Page 1

gair rhydd

FREE

freeword - EST. 1972

CARDIFF'S STUDENT WEEKLY

gair rhydd presents the first ever edition of...

ISSUE 910 NOVEMBER 23 2009

In this week's issue... ...

Photos

Creativity

Newton Faulkner, Frank Turner, living rough, and couchsurfing in the USA PHOTO: KATHARINA JOITE

...showcasing the very best of Cardiff Students' creative writing, artwork and photography

Plus

reveal all...

Creativity

No expense spared

gair rhydd exposes questionable claims on Union expenses made by the 2008/9 Sabbatical Officers Ceri Isfryn News Editor gair rhydd has obtained the expenses lists of the 2008/9 Sabbatical team, and can reveal that several dubious claims were made during their Sabbatical period. The claims filed under ‘food and drink’ or ‘refreshments’ by the team over the year came to a total of £7,507. Nearly a quarter of the food and drinks total - £1,665.60 - was spent during a four-day training course in Tenby for

the outgoing and incoming sabbatical officers. One meal during the Tenby stay came to a total of £653.00, including alcoholic drinks. The meal was held at the Baytree Restaurant, where the cheapest main meal is £15. The officers and Union officials trained and stayed in the four-star Heywood Mount Hotel and Spa, at a total cost of £3,012.55. Rich Pearce, the Union’s Finance and Commercial Officer, said about the claims: “At the end of our tenure and at the beginning of that of our

successors, we have several days of training in Tenby as a celebration of our year and to welcome the new team in a way we feel is appropriate for the magnitude of responsibility we are handing over.” The ‘food and drink’ sum also includes a £919 bar bill incurred during the March elections. Campaigners and their teams were provided with drinks towards the end of the week, and also enjoyed a free bar during the delay in announcing results, which occurred due to technical difficulties. “We were given enough free drink

to get us all pretty drunk,” said one campaigner, who wished to remain anonymous. When asked what he thought about it the expense coming from Sabbatical Officers’ budget, the candidate replied, “I didn’t realise it did, and the total cost is pretty high. But I think we deserved some recognition of the work we did, and I suppose the drinks were the best way of doing that.” This was a sentiment echoed by the President at the time, Andy ButtonStephens, when asked about the claim in question. >> continued on page 2

Features This week's housing special exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of Cardiff student letting agencies >>pages 12-16

Sport Sport interview Cardiff undergraduate Nathan Cleverly about his life as a British and Commonwealth boxing champion >>page 31


02 NEWS

grgr

EDITOR Emma Jones DEPUTY EDITOR Simon Lucey CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan SUB EDITOR Sarah Powell NEWS Ceri Isfryn Gareth Ludkin Emma McFarnon Jamie Thunder FEATURES Daniella Graham Robin Morgan OPINION Oli Franklin Paul Stollery POLITICS Damian Fantato COLUMNISTS Tim Hart Oli Franklin LISTINGS Steve Beynon Ed Bovingdon TAF-OD Nia Gwawr Williams Branwen Mathias Cadi Mai SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT Amy Hall Priya Raj JOBS & MONEY Katie Greenway SPORT Jon Evans James Hinks Adam Horne Lucy Morgan Robbie Wells CONTRIBUTORS Morgan Applegarth Miranda Atty Luke Bliss Elizabeth Blockley Arzu Bokhari Keith Bugler Lauren Cowie James Davies James Fooks Chloe Grant Angharad Haf Holly Howe Ayushman Jamwal Ben Price Oliver Smith Chris Tarquini Chris Williams Jack Zorab Emma Davies Alex Evans Rachel Henson Stephanie Mitchell Tom Rouse

Got a story? Contact us

NEWSDESK

07908 551922 NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM gair rhydd has been Cardiff University's independent student newspaper since 1972

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Officers' claims called into question continued from front page However, when gair rhydd asked Swansea Students’ Union about their election week policy, Union President Luke Young stated that providing candidates with free drinks would cause “[a] conflict of interest where the organisation is providing free drinks to candidates ahead of them being elected to run the Union itself”. Other claims filed under the same heading include £97 on ‘celebratory drinks’ for VIPs at the Summer Ball and a £400 claim for a ‘sabbatical meal’. Under expenses guidelines, executives are entitled to “reward their and other volunteers’ labours with celebratory meals throughout the year”. Whereas previous guidelines on this matter have been unclear, this year’s team are limited to three meals throughout the year. Edmund Schluessel, the Union’s Mature Students’ Officer and member of Student Council, heavily criticised the expenses incurred by the officers in question. “So it's champagne breakfasts for the sabbatical team, instant noodles for the rest of us?” he said. “When I look at these expenses I see figures in the hundreds and the thousands, and then I look at the soci-

eties budget allocations and I see row after row of £0; I admit I'm filled with a sense of unease. “If the Sabbatical Officers are bringing in well above the median national income, and on top of that luxuriating in four-star hotels, how can we expect them to fight honestly for the needs of the average student?” he added. Guest tickets for Union events also feature heavily on the 2008/09 expenses list. In the past, sabbatical officers have been entitled to five free club night tickets, as well as being able to grant free entry to those students they wished to reward. However, as the renewed Expenses Guidelines for the 2009/10 Officers says, “in the past this system has been somewhat abused, reflecting poorly on the executive in the eyes of staff, and most importantly, students.” During 2008/9, £168 was spent on 48 tickets for Come Play alone. As a result of such claims, this year’s guidelines state that Officers are obliged to report any usage of this reward system to the President and to Student Council on a fortnightly basis, so that the legitimacy of it can be affirmed. So far, no such usage has been reported. Cardiff’s and Swansea’s sabbatical teams were also charged for hosting

the VIP area during the 2009 Varsity rugby match. Around 50 tickets, at a total cost of £504, were allocated to senior University staff, key friends of the Students’ Union and sponsors of the event. An extra £24 was spent on face paint for the event. “We find events like Varsity are a great place to showcase the amazing things that the Union can do,” said the 2008/9 President, Andy ButtonsStephens. “My team were really pleased at the noticeable commitment to drive down and cut sabbatical officers’ expenses during our year in office,” he continued. Due to a change in the recording system, which occurred mid-2007, only the 2008/9 full expenses list was obtainable. The available records for 2007/8 also include a few questionable claims. One Officer claimed for a £10 Boots Pamper Kit, and also for a £13 spend in Accessorize on a scarf and a stapler. Although the Officer in question insists that neither item was for personal use, she cannot definitely recall what the purchases were for. The Sabbatical Officers’ expenses come from the Union’s charity budget. Reflecting upon this, a Union spokesman said: “As officers hold the post of

both Trustee and Director, it is incumbent on them to ensure that areas and amounts for expenses are reasonable. The acid test should be that Officers be prepared to justify any expenditure to a reasonable group or member.” Ed Carey, the current Students’ Union President, said: “Every representative of the Union has an obligation to act appropriately with the resources of the organisation. In considering what is appropriate, it must be noted that the organisation must behave as a charity in some respects and as a company with a £7.3million turnover in others. “The reported expenses featured in this article do span both. I think that it is very rare that individuals can be said to act inappropriately. Notwithstanding, we have determined that a 45% cut is appropriate in light of an extensive review and the current financial climate,” he added. A reviewed expenses guideline was presented to and passed by the first Student Council of the year. The new guidelines aim to reduce executive expenses by 45%, to a culminate total of £9,750 for the year. They also state that transparency between the Sabbatical Officers and Student Council is imperative if the cuts are to be achieved.

RAG week: an outstanding success Emma McFarnon News Editor Cardiff University’s Raise and Give (RAG) week, which took place from November 16-20, has been an outstanding success, with the team expecting to beat the £1,500 they raised last year. The week kicked off with Fundraising Fairies, which raised a whopping £238 for the cancer charity, Tenovus. Cakes were sold throughout the week at lightning speed, raising nearly £200, and gair rhydd News Editor, Jamie Thunder, even agreed to shave off his head hair after one too many pints at the AU Pub Quiz. For £150, Jamie agreed to shave his hair off, and for £300 he said he would shave off his eyebrows too. See right for the end result. RAG have also set the Union Sabbatical Officers a 'Save the Sabb' challenge. Whichever Sabb raises the least amount of money by the end of the week must perform a forfeit live on stage at a club night in Solus. RAG President, Daniella Graham, said: “The fundraising events were fantastic, and everyone has been really generous. "This was the first year that we’ve used a pub quiz to raise money, and we’ll definitely do it again in the future. The new charity guidelines, allowing us to have roaming collections in the Students’ Union, have really helped us to earn much more money this year.”

NEWS 1 EDITORIAL & OPINION 8 COLUMNIST 11 FEATURES 12 POLITICS 18 LETTERS 21 SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23 JOBS & MONEY 24 LISTINGS 26 FIVE MINUTE FUN 29 SPORT 30


NEWS 03

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

AU launches new sports strategy Gareth Ludkin News Editor A brand new sports strategy mapping out the future of Cardiff University sport over the next five to seven years is to be developed in time for ratification at the University AGM next February. It is hoped that the new strategy, which is being developed by Sport and Exercise and the Athletic Union (AU), will be delivered by February in order to provide University sport with greater funding, better support and a more promising future. The strategy’s vision states: “We will work in partnership to deliver a quality service that offers students, staff and the community access to healthy lifestyles and participation, as well as competition and performance sporting opportunities, in an organised, fun and safe environment.” Crucial for the improvement of sports provision at Cardiff University, the sports strategy will provide the University and Athletic Union (AU) will a renewed sense of direction and continuity. It will also help define exactly what Sport and Exercise will be able to do and what sporting facilities can be developed for the future. The strategy, which is still in its initial stages, has a long way to go, but Athletic Union President Olly Birrell has deemed the progress already made “a really big step forward”. He continued by adding “it's something students have been crying out for”. The AU and IMG Councils were consulted to allow students to air their views on the new strategy. A discussion will also be tabled at Student Council on November 24, and a questionnaire will be circulated,

to gauge what students’ really think about University sport. In previous years a lack of a sports strategy has held back the possibility of money being put in to sport by the University, who were unwilling to act without a structured plan for the future. However, this year, with a new head of sport, Stuart Vanstone, the future is once again looking bright. Olly Birrell is confident that the sports strategy will deliver results. He said: “Armed with exactly what students have said, we are in a much better position to say what we want from the sports strategy. “I’m feeling really positive. We’re not going to see anything happen in the next year, but I think this is the beginning stages of what could be putting sports at Cardiff University back on track to what they should be.” Next year's Invest in Sport fun run will be backing the sports strategy, making sure that the specifics decided are carried through. With hundreds already signed up, the support for the new strategy is already evident. AU executive member Tom Lia said: “It think that it is very important that we have a clear strategy in place so that we have consistency in policy and strategy from year to year, which until now hasn't seemed to have occurred. “I also think that the definition of who is responsible for what is one of the key issues addressed by the strategy which was neglected prior to this.” Executive members Morgan Bailey and Darryl Light also welcomed the proposals, but Morgan warned that “too many students still have their heads in the sand regarding the new Sports Strategy and are happy to moan without doing anything about it”.

FUN-RUN: Last year's participants raring to go

£140,000 of complaints Union hosts Housing Week Jamie Thunder News Editor

Cardiff University has spent over £140,000 on legal advice and settlements relating to student complaints in the last seven years, gair rhydd has learnt. Between September 2002 and July of this year the University spent £130,051 on legal advice in relation to student complaints, and paid out a total of £11,000 in settlements to three students. The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Alice Clarke, who recently took the University to the High Court in an effort to force it to reconsider her appeal for extenuating circumstances in an exam she took in 2005. Ms. Clarke’s case accounts for the bulk of the costs, with £110,053 spent on legal advice relating to her complaint. In the last academic year

alone the University spent £64,654 on legal advice regarding her case, which included the costs of representation in court as the case was heard by the High Court. The University was ordered in August to reconsider Ms. Clarke’s extenuating circumstances claim. £11,879 was spent on contesting a complaint by a School of Maritime Studies student in the academic years 2002/3 and 2003/4, which was the only complaint other than Ms. Clarke’s to go to court in the time period. Cardiff University eventually won the case. The rest of the money was spent on legal advice relating to student complaints from other departments: £1,481 was spent last year on advice relating to a complaint by a student from the School of Psychology, and £6,638 was spent over the entire period on complaints where the department was not specified in the University’s records. The settlements reached with students were all agreed in the last aca-

demic year. Two agreements were made with the intervention of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA considers student complaints that have gone through a Higher Education Institution’s internal complaints procedure without being resolved in a way the student finds satisfactory. The third settlement was made via the Equality and Human Rights Commission mediation service. At least one of the settlement figures agreed is confidential and each student with whom the University reached a settlement was from a different School, so no further details of the settlements can be reported. The University faces the prospect of paying out a further amount when the issue of costs in Ms. Clarke’s case is resolved at a future hearing. A University spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by gair rhydd.

Jamie Thunder News Editor Cardiff Students’ Union is holding a housing week to encourage students not to panic when looking for a house. The Union’s Welcome Crew will visit students living in halls and give them information and advice about housing. They are concerned that students will rush into renting a house without looking around for the best property. There will also be a themed Student Council on Tuesday, with motions on housing and communities particularly welcomed, and a Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting in the Union on Monday. The Advice and Representation

Centre (ARC) on the third floor of the Students’ Union is available for students looking for a house or having difficulties with their current house. Students are also encouraged to air their views on Cardiff Council’s proposed Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation by completing the survey at cardiff.gov. uk/haveyoursay Turn to page 12 for Features housing special


04 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Sports clubs get their kit off for charity calendar Lauren Cowie Reporter Members of the Cardiff University's Athletic Union (AU) will bare all to shoot a steamy calendar this week in aid of Sports Relief. Lovely ladies and gorgeous gents from 27 of the AU’s sports clubs will be getting naked for the cause. Rowing, Cheerleading (pictured right) and American Football are just a few of the clubs taking part. The brave participants will be posing nude for what Olly Birrell, President of the Athletic Union, said would be, “a more creative calendar” than in previous years. But control yourself, you’ll have to wait until the last week of term to get your hands on one. All the money raised from the calanders will be donated to Sport Relief, a charity which helps

change the lives of disadvantaged people both in the UK and around the world. The AU Council decided to support Sport Relief as it gives young people the chance to participate in clubs similar to those offered by the AU. Olly said he hoped to “raise as much money for charity as possible” so get ready to run down to the Union and buy your copy.

NICE PAIR: Cardiff University's cheerleaders support the cause

Oxbridge told to widen access Emma McFarnon News Editor Oxford and Cambridge should be forced to engineer their admissions to stop places being dominated by the “social elite”, a study has said. The report, carried out by independent think-tank The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), accused Oxbridge of being elitist because of the large number of undergraduates taken from independent schools. According to figures, in 2006, 42 per cent of new students at Cambridge and 47 per cent at Oxford were privately-educated. The conclusions come just weeks after Lord Mandelson said admissions tutors should assess would-be students on their background as well as their academic record. But HEPI’s report has prompted a blunt response from Oxford, who insisted that the University would not resort to “social engineering”. Bahram Bekhradnia, HEPI’s director, said Oxbridge should learn from the leading American universities, which aim to achieve the best social and ethnic mix while maintaining the highest academic standards.


NEWS 05

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

£20k tuition fees proposed Lauren Cowie Reporter

Tuition fees exceeding £20,000 per year have been proposed by an eminent academic who says that a lack of funding is hindering competition between top British and American universities. An alleged ‘brain drain’ of the brightest students from the UK to America and the Far East is occurring due to superior research facilities and higher pay. Professor Andrew Oswald, who teaches economics at Warwick University, said that the cap on university fees should be removed altogether. He said: “Universities in the United States can easily match the salaries of UK universities and academics at Ivy League universities have four times

SKINT: Students suffer while loan bosses cash in

Bonus? Balls Elizabeth Blockley Reporter Outrage has been sparked this week by the revelation that staff at the Student Loans Company have been awarded bonuses totalling almost £2 million in spite of the fiasco this academic year that has left up to 175,000 students still waiting for their loans. Aside from the five figure bonuses that many senior staff received, the expenses bill at the company also amounted to a massive £1.2 million for the year 2008/09. Public figures such as the Liberal Democrats University spokesman Stephen Williams have condemned the payout of such bonuses when so many students are struggling to cope without maintenance loans. Williams stated that "rewarding failure in this way is totally unacceptable" and rallied against the principle of paying bonuses greater than many people’s yearly salary. This is the first year that students have applied directly to the Student Loans Company for their loans and it has resulted in incompetence after staff claimed that the weight of applications was too great to cope. The president of the NUS, Wes Streeting, referred to the incident as a ‘fiasco’ and called for the chief of the Student Loans Company to resign after the latest figures were disclosed. At Cardiff University the problem is confined to first-years from England, explained Head of Student Advisory Services Ben Lewis. He reported having seen between two and three hundred students who have not yet received their loans and are ‘anxious

and upset’ about the state of affairs. To deal with the situation the University has deferred the payment of rent and tuition fees for some students. In more extreme cases loans have been granted from the University’s own resources, the Financial Contingency Fund and the Student Hardship Fund. An article in one national newspaper this week suggested that this is a tactic universities are increasingly being forced to fall back on as delays continue, although Ben Lewis stressed that there is no guarantee that the need for financial support is based on loan delays in all cases. However, the Student Loans Company has defended its actions, stating that the bonus scheme is to ‘reward hard-working staff’ and that they were awarded for the academic year 2007/08. This year’s bonuses will be assessed based on recent performance, which has been poor in the opinion of many dealing with the company. Parents have complained of unclear instructions regarding the information needed to receive a loan, and the subsequent difficulty of speaking to an advisor from the company. One parent complained of repeatedly being put ‘on hold’ but actually being connected to the company’s answer machine. The frustration is great for both parents and students, who will be struggling to pay bills and forced to use their overdraft until they are granted the payments. The official Student Loans Company website is currently ‘reassuring applicants that it is making good progress in getting students their money’, which will doubtless be of little comfort to those 175,000 students still waiting almost two months into the term.

the level of resources per student than in the UK. At an elite level there is almost no flow from the US to the UK.” This follows a host of media coverage over the cost of university. Peter Mandelson’s recent review of tuition fees has led to an independent assessment being commissioned especially to report to Parliament on the matter. It is becoming widely accepted that there is a shortfall between the income of universities and the expenditure needed to contend on a global scale. Graduate taxes have been suggested by Phil Willis, Lib Dem chairman of the Commons science select committee, as a way to raise funds. He said: “We have to move quickly if we are going to compete in the knowledge economy post recession”. There are fears that increasing the cost of going to university could simply price out students from low or

middle income families. Dr Brooke Magnanti admitted this week to writing Diary of a Call Girl, after funding her PhD through prostitution. However, Paul Marshall, who represents leading universities such as York and Durham, said that without a significant increase in funding British higher education would “suffer serious decay”. Students taking subjects with few contact hours seem particularly opposed to paying such a high price. With an average graduate starting salary of just £19,677 (according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency) it is difficult to see who could justify the cost of a one bedroom flat on a degree. But if standards are to be raised, to stop British scholars travelling overseas, then funding will need to be found. The only question is where it will come from.


06 NEWS

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

YUVA lends a helping hand Ayushman Jamwal Reporter

Cardiff University’s Youth of India or YUVA society have raised and donated 25,000 rupees for the charity Amitasha, through a number of its events. Amitasha, is a charity devoted to improving the lives of young poverty stricken girls in India. Formed by Dr. Amita Chauhan the chairperson of Amity International schools, a chain of premier educational institutions in India - Amitasha provides education and cultural development to disadvantaged girls; promotes social awareness through nationwide workshops and cultural events. The money donated by YUVA will be used to buy books, toys and clothes for young girls under the New Delhi chapter of the charity. While India strives to globally progress at one end, it battles domestically to help the majority of its population plagued by poverty and rampant social evils. One of the worst of these evils is the notion that girls and women are incompetent burdens on society. This stigma causes numerous cases of female infanticide, domestic violence and bride trading in many parts of the country. Women are a major part of every

nation’s progress, but as their quality of life and numbers dwindle, India faces tough challenges in achieving its global development. The educated urban population and the progressive politicians of the country have begun to cause change, with businesses and state governments establishing charities to provide sponsorship, free schooling, advice and shelter to poor and victimized women and children. Eshan Hemrajani, a member of Cardiff’s YUVA society said: “Cruelty and neglect towards the girl-child in India is a sad reality, and something that the nation must strive to eradicate. “While we equip ourselves to become more conscious citizens at University, it’s never too soon to lend a helping hand.” Dr. Amita Chauhan of Amitasha said: “It is enriching to see that students even outside the country are providing beneficial assistance to charities that aim to improve the social state of the nation. “I want to thank Cardiff University’s YUVA society in helping us improve the lives of neglected children and putting smiles on their faces.” If you wish to lend a helping hand to Amitasha, visit http://www.amity.edu/amitasha/fortify.htm THANKS: Children show their appreciation

Independent Cardiff: alive and kicking What impact has multi-million pound development St. David's 2 had on independent shops in Cardiff? Two gair rhydd reporters find out

The retail centre St. David’s 2 recently opened its doors this autumn after four years in the making. The shopping centre which has generated over one thousand new jobs will eventually comprise over 160 new shops. gair rhydd ventured down to the new St. David’s Centre to investigate the effect the opening has had on local shops and businesses, to see whether local trade has been affected positively or adversely by the advent of so many new shops. Spiller Records, one of Cardiff’s most beloved music sellers is frequented by Cardiff residents looking for new and interesting music choices. In the opening week of St. David’s 2, sales in Spiller Records increased dramatically, although they have now reduced to a steadier rate. However, Zara, who recently started work in September at the music

store was told by her manager that the profits for Spiller Records had been suffering for the four years that St. David’s 2 was being constructed, due to the amount of building work going on around the shop. The manager even had to lay off his own sister and daughter during these four years due to a decrease in sales and customers. “I’m the first person the manager has been able to afford to employ since St. David’s 2 began to be built” said Zara. A definite positive aspect of St. David’s 2 is the increase in jobs, especially for young people, in both the construction work whilst it was being built and the employees in the shops now it is up and running. gair rhydd also spoke to Catherine O’Brien, senior sales supervisor of the first Welsh branch of the chain Folli Follie. Located in St. David’s 2, Catherine explained that although technically she is now occupying a position of less authority, she actually earns a higher salary than her previous job with the same company. “I feel that this is due to the high calibre of shops

in St. David’s 2” she said. Catherine also told us that trade had been quite quiet for the new shop in recent weeks. For many people the opening of St. David’s 2 led to concern over how independent shops would survive the recession faced with this new level of competition. This is especially of concern for shops which seem to have direct competition from new stores in St. David’s 2 such as Hobos, a popular vintage store, which could be affected by customers turning to high street chains such as Reiss and H&M. However, when gair rhydd spoke to the manager of Hobos, he told us that he felt that Hobos still occupied a niche in the market, as a regular customer made it clear that after visiting the new St. David’s 2 he had come to the conclusion that there was “nothing for me”. Ben also said that the opening week of St. David’s 2 had attracted more customers to his and other shops in the arcade. Ben did express some concern about the effects that the centre could have, as a regular customer had recent-

ly purchased a dress Ben described as “roughly three times more expensive than one of mine” leaving her without the money to buy anything from Hobos that month. However, he is hopeful that the long term effects of St. David’s 2 will be positive, as when the economic

PHOTO: CHRISTINA MACKIE

Miranda Atty & Holly Howe Reporters

climate improves he hopes more customers will be attracted to Cardiff City Centre. St. David’s 2 has certainly affected the retail atmosphere in the City centre, but it has as yet not had the negative impact on local businesses that many people envisaged.

ST DAVID'S 2: Not yet stealing the limelight


NEWS 07

gairrhydd | NEWS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

You'll never guess what...

Late returns are a fine thing for library

Chick nicked A man had to be rescued by firefighters after trying to burgle a chicken shed. The burglar got stuck while trying to squeeze through a hole in the wall of a barn in Tianlin Town in the Chinese province of Guangxi. Firefighters arrived on the scene in the morning after the burglar had spent the entire night trapped halfway through the hole, which was built to help the farmer’s dog enter the chicken shed.

LIBRARY: Probably what it looked like in 1959

Arzu Bokhari Reporter A former student of Camelback High School in Phoenix, Arizona returned two books that had been overdue for half a century, much to the shock of the resident librarian Georgette Bordine. The two books had been taken out in 1959 and the person, who wished to remain anonymous, not only returned

the books but provided a check for the overdue fines, which amounted to $1000 (£600). “It was just so overwhelming,” said Bordine to the Associated Press (AP) about her reaction when she discovered what was inside the mysterious priority mail package sent to the school. The student had calculated the fees at about four cents a day. The late fee was only two cents a day, totaling about $745, but the student added the extra money in case the rates

Morgan Applegarth Reporter

An alligator head has been found by a dog-walker in West Yorkshire. Peter Lumb and his collie dogs were walking in Huddersfield when they stumbled across the jawbone and skull of an alligator. Mr Lumb suspected the bones to belong to a crocodile and took them to the Manchester Museum where they were identified as the severed head of an alligator. It is believed that the bones are part of a collection, although it is unclear as to how they ended up on the Yorkshire hillside. DEAD CAT: Did she leave a last wool and testament?

Thatcher's feline fine Ben Price Reporter

A sleeping lion has been found in the back of a stolen circus van. Thieves stole the vehicle from a circus near Wuppertal in Germany, apparently unaware that a lion was inside. The lion, Caesar, remained asleep as the thieves fled the scene after crashing into a sign post. Police removed the van and called a trained lion tamer when staff from the circus reported the van, and the lion, missing. Caesar is now back at work and appears untroubled by the incident.

between $75 and $100 from a man who had been going through a 12-step program and wanted to make good the fact that he had stolen a book from the library back in 1962. “I feel happy, not so much because of the money, but because there are people in the world who do such nice things,” she added to the AP. The money will be used to buy more books while the overdue ones - Audubon Society tomes about conservation - will be put back on the shelves.

Cold storage

See you later alligator

Sleeping lie-in

changed. The books, which today are in extremely good shape, had apparently accidentally been packed when the student, a graduate of the class of 1959, moved to another state, according to a letter the sender sent along with the check and books. Interestingly, this isn’t the first unusual incident to occur in regards to the library at the high school. Bordine tells KPHO that sometime in the past three years she “got a letter in the mail and a check in the mail for somewhere

A misinterpreted text message that read ‘Thatcher has died’ sparked panic and a flurry of diplomatic activity in Canada. The Canadian Transport Minister, John Baird, sent the text in relation to the passing of his beloved pet cat named Thatcher. However, Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was soon informed that the 84 year old former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had died. The Canadian Prime Minister was attending a gala dinner in Toronto commemorating the armed forces when he received the information. As the rumour circulated the 1,700 present at the black tie event, Stephen Harper asked an aide, Dimitri Soudas,

A beverage company from New Zealand have asked for two crates of Scotch whisky to be recovered from Antarctic ice, having been embedded there for little over a century. The cache, known to have belonged to polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, was discovered three years ago and has become highly sought after by the beverage company Whyte & Mackay. Workers from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust will use specialist tools to drill out the crates, which are frozen under Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition hut. Distillers Whyte & Mackay, owners of McKinlay and Co., whose whisky is to be retrieved, have asked for a sample of the 100-year-old bev-

erage to determine the possibility of relaunching the vintage scotch. Company blender Richard Paterson hopes to “get enough to be able to take a stab at recreating [the range].” He went on saying “I really hope we can get some back here. It’s been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born”. The mission to retrieve the longlost crates shall begin in January. Al Fastier, who shall be leading the expedition, notes that workers became aware of the whisky back in 2006 during restoration works in the famous hut, built by Shackleton during his unsuccessful 1909 expedition. “It’s better to imagine it than to taste it,” said Fastier who doesn’t wish to sample the whisky. Although willing to release some of the retrieved bottles, the Heritage Trust have revealed that a number of bottles shall be kept for conservation purposes.

to prepare an official statement mourning the passing of the Iron Lady. Baffled British officials at Downing Street and Buckingham Palace confirmed that Baroness Thatcher had not died, and that she had recently attended a Remembrance Service at Westminster Abbey where she appeared alive and healthy. About 20 minutes after the rumour had spread, a corrective message was passed around the diners at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Transport Minister of Canada later revealed that he had named his 16-year-old pet cat after his political heroine and fellow transatlantic Tory Margaret Thatcher. Embarrassed political aide Dimitri Soudas is reported to have said: “If the cat was not already dead, I’d have killed it by now.” SNOW-CASED: There's whisky in the jar. But it's frozen


08 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

The EU is too diverse and divided an organisation for one person to manage

EU do they think they're kidding? The appointment of Belgium's Van Rompuy as 'EU President' changes nothing Oliver Franklin Opinion Editor The Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, was selected as the first ever President of the European Council, the media-mooted ‘President of Europe’. After weeks of rumours and speculation, particularly since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty earlier this month, it took surprisingly little time for Europe’s leaders to announce the winner, after Britain’s Tony Blair pulled his name out of the running just hours beforehand. The news was not particularly thrilling: Van Rompuy was seen as the front-runner for days before the announcement. What is perhaps surprising is the appointment of Baroness Catherine Ashton as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The title is a mouthful in itself, but is a very important role, and is actually considered by many as more powerful than the President. It is perhaps fitting that it was Van Rompuy who was awarded the post of President. A widely respected but realistically small-time politician with little charisma or foreign policy experience, he ticks all the politics for the kind of President that many countries, including Germany and France,

have been pushing for. They see the President as a smaller, pragmatic role whose primary concern will be facilitating communication and collaboration within the High Council. Many observers in the political community have speculated that it is because of this that Blair, who wanted a more influential role, pulled out of the running.

The President is a gesture, a media symbol to provide sound bites, and little else That’s fair enough. Blair would be wasted in a role that is essentially symbolic and will have little actual power; perfect for a Belgian. The President of the High Council is not the role that the title suggests. It is nothing like the President of the United States, or even close. Far from it, it is an empty post that will be mired in low-key bureaucracy and petty management of the grey-suited Brussels elite. The idea of a President of Europe is neither a good idea nor a likely reality, even in the far future; there is far too great a gulf between the smaller and larger nations for such a role to be plausible. The

President will be a mediator, someone to deal with the differences between the smaller and larger nations around points of contention. The upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen next month could be a proving ground for this role. But to be honest, it’s unlikely. No, in reality I doubt that we will actually see the impact of the President’s role. He is a gesture; a media symbol to provide sound bites at conferences and little else. Any important decisions will be made independently by Heads of States, so his role will be effectively neutered come crunch time. It needs a boring, pragmatic pencil pusher who will sit on the sidelines and get things done. Belgium’s Van Rompuy is perfect, then. What is far more interesting is Baroness Ashton’s new role. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs could be an important role: she will have a multi-billion Euro budget and the command of five thousand staff. Still though, her role will involve managing across a variety of departments that have conflicting interests and incredibly complex structures. It will be an important role and a strong voice in the international political community. This does raise some interesting thoughts. Is it a coincidence that Gordon Brown, who vo-

cally backed Blair (despite Blair never them. After all, they read the papers actually declaring intention to run for like the rest of us. The idea of a Euthe Presidency) has now managed to ropean Obama at the spearhead of an obtain a Briton in this key role? Is effective, decisive European Union is it a coincidence that Blair, the most a noble dream. But that is all it is, a high-profile and controversial can- dream, and that is how it will remain. didate, pulled out hours beforehand At the end of the day, the European and yet the High Representative role Union is nowadays too diverse, too was awarded to a British politician? complicated, and too politically diIt does point to some interesting po- vided to ever become a truly effective litical posturing by Brown, perhaps governing body. Still, let’s give a little congratulato maintain a strong British presence in the European Parliament ahead of tions to Mr Rompuy: after all, he is the a General Election against a Euro- President. A President decided around a dinner table by other politicians, actsceptic Tory party. A British politician in this power- ing on a Lisbon Treaty that was passed against the will of ful role keeps Britain at the heart of all that voted on European politics and cements Britit, with effecain another big (if only in title) role tively no power on the world stage. However, the to wield anynature of the role does point to a way. larger issue. This game-playing by British politicians is perhaps symbolic of a Britain – and, more widely, an EU – determined to retain an importance on a world stage that is now seen as more economically and politically dominated by the US and China. Having a ‘President’ and a pseudo-Foreign Secretary is a ploy that will make the EU Parliament seem, at least to outside observers, to have a more streamlined, state-like structure. You can’t really blame EU President Herman Van Rompuy


OPINION 09

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

We need change, not criticism

freewords

The Sabbatical Officers' expense claims will inevitably lead to a lot of criticism. Whether or not it is warranted, we need to focus on the changes that can be made

Expenses

Paul Stollery Opinion Editor I have a feeling that this story may run and run. This week, gair rhydd published the expenses of the 2008/09 Sabbatical Officers, and I think it’s safe to say that more than one of them can be referred to as dubious.

Admittedly, no one claimed a duck house, but several of the expense claims are dubious Admittedly, Ben Bryant didn’t get his moat cleaned and Andy ButtonStephens didn’t claim a duck house, however the story will provide many people the ammo they desire to start ranting about the state of the Students’

Union. It would be easy to write this article in just that way; it would be easy to slate the Sabbatical Officers’ expense claims and spell out in no uncertain terms where they crossed the line. But I will leave that for someone else. Regardless of whether more than £7,500 on food and drink is acceptable, the system does need to change. The first step that the Union needs to take is to make all of the expenses claims available to the student body. I understand that one suggestion is to publish all expense claims on the Students’ Union website, which will allow any student to see where their money is going. This is probably the best way for the Union to show that they have nothing to hide; the only way that they will keep the faith of the students is to show that no-one is claiming anything they are not supposed to. I also imagine that the majority of the Sabbs will think twice when the

put in an expense claim if they know that they are open to criticism from the entire student body.

A system whereby the President authorises his own claims is open to abuse I also think that a system whereby the President authorises his own expenses is one that is open to abuse. If we’re all being honest, I think that if we had the power to give ourselves a little treat when we felt that we had worked particularly hard, we all may be tempted to bend the rules and claim one or two things that we shouldn’t. The Union has already taken steps to reassure everyone that they are acting on the matter; a 45% reduction in expenses is certainly a step in the right direction.

However, a single figure on its own is not enough to reassure the student body. Admittedly, it is a hefty reduction and will show that the Union is prepared to make the tough choices required in order to serve the students in the best possible way. However, without ongoing transparency, the Union will continue to be open to criticism and students will continue to question whether they made the right choice electing the the officers currently running the Union. I do hope that this story does not have a similar effect on the Union as the MPs expense scandal did six months ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting the Telegraph to run it on their front page, but it does have the potential to cause similar damage, only on a smaller scale. For now, though, all Ed Carey and his current team can do is show that they are willing to make the tough decisions that this sticky situation needs.

Here's a thought for the day

Thought for the Day doesn't really like atheists, however that doesn't mean they can ban them from the show Emma Davies Opinion Writer I’d love to go on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. Imagine having all those people mulling over your two-and-a-bit minutes of weighty contemplation as they have their morning toast; it’d be brilliant. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work out - for multiple reasons. Firstly, I’m profoundly incapable of coming up with deep thought which has any degree of coherence. Secondly - and this is the problematic one - I’m an atheist. Thought for the Day isn’t too keen on atheists. Not keen to the point of refusing to allow them to speak on the slot, in fact. Their sister slot, Thought for the Afternoon, does, though, which is rather confusing. The BBC Trust launched an investigation into Thought for the Day’s policy on this back in July, questioning whether it should be overturned. They came to a decision this week; it shouldn’t. The Trust decreed that the policy is a matter for “editorial discretion” - that lovely catch-all term - and is not in breach of any BBC guidelines regarding impartiality. Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has previously voiced his concerns over opening up the slot to atheist and humanist speakers, claiming that this could lead to the feature losing its distinctive religious angle. But who is to say that atheism is incompatible with providing a faith perspective? Atheism isn’t a religion,

class themselves as Muslims. There are around 30 times fewer Jews than non-believers. This isn’t to belittle Islam or Judaism, obviously - but surely if these people are getting a say, atheists should be as well?

of course, but it is a school of thought concerning religion. It’s still a perspective on faith, and deserves respect as such. An atheist or humanist comment on an issue can be just as considered and moderate as a theist one. I think it’s the Richard Dawkins effect, to be honest. The man is a terrible advert for those absence of faith; his shrill glee at his rejection of the notion of God gives atheism a bad name. Mark Damazer has also defended Thought for the Day, saying that “a careful balance is maintained of voices from different Christian denominations and other religions with significant membership in the UK.”

15 per cent of the UK population class themselves as belonging to no religion An admirable aim, I agree. However the 2001 UK census reveals that 15 per cent of the population classed themselves as belonging to no religion. The category includes agnostics, Jedi Knights and, most amusingly of all, “heathens” - but given that this category covers 9,104,000 people, that’s definitely a fair few atheists. The “no religion” category was actually the second most selected option, after Christianity. Apparently, about five times as many people class themselves as non-religious than

There are far more non-religious people than Muslims or Jews in Britain

ABOVE: Mark Damazer, Radio 4 controller BELOW: Richard Dawkins, giving atheists a bad name?

To look at it from another angle, Nick Griffin was allowed on Question Time. And rightly he should have been; he’s a member of a legitimatelyelected political party and is entitled to freedom of speech. It wasn’t necessarily a popular decision on the BBC’s part, but it was a fair one. In June’s European Parliament elections, 943,000 people voted for the BNP. That’s a quite a large number, certainly large enough to worry me. But it’s only just over a tenth of the number of people who either don’t believe in a God or aren’t quite sure. Are atheist views really more offensive than those of the BNP? They are, as if anybody could forget, a political party who actually have to have a page on their website justifying how they’re not racist, honest. But sod it - who needs to be told what to think, anyway?

EDITORIAL

Est. 1972

Expenses are always a grey area – just take the whole scandal that recently erupted in Parliament for example. gair rhydd has been sifting through page and pages of Sabbatical Officers’ expenses only to find that they too have been claiming for a little more than they needed to here and there. To be fair to them, the guidelines at the time were pretty slack, so who wouldn’t take advantage? But you won’t find us lot doing anything like that this year, oh no. The expenses policy has been reviewed and significantly tightened, since we decided that Sabbatical Officers in previous years were spending far too much on unnecessary luxuries: bar tabs, restaurant meals and club night tickets. Under the new policy, Sabbatical Officers may only get free tickets to Union nights for them and one other person, rather than five other people, and bar tabs are pretty much completely unadvisable, unless in exceptional circumstances. This should mean that, in future, Sabbatical Officers’ expenses claims won’t come back to haunt them years down the line in publications such as this one! Please do check out the sport pages (pages 30-36) for an exclusive on the Argentinian rugby team. The Pumas had a kick around with Cardiff University 1sts this week and one of our sports editors, Lucy Morgan, was lucky enough to sneak in there and have a few words with some lovely Argentinian rugby players. Lucky devil... Please also find our brand new supplement Creativity nestled in the pages of this week’s lovely gair rhydd. If you’ve been reading gair rhydd for the past couple of years, you may be familiar with a termly supplement called Creative Words. Well, Creativity is the new Creative Words… kind of. We decided to open entries up to photographers and artists, as well as writers and poets. Creativity is a showcase of drawings, paintings, photos and words from some of Cardiff University’s most talented students. They are all amazing and we are very proud of the result. Huge thanks go to Oli Franklin, Paul Stollery, Natalie Stone and everyone else who spent an unbelievable amount of time and effort putting it together. My only regret is that we couldn’t afford to print it on glossy paper! We hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Corrections and Clarifications

The article ‘Tuition fee review start amid protests’ in last week’s issue stated that the next general election must take place no later than May 6 2010. The correct date is actually June 3 2010.

The Jobs and Money article on page 24 of last week’s issue was written by Kacie Morgan, not Norain Ahmed, as was stated.


10 OPINION

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

A matter of life and death

The growth of DNA forensic evidence has seen nearly 140 death row convictions overturned in the US. Clearly, the system needs to be reviewed Sarah Vaughan Opinion Writer When coming round to talking about big ethical topics such as the meaning of life, euthanasia and capital punishment, you find yourself entering into one of those moments where you either think; ‘I wish I’d never opened my mouth’, or, ‘This is too deep for me’. At least, that’s how I’ve felt most of the time before now. However, with the growth of elaborate and widespread media coverage of such serious issues, some things are just too hard to avoid passing you by. You open the newspaper and it’s there, you listen to the radio and it’s there, or you even overhear what should be pleasant chit-chat in a café, to find out it’s there too.

sion that the re-evaluation of capital punishment in Texas isn’t such a bad idea. Even Steve Hall, former chief of staff to the Texas Attorney General admits “In Texas we have seen a constant stream of individual cases that really destroy public faith and integrity in our criminal justice system”. Now an anti-death penalty activist, Steve Hall’s conversion tells me that something’s wrong with the system, and discoveries of innocent victims through the growth of DNA forensic evidence is just one reason that has influenced my opinion that the life of others shouldn’t necessarily be put in the hands of fellow human beings, especially if they come with the nickname ‘Sharon Killer’.

Abolished for all crimes Abolished for crimes not committed in exceptional circumstances (such as crimes committed in time of war) Abolished in practice (not abolished by law, howover no longer used) Legal form of punishment for certain offences

This is the time, 35 years after its re-legislation, to review the death penalty

Steve Hall’s conversion shows that something is very wrong with the system

Capital punishment, or, to refer to it as its less formal name, the death penalty, though having been used throughout history, has now come to a point where a need for an evaluation of its credibility as a solution for severe debauched activities has come. Cameron Todd Willingham is just one of many people who have been convicted and executed for a crime that they have later been proved innocent of. In this case, justice was too late. Cameron, just 23 years old at the time, was held guilty and executed 13 years later for the murder of his three young children via arson, after his family home burnt down in Corsicana, Texas, 1991. Recently however, new DNA evidence has overturned the stories of Cameron’s sentance, clearing his name from the list of people

TOP: A map of the world showing which countries still enforce the death penalty. BOTTOM LEFT: A protest attempting to put an end to capital punishment. BOTTOM RIGHT: A lethal injection room in a Texas prison society is ashamed to call human. When finding out that over the period of a year around 100 people in Texas are sentenced to death, accounting for over half of all executions in the US, I’ll admit, I was quite stunned. Maybe I’m being naïve in thinking this, but in my mind the death sen-

tence these days was more of a taboo, a looming presence in a court, such as Texas, that only a select few would suffer from because their crime and intent was ‘the most evil’, and that their capital punishment would act as a warning to society, rather than set a precedent for judges follow.

Yet, since reading report after report on the website, ‘Texas Execution Information Centre’ (yes, it is that cut and dry), ironically sponsored by ‘Who’s dead and Who’s alive’, another website arguably to feed some individual’s need to read of other person’s deaths, I’ve come to the conclu-

To call her by her real name, Sharon Keller is openly a pro-prosecution judge who, in one case, refused to keep a court office open after 5pm to allow a last-minute appeal for a stay of execution. While in no way can I neither judge the motives behind her enthusiasm for death, nor condone the brutal actions of the people she sentences, I can firmly say that I am now more convinced of my ‘leave them to God’ opinion if there’s a possible chance of a person’s innocence. To see memories of innocent Cameron Todd Willingham on a dedicated internet site, with family members and anti-death penalty activists petitioning for the justice of other falsely accused victims, now may be the time - 35 years after its re-legalisation - for Texas to put the death penalty under trial itself.

Society's impatience has lead to a dangerous cosmetic surgery industry Alex Evans Opinion writer Would you let a man whose only dental qualifications were owning gloves and a power drill fiddle with your teeth? Probably not. Perhaps you’d be thrilled if your next doctor was a white-coated stranger with a medical license scribbled on the back of an old receipt? Doubtful. Nor would you have some unqualified surgeon cut you up next time you’re knife-needy. Yet this is the reality facing thousands in this country, apparently.

The news this week surfaced that thousands are going under the knife of unlicensed and unregulated plastic surgeons with little or no medical qualifications. Some non-scalpel procedures, such as ‘chemical peels’ (when someone’s outermost layer of face is burnt off with harsh chemicals, leaving the bright red softness of the underskin on the surface) are even being carried out by ‘nurses’ with no medical training at all. Naturally, this leads to botched facelifts, wonky breasts and hilariously ironic scarring scar-removal procedures. Only now, it seems, after years of freely accessible cosmetic surgery

(for a hefty fee), has someone raised the dangers of cowboy cutters.

I'm not worried though, this will be another form of natural selection This is the problem with modern society. Everything moves far too quickly. The internet was invented, popularised and made accessible to all more quickly than someone else could invent how to stop it being filled with piracy, fake pills and pornography. In

much the same way, the personal surgery boom was never brought under proper control and regulation, and as such, it’s riddled with dangers. I’m not worried, though. Surely, the way cosmetic surgery has evolved in our society is simply a form of natural selection at its finest. If you’re stupid enough to let any old knife-wielding smooth-talker make massive, irreversible changes to your body with sharp tools whilst you’re unconscious – and hand over a chunk of cash for the privilege - without so much as asking to see a medical license or some qualifications, you probably should be botched to the point of ugliness, your

genes likely removed from the breeding pool of future generations in the process. Harsh? Definitely. But they don’t call it survival of the thickest. The bottom line is, though, that we do need some form of regulatory body for cosmetic surgeons, and a greater degree of control over who can take people’s money and make bold promises about their body. Most surgeonseekers are desperate and insecure, and some cutters are just conmen. Clearly, a change is needed. Just don’t start regulating the internet as well. There needs to be some fun.


COLUMNIST 11

gairrhydd | OPINION@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

The withdrawal method G

ordon Brown announced last week that we might start discussions about possibly withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Yet another profound and decisive statement made by our unelected, hapless leader. What makes it even less significant is the final decision will come from Washington. Britain’s influence over America’s Afghan policy is like Woody Allen punching Mike Tyson in the stomach. It makes no difference what Britain says or does, America are in control and this has been the status quo for the last eight years. The same was true in Iraq. Ever since Tony Blair kowtowed to George Bush in 2002, Britain has been the dim-witted ally in Washington's wars of ideological empire. Britain's subservience has subsequently increased as America have rescued the failures of Basra and Helmand. Despite 412 British soldiers dead, Brown specified that nothing had changed. The torture is painfully prolonged with London twitching only when Washington kicks. Nothing Brown says on Afghanistan makes any sense or of any sagacity, and he is excruciatingly aware of it. Even when intelligence reports say the soldiers dying in Helmand are not making Britain’s streets safer, Brown says the opposite. He is fixated with "training bases", as if the 9/11 plotters had learned to fly in Tora Bora. Pigs will fly before Hamid Karzai’s regime is cleansed of corruption and an established Afghan security force is set up signaling Britain’s withdrawal. But he must believe all of this is possible. I have an image of a deluded monkey stuck between a rock and a hard place in my mind and all I can feel is pity. Surely Brown is also aware of the fact that his Foreign Office thinks the Afghan mission ludicrous. Then you have David Miliband repeating over and over again that counter-insurgency is counter-terrorism. It is not. It is counter-insurgency. Poor Miliband, the only withdrawal he is focused on is the one where Brown is kicked out of No.10 next year. In the meantime he is a mere puppet with the Mad Hatter pulling all of the strings. The Government has descended into chaos. There’s no plan, there’s no agenda, there aren't even some doodles on a napkin, let alone a cohesive strategy from America’s poodle. Back over the pond, though, the favoured military option is either an

GORDON BROWN: Starting to feel the strain acceptance of defeat or historically ignorant. The outcome of Obama's agonising review of Afghan policy is to "fall back on the cities". The killing can go on forever, but the war is lost. Falling back on cities was the final desperate attempt of the Russians in Afghanistan and the Americans in Vietnam. It is only affective if you are a native population yielding countryside to an invader. But in Afghanistan Nato is the invader. It will not work. Nato has hi-tech weapons but it forgot to take an historian. Even a GCSE student could offer better advice than some of those louts in the Oval Office. Obama's decision on Afghanistan is gaining epic proportions. It runs parallels with the Delphic oracle's reply when Croesus asked if he should declare war on Persia. If he does, the oracle said, "He will destroy a mighty empire". It turned out to be his own. Obama favours withdrawal. He has to, otherwise it is criminal not to have sent more troops a year ago. His decision therefore has come down to

a conflict between his belief and the massed ranks of America's military/ industrial complex. If militarism wins and Obama starts a 10-year battle over the mountains and plains of Afghanistan it would, for one, make the blokes at Nobel look even more foolish for giving Obama the Peace prize. But far more importantly it will signify the end of America's status as cold war victor and reputed world policeman. America's democratic leadership will have been put up against American militarism – an informal element of the republic since the founding fathers – and will have yielded. So will Britain's obedient leaders as they carry on expressing weekly banalities over the coffins of Wootton Bassett. But playing Devil’s advocate, as I often do and everyone should, say Obama takes courage in both hands and announces a withdrawal next year. The shock waves will be felt around the world. His critics and enemies at home will proclaim America's first

black president has guided his country to defeat. But these minuscule rebukes will mean nothing in comparison with the events in the Middle East. The ulcer will have been burst, which inexorably is followed by the pain. Terrible things will happen but, as in Iraq, this was inevitable from the moment the west interfered. Afghanistan and its tribal chiefs, warlords and Taliban commanders will have adjust to life without the enemies and invaders. The Taliban, no longer the region’s obelisk, will resort to the status quo prior to 2001 by forging pacts and coalitions. Pakistan would be required once again to be the underwriter of regional stability, even if it is on new terms. The Pashtun would lose interest in their alQaida guests, who in turn would lose their anti-American rallying cry and seek sanctuary elsewhere. The region would regain a balance, an equilibrium it can never achieve under western occupation. The war on terror has to be the lead-

ing candidate for the most meaningless, counterproductive main-force deployment in modern history. Britain and America should demilitarise it immediately. They need no longer rely on grandiose armies and crippling budgets to bring death, devastation and exile to hundreds of thousands of foreigners in the weak and misguided belief that it could stop some bombs going off back home. They would hand that job to the appropriate authorities: the police and security services. Never believe this war, just like Iraq, was ever intended to be won. Both were nation-building stunts that ran amok on copious amounts of money. Three million Iraqis, including almost all Iraq's Christians, were driven into exile. The same is starting in Afghanistan and as Nato withdraws will rapidly escalate. The pain and suffering is not over yet and will only end when the invaders leave. That will happen only when the pain outweighs the pride. The question is, how many corpses will that take?


12 FEATURES HOUSING SPECIAL

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Letting agencies l A house that hasn't been built yet, strangers letting in the bedroom... These are just some of the horror Daniella Graham Features Editor Renting your own house is, for many people, one of the most exciting things about university life. Instead of living with parents or in cramped university halls, we can finally be truly independent, with a space that we can truly call our own. For the vast majority, renting a house is fairly stress-free; you choose who you’re living with, find a letting agency, pick a house within a budget that you like and move in. Once in your house the only thing you need to worry about is ensuring you have enough money to pay your rent and bills. However, for some students, renting a house is a highly stressful experience that impacts even on their studies and taints their university life. Take PhD student Rob* for example. When he first moved in with his housemates, there were no curtains in the house. After speaking to his letting agency A2Z, he says that the landlord’s son let himself into the house and started shouting at Rob; A2Z were reluctant to intervene.

"We received a phone call from A2Z telling us to pack our bags" This proved to be just the start of Rob’s nightmare. “The biggest problem came a few weeks after moving in. Our landlords had a habit of letting themselves into our house, and in doing so, had seen my partner and my housemate's partner visiting. My guess is that they either disapproved of visitors sleeping over or assumed we were sub-letting the property to other people, because they requested that A2Z tell us we were being evicted. “We were telephoned and told to go immediately to the A2Z office, where we were indeed told in no uncertain terms to pack up our bags. Not having any legal knowledge around causes for eviction, we were initially terrified. “I had to spend a considerable amount of time researching the issue with Cardiff Council and the housing support service at the Union, where I of course discovered that there are rigid procedures protecting tenants from eviction. I then had to basically tell

A2Z that we were 'staying put' which caused weeks of blazing arguments in which my housemate and I became ill, and had to apply for extensions on our university work. “A2Z eventually agreed to mediate a meeting between the landlords and ourselves, in which we were encouraged to sign an ad hoc contract which, among other insane clauses, stated that we would not be allowed any visitors! “What concerns me is that it was only when armed with a bit of legal knowledge and support from the university that we were able to save ourselves from being booted out; those without such knowledge are in a very vulnerable position.” Unfortunately, while Rob managed to fight eviction, his problems with A2Z were far from over. Letting agencies are legally obliged to register deposits with approved schemes, such as the Deposit Protection Scheme, within two weeks of the tenancy start date, but it took six months before Rob's deposit was even registered. Now, five months after moving out, their deposit has still not been returned. “Even after having moved out, A2Z’s legacy of rudeness, laziness and ignored messages continues to plague us. For a while we were given no explanation as to why our money hadn’t been returned – we were mere-

ly told to ‘call back’ or that the boss was busy. A few weeks ago we found out that the delay is partly owing to the landlord wanting to charge us for damage to a sofa. We did not, however, damage the sofa. We actually witnessed the landlord and his family do the damage themselves when they brought the sofa into the house, attempting to force it through a doorway.”

"I believe that the letting agency have committed fraud" Rob has registered the dispute with the Deposit Protection Scheme, but still has not got his deposit back. Ironically, a quick visit to the homepage of the A2Z Property Lettings website shows this message; “If you are a tenant or landlord that unfortunately have had a substandard service from a Letting Agency in the past, A2Z will ensure to restore your faith in our profession.” gair rhydd contacted A2Z Student and Professional Lettings for a response to Rob’s story. They said: "Once a person has a contract, if they abide by this contract they will

not be evicted, unless there is total misuse... in this case there are other avenues we would go down. "I guarantee we have had no mediation between any landlord and tenants who saying that they are being evicted. "If a tenant has broken the contract we would not evict them ourselves but would go through a legal procedure on the landlord's request." Deposits are often a cause of dispute among students, and Anthony’s* girlfriend and her housemates are a prime example. Anthony explained that “when they left the property, they were given a ‘speedy bond return’ checklist, which included a space to write the tenant repayment ID. They were told they would have to show their council tax certificates and final utility bills before the bond could be repaid. “Since these could not be immediately produced, they did not go to their letting agents immediately for return of the bond, but they had all our contact details. “At this time my girlfriend went on holiday to Spain. When she returned, she found that several days earlier she had received an email from the Deposit Protection Scheme saying that the ‘agreed amount’ had been repaid – entirely to the landlord/agent. “After council tax certificates were

produced my girlfriend’s housemate was told by the letting agent that repayment of the deposit would be made within two weeks. They said there might be a deduction for cleaning, but were unable to give a figure.

"There was a blood stained mattress in my room for two months" “Her other housemate later contacted the letting agency by phone, who told her they were deducting £54 for cleaning. They dispute that cleaning is necessary, but as the letting agency already had the deposit they were unable to use the DPS dispute resolution scheme. “My girlfriend and her housemates have now been partially repaid, but less than the original amount by approximately £100 each. “According to the DPS scheme, deposits should be repaid by the DPS directly to the tenant and/or the landlord – the DPS do not repay money intended for the tenant to the landlord. I believe that the letting agency used my girlfriend’s repayment ID to obtain the full deposit, despite the fact


gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

FEATURES HOUSING SPECIAL 13

letting you down

themselves into your house, a bloodstained mattress stories from students with letting agents in Cardiff that she was in Spain when the repayment process was completed. I believe that by agreeing that she was present when she was not they have committed fraud. “We have reported this to the police but nothing has happened yet. “I am hoping my girlfriend will take them to county court at some point, but she finds it stressful.” Third year undergraduate Rachel* has also had negative experiences with her letting agency in Cardiff. When she moved into her house, it was dirty and there was no hot water, no desks or chairs, bags of rubbish hidden in cupboards and a blood stained mattress (pictured right) in her room. “It was everything you don’t want to sort out when you are trying to do resits,” says Rachel. “They arranged for the house to be cleaned, but the surfaces were still covered in grease and I found some mouldy bread which had not been removed. It took two months for them to remove the blood stained mattress, despite me repeatedly going into the office.

"I heard a noise downstairs... when I went down a man with a black eye was in my hall" “During this time, a guy let himself into the house. He hadn’t knocked or made his presence known, so when I went downstairs and saw a man with a black eye in the house I was terrified. “He claimed he was collecting his mail; the letting agency had previously told me that the locks had been changed. When I went into the office to ask what the hell was going on, they weren’t interested, and instead just asked why I hadn’t called the police – I hadn’t called the police because I was absolutely terrified. “To top it off, when they changed the locks they gave me all copies the keys. They then expected me to return from Birmingham to give them back the keys; unsurprisingly I refused.” Attempted evictions, missing deposits, dirty houses and strangers letting themselves in: all these horror stories have caused a great deal of distress for the students involved, but imagine finding you don’t actually have a house to move into. This is the situation Emily* and her housemates found themselves in. “We signed the contract for our house in February, and were told that

advise students about renting private accommodation. The campaign also aims to advise students on who to turn to if they are having difficulties.

"After moving my stuff in I received a phone call to tell me I was in the wrong house"

building work to change the four bedroom house into a six bedroom house would start straight away, so the house would be ready for the 1st July. (One of my housemates, John*, is a dentist, so needed to stay in Cardiff over the summer.) Eventually we were informed that our house would be ready on September 1, and that they would provide John with temporary accommodation for the summer. “This accommodation was a four bedroom house, and by September our original house was still not ready, so two of us were having to move into another house. After being given the keys to a house, and moving my stuff in, I received a phone call from the letting agents. “They told me that they had given me the keys to the wrong house and that other people were moving into that house so I had to move to a different house immediately. “We finally moved in to our original house on October 21, but the stairs were not carpeted, there was no washing machine and there was quite a bit of dust everywhere, so for the next couple of weeks we still had builders and handymen coming in and out of the house. The house had been made very different from the plans we were shown, with the main difference being that there were seven bedrooms instead of six. “Now the house is pretty much finished, but during the building work they managed to cut the Virgin cable. Now we are still without TV and internet, and will not be getting that for a few more weeks.” Unfortunately, these stories are not unique. gair rhydd regularly receives reports of problems with letting agencies in Cardiff, and it seems students often receive a raw deal when it comes to renting accommodation.

The Students' Union Housing Week campaign, running from November 23-27, aims to raise awareness of housing issues and to reassure and

Ed Dolding, Welfare, Campaigns and Communications Officer, said; “There are a few things students should bear in mind when dealing with dodgy landlords, letting agents and their equally dodgy houses. “Firstly, don’t rush. Cardiff is a renter's market: there are plenty of houses so take your time. Don’t take any old heap - find a good house you’re happy with. Equally, make

sure you’re happy with who you’re going to live with; freshers, don’t feel compelled as early as November to sign up to live with people you’re not sure about. Once you’ve found a house, check your contract, dispute anything you’re not happy with and ensure any agreements made informally are clearly included. “Once you’ve moved in, keep a log of any issues you have and raise them in writing with your landlords. If you make no progress, most importantly seek advice. The Union’s Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) are experts in dealing with housing issues, offering legal direction and checking contracts, among other things. "Another good place to look is www.cardiffdigs.co.uk. It’s really all about knowing your rights, protected by law, as tenants. Don’t settle for any half measures.” *all names have been changed

The Students' Union Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) can provide help on housing issues Negative experiences such as these can be extremely stressful and are incredibly time consuming to resolve. The Students' Union Advice and Representation Centre (ARC), located on the third floor of the Students' Union, can provide advice and information on your housing issues. This includes: * Help finding accommodation * Landlord and tenant rights * Tenancy agreements * Repairs and bad conditions * Repayment of deposits ARC can: * Explain your rights and responsibilities * Offer advice and guidance * Help with complaints * Suggest where to find specialist legal and/ or support services ARC also provides general advice and information on a wide range of other issues including debt problems, finance, utilities and more. CONTACT ARC: Drop-in: Telephone: Appointments: Email:

ARC, 3rd floor, Students' Union: Monday to Friday 10am - 3pm 029 20781410 Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm advice @cardiff.ac.uk

Closed Wednesday mornings- open at 1pm


14 FEATURES HOUSING SPECIAL

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Cardiff letting agents: T

he decisions you will undertake in the upcoming months may shape the rest of your University life. Sorry to break it to you. A happy living enviroment is the supporting base for... well, living really. What I'm getting at is this: choosing your house, your housemates and your letting agency is important. So read this. It'll be the smartest thing you do today. We've gone through some of Cardiff's more familiar letting agents, sneakily taken pictures of their offices so you know where we're talking

about, and coupled it with informed, first-hand experiences from tennants. You're welcome. We're even going to tell you what pub each letting agent is closest to - to have that post-contract-signing pint. Granted, these are only some viewpoints, but generally we tried to gain the most commonly expressed views. These letting agencies are by no means the only ones that have had good or bad reviews. Again, private landlords are sometimes no better. This article aims to remove some of the naivity from proceedings, if this is your first time renting a house, or even

your twenty-first. The important thing to remember is to know your rights. In a kind of Watchdog-with-Anne-Robinson sort of way. Imagine her backing you up, it'll bring the fury of justice right to their doorstep. Personally, when I got messed around with landlords and property companies, I got my Mum to help me out. I'm not even joking. Generally, students are regarded as naive and easy to walk over. Show them you're not. And if you do get burnt fingers, do what I did. Thanks, Mum.

h t r o w t n e W

for a year en uninhabited be d ha it at th nside was use would have orth that the ho e, the only dow tw us en ho e W oker. th to e ed os ss -freezer and co on. We stre "When we ch a working fridge liveable conditi a lly in ca t ifi n’ . ec ct as w sp ra r cont and clearly units installed, written into ou by d new kitchen e requirements es eable condition th liv d in ha to be cleaned an e be w to at d th t ha ea e gr us so ho e e er th at Our concerns w contract was th broken ulation of our ronted with a "The basic stip 14; he was conf r d, and be tte fi em t pt n’ 1. Se as r w on Septembe moved in idge-freezer es fr at r he em ot us e ho th , y room "The first of m nce to the bath was ocking any entra ed this issue he fridge-freezer bl d when he rais an k. , or ys w ke . ’t re dn om he di ro ew e... som the cooker any of the ould be in ther r effecdn’t given him e room-keys w th part of the floo "Wentworth ha ld in to d ng an lti su ys re ke of om nt ro th ou ba e downstairs given a huge am pe leaking in th broken. and intense "There was a pi t pan was also ile worth of work to e ys Th da . a sh ed ar iv m ga it was still a e had rece tively resemblin cleaning, yet after, the hous y da e th ed s. Wentworth "When I arriv disgusting mes ered to clean th hadn’t even bo ning that a the house mea grime and dirt years worth of ulated. had just accum now in a deis e "Our hous , as thankfully cent condition sort it out, alWentworth did a month after d beit slowly an been done. it should have ldn’t rec"In short I wou ey have th l al , ommend them is a decent going for them handyman."

2let2 "2let2 seem to have a bad reputation but we've been with them for two years now and they're really good to us! "They pretty much know us by name, get any problem we have fixed almost immediately, and are pretty lenient with any charges we have. "They're so nice we even sent them a Christmas card! It's up in the office!"

PHOTOS: ROBIN MORGAN

With all housing-related decisions looming, Features gives you the

FOR SALE: real-life Monopoly isn't as fun

A2Z

"It is hard to kn ow where to be so much has ha gin with A2Z, ppened, and pa partly because rtly because of seems when I te how unbelieva ll people just ho ble it w rude they ar "I have never e! encountered pe ople as unplea Pauline at A2Z sant as Tariq an . My housemat d es and I rarely with them in w had a conversa hich they didn’t tion shout at or insu "Judging by th lt us. e atmosphere in them speak to th their office and eir other client the way I saw s, this is not an we are alone. experience in w hich "You would ha ve thought afte r A2Z attempted us things couldn to illegally evic 't get any worse t , but we still ha deposit back fi ve not received ve months afte our r moving out."


gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

FEATURES HOUSING SPECIAL 15

Your views uncovered lowdown on some of Cardiff's biggest and baddest letting agencies

Pinnacle

ly n they sudden . I hate it whe le e ac w nn n Pi he t w ou the works mplaining ab r - a spanner in e th he "Yes, I love co as es w do sh di ho w w gument of e needs a ne ar us t ho en r ud ou st c de si ci de at clas e’d balanced th say just thought w we had a little ade us feel like m hy w ey d th dishes. ne if ai , pl se up and ex ce, of cour they called us ont "It would be ni if fr r in ie r pp he ha as w be sh di ; I would plonking a huge in these matters thing other than ny A it. . g in on do as e re t agenthey wer gly without s with differen window, seemin ies from friend or s, but st ie of the kitchen or er rr qu ho g e in th ing all ow in answer sl be to ay m "But then, hear ff ey Th of fresh co ee er myself lucky. cks and a cup Ja a ck ve la ha cies, I’d consid B to of g l seem willin like a handfu e staff always th d there’s nothing an s, ge ra al related pacify your rent out of an awku. yo is try and get us us r fo never ne laugh with do g that they had they’ve ever espite admittin D st to "The best thing co n. io no at at tu si e e-swapping tise the hous at er em dv -a us re ho to d k ar w e quic ours, they wer think had a case like Pinnacle, I do y recommend el tiv ac us. ld ou w n’t think I "So while I do the to d re that compa are ey th majority okay. think "I’d like to proa e us I n that whe will I cy en ag l na fessio tle lit a be treated with til un t bu t ec more resp ve ha ll I’ s es gu I then, " to deal with it.

Keylet

ch we rented our house whi ith w s m le ob of pr n person house "We had a lot t to us as a seve ou it ed pletent re ey t - th e landlord com through Keyle They blamed th egal x. ill si r is fo e t us fi ho ly whether a ow when it was on kn to em th e it's up to ly, but I assum nt to that you're mea or not. loads of stuff ncil ng ou si C is e m th as t w "The house d we had to ge an , le op pe n e for seve have in a hous " lp us sort it out! to Nick Griffin. he to involved commend them re en ev t n' ld "In short, I wou

Cardiff Student Letting Agency

"Cardiff Student Letting is by far the best choice to go for. Obviously the first draw is that there are no agency fees, and secondly you can almost be assured that the houses are of a high standard, well above what you can expect from other agencies. "The staff were helpful and polite, and my landlord was equally fair, considerate and organised. "We’ve all heard of the scare stories but how many of them have come from Cardiff Students Union? The opinions of fellow students speak volumes - find out about the experiences of second and third years. "They will help you out with problems swiftly and sensibly where other letting agencies will forget about you for months before anything is done. "They are also held to account by the University, which all in all helps deliver a fantastic, cheap and responsible service that looks out for your interests."

CPS

"CPS a Cathays re one of the bigge with "CPS a out passing a p st companies in r e roperty n o t well lo them a they ma Cardiff, and y ved in fair rap nage. ou can m . y barely w house, "The tru th alk any o th u gh if I’ is, as w been tim where in m it h h o m nest I d es when ost com on’t thin others w panies, I’ve call CPS ha k we alw he e s it about w re I’ve had co d up with an ays giv nversati issue an s share of goo e hat I w on as d d always particula saying. Sian L s where the em been met with and bad eggs. T p loyd (n rly help "CPS se o, not th loyee has seem unbelievable r here have ful udeness at Sian ed, cruc or late w em to realise th and pleasant. , but L ia loyd) at ll ith r at th their Alb y, to actually c "Their a ent, and under ey are dealing are a ny Roa sta with stu va d office dents. T "If I cou ilability is also nd that a little is h w ey ld offer good; th e suggest one pie ey have ar and tear is n are lenient wh they be c e e a n n tu o u f advice we’re m merous ral. persiste "When office to som essy nt. receive I needed a new CPS do get thin eone about to s and are open it. On th o b g b n e s e g d S d, they e other well for delivere one, but some in letting throu aturdays. hand, wh times y d ou need gh CPS, I wou our dep en we try to cla we’ve still ye it so quickly I ld to t to rece a osit ba ive an in lmost didn’t g twist their arm ck in s im months et home ventory even . time. , which in time "In con surely d to clusion oesn’t b , CPS a a comp ode any re can’t ig that you reall y no ing stu re when rentdent pr operty Cardiff. in "Truthf ully, will p they rob to your ably cater ne well, b eds quite ut be prepared to c than on all more ce if y ou need someth ing done."


16 FEATURES HOUSING SPECIAL

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Location, location, location Features continues its effort to inform you on all things housing

CPS

2let2

A2Z

Address: 6 Miskin Street Phone number: 029 2066 8585 Nearest public house: Gassy Jack's

Address: 93 Wyeverne Road Phone number: 029 2022 6222 Nearest public house: The Mackintosh

Address: 223 City Road Phone number: 0844 668 3292 Nearest public house: Varsity

Pinnacle

Wentworth

Address: 3-5 Fanny Street Phone number: 029 2064 0200 Nearest public house: Mr. Smith's

Address: 2 Coburn Street Phone number: 029 2022 2203 Nearest public house: The Mackintosh

Keylet

Cardiff Student Letting Agency

Address: 1B Mundy Place Phone number: 029 2038 8399 Nearest public house: The Mackintosh

Address: Ground Floor, Students' Union Phone number: 029 20 781525 Nearest public house: The Taf

HOW NOT TO GET SCREWED OVER: Some Useful Housing Tips 1. Don't rush! Take your time when choosing who to live with - the guy you have a great time with when drunk won't necessarily make the best housemate. You should also take your time when choosing where to live. What do you want from your house? Bear in mind that there are more houses in Cardiff than students.

2. Could you live here? Any promises made at the time of the viewing, such as a new kitchen or new sofas, should be written into your contract. Even if this is the case, you should look at the house and consider whether you could live there in its current state. If you find that the answer is no, you should walk away.

3. Read your contract It might be boring, but make sure you read your contract carefully before you sign it. If there is anything you aren't entirely happy with or sure of, don't sign it - you can take it into ARC to be checked first. Don't feel pressured into signing anything - once you've signed a contract, there's no going back.

4. Protect your bond Once you've paid your bond, your landlord or agent is legally obliged to place your bond in an authorised tenancy deposit scheme. The landlord or agent must give you details of how your deposit is protected within 14 days. As soon as you move in, make sure you check the inventory thoroughly, as this can prove crucial later.

5. Know you're not alone If you find you're having serious issues with your landlord and/or letting agency, don't try and deal with them on your own. The Students' Union's Advice and Representation Centre can offer help and guidance for a wide range of issues, and can point you in the right direction for legal and/or support services if necessary.


gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2009

23 JOBS & MONEY


18 POLITICS

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Benn there, done that

Chris Tarquini talks to Tony Benn, the influential former Labour Minister and current President of the Stop the War Coalition

A

nthony "Tony" Neil Wedgewood Benn is often described as the greatest leader Labour never had, and is still, at the age of 84, a prominent and influencial voice on the leftwing of British politics. Having renounced his inheritied title - 2nd Viscount Stansgate - in a landmark British case, he was instrumental in the creation of the 1963 Peerage Act which allowed peers to renounce their title and gave female and Scottish hereditary peers the right to sit in the House of Lords. Benn spent 48 years as a Member of Parliament between 1950 and 2001 during time which he was Postmaster General, Minister of Technology, Secretary of State for Industry, and Secretary of State for Energy. During the 1980s, when the Labour Party was in opposition, Benn was a prominent voice on the Left. The term "Bennite" has since become used for someone of a radical, democratic, leftwing ideology.

"Thatcher said that her greatest achievement was New Labour"

Since leaving Parliament, Benn has become President of the Stop the War Coalition, having been vehemently opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, having previously described them as "imperialist" wars. "We have in effect withdrawn from Iraq, that war is over. The Afghan war has been going on for 7 years, longer than the First or Second World War. You've seen the number of casualities there and I believe we need to make it clear that we do not intend to remain there", Benn told me.

Labour - new and old In fact Benn is more than critical of the New Labour government that started both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. "I am not a supporter of Tony Blair and New Labour. I think it is basically a Thatcherite party. You know, when she [Margaret Thatcher] was asked what her greatest achievement was, she said 'New Labour', but we have to do the best with the government and policies we have, and I think the idea that it's certain that the election will go to the Conservatives is not correct."

"Government intervention can protect national interests" Does this mean that the Labour Party should go back to its routes to keep winning? Benn seems to think so: "The Labour Party presents itself as representing working people and their families. If it does represent working people then I think they'll vote for it, but if they think that a Labour government would simply follow on from New Labour then I think they won't be attracted to it". The question of whether the new, centrist, Conservative Party is a viable electoral force soon arises. Is New Labour still a better option than a more moderate Conservative Party? "Mr. Cameron presents himself as Blue Labour. What I do think is that if Mr Cameron did have a majority in the House of Commons he would follow policies that have much in common with Mrs. Thatcher's approach and I don't think it would be a successful government even if he won". Benn doesn't seem to have much faith in the Lib Dems, either. "I'm a

Labour party man and have been all my life. I see the Liberals as people who would go into a coalition with the Conservatives if the Conservatives won or didn't have an overall majority. I think in this instance Nick Clegg would want to join in and form a coalition government with Cameron".

The BNP What about the British National Party (BNP), do they pose a threat to the British political process? "Well they never had support before the War in the 1930s. The Fascists never gained a single parliamentary seat and I don't think they will win seats in Britain, no." Should they have been allowed to appear on Question Time then? "I'm not in favour of banning opinions because I disagree with them, but I'm not in favour of giving a lot of publicity to extremely right-wing views. I think if you disagree with a point of view you have to argue it down, and the growth of the BNP is a product of the failure of Labour to do what has to be done."

Democracy Benn is also a longstanding opponent of the European Union, something which most would consider strange for a Labour politician, but his distrust dates back to the 1970s when he claimed to EU was bureaucratic and centralised "Well I did vote 'no' in the 1975 referendum, but I'm strongly in support of co-operation with other European countries as I don't want to go back to the old European wars we've had in the last century. However the way that the European Union is structured and the way the Lisbon Treaty leaves it would not be very democratic because power would be given to people who we didn't elect, people we don't remove and wouldn't

therefore be influenced very much by the people.

"The government has to fund higher education as a matter of national priority"

A lack of democracy is something that Benn also attributes to the current economic crisis. "We do require a bigger role for democracy to deal with market forces, as that is the cause of the problem. Market forces got completely out of control, and we were told for years to leave everything to the market and when we did look what happened. I think it will require a much bigger and more consistent intervention by government to see that essential national interests are not ignored or neglected.

should extend to those at university. It does make it very difficult for youngsters who find once they've got their degree they have a huge debt to pay off. If the government wants more higher education they've got to fund it as a national priority. This money should be out of national taxation." For a man who has been a defining character in British politics for half a century, Tony Benn shows no sign that he wants to give it up just yet. He even gained attention for his inventions, such as a suitcase with a fold-out stool to sit on during long queues and a briefcase that converts into a lectern. "I am still involved in the Labour Party. I intend to write and broadcast and be very active. I've just published a book called Letters to my Grandchildren that's about the future".

Tuition fees So with the government looking to raise tuition fees by thousands of pounds to fund higher education, does Benn think this is a good idea? "I'm not in favour of increasing the charges for universities because I think the idea that education should be free at the point of delivery, which applies to school, TONY BENN: still fighting

Who is Herman van Rompuy anyway? As the Belgian Prime Minister becomes the President of Europe, Damian Fantato has a look at this unknown man's credentials

B

elgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, was been named as the first President of the European Union after the 27 EU heads of state gathered in Brussels to find a worthy candidate. He will be joined by Baroness Catherine Ashton, who takes up the position of High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The unanimous appointment of Van Rompuy and Baroness Ashton, who is currently EU Trade Commissioner, is seen by many as being down to the fact that they are consensual

politicians with little foreign policy experience.

Van Rompuy got the job because he has little foreign policy experience The position of President of the European Union (or Permanent President of the European Council as it should be known) is a controversial one. It was created by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which comes into force on December 1 and which was itself di-

visive. The Irish held a referendum on the treaty twice, having voted ‘no’ the first time. In the UK, however, there was much debate about whether there should have been a referendum at all. The President will serve a two-and-ahalf year term and can be re-elected once. He will chair all EU summits, something which has previously been rotated between the 27 member states and provided little continuity, and will be tasked with striking a consensus between the member states. The President will be the walking embodiment the EU and will represent it on the world stage.

As High Representative, Baroness Ashton will be tasked with pursuing “quiet diplomacy”, representing EU values around the world. Her appointment, as a Labour politician, counterbalances Van Rompuy, who is a centre-right Christian Democrat, and was celebrated by Gordon Brown, who saw it as a confirmation of the UK’s role at “the heart of Europe”. Van Rompuy, 62, had a spell at the Belgian central bank before entering politics. He became Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Budget Minister in 1993 and Presiding Officer of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives

(lower house) in 2007. He became Belgian Prime Minister in 2008 when the previous government collapsed in the wake of a scandal and King Albert II asked him to form a government. Since becoming Prime Minister, Van Rompuy is credited with bringing political stability to Belgium, which had been through three prime ministers in a year and was widely rumoured to be on the verge of splitting up. Van Rompuy has also been acknowledged for his economic management of Belgium. He has slashed government deficit, which had grown to 135% of GDP in 1993.


POLITICS 19

gairrhydd | POLITICS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Pulling our Clegg

Inexpensive speech

Damian Fantato looks at Chris Williams asks if Nick Clegg was the Queen's Speech right about the Queen's Speech

N

ick Clegg announced this week that the Queen's Speech should be cancelled and replaced with a programme designed to clean up Parliament. Good insight Clegg - if we get rid of that one speech and exchange it with another equally meaningless exercise, then that’ll sort out all the problems. Why didn’t anyone see this before? It’s so easy - in fact, if this can sort out Parliament, then what antidote will Clegg be giving to the problem of the economy? Tom Jones cancelling a few gigs and being replaced by a Scouting For Girls DJ set? Focus on the real cause of the problems instead of promoting yourself. Besides, the Queen's Speech is important: it sets out the ‘legislative agenda for the next year’. Clegg argues that most of it won't end up being passed before an election happens. So what? If we stopped the Queen's Speech everytime a policy statement

wasn't acted on then it wouldn't have taken place for at least ten years. Remember Blair's promises to reform the House of Lords? Clegg should wake up and start taking part in real-world politics. MPs bend the truth. We’ve all got to accept it. Clegg appears to have spent far too long sitting on the fringes of debate, experiencing very little responsibility - other than making sure his party don’t look too idiotic come election time - and not enough time understanding political reality. “It’ll be the rehearsal of the next Labour Party manifesto”, says Clegg. And? Any party who had the Queen willing to read out a list of laws that they want passed would probably use it as a platform for making themselves look better. It’s illogical to think otherwise. Any politician with a platform or an audience is looking to tell them about what they’re going to do to help the country.

Clegg should let the Queen carry on with her speech. Then MPs can debate what they’re going to do about the situation in Parliament. It obviously has to change, but let's be realistic about it. Change won't happen by tinkering with the window-dressing.

NICK CLEGG: Was he right?

G

ordon Brown has set out the terms on which he will fight the next election in last weeks Queen’s Speech, and they are firmly economic. The Queen’s Speech, which takes place at the beginning of each new Parliament and is the government’s legislative agenda for the upcoming year, contained 13 potential laws. Two of the bigger announcements are the Fiscal Responsibility Bill and the Financial Services and Business Bill. The Fiscal Responsibility Bill puts into law the government’s promise to halve the budget deficit within four years time and gives Parliament the power to approve medium-term fiscal plans. The Financial Services Bill, meanwhile, establishes a Council for Financial Stability to be chaired by the Chancellor and will comprise the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the independent body that regulates the financial services industry. The

Bill also promises action on the pay of workers in the financial sector. The Bill also allows groups of individuals to bring court action against financial institutions. The Speech also included other measures such as the prohibition of cluster bombs, the Digital Economy Bill which plans to introduce universal broadband by 2012 and the Flood and Water Management Bill which gives councils the power to prevent floods. But the real story behind the Queen’s Speech is what was left out of it. There were no measures to deal with MPs' expenses, something which has caused outrage. David Cameron has said that ministers are either “incompetent” or scared of Labour backbenchers. Sir Christopher Kelly, the author of the expenses reforms, has said that he is “disappointed”. The government has said that it still intends to take forward the suggested reforms, despite omitting them from its main legislative agenda.

Reaching our best-before date

As the world struggles with war, recession and global warming, Oliver Smith gives you another reason to worry yourself sick

O

il has an expiration date. Long have scientists claimed that we will see the depletion of oil in our lifetimes, but in reality we have a more pressing problem than this. It’s called ‘Peak Oil’ and many scientists think we may have already reached it. Put simply, peak oil is the point at which our oil reserves have reached their highest output and after this point begin to decrease. And to put our current situation into perspective, 33 of the largest 48 oil-producing nations have already hit peak oil and are decreasing in their production of oil. The debate around the timing of peak oil was kicked into overdrive

a week ago when two whistleblowers from the International Energy Agency (the people who forecast our oil reserves and usage) revealed that the IEA had increased their forecasts so as not to scare the global financial markets. Three days later, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden published a report that proves that the IEA’s forecast figures are wrong. Unfortunately, it is difficult to accurately predict the remaining global oil supply as there are many different actors involved, all with financial interests best served by keeping the data secret. If the oil companies revealed their supply data giving us an accurate picture of how much is left, it is

Unlike America, the UK’s presence in the Middle East is unlikely to secure our supply of oil in a crisis. We have already seen fluctuations in the price of oil over the last year and these will probably continue and increase in frequency as the market responds to shortness in oil supply. The future of oil is unsure. However, if the revelations from the two whistleblowers inside the IEA are anything to go by, our future dependence on oil is fast approaching an end. And as the crisis becomes more apparent over the next few years, governments around the world will be forced to take increasingly drastic action to secure their energy needs.

in 2007 and was chaired by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, former UK representative to the UN and an alumni of Cardiff University. It was an important part of the deal that formed the coalition between the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru and its role was to gauge public opinion on the level of public support for the extension of the Welsh Assembly's law-making powers and would provide the basis on whether or not to call a referendum. The report, which was delivered to Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan on Wednesday and was compiled by Sir Emyr and a 16-member executive committee, said that a "great fog" sur-

rounded public understanding of how the present system works and suggests that the referendum takes place in 2010. The convention, which cost £1.3 million and received evidence from 3,000 organisations and individuals across Wales, found that a full transfer of powers was eminently preferable to the current system. Sir Emyr said: "What we found was that the current arrangements for giving the assembly law-making powers [...] were seen as cumbersome and slow. Having the powers all at once offers distinct advantages and can only be obatined through a 'yes' vote in a referendum. If

this happened, it would give particular legitimacy to the National Assembly for Wales". Two-thirds of Assembly Members would now have to vote in favour of holding a referendum. The request would then go to Westminster, where the Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain, would make the final decision. Peter Hain, however, remains convinced that the current system works and that the Welsh Assembly is already being given the law-making powers it wants. He maintains that there is no case for holding a referendum and would therefore not allow one to take place.

Our dependence on oil is reaching an end

The people of Wales have spoken Damian Fantato Politics Editor

A THE ASSEMBLY: More powers?

It is obvious that the IEA has lost much of its credibility in the forecasting of oil figures, and without a reliable source it will be difficult to plan for our future energy consumption. But what does peak oil mean for us in

the UK? And assuming we are on the brink of peak oil, what can we expect to see in the near future? The UK currently sits on the far end of an oil pipeline that comes from the Middle East. We have little oil reserves of our own and in a global energy crisis we will probably be hit sooner than those countries in central Europe. Already we have seen countries in similar energy situations as ours begin emergency measures to slash their dependence on foreign oil. The government of Cuba has ordered the closing of all non-essential factories and workshops throughout the winter, as they enter a “critical” energy situation.

likely that we would begin to move away from oil as the supply runs out, resulting in lower oil prices. However, by keeping their supply secret the oil companies are able to charge full price until the last drop runs dry.

report commissioned by the Welsh Assembly has found that the Assembly should be given full law-making powers on devolved areas. The All Wales Convention established that 47% of Welsh people would vote 'yes' in a referendum on boosting the Assembly's powers, whilst 37% would vote 'no'. The Ministers of the Assembly are committed to holding such a referendum by May 2011, as long as it is winnable. The Convention was established


18 LETTERS

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY OCTOBER 05 2009


LETTERS 21

gairrhydd | LETTERS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

the Comments from the week’s news, opinion, features and sport at www.gairrhydd.com Perv on patrol... Joe Patterson This is clumsy, shamateur ‘journalism.’ She totally contradicts her supposed righteous stance by describing herself and girls like her as going out ‘inadequately dressed’ and ‘scantily clad.’ Surprisingly to her, police aren’t in fact emotionless automatons (a la Judge Dredd, or Robocop); they are often newly graduated, red-blooded males who, more often than not, don’t hold you in as much esteem as elderly members of society who probably do need more protecting than girls who walk the streets at an ungodly hour, dressed ‘inadequately.’ End of rant.

On the third day, someone made up God Lianne Wilson I agree people on both sides have some rather poor arguments. I certainly don’t think evolution has proved there is no God. I base my atheism mainly on the logical and ethical problems with the Christian God and the Bible. But that’s probably where we’ll have to agree to disagree :) Jonathan Sounds like you are more like the

17th century thesits. Who rejected special revelation, but saw evidence of design in the world. Adam Troth Lianne, you are certainly right to note that Dawkins is, to quote one opponent in a debate, “articulately barbed”. However, I can assure you that I have never heard him talk of “banning” religion, and would certainly not infer that from any of the coverage I have seen. While Dawkins sees all religious belief as something almost wholly negative, and feels that the world would be far better off without religion, he has never to my knowledge discussed banning it. I would certainly be reviled by such thought policing and illberal authoritarianism. Dawkins tends to take the view that religion will eventually diminish (not necessarily disappear) as levels of scientific education rise. Studies generally tend to correspond with this view. One of Dawkin’s major campaigning points has been to revitalise science lessons in classrooms, which is of value in itself even if it does not lead to a rise in atheism. As regards his views on censoring religion, although the strident old man does find it immoral that tiny children are labelled with their parent’s religion or subjected to religious indoctrination, he has never commented on banning religion, and has even said that to do so would obviously be a pipe dream. I don’t think that evolution

“disproves” the existence of God. In purely epistemological terms, the only proofs are logical/mathematical ones. However, evolution does remove the need for any kind of designer, creator or sustainer. It is a remarkably elegant and simple theory which explains nature in all its beauty. It is all the more tragic that it is misunderstood by so many. Jonathan, where do you see “evidence of design in the world”? In addition to the clearly imperfect evolved biological features that the author of this article discussed, I would mention the human jaw. You would think that something as important as this would be carefully and painstakingly designed by God were it designed. However, if a human engineer designed or built a human jaw as we find it, he would be fired on the spot. Another good example is the female pelvis. If God wants us to be fruitful and multiply, it seems fair to assume that he might put a bit of time and effort into making sure it was fit for purpose. We are clearly evolved beings, not designed ones. How much more evidence do we need to show you? There is literally tonnes of the stuff in museums and laboratories. It is perfectly accessible to the public and does not require a quantum physicist’s brain to comprehend. Jonathan Well the examples of imperfect design, you cite can be explaned

forum

by dual use criteria. Personally I rather like female hips. Jamie Jonathan, I genuinely don’t mean any disrespect, but this is one of the oddest reasons for conversion I have ever heard. You began to question your faith (and eventually became Christian) because you disliked Richard Dawkins? I’m sure the vast, vast majority of Christians and Muslims despise Fred Phelps/Abu Hamza, but they don’t suddenly undergo revelations of faith. They tend to just say “Okay, I don’t agree with that person. I’m going to be more tolerant with my faith”...

first living cell would be engulfed and annilated, like a radio signal drowned by the random noise of the universe. ... “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” Proverbs 23:9. Christians are just going to leave you alone, you “athiests” and whatever else you want you label yourselves as. You won’t understand them. You haven’t the minds for it.

Cameron's six point plan

Jonathan

Rayatcov

Jamie I didn’t want to be impolite and start talking about inferority complexes. However, I have met others who felt the same, and became Christians. I won’t say it was so personal, just that he was desprate to prove something. Getting back to imperfect design. The modern British Bulldogs’ muzzles are so deformed that they a hard time breathing. Neither God nor nature is responsible. Rather the desires of dog breeders. So with some asspects of human form. Culture has deformed us to conform to unatural criteria. The positive Evidence is that in nature complex forms are broken down. (Enthropy, the laws of thermodynamics, information theory) The putative

Unfortunately, to my understanding, there will be no other treaties to stop. The Lisbon Treaty is as you may know, a self amending treaty and as such will not require any countries to vote on any changes, or new directives, that the colleagues in Brussels may wish to implement. This of course means that anything that Mr Cameron says (wihout leaving the EU altogether), is impossible to obtain. I may be wrong…but. By the way, Mr Cameron will only win the next election because the other main party is worse, not because his party is better. To my mind there is little, if any, difference with any of the three main parties.

www.gairrhydd.com NEWS, LIVE DEBATE, FEATURES, SPORT, QUENCH, EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND MORE

Away on a placement? Heading abroad? In bed with a hangover?

Stay in touch with gairrhydd.com


22 TAF-OD

gairrhydd | TAFOD@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal yn rhannu llwyfan gyda Karl Jenkins Angharad Haf

Taf-od Writer

Yn wahanol i’r arfer, nid dawnsio’n wirion ar lawr Clwb Ifor oedd nifer o Gymry ifanc y brifddinas nos Sadwrn Tachwedd 14. Yn hytrach, roedd cyngerdd go arbennig yn cael ei chynnal yng Nghanolfan y Mileniwm yn y bae. Bu Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal yn ddigon ffodus i dderbyn gwahoddiad i ganu yng nghyngerdd Karl Jenkins; cyngerdd a oedd hefyd yn dathlu penblwydd y Cynulliad yn ddeg oed a’r ganolfan ei hun yn bum mlwydd oed. Mae Karl Jenkins yn Gymro ac yn gyfansoddwr byd-enwog; yn adnabyddus am gyfansoddi nifer o ddarnau lleisiol a cherddorfaol. Ymysg y darnau yn y gyngerdd oedd detholiadau o “Adiemus,” “The Armed Man” a darn gyfangwbwl newydd wedi ei gomisiynnu’n arbennig ar gyfer y noson sef “Anthem.” Wedi wythnosau o ymarfer caled, roedd hi’n hen bryd rhoi popeth at

ei gilydd. O flaen cynulleidfa lawn a llond lle o gamerâu teledu, dyma’r aelwyd yn ymuno i rannu llwyfan gyda Cherddorfa Sinfonia Cymru a chorau llwyddiannus eraill yng Nghymru sef Côr Caerdydd, Cantata a Chôrdydd. Ymysg yr artistiaid gwadd roedd Catrin Finch, Rebeca Evans, Elin Fflur a Rhydian o’r The X Factor. Roedd hi hyd yn oed yn fwy gwefreiddiol cael canu o dan arweiniad y dyn ei hun; Karl Jenkins. Profiad anhygoel heb os nac oni bai. Yn ol un o’r baswyr, Gareth Rhun, “mi oni’n teimlo’n freintiedig iawn o gael bod yn rhan o’r dathliadau arbennig a rhannu llwyfan efo artistiaid byd enwog.” Roedd y Waun Ddyfal yn sicr yn ffodus iawn i gael rhannu llwyfan mor safonol gydag artistiaid mor llwyddiannus. Peth braf arall oedd gweld rhai o gorau Cymraeg y ddinas yn dod at ei gilydd fel yna ac uno i greu un perfformiad mawr; perthynas wnaiff ddatblygu yn y dyfodol efallai, pwy a wyr. Un arall o griw’r aelwyd i fwynhau ei

hun oedd Manon George, “mae’n anhygoel bod Canolfan y Mileniwm yn gallu llwyfannu cyngherddau gwych o safon uchel i gynulleidfa anferth.” “Time to celebrate” oedd hi wedyn yn dilyn y gyngerdd a pha le gwell i ddechrau’r dathlu ond Terra Nova yn y bae?! Roedd hi’n braf gweld aelodau o’r corau eraill yn ymuno yn y cymdeithasu hefyd. Wrth gwrs, cyn gadael yr hen le, bu mwy o ganu... ac os nad oedd y lleisiau wedi diflannu ar ddiwedd y gyngerdd, roedden nhw’n bendant wedi diflannu erbyn gadael y bae y noson hynny!! Gyda “Dies Irae” a “Llais y bardd” yn atseinio yn ein pennau, bant a ni wedyn i barhau a’r dathlu yn Buffalos... sawl awr a sambuca yn ddiweddarach, roedd hi’n hen bryd mynd adre ar ol noson a hanner! Pwynt diddorol iawn oedd bod

Huw Foulkes, arweinydd yr aelwyd,

wedi datgan ei ddymuniad wedi’r gyngerdd y byddai’n hoffi dilyn yn ol traed Karl Jenkins... mae’n bwriadu tyfu wisgars er mwyn cael edrych yn debycach i’r athrylith cerddorol ei hun. (haha!) Cafodd rhaglen o’r gyngerdd ei darlledu ar S4C nos Sul Tachwedd 22 (ond mae’n siwr cewch chi ddigon o gyfle i’w gwylio eto gan bod y sianel yn bla o ailddarllediadau!) Neu wrth gwrs, syrffiwch draw i wylio S4Clic ar y we. Cofiwch bod CROESO I BAWB yn yr aelwydrydym yn cyfarfod bob nos Iau fel rheol yng Nghapel Harriett St. Os hoffech chi unrhyw wybodaeth ychwanegol, danfonnwch ebost at: yr_aelwyd@hotmail.co.uk

KARL JENKINS: Legend


gairrhydd | SCIENCE@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT 23

New nuclear plant in Wales? Ten potential new nuclear power sites have been announced amid fears over planning and safety Amy Hall Science Editor The government has announced ten suitable sites for new nuclear power plants including one in Wales. The plans are part of a draft national policy statement to restructure the planning system fast tracking particular projects. The Welsh plant is proposed for Wylfa on Anglesey, already the site of an existing power station. Jake Griffiths, Wales Green Party Leader criticised the way the Assembly has dealt with the proposal saying, “The Welsh Assembly Government silence over the proposed nuclear power station at Wylfa is deafening.” Alan Raymant is the Chief Operating Officer of the joint project between energy giant E.ON and RWE npower. "It's absolutely vital that the importance of new nuclear power stations is recognised in bringing investment and jobs to the UK. "We're delighted that our plans

for Wylfa and Oldbury have been recognised as excellent sites for development." The first of the new plants could be running by 2018 but there are concerns however, among environmentalists and residents near proposed sites about nuclear waste and possible leaks.

Wales could produce more electricity than it consumes “Assembly reports have shown that Wales could produce more electricity than it consumes from renewable sources if the right policies and investment were put in place. Support for nuclear power diverts investment away from the development of green technologies which could create 50,000 jobs in Wales”, said Jake Griffiths. Most of the sites are attached to or

next to existing plants but there are two new locations in Cumbria including Kirksanton where a wind farm may be dismantled to make way for the nuclear station. This new policy statement is meant to act as a guideline for the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which aims to give developers planning decisions on schemes within a year of application. This has led to concerns that developments may be rushed through without proper consultation of people in the area, but the government has said there will still be opportunity for locals to object. Kate Hudson is the Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, “Removing popular and judicial control from a decision to store British civil and military nuclear waste, potentially alongside imported foreign intermediate level waste in a community for thousands of years is profoundly undemocratic”. The government intends for 30% of electricity to be generated by re-

newables by 2020. It has also set out plans for reduced emissions, keeping costs down and sustainable development and reiterated its commitment to ‘clean coal’ saying that they will continue with trials for controversial carbon capture technology which aims to trap emissions underground. This has been criticised as it will be costly and slow to test effectively but the government has said that no new coal plants would be built without this technology as they see it as one of the only viable alternatives. Ed Miliband said, "In exploiting new technologies we can also lock green jobs and growth, not carbon, into the UK's future energy sector. "The current planning system is a barrier to this shift. It serves neither the interests of energy security, the interests of the low carbon transition, nor the interests of people living in areas where infrastructure may be built, for the planning process to take years to come to a decision." The policy statement will be discussed until February.

Blood: restriction behind the need

As the University gives blood en masse, Science and Environment discuss why it might not be for everyone Chloe Grant Reporter As you may already know, the Union is currently in the middle of a big drive to encourage students to give blood. We all know that there are rarely enough donations to meet demand - so why aren’t more of us making the effort? Whilst the majority of us would accept blood, probably without a thought, a significantly smaller proportion will have donated recently. Blood donations are necessary for many reasons, but they are particularly vital for use by burn victims, new mothers and premature babies, on cancer wards and for organ transplants, as well as for planned and emergency operations. Few people would refute the worth of any of these causes, yet giving blood remains a highly sensitive issue. Traditionally, students at Cardiff have an excellent record of donating blood. In the last academic year we gave 1,429 blood donations, and 15 new donors attended the University donation clinics. However, whilst admirable, this is a drop in the ocean. Tracey Sampson from the Welsh Blood Service (WBS) gave us some startling statistics. You can give blood every 12 weeks from the age of 17, and the WBS needs 450 blood donations every day, yet only 6% of the population who are eligible to do-

nate actually do so. According to Ms. Sampson, the problem is not getting people to donate at all, but getting them to do so regularly: "The majority of our donors are people who have donated for years. However, we need fresh donors, who will in turn continue to donate throughout their lives: only then can we come close to meeting demand." Of course, there are many reasons why people do not, or cannot, give blood. Health issues are obviously important, both for the donor and the

recipient. The web site of the National Blood Service (www.blood.co.uk) highlights some key concerns. Donations are a no-go if you have a cold, flu, anaemia, or Hepatitis, among other illnesses. Recent surgery, a new tattoo or piercing, and below-average body weight are all factors that prevent people from donating. Sexually active gay men are prohibited, primarily due to fears of contamination by the HIV virus and other blood bourne STIs. This exclusion has caused outraged protest. Many be-

lieve that we should not be excluding such a large amount of people when blood is needed so badly and it will be screened anyway. 37% of people diagnosed with HIV caught in the UK are not sexiually active gay men.

Last academic year, we gave 1,429 blood donations, and had 15 new donors Certain religious groups, including some Jehovah’s Witnesses, refuse to give blood as they believe it is against God’s plans. For many people, the ‘fear factor’ is a major issue. People are afraid of needles, and of becoming ill afterwards. But perhaps the most common reason of all is not one of fear or deeply-held views, but merely procrastination: giving blood is not seen as an essential activity, and so can be done at some point in the future Whatever your personal views, it is clear that without blood donation, many people would be far worse off. Perhaps we should leave the final word to Ms. Sampson, "Giving blood is an achievement, something to be proud of. Who would refuse a mother, or a newborn baby?" For more information or to register as a donor visit welshblood.org.uk.

DRACULA: He's not fussy

News in brief Newsbites Tory voters less likely to believe in climate change Only 41 per cent of Britons believe that climate change is down to human activity. The results come from a poll by The Times which shows that most of the population still remains sceptical about global warming and the impact of CO2 emissions. Tory voters seem less able to accept the idea of climate change with only 38 per cent believing that global warming is a scientific fact and that human activity plays a role, compared with 45 per cent for Labour and 47 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. The poll also showed that eight per cent of people believe that it is environmentalist propaganda to blame human activit, while 15 per cent say the don’t believe the Earth is warming Rooks as clever as chimpanzees Researchers at Cambridge have been amazed to learn that rooks (a member of the crow family) are as adept at using their beaks for tools as chimpanzees are for using their hands. Not only were the rooks able to select the right tools for the tasks they were set, they were also able to fashion crude hooks from wire and whittle sticks. The rooks were given a series of tasks involving obstacles between them and their food and given the tools to get to their meal. This has led the researchers to question their understanding of the evolution of intelligence. Early trauma can alter genes Studies on mice have shown that significant stress in early life can have an impact on genes, and alter certain hormone production resulting in changed behaviour. The study carried out in Germany, took newborn mouse pups and caused them continuous low-level stress, by separating them from their mother for three hours every day for ten days. The mild stress would not have been felt at a nutritional level meaning the mice were safe but they “would of felt abandoned” according to the scientists. The “stressed” mice were not able to cope as successfully with stressful situations throughout their lives as normal mice, they also had poorer memories, due to a slight alteration of their DNA. The study may lead researchers to a better understanding of childhood trauma on humans. Yangtze River heating up The Yangtze River, home to about 400 million people, will need a huge amount of investment and careful planning to stop it suffering from the worst of climate change, states a new report by WWF China. If not the River will be most likely be subjected to a devastating impact of floods, droughts and storms in coming years. Over the past five years China’s largest river has experienced an increase in temperature of 0.71°C, this startling figure combined with the new report means there are fears over the crippling effects that could be felt on the biodiversity and food production of the area.


24 JOBS & MONEY

gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

"Ever thought about a career in the Home Office? Nope me neither" Jobs and Money Editor Katie Greenway never thought she would enjoy a job in the Home Office... until she got there... Katie Greenway Jobs & Money Editor

Ever thought about a career in the Home Office? Nope me neither. What I am hoping to do in this column is to provide gair rhydd readers with options, perhaps options they hadn’t thought of before or didn’t know enough about to really consider. I also wish to pay tribute to those that have succeeded and who can provide you guys with invaluable information and advice. So I’m going to tell you about something which I had never considered before. I am on a gap year and have fallen into a job with the Home Office, more specifically with the UK Border Agency. I was one of the lucky ones. I want to be a Barrister and the job I

am in at the moment should help me do that, if I don’t get sidetracked and fall in love with this job. I am an asylum case worker; I manage my own caseload and work on asylum claims and claims for international protection either from papers or interviews with applicants. I apply the UN Convention and European Convention on Human Rights as well as Immigration Law when considering whether or not people should be granted leave to remain in the UK because they will be persecuted if they return to their own country. The salary isn’t that bad either; I am an Executive Officer starting on £21,000 and the knowledge, the experience and the skills you learn are second to none. It is also very emotive, only the other day I had to watch one of my decisions being served to someone

from Eritrea. It was a refusal and the look on this man’s face almost killed me. We have to look at so many horrific things…you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it yourself, but the atrocities that are going on all around the world are devastating. If you are interested in such a job, you may be eligible to apply for a Higher Executive Officer (HEO) role straight after University. You need a 2:2 degree and experience of casework on some level. The only difficult bit is getting the competency based application forms right, go and see a careers advisor or if you know someone in the Civil Service get them to help you because they are tricky. You would start on £25,000. The UK Border Agency also has a Leadership and Management Programme which further develops their

HEOs. The Civil Service offer a very direct career path. You can move across departments and different government agencies and you can progress through the ranks; Administrative Assistant, Administrative Officer, Executive Officer, Higher Executive Officer, Senior Executive Officer etc. I went to have a chat with the Higher Executive Officers about their perspectives on their jobs in the Civil Service. “I started off with the prison service because, when I was doing my degree, I was interested in law and criminology - not just criminal side but the social impact too,” says Jonah, who graduated from Cardiff in 2000 with a 2:1 LLB. “I really like working for the government because, as an employee, it’s relatively safe. There is real stability

in the agency. Career wise, you can get good training and you can cross the whole of the Civil Service and government agencies so it can be a really diverse career. We get flexible working hours, very good appreciation of work/life balance and an employee contributory pension too,” he added. “Generally the UK Border Agency has a good working atmosphere. We have a young office and we all get along really well. Also I have never been in a more diverse workplace…I doubt one exists but I think its great. I have never had such a great opportunity to meet so many different people from different backgrounds. I love that you will never know it all…. geography, politics, culture, history, health, social case systems etc. I never stop learning - I love it.”


gairrhydd | JOBS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2009

23 JOBS & MONEY


26 LISTINGS

Listen to Listings Panto Fun Christmas is on its way and what better way to celebrate Christmas than by going to a nice traditional panto. Of course if traditional panto isn't your bag then Act One have just the thing for you: Cinderotica, Cardiff Students' take on the panto format. The jokes will be coming thick and fast as Act One tear apart the Students' Union (including this publication and our Editor Emma Jones) and all aspects of Cardiff life, so get on down to the Students' Union from the Novermber 25-27. The panto is a highlight every year and a fantastic showcase for Cardiff's finest acting talent.

Time to Procrastinate Essay season is upon most humanities students and as such we're all looking for distractions and in particular distractions that A) don't cost money and B) don't require us leaving the house. What follows are gair rhydd's top 5 ways to waste time around the house to give you some pointers. 1) Pro Evolution Soccer/Call of Duty The staple male method of killing time, the new Call of Duty will probbaly be single handedly responsible for exactly 9 people failing their degree this year.

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

YOUR INDEPENDENT LISTINGS GUIDE Monday

23rd November

Tuesday

24th November

Wednesday 25th November

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND @ The Coal Exchange, £12.50 Following on from upstarts the Blackout's appearance last Monday, Funeral have returned to Cardiff to remind everyone what emo sounds like when it's done properly.

CHIC BEAT @ Revolutions, £3.50/£4 The biggest night out on a tuesday and with good reason, cheap drinks and the best in new and old club music means that if you want a night out on a Tuesday its always worth considering.

JAMES MORRISON, CIA, from £55 Soulful crooning from the singer described by the Big Issue as "UK music's most expressive new voice." Pricey but if you have any of your loan left there's definitely worse ways to blow the last of it.

VODKA ISLAND, Tiger Tiger, £3.50/4 The second cheapest night out on a Monday and if you indulge too much in the double vodka and red bulls it'll probably be the one that lasts the longest. Has something for everyone really, they even have the odd bit of indie now to keep the doubters happy.

JUST DANCE, Clwb, £3 Clwb is good for your health, fact. Assuming Rev's isn't your cup of tea and Comedy Club is inevitably sold out then Clwb is easily your best option for a night out.

THE LASH, Solus, £3 One of the most successful nights the Union has ever seen, The Lash is going from strength to strength! I'm sure you have probably already been, but go again - it's still a great night.

JAZZ CAFE, The Gate Whether your a budding musician or just a fan of Jazz its probably worth heading to this night at the gate and having a chill out night, if nothing else it'll make a change from your standard night out and your much more likely to remember it.

RWCMD STRING ENSEMBLE, St Peter's Church, £6 concession If you want to do something slightly more highbrow than the normal wednesday night out, then this may be worth a look, you'd imagine the music and drama college would have some pretty amazing musicians and it could be your first chance to see potential stars of the classical world.

FUN FACTORY, Solus, FREE Still the best night out at the Union, especially considering we're at the back end of term now and everyones student loan is just a distant memory. CAT MOUSE CAT, Ten Feet Tall Shamless plug here, they're one of Cardiff's brightest new bands and the bassist will buy you a drink if you show up, just ask for Robin.

COMEDY CLUB, CF10, £4 Until late last year this was probably one of the union's best kept secrets, but its recently seen a boom in popularity culminating in a performance by Simon Bird early this term. Unless you've lost your funny bone its definitely worth checking out.

CLUB NME, Buffalo Bar Catch it now at this more intimate setting before it moves onto bigger and better horizons, it'll make a change from the standard wednesdays at Metros or Clwb.

2) http://Sporcle.com I'm reliably informed that if I go on this quiz site now then this column won't get finished so here goes.... 3) Tidying It's boring but occasionally following your mum's advice is a good way to kill an hour or two and on the plus side it means you have a nice clean room to make a mess of, providing further procrastination time. 4) Write for gair rhydd/Quench What better way to put off essays than by writing something else, you don't feel like you've wasted your time and you have something tangible to show for your efforts at the end of it. 5) Spotify So good it needs its own section, you can literally spend hours at a time exploring bands similar to the one your listening to.

Students’ Union, Park Place, 02920 387421 www.cardiffstudents.com ! IV Lounge, Neuadd Meirionydd, Heath Park 02920 744948 ! Clwb Ifor Bach ros, Bakers Row 02920 399939 www.clubmetropolitan.com ! Dempseys, Castle Street 02920 252024 ! Move, 7 Mill Lane 02920 225592 ! Jazz, 21 St. Mary Street 02920 387026 www.cafejazzcardiff.com ! The Riverbank Hotel, Despenser Street www.riverbankjazz.co.uk ! St. David’s Hall, Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay 0870 0402000 www.wmc.org.uk ! The New Theatre, Park Place 02920 878889 www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk ! The Cardiff International Arena, Mary Ann Street 02920 224488 ! The Millennium Stadium Can’t miss it. www.millenniumstadium.com ! Tiger Tiger


LISTINGS 27

gairrhydd | LISTINGS@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Thursday

26th November BOUNCE, Walkabout, £2/3 A love/hate night out, either you love it or its your worst nightmare, though more people I know lean towards the former. Its definitely got a lot going for it as it fills up every week without fail and by 1-2 am in the morning you'll feel like you'll have had your weekly workout. CYNT, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3 Get your rave on, its Thursday at Clwb! The best night out in the week for anyone who prefers their nights out to be slightly more eclectic. THE BEST IN LIVE STAND UP COMEDY, Glee Club, £7 NUS Carey Marx's act is described as a comedy illusion act...no I don't know what that means either. She's Canadian and both a magician and a comedian so expect something unique, Glee Club is quite a cool place anyway so its probably worth checking out.

Friday

Saturday

27th November

28th November

UK COFFEE HOUSE TOUR: Sylvia Powell, Shot in the Dark, Free Her bio describes her as 'blending' jazz soul and folk influences, then ends abruptly. It is free though and Shot in the Dark has a rapidly growing reputation amongst the discerning end of the student market. If you are going, it's best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

BEDLAM, Great Hall, £17 If your into dance, electro or DnB this is usually one of the biggest nights out of the year and with good reason. This time around the headliners are Foreign Beggars who bring an added hip-hop dimension to the nights proceedings.

MICHAEL FLATLEY'S LORD OF THE DANCE, CIA, £27.50 concessions Much like Jazz Cafe this is probably something you'd never consider doing unless dance is your thing, on the other hand though it's practically guaranteed to be a visual sensation so if you've got the money what have you got to lose? THE DUDES ABIDE, Clwb Ifor Bach, £3.50 NUS One of the foremost nights out in Cardiff's weekly Indie calendar, Clwb is a student institution and with good reason, expect the usual mix of contemporary and retro alongside some classic tunes.

COME PLAY, Solus, £3.50/£4 Town on a saturday isn't always the most welcoming to students and with Come Play going on at the Union there really is no need to risk it, if Bedlam doesn't tickle your fancy and there's nothing good on TV what other choice do you have? WALES V ARGENTINA, pubs and clubs everywhere, probably free You're in Wales, its basically obligitary to watch the Rugby and if you don't you need quite a good excuse. Find a pub or club and soak up the atmosphere, its the perfect way to spend a potentially wet autumn afternoon.

Sunday

29th November RECORDS AND ROASTS, Cardiff Arts Institute Everyones loves a sunday roast (even vegi's when theres a meat free alternative) and what could be better than combining sunday lunch with some carefully chosen records. the CAI's amazing anyway and they do a fine pint of Brains SA Gold. PORTRAITS, Clwb Ifor Bach, £5 Clwb rarely put on a bad band and I'm sure Portraits will be no exception, what else are you going to do on a sunday night if your looking for a fix of live music? STAYING IN, Your House, definitely free Apparently a night in every so often is good for your health and if your going to stay in any night then you might as well make it the day of rest or for the athiests amongst you the day before Monday.

ALISON MOYET, St David's Hall Cardiff, £25 concession Apparently she's gone through a variety of musical incarnations so whatever your cup of tea she may well offer something tonight, to be honest i'll be watching the Rugby, but your mileage may vary.

(The Welsh Club), 11 Womanby Street 02920 232199 www.clwb.net ! Barfly, Kingsway, Tickets: 08709070999 www.barflyclub.com/cardiff ! MetIncognito, Park Place 02920 412190 ! Liquid, St. Mary Street 02920645464 ! The Philharmonic, 76-77 St. Mary Street 02920 230678 ! Café The Hayes 02920 878444 www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk ! Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton 02920 304400 www.chapter.org ! Wales Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road 02920 646900 www.shermantheatre.co.uk ! The Glee Club, Mermaid Quay 0870 2415093 www.glee.co.uk ! Greyfriar's Road 02920 391944 www.tigertiger.co.uk ! Tommy’s Bar, Howard Gardens (off Newport Road) 02920 416192 !


26 FEATURES

gairrhydd | FEATURES@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY MAY 18 2009


FIVE MINUTE FUN 29

crossword. sudoku.

gairrhydd | FMF@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

EASY

MEDIUM

Across

Down

6. Transparency (7) 7. Streets (5) 9. Male deer (4) 10. Supplying water to dry land (10) 11. A socially awkward or tactless act (8) 13. Conundrum (6) 15. Russian emperor (4) 17. Incentive (5) 18. Hue (4) 19. Preaching (6) 20. Monument (8) 23. Gauntness (10) 26. Stop for a horse (4) 27. Australian wild dog (5) 28. An artless innocent young girl (7)

1. Tympani (10) 2. American elk (6) 3. Dread (4) 4. Advancement (8) 5. Where the sun rises (4) 6. San Antonio fort (5) 8. Frosty was one (7) 12. Half note (5) 14. Interlace (10) 16. Originated in (7) 17. A small house with a single storey (8) 21. Handle effectively (6) 22. An obsolete name for nitrogen (5) 24. Copper (4) 25. Nile bird (4)

HARD

a t a h w , y e k Cri ! y e k i l a k o lo

Send us your look-a-likes at editor@gairrhydd.com

Where's Wally

Gareth Ludkin, 3rd year Journalism


30 SPORT - FEATURE

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

James Davies hears about the good old days of Formula One in and interview with one of the sport's greatest legends, Sir Jackie Stewart He made his name as one of the all time greats behind the wheel. Winner of three Formula One Championships, 27 Grand Prixs and ranked in the top ten drivers of all time, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE is one of the most highly regarded names in global sport. On the track Sir Jackie’s story is an inspirational one of drama, drive, determination, danger, excitement, tragedy, controversy, glamour and, of course, massive success. Beyond the sport, his life is a compelling tale of his early battle with dyslexia, and achieving world-wide recognition as an outstanding sportsman, a role model and more recently as a highly accomplished and respected businessman. From growing up in a Scottish village, to the racetrack of Monaco, and the boardrooms of the world, Sir Jackie Stewart has led a ‘chequered’ and eventful life. Revealing all, however, the former race ace explains, “everything has not always been champagne and parties.” Although Sir Jackie will be 71 in June it seems evident he has no intention of slowing down as he motored into the room at some speed. Born, as he put it, “in a wee village called Milton better known for Ballantine's whisky”, Sir Jackie explained his love of fast cars began at a tender age, while he worked at his dad’s garage. These days, racing prodigies begin competing in karts from as young as four and have their education structured accordingly. That wasn’t an option in the Forties when Sir Jackie was raised. Although it seems no surprise that racing became a passion it was, however, a chance meeting with a customer, while he was an apprentice mechanic, that put him on the road to becoming a world champion. As he sat sipping a glass of Coca Cola the Dumbarton-born Scot explained, “When I left school at fifteen

LOST AND FOUND: Thunderbird 6?

I became a garage mechanic. I was preparing what I would call some club racing vehicles for a racing enthusiast, who was not allowed to drive himself. One day he came in and he asked me if I would like to do a wee event as a reward, which I did and I finished second. He came back and said ‘what about doing the next one’, which I did and won. It was then a kind of rocket ship. I was never really aware that I had any skills as such for racing, but once I got a taste for it I definitely wanted to do it again.”

years were by far the unhappiest of my life. In those days, as it still is in some places, dyslexia was never identified. You were just stupid, dumb, or thick. These were difficult times because it’s humiliating not being able to read or write, and do all the things everybody else does so easily.” Adding with a real sense of sad-

was going to be thunder and lightning and the world was going to change. In fact it didn’t change at all. It’s one of those titles that I think its better when you haven’t been world champion, thinking, wow what if I were a world champion. Once you’ve won it you say, "well maybe I could win it again. "Once you’ve won it again and again

"Life has not always been champagne and parties" His first attempts were impressive, showing exceptionally quick reflexes and a cool demeanour behind the wheel. As a youngster the talkative racer showed incredible hand-eye co-ordination and it looked likely he would follow in the footsteps of his dad, a former amateur motorcycle racer and his older brother Jimmy, who was already a successful racing driver. According to the affable Scot, it was Jim’s brilliant career in motor racing that ignited the flame of a young Jackie’s burning passion for the sport. “He was one of the best and smoothest sports car drivers in the world during the 1950s”, he explained, before adding, “He was my hero. He was everything I ever wanted to be.” Despite his eminent rise to the top, Sir Jackie explained he had an unhappy school life and was by his own admission, “a failure in the making”. Although education played a huge part in his formative years, it was for all the wrong reasons. Twiddling with the phone cord next to him, Sir Jackie mused, “Yes, I was a failure educationally. I’m dyslexic and my school

He was the F1 Champion who wanted to live fast but not die young. Sounding somewhat frustrated, Sir Jackie explained, “In those days, if you were racing for a five year window in Formula One, there was a two out of three chance you were going to die, which is a ridiculous average. People did not think racing drivers needed to think of safety because they were seen as gladiators and if you were killed that was your full awareness before you went in there. I thought that was all wrong. I thought I was being paid for my skill not for the risks I was taking.”

Sir Jackie is a man of immense charisma, charm and integrity

STEWART: Times change but his hat hasn't ness, “Dyslexics need to understand that they can achieve and they can succeed. What is a shame is a great many of them are never going to reach their full potential.” Nevertheless, his harsh Scottish schooldays are what instilled in Sir Jackie the will to triumph. Like many dyslexics wee Jackie had an extra desire to prove himself in life. “Because you cannot do the things that people your own age can do so easily you’re made to feel inadequate. You feel humiliated. You have no self esteem. I had a terrible complex but managed to rise over it. Sport gave me my chance in life, starting off with shooting, where I shot for Scotland and then Great Britain, and then motor racing. Now it doesn’t really worry me that I can’t read or write correctly, and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t know the alphabet. I do look back and wish my teachers were here to see me now because they and the educational system had totally written me off.” The triple Formula One world champion, who last stood on top of the winners’ podium in 1973 -the year he retired- is clearly proud of all he has achieved. So, I wondered, what does it feel like to be the fastest man on the planet? Launching into a vivid description, he exclaims “The adrenaline is incredible, but a good racing driver doesn’t make it look like he’s going that fast.” He added, “The first time I won the world championship I thought there

it loses its sparkle slightly but when you’re introduced as world champion it’s a nice experience because you’ve worked hard to achieve it. From my point of view I can’t say it devalued its currency the second or the third time. In fact it enhanced it.”

"There was a two out of three chance you were going to die" Sir Jackie might not have enjoyed the playboy reputation of many racing drivers, but his impact on the sport extends far beyond spraying champagne on the podium and showing beautiful girls around the F1 garage. With his pioneering efforts to revolutionise track safety measures, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ never shirked from a challenge or turned away from a crash. In 1966, while racing at 164mph in the rain, Sir Jackie Stewart left the track, crashing into a tree during SpaFrancorchamps. He remained in the upturned car while the vehicle’s fuel poured onto him. “The tiniest spark would have made me a human bonfire,” he said. After this near-death experience, Stewart became an outspoken advocate of Racing Safety. Having driven through an era when fatalities were almost shockingly inevitable, Stewart knew what it was like to lose friends.

Having tirelessly campaigned for racing safety, Sir Jackie became incredibly unpopular with a number of those involved in the sport. He boycotted, campaigned and protested and was involved in a very major change in the safety of racing, making him more than just a wizard at the wheel. In an emotional tirade, the Scot explained, “It needed to be done because there was a period in 1968 where four of our drivers died in consecutive months. When that happens to you and you’re constantly going to funerals and you’re witnessing the grief and the devastation, which doesn’t have to happen, I realised I had to do something.” With sporting success comes adoring fans who, more often than not, verge on the obsessed. This is certainly the case for the one-time racer. There was an undeniable sense of excitement amongst the hundreds of fans who had flocked to meet Sir Jackie - their hero - who was here to meet his legions of fans, who had painstakingly waited in a queue that circled the block in the relentless rain. Judging by the number that had turned up, it seemed he would be here for quite some time. Sir Jackie, a man of immense charisma, charm and integrity rather humbly reflected on his A-list lifestyle, putting the whole showbiz razzmatazz into perspective. He explained, “When Peter Sellers or when I first met the Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor or the Queen I did get slightly star struck to begin with, until you met a great collection of people and you then get used to it. You find that people are just as anxious to meet you as you are of meeting them. The real stars I don’t think see themselves as celebrities. It’s the would bes who see themselves as important. The real stars don’t need to act or behave in a manner that lets people think they’re something different. So I think that soon wears off. If you get intoxicated by that you’re going down the wrong road. Although I’m Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, I’m still Jackie.”


FEATURE - SPORT 31

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Adam Horne speaks to Cardiff student and British and Commonwealth title holder, Nathan Cleverly, about his life as a boxing champion Since the age of 18 Nathan Cleverly has risen through the ranks of the boxing world, picking up two titles in four years of professional boxing. However, throughout this time Nathan has also had the arduous task of tackling a maths degree at Cardiff Universityof which he is now in his fourth and final year I spoke to the young boxer from Caerphilly about his life as a boxer and Cardiff University student and his ambitions beyond the sport he loves. Nathan, you're in your final year at Cardiff University now, how are you finding your degree? “I’m enjoying it, its nice to have something besides boxing, its going well and it’s challenging too. When I finish of course i'll stick to my boxing, It’s my life and I definitely want to focus on that even when I complete my degree." You say boxing is your life, what inspired you to take up boxing in the first place? "Basically, as a youngster when I was 9, 10, 11 years of age, I was very competitive, got into a lot of street fights but was also a little bit insecure. I was bought up in a rough area, so decided instead of going into my shell, if someone called me a name, I fought my way out of it. "I realised I enjoyed fighting and wanted to turn it into something constructive, so decided boxing was a good idea. I went to the boxing gym and just channelled all my aggression into boxing really, and I don’t think I’ve really had a street fight since." Boxing has proved to be a great way for young kids to get off the streets and stay out of trouble. Do you think this impact could continue in years to come? "There’s been a lot of talk about introducing boxing to young children, at secondary school sort of level. For me boxing was great because it kept me out of trouble, and like I said, after taking it up I found I was rarely getting involved in fights outside of the ring. It helped me with my education too; it improved my discipline and dedication, which rubbed off on my studies."

12 pro fights under Enzo. Obviously the politics got involved then and the split between Frank Warren and Joe Calzaghe led to me deciding to stay clear and take my own path. I stayed with Frank Warren who is still promoting me now." You’ve also followed Joe Calzaghe around the globe havent you? "Yeah I’ve been on a few undercard fights when Joe’s been fighting so I’ve experienced the big events, I know what it’s like to box in front to big crowds. I’ve fought in Las Vegas, that was a brilliant experience, and I definitely want to go back there again, in my own right fighting for a world title, that would be a dream come true. I also fought at the Millenium Stadium, that was great. I think there was about 15,000 people there at the time, when I actually fought, and the atmosphere was great. It helps prepare me for the future, for the big fights." If you were to pick a favourite venue would it be Las Vegas or the Millennium Stadium? "I enjoyed Las Vegas more, the atmosphere surrounding the place is amazing. Las Vegas is the place every boxer wants to be, it’s just a great place and people know their boxing out there. But the Millenium Stadium was just great because obviously I was in my home country with the fans. Hopefully I can go back there in the future, maybe even win a world title there." So a world title is definitely on the cards? "Definitely. To be the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world, that’s my aim." No doubt you’ll face a lot of tough opponents along the way. Who would you say is the best fighter you’ve ever faced? "I think the best boxer I’ve fought is probably Tony Oakey, when I won the Commonwealth title. He pushed me

CLEVER-LY: Nathan works hard to juggle his boxing career and his degree the whole 12 rounds, and it was really tough. He didn’t have the boxing class of a top American boxer but he had some real grit and determination." What’s your favourite career moment to date? "Probably when I won my British title against Danny McIntosh, because it’s such a prestigious belt. There was also a lot of hype surrounding the fight, McIntosh was mouthing off, being very cocky and arrogant. There was a lot of tension heading into the fight, and I had a lot of pent up anger inside me, and it was just nice to win in the style I did really. There was a large TV audience and it was an enthralling fight."

"I enjoyed fighting and wanted to turn it into something constructive" You must have had some role models growing up as a young aspiring boxer? "Boxing wise it was Joe Calzaghe at the time, because he was a Valley boy like myself. That inspired me a lot, and it just so happened that my dad knew his dad, so that’s how we met." And of course you trained under Enzo Calzaghe for a while. "Yeah that’s right, I had my first

CLEVERLY: Punching his way to the top

Speaking of enthralling fights did you happen to catch the recent match up between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto? "Yeah I caught that- great fight. Pacquiao’s a great boxer. He’s got it all. In terms of favourite boxers, growing up it was always Calzaghe, he’s one of my tops, also Oscar De La Hoya, I just like their fighting styles. De La Hoya especially because he always fought the best, he was a true fighter, never looked to take the easy route. At the moment though, active boxers, I would have to say Manny Pacquiao, hes just got everything. He's moved up his seventh weight division, a true champion, true warrior." And of course he humbled Ricky Hatton a while back now. What do you make of Hatton’s proposed comeback to boxing? "He was a great boxer but I think he should stay retired. His best days are behind him now, hes put on a lot of weight, had a long break and he was the type of fighter that got involved in very big, tough fights and it’s all kind of caught up with him now, but he obviously wants to go out on a high, and if he wants to come back and try to go out on a win that’s fair enough, but I think he should stay retired really. He was a real tough fit strong fighter, but he didn’t really look after himself during fights and when he fought Manny Paquiao they looked leagues apart." So when it comes to yourself staying healthy between fights how do you cope? "I relax just like any other person and try to live as normal a life as possible. When Im in training for a fight I'm tee-total for about 8-10 weeks before and I’ll have a little relaxation with my mates for 2-3 weeks afterwards, go out for a couple of drinks, maybe go for a break somewhere. I think it’s

important to relax and have a release valve and a social life really. " So do you get to experience the Cardiff nightlife much? "Yeah Cardiff’s where I tend to go out all the time really, obviously being a student now as well it’s nice to catch up with my student mates. My favourite club's probably Oceana. I used to go to the Union but haven’t really been there since the first or second year. "

"One day I want to be the undisputed light heavyweight world champion, that's my aim"

Are there any other sports you get involved with in your spare time? "Football - I’m a keen footballer. I play whenever I can but you’ve just got to watch the injuries. I play with my mates whenever I can, it's nice to have a team sport to get involved with." Favourite team? "Liverpool, and my favourite player has to be Gerrard. Cardiff I guess are also up there, I keep track of them and support them whenever I can. It's just nice to get involved with the team spirit, because obviously in the ring I'm on my own." And you're back in the ring again soon aren’t you? What lies next for you in your journey to the top? "I'm fighting an Italian, Antonio Brancalion for the European title on January 29 in Italy so I’m looking forward to hopefully adding that to my British and Commonwealth titles and moving forward in my career."


32 SPORT- WARM UP Previews in brief British and Irish Cup The British and Irish cup competition is now underway for the first time as a handful of teams play their opening matches this week. Twenty four semi-professional sides from around the British Isles are involved in the newly created contest which sees various matches such as Aberavon v London Welsh and Leinster A v Cornish Pirates take place this Friday. Representatives from the Welsh Premiership, English National League One, Scottish Premiership One and Irish Provinces make up four groups of six clubs playing each other once.

For the smaller clubs the cup is a great opportunity for fans to travel to various different grounds around the country and the competition is a huge chance for lesser-known players to improve their skills. The contest will also strengthen the semi-professional game and will hopefully act as a springboard for players looking to get recognised by the top clubs. May 15th will see one of the teams claim the inaugural trophy when the final is played.

Arsenal v Chelsea When Sir Alex Ferguson declared that this season would be a twohorse race, Arsenal and Chelsea fans immediately agreed, but neither of the horses were Manchester United. Both sides have started the season confidently, which is more unusual for Arsenal than Chelsea, but both should be well aware that United rarely hit the ground running, and if anything have started stronger than normal. For Chelsea, Didier Drogba, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack will all hope to be back from slight injuries, but will still be without their talisman Frank Lampard. Arsenal currently have more injuries than any other team, but the major loss is Dutch wizard, Robin Van Persie, whose lethal finishing will be sorely missed in a game where chances will be sparse. Home advantage may prove crucial, and if there is a winner in this contest, it could prove to be a huge six-pointer come the end of the season.

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Robbie Wells looks ahead to the top eight tennis stars competing at the ATP World Tour Finals in London's O2 A long and gruelling tennis season comes to an end this week, as the top eight players of the year meet in London’s O2 Arena for what many consider to be the unofficial fifth grandslam. The newly renamed ATP World Tour Finals is to be held in the UK for the first time in its history, with Andy Murray vying to become the first British champion in the competition’s 39 years He will have to come through a difficult group to do so, however, with only the top two in each of the two groups going through to compete in the semi-finals. He will face world number 1 Roger Federer, US Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro and the man who knocked him out of the Australian Open, Fernando Verdasco. Murray will still fancy his chances, after another consistent season that saw him peak with a number two ranking in August, becoming the first Brit to do so in the modern era. A wrist injury has seen him lose points and slip back to world number 4, but victory on his comeback at the Valencia 500 was a huge boost, only to be ejected from last week’s Paris Masters 1000 early on. Murray declared that his preparation for the ATP World Tour Finals was good, and that his wrist was not giving him any trouble.

Federer is going into games feeling unbeatable again To advance to the semis, Murray will most likely have to defeat either Roger Federer or Juan Martin Del Potro in his group. Federer will be looking to equal yet another record, and become only the third man, after Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, to win five end-of-season finals. This year has been kind to Federer, after a combination of a loss of form and damaging knee problems for Rafael Nadal saw him collect his first Rolland Garros title and regain the Wimbledon title for the sixth time, returning to the top of the rankings in the process. The familiar confidence and unshakeable swagger has returned to Federer’s game, and he appears to feel unbeatable going in to games again. Another man who appears to have

back-to-back titles. Before the recent Paris Masters 1000, Djokovic had gone through 2009 without a Masters title to his name, despite a consistent season. If he can emulate his form from that tournament, where he was hitting every forehand with conviction, precision and power, then there will be only be one winner of this group.

Nadal will be looking to this tournament to reassert himself as the best in the world

DJOKOVIC: an air of invincibility is Del Potro, whose year has seen him firmly established as one of the players to avoid. His flat, accurate, hard-hitting style has made him a difficult opponent to combat, as Federer found out in the US Open, where Del Potro won his maiden grandslam. Rounding off group one is Fernando Verdasco. On his day the Spaniard can upset the very best, but will probably be making up the numbers in this group, as it is entirely likely that the experience and class of the other three will prove too much. Group two pits Australian Open winner Rafael Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko, Robin Soderling and last year’s winner, Novak Djokovic. Nadal’s drop in form and lack of ruthlessness has been well documented since his knee injury has left him half a yard slower and less eager

Pre-tournament favourite has heart to chase down every ball. His power and, most of all, his determination, have not diminished, and he should not be overlooked in the tournament, despite the demolition at the hands of Djokovic in the Paris Masters 1000. Davydenko and Soderling are both dangerous players; Davydenko favouring technically constructed points, winning points with wicked angles, whilst Soderling is a simply a big-hitting Swede. Soderling is enjoying his most successful season yet, with the highlight of the year coming when he knocked Nadal out in the French Open fourth round, inflicting the Spaniard's first defeat at Rolland Garros in an astonishing 31 games. However, the big test to Nadal in the group comes from pre-tournament favourite and current champion, Novak Djokovic, who is looking to become only the eighth man to win

Murray will be looking back to last year for inspiration, where he dispatched Federer in the group stage and asserted himself as possibly the best hard-court player on the tour. However, Del Potro’s emergence has been no less impressive. If a top two from this group can be predicted, then it may be Del Potro’s recent injury that allows Murray and Federer to progress. Group two should be a stuck-on eventuality that sees Nadal and Djokovic progress with ease. It is easy to see why Djokovic holds the favourite tag, as the only one not recently nursing an injury, and looking sharper than he has all year, but for me, Rafael Nadal will be looking to this tournament as his opportunity to reassert himself as the best in the world. If he manages to step up his game, he has more potential than the rest to improve, and a confident display here could see 2010 being Rafael Nadal’s year.

RAFA: Pumped up

ATP World Tour Finals: Editors' predictions James Hinks: There is a reason why I have never won a bet in my life. I always bet on what I want to happen and not what will most probably happen. So for this tournament I am going to carry on with this logic and predict Murray to win. He has a great record against Federer and hard courts suit his playing style. Plus the great British support. So even though this is a blind patriotic bet on the only British participant, it's actually not completely reckless. Come on Murray!

Jon Evans: It would be easy to state the case for any of the eight players. Federer is the world number one, Djokovic won the trophy last year and Nadal will be as ruthless as ever. The quality on display will be sublime. Murray will have 20,000 screaming fans cheering every point he wins and his record against the top players is not something to be laughed at. With the court surface and the home advantage, I'm going for the Scot. Although, his fitness has come into question in the past when playing several matches in quick succession.

Adam Horne: Once again I'm winging a bet without really knowing who will win. In tournaments like this it's near impossible to predict a winner with such a huge amount of talent involved. But Djokovic won this tournament last year, and has just won the Paris masters, so will be pretty confident coming into this one. Murray always seems to do a Henman and fall at the final hurdle, whilst Federer seems beatable nowadays and Nadal is still sluggish following his injury problems. Djokovic has a good chance to sneak another win here and I expect him to do so.

Lucy Morgan: The World-ranked number one and Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer is surely favourite to win. The most successful player in the history of Men's tennis may have gone out in the early rounds of the Paris Masters but will surely be back on form this week. It will depend on his round-robin match against Andy Murray as Federer didn't qualify for the group stages last year after defeat to the Scot. But, Daddy Roger has a new sense of focus and I believe he will cruise to victory.


THE WORD ON - SPORT 33

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Adam Horne gives The Word On... the Filipino boxing star that is Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao At the age of 30, Manny Pacquiao seems to have tried it all; boxing, singing, acting, politics, you name it, he’s most probably given it a good go. What’s more is he seems to have excelled in most of these things. Anyone heading to MySpace can sample his singing skills - I certainly did and was pleasantly surprised considering the man punches people for a living. Pacquiao has also appeared in numerous commercials, and stars in a film set to be released in the near future; Wapakman. The flipside to this is that when Pacquiao attempted to dabble in politics he was slightly more unsuccessful; however, it does seem he plans to give it another shot after retirement. Of course, none of his successes off the ring could ever compare to his successes in the ring. Pacquiao started his professional boxing career at 16, pushed into it by his dad. Not in the way you or I may have been pushed into sports by our fathers when younger. Pacquiao was not dragged to Sunday league matches unwillingly. Instead Pacquiao fled home after witnessing his dad kill and eat the family dog. Apparently severe poverty was not a good enough excuse for Pacquiao, and always the fussy eater as a child, fled to the streets of Manila where he joined a gym and survived buying and reselling doughnuts, earning a pittance but at the same time discovering his calling in life: boxing.

Pacquiao fled home after witnessing his dad kill and eat the family dog Just over a week ago, Pacquiao humbled Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas to claim a world record seventh title belt in seven different weight classes. The sight was simply unbelievable. His speed and footwork are unlike anything I’ve ever seen and punches appear to bounce off him on a never ending basis. Suspicisions were raised before the fight as to whether Pacquiao could handle the power and intensity of his new weight class - some thought he would struggle and Cotto would retain his belt. They were wrong, and Pacquiao showed yet again why he is the undisputed pound of pound champion of world boxing.

Top Five Boxing Greats

1.

MUHAMMAD ALI: The greatest heavyweight championship boxer of all time, Ali fought in a number of historic matches but his knockout of George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle stamped his place in boxing history.

2.

Samuel L. Jackson is still too scared to ask for his hat back Or is he? Don’t get me wrong, I’m in awe of the man. For someone to have experienced a childhood such as the one he experienced, found a way out of it through boxing, move up seven different weight classes and won titles in all of them, whilst beating household names such as Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Marco Antonio Barrera is simply outstanding. He outpaces and dominates nearly every opponent he faces. He is an utter genius. But in my opinion, he still has one more mountain to climb before he can claim to be the best boxer of his generation. That mountain will prove to be his toughest yet. Flloyd Mayweather Jnr. He is Pacquiao’s Everest. When these two greats do eventually meet it will surely be the winner of the bout that will be crowned as the undisputed pound for pound boxer of their generation. If Pacquiao intends to cement his place in history as the greatest boxer of his generation he will face a tough task. Can he do it? Of course, he can. He’s faster and more agile than Mayweather, as seems to be the case with all the opponents he faces. He showed just over a week ago that he can absorb and take punches, whilst dishing out some serious damage himself. However, Mayweather has goaded him in the press, claiming he is ‘onedimensional’ and Mayweather clearly believes he is a smarter, well rounded fighter who will have no problem beating Pacquiao. Of course he needs to say that. But Mayweather has a point.

In my mind, Mayweather, as much as I loathe the guy, is possibly the smartest boxer of his generation. He provides opponents with very few flaws to take advantage of. His defence is outstanding and in attack he applies every punch in the book to dismantle and overwhelm the opposite corner. Whilst I claim that Pacquiao can certainly beat Mayweather, the case still remains that Mayweather could easily take Pacquiao apart.

"He's the best fighter I've ever seen and that includes Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard" Looking at the way both fighters humbled Hatton in their respective fights, they clearly have very different fighting styles. Pacquiao relies on his speed and footwork to scare opponents, and take advantage of their mistakes to land flurries of counter punches. This is why he beat Hatton so easily. Hatton neglected his defence more than Brazilian football coach Dunga does at training sessions. He aimed punches and missed, and Pacquiao was there to clean up. Mayweather struggled more against Hatton in my opinion. He does not posses the speed that Pacquiao has so had to pick his punches carefully, and take a more defensive approach. He

still beat Hatton, but it took him longer, and he looked to be in trouble a few times too. However, he had the IQ to dismantle Hatton round by round and, in fairness, introduced us to more of Hatton’s flaws than his own. When Pacquiao and Mayweather do meet it will prove to be a fascinating encounter. Mayweather will not afford Pacquiao the usual flaws and openings most opponents offer him. His speedy flurries of punches may well go to waste against Mayweather's defence. But I don’t think Pacquiao is quite as ‘one dimensional’ as Floyd Jnr. claims. Trainer Freddy Roach has helped Pacquiao to perfect his own defence and I saw how hard it was for Cotto to land a good punch against him last week. Pacquiao is an attack minded boxer, but he is not another Ricky Hatton. In the ring, he can be just as clever as Mayweather, and will prove to be quicker in both footwork and hands. This will be his basis for victory, however, he will need to ensure he keeps his wits about him. Should he win, he will most certainly be crowned the best boxer of his generation. After the Cotto fight, promoter Bob Arum stated “He’s the best fighter I have ever seen and that includes Ali, Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard”. That seems a sweeping remark to me. In my view cross generational comparisons in sport are impossible; but should he tame Floyd Mayweather Jnr in the months to come, I may just come a bit closer to understanding exactly what Mr. Arum means.

MANNY PACQUIAO: Pacquiao is the first boxer to win seven world titles in seven different weight divisions and is the only boxer to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes.

3.

SUGAR RAY ROBINSON: A boxing great who Muhammad Ali named "the king, the master, my idol". He held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 then was the middleweight champion five times between 1951 and 1960.

4. JOE LOUIS: The most successful heavyweight champion in history, Louis put paid to 25 successful challengers over a 12-year reign and, in 1937, became the first black heavyweight champion for 30 years.

5. JOE CALZAGHE: When he retired in February 2009 with an undefeated record, Calzaghe became only the fourth European boxer to retire as an undefeated World Champion.


34 SPORT - IMG IMG NETBALL STANDINGS IMG NETBALL

DIVISION A

P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Psychology A

5

5

0

0

+77

15

2

CARBS

5

4

0

1

105

12

3

Cardiff B

4

3

0

1

+35

9

4

English A

4

3

0

1

+8

9

5

SOCSI

5

2

0

3

15

6

6

Pharmacy

5

1

0

4

-61

3

7

JOMEC

5

1

0

4

-84

3

8

Politics

5

0

0

5

--95

0

IMG NETBALL

DIVISION B P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Economics

5

5

0

0

116

15

2

Engin Loco

5

5

0

0

109

15

3

Law B

5

3

0

2

+35

9

4

Cardiff Jets A

5

3

0

2

-30

9

5

Gym Gym

3

1

0

2

-24

3

6

Navy

3

0

0

3

-49

0

7

Medics B

4

0

0

4

-65

0

8

Christian Union

4

0

0

4

--92

0

IMG NETBALL

DIVISION C P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

SOCSI A

6

5

0

1

+11

15

2

Pharmacy A

4

4

1

0

+64

12

3

Bioscience

6

4

0

2

+36

12

4

Carbs B

5

3

1

1

+4

10

5

Psychology B

6

2

1

3

-25

7

6

Medics A

5

2

0

3

9

6

7

Engin Auto

4

0

0

4

-30

0

8

Economics B

6

0

0

6

--69

0

IMG NETBALL

DIVISION D P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

LAW A

6

6

0

0

153

18

2

Cardiff A

5

5

0

0

+90

15

3

Dentistry

6

3

1

2

+8

10

4

English B

6

3

0

3

-39

9

5

SAWSA

5

2

0

3

-28

6

6

EarthSoc

5

1

1

3

-47

4

7

Jets B

6

1

0

5

-60

3

8

History

5

0

0

5

--77

0

UPCOMING FIXTURES

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

IMG rugby is a bit of a soft touch Tom Rouse Sports Writer When choosing which university to attend, Cardiff’s provision of an IMG rugby league was one of the main non-course factors that led to me choosing Cardiff over other universities. Unfortunately this promise was not born out by reality; the AU had cancelled that years’ IMG provision due to insurance issues arising out of the previous years’ tournament. This was billed only as a short-term solution; we were promised that a rugby league would be reinstated and it eventually came about albeit in a severely truncated form. Unfortunately, when writing this article a year and a half later no real changes have occurred. Last year saw a short end of year tournament, which was a great success, but matches of only 20 minutes on undersized pitches aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a University, which prides itself on being the leading University in Wales. This year, the same situation has materialized once again; no provision beyond a touch rugby tournament has been provided, which frankly does not interest the vast majority involved in IMG rugby who last played touch sometime before their teens. Third

year student Tom Clarke summarised the current position aptly: “If there were no IMG football or netball provisions there would be uproar. Why is a sport that is more popular than both of these in this part of the country neglected consistently?” What makes things worse is that when the teams have taken matters into their own hands and arranged their own matches, the AU/IMG, rather than supporting the teams and applauding their initiative, have instead condemned what is occurring and ordered that all such activity ceases immediately. The trouble is, if members of the university were playing football matches outside of the union’s control no one would ever dare to object, it would just be seen as ludicrous. The fact that rugby games are seen as such a big deal makes very little sense, in principle why shouldn’t groups of friends be allowed to organise their own matches? So why should rugby be treated any differently? They’re both contact sports and have similar amounts of risk so why should we not be allowed to hire our own pitches and organise matches? More importantly, why has the AU and union consistently failed to provide any kind of tournament over the course of the year? Money can’t be that big of a factor considering football and netball both run suc-

cessfully with teams paying a registration fee. So why can’t the same be repeated for rugby? Costs could be kept roughly the same per player but with the inevitable bigger squads that come as part of the sport extra money would be raised, which surely would offset insurance issues? Another suggestion for raising the funds was raised by someone with no vested interest in IMG rugby: why not use some of the money freshers spend on joining the official university rugby club and use it to subsidise an IMG league? Many people who pay their membership fees will not make it through the trials and turn to IMG only to find there is no official rugby available. But a strong IMG league would be attractive to both club and players, giving people a chance to prove their skills in a non-BUCS environment, which could then be used as a potential pool of new recruits by the University side. To be frank, any rugby this year would be better than none, but right now the emphasis seems like it' s on securing some kind of league for next year rather than this year which means an entire intake of students will have passed through Cardiff without having had any kind of regular IMG rugby provision which for a University of Cardiff’s caliber can only be described as a disgrace.

DIVISION A JOMEC English A SOCSI

Cardiff B

Engin Loco

Law B

C. Union

V V V V

SOCSI A Econ B Pharmacy A

Law A

SAWSA

English B

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

MOMED

5

4

1

0

+15

13

2

Engin Auto

5

3

1

1

+9

10

3

EarthSoc

5

3

0

2

+7

9

4

Economics FC

5

2

3

0

+6

9

5

Pharm AC

4

2

2

0

+8

8

P

6

Magnificent XI

4

1

0

3

-9

3

7

JOMEC FC

5

0

1

4

-15

1

8

Philosophy FC

5

0

0

5

--21

0

IMG FOOTBALL

Group B P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Law A

5

4

1

0

+10

13

2

Sporting Lesbians

5

3

2

0

+7

11

3

AFC History

5

3

0

2

+14

9

4

AFC Cathays

4

2

1

1

0

7

5

Law B

5

2

0

3

0

6

6

Chemistry

4

2

0

2

-2

6

7

SAWSA

5

1

0

4

-7

3

8

Cardiff Crusader

5

0

0

5

--23

0

IMG FOOTBALL

Group C P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

Gym Gym

3

3

0

0

+12

9

2

Psycho Athletico

3

3

0

0

+7

9

3

Samba Tigers

3

2

0

1

+7

6

EUROS FC

3

1

0

2

+1

3

3

1

0

2

-1

3

4 5

Sub-Standard Liege

6

SOCSI FC

3

1

0

2

-4

3

7

KAY FC

3

1

0

2

-8

3

8

Opsoccer

3

0

0

3

--16

0

IMG FOOTBALL

Group D P

W

D

L

Diff

Pts

1

CARBS

3

2

1

0

+19

7

2

KLAW FC

3

2

1

0

+10

7

3

Real Ale Madrid

3

2

1

0

+8

7

4

Inter-me-nan

3

2

1

0

+5

7

5

Engin FC

3

2

0

1

+14

6

6

J-Unit

3

0

0

3

-11

0

7

Myg Myg

3

0

0

3

-18

0

8

AFC Time Team

3

0

0

3

--27

0

UPCOMING FIXTURES

MOMED FC

Carbs A

Economics

Pharmacy B

Mag XI

Politics

Pharm AC

V V V V

Engin Auto

V V V V

Law B

V V V V

SOCSI

V V V V

Carbs

Philosophy JOMEC FC Earth Soc

GROUP B

V V V V

Gym Gym

AFC History

Navy

Law A

Jets A Medics B

LAST MINUTE: MOMED reignite memories of 1999 Champions League final

JOMEC in a tale of two halves Stephanie Mitchell Sports Writer

V V V V

Psycho B Carbs B

SOCSI 31 - 13 JOMEC

Engin Auto

The rescheduled fixture between SOCSI B and JOMEC resulted in SOCSI securing their second win in Division A after some fast and aggressive play. The first half of the match was close, with both teams putting up a strong, fast attack. The sharp play on each side’s attack resulted in an even level of scoring throughout the ten minute half, and the players were full of energy. JOMEC’s attack was well oiled, with good communication and fluid passing. The shooters were always backed up in the circle by their centre, Abigail Ray and WA, Sarah

Bioscience

DIVISION D

EarthSoc

Group A

1

Pscyho A

DIVISION C Medics A

IMG FOOTBALL

GROUP A

DIVISION B

Econ A

IMG FOOTBALL STANDINGS

V V V V

History Cardiff A Jets B Dentistry

Gillespie, so that they were able to score goals with ease. SOCSI’s attack was equally strong with some very impressive goals from Samantha Organ and Natalie Gilpin. At first, the defence on each side had difficulty keeping up with the fast pace of play, but towards the end of the half, the marking of each player had become a lot tighter. SOCSI managed to block the JOMEC attack on a couple of occasions, and steal the play from them. Both teams played good netball with only a few careless passes, and the first half of the match ended with SOCSI four goals up, at 13-9. The beginning of the second half saw some changes on the JOMEC team, with a shuffle around of the midfield and defence. The dynamics of the match changed dramatically with SOCSI soaring ahead with a fast

attack and a much stronger defence. The aggressive, yet sloppy play on both sides led to players scrapping with each other for the ball. JOMEC’s standard of play became a little careless with loopy passes and silly mistakes, as the team began to tire. SOCSI remained focussed with the centre and defence marking their opponents tightly, and JOMEC were unable to secure successful centre passes. Despite the best efforts of JOMEC’s defence, SOCSI’s lead grew with very accurate shooting. JOMEC’s shooter, Hannah Slater, was able to secure another four goals, in spite of the intense marking from SOCSI’s GD and GK in the circle. At the end of the match, SOCSI got their deserved win, despite the scrappy play, as their fitness remained constant, and JOMEC’s concentration was lost, with the final score at 31-13.

Cathays Sporting Lesbians

SAWSA Crusaders Chemistry

GROUP C Opsoccer Liege KAY FC Samba T.

EUROS FC Gym Gym Psycho At.

GROUP D J-Unit Real Ale Inter KLAW FC

Engin FC Time Team Myg Myg


BUCS - SPORT 35

gairrhydd | SPORT@GAIRRHYDD.COM MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 2009

Cardiff 1sts fail to turn chances into goals as Exeter put an end to their unbeaten run Luke Bliss Sports Writer Exeter 1sts 2 - 0 Cardiff 1sts Cardiff suffered their first defeat in four games after a hard fought encounter with Exeter University. The Welsh side were forced to make changes to their squad as goalkeeper Luke Bliss and defender Matt Foreman were both sidelined with injuries. The capable pair of Michael Sotnick and Jack Hunter were called in to deputise, however solid performances from both players could not prevent an upset. Cardiff had the better of the early exchanges as Rory Crawford was put through on goal by Huw Corne, only to see his effort saved by the feet of the Exeter keeper. Cardiff continued to dominate the first half, however the pitch conditions frustrated the Welsh side as they failed to capitalise on their possession. A series of crosses from Sean Hogan and Ross Howell tested the

DEFENSIVE TACTICS: Despite parking the bus Cardiff were unable to prevent a defeat Exeter back line, but Cardiff failed to get men forward to convert any chances. They were to pay the price as Exeter snatched a goal just before the interval with a curling effort from the edge of the box that nestled into the bottom right corner. The second half

was a fiery affair, with both Danny Sproul and Elliot Thomas throwing themselves in front of the Exeter players as Cardiff searched for an equaliser. The frustration of the travelling side was beginning to show as Lloyd Jenkins caused a stir with a hard-

hitting challenge on one of the home players. However despite all their hard work, Cardiff did not create any real chances in tough conditions and the result was put beyond doubt in the 70th minute as Exeter hit the away side on the break. The ball broke down the left side

and a low cross was easily converted to complete the scoring in a scrappy affair. After impressive victories against Bath and Brighton, Cardiff travel to Hartpury next week in the hope of returning to winning ways and continuing their challenge for top spot.

Bulletproof UWE shoot Cardiff Cobras back down to earth to put a dent in their season James Fooks Sports Writer UWE Bullets 29 - 23 Cardiff Cobras Last Sunday saw what was, without doubt, one of the closest fought contests in the BUAFL – British Universities American Football League – this year to date, as the Cardiff Cobras, fresh off a 99-0 victory the previous week, played their fierce rivals the UWE Bullets. The game started badly for Cardiff as they were forced to punt on their first offensive series. Their defence then suffered at the hands of the Bullets’ strong running offence, eventually giving up a Touchdown deep in to the 1st quarter. The Cobras’ luck changed on the next offensive series thanks to some Bullets indiscipline and some excellent running from backs Deji Alli and Martin Tranter and Cardiff scored to make the game even at 7-7. However, poor discipline and missed tackles on the ensuing kick off led to a Bullets special teams Touchdown and with that they took the lead. With that, the hot Cobras offence took to the pitch and, with a blazing 48 yard run from Martin Tranter, was able to score just before half-time, adding a two-point conversion to go

WOUNDED: UWE knock the wind out of Cobras sails 15-14 up at the half. The second half was much of the same exchanging Touchdowns, defences forcing the other team’s of-

fence to punt the ball away, but in the end the Bullets’ experience showed through as they came out in tricky formations and motioned in to even

trickier ones for the Cobras defence to cope with. The Cobras offence stayed true however and kept the team in the

game even deep in to the 4th quarter when the team was 1st and 10 on the Bullets’ own 20 yard line but couldn’t quite manage to punch the ball in to the end-zone. The game was sadly marred by the ejection of a Cobras player on the Bullets’ last offensive play. As they agreed to spike the ball, a bizarre and completely unnecessary refereeing decision was taken after the two lines met together and the Bullets’ centre was forced back, leaving the Cobras licking wounds on what was otherwise a fantastic game. “We lost, but we didn’t get beaten,” said Head Coach Dave Pruett, in what was a very true reflection of the game. Both teams executed plays well, offensively and defensively, but ultimately the team that performed that little bit better on the day came through victorious. MVPs (Most Valuable Player) went to running back Martin Tranter on offence for his two Touchdown performance and linebacker Peter “Carrot” Allott on defence. Next week sees the Cobras travel up to the back of beyond to face the old Welsh rival Tarannau Aberystwyth in the annual Welshbowl. Tarannau, with their vastly improved defence, will provide a big opponent for the Cobras who will try to retain the coveted Welshbowl trophy for yet another year.


Sport gairrhydd

INSIDE: ATP Tennis Preview, BUCS and IMG, an interview with Nathan Cleverly, and The Word On... Manny Pacquiao

Cardiff show the Pumas how it's done Lucy Morgan Sports Editor

Last week Cardiff University Men’s Rugby had the opportunity of a lifetime when they came up against the Argentine national squad for an intense training session with the world class side. The Pumas were in Cardiff ahead of their International with Wales over the weekend and were looking for a squad against which they could put to test their team for the Millennium Stadium showdown. So, on a very cold and wet Wednesday morning, the Argentine squad headed up to Llanrumney to train with the Cardiff Men's team. Over the years, the University Sports Fields at Llanrumney have been seen as some of the best in Wales and have played host to teams such as England, Ireland and Australia in their preparation for matches against Wales. However, in recent years, the University has lost out hosting International sides to the University of Glamorgan whose pitches are constantly being updated, meeting the needs of modern

day sports teams. However, Head of Sport Stuart Vanstone, is looking to reinvent the Llanrumney site in the hope of enticing back such worldclass teams and when the WRU got in touch with Cardiff asking what facilities were available and if the Men would be interested in providing opposition for the Argentine squad the response was obviously a resounding ‘yes’! After all, it’s not every day that a University side gets to test themselves against a top class International outfit. The Cardiff team were put through a briefing with the Argentinean attack coach who requested they play “the Welsh way” - using a pod system and attacking the same way using all the space for the full width of the pitch. The brief was that Cardiff were to defend for the first 20 minutes, attack for the second and play phases from set piece for the third. The Cardiff boys certainly rose to the occasion and gave a fantastic account of themselves. Considering they were up against the IRB ranked 7th best team in the world, they were winning lineout ball, recycling possession and regularly creating in excess of five phases. Furthermore, there were a number of impressive carries, with

Jake Cooper, Harri Morgan and Aaron Fowler all effective in getting over the gain line. Their striking performance did not go unnoticed and surprised a number of the international players. Speaking after the match Argentine Lock, Patricio Albacete, commented that the team “were really good to train with” and expressed his thanks

to the whole squad. He added that

the training session had been “really helpful” ahead of the Wales match – a game which Albacete was expecting to be tough: “We have seen the matches against Samoa and New Zealand, and Wales are a really strong side. We know it will be a tough match”. There is no doubt as to how valuable this game was for the Cardiff Men and it will certainly be a day they will not forget. As Head of Rugby, Martyn Fowler, said “this was a great experience for all involved; there are not many students worldwide who get the opportunity to play against an international team of this calibre and come away with so many positive plaudits from their opposition.” The feedback received from the WRU was just as positive with them stating that Cardiff University Rugby Club were a credit to the game in Wales and they would most certainly recommend Cardiff University to all international teams in the future.

GAIR RHYDD AND QUENCH MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSITY UNION CARDIFF, PARK PLACE, CARDIFF CF10 3QN ! REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER AT THE POST OFFICE ! GAIR RHYDD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ALL CONTRIBUTIONS !THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE PUBLISHERS !GAIR RHYDD IS WRITTEN, DESIGNED, TYPESET AND OUTPUT BY STUDENTS OF CARDIFF UNIVERSITY! ! EMMA: CAN YOU STOP TALKING ABOUT COCKS AND START TALKING ABOUT DWARVES ! LLOYD: ITS LIKE HAVING A WANK AND THEN HAVING ANOTHER TO CELEBRATE ! CERI: DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN SHIT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH ! GARETH: I'D BE WILLING TO GET MY WILLY WET FOR THE CAUSE ! JAMIE THUNDER: I HAVE A VERY HAIRY ARSE AND LEGS BUT ABOVE THAT NOTHING ! JAMIE: FINGERS AND FIST

gair rhydd - Issue 910  

gair rhydd - Issue 910

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you