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Andrew RT Davies on Brexit, Scotland and censorship in universities P24 >>

gair rhydd

Science: NASA’s new budget gives hope for future Mars missions P26 >> gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1097 Monday 27th March 2017 Cardiff prison to be valued for potential sell-off


Credit: Cardiff University

Welsh Varsity trophy “destroyed” by Swansea University rugby team Toby Holloway & Maria Mellor


he historic Welsh Varsity Trophy, awarded to the victor of the headline act of Varsity - the men’s rugby match - has been destroyed by the Swansea University rugby team. Whilst reportedly on tour in Budapest, Hungary, the trophy that was once held by Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones was dismantled and used, among other things, as a hat. To add what some would describe as ‘insult to injury’, the various pieces were then scattered around the Hungarian capital and lost forever, leaving the words to George Ezra’s hit ‘Budapest’ (For you, oooh, you, oooh, I lose it all) hanging ironically in the air. The trophy was won by Swansea University last year, with Cardiff retaining the shield. Now a new trophy

will have to be found as Welsh Varsity returns to Cardiff this year and Wales’ two leading universities go head-to-head once more. “We took it on tour, and it didn’t come home.” These are the words of one Swansea University rugby player, who, when asked if he knew anything about the incident, replied: “Hahahaha not lost, it was’s currently in pieces around Budapest.” When Gair Rhydd approached Swansea University Students’ Union for a comment, they first denied any knowledge of the rugby team’s tour of Budapest, then, in an updated quote sent after receiving photo evidence of the alleged incident, stated: “As an organisation we have a huge respect for Varsity and the players who make the day so special. We look forward to supporting our players in Cardiff.” Swansea SU failed to say whether or not the rugby team have been punished by their actions.

In response to the destruction of the Varsity trophy, Cardiff University Rugby Football Club spoke to Gair Rhydd, saying: “we have had a successful season and are hoping to avenge last year’s defeat. Swansea are a good team but we hope that we can bring home the cup this year and look after it.” This isn’t the only report of missing treasured trophies have surfaced this week. Cardiff University Water Polo Club were in hot water when a young member of the team lost memorabilia that have been part of the club for the past 23 years. A pair of two-foot long wooden spoons that act as a symbol of the club’s long history were misplaced on a night out by the first year charged with looking after them. It is a club tradition that every year a member of the junior team is chosen to have responsibility over the spoons, with his or her initials being engraved on the spoon at the end of the year.

Rudi Polster, the first year who lost the spoons said: “They were lost over a month ago on a social on Wednesday by me (foolishly). I was a little too drunk and I can’t remember how, could’ve been lost or someone could’ve taken them off me but I honestly can’t remember, but somewhere between the SU and Taly South.” Speaking to Gair Rhydd about the significance of the spoons, Rudi said: “The spoons represent our long standing traditions of TJ (team junior, not necessarily the youngest fresher), choosing one fresher every year who stands out from his peers and giving him the responsibility of being an example to all other fresher’s in the pool and in the pub. Our spoons represent the traditions of old members and the great things they’ve accomplished and TJ carries it to remind us of their great deeds in the hopes that we can live up to them.”

he UK Government are looking to sell Cardiff prison to a private company. Four new prisons have been announced, one of which will be built in Port Talbot. This plan is part of the process to improve the estate after concerns about overcrowding. Jo Stevens MP offered her reassurances. She said: “It is clear to me that the appointment of Savills as valuers is a precursor to selling the Cardiff Prison site. “I will be demanding specific assurances from the government that prison staff, prisoners and access for families to visit will be the top priorities in decisions about HMP Cardiff ’s future and, that if the site is to be sold, the full market rate will be achieved so the taxpayer, not private property investors, get the best deal.”

Board report soothes Welsh Brexit worries


ardiff Council leader Phil Bale asked the Public Services board to compile a report on the impact of Brexit on the city of Cardiff. The report covered several topics including healthcare, tension in the community and housing. It found that Brexit was having a detrimental effect on healthcare and was increasing community tension. The report claims significant threats to the city’s universities in terms of attracting international students and projects. Last year, Bale claimed that Cardiff ’s £1.2bn city deal would be threatened by Brexit, but he has been proven wrong as the ten local authorities who form the deal have since held their first Joint Cabinet meeting and set a location for the Program Management centre office of the City Deal – Rhondda Cynon Taf. The deal has been formed in the hope that it will not just bring wealth to Cardiff, but to other areas who could benefit from some job creation.

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 Tom Morris Copy Editors Molly Ambler Phoebe Grinter Conor Holohan Lydia Jackson Olivia Botting Hannah Woodward Get involved Editorial conferences are each Monday at 6:30pm. Write to the editor 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 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

Am I getting older or are things getting worse? If ‘no news is good news’, bad news is terrible

Maria Mellor


he London attack last week had me scared and miserable. There’s no two ways around it. It was a horrible thing to happen, lives were lost, people were hurt and in our country no less. It’s not right, not fair and absolutely devastating. After the Paris attacks, the Bastille Day killings, the Berlin Christmas market attack, it feels like the world is falling apart. It was horrible for me and people like me when Trump got elected. I thought it was the end of life as we knew it when the UK voted to leave the EU, not to mention the fact that Article 50 is triggered this week. Even if you agree with Brexit and Trump, you must feel the tension running through society. It’s like a heart beating faster and faster, either heading to stop, or eventually slow

itself back to normal. Maybe it’s just me though. It could just be that I’m realising what it’s like to get older and be involved in political discussion as an adult. I’ll admit didn’t read the news much until sixth form. I didn’t debate about politics with my friends. Last Wednesday I spent all day refreshing The Guardian live blog. I needed to know more, at the same time needing it to be over. The death toll climbed and the nation went further into mourning. I got involved like I never used to. Compare that to the 7/7 bombings which happened when I was nine years old, where 52 people were killed and I had pretty much no idea, or at least no depth of recognition for the horror of the event. Seeing new children’s films these days it feels like they’re much more harrowing than they used to be. Finding Dory and Moana both had

me crying ugly tears in the cinema gasping to my friends ‘they never used to be this sad!’ Now I’m thinking that as an adult, I know more about the panic of getting lost, the struggle of not reaching your dreams and the despair at losing a loved one. Yet again, this man killed with a car and a kitchen knife. It didn’t take a complicated bomb or backwards gun laws like in the US. Two easily obtainable, everyday things in the hands of the wrong person can constitute a terror attack. Reports in dozens of major newspapers are calling it a ‘trend’: vehicles are the new terrorist weapon of choice. Allegedly, extremist groups have told their members to use trucks as killing machines. With vehicles 84 were killed in Nice, 12 in Berlin, four in Jerusalem. It feels like none of us are safe.

Still, in true British fashion we must keep calm and carry on. What else is there to do? There’s a symbol in popular culture called the doomsday clock. It is is a signifier for the end of the world, maintained by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. At the moment, they predict we’re the closest to the end of days we have been since 1953 when the US decided to pursue the hydrogen bomb. They’re talking nuclear and with Trump in charge of the red button, and when any old loon on the streets can decide to commit an act of terror, I don’t disagree. I’m leaning towards a combination of the two: sure I’m becoming more aware of the world as I get older and educate myself, but things are pretty bad in the world at the moment. Somebody needs to do something to stop us from teetering on the brink of disaster.


Campus in Campus inBrief Brief Wales


The Welsh Government could look to claim a grant of £245,808 back from newspaper firm Newsquest after it shut its offices in Newport. The grant was provided on the condition that 50 new jobs were created and 15 existing positions safeguarded until 2020. The firm’s sub-editing hub was opened in 2013 to serve newspapers such as the South Wales Argus. Following the closure, these jobs will move to the firm’s Weymouth office. First minister Carwyn Jones told assembly members that the government would seek to recoup the funds if the conditions of the grant were not met. Plaid Cymru’s Bethan Jenkins, chair of the assembly's culture committee, told the BBC ‘it seems that again, we have a company which has happily received public money and not stuck to their end of the bargain. This has come out of the blue and will be another blow to our news media industry in Wales, at a time when it's already under pressure.’





Words and Design by Emily Giblett

A cup of instant hot chocolate could contain as much salt as a packet of ready salted crisps, new research by the campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has found. Galaxy Ultimate Marshmallow Hot Chocolate powder was found to have just over 0.6g of salt per 25g serving, which equates to 2.5g per 100g. The target is 0.15g of salt per 100g. Mars, the confectionary company that owns Galaxy, described the hot chocolate as an ‘indulgent treat’, and suggested that much of the salt in the drink was due to the intrinsic sodium content of milk, but Public Health England has argued that there is more work to be done. The recommended daily salt intake for adults is 6g. Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of CASH, called the results a ‘national scandal’.


US & UK AIRLINES TO IMPOSE TECH BAN Passengers carrying laptops and tablets could be banned from bringing their devices onboard flights as cabin baggage, as part of new anti-terror regulations brought into effect by the UK and the US. Whilst US measures will ban large electronic devices on inbound flights from 10 locations including countries in the Middle East and Africa, Downing Street confirmed that airline passengers on 14 carriers would be banned from bringing laptops onboard as cabin baggage on direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Large electronics will still be allowed onboard flights in checked baggage and mobile phones will not be affected by the new rules. UK airlines affected under the new ban include British Airways and EasyJet. Airlines in the US, including Emirates and EgyptAir, were given until last Saturday to impose the ban, which has no set end date. A British Government spokesperson told the BBC: ‘The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.’ Officials quoted by Reuters confirmed that the US ban was not connected to Donald Trump’s recent efforts to impose what has been dubbed a ‘Muslim travel ban’.




Editors: Toby Holloway Gabriella Mansell Harry Webster @GairRhyddNews

Cont’d: Welsh Varsity trophy destroyed on tour and water polo spoons lost and found Rudi added: “At the end of year his name is added to the spoon and he goes down in history as an example to all new members of the club.” “They’ve been a sacred part of the club for over two decades and have been part of lots of great memories and achievements of the oldies who first created them and then down all the generations and were greatly missed.” Thankfully, one of the spoons was found last week and returned to the Water Polo Club, much to the relief of the man who lost them. “They were found when an engineer gave them to an older team member on Tuesday after he saw the article in the Tab and recognised one of the older TJ’s names on the spoon. One spoon is still missing though - the new one we have only had that a year”

Continued from front page

Pictured: This is what water polo looks like. (Photographer: Matthew Cox, via Flickr)

They’ve been a sacred part of the club for over two decades and have been part of lots of great memories achievements. Rudi Polster

” Westminster attacks linked to Wales as police raid Camarthenshire home Gabriella Mansell

I would urge anyone in this great city, if they are concerned or worried about anything to approach a police officer and talk to them. Mark Rowley


etectives have searched an address in Carmarthenshire, Wales in connection with the attack on Westminster, which took place in the afternoon on the 22nd March. The Metropolitan Police have searched one individual address in Carmarthen as well as three in Birmingham and one in London. The police have searched these addresses, as intelligence believes they are crucially linked to the Westminster attacks. In a statement the police force said: “Overnight our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police have searched a number of addresses across the country and have made a number of arrests in connection with the [Westminster] incident, including addresses in Birmingham.” However, they added: “The arrests and searches were intelligence led and there was no immediate risk to public safety.” The attacks on Westminster killed four people, including a police officer and at least 40 people were seriously injured. A lone assailant -now named as Khalid Masood – was inspired by the so-called Islamic

State with the intention of causing mass terror. Masood drove a 4x4 car over the Westminster Bridge mowing down dozens of pedestrians as he drove onto the pavement before killing a police officer with a knife in the grounds of Parliament. On 23rd March, the so-called Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack via a jihadist news site Amaq. A source who had spoken to MPs in Parliment at the time of the attack said “MPs walking through [the yard] were told armed shooter and told to dive for cover with many ending up in the tube tunnel”. Following the initial aftermath of the attack, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations Mark Rowley stated “We need the public’s help. The police are the public and the public are the police. I would urge anyone in this great city, if they are concerned or worried about anything to approach a police officer and talk to them.” The attacks have prompted a positive response on social media with the spread of the hastags #PrayforLondon and #WeAreNotAfraid in an attempt to unite the country in the wake of such a horrendous incident.

Pictured: A shadow falls on Westminster. (Photographer: Herry Lawford via Flickr)


Cardiff University researchers receive £165,000 for concussion funding Hugh Doyle


team of Cardiff University researchers and their partners have been named finalists in an NFL Co-Sponsored competition

after developing a material which is hoped could prevent concussion in sports. The team has been named one

Pictured: Rugby. (Photographer: Lisa Omarali, via Flickr)

of five finalists in the Head Health Challenge III, one of whose sponsors is the NFL. The competition’s aim is to find a solution for the prevention of concussion. By being named a finalist the team have won an initial funding prize of £165,000, with potential for a further £400,000 if they win first prize. Led by Dr Peter Theobald, a Cardiff Bioscience lecturer, they have developed C3; a multi-layered material. It is hoped that this material could be used in headgear to prevent concussions by absorbing the energy from impact and thereby dampen the blows players suffer when being tackled. Theobald commented on the material’s potential use in sport saying to the BBC that, “it would be remiss of us to not consider whether our technology can provide greater player protection”. High profile cases recently, such as the mishandling of George North’s concussions and lawsuits by former players who have suffered from longterm health issues relating to concussions they suffered in the careers in American Football. have raised the profile of the issue. With many calling for action to reduce the occurrence of the condition.

Speaking of the news to the BBC, Dr Theobald said while happy he cautioned the use of the material in headgear citing concerns over the impact it may have, “We need to be aware of the consequence that an introduction of new protective equipment has [had in other sports] - that is that it can change behaviour to reflect this new level or perceived invincibility or certainly increased level of perceived protection.” World Rugby also released a statement about the news saying also to the BBC that it, “welcomes any commitment to research and development in the area of player welfare”. However, the potential use of C3 comes at a time when there is debate over the use of headgear in sports at all. High profile figures, such as Wales centre Jonathan Davies, have said that they believe that headgear will not prevent injuries saying that they are an inevitable result of the sport. In response to these concerns, Theobald said, “We need to make sure that we, as academics, contribute ideas in terms of technology but it’s down to the higher powers within the sport to appreciate whether this represents a good opportunity or not.”

We need to be aware of the consequence that an introduction of new protective equipment has. Dr Peter Theobald, Cardiff University

Cardiff Council struggle to secure funding for new bus station Harry Busz

Alongside financial doubt there are worries that the new station will lack capacity containing less stands than the previous station which was demolished in 2015.


ardiff Council have been unable to secure funding for the cities proposed new bus station, it has been revealed, just nine months before it is scheduled to open. Negotiations between the council and property developers Rightacres have led to planning permission being granted for the ‘Interchange Building’ which will be one of many buildings constructed as part of an overall regeneration project around Central Square. However, a council report last week exposed that a ‘financial envelope’ was still required before any works on the new bus station could begin, originally scheduled for July this year. The regeneration project is intended to be a mixed-use development with companies such as Hugh James law firm as well as Cardiff University’s School of Journalism Media and Cultural Studies already confirmed to move to 2 Central Square in 2018. The news has sparked anger by many residents who believe that the council neglected obtaining financial commitment in order to secure more lucrative deals with the private sector. The exclusion of any assurances

for the station have been described by Liberal Democrat Councillor Elizabeth Clark as “outrageous”, and is likely to have a significant impact on voter’s perceptions of the Labour dominated council, only two months before voters go to the polls. Commenting on the setback Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability has moved to assure Cardiffians that he’s confident the work will take place stating “as far as I am concerned is it full speed ahead”. The council has also reinforced that the timeline for demolition and construction are “purely a guide and wasn’t definitive”. Alongside financial doubt there are worries that the new station will lack capacity containing less stands than the previous station which was demolished in 2015. The funding dilemma is likely to push back the new projects opening date, leaving passengers unable to connect as easily between bus routes and Cardiff Central train station as journeys can now terminate on a variety of different streets. Both issues are likely to dissuade potential car users from switching to public transport, which is a key target for the council.

Furthermore, both Network Rail and Arriva Trains have raised concerns surrounding a lack of parking, which is crucial in many train users’ journeys. Additional warnings from

Public Health Wales concerning deterioration of air quality and Natural Resources Wales around flooding implications mean the development’s rocky path is likely to continue.

Pictured: Bus. (Photographer: EDDIE, via Flickr)

Upcoming E v Ent s give it a go offers taster sessions to all cardiff

University students. Like a ‘try before you buy’ you can

take trips across the country or stay a little closer to home with a

range of fun activities. it gives you the opportunity to try out things our societies get up to, get involved in sport, learn a new language, develop new skills, volunteer, and so much more!

Fri 31st March Playzone Trip

Sun 2nd April £16

Sat 1st April Bristol City Trip



Film Night - Skyfall


The Lounge, 3rd Floor, Students’ Union on Park Place

Sat 1st April Leigh Woods Walk


Tue 4th April

Sat 1st April Bristol Banksy Tour

Dan Yr Ogof Trip


Want more information? check out our webpage: Come talk to us on the 3rd floor at the Students’ Union on park place. or phone us on: 029 2078 1411


COMMENT 7 Editors: Helena Hanson Caragh Medlicott Sam Saunders @GairRhyddCom

Osborne is lowering the Evening Standard Pictured: Former Chancellor George Osbourne has been appointed the new editor of the Evening Standard. (Source: Birmingham News Room via flickr)

Maria Mellor

Not only is he a public school posho and an avid Tory, but he is also a standing MP.


hen I first heard the news I thought it was a joke. George Osborne? Editorin-chief?? Absolute crazy talk. What’s next - Katie Hopkins becoming Prime Minister?! Then it turned out to be true and I experienced a range of emotions one after the other: confusion, denial, rage, sadness. It was like the goddamn stages of grief. Sure it was great to get involved with the whole meme-fest splurging out of the seams of social media, but genuinely it upset me that out of every eligible candidate in the UK, they chose this man. Not only is he a public school posho and an avid Tory, but he is also a standing MP. A current politician is going to be a ‘hard hitting’ journalist. It’s a terrible career move from him, not counting the massive increase in his earnings, and a terrible decision from the paper. Cardiff Student Media celebrated the doing-away of having a sabbatical officer (ie. someone who is being paid by the students’ union) running us and running Gair Rhydd. It means we can properly report on SU matters, properly scrutinise student politics. Yet a ‘real’ paper seems to find no concern with having an editor-in-chief so integrated in politics that he might as well

have lived up David Cameron’s bum for the good part of a decade. There’s a little thing called bias Mr Osborne might want to look up in the dictionary. Fine, they don’t have to have neutrality, as what newspaper does these days, but I can see the Evening Standard becoming a nepotistic farce. When it comes to politics of course George will have the inside scoop, but he’ll also have plenty of MPs on his back saying ‘please don’t publish this’ and ‘please don’t put in that picture’ amongst screams of ‘NO COMMENT’ wherever he goes. Will he have to sign a bunch of non disclosure agreements when he goes to private meetings in parliament? Or will they just not let him come to their meetings anymore? Nevermind being a terrible hire, this decision is going to be awful for his constituents. This isn’t just any newspaper, this is a daily paper with a circulation of over 850,000 copies. He’s never going to have time to do a proper job as MP if he’s doing his job properly at the Evening Standard. Then if he’s just a figurehead for the Evening Standard it means the staff already on the paper are going to be given more work that the editor should be doing! Compare him to our wonderful

MP Jo Stevens. She quit the Shadow Cabinet over Article 50. She worked tirelessly to help a man who lived in Cardiff for nearly a decade from being deported. She provides statement after statement about every local issue imaginable and still holds advice surgeries at her constituency office. I can’t imagine George Osborne showing even close to that kind of commitment especially with his cushy safe seat. George Osborne tried to defend himself to his constituents by writing them a little letter - never mind the rest of us, but fine. He cited the likes of Iain McLeod and Boris Johnson, both of whom were editor of a newspaper, but in totally different circumstances. Do your research, George!! Iain McLeod was editor of The Spectator in the 60s and he published an account of the 1963 party leadership contest which effectively got him ostracised from parliament for a short period. Not a good basis to go on. Boris Johnson went from being a journalist to being an MP, again very different as the man actually has experience in journalism! The wonderful people of the internet have looked into Osborne’s journalism experience. Allegedly he failed to get a place on the Times trainee scheme he applied for, was rejected

from a job at The Economist and ended up doing a bit of freelance work for The Telegraph. Now after being a politician for the past couple of decades some twit thinks he’s suddenly ready to run a newspaper? How are you supposed to run a paper without having experienced its inner workings? This decision has affected the integrity not only of a major London newspaper, but also the future of journalism. Sure as he has pointed out this isn’t unprecedented, but it makes me despair. As the current editor-in-chief of a newspaper I can assure Mr Osborne that it takes a lot more than showing your face every once in a while and signing a few forms. As the current editor-in-chief of THIS newspaper, I probably have more editorial experience than him. Maybe it’s this very fact that angers me the most. I am a member of a community desperately seeking jobs in creative industries. Just imagine how we feel when a guy like this nabs the top spot. Imagine how the staff at the Evening Standard feel, knowing they’ve been shafted just because their new boss has ‘political contacts’. I’m not saying that I even had a chance of the job, but it would have been nice to know that George Osborne didn’t either.

I am a member of a community desperately seeking jobs in creative industries. Just imagine how we feel when a guy like this nabs the top spot.



We’ll miss you Chuck

An ode to the man instrumental in the creation of rock & roll Caragh Medlicott

When we look back at some of Berry’s biggest hits we see this sense of youth and vibrancy commemorated in his music.


ationwide tributes have been made to Chuck Berry after he passed away on the 18th of March at 90 years old. The music legend was there for the inception of rock n’ roll and is renowned not just for his classic sound but the influence he had on the Beatles, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones, among many others. The fifties is often marked out as the first decade to see a distinct cultural generational tension between parents and their children. The idea of the independent and rebellious “teenager” becoming popularised around this time. If ‘Rebel without a Cause’ and ‘the Catcher in the Rye’ are exemplary of some of the first instances of rogue American teens in cinema and literature, then Chuck Berry was the soundtrack to this ideology. When we look back at some of Berry’s biggest hits we see this sense of youth and vibrancy commemorated in his music. Among those paying tribute to Chuck was former Beatle Paul McCartney who praised Berry as “one of rock & roll’s greatest poets”. Set to the backdrop of Berry’s mash up of blues and western tones -familiar to us now

as a classic rock & roll style- his lyrics roll off beautifully as he relays to us some teenage folk-esque tales. I don’t know of many people who don’t love the classic ‘Back to the Future’ scene where Marty McFly performs ‘Johnny B. Goode’ to a group of jiving high school students. Even today (in the right establishment) the guitar intro to ‘Johnny B. Goode’ alone can send eighteen year olds running for the dance floor as eagerly as it did on its initial release. Everyone recollecting just in time to join Berry in singing “Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans…” Berry’s lyrics might not have been highly politically charged –though an original version of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ did touch upon racial issues- he was able to use his talent to continually turn out popular music in a time when many black musicians work was being stolen and played by successful white artists instead. Besides, we only have to look at recent political events to see that tension between generations is still alive and kicking; with everything from Brexit to Trump. Perhaps our contemporary idea of “teenager-

Pictured: Chuck Berry was renowned for his energetic guitar playing on stage. (Source: Missourl history museum via Flickr.)

dom” is different now to what it was in Chuck Berry’s day but I think we can certainly all appreciate what Berry did in creating his soundtrack for America’s youth. Really what this whole piece has been about is honouring Mr. Berry for being instrumental in innovating rock & roll. In many ways the new

sound he created became the foundation of modern music and its subsequent evolution. For all the wonderful new artists we have today we can look back on Berry as a pioneer for creativity and the performance of live music. Chuck Berry, you’ll be greatly missed, but your sound and influence will live on for generations.

The guitar intro to ‘Johnny B. Goode’ alone can send eighteen year olds running for the dance floor.

Reporting stalking and abuse

Do police take reports of abuse from ex-partners seriously? Sarah Harris

It’s no wonder that a large proportion of victims of assault and abuse go without reporting their case if this is how things are usually handled.


ery recently the body of 19-year-old Shana Grice was discovered in her room in the town of Portslade, East Sussex. Grice was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Michael Lane. Just a month before she was killed, Grice had reported to her local authorities that Lane had been stalking her and on an occasion had even stolen her keys and broken in her home to watch her sleep. However the Portslade police charged Grice with “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report.” It’s clear from the events of last week that Grice had not exaggerated the behaviour shown to her by Lane. It’s clear that the fault lies within the police system. In 2015 alone, 518 people were murdered by their partner in England and Wales. A large proportion of these victims had previously reported domestic abuse to authorities yet in most cases, these reports were hastily dismissed or ignored just as in the case of Grice. It’s no wonder that a large proportion of victims of assault and abuse go without reporting their case if this is how things are usually handled. I have a friend -who for obvious reasons- has asked to stay anonymous but has kindly agreed to let me share their story. At the age of 16 she started dating a guy only a

few years older than her and as most relationships start off, things were perfect. However, shortly after he started to deal with some personal problems of his own and as a result turned to hardcore drugs and heavy drinking. He started by emotionally abusing her and forcing her to participate in recreational activities with her and not long after, the physical abuse began. When I asked her why she hadn’t already reported the case at this stage she told me she was seriously scared that nothing would be done with her case and having officials involved would just make things worse. Not long after my friend left for university and they broke up, the constant phone calls, texts, letters and emails began. Despite the fact that she had made it clear that she wants nothing to do with him, the stalking persisted. Despite this, she still didn’t involve the police in fear of worsening the situation. It’s ridiculous to think that even in this day and age, many people in abusive relationships are still terrified of involving the police due to fear of not being believed or worsening the situation. Just a few days ago, I read an article about a judge in America who had let a rapist walk free due to the fact that his 13-year-old victim looked ‘over 16.’ Despite feminism and the con-

Pictured: Many women feel scared of reporting abuse or stalking by ex-partners. (Source: Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr.)

stant change in law, victims of stalking, assault and abuse are still living in terror due to the clear faults in the policing system. The only way that this problem can be fixed is by making systems and helplines more approachable and raising awareness on the scale of this issue. Dozens of helplines and chat rooms are available for those who have -and are- suffering. Many of the users are people just like Grice who have been turned away from the police due their claims not being believed. If you or anyone you know is go-

ing through something similar, then remember it’s important to get help. The police may turn you away if you do not have “sufficient” evidence of what is happening so it’s important to keep a record of texts, calls and any other form of contact with the abuser/stalker. This is clearly an issue the government needs to look in to resolving, however, until this is done then victims need to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to talk to friends, family or anyone around them who may be able to help with the situation!

Victims of stalking, assault and abuse are still living in terror due to the clear faults in the policing system.



Cardiff JOMEC shouldn’t relocate

Abandoning the Bute-iful Building for a shiny new one is wrong Violet

The Bute Building is home. It’s a beautiful, grand old building, with a quaint interior and gorgeous high windows.


he recent announcement by JOMEC (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies) to move from their current home in the Bute Building, Cathays Park to Cardiff Central Square is one which, in my view, is highly detrimental to the students of Cardiff University, both current and future. I won’t deny that the Bute Building is in need of refurbishment. In some places, the electricity is poor, and the WiFi isn’t great. In other areas, the walls could do with a painting, and the lecture theatres could do with some upholstery. However, these are fixable problems, and in comparison with moving an entire school, staff, and its students to another part of the city, is an extremely cheap process. Fundamentally -while some may sneer at this comment – the Bute Building is home. It’s a beautiful, grand old building, with a quaint interior and gorgeous high windows, which are lit up in the summer, and provide a beautiful outlook over Cathays Park in the autumn and spring. The school is gorgeous, and while refurbishments are necessary in some places, such small sticking points are not reason to upheave the entire school to a brand new location. As students of Cardiff University will know, unless you are situated in Heath Park, Cathays Park is the hub of all that is our university. It is

close to the students union, the main building, and the university high street. It’s close to supermarkets, such as Lidl, and residences such as Talybont. It’s right next to the majority of student houses which letting agents provide, as well as all of our libraries. The Bute Building is situated in the centre of Cathays Park, making it in my view, the perfect location for Cardiff Uni students. In terms of student experience, moving JOMEC to Cardiff Central Square is a highly detrimental act, with no real benefits apart from a few extra resources and a nicer front door. So, why are we moving? Really? I can only come to one real conclusion, after witnessing the astonishing lack of consultation with JOMEC students, as well as any real warning about this. The reason comes back to one thing – the egos of some staff members within JOMEC. They want a nicer building. They want to feel like they’re in a posh, modern new office. They want to feel a certain way as they go into work every day. Which, to an extent, is fair enough. However, when egos infringe on the experiences of the students who they are in a position to educate and provide with an incredible experience, then something has to be said. The issue of egos may, or may not be true. However, viewing staff members in that way is a very real feeling

Pictured: Cardiff University’s Journalism School will move to a new building near the new BBC building. (Source: SprinterJockey via flickr)

within the student body after this planned move has been announced. And such disillusionment cannot go unnoticed. I often feel university staff members underestimate the importance of location to prospective students when applying to universities, and, even, once they’re arrived. Studying in the Bute Building has been an incredible experience, and will continue to be one up until JOMEC’s planned move in the 2018/19 academic year. I was considering doing an MA at JOMEC after my third year of studies, however, I’m now reconsidering because of the school’s

plans. I hope JOMEC reconsiders this move, or, rather, explains themselves. I can’t help but feel like this move is happening purely for aforementioned egotistical reasons, which puts the experiences of the staff members far ahead of the experiences of students. Students shouldn’t be dragged away from Cathays Park. We shouldn’t have to get the bus or train into university. We shouldn’t be forced to move, so lecturers have a nicer office. Refurbish, don’t relocate. The Bute Building is our home, and it’s worth far more than a couple of extra video cameras, and a comfier seat in a lecture theatre.

Do in South Wales after graduation? stayand andwork work in South Wales after graduation? Do you you want wantto tostay stay and work South Wales after graduation? you want to stay and work inin South Wales after graduation? Do want to and in Wales after graduation? Ydych eisiau aros aa work gweithio yn Cymru ar Do you youchi want to stay stay and work in South South Wales after graduation? aros gweithio yn ne Ne Cymru arôl ôlgraddio? graddio? Don’t miss the Grads Love Cardiff Careers Fair Thursday 30 March, 11:30 – 15:30 Great Hall, Students’ Union

Cofiwch am Ffair Graddedigion yn Gwirioni ar Gaerdydd Dydd Iau 30 Mawrth, 11:30 – 15:30 Y Neuadd Fawr, Undeb y Myfyrwyr

Open to all students and recent graduates Over 30 organisations with job opportunities!

Yn agored i bob myfyriwr a graddedigion diweddar Swyddi ar gael gan dros 30 o sefydliadau!’

Search ‘Grads Love Cardiff’ on the intranet

Chwiliwch am ‘Graddedigion yn Gwirioni ar Gaerdydd’ ar y fewnrwyd

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The reason comes back to one thing – the egos of some staff members within JOMEC.



Men should take more responsiblity for contraception New ‘male pill’ causes similar side effects to female contraception

Sarah Harris

Recent studies found that men are less likely to use a condom during sex if they find their partner sexually attractive


he contraceptive pill is easily one of the most controversial tablets in history. Despite the fact that it can prevent you from being a baby mama whilst you’re a university student, it’s easily one of the many contraceptives with the most disadvantages. You’ve probably read a whole bunch of articles about the negative impacts of the pill and heard about several extreme cases in which people have actually died or been hospitalised due to the pill causing blood clots. Doctors have always praised the pill for as long as I can remember. From a young age I’ve suffered from intense cramps during periods and was recently diagnosed with endometriosis. I didn’t actually go on the pill until September despite doctors having encouraged me for years. Since starting on the pill, I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of weight, my boobs have gone up by 3-cup sizes, I’ve become very depressed and my hormone levels are all over the place. It’s interesting that GPs neglect to tell you about the negative impacts of birth control when they first put you on it. The pill isn’t the only form of birth control that has seriously negative side affects. I know a whole bunch of university students who’ve gone on

the implant and have suffered from similar consequences. This isn’t the only reason the pill has caused controversy in the media over the last few weeks. Recently many pharmacies announced they would start serving the male pill. However, within a few days many takers of the pill announced they were experiencing side affects similar to those women had been suffering from for years. Is it right that many women are pressurised to take the birth control despite the clear disadvantages that scientists are clearly aware of, whereas men on the other hand are not pressurised as much to use birth control in any form? Recent studies found that men are less likely to use a condom during sex if they find their partner sexually attractive. I’m sure you’re all clever enough to know by now that condoms work not only as a form of birth control but also as a prevention for STIs. So, is it fair that women are so heavily relied on to take birth control if they don’t want to get pregnant. It seems that most people forget that making a baby involves more than one person and in many cases, women are left on their own when it comes to having to deal with un-

Pictured: Arranging contraception usually falls on women (source: Annabelle Shemer via flickr).

“ planned pregnancies. Although scientists are trying to advance medicine and eradicate the downsides of the pill completely, they clearly still have a long way to go. In the meantime, more awareness needs to be raised on the serious impact the pill has on both mental and physical health for females. In my opinion, it should be mandatory for doctors to explain that you may experience side effects from any birth control you go on, whether they’re severe or not. It’s also clearly not fair that wom-

an have to carry the burden of taking birth control and even if men can’t take the pill due to side effects, then they can at least have the sense to carry around a condom to not only prevent pregnancy but also to avoid catching an STI. If you don’t already know, the university has a free condom dispensary in the Student Union or you could see if your local pharmacy has the C-Card scheme. It’s crazy to think that almost 10 years after many of us had the whole ‘talk’ in school; people are still relying on females to be taking

More awareness needs to be raised on the serious impact the pill has on both mental and physical health for females

2067 – A Meat Oddity

Simon Amstell’s mockumentary ‘Carnage’ sheds light on veganism James MacLachlan

Methane outputs from livestock contribute more to the greenhouse effect than the carbon dioxide emitted from the billions of vehicles.


eganism is becoming an increasingly popular life choice in our modern world. A few years ago, I could count the people I knew that were vegan on one hand, and now, I’d have to grow extra hands and feet just to keep up with the numbers. So, why have people, including myself, started caring about what they consume and how animals are treated? Are we evolving beyond a primal need to kill and consume other living things? Last week, Simon Amstell released a mockumentary that explores the progression of veganism beyond the present day to the year 2067 – by which time everybody on the planet has turned vegan. What the mock-doc does is makes the early attempts at veganism funny. Veganism can be unorthodox, yes, but it’s the right thing to do. It laughs at itself and encourages us to as well. A nineteen-seventies version of vegan cheese looks more like a slab of concrete, than the substitutes available nowadays that are better than the real thing, so how could veganism become a viable way of living? However, joking aside, it also underlines some very serious issues surrounding the meat industry. In this advanced society, the word vegan is no longer relevant. ‘We’re not vegans, we are all animals, and that’s why the

idea of a meat industry is so appalling’. A musical performance from the point of view of a cow, highlights of an industry that forcibly impregnates a cow just for milk. And let’s not forget the environmental impact mass breeding cows has – methane outputs from livestock contribute more to the greenhouse effect than the carbon dioxide emitted from the billions of vehicles across the globe. ‘Stop making me pregnant. I’m not a machine, I’m a mother and my nipples they bleed. It’s my blood in your milk and there’s pus in your milk because it’s not your milk, it’s my babies’ milk. What kind of animal rapes just for milk?’ The same is true of the chicken industry – male chicks are killed at birth because they aren’t able to produce more eggs to fuel the cycle, and the female chicks progress to a life where they are forced to produce far more eggs than they should. ‘Why not have a period for breakfast? I don’t think people knew that wild hens only have ten to fifteen periods a year. Imagine being forced to have twenty times more periods than you were supposed to.’ Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. Undoubtedly, the rise of veganism in ‘Carnage’ incites a response from the humans that are not ready to

Pictured: Cows are mistreated in the meat industry. (Source: FreeUsePhotos via flickr).

make the change: ‘the carnists’, who, through political terrorism, attempt to revert the humans back to their primitive ways. Their radicalism leads to the murder of prominent activist Troye King Jones, who is killed and eaten in his own home by the ‘Great British Meat League’. Thankfully, at present there’s very little risk to being vegan. Yes, there’s a lot of stigma surrounding the lifestyle, but with greater understanding, people can become aware of just how easy it is to become vegan. There’s so much choice out there; it’s one of the best times to become vegan. Restaurants such as Zizzi’s and Jamie’s Italian have specific vegan menus and supermarkets like Sainsbury’s have increased their vegan product range. Milk alternatives, vegan ice cream, and Quorn allow

you to substitute what you’re used to with a plant-based counterpart, and snacks like Oreos, Skittles, and Mr Kipling’s Apple and Blackcurrant Pies are already vegan, so if you’re as unhealthy as I am, you don’t even need to change. Oh, and most booze is vegan, too. (If you’re a fan of Guinness, I’m sorry. It’s not vegan.) It’s easy to see why veganism is growing in popularity. It’s healthy and varied, it teaches us to respect our food, it teaches us to respect the planet and the animals that live on it. If you’re not ready to give up meat, that’s fine too - take your time. Not everyone can go vegan overnight. Trying a meat-free alternative every now and again will reduce the stigma surrounding veganism. You can watch Simon Amstell’s ‘Carnage’ on BBC iPlayer now.

With greater understanding, people can become aware of just how easy it is to become vegan.

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Brazilian goalkeeper who had his girlfriend strangled and then fed to dogs says that ‘mistakes happen’.

Helena Hanson

A mistake is smashing your dad’s favourite mug or drunk kissing your ex or forgetting to feed the dog. This is not a minor fluff up.


ometimes, headlines are so ridiculous that you can only laugh. This should be one of those headlines. A Brazilian footballer didn’t REALLY conspire to murder his girlfriend and then feed her to dogs! Of course he didn’t! Oh, but he did. He really, really did. Bruno Fernandes de Souza was a goalkeeper in Brazil, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 for his involvement in the murder of former model, Eliza Samudio. Having been involved in a paternity battle while he was still married to his wife, he conspired with his friends to have his baby-mommy kidnapped, tortured, strangled and then fed to Rottweilers. Confessing to the crime, he was released last month after his lawyers applied for a writ of habeas corpus because the Brazilian courts were too slow to hear his appeal. He served six years and seven months. Almost immediately, there was interest in him as a player one again, with second division club Boa Esporte recently signing him on a two-year deal. As if this was not bizarre enough, speaking this week to The Guardian, Bruno sought to defend his decision to continue to play football, and said: “Dude, what happened, happened. I made a mistake, a serious one, but mistakes happens in life – I’m not a bad guy. People tried to bury my dream because of one mistake, but I asked God for forgiveness, so I’m carrying on with my career, dude. I’m starting over.” A mistake Bruno? A mistake? A mistake is smashing your dad’s favourite mug, kissing your ex boyfriend when you’re drunk, or forgetting to feed the dog. This is not a minor fluff up. I could be wrong, but I think we could all generally agree that conspiring with your friends to kidnap your girlfriend, those friends torturing her, murdering her, dismembering her and then feeding

her remains to Rottweilers is a little bit, you know...exessive. Beyond mistakesville, this is past regrets-island and on through sin city, this ‘mistake’ is right in the middle of sociopathic ocean. Bruno is not the first footballer to be criticised for attempting to return to sport following a criminal conviction. In 2012, Ched Evans was found guilty and sentenced for the rape of a then-nineteen year old woman in a hotel room. Although he was released in 2014 after serving half his sentence, and his conviction was appealed based on his submission of previously unavailable evidence, the Ched Evans saga divided opinion in Britain. The court of law and the court of opinion unfortunately don’t necessarily align, and as Evans has maintained his innocence from the outset, so too has a number of his supporters. Framing himself as the victim, he understands his own narrative to be that of a ‘young player with a bright future, who had his dreams cruelly and unfairly snatched from him’. The understanding of Evans as a victim and the resulting anger and frustration from his followers led to the real victim of his assult being named on social media, and becoming victim to some horrific online trolling and abuse. Police later had to put her into hiding. If this mess was not already enough of a shitshow, Ched Evans went on to comment that there should be more education for football players on issues surrounding alcohol and consent. His advice? “When they are drunk, think twice about it”. Yes, because we all need sex tips from the guy who had sex with a drunk woman but, by his own admission, lied to get her room key and then failed to speak with her before, during, or after sex. Evans speaking to young players about alcohol, sex and consent is about

as appropriate as Jimmy Saville running an after school club. Fortunately, despite having a serious group of fans in the UK, Evans wasn’t dealt such a kind hand as Bruno Fernandes. When Sheffield United had initially considered re-signing him, they came under massive pressure from fans, sportsmen, celebrity ambassadors and sponsors (rapist players don’t sell much aftershave apparently) alike not to do so. Realising that Evans probably had a little too much, ahem, baggage, they decided not to go ahead with the signing. The potential signing divided the country, and it is not often the Prime Minister gets his two pence worth with his opinions on a League One team’s transfer policy, but that’s exactly what David Cameron did when Evans appeared to be offered a contract with Oldham Athletic. Whilst the majority of the UK agreed that Evans was an absolutely massive c-word, ultimately, the focus of the debate is social atonement vs legal atonement. Legally, both players have done their time behind bars, but the jury is out on whether justice has yet been served. Although supporters argue that they have served their time, and should be allowed to continue to work and reintegrate into the world as many other criminals do, the other side argues that professional sportsmen occupy a very particular position within society and their return to a position of celebrity and veneration is extremely dangerous. What kind of message does this send to young men, and young girls, following the treatment of both of the women within these narratives? What does it say about the seriousness of sexual assault, and of murder even? This is particularly prevalent in Brazil, known for being one of deadliest places in the world to be a woman or a girl. What

message would be sent to young people about how society treats women and the seriousness of sexual assault? Those in positions of influence have to be considered differently to those who have ordinary jobs, in offices or shops or banks, these people should not be put back in positions where they can be idolised or admired, especially by young people. The biggest issue in hand here is that sportsmen, footballers in particular, seem to feel invincible. They don’t seem to follow the same societal rules that we do. Incredible wealth, teamed with an incredible sense of entitlement, particularly from a young age, can have terrifying implications. Evans himself said, “we could have any girl we wanted, we’re footballers”. This cult of celebrity and power makes it easy to see how young, powerful, rich men can see themselves and indomitable, it is not a new notion, the concept of powerful men being able to get away with whatever they want. As these men have the money, power and therefore access to almost anything they want, without question, it is perhaps unsurprising they feel this power extends to other peoples bodies. It’s hard to argue otherwise, when you consider that the president of the United States is a man who has accusations of sexual assault within double digits. I wish I could conclude that things are changing, and that we are increasingly holding these men accountable for their actions, but as yet this is not the case. It seems that all it takes right now to ‘right’ these ‘wrongs’ is a little sorry note and box of celebrations, but are we that forgiving? Really? Dude, everyone makes mistakes, right? It seems however, that if you’re a man, and you’re rich, powerful, talented and a celebrity, then your mistakes are a lot more easily forgiven than everyone else’s.

Pictured: Should convicted criminals be locked out of football forever? (Photographer: Groundhopping Merseyberg via Flickr).

Yes, we all need sex tips from Ched Evans. A guy who had sex with a drunk woman, lied to get into her room and didn’t talk to her before, during or after the sex.



Editors: Anwen Williams George Watkins @GairRhyddAdv

How hard is it to go veggie? What are the steaks?

Jess Warren


oing vegetarian is something that seems to be incredibly popular recently, with an estimated 3 million vegetarians in the UK. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it’s a change that is not too difficult to undertake. One of the first things to consider is why you’ve decided to go vegetarian, and use this to motivate your change in diet. There are a whole range of reasons why somebody may choose a vegetarian lifestyle including improved health, environmental sustainability, and animal rights. It’s useful to consider how you’ll answer the expected questions from peers asking “why have you gone veggie?”, not only to satisfy their curiosity but also to continue to motivate yourself. Another consideration to make in going veggie is that habits take on average 21 days to form, and so this lifestyle change is going to take time. Yet the change isn’t that hard, as long as you don’t punish yourself for slipping up. Perhaps allow yourself a

month or two to phase meat out of your life slowly, removing different sources of meat one by one, and allowing yourself a cheat meal every now and again. Before you know it, these cheat meals will not seem as appetizing, and consuming meat will feel less attractive. One way of doing this is gradually using up meat you have stored in your freezer until it’s all gone, and from this point onwards, not buying anymore. However, by cutting meat out of your diet, you are removing an obvious source of protein. It would be difficult going vegetarian if meat was the only source of protein available, but luckily for us rabbits, it’s not! You can reach your recommended intake of protein and iron through a range of beans and pulses, nuts, cereals (I’m not talking about Coco Pops here), and greens such as spinach and kale, or if kale doesn’t float your boat, dark chocolate also contains high levels of iron.

Since altering your diet is going to be challenging with day-to-day temptations of a burger at Snack Shack, make yourself a filling breakfast such as scrambled eggs on toast, plus eggs are a brilliant source of protein as well. You could also experiment with meat substitutes such as Quorn Chicken, Soya Mince, or the wellloved Linda McCartney sausages. Speaking of cooking, when going vegetarian, try to step away from the stereotype that meals should consist of meat and two veg, and you’ll end up creating much more enjoyable and interesting dinners for yourself. As a student, investing in a vegetarian cookbook may be beyond the budget, but there are many free apps that give recipe suggestions you can access too. This allows you to think a lot more about what you’re putting into your body, but also provides lots of fun, experimenting with recipes in the kitchen! When shopping as a vegetarian, its often perceived to be cheaper, and

it will be, unless you bulk buy fresh vegetables, and let them wilt away in your salad draw of the fridge; not exactly economical! Instead, try buying frozen vegetables, such as peas, sweetcorn, broccoli and spinach. Obviously not everything is available frozen, and fresh salad ingredients will always come useful, although arguably less so, when you’re sat shivering in the library and eating a Greek Salad. All that means, is that it’s time to try making soups instead, and taking them on-the-go in a thermos flask. You could even buy seasonal winter vegetables from your local farmers’ market, which will reduce shopping costs too. Essentially, changing your diet to a vegetarian one isn’t difficult as long as you make achievable goals, think about the foods your putting into your body, and enjoy and experiment with cooking!

2. A lot of this recipe is up to uyyou. Make the pizzas look like you want. Then crack an egg into the middle of each one, and prepare on a baking tray. Bake for 7 mins until the cheese has melted and the egg is cooked as welll as you feel like.

3. From this point repeat the steps and maybe try mixing it up as you go for a different flavour. Serve, garnished with a little more basil and some Parmesan. You could share, or you could keep them for yourself because food’s expensive.

Why not try... Vegetarian Pizzas 200g carton passata Large Middle Eastern flatbreads ½ a bag of spinach 1 garlic clove, chopped 3 mozzarella balls, torn 5 medium eggs Herbs (take your pick) Parmesan

1. Turn the oven to full power. Spread 1-2 tbsp of passata over each flatbread. Spread the spinach around the top. Add garlic and mozzarella wherever you fancy.

Pictured: Juicy steak. Source: Taryn via Flickr

There are a whole range of reasons why somebody may choose a vegetarian lifestyle


Opening up to people Sanya Arora


Sometimes it’s worth talking

lot of people make the mistake of staying silent when they’re having a hard time, While there is no need to vent about it on social media, it is important to confide in a close friend or family member. Keeping your problem to yourself isn’t going to help solve it and talking to someone you trust is bound to make you feel better, as they can provide another perspective on a solution. Even if your confidante can’t offer

Counselling isn’t as daunting as it seems... Sarah: Talking to someone about your problems can be a pretty daunting process. Before you go to counseling a dozen different thoughts run through your mind. What do I say? What do I do? How do I start the conversation? It’s easy to forget that counse-

you any answers, simply venting out to them does help. It is also vital to remember that you’re probably not the only single person in the world with this particular issue, so perhaps seek out someone who has been in the same situation you’re in. Talking to someone will help with this, because even if someone hasn’t been in your situation, they can probably help in some form. If you prefer, you can even arrange to meet with a counsellor. It is their job to make you feel better and to

give you advice on how to overscome your obstacle. Remember, they aren’t going to judge you so feel free to tell them anything and everything. Bottling up your feelings, and not speaking to anyone just makes you feel worse. Going through a rough time is nothing to feel embarrassed about, it happens to everyone at some time or another. Whether it’s a medical issue, relationship problem or career downfall, there is no need to remain quiet about it. Sometimes, there are even

groups that are made to help deal people with issues- such as the alcohol anonymous group that helps individuals who want to stop drinking. Meeting people who have the same issue as you and whom want to improve is beneficial as you then feel more motivated to change your behaviour. The most important thing to always remember is that you are never alone, so do not suffer in silence- go and speak out.

lors and therapists have had years of training when it comes to dealing with clients. I’ve seen a range of different counselors over the course of a few years and it’s important to remember that you’re in a safe and protected environment. For some clients in can take weeks worth of sessions before they finally open up whereas for some it only takes a few minutes. Counselors let you go at your own pace so you feel comfortable sharing whatever infor-

mation you wish. Sam: I first tried counselling a few years ago, when I was having a hard time with my mental health. I was really worried what might happen, and I don’t think I opened up as well as I should have done when I was there, so it didn’t really work for me. My problems carried on for the next few years and I found it hard to admit that it might be worth going back to try counselling again. This time they suggested I try Cog-

nitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which was to do with changing how I thought about certain situations and stopped me dwelling on negative thoughts too much. When I went back I found it hard at first after last time, but finally I found I could open up. She was lovely, and it felt like I was sat there with a friend. Time flew by and by the end of my 6 weeks of sessions I felt muh better, and have felt in a much better place since.

A lot of people make the mistake of staying silent when they’re having a hard time.

” Pictured: Got milk? Source: Eddietherocker via Flickr

Why should you go dairy free? Phoebe Grinter


There’s nothing cheesy about this

our morning cappuccino, your lunchtime bar of chocolate, and your after-dinner cheeseboard. Everything we love seems to contain dairy, and makes the prospect of giving it up a daunting task. However, there are many problems associated with dairy that are easily solved by cutting it out of our diets. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk, and is something that around 70% of the population have some intolerance to. If lactose is not broken down, it ferments in the gut, leading to digestive issues including stomach cramps, bloating, and even IBS. This is because after weaning, the

body naturally begins to lose the enzyme lactase which aids the digestion of lactose. A benefit of going dairy-free is clearer skin. Recently, dermatologists have been recommending a dairy-free diet as the first step in treating acne. The exact link between dairy and acne is unknown, however physicians say that the hormones in antibiotics fed to cows are aggravators and can cause breakouts. Antibiotics are given to dairy cows to help prevent infection, but concern has been raised over the human consumption of these antibiotics. The consumption of milk has been shown to increase the serum level of

IGF-1(insulin-like growth factor 1) in humans by 10%, which has been linked to a significant increase in the risk of many types of cancer. Milk products are naturally high in the amino-acid tryptophan, which increases tiredness. Dairy is also harder to digest than other foods, causing the body to use more energy. Therefore, giving up dairy can increase energy levels, which is why athletes including Novak Djokovic have completely cut dairy products from their diets. On the ethical side, the treatment of dairy cows is appalling. Many cows aren’t allowed outdoors and are confined to cramped stalls on factory farms. Although a cow can live

twenty years, nearly all dairy cows are slaughtered before they turn five because younger cows produce better milk. And nowadays, cows are impregnated to maximize their milk yields, with their calves sold as veal. Environmentally, milk production has a big carbon footprint, and water quality is compromised as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones can pollute it and therefore the surrounding ecosystems. Cutting out dairy completely may seem hard, but by just cutting back, you and the environment will reap the benefits. And there are plenty of plant-based alternatives to dairy if you really can’t live without pizza!

By just cutting back, you and the environment will reap the benefits.


An introduction to mindfulness Don’t forget to breathe

George Watkins


hat is it?. As an ancient tradition and a common feature of many religious practices (notably Buddhism) mindfulness has a vast heritage. When Buddha first sat with his legs crossed, he began a mental health practise that is still going strong today. There are reasons why it continues to play such a significant role, besides religion. Recently, research has confirmed that it is effective in lowering levels of anxiety and stress, and helping battle mental health conditions, not to mention even being useful as pain relief. In a sentence, mindfulness is the ability to take a step back from our emotions and regain some control. Professor Williams, formerly of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, said that “mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience, and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.” With conditions like anxiety, it is easy to feel carried off by your thoughts into negative places in your mind, and by allowing yourself the chance to reconnect with the present moment, you can let these trails fizzle out before they cause you damage. With the exercises given, try recording yourself reading the instructions and play them back from your phone so you don’t need to open your eyes and read as you go.

Exercise #1: Sit in a chair or with your legs crossed. Keep your back straight and let your eyes close. Begin to become aware of your breath flowing in and out. If you feel it moving up and down rather than your belly rising and falling, try to switch to the latter, so you begin to breathe deeply. Concentrate on the flow in and out for a few moments, and steadily begin to lift your awareness to your body. Start with your feet. When was the last time you paid attention to your toes? How do they feel? Do they feel warm or cold? Don’t try to change how they feel - you’re jjust checking in with your body and reconnecting with it. Steadily move to your feet as a whole and ask the same questions, then up your legs and into the rest of your body. By the end of this exercise you should begin to feel connected with your body. Take a few more breaths and allow yourself to gently take the room back in, by focsing first on what you can touch, then work through your senses until you’re ready to open your eyes. Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Many mental health problems take their root in anxiety and depression, and often centre on negative thinking, which begins to manifest itself in spirals. What do I mean? Imagine that you’re worrying about an exam. Your mind is filled with thoughts along the lines of ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I haven’t revised enough for this’ etc.

and you begin to worry. As a response your body tenses up, and you begin to struggle sleeping. The next few days you feel weary from lack of sleep, and so you begin to stress about this, which serves to increase the physical symptoms, such as panic attacks and low moods. It feels like the problems are feeding off one another, and in a sense they are. Mindfulness should enable you to break free from these cycles of worry and take the opportunity to catch your breath and savour the present, instead of fearing what might happen, giving yourself the chance to recover. Exercise #2: Like before, sit straight and close your eyes. Feel your breath flow in and out again for a few moments and take the chance to feel yourself become more aware of your body as a whole. Focus on any parts of your body that are holding any tension or stress. Feel the shape of it. Does it have a colour? How big is it? Try to feel yourself breathe into it and see if it gradually subsides. It’s ok if it doesn’t. Try not to resist it and just let it float away. Take a few more breaths and take in the rtoom once more. Daily Practice: Like anything else, mindfulness takes practice to get right and feel the benefits. It isn’t the cure for everything, and it’s important not to get carried away with what it can do. But if you do suffer

from bad mental health, it can be extremely helpful for many of the aspects of anxiety or depression. There’s many more exercises and better resources than this out there, and the internet/ bookshops are full of good sources of advice. Try to practice on a daily basis to allow your brain to adapt to the benefits It takes on average 21 days to form a new habit, so persist even if your struggling to begin with. Undoubtedly it won’t be plain sailing every day, but it’s worth keeping up with it and giving it a chance. Apart from formal exercises, you can also do other things in your daily routine to work alongside mindfulness. When you wake up in the morning, try to feel your awareness throughout your body, and allow yourself to rise feeling positive and in control. Even in everyday activities like a mundane walk to university, try controlling your breathing and see if you can feel your whole body takign the fresh air in, rather than zoning out. So, in short, mindfulness can be extremely useful, and can help make your university life that little bit easier and maybe even more enjoyable. It’s quite a strange thing to get used to doing, and it might feel funny or strange, particularly if your housemate catches you doing it, but it’s worth giving it a go. You never know, it could improve your life.

Pictured: Meditating on the road as usual. Source: Nickolai Kashirin via Flickr.

Mindfulness is the ability to take a step back from our emotions and regain some control.

are you passionate about photography? The Marketing and Communications department are looking for student photographers to come along and photograph some of the amazing events we put on in the Students’ Union. From awards ceremonies to gigs, there’s loads to get involved with. Send us your CV and a small portfolio of your work to Visit for more information

tickets #teamcardiff

Tickets are on sale now at or from the Welsh Varsity shop on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. You can also pick up cool limited edition Varsity merchandise. (opening hours 11:00-16:00).

standard Package The Standard Varsity Package costs £22.50 and includes a ticket for the rugby matches, a wristband to attend all other sporting fixtures, and an official Varsity branded t-shirt.

Ultimate club Bundle Sold out

Full Package Sold out

ticket collection Ticket collection is happening from Monday 20th March to Friday 31st March. Collection is from the Varsity Shop located of the Ground Floor of the Students’ Union. (Opposite Cardiff Student Letting). The shop will be open from 11:00-16:00.

If you have any querIes about the Welsh varsIty tournament, check out our ‘frequently asked questIons’ page at

fixtureS #teamcardiff

Wednesday 29th March Sport / chwaraeon cyclinG canoe polo

Venue / lleoliad time / amSer maindy track 12:30 national pool SwanSea 13:00

Saturday 1st April

Monday 3rd April

Sport / chwaraeon Venue / lleoliad time / amSer rowinG channel View - cardiff bay 10:00 athleticS SwanSea uniVerSity track tbc karate y plaS - cardiff StudentS’ union 11:00 SailinG cardiff bay tbc

Sport / chwaraeon Venue / lleoliad time / amSer equeStrian triley fieldS equeStrian centre 10:00 boxinG y plaS - cardiff StudentS’ union 19:00

Wednesday 5th April Sport / chwaraeon triathlon Golf ladieS’ lacroSSe archery ladieS’ ultimate friSbee netball rifle tae kwon do SwimminG american football freSherS’ ruGby imG football men’S lacroSSe men’S ultimate friSbee ladieS’ baSketball ladieS’ tenniS men’S tenniS men’S waterpolo badminton cricket ladieS’ football ladieS’ hockey men’S baSketball kickboxinG ladieS’ fencinG ladieS’ SquaSh men’S fencinG men’S SquaSh Staff football men’S football men’S hockey ladieS’ Volleyball men’S Volleyball Staff netball ladieS’ ruGby men’S ruGby

Venue / lleoliad maindy pool and track radyr Golf club SportS waleS hockey aStro Sport waleS - Jubilee hall Swalec Stadium outfield Sport waleS - main hall penarth rifle ranGe Sport waleS - doJo cardiff international pool uniVerSity - cuSf - llanrumney GraSS cardiff armS park uniVerSity - cuSf - llanrumney 3G SportS waleS hockey aStro Swalec Stadium outfield Sport waleS - main hall cardiff caStle / lawn tenniS club cardiff caStle / lawn tenniS club cardiff international pool cuStV - talybont - field hall Swalec Stadium cardiff armS park Sport waleS - hockey aStro Sport waleS - main hall Sport waleS - doJo Sport waleS - Jubilee hall Sport waleS - SquaSh courtS Sport waleS - Jubilee hall Sport waleS - SquaSh courtS uniVerSity - cuSf - llanrumney 3G cardiff armS park Sport waleS - hockey aStro Sport waleS - main hall Sport waleS - main hall uniVerSity - cuStV - talybont principality Stadium principality Stadium

time / amSer 09:00 09:30 09:30 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:00 11:00 11:00 11:00 11:30 11:30 11:30 12:30 13:00 13:00 13:00 13:00 13:15 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30 14:00 15:00 15:00 15:30 15:30 15:00 17:00 19:00

* All fixture detAils And results Are provisionAl And subject to chAnge.

ON THE DAY #teamcardiff

6 1 3


4 5




safety #teamcardiff

Plan Ahead. Know where you are going, how you are getting there, and who you are meeting. Always Plan your journey, and inform friends of your whereabouts. Get Home Safe.

Drink Responsibly » No alcohol is permitted to be taken into any Varsity Venues. All major venues have a range of food, soft and alcoholic drinks available. » If you are drunk you will not be served and may be refused entry to licenced or event premises on the day. » Remember, alcohol lowers inhibitions, leading to impaired judgement which means you are more likely to take risks and get into trouble. Entry to all events is subject to venue terms and conditions. Each venue is entitled to refuse entry or eject ticket holders in order to facilitate a safe event. The use of fireworks, flares or other pyrotechnics at any sporting venue is strictly forbidden. South Wales Police will seek to prosecute individuals. Please respect other visitors and members of the public at this event. Remember, you are an ambassador of Cardiff University during this event. Behaviour that contravenes the standards set out in the Student Behaviour Procedure can have serious consequences to your education or future career.

If you have any querIes about the Welsh varsIty tournament, check out our ‘frequently asked questIons’ page at



Editors: Adam George Ellise Nicholls @GairRhyddPol

French Presidential electees debate for first time Frontrunners debate social, economic and international issues

Rhys Thomas

Le Pen wants to raise defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP to maintain France’s independence which Fillon blasted as unaffordable.


rance’s top candidates faced off in a five-way debate last week in the first encounter of the 2017 election campaign. The three hour, policy-heavy debate tested the mettle of the major contenders spanning both sides of the political spectrum. The candidates on stage were Marine Le Pen of the Front National, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, Republican François Fillon, Socialist Benoît Hamon and far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Whilst there were five on stage and a further six excluded from this debate, the main focus was on Le Pen and Macron who lead in the polls and are hot favourites to make the run-off in May. The five candidates all had different hopes and expectations coming into this debate. For Le Pen it was to reassure voters alarmed by her programme and party history, for Macron it was to appear statesmanlike and show gravitas under pressure (especially as the only candidate never to have held elected office), for Fillon it was to try and find his way back into a race that not too long ago he was favourite to win before a string of financial misconduct allegations, for Hamon it was to resuscitate his stuttering campaign and get some polling distance between himself and the fiery Mélenchon who wanted to assert himself as the main candidate on the left. The debate was broadly split into three sections with French society, the economy and foreign affairs all being covered. The first real controversial topic that came up was immigration which has been one of the starkest dividing lines in the campaign. Macron stressed his pro-EU creden-

tials, and insisted that European Union states need to cooperate more to deal with the problem across the continent. In contrast, Le Pen wants to reduce legal net immigration to 10,000 a year (it currently exceeds 200,000) and discourage those who want to come as she is only concerned with “the interests of the French people”. For Fillon the solution is national quotas decided by the French parliament, but Mélenchon interestingly chose to emphasise the movement of people already within the EU - with a million Spaniards, Greeks and Portuguese leaving their countries and Mélenchon identifying EU austerity policy as the main driver of this. Secularism is a constant issue in France which strikes right at the heart of the nations’s very being. Laïcité was a core concept in the establishment of the secular French Republic and blocks the involvement of religion in state matters. It has proponents and critics from both left and right, with Islam and its place in modern-day France seeing laïcité being invoked to both defend and criticise the religion. This is another one of Le Pen’s key themes, and she went strong on radical Islam being a threat to the Republic as well as her issues with Muslim culture. The first direct clash between the frontrunners came when Le Pen raised the issue of the ‘Burkini’ (a so-called modesty swimsuit designed for Muslim women) which came to a head in France last summer. She accused Macron of supporting it which saw the 39-year old become visibly agitated, shooting back “I’m not putting words in your mouth. I don’t need a ventriloquist”.

He then accused her of dividing French society and making French Muslims “enemies of the Republic”, stressing that they are French first. Economic matters are always a frontline factor in any election, and it was no exception here. The French unemployment rate currently sits at 10% (almost double that of the United Kingdom) and was a significant reason for the unpopularity of current President François Hollande who declined to run for re-election. Fillon proposed more economic liberalism, giving companies more freedom to negotiate hours with their employees as well as ending the 35-hour work (a sacred cow of the French Left). In direct contrast, Hamon wants to reduce it to a 32-hour week as well as introducing a universal basic income, perhaps the most radical economic idea of any candidate on stage. Macron wants to keep the 35-hour week albeit with some more flexibility for employers, and also cut corporation tax which led to Fillon accused him of trying to please both sides whilst Le Pen accused the other candidates of being “ultra-liberals” and set out her stall as an economic protectionist (which she described as economic patriotism), putting French business above all others including a 35% tax on products from companies that move factories out of the country to cut costs. Mélenchon emphasised that the state should be finding jobs for those who are unemployed. The final topic of debate was foreign policy and what role France should place in the world. Hamon advocated more European involvement in defence due to the twin dangers of Trump and Russia whereas Le Pen wants to raise

defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP to maintain France’s independence which Fillon blasted as unaffordable. Macron continued his forthright proEU pitch which Le Pen admonished, saying “You’ve spoken for seven minutes, and I have no idea what you said”. She continued “You haven’t said anything. Every time you talk, you take a little of this, and a little of that, and you never settle on anything”. This part of the debate also saw the greatest difference between the men on the Left - Mélenchon called for the abolition of NATO and strengthening of ties with Russia with Hamon taking him on directly calling these views “dangerous” and emphasising that Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was illegal. Nobody struck a killer blow in this debate. Whilst there were some sparks between Macron and Le Pen the discourse between candidates was relatively subdued and even Mélenchon was more placid than usual (but still retaining his famed charm and pugnacity). Le Pen’s attempt at avoiding discussion of her party’s EU policies was noticeable, and her positive mention of Brexit was scoffed at by the other candidates who reminded her that the UK has not yet left the EU and were yet to feel the full effects of being outside the club. Fillon avoided taking too much flak and kept his faint hopes alive whilst Hamon slipped behind Mélenchon in the post-debate polls. Macron came out on top in the postdebate polling and is firmly in the driving seat as the campaign progresses despite some nervous debate moments. The next debate is pencilled in for April 4th.

Pictured: Left: Emmanuel Macron (source: Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay via Flickr); right, Marine Le Pen (source: TV Patriotes via Flickr)


UN nuclear disarmament talks

UK government labelled “reckless” after not attending discussions Lydia Jackson

Caroline Lucas stated that she believed this incident demonstrated the Government to be “massively hypocritical”


he UN have been holding nuclear disarmament talks with 123 nations since October when they voted overwhelmingly in favour of beginning talks for a treaty, all of whom favour the measure. The UK, however, has refused to send any representative. The UK, France, Russia and Israel have opposed the nuclear disarmament measures, however, the government has been called “reckless and irresponsible” after refusing to attend the meeting. It was revealed by the Foreign Office that there was no UK representative present at the negotiations in February and nor would anyone go to the discussions when they take place later this month. In a parliamentary question by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas stated that she believed this incident demonstrated the Government to be “massively hypocritical” as well as failing in its commitment to work towards a world that does not rely on nuclear weapons. She went on to state, that she did not “think [the government is] taking nuclear disarmament seriously and it’s hugely reckless and irresponsible.” Ms Lucas has added that whenever ministers are asked to get rid of Trident, which is currently the UK’s nuclear weapons system, they “always say we’re not going to because it’s unilateral”. However, the Brighton MP has now raised an interesting point, reminding the government that there is now an “opportunity to have a multinational

set of negotiations” to which the government are “not even bothering to turn up”. The talks may not immediately produce an outright ban of nuclear weapons, they are still an important step towards reducing the amount of nuclear weapons worldwide. The latest development has seen Ms Lucas apply to the Backbench Business Committee to gain parliamentary time specifically allocated to debating the issue surrounding this and whether or not the UK should have been repre-

sented at the UN talks. Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has stated that “the UK did not participate on the organisational meeting on negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons on 16 February and will not attend the substantive negotiations starting on the 27 March.” He continued: “we do not believe these negotiations will lead to effective progress on nuclear disarmament. The best way to achieve this goal is through gradual multilateral disarmament and

within existing international frameworks”. It is clear that the government do not intend to pursue this treaty with the UN, however, what remains to be seen is the effect of this decision. With the UK already leaving the EU and now opposing the latest organisational treaty proposed and being negotiated by the UN, it may appear to most that the UK is trying to ostracise itself from the international community. The fallout from this latest scandal remains to be seen.

Pictured: Map of countries who own nuclear weapons (source: TheGreenEditor)

Sinn Fein chief, Martin McGuinness dead at 66 “W Tom Morris

He served as deputy first minister alongside three successive DUP first ministers.

e don’t believe that winning elections and winning any amount of votes will bring freedom in Ireland.” These were words once spoken in a television interview by Martin McGuinness, who died last week. Many here in Wales may not know much about McGuinness despite his important place in Northern Irish politics. It is also difficult for us, with our quiet Cymraeg-and-NHS based devolution, to imagine a system wherein many of the representatives were formerly committed to armed struggle and branded terrorists. Unlike his long-time political partner in Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, McGuinness was not just rumoured to be in the Irish Republican Army (IRA)- he was a known leader. A lot of articles surrounding McGuinness’ death have been based on interviews with those who were harmed in IRA attacks. Some of the victims can never forgive McGuinness, but just as many seem to agree that his commitment to peace in the country overshadows his youthful bloodlust. Those who still hold his time in the IRA against him say he only went into politics because the IRA was on its last legs, infiltrated by British in-

telligence and increasingly unpopular with Catholics and Protestants alike. Other commentators disagree with this view, saying that the IRA could well have continued their campaign of terrorism, and indeed did even as McGuinness and others tried to bring about peace. It has to be a good sign that the last act of politics he was involved in was the Cash for Ash scandal- a good old fashioned political bribery issue about a domestic arrangement.

He served as deputy first minister alongside three successive DUP first ministers, most famously alongside Ian Paisley who himself died in 2014. The story of how the two went from sworn enemies on opposite sides of the political spectrum to being collaborators at the centre of power has been the focus of much media attention, including a film, which was largely panned by critics and went straight to DVD. Once again, fact is stranger than fiction, and the narrative British

newspapers will continue to promote- that McGuinness was personally responsible for all the terrible things the IRA did- remains dominant. “I’ll be a republican until the day I die.” He no doubt said words to this effect as a young man, dreaming of a long and armed struggle against British rule or perhaps a soldier’s death. But as he said them as an old man, resigning due to health concerns, they took on quite a different meaning.

Pictured: Martin McGuinness speaking at Ard Fheis (source: Sinn Fein via Flickr)


Andrew Davies talks Brexit, second referendums and the NHS

Conor Holohan

The Labour Party have made choices over the last decade that have been hugely damaging to the NHS here in Wales.


ndrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, was the only mainstream party leader outside of UKIP who campaigned for Brexit. Meeting at the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff Bay, I interviewed Davies to find out what he thought to be most important going forward with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. “I think it’s important not to discount the significant number of people who did vote remain. “I chose to support and campaign for Brexit because I think it was in Wales’ best interests, but it doesn’t mean that just because we won the referendum we ignore the many valuable reasons put over by the Remain side and it doesn’t mean that we keep that division.” Davies gives the impression his vision for Brexitrexit is an inclusive, pluralistic one. “As a country, the United Kingdom has many centuries of tradition which we can draw on to unify us, and has a great opportunity to unlock the global aspirations that as a country we’ve had for many centuries as well.” Davies wishes to ensure that everyone’s views are represented in the Brexit negotiations. In Scotland, however, the perception that this may not happen has provoked a campaign for a second independence referendum, led by Nicola Sturgeon. “A huge frustration of mine is this ‘Shock! Horror! They’re talking of a second referendum!’ “There’ll be a third, fourth, fifth referendum so long as the SNP is around on the basis that they’re a nationalist party – it’s in their DNA. “People run in elections for the SNP to drive the dream as they see it – I personally think it would be a nightmare for Scotland - of independence.” “Nicola Sturgeon is in real danger of aping her nemesis Donald Trump in the States by building a wall, breaking Scotland off from the rest of the United Kingdom, and it’ll be the Scottish people who pay for it through poorer public services and less takehome pay. “But economically as well as culturally we know Scotland is a valuable part of the Union and I very much hope that those links are kept together, because together we are far stronger.” Davies is a defender of the Union, however he said he is unsurprised that Plaid Cymru are talking of a referendum on Welsh independence. “Rather than going down nationalist road and breaking up what has been the most successful Union for a couple hundred years, economically socially and culturally, we should be setting the roots deeper and making sure that the integration of the United Kingdom continues for centuries to come.” Recent NHS data has painted a

Pictured: Andrew RT Davies, Assembly Member for South Wales Central (source: the National Assembly for Wales via Flickr)

bleak picture of the health service in Wales, with average A&E waiting times still increasing and the number of those waiting more than 12 hours in A&E also on the rise, despite the Welsh Labour Government’s targets to lower them. Speaking on the current state of the NHS, Davies said; “There are strains in all health services in the western world because we can do so much more now than when the NHS was formed. “Today there aren’t many conditions where some form of medical intervention can improve your prospects. “However, politically the Labour Party have made choices over the last decade that have been hugely damaging to the NHS here in Wales by cutting the NHS budget in the 2011, 2012, 2013 period, which the health service in Wales has never recovered from. “We have by far the worst A&E waiting times when compared to England. “When it comes to ambulance times the government have moved the goal posts – they don’t even categorise stroke and heart attack calls as category 1 calls anymore, so that they

can reach their target of the 8 minute response time. “What you have is a lot of political gerrymandering going on by the Labour Party instead of getting in and resolving some of these deep seated problems.” Given his background in agriculture, I was interested to know what spurred Davies from livestock farming into the very different world of politics. He was galvanised into politics by the Mad Cow debacle of the nineties. “Politicians weren’t listening to the rural community whose economy was going down the plug hole, instead of getting angry and disenfranchised about that I thought I could do a bit of a better job. “I like to think I can empathise and listen to people and I thought that was the least that we as a community should have been afforded at that terrible time, so that’s why I put myself forward to be considered as a candidate in the early 2000s.” Davies was very nonchalant about the differences between the two, professions he is involved in and more interested in how fulfilling it was to do both. “I feel hugely privileged to do two

things that I love, but there is no greater role in public service than to give people a voice especially if they don’t understand the system, and help to empathise with those communities and try to make a difference.” Andrew RT Davies is not a career politician: Many commentators like to portray all politicians as robots which come off the end of the Eton production line straight into PPE at Oxbridge, farmed from birth to run the country, but Davies carved a different path to his position. “When I was in school I had absolutely no interest in going into politics. “I’m dyslexic and when I was in school, reading the paper or indeed anything was the furthest from anything I was remotely interested in doing. “But I had a good mentor who helped me with making words meaningful, and I taught myself to read the newspaper cover-to-cover. “I left school at 16 with bugger-all qualifications and I learned my trade the hard way, selling potatoes on the streets of Cardiff and milking cows at three o’ clock in the morning. “I wasn’t stuck in a common room debating the intricacies of Karl Marx and Lenin.”

There’ll be a third, fourth, fifth referendum so long as the SNP is around on the basis that they’re a nationalist party – it’s in their DNA.


science Michael Maccallam

It’s not all positive for some parts of NASA’s offices; the Office of Education has had its funding stopped.


Editors: Tanya Harrington Kat Pooprasert @GairRhyddSci

NASA’s new budget: the overview

ith every day bringing about a new story regarding Donald Trump, it seems easy to overlook many things that may be happening in the USA at the moment. Such things include aspects of the President’s recently announced budget, which has received criticism from many people in America, but seemingly not from NASA. In a statement from Robert Lightfoot, the acting Administrator for NASA, he talks about how the budget will affect NASA’s funding, and seems to be pleasantly optimistic for the future of space exploration. NASA will receive $19 billion worth of funding, which Lightfoot judges to be ‘in line with our funding in recent years, and will enable us to effectively execute our core mission for the nation’. This funding follows Trump’s speech to both houses of Congress, in which he said that ‘American footprints for distant worlds are not too big a dream’, which shows that despite the controversy that surrounds Trump’s cuts to other government departments, space exploration surprisingly seems to be a priority of his. Although the budget for NASA only makes up roughly 0.5% of the total US federal budget, it still marks

a significant step towards the prospect of manned missions to Mars, with Lightfoot commenting that the budget ‘bolsters our ongoing work to send humans deeper into space and the technologies that will require.’ NASA’s ambitions have become much more advanced in recent years, ushering in commercial flights to the International Space Station, probes to the farthest regions of our solar system taking high quality pictures of Pluto, and inevitable manned missions to Mars within the following decades. Despite the widespread optimism surrounding the budget, it’s not all positive for some parts of NASA’s offices; the Office of Education has formally had its funding stopped, but despite this cut Lightfoot has assured people that ‘NASA will continue to inspire the next generation through our missions’, which is in line with the existing ambitions of the Office of Education, which it states as strengthening NASA’s workforce, attracting and retaining students, and engaging Americans in NASA’s mission. Despite the Office being formally cut, reassurances have been made to ensure engagement with the next generation of scientists and explorers.

Pictured: The budget has big implications for the future of NASA. (Photographer: Billy Brown).

In the statement Lightfoot also stated that ‘we remain committed to the next human missions to deep space, but we will not pursue the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) with this budget.’ He stresses that this will not detract from current achievements made by the ARM, an area of NASA that deals with redirecting the paths of asteroids, which would have helped in the manned missions to

Mars. Nonetheless, despite the cuts to two of its areas of research, Lightfoot is confident that ‘this is a positive budget overall for NASA’, and strongly believes that with the budget given by Trump, which will take effect later this year, NASA’s core mission remains intact, and will not hinder the new age of space exploration that the Administration wish to pursue.

New particles discovered with Hadron Collider Joshua Green

It is hoped that this discovery will help us to under-stand very “exotic” particles such as pentaquarks.


he Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has yielded yet another new experimental discovery. Scientists based at one of the LHC’s detectors simply named LHCb have discovered entirely new states of a particle called the Omega-c-zero. The Omega-c-zero particle is a type of baryon. Baryons are particles that are made up from three other particles called quarks which are fundamental and are not composed of any other particle. Protons and neutrons, for example, are made up from a combination of “up” and “down” quarks which give the proton and neutron their positive and neutral electronic charges. Protons and neutrons are two of the three ‘obvious’ constituents of an atom. The Omega-c-zero baryon is a type of baryon that a person would rarely come across in nature. Why is this you might be asking? Well, the Omega-c-zero particle for starters does not have ‘up’ and ‘down’ quarks but different types of quarks do exist that take their place. Three ‘strange’ quarks make up an Omega baryon in general. In contrast, the Omega-c-zero particle is the form of Omega baryon that is made from two ‘strange’ quarks and a ‘charm’ quark (hence the c in the name). The baryon in question was first discovered in 1994 as part of the E-687 experiment at Fermilab. The

observation made at CERN were observations made of different forms of the Omega-c-baryon and were previously theoretically predicted. When a Omega-c-baryon decays, the product of this was experimentally seen as five states that were all more energetic than the last. They have been called Oc(3000)0, Oc(3050)0, Oc(3066)0, Oc(3090)0 and Oc(3119)0 which is how the naming procedure works. The numbers after the Oc represent their energies in ‘megaelectronvolts’. For comparison, the energy of the ‘ground state’ (least energetic) Omega-c-baryon is quoted as 2697.5 ± 2.6 megaelectronvolts. What fuels the excitement behind the discovery, which is what fuels most particle physics experiments and theory, is that of understanding more and more about the fundamental physics that governs what we observe. A first physical phenomenon that gives light into the importance of experimental discoveries like this is the strong force. Now, the strong force is one of the four fundamental interactions that govern how particles interact and any force seen in nature can be broken down or traced back to these four forces. The strong force is responsible for binding the quarks discussed above to form the proton, neutron and the Omega-c-baryon. Is it hoped that the discovery of the

five excited states of the Omega-cbaryon will shed light on the strong interaction; how the quarks bind together. It is also hoped that this discovery will help us to understand

very ‘exotic’ particles such as pentaquarks which are particles comprised of five quarks. This could lead to many greater discoveries further down the line.

Pictured: The Hadron Collider is still immensely useful years on (Photographer: Luigi Selmi).


Cardiff Uni leads project for self-healing concrete Harry Bligh

Resilient materials 4 life has the potential to revolutionise the way our infrastructure copes with long term wear and tear.


research group led by Cardiff University’s engineering department has been awarded a £4 million investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Over the last few years, ResilientMaterials 4 Life (RM4L) project has been developing self-healing concrete in an effort to reduce the estimated £40 billion the government spends per year, repairing and maintaining infrastructure I the UK. The RM4L group is a collaboration with University of Cambridge, University of Bradford and University of Bath, as well as industrial partners. Being pioneered at the School of Engineering at Cardiff University. Professor Bob Lark, leading the team from Cardiff University and principle investigator on the project said: “We are confident that our research will have a significant impact on the sustainability of our infrastructure and we are very grateful to EPSRC for their vote of confidence in what we are endeavouring to do” This new concrete advancement would have the potential to self-diagnose damage and heal without human intervention. The team at the University of Cambridge researched at a nano and micro scale, looking at microcapsules as a way to fix tiny cracks, not visible to us, but the starting point of a larger crack. This would mean small capsules could be opened via a

mechanical or chemical trigger, expelling fluid which could fill in and repair small cracks in the concrete. The team at the University of Bath looked at a way of fixing micro cracks that can coalesce to form larger cracks which are due to debonding between aggregate particles and cement aggregates. They researched methods for the concrete to heal using microbial action, in other words, using calciteprecipitating bacteria embedded in concrete. Researchers here at Cardiff University were looking on a more macro scale, at visible cracks like we often

see on our roads. They took a different approach, looking at healing via crack prevention with shape memory polymers. This would use a lattice of specially designed polymers with an ability to revert to their original shape when activated. The team also looked at creating a flow network, much like a human being has blood vessels and capillaries under the skin, which bleed and clot when the skin is broken, this technology would have a brittle coating and micro channels mounted on a vascular substrate which would have the potential to fix itself

if the coating was to crack. The final research is a combination of all the groups findings, a system integration combining flow networks, shape memory polymers, microcapsules and bacteria to make a self-healing and self diagnosing concrete. Chief executive of EPSRC, Professor Phillip Nelson, told Cardiff University: “Resilient materials 4 life has the potential to revolutionise the way our infrastructure copes with long term wear and tear and reduce costs significantly” Could this be an end to the nationwide pot-hole epidemic?

Tech tattoos of tomorrow

Rachael Hutchings

The non-permenant tattoos are known as SkinMarks, and are thinner than the width of a strand of human hair. to make a calculation.

Pictured: Imagine a world without these paw prints. (Photographer: Kathy on flickr).


artin Weigel, and his colleagues at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, have undertaken some incredibly interesting research regarding the use of what one may consider a blemish or imperfection on their skin to a technological advantage by using ultrathin temporary electronic tattoos. Weigel states that ‘people intuitively know the location of their own bumps and birthmarks’ which reinforces the modern concept of using these as locations for accessing touch-sensitive buttons on smartphones and other similar devices. For example, if this innovation takes off, freckles could be squeezed to answer

a phone call, or sliding a finger over your knuckles could change the volume of your music. The non-permenant tattoos are known as SkinMarks, and are thinner than the width of a strand of human hair. They are transferred onto the skin using water like a conventional temporary tattoo and roughly two days before rubbing off. Team member Jürgen Steimle, also at the University, says that the team are hoping to ‘make use of the elastic properties of the skin’, stretching and bending, for example. ‘By having the tattoos responsive to changes in the skin surface, they incorporate multiple commands at one location’ he adds. Fur-

ther examples of what he means by this are as follows; one would be able to adjust your smartphone phonecall volume by sliding one finger across a tattoo placed along the side of a different finger. But bend the tattooed finger and what was previously the volume slider could be interchangable and then become a play and pause or on and off button. In a similar fashion, tattoos on each of the knuckles could act as four different, distinct buttons when the hand is forming a fist shape, but then act as one long slider when the fingers are fully extended. The team also fantasises about the further possibilities regarding app use with the idea of the electrolumines-

cent properties of these touch tattoos, which glow when a current passes through it. Tattoos could be produced to represent the icons of the apps one uses the most, which would light up upon recieving a notification. To test the tattoos, the team at Saarland University connected them to a computer, but they hope that future research will allow them to link the tattoos to Android smartphones. “We’ve tested the technological feasibility, the next step is to look at implementing it in a practical way,” hopefully suggests Weigel. One obvious hurdle the team must face is making the microcontrollers used to transmit signals from the tattoos to a computer or smartphone small enough to be practical. For this study, Weigel’s team used copper tape to connect the tattoos to a small Arduino microcontroller attached to the body with a wristband. This seems idealistic, however the corresponding circuit boards would be uncomfortable and too large to wear on other body parts. Chris Harrison, director of the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University thinks that this research is world-leading, and ‘that could be used by artists, programmers and hobbyists’. He also adds that ‘the human skin is extremely nimble’ which along with it’s greater surface area than the average touchscreen, offers plenty of room for logical development of this idea over the next ten years.

Pictured: In the future, tattoos might be more than just for pure aesthetics. (Photographer: Diricia De Wet)


Indigenous South Americans beat the aging process Lucy Sullivan

Tsimane men are physically active for six to seven hours of their day.

Kat Pooprasert

They had little to no follow-up before or after treatments.


s we age in industrial society, the risk of heart disease is rising at an alarming rate. However, a study from the University of New Mexico found that an Indigenous South American group has the healthiest arteries of all populations recorded. This research may offer an effective formula for a healthy lifestyle. An 80 year old woman from an indigenous group called the ‘Tsimane’ has been discovered to have the same vascular age as an American in his or her midfifties. The subject group are the Tsimane people, who reside in the Bolivian Amazon. The Tsimane group, pronounced ‘Chee-mah-nay’ are a horticulturist population; they are hunter-gatherers sustained by naturally sourced produce. Their diet includes: low saturated fats, non-processed fibre-rich carbohydrates,wild game and fish. Their levels of vascular ageing are the lowest reported. Coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) occurs five times less in this group than in the US population. Their diet is mainly carbohydratebased at 72 per cent. These are nonprocessed carbohydrates consisting of high fibres such as rice, plantain, manioc, corn, nuts and fruits. Protein accounts for 14 per cent of their diet and comes from animal meat. They have a low fat intake which also equates to 14 per cent . This is approximately 38 grams of fat each day, including 11g


saturated fat and no trans fats. In addition to food intake, habitual practices such as daily exercise contribute to the ‘healthy hearts’ of the Tsimanes. Contrastingly to people in more developed nations Tsimane people are active for 90% of their day. This is largely due to manual labour in the form of food sourcing and cultivating. Meanwhile, industrial populations are inactive for 54 per cent of their waking hours. Tsimane men are physically active for six to seven hours of their day and women for four to six hours. While some consider the leisurely life of MEDC (More Economically Developed Countries) a privilege, such privileges seem to have resulted in unhealthy consequences. For example, smoking, alcoholism and fastfood are commonly known for their correlation with heart disease. MEDC nations such as the UK and USA have extensive knowledge of theory regarding the ‘balanced diet.’ However, Less Economically Developed Countries have regularity in terms of dietary practice. This diet regulation, which some may consider restrictive, is nevertheless affective. Senior cardiology author Dr Gregory S. Thomas, Long Beach Memorial Medical Centre, USA offered his stance on the study in an interview with The Lancet. He said that “This study suggests that coronary atherosclerosis could be avoided if people adopted some elements of

Pictured: Heart health greatly varies between individuals (Photographer: Edward Leung)

the Tsimane lifestyle, such as keeping their LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar very low, not smoking and being physically active.” He also commented that the condition is thought to “eventually effect almost all of us.” This is an unsettling possibility.

Consequently, while in many senses industrial society is fortunate, it would be unfortunate if we did not adopt certain aspects of the Tsimane lifestyle. These aspects include regular mobility, a higher fibre diet and a reduced intake of CHD promoting substances.

Stem cell injection blinds three in study

hree elderly women diagnosed with a common age-related eye disease were given stem cell injections at a Broward County clinic in 2015. Just recently, they were found to be blind. Many specialists have been suspicious about the effectiveness of this treatment and now their suspicions have unfortunately been justified. The women each had both eyes injected on the same day with stem cells obtained from their body fat. Worse, they had little to no follow-up before or after their treatments. The procedure itself cost up to $5,000 per procedure. Thomas Albini, a clinical ophthalmologist at the University of Miami Health System’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute was one of the skeptics and was also involved in the care of two of the three women. He described how he “was just in disbelief that this was happening in Broward”. He further said that “I knew that things like this could happen in other countries that don’t have a sophisticated medical regulatory environment. But I really was naive to the fact that this could happen in the United States. Then I realized I was just naive about it as the patients were.” Albini described that there is a ‘loophole’ in the U.S. government’s policy of unproven treatments involving stem cells. He was also skeptical about if federal regulators are vigorous and strict enough. He says that “for us to

Pictured: Stem cell injections are still novel and needs to be thoroughly researched (Photographer: David Lienhardt).

get to the point where we can establish good stem cell therapy, we have to do good research that is ethical and also scientific. Whatever these patients had, it was neither ethical or scientific.” Mike Tomas, CEO of US Stem Cell biotechnology company disagreed that the clinic’s stem cell treatments are unsafe. He says how “for nearly 20 years our clinics have conducted more than 7,000 stem cell procedures with less than 0.01 percent adverse reactions reported.” The three unfortunate women had

macular degeneration, a very common eye disease among the elderly. The stem cell injections were given at a clinic in Sunrise called U.S. Stem Cell Clinic. 36 hours after their treatment at the Broward clinic, two of the three women were sent to the emergency room at Bascom Palmer for debilitating conditions which included increased blood pressure in their eyes, excessive bleeding, retinal detachment and lens dislocation. Before treatment, the women all had moderate vision loss but a year into

their treatment, their vision ranged from total blindness to 20/200, which translated to being legally blind. Professor Caufield from the University of Alberta says that “some of the clinics are making promises about therapies for ALS, for cancer, for autism, for everything.” He says how “there’s this perception that there are all these stem cell therapies out there that are close to clinical application that..are being held back by regulators and if they jus step back, there would be all these treatments. It’s just not the case. The science isn’t there yet.”


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societies Milly Dyer VP Societies

Tom Morris

Charlie Knights


Editors: Aletheia Nutt Tom Morris @GairRhyddSoc

Nominations open for Ball

on’t forget that nominations are still open for The Societies Awards 2017! With 15 different categories there is no doubt you know a committee member that deserves recognition, an amazing event you have attended that deserves an award, or a Society that has excelled all year that we should know about! You can submit nominations for all awards below. We rely on you sharing information about members, events and Societies. ht t p s : / / w w w. c a r d i f f s tu d e n t s . com/activities/societies/awards/


All about Alumni Membership

hat happens when you reach the end of your course? You’ll be happy to see that done and dusted, graduating with a black cap atop your head and your smiling parents flanking you for photos. What of the friends you’ve made in societies though? You may already have noticed those amongst you, who might not turn up that often but everyone’s happy to see them


Pictured: Ball logo.

when they do. These are the alumni members. Currently associate membership of the guild will set you back £30. However, there is an element of bureaucracy to it- as described by Lamorna Hooker, future VP Societies, in our interview last week: 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? Going from Lamorna’s statements, it might be worth graduates’

while holding off on buying membership until September, as the price may drop. Currently, you can read about this on the SU website at: https://www.

Cardiff Fringe: all shows reviewed

’ve always loved fringes; block, side parted, and the Cardiff one. Cardiff Students’ Union puts on a fringe week each year which showcases the best of societies as a series of showcases. From Variety to Go Global, and from dance to singing to comedy. I’ve managed to go along to most of the events.

Though not strictly Fringe, last week also saw the Act One Production of Find Me, a gripping play based on the true story of living with a person who suffers from mental illness. Verity Taylor was a girl thought to have autism and schizophrenia (in a time when services were not fully equipped to handle any of this situation) and her family’s lack of understanding. Act One put on a great version of this where all the characters were played by different actors alternating between the different roles, with quick costume changes sometimes on stage. I worried about seeing this play, having suffered from mental health issues myself, yet it was a telling and emotional journey, that saw a great insight to the

Pictured: Broadway hit the tiles. (Photographer: Tom Morris)

troubles and trials of a truly broken family. Watching Verity grow up, from a young child interested only in blocks and with a bad relationship with her mother to a disturbed adult locked up in Broadmoor, was a fantastic experience. It features the best scene I have seen in a long time, wherein Owen Strawbridge, portraying Verity’s brother Mark, delivered a monologue on how his sister ruined everything. Congratulations to the entire cast, especially the five different personalities of Verity,

and Liz Clements as a very strained and emotional mother. Whilst the start seemed rather weird and very blocky, the play grew into itself especially in the second act. Director Rhian Peake should be incredibly proud of what was a tasteful depiction of a horrible condition. Saturday brought around Broadway Dance’s phenomenal D.A.N.C.E annual show case. With everything from Irish, to jazz, to ballet, they put on a fantastic show, with even

the beginners standing out. Personally my favourite was the Advanced hard show Irish dancing at the beginning which absolutely blew me away, or perhaps the sassy ballet to Mika’s Grace Kelly. Dance isn’t something I know much about, but I do love to watch people with more talent in the sole of their tap shoes than I will ever have. Continued next page

Sassy ballet to Mika’s Grace kelly blew me away.


Cardiff Fringe continued

Pictured: Act One. (Photographer: Charlie Knights)

This might be the best production I’ve seen out of Act One.

Charlie Knights

CUOS put on an opera about the origins of slut-shaming.

Continued from previous page I never expected to watch an Opera, but on Sunday I did. What in my head was contained to the stuffy upper class, was in actual fact an incredible performance of Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 Susannah. It’s the tale of Susannah Polk, an innocent girl who is targeted as a sinner in a small town deep set within Bible Belt Tennessee. Watching an opera on what was basically the origins of slut-shaming was an odd experience, with a full orchestra and some incredible lighting work, I was enthralled. Sound could have been better balanced as it was tough to get what was going on a lot of the time during the first act, but they powered through and the second act shone. Special shout out to Act 2 Scene 2 in the church with the whole cast, which was the stand out moment of the whole night. It seems I will be going back to the opera more often, well done CUOS! Monday was a big day with the Variety performance, where we saw students from a range of per-

formance based societies, including Jazz, Expression, TCUPS, Broadway, Comedy, FAD, A Cappella, Healthcare Music, Bollywood, Windband, Slash Hip Hop, Belly Dancing, and Blank Verse. I love live music and dance, and it was incredible to see such a wide range of groups! A special shout out to Mac from Comedy who blew me away with some rather out there jokes, and to the Decibelles- a group who I have seen perform dozens of times over the last year but still blow me away with unheard of levels of sass. By Tuesday I was shattered, but the Union knew how to treat me well with the Inner Child Day by Student Minds. That was followed up by an evening where I was running between a live music event and a comedy showcase- Fringe really shows off the huge range of groups in the Guild of Societies. From a string orchestra performing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song to a man dressed as a pirate working in a job centre, it sure was a surreal night. All the music acts were amazing as per usual, some

songs seemed shaky at parts, but overall the quality and passion of all the performers shone through. Jazz Choir’s rendition of Blame it on the Boogie with some very energetic dancing was hilarious as well. The Comedy night was great, the announcer had me laughing between sets, and whilst personally I feel that the stand-up was a lot stronger than the sketches, the whole night was incredibly enjoyable. The final event I managed to make my way to was Songs for a New World. Musicals have always been a love of mine, but somehow Songs for a New World had stayed relatively under my radar. Described in the program and promotional material as an abstract musical about that tipping point in life; about that one moment in life when everything you thought you knew crumbles beneath your feet, and you embark on a journey through a new world. I liked the choreography, as anyone that knows me is well aware that I know very little about dance, but this however did not stop me enjoying the danc-

ing which flowed so well! I try to be harsher towards the end of reviews. Shows deserve to be scrutinized, they should be called out if they make a mistake, be it tech or a shaky singer or a bad costume. However, I honestly cannot think of a fault with Songs. The singers were solid, obviously there was some tech difficulties in the first act but that’s what happens when you run eight radio microphones and a band at the same time. In over a year of reviewing this might be the best production I have seen come out of Act One, and that certainly is saying something. Sadly deadline was before the end of the week so I will be talking next week about Go Global, another variety showcase of culture on Friday. I just want to say a huge thank you and congratulations to all the groups that took part, thank you for inviting me along to be a part of this amazing week. Well done to Sam Cook and Milly Dyer for their work over the last many months arranging this whole event. If you missed out though, remember there are

Fringe really shows off the huge range of groups in the Guild of Societies.

Pictured: The Variety Performance. (Photographed by the Guild)


R A M 9 2 S D E W


3:00 LADIES: 1 :00 MEN'S: 15






Golygyddion: Osian Wyn Morgan Liam Ketcher @Taf_od

Blwyddyn wael i garfan Cymru Yn y llun: Bathodyn Undeb Rygbi Cymru ar grys chwarae (Tarddiad: Nic Taylor drwy Flickr)

Eirian Jones

Dychmygwch pa mor annioddefol byddai cefnogwyr Lloegr wedi bod yn y Taf a ‘Juice’ petaent wedi curo pawb!


m flwyddyn arall, mae’r Chwe Gwlad wedi dod i ben, a chefnogwyr Cymru yn gorfod wynebu’r siom sydd yn aml yn dod gyda dilyn y tîm cenedlaethol. Rhaid cydnabod, gwelwyd ambell i fflach o’r hen Gymru, ar adegau, ond perfformiad cymharol wan a welwyd, gyda’r cochion yn gorffen y twrnament yn y pumed safle. Hwnnw oedd y safle isaf ers 2007, gyda hyd yn oed yr Alban yn gorffen mewn safle uwch (dim byd yn erbyn yr Alban, wrth gwrs!). Am yr ail flwyddyn yn olynol, yr hen elyn a gipiodd Cwpan eleni eto. Fodd bynnag, gallwn fod yn ddiolchgar i’r i’r Gwyddelod am atal y Saeson rhag ennill y Gamp Lawn. Dychmygwch pa mor annioddefol byddai cefnogwyr Lloegr wedi bod yn y Taf a ‘Juice’ petaent wedi curo pawb! Wedi buddugoliaeth yn erbyn yr Eidal, a cholled anhaeddiannol yn erbyn y Saeson (rydw i’n bersonol yn dal i gael hunllefau am gic Jonathan Davies ac am “dacl” Alex Cuthbert), fe aeth y Cymry, rhyw ffordd yn llawn o hyder, i fyny i Gaeredin. Gwelwyd perfformiad gweddol yn yr hanner cyntaf gyda’r sgôr

ar ddiwedd yr hanner cyntaf yn go agos, ond gyda Chymru ar y blaen diolch i gais Liam Williams. Ond, gyda’r chwib i gychwyn yr ail hanner, fe aeth popeth ar chwâl i’r Cymry wrth i’r cefnogwyr weld un o berfformiadau gwaethaf y crysau cochion ers blynyddoedd. (Mor wael, o bosib, â pherfformiad tîm rygbi’r Gym Gym yn y gêm yn erbyn Y Geltaidd Aberystwyth, ond digon am hynny.) Gyda cheisiau i Tommy Seymour ac i Tim Visser, roedd y bencampwriaeth ar ben i dîm Rob Howley. Heblaw am un neu ddau, megis Rhys Webb a Ken Owens, chwaraeodd y Cymry yn warthus. Yn y pythefnos yn arwain tuag at y gêm yn erbyn y Gwyddelod, fe gafodd y cochion eu beirniadu’n haeddiannol o hallt gyda’r wasg. Tybed os mai hyn oedd y sbardun i berfformiad gwell, oherwydd fe welwyd perfformiad penigamp oddi wrth y Cymry, wrth atal yr Iwerddon (tîm a gurodd Seland Newydd ychydig fisoedd ynghynt) rhag sgori unrhyw geisiau. Un o’r rhai a gafodd ei feirniadu fwyaf yn dilyn y gêm yn erbyn yr Alban oedd George North, a sgoriodd gais gwefreiddiol yn erbyn y Gwyddelod.

Dysgu’r Gymraeg gyda’r Taf-Od Lliwiau

Fe wnaeth y Cymry’r mwyaf o gerdyn melyn Jonathan Sexton, wrth i George North sgorio ei ail o’r noson, yn y gornel, yn dilyn ysgarmes symudol wedi i’r Cymry ennill lein ar linell pum metr y gwrthwynebwyr. Roedd yn rhaid aros tan eiliadau olaf y gêm cyn i Gymru sgorio am y drydedd tro, gyda Jamie Roberts yn casglu’r bêl ac yn hyrddio ei ffordd dros y llinell. Perfformiad gorau’r Cymry eleni. Aeth y Cymry i Baris yn llon, i wynebu ‘Les Bleus’ yn beth a ddaeth yn un o’r gemau mwyaf rhyfeddol sydd wedi cael ei ddarlledu erioed. Dros y ddegawd ddiwethaf mae gemau Cymru yn erbyn Ffrainc wedi bod yn rhai sydd yn dal sylw’r gwylwyr ond, roedd gêm yma yn un hollol ddiflas. Daeth unig gais y gêm yn y chwe munud agoriadol wrth i Lemi Lamerat gasglu cic Camille Lopez a sgorio rhwng y pyst. Perfformiad difflach a welwyd wrth y Cymry wedi hynny, gyda throed dde Leigh Halfpenny yn cadw Cymru yn y gêm. Deunaw i dri ar ddeg i Gymru oedd y sgôr wrth i’r cloc droi’n goch, ond yna gwelwyd yr amser ychwanegol

hiraf, y mae’r byd rygbi rhyngwladol wedi ei weld, gyda Samson Lee yn llwyddo i dderbyn cerdyn melyn, ac yna dychwelyd deng munud yn ddiweddarach, gyda’r gêm yn dal i barhau. Gwelwyd ciciau cosb diri yn cael eu rhoi gan Wayne Barnes i’r Ffrancwyr. Ond chwalwyd gobeithion y Cymry yn y canfed munud wrth i bac ‘Les Bleus’ groesi’r llinell, gan gipio un o gemau rhyfeddaf y gamp. Ugain munud! Beth bynnag, doedd dim modd i Gymru gipio’r bencampwriaeth wrth iddyn nhw gyrraedd Paris felly ni wnaeth y canlyniad hwnnw llawer o wahaniaeth a dweud y gwir. Gwelwyd rygbi o safon uchel eleni, gyda’r timau yn ffocysu’n fwy ar ymosod yn dilyn y rheol pwynt bonws a ychwanegwyd y flwyddyn hon. Y sioc fwyaf oedd gweld perfformiadau’r Alban, gan fod Vern Cotter wedi llwyddo i drawsnewid y tîm o fod yn or-ddibynnol ar bac trwm i dîm sydd yn gallu sgorio ceisiau deiniadol. Yn anffodus, y mae rhaid aros blwyddyn arall nes y daw’r Chwe Gwlad yn ei ôl ond mi fydd yr un hen obeithion ar ysgwyddau tîm Cymru.

Learn Welsh with the Taf-Od Colours

Coch = Red Korch

Glas = Blue Glass

Gwyrdd = Green Gwirdd

Melyn = Yellow Mel-Lynne

Porffor = Purple Por-phor

Oren = Orange Oh-rhen

Gwyn = White Gwin

Du = Black Dee

Aeth y Cymry i Baris yn llon, i wynebu ‘Les Bleus’ yn beth a ddaeth yn un o’r gemau mwyaf rhyfeddol sydd wedi cael ei ddarlledu erioed.


Tafwyl: Yn symud dros dro i gaeau Llandaf

Liam Ketcher


el arfer cynhaliwyd yr Ŵyl ar diroedd y castell, ond eleni mi fydd Tafwyl, yn symud dros dro i gaeau Llandaf. Mae’r trefnwyr hefyd wedi cyhoeddi mi fydd yna gyfres o ddigwyddiadau ymylol yn cael ei chynnal ar draws y brifddinas yn arwain at yr Ŵyl. Mi fydd y digwyddiadau hyn yn cael ei chynnal rhwng Mehefin 24 a Gorffennaf 2. Cyhoeddwyd perfformwyr ar gyfer yr Ŵyl hefyd. Y prif leisiau i weld eleni ydy Bryn Fôn, Geraint Jarman ac

Yws Gwynedd, Alys Williams, Kizzy Crawford, Meic Stevens a Candelas. Yn ymuno’r rhain ydy Y Niwl, Heather Jones a The Gentle Good. Mae yna trydydd llwyfan ar gyfer perfformwyr newydd yn cynnwys Chroma, Hyll a Mellt. Dywedodd y canwr Yws Gwynedd am yr Ŵyl, “mae dathlu’r Gymraeg yn ein prif ddinas yn rhywbeth sydd yn rhaid i ni wneud yn amlach. “Mae Tafwyl yn gracar o ffordd i wneud hynny a da ni’n hollol edrych ymlaen at ddod lawr i ymuno efo’r dathlu!”

Yn y llun: Tafwyl (Tarddiad: Neil Schofield o Flickr)

Y Geltaidd yn cipio’r gwpan Yn y lluniau: Rygbi Y Gym Gym (Tarddiad: Elen Davies)

Osian Wyn Morgan


oedd hi’n noson wlyb a gwyntog ym Mharc yr Arfau ar Ddydd Gwener yr 17eg o Fawrth, pan groesawyd Y Geltaidd, tîm rygbi Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth, i Gaerdydd i wynebu tîm y Gymdeithas Gymraeg. Mae’r gêm flynyddol rhwng y Gym Gym a’r Geltaidd yn ddigwyddiad cyffrous ar galendr yr Gym Gym, ac roedd y cefnogwyr wedi bod yn edrych ymlaen at wylio’r ddau ddim yn brwydro am y gwpan am wythnosau. Er gwaetha’r tywydd, roedd torf dda o ryw 80 o gefnogwyr wedi mynd yno gyda’u cotiau glaw a’u hymbaréls i gefnogi’r tîm. Roedd tîm y Gym Gym, a oedd yn chwarae yn eu crysau coch a gwyn newydd a noddir gan Popworld Caerdydd, yn edrych yn hyderus ar ddechrau’r gem, gyda dechrau cadarn a chryf ganddynt.

Gwobrwywyd dechrau cadarn y tîm yn syth, gyda’r asgellwr Elis Jones yn croesi’r gwyngalch yn y gornel o fewn 5 munud, i roi’r Gym Gym pum pwynt ar y blaen, a rhoi gobaith i’r garfan ac i’r cefnogwyr. Fodd bynnag, stori wahanol oedd i’w dweud am weddill y gêm. Nid oedd llawer o wahaniaethau rhwng y ddau dîm, gyda’r amgylchiadau gwlyb a gwyntog yn golygu yr oedd digonedd o beli yn cael eu gollwng a’u bwrw mlaen, a digon o giciau yn cael eu cario gan y gwynt. Cafodd y ddau ddim digonedd o gyfleoedd, ond teg yw dweud mai Aberystwyth oedd y tîm a fanteisiodd ar y cyfleoedd yn well. O bosib cafodd y Geltaidd, a oedd yn gwisgo crysau gwyrddion, ychydig o lwc y Gwyddelod ar ddydd Sant Padrig, gan sgorio 4 cais yn ystod y gêm.

Croeswyd y gwyngalch gan Owain Puw, Ifan Hughes, Arwel Rees ac Osian Owen, gan ennill ugain pwynt i’r Geltaidd, ac ychwanegwyd 6 phwynt i hynny gyda thri throsiad gan y maswr Steffan Rees, a oedd i’w ganmol am berfformiad cadarn yn ystod y gêm. Tua diwedd y gêm, enillodd y Gym Gym tri phwynt yn ôl, gyda’r maswr Elgan Wilson yn cicio cic cosb, ond nid oedd yn ddigon i ysbrydoli’r tîm i adennill cais neu ddau, a gorffennwyd y gêm gydag Aberystwyth yn fuddugol, gyda sgôr terfynol o 26-8. Ar ôl y gêm, cawsom gyfle i siarad gyda chapten tîm y Gym Gym, y blaenasgellwr Dylan Nicholas, sydd yn ei ail flwyddyn yn astudio busnes ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd. Dyma oedd ganddo i ddweud am y gêm: “Fe aeth y paratoadau fel y disgwyl

ond ar ôl i’r Gym Gym ennill tair blynedd yn olynol, dwi’n credu oedden ni ychydig yn orhyderus ‘leni. “Doedd y tywydd ddim yn grêt, felly doedd yr amgylchiadau ddim yn wych, ond mewn gwirionedd doedd hi ddim i fod gydag Aberystwyth yn edrych yn gyffyrddus trwy’r gem i gyd. Edrychwn ymlaen at groesawi’r Geltaidd yn ôl blwyddyn nesa, gyda’r gobaith o adennill y cwpan.” Roedd hi’n ganlyniad siomedig i’r Gym Gym eleni, a oedd yn gobeithio ennill y gwpan am y pedwerydd tro yn olynol, ond byddai wedi bod yn anodd i guro’r Geltaidd, a chwaraeodd yn dda, ac oedd yn gwbl deilwng o’r fuddugoliaeth. Mae’n debyg bydd y garfan yn edrych ymlaen at y flwyddyn nesaf rŵan, gyda’r gobaith o ddod â’r gwpan yn ôl i Gaerdydd!

Fe aeth y paratoadau fel y disgwyl ond ar ôl i’r Gym Gym ennill tair blynedd yn olynol, dwi’n credu oedden ni ychydig yn orhyderus.

Fri 31 march 19.00 - Sat 01 april 07.00

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Six Nations Review: Wales stutter to fifth place after mixed campaign Pictured: Wales take on England in the 2015 Rugby World Cup (via Flickr).

Gareth Axenderrie

George North’s length of the field solo effort seemed to paper over the cracks of a lack of creativity and guile. Every other side picked up winning bonus points for scoring more than four tries against Italy, but Wales only managed three.


ales were hardly favourites heading into perhaps the most competitive Six Nations Championship yet, but a fifth place finish will surely go down as one of their most underwhelming performances in recent years. There have been positives, but there have also been overwhelming negatives. A tournament in which they surrendered a stellar record to the Scottish and French, and ended with just two wins, won’t fill the land of the dragon with optimism. Just where did it go wrong and how difficult are things to change? Italy in Rome was an ideal start to get the motor running and everybody heading in the right direction. A win was the absolute minimum conceivable result, however a laboured victory left many worried at the first hurdle. George North’s length of the field solo effort seemed to paper over the cracks of a lack of creativity and guile. Every other side picked up winning bonus points for scoring more than four tries against Italy, but Wales only managed three. It was also viewed by many as a scorned opportunity to give an opportunity to several individuals pushing hard for a starting spot. Sam Davies and Thomas Young were two players who many were tipping for inclusion, giving Wales the opportunity to play a slightly more expansive and combative game. Interim Head Coach Rob Howley decided against giving a start to any of the seven uncapped players he included in the wider squad however, and many predicted Wales would rue this later in the tournament. England at home a week later was very positive, for 76 minutes at least.

Wales were dynamic, they scored tries and for most part they bullied England. Ross Moriarty probably had the finest 54 minutes of his life, he’d have probably had the best game of his life had Howley not dragged him off kicking and screaming so early. Despite their valiant efforts against the eventual champions, Wales learnt the harshest of lessons. As Jonathan Davies kicked infield instead of into row Z, Elliot Daly taught them rugby is a game played up to and beyond 80 minutes; a lesson that Wayne Barnes and a little French doctor would repeat later on. Games against Scotland have provided plenty of pleasure for Wales recently, winning ten games on the bounce. Murrayfield this year just proved a house of pain and suffering as defence went missing and an inability to create when under pressure proved fatal. Soul searching commenced, and extraordinary pressure from the Welsh public landed on the shoulders of Howley and his coaching team. Calls to make drastic changes to the starting XV were louder than ever, but surprisingly to everybody involved with Welsh rugby, Howley didn’t change a thing. His decision was vindicated when Wales produced a similarly attritional performance to the English game, and successful attack off first phase ball proved Wales are capable of beating anybody on their day. It wasn’t perfect, but the previous symptoms of ineptitude were seemingly confined to sensationalism. Paris a week later was eventful, bonkers, ridiculous and obscure in equal amounts. How much we can read into that eventful afternoon is unclear. One thing is certain howev-

er; Wales again lacked attacking content. They didn’t score a try, while France managed two. The difference in the tightest of games. That lack of attacking impetus was the common reoccurring theme over the course of Wales’ Six Nations campaign. Time and time again Wales failed to turn possession and territory into points in critical moments in games. Wales’ defence was characteristically resolute, conceding just seven tries across the tournament and regularly stood up to some of the tournament’s fiercest sieges. However, they only managed eight tries in their five games. Compare that to England’s 16 and Ireland’s 14, and you start to form a correlation between a team’s ability to score tries and its ranking in the tournament. This inability to find creativity isn’t a new phenomenon in Wales, accept that they managed 17 tries last year and 13 in 2015. It would appear their attacking proficiency is getting worse with time, and as the global game seems to be moving toward being attack oriented with an emphasis on try scoring, Wales may be being left behind. Has 2017 been a step backwards? Or have other teams just begun to overtake Wales? The truth is probably a mixture of the two. France and Scotland are evolving and becoming rugby powers once again, Ireland and England are rightfully two of the finest sides in world rugby. Wales appear to have stagnated, and as the river of world rugby flows past them, stagnation can mean moving backwards. They’ve missed opportunities to field talented prospects such as Davies, Young and Evans. The Big-

gar-Williams-Davies triumvirate in midfield hasn’t yielded enough try scoring opportunities. The closer the next World Cup becomes, the harder it’ll be to give opportunities to the untested. Wales have only given new caps to three players since the last world cup, inadequately low compared to other world powers. They risk heading to Japan in 2019 with a team as opposed to a squad, and a stagnant one at that.

STAR PLAYER: Sam Warburton After being relieved of the captaincy, Warburton has enjoyed a long-awaited return to form on the international stage. The Cardiff Blues star was at risk of sliding into obscurity heading into the tournament after a couple of years plagued by injury and lack of form. Yet he has left the tournament almost a shoe-in for the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand. He was imperious at the breakdown, forcing multiple turnovers, and made a remarkable 78 tackles to form an outstanding back row pairing with Justin Tipuric.

RESULTS: Italy 7-33 Wales Wales 16-21 England Scotland 29-13 Wales Wales 22-9 Ireland France 20-18 Wales

This inability to find creativity isn’t a new phenomenon in Wales, accept that they managed 17 tries last year and 13 in 2015


Six Nations Review: Emotional campaign for Wales Women James Lloyd

Things started well in Italy when Rowland Phillips’ team secured a 20-8 win in Rome but that was as good as it got.


he Six Nations tournament proved to be an emotional rollercoaster for the courageous Wales Women. Things started well in Italy when Rowland Phillips’ team secured a 20-8 win in Rome but that was as good as it got. A 63-0 hammering by a fully professional England side was followed by tight losses to Scotland and Ireland and a final round defeat against France. The Scotland game proved to be their first defeat to their rivals in 14 games. But what happened in the weeks after will go down as one of the saddest days in Welsh rugby history. Young star Elli Norkett was tragically killed in a car accident on Saturday 25th February. The 20-year-old was tipped for rugby stardom and targeted to play in five world cups. Norkett had played four times for Wales and featured for the nationals sevens side as well as Ospreys and Swansea. In their first game after the tragedy, Wales lost to Ireland 13-7 in an emotionally driven game. Speaking after the loss, captain Carys Phillips paid her tribute. She said: “We miss her dearly, we

play with our hearts on the sleeve and we want to do her proud every time we go on the field. “She was my teammate in every team, I never played against her, she was ferocious on the pitch, had immense power, her hand off was insane. “I was lucky to watch her do it and not be on the receiving end of that sort of stuff. She was an unbelievable person, a close friend of mine, she was hilarious, kind-hearted, not a bad bone in her body.” Cary’s father, who coaches the national side, reckons his team have had a valuable experience during the tournament. “People judge on results and I understand that,” he said. “At times in that game [France] we showed what this team can be, at times it was top draw performance. We have been working on a lot of things and we have changed a lot of things. “We showed what we are about and I think the girls can hold their heads high and we will look to build on this. It is great for the players to have this experience, playing in front of big crowds and in front of good opposition, it has been brilliant.”

Pictured: Wales Women in action in the 2010 World Cup (via Basher Eyre).

STAR PLAYER: Shona Powell-Hughes The powerhouse No.8 was at the driving force of the Welsh scrum and offered a big threat as a ball carrier. Scored tries against Ireland and France and was a key player throughout. It was a tough tournament for Wales Women, but Powell-Hughes was a real positive and proved herself to be one of the top players in the competition.

RESULTS: Italy 8-20 Wales Wales 0-63 England Scotland 15-14 Wales Wales 7-12 Ireland France 39-19 Wales

Six Nations Review: Encouraging Under 20s are the pick of the bunch Rich Jones


fter winning the Grand Slam in the 2016 Six Nations Under 20 Championship, Wales’ youngsters were in a rebuilding phase heading into this year’s tournament. Head coach Jason Strange handed debuts to a whopping 20 players in their opening game against Italy and gave a number of talented prospects their first taste of international rugby at U20 level. Bearing that in mind, their third place finish – with three wins and two defeats – can be viewed as an encouraging campaign. The Welshman put in a professional display in their opening game to defeat Italy, and although they were eventually outclassed by England at Parc Eirias a week later they left with their heads held high against the eventual Grand Slam winners. Despite the defeat in front of a sellout crowd, they responded perfectly after the break by thrashing Scotland in a 14-try epic north of the border. A similarly impressive success over Ireland was perhaps their most impressive performance of the competition, particularly given Ireland were the side to push England’s dominant side closest in the final game. But a comprehensive defeat in France ensured a mixed tournament ended on a negative note and they finished third in the standings. Although their campaign ended

on a somewhat sour note, the Welsh played an exciting brand of rugby in line with their attempts to introduce a more expansive philosophy in their senior team in the future. Cardiff Blues fly half Ben Jones finished as the top scorer in the tournament with 75 points, including a stunning try to open the scoring against England and some superb goal kicking. He was able to bring the best out of Ospreys centre Keiran Williams, who ended as top try scorer with five tries including a stunning effort against Scotland. Williams was arguably Wales’ player of the tournament and if he continues his development then a senior call-up could beckon to fill the problematic No.12 spot. Blues full-back Rhun Williams returned from injury to star against Scotland and his incision at full back was a big boost to Wales’ attack. Meanwhile, Cardiff props Rhys Carre and Keiron Assiratti were extremely impressive in the early stages of the tournament as the Welsh scrum proved a strong aspect. Assiratti also made headlines for a stunning breakaway from an eyecatching dummy against Ireland as both showed their strengths in open play with the front row position continuing to evolve in the modern game. Finally, James Botham – the grand-

Pictured: Wales U20 celebrate their win over Ireland with a rendition of Stand By Me in the dressing room. (via Welsh Rugby Union).

son of cricketing legend Ian – is a tremendous athlete who is continuing to improve his rugby skills and showed significant potential at blindside flanker. Overall it was a promising campaign for Wales’ youngsters, and Cardiff Blues in particular seem to have plenty of talent rising through the ranks.

STAR PLAYER: Keiran Williams

The Ospreys centre has been in electrifying form for Wales U20 over the course of the campaign. He starred against Scotland and offered a constant threat with his clever,

incisive attacking angles. Williams demonstrated good decision making and maturity to be at the heart of a Wales attack which was largely superb in the tournament.

RESULTS: Italy 5-27 Wales Wales 21-37 England Scotland 34-65 Wales Wales 41-27 Ireland France 40-20 Wales


Cobras coach Cook insists they will be back stronger after promotion heartache Pictured: Cardiff Cobras head coach Sean Patrick Cook on the sidelines during their game with Imperial (via Tallboy Images).

Rich Jones

Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff Blues Columnist


ardiff Cobras head coach Sean Patrick Cook insists they will bounce back from their promotion heartache next season. The Cobras fell agonisingly short of reaching the BUCS American Football Premiership for the first time in their history after a 10-8 defeat to the Portsmouth Destroyers. In what many viewed as a rebuilding year, they have defied expectations to win the BUCS 1A Western Division for the first time in a decade. Cook, in his first season of coaching having graduated last year, admits he never thought they would get so far and has vowed to give their all in a bid to go one better next year. “This season has gone better than I ever could have expected,” Cook said. “Being made head coach in late September/early October, and losing quite a lot of our key starters, I was just hoping to have a winning record. “We wanted to get in the top one or two in our division, but to be there in the final play-off game battling for promotion was a great achievement and I would never have believed it when I took over as coach. “We’re losing quite a few players next year, but no more than we lost last year. If we recruit well and work hard through the off season then I see no reason why we


uropean rugby is back! The Welsh club game has been far too void of legitimate European challengers for too long. This season however, it is reasonable to suggest that both the Blues and the Ospreys have a genuine shot at silverware. The Blues head to Gloucester aiming to overcome a little mid-season pessimism. Playoff chances dissolved months ago, but their form in the pool stage was more than optimistic. Five wins out of six is not to be sniffed at in a group with Bath, Bristol and Pau. Gloucester provide a different challenge, but they’re league form is dismal.

can’t get as far if not further to get promoted to the Premiership.” A slow start left the Cobras on the back foot from the outset against Portsmouth before their attempts to stage a last-gasp comeback fell short. And Cook says they could have no complaints after the Destroyers secured backto-back promotions with a hard-fought victory. He commented: “Portsmouth are a really good team. They were really well-drilled and clinical. They came out firing to score a touchdown on us in the first drive of the game, and I think we maybe hadn’t got off the bus on defence. “After that we managed to shut them out on defence apart from a field goal, but offensively we just couldn’t put together drives. “Bad snaps and penalties hurt us a bit, and although we stepped it up a bit in the second half we just couldn’t quite do enough. “Fair play to Portsmouth, they just stopped us on offence apart from the last 50 seconds when we scored a touchdown on a magical play. “I feel that we could have won if some things had gone our way, but they’re a good team so we can’t have any real complaints.” There have been a number of star per-

formers for the Cobras throughout the season, ranging from experienced veterans to raw rookies who have come in and instantly contributed. “We’ve had lots of standout players this year,” said Cook. “Defensively, we’ve had veteran Robin Ford at outside linebacker who has got quite a few interceptions and blocked punts for touchdowns and he’s really led the time. “Rookie Joe Dickerson has been an absolute force since joining the team just after Christmas. He’s really dominated offensive lines and been in the backfield making plays. “Marcus Isaac at free safety has got quite a few interceptions and made some bonecrunching hits, flying around the field to force passes to be incomplete. “Both our inside linebackers, Tom Earl and Scott Burgan, have played really well, especially against the run when they’ve been flying downhill making tackles. “On offence, our standout left tackle Ben Mason has put in an absolute shift and I don’t know what we’d have done without him. “He’s been a rock in pass protection and in the run game, alongside Alex Dunkley who has been excellent at left guard as well. “Our rookie Quarterback Max Milburn has done well. He’s thrown quite a

lot of touchdowns, and although he went through a rough patch he came through it and really stepped up to play well the last two or three games of the season. “Wide receiver Scott Higgins has also had an excellent season, with eight or nine touchdowns. He’s had the best year of his career and he been a big threat in the pass game. “Both our running backs, Carwyn Chamberlain and Ross Ludlow, have really helped the team offensively. They’ve both shone and been a big part of what has made the team so good this year.” In the meantime, the Cobras will turn their attentions to a huge clash with arch rivals Swansea at Welsh Varsity next week. The Titans are a Premiership side who will enter as favourites – but Cook believes his side have a point to prove heading into the clash. He added: “Swansea are a great team. They’re in the Premiership and they’ve done very well the last couple of years. “We know it will be a big test, but we’re hungry for it and we’re not treating it like a friendly. It’s a huge game for us, we want to beat them to show the rest of the country that we deserve to be in that Premiership. “We believe we’re just as good as some of the teams at that level, and Varsity is a chance for us to show that against quality opposition.”

If the Blues can silence ‘The Shed’ early, and control the kicking game, then they have a real shot at progressing. They’ll be buoyed by the return of Wales internationals Warburton, Dacey and Cuthbert, and there is no doubt that all energy will now be turned to Europe. Speaking of Welsh internationals, the Arms Park outfit have provided Wales under 20s with more than their fair share of talented future prospects this season. Richard Hodges, Academy and Pathway Manager at the Blues, is enthused by the prospects who he cocoached with the junior side this season. “In this year’s group, Rhun Wil-

liams and Shane Lewis-Hughes have already got some 1st team experience, while guys like Dane (Blacker) and Ben (Jones) have both been performing well and have another year to come with the 20s, as have Jim Botham and Cory Tarrant.” Rhun Williams has already impressed when on Blues duty. The North Wales product has looked at home on the wing, and the Blues players who have stood out in a very competitive Six Nations Championship provide a tonne of optimism for the future and a vindication of the regions’ pathway programme.

News broke last Wednesday that a game of Pro 12 regional rugby will be held in the valleys for the first time since the Celtic Warriors were disbanded in 2014. The Dragons’ final game against the season, hosting the Blues, cannot be played at Rodney Parade due to a fixture clash with Newport County FC. A venue has been sought since this news broke at the beginning of the year, and with the Dragons not wanting to move it out of their region, a shootout between Ebbw Vale and Caerphilly ensued. Caerphilly’s Constructaquote Stadium will now play host the rugby mad valleys’ first regional fixture for years.

We’re losing quite a few players next year, but no more than we lost last year. If we recruit well and work hard through the off season then I see no reason why we can’t get as far if not further to get promoted to the Premiership.” Sean Cook


French Mess: Is rugby losing its dignity?

Gareth Axenderrie

The sport has always been held in very high esteem in the wider sporting community, one built on hard but fair play. Rugby lovers have given out their fair share of jibes to the football community whenever their sport has been engulfed in scandal, but in recent years, rugby has had to look at itself in the mirror with increasing frequency.

” Philip Marsh Cardiff City Columnist


he clock ticked into the red, France were camped out on the Welsh try line. A final scrum would prove the difference in the tightest of games. Amazingly, that final play lasted almost 19 minutes. Allegations of a bite to George North, two yellow cards, tactical substitutions and the strangest of moments with a French doctor followed. It’s left a very sour taste in the mouths of people across the rugby community. It has led many to question whether rugby’s integrity, a pillar of the game since William Webb Ellis first picked up and ran with a football, is being eroded. The damning evidence that the game had been packed with wrongdoing was presented in the post-match press conferences. First, Rob Howley accused the French management of sending their team doctor onto the pitch to allow struggling prop Uini Atonio to leave the field. Antonio was a substitute, and should have seen out the rest of the game despite complaining of a sore back. Referee Wayne Barnes asked him if he was injured and he signalled that he wished to carry on. A French doctor then entered the field without the referee’s permission. When Barnes asked him if Antonio had to leave the field because of a concussion, the doctor looked him in the eye and said yes. Howley contests that this was a bare faced lie, but his opposite number was also quick to throw around accusations of feigning. When asked about George North’s allegations that he had been bitten, French head coach Guy Novès insinuated that he could easily have bitten himself. These were truly remarkable scenes, two international coaches accusing each other’s teams of cheating. Tournament officials are looking into the events, but as wild as they are, it isn’t the first-time the game has been brought into disrepute. In 2009, the Harlequins engineered a blood injury that allowed them to make a pivotal substitution late into a Heineken Cup match against Leinster. Wing Tom Williams chewed a blood capsule given to him by the physiotherapist, it allowed him to leave the field and fly half Nick Evans to come back on. Harlequins were found out in subsequent investigations and it became apparent that they had used fake blood injuries on four separate previous occasions. Ramifications included a three year ban for head coach Dean Richards, a twelve month ban for Williams and a £260,000 fine for the club.


ardiff’s latest victory, a 3-1 victory over Ipswich Town, was the Bluebirds’ fifth win of the season after conceding first, the highest in the division. Another brace from the in-form Kenneth Zohore and a first Bluebirds’ goal for full-back Joe Bennett saw Neil Warnock’s men claim all three points at the Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff’s previous victories after conceding first were at home against Wolves and away to Bristol City, Derby County and Rotherham United. Cardiff manager Neil Warnock will have been especially pleased with this

Pictured: Smiling Assassin - was this man behind the controversial French win over Wales? (via Wayne Barnes).

The hard line taken by the world’s governing body was welcomed by the wider rugby community, the hope was that it would draw a line in the sand and nip organised cheating in the bud. Unfortunately, the last eight years have continued to see a continuation of actions and behaviour throughout the game that have only furthered arguments that the days of sportsmanship and morality are being confined to the era of amateurism. Welsh rugby has been no stranger to this. In recent years, there have been unprecedented incidents of players being found guilty of drug taking in Welsh rugby. Eleven individuals playing in Wales are currently banned, whilst rumours of further drug taking throughout the amateur community game are rife. The sport has always been held in very high esteem in the wider sporting community, one built on hard but fair play. Rugby lovers have given out their fair share of jibes to the football community whenever their sport has been engulfed in scandal, but in recent years, rugby has had to look at itself in the mirror with increasing frequency. You can definitely identify the symptoms of professionalism as a cause for

rugby losing its way. There is far more emphasis placed on two things now: winning at all costs, and attracting as many customers and money to the game as possible. The ‘win at all costs’ mentality has, for the most part, been limited to actions within the rules: playing with injuries, pushing training regimes to the limits, challenging previous levels of commitment. Where does this mentality stop however? It would appear that it has spilt over into the realms of unsporting behaviour and even blatant cheating. The financial growth has also had an increasingly conflicting relationship with the game’s traditions. You only have to look at a typical match day in Cardiff to see the impact of corporatism on the once sacred act of watching a Wales international. Games are happening later and later into the day, this year was the sixth time the Principality has hosted the Six Nations on a Friday night in the last eight years. It would appear fans are being priced out (tickets are now going for over £150 a game) and encouraged to abide by the demands of a maximum profit mentality. A Friday night game gives fans a maximum of three hours to travel from home to a game. Add rush hour traffic

and parking, and there’s barely time to grab a pint before you get in. If you live outside of South East Wales, you either take the afternoon off work or you can forget it. Those fans who do make it to the game are also getting increasingly drunk, especially when they have been on the beers for hours in advance of kick off. It has given match days the feel of a drunken night club atmosphere, pyrotechnics and strobe lights included, as opposed to one of educated engaged fans focussed solely on the game. At the Ireland game, I saw two separate incidents of individuals being removed from the stadium for being aggressive and abusive, the result of too much alcohol. Behaviour has lead Welsh journalist and sport presenter Jason Mohammad to declare he wouldn’t take his children to future games. Not really the kind of talk associated with a game built on the foundations of respectful behaviour. This all concludes the argument that rugby has lost its way, and in turn, its soul. With increasing corporatism and an emphasis on winning at all costs, whether it being on the field or off, it is difficult to now envisage a return to the good old days.

victory in particular as it gave him some bragging rights over his good friend, and Ipswich manager, Mick McCarthy. Looking ahead, the Bluebirds sit exactly 11 points away from both the play-offs and the relegation zone with just eight games left to go. Last weekend’s international break will have given several of the players a well deserved rest, before the break the Bluebirds had played four games in 14 days. However, a few of the Cardiff squad were called up for international duty and won’t have benefitted from the

rest. Junior Hoilett and Alan McGregor were opponents during last Thursday’s friendly between Scotland and Canada which ended in a draw. Aron Gunnarsson and Jazz Richards are the other two Bluebirds who have been called up, the former captaining his side against Kosovo in the a World Cup qualification match. Cardiff fans will be praying their tireless midfielder will return from international duty without picking up any injuries. Unfortunately for Gunnarsson and the rest of the team, the busy

schedule continues as we enter April. Neil Warnock’s men travel to Wolves, Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday as well as playing Brentford at home, all within two weeks. However, with play-offs and relegation extremely unlikely at this stage, the quick succession of games should give Warnock the perfect opportunity to test the fringe players. Having already hinted at which players he will be looking to take forward into the next campaign, the competition for places within the team will be more motivating to the players than the club’s position in the table.

In 2009, the Harlequins engineered a blood injury that allowed them to make a pivotal substitution late into a Heineken Cup match against Leinster.


Editors: James Lloyd Mark Wyatt Rich Jones Gareth Axenderrie @GairRhyddSport

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Champagne on ice for high-flying Cardiff Devils as they secure historic league and cup double Mark Wyatt


fter 20 years of missing out on the Elite League Title, the Cardiff Devils have secured top spot for the 2016/17 season. The crown was sealed in a 6-2 victory over Sheffield Steelers with two games to play last week. After 26 seconds of the game starting, Mark Richardson put the Devils in the lead and they did not look back. A five-on-three powerplay saw Cardiff double their lead via Patrick Asselin after Joey Haddad had teed him up. The Steelers managed to grab a goal back at the start of the second period, but the nerves were settled as Joey Martin smashed home a goal from a loose puck to restore the Devils two goal lead. Sean Bentivologio made it 4-1 shortly after before the Steelers, intent on crashing the party, salvaged another goal through Geoff Walker. With ten minutes left on the clock it was almost time for celebration and the

Devils made sure it was a win to be remembered. Lord chipped in with another goal before Patrick Bordeleau fired into an empty net to make the final score 6-2. Devils’ keeper Ben Bowns, who had been on crutches as he entered the stadium, produced a masterclass and stopped 21 of the 23 shots he was faced with. The trophy may have been secured in Sheffield but Devils fans had to wait until their next home fixture against Fife Flyers until they could life their trophy. Luckily for the roaring supporters it was another six-goal smashing for Cardiff as they ran out 6-1 victors. Amongst the scorers on the night were brothers Andrew and Scott Hotham, Layne Ulmer, Patrick Asselin, Joey Haddad and Chris Culligan. Captain Jake Morissette lifted the Elite League Trophy to a packed-out Ice Arena Wales after the end of the match. The title now means the Devils have secured a double trophy haul, after they secured the Challenge Cup last month.

They could even finish the season with a quadruple. One point is all that is required for them to lift the Erhardt Conference title and then they will turn their attention to the playoffs in a month’s time. Captain Andrew Lord expressed his delight after the historic win and reckons his side have come a long way since Todd Kelman took over in 2014. He said: “It feels unbelievable. There’s been so much work put in by everyone involved. Three years ago we were a ninth-placed hockey team, now winning the league in Sheffield - it doesn’t get any better than this. “It was a great team performance. They absolutely dominated.” Devils’ goaltender Ben Bowns - who returned to the team after suffering an injury in a previous match against the Steelers - hailed his teammates for achieving the feat. “It’s unreal,” Bowns said. “To win my first league championship — it’s not quite sunk in yet. It’s unbelievable.”

Pictured: Cardiff Devils in action. (Photograph via Flickr)

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Gair Rhydd - 1097 - 27th March 2017  
Gair Rhydd - 1097 - 27th March 2017