Adolygiad: Gwobrau’r Selar

yma’r tro cyntaf i fi ddewrio’r daith i Wobrau’r Selar, a doeddwn i ddim yn rhy siwr beth i’w ddisgwyl. Chwarae teg, wnaeth Aberystwyth ddim siomi. Cyn i’r gwobrau hyd yn oed ddechrau, ges i’r bleser o fynd i nid un, ond dau gig yn Aberystwyth ar y nos Wener. Yn gyntaf, gwylio Geraint Jarman a Gareth Bonello yn swyno’r dorf mewn gig acwstig yn Neuadd Pantycelyn, ac yna’n syth lawr i’r Llew Du lle roedd awyrgylch llawer mwy bywiog a swnllyd, diolch i Mosco, Los Blancos a Mellt. Y bandiau wnaeth adael yr argraff fwya arna i ar y noson oedd y rhai ifanc. Y band cynta ar y noson oedd Alffa, two-piece blŵs cyffrous o Lanrug. Ma nhw ychydig bach yn amrwd, ond mae’n amlwg bod llawer o botensial ganddyn nhw. Roedd hi’n anarferol gwylio Cpt. Smith yn chwarae set acwstig, ond roedd e’n gweithio. Newid gorfodol oedd hwn gan bod eu drymiwr yn absennol, ond wnes i fwynhau clywed y caneuon ar newydd wedd, yn enwedig y cyfyr Gorky’s, ‘Merched yn neud gwallt ei gilydd’. Uchafbwynt arall oedd Chroma, y band gollodd allan ar wobr ‘Band Newydd Gorau’ am iddynt gyflawni’r drosedd anfaddeuol o ddod o dde Cymru. Er bod y dorf yn dal yn gymharol fach, roedd eu set nhw mor eg-

nïol ag arfer. Ma rhaid i fi roi honourable mention i Ffracas hefyd. Dy’n nhw ddim fy math i o fand ond maen nhw’n amlwg yn dalentog iawn, ac ar flwyddyn arall nhw fydde fy newis i am Band Newydd Gorau, jyst mod i’n meddwl bod ganddyn nhw ychydig o ffordd i fynd. Maen nhw’n ifanc iawn a dwi’n edrych ymlaen i weld sut maen nhw, ynghyd â’r bandie eraill cyffrous ifanc, yn datblygu yn y blynyddoedd nesaf. Rhag ofn bod chi heb sylwi, do’n i ddim yn union yn cytuno gyda phenderfyniadiau democrataidd y 1,000 a mwy o bobl bleidleisiodd. Mae’n dechrau mynd ychydig yn ddiflas gweld yr un pobl yn ennilll bob tro, haeddiannol neu beidio. Ond ofer yw cwyno, gan nad yw pethau’n debygol o newid yn fuan. Ta beth, heblaw’r ennillwyr rhagweladwy iawn, wnes i fwynhau gweddill y noson yn fawr iawn. Roedd Castles yn ychwanegu ychydig o amrwyiad i’r noson, roedd HMS Morris a Cowbois yn wych, a gorffennodd Candelas y noson gyda bang fel arfer. Mae rhywbeth i bawb (neu o leia’r mwyafrif ohonom ni) yng Ngwobrau’r Selar. Hyd yn oed i rywun mor surbwch a fi, roedd digon o amrywiaeth o fandie i gadw fi’n hapus rhan fwya o’r amser! Ynghyd â’r gigs ar y nos Wener, ges i benwythnos gwych.

Yn y lluniau: Gwobrau Selar (Tarddiad: Rhys Dafis)

Safonau yn lladd yr iaith? Yn y llun: Set Jonathan (Tarddiad: Liam Ketcher)

Liam Ketcher


ae safonau’r iaith Gymraeg yn bwnc llosg ymysg siaradwyr a dysgwyr yr iaith pob dydd, ond diwrnod ar ôl Dydd Gŵyl Dewi eleni fe wnaeth Jonathan Davies sylwi ar y pwysau sydd ar bobl ac yn arbennig chwaraewyr rygbi i siarad ‘Gymraeg cywir’. Mae’r cyn-faswr yn ddweud ei bod yn adnabod sawl chwaraewr sydd “ddim yn moyn siarad Cymraeg achos ‘ma nhw’n meddwl bod nhw’n cael gormod o bwysau arnyn nhw” i siarad yn gywir. Yn ôl ef mae’r bobl sydd yn meddwl eu hunain i bod yn bwysig yn debygol o farnu’r chwaraewyr am eu diffyg o gywirdeb wrth siarad Cymraeg. Sbardunodd hyn digon o ddadl ymysg siaradwyr Cymraeg ar Drydar yn y dyddiau a ddilynodd, gyda chymysg o ymatebion gyda rhai yn cytuno ac anghytuno. Mae hyn sicr yn atal chwaraewyr ar-

fer ar yr iaith gan eu bod yn cael eu tanseilio gan blismyn yr iaith ac felly oherwydd hyn yn colli hyder yn ei ddefnydd ohoni. Ond yn ôl J Elwyn Hughes dim ond “elfen o wirionedd” sydd yma am y chwaraewyr sydd yn gwrthod siarad Cymraeg yn eu cyfweliadau. Dadleuodd ef gallai’r chwaraewyr sydd yn cael cyfweliadau yn y Gymraeg gwrando yn ôl ar eu hunain i ddadansoddi pa mor safonol oedd eu defnydd o’r iaith a sut allant nhw i wella. I bigo mas y geiriau Saesneg y maen nhw’n defnyddio ac i newid nhw gyda’r geiriau Cymraeg. Mae hyn yn fy marn i yn gwbl wirion. Sut allwn ni ddisgwyl i’r chwaraewyr mynd adref i wrando yn ôl ar eu hun er mwyn ceisio gwella safonau ei iaith? Pam na allant nhw siarad Cymraeg arferol ac anffurfiol o ddydd i ddydd yn eu cyfweliadau? Nid yn unig ein sêr rygbi sydd yn teimlo pwysau gan blismyn yr iaith, ond

hefyd mae ein sêr pêl-droed yn teimlo’n anghyfforddus wrth ateb yng Nghymraeg mewn cyfweliadau megis Aaron Ramsey. Ond mae J Elwyn Hughes wedi canmol Cymdeithas Pêl-droed Cymru am ei ddefnydd o’r Gymraeg yn ystod yr Ewros y llynedd, ac yn ddiweddarach mae Joe Allen, y chwaraewr canol cae, yn ystod rowndiau rhagbrofol Cwpan y Byd ar hyn o bryd ond am gael cyfweliadau yn y Gymraeg yn unig. Cred J Elwyn Hughes bod y cyfryngau yn chwarae rôl ganolig i hyn, a ddylai’r chwaraewyr sydd yn medru’r Gymraeg bod yn ei ddefnyddio yn gymdeithasol. Ond eto mae’r chwaraewyr yn gweld yn anodd gwneud, er enghraifft mae dilynwyr Aaron Ramsey yn eu barnu am ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg ar ei Drydar. Cafodd Jonathan Davies ei holi yn ystod ei rhaglen ‘Jonathan’ ar nos Iau am ei sylwadau ar yr iaith Gymraeg. Cytunwyd y gynulleidfa gydag ef, ac yn

hwyrach cafodd ei gywiro gan gyd-gyflwynydd Sara Elgan pan ddefnyddiwyd y lluosog “ceision” yn lle “ceisiau”. Ymatebodd Jonthan, fel jôc, wrth weiddi ar Sarra yn ddweud bod pobl fel hi sy’n lladd yr iaith Gymraeg. Chwarddodd y gynulleidfa, Sarra a gweddill y gwestai gyda Jonathan am hyn. Ond o ddifri mae’n bwysig yn fy marn i ein bod ni’n ymlacio gyda safonau iaith mewn sefyllfeydd anffurfiol. Dwi’n siŵr mae’n fwy pwysig i weld ein sêr chwaraeon yn defnyddio’r iaith yn hytrach na ofni nhw rhag ei ddefnyddio. Mae Wenglish yn fwy poblogaidd yn ein byd modern, nid ydw i’n ddweud ei fod yn gywir mewn sefyllfaoedd ffurfiol ond peidiwch ofni ei ddefnyddio. Cadw’r safonau i’r ystafell dosbarth a chadw’r iaith yn fyw, dyna beth sy’n bwysig.

Mae J Elwyn Hughes wedi canmol Cymdeithas Pêl-droed Cymru am ei ddefnydd o’r Gymraeg yn ystod yr Ewros y llynedd.

Fri 31 march 19.00 - Sat 01 april 07.00

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Raising funds to support homelessness projects

feel part of a team

emilie James, ladies swimming captain.

welsh varsity 2017 wednesday 5 april at venues across cardiff.

cardiff university v swansea university


Cobras march on in BUCS play-offs

Rich Jones

The Cobras put in a convincing showing in horrendous conditions to advance to the next stage of the BUCS Division 1A Play-Offs.


ardiff Cobras got back to winning ways and moved one step closer to promotion with a 27-12 win over the Cambridge Pythons last weekend. The Cobras put in a convincing showing in horrendous conditions to advance to the next stage of the BUCS Division 1A Play-Offs. It was a perfect response from Sean Patrick Cook’s side after they saw their perfect season fall at the hands of the UWE Bullets in heartbreaking style in the final week of the regular season. They got off to a dream start as a Cambridge punt on their opening drive was blocked by Will Rushen and collected by veteran Robin Ford for a touchdown. Despite being held out on their first couple of offensive drives, they instantly demonstrated an ability to move the ball on the ground and established the running game. Their pressure soon paid off and they doubled their lead when running back Carwyn Chamberlain ran in a 28 yard touchdown in the sec-

ond quarter. Rookie Ross Ludlow pulled off a score in similar fashion at the start of the second half to give them more breathing space and ensure they remained firmly on the front foot. Cambridge gave themselves a lifeline as their quarterback weaved his way into the endzone from 20 yards out to get them on the scoreboard on their next possession. But Cardiff replied in perfect fashion with a composed drive culminating in Chamberlain punching in his second touchdown from short range. With the game all but won, the Cobras took the opportunity to give a number of rookies and back-ups game time with one eye on the future. Cambridge took advantage with two turnovers in the fourth quarter and a touchdown, but it was too little too late as the Cobras closed out a convincing victory. It was an excellent response from the Welsh side as they came out firing following their first defeat of the season the previous week.

There were a number of impressive contributions, with Robin Ford winning overall MVP, running backs Chamberlain and Ludlow winning offensive MVP honours plus Scott Burgan and Joe Dickerson getting credit on the defensive side of the ball. But head coach Cook nonetheless believes there was plenty of room for improvement heading into the next stage of the play-offs. Said Cook: “I feel like we left quite a few points on the field at the weekend against Cambridge, but we managed to get the job done in the end. “I feel like we’ll need better performances from both offense and defense in the next game against Imperial, however I think it’s great we’ve got so far this season. “I’m really proud of all the guys. We’ve worked hard in training to get to this stage and we just need to keep taking it each game at a time. “Our next game against Imperial will be tough. They are a former Premiership team so they’ll have a lot of good players and will be coming to

win, especially as their head coach is a Cobras Hall of Famer. “Hopefully the weather plays into our favour so we can bring out our passing game a bit more, because that was lacking slightly against Cambridge. “In the play-offs, a win is a win so we were pleased with the result. We just need to tighten up the small things to hopefully keep winning and get promotion to the Premiership. “We’ve had a great season and I think we definitely have the potential to go all the way this year, we just need to finish the season strongly and cut out the small mistakes.” The victory set up a huge clash with the Imperial Immortals which was due to take place on Sunday, with just two more wins needed to seal promotion to the top tier of British University American Football. But they are now at a stage where another defeat will abruptly end their BUCs season and leave them with a long wait until their Welsh Varsity clash with Swansea on Wednesday, April 5 to get back on the field.

Pictured: Cardiff Cobras in action against UWE Bullets in their final regular season game (via Paul Jenkins).


Cardiff Devils win Challenge Cup for second time in three years Mark Wyatt


ardiff Devils won their second Challenge Cup title in three years with victory over the Sheffield Steelers in the Ice Arena Wales. Their victory came in dramatic fashion as they ran out 3-2 victors after trailing 2-1 after just 20 minutes on the clock. Gleason Fournier opened the scoring for the Devils on 3:53 before quick strikes from Robert Dowd and Mathieu Roy secured the lead for the Steelers. The Devils showed great courage to come back into the match and their consistent pressure paid off when Mark Louis found the equaliser at 37:40. The winner came in the final period when Layne Ulmer put Cardiff in front at 43:38. The Devils held on in the closing moments, despite the Steelers having a late powerplay in the last two minutes. It was the Devils first trophy win since their last Challenge Cup victory in 2015 – coincidentally a 2-1 victory over the Sheffield Steelers again. The Devils focus will now turn to the Elite League, where they will hope to secure a maiden title victory if they keep their points gap over second-place Belfast Giants.

They currently sit at the top of the table on 73 points entering the last few rounds of fixtures after their unprecedented 35 wins from 46 matches. Their scintillating form has come in-part due to goalkeeper Ben Bowns

topping the charts for save percentage – leading the way with a 0.912%. The Devils came into the final month of the league on great form, losing only one of their eight league matches in February. Their only loss came away at Nottingham Panthers

in a 7-4 thriller. With one title already secured for the season, Devils fans will be very hopeful that they will be able to add a league crown to the cabinet come March 26th.

Pictured: Left: Cardiff Devils in action. Below: The Water Polo team pose for pictures after they make a splash. (Via Flickr).

Water Polo make a splash at BUCS finals Andrea Gaini


ardiff University has always had a good history associated with its male water polo teams, but this year they have really exceeded expectation. With two victories and a loss the team came second in the BUCS Super 8 group gaining access to the finals. “The team was the strongest we have had for several years, but we knew that there were some strong teams in our groups” says Iain Greig, captain of the men’s water polo team. The first game against Sheffield Hal-

lam University ended with a final score of 8-3, with the boys displaying a very strong defence until the end of the third quarter where the score was 5-3 and the game still open. “We struggled to score goals in attack, but we were happy that we were creating chances that would produce goals later in the game” Greig continued. This solid defensive displayed by the boys and the many chances created in attack really paid off in the second game, when Cardiff crushed Edinburgh Uni-

versity with a final score of 11-3 and a game which was never really competitive. All the work put in to create chances in the first game, was converted into goals against a shell-shocked Edinburgh team. With two victories in the bag, and qualification to the finals secured, the side finished the weekend with a game against Durham University, who had also won their first two games. The last game was the closest of the three. After starting the game very

slowly and going down 4-0 in the first quarter, Cardiff pulled the game back and ended the third quarter 7-5 behind. Unfortunately, in the last quarter, Durham pulled the rabbit out of the hat and scored six goals winning the game 13-6. Nevertheless, Cardiff proved how even teams that look much stronger on paper, are going to have to perform at their best level to win against this Cardiff team. In the Super 8 Group 2, Manchester Met and Northumbria dominated the games and will be facing Cardiff and Durham respectively in the finals. “Going into the finals all the teams look strong and the competition is very open” Greig explained. “Our biggest strength is our unity and the fact that every member of the team puts 100% into every game”. “If we don’t lose our concentration, we have as good a chance as any other team to make it all the way”. Cardiff will play Manchester Met on finals day, split into semi-finals and a final. Manchester are considered the favourites to win the title, having not lost a single game during the season. However, they have not met Cardiff this year and it promises to be a close match up that will be decided by the capacity of each team to control the game and take advantage of the other’s mistakes. Finals day on ‘Big Wednesday’ will take place on the 22nd of March at The University of Bath.


EXCLUSIVE Q&A: We talk to former Cardiff student Huw Ware on life as a darts referee James Lloyd

I had a lot of positive reviews, I didn’t make a mistake, there were a lot of 180s, it was a great game so it went well. It was a complete blur!” Huw Ware


ormer Cardiff University student Huw Ware lifts the lid on life as a darts referee as the 23-year-old made his televised Professional Darts Coporation (PDC) debut in the Premier League a fortnight ago. Ware made his bow in Exeter, overseeing the opening match between five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall.

Huw, can you describe your life as a Darts referee? “I think first and foremost it’s an amazing job to have, I am very lucky to have done it for so many years despite my young age. I love the job, I love darts and have done since a very young age, so to be able to referee high profile matches and still be able to referee players I grew up watching is brilliant and I really enjoy it.” You refereed in Exeter for the Premier League, what was that experience like? “Before you go on you have to wait by the steps for about five minutes, and I was stood there like ‘oh my god, this is getting real now.’ And I walked up to the stage and tripped up on the oche and I turned to Gary Wood, the marker, and said ‘blimey, that was a good start!’. It went well, the walk ons were great. Raymond van Barneveld’s walk ons is one of the best in the darts so that was great and thankfully it went well. I had a lot of positive reviews, I didn’t make a mistake, there were a lot of 180s, it was a great game so it went well. It was a complete blur!”

Was it nice to referee Barney on your first televised PDC match, someone you grew up watching? “My first night of watching Premier League darts I was 12 and it was van Barneveld’s debut in the PDC. I remember watching it and the crowd were going absolutely mad. He came from the BDO, people were asking if he could compete with Phil Taylor, ten years on and I am refereeing him in the Premier League which was amazing. I saw him on the Sunday and told him I was going to be his referee, and he was really lovely about it and happy for me. The 12-year-old from 2006 was dancing around.” Do you enjoy refereeing at Lakeside? “Lakeside is great. It’s a superb venue, I love the fans there, they are very loud and boisterous and respectful to both players. They are a joy to referee in front of if I am honest. It may not be the biggest of rooms, but the low ceiling makes the atmosphere fantastic. As a referee, and you get to say ‘game shot’ it’s fantastic.”

Do you have any more PDC events lined up? “I’m not refereeing any more Premier League matches, the plan was always to do the one game to give me a bit more experience. I was down to do the UK Open in Minehead which was the following two days. I’m doing a lot more spotting, I will be going back and forward to Barnsley to spot some professional tour events. I will

Pictured: Left: Huw Ware at Lakeside, the BDO world championships. Below: Peter Wright fires a dart as Ware looks on. (via Facebook)

be back in Minehead in November.” How did you get into darts refereeing? “I used to play darts at county youth level. One day we had a friendly match between Glamorgan youth and the seniors. The caller didn’t turn up and I was already known a bit for marking as I used to love marking and they asked me to fill in. When I came off the senior squad said that was really good and they wanted for me to referee more often. So I did that for a couple of years, and some of the Glamorgan officials got on the board of the BDO and I remember they called me to referee

the World Masters and I ended up doing a men’s semi-final and it went from there. I had just turned 18 at the time. It was a quick rise and I was very lucky!” What was being on Question of Sport with Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen like? “It was amazing, but I didn’t get to meet Sue Barker, I was gutted! I had my back to her when she was in her presenter’s chair. They wanted me to stay and do some additional filming with Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell for this charity thing, so I did that and by the time I finished, Sue had gone! It was a great experience, though. It was so surreal, I had only been asked to do it a few days before and I was straight up on the train to Manchester.” Who would be your dream match to referee? “What a good question. I think I would go Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen, for standard and speed. I did Vincent van der Voort and Jelle Klaasen last Saturday, and that finished 10-9, that was really good. The only other one which would rival Anderson and van Gerwen would be Taylor against van Barneveld because when I grew up that was the absolute dominant rivalry, and at that time their sporting rivalry was up there with Nadal against Federer and Manchester United and Chelsea at their peak, so for that reason I’d say them too. I may actually get to do them at the end of the month with some work, only an exhibition, but it would be cool.”

Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff Blues Columnist


t’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for regional rugby in South East Wales. First the Dragons revealed their takeover by the WRU, prompting mass debate throughout Welsh rugby as to the future of not just the Gwent region, but also the regional structure overall. Are four regions viable? Is the independent ownership model fit for purpose? News that Leigh Halfpenny would not be re-joining the Blues followed, with the fullback re-signing a contract worth up to €700,000, that will keep him on the French Riviera until the World Cup in 2019. Murmurs coming out of the

region suggest that Halfpenny was keen to come home, with a joint Dual Contract bid on the table, but an agreement was not met, with the Gorseinon born superstar opting for a shorter contract, opening up the opportunity to play Super Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere post World Cup. A move to the benchmark tournament would be big news in Europe, and would almost certainly see Halfpenny relinquish his availability to play for Wales. With an air disappointment coming out of the capital region, a defeat to Munster followed, almost certainly ending any hopes of a top six finish. Early

season optimism has certainly subsided over the winter period, and the domestic campaign will now likely culminate in a modest mid-table finish. There is still a European campaign driving ambitions, however, and the Blues head to Gloucester in April for a quarter-final against a side in their own turmoil, with head coach Laurie Fisher recently departing. Progression to the semi-finals is not out of the question, and further European success would be a much-needed boost. A further shot of adrenaline followed last week, when staggering news emerged that like the Dragons, a WRU takeover is on the table for the Cardiff

based region also. Full central control would enable the redevelopment of The Arms Park (the current lease with Cardiff Athletic club ends in 2021), seeing a new indoor 15,000 capacity stadium, exhibition centre and offices built. It would have a huge impact on the rugby centre of Cardiff, but would such a move really be rugby motivated? Just as we thought Welsh Rugby had supplied us with enough drama for a fortnight, the ailing Dragons pulled off a major coup, signing 31-time capped Springbok superstar Zane Kirchner. Life in the melting pot of Welsh rugby is rarely dull!

Lakeside is great. It’s a superb venue, I love the fans there, they are very loud and boisterous and respectful to both players. They are a joy to referee in front of if I am honest. Huw Ware


Cont: Cardiff-born Bird on life as a rugby player in the USA Rich Jones

The first game we were in the MLS stadium in Houston, we drew that game 35-35 against Argentina and it was an amazing experience. James Bird

” Philip Marsh Cardiff City Columnist

“It turned into three years pretty quickly. I played well for my club and when the three year residency period that World Rugby stipulate came to an end, the High Performance Director got in touch from the US setup. “That was the day after my three years was up. Two weeks later I was attending a training camp and a week later I won my first international cap against Argentina so things moved pretty quickly! “There are only a select number of clubs playing at a really high level over here due to the sheer number of players, so we had a couple of internationals in our club side. “I think it was probably about six months before my call-up that I was talking to my coach about the season and we mentioned the three year residency stuff. “I didn’t know if it was realistic, and I’d never spoken to any of the coaches or anything like that. It wasn’t really something I’d thought about to be honest. “There was the World Cup in the September/October just before, and after that tournament there was a coaching change. “John Mitchell came in, the ex-All Blacks coach, and it was his first tournament the following January which was when I got the call-up. “It wasn’t at the top of my mind, but I was obviously training and preparing as if I would get a call-up and when I did it was a huge honour.” The fly-half kicked 15 points on his debut as they drew 35-35 against Argentina XV before orchestrating a 3022 win over rivals Canada. He eventually started four games and notched 35 points as the Eagles finished second in the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship. And he admits his first experience of international rugby, which started at a Major League Soccer stadium in Houston and ended in South America, was “incredible”. He commented: “I played in four games, the first was against Argentina XV which wasn’t technically capped, so my first proper cap was against Canada. “The first game we were in the MLS stadium in Houston, we drew that game 35-35 against Argentina and it was an amazing experience. “Then to play in the North Ameri-


s Cardiff ’s first season under Neil Warnock approaches its conclusion, the competition for places in next year’s team heats up. Warnock has already spoken to the media about the competition for places: “I’m still looking at one or two players, can I get better than them or not? “Certain players are playing for their places at the minute. That’s how it should be,” he said. After last week’s draw to Blackburn, Declan John and Craig Noone became the latest players to have their future questioned by the manager.

can Derby against Canada for my first cap was incredible. We were actually playing in a baseball stadium in Austin, down in Texas, which was pretty cool. “We got the win there, I was rested for the third game against Chile where we won by 50-odd points and then we went down to South America to play in Brazil and Uruguay. “We didn’t get the results we wanted down there because we had a weakened side, but it was still an amazing experience. “I unfortunately picked up an injury this year which has meant I’ve missed out, but hopefully I’ll get more chances in the future because it’s an honour to play for the USA.” Away from the international stage, Bird plies his trade for the historic Old Blue R.F.C in New York City. They play in the American Rugby Premiership, the highest level of competition in the country outside the newly-founded PRO League. Many question the standard of rugby played on the other side of the pond, in a country not traditionally associated with the sport. Bird believes the level is on par with the Welsh Premiership, where his brother, Diggy, plays for Cardiff RFC. But he has revealed how different styles of play across different areas of the country add another intriguing dimension to the game. He stated: “I think the top level of club competition that we play in is really comparable to the Championship in England or the Premiership in Wales. “My brother plays for Cardiff RFC, I went to watch one of their games recently and I’d say that seems a pretty similar standard. “It’s a lot less technical over here I’d say, particularly in the front row, but overall it’s a fairly high standard. “Away from the top level competition, the standard drops off a little bit just because we don’t have the playing numbers. “We’ve got the Pro League which started last year as well, and I think the standard of that was better than people thought around the world which is a positive. “I think what’s interesting is that there is a different style of rugby from the East to the West coast. The likes of New York, Boston and down to Atlanta which is the furthest we travel, the style tends to be a lot more European.

“It’s a bit more technical and territorial and you play to the conditions a bit more, whereas on the West coast in California, Denver, Texas and places like that you have more of a Polynesian influence. “A lot of people come from the Islands to the West coast, and you see in the rugby that they chuck the ball around a lot more and it’s quite entertaining.” Rugby is clearly a growing sport in the USA. Over 60,000 people packed into Soldier Field in Chicago in November to witness Ireland claim a thrilling 40-29 win over the All Blacks. 2016 also saw the successful introduction of the PRO League, the first fully professional competition in the country. But Bird believes it could well be Rugby Sevens which holds the key as they look to break into the crowded sports market. He said: “I was at that All Blacks-Ireland game doing some work with USA, and selling out a 65,000 seater stadium for an international match on American soil is pretty incredible I think. “Things like the Olympics are only going to grow the game in terms of the exposure here. I think what needs to happen is we need to get TV coverage of club games. The internationals are on ESPN, but we need other games on the main channels that cover sport. “I’d say, honestly, the primary driver for rugby over here would be Sevens to be honest, because it’s an exciting sport and it kind of suits the American

structure. “There are seven minute halves then a commercial break, which fits in with the way things are over here. “You could have it on throughout the day and it’s easy to break down and understand because there are so many breaks.” So what does the future hold for James Bird? Based on his unorthodox journey to date, it would take a brave man to predict his future path. The man himself concedes he is unsure where he will end up – but he is open to the prospect of embarking upon a full-time career in rugby following his international exposure. “I think I need to talk to the US coaching setup and see what they say,” he added. “Right now I don’t really feel like I train full-time either side of work, but obviously it’s not a professional environment. “It’s a semi-professional club, so if the US coaching staff think a move to full-time, maybe back in the UK, is what I need then I’d have to consider it. “It’d definitely be tough with work but I’m pretty sure they’d be supportive of it given the short time frame of a rugby career and the fact I could go back and work for the company at any time. “We’ll have to have some conversations with the management at some stage and see what they think. “I could play professionally overseas or also over here in the US because another PRO League season starts fairly soon.”

“You live and learn, don’t you?” said Warnock. “That’s what we’re doing, learning about next season and who you want on board. It’s my own fault, I put the subs on. Two of them cost us the goal.” One player whose future is in no doubt at all is in­form striker Kenneth Zohore. At the start of the season, the big forward’s performances left fans wondering why the club decided to sign him. However all that is now behind him. Five goals in five games in February has seen the Danish striker nominated

for the Player of the Month award. “I love him.” said Warnock. “He’s got blood all over his socks. I like that. You can’t fault him, he plays 80 minutes the way I’m asking him to and he’s got such a big frame, but he’s enjoying it.” Warnock will use the final nine games to experiment with some of the fringe players. Former Swansea City player Jazz Richards has been one of those fringe players to break into the first team. An injury to Lee Peltier in January opened the door for Richards who has taken full advantage of the situation.

Warnock was full of praise for the Welsh full­ back after the Blackburn game, labelled the defender’s performance “fantastic”. “The beginning of the season was up and down and I got injured, but I’m back in the game now,” said Richards. “I’ve still got a lot more to show. I think I’m nowhere near my full potential.” This summer will almost certainly see big changes at Cardiff City. Warnock, who is now contracted to the Bluebirds until the end of next season, will be keen to get rid of any players that aren’t going to feature to make space for a couple new players.

Pictured: A young James Bird (left) alongside team-mate and future Wales captain Sam Warburton (centre).

Things like the Olympics are only going to grow the game in terms of the exposure here. I think what needs to happen is we need to get TV coverage of club games. The internationals are on ESPN, but we need other games on the main channels that cover sport. James Bird


Editors: James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie @GairRhyddSport sport@gairrhydd.com gairrhydd.com/sport

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Meet James Bird: The Welshman flying high for the USA with the 2019 Rugby World Cup on the horizon. EXCLUSIVE Rich Jones


s a young rugby player in Wales, the opportunity to play in the Rugby World Cup ranks as the ultimate ambition. But never in his wildest dreams could Cardiff’s James Bird have envisaged he would be closing in on the chance to play on the biggest stage representing the USA. With two and a half years until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Bird is making waves in the United States and is keen to help the Eagles reach Japan. The 28-year-old grew up playing both with and against a number of Wales’ top international stars and helped introduce a classmate by the name of Sam Warburton to the sport around 20 years ago. After taking two wildly different routes, Bird is relishing the prospect of their paths potentially crossing again in unlikely circumstances a couple of years down the line.

“It’d be an immense honour to go to a World Cup with the Eagles, and that’s mainly what I’m pushing for looking ahead to 2019,” Bird said. “I’ve got to find form, stay fit and hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to get involved. If it worked out that we were in the same group as Wales, that’d be an amazing thing for me. “I played with and against a few of the boys in the Welsh setup when we were kids. To potentially be up against Sam (Warburton) and the rest of the Welsh boys again would be incredible. “It’d be an interesting one for my family and my brothers as well, to see which side of the line they take and who they’d support! “It’s one of those things that I’d love to happen, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. There is a long way to go, and the main thing for me is just to try and get to that World Cup.” Bird’s journey is a remarkable one. Having graduated from the University of Bristol, he seemed content to play amateur rugby and focus on his career.

Yet shortly after starting his job with accountancy firm PWC, he found himself embarking upon a journey across the pond as part of a project in New York. In a new country, Bird utilised rugby as a means of fitting into his surroundings. His initial six month project in the Big Apple became three years and within two weeks of being cleared to play for the USA based on residency he was making his international debut. “I graduated from the University of Bristol a few years ago and started a job with PWC in London,” he recalled. “I was working as a consultant and about 18 months after I started I ended up moving to New York for six months for a project. “When I arrived I didn’t really know anyone, so I turned to rugby as a way to get to know people. I’d played at a fairly high standard back home, but it didn’t really go any further than that. “The initial six months turned into a lot longer because the guys I was working with asked if I wanted to stay.

Pictured: James Bird takes a kick for the USA on his international debut against Argentina XV.

Continued on page 39

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