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Taf-Od: Brexit yn tanio rhagfarnau wrth Gymraeg P25 >> gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1096 Monday 20th March 2017 Study shows being busy is ‘a barrier to exercise’
Credit: Cardiff University
Sir Martin Evans steps down as chancellor of Cardiff University Gabriella Mansell
ollowing eight years in the role, FRS and Nobel prize winner Professor Sir Martin Evans is set to step down as chancellor of Cardiff University. Sir Martin made the announcement last week at the University’s annual general meeting after having formally advised the council previous to this. Despite renouncing his title, Sir Martin will remain at Cardiff, continuing to be very much a part of the University as an Emeritus Professor, which is an honorary title that recognises distinguished academic service. Professor Sir Martin Evans was the first ever scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for varying medical purposes. From basic research to the complex development of new theories, his discoveries are now being applied to virtu-
ally all aspects of biomedical science. In 2007 Sir Martin was awarded the highest accolade, the most prestigious honour in world science: The Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine. He was awarded it based on “the groundbreaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in animals”. Among other merits Sir Martin was knighted in 2004 for his services to medical science and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine in recognition of his valuable contribution to medicine. In 2009 he also received the Baly Medal from the Royal College of Physicians and the Copley Medal, the Royal Society’s oldest award, joining an eminent list of previous recipients including the great Albert Einstein. Additionally he received honorary doctorate awards from the University of Bath, University of Buckinghamshire, University College London, University of Wales and the Univer-
sity of Athens. Sir Martin Evans was inaugurated as chancellor (previously known as president) in 2009 and took up a second term in 2014. The chancellor is the most senior of position of the University’s honorary officers; it is a ceremonial role consisting of chairing Court and presiding at graduation ceremonies. Speaking about Sir Martin’s departure from the role, Professor Stuart Palmer, Chair of Council said: “I would like to take this opportunity to put on record our immense thanks to Sir Martin. It has been an honour for the University to have our Nobel Laureate, Professor Sir Martin Evans, as the 22nd Chancellor of Cardiff University.” Reflecting on his time as chancellor Sir Martin said: “Holding the role of Chancellor of this institution has been an honour and a privilege which I have greatly enjoyed. To be part of graduation, one of the highlights in
the University calendar, has been a joy. Each year I have shared in the pride of all of our new graduates who join over 145,000 alumni in more than 180 countries around the world.” Sir Martin moved from Cambridge University in 1999 to lead the newly formed School of Biosciences in Cardiff University and after 18 years at Cardiff in 2013 the University named the School of Bioscience building in his honour. Professor Colin Riordan said: “Professor Sir Martin Evans holds, to date, the only Nobel Prize to have been won by a scientist working in Wales and this is a matter of immeasurable pride for the University. We are grateful for his immense contribution to science, the wide ranging benefits of his research and his service to the University.” Sir Martin is heralded worldwide as “the grandfather of stem cell research” and named as one of “ten Britons who have shaped our world.”
ardiff University have looked into the reasons why people don’t exercise amid concerns over public health. Eight out of ten people cited worklife commitments as a reason why it can be tricky to exercise regularly. Safety was also a big concern as a third of women and 15 per cent of men, then a fear of running on busy roads cited by 12 per cent. Men and women differ in their reasons for not wanting to start running, as women were more afraid of not being prepared and being judged, whereas men tended to be more afraid of not reaching their goals. Despite these obstacles many positive reasons were given for running, including a sense of wellbeing, reported by 28 per cent of respondents, getting outdoors (22 per cent) and better health (20 per cent).
Cardiff Council aims to end rough sleeping
he ‘rough sleeper strategy’, as proposed by Cardiff City Council, aims to cut down numbers of people sleeping on the streets by ensuring there will be ‘no first night’. The annual rough sleeper count organised by the Welsh Government shows that figures for Cardiff rose from 26 in 2014 to 53 in 2016. Only 50% of those sleeping rough in the city have a local connection to Cardiff. The council intends on building on existing services run by The Salvation Army which helps put people reconnect with their ‘home’ areas. Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Wellbeing, Cllr Susan Elsmore, said: “We know there are too many people living on the streets in Cardiff. Those who sleep rough often have complex lives and issues. This new strategy seeks to ensure we are providing the right advice, support and assistance to ultimately end rough sleeping in the city.” The strategy is to be considered by cabinet this week.
2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Maria Mellor Deputy Editors Toby Holloway Emily Giblett 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 Louis Mertens 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
the free word
Shocking number of staff-on-student sexual harassment allegations at UK universities
s humans, we instinctively trust people. We trust our parents to shelter and feed us. We trust the emergency services to protect and help us when they can. We trust our partners to treat us well, and our friends to be kind. It would be naive of me to say that this trust is always unconditional, nor is it always maintained. Nevertheless it is there from the start of every new relationship, professional, political and personal. When a student walks into a lecture theatre, there is a certain level of professional boundary to be expected. This same professional boundary should be maintained in every setting, be it in a seminar with aound 20 people, or one on one sessions in a member of staff’s
office. Honestly, it’s not hard to maintain these boundaries. Keep topics strictly on educational level if you have to. No physical contact. I had a driving instructor when I was a teenager who spent what felt like half of my first two hour lesson explaining how if he touched my hand on the gearstick, it would only be when I’m doing the wrong thing and he suddenly had to help, or how if he happened to brush my knee it would only be accidental. At the time I was a little confused and worried about this whole speech. Why did he need to spend so much time explaining this guff? Surely it was just a waste of both his and my time? The thing is, he recognised the potential crossing of boundaries when it comes to being a driving instructor and wanted to make himself clear. Sure it came across as a little creepy, but it
CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS In issue 1095, dated 13th March 2017, the cartoon on page two titled ‘Ulster Votes’ was incorrectly attributed to Maria Mellor. The cartoonist of the piece was Tom Morris. Apologies to Tom for this error. Online versions have been amended.
made sure that I was going to understand what was happening if it came to it. The Guardian recently published a list of universities and the number of staff-student sexual harassment claims that have been made since the 2011/12 academic year. To see one sexual harassment claim isn’t great, but when we found that some universities had 10 claims or more, it was horrifying. On one hand I am so glad that people have the courage to speak out. On the other, I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous this is. World renowned Oxford University for example has had 11 claims of staffon-student harassment made in total. Sure they have a specific policy about staff/student relationships, but this is just excessive. How could this even be allowed to happen? Without specific details on each incidents, perhaps my mind imagines the worst, but then you look at the next statistic and it gets worse. Out of these 11 allegations only one was investigated. I can’t imagine that 10 individual cases didn’t even merit a check over. Harassment has happened and is all but being allowed to happen. You can
have all the policies you like, but if there isn’t proper punishment for breaking the rules, can you even say that they count? In Cardiff University since 2011/12, there have been two allegations made concerning staff-on-student sexual harassment. This may not seem like much compared to the horrifying stats from certain other universities, but even two incidents are a big deal. That is two incidences of broken trust, one of which occurred this academic year and the investigation of the other was discontinued when the student dropped out of university. There have been debates about consent lessons in the media in past years. Usually aimed at easily-mouldable students these lessons aim to reduce incidents of sexual harassment and rape. The fact that the university only have a ‘general’ policy according to The Guardian’s standards concerns me. It means there are gaps for incidences to fall through. It also shows that there is room for improvement. Perhaps with these new findings, every university on the list can take a step back and review whether things are being done correctly, from training staff to dealing with allegations.
Campus in Brief Brief Campus in
Wales WELSH TEENAGER BECOMES YOUNGEST CRUFTS WINNER WITH PET DOG ‘BISCUIT’
A teenager from Denbighshire in North Wales has become the youngest ever dog owner to win a title at Crufts. Joshua King, 14, entered his German Shepherd/Border Collie cross called Biscuit into the Scruffts section of the competition to win the ‘Family Crossbreed of the Year’. Speaking to the Rhyll Journal, Joshua said “I was not expecting to win and I’m extremely delighted about it. I think Biscuit’s potential sets him out from other dogs. He is brilliant with people and loves other dogs as well. He wants everybody to be his best mate.
VVD PARTY TRIUMPHS IN DUTCH GENERAL ELECTION Last week’s Dutch general election saw the current prime minister Mark Rutte win power once again in the face of strong oposition from the right-wing populist candidate Geert Wilders. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which supports private enterprise and public liberalism and is headed by Rutte, won with 33 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives, losing eight seats overall. The Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Wilders, now holds 20 seats in the House, making it the second most influential party in Dutch politics. Voter turnout was 80.4%. The Dutch election had been billed as a litmus test for right-wing populism in the west after the outcome of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.
33 of 150 seats
Words and Design by Emily Giblett
CHILD POVERTY IN UK AT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 2010 Figures published by the government show that the percentage of children classed as poor has risen consistently over the last three years, and has now reached levels not seen since 2010. In 2015 to 2016, a further 100,000 children fell into poverty. This is a 1% increase on figures the previous year, bringing the current number of children living in poverty is close to four million, or 30% of the population. Although this increase is described as modest, analysts suggest that planned cuts to working age benefits could drastically increase poverty rates in the coming years. Speaking on the findings, Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, told the Guardian “The prime minister spoke about injustice on entering Downing Street, but there is no greater burning injustice than children being forced into poverty as a result of government policy.” CPAG estimates that 67% of children living in poverty come from working families. The number of pensioners living in poverty also rose to 1.9 million in 2016. In the budget announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond several weeks ago, no mention of poverty was made, suggesting that the government is yet to set a strategy in place to deal with the issue. Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said “these troubling figures are warning signs we could be at the beginning of a sharp rise in poverty, with forecasts suggesting child poverty could rise further by 2021. If we are to make Britain work for everyone, getting to grips with high levels of poverty must be the starting point.” Despite the obviously negative impact of the figures on children, the government argue that the wider data shows that the UK economy is strong overall.
100,000 INTO POVERTY IN 2015/16
4 MILLION CHILDREN ARE NOW CLASSED AS POOR
Editors: Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster @GairRhyddNews email@example.com gairrhydd.com/news
What will Cardiff look like in 20 years?
Gair Rhydd investigates Cardiff’s imminent development plans
The Central Square regeneration is a fantastic example of Cardiff’s recent economic success. Council Leader, Phil Bale
ardiff is set to undergo mass regeneration during the next 20 years, with billion pound plans being made to rejuvenate the cities currently dilapidated public spaces and services, while also creating thousands of new homes in and around the city centre. One of the cities largest projects is the regeneration of Central Square, which upon completion will include a new BBC headquarters, a new bus station, and a brand new home for Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, amongst other office space. It has now been announced that the second phase of the five-phase Central Square development project will include a brand new public square to the north of Central Station, with the St. David’s House building on Wood Street being set to make way for further development. Speaking of the Central Square development programme City of Cardiff Council Leader, Phil Bale, said: “The Central Square regeneration is a fantastic example of Cardiff’s recent economic success. The project is well on-track to deliver over 1 million sq. ft. of high-quality development with the potential to
bring 10,000 jobs into the city centre.” Building work on the Central Square development began in 2014, while work on the fifth, and final phase of the project is set to begin in 2018. Plans were also recently revealed to further develop the Capitol Shopping Centre on Queen Street, which owners NewRiver claim has suffered since the opening of the nearby St. David’s Centre. New River acquired the shopping centre - which currently has a number of empty retail spaces - in 2015 as part of a portfolio of various centres for around £92 million. The company has said that they “plan to revive the centre as a mixeduse retail and leisure destination,” while also adding that they plan to build 100 new apartments in the air space above the complex. Further developments have also been confirmed for new residential projects on the outskirts of the city, with plans for a new £2 billion ‘garden village’ to be built near St. Fagans recently being granted planning permission. The project, which is being carried out by construction company Redrow Homes, will include four
schools, shops, health and sports facilities, alongside a planned 630 new homes. Work on the first 126 homes is expected to begin within the next few months, with the rest of the development being carried out over much longer 20 year period. These homes will be the first to be built on the 900 acre Plasdŵr site, with construction work on a further 290 homes being planned for the end of the year. With so many new homes being built in, and around the city centre, investments have also been made to ensure Wales has a green future. One such investment was revealed last week with the opening of a new 20 acre solar farm in St. Georges. The farm is expected to be able to provide renewable energy for around 800 homes across a 25 year period, and cost Bridgend based company Cenin Renewables around £3 million pounds to build. Speaking of the farm which consists of 11,500 solar panels, Martyn Popham, managing director of Cenin Renewables, said: “The new investment allows us to expand our clustering strategy to deliver sustainable jobs and local economic
prosperity. “We all live on an increasingly crowed planet. Over the next 50 years there will be increasing competition for work, and possibly even for food and water. “We currently use around three times more resources than the planet can sustain, so we need to better use materials harness nature resources and create less waste.” This comes after Gair Rhydd recently reported on plans to invest £8 billion on a tidal lagoon in Cardiff Bay, large enough to provide electricity for the whole of Wales. The proposed lagoon would consist of 60-90 turbines, spread across an area of 70 square kilometres. The supposed output of the lagoon would be between 4-6 terawatt hours. Along with the environmental benefits, it has been proposed that the lagoon would also create over 1,000 permanent jobs. Council leader, Phil Bale said that if plans for the lagoon were to go through, it would be a project “of international significance”, while fellow councillor, Ramesh Patel said: “it could totally transform the city and put us on the world map in terms of clean energy.”
Pictured: Left: The new BBC Cymru Wales Headquarters (Photo Credit: Central Square). Right: an impression of the planned Plasdŵr garden village (Photo Credit: Redrow homes).
Cardiff University researchers discover new method for producing antimalarial drug A Harry Busz
Due to the findings the cost of purchasing antimalarial drugs is likely to fall, causing positive impacts on the distribution of the drugs to less.
team of researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a simpler and more efficient way to produce the antimalarial drug artemisinin. The drug is commonly used to treat individuals with severe malaria - a life threatening infectious disease which the World Health Organisation estimated killed 438,000 people in 2015. The disease is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitos, a parasite that bites humans in order to obtain blood that they require to nurture their eggs. The fatal disease can then lead to fever, headaches, chills and vomiting eventually infecting and destroying red blood cells and blocking capillaries in the brain. Although almost half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, over 90% of cases are present in Sub-Saharan Africa, which causes both economic and social burdens on the region. The disease is noted by the WHO as ‘perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty’ as it is often poor families who live in rural malaria-prone areas who are unable to protect themselves from transmission of the disease. Although the introduction of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and insecticide spraying has led to a decline in cases of infection, the precautions are never 100% effective or readily available. Cardiff University researchers
have discovered a method that produces synthetic Artemisinin, a compound that is naturally found in the Artemisia annua plant native to temperate Asia. The drug was discovered by Chinese scientist Tu Youyou in October 2015 who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her findings. However, the plant consists of only 0.1-0.6% of the compound and extracting it is a lengthy process. The process to create a synthetic alternative reduces the number of steps needed the create an effective drug from thirteen to just four. This is done by reversing part of the plant’s production process by using a protein which generates amorphadiene, which is key in the chain of events that produces the anti-malarial. Due to the findings the cost of purchasing antimalarial drugs is likely to fall, causing positive impacts on the distribution of the drugs to less developed nations. Rudolf Allemann, the chemistry professor who led the research team, hopes that the generic production method could be used to tackle malaria cases with Artemisinin-resistance. Allemann believes the researchers findings ‘might allow us to tackle malaria in a number of new ways’, crucial in areas such as Cambodia and Thailand where parasites resistant to antimalarial medicines are present.
air Rhydd investigated the recent history of sexual harassment allegations at Cardiff University, after it was revealed that one case was currently being investigated, with another occurring in the past five years that was not looked into. A recent Guardian article also reported ‘epidemic levels’ of sexual harassment at UK universities. The report stated that, since 2011, there have been 169 counts of sexual harassment towards students by staff members at UK universities, with 37 staff claiming to have been harassed by other members of staff. It was also revealed that 32% of universities did not have a policy towards sexual harassment. Victims and lawyers have described the figures as the “tip of the iceberg”, whilst many of those abused are thought to have been dissuaded from making an official complaint. Instead, victims of sexual harassment told the Guardian that they resolved to settle the matter infor-
mally, fearful that a complaint would impact their future careers and/or education. With allegations rife nationwide, Cardiff University received two complaints of sexual harassment by staff towards students between the 2011/12 and 2016/17 academic years. Despite there being two complaints, only of these was investigated by the university, which is reported to have a ‘general’ policy on sexual harassment. Asked why the incident that occurred between the 2011/12 and 2015/16 academic years, which was not investigated by the University, a University spokesperson told Gair Rhydd that: “A record is held of one allegation recorded under the Student Disciplinary Procedure; however this was not investigated as the complainant left the University and did not provide evidence.” It is not clear under which circumstances the student left the University, or if these were connected to the
Pictured: A scientist peers through a microscope. (Photographer: Miguel Olaya, via Flickr)
” Sexual harassment allegation being investigated by Cardiff University “ G
accusations of abuse against a member of staff. What is clear however, is that sexual harassment at university is an ongoing and incredibly serious issue. In the current academic year, one case is being investigated by Cardiff University’s HR department. A University spokesperson said: “For the Academic Year 2016/17 to date we would advise that records are held of one complaint of sexual harassment which is being dealt with through HR processes. This was a case initially raised through the Student Complaint Process but which was subsequently dealt with by the HR team locally. “Central records are not held of the outcome – this was a matter for the parties involved.” No more information was given on the ongoing case. Asked what policy changes have been or are being made by the University following the cases of sexual harassment, a spokesperson highlighted schemes such as the Student
Behaviour Procedure, the Staff Disciplinary/Grievance procedures and legislation such as the Dignity at Work and Study Policy. The spokesperson also stated that: “The University has also developed a ‘Zero Tolerance on Sexual Harassment’ policy in partnership with the Students Union. “We have recently set up a working group in light of recent guidance from Universities UK on addressing sexual harassment and violence on campus and work is being carried out by the Students Union on the ‘It’s no Joke’ initiative. They added: “Both the Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the Zero Tolerance on Sexual Harassment Policy were revised in 2013 and both policies are currently under review. The dignity policy was first developed in 2005; zero tolerance was first developed in 2013.” More information on Cardiff University’s sexual harassment policies can be found on the Gair Rhydd website.
We have recently set up a working group in light of recent guidance from Universities UK on addressing sexual harassment and violence on campus. University Spokesperson
Editors: Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders @GairRhyddCom firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/comment
Alzheimer’s: misunderstood and misrepresented Pictured: If you live to 85 or over you have a 1/2 chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. (Source: Timothy K Hamilton via flickr.)
If something is repeatedly represented inaccurately then our own perceptions of that thing become equally warped and inaccurate.
e need to talk about dementia. Every four seconds worldwide someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; it affects so many of us and yet our understanding of it is desperately lacking. It’s no secret that the media plays a huge part in shaping our understanding of, well, pretty much everything. The reality of the matter is that if something is repeatedly represented inaccurately then our own perceptions of that thing become equally warped and inaccurate. If there is one thing I am tired of, it is the use of dementia as some kind of dramatising plot device. I’ve seen it a million times, throw in a character with dementia to flesh out a story with a bit of grittiness or simply to further a tearjerking agenda. That’s not to say there aren’t any accurate depictions of dementia, just that really they are few and far between. There are multiple issues here; Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease. To begin with I should mention the distinction between Alzheimer’s and dementia as the two terms are often thrown around interchangeably. Dementia actually refers to a set of symptoms relating to cognitive brain function, memory and behaviour. The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s and that is the context in which I’ll be discussing it, but it’s important to be aware that there are other causes for dementia too. I think perhaps the biggest misconception socially is that Alzheimer’s is
solely a memory loss disease. Of course, that is a big part of the dementia brought on by Alzheimer’s and often is one of the first symptoms to be diagnosed. However, it is also a physical disease. It causes huge damage to the brain –literally shrinking it- and lowers life expectancy. In researching this piece, I came across an article in Time which actually debates whether Alzheimer’s should be thought of as a terminal disease, with many experts defining it as ‘fatal brain failure’. Scientist Samuel Cohen says that lack of awareness is a huge issue when it comes to Alzheimer’s, he comments that people often think of it as simply a part of “getting older”. So how can we raise awareness? Well activism and charity, of course. But there is one other crucial way we can go about improving people’s perception of the disease: the media. This is where representation comes in. We need screenwriters to be responsible with the ways they write about characters with dementia. There’s no doubt they should be included; considering that 40 million people worldwide are sufferers, it is simply realistic for characters with dementia to appear on our screens. What we need within this representation is an insight into the unique and varied ways Alzheimer’s is experienced by individuals and their carer’s. I think we’ve all seen the hyper-dramatised scenes (*cough* The Notebook *cough*) where a dementia sufferer no longer recognises a loved one. Of course, this
is a deeply affecting, emotional moment which is not to be undermined, however, there are a plethora of stages which lead up to this. More often than not we see people with Alzheimer’s situated in care homes, which again, is often an inevitable end point for those with dementia but up to this point many people live at home, being cared for by partners and families. We rarely see this period (which usually spans a number of years) involving slow memorial deterioration. We don’t see the daily struggle of those with Alzheimer’s disease, the impact it has on relationships, the strain it can put on families. One study by Alzheimer’s Research UK found that 68% of people think they would be a different person if they were diagnosed with dementia. To me, that signifies something massively wrong in our societal understanding of this disease. It suggests that the general public think of dementia as something which takes away your identity, and that is damaging. It makes it scary and alienating to the thousands of those who are diagnosed each year. It can even lead to people being afraid to share their own diagnosis with friends or loved ones for fear of how they’ll be treated. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that by only representing the latter, more “dramatic” (so to speak) stages of Alzheimer’s the media is damaging the public perception. This isn’t to say it should be removed, but simply that what is shown
should be more comprehensive and varied. We need to see the day-to-day. We need to see the frustration –of both sufferers and carers- so that people are understanding of this emotional response which is actually extremely common. I spoke with a relative who cares for a close family member who is in the early stages of dementia, she told me: ‘Having a loved one diagnosed with dementia is difficult. It’s not just being forgetful now and then, it’s the same conversations every day, not being able to communicate like you once could, not being to tell them about your day to avoid confusion, you feel angry at yourself for being frustrated with them.’ The initial stages of dementia, which usually manifest as short term memory loss or difficulty following longer trains of thought, are rarely depicted. Dementia currently costs Britain around £11 billion a year - (a figure set to rise in the future)- while cancer costs Britain a comparatively smaller £5 billion. Despite these statistics dementia research receives 13 times less funding than cancer research. This isn’t to suggest any one disease deserves more funding than the other, but that the public perception of Alzheimer’s is detrimental to the attention it receives. At the end of the day, no disease is ever going to be easy to deal with, but by raising awareness of the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and representing it with accuracy we can make a real difference.
The general public think of dementia as something which takes away your identity, and that is damaging.
Sexualisation of women in sport
Why female athletes shouldn’t have to be “sexy” to get press attention Emilia Jansson
In order to receive more attention from the press more female sports have started ‘sexing up the sport.’.
pparently we live in a society where women and men are treated exactly the same. With the Huffington Post calling it the ‘decade of the women’, and with an increase in the backlash against feminism it is clear that many people believe we live in an equal world. This is also prominent in sports with the president of the International Olympic Committee claiming that the Olympics 2012 was a “major boost for gender equality” and ESPN suggesting that 2015 was the year of the women. Yet statistics show this is not the reality. The International Sports Survey reviewed 80 newspapers from 22 countries and found that 85% of the sports coverage worldwide was male sports. Moreover, women athletes only receive 7% of all sports coverage in the UK with only 2% of national newspaper sports coverage dedicated to women’s sports! The statistics are staggering and show that there is definitely inequality within sports. Yet, somehow it does not seem to be an issue that receives a lot of attention. This has to change. In order to receive more attention from the press more female sports have started “sexing up the sport”. The female sport that received the most coverage at the London Olym-
pics was beach volleyball. The females all wore bikinis as their outfit whilst their male counterparts wore tank tops and kneelength shorts. It may be argued that volleyball is a very exciting sport and that is why it got so much attention by the press and the public, although Boris Johnson wrote an editorial where he attributed the success of the sport to the “semi-naked women glistening like wet otters”. Johnson is now the current British foreign secretary. It is a shame that women have to sexualise themselves in order to be taken somewhat seriously as athletes and receive the amount of the press coverage that they actually deserve. Thankfully there have been attempts to improve the situation for females in sports over the years. I am sure many may have heard that they ‘throw like a girl’ / ‘run like a girl’ etc when they’ve failed at a sport. The term ‘like a girl’ creates negative stigma against females, as if having a vagina suddenly makes you incapable of being good at a sport. However, ‘Always’ used an advertisement to reclaim the term in an attempt to empower women. Obviously ‘Always’ were trying to sell a product as well but the advertisements reached an audience of over 70 million views online and
Pictured: Women are sometimes sexualised in sports. (Source: Sangudo via flickr.)
“ therefore it can be seen as a success in attempting to tackle the negative stereotypes of girls in sports. There is no doubt that gender equality has improved over the last decades, but if we really want a truly equal world there must be significant improvements in the area of sports. Female sports must start to be taken seriously and more investment
should be put into showcasing female talent. Female athletes should not have to sexualise themselves to receive the professional attention that they deserve. Instead, let them inspire young girls to become strong, independent and hard-working, without having to wear bikinis.
Female sports must start to be taken seriously and more investment should be put into showcasing female talent.
McCanns deserve sympathy, not more funding Continuing the search for Madeleine isn’t a good use of taxpayers money
The continuation to fund the search for her seems ill conceived when a number of things are considered.
rom the outset, I believe it is important to say the following. I feel great sympathy with the family of Madeline McCann and wish not to cause them any further pain but there are a number of things that need to be addressed. The case of Madeline McCann is one that has captured the imagination of the British public for many years and many questions are yet to be answered around a number of issues. And whilst the disappearance of Madeline McCann is a terrible and heart breaking situation for any family or loved one to find themselves in, the continuation to fund the search for her seems ill conceived when a number of things are considered. Firstly, and this is going to sound rather harsh, the brunt of the blame lies with the parents as they were the ones who left a young girl on her own in a foreign country while they ate dinner and drank wine. If a disappearance happened in this country, surely the first question one would ask would be if the child was on their own at the time of the event. So why is this case any dif-
ferent? It is without doubt that the kidnappers of Madeline are also clearly to blame but it is easy to convincingly argue that if the parents were with her that evening then her abduction would have been far less likely. Secondly, in my opinion, the occupation and class of the parents plays an important role. Without sounding too much like Katie Hopkins (and not many want that, I certainly don’t), if Madeline was from a more working class background then the coverage of the disappearance in the press would be entirely different. Headlines in The Sun or the Daily Mail would roughly translate into ‘chavs leave child alone to be abducted’, but obviously using much more tenuous language. Yet, for some strange reason, because they are middle or even upper class and from a skilled occupation, Kate and Gerry McCann have received minimal criticism for their part in the events of that night. Surely the advent of our democracy and the role of free press was to ensure equal scrutiny and treatment of all regardless of class, back-
Pictured: Madeleine McCann first went missing in a resort in Algarve. (Source: wiseguy71 via flickr.)
“ ground or occupation? The decision to continue to fund the search by the UK Government is, put frankly, not a valuable use of taxpayers money. With people on the streets and a crisis in the NHS, there are evidently more worthwhile uses for that money. I would have far less of an issue to continue to fund the search if this awful event happened and the par-
ents were not to blame, but the fact is that they were and that is wrong. I understand Madeline’s parents for never wanting to give up. However, the UK Government should not fund the search when it is, ultimately, taxpayers money, especially given the fact Kate McCann wrote a book which sold millions of copies. The reality of this terrible situation is that those involved need to take responsibility.
With people on the streets and a crisis in the NHS, there are evidently more worthwhile uses for that money.
Britain’s ginger sweetheart
Step aside Harry, Ed Sheeran is the real prince of our hearts Sarah Harris
Some radio stations in the UK have even vowed to stop playing the artists tracks from his new album ‘Divide’ over the following weeks.
d Sheeran. British icon. Ginger legend. Man of the hour. I bet if I told you that tomorrow you could be anyone for the day you would choose Ed Sheeran (you probably wouldn’t but oh well). I mean why wouldn’t you want to be? The singer/ songwriter currently has a whopping 16 songs in the UK top 20. In case you hadn’t already heard, that’s his whole album. Some radio stations in the UK have even vowed to stop playing the artists tracks from his new album ‘Divide’ over the following weeks as his domination in the charts is apparently a ‘joke.’ Quite frankly, I find it inspiring and admirable that the self-made artist has managed to build himself such a loving and devoted fan base since the release of his first hit album ‘+’ in 2011. Artists who’ve collaborated with Sheeran, from T Swift to the One Direction boys, have all gushed about what a down-to-earth and genuine lad he is. Just a few weeks ago, pictures were released of him barefoot, carrying his girlfriend’s heels after a night out, whilst she walked by him in his trainers. Obviously social media
blew up the next day about how this was ‘goals’ and about how everyone wanted to date someone who was like Ed Sheeran. I think what makes Sheeran so relatable and loved by the British public, apart from his outstanding ability to lend his girlfriend his shoes, is his attachment to his roots. After the release of his first album, Sheeran purchased a farm on the outskirts of Suffolk and revealed to the media that he did so in hope of starting and raising a family there. Just like they all do however, Sheeran currently resides in the US, switching his time between LA and Tennessee. The song ‘Castle on the Hill’, featured on his latest album is about Framlingham Castle, in the town in which Sheeran was raised. It’s nice to see British artists so dedicated and in touch with their origins. Not only that but Sheeran does in fact seem to be a humble guy and his tweets are pretty damn funny. Oh and his music can hit you with all the feels when you’ve just been dumped and want to listen to sad love songs and eat a whole tub of
Pictured: Ed Sheeran has become loved by the nation. (Source: Mark Kent via Flickr)
“ ice-cream. It’s also rumored that he will be staring in the new Game of Thrones series, which is awesome for anyone who loved the show and even more awesome if you also happen to be a Sheeran fan. So if you weren’t so sure about wanting to be Ed Sheeran for a day before, then I’m pretty sure I’ve convinced you to think differ-
ently. And hey, you can be ginger for a day if that’s something you’ve ever wanted to try? I will end this article with perhaps the single greatest Ed Sheeran joke in history. Why didn’t Ed Sheeran have a girlfriend? Because she ran (if you don’t get this then I am praying for you).
His music can hit you with all the feels when you’ve just been dumped and want to listen to sad love songs.
Tesco chairman thinks white men are extinct John Allen makes controversial comments then brands them ‘humourous’
I think this is an apt moment to refer to the meme of Mr Krabbs from Spongebob playing the world’s smallest violin. I have absolutely no sympathy for white men in the boardroom being “endangered.”
he Tesco Chairman John Allen was caught making a comment that men were “endangered species in boardrooms,” due to equality policies that often encourage the recruitment of women or BME (note: appointments are made on merit, they often merely encourage applications from women and BME individuals). I think this is an apt moment to refer to the meme of Mr Krabbs from Spongebob playing the world’s smallest violin. I have absolutely no sympathy for white men in the boardroom being “endangered,” when in 2015 there were more men called John or Jean chairing FTSE 100 firms (17) than women (7). When looking at directors of FTSE firms, women make up just 26% and BME individuals are even lower at 8%. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but when men make up 74% of a boardroom they are about as endangered as the seagulls of Cathays. While John Allen later said these comments were a “joke,” I suspect there is no smoke without fire. While white men still dominate every upper echelon of society, from the the judicial system to newspaper journalism, diversity recruitment schemes aim to challenge this. Dare I say that John Allen and his ilk suddenly feel challenged by a potentially changing work force? Of course, not enough has changed yet. Looking
at Allen’s board he chairs at Tesco, it’s whiter than a jar of mayonnaise, with 8 of the 11 positions being filled by white men. While I am pretty good at taking a joke, I don’t really find Allen’s joke hysterical. He states that “If you are female and from an ethnic background, and preferably both, then you are in an extremely propitious period.” The real issue is that women and particularly BME individuals often have to overcome significantly more obstacles than men to even get to the point where they can be considered for a boardroom position. Whether it’s maternity leave issues or racial micro-aggressions, these things tend to put white men a good few paces ahead at the start of a race if a boardroom position is the finishing line. I would therefore turn John Allen’s comments around on their head and say that is in fact women and BME individuals who are an endangered species in the boardroom, with the figures speaking for themselves. As previously mentioned, diversity schemes have aimed to recruit people from a wider range of backgrounds when it comes to the city, but in the past few years this push seems to have slowed to a halt. In the private sector last year, women accounted for just 29% of directors appointed in the UK, the lowest pro-
Pictured: Tesco chairman John Allan said his comments were ‘intended to be humorous’. (Source: Gordon Joly via flickr)
“ portion since 2012. Let’s hope this decline does not continue. There have been some calls for individuals to boycott Tesco in response to these comments. If you can and feel strongly about it, then I say go for it. However, it seems pretty pointless unless it’s a wide-scale boycott. I don’t think Tesco’s multi-billion pound profits are going to be particularly dented by 10 people from Cathays switching from the Tesco Express on Salisbury Road to the Co-operative a few streets over.
What I recommend is to promote and elevate the hell out of these diversity schemes. If you see one, share it to friends who may be interested. Perhaps your peers don’t quite have the CV to apply to be CEO of Asda just yet, but there are lots of entrylevels programmes for women and those with a BME background. One example is Creative Access, for those who fancy going into the creative industries. Let’s try and make Allen feel truly endangered with a totally representative workforce of our population.
Looking at Allen’s board he chairs at Tesco, it’s whiter than a jar of mayonnaise, with 8 of the 11 positions being filled by white men.
Captivity or Conservation?
The debate over zoos has intensified once again, with modern examples such as the killing of Harambe igniting the internet FOR: Christopher Jones
This love of nature, inspires many children to pursue professions where they too might interact with animals.
he idea that zoos are evil institutions concerned only with making money and entertaining the public with little care for the welfare of their animals is outdated. While this caricature is true of older zoos where animal cruelty was sadly a common trait, most modern zoos are fully committed to ensuring the welfare and survival of the animals they house. Take, for example, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Despite being its most popular exhibit, the decades old elephant attraction, which was once stateof-the-art but had since become an inadequate enclosure for the massive mammals, was closed after demands were made by conservation groups that it was unethical to keep the animals there. The zookeepers had no legal obligation to give in to these demands, but a growing concern for the wellbeing of animals in both zoos and society in general meant they were willing to shutter their most profitable enclosure. As to the oft-criticised inclusion of the paying public in these care-
fully designed and mediated environments, the counter argument is simple: inspiration. There are few things more immediately fascinating to a child than the animals at the zoo. This love of nature inspires many children to pursue professions where they too might interact with animals; perhaps as a scientist working to better understand them and their thoughts, or as a conservationist fighting for their continued survival, or in any other way that might help nature coexist with humanity. And this isn’t limited to children either; anyone who visits a zoo, seeing first-hand the importance and beauty of the natural world, can be inspired, whatever their age. And if for nothing else, the public’s participation in the zoo ecosystem means money is flowing into an establishment working towards natural preservation. Ultimately, what makes zoos still necessary is acts of preservation like this that, far from trying to harm animals, ensure they are still around for us to see.
don’t understand how any one would want to have their photo taken with a tiger that has purposefully been sedated so that you can go near it. In China they had a polar bear living in the Grandview Mall. I don’t find anything grand about that. I see that as a form of torture. Footage I have seen of the bear shows him to be mentally drained and depressed. Where he was kept was completely unsuitable for him, so entirely different from his natural habitat. The Harambe disaster just highlights how messed up zoos are. If we’re going to steal a gorilla from the wild and stick him in a pit, at least ensure that he is safe and that visitors are safe. He’s a gorilla. A wild animal should be living in a jungle with a troop of gorillas, not stuck in a pit alone where all he sees is people peering in on him, animals different to him and that he doesn’t understand. No wonder he dragged that little
boy around. He didn’t understand him. He’d never seen a child before. He had to die because an irresponsible parent let their child climb over the railings to get a better look. They’re WILD animals. Hence, they should be in the WILD. It’s so twisted that that we use captured animals in zoos to raise money to look after and conserve sights for wild animals to live in in their natural habitat. So the majority have to suffer so that the minority in the wild can benefit? The wild ones, who are going extinct, because we enslave them as pets, force them to dance and jump through flaming hoops in zoos, and rip of their fur to cover our own backs with? We are putting our own fleeting entertainment before the animals’ happiness. They don’t want to be in captivity. Who would want to get pleasure from an animal that is being forced against their will?
AGAINST: Emily Murray
It’s so twisted that that we use captured animals in zoos to raise money to look after and conserve sights for wild animals to live in in their natural habitat.
Pictured: Look at this poor lil fella missin’ his mama (Source: Jonas Schmid via flickr)
HEL ON EARTH
Beauty and the backlash
Disney’s new gay character is already causing quite the storm Helena Hanson
Let’s be realistic. There’s no rampant, saucy, sexy, male on male action in this movies. There’s not even a kiss without tongues.
isney’s new live action remake of Beauty and the Beast has not been far from the headlines since the moment it was announced. From controversy surrounding how much boob is appropriate for Emma Watson to reveal, to probably the most facially revolting doll that has ever existed, to a Primark ‘Chip’ mug selling for five times it’s retail price on eBay. The film has really got the people talking. The main thing that has really upset people, though, is the suggestion in the new film that one of the characters is gay. Not only were social media commentators pretty mad, but whole countries got upset about it. When Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board tried to recut the film to remove the ‘gay scene’ Disney actually decided to pull Beauty and the Beast from Malaysian theatres all together, rather than remove the ‘gay moment’ to placate local censors. “The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” a Disney rep told Bloomberg. But let’s be realistic. There’s no rampant, saucy, sexy, male on male action in this movie. There’s not a kiss with tongues. There’s not even a kiss without tongues. LeFou, who is Gaston’s mate, fancies him a little bit. That is literally all that happens. The director, Bill Condon, said that: “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston…but it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.” Although it was initially suggested that it was the candle, Lumière, that was the gay character in the film, someone made a wonderful joke that
confirmed that, in fact, LeFou was the gay character, and Lumière instead simply just loved the clock. Some people are arguing, that Disney’s first inclusion of a gay character is somewhat…pitiful. The Daily Dot said that it’s hardly a high point for positive LGBT representation: ‘a dweeb who hopelessly pines after the muscular straight guy’. Although when I put this to my (gay) friend, he laughed and said ‘that’s the most fucking accurate representation of me that I’ve ever seen in a film’, so it’s good to know that not everybody is feeling so bummed out about the whole thing. This isn’t the first time there has been suggestions that Disney characters are, or should be, gay. There was a hashtag that stormed Twitter last year, #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, with the aim of encouraging Disney to make Princess Elsa a lesbian. A LESBIAN?! They cried, A LESBIAN? ELSA can’t be a LESBIAN! That’s not REALISTIC! I mean, Elsa is the made-up queen, of the made-up city of Arendelle, who has made-up icy, snowy powers and accidentally ice-freezes her kingdom when she gets a little wound up…but she’s not a LESBIAN-that’s just not realistic! It was bad enough that her curse-breaking true love came from her SISTER and not a PRINCE! But another WOMAN?! Nope. Too far. People suggested that ‘Let it Go’, with the lyrics “conceal, don’t feel/ don’t let them know/well now they know/the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all” get pretty much as close to a coming-out song as they come. As it so often does in recent times, the Internet got very, very upset about the whole thing.
Malaysia’s excuse for wanting to remove the ‘gay scene’ from the film was that children may be watching (or most probably will be, as it’s a kids movie) and therefore they should not be subject to such ‘inappropriate’ content that may ‘confuse their ideas of desirable relationships’. Some people, like actual adults that have actually managed to make actual children, have stated that they will not allow their children to watch the new film in case they absorb all the gay-ness and turn gay. Seriously. They are actually concerned that the inclusion of gay characters may encourage children to think it is okay or even (flinches) acceptable, to be gay. Imagine a world where children think it is okay to be whatever they want to be! So, even if we apply the somewhat (!) flawed logic that if you observe certain behaviours/relationships on television, you will without doubt mirror them , then we have much greater issues in hand. For the purpose of proving this point, I have compiled a list of relationships we should be FAR MORE concerned about encouraging our children to observe in films. It is important to note here, that nobody gave a shit about these relationships in these movies. In 1987, in Mannequin, a man builds and then falls in love with a store mannequin. In Her, some poor bloke falls in love with the artificially intelligent operating system on his phone, essentially Siri. A man falls in love with Siri, and then has a relationship with it/her. In Warm Bodies, a girl fancies a zombie, and in Edward Scissorhands, a beauti-
ful young woman falls in love with a dude that has scissors instead of fingers. And my personal favourite movie, Bee Movie, in which a woman falls in love, WITH A BEE. SHE LEAVES HER HUMAN BOYFRIEND FOR A BEE. BUT SOMEHOW THAT IS STILL A MORE VIABLE RELATIONSHIP THAN A GAY MAN IN F-ING BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. And, AND, if it is not bizarre enough that Belle is essentially dating an abusive buffalo for ¾ of the film, nobody questions the somewhat notion that the beast must fall in love before 21 (wtf) and he was eleven when he was cursed, by a witch, because he wouldn’t let her in his castle when he was home alone. So if this, bizarre enough, film is teaching kids anything, it’s that you better let strangers into your house if you’re home alone, or else you’ll be cursed for life. Brilliant. Jokes aside, it is important that Disney is making the effort to include characters of all sexualities. Although LeFou is not an ideal representative for gay men as a character, these small steps are essential, and exciting! Perhaps in the years to come we will see Elsa get a girlfriend and maybe even a gay prince or a trans character. Or, maybe, the critics will be right, and LeFou will encourage young boys worldwide to pursue tall, muscular, straight men. Even so, our real concern then should be the women that must be divorcing their husbands to date bees, or buffalos, or men with scissor-fingers, because that is cause for much, much greater concern.
Pictured: Let’s teach our children to aspire to human/buffalo romances! (Photographer: Lauren Javier via Flickr).
In Edward Scissorhands, a beautiful young woman falls in love with a dude that has scissors instead of fingers. SCISSORS!
Editors: Anwen Williams George Watkins @GairRhyddAdv email@example.com gairrhydd.com/advice
Let’s talk about sex, baby Did we know our bits from our tits?
Pictured: How do you do it again? (Photographer: George Watkins)
ave you ever wondered whether porn stars had cosmetic surgery (as you were greeted by engorged, bobbing body parts?) In light of sex education currently being a hot topic for schools, we decided to have our input. Everyone’s experiences of sex ed are slightly different, and often fairly entertaining. For me, it was an older teacher awkwardly smoothing a condom on a banana whilst being heckled. What happened, then, when you ask a group of university students a wide range of questions about everything from sexual health to porn? The results are as entertaining as you would expect.
When asked ‘What three things should you look for with a condom before you open it?’ (a key question asked by our Sexual Health Awareness Group), the answers were generally positive. The right answer is ‘No holes, the standard mark and the expiration date’, and most were nearly there. There were the joke answers (of course), including ‘Bees, the Communist Manifesto and existential dread’. ‘What is the hymen?’ was a confusing one for many of our participants, ranging from ‘a hymn only sung by men’, to ‘thing that breaks in your vagina when you loose your virginity’ (not my spelling mistake). The real answer is that the Legend of the Hy-
men is pure mythology, in the sense of being a membrane covering the vagina relating to virginity. The average size of a penis was a tricky one as well, with what you can assume to be the male replies being laced with a slight tinge of angst. The ‘6 feet’ answer contrasted massively with what you can assume to be a female answer in ‘Idk. I’ve only ever been disappointed’. The real answer is between 5.5-6 when erect-if you were waiting with a tape measure, lads. Asking how long the average heterosexual sex session lasts was always going to be controversial, and sparked huge debate even in the office here at Gair Rhydd. The real answer is the humble 5 minutes, but most of our answers were way out. ‘Not time at all’ was along the right lines, ‘ask yer maw’ not so much, but from the participants who actually tried to answer, they expected between 15-20 minutes on average. The other controversial question was about the length of time it takes a woman to orgasm. More than a few answers decided that it was practically unattainable, and took pity on their partners, with ‘trick question?’ and ‘infinity, clearly’ lining the answers. The right answer is between 10 and 20 minutes. Finally came the cringiest and most personal question of the lot: ‘What percentage of women have tried anal sex?’ Ideally stop eating if you hadn’t already put it to one side. The cor-
rect response would be 3-33 per cent, but not for our respondents. Leaving aside the expected 69/ 100 per cent answers, the most sensible responses were higher or much lower, with one saying ‘51 per cent (not that they’d admit it)’. Who knew.
Porn These questions were a bit more lighthearted, and gave some of the answerers the chance to go a bit off piste and show off how twisted their minds worked, ‘What percentage of women in porn have had surgery?’ was one nearly everyone got wrong. The real answer is 80 per cent, surprisingly, with most of our answers sitting under 50 per cent. My personal favourite was ‘69 per cent hehe’. I suppose surgery can range from anything from boob jobs to filler to botox, so perhaps it isn’t surprising to see so many body changes when you’re naked on camera. What do you think the most popular pornographic search term in America was? Milf, as in a ‘Mum I’d like to fuck’ (slightly more disturbing every second you dwell on it so let’s move on). Our guesses were centred around ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Teen’, with ‘Santa’, ‘Princess Peach’ and ‘Anal Gaping’ also making cameos. There’s a lot more to be looked at and said about search terms world-
wide and what it might mean, but let’s move on before I start to dwell on the concept of Super Mario Porn. Our final question was a joke question (if you wanted to see if the tone could go any lower) with a serious answer: ‘What happens if you watch porn in North Korea?’. Death is the answer, but a fair few responses lashed out at how badly I had phrased the questions, understandably. I’m not too sure of the logistics of the internet in a totalitarian state, so I’m not the expert. They don’t ‘chop your cock off ’ as far as I’m aware, or feed it to Kim Jong-Un as another suggested. While answers like ‘you get horny’ were technically right, I couldn’t give it to them. So what do we make of a survey like this, where many responses were as serious as ‘Supreme leader Kim JongUn comes to your house and you guys fist bump in a pally kind of way’ to the final question? Not much is the obvious answer. What it does show, though, is that if you need reliable information on your sexual health and advice/ guidance about where to go and what you can do, university students aren’t the right people to ask (on the whole). Look right for an introduction and a guide from our Sexual Health Awareness Group about what we have on offer at Cardiff University in terms of everything from free condoms and lube to advice about sexual health. Hopefully this wasn’t too scarring.
What is the average size of a penis? I don’t know. I’ve only ever been disappointed.
What SHAG does for you Condoms and a whole lot more
HAG (Sexual Health Awareness Group) is a Student-led service within Cardiff University Student’s Union and is solely based around removing the stigma around sexual health and promoting awareness around the sexual health provisions that are available in Cardiff. We currently run C-card, a government run scheme for 13-25 year olds that enables you access to free condoms, lube and dental dams every week. This takes place every Wednesday 1-3pm in room 3D on the third floor of the Students’ Union so come along and say hi, we don’t bite! In addition to this, we currently have a free condom dispenser in reception of the SU - so please help
yourself! By being on the committee for the past three years, as you can imagine I’ve given out thousands of condoms to students in need. I was a shy first year and sexual health was never a subject I discussed with anyone until I joined SHAG. I have a vivid memory of the first time I ever handed out SHAG packs to embarrassed passers-by and felt so awkward - now I’ve become numb to it. I have met such a diverse range of people and have gained so many invaluable life skills. I’ve enjoyed every minute of being on the committee and have made friends for life. I’d especially loved last year when I was Co-President
with the current VP Welfare, Hollie. I’d recommend it to anyone because you’ll never experience anything quite like it and it’ll make you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs/placements. If you’re interested in joining our committee and making a difference to students’ sexual health, then feel free to message our Facebook page ‘CU Sexual Health Awareness Group – SHAG’ or just give us a like to keep up to date with any campaigns that we run. You can also follow us on Twitter: @sexualhealthCU. So, for now, stay safe and let us try to make your student life a little bit easier. Sexual health is an issue that can affect all
of us at some point or another, so it’s worth knowing where you can go when you need a bit of help. Love SHAG x
Pictured: SHAG, (Source: Cardiff Students Union)
Endometriosis awareness week Breaking the silence
Pictured: Endometriosis awareness week . Source: ALDE communication via Flickr
arch celebrates not only International Women’s Day but also Endometriosis Awareness week. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that usually lines the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus causing a whole bunch of problems such as infrequent and heavy bleeding, intense pain, back and leg problems and in a lot of cases even infertility. I was diagnosed with the condition a few weeks in to the first term of the new academic year. The thing is, the journey towards my diagnosis started years before the problem was identified hence why I asked Gair Rhydd if I could write an article on the matter. The purpose of this article is more to help people identify when something’s wrong than to write a couple of detailed paragraphs about how crappy the condition is. I’m sure by now, whether you go through them or not, periods suck.
The average age most girls start menstruating in 12 years old. I guess they forget to mention in all the talks you get about hitting puberty how painful those few days a month can be. Regardless, most people get used to it after a while and some lucky few barely even feel the difference when they’re menstruating. I went to a girl’s only school for five years and every other day there would be a girl sat in the corner clenching a hot water bottle and looking like she wanted to kill us all. You get the point – periods are not fun. But how do we know when the pain isn’t normal? How do we know when the cramps you’re suffering from are more than just cramps? By the time I was 14, I was missing a few days of school each month due to cramps. I visited the doctors almost yearly to ask them if there was something that I could do about the pain and pretty much every single one sent me home
and told me to take painkillers when it got bad. Two months before my diagnosis, I started my period thinking it was normal. However, after two weeks when the bleeding was still heavy and hadn’t ended, I went to see my GP who told me to come back again in a week if the bleeding continued. I went to see my GP 5 more times after that until he sent me to see a Gynecologist through A&E. I didn’t know much about Endometriosis about this point and the doctor wasn’t much help either. As most people would, I took to the internet and found that in the UK, 1 in 10 women woman suffer from the disease and one in three suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Symptoms of both involve intense cramps, heavy bleeding, fatigue and in some cases, pain during sex. I know a lot of those sound like a normal period but severe pain at any point during your cycle is not nor-
mal. If you do have any of these symptoms or you even have an inkling that something’s not right then I urge you to go see a doctor! I know a lot of people will tell you that the intense pain you may feel during your period is normal but if it’s causing you enough pain to the point where you’re missing lectures or seminars it’s not. Similarly, if your bleeding is still heavy after a week, see a doctor. If you’re bleeding clots or bleeding in between your period, see a doctor. If it’s bearable but still bothering you a little, then try a hot water bottle or pain killers, they can do wonders for some people! Identifying problems when it comes to all the malarkey that happens down bellow is important as they can have huge impacts in the long term! And the faster you identify them, the less likely it is to become more serious!
How do we know when the pain isn’t normal?
Dealing with a night of no sleep Henry Ball
Is counting sheep not working?
common problem people write to me about (and by “me” I mean “other people” and by “write to” I mean “I assume they have these conversations”) is how to deal with stress. Being stressed used to be undesirable and weak, but now it seems the status quo has other ideas treating stress as a sign of importance and diligence to one’s duties. The cultural norm sets a precedence of being stressed all the time, causing the common man to work unreasonable hours simply for one’s pride. Where does this leave our stressed population? Without sleep! Now, I’m not going to harp on about how you should be leading a life that tends to less stress, you go out there and make your mother proud! I’m just here to try and mini-
mise the damages caused by this high-yielding yet inevitably destructive attitude to life. So you got into bed last night and couldn’t get to sleep. Maybe you just lay there in the silence and thought about those who you didn’t talk to anymore because your lives had strayed from each other too far. Or maybe you were binge watching the excellent “Stranger Things” series on Netflix and were enthralled by its excellent reconstruction of 80’s American suburbia. Don’t worry. It’s happened to the best of us. The first thing you should do is open your copy of Gair Rhydd and look in the friendly “advice” section (usually around the centre of the newspaper) and check to see if they have any advice for you. Lo and behold, look where we are now. In famous words of the Hitchhik-
er’s guide to the galaxy, “don’t panic”. You’ll be alright. Unless you’ve been contracted by the military to fly a fighter jet today I doubt this day of drowsy half-consciousness will really matter in the long run. Go get a coffee and we can mull over how this whole day is going to go down in a bit. Now that we’ve calmed you down, let’s think about how we got here. Maybe you were kept up by some exotic lover of the night that you had only met the night before? If so, don’t lie to me, you’re not that great. Maybe you were kept up because of some friendly movie night you had with a friend who thought it was more and so tried to keep making a move but you didn’t really see them like that so it was kind of awkward. Try to think positively, you spent some of your awake time today on
yesterday’s evening, I’m sure you had fun. “But Henry, you beautiful and oddly eloquent young man” I hear you exclaim under your breath, “What do I do now?”. Since we’ve already established that you’ve failed to pay due respects to your other commitments why not relax. Have the morning off and try not to waste another day like you did last time. Then again, that’s what this whole student thing is about. Forget about the piece of paper, you’re becoming an adult and part of that process is making mistakes and trying not to repeat them. Just like my mother always used to tell me “It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Also, finish your homework you lazy little boy”.
Where does this leave our stressed population?
” Pictured: Football. (Photographer: David Merten)
It isn’t too late to start a sport Emily Murray
And not just for the socials
n my first year of Uni, I was super nervous to join a sports team. Why? Because in high school I was, admittedly, always the last to get chosen for teams; I sucked at anything that needed hand/eye coordination. Even in hockey, I was given that position at the back as ‘sweeper’ just because I could whack the ball up the pitch pretty hard. And so, with this history in sporting activities, I scoffed at the idea of playing for a team, and was not quite ready to face an initiation. But at the start of my second year, a friend asked me to go along with her to a
free taster session for Cardiff University Korfball. I thought at the time, ‘it’s too late’, ‘they will have made friendship groups and teams and we’ll left out’. In all honesty, I only went along to give my friend company. However, little did I realise at the time that these people would become future housemates and friends for life (cheesy, I know). But really, joining a sports team at any time of the academic year will give you a chance to be a part of a group of people who will grow to become some of your best friends. Aside from life-long friendships,
joining a sport will allow you to gain a sense of routine. In Uni, some of us can have quite a lot of free time on our hands, and instead of heading to the library, we immerse ourselves in a great Netflix series, get in bed, and nap our way through the rest of the day. Training and matches will enable you to make time for study, and stick to it, as you know you will most probably spend every Thursday morning in bed moaning, ‘why did I go to the lash?’. Furthermore, sport and exercise are a great release for both body and mind. A set time away from stress and
your laptop is brilliant for clearing away any anxieties, at-least for a few hours, and the feeling can often last and give you a large boost of motivation to study and work. Plus, joining a sports team allows you to see a personal progress within yourself. You will notice your practise pay off, your skills improve, and your overall body coping with every day knock-downs so much better. Don’t wait until the start of the academic year, join today and do it for yourself, because the benefits will really be worth it. You never know, it could be the best thing that you could have done, for so many rea-
Little did I realise that these people would become future housemates and friends for life.
tickets available at:
Tocynnau ar gael ar:
Editors: Adam George Ellise Nicholls @GairRhyddPol firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/politics
Brexit bill gains Royal Assent
Theresa May is now free to start talks to leave the European Union Tanya Harrington
The future remains unsure, but now that the Brexit bill has officially received Royal Assent, it will likely not be long until we know more.
” Ellise Nicholls
epending on what state of postmidterm emotion you’re in, you may or may not have noticed the sudden appearance of blossom on the trees in Cardiff. The sun is out more often, we’ve had a few days bordering on warm, and daffodils are slowly beginning to poke out of the grass. March: the start of Spring, and theoretically the beginning of Brexit. Recently, there has been some debate on when in March prime minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union. There was speculation last week that the start date could be as soon as Tuesday the 14th, with MP and international trade secretary Liam Fox helpfully stating “it will definitely be this week or next week or the week after.” However, rumours quickly took shape in Westminster which stated that a delay until late March would take place - potentially because of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to call for a second Scottish independence referendum on Monday the 13th. Speaking on the matter, Sturgeon said that Scotland, which voted in June for the UK to remain a member of the EU, had had its attempts to build a special relationship with the union stifled by the prime minister’s recent decisions in parliament. Scotland had previously made attempts to be considered for inclusion into the single market after Brexit,
but these attempts were shot down by May, who rejected Sturgeon’s proposed timetable for negotiations. Sturgeon stated that Scotland’s “efforts at compromise have instead been met with a brick wall of intransigence,” and said that “what Scotland deserves, in the light of the material change of circumstances brought about by the Brexit vote, is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way.” She noted that the Brexit vote had ensured there would be change in the functioning of Scottish society, but that declaring independence would offer the Scottish people a choice on the exact ways in which change would be implemented.
However, following the announcement and subsequent “delay” of Brexit negotiations, May retorted by accusing her of “playing politics with the future of our country.” This fuelled rumours that it was the announcement of the second Scottish independence referendum which set back the triggering of Article 50 until the end of March. With Scotland leaning toward a second bid for independence due to dissatisfaction with the prime minister’s “intransigence”, it may have seemed careless for May to launch the negotiations the following day. If this delay between Sturgeon’s announcement and the triggering of Article 50 will bring about improved
compromise between Scotland and England on the matter is yet to be seen. May’s choice of timing could be down to several other factors, however; if not held at the end of the month, the start of the Brexit process could interfere with or overshadow other large events in Europe, such as the general elections in the Netherlands and the anniversary of the Rome treaty. There are also reports of the EU wanting the UK to wait until June to begin the Brexit talks, due to difficulties in scheduling proceedings amidst May’s wavering between dates. The future remains unsure, but now that the Brexit bill has officially received Royal Assent, it will likely not be long until we know more.
Pictured: Even she couldn’t save us (Source: Flickr via Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Spring Budget: “not nice for SMEs” L ast week Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor, delivered the Spring Budget, “not a nice Budget for SMEs” according to Tim Davies, UK head of tax at Mazars. Davies said that although Hammond pledged to make the UK “the best place in the world to start and grow a business”, raising national insurance contributions and the reduction in the dividend tax free allowance will result in increased tax burden for entrepeneurs and the self-employed. Following a per-Budget survey that identified the top priority for UK businesses as income tax reduction, Moore Stephens said the Budget’s tax changes were “not in line with the priorities of small business.” Timothy Fussell, partner at Mazars said that “the tax changes announced in the Budget do not match what businesses wanted to see.” The Institute of Chartered Ac-
countants of Scotland (ICAS) have said that the Budget reflects a “mixed bag” for small businesses, however they backed the chancellor’s decision to delay the introduction of digital tax for businesses with a turnover below the VAT threshold. “ICAS supports the overall objectives of Making Tax Digital, but has long been concerned with the unrealistic timescale for the project. This shows a chancellor who has listened,” said Anton Colella, chief executive of ICAS. Director at R&D tax credit consultancy ForrestBrown and member of HMRC’s R&D consultative committee, Jenny Tragner, welcomes the move to drive awareness of R&D tax credit incentives, however said that any previous measures to drive awareness had “not been fit for purpose”. Tragner went on to mention the inconsistencies in the chancellor’s
message. “ The government’s message also seems to be contradictory. The Spring Budget appears to prioritise the needs of big business over those of SMEs and start-ups, yet the chancellor stated it is the government’s ambition for the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business,” she said. Dafyydd Llewellyn, director at Concur, said that commitments in helping SME’s with business rates rises was “vital” due to small businesses making up the majority of the private sector. The lack of news concernning the appointment of the Small Business Commissioner has stirred disappointment. “I was disappointed however, not to get a further update on the appointment of the Small Business Commissioner,” said Llewellyn. “We’ve heard this position will be filled later this year, but who are the
government interviewing? It would also have been good to have been provided with further details on the powers they will have, particularly when it comes to tackling the late payment epidemic that is crippling millions of organisations – an issue that should have been addressed as a stand-alone item in this Budget,” he added. The budget has been met with great criticism.
Pictured: That mug (source: Flickr: via Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Nicola Sturgeon calls for second Scottish independence referendum N
The call for a Second referendum comes just three years after the first independence vote
icola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP and current first minister for Scotland, has announced this week that a second Scottish independence referendum will take place, subject to agreements from Westminster and Holyrood. Sturgeon’s SNP party, which maintained control of the Scottish Parliament in last year’s elections, was elected with the mandate to hold another referendum in the event of the UK leaving the European Union against Scotland’s will. It is likely that the SNP controlled parliament will agree to grant a section 30 order, an act formally needed for any independence vote to be legally binding, when they vote on the issue next Tuesday. The call for a Second referendum comes just three years after the first independence vote, in which the unionist ‘No’ side won by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. Since then the SNP believes that there has been ‘sustained evidence’ that the majority of Scottish citizens now prefer the outcome of independence, due to the upcoming withdrawal of the country from the EU. Leaving the EU would be against the will of the Scottish people who voted by 62 per cent to remain part of the European Union last June, with deputy SNP leader Angus Robinson claiming he didn’t want to ‘see the prime minister
drive us off a Brexit cliff’ on BBC Newsnight earlier this week. Contrary to Sturgeons beliefs, recent polling data from both What Scotland Thinks and YouGov suggest that a rerun of the independence debate would lead to a similar result as in 2014, with a ‘No’ vote still slightly ahead. In order to be successful Sturgeon will have to convince pro-EU, antiindependence voters that the so called ‘hard Brexit’ approach from Westminster is too extreme, and that Scotland is able to be more prosperous independent of the UK but inside the EU. In order to proceed with the referendum vote, the Scottish Parliament will have to obtain permission from Westminster at a time when Theresa May is wary of the prospect of the union breaking up. May stated she now believes Scotland is ‘on a course for more uncertainty and division’ and may undermine her Brexit negotiations. Yet it is unlikely that the request will be blocked, an act that would seem undemocratic as the elected Scottish Parliament has the mandate to proceed with the vote. Nevertheless, Theresa May is likely to be unwilling to hold the referendum until Brexit negotiations are complete, whereas Sturgeon believes that the vote should take place between late 2018 and early 2019 in order to allow Scotland to secure its future before it’s ‘too
Pictured: Left, Scottish Flag (photographer: Calum Huthinson) Below, a UK polling booth (source: Wikipedia)
late’, but after ‘the terms of Brexit are known’. The second referendum is likely to focus on similar themes to the first such as Scotland’s economic competency, the extent to which oil revenue will be relied on and, as the EU has re-
cently restated, the need for Scotland to join the single currency when it reapplies for EU membership. Yet the perceived neglect of Scotland in Brexit negotiations, coupled with Mrs May revealing that the UK will leave the single market, gives the
GCHQ fear Russia hacking General Election T
The protection of servers from foreign hackers has been identified by GCHQ as “priority work”
he National Cyber Security Centre, which forms part of UK Government and Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has contacted the leaders of political parties amidst concerns over potential Russian hacking in relation to the General Elections. Chief Executive Ciaran Martin has suggested, via a letter, that parties should accept an offering to improve security systems in preparation for the elections, the next of which is set to take place on 7th May 2020. The protection of servers from foreign hackers has been identified by GCHQ as “priority work”, as “attacks against our democratic processes go beyond [political party network security] and can include attacks on parliament, constituency offices, think tanks and pressure groups, and individuals’ email accounts.” GCHQ last year identified that Russian hackers had targeted the 2015 elections, in what was thought to be the first ever cyber-attack on the British political system. The threat, which was thought imminent at the time, was successfully blocked by analysts through their implementation of defensive measures to bolster Whitehall’s cyber security, and through warning television networks which were also deemed to be a target. The UK is not the only state with concerns over Russian hackers, as allegations have been made regarding hackers
targeting democratic elections in various countries over the last six months. US intelligence services have make statements this year that they have identified Russian agents which sent stolen Democratic party emails to Wikileaks in order to swing the vote against Hilary Clinton. Intelligence officials also made claims that they have identified emails within the Russian government celebrating the win of now President Donald Trump. Reports tell that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, as well as the Russian government, have denied information came from Russian hackers. Bruno Kahl, head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (German Federal Intelligence Service) has also released statements outlining that he has “evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty”. In his first interview since being appointed last year, he stated that “the perpetrators are interested in delegitimising the democratic process”. He later clarified that the perpetrators were thought to be Russian. Specific accusations against Russian secret services include carrying out attacks on computer systems “aimed at comprehensive strategic data gathering”, as well as the spread of fake news stories as a form of destabilising
propaganda. Emmanuel Macron, current favourite to win the elections, has reportedly also been victimised through fake news. According to his Digital Campaign Manager, Mounir Mahjoubi, “Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik News [are] the first source of false information shared about our candidate.” He claims that this is because Macron represents a centrist style of politics, and a pro-European stance. Mahjoubi has also stated that servers linked to Macron’s political move-
ment, En Marche, which was formed after he broke away from the Socialist Party (currently in government and headed by Francoise Hollande), have been targeted by hackers. However, he clarified that none of these attempts have been successful. Interestingly, none of the four countries have yet released any substantiated evidence of their hacking claims. Nonetheless, the perceived threat to democracy has led to the decision to organise a cyber security summit in the UK.
Editors: Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert @GairRhyddSci email@example.com gairrhydd.com/science
Could real life sonic screwdrivers be possible? Pictured: Could we have one of these in a few years’ time? (Photographer: Matty Ring).
It is hoped that the research conducted here van be used to make a successful handheld prototype.
any of you Dr Who aficionados will be very familiar with the most famous of the Doctor’s tools; the sonic screwdriver. Its ‘do it all’ abilities often solve many issues much in the same way the ‘tricorders’ of Star Trek are pointed at someone and, almost by magic, it detects the ills or properties of an object or person. Using these objects as the conceptual ideas that they are a team of researchers have come up with a device that is, in effect, a handheld sensor. This sensor has been talked up as something that can be used as a mass-spectrometer (something that tells you what’s something is made of or contains) or even as something to obtain an MRI of a single molecule. The device itself has not had a prototype made yet but the researchers, headed by a group in the Australian National University’s Research School of Physics and Engineering, have published a paper on the concept’s validity. So, how does this device actually work? The researchers aim to ultimately use diamond, which contains crystal defects on purpose, to measure matter that attaches to a moving diamond cantilever. The defects are able to detect the changes in movement as their behaviour changes when the cantilever changes its movement. You might be very keen to understand how this works and how it is indeed possible. There are a lot of things to explain and only a page to
explain but have no fear! A diamond scientist is your author here! Firstly, there exists the ability to grow synthetic diamond samples inside complicated systems that labs (like my own one) have. When these diamond samples are grown to what the grower desires there exists the ability to add impurities. Since diamond is made from carbon, which forms in a particular way and ideally forms a repetitive atomic arrangement (called a crystal lattice), impurities mean anything that isn’t carbon and which affects this arrangement. When your diamond sample is irradiated with nitrogen something interesting can happen. A particular defect can form which is called the NV center. This on the atomic scale is formed by a nitrogen atom replacing a carbon atom, in the crystal lattice structure, which neighbours an ‘empty space’ in where another carbon atom should be. This defect, in the negatively charged state (which is caused by having an important extra electron), is the defect that is vital to this particular piece of new research. Indeed, the defect in question is very interesting to the scientific community as it has very unique properties that have enabled discussion and research aiming to realise the NV center’s potential applications that range from quantum computing to acting as a biosensor. Of course, the next question would be how this can be used to create this
‘sonic screwdriver’ device! Well the NV center helps the system to act as a very precise sensor thanks to its spare electron and how that behaves in certain scenarios. This NV centre has been able to measure thermometry in living cells and also has been shown to enable room temperature nanosized MRI measurements. This electron’s spin (that is which direction the particle is spinning) can change due to external influencing forces. This electron spin that belongs to that NV center can be influenced by a number of external forces, however, what is relevant to this research is that the spin of the electron interacts with mechanical stress. One can use this analogy of a ruler being bent with a spinning top on the end of it. As you stress the ruler by bending you are changing how the spinning top on the end is spinning. What happens in this conceptual device is that if something affects the diamond pillar’s movement then the stress will be ‘sensed’ by the NV center. As the pillar or cantilever is moving a biological agent can attach onto the diamond device. What occurs then, if the device is driven/made to move mechanically, is that the diamond device starts to move slower and this change can be detected due to the changes in stress by the negatively charged NV center. Now this is most of what’s going on in a nutshell. The concept of a defect and how it can change according to
something else around it has been explained. However, these systems which are called nanospin-mechanical sensors (NSMS) are incredibly small so you cannot detect changes in the nanopillars by using, say, laser light. How do you pick up the changes occurring with this tiny system or an array of these NV systems? This is possible due to how the NV center works again. The NV center in question, when you have the negative charge state one that is, has what is called a bright fluorescence. Fluorescence is when something absorbs light and emits a different wavelength of light as a result. This fluorescence can be measured from the NV defects and then can be interpreted. Is it hoped that the research conducted here, by lead researcher Dr Marcus Doherty, can be used to make a successful handheld prototype. It is hoped that this will enable laboratories and hospitals to have the power of using more portable and affordable MRI machines and mass spectrometers. This will, hopefully, lead to easier and more numerous measurements made on complex proteins and other biological agents often associated with things like cancer. This research goes to show about how diamond is not merely a gemstone but also a material capable of saving lives. Who knows? Maybe in a few decades you can accurately cosplay as the Doctor or Captain Jean-Luc Picard (sorry Captain Kirk fans).
This research goes to show about how diamond is not merely a gemstone but also a material capable of saving lives.
Cardiff research shows consensus on climate change Michael Maccallam
Ultimately, the survey has shown widespread support of the fact that climate change is happening, and that action needs to be done.
This revolutionary new treatment would potentially only need one millionth of a litre (1 microlitre) of sweat to make a calculation.
ssues of climate change have dominated environmental debates for decades, but these debates have arguably never been more contentious than they are today. With the recent appointment of Scott Pruitt as the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and his belief that carbon dioxide does not contribute to climate change, discussions are once again returning to determining the true nature of climate change, and what man’s relationship with it is. Despite the seemingly sceptic view of climate change from across the pond, a survey co-ordinated by researchers at Cardiff University has shown that there is overwhelming support in four European countries (UK, France, Germany and Norway) for the fact that climate change is real and is happening now. The survey was conducted with 4,000 members of the public asking their views on a wide range of issues concerning climate change, with results showing that over 80% of people in all four countries agree that the world’s climate is changing, and a similar percentage believing that human activity is, in part, causing it. Just under 60% of those surveyed felt that climate change has already started to affect us, with unpredictable weather being a driving factor in this. They were then asked whether there is a strong scientific consensus
Pictured: Climate change is not a debate. (Banksy work photographed by Duncan Hull).
on climate change, with only an average of 30% of people thinking this was the case over the four countries, but when asked about green energy over 70% agreed that governments should subsidise renewable sources of energy using public money. In light of the recent refugee crisis in Europe, they were asked whether climate change would have an impact on immigration and refugees, and the majority of people agreed that the refugee crisis was not caused by climate change, but 30% of those in
the UK believe that climate change will bring about more migration to the country in the future, with this number being 57% in Norway. Ultimately, the survey has shown widespread support of the fact that climate change is happening, and that action needs to be done if we are to ensure our long-term existence. In the era of Trump, political chaos has posed threats to conventional attitudes, including those concerning climate change. With proposed cuts to climate
and water pollution regulations, and with Trump’s pledge to invest more in the coal and oil industries, along with the possibility of the US withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, our protection of the environment has never been in a more precarious situation. Despite trends in the USA towards climate change denial, European attitudes are moving strongly towards ensuring there are more renewable sources of energy, and acting now in order to protect our planet.
Could body sweat help treat diabetes?
cientists at Seoul National University in South Korea have developed a sensor that could calculate a person’s blood sugar from their sweat. This could be a huge advancement in diabetes treatment. Currently, people with diabetes test blood sugar by testing blood taken from a finger using a lancing device and a glucose meter. This can be uncomfortable and even painful. This revolutionary new treatment would potentially only need one millionth of a litre (1 microlitre) of sweat
to make a calculation. In the UK, there are an estimated 4.5 million people living with diabetes. Around 700 people a day are diagnosed with a form of the condition. Diabetes is a condition which causes a person’s blood sugar to become too high due to a lack of insulin. Type 1 is inherited and is autoimmune whereas type 2 can be caused from an unhealthy lifestyle. This new patch could be made flexible so that it easily and effortlessly sticks to a person’s skin. It would comprise of 3 different sensors, measur-
ing acidity, humidity and quantity of sweat. This information would be sent to a portable computer device which can calculate blood sugar levels. This could give the potential for patients to see how their blood sugar changes in real time meaning they can better control their glucose levels and insulin uptake. Poor control can lead to long term complications in later life such as mobility and sensory problems. Researchers at the university said: “The system provides a novel closed-loop solution for the noninvasive sweat-based management of
diabetes mellitus. The current system provides important new advances toward the painless and stress-free care for diabetes.” Before this can be developed and released into public healthcare, the researchers in South Korea must overcome some challenges. Sweat contains very little sugar meaning its not as easy to measure directly as blood. Also sweat contains lactic acid which may disrupt the sugar level reading. To try and resolve this, they hope their “careful multilayer patch design and miniaturisation of the sensors” will make the device efficient and accurate. Studies on mice showed reliable and accurate results and they were even able to deliver diabetes medication using micro needles incorporated into the patch system. It is not yet known whether the drug application will work when applied to humans since the doses would be considerably higher than that given to mice. This is not the first attempt to revolutionise blood glucose monitoring, in 2015, researchers at the University of Leeds developed a device that could have the potential to test blood sugar using lasers shone onto the patients’ finger and measuring fluorescence corresponding to glucose concentration in the blood Their study has been published in Sciences Advances and the team will now focus on making this a long term replacement to traditional blood glucose monitoring.
Pictured: This new diagnostic method, if effective, could be less invasive than the current finger pricking test. (Photographer: Alan Levine)
Depression and this lack of Lactobacillus are linked via a metabolite in our blood called kynurenine.
The Method trigger increased memory retention via visualizing a familiar space.
Probiotic to combat depression? B
acteria that can be found in probiotic live-culture yoghurts has been discovered to reverse symptoms of depression in mice. The bacteria, Lactobacillus, can reveal a direct link between the health of the microbiome found in the gut and our mood and mental health. Alban Gaultier, the researcher responsible for discovering this revolutionary link is hopeful that this breakthrough will lead to obsoleting drugs designed to alter mood, instead relying on dietary changes, which incorporate more of the probiotic bacteria to aid the balancing of the mood. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the UK, with the Office for National Statistics revealing that almost a fifth of adults suffer from the illness. While many of us will have experienced some form of depressive episode, for those diagnosed with depression as a mental health condition, medication is often required. Medication for mental health issues such as depression usually come hand-in-hand with some pretty awful side effects; some of which can make feelings of anxiety or suicidal thoughts more extreme rather than ease them. Therefore, it is crucial for alternatives to be discovered for treating depression, so that these side effects can be avoided while maintaining good mental health. The researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine were already aware of the link between
stress and depression; in that those who are more stressed are more likely to develop depression. Gaultier and his team used this to test ideas of the microbiomes relationship with depression, but analyzing the composition of the microbiome in mice before and after they were subjected to stress. The major change noted in the mice that were stressed was the disappearance of Lactobacillus. Mice that lost these bacteria developed symptoms of depression, yet were returned to a normal mood when replenished with Lactobacillus; revealing a connection between an unbalance of the gut microbiome and an unbalance of the mental state. Depression and this lack of Lactobacillus are linked via a metabolite in our blood called kynurenine, which has previously been shown to increase symptoms of depression. The levels of this metabolite grew the more the Lactobacillus was reduced. Obviously a mouse isn’t going to tell us it’s sad and get diagnosed with depression; instead Gaultier had to observe for ‘depressive-like behavior’, which is considered the best alternative when studying depression in non-human life. So we cannot rejoice and chuck our anti-depressant meds in the bin just yet, as human studies have yet to commence, but the team behind this discovery already have plans to examine the effects of Lactobacillus on human subjects, and are hopeful that the effects will be the same; as the biological sub-
stances and mechanisms that levels of the bacteria affect can be located in both mice and humans. 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.
How to supersize your memory H ave you ever wondered why rote memorization just doesn’t cut it sometimes? Or why memories that are linked to visual cues seem to stand out better in your mind? For some memory champions, this is merely par of the course. Recently, a publication in the scientific journal Neuron has solidified several memory techniques, including one identified in Ancient Greece as the Method of Loci, which has served those looking to ‘super size’ their memory for centuries. The Method certainly comes in handy for world memory champions. Many of these champs claim they are not inherently better at memorization than anyone else– they’ve merely put the hours in learning how best to work with their brain’s natural inclination for memory encoding and processing. The Method accomplishes this by triggering increased memory retention via visualizing a familiar space– say, your childhood home or your first room in university– in which the memorizer ‘places’ what it is they are trying to memorize along a walkable route through the space. For instance, if I wished to memorize the order of a deck of cards in a way which would make it, well, memorable enough to recall quickly from my working memory, I could begin with card 1 and make my through the deck to card 52, mentally visualizing ‘walking’ through my room and ‘placing’ each card in a specific and sequential locale.
Then, when it came time to recall the deck of cards (a real memory champion challenge!), I would enter the room in my mind and follow the same route around my room as I had done previously, ‘finding’ each card along the way and relaying it to the listener (or judge). This is the nitty gritty of it all. In the study, memory athlete Boris Konrad and a team of other scientists specializing in memory gain conducted a study in which they monitored the performance of two groups on simple memorization tasks. Konrad maintains that his memory is no more exceptional than anyone else’s–
he’s merely equipped himself with the skill set to perform as a top memory athlete. The Method of loci was not the only technique involved, but it featured prominently.The conclusions drawn from this study– in which fMRI brain scans of memory athletes as well as non-athletes were compared, and one ‘everyday’ group of people, after being trained by the athletes, was shown to improve significantly on memory tasks when compared with their own pre-training results and an untrained control group– seemed to indicate several things. The techniques add a marked improvement to
Pictured: Eat more yogurt if you’re sad (Photographer: Calvin).
the function of memory gain. Furthermore, the fMRI scans only highlighted ‘widespread, distributed, and subtle’ neurobiological differences in the memory athletes, indicating that these techniques may not improve the overall function of memory, but serve to improve recall exercises that are suited to memorizing long lists of information– perfect for the championships… or perhaps an exam? Our knowledge of the human mind is constantly growing, but it’s exciting to know that several tried and true techniques– ancient ones, even– are still applicable.
Pictured: Could we hack the way we remember things? (Photographer: GreenFlames09.
GLOBAL WEEK 24 - 30 MARCH 2017
Global Week is a series of events to celebrate the unique cultures and shared experiences of Cardiff University students and staff.
Go Global – Student Union’s Guild of Societies event
18:00 - late
Great Hall, Students’ Union
Global Film International film screenings
11:00 - 18:00
4th Floor, Students’ Union
Global Village - food and culture fair
11:00 - 17:00
Main Building Car Park
Global Awareness legal clinic drop-in
10:00 - 16:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Global Awareness housing advice
10:00 - 11:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Global Awareness EU student briefing
11:00 - 12:00 17:00 - 18:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Global Awareness Tier 4 visa workshop
13:00 - 14:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Global Awareness - post-study visa options workshop
14:30 - 15:30
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Global Awareness 28/03/17 academic regulations workshop
16:00 - 17:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
19:30 - 21:30
Costa Coffee, Park Place
Global Sport - Cardiff University FC v KU Leuven FC
Cardiff University Sports Fields, Llanrumney
Global Music International DJ
22:00 until late
Cornerstone, Charles Street
Global Careers workshop
10:00 - 11:00
International Student Support, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union
Search ‘Global Week’ on the student intranet for further details on all of the events taking place. #WeAreInternational
Editors: Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris @GairRhyddSoc firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/societies
Fringe Fest and Go Global are back!
Milly Dyer VP Societies
his week is one of the busiest in the Guild of Societies Calendar. We have 2 huge collaboration events, along with a large variety of Society run events over 1 week! The whole week is a celebration of the hard work that Societies put in all year and allows them to showcase their work to a large audience. More information at: www.cardiffstudents.com/fringe
Pictured: Societies will be giving it their all this week at the Fringe Festival.
ariety Performance 2017 Y Plas, Students’ Union Mon 20 March 2017 18:00 The Variety Performance is back for Cardiff Fringe 2017! The Variety Performance is our annual celebration of our Performance and Artistic Societies, returning to the Y Plas stage for Cardiff Fringe 2017. Child.org Society will also be running a stall at our Variety Performance, raising awareness and money for their charity. The Societies performing in the Variety Performance are: A Cappella Society, Belly Dancing Society, Blank Verse, Bollywood Dance Society, Broadway Dance Society, Comedy Society, Expression Dance Society, FAD, Healthcare Music Society, Jazz Society, Slash Hip Hop Dance, TCUPS and Windband. General admission is £4and £3 for students.
It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, take a stand.
What’s On: A Brief Guide
nner Child Day Y Plas, Students’ Union. Tuesday 21st March, 11:00-15:00 Come and release your inner child with Student Minds! Dogs, bouncy castles, biscuit decorating, cheesy tunes and more! Student Minds have Baking Society joining them for biscuit decorating,UNICEF for jewellery making and art society! There will be dogs, bouncy castles, sweets, games, face painting, cheesy tunes, what more could you want?
Pictured: Act One ready to sing a powerful song.
talian Film Night Boardroom, Students Union. Tues 21 March, 20:00-23:00 The Spanish and Italian Society will be screening La Vita è Bella. Though the film is in Italian, there will be English subtitles so all are welcome.
usic Societies Showcase Y Plas, Students’ Union. Tue 21 March 19:00-23:00 Showcase of Music Societies and Ensembles from across the Guild of Societies. Our Music Societies and Ensembles will be showcasing their performances from this year. Join us for a fun and sociable evening of music! Groups participating in the showcase include: Music Society, Wind Ensemble, Strings Orchestra, Palestrina Choir, Male Voice Choir, Flute Choir, Jazz Society, Operatic Society and Brass Band Society.
ct One Songs for a New World Cardiff YMCA, The Walk. Wednesday 22nd March 19:00-21:00. “It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.” Act One Presents an abstract musical about that one moment in life when everything you thought you knew crumbles beneath your feet, and you must embark on a journey through a new world. This performance will take place at YMCA Cardiff, The Walk,
Roath. Doors Open at 7pm, Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: Students £8, General £9.
hotography Society Open Exhibition Y Stiwdio, Students’ Union. Thurs 23 March, 14:00-17:00 A photography exhibition showcasing the works of the Photography Society members, comprising different themes and photographic styles. The Photography Society presents it’s first ever open exhibtion to all. We welcome everyone to join us for the afternoon in appreciating the works of our members, and a chance to mingle around with everyone sharing the same interest - photography and art.
harity Balance Workshop Room 4J, Students Union. Fri 24 March, 14:00-16:00.
Find calmness & balance during Yoga’s beginner friendly charity workshop! Help support a good cause with vinyasa flow and fun interactive partner work, working up to standing & arm balances! All proceeds are in aid of multiple sclerosis. Join us for a 2-hour calming and balancing charity workshop. This workshop is beginner friendly, starting with some vinyasa flow, fun interactive partner work, and going deeper into standing and arm balances. The practice is accessible for all abilities, with more challenging options for those wanting to push themselves. All proceeds are in aid of Multiple Sclerosis, so why not come along and support a good cause. Tickets are available for £5 on the yoga page on the Cardiff Students Union website: https:// www.cardiffstudents.com/activities/ society/yoga/
A chance to mingle with everyone sharing an interest in photography and art.
Interview: Lamorna Hooker, VP Societies ‘17-18
Pictured: Not the first Hooker costume sighted at YOLO.
Freshers don’t realize there are different societies on different days [of the fair]
fter a hard fought battle (myself included) Lamorna Hooker won the post of VP Societies at the end of the 2017 student elections. I met up with her again at the Cardiff Student Media office to catch up and find out what 2017 has in store for Societies under the reign of Captain Hooker. On picking favourites LH: That’s controversial… I’m on committee for German and Windband, they’re “my” societies. But there are so many societies at Cardiff, and I’m in awe of most of them to be honest. They do amazing work and I’m looking forward to experiencing them all next year. On election strategy
I would like any society to have an event with Cardiff Volunteering.
TM: How planned was your campaign? Did you plan all your lecture shout-outs the week before? LH: My campaign was relatively planned. My boyfriend did the lecture shout-outs the night before. I’d get in touch with Milly and ask if she wanted to come with me. I also did a lot of planning in terms of making posters. All my friends were round making banners, posters, card and paper signs. I gave them out to my friends for them to put up in their windows and get my name out. Having a big campaign team is useful. TM: Did you find that when you doubted yourself, you you couldn’t give up, because you’d be letting the team down? LH: I didn’t doubt myself- I’m a positive person. Five days isn’t that long, so I thought I’ll just push to the end of the week, I have support, food, all I need. TM: What was the biggest morale booster during election week? LH: It was nice having candidates’ breakfast the last three days- a lot of the candidates all together in one place for fifteen minutes in the morning, it was cute to have selfies
together and shout “ready to go!” Although everyone was busy with their own campaign they were never too busy to check how you were doing. On her first days in office TM: You start work in June. What’s the first policy point you want to work on? LH: I‘m passionate about course based societies. The handover ties into it. I’m trying that out with my current German committee, by the end of March we’ll know who next year’s committee is, we’ll organise a social between the old and new committees. A lot of societies don’t do that, and I want to implement it. TM: You also promised cheap alumni fees. LH: That can’t happen until September- but that’s when you’ll want to do it. A lot of people won’t have a job straight away after they graduate so it’s useful to have a cheaper fee. It’s quite hard to get alumni membership currently, you need to come in to the Union and prove you’re alumni with a graduation certificate. I want to see if it’s possible just to use your old student number. Also, if people are working- the finance desk is only open until four, so how will they come in? TM: Are you going to do anything with the tier system? LH: There are a couple of points I would like to add. I would like to involve societies more with Cardiff Volunteering- a massive association, and if a society can do stuff for them it looks good for them and their members’ CVs. I would like any society to have an event with Cardiff Volunteering. On society promotion TM: Are you going to hold the refreshers fair? LH: I don’t think I will reintroduce Refreshers Fair as it’s been proven
not to work. Another problem is societies only get one day at Freshers’ Fair. When I started, all the gold tier societies got two days at the Freshers’ Fair but now there’s so many societies it’s impossible. Freshers don’t realize there are different societies on different days. The best thing to do is push it through social mediawhen people are tweeting they got into Cardiff… LH:…We could advertise events more in the SU, we already have big screens everywhere, if we could advertise events on these screens that would get to a lot of people. On student media TM: Student media wants editorial independence, but at the same time, if people don’t read it, why bother? We need more support from the union to improve the profile of student mediawhen I did a survey a few months ago, about 70% of people in the SU said they’d never read Gair Rhydd. They thought it was in Welsh, or hadn’t seen it in the box hidden behind reception. If they’re advertising a club night, they go all out but with student media, where it’s just about student led societies, there’s no money in it, there’s not as much push. LH: It’s difficult with the moneythe SU has no money to spare. It’s like the free newspapers, though, people just go; free newspaper, shrug. TM: That’s the opposite of me. I must be a weirdo. LH: Not at all! There’s a certain type of person who always picks up newspapers. I don’t read newspapers so I wouldn’t necessarily pick up a Gair Rhydd. TM: The solution to that, I would say, is improve the website. LH: Not necessarily improve it, just make it more… known. TM: We need the kind of online profile the Tab has. LH: Is there any way you could form an alliance with Tab Cardiff?
TM: It’s a bit like a rival really, some competition. We do have shared writers. LH: The Tab could actually advertise you. TM: It’s hard, we’re a union publication and they’re a company. LH: That might be a meeting to be had in September. On continuity
We could advertise events more on the big screens in the SU.
TM: What’s something Milly’s done that you’d like to continue? LH: I have really enjoyed Society of the Month. It might sound harsh also, but I like that she made the tier system harder. Every other society last year was gold tier and then it doesn’t have as much meaning. Now if you get gold tier it’s a big thing, you’re an amazing society and need to keep going. On the future TM: Regarding jobs, are you glad to have one? LH: It is a weight off my shoulders! I’ve cancelled all my job interviews now- maybe they’ll take me on in a year’s time, possibly! TM: Are you prepared- are you fired up and ready to go? LH: Yes I think so! I like a challenge. I’m excited to start and do the crossover, and work with my new sabb team.
I didn’t doubt myself. I’m a positive person.
Safety Walk scheme seeks volunteers
he Safety Walk was first thought up back in November of 2015, in response to the sexual attacks that happened around the Students’ Union. After approaching the Students’ Union with the idea, for the safety walk, I was given a positive response and asked to get potential volunteers registered as well as to do research into other similar schemes. Since Freshers week in 2016 we have encountered numerous individuals who have needed our assistance, ranging from asking for directions to those needing first aid and a ride to the alcohol treatment centre. We have now helped over
200 people to get home safely. Our very first case in September 2016 was the typical situation of a lone drunk female, separated from her friends and there were two males insisting on walking her home. The woman didn’t know the two men so it was suggested that she stayed with us as we tried to find her friends. After a few minutes we were able to get her friends on the phone and arrange a meeting point where we helped them to be reunited. This is just one of the many situations that we’ve helped in during our time operating, showing that there is a clear demand for us. We’re currently looking for new
ext week is Global Week, with lost of events aimed at International Students. Here’s the jam packed itinerary...
Global Film Screenings Sun 26 at 4th Floor, Students Union. Bride for Rent: 13:00-15:00 4C Blind Chance: 15:30-18:30 4C White Helmets: 12:00-13:30 4D Song of Lahore: 15:00-17:00 4D Stilyagi: 16:00-18:30 4G The Intouchables: 19:00-21:30 4G Live and Become He: 13:00 4H Kal Ho Na Ho: 16:30- 19:30 4H
Global Awareness, Tues 28 Housing Advice (start at 10am)
“I’m a dragon.” You what? He’s a dragon.
Pictured: Safe Walkers, highly visible.
Next Week is Global Week
Global Village Food & Culture Fair 11am Main Building Car Park Come and sample some of the tasty treats on offer, and meet the University’s student support services, including International Students Association, AIESEC and student societies.
volunteers, who’ll receive first aid training as well as conflict management training thanks to one of our sponsors, Safeguard Medical Services LT. Our other two main sponsors; Endsleigh insurance, and Tesco provide us with all the necessary gear to keep our volunteers safe which is our number one priority during a patrol. The next training session, and last of this academic year is taking place in the SU on the 1st and 2nd of April 2017 and we have spaces left. So, if you’re interested in joining , see us on Facebook: tinyurl.com/SWalkFB or email Cardiff Volunteering: Volunteering@cardiff.ac.uk
Know your housing rights. Legal clinic Drop-in (start at 10am) Speak to solicitors free of charge. EU Student Briefing #1 (start at 11am) Practical steps to weather the Brexit storm. Post-study Visa Options Workshop (start at 2.20pm) Learn about work experience Visas. Academic Regulations (start at 4pm) And how they apply to YOU. EU Student Briefing #2 (start at 5pm) Global Quiz 7.30pm, Costa Coffee, Tues 28 March Come and test your global knowledge with cash prizes available for the winning team. Come and register your team for £5 at International Student Support (ISS) reception, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union. Maximum 5 people to a team. Open 19:30, Start 20:00.
Global Sport Wed 29 1pm, Back of SU (start at 1pm) Cardiff University FC v KU Leuven FC Catch one of our free minibuses on Senghennydd Road to support our senior teams. Ladies’ Kick Off at 13.00 and Men’s Kick Off at15.00. Global Music 10pm, Wed 29, Cornerstone, Charles St. A music night with an international DJ and a diverse intercontinental twist.
Win cash at Costa Quiz...
Global Career (Thurs 30, 10am) Learn about work-based immigration, entrepreneurial routes and familybased applications. (Repeat of Tues)
More information at:
Morris does Morris (dancing)
he Owain Glyndwr is not a pub I visit often, but hesitation was far from my mind as I ducked in from the rain lashing down outside one Tuesday night. Peeking through a crack in the fire doors on my left as I went in, I spotted a group of people lined up together in an empty room, waving handkerchiefs like their lives depended on it. This must be it- Cardiff ’s very own local Morris dancing group. Slipping through the crack and making myself known, the first fellow I spoke to declared himself to not be dancing during the current round because “I’m a dragon.” You what? He’s a dragon, simple as that. This was the first of many encounters with Morris dancing jargon I had over the next two hours. I was glad to see that the group had a sense of humour, as I was sent purely so that we could name the article “Morris does Morris”- and so we have. Later, one of the men remarked that “we could do with a Morris”- because apparently some smart Alec always pipes up and asks which one of them is called Morris at the end of a show dance. Minnie, a lady with a real passion for the sport, taught me some beginners’ steps, and our friend Mike
the dragon lent me some hankies to twirl around. Much like a lot of dancing, Morris comes in fours. One, two, three, hop, switch sides and so on. It’s terribly hard to describe in words and I doubt it’s of utmost interest to the reader. After that, Minnie handed me a big wooden stick and we started to clap them together, sort of like slow sword fighting. Then we got lined up in three pairs, and started clapping sticks and jigging around each other. You swap sides, roll round each other, change lines, and clonk sticks. Minnie told me not to worry about my footwork too much to start with, as that only really matters once you have bells on your ankles that ring in time with the band. It’s all done to the time of skilled live music by a group using accordions and flutes. I spoke to the flute player for a moment, who told me she’s studying at Cardiff Met. She doesn’t do the Morris apart from playing the music, but she does join in with another local group, the Rapper dancers, who dance using doublehandled swords. In fact, a lot of the members are students. With some of the founder members from the 70s now getting on a bit, they say the students
are useful to do the more energetic dances. However, when they finish studying and head off to pastures anew away from Cardiff, they usually quit Cardiff Morris. Therefore although the youngsters are the ones that can do the dances the best, the club relies on the older members to remember the routines and pass them on to the next lot. The current club, members tell me, started in 1970, although there are records with one of the national governing bodies, the Morris Ring, that a club existed in Cardiff in the 1950s. No-one really knows, and
splits with the governing bodies over time (for a time, the Morris Federation took over things) make it even harder to keep track of. People at the actual group mainly focus on keeping their step in time and looking forward to their next well deserved pint, so such semantics aren’t really worth worrying about. Perhaps the most exciting thing the dancers do look forward to is their Ale, where the group all meet up to dance in a church hall, eat curry, drink kegs of ale then pass out in a sleeping bag on the very same floor. If that doesn’t sound like fun,
Pictured: Sticks to be clonked. Photo: Gareth o’Gorman
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taf-od Osian Wyn Morgan
Dw i’n meddwl y gwelwn fwy o wrthdaro oherwydd Brexit a dw i’n gweld efallai y bydd y Gymraeg yn rhan o hyn.”
Golygyddion: Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher @Taf_od email@example.com gairrhydd.com/tafod
Alun Davies AC : Brexit yn cynyddu teimladau gwrth Gymraeg Y n ôl Alun Davies, y Gweinidog dros y Gymraeg ac Addysg Gydol oes, gall Brexit olygu y bydd mwy o bobl yn troi yn erbyn y Gymraeg. Dywedodd Alun Davies, a oedd o blaid aros yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd fis Mehefin diwethaf, yr oedd yn credu y gallai teimladau gwrth Gymraeg dod law yn llaw a’r cynnydd sylweddol yn y gwrthdaro hiliol sydd wedi digwydd yng Nghymru a Phrydain, ers i 54% o boblogaeth Prydain pleidleisio o blaid gadael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd y llynedd. Wrth siarad gyda Golwg 360, dywedodd Alun Davies “Mae pobol sydd wedi bod yn wrthwynebus i’r Gymraeg, sydd wedi cadw’n dawel dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf – mae Brexit wedi dod nawr iddyn nhw ymosod ar y Gymraeg, mewn ffordd buasen nhw ddim wedi gwneud, efallai blwyddyn, dwy flynedd yn ôl. Cyfaddefodd yr Aelod Cynulliad dros Flaenau Gwent - y sir yng Nghymru a oedd mwyaf o blaid gadael yr UE, gyda 62% o’u hetholwyr yn awyddus i adael yr undeb – ei fod yn gweld y cyfnod presennol yng Nghymru fel un bregus iawn. Ers y bleidlais i adael yr Undeb Ewro-
peaidd, mae’r nifer o achosion o droseddau hiliol wedi cynyddu’n sylweddol. Mae llawer o’r bobl oedd o blaid Brexit wedi gweld y bleidlais fel cyfiawnhad dros gael gwared â mewnfudwyr, a phobl sydd o gefndiroedd a chrefyddau gwahanol o’r wlad, ac o ganlyniad, cynyddwyd y nifer o achosion o droseddau hiliol o 10,793 rhwng Gorffennaf a Medi 2015, i 14,295 yn ystod yr un cyfnod yn 2016. Dyweodd “Ro’n i’n siarad â chriw o bobol pythefnos yn ôl ac roedd y fenyw yn yr ystafell yn dweud bod hi wedi gweld cynnydd yn achosion o fwlio yn yr ysgol, plant du yn cael eu bwlio yn yr ysgol. Dw i’n meddwl y gwelwn fwy o wrthdaro oherwydd Brexit a dw i’n gweld efallai y bydd y Gymraeg yn rhan o hyn.” Yn amlwg creda Alun Davies y bydd rhai yn troi yn erbyn y Gymraeg oherwydd ei fod yn perthyn i ddiwylliant gwahanol i’w diwylliant hwy, fel y maent wedi gwneud gyda phobl o ddiwylliannau a gwledydd eraill. Cawn weld os bydd cynnydd yn y teimladau gwrth Gymraeg a Chymreig yn y misoedd a blynyddoedd sydd i ddod.
Yn y llun: Alun Davies AC, Y Gweinidog dros y Gymraeg ac addysg gydol oes (Tarddiad: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru drwy Flickr)
Cynlluniau Iaith Cyngor Caerdydd “ C yhoeddwyd Cyngor Sir Caerdydd yr wythnos diwethaf y mae nhw’n targedu i ddyblu nifer o siaradwyr Cymraeg y ddinas. Y targed cyntaf ydy cyrraedd 42,584 o siaradwyr erbyn 2021, ac wedyn yn y diwedd mi fydd nifer o siaradwyr yn y brif ddinas wedi dyblu erbyn 2050. Mae’r cynlluniau yma yn dilyn cyhoeddiad gan y llywodraeth y llynedd i godi’r nifer o siaradwyr i filiwn erbyn 2050. Derbyniodd y cynlluniau gwreiddiol rhagfarnau gan nifer yn cyhuddo’r llywodraeth o ffurfio’r ymgyrch i dawelu’r
Gymru Gymraeg sydd yn brwydro’n ffyrnig dros yr iaith. Nad oedd llawer o gefnogaeth gan y llywodraeth yn ôl nifer fawr o bobl, ond credaf fod hyn yn ddechreuad da tuag at y filiwn yn 2050. Mae’r ymgyrch yn naturiol yn ôl Arweinydd Cyngor Dinas Caerdydd Phil Bale, “Dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf, mae naid wedi bod yn nifer y siaradwyr Cymraeg yn y ddinas, yn bennaf oherwydd twf addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg, gyda niferoedd cynyddol barhaus o blant a phobl ifanc yn derbyn eu haddysg drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.” Ai felly
Dysgu’r Gymraeg gyda’r Taf-Od Fflirtio
addysg y brif ffordd o gynyddu’r niferoedd yng Nghaerdydd? Yn sicr mae’n gam boddhaol i weld, mi fydd targedu plant a phobl ifanc yn siŵr i fod yn llwyddiannus. Fel unigolyn sydd yn byw yn y brif ddinas, mae’n hawdd dweud bod byw trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn y brif ddinas yn hawdd gwneud. Ac mae Phil Bale yn cydnabod bod yr iaith Gymraeg yn rhan hanfodol o fywyd yn y brif ddinas, “...bod yr iaith yn rhan o fywyd y tu allan i gatiau’r ysgol fel y gall pobl ifanc, teuluoedd a chymunedau ddysgu a siarad
Cymraeg fel rhan o fywyd bob dydd, gan gynnwys yn eu gwaith ac wrth chwarae, yn ogystal â defnyddio gwasanaethau a chymorth yn Gymraeg.” Ond mae’n bwysig cofio bod hyn yn dibynnu nid yn unig ar y cyngor ond ar gyfraniad yr holl ddinas hefyd. Pwysleisiodd hyn gan Phil Bale hefyd, nad yw hyn yn unig yn darged i’r cyngor ond “Mae ar gyfer y ddinas gyfan, ac mae angen cymorth partneriaid o bob sector arnom i sicrhau ei lwyddiant o ran creu Caerdydd ddwyieithog.”
Learn Welsh with the Taf-Od Flirting
Dawnsiwch gyda fi! = Dance with me! Gai eich rhif? = Can I get your number? Down-shuh guh-da vee! Guy ech reev? Ti moen drinc? = Do you want a drink? Tea moyn drink?
Bod yr iaith yn rhan o fywyd y tu allan i gatiau’r ysgol fel y gall pobl ifanc, teuluoedd a chymunedau ddysgu a siarad Cymraeg fel rhan o fywyd bob dydd.
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)
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.
Cobras hit their stride with impressive playoff win over Imperial Rich Jones
ardiff Cobras moved one win away from promotion to the Premiership after a 27-0 win over the Imperial Immortals at Llanrumney last Sunday. After a comfortable victory over Cambridge in their first play-off game a week earlier, the Cobras stepped things up a gear to book their place in the BUCS Division 1A Southern Final. They were due to head to Portsmouth to take on the unbeaten Destroyers on Sunday knowing a victory would see them reach the top tier of British University American Football for the first time since it was split into multiple tiers in 2014. They would also earn the right to play for a national title against the Northern Champions at Sixways Stadium the following week. A tough test was expected against an Imperial side who played in the Premiership last year and came on strong in the closing weeks of the regular season to win their division.
But after a slow start, the Cobras gradually got into their stride and broke the deadlock with a five yard touchdown run from Ross Ludlow just seconds before half-time. After heading into the break on a high, the home side picked up where they left off with a composed drive down the field on their opening possession of the second half. They marched down the field before Quarterback Max Milburn found Scott Higgins in the back corner of the end zone for the score. An attempt to kick an extra point bizarrely turned into a two-point conversion as Jak Canhamâ€™s kick was blocked into the arms of an Imperial player before being fumbled to Cobras man Andy Keener in the end zone. A big physical effort from the Cobras on both sides of the ball saw them gradually wear down their opponents during a dominant second half to wrap up the game as a contest.
With their defence consistently offering them the ball in good field position, rookie Ludlow powered in his second score early in the fourth quarter. And when Liam Sharma hauled in an eye-catching touchdown grab after a 20-yard pass from Milburn it gave the Cobras the chance to experiment with a number of back-up players in the final minutes. Wide receiver duo Sharma and Higgins both offered a deep threat throughout the game as Milburn completed a number of big plays to the pair, whilst Canham and Andy Keener also made some vital receptions. That opened up the opportunity for running backs Ludlow and Carwyn Chamberlain to enjoy significant success on the ground as the Cobras offense put in arguably their most complete performance of the season. Defensively, the Cobras were disciplined enough to stop Imperialâ€™s triple option scheme with middle
linebacker Tom Earl and defensive ends Will Rushen and Joe Dickerson in particular coming up with a number of big tackles. Rookie cornerback Cameron Watson also starred with two athletic interceptions as the Cobras secured a shut-out victory. Regardless of the outcome of the closing weeks, it has been a hugely successful season for the club. After losing a number of key playes to graduation over the off-season, they have exceeded expectations to launch a real challenge for promotion in what many was expecting to be a rebuilding year. With a number of rookies immediately contributing to the side in key positions, the Cobras are looking set for a bright future whether they reach the top tier or fall just short and remain in Division One. Their final match of the season will come as they face arch rivals Swansea at Welsh Varsity on Wednesday, April 5.
Pictured: Cardiff Cobras in action against the Imperial Immortals. (via Tallboy Images).
Gav’s Back! Henson returns but what went wrong for the Welsh goldenboy? Gareth Axenderrie
t was the night of Saturday 5th January 2005. The match was finely balanced. An air of anticipation engulfed the Millennium Stadium, its roof firmly closed, as Wales - trailing England by just a point - were awarded a penalty some fifty meters from goal. Step up Gavin Henson. With shaved tanned legs, a look of confidence and the shiniest of boots, the Pencoed product took a nonchalant swing at the ball. As the crowd roared with a mix of disbelief and delight, the ball sailed through the middle of the uprights. That day, as Wales defeated England eleven points to nine, a star had been born. The career that followed was to be one of awe, disillusionment and disappointment. Now the talent, who came to fruition before disappearing all too often, is due to return to Wales next season. He has put pen to paper with the Dragons, signing a two-year deal which will begin this summer. Is his best confined to the nostalgia of days gone by? Or does the enigmatic self-styled superstar still have something to offer the Welsh game? First and foremost, the Dragons will certainly hope he has something left in the tank. The Newport based region have sunk to an all-time low this season as a complete WRU takeover looks inevitable and on field performances have been as abject as any in their history. Henson’s signature comes a week after the region announced they had signed South African international Zane Kirchner, and it is a welcome boost to moral to once again be attracting the game’s bigger names to Rodney Parade. That said, many will argue that Henson has been purely a name not backed up by on field performances for far too long. That notion is backed up by facts when you look at his playing career
over the course of the last decade. Since leaving the Ospreys to pursue a TV career during a year’s sabbatical in 2009, Henson has had six different clubs in eight years. He managed just four games for Saracens before joining Toulon in 2011, but his time at the Stade Mayol was short lived after he was suspended and then released for an alleged fight with a teammate. Despite his antics in France, that summer Warren Gatland threw him a bone and handed him his last of 33 Welsh caps, against England in a warm up for the 2011 World Cup. He suffered a dislocated wrist in the same game, and ultimately missed out on a spot on the plan for that summer’s tournament in New Zealand, he hasn’t played for his country since. Since then his career hasn’t been any less dramatic. A short spell at the Cardiff Blues ended prematurely after drunken and disorderly behaviour on a flight home from Glasgow. He played a season at London Welsh before signing a contract with Bath. He hadn’t been at the club long before a video surfaced of him being knocked out in a bar by teammate Carl Fearns. This whole “keep your head down and work on your game” malarkey wasn’t going very well for ‘Gav’, and his career was crying out for stability and a step out of the limelight. That opportunity came when Bristol offered him a contract in 2015. The English Championship appeared to reinvigorate and stabilise him, now well into his thirties, as he played 27 times and notched 271 points for the West Country club. This form helped his side to promotion to the Premiership, but games have been at a premium this year as injuries have hampered his establishment of a run of games in England’s elite club competition. It’s rather funny how Welsh rugby
Pictured: Gavin Henson in action for London Welsh (top) and for Ospreys (bottom) (via Flickr).
works in mysterious cyclical ways. As the national side has often looked void of creativity, some corners of the Welsh rugby public have muttered Henson’s name. That lack of creativity has come to a head during this Six Nations Championship, and now Henson is back on the Welsh
horizon, and an air of excitement mixed with delusion is rife again. At 35 years old, what, if anything, can Henson offer the national side? He’s not been on the international radar for some six years, and although some performances have shown glimpses of his class, he hasn’t consistently performed at an international standard since he left the Ospreys nearly a decade ago. The Gavin Henson of the noughties was an exceptional talent, world class in fact. His spatial awareness, passing, kicking, running and defence was outstanding, and when he had the ball in hand he looked like he had all the time in the world. In many ways, he was the sort of talent that comes only once in a generation, capable of creating openings others could only dream of. But those days have surely gone. Injuries, inactivity and ‘father time’ have caught up with him. and the chance to have any real impact at an international level is long gone. Henson may be able to provide a season or two of quality service for the Dragons, and in that aspect he still has an opportunity to have an impact on Welsh rugby again. However, his international career is unfortunately resigned to being known as one of failed potential and wondering ‘what could have been’.
He has put pen to paper with the Dragons, signing a two-year deal which will begin this summer.
Look ahead to Lions: With the Six Nations over, who will be heading to New Zealand? Pictured: Supporters are expected to flock to New Zealand to watch the Lions (via Flickr).
Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff Blues Columnist
ollowing the completion of the Six Nations, attentions of rugby supporters will now inevitably turn to the British and Irish Lions ahead of their tour of New Zealand. The best players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland will head Down Under to play 10 matches, culminating in three tests against the All Blacks. The Six Nations was the last chance of players to prove themselves to Head Coach Warren Gatland and his staff on the international stage before he picks his squad on April 19. A squad of around 35 players is expected to make the trip, which will begin with a tour match against the New Zealand Barbarians on June 3 and end with the third test against the All Blacks in Auckland on July 8. With this year’s Six Nations throwing up a number of surprises and eye-catching performances, competition for places on the plane certainly appears fierce. Will Gatland opt for an English core following the success of Eddie Jones’ side? What role will the Welsh heroes who powered the Lions’ victory in Australia four years ago play given their mixed run of form? Does his selection matter, or are the historic All Blacks simply too strong and destined to inevitably claim victory? Two years ago, the answer to the last question would have most likely been that New Zealand would cruise to a series success. Their powerhouse side were en route to a rampant win in the 2015 Rugby World Cup,
he Blues get back to the grindstone this Friday as they head to Dublin to take on Leinster in the Pro 12. Danny Wilson’s men have been cut adrift of the European qualification places in recent weeks, and the end of the season appears to be one of damage limitation, albeit with Challenge Cup success still a possibility. There have been grumbles on the terraces over the course of the Six Nations, with many believing the Pro 12 should take a hiatus during a period when players are called up to international duty. It’s had a limited
a tournament which saw the semi-finals filled by all Southern Hemisphere sides and featured only one British player in the team of the tournament. Yet heading into this year’s Lions tour, New Zealand are a side still adjusting to life without star names such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith who have all retired from international rugby. Furthermore, there is a growing sense that the Northern Hemisphere sides are gradually making up ground on their Southern Hemisphere counterparts and collectively playing their best rugby in many years. Ireland claimed a historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago last November whilst England are enjoying a remarkable run of form which includes three wins in Australia last year. With Scotland also possessing their most talented side in recent history and Wales still also featuring many big names, Gatland has something of a selection headache in the best way possible. Starting in the front row, the hooker position is perhaps one of the most interesting decisions he has to make. Welshman Ken Owens has potentially played his way onto the plane with a tremendous Six Nations campaign. He has been mobile in open play and accurate at the line-out and fits the prototypical mould of the modern hooker. Jamie George has showed similar traits during his cameo appearances of the bench for England, whilst starter Dylan Hartley
brings a physicality at the scrum and breakdown which may be needed. With Ireland skipper Rory Best also a popular figure, one of those names is almost certain to miss out. In terms of form and ability, that man could be Best although his experience, having toured in 2013, could give him an edge. Behind the front row, there are a number of players in contention at second row and some big names are destined to be left at home. Despite playing at flanker for England this campaign, Maro Itoje is likely to slot back into the second row for the Lions and is all but certain to be involved. His England team-mate Joe Launchbury has enjoyed a tremendous Six Nations and is a huge presence at the breakdown, whilst Alun Wyn Jones has made a similar impact for Wales. Scottish pair Jonny and Richie Gray have both looked strong, but younger brother Jonny looks to have more Lions potential. Meanwhile, Ireland’s Iain Henderson has not enjoyed his best Six Nations but may well be fancied due to his flexibility to also fill in on the back row if needed. Names such as Devin Toner, Luke Charteris, George Kruis and Courtney Lawes are also sure to be mentioned in the discussion, but with the exception of Lawes none can claim to be in good form and may subsequently miss out. Toner, though, does have the benefit of calling Ireland’s line-outs - a skill which could give him an edge over someone such
as Henderson. The competition remains just as fierce at back row, perhaps the only position which is unlikely to be dominated by England’s Six Nations heroes. The bruising ball carrying skills of Irishman CJ Stander will earn him a place, whilst Sam Warburton has silenced his critics with a tremendous Six Nations during which his expertise at the breakdown has been constantly evident. Along with in-form openside Justin Tipuric, the pair have been at the forefront of Wales’ best performances and should both be given a seat on the plane. The experience of Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip means they both have a chance, but Scottish flanker Hamish Marshall and flexible Welsh back row Ross Moriarty could have played their way into the mix in recent weeks. At the back of the scrum, the brute force of Billy Vunipola as a ball carrier will make him almost certain to start. He will likely be joined by Taulupe Faletau, who remains a classy technician who barely puts a foot wrong despite not being at his best since returning from injury. Moving on to the backs, and Irish ace Conor Murray is the overwhelming favourite to start at scrum-half. The battle to join him, however, is intriguing with Rhys Webb, Ben Youngs and Danny Care all vying for two spots alongside him. England starter Youngs is a clever tactician who offers precision with the boot at the base of the ruck.
impact on the capital region in all honesty, and many other sides, such as the Connacht and Munster sides that have beaten the Blues recently, have been far more affected. After all, there are only four Blues players in the Wales squad, and even then, it’s only Warburton who has featured regularly. On the topic of Sam Warburton, what a Six Nations he’s had! The man who stepped down as captain in January looks to have found a new lease of life. Many doubted his future in a Wales jersey going into the tournament, few can do so now. He now ap-
pears a world class blindside flanker, carrying the ball powerfully in attack, an absolute rock in defence and still as effective as ever at the breakdown. This resurgence must, in some part, be attributed to the back-row structure he is part of at the Blues. With Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi also making up a dynamic set of flanking options, Warburton has had to cultivate a game in the number six shirt. He has now taken this newfound affinity at blindside to a whole new level on the international stage and a seat on the Lions’ plane to New Zealand beckons.
The Blues will be desperate to get him back on the field as soon as possible, as well as Alex Cuthbert and Kristian Dacey. They may be tempted to focus solely on their European exploits from here on in, as the quarterfinal away to Gloucester is certainly winnable. If a full strength side heads to Kingsholm, then the Blues are more than capable of taking a big English casualty and reaching the semi-final of the tournament they won in 2010. European success won’t make up for a below par league campaign, but it would certainly boost morale ahead of next season.
The Six Nations was the last chance of players to prove themselves to Head Coach Warren Gatland and his staff on the international stage before he picks his squad on April 19.
Breaking up the Ford-Farrell axis which has been at the heart of England’s Six Nations success may be controversial, but Farrell has proven he can bring out the best of those around him and a switch back to 10 would allow the Lions to include more talent in their midfield.
Harry Borg Cardiff City Columnist
Care and Webb, meanwhile, are both livewires of a similar style. Webb has been in good form for Wales, but Care’s experience may give him the edge given his impact off the bench for England in the Six Nations. The Lions took two fly-halves to Australia four years ago, and they could go for a similar approach this time around. If they go down that route, either Jonathan Sexton or Dan Biggar will probably fill one of the spots in the gamemanager role. Both have similar styles as tacticians with good kicking. Sexton is likely to be viewed as a better option, but his injury history could count against him. The other fly-half spot should go to someone viewed as more expansive, giving Gatland the flexibility to take different approaches if required. Perhaps the best fly-half in the Northern Hemisphere in terms of creativity is George Ford, but his defensive capabilities remain questionable and pitting him against the exceptional Beauden Barrett would be a big risk. As a result, his England colleague Owen Farrell would be a perfect option at 10, the position where he has continually starred for Saracens. Breaking up the Ford-Farrell axis which has been at the heart of England’s Six Nations success may be controversial, but Farrell has proven he can bring out the best of those around him and a switch back to 10 would allow the Lions to include more talent in their midfield. Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is a world class 12 and would be the obvious choice for that spot, whilst there are plenty of options at 13 with Jonathan Joseph and Jonathan Davies the obvious choices. With the exception of one loose kick against England, Davies has enjoyed a solid run for Wales whilst Joseph was
wo games, two identical scores and two identical endings: Blackburn 1-1 Cardiff and Cardiff 1-1 Birmingham. It is now two games in succession that Cardiff City have conceded last minute equalisers. Neil Warnock highlighted the lack of squad depth as an explanation. This problem is exacerbated by the mounting pile of injuries that now includes Greg Halford, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Matt Connolly and Lee Peltier. Warnock will get the chance to fix the issues concerning the squad depth come the summer. As of yet though there have been no links to
exceptional against Scotland. Scotland’s Huw Jones may also be a contender to join them in New Zealand having scored four tries in his first seven international matches. He is relatively inexperienced and perhaps has some defensive frailties, but he is also high on confidence and brings the added bonus of playing regularly in the Southern Hemisphere for South African Super Rugby franchise the Stormers. On the wing, George North has shown signs of getting back to his destructive best – most notably when he scored two superb tries against Ireland. England’s Anthony Watson is also a firm favourite to be in the squad, whilst Scotland winger Tim Visser would be extremely unfortunate to miss out. Yet a wealth of names will be vying to join them such as Jack Nowell, Jonny May, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour. Perhaps a big positive for Warren Gatland is the number of back three options who are equally comfortable either at full back or out wide. Scottish talent Stuart Hogg would be the obvious choice to play at 15, but Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams and Elliot Daly would all be offer different styles should be suffer from either injury or poor form. Williams and Daly have also earned places on merit for their exploits on the wing for Wales and England respectively, giving Gatland a great deal of flexibility amongst his stable of backs. The knock-on effect of this may well be the notable omission of Mike Brown, but the England ace has not been at his best in recent months and there are other players more deserving of a place on the plane at present. The final conundrum comes in the form of the captaincy; there is no stand
any defenders and considering the problems Cardiff have had with their defence this season it is surprising. If this undesirable knack of losing concentration and conceding late goals continues promotion simply will not happen. However, the prospect of having an actual preseason with his squad to fine-tune any problems he has noticed will comfort Warnock. Nobody usually wants the football season to end. Saturdays and Sundays become devoid of any structure for football fans. June, July and a bit of August are spent counting down the days until the new season kicks-off.
out candidate for the role and many of the candidates have potentially played their way out of the role in the Six Nations. Bearing this in mind, there may well be a temptation to appoint an experienced, authoritative figure such as Alun Wyn Jones as a tour captain and simply hand the match day role to whoever best suits once each starting XV has been selected. There will undoubtedly be many more twists and turns before the British and Irish Lions finally take to the field for the first test against New Zealand in Auckland on June 24. Injuries will occur both in club rugby and in the early stages of the tour, but regardless of who eventually takes to the field the occasion is certain to be huge. The British and Irish Lions remains one of rugby’s greatest traditions; anyone who has pulled on the famous jersey maintains it is the ultimate honour. The challenge posed by the All Blacks is huge, but a series win to follow on from their success in Australia four
years ago would certainly be regarded as one of the great achievements in the history of the Lions. Gair Rhydd’s British & Irish Lions Squad: FORWARDS: Ken Owens, Dylan Hartley, Jamie George, Jack McGrath. Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Cole, WP Nel, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Alun Wyn Jones, Jonny Gray, Iain Henderson, CJ Stander, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Billy Vunipola, Taulupe Faletau,
Pictured: The Lions in action on their last tour of New Zealand in 2005 (via Flickr).
BACKS: Conor Murray, Ben Youngs, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Sexton, Owen Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Davies, Jonathan Joseph, Huw Jones, George North, Anthony Watson, Tim Visser, Elliot Daly, Stuart Hogg, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams.
Rich Jones’s British & Irish Lions XV
The British and Irish Lions remains one of rugby’s greatest traditions; anyone who has pulled on the famous jersey maintains it is the ultimate honour.
Usually weekends are planned for football fans by the computer that comes up with the fixtures or the people at Sky Sports and BT Sport. Now the days are planned by other-halves and that one friend who doesn’t support a football team. Yes these people exist. No they are not strange, just unlucky and unfortunate. But despite all the late goals it would be hard to deny that the Cardiff fans have an awful lot to look forward to. Warnock will no doubt have his players prepped and ready for their promotion tilt. The Bluebird faithful are already preparing for next season by snapping
up their season tickets. Cardiff ’s offer for season ticket buyers to get their own name on their seat has proved popular with the fans. More should and could be done to lower the prices of match-day and season tickets across the country but this remains a nice touch by the club. Hopefully this incentive provides a feeling of ownership for the fans and strengthens the ever weakening bond between club and supporter. The club, manager and players will be hoping to consistently attract big crowds next season. A hostile atmosphere is crucial throughout the push towards promotion.
Editors: James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie @GairRhyddSport firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/sport
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Wales manager Chris Coleman: Woodburn selected on talent and merit not because of England interest James Lloyd
hris Coleman insists Ben Woodburn’s call up to the Wales squad was based on merit and not to keep the youngster away from the England lure. 17-year-old Woodburn has featured frequently for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this season, bagging his first goal for the Reds against Leeds in November. Wales play Republic of Ireland in a crunch Group D World Cup qualifier on March 24. But Coleman says he has known about Woodburn’s talent for a number of years. He said: “He has done good things at Liverpool, we know all about him and he has done well this season. “We have known about Ben since he was 13. If Ben wanted to go and play for England then there is nothing we can do about it. None of our players are contracted to Wales, so if Ben wanted to do so, there is nothing we can do.
“But because he burst on the scene with Liverpool and scored, everyone gets excited. It makes me laugh, as we already know about Ben. “He has earned this call-up if I thought it was too early for him, I wouldn’t have called him up. As far as I see, he is a Welsh international, Ben didn’t need convincing.” Coleman reckons that Woodburn’s exposure to playing with world class players at Anfield will enhance his development. Woodburn has been routinely named in Klopp’s squad this season, playing with the likes of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on a regular basis. “Ben is training with international players every day at Liverpool and technically he is very good,” said Coleman. “He is performing for one of the biggest clubs in football. He is on the periphery of the squad and he won’t be daunted by coming with us.” Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey return to the squad after injury with
striker Tom Lawrence – who has scored 11 goals for Ipswich Town this season – also included. Coleman has also named MK Dons’ Joe Walsh in the squad - the other uncapped player with Woodburn. Speaking about the rest of the squad, Coleman explained the need for firepower ahead of the two crucial matches against Ireland and Serbia. “You always try and pick the strongest squad and the players I think are going to be most ready,” Coleman added. “I saw Gareth [Bale] three weeks ago, he’s fit and in good form and he looked good in training. I’m looking forward to getting him back. These are players with ability and we’re lucky that they’re Welsh and so passionate. “Rambo [Ramsey] is fine, we spoke last month, he feels good. I think we are in pretty good condition at the moment. “It will be the halfway mark and we said at the this point we need to be in touching distance. I don’t see it as do or die.”
Pictured: Chris Coleman announces his squad to the media. (Photograph via Huw Evans Agency)
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