gair rhydd Monday November 26th 2012 | freeword - Est. 1972 | Issue 992
Cardiff up in arms Despite claims of unethical and corrupt behaviour, Cardiff University continues to associate with military suppliers
Cardiff students march at NUS Demo 2012 Eggs thrown at NUS President Only 21 Cardiff students attend Criticism of vague agenda
Full article p6 >>
Xpress Radio investigate cheating in exams
Politics report on the latest tensions in Israel/Palestine p18
Taf-od yn trafod adroddiad Comisiwn Silk p29
2 / Editorâ€™s Note
A rocket is fired as the crisis in Gaza continued this week, with a ceasefire with Israel being upheld as we go to print
News 4â€“8 Opinion 11â€“15 Politics 16â€“20 Science 22â€“23 Societies 26â€“27 Taf-Od 28â€“29 Puzzles 30 Listings 31 Sport 33â€“36
CO-ORDINATOR Elaine Morgan
A note from the editor...
COLUMNIST Katie Bennett-Davies
he Demo this week was the second time that Iâ€™ve taken to the streets of London alongside fellow students. We were all there protesting against a government that seems out of touch with students and does not understand the need for affordable education. It was an interesting one, though. We went through a democratic process to decide whether we, as the Studentsâ€™ Union, should facilitate the march for our students. While the turnout was small, it was a clear indication that students wanted us to go... Yet as the bus left, only a small propor-
POLITICS Thom Hollick Rachel Victoria Lewis
gair rhydd would like to thank the following for their articles and help in making this issue:
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Luke Slade SUB-EDITOR Tom Parry-Jones NEWS Kendal Archer Tom Eden Anna Hickman Bethan Jones OPINION Alice Briggs Nick Evans Alex Greig
SCIENCE Rhiannon Davies Alexey Underwood SOCIETIES Vanessa Platt LISTINGS Lowri Martinson TAF-OD Tomos Lewis SPORT Ross Martinovic James Shapland Viktor Tsvetanov GAIR RHYDD AND QUENCH MAGAZINE ARE PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSITY UNION $"3%*'' 1"3, 1-"$& $"3%*'' $' 2/ t REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER AT THE POST 0''*$&t("*33):%%3&4&37&45)&3*()5 50&%*5"--$0/53*#65*0/4t5)&7*&84 EXPRESSED ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE 0'5)&16#-*4)&34t("*33):%%*483*5 TEN, DESIGNED, TYPESET AND OUTPUT BY STUDENTS OF CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
Contributors Rolly Rollinson, Amy Endacott, Chris Browning, Siobham Carroll, Michael C'Connell-Davidson, Matt Harding, Beth Gregory, Megan Heffey, Kieran Davey, Kirtey Verma, Justin Cordery, Greg Landon, Jacob Dirnhuber, Chris McSweeney, Ashley Bebbington, Rachel Victoria Lewis, Gareth Dunn, Davis Mason, Sophia Epstein, Peter Marshall, Benjamin Cole, Rhys Clayton, Angharad Hywel, Gerallt Rhys Roberts, Arthur Russell, Sophie Jenkins, Tom Brien, Victoria Farrant, James Shapland
tion of the â€˜yesâ€™ voters turned up to the coach. Overall, the march appears to have been a success for the NUS. Aside from the "anarchists" who "stormed the stage" and threw eggs at NUS President Liam Burns, the event went peacefully and the message appeared to have been heard loud and clear by parliament. However, as our article shows, on a demonstration with such a broad selection of students, itâ€™s very difficult for a single message to be transmitted. Palestinian flags littered the streets and people appeared to be campaigning on issues from free education for all to global peace. Letâ€™s hope the message of more affordable education gets through.
EDITOR Chris Williams
Want to help make the paper? Date of next meetings: Monday, November 26th: Aneurin Bevan, 5pm (4th floor of the SU) Monday, December 3rd : Aneurin Bevan, 5pm (4th floor of the SU) That's it for this term â€“ the first meeting of next term is January 28th at 5pm
Proof Readers Anne Porter, Emilia Ignaciuk, Rowan Whittington, Jacob Dirnhuber
Got a keen eye for grammar? Or just enjoy free pizza on Thursday nights? Come up to the office every Thursday for free pizza and proofing.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @mediacsu
News in brief Vomit knockout prompts sickening loss MMA fighter Levi West suffered a bizarre technical knockout in his second ever career match as he violently vomited during the second round of his contest with Keileb Cummins in Austin,
Texas. West took to Twitter to lament that the referee didn’t allow him to continue, but didn’t seem to be too embarassed, posting a full video of the fight. His record now stands at 0–2.
Words by Rolly Rollinson
Loving it too much? A man has been banned from every McDonalds in England and Wales after being caught spying on women using the toilet. Sukhbir Singh will need to travel to Scotland for his next Big Mac after being arrested for the third time.
Back from the dead
Coffins are the new sexy
A Brazilian car washer shocked mourners as he attended his own wake. Gilberto Araujo was wrongly identified as a murder victim by members of his family and reportedly said, “Guys, I’m alive, pinch me”, as several guests fled the church upon his entrance. The 41-year-old had not seen his family for four months prior to the wake and his mother fainted upon seeing him.
A Polish firm that produces coffins has included photos of topless women in their 2013 calendar. The move has provoked anger from the Catholic Church, which has condemned it as inappropriate. One month depicts a blonde model, wearing only a thong, reclining on a coffin with a snake draped around her neck. Every order will recieve a complimentary coffin-shaped key ring.
In this week’s issue... Societies talk to DanceSport, who are looking for more male members p26
Have naked calendars lost their appeal by becoming so common? Opinion investigates p10
The quality of Welsh degrees is being questioned. Turn to News on page 8 for more
As parliament debate whether prisoners should get the vote, Politics looks at whether the ECHR ruling is right p25
Listen now! online using the Xpress Radio player Live from the SU: cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/xpressradio
Cardiff Trampolining Club enjoy success in Bristol p33
4 / News
U NIVERSITY STILL UP IN ARMS News editor Anna Hickman looks into Cardiff University's investment in the Arms Trade
espite claims of corruption and unethical behavior, Cardiff University continues to hold shares and invest in companies such as BAE Systems. The military contractors have also been granted presence on campus, while at other universities, students are demanding their explusion. The evidence, revealed by request via the Freedom of Information Act, shows that a total of £142,270 has been paid by various companies to Cardiff University, between 2009 and 2011, with the references “Course Sponsorship” and “Funding.” Under “Funding” Cardiff University has received £109,180 from BAE Systems, GKN Plc, the Ministry of Defense and QinetiQ Ltd. QinetiQ Ltd paid the largest amount of money, with a sum of £47,232 transferred over the two years. QinetiQ Ltd also made the largest single payment for £24,447, and is labeled simply “balance transfer.” In terms of shares, figures show that in 2006 Cardiff University held £112,000 worth in BAE Systems, with another £97,000 invested in General Electric. Following a motion put forward to the Student Council the same year, which was reported in Issue 830 of gair rhydd, Cardiff University divested the majority of its shares. However, figures show that in 2010 it still held £20,460 worth in BAE Systems. Jesse Scarf, who brought the issue before the Student Council, said “I think it’s important that the University has pressure on it to change its policy on investments, after all, it is supposedly trying to be more ethical.” BAE Systems is a global defense company with 95% of its total sales being military. It has been criticised for fuelling conflict by selling weaponry to countries on the brink of conflict and supporting oppressive regimes, such as supplying Hawk Jets to Robert Mugabe amongst others. Claims of corruption have blighted the company’s past, and it has also been accused of selling 8000 electroshock batons to Saudi Arabia where systematic torture, including the use of electroshock weapons, has been described by victims of the
authorities. 200 Tactica armoured vehicles were sold to the Saudi Arabian regime and in 2011, these vehicles were used by Saudi troops helping to suppress pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in March 2011. Megan David, Welfare and Community Officer, said: “I am very disappointed that the university is receiving funding from companies that invest in the Arms Trade. After an occupation in 2009, which made the University agree not to invest in companies that fund the arms trade, I was hopeful, that this commitment would stretch to ensuring that the University does therefore not promote such companies. However, this does not seem the case. “I am, however, currently working with the financial director of the university in creating an ethical investment policy which will hopefully improve the current situation. It is, of course, a very difficult subject to work on, especially when there are a number of students who go on to work for these companies after the graduate.” The greatest volume of payments was received from BAE Systems. One amount, for nearly £1000, was simply detailed as “balance transfer.” Others included several sets of £200 for exhibitor fees at the Autumn Careers Fayre in 2011, and the Cardiff Business Careers event. A further £8324.88 was paid to BAE Systems with the reference “duraform flex prototypes.” It received the world's largest criminal corporate fine in history in February 2010, for bribing government figures in order to get contracts. The fine, which came to a total £286 million, was demanded both by the US and the UK for multiple accounts of “willfully misleading” investigations into corruption and other wrongdoings. The Department of Justice (DoJ) also drew attention to a holiday that was provided to an unnamed Saudi public official and cash transfers to a Swiss bank account that the DoJ says were linked to the £40bn Al-Yamamah contract to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The DoJ gave a damning condemnation of BAE Systems, which it said had “intentionally failed to put appropriate, antibribery preventative measures in place,” despite telling the US government that
these steps had been taken. It then “made hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to third parties, while knowing of a high probability that money would be passed on to foreign government decision-makers to favour BAE Systems in the award of defence contracts.” Furthermore, The Ministry of Defence spent £24.87 billion with its suppliers in 2009-10. Nearly £4bn went to 10 subsidiaries of BAE Systems, the UK's largest manufacturer, according to data obtained by The Guardian. That means BAE Systems received more than the entire budget of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (£2.24 billion) or the Department of Energy and Climate Change (£2.52 billion). Students at the universities of Essex and Lancaster have protested against the presence of BAE Systems on their campuses, and have succeeded in having the companies removed from operating within the parameters of the universities. For example, Essex Careers Centre has cancelled BAE Systems’ attendance at its careers fayre following a student protest. After finding out that BAE Systems were planning to attend the career fayre, students rapidly mobilised to stop them. They wrote a statement expressing their
he arms trade is one of those difficult political beasts, as its power stems from its ubiquity. It has become progressively more difficult over the last few decades to find any way to invest or borrow money without being linked in some way to this questionable industry. According to original research by War on Want each of the five biggest high street banks; Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland, all finance major arms-dealers, providing personalized banking services. If you bank with any of these, you could be accused of (very) indirectly financing weapons manufacturing. This might seem a little bit extreme, but the point is we all participate in the global economy at some scale, so we are all complicit. We can only take steps to minimize
opposition to the company’s attendance and sent it to every department at the university. They also contacted the other organisations attending the fayre, asking them to express their opposition and threaten to pull out if BAE Systems attended. A protest was also planned for the day of the fayre. Essex Careers Centre then posted on its Facebook account that BAE Systems would not be attending the fayre due to “health and safety concerns.” There were also anti-arms trade protests at Lancaster campus on November 9th against the presence of arms companies at the University Career Opportunities Fair. BAE Systems and Rolls Royce were specifically targeted by groups of students, who handed out fliers and used fake blood to protest their attendance at the fayre. Questions have been raised as to whether universities, which have charitable statuses, should be associating at all with military contractors. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), states: “the arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and security, and damages economic development,” and should not be supported by a place of learning.
our own personal responsibility, by changing whom we entrust our money to. Cardiff University should be more discriminating about where its money comes from, and where it goes. It is not surprising that with its budget squeezed as it is, those in the finance department may be a little too willing to accept money from businesses without asking what some students would consider necessary questions. Of course the University cannot and should not limit students choice of future employment, but it can do its best to set an ethical precedent for the time students spend in education.
Thom Hollick Politics Editor
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddnews
Accommodation prices double in ten years Michael O'Connell Davidson News Writer
A survey undertaken by the NUS and Unipol, a student housing charity, has revealed that the rent for university owned accommodation has risen nearly 100 per cent in the last decade. Results in their 2001/2002 study showed that halls and university housing charged £59.17 per week on average. This year’s survey, published on November 9th, showed that rent had increased 97 per cent to £117.67 per week on average in the academic year 2011/2012. The data set reveals that rent has been increasing at a steady rate, having risen 25 per cent in the last three years. The data also reveals that providers without institutional links (such as private halls) charged an eye-watering £140.07 on average per week. A number of individuals have spoken out about the figures, including Pete Mercer, NUS Vice President for Welfare: “Student rents have skyrocketed, leaving fewer reasonably priced accommodation available for students from lower and middle income backgrounds who are really feeling the pinch.”
He went on to say that, “The responsibility of universities to support their students does not begin and end at the doors of the lecture theatre.” He urged university heads to examine future construction plans, and to consider capping rent to prevent a situation in which students are not priced out of living in halls. Martin Blakey, Unipol’s Chief Executive also commented on the new figures: “Costs of private sector accommodation have
moved much closer together over the last three years.” He echoed Mercer’s concerns about the duties that universities have in supporting students, urging them to “acknowledge the vital role they have to play in enhancing access” and “providing distinctive and affordable accommodation.” While costs do not differ hugely from university to university, it is worth noting that Cardiff University’s accommodation is comparatively cheap. Compare
Talybont Court to Leicester University’s John Foster halls; both are recent builds, and are one of the most expensive residence options offered to first year students. A year at John Foster under the Premium Ensuite package will cost £4,258.70, the lease lasting the full 39 teaching weeks. This works out to £136.50 per week, and, interestingly, is not the most expensive package offered - for those with deep pockets, it is
Accommodation at Cardiff University is second cheapest in the UK
possible to invest in an entire flat for over £5,700. Talybont Court, by comparison, charges £3978 per year, with its most expensive option coming in at £4,221 for the Deluxe package. Accommodation remains relatively cheap when comparing ‘low tier’ options. A single room for a year in Cardiff’s Senghennydd Court costs just £2,915 for the standard residential period; once again using Leicester University as an example, equivalent accommodation will cost students £3,357. The Guardian newspaper undertook an investigation in 2010 in which they investigated the average rent for students charged by Universities, and found Cardiff to be the second cheapest, being only slightly more expensive than Bradford. Some of the most expensive student accommodation in the country can be found in London, with housing in general costing a great deal in the capital. Whilst the new figures demonstrating the increase in the average cost of rent per week for students are staggering, it seems that in Cardiff, at least, rent for students is actually relatively cheap.
Bangor on top, Cardiff can’t keep up Amy Endacott News Writer
There are many different university league tables and comparisons that litter the internet but perhaps the most interesting ones have just been released recently from StudentBeans.com. With more universities represented than ever before the ‘University Sex League 2012’ and the ‘University Drinking League 2012’ are showing some interesting results. It seems Wales is still the place to be regarding bedroom action as this year Bangor University topped the list with an average of 8.31 sexual partners per student and Aberystwyth University find themselves in the top five for the second consecutive year. Former winners, University of
Glamorgan, have slipped down the table to 15th with an average of 4.67 partners and Cardiff University sit in 41st position with the average student admitting to 3.63 partners since they began university. This is a dramatic drop since last year for Cardiff University which was then in 13th position with 7.3 partners per student.
Cardiff University sit in 41st position with the average student admitting to 3.63 partners since they began university It seems that Cardiff sheets are a little cleaner than last year, but not as fresh as University of Essex which came in at position 101, with an average of 1.15 sexual
partners. Another university finding themselves at the other end of the spectrum is Roehampton, less surprising given that nearly eight out of ten of their students are girls; they sit at position 99 with an average of 1.83 sexual partners. Another topic in which students seemed willing to tell all was their average alcohol consumption per week. Queens University Belfast sit at the top of the ‘University Drinking League 2012’ with a headache-inducing average of 27.3 units per week. That is the equivalent of one large 70cl bottle of vodka every week. Considering the NHS suggest men should not exceed 21 units per week and women 14 units, it does not sound particularly healthy. In second place came HeriotWatt University in Edinburgh,
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who were also second on the ‘University Sex League 2012’ with 26.3 units per week, suggesting these students have found more than one way to keep warm during the nippy Scottish weather. Cardiff University placed 40th in the league with an average of
18.5 units per week, the equivalent of two large bottles of wine. University of Wolverhampton, University of Glasgow and Robert Gordon University are all at the bottom of the table with the latter consuming a very modest 11 units per week.
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6 / News
Cardiff marches at NUS Demo 2012
News Editor Thousands of students, including a small number from Cardiff University, marched through the streets of London to protest against the rising cost of university and cuts to further education. The march, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), was almost entirely peaceful, yet drew criticism from many of the students for both its lack of specific message, and the route that the march took. The NUS optimistically predicted that 10,000 students would attend the march, but the miserable weather may have dented this figure.
It’s cold, it’s wet, we’ve got a lot of debt
Students from Cardiff University made up a very small proportion of this, with only 26 people on the bus that the University provided at a cost of £690. The University held a referendum to decide whether the University would subsidise students to attend. With only 0.33 per cent of Cardiff students participating in the referendum, the vote went in favour of subsidising attendance at the demo with 86 votes for and 53 against. The lack of interest in the referendum was echoed in the disappointingly low number
of students travelling to London. The demonstration, the first national student protest since 2010, was largely peaceful – a welcome change from the violence and confrontations that dominated the coverage two years ago. The only reported incident was a brief stand off between a small section of protestors and police near Parliament Square.
It’s raining, it’s pouring, the Tories are appalling
Protesters assembled at Temple station and marched on a route that worked its way alongside the Thames towards the Houses of Parliament, then passing over Westminster Bridge towards Kennington Park. The latter part of the route drew stinging criticism from participants as they marched through largely residential areas of London. At the end of the march, protesters voiced their anger at the NUS with chants such as ‘‘NUS, shame on you, where the f*ck have you brought us to?’’ The march culminated with a rally at Kennington Park, but this was cut short after it was disrupted by a number of dissatisfied students. As the rally began, chants criticising the NUS prompted the NUS’s President Liam Burns to appear on stage to try to appease the hecklers. Booing continued as he returned to
deliver a speech, with angry students throwing fruit and eggs at Burns, before around 20 protesters mounted the stage, forcing Burns to leave. The disgruntled students’ anger appeared to stem from the perceived failure to have a clear agenda for the march, the chosen route and the apparent tameness of the NUS when attacking the cuts. Burns defended the route say-
ing it was designed to avoid the Conservative headquarters at Millbank, which saw some of the worst violence during the 2010 protest. Prior to the march, Burns emphasised his desire for a protest without violence, saying: ‘‘You want public sympathy on your side; violence is not going to engender public sympathy.’’ As hoped, there was no re-
ported violence. Whilst this may prove positive in the way the protests are framed in the media, it resulted in minimal media coverage, with it trending at a disappointing ninth place on the BBC News’ website at the end of the rally. The main focus, almost inevitably, was on the rather chaotic scenes – the stage invasion and the dissent aimed at Burns and the NUS.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddnews
Former head of JOMEC wins battle for British citizenship Beth Gregory News Writer
Professor John Tulloch, ex-head of the JOMEC department here at Cardiff University has recently won an 18-year long battle for British citizenship. Tulloch was born to British parents, and has lived in the UK since he was 3 years old. Yet until now it looked likely that he would be forced out of the country due a technicality regarding his British citizenship, something that Tulloch had never been aware of.
Tulloch’s British passport was confiscated in 1994 when he attempted to renew it Tulloch was born to a British army officer in pre-independence India. He has lived and worked in Britain for most of his life, and his family can be traced back in
Britain for generations. Despite this British heritage and the fact that he was brought up in Britain, because he was born in pre-independence India, Tulloch was considered a ‘British subject without citizenship’ rather than a British citizen, a fact unknown to him or to his family for many years. Tulloch became aware of this after he went to live and work in Australia in 1973. He was granted Australian citizenship in 1985, which cancelled his British nationality and his right to remain. This was again something Tulloch was completely unaware of, so naturally, he assumed it would not be a problem to enter and leave Britain as he pleased. Tulloch’s British passport was confiscated in 1994 when he attempted to renew it, which is when his 18-year long battle for British citizenship began. Tulloch began working for Cardiff University in 1999. In order to remain and work in Britain, Tulloch was forced to use his Australian passport in conjunction with work permits. He was told by the Home Office
that it was unlikely he would be able to continue living in Britain.
However, Tulloch’s experience as a survivor of the 7/7 bombings
helped his battle; sitting opposite the suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan during the explosion, Tulloch was later visited in hospital by Prince Charles, and soon became a symbol of British hope and resilience. It has recently come to light that the Home Office have made the decision to allow Tulloch to stay in the UK. This decision was made following the rising media attention that surrounded his case, and was helped by by certain ministers who supported his case, such as Monmouth MP David Davies. Speaking to John Jewell, the head of JOMEC’s Undergraduate Studies at Cardiff University about his thoughts on John Tulloch’s situation, Jewell asserted that if Tulloch had been deported it “would have been a huge PR disaster” as his ‘‘blood stained dishevelled figure was the image that went round the world’ fter the 7/7 bombings.” Jewell also said that he did not think for a moment that Tulloch would get deported, and that it was “quite right that he should stay.”
Exam cheating scandal exposed Chris Browning News Writer
A recent Xpress Radio investigation has revealed blatant cheating in exams. The investigation found that a Cardiff University student was caught using Learning Central, the University's online learning environment, during an examination. The student in question was one of two people in the 2011/12 exam period to lose their marks for the entire year’s study.
A Cardiff University student was caught using Learning Central during an examination Records obtained by Xpress Radio’s Cardiff Gazette show that the student was using a mobile phone to access lecture slides and past papers via Learning Central. The student involved in the incident was not identified in University records. The investigation found that taking unauthorised notes into
an exam hall was the most common form of cheating last year. 37 people were warned or penalised for hiding notes in dictionaries, on rulers, and water bottles and for writing on their hands and arms. Penalties included compulsory study skills training, and in some cases the loss of all marks for that module or exam. Other offences, including talking, writing before the start of an exam, having a mobile phone on the desk and continuing to write after being told to stop, were met with formal written warnings.
Some were accused of breaching regulations but had the cases against them dropped. One person was let off for ‘improper conduct, to do with the inappropriate disposal of a banana skin’, nor was any action taken when a student was out of the exam hall for longer than deemed necessary. A University spokesperson told gair rhydd, “Cardiff University has adopted a holistic approach to prevention, detection and penalties. “The University seeks to ensure that a proportionate re-
sponse is taken to prove allegations, and that students are provided with opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills required to prevent further incidences.”
37 people were warned or penalised for hiding notes in dictionaries, on rulers and water bottles In all, 65 people were warned or penalised in 2011/12. While still far from being a major problem, this represents an increase of ten percent compared to figures for 2010/11. The Xpress investigation found that plagiarism in coursework is more common than unfair practice in exams; over 600 instances have been recorded since 2008. 48 students - including a postgraduate working on a research thesis - were found to have copied other works during the last academic year, down from 217 in 2010/11. Those found to be guilty took a range of penalties, including for-
mal warnings, the loss of marks for that piece of coursework or a zero mark for that whole module. The University spokesperson said “Cardiff University takes all cases of unfair practice and plagiarism extremely seriously and takes firm action whenever such cases arise. “However, these cases involve only a small minority of University students and should be seen in the context of 105,000 individual exams and the many thousands of coursework assessments conducted at Cardiff over the course of the academic year. “Growing student awareness, changing assessment tasks, more formative use of the Turnitin software, increasing student referencing and information literacy skills and developments in the software, for example have all helped to reduce plagiarism and unfair practice.” You can hear the full report on The Cardiff Gazette’s Facebook page: facebook.com/cardiffgazette Listen to The Cardiff Gazette every Monday from 1pm on xpressradio.co.uk, Cardiff University’s award winning radio station.
8 / News
Dr Who script found in taxi Siobhan Carroll News Writer
This Halloween, while partygoers staggered round the streets of Cardiff, one Cardiff University student made an exciting discovery. In the back of a black cab, instead of the usual lost phone or set of mislaid house keys, Hannah Durham spotted a script for a new episode of Doctor Who tucked away in a seat pocket. The top-secret document bore the title “The Last Cyberman”. Hannah, a final-year English Literature student, took the script and placed it in her bag. Allegedly, the script was misplaced by an actress who was appearing in the forthcoming Doctor Who episode. But 20-year-old Hannah said that she only realised the significance of her find
the next day, and, nobly, did not read it or pass it on to anyone else. The final-year English Literature student could have sold the script, but she did not feel tempted. Hannah said: “I glanced at it enough to see that it was a script and I saw the title and everything, but I didn’t feel the urge to read through it or copy it.”
in at the BBC’s studios in Cardiff Bay. Neil Gaiman, who wrote the script, even showed his apprecia-
tion for Hannah’s good deed on social networking site Twitter. He tweeted: “A world-sized pat on the back to Hannah who found
The script was misplaced by an actress appearing in the forthcoming Doctor Who episode She began emailing and tweeting producers and scriptwriters in an effort to return the script, and finally arranged to hand it
a copy of the Dr Who I wrote, an actress left in a taxi, and returned it safe and sound.” When the script was back in the hands of its rightful owners, Hannah received huge praise from fans and producers, who were ecstatic that she did not leak significant plot details that would spoil the upcoming series. Hannah said: “I have had so many tweets from people thanking me for returning it – it has just been crazy.” The popular TV series is set to return next spring, and at some point during the eight-episode run, the infamous Cybermen will return to screens. Joining them are Warwick Davis, Jason Watkins and Tamzin Outhwaite. Although we know this much about the forthcoming series, thanks to Hannah’s honesty, the rest remains a mystery.
Welsh degrees produce Delayed fewer top results Heath Park Amy Endacott News Writer
Figures this week have revealed that Welsh universities produce fewer top degrees than any other home nation. The average number of students receiving the top two grades, a first or 2:1, is 64 per cent, but Welsh institutions could only give that to 60 per cent of students who obtained first degree qualifications. Information from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found a 64 per cent first and 2:1 pass rate in English universities, while institutions in Northern Ireland increased this to 68 per cent and universities in Scotland upped it again to 80 per cent. Critics last night blamed “a decade of underfunding” for Wales’ plight in education. Dr Philip Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) Wales, said the figures were just more bad news for Welsh education. “These are just more disappointing results for Wales, it seems that at every level from school though to higher education, Wales is underperforming in comparison to the rest of the UK”. He added, “a decade of serious underfunding has obviously taken its toll”. Dr Philip Dixon also suggested that South East Wales has been worst hit by the cuts. “The Welsh Government’s Higher Education Strategy, which seems in tatters in South East Wales, must ensure that youngsters emerge from
higher education institutions with degrees at least as good as they could get anywhere else in the UK”. Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns supported his claim by saying that the Welsh Government had got its priorities wrong, suggesting that Education Minister Leighton Andrews should take more interest in the quality of provision rather than the future structure of the nations universities. Currently, the Welsh Government’s focus is on Wales having fewer but stronger universities; the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, which funds the nation's institutions, has recommended no more than six universities
moving forward. There have been significant positive developments recently with Swansea Metropolitan and Trinity St David merging last month, and Glamorgan and Newport and are currently in advanced talks about following suit. Ms Burns said: “The education minister should be more con-
cerned about the standards in Welsh universities and their performance in international league tables instead of posturing and pursuing an obsession with the number of institutions”. The total number of students starting in Welsh higher education increased by 2 per cent to 131,005 in 2010 and there was a marked 13 per cent increase in the number of full-time post graduate enrolments showing that students are still keen to continue their education in Welsh institutions. Higher Education Wales, the body which represents universities said the HESA figures were ‘complex’ and urged caution when drawing conclusions.
common room opens Michael O'Connell Davidson News Writer
The new rest area built on Cardiff University’s Heath Park campus, named the Healthcare Student Common Room, was formally opened last week. The room can be found on the ground floor of the Neuadd Meirionydd building, along the corridor from the IV lounge. The project was undertaken in light of the results of last year’s Heath Park Survey. Students expressed interest in a common room that offered them additional rest space while also allowing them to make their own food. As such, the room contains a number of amenities, including a microwave and kettle. Seating has been notoriously tight on the Heath Park site since the closure of the Ty Dewi Sant refectory, and so will come as welcome news for the students based on site. The room is also open for use as a meeting space for societies and clubs in the evening. The room’s opening was delayed by a month owing to issues with estates, as well as late delivery of furniture. However, Hannah Pask, Heath Park Campus Officer, expressed hopes that “students appreciate what we
have been able to achieve”. The opening of the Healthcare Student Common Room marked a significant moment for Healthcare students who requested the space, and will now be able to enjoy it. Thanks were given to Sarah Halpin, last year's Heath Park Campus Officer, who started this process.
There were lots of difficulties along the way, but we are very happy with the results Hannah Pask, said of the opening, “There were lots of difficulties along the way, but we are very happy with the results, and hope students will make the most of their new common room.” The Heath Park campus serves around 5,000 healthcare students, and is home to the University Hospital of Wales. This development comes as part of a number of construction projects undertaken by the University, including a series of refurbishments, as well as the £30m Hadyn Ellis building on the Maindy Park research campus.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddop
For & Against
ERASMUS cash crisis threatens student mobility Since ERASMUS students are a minority internationally, Matt Harding and Michael O'ConnellDavidson discuss whether it is right that the EU funds their privilege to study internationally
he ERASMUS scheme was created in 1987, in a time of great prosperity; an economic boom was in full swing across much of Western Europe and a sense of increasing economic prosperity was in the air. This economic prosperity, however, came crashing down around the member states in 2008 with the start of the recession. With the European Union having to focus funds on bailing out bankrupt economies, and supporting failing nationstates, it is impossible to maintain the funding for a scheme that is seen by many to be a privilege. There is also a current proposal suggesting that the European Union’s development fund should be cut by 11%, leaving many of the world’s poorest nations without vital support. In a question of morality, it would be very difficult for the EU to justify such a necessary cut, while maintaining funding for a programme that is provided in addition to higher education. The scheme itself has had support, “cutting the funding takes away the opportunity to learn a new language in a foreign country”, as stated by a Leeds student. However, this highlights a topic regarding the necessity of the funding, raised by a Cardiff University student, stating that “the ERASMUS programme is only accessible with a strong prior knowledge of another language”. This point suggests that the ERASMUS programme is, in
fact, not an opportunity available to all, as many students may have lacked the opportunities to study languages at such a high level, as is required. It appears, therefore, that the programme is better suited to individuals who have already had the opportunity to study language, which is in contrast to many of the arguments being made over the programme's existence. Many students also felt that the ERASMUS programme was aimed at students who are financially better off. Many internet blogs about student life indicate that, even with the funding, the programme is too expensive. One blogger wrote “it's certainly aimed at the financially elite; you have to front some of the money, and pay the extra debts you will incur”, with another blogger commenting simply with “I couldn’t afford to do it either!” The argument established by these students and many others is that the funding was obsolete and didn’t make a difference to those students who truly needed it. The general indication from a wide pool of students is that the ERASMUS programme has become an elite activity. The inaccessibility for students without a strong knowledge of language, and for those unable to afford the initial cost mean the cuts would have less impact than most predict. The current state of the European economy and the cutting of other vital European funding in other areas make these cuts a necessity. MH
International programmes like ERASMUS do much to foster positive relations between countries
ith ‘Greek bailout,’ ‘Spanish debt,’ and further alarmist phrases creeping into headlines, the public in many of the European Union’s constituent nations is becoming insular. It’s understandable; austerity brought on by your own debt is hard to swallow, but with nations having problems of their own, footing any sort of bill for another country’s misspending is deeply unappealing. The European Union has merits that are easy to forget, having won the Nobel Peace Prize for a reason. Certainly, there are the economic benefits of being part of the trade area, but the equally important cultural and diplomatic benefits that come with any political union often go unmentioned because you can’t append a number to them on a balance sheet. Unfortunately, the ERASMUS programme, which offers students of EU member states opportunities to study towards their degree abroad, may face massive cuts in the EU's 2013 budget. This should not come as welcome news to anybody who cares about the EU or the continent in general. The EU is facing an ontological crisis, with people across the continent openly questioning what the organisation and its member states do for them. International programmes like ERASMUS do much to foster positive relations between countries. With much political commentary dedicated to how sour
relationships between EU member states have become, it seems counterproductive to cut funding to a programme that goes toward improving them. Even ignoring the diplomatic implications of the programme, the opportunity to study abroad is invaluable life experience, so the cost of cutting the programme is hard to quantify. The programme, which has offered over 3 million Europeans the chance to study abroad since its establishment, has allowed many to experience cultures they might otherwise have had no exposure to. As independence movements gather speed and general dissatisfaction with the EU becomes more intense, cultural understanding on an individual level is precisely what the EU should be fostering. Studying abroad is a privilege, and it’s easy to argue that anyone other than the student should be paying for it, but there’s a bigger picture here. The EU should be doing more to bring the nations more together under its banner, not less, because if someone in the United Kingdom feels no attachment to Cyprus, or someone in Portugal no attachment to the Romanians, what’s the point of a union in the first place? Despite recent troubles, Europe is as unified now as ever and the EU has done a great deal to advance human rights and diplomatic understanding across the continent. Taking a step back would be an admission of defeat, and undermine the philosophy that has driven the union to achieve so much. MOCD
12 / Opinion Schizophrenia care fails patients As failings in schizophrenia care methods have recently come to light, Opinion writer Beth Gregory looks at public perception of mental health issues and how they can improve
recent commission looking in to the treatment of people with schizophrenia in the UK has called into question whether people with the disorder are being treated adequately. The report is entitled The Abandoned Illness, and it sums up the attitudes towards and treatments of people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. There is a perception in our society of what is ‘normal’. When people do not fit into this box because of mental illness and are therefore not understood, they are often denied the attention or care they need. The Abandoned
when properly treated. The report also looks at the ways the NHS treats those with schizophrenia. £12 billion a year is spent on this disorder, which not only makes little economic sense, but does not sufficiently help the patients. Many patients are put in costly, high-security units. While there is an issue of this being expensive, there is also the question of whether this is effectively helping the people who are suffering with a mental disorder. The idea of locking people up in high-security units gives the notion of a sort of ‘mad house’, which does not help with the existing view that those with schizophrenia are dangerous. Schizophrenics, and others who
that those with schizophrenia are still people who can speak for themselves and have very strong views on the way they are treated, not only medically, but also on a personal level. This negative treatment is something which has also been felt by those with physical disabilities. Those with disabilities often find they face inadequate treatment in hospitals. One example was published in a previous issue of gair rhydd, and tells of 14-year-old Alex Skibinski, who suffers with dystonic cerebral palsy. Alex was denied the use of a hydrotherapy treatment because he is not yet an adult. Having a disability also means many people are subject to a neg-
The Naked Truth Megan Heffey Opinion Writer
Illness report has been key in bringing mental illness into the focus of the media and therefore back to the forefront of people's minds. There has long been a view that schizophrenics are not ‘normal’, and that they are ‘dangerous’, but as the report points out, schizophrenics are, in fact, rarely dangerous, and are at more risk of being put in danger than of posing a danger to others. There is a view that those with schizophrenia fail to be fully functioning members of society. However, what many people fail to realise is that this is due to the existing judgements people have of mental illness. The report shows that only seven per cent of people with schizophrenia are employed. Many employers are clearly wary of employing someone with a mental illness, despite the fact that many people with schizophrenia can cope on a day to day basis without their illness majorly affecting their lives, especially
suffer with mental disorders, need care which goes beyond the somewhat reductive solution of locking people up. Plus, as the report also highlights, patients do not always receive the most effective medication. It is important that the NHS caters for patients as individuals, with individual needs.
By stereotyping those with mental illness, it takes away their own voices The negative stereotypes of mental illness that run through society often take away the individuality of those that suffer. People are defined by their illness. People are schizophrenic before they are sons, daughters, students or friends. When those suffering with mental illness are given better care, hopefully overall views within society will change. By stereotyping those with mental illness, it takes away their own voices. Society forgets
ative social stigma. While people with disabilities may always face these negative perceptions, this stigma has been somewhat challenged or at least been brought to attention by the Paralympics in the summer. However, it may be a long time until these stigmas go, if they ever do. Unfortunately, the battle for those with mental illness will most certainly go on much longer. Because those with mental illness don’t always have the problems on display, it means they are rarely talked about. Moreover, many people fear talking about mental illness, as if to do so is taboo. However, it is important that schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are discussed so that people come to understand these illnesses and improve public perception of them. If we start to open discussion, those who suffer will hopefully receive better treatment.
Naked calendars, once a shameful secret associated with chauvinistic males and stigmatising those involved as models of loose morals, have exploded onto the mainstream calendar market in recent years. Since the infamous story of the original Calendar Girls took the country by storm, and the film of the same name graced cinema screens for the first time across the UK in 2003, there seems to be a noticeably more tolerant and lighthearted attitude towards the culture of naked calendars. After all. if a group of middle-class members of the Women’s Institute from a village in Yorkshire are coyly using carol sheets and buns to retain their dignity in the name of charity, it surely can’t be considered as anything other ordinary, right? Wrong. The fact of the matter is that naked calendars have become so commonplace that they have become redundant. Although the original Calendar Girls can be applauded for their bravery in getting naked for the sake of charity, the naked calendar has become the fundraising tool of choice for many societies and groups looking to boost financial resources. The abundant variety of naked calendars that the public has to choose from is astonishing. Whether it is a calendar featuring students stripping off to raise money for societies and sports clubs, busty babes baring all to pay the rent, or hot hunks casually glistening in the sun on a remote beach, you can be sure that it will be in stock at the Calendar Club this winter! The simple reason behind the use of the naked calendar today is that sex sells, and it is wholly fair to state that this could be viewed as exploitation for private commercial gain. Nudity has become the norm in the present day, which is slightly tragic. Nudity is the most
intimate and private part of a person, and yet people are more concerned about protecting their phone than they are about maintaining an air of mystery about their bodies, which seems totally disproportionate. There is nudity everywhere you look, and if you purchase one of these naked calendars, it's there every day of the year, staring you in the face. Doesn’t it get boring after a while? Of course it does. The nation is obsessed with the notion of sex in every aspect of life, even simply looking at the day of the week has become a task too mundane to complete without the promise of a little bit of eye candy at the same time. It is borderline pathetic if that is what has become necessary for some people to get through the day. These calendars have become completely uninteresting, particularly because they are now unoriginal. It is the same progression of photos, with the same props for the same months, year after year. There is no room for innovative thought when the subject never changes. It has also escaped the logical thought of the calendar-buying population that these calendars are totally irrational. In all honesty, who can think that failing to put one's coat on in the chilly month of December, yet at the same time managing to grab a present from underneath the tree to cover up ones modesty is a reasonable idea? What a confusing message to send to children. These calendars have rapidly risen in popularity, and I can’t help but feel that the decline in interest will happen just as quickly. I’m proud to say that I do not own a calendar featuring men who are oiled to the extreme, attempting to pose seductively in the most ridiculous of surroundings in order to correspond to the month of the year. Although it can be nice to look at something pleasing to the eye, it gets old pretty quickly.
Hangover Heaven? Kieran Davey Opinion Writer
A controversial new 'anti-hangover' patch has been banned from sale in the UK, just three weeks after being released onto the market. The Bytox body patch, invented by American scientist Dr Leonard Grossman, is said to block the effects of hangovers by replacing the vitamins and acids lost when consuming alcohol. Under authority from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the product has been prohibited from sale by its supplier Firebox, as it falls under the 'Borderline' category, due its use of the term 'hangover' as a medical condition. Despite initial controversy over the patch's effectiveness in treating hangovers, consumer feedback has been generally positive, with one customer claiming to have avoided a 10-martini hangover after using the product. Reviews within the scientific community have been more mixed, with Professor David Nutt, a former government drugs advisor, commenting, "It's hard to imagine how those ingredients would stop a hangover,” before adding, “I have never seen any published material on this at all". This claim was refuted by Ben
Redhead, product manager at Firebox, who said, "We’d never usually encourage excess partying but the Firebox team, armed with the Bytox Hangover Prevention Patch, are definitely intending to take it up a level this Christmas." W h i l e
there is little doubt over the popularity of the Bytox patch, the company has been criticised for encouraging binge drinking and allowing customers to exceed their alcohol limits. In a country where young people are already regularly blamed in the media for their excessive drinking habits, it seems unsafe to promote a 'risk-free' culture where people believe they can drink as much as they like without feeling any significant after-effects. Further-
more, the patch does not serve as a short-term measure and cannot prevent common symptoms of drunkenness, such as slurred speech and vomiting, especially if the patch is not given sufficient time to take effect.
On the other hand, the patch may have its benefits for companies looking to keep their employees in check as the Christmas party season approaches. For all overworked, frustrated bosses everywhere, this revolutionary new product could see an end to unscrupulous employees nursing their hangovers rather than going into work. At a time when companies need to be at their most productive, those precious
extra working hours could have a major impact on their holiday profits. Redhead commented, ''If the patch means more productivity at work the next day then bingo, we’re not only helping cure hangovers, but we’re helping the economy too.” Even if the patch turns out to be successful in America, there are still doubts over whether such it can be truly effective. Previous efforts to create a hangover cure patch have received negative criticism and virtually no medical backing. In theory, the patch should cure hangovers and prevent the 'morning after' effect, but in the meantime, we will simply have to take Bytox's word for it. In this writer's opinion, the hangover patch is no more than a novelty product launched onto the Christmas market creating inevitable public demand. Personally, despite its criticism, I would be happy to try the patch, as even though it may not make such a difference in the morning, it thankfully wouldn't probably make the hangover any worse. However, while the odd customer might find the patch to be effective, the likelihood is that most will simply gain an excuse to exceed their limits and still wake up the next morning reaching for the ibuprofen.
Britain tops international ‘Soft Power’ league Kirtey Verma Opinion Writer
In a year that has seen the very best of British, from Jubilees to James Bond, it is perhaps still a surprise to hear that ‘Britain is the most powerful nation on Earth’, as The Independent boldly claimed last Sunday. In days of old, when Britain was the mother country of a great empire, it would have been hard to believe the decline the strong island would undergo, with fiery riots blazing through London in 2011, more MP expense scandals, as well as the closure of the iconic News of the World due to phone hacking. However, it seems that is all in the past. According to a recent, annual survey on ‘soft power’, Britain has beaten the likes of the USA, France, Germany and Sweden to claim the top spot. ‘Soft power’, a term coined by a Harvard graduate, basically refers to the way in which countries adopt a persuasive approach to international relations by taking advantage of economic or cultural influence rather than coercion. The sur-
vey, initiated by Monocle magazine, assesses each country’s efficiency in dealing in areas such as politics, diplomacy, business, culture, sport and education. Undoubtedly, this positive influence can only be a good thing. Britain is currently leading the stakes in a cultural upheaval. The Diamond Jubilee caused a renewal in interest towards the Royal Family, and the impressive Olympic opening ceremony caused many to be proud of our nation’s rich and vibrant heritage, reminding us all of the famous artists, writers and revolutionaries who originated from Britain (not to mention seeing James Bond and the Queen parachuting; obviously she was practising for her role as the next Bond girl). Last but not least, we claimed a record-breaking amount of medals from this ceremony with great sporting achievements from Andy Murray, who became unstoppable since achieving his first Grand Slam win, to Bradley Wiggins, claiming the first British Tour de France win. However, the question on many cynics’ minds is whether this
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddop
kind of influence really makes a difference. According to Xenia Dormandy, a senior US expert, "The UK has had a very international presence and it has been the best of the British." From an American standpoint, perhaps not, as Dormandy further claims, "I think America vastly undervalues the importance of soft power. It has a tendency to focus on the tangible and the concrete." It seems that the USA has been demoted to second position due to their reliance on their status as a world superpower.
However, the question on many cynics’ minds is whether this kind of influence really makes a difference Tyler Brûlé, the editor-in-chief of Monocle claimed: "There’s been a fantastic momentum in Britain this year," also stating that "it’s not particularly fashionable to go out and write massive cheques to get your way in the world." He continued, "Armed
conflict has never been less fashionable, and if you’re able to effect change because you present yourself as an attractive nation to befriend and engage with, that can only be positive." Perhaps more importantly, he cautioned us not to underestimate the significance of ‘soft power’ in global influence, as now more than ever, it holds a particular value. So perhaps The Independent wasn’t too bold in last Sunday’s article. Clearly, Britain has had a triumphant year, and we must take advantage of this winning streak. Not only have we achieved success in sports by obtaining 65 Olympic medals, but also in music and film, having achieved 22 international best-selling albums and British actors like Dominic West starring in award-winning American TV shows. The cultural phenomenon sweeping over our fair isle not only increases our international standing, it also instills a fierce pride into every Briton, making them stand up for their country instead of joking about it and allowing it to crumble beneath them.
“ “ “ “ “
47 per cent of testicular cancer cases occur in men under 35 years and over 90 per cent occur in men under 55 years
In Great Britain, 31 per cent drink more alcohol than the advised weekly limit of 21 units The average life expectancy for men in the UK is four years less than women One in nine men in the UK are likely to face prostate cancer in their lifetime. This is comparable to the one in nine women who are estimated to get breast cancer Obese men are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and three times more likely to develop cancer of the colon
14 / Opinion
Is Christianty relevant to the Cardiff student? The Atheist view:
The Christian view:
ith Christmas just around the corner, many Christians will be getting ready to celebrate their religion. At the same time, many others will be enjoying the same tradition without the religious elements. As an atheist, I am not particularly sensitive towards the doctrine of Christianity, or any other religion for that matter. Like many others, I grew up in a non-religious environment, and so religion has little relevance to my life. Nonetheless, I celebrate Christmas. Is this hypocrisy? I don’t think so. In the same way that we atheists can observe the Parthenon of Athens with admiration, but without subscribing to the tenets of polytheism, so too can we observe the tradition of Christmas, without subscribing to the tenets of Christianity. In the same way, Christianity is losing relevance in many areas of 21st century life. Christianity is the world’s largest religion and has persisted for centuries in the West, embedding itself into the histories and traditions of many societies. However, historical events conspired to intervene and ensure the separation of church and state in the Western world. This divide between the religious and secular worlds eventually culminated in the European Enlightenment, a period of unprecedented scientific, political and moral progress. Ever since postenlightenment Europe ushered in the age of science, religious influence has greatly diminished. This historic displacement of religion has concerned Christians especially, who wonder if we’re being left with a spiritual void. Christianity did indeed provide useful social structures,
such as a sense of belonging to a community and comforting guidance for many generations of people. However, it is worth remembering that the Church ruthlessly condemned heretics and repressed many alternative frameworks. Nevertheless, it has been unable to hold back what the Enlightenment sparked. As religious influence declines, many of the positive aspects of Christianity worth holding on to are being replaced by secular alternatives. One major feature of Christianity, perhaps its most important feature, is that it offers answers to life’s biggest questions: Why am I here? Where did we come from? What’s the point of it all? Like many students, I’m no stranger to such existential despair; essays and exams can gradually erode the will to live. Secular support structures are becoming increasingly popular within modern society. Where once we would turn to churches and the local community for guidance, we now turn to psychologists, counsellors, self-help books and social networks that extend globally. Even in the most desperate of situations, many no longer turn to religion. Although we nonbelievers have no sacred texts offering all the answers, we’re not necessarily condemned to isolation. Far from it. Like religious people, I and many other nonbelievers can indeed feel a deep connection to something larger-than-life. Personally, I find myself humbled by the discoveries of science, and often find myself in a state of glassy-eyed wonder. The emotions one can feel when contemplating the sheer vastness of the universe in which we find ourselves awake, must surely rival, perhaps even surpass, that of the most intense religious exhilaration.
Convinced? If these sorts of discussions and debates interest you, then look out for the ‘Convinced?’ events run by the Christian Union around campus next week (November 25th–30th). The Christian Union is a group of students at Cardiff University who all share a common belief in the life and teachings of Jesus, and their hope during the ‘Convinced?’ week is to provide an opportunity to put life’s big questions on a platform for debate and contemplation. Throughout the week, there will be lunchtime talks in Koko Gorilaz (1pm) and evening gatherings at Highfields Centre (8pm). At each, issues such as ‘why would God allow suffering?’ and ‘why would God limit my sexuality?’ will be tackled. The point of the week is not to force Christian ideas upon the student population, but instead it is an opportunity to talk openly about these consequential questions. The Christian Union has no motive to ‘Bible bash’ or ‘ram religion down your throat’, but they simply wish to enter into a discussion that can only help to open our minds.
n this piece, I won’t use traditional arguments like the numbers of Christians or moral guidelines in the Bible to try and convince you Christianity is relevant. Rather, I hope to show you that the true relevance of Christianity for 21st century Cardiff students, ironically, lies in a Jewish man who lived 2,000 years ago. For me, the curious thing about the Biblical Jesus is how often he is viewed in a blasé way. One of the most common opinions I’ve heard from people around uni is that 'Jesus was a nice guy who had some good ideas, but I just can’t or don’t want to devote my life to him'. To say you respect or agree with Jesus’s teachings but don’t follow him is a bit of a paradox. As much as Jesus taught about love, justice, morality, and equality; he also frequently preached of his own divinity and his exclusive ability to offer salvation (John 11:25 and John 14:6 are just two common examples). Put it this way: if I came up to you claiming to be the son of God and the sole saviour of the world, there’s really only one way you’re likely to react. You’ll probably ignore me, think I’m crazy, and maybe shout a phrase ending in ‘off’. If you’re going to believe my extraordinary claims, I would have to do extraordinary things. If I could do such amazing things to disprove your warranted scepticism, odds are you would probably be interested in joining my cause. Yet I can’t imagine anyone
would watch someone claiming to be mankind’s only hope at salvation and have a completely neutral opinion of them – let alone label them a nice guy with decent ideas but choose not to follow them. This is arguably the most compelling argument for Christianity. That so many believed and followed Jesus despite his polarising claims, and that their numbers grew even though Christians were persecuted and killed by both Romans and Jews for many years after his death. This is why Christianity is relevant to you today, whether you believe in it or not. If what Jesus said was true, then he is an eternal saviour, and no amount of culture shifts or scientific progress can stop that from being true. If he was wrong, then he is a dangerous madman with a worrying number of followers (over 2 billion currently). And if I wasn’t a Christian (true up until a year-and-a-half ago), I would want to do something about the spread of such a wellsupported ideology. So I challenge you next week to find and chat to some of the many Christians spread around the uni. Listen to what they believe, go along to the many events, ask all the questions you have, and decide for yourself who you think Jesus was. Don’t avoid investigating, and don’t just think of him as a decent but irrelevant guy, because hopefully this has shown you that’s something he can’t be.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddop
by Katie Bennett-Davies
ikes! I can’t believe a fortnight has already passed since I last filled this space with lettery goodness. I lost quite a few days in between somewhere, unfortunately not because I drank too many vodka shots. I started taking some new medicine, which made me feel as though I might possibly be dying. Needless to say, it was not exactly my idea of fun. Thankfully, I am on the mend as I write. Talking of thanks, due to the Americanisation of our culture, many of you, my dear readers, might know that it was Thanksgiving last week in the big US of A. This got me thinking about the whole idea of gratitude. I suffer from chronic illnesses so I often spend a lot of time horizontal in my bed, without doing anything exciting. I find it easy to indulge in self-pity and become depressed during these times. My husband often gets the joy of dealing with my tears and whining. In order to avoid this, or at least reduce the amount of times I open my mouth to complain, I make a list of three things I am thankful for or made me smile every day in my diary. This means that the scroll I inflict on the gold-lined pages of my journal includes something positive. My counsellor would be proud. It occurred to me recently how
You have to agree that, no matter what problems are facing you right now, you probably still have it pretty good
terrible it is that I often find it so difficult to come up with three things. God (yes I’m a Christian, it’s all coming to light now, I know) has blessed me with so much and I just skip past it every day, taking it for granted. Even if you’re not religious, you have to agree that, no matter what problems are facing you right now, you probably still have it pretty good, well at least most of you reading this probably do. Just the fact that we have had the opportunity to come to university is something to be thankful for every day. Of course, I worked (sort of) hard to get here, but not everyone has a family like mine that not only realises the value of education, but also supports them. I am also lucky enough to live in a country where I can apply for a student loan. Of course, I’ll have to pay this back and with a lot of interest, but I still had the option to take a loan out. I won the postcode lottery and went to a good school with teachers who genuinely cared about my academic career. I could go on and on. And, when I started thinking about it, the list of things that I happened to get because of the family I was born into and the country I live in, my hand just couldn’t write fast enough. Suddenly, trying to narrow it down to three things seemed like the issue. Another time, when I realised
that I should probably stop feeling quite so sorry for myself, was on a trip to the hospital. A little background info is required for this story. At the time, I had just spent months and months stuck in bed with a mysterious, but very painful illness. I had lost count of the amount of times I’d asked for a pillow to scream into because the pain was so terrible. I was bitter that my doctor didn’t believe me and that therefore I had spent far too much of the summer after my A-levels waiting in A & E, just so I could get painkillers. I felt permanently sorry for myself because of everything I had lost. None of my friends and family would have ever have thought to say to me, ‘chin up, things could be worse’, because they too felt pretty bad for me. Yes, I’d been through a lot – at times, I would have done anything to stop the pain – but when I passed a sign for ‘Child’s Cancer Ward’ in the hospital, I knew I really needed to get over myself. OK, it had not been a great summer, it did seem really unfair that my friends got to have so much fun while I was stuck inside watching the clock for the next painkiller dose, but it had only been three months of my life. I could move on now; there was nothing horrendously wrong with me. I wasn’t dying and I didn’t have to go through any kind of awful treatment. When I
imagined how it would have felt to be that sick as a child, I felt a bit luckier, when I thought what it would be like to have to live in hospital instead of having a childhood. To have to fight for my life every single day. Well, you get the picture. I’m not saying I should have pretended that I was happy to go through what I did, or that I am now, with my continuing bad health, but I shouldn’t get so caught up in feeling bitter and sorry for myself that I miss out on all the good things I have in life. I don’t want to get all overly sentimental and suggest you start hugging trees, but I would definitely recommend paying attention to every single thing in your day that brought you a bit of happiness. When I started noticing that it made me happy not to have to go to university in the rain, to bump into a friend I had been meaning to get in touch with, or even how blissfully happy I was to have found my happily-ever-after prince, when all my other friends seemed to be finding nothing but toads, my mood lifted a lot. In a matter of days I stopped being so impatient, had less arguments, and smiled more. I couldn’t recommend starting your own list of the magical three more, and I would challenge you to pick the three smallest and most insignificant parts of your day that made you smile.
16 / Politics
CBI conference: politicians set out their stalls Jacob Dirnhuber Politics Writer
London's Grosvenor hotel played host to the annual Confederation of British Industry conference last Monday, where Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to cut through the bureaucratic "red tape" constraining British business interests and declared that Britain was stuck in "the economic equivalent of war". In an unconfident and frantic speech, Cameron made repeated attempts to reassure the congress that his government was the one to steer Britain away from the financial abyss, and that he had the best interests of British business at heart. "I’m here today to tell you this Government gets it. We get that the world is breathing down our neck. And we get what British business needs". "You need us to deal with our deficit. To cut business taxes so we can compete. To have a proper industrial strategy to get behind the growth engines of the future.
To reform education so we turn out the brightest graduates and school leavers. To reform welfare so it pays to work". "These are the key steps to Britain thriving in this global race. But it’s not just about policies: it’s about attitude. You need us to be tough. To be radical. To be fast. I’m going to tell you what that means". Education was particularly high on the agenda, with a report released on the eve of the conference describing British schools as "exam factories" and labelling the education system as a whole a "cult of the average". "Qualifications are important, but we also need people who have self-discipline and serve customers well" said the Deputy Director of the CBI, John Cridland. "As well as academic rigour, we need schools to produce rounded and grounded young people who have the skills and behaviours that businesses want". Cameron's response was to highlight the work of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove,
who has recently made attempts to overhaul an exam system that has been described as 'obsolete'. Cameron responded: "instead of a monolithic state system with no real competition we’ve introduced free schools and created more than 2000 Academies, free to innovate and teach how they want. This is having a massive effect already".
It’s not just about policies: it’s about attitude. You need us to be tough. To be radical. To be fast. However, Cameron was less secure when questions about Britain's status within the EU were raised. Labour's Ed Miliband was one of the principal attackers, claiming that Britain was being allowed to "sleepwalk towards the exit" under the Coalition. "Public scepticism about the EU has been on the rise for some time" he said. "Some cabinet ministers in this government now openly say we would be better off outside the EU". "Many of our traditional allies in Europe clearly think Britain is heading to the exit door. Those of us, like me, who passionately believe that Britain is stronger in the EU cannot be silent in a situation like this. I will not allow our country to sleepwalk towards exit because it would be a betrayal of our national interest." Miliband argued that Britain is attractive to investors such as Nissan and Toyota because of its position within the Single Market, and this would disappear if Britain were to leave the EU. This was a view shared by many attendees at the conference. "If we left the EU it would be the
United States, China, the EU in the negotiating room - and Britain in the overflow room". Vince Cable meanwhile drew praise for his speech, which called for further investment in engineering courses and relaxing certain immigration laws that currently prevent skilled workers plying their trade in Britain. "Time and again, large manufacturing companies come to my department and tell me they are worried about looming shortages of skilled engineers. It is one of my major priorities as Business Secretary to address this problem". "We need to remain open to the many talented and entrepreneurial people that throng to our shores to learn, work and invest – that is how over the years Britain has gained so much of its industrial and business expertise. Being open for business means being open to overseas talent as well as overseas investors". In a statement on the CBI website, Chief Policy Director Katja Hall praised Cable's speech to
the conference. "Business will be pleased with the focus Vince Cable brought to meeting our economy's needs. He acknowledged the urgent need to get more young people studying science and maths, and that is of vital importance to businesses. Over 40 per cent of firms in sectors like engineering are already struggling to recruit skilled people, and this situation will only get worse if we don't take swift action." Also speaking was the current mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who criticised companies such as Starbucks and Google for paying little to no corporation tax. "They can either change their tax arrangement or they can do much more to serve the society where they make their profits by taking on more of the [unemployed youths]," he said. "I believe that is the best solution for a city that has experienced riots just over a year ago. We need to boost apprenticeships and get young people into jobs."
South Wales ‘helicops’ police twitter account could be axed Chris McSweeney Politics Writer
Ever been woken up by a Police Helicopter? Ever wondered why the sky cops are hovering over Cardiff each night? Thankfully you can find out, as the South and East Wales Police Helicopter now has its own Twitter account. The South Wales Police PR department will be delighted they acquired the username “@ helicops”. The Twitter account publishes details of every flight, where they are flying, which crimes they are tackling, and even frequently replies to public requests and complaints. One recent tweet, in response to a member of the public stated; “@wocko101 – Sorry hope we didn’t disturb you too much.” The account was launched in September of 2011 and has so
far posted nearly five and a half thousand tweets, and attracted over 10,000 followers. This has been exceptionally successful for police-public relations, as the Twitter Feed helps keep the public informed in real time, and creates a meaningful connection. This could prove to be important, as public perception of Police Air Support may contribute to overall support of the police following the PCC elections. Police helicopter services nationwide need all the help they can get, given that some regional services cost taxpayers up to £2.5m a year, and have frequently been in the firing range of Cameron and Osbourne’s austerity cuts. Dyfed-Powis Police have recently been campaigning to save their helicopter service from being centralised by the National Police Air Sevice (NPAS), in a move
that would leave 23 helicopters to be shared between 43 police services across England and Wales, thereby significantly stretching the workload of the South Wales Police Helicopter. This costs the taxpayer £815 per flight hour, and up to £7000 a day in some areas. However, the police air service might well be worth the cost to the public purse, given the crucial work that they carry out. Another threat to the 'helicops' is the closing of police twitter accounts because of social media 'mistakes.' This could be a potentially detrimental move as it risks making the police look out of touch and heavy handed. The sense of realness of our police officers has succeeded in engaging with the public, and the 10,000 followers prove that this move has been highly successful.
Welsh Government could be granted tax powers Ashley Bebbington Politics Writer
The highly influential Silk Commission has released a report into the way the Welsh Assembly should be funded, and has released a series of proposals that could signal a significant power shift from Westminster to Cardiff Bay by 2020. The report states that 25p of every £1 spent by the Welsh Government should come from taxes set and raised in Wales. If the plans laid out in the report are approved, the Welsh Assembly will be able to vary the rate of income tax for the first time since the creation of the body by the Blair Government in 1999. In contrast, the Welsh Assembly’s counterpart in Scotland has held taxation powers since its conception in 1999.
25p of every £1 spent by the Welsh Government should come from taxation raised in Wales The Commission on Devolution in Wales is headed by Paul Silk who previously held the post of Clerk to the National Assembly of Wales, the most senior non-elected position in the Welsh civil service. Former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan created the Commission in October 2011 to investigate the case for the devolution of fiscal powers to the Welsh Assembly. The plans have received support from all four main parties represented in the National Assembly for Wales, the legislative branch of the Welsh Government. Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas highlighted that the Welsh Assembly is the only devolved administration that does not yet have tax altering powers, and approval would help to better
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddpol
In the thick of it Gaffes, guffs and scandal from inside UK government political communications. Rachel Victoria Lewis
present Wales in an international context. Peter Black, Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales West has called the report ‘empowering’, but voiced his support for a longterm timeframe for the plans which would give the Welsh Government ample time to learn how to deal with their new powers. Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones has stressed that the new powers would not necessarily mean that taxes would be raised, the main change would be that Wales would have more control over its own budget. If implemented, these changes would be radical. Currently the Welsh government is funded by an annual lump sum of an estimated £15bn from the Treasury in London. If the Silk Commission’s plans were put into place a provisional system would be implemented whereby £2bn from the Treasury’s lump sum would be replaced with £2bn of Welsh income tax. This provisional system would be followed by a referendum in the latter half of the current decade, in which Welsh voters would be presented with the option to maintain these new powers. The Silk Commission highlights the fact that the provisional system, titled ‘assigned
The progress of Welsh Assembly action plan to investigate decline of bee populations in Wales was discussed at a conference in Aberystwyth.
income tax’, would not give the Assembly the power to vary the tax rate and therefore does not require a referendum Under the Silk Commision’s plans, the Welsh government would be given the responsibility of raising 10p of the 20p basic tax rate, with the other 10p coming from the Treasury in London. On top of this, ministers in Cardiff would be given the power to alter their share of the tax rate as much as they want, so for example raising it by 1p would mean there would be an overall Welsh tax rate of 21p. They can also choose to lower the tax rate, but this would yield less money for the Welsh government.
The Welsh Assembly are the only legislature in the world that have no control over tax rates Last year Welsh voters gave more legislative powers to the Welsh Assembly, meaning AMs can make laws in more areas, but not control how much the people of Wales pay in tax. The Silk Commission reports that this makes the Assembly anomalous,
If you repay £50 of your Student Finance Wales loan, (2010/2011) they will erase £1500 of your student debt.
being the only legislature in the world that has no control over tax rates. As well as income tax, the proposals suggest that the Assembly should have control over the aggregates levy, a tax on commercial exploitation of sand, rock and gravel, stamp duty paid by house buyers, landfill tax, and air passenger duty for long haul flights. The proposals could have a strong impact on Welsh politics, allowing political hopefuls to run for office with promises of tax cuts, or spending backed up by a rise in tax rates. Money could become a serious issue in Welsh Assembly elections for the first time, as it would not simply boil down to what the Westminster lump sum should be spent on. It is important to note, however, that the plans are not currently set in stone. For the referendum to take place it must be supported by two thirds of the Welsh Assembly, and both Houses of Parliament in London. Despite this, the Commission’s report is a big step forward for the Welsh Assembly, and could mark the most radical change in the legislature’s history.
Good news for first time home buyers as Welsh Assembly offer 5% cotribution to typically 10% compulsory mortgage deposits.
eorge 'Gideon' Osborne's net satisfaction ratings have not been high recently; a Guardian/ICM poll showed him to be even less popular than Nick Clegg, with their ratings at miserable -32 and -26 respectively . With the 2015 election preparations already underway, Osborne's popularity rating has a direct impact on Cameron. The Spectator highlighted "If Osborne fails, he and Cameron will fall together. More than any Prime Minister and Chancellor of recent times, they come as a unit". Osborne has been abandoned by his close SpAd Poppy Mitchell-Rose who has moved to Washington to join her partner at the BBC Washington bureau (we all remember the picture of them sharing headphones and watching a film in a first class carriage). This blow follows an equally damaging incident at the weekend, where Osborne's former speech writer was arrested in a bar incident. However, the Cabinet has taken this opportunity to enhance Osborne's dull performance with the hiring of a new SpAd, Thea Rogers. Rogers is mostly recognised for her political production work for Newsnight and Nick Robinson, although her hiring is surprising since she worked for Labour in 2005 and was even mentioned in a Tory name and shame dossier of opponants who might have broken the ministerial code. "Mr Purnell used his government car to take his girlfriend, Thea Rogers on dates... Ministers should not use their cars for private business" Since then, Rogers has been seen to be cosying up with the treasury, drinking late into the night with the team after the Tory party conference this year. Eye Spy MP tweeted "Number 10's Craig Oliver holding hands with BBC's Thea Rodgers". She is quite the dark horse, and was quoted in Vogue recently saying she carries "a bag for impromptu trips, I never know where the day might lead me".
18 / Politics
Gaza conflict continues amid ceasefire talks
Politics writer Chris McSweeney investigates the continuing conflict with Israel along the Gaza strip
n November 14th, violence erupted in the Gaza Strip, when head of Palestinian ruling party Hamas’ Military wing Ahmed Jabari was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. What has followed has been a seemingly unending stream of artillery bombardment on both sides – which at the time of writing has left around 130 Palestinians (reportedly including 50 civilians) and 7 Israelis (including 4 civilians) dead. This new wave of violence began because, according to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), unguided Hamas rockets were being fired into Israel. However, seemingly the retaliation of the IDF appears to have exacerbated the situation. As of November 14th, over 1000 Hamas rockets have been fired into Israel. The conflict, labelled by Israel as “Operation Pillar of Defence” has set a new precedent; the first war to be reported by both sides, in real time on Twitter. On November 14th, hours after the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the IDF posted satellite footage of the air strike on YouTube, linked through their Twitter page (@IDFSpokesperson). Following this, the IDF has updated the page frequently with updates of air strikes, reports of Hamas rockets, and promotional material aimed at winning international support of its operations in the region.
The page is updated in English, rather than Hebrew, for the benefit of Western readers. Thus far, it has proven extremely difficult for the majority of the Western world to take a side, as neither appears to have emerged on the moral highground. Israel is well known to be despised by the Arab world as they’re perceived as champions of the interests of the West in the Middle East. The nation was founded in 1947 by the relatively new United Nations as an attempt to return the region to displaced Jewish people in the wake of the Holocaust. However, the State of Israel has been met with open hostility by the traditionally Islamic Middle Eastern community, and this has led to a number of conflicts over the years. Their military is funded by around $1bn a year from the United States, and have been seen to be resolute, even aggressive, in defending themselves from any perceived threat. They are well equipped with modern technology, a vast army and one of the world’s most respected intelligence services, Mossad. The Gaza strip is controlled by Hamas, the ruling party of the breakaway state of Palestine (recognized as a state by only 66 per cent of other nations, but not the US, the UK, Australia of Japan to name a few). The region borders Egypt, and was blockaded by the IDF in 2005 after failing to control the region. Since then,
paramilitary groups have fired small, unguided rockets into Israel, causing sporadic damage and loss of life ever since. They are a poorly equipped, partisan nation. The IDF have repeatedly accused Hamas of using the “Human Shield” technique: hiding guerrillas within a civilian population. However this has been disputed by some critics as the IDF trying to justify their collateral damage. Shocking pictures have recently appeared online of dead and severely wounded Palestinian children, as well as destruction and chaos, which is in dramatic contrast to the damage done to Israel.
Israel is despised by the Arab world as they’re seen as championing the interests of the West Thus far, responses from around the world have been condemnations of the violence against civilians in the Gaza strip. However, while the UK Government has remained relatively impartial on the issue, the United States has come out in favour of Israel, President Obama has cited their “right to defend themselves”. The western media in general have seemingly come out in favour of Israel. News outlets including Fox, CNN, NBC, as well as The Daily Mail, The Sun and
even the BBC have all reported Israeli casualties first and Palestinian casualties later on in their broadcasts and articles. The BBC in particular, world famous for their impartiality, have recently been speaking to “Middle Eastern Commentator” Johnathan Sacerdoti during live broadcasts for an expert opinion. However, Mr. Sacerdoti works for the Think Tank “The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy”, an ostensibly non-biased, military agency that actually seeks to promote Israeli interests in the international lobby. This is just one example of pro-Israeli bias attempting to win over Western audiences for their own interest. As the conflict continues, it is important to keep an open mind about the information being disseminated by the media (including this article). The conflict is very complex with passionate people on both sides, and a confused and very often uninformed media in the middle. This is the perfect scenario for terrible war crimes to be committed. Undoubtedly, there will be many more deaths. The Arab world will continue to unrelentingly support Palestine, just as the United States will continue to unrelentingly support to Israel. It is important that as citizens of a democratic society we make informed judgements based on the best knowledge available. We must look for it carefully.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddpol
China’s new Premier Xi Jinping represents a fresh start? Gareth Dunn Politics Writer
While the circus packed up its bags on one side of the Pacific, having ushered in another four years of a ground-breaking administration, another nation with a similar amount of pomp and ceremony; albeit expressed in an entirely different way, revealed its new orchestra of leadership brass. After more than a year of subtle negotiations, concessions and Caesarean backstabbing, China’s Communist Party finally unveiled its new seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, its all-powerful decision-making body. A break from the precedent of a nine-man composition, the new streamlined approach gives the new General Secretary, and critically the Head of the Armed Forces, Xi Jinping, more scope to add a rather more urgent touch to proceedings than his predecessor, Hu Jintao was able to do. A ‘princeling’ of Maoist revolutionary stock and Communist royalty, Xi’s record throughout his political career has been exemplary, and critically for a bureaucracy afflicted with crippling corruption, untainted. Yet the nature of the Chinese political machine denies us the luxury of assigning a 'reformist' or 'hardliner' tag to the man, as every speech, press release and utterance must adhere to the longheld principles of unswerving,
Obama visits Burma The newly re-elected US President addresses the worlds youngest democracy. Politics writer Matt Harding reports
resident Barack Obama marked his first visit to the Asian continent since his re-election, with a symbolic visit to Burma, making history as the first incumbent American President to visit the nation. The visit itself lasted for just 6 hours, but the legacy of a visit of such nature is likely to last for much longer. The visit was a chance for Mr Obama to “extend the hand of friendship” to a nation with a troubled past. When meeting with Burma’s President Thein Sein, one of the leading reformers of Burmese politics in recent years, Mr Obama was keen to discuss the issues still ongoing. With many political prisoners still being held, and violence towards many ethnic groups a regular occurrence, Mr Obama made clear that “the flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished” establish-
ing an idea that Burma still had a long road ahead of it to becoming a truly democratic nation. Burma is beginning to shake off nearly 5 decades of oppression. There are hopes of building lasting relations and promoting further work to ensure greater equality and democracy. The president was particularly eager to meet perhaps Burma’s most famous citizen; pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Having spent 15 of 21 years under house arrest, Suu Kyi became the leading light of the Burmese prodemocracy movement in recent years. The President met her in the house in which she spent so many years under arrest, a symbolic gesture of this nation's move away from military dictatorship towards democracy. President Obama’s visit to the region was not unprompted. Many observers have noted that the President’s visit to Cambodia, Burma and Thailand has been to re-enforce economic ties,
through trade and aid, and to further promote Burmese-American relations. This has been motivated by the US electorate’s desire to see greater restrictions on China’s growing world power, and the initiation of greater influence in the region. However Mr. Obama maintains that the visit comes as part of his promise to aid any nation willing to accept democracy.
Mr Obama made clear that “the flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished” Human rights campaigners have criticised the timing of the visit by the American President, suggesting that he should have been more conscious of ongoing issues, and not visited until the political environment of the nation had moved further towards equality.
and in some cases blind loyalty to the Party and Chairman Mao, the CCP’s George Washington. Only time will tell. Perhaps Xi’s first trip to the White House as General Secretary early in 2013 will indicate what course the man might chart. Yet a land encompassing a fifth of the world’s population is not solely ruled by one man; the seven-man standing committee consists of the General Secretary, his Premier Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, Zhang Gaoli and Yu Zhengsheng. The composition of this body has been mired in murk thanks to the scandal surrounding the murder of a British Old Harrovian businessman by the name of Neil Heywood. Nonetheless, this new Politburo will take charge of all critical ministerial portfolios and decide policy in all fields for at least the first five years of the ten-year political cycle. Two reformists tipped for a place on the standing committee failed to ensure their positions, and all early indications suggest a generally doctrinal, letter-ofthe-law standing committee that puts into doubt any blossoming of democratic reform. Reform will come, as China is in dire need of change, but this reform will only come in the form of economic shifts, environmental and demographic policy, not the reform that springs to mind from a Western perspective when analyzing China and her political puzzle.
China and her new leadership will jump-start a stuttering manufacturing industry with a new emphasis on quality, rather than on quantity. They must attempt to tackle the institutionalized bribery and corruption that has clogged local government machinations for the past decade, but what the world will and needs to see from China is a coordinated and amicable relationship with the other significant economic superpower on the planet; the aforementioned circus across the Pacific. With a recent shift in focus by the United States to the Asia-Pacific region, both economically and militarily, it is critical that spheres of influence interact without incident, or conflict on all levels will threaten to destabilize not just the region but the financial world, having profound effects on us all. The Sino-American relationship will be defined in the next decade, and in turn will shape the future of our planet. Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and the five other men making up the second most powerful bureau on Earth may seem very detached from us at home, and from the average Chinese citizen, but rest assured, seven men still and always will mean seven personalities, seven plans and seven directions. The need for these seven paths to meet, and meet in the right direction, cannot be understated. This decade is the beginning of the age of the East.
20 / Politics
Parliament debates votes for prisoners The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the current blanket ban on voting for prisoners is unlawful. Politics Editor Thom Hollick explains why he believes the ECtHR is right.
he whole point of an international human rights regime is to protect the rights of small minorities who would otherwise get trampled upon by the majority. It is therefore entirely unsurprising that realising them will cause some level of inconvenience to the government. It is also unsurprising that some individuals within the dominant minority will question whether such or such a minority is even worth protecting. Generally however, it is the majority who get the final say in such matters. The minority I speak of on this occasion is the approximately 100,000 Britons currently in prison. And the right: the freedom to vote in local and general elections. Those serving time in British prisons have never been able to vote, but in 2004, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a blanket ban on any enfranchisement of prisoners is unlawful. Individual governments have the right to discriminate and offer it to some prisoners but not others, but until now there has hardly been any debate as to how we want to proceed. The deadline for Parliament to reach a decision is fast approaching. Chris Grayling at the Ministry of Justice has colluded with Nick Clegg in his role as Minister with special responsibility for Constitutional Reform to draft a Bill with various
options to put before Parliament. MPs might choose to grant the vote to those serving four years or under (i.e. prisoners who are due to be released within the next Parliament) to those serving one year, or perhaps even less. Or they might choose to stick two fingers up to the ECtHR and accept whatever punishment they order. It wouldn’t be the first time backbench MPs would have rebelled against an order from a body with ‘European’ in its title.
We need to recognise that prisoners are still human, and are entirely dependent on the state for their existence But then again, those MPs opposed to prisoner enfranchisement might not even be forced to rebel in the traditional sense, as David Cameron and the Conservative leadership also seems to be of this opinion, as do their opponents on the Labour frontbenches. Just last month, David Cameron told the Commons: “No-one should be under any doubt - prisoners are not getting the vote under this government”. So that’s settled then. Cash-strapped Britain is planning on just accepting any fines that the ECtHR hands out, and take the subsequent hit to our reputation in Europe and beyond. Let’s hope we don’t need to promote the Human Rights regime in other parts of t h e
world, as we may find our credibility severely lacking… There are perhaps three good arguments against retaining a blanket ban on voting in prisons, but these should be seen as complementary to each other. They add up to, what is in my view a convincing case for votes for all prisoners regardless of length of sentence, but others might follow that conclusion less far. There is a legal argument, a practical or political argument, and a moral argument. The legal argument is very straightforward. The ECtHR, to which we subscribed as one of the founding members in 1950, has ruled that the UK is acting unlawfully, so to continue under its jurisdiction we must comply. We would expect each of the other 46 signatories to obey, so we ought to as well, lest we open ourselves to charges of doublestandards. If we withdrew from the Court, that could have legal implications for our membership of the EU. (It is worth pointing out that the ECtHR and the EU are distinct political and legal entities, as much as their opponents like to confuse and conflate them). The legal authority of the court to hand out punishments is already severely limited, but that is no reason for deliberately disobeying it. We are consistently frustrated when the likes of Russia and Belarus ignore it's rulings, so we must accept their authority over us if we are to continue to argue that others do the same.
The practical argument is that giving prisoners the vote would not make that much difference to the electoral geography of the nation, as these 100,000 odd individuals are fairly spread out across over 100 different institutions. Not all will be of legal voting age, or holding British citizenship, and of the remainder, not all will even want to vote. The likelihood of a mass of newly enfranchised prisoners sweeping one party or another to electoral victory is very small indeed. Conversely, the cost of not legislating could be very high indeed, as those who do want to vote will soon start making successful cases against the government, who will then start having to pay out significant figures as compensation.
Those MPs opposed to prisoner enfranchisement might not even be forced to rebel in the traditional sense Interestingly, lots of other countries allow all prisoners to vote, including Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, and Zimbabwe. In Germany, there is specific reference in the legislation that prisoners ought be encouraged to vote. This is characteristic of the penal systems of Euro-
pean democracies. Finally there is the ethical argument, which unusually for ethical arguments is actually eminently practical. It all has to do with how we view prisoners, and the role of the penal system. We have one of the highest incarceration rates in Western Europe; 154 in every 100,000 of the population, and we are constantly hearing about record re-offending rates. If we want to get these levels down we need to change the way we think about prison, and re-affirm our commitment to rehabilitate those that we can. Giving prisoners the vote and educating them about the civic responsibility it represents could be a vital tool in achieving that end. Most of all, we just need to recognise that those in our prisons are still human, and though we may detest the fact, they are entirely dependent on the provisions of the state for their existence. They have not treated our society with respect, but we still need to respect them, to treat them better than they deserve, in order for them to learn how to act in future. This may be nigh on impossible for some to accept, and I would never expect the victims of the most vicious crimes to wholly forgive their wrong-doers, but this extreme controversy should not prevent some sort of action now. If we just reform in order to give the vote to petty criminals, then that could be a valuable first step towards us rethinking the position of offenders in society.
22 / Science
CERN data confirms Higgs suspicions David Mason
Science Writer Scientists from the CERN European Research Centre, home of the Large Hadron Collider, have announced recently that the Higgs boson-like particle discovered earlier this year was, indeed, a genuine Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is thought to be the particle that gives mass to all matter.
It looks like, sings like, and dances like a Higgs boson
new particle “looks like, sings like, and dances more and more like a Higgs boson”, but also suggested that it is still, technically, too early to tell for sure. However, despite finding what was expected and wanted, this data comes with the somewhat disappointing revelation that the particle is a ‘Standard Model Higgs’, one that seemingly fits in with the dominant scientific concepts of the universe. It was
hoped that the Higgs boson found would deviate from standard predictions, allowing potential to explore more exotic theories regarding the universe. One such theory is that of supersymmetry, which suggests
It was hoped the Higgs boson would deviate from standard predictions
the existence of hidden 'partner particles' for all known particles. It was hoped that the discovered Higgs boson may shed light on this theory, which could theoretically account for the dark matter believed to make up close to 25% of the known universe. Regardless, considerable progress has been made in understanding the Higgs boson itself. Despite being particularly unstable and quick to decay,
Pauline Gagnon, a physicist on the Large Hadron Collider 'Atlas' experiment stated that the
researchers have been able to confirm the particle has a mass of approximately 125 times that of the proton. Along with other data confirmed from the particle, it appears to align with the predicted Standard Model. Such data may aid in explaining how particles have mass at all, an idea first suggested in the 1960s and researched since. Theoretically, it is suggested that particles gain mass when travelling through a Higgs field, associated with the Higgs boson. Whilst further research is required on the topic, it is suggested that this discovered Higgs boson fits neatly within predicted theories.
Most Earth-like exoplanet so far discovered Sophia Epstein Science Writer
An international team of astronomers have discovered another Earth-like exoplanet – the most similar to Earth found so far. Despite being ten times further away from Earth than the previously discovered Earth-like exoplanet (see gair rhydd issue 988), the creatively named HD 40307 g is the closest potentially habitable planet to our own. Its nearest competitor, Kepler 22D, is 600 lightyears away from Earth; HD 40307 g’s 44 lightyears seems close in comparison. HD 40307 g is the sixth planet to be found orbiting its parent star HD 40307. It is the furthest out of the six, which places it in its star’s ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – the zone, which, in the words of one
of its discoverers Professor Hugh Jones, is “neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right” to potentially sustain life. In comparison, the surface temperature of the Earthlike exoplanet discovered last month was a steamy 1,500°C. However, HD 40307 g’s similarities to Earth do not end there; experts have speculated that it might even rotate, giving it a regular day and night cycle. Although it may seem natural to us that a planet rotates on its own
axis, many planets do not, in fact, mirror Earth’s day and night pattern. Planets orbiting too close their stars are at risk of becoming tidally locked, leaving one side permanently in the dark. This finding makes HD 40307 g even more remarkable.
Many planets do not, in fact, mirror Earth’s day and night pattern The newly discovered exoplanet has been dubbed a ‘superEarth’, owing to its mass, which is seven times greater than that of our home planet. As a result of this, the planet exerts a much stronger force of gravity. Experts maintain, however, that this does not rule out the possibility of the presence of life
on the planet, and that despite this, HD 40307 g definitely warrants further examination by the future generation of space-based telescopes. Although this exciting addition to the growing list of discovered exoplanets is exciting in itself, it is the method used in its discovery that is the true revelation. By pioneering the use of wavelengths as a filter in their analysis of data already collected by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument in previous studies of the same parent star, the researchers were able to locate an additional three planets in what was originally thought to be a three-planet system. Lead researcher Mikko Tuomi said these new discoveries were due to the heightened “sensitivity” provided by these
new techniques. It is the continuous advances in these sorts of research methods that lead to many exciting possibilities, potentially even the discovery of Earth 2.0.
Editor's note Correction: Last week's article 'Sub-sharan Africa's population crisis' was written by Max Eshraghi and not David Mason as printed. Apologies for the error.
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddsci
Is the coffee plant becoming an endangered species? Chris McSweeney Science Writer
Coffee – the world’s favourite hot beverage, as well as the world’s second most traded commodity after oil, was this week making headlines around the world as a new report published by researchers at Kew Gardens suggested that it is under threat of extinction from climate change. The report stated that in a worst case scenario, given a temperature rise of 4 degrees centigrade by the end of the century, that 100% of coffee grown in Africa and the Middle East would become extinct. This would be disastrous for the coffee trade in Europe, and given Ethiopia’s dependence on its coffee exports, would result in an economic depression from which the country may never recover. The findings of the report were calculated by applying current models of potential climate change scenarios to what is already known about coffee’s ability to grow in certain temperatures. The report states; “At temperatures above 23°C, the growth and ripening [of coffee] is accelerated, leading to a reduced quality beverage. Continuous exposure to temperatures as high
as 30°C leads to stress, which will manifest as depressed growth and abnormalities, such as the yellowing of leaves and growth of tumours on the stem.”
Coffee grown in Africa and the Middle East would become extinct
theoretical. The researchers called for further investigation, stating “On-the-ground monitoring of stress over suitable time intervals will be necessary to fully ground-truth the validity and scaling of our modelling.” Over 70 newspapers and countless online publications went with the headline “Cof-
fee extinct by 2080”. While this headline was somewhat alarmist, as the international press played a game of Chinese whispers with the original data, the fact remains that production of Coffee in Africa and the Middle East is under serious threat from climate change, given our current projections of the rise in global temperatures. The report is available online at www.plosone.org.
The report concludes that the African/Middle Eastern coffee bean could at least be severely damaged, or even die out altogether if climate change projections from the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) prove to be accurate. The report, “The Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Arabica Coffee”, was submitted for peer review by its contributors in May of this year, and was published in the online journal “Plos One” on November 7th. Given that it is peer reviewed, it is undoubtedly a scientific projection worth paying attention to. However, the report itself does admit flaws in its data gathering, as all data in the report is
Printable guns polarise USA Michael O'Connell Davison Science Writer
An American university student is designing schematics that would allow him to use a 3D printer to produce a fully operational firearm. However, the project, which used a rented printer, experienced a setback when the company supplying the device decided to withdraw it. Cody Wilson, who studies law at the University of Texas and is currently raising money for the project, opposes gun control. His website, Defense Distributed, displays a manifesto that contains a number of pro-gun quotes. However, while speaking to the website ANIMAL, he said that he “really [isn’t] some guy that’s just trying to get everybody to print a bunch of guns and roll out, [...] This is simply about, hey, look at your printable future.” 3D printers are able to build objects made of plastic, metal and other materials, and have been used to produce firearms before. A mechanical engineer named Michael Guslick produced a gun’s lower receiver,
which houses the gun’s trigger mechanism and magazine, and is also officially classified as a firearm by itself under United States law.
The printing company claimed that the project was in violation of U.S. firearm laws Wilson, who has been described as possessing an intense interest in philosophy, has suggested that he will make plans for the firearm open source. This would not only make the plans free to download and share, but would also allow others to build upon his company’s plans once released, theoretically giving anybody a base upon which to create printed firearms of their own. Wilson’s plans were placed on hold when Stratasys (who built Guslick’s printer and supplied Wilson with his) withdrew Defense Distributed’s printer. The company claimed that the project was in violation of U.S. firearm laws, and cited their right to
cancel any outstanding order as they see fit. Despite this setback, Wilson remains optimistic, and has suggested that the first ‘wiki weapon’ will go to print in a matter of weeks. The project has suffered a great deal of criticism, as printable firearms have a number of safety and security issues that surround them. For example, these firearms would not be subject to the same background checks as their store bought peers would be. The project also risks marring the reputation of an emerging technology, as 3D printing becomes cheaper and more accessible to the wider public. It is important to note that despite criticism, building a firearm without a license is legal in the U.S.
Wilson has suggested that he will make plans for the firearm open source However, with Wilson’s political leanings being a large part of his motivation in this project,
there are many who support him. Comments on Defense Distributed websites include a prediction that “all silly restrictions will become useless soon”; indeed, Wilson echoed this claim in his interview with ANIMAL. Speaking of the government, he predicted that one day “that intermediary [the state] is going to disappear.”
The ‘Windfarm Syndrome’ myth Peter Marshall Science Writer
It's no secret that wind farms have become entrenched in politics (barely an episode of Question Time goes by without them cropping up) and the country has been duly divided. While most of us admit that we have a responsibility to be greener, many feel that wind farms are an ineffective means of generating power and a scabrous blotch on the landscape. So, as the familiar scent of nimbyism fills our nostrils, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that reports of wind farms adversely affecting peoples’ health have become increasingly common. After all, nothing provides a better basis for objection than our health. The Daily Mail recently published an article dramatically titled: “Are wind farms saving or killing us?” which – cue the world's smallest violin – actually contains the sentences: “She’d (that's wind farm sick Aileen Jackson) had enough of life in the big city...she wanted somewhere quiet and rural to start a family, keep her horses…”, and: “(t)hen, two years ago...it all turned sour”. Picture a few photographs of Aileen looking sad and windswept beneath a morose sky and I think you can get the gist. And, if these histrionics don’t set your sceptical alarm bells ringing, perhaps the nature of the illnesses mentioned will. Aileen's worsening pre-existing diabetes, her teenage son's depression, her husband's high blood pressure, although potentially devastating, are all fairly common and easily explained without recourse to wind farms. Diabetes is well known to be a disobedient condition, teenagers frequently get depressed and middle-aged men often have high blood pressure (see I told you it was easy!). And what do the scientists have to say? Well, seventeen reviews are united in claiming that wind farms pose no significant risks to our health. So, it stands to reason that wind farm syndrome is just another hysterical response to a new technology (remember how sick we got from microwave ovens, mobile phones and television) peddled by newspapers and politicians. It seems they have no problem misleading the public regardless of the quality of their evidence in order to satisfy alternative agendas.
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26 / Societies
Manly Come Dancing Cardiff DanceSport Club is on a manhunt. Societies writer and club member Benjamin Cole presents the manly side of the Ballroom, and calls on the men of Cardiff to take up the challenge and take to the floor.
ah mate, not my thing.” “Sorry, I have two left feet.” Add general sniggering and
scoffing noises. These were but a few of the responses that the Cardiff DanceSport Club got during advertising for the Freshers' Fayre, and various individual members have had from trying to bring people along to sessions. This makes me fairly upset. Ballroom was at its peak during the '20s and '30s, a time when gangsters, flappers and various awesome things were the height of sophistication. Back in the day, when men were men, women were women, and wearing a suit and Trilby were de rigueur.
Back in the day, when men were men, Ballroom was at its peak and wearing a suit was de rigueur Now, it seems, ballroom dancing has gone from something that every man was expected to have a vague understanding of and ability to do, to something that is looked down on by the average guy as being “something for girls”. Needless to say, this makes me sad. This couldn't really be further
from the truth. Many people would look at me and think: “Well, yeah, he looks fairly manly.” If they knew that I was a member of the University Officer Training Corps too, it would be affirmed even more. Then there is also the fact that I'm a ballroom dancer, and have been since I arrived at Cardiff. Actually, the only place that I haven't found any kind of prejudice (for want of a better word) against ballroom is the OTC. This was reinforced when one of the scariest, manliest people I think I have ever met – a Sergeant Major in the Royal Military Police, complete with Para Wings (look all of these up, you'll understand) – told me that one thing he always wished he tried was ballroom dancing. Look at the men on Strictly. The majority are fine specimens of “the Manly Man”. Louis Smith? He's a gymnast, incredibly “hench” one might say – he's dancing, and bloody well too. One of the professional dancers, Artem Chigvintsev is a huge, manly Russian – you can't really get much more manly than a huge Russian bloke (who specialises in Latin by the way. Think sequins, low-cut shirts, and incredibly agile hips). Not to mention he bagged Eastenders hottie and costar of the also manly Ray Winston in The Sweeney, Kara Tointon, simply because he danced with her. Audley Harrison, European boxing champ took part, and Buzz Aldrin went to the moon and then took part in the US
equivalent. People ask me if we just prance around a bit, trying to look good during practice. While looking good is certainly a big part of it (easier for some *ahem*), there is a lot – and I really do mean a lot – of training. As a team, we train for a minimum of four hours a week, with the chance to train for an extra two, and practice for another three-and-a-half on nontraining days. That is quite a bit. When it comes to competition day, we will most likely be awake at 5am, and then will probably arrive back in Cardiff for roughly
10pm. During that day, there will be a lot of waiting, but once you're on the floor after one of your many rounds, you come off dripping, even for a slow, smooth waltz, never mind a boppy jive (think how you sweat when you do circuits or spin classes). I would probably say that I put away about 3,500 calories on competition days. Some of the biggest emergency situations at competitions happen due to fainting through exhaustion.
Look at the men on Strictly Come Dancing. Many are fine examples of ‘the Manly Man’ So really, the question a man should ask himself is: "Why am I not learning to dance?" I reckon you can ask any girl about a man being able to dance, and they will most likely be in awe to some degree (I'm speaking from experience). Don't swing that way? We don't care! Come down anyway and learn something fun and rather useful! Why else, you say? Bars and clubs. These places are so crowded, and it's difficult to move slowly when trying not to spill drinks. Dancing helps: your balance will become amazing, and you will no longer spill your drinks (again, from my experience). Don’t have a party trick? You’d be surprised how many people will ask dancers to teach them to dance at a party. You have two left feet? We have medical students that can fix that for you! (If only...) No rhythm? Don't really need it, you'll be taught how to count beats in music. Never done it
before? So? Neither did I until I started last year. There are so many things - acceptable and not - that everyone may or may not have tried before coming to Uni: why can’t Ballroom be one of them? Bet you had never done a centurion or played pub golf before coming to university, but you tried it. We have classes for people who haven’t danced before. So now we've got all of these excuses answered, what are you waiting for? Come down and join us! Us manly men will enjoy the banter, and the lovely ladies will be happy that there is a bigger variety of us to dance with. I would almost be willing to bet money that you will have a good time and a laugh. Cardiff DanceSport have a Social session including Salsa (18:00pm) and Ballroom/Latin (19:00-21:30) on Tuesday in the Great Hall, for £3 per session. For something more challenging, come down to a Team Training Session at the Talybont Sports Hall on Thursday at 7:30pm or Saturday at 10am for £2 per session. Contact the Team Captains: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or the President: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www. facebook.com/#!/ groups/270903429680387/ or visit: http://groups.cardiffstudents. com/dancesport/home-new//
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddsoc
RAG Week success: from the perspective of a ‘Take Me Out’ victim... Rhys Clayton
Societies Writer Cardiff University’s RAG week has once again been a great success. The action-packed week has managed to raise a huge amount for charity, with the final amount still rising. The week kicked off in style last Monday with RAG’s very own version of ITV’s Take Me Out. Foolishly, I agreed to take part again. Last year, my magic trick turned into disaster when my wingman / lovely
assistant failed to do his job, but I did get a date when one kind-hearted soul left her balloon on. This year, I knew things weren’t going to go well when balloons started popping at the
mere mention of my hometown, Swansea. I was incredulous. What’s wrong with my beautiful hometown? Must be down to the jealously of being the only Welsh football team in the Premier League. Things went from bad to worse when I mentioned that I like sport and keeping fit. This also appeared to be a taboo topic. Maybe next year I’ll introduce myself
with, “Hi, I’m Rhys from Wales, and I’m an unfit, lazy person who likes to idle round and watch TV.” Not that I’m bitter or anything. Things picked up when I was
complimented by one of the girls on my smart attire and the fact that she liked my shoes. Heck, my dad always said you can tell a lot about a man from the shoes he wears and the company he keeps. Unfortunately, you can also tell a lot about a man by the quality of his voice – at least in my case. My 'talent' of singing Sir Tom Jones didn’t go down too well. The less said of it the better. What was I thinking trying to replicate the irreplicable? I haven’t had a good singing voice since year 9 before my voice broke. I can only apologise, Sir Tom. The first contestant, Tim from Japan, danced Gangnam Style for his talent, and was a clear crowd favourite. However, in his introduction, balloons were popped at the mention of his liking for cooking! Seriously, what do modern girls want in a man? Other contestants’ talents included guitar playing, magic, a one-handed press-up, and even a no-handed press-up (of some description). Last year, the night was fantastically hosted by 'Taffy McGuiness', a.k.a. ex-sabbatical officer Chris Davies. This year,
the show was equally adeptly run by Kieran Gandhi. Gandhi ran the show brilliantly, and his quips and gentle ribbing of contestants added to a good-humoured mood and charitable atmosphere. Speaking to people after the event, it appeared that a good night was enjoyed by all. And more importantly, a lot of money was raised. The success of the night owed much to Nicole Roberts, who organised the proceedings with aplomb. Nicole was ecstatic at the amount raised: “We haven’t finished counting how much money we raised, but it was much more than we thought!” Nicole and her team’s
tireless efforts didn’t stop there, with a quiz, Student vs Food, Lost, and a comedy night rounding off a very hectic week! So, did I humiliate myself, albeit for a good cause? Yes. Can I sing Tom Jones? No. Would I do it all again? Of course I would! No likey, no lighty! If you’d like to get involved with RAG, become Facebook friends with RAG Cardiff or follow them on Twitter @cardiff_rag.
Film Society The Cardiff University Film Society has two branches for you to get involved with: the Society itself and DiffFilms, their very own production branch for the budding writer, director, cinematographer or editor.
Their socials are famous for being infamous. Dead certs in their calendar include the London Film Festival Trip, the Halloween fancy dress social, the Christmas social, the DiffFilms Annual Showcase and the Cardiff Student Media Awards.
28 / Taf-Od
Clybiau’r Uwchgynghrair angen bod yn ‘ganolbwyntiau cymunedol’ Tomos Lewis Golygydd Taf-od
Mae pwyllgor y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol, yn dilyn ymchwiliad mewn i gyflwr Uwchgynghrair Pel-droed Cymru, ymysg argymhellion eraill, wedi awgrymu y dylai Llywodraeth Cymru a Chymdeithas Bel-droed Cymru ystyried ffyrdd o sicrhau bod clybiau yn datblygu’n ganolbwynt i’w cymunedau lleol.
yn ôl tystiolaeth, yn fwy defnyddiol oherwydd ei bod yn amlbwrpas a felly yn galluogi mwy o chwaraeon gwahanol gael ei chwarae arno. Buasai cymune-
gan y sefydliad ar lawr gwlad. Dywedodd Ann Jones, Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cymunedau, Cydraddoldeb a Llywodraeth Leol, "Mae rhai o'r chwaraew-
morth ariannol. “Mae gosod meysydd chwarae trydedd a phedwaredd genhedlaeth yn rhan fawr o'r model hwn sydd wedi ei seilio ar ganolbw-
Mae llwyddiant Uwchgynghrair Cymru yn dibynnu ar ei chynaliadwyedd Mae'r Pwyllgor Cymunedau, Cydraddoldeb a Llywodraeth Leol wedi argymell bod Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru, ynghyd â Llywodraeth Cymru, awdurdodau lleol a'r clybiau eu hunain, yn ystyried cyfleoedd i gael cefnogaeth ariannol i roi arwynebedd newydd ar feysydd chwarae. Maent yn argymell newid arwynebedd maesydd chwarae clybiau i rai 3G (tebyg i’r maes sydd ger Taly-Bont) a 4G, sydd,
O taf D
Ann Jones AC
Cymru yn Taf-od wedi ffigyrau gael ei gyhoeddi ynglyn â’r niferoedd oedd yn mynychu i faesydd chwarae clybiau’r Uwchgynghrair i wylio’i clybiau lleol. Efallai’n wir mae’r hyn sy’n cael ei awgrymu yw’r opsiwn gorau ar gyfer ceisio creu sefyllfa ariannol cadarn i’r clybiau, trwy annog defnyddio maesydd chwarae fel canolbwyntiau cymunedol, a fuasai, mewn tro, yn helpu annog mwy o bobl i fynd i wylio’r gemau pêl-droed. Gwnaeth y Pwyllgor naw o argymhellion yn ei adroddiad, gan gynnwys:
Dylai Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru ac awdurdodau lleol ystyried cyfleoedd i glybiau Uwch Gynghrair Cymru sy'n dymuno datblygu'r model sydd wedi ei seilio ar ganolbwynt cymunedol gael cymorth ariannol i ddatblygu meysydd o'r math newydd.
dau felly’n elwa, yn ogystal a’r clybiau, a fuasai’n elwa’n arianol. Mantais arall o’r arwynebedd newydd hyn yw’r posibilrwydd o gynnal amrywiaeth o weithgareddau yr y ‘cae’, heb unrhyw berygl o ddifrodi’r maes chwarae. Cynhaliodd y Pwyllgor gyfres o gyfarfodydd o gwmpas Cymru gan wahodd clybiau i fynegi eu syniadau a'u pryderon. Roedd llawer ohonynt yn ystyried corff llywodraethu'r gamp, sef Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru, yn amherthnasol, neu nid oeddent yn gallu gweld manteision y strategaethau a ddatblygwyd
yr pêl-droed gorau wedi dod o Gymru.” “Er mwyn dod o hyd i'r John Charles, Ryan Giggs neu Gareth Bale nesaf, rhaid cael cynghrair cartref llwyddiannus a chadarn a fydd yn dod o hyd i'r chwaraewyr hyn ac yn eu datblygu.
Buasai cymunedau felly'n elwa, yn ogystal â'r clybiau “Mae llwyddiant Uwch Gynghrair Cymru yn dibynnu ar ei chynaliadwyedd, a dyna'r rheswm rydym wedi argymell bod clybiau, Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru a Llywodraeth Cymru yn ystyried ffyrdd sy'n bod eisoes o ddatblygu'r gymuned a chael cy-
ynt cymunedol o ganlyniad i'w amlbwrpasedd, a gall fod yn sail i gyfleusterau o'r radd flaenaf i ddatblygu strwythurau academi pêl-droed. “Nododd y Pwyllgor y datblygiadau sylweddol a gyflawnwyd yn barod gan Uwch Gynghrair Cymru ers ei sefydlu a'r diwylliant mwy agored a fabwysiadwyd gan Gymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru. “Ond rydym ni'n annog pawb i ddechrau datblygu perthynas well â'i gilydd. Oni bai fod pawb yn cydweithredu, bydd Uwch Gynghrair Cymru yn ei chael hi'n anodd i symud ymlaen." Mewn erthygl ychydig wythnosau yn ol, fe drafodwyd dyfodol Uwchgynghrair pêl-droed
Yn rhan o'r model sydd wedi ei seilio ar ganolbwynt cymunedol Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru, dylai'r gymdeithas ac awdurdodau lleol weithio gyda'i gilydd i sicrhau bod y clybiau yn cael cymorth i gyrraedd pob rhan o'u cymunedau.
Mae angen i Gymdeithas Bêldroed Cymru flaenoriaethu datblygu ei gwaith cyfathrebu a'i pherthynas â chlybiau Uwch Gynghrair Cymru, oherwydd heb eu cydweithrediad, ni fydd hi'n bosibl roi eu strategaethau ar waith.
Straeon OD o bob rhan o’r byd... Wythnos yma, Bigfoot mewn tref yng Nghaint...
ae dyn yn Tu n b r i d g e Wells yn honi ei fod wedi dod wyneb yn wyneb gyda creadur tebyg i 'Bigfoot'. Mae'r creadur hyn, sydd wedi cael ei weld gan nifer o bobl yn yr ardal yn y misoedd diwethaf, yn ôl y dyn a welodd ef mis diwethaf, yn flewog a gyda llygaid coch. Mae'r "Kentish Apeman" fel mae'n cael ei alw, wedi cael ei 'weld' nifer o weithiau ers i straeon o'i fodolaeth gychwyn yn 1942. Mae'n bo-
sib iawn ei fod yn cuddio mewn ogof gyda Loch Ness, Tegid a'r 'Black Nun'... Yn America, mae dyn 38 oed wythnos diwethaf wedi arddangos ei dy sy'n hongian yn yr awyr diolch i ganoedd o falwnau heliwm, megis y ffilm 'Up'. Mae Jonathan Trappe o North Carolina, yn gobeithio teithio ar hyd Môr yr Iwerydd haf nesaf yn ei greadigaeth. Dim hyn oedd ei brofiad cyntaf o hedfan wedi ei lynu i falwnau, yn 2010, bu Trappe y dyn cyntaf i hedfan ar hyd y sianel yn defnyddio balwnau heliwm.
Mae cwmni adeiladu ffyrdd yn Tseina wedi gorfod adeiladu o gwmpas ty, wedi i deulu wrthod cytuno i symud o'r ty gan eu bod yn anghytuno gyda'r arian oedd y cwmni'n gynnig iddynt. Er fod eu cymdogion i gyd wedi symud ymlaen o'r bloc pump llawr, mae'r teulu yn benderfynol i dal eu tir - yn llythrennol. Nid rhain yw'r cyntaf i fyw mewn ty yng nghanol ffordd, mae teulu yn Calderdale, Gorllewin Yorkshire, yn enwog yn byw yng nghanol y M62.
Dydd Llun Tachwedd 26ain 2012 | @taf_od
Adroddiad Comisiwn Silk: Pwerau dros drethi erbyn 2020 i Lywodraeth Cymru Angharad Hywel sy'n trafod canlyniadau o'r adroddiad diweddar gan Gomisiwn Silk
n ôl Comisiwn Silk, Comisiwn o dan gadeiryddiaeth Paul Silk un o hen lawiau’r Cynulliad a Thy’r Cyffredin, mewn adroddiad a gyhoeddwyd dydd Llun diwethaf, byddai datganoli pwerau trethu a benthyca i Gymru yn gwneud Llywodraeth Cymru yn fwy atebol am yr arian mae’n ei wario, ynghyd â chynyddu ei grym a chyfrifoldeb. Comisiynwyd yr adroddiad annibynnol y llynedd gan Cheryl Gillan, cyn-Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Toriaidd Cymru. Pwrpas Comisiwn Silk oedd edrych ar system drethu a benthyca Llywodraeth Cymru, gan awgrymu sut byddai modd gwella’r drefn bresennol. Ar hyn o’r bryd, nid oes gan ein llywodraeth unrhyw awdurdod ar benderfyniadau yngl n â threthi Cymru, nac ychwaith b er i fenthyca arian. (Mae gan yr awdurdod lleol lleiaf yr hawl i wneud hyn yn barod.). Nodir yn yr adroddiad fod y drefn bresennol yn mynd yn erbyn yr hyn a ddisgwylir mewn democratiaeth fodern a bod angen gwneud newidiadau angenrheidiol. Ceir 33 o awgrymiadau am newid. Awgrymiadau yn unig
yw'r rhain; nid oes dyletswydd ar Lywodraeth Prydain na Chymru fynd ati i’w gweithredu. Treth yw testun mwyaf Comsiwn Silk. Dylid datganoli 4 treth benodol: treth tirlenwi, treth stamp ar dir, treth ar werthu masnachol ar dywod a graean, a tholl
fel y mynnent, bydded yn lleihau'r dreth neu yn ei gynyddu. Gobaith y Comisiwn yw gwelir datganoli yr hawliau hyn erbyn 2020. Mae’r Comisiwn yn bendant iawn o ran pa hawliau trethu na ddylid eu datganoli, gan gynnwys treth gorfforaeth, yswiriant gwl-
diad. Dywed dylai Llywodraeth Cymru fod yn gyfrifol am hanner treth incwm Cymru erbyn 2020. Ar hyn o bryd cyfradd treth incwm sylfaennol llywodraeth Prydain ydy 20c yn y bunt. Gallai Llywodraeth Cymru fod yn gyfrifol am hanner, efo 10c yn dod i’n coffrau ni a’r 10c arall yn mynd i Lundain.
Mae'r adroddiad yn arwyddocaol a hanesyddol
teithwyr awyr, ynghyd â throsglwyddo holl awdurdod trethi busnes i Lywodraeth Cymru. Byddai trosglwyddo’r awdurdod dros y trethi hyn yn galluogi’r llywodraeth i wneud newidiadau
adol, treth enillion cyfalaf, treth ar werth a threth tanwydd. Byddai rhain yn rhy gymhleth i’w trosglwyddo ar hyn o bryd. Ceir hefyd awgrymiadau ar hawliau treth incwm yn yr adrod-
Byddai hawl i Lywodraeth Cymru gynyddu neu leihau'r hanner byddent yn gyfrifol amdano, ond ni fyddent â hawl newid yr hanner arall (dywedwch efo 8c yn dod i ni a 12c yn mynd i Loegr). Felly gellir gweithwyr Cymru dalu mwy neu llai o dreth incwm na gweithwyr Lloegr. Dyna’r awgrymiadau mwyaf dadleuol, ac argymhellir y byddai angen refferendwm cyn eu gweithredu. O ddatganoli rhai pwerau trethu i Gymru, byddai newid hefyd i’r ffordd mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn derbyn arian gan Lywodraeth Prydain. Ar hyn o bryd mae Cymru yn derbyn grant bloc pob blwyddyn gan y Trysorlys yn ôl trefn Barnet gwerth tua £12 bi-
liwn. Pe byddid yn gweithredu’r awgrymiadau trethiannol yma, byddai 25% o leihad yn y grant bloc hwn, gyda gweddill cyllideb Cymru yn cael ei ariannu gan y trethi datganoledig. Cyn gwireddu hyn, byddai angen ail edrych ar grant bloc Cymru o dan drefn Barnet, sydd yn tan-ariannu Cymru yn sylweddol bob blwyddyn. Mae’r adroddiad yn arwyddocaol a hanesyddol, gan o’i gweithredu byddai gan Gymru system drethu a benthyca ein hunan am y tro cyntaf ers oes Owain Glyndwr. Ond nid Llywodraeth Cymru gomisiynodd yr adroddiad, yn hytrach Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig; nid Cymru sy’n gofyn am yr hawliau cyfyng a geir yma, ond Prydain yn cynnig mwy. Rhaid i rhywun amau fod pwrpas pellach gan Lundain, efallai tawelu’r dyfroedd ar adeg pan fo’r Alban yn mynd am annibyniaeth. Ond yn sicr bydd datganoli hawliau trethi yn gam enfawr ymlaen yn y broses o ddatganoli mwy o bwerau o Lundain i Gaerdydd. Ac fel y dywedodd Ron Davies, cyn Ysgrifennydd Gwladol arall ac awdur datganoli, proses ydy o nid digwyddiad.
Eisteddfod Ffermwyr Ifanc yn achosi trafodaeth hiliaeth Gerallt Rhys Roberts Taf-od
Beth yw ystyr ‘hiliaeth’? Mae’n derm sy’n dod â atgofion o’r gorffennol o droseddau casineb America, ac achosion o bryd i’w gilydd ar y cae pêl-droed sy’n dal i gyrraedd y penawdau heddiw. Yn syml, teimlad yw o fod un dras yn israddol i’r llall – a all gael ei drin ar ffurf casineb neu eu gwahaniaethu ar sail eu hil. Gall yr ymdriniaeth yma fod yn fwriadol, neu’n anfwriadol, anymwybodol hyd yn oed – ond lle’n union mae tynnu’r llinell rhwng yr hyn sy’n hiliol neu beidio? A lle mae ‘hwyl diniwed’ yn peidio bod yn union hynny? ‘Hwyl diniwed’ oedd yr hyn a ddigwyddodd yn Eisteddfod Ffermwyr Ifanc Cymru yn Abergwaun nos Sadwrn d’wetha yn ôl y mudiad – lle enillodd sgetsh a oedd yn portreadu dau Tsieni y wobr gyntaf am y ‘ddeuawd ddoniol’. Yn fras, roedd y ddau, gyda’u llygaid main â’u gwisg ‘traddodiadol’, yn gwenwyno cwsmeriaid eu takeaway cyn dianc o’r wlad pan ddaw eu visas i ben. Enw un oedd ‘ping’ a’r llall oedd ‘pong’ ac roeddent yn ‘gwneud pob dim yn wong’ yn ôl eu cân. Mewn ychydig funudau
roedd Twitter yn fwrlwm o gyhuddiadau o hiliaeth yn erbyn y ffermwyr ifanc, gan eu cyhuddo o daflu pob ystrydeb o’r dras Tsieniaidd o gwmpas y lle. Doedd dim ‘gronyn o falais’ ym mwriad CFfI, yn ôl eu arweinydd ar Taro’r Post yr wythnos ganlynol, chwaith – ond a oes angen malais er mwyn bod yn hiliol?
Sadwrn – dyma pam fod rhaglenni sy’n defnyddio hiwmor o’r fath yn aml o dan y lach gan nad yw hyn yn aml yn ddigon clir. Mae
benodol sy’n cael ei ystrydebu, gan nad na all unrhyw un honni eu bod yn hiliol o’u hîl eu hunain! Os ydy ffermwyr ifanc yn cysyll-
comedi o’r fath yn grefft, a’r rhai sy’n fwyaf llwyddiannus yn ei gyflawni yw comedïwyr o’r dras
tu eu hiwmor â hiwmor isel-ael, doedd yn sicr ddim unrhyw dinc o eironi yn amlwg yn y sgetsh.
Lle yn union mae tynnu'r llinell rhwng yr hyn sy'n hiliol neu beidio? ‘Hiliaeth ystrydebol’ oedd y diffiniad a gafodd ei roi i’r sgetsh ymysg ei beirniaid, yn llawn jôcs naïf, di-chwaeth, yn cadarnhau’r stereoteip am y Tsieniaid i’r gynulleidfa. Mae pob un ohonom yn ymwybodol o’r stereoteipiau am hiliau gwahanol, gan eu defnyddio fel llwybr byr i adnabod i’r hil hwnnw. Mae nifer yn gwneud jôcs o’r stereoteipiau hyn – yn wir, mae rhaglenni sy’n gwneud hyn ymysg y rhai mwyaf poblogaidd ar y teledu, fel Little Britain, Family Guy a South Park. Roedd hi’n anodd iawn dweud os mai gwneud hwyl o stereoteip y Tsienïaid roedd ffermwyr ifanc Dyffryn Cothi yn ei wneud nos
Mae gan bawb ryddid mynegiant diolch byth – mae gan ffermwyr ifanc bob hawl i gyflwyno pa bynnag ‘ddeuawd ddoniol’ y mynnent, yn ddoniol neu beidio! Ond yn y pen draw mae’r cyfrifoldeb yn sefyll ar ysgwyddau trefnwyr unrhyw blatfform sy’n cael ei ddarparu iddynt – os oedd yr hyn a berfformiwyd ar y noson yn hiliol - neu’n annoeth, ddi-chwaeth os credwch na ddylid mynd mor bell â’u peintio â’r brwsh hwnnw – dylai trefnwyr y ‘Steddfod heb fod wedi rhoi llwyfan iddynt, ac S4C yn sicr heb fod wedi ei gynnwys yn eu rhaglen o ‘uchafbwyntiau’. Mae mudiad y ffermwyr ifanc yn gwneud gwaith heb ei ail er mwyn parhad yr iaith Gymraeg yng nghymunedau cefn gwlad Cymru, ac yn bendant does dim syniadaeth hiliol yn rhan o’u gwaith. Ond ydynt yn rhoi llwyfan i jôcs sy’n gwneud hwyl o dras arbennig, hyd yn oed os doedd dim bwriad maleisus ond bwriad i wneud hynny’n eironig, dylent fod yn ofalus iawn iawn wrth wneud hynny!
30 / Puzzles
Kakuro Fill in the grid so that each run of squares adds up to the total in the box above or to the left. Use only numbers 1â€“9 and never use a number more than once per run (a number may recur in the same row, in a separate run).
Rhysâ€™ Riddles It's Steve's birthday, and he meets up with his detective friend, Leather Sherlock Holmes for their yearly argument in The Taf. Steve claims that there would have to be over 180 people in The Taf for there to be a greater than 50% chance that at least two people share the same birthday. Holmes disagrees, and shows Steve the correct answer. How many people do there need to be?
Last week's riddle answer The answer is a pretty simple 50 per cent. The maths is slightly long-winded, so we can work it out logically using these two observations: 1. If any of the first 99 people sit in your seat, you WILL NOT get to sit in your own seat. 2. If any of the first 99 people sit in Steve's seat, you WILL get to sit in your seat. For a full explanation visit tinyurl.com/grriddle8
Monday November 26th 2012 | @mediacsu
Listings Nov 26th – Dec 2nd
Cinema Silver Linings Playbook
Former schoolteacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) meets the mysterious Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow who's just as volatile and medicated as himself. She agrees to help blunt and tactless Pat rebuild his marriage, but has an odd favour to ask in return.
Theatre Robin in the Hood Nov 29th–Dec 1st Great Hall, Students' Union 7:30, £5 NUS, £6 non-NUS
Clubs The Lash Every Wednesday Between free giveaways and drink offers, the Lash is the place to be. 10pm–3am
Music Madina Lake CF10, Students' Union Saturday, December 1st £12
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Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddsport
CUTV shine as Wales slump again Swim team secure podium finish Arthur Russell Sport Writer
Last week, CUTV members relished the unprecedented opportunity of exclusive access to the Samoa national rugby team’s preparations ahead of their autumn international against Grand Slam winners Wales. CUTV were allowed to attend the pre-match interview with the Samoan vice-captain and coaching staff, as well as filming the team’s training run at Taffs Well RFC. Station Manager Sophie Gregory was thrilled with the week’s filming, describing it as an “excellent opportunity for CUTV to experience professional coverage”. The Samoans appeared modest yet quietly confident in the prematch press conference. Team manager Sami Leota emphasised that, for both teams, making the top eight in time for the upcoming World Cup draw on December 3rd was a key goal, and that Samoa had “no excuses” after two weeks’ extra preparation and time together as a team. This was the first time that CUTV had been able to provide coverage of an international sporting event, a feat highlighting how far the station has developed over the last few years. And while CUTV is a team scaling new heights, sadly Wales’ rugby side appears to be heading for another post-Grand Slam slump. Buoyed from their press release with CUTV, Samoa outperformed a lacklustre Wales outfit
to record a well-deserved 26–19 win, condemning the 2011 World Cup semi-finalists to a fifth successive Test defeat. Interim head coach Rob Howley was left dejected, describing his side’s performance as one simply “not up to international standard”. Samoa started brightly with a second-minute try courtesy of a break from number eight Taiasina
Wales, sending the hosts into the break 13–10 ahead. The Samoans swiftly regained the lead as centre George Pisi crossed in sensational style, latching onto a break from scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i to acrobatically stay in touch under pressure from replacement Rhys Priestland and finish in the corner. This score came after Wales had, for
than their linear and predictable opponents. In the dying minutes, a kick hoisted deep into Wales’ 22 resulted in Halfpenny misjudging the ball’s movement, handing a golden opportunity to substitute Johnny Leota to touch down and put the game to bed. Every team experiences dips in form. Warren Gatland’s presence over the next fortnight could re-
Tuifua, which created an overlap that allowed fullback Fa’atoina Autagavaia to cross untroubled in the corner. Wales bounced back, however, firstly from the trusty boot of Leigh Halfpenny and then from a 75-yard interception try from centre Ashley Beck, his first for
the first time in 124 minutes of autumn rugby, actually played their way into an opposition 22. A Samoan win seemed inevitable, with the Islanders maintaining possession securely throughout, exceeding Wales’ physicality at the breakdown and running more audacious attacking lines
juvenate the side. It is, however, going to take more than words to provide the intensity and creativity needed to overturn the formidable challenge of both the All Blacks and Wallabies. Over to you, Warburton, Roberts and co.!
Cardiff trampolining spring into action Sophie Jenkins Sport Writer
On Saturday 17th October, the Cardiff University Trampoline Club attended its first competition of the year at the University of Bristol. After an early start, an hourlong car journey and an unplanned fire alarm at the sports hall where the event was held, the competition began. Cardiff’s entrants, several of who had not competed before, were scheduled to perform their routines at different times of the day, which meant that there was plenty of opportunity for competitors to spend time watching and supporting others in addition to competing themselves. It did not take long for Cardiff’s team to make their mark on the competition, with an early medal being won in the novice men’s category by newcomer Rob Greenfield, who came first. This was soon followed by further medals, with Calissa Rendell and Becci Litt both winning
bronze medals for the novice and intermediate ladies’ categories respectively, an impressive feat considering that both categories comprised more than 40 entrants. Further medals followed later
runner-up in the ladies’ extreme elite. On top of the five individual medals accumulated by the club, the level of success achieved in the novice to inter-advanced categories also resulted in Cardiff winning a third place in the
in the day as club captain Finn McAlinden placed second in the advanced men’s category, while Cesca Claydon also finished
lower level team event. After the main individual competition, the day continued with a “Russian roulette” synchro-
nised competition. In this event, competitors from all levels and Universities are randomly paired with each other and attempt to complete a routine in time with each other, having had only a small amount of time to practise. The event was a fun end to the day, with the random pairings and minimal practice time leading to some rather haphazard routines. With Cardiff’s Cerys Erwood making up part of the event’s winning team along with an extreme elite competitor from Bristol, however, Cardiff’s team gained its seventh medal, ending the day on a high. Despite the impressive number of medals won for the first competition of the year, the real success of the day was for the club as a whole, with everyone having a great day out away from Cardiff. The spread of the different categories across the day meant that people were able to spend the day watching and supporting their friends, which helped to contribute to the day’s relaxed atmosphere.
Sport Writer On a wintery November Sunday, the Cardiff University Swimming Team travelled to Surrey Sports Park in Guildford for the BUCS Team Championships Southern Region round. As recently as 2010, the team competed in Division Three, but after back-to-back promotions, this season the team were competing in the region’s Premier Division for the first time. Despite missing some key swimmers, the team did not let any of the established top division teams faze them and pulled together to produce a magnificent performance. The team finished an amazing third, bettered only by Oxford University and a Bath University team containing a host of international swimmers. There were strong swims from all over the team, with ever-present starlet Libby Hetherington storming to victories in the sprint freestyle events. Chris Campbell touched home first in the 50m Butterfly but notable performances from freshers Hannah Cuthbert and Sara Williams powered the girls’ teams to fast relay swims. Finishing third has seen the team qualify for the National Championship Finals to be held on the ‘BUCS Big Wednesday’ at Leeds Metropolitan University in March, where the top eight universities will battle for the crown of the best swimming team in the country. Not content with just one team attending the finals day in Yorkshire, the Cardiff University ‘B’ Team finished a comfortable second place in Division Three to ensure their spot in the National Shield Finals. Jack Thomas, Jack Middleton and Richie Hill swam multiple events for the team and produced some great performances. Fresher Diane Anstis stormed to wins in the 50m and 100m Butterfly and, combined with Becky Cooke, Susie Bolt, Lauren Roe and Sammy Conroy, cruised to dominant wins in the relay events. In just three seasons, the Cardiff University Swimming Team have worked all the way to the top and have become one of the major forces of BUCS Swimming. With the immense strength in depth demonstrated by the ‘B’ squad, the team is surely one to be feared by all.
34 / Sport
BUCS Review Premier performance from women’s fencing Tom Brien
After an immense season last year for Cardiff University’s Women’s Fencing Team, which saw them win their league undefeated, win the BUCS Trophy and earn the crown of Cardiff University Team of The Year, the team en tered the unfamiliar territory of the BUCS Premier League. This league contains not only the best University Teams but also some of the best fencers in Britain. Rather than the comfort of Wednesday afternoon matches, the Women now had to compete in intense weekend tournaments against their new opponents of Imperial, UCL, Oxford & Cambridge. Cardiff were fortunate to only lose one team member over the summer and see the return one other from placement and gain two extremely experienced fencers. Like all the teams at this level, Cardiff are full of international experience, with a team made up of Tessa Lomax (Captain, Wales Students), Lucy Ridsdale (Scotland Commonwealths), Abi Difford (Wales Commonwealth), Amy Radford (Team GB Junior Olympics), Frankie Pioli (Team GB Juniors), Elen Tomlinson (Wales), Lydia Fuller and Rosie Beeston. The premiership matches are played over two weekends. Cardiff went into the second weekend of fixtures, hosted in Cardiff, sitting in the middle of the league. Fencing matches are divided into three parts; one for each of the three different swords - the foil, épée and sabre. Three fencers compete in each part, who then
meet each member of the opposite team and there is a total of 45 points available for each of these parts. First up, on a rather rainy Saturday Cardiff morning, were UCL. Cardiff won this fixture in
Pioli, Elen Tomlinson and Amy Radford had proven themselves to be extremely reliable and had produced some great results at the last weekend. When they found themselves behind 40-32
Next was a tough match against Cambridge. Cardiff lost this last time out 117-121. Despite an immense work rate from the Cardiff team, they again fell short 134-133. There were more dark
the first weekend by a score of 128-114. Cardiff quickly won the épée (an event they have been undefeated in throughout their entire campaign) by a score of 45-31. The next event for Cardiff was the foil. While not Cardiff’s strongest weapon, the combination of Abi Difford, Lucy Ridsdale, Frankie
with only a single leg remaining, things looked less promising. It seems though, that in true TEAM CARDIFF style, the word defeat was simple not in the vocabulary of Abi Difford, as she proceeded to power to a 12-2 win and lead Cardiff to win their first match of the weekend.
times ahead as Cardiff then faced the toughest of opponents in the form of Imperial, who have won the premiership every season since 2007. This match presented danger of Cardiff loosing their standing of undefeated Épée champions and, with only three minutes remaining and the scores
at 40-31 in Imperial’s favour, this was looking like a very real possibility. However, in a Herculean effort from fresher Amy Radford, Cardiff managed to secure the round 45-44 with only two seconds remaining. And despite Cardiff also holding the foil by the same score, the BUCS sabre champions were far too strong in the final discipline and took the match narrowly by 133-166 - a huge improvement from the 12987 defeat Cardiff were subjected to last time round. The final match of the weekend saw Cardiff take on Oxford. The women were looking to win the fixture after taking the previous encounter 132-116. The first weapon to be contested in this case was sabre, an event that should have been a strength for Oxford. Cardiff, however, were on sublime form and the combination of Tessa Lomax, Amy Radford and Rosie Beeston managed to steal the bragging rights from the team in blue by 45 points to 35. The real strength of Oxford, however, was in their foil team, who quickly exerted this and held Cardiff to a 28-45 defeat. This left Cardiff needing to do what they had done so well in all the Épée fixtures all season, which they did and so Cardiff powered to a final victory of 118-113. With the women and their supports exhausted from 12 hours of fixtures over the two days, the team were able to hold their heads extremely high, as the other teams took the M4 and left Wales with Cardiff sitting second in a Premier League in only their first season.
May the hero as men’s lacrosse edge out Bath Victoria Farrant Sport Writers
After weeks of preparation and hard work put in by the men’s team the first round of the BUCS trophy had finally arrived. In what was a nail-biting game, a goal in the dying seconds of extra time shot Cardiff University through to the next round of the trophy to face Varsity rivals Swansea University. The men’s team were drawn up to face Bath University at home, arguably one of the toughest draws for round one. After losing to Bath the week before in what was a very close game, Cardiff were eager to perform that bit better and claim
a victory to stay in the contention for a spot in the finals.
The men’s team were drawn up to face Bath University at home, arguably one of the toughest draws The first quarter got underway with Jack Ward winning the faceoff. Cardiff occupied much of the opposition’s half within this quarter and scored two successive goals through attackers
Joakim Schuwer and Elliot May. While Bath had some chances to come back, they were unable to capitalise. At the start of the second quarter, Bath took advantage from the face-off with a fast break resulting in them scoring their first goal. The score was now 3-1 and Cardiff again pressed hard on the opposition. After several assaults on Bath’s goal they finally scored with Schuwer scoring again. This goal gave Cardiff a further boost in confidence and goalkeeper Paul Chapman did a length of the field run. However, this was in vain as he put his shot into the opposing keeper’s stick. After half time and a team talk
the third quarter soon came about with a goal from both sides, with Charlie Quarry scoring for Cardiff. The Cardiff defence were worked hard by Bath’s attack but were able to prevent them from scoring for the remainder of the quarter. The final quarter proved to be an intense twenty minutes of lacrosse. Bath scored three consecutive goals fairly early in the quarter, making the score 5-4 to Bath. This was now do or die for Cardiff; if they could not equalise and the force extra time they would be knocked out of the competition. Cardiff searched hard for the equaliser and, after many attacking plays, James Gib-
son sunk the much needed goal to take Cardiff into extra time. Both teams were starting to look tired going into extra time but this did not mean that neither team were hungry for the victory. Cardiff and Bath traded shots on goal but both were unable to get one into the net. The last minutes of the game approached and both teams were stuck at a stalemate but an opportunity presented itself and Cardiff made a fast break on the Bath defence. Quick passes from James Gibson and Joakim Schuwer finally set up Elliot May for the winning goal. The final score of 6-5 to Cardiff put them through to the next round later on in the month.
Team Talk: FC Euros
Fail to the bus driver
Sport editor, James Shapland, speaks to FC Euros midfielder Rolly Rollinson
his time last season, FC Euros could not buy a win. Leaking goals and struggling to find the net at the other end, they found themselves languishing at the bottom of the league. Fast forward a year and they are sitting pretty at the top of Group A with a 100% record, winning all four of their opening league games and two pre-season friendlies. They opened the season with a convincing 5-1 friendly win over a lacklustre JOMEC outfit, aided by a charitable performance from JOMEC's hapless goalkeeper and gair rhydd editor, Chris Williams. A 6-0 drubbing of Time Team followed to boost team morale further ahead of the season opener against 1st XI. A somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win for Euros proved evidence of a newfound defensive resilience. With the league campaign well underway, the team have continued to flourish and two second half goals in their last game against Law B cemented their position at the summit of Group A. Left midfielder Rolly Rollinson reveals the secrets to the team’s new found success. Rolly, FC Euros have seen a remarkable turn around over the last year, how can you explain it? Well, at the beginning of last season, there was quite a large influx of new team members. Only three of our players had played together before, so it took a while for the team to gel. I think that playing a season together is starting to pay dividends now. It seems as though the team are gelling pretty well this season. Absolutely. We're a lot closer as a team and we are more familiar Group A
Monday November 26th 2012 | @gairrhyddsport
with our strengths and weaknesses. Having a settled formation and set of tactics has had a massive impact as well. A big difference from last season seems to be that you are not conceding as many goals. What are you doing dif-
are a bit of a counter attacking side. Keep a solid defence and hit the opposition on the break. On the team, who is the Lee Cattermole of the team with a poor disciplinary record? Without doubt, that is Elliot “Get Off My Floor” Shepherd. He has
ferently? I think it’s a case of communication within the back four and we have had a couple of new recruits who have been outstanding in defence. Having Ben Symonds back from his year abroad has been a huge boost and we have genuine strength in depth. How about going forward? We have strength throughout the squad. Rhodri Jones in particular has been superb in central midfield and our striker Charlie Legge has continued where he left off at the end of last season in front of goal. How would you describe the FC Euros style of play? That all depends on the state of the pitch, to be honest, as sometimes it’s a case of hit and hope. If the pitch allows it, I suppose we
conceded penalties in half of our league games so far. So, MOMED up next. Feeling confident? Last season they smashed us so we realise that it will be a tough game but hopefully we can get a good result. And finally, what are your aims for the season? After the start we’ve made, it has to be to make the top three and qualify for the Premiership. But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves and there are plenty of good teams left to play.
Four IMG teams were left stranded behind the Students' Union when a coach that was supposed to transport them to Ely left with only 30 people on board. IMG had originally decided that last Sunday's fixtures were to be played on 19th December, but it soon became apparent that the majority of the players would be unable to take part due to the Christmas break. The games were therefore rescheduled at short notice for 18th November. IMG organisers prefer to use the Pontcanna and Blackweir pitches, but due to the late rescheduling, they were already fully booked by another league. It was eventually decided that the games would take place at Trelai Park in Ely, a considerable distance from the usual pitches. According to Andrew Sandcroft, captain of Engin Auto, the IMG organisers immediately realised that it would be too far to walk and organised a coach service for the participating sides. "They ordered a coach for the teams and stated on the Facebook group that, if necessary, the coach would do two trips if there were too many people for one journey," Sandcroft explained. "It was also made very clear that the coach would leave at 12:15 on the dot, so I instructed my team to arrive at 12:00". Engin's vice-captain Rob Daffern revealed what happened next. "We got there at 12:00, the bus was supposed to leave at 12:15. It arrived about 12:05 and two teams got straight on," said Daffern. "We were waiting next to the entrance to the bus but had to wait for our mate who was bringing the nets. "He got there at 10 past and as he arrived the bus driver shut the door and drove straight off."
After initial concerns of dwindling numbers, the IMG season is shaping up to be an exciting one with a few new teams added to the mix. Keep up to date with results and league tables in Sport.
"IMG told us there was not enough room for everyone in a single trip so assumed they were coming back to pick the rest of us up." The IMG organisers are notoriously difficult to contact on matchdays, and Sunday was no different. Four teams were left waiting behind the Students' Union, with members of each team making strenuous attempts to contact those running the competition. "At least one person from every team was trying to get in contact with whoever runs IMG/AU sport to find out what was going on but couldn't get hold of them," Daffern added. "We waited until about 13:15 but it didn't come back." According to Sandcroft, "there was no number to contact IMG and none of the representatives on Facebook had replied to any of the comments". While IMG's lack of communication and accountability are frequent complaints, the consensus of those asked was that the members of the two teams who actually boarded the bus were at fault. Jon Morse, captain of the EarthSoc team summed up the mood. "From my point of view the problem was that the bus went five minutes early with only around 30 boys on it," he said. "I don't blame the AU in any way. In fact I'd like it to be said that my team are very happy with the AU's efforts in arranging a bus for us. "The current AU president has been the most helpful president towards IMG that I've seen in five years here. "The blame really lies with the boys who were on the bus that allowed the driver to drive off half full and then not ensuring that the bus came back to pick up more people."
Roath Park Rangers
Cardiff Uni IMG 1st
Cardiff Uni IMG 2nd
Engin Loco FC
Computer Science FC
Too Big To Fail
Engin Automotive FC
Cardiff Lacrosse squeeze out victory over Bath University << page 34
Sport Monday November 26th 2012 | Issue 992
Cardiff finish third in BUCS swim meet
Sport writer Christopher Campbell comments on the performance of Cardiff Swimming in BUCS Team Championships Southern Region round in Guildford. see page 33
Photo: Christopher Campbell
CUTV reports Welsh failure against Samoa
Top of the league: Focus on IMG side FC EUROS
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<< page 35
Issue 992 of gair rhydd, Cardiff University's student newspaper