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gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly Issue 1067 Monday 30th November 2015 Also in this issue
Advice: Concentrating in the age of the smartphone P9>>
Homelessness in Cardiff : Number of people sleeping rough doubles in two years
Comment: Transgender row over Cumberbatch role P13>>
• Homeless people tell Gair Rhydd of their struggles surviving on the streets • Harsher treatment in Swansea and Newport draws people to Welsh capital • Cardiff Councillor: Changes to benefits and housing to blame for rise EXCLUSIVE Anna Lewis, Joanna Beck & Toby Holloway
omelessness in Cardiff has risen by over a half in the last two years, according to a charity report. In response to the news, Gair Rhydd has conducted an investigation into life on the streets of the Welsh capital. According to The Wallich homeless charity, the amount of people living on the streets has increased by 64 per cent between October 2013 and October 2015. This has meant that the number of people receiving daily support from the charity has grown from 12 in 2013 to 28 this year. For those made homeless, reasons for this rise include a lack of government support and hostile attitudes in neighbouring cities. Talking to Gair Rhydd, one group explained that their reluctance to go to shelters also stemmed from the theft of possessions and an intimidating envi-
ronment created by drug users. Meanwhile another man noted that aggressive anti-homeless policies in other cities has forced people to move to Cardiff. In October, a nineteen year old boy was given a £150 criminal court charge in Swansea for begging in a doorway of an empty shop. Meanwhile, plans to criminalise those sleeping rough in Newport have only just been overturned due to the work of charities and campaign workers, according to The Guardian. In response to the increase in homelessness in Cardiff, the Chief Executive of The Wallich described the situation as “very worrying, particularly in the face of potential further funding cuts in 2016/2017”. This is especially true with the approaching winter months, with the risk of citizens developing severe illnesses and even freezing to death. In reaction to the news, Cllr Susan Elsmore, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Wellbe-
ing maintained that she is “committed to working with individuals who sleep rough on the streets of Cardiff to support them to access services”. According to the Council, the situation can be attributed to changes in the law for certain groups to attain effective entitlement to benefits and housing. A spokesperson confirmed that the largest increase of homelessness has been seen within citizens affected from European Economic Areas (EEAs). They have now stated that Cardiff will work with its partners to “reconnect these clients to their country of origin”. However, Welsh citizens on the streets have also attributed their situation to a lack of support and funding from the British government. This includes an apparently “limited” number of resources allocated to Wales. One homeless man told Gair Rhydd that he was disgruntled with the government’s immigration policy, which he said helped EU citizens to secure housing within six weeks. He said: “I don’t care if you’re black,
Food was given out to homeless people from the Salvation Army’s Cardiff Bus Project last Thursday evening (Photographer: Joseph Atkinson)
Continued on page 4
Politics: The highlights of the Autumn Statement P18>>
Science: Dating using your nose P22>>
2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Joseph Atkinson Deputy Editors Carwyn Williams Anna Lewis
the free word
#SaveCSM - one year on
News Anna Lewis Joanna Beck Toby Holloway Advice Gwen Williams Caragh Medlicott Comment Em Gates Charley Griffiths David Williams Columnist Helena Hanson Politics Carwyn Williams Luke Brett Sam Patterson Science Maria Mellor Lizzie Harrett Societies Aletheia Nutt Taf-Od Carwyn Williams Park Life Vacant Sport Jim Harris James Lloyd Jason Roberts Jamie Smith Social Media Editor Jack Boyce Get involved Editorial conferences are each Monday at 5pm. Proofreading takes place from 5pm on Thursdays in the media office during print weeks. Write to the editor email@example.com Tweet us @gairrhydd
At Gair Rhydd we take seriously our responsibility to maintain the highest possible standards. Sometimes, because of deadline pressures, we may make some mistakes. If you believe we have fallen below the standards we seek to uphold, please email editor@gairrhydd. com. You can view our Ethical Policy Statement and Complaints Procedure at cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/complaints Opinions expressed in editorials are not reflective of Cardiff Student Media, who act as the publisher of Gair Rhydd in legal terms, and should not be considered official communications or the organisation’s stance. Gair Rhydd is a Post Office registered newspaper.
It’s been just over 12 months since the whole of Cardiff Student Media went on strike. What did it achieve? Joseph Atkinson
ust over a year ago now, the whole of Cardiff Student Media went on strike. A petition was launched, a Twitter hashtag: #SaveCSM was born, many members of student media changed their profile picture to raise awareness, and Xpress Radio played John Farnham’s unforgettable ‘80s power ballad ‘You’re the Voice’ on repeat for the cause. That cause was to prevent a bielection for the elected officer role of Vice President Media & Marketing, after the previous VP, Tom Eden, had resigned from the role at the beginning of term. In the period after his resignation, executive members of the student media team stepped up to fill in the responsibilities that the VP had, and did a pretty handy job as well. The feeling was that the election of a new head of student media halfway through the year would completely disrupt the work of the volunteers that are the beating heart of Cardiff Student Media. Those volunteers had admirably coped with the effective absence of an authority figure, and the thought of a potential major change at that time
of the year made people feel unfairly treated. As a Sport Editor on the Gair Rhydd team at the time I can confidently say that everyone on the editorial would have been adversely effected with the election of a new VP Media; the role incorporated the role of Gair Rhydd editor, so a new VP would have meant a new editor. The editor at the time, Michael O’Connell-Davidson, had stepped in after Tom’s resignation earlier in the year, and did an excellent job steadying the ship, introducing a much more public interest news-focused attitude to the paper that had arguably been missing in previous year. The entire editorial team vowed to resign their roles if Mike was taken out of the editor’s seat, and I believe that everyone would have followed through with that threat, such was the strength of feeling at the time. The strike was pretty high profile at the time - a petition to help ‘save Cardiff Student Media’ garnered 764 signatures in total, from present and past members passionate about the cause. The whole of student media went on strike for a week; Xpress Radio and CUTV ceased transmissions and Gair Rhydd and Quench stepped away from
the computers for seven days in support for each other. Thankfully, the strike and pressure put on to prevent the bi-election paid off, and it was decided that the bi-election should be delayed until SU election season. Then, at the AGM later in November, the student body opted to scrap the role of Vice President Media and Marketing altogether, with student media instead to be run by students rather than a paid sabbatical officer. So, was all this worth it? Well, from my point of view, yes. Cardiff Student Media is currently in a fantastic position. Gair Rhydd, Quench, Xpress Radio and CUTV have all come away from national award ceremonies this year with accolades, and every section continues to go from strength to strength. The strike brought every member of every section together and gave us all a common purpose. The removal of the VP Media & Marketing role that followed the strike has also proven to be a positive change. Heads of sections such as myself, Emily Giblett on Quench, Kieran Lewis on Xpress and Alice Bell on CUTV have worked hard to advance through the ranks of student media, and through the dedication of the many volunteers
that make up our editorial teams and executive committees, we have all been able to make the final product as good as possible. You have to wonder what might have been had a new head of media been elected. They would certainly have not had the immediate backing of many members of student media who were so peeved by the potential upheaval that a new head coming in would have caused. Personally I think that the system that we now have in place is the most workable and efficient possible. As I’ve previously said everyone works very well together and student media as a whole feels like a more cohesive unit as a result, despite having no recognised head presiding over it. We are allowed to get on with the work that we are passionate about and in turn produce content to the best of our abilities. Ultimately, without the strike last year and the subsequent motion at the AGM I probably wouldn’t be writing this editorial and many of the excellent members of the editorial team would not have had the chance to work on the paper. After one year, student media is working well, but we’ve got to keep it that way.
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: GAIR RHYDD 830 4/12/2006 ARMLESS was the front page headline in December nine years ago, as the then student senate voted for a motion condemning the university’s investment in arms manufacturing. The University was investing almost £84,000 in BAE systems, a company that was under investigation for corruption, being accused of bribing many different countries. Students were not pleased by the decision by the investment, with one student saying “I think it’s important the university has pressure put on it”. It seems some things never change though, but rather than arms dealers the conversation is now about fossil fuel investment, with Gair Rhydd reporting the University invests over £2 million in the industry, and AGM recently voted to pressure to disinvest. It was also reported that Gair Rhydd came runner up in the best newspaper category at the NUS Student Journalism awards, with a student also winning a diversity prize. In Opinion, there is an interesting piece on whether government is going too far in banning smoking in public spaces and increasing the smoking age to 18. The writer is sceptical whether the change will make a difference, but looking back it obviously has, I can’t imaging being in a room with people smoking, let alone buying cigarettes at 16. On the topic of health, a writer
notes the one year anniversary of 24 hour alcohol licensing, making this year it’s tenth anniversary. Although not many premises implemented a 24 hour alcohol policy initially, by now the number is growing, but I am thankful that some clubs are open later! Have you eaten at Central Bar Weatherspoon’s yet? I know I have, although I wouldn’t have gone in 2006. In the letters page it notes how two third year students saw at least three mice running around the room during Curry Club, and they obviously then made a fast exit. In features, the concentration was on HIV, noting how there are almost 40 million people living with it. The article notes how you can make a difference, and how? By protecting yourself and getting yourself tested mainly. By the end of 2013 it is estimated the number of people living with HIV is at 35 million, a step in the right direction. Sport’s back page piece is the unbeatable Cardiff Ladies Firsts netball team, having thrashed Bristol 41-0. At a time when there was 20 per cent student discount at dominos all year round, and the horoscope for virgo notes that “their eyes sparkle with intelligence”, it’s not a bad time to look back at. - Carwyn Williams
Campus in Brief
The number of fluent speakers of Welsh has largely increased in more southern regions such as Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taff, while more heartland areas of the country have seen decreases.
survey has found the number of fluent speakers of Welsh has largely increased in more southern regions such as Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taff, while more heartland areas of the country have seen decreases. The Welsh Language Use Survey for 2013/2015 has shown that the overall amount of people who consider themselves fluent at Welsh has only slightly increased over the past decade, while the amount partially fluent speakers have gone up from nine per cent to 12 per cent. First Minister Carwyn Jones said, “This survey gives a timely and helpful picture of the use of the language across Wales. There is a lot to be positive about here”. Three men have been jailed for running a drug delivery doorstep operation that targeted the student population in Cardiff. Alimussa Mustafa, 37, Jutiar Fouad, 38 and Azad Korsheed, 36, would drive from their homes in Bristol to run the operation. Police stopped the three last November, with Mustafa having £2,200 in his vehicle at the time while Fouad possessed 15 wraps of cannabis. Prosecutor Tracey Lloyd-Nesling told Cardiff Crown Court, “It was home delivery - like calling for a pizza to be delivered – but in this case calling for cannabis. Pages of text messages on phones seized in the defendants’ cars showed they were mostly going to Cathays and Roath”. Dr Rebecca Melen, from Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry, has won a prestigious award recognising the achievements of female scientists at an early career stage. Dr Melen has received the Clara Immerwahr Award due to her contributions to the field of main group elements in catalysis. Dr Melen’s previous accolades include the RSC Dalton Young Researcher in 2013, along with the European Young Researcher in 2014, and she will be honoured in a ceremony next February.
Chancellor George Osborne has made a U-turn on his planned tax credit cuts while warning he will continue to make ‘difficult decisions’. Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Osborne said he had listened to critics of his initial plan to cut £4.4 billion from tax credits, and will focus on cutting day-to-day government spending and the welfare budget in an effort to deliver an overall budget surplus of £10.1 billion by 2019-2020. Cuts to universal credit are still set to go ahead, which will affect around 140,000 people. Osborne stated, “We are moving in the right direction and we are making billions of pounds of savings in the welfare budget.” Brunel University students staged a unique protest at a lecture in which former Apprentice contestant and controversial columnist Katie Hopkins was speaking. Joining a panel for the debate: ‘Does the Welfare State have a place in 2015?’, as soon as Hopkins started to speak, students in the audience walked out. Joe Nicell, communications manager at Brunel’s Students’ Union, told The Independent that around 50 walked out. Ali Milani, the SU President, wrote that Hopkins is the “physical manifestation of online trolls” and had no “valuable intellectual insight” to contribute. The BBC3 TV channel will be switched off by February next year, the BBC Trust has confirmed. The cancellation of the youth-orientated channel, which pulls in around 11.2 million viewers per week, will save the BBC around £30 million a year. The budget for the channel will be slashed in half, with the service becoming online-only. Ofcom assessed that BBC3 was a “flicking channel” where people “stumbled across content”, and that BBC3 content will move to other BBC channels while popular external shows like Family Guy have already moved to rival services.
Donald Trump has been criticised for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter during a rally last week. The paper called Trump “outrageous” for appearing to imitate reporter Serge Kovaleski - who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement - who disputed Trump’s claims that thousands of American Arabs celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Kovaleski was one of the authors of a 2001 article in The Washington Post that Trump used to back his claims, which reads that police “questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks”. Germany has planned to deploy reconnaissance jets to help France’s air campaign against Islamic State in Syria. French President Francois Hollande called for Germany to commit more resources to the campaign, with German MP Henning Otte saying that, “Germany will be a more active contributor than it has been until now”. Germany will now follow French, US and other allied offensives in bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, while Russia also has its own agenda in bombing IS and other rebel groups in Syria. Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia, has stated that the nation will outlaw female genital mutilation (FGM). Jammeh stated that the ban will come into effect immediately, but it is unknown when the legislation would be drafted by the government to enforce the ban. The practice of FGM is widespread in Africa and the Middle East, with more than 130 million women subjected to the procedure. 76 per cent of women in the Gambia have undergone FGM, with 56 per cent of the female population undergoing it by the age of 14. Anti-FGM activist Jaha Dukureh told The Guardian, “I’m really amazed that the president did this. […] I’m really proud of my country and I’m really, really happy.”
Pictured: George Osborne delivered the Budget last week (Photographer: Ulkoministeriö)
George Osborne said he had listened to critics of his initial plan to cut £4.4 billion from tax credits, and will focus on cutting day-to-day government spending and the welfare budget.
Editors: Anna Lewis Joanna Beck Toby Holloway @GairRhyddNews firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/news
Continued: Homelessness in Cardiff
Continued from front page
Where can I put my address for a job application - the doorway of the Blue Banana?” he questioned, stressing that with nine GCSEs, a BTEC in finance and business and qualifications as an accountant the former civil servant remains highly skilled
white or an Oompa Loompa” but stressed that the government should “look after” the UK homeless population ahead of those migrating from the EU. He also stated that despite being a former employee of HM Revenue and Customs, continuing health problems resulted in a loss of job and stability. “People think I am either a crackhead or a smackhead”, the victim continued. However he maintained that it is solely a lack of fixed accommodation preventing him from securing a job. “Where can I put my address for a job application - the doorway of the Blue Banana?” he questioned, adding that with nine GCSEs, a BTEC in finance and business and qualifications as an accountant, the former civil servant remains highly skilled. Another man stated that after failing to receive benefits he was left with no alternative but to sleep rough. This occurred three months ago despite completing three work trials for no pay, a process which he described as “free labour”. General attitudes towards homelessness were also described as a major concern during the investigation, with all interviewed emphasising that many people remain highly critical and abusive. Common responses included accusations from strangers of being “lazy” or alcoholics. To try and tackle the situation, Cardiff Council Outreach team currently work with charities including Huggard, the Salvation Army, Wallich and the YMCA to “combat street homeless.” Their services includes providing hostels, a day centre and a night bus service to give food and shelter to those in need. The council also explained that they run a ‘Rough Sleepers project’ which provides self-contained accommodation when hostels are deemed “unsuitable”. To deal with the rise in homelessness the number of Outreach work-
ers has also increased, along with the number of cold weather provisions places and accommodation units. Talking to Gair Rhydd the spokesperson thanked the Homeless Alliance of faith groups which have provided 45 extra spaces in a specific winter night shelter. The Salvation Army’s Cardiff Bus Project has also received praise by its users, as one person told Gair Rhydd that without such provisions “I wouldn’t have anything”. The bus currently operates five times a week, and provides food and advice for the homeless. According to one volunteer, who otherwise works as a part-time retired GP, the services attracts a large number of people. “It can point those on the streets to a number of facilities, including free healthcare at a specific practice in Grangetown,” he followed. Despite council and charity provisions however, it seems that not all those on the streets are successfully taken into account. In an interview, one person in need of help alleged that in each of the five homeless shelters available, only one room is allowed for those with pets. He continued to explain that leaving his companion out on the streets without him was “not an option”. In response to such stories, Cardiff University students have stressed the need to help those sleeping rough.
One second year student explained that he had originally applied to create a Help the Homeless Society. However, the Students’ Union recommended that such an idea would be better suited to a project created with the help of Cardiff Volunteering. VP Societies Hannah Sterritt reassured Gair Rhydd that the organisation would be eager to help and support such an idea. However, the student, who studies Japanese and German, noted: “There is no group within the university, totally dedicated to helping homeless people in Cardiff.” He continued: “Helping people escape homelessness may well be well outside of the ability of a student society, but there is absolutely no harm in providing essential items to homeless people, and a society to this effect should be here by the beginning of next semester. “However futile our efforts may prove to be in the larger scheme of things, the emotional benefit of knowing that somebody is aware of their predicament cannot be understated.” President of the Red Cross society Habbas Al-Alshaab also stressed the importance of lending a hand as he advised students to get involved: “Don’t be afraid to chat to them. One thing that very few people realise, is that sometimes it means just as much to them to have someone treat them like
an actual human being.” Al-Alshaab also advised volunteers to “sympathise with them, but don’t patronise them” and to avoid assuming that those on the streets are “drug abusers, dealers and criminals”. The society president concluded by suggesting that students avoid flashing expensive phones and money around those who can “barely afford to eat”. He said: “It is often more useful to give them something they can use or eat instead of giving them money. Have an idea of any shelters/food programmes when you go to help them. They may already know whats available but its good to know in case they ask. Lots of them have dogs, so bring something for the them too!” According to the Students’ Union, “supporting people dealing with homelessness is a complicated, challenging task.” As a result, Cardiff Volunteering currently work with local homeless services to allow students to help in a “safe and effective manner”. Cardiff Volunteering currently organises overseas projects with local hostels, and gives advice to societies delivering outreach events. Upcoming events will also include a clothes sorting evening for donations to the refugee camp at Calais and a student sleep out which will raise funds and awareness for our homelessness projects.
Pictured: Above: Homeless man by Cardiff Castle (Photographer Ben Salter via Flickr) Below: Homelessness in winter can be dangerous (Photographer: The Wallich Homeless charity)
There is no group within the university totally dedicated to helping homeless people Cardiff University student
A man was also arrested at the scene on suspicion of a drugsrelated crime
We believe teaching quality should NOT be incentivised with money by allowing institutions to increase tuition fees leading to the marketisation of our education system Cardiff Students’ Union
Crackdown on drug ‘delivery’ system
hree drug dealers have been jailed for running a cannabis operation that specialised in delivering directly to customers’ doors. The men, named as Alimussa Mustafa, 37, Azad Korsheed, 36 and Jutiar Fouad, 38, were sentenced to go to prison for eighteen months, twelve months and fourteen months respectively. According to Wales Online, the drug dealers, who lived in Bristol, were arrested in November 2014, after targeting areas with a high student population, including Roath and Cathays. Mustafa had previously appeared before Bristol magistrates for possession of a knife and large amounts of cannabis. He also served in the Kurdish army for two years and suf-
fered mental and physical injuries after being shot several times in the line of duty, a fact Mustafa’s barrister used in his defence during the trial. Judge Daniel Williams told the defendants: “You were dealing in large amounts to a large number of customers”. He added: “Your supply service was extremely profitable”. The sentencing of the three men coincides with a stop and search that occurred on Whitchurch Road, outside the Heath pub in Cathays on Wednesday. A man was also arrested at the scene on suspicion of a drugs-related crime. Police, one of whom was armed with a rifle, searched a silver hatchback, reportedly pointing the rifle into the boot as they did so.
They then proceeded to place the contents of the car into evidence bags, before more police officers arrived in the scene. In yet another drugs-related case, a large number of marijuana plants were found dumped on an industrial estate in South Glamorgan at
approximately 10pm on Wednesday night. According to Wales Online, Cardiff Council was contacted to dispose of the plants on Thursday morning. The investigation into who was responsible for the dumped plants is ongoing.
Pictured: Cannabis (Photographer: Brett Levin via Flickr)
SU condemns rise in tuition fees T
“Education system will become elitest”
he Students Union have spoken out about the Government’s plans for using a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to allow English universities to increase their fees. The scheme was put forward in a green paper a document which is given to both members of parliament and those outside for consultation and feedback - on Friday 6th November. This scheme, if followed through, will mean that universities which are awarded a “Level 1 TEF Award” will be allowed to charge higher fees than the current £9000 limit. The Government have proposed this idea to deal with issues of misplaced funding due to Higher Education Institutions being judged on their research levels, rather than their teaching. Whilst the Students’ Union recognises that concentrating on the improvement of teaching is a good thing, they are not happy with the potential increase to fees and what this will mean for higher education. In a statement they said: “The Students’ Union strongly opposes and does not support this. We believe teaching quality should NOT be incentivised with money by allowing institutions to increase tuition fees leading to the marketisation of our education system.” Most English universities would qualify for a “Level 1 TEF Award” as it is largely based on feedback from students when they have completed their degree. This will mean that the universities with the best teaching levels will also become, or be able to become, the most expensive universities.
According to the Students’ Union: “Increased tuition fees for higher preforming universities means the education system will become elitist so students from lower socio-economic backgrounds may not be able to afford to go to top universities.” Whilst this will not directly affect Cardiff University, there is other legislation along the same lines which will. The removal of higher education institutions from the Freedom of Information Act, for example, will mean that students are no longer entitled to question their universities over numerous issues. Just recently People and Planet filed, and received, an FOI regarding the University’s investment in fossil fuels. This led to the revelation that
the University currently invest over £2 million in companies directly associated with fossil fuels and a motion at the AGM passed for the Students’ Union to lobby for divestment. If Higher Education Institutions become exempt from the Freedom of Information Act groups will not have access to information such as this. The University will no longer face the same accountability, as students will not have the means to query issues such as spending, diversity and staff pay or be able to back claims with official figures. This Green Paper comes after the announcement that the student loan repayment threshold will be frozen at £21,000 for the next five years. The
Guardian has reported that this will mean students paying back around £3,000 extra due to the threshold not increasing with inflation. This freeze will work retrospectively, affecting those who have been in Higher Education since 2012. The Government are being widely criticised for these decisions and many think it will lead to a lack of diversity in universities, as those who are less financially stable might be deterred from going into higher education. It is hard to imagine that these new policies will not receive a widespread backlash from students, many of whom are still outraged at the original rise in tuition fees, introduced in 2012.
Pictured: Student Protest (Photographer: Chris Adams via Flickr)
It will provide students with sector-leading library facilities which will be accessible to the student experience
ASSL to open 24 hours as part of library improvements
s of 4th January 2016 the Arts and Social Sciences Library will open 24 hours a day, just in time for exam revision. The new hours will mean that students will have access to the study facilities all day long. This is part of a new pilot scheme put in place by the University which will run for the rest of the year. Students will still need their student cards to get in as the desks will be unmanned for most of the evening, but it is not clear what hours the full library services will be in place. One third year student is extremely happy about the extended hours and said “it will be really helpful for dreadful deadlines and no distractions from your house mates when you’re trying to work at night.”
This is not the only plan for the libraries and a statement from the Director of Libraries on the plan for a new library has said “the University Executive Board has authorised a feasibility study to be carried out to consider options around extending the Arts and Social Studies Library and a Steering Group has been established to oversee developments.” The group will be made up of a mixture of student and academic representatives, the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer as well as an external advisor. The first of these studies was held a few weeks ago and the results will be released in December. The director of libraries continued: “A full business case including final costs will be presented to UEB in 2017, with a view to
building starting the following year. “During the autumn a vision statement was produced from a series of workshops with staff and students, which has been shared with the architects. These included three indepth student stakeholder workshops with 15 students from a variety of Schools.” Sessions included activities such as students drawing maps of the libraries and writing love letters to the library service as well as break up letters. “The library are still analys-
ing all the information gathered but some improvements are already being made including purchasing more copies of suggested books and improving signage” Sophie Timbers, VP Education, led the campaign to have ASSL open 24 hours and has said “The Students’ Union are fully supportive of this New Libraries project. “It will provide students with sector-leading library facilities which will be accessible and beneficial to the student experience.”
Pictured: ASSL Library (Photographer: Cardiff University)
One year on: AGM 2014 revisited
Three out of five policies chosen by students fully implemented
Cardiff University couldn’t formally twin due to the length and complexity of the process
ast year’s Students’ Union AGM was one of the most divisive on recorded, with seven hotlydebated motions put forward. Five of these seven motions were passed whilst others were unsuccessful, including a motion proposing that the Union should lobby the University to disinvest from the arms trade, including manufacturer BAE failing, as well as a motion for the Union to adopt a ‘pro life’ policy. However some of the motions that were passed by the student body have not yet been fully implemented. Despite AGM resolutions, it can prove difficult for the Students’ Union to fully implement policies that the student body has voted in favour of, especially when the motion involves lobbying Cardiff University to make a significant change to its running or constitution. The first motion of last year’s AGM proposed splitting of the LGBT+ officer’s role into two separate roles; the LGBT+ (Open) officer and LGBT+ (Women’s) Officer. The motion passed, and the policy has been implemented from this year onwards, with Jack Meldrum currenlty holding the LGBT+ (Open) Officer role, and Ellie Utley in the Women’s role. The second motion resolved to twin Cardiff University with a Palestinian university. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, Cardiff Students’ Union President Claire Blakeway confirmed that the SU had “approached the University to formally twin with the Univer-
sity of Palestine. “However, Cardiff University couldn’t formally twin due to the length and complexity of the process, and the proposal not matching with the University’s strategic aims. In addition to this, the University cannot be political, a requirement listed in their constitution, and therefore could not twin with another University for political reasons. The students who were involved in this motion were consulted with regarding the implementation of the motion.” The third motion again related to the Palestinian state, and resolved for the Students’ Union to outright recognise the state of Palestine. Blakeway said that Palestine was now recognised as an official country of origin on the University enrolment web pages. However, Blakeway also said that, while the University does recognise the state of Palestine, it “cannot release a statement around it due to the matter being political, which the university’s constitution states they are unable to be.” The fourth motion passed proposed improved postgraduate student representation within the SU, including the introduction of a fulltime sabbatical officer representing postgraduate students. This role has been introduced and Katie Kelly was elected the first fulltime Postrgraduate Officer and assumed her role this summer. Just as the fourth motion proposed
the introduction of a sabbatical officer role, the fifth resolved to remove the then-vacant role of Vice President Media & Marketing. The role had been vacated since the previous occupant of the role, Tom Eden, had resigned his role earlier in the year, and members of Cardiff Student Media put forward the motion to remove the sabbatical officer role. On this motion Blakeway said that: “The role of VP media has been removed from the sabbatical team. A number of key volunteers engaged in Student Media have sought
input from students involved to seek views on the need for change within student media. “The consensus from media volunteers was that the structure after the removal of the VP role was reasonable, but the support provided in terms of training, systems and processes, funding allocation and the roles and responsibilities of key volunteers and the Union needed to continue to develop. Lead volunteers within media continue to meet with staff and officers of the Union to build and develop the media activity available to students.”
Pictured: 2014 Annual General Meeting (Photographer: Students’ Union)
nominations Are Open!
positions available SU PRESIDENT
BLACK & MINORITY ETHNIC OFFICER
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ OFFICER
VP HEATH PARK CAMPUS
ETHICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER
VP POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS
LGBT+ OFFICER (OPEN)
LGBT+ OFFICER (WOMEN’S)
VP SPORTS & AU PRESIDENT
MATURE STUDENTS’ OFFICER
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES’ OFFICER
STUDENT SENATE CHAIR
WELSH LANGUAGE OFFICER WOMEN’S OFFICER
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO NOMINATE YOURSELF NOW: CARDIFFSTUDENTS.COM ELECTIONS All students at Cardiff University are eligible to stand in this election
Editors: Gwen Williams Caragh Medlicott @GairRhyddAdv email@example.com gairrhydd.com/advice
Flatmates behaving badly What to do if you don’t get along
Feeling isolated or attacked is not something you just have to put up with. Moving somewhere new will give you a chance at a fresh start
reshers’ week: it’s meant to be a fun, alcohol-fuelled week of bonding. And who do you bond with? Well, your flatmates from halls… presumably. They are the first people you’ll meet at university and the ones you’ll be living with for the next year. But what if that doesn’t quite pan out? What if your flatmates are, well, a bit of a nightmare? There’s a lot of pressure to get on with your flatmates in halls and while it’s great if you do love them, this isn’t the reality for everyone. By the December of my first year at university, I was starting to feel a little hopeless. Christmas was fast approaching, my first term was almost completed and I was yet to have a conversation that lasted longer than a sentence or two with any one of my flatmates. And it wasn’t for lack of trying either. No matter how many times I tried to make friends, to chat, it was clear they had formed their own cliques and no amount of friendliness on my part was going to budge them. But despair not, there are multiple methods of action you can take when this happens. The first thing to remember in
this situation is not to blame yourself. Some people just don’t mix well. It’s not anybody’s fault, it’s life. Then there’s also the small fact that some people are just assholes. (It had to be said). Once you’ve got that out the way, it’s time to assess your position. Exactly how bad are your flatmates on a scale of mildly annoying to completely unbearable? You can request a change of rooms, or even halls, if you find you’re in a hostile environment that is having a serious and negative impact on you. Understandably, moving somewhere new when you’ve already had one bad experience with flatmates is no easy task, but it really might be better for you in the long run. Feeling isolated or attacked is not something you just have to put up with. Moving somewhere new will give you a chance at a fresh start. If your situation is not quite as serious as all that, there are less drastic measures you can take. For example, why not try making friends with the people on your floor or just in your building in general? It can be intimidating, trying to make friends at a later point in the term, but it will
likely be worth it. Being friends with someone who lives nearby to you offers you a place to escape to when it all gets too much. For me, doing this meant on desperate occasions I could even use a neighbour’s kitchen when I just couldn’t face trying to sort through the loads of mouldy washing-up that covered every inch of the work-surface. Another important thing to remember is not to neglect your course mates, particularly when deciding on who to live with next year. Living with people on the same course as you makes house-hunting a whole lot easier and is generally more convenient. It is not mandatory to live with your current flatmates, particularly when you don’t get along with them well. Perhaps not all your flatmates are the problem, it’s just a few of them who are causing the difficulties. No one wants to be a killjoy but remember there is a point where you are allowed to say enough. Naturally, drunk students are going to stumble in late and clatter about a bit on occasion. But there’s now and again and then there’s blaring music every
single night till very, very late. I was once woken up the night before an exam as my flatmates felt the need to blast Britney Spears at 4:30am. (And I mean blast. The walls vibrated. Their speakers must have been expensive). In that situation, you’re within your rights to request they be they be a bit quieter. Obviously this is made easier if there’s more than one person who is annoyed. If you have a flatmate to back you up, it can make confronting the others a lot less daunting. I’m not usually a massive fan of rotas, being a disorganised person by nature, but they can be useful when it comes to making sure everyone does their equal share of chores. At the end of the day, the university experience is also about having fun and making memories (I know, it’s cheesy but it is also true). You shouldn’t let unruly or unpleasant flatmates get in the way of that. So, just remember; you don’t have to put up with it. Branch out, make new friends and don’t feel like you can’t speak out when things get out of hand.
Pictured: Hell’s kitchen... messy flatmates can be a nightmare (Photographer: Travis via flickr)
The first thing to remember in this situation is not to blame yourself. Some people just don’t mix well. It’s not anybody’s fault, it’s life
Juggling your schedule: eat, sleep, work, repeat
here are three primary aspects to student life: work, play and sleep. However, there is a misconception that we can only have two of these at a time, meaning for example that if you have good grades and a good social life, you won’t get enough sleep and vice versa. Students, particularly in their final year, find themselves questioning whether they are spreading themselves too thin by having lots going on. I know several students like myself, who juggle their degree with part time jobs, extracurricular activities and voluntary positions. Sure we get stressed from time to time, but being busy can also be beneficial. There are three things, in my opinion, that can help us achieve a balanced and healthy relationship between these
different day to day aspects of our lives. Firstly, time management is imperative. Why not draw up a seven day timetable where you can put down where you need to be and what you are doing each day? The first thing that should go on this is your academic timetable. Then if you have a job or society commitments you can easily see when you are available. Remember be realistic about the amount of time that you need to complete a task. If you are working a six hour shift on Saturday, have you factored in travel time? What about dinner? It is surprising how time consuming cooking and eating is. Once all of your schedule is down on paper, you will know how busy you are going to be and can then fill
up the blanks with study sessions and free time as you see fit. Don’t forget to think about what time of day works best for you with regard to revision and essay writing. If you are going to work in the afternoon, perhaps you should get up a little earlier to do a couple of hours instead of trying to get it done after your shift, when you are likely to be tired. Secondly, the more organised you are, the more productive you’ll be. I find that writing a list of what needs to be done the following day helps me to visualise my objectives. Everything goes down on my list, from ‘do laundry’ to ‘write a first draft of my mid term essay’. There is a nice sense of achievement and satisfaction to be had from ticking off all of the things on your list.
Again, be realistic. There is a danger of overloading yourself with tasks. Choose three to five things depending on how big the tasks are. Alongside the list, make sure you prepare anything you need ready for the next day. Simple tasks like packing all of the books you need for your library stint or even laying your clothes out for the next day saves time in the morning so you can just get up and get on with it. Lastly, a successful person knows their limits. Don’t be afraid to say that something is too much for you. At the end of the day, you’re not a machine. You need some time to unwind and relax. Taking too much on can put you under pressure and cause prolonged stress. Remember, your health and well-being is the most important thing.
self. If you find you have become distracted or lost motivation at numerous points in the day, it’s not the end of the world, everyone does. Locking yourself in a room all day everyday doesn’t achieve good work, but rather just feelings of frustration and hopelessness. Various studies seem to suggest
that the average person finds it difficult to concentrate properly for longer than 20 minutes. If you know you can work well for longer periods then that’s great, but for the rest of us the best thing to do it is be honest with ourselves. Be strict and concentrate when you can, relax and don’t feel guilty when you know you can’t.
staying organised is key to buying your loved ones the best presents. Write a list of the people you need to buy for and try and get everything ahead of time. You’ll save yourself the stress of last minute wrapping (and probably a few paper cuts too.)
someone. But then you’ll end up with no money for anyone else, and that’s no good - come on, Nan deserves a gift too.
How to stay motivated in the age of smartphones
Various studies seem to suggest that the average person finds it difficult to concentrate properly for longer than 20 minutes
s the Christmas holidays approach, for many, so does the crushing realisation that they need to start preparing for essays and revision notes. For me, this often means a lot of time procrastinating in the library, doing little work, staring at my phone. If technology makes it almost impossible for you to focus or actually do work, here are some techniques you could try to help combat this. Firstly, leave your phone behind altogether if you’re going to the library, or in another room if studying at home. Although this is difficult and often inconvenient, it is the most sure fire way of removing distractions. If this remedy is too difficult for you though, keep your phone at the bottom of your bag, being strict but realistic with yourself about when to take breaks. Working for hours on end with no diversion is also quite likely to result in little productive work, and lots of time staring into space. Another option however, (if like me you have next to no will power) is the forest app. This app aims to make you aware of often you are check-
ing your phone by ‘growing’ a tree every 30 minutes, keeping you on a set amount of time to work. If you unlock your phone in this time, the idea is that the tree dies… in doing so creating enough despair to stop you doing it again. Another good idea is to delete certain apps off of your phone altogether during essay or exam period. Deleting social media apps such as Facebook or twitter makes the temptation far easier to resist. Opening and typing web addresses into a browser suddenly seems a huge effort. Other more general tips for better productivity are avoiding technology before bed, or for long periods at night. Turning off and ignoring any screens helps to wind your mind down at night time, helping you to relax and prepare you to be more productive the following day. Watching Netflix until 3am shockingly leaves you fairly flat the next morning, and creates a pretty slow and painful start for work the next day. Perhaps most importantly during this period of essays and revision however, is to take it easy on your-
unusual gifts that you might not have encountered on the high street.
to think about when buying Christmas gifts 1. Use the internet
Going online allows you to compare and contrast prices. Plus it gives you access to a wider range of niche and
2. Be creative
Try and think outside the box when deciding on what to buy, why not see if a band they like is touring? Are there any books they’ve been meaning to read? Seriously, no one loves socks that much.
3. Think Ahead
Christmas can be a chaotic time, but
4. Set a budget
It’s very easy to get carried away and spend way over your limit, particularly when you see something that’s just perfect for that special
5. It’s the thought that counts
Lets face it, as students we aren’t always rolling in money, so why not get crafting? There is something really special about a personalised scrapbook or favourite homemade cake.
Writing a list of what needs to be done the following day helps me to visualise my objectives
Pictured: It’s hard without your phone (Photographer: Osman Kalkavan)
What I did when I graduated... What it’s really like to be a doctor!
r Tom Williams, a trainee consultant, tells us about his journey from A level to PhD graduate and gives us a great insight into the life and pressures of a medic today. Please state your job title and explain what it entails? I work on a general internal medicine ward in a large inner city hospital. My job involves looking after patients with a large number of medical conditions ranging from heart attacks and cancer to the elderly who are medically fit for discharge, but are unfit to go home until care arrangements are made. Alternatively to other more specific wards, I see a lot of different illnesses on a daily basis.
I needed a job where I could use my scientific knowledge but have face to face contact with the public
Talk us through the educational and career steps you took to get to your current position? Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get the three A grades needed at A level to get in to medical school first time round, therefore I initially studied for a BSc in Biochemistry at Cardiff University. After getting a 2:1, I then spent time working for a large pharmaceutical company in London. It was a relatively well paid job, but there is no getting away from the fact that you are developing products for profit and not for the common good. I wanted a career where I could help people more directly. Before applying to graduate medicine I gained work experience in a
GP surgery and as a nursing auxiliary (HCA). Spending time on wards doing the unpleasant but essential jobs such as cleaning up bodily fluids really does help focus your career plans. I was eventually offered a place at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London school of Medicine and dentistry. After five years, I graduated and got a job at my local hospital working in A&E. This job was high pace, high stress and you can never guess what you are going to see from day to day. I really enjoyed the challenge and this experience set me up for my other jobs. At the moment I am training to be a consultant and have to complete four jobs that last six months each on different wards. I am currently on my third placement, having already completed a placement in dermatology and on a renal ward. Why did you choose this career path? I’ve always had a keen interest in science but found working in the laboratory quite dry. I knew that I needed a job where I could use my scientific knowledge but have face to face contact with the public. What do you like about your career in medicine? As a doctor you get to see and do things that people in other career paths could not imagine. I have popped shoulders back into joints, delivered babies, drained fluid from peoples lungs, pulled an insect from
a child’s ear and even had to scrub in to help pull a cooking apple from a man’s bottom (yes that’s right, this is the joy of A&E). The job is stressful, tiring but I never get bored! Is there anything about your job that you dislike? Don’t go into medicine thinking it is going to be easy. The days are jam packed and the nights are long. You will have to deal with more responsibility in your 20s than most people will have to in their entire lives. Working long hours is a downside, but you need to go into this type of career knowing the bad stuff and be willing to accept that that’s what the job entails. It’s almost impossible to go through a career in medicine without seeing death. It’s sad when we can’t make it better for someone, but you have to be rational and sensible in such conditions Describe a typical work day for you? My day starts with a ward round where the medical team sees every patient on the ward. We conduct examinations, review test results that have come back and formulate management plans for the patient’s health. The rest of the day is then spent executing these plans. This involves a range of tasks including performing a variety of medical procedures, ordering scans and blood tests, referring patients to other specialists, talking
to relatives and social workers to facilitate patients’ discharge. The day ends with a hand over of sick patients to the night team. Do you have any tips for students aspiring to go into the same career? Students need to stay on top of their work while going through medical school. You need to prove that you can work well under pressure because that’s what you will be doing throughout your career. Remember, you must be professional at all times. Also, you can never have too much work experience. Make sure you have asked a doctor or medical student to look over your personal statement and try to arrange a mock interview so you know what to expect when you are applying for a job. What advice would you give student doctors who are about to graduate and start work? If you are working long hours, you need to make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep. I know it sounds basic, but when you are on a shift don’t forget to eat. While on call, you will always have a long list of scarily sick people waiting to be seen. But if you don’t eat for twelve hours straight your productivity drops massively and you can’t perform to the best of your ability. Remember to look after yourself so you can help others to the best of your ability. Take five minutes, eat, breathe.
Pictured: Working in A&E can be a crazy experience (Photographer: Megan Au)
You will have to deal with more responsibility in your 20s than most people will have to in their entire lives
Organ Donation From 1st December 2015
the way we choose to be organ donors in Wales will change.
It isn’t right to limit the free speech of a faith in order to avoid offending others...the prayers and practices of religions are part of everyday life
Editors: Em Gates Charley Griffiths David Williams @GairRhyddCom firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/comment
Lord’s Prayer banned from cinemas D igital Cinema Media (DCM), the Odeon-Cineworld owned advertising company that supplies Odeon, Cineworld and Vue, has banned a Christian advert for the new prayer website justpray.uk. The move has received condemnation as “plain silly” by the Church of England and “ridiculous” by the PM, and has raised concerns about free speech and the type of multicultural society we want to live in. The minute-long advert, originally planned to be shown with the new Star Wars film, shows a wide selection of people from different social, cultural and denominational backgrounds reciting the Lord’s Prayer (the version used is a blend of versions used by various denominations) during a wide range of activities. The message is clear-“Prayer is for everyone.” Yet despite this inclusive message DCM has worry the advert may offend those of “differing faiths or no faith”, and as such have insisted the advert will not be shown. DCM’s unwillingness to associate with a religious-themed advert is unsurprising given past controversy. In 2009, for example, the Christian Party’s bus-ad that claimed “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life” was the most controversial advert of its type that year, and the third most ever. Clearly,
DCM would want to distance itself from any chance of such a situation, and DCM’s policy against “political or religious advertisements” is thus unsurprising. Yet this advert seems to be totally unprovocative; the Advertising Standards Authority has not received a single complaint about the advert, the BBFC gave it a “U” rating, and it has been approved by the Cinema Advertising Association. It would seem DCM have nothing to worry about in showing this advert, yet despite practically universal acceptance they still refuse to allow the advert to be shown in their cinemas. DCM’s persistent refusal to show the advert has raised worries about how multiculturalism and tolerance should be handled in our society. The Church has received support from an unlikely ally in this dispute, devout atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins, who told the The Guardian that it isn’t right to limit the free speech of a faith in order to avoid offending others: “If anybody is ‘offended’ by something so trivial as prayer, they deserve to be offended”. After all, the Lord’s Prayer is said by billions of people across the globe and, just as with the prayers and practices of other religions, is part of everyday life. This perhaps negates the National Secular Society’s argument that it was wrong of the Church to try and “foist
its opinions upon a captive audience who have paid good money for a completely different experience.” Religion is part of our life, it cannot be escaped, even in the cinema. In fact, the advert in question was to be played alongside a film in which a Religion is key theme, though admittedly the Church of Jediism has not grown much since its founding in 2008. But more importantly, not only is religion inescapably part of our society, but it should be so. A tolerant, multicultural society is one in which we enjoy the differences between Christians, Buddhists, atheists etc, not hide them as DMC does with its blanket-ban. Finally, it seems odd that DCM would be so keen to avoid associating with religion or politics to avoid offence, yet will happily approve of, for example, Durex adverts, when the use of contraceptives is surely more controversial than the Lord’s Prayer. This may be an extreme example, but the point is that as Church of England priest Michael Sadgrove told The Independent, “All advertising is about personal values and attitudes.” The advert for the latest car perpetuates the values of consumerism and capitalism, the McDonald’s advert flies in the face of vegetarian and vegan values. It is impossible to avoid values in advertisement, so by stopping religious
and political advertisements as DCM do they are clearly choosing one set of values over another. Surely the only true way to be impartial, as DCM tries to be, is to allow all groups to advertise? DCM were right not show this ad in this specific instance, as it goes against company policy-they have certainly lived up to their claim of treating “all political and or religious beliefs equally” through a blanket ban. But why ban any religious advertisements, or political for that matter? As long as they are given an age-rating in line with the film and aren’t openly intolerant or offensive (the 2012 “Gay Cure” advert, for example, would obviously not be appropriate) what’s the harm? We live in a Liberal society which values tolerance and multiculturalism, but this doesn’t mean we should hide differences when we could be celebrating them. And as it’s impossible for adverts to be totally value free, religious values should have an equal chance to broadcast themselves. I for one would be happy to see at the cinema a Christian advert encouraging prayer, followed by one encouraging me to visit my local Mosque or eat Kosher. DCM may have been right not to make an exception of this particular ad. But they seriously need to reconsider their no-religion-or-politics policy and, I’d argue, scrap it.
Pictured: A screenshot of the banned advert, which depicts a diverse range of people quoting the Lord’s Prayer. (Source: JustPray via Youtube)
Surely the only true way to be impartial is to allow all groups to advertise? It is impossible for adverts to be totally value free
Is the Zoolander 2 trailer transphobic?
Em Gates and Charley Griffiths
It implies that they are the only two options of gender that a person can have, and that is of course definitely untrue
There seems to be a craze around the use of supplements to gain a toned physique
Comment editors Em Gates and Charley Griffiths discuss Benedict Cumberbatch’s role as a transgender model in the new Zoolander sequel, and whether the film crosses the line
oolander 2 is set to be released in 2016, and has already received much hype, but not always for good reasons. This week, it has come under fire from LGBT+ supporters, who say that Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of transgender model ‘All’ is “transphobic”. An online petition to boycott the film has collected over 8,000 signatures at the time of writing. Sarah Rose, who created the petition, said: “By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large”. She also said that if the film’s producers and screenwriters wanted to fairly represent transgender models, someone like famous trans/ androgynous model Andreja Pejic could have been approached. After recently being heralded for his moving performance as Alan Turing, and also speaking out about the refugee crisis, Benedict Cumberbatch seemed to be paving the movement for acceptance and diversity. But from the trailer for Zoolander 2, it seems like the character of All is poking fun at the transgender community. Zoolander, played by Ben Stiller, asks All if they are ‘male model’ or a ‘female model’. Firstly, we can completely understand the offense in this statement. It directly implies that they are the only two options of gender that a person can have, and that is of course definitely untrue. Furthermore, it’s clear from the way Cumberbatch is dressed that this is a completely stereotypical representation not intended to be taken seriously, just as the way that the character of Derek Zoolander himself is both sa-
tirical and stereotyped. It seems odd to us that Cumberbatch would waste time and effort on films that endorse and support LGBT+ themes, to then overtly mock an entire group of people he has spent many years encouraging. However, we don’t think that that is the intention of the film, or any of the actors. After all, the Zoolander franchise is an obvious satire of the modelling industry. Perhaps the movie producers wanted to represent the growing number of LGBT+ models, they just misjudged the tone. It is clear that representation for LGBT+ has surged in the last decade; it would be absolutely unthinkable to have Laverne Cox on the cover of Time Magazine ten years ago, let alone a major character in the intensely popular television programme ‘Orange is the New Black’. In the case of Sophia, Cox’s character in the show, it is essential that a trans actress plays the trans character. But in the defence of the character from Zoolander, All, gender fluid people can surely be played by trans, cis, or any type of gendered person. If anything, the scene could maybe be intended to portray Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters in an awful light, asking if All had ‘a hot dog or a bun’. (It is hard to tell from a short clip of a trailer). This line is of course cringeworthy, and in our opinion should have been struck from the film. Not only is it none of anyone’s business, but it also enforces the idea that gender is linked directly to sex, and that is the most common mistake people make in terms of LGBT+ issues. Representation has undoubtedly come far, but there is so much further
Pictured: Zoolander 2 is already causing controversy without even being released. (Source: Valentino)
it needs to go, and should be covered in all faucets of media, not just dramas and reality television. Comedy is probably one of the biggest genres to reach a mainstream audience, so while we do agree that these representations shouldn’t be offensive or play up to cis standards, LGBT+ roles can be satirised and parodied just as much as any other role, if done correctly. In our opinion, to boycott the film just because you aren’t happy with the way a character has been portrayed is maybe too extreme. There are so many films out there that offend a certain race, religion or gender that people still went to the cinema to see, and love regardless. The South Park movie, Team America, The In-
terview, Robert Downey Jnr’s blackface in Tropic Thunder, the reverse blackface in White Chicks, any film by Sacha Baron Cohen… the list goes on. If you refused to see any film that has the potential to offend someone, you would be very restricted in what films you can see. At the end of the day, Zoolander isn’t exactly Oscar winning material, and is a parody film. We highly doubt someone will see the character of All and take that as representative of all LGBT+ people, that would be ridiculous. The film is obviously intended as a comedy, if that isn’t your sense of humour, fair enough. Some jokes offend people, but you don’t have to go and see the film if you don’t want to. But to boycott could be a step too far.
I’m on steroids, get me out of here!
As Spencer Matthews owns up to revelations over his steroid use, is body image becoming a major issue for men?
s body image really that important? As we saw this weekend, Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews left the Australian jungle after just a few days. The reason: his steroid addiction prior to his entrance to the jungle in order to “bulk up” for a charity boxing match, which ironically, didn’t end up happening. The Made in Chelsea star spoke to The Independent, “Vanity, I suppose, had been the reason for wanting to bulk up a bit for the fight. I had intended to come off the pills gradually, but there was no time to do this before I reached the jungle.” As we can see this is a clear body image issue, but sadly one which comes with particular threats, as the
Australian medical team deemed it unsafe for Matthews to remain in the jungle for longer than the few days he was present. Matthews later commented saying, “Taking these pills was a serious error of judgment, which I hugely regret” Especially amongst young men, there seems to be a craze around the use of supplements or steroids to give them a better look, attempting to gain a toned physique. It is plainly obvious that these cases are simply due to vanity. You see in many gyms across the country, and world, young men staring at themselves in the mirror, attempting to “bulk up”, using the words of Matthews, to reach an unrealistic body image
that they feel proud of. The problem is that the body image many pursue requires a huge amount of dedication to achieve. The use of steroids is a chance to aid those in its pursuit, and a form of cutting corners. This can be argued to be the result of a combination of both vanity and bad choices. Those pursuing this look are clearly following some sort of aesthetical goal, thus being a clear sign of vanity. A poor choice, in the case of Matthews, which both contributed to his early exit from the jungle. However, there are safer supplements available, such as protein shakes which stand less chance of posing a risk to your health and well- being.
The general pursuit of fitness is not a dangerous thing. On the contrary, it is encouraged heavily, even by myself. It is when it is taken too far that it can become hazardous. There is a line between healthy and “too big”, one which is often crossed by those who encourage the use of steroids. An extreme example can be Youtube star Rich Piana, who has gained a following of people attempting to look just like him. Sadly, he is only one of thousands out there that encourage the use of dangerous substances for pure vanity. In the end though, it is clear that these choices to use steroids are both a foolish decision and ultimately linked to vanity.
In our opinion, to boycott the film just because you aren’t happy with the way a character has been portrayed is maybe too extreme
Trump is the single most repugnant candidate the US has ever had the dishonour of having
Mared Elin Jones
Trump continues to spark debate D “ onald Trump is like your ultra WASP-y relative who you try to avoid having conversations with during Thanksgiving dinner, for fear of either dying from cringing or suffocating from close-mindedness. I don’t have my life figured out, but I sure as hell know Trump is the single most repugnant candidate the US has ever had the dishonor of having. He has the ability to use almost all fallacies of argument in one single statement, which is equal parts irritating and amusing. He has called Mexicans rapists; has implied that all women are gold diggers; and has been quoted saying: “laziness is a trait in the ‘blacks’”. Out of all these things he’s effortlessly dropped, the most disgusting one for me is when he said he’d date his daughter, Ivanka, if only she weren’t his child. Wow. Since he started wanting to become the US president, he’s had countless quips that could just leave you speechless. His latest stunt was when he said that he considers registering American-Muslims on a separate government database and
having them carry IDs that note their religion. People have compared this to the Holocaust when the Nazis imposed wearing the Star of David to all the Jews. When an NBC reporter asked him about this comparison, he responded with “you tell me”, and left. There has been collective outrage (and sarcasm) on Twitter regarding his statement. One user said: “If all Muslims should apologize for terrorist attacks, all Christians should apologize every time Donald Trump speaks.” Another said: “Donald Trump is now campaigning as a fascist.” Many have called him an “ignorant pig”, a “xenophobic mop head”, a “crazy cow”, and a lot more alliterations and phrases that could very well appease me. When this GOP frontrunner spews out his thoughts, it’s actually not as shocking anymore because his indecency is predictable. You’d expect him to be offensive every time he opens his mouth, but what’s alarming is that there are actually people who consider his points as if they’re rational, logical, and fair. A recent
poll of GOP voters showed that three quarters of them agree that Islam doesn’t coincide with “American values”. What’s even worrisome is that Donald Trump clearly leads the national GOP polls. If you have a random bigoted neighbor yelling what Trump has been saying, that probably won’t mean much. But for someone like him in a certain kind of power and position to say these prejudiced remarks, it’s frightening that people are nodding and listening. While doing this piece, I had the misfortune of tumbling into twitter feeds that support Trump’s words 100 percent. One account even went so far as to saying that we should burn the Q’uran. It is quite scary that what you think is so obviously wrong is so obviously right to someone else. How can this kind of discrimination still have a place in this day and age? It’s really mind-boggling, but it persists and people like Trump are adding too much fuel to the fire. I never thought that the last couple of years would challenge human-
ity’s ideals. I imagined our problems in 2015 would be about not having enough green gas for our flying cars or not having enough savings to go on a holiday to Jupiter. But no, we’re still talking about the same problems that we thought we had already learned from. Looks like humanity is just never good at moving on. I’m secretly hoping that Trump suddenly goes out to say that we’ve all been Punk’d; that he doesn’t mean anything he says; and that he’s had a brain injury that made him talk crap. Otherwise, we’re all stuck in the reality that a person like him exists and we may never know peace ever in any of our lifetimes. Thinking about how divided we, as a species, are can be extremely saddening. It doesn’t help that aspiring leaders are actually promoting division rather than unity. The only silver lining I can see out of Donald freaking Trump is a good drinking game— the moment he’s in a podium with a microphone to his mouth, take a shot every time he says something repulsive. That should be fun.
It is quite scary that what you think is so obviously wrong is so obviously right to someone else
Pictured: Donald Trump’s ideas have been compared to the Holocaust (Photographer: Michael Vadon)
Facebook’s ex-cellent idea
oing through a break-up is never fun. You cry because you miss your ex, you cry because a part of your life is gone for good, you cry because you fancy Ben & Jerry’s but the two-for-one Tesco deal isn’t on anymore, and you cry because you bought four tubs anyway and can no longer afford to eat for the rest of the year. It sucks. Eventually, after a few weeks of lurking in your bedroom with the curtains closed, your housemates successfully lure you out of your mouldy state and convince you to come out with them. For the first time in a long time, you smile and genuinely enjoy yourself as you happily bop along to the bouncy vibes of Flux. At three in the morning, you crash back into your bed and wonder why on earth you had been living the life of a hermit for so long. You absentmindedly check your phone one last time before nodding off and, as your finger sleepily taps the Facebook icon, the first thing you see is that your ex is now in a new relationship. Good thing you bought four
tubs of Phish Food. It’s grim, but the internet era in which we live means that when a relationship dies, it’s never truly laid to rest. Instead, its online ghosts - anniversary statuses, pictures together, that album of your very romantic trip to Barry - continue to haunt you and spook you when you least expect it. Before you know it, it’s five in the morning and you’ve read every single status your ex’s new girlfriend has ever written whilst crying into your final tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Fortunately, Facebook is here to put a bloody stop to that. According to a post on their Newsroom blog, the social network is now trialling a tool which allows a newly-single person to exercise more control over the aftermath of their break-up - without savagely unfriending or downright blocking their ex. Unfriending is designed for the end of a friendship; this new tool specifically caters to the end of a relationship. When writing a new message or tagging someone in a photo, the tool will ensure that the
ex’s name is not listed in the suggestions, and the ex will no longer show up in their news feed. The user will be free to discreetly untag themselves from all posts related to their ex, and also make it so that less of their own posts appear in their ex’s news feed. For those who are still sensitive from a break-up but have agreed to remain friends, this will undoubtedly help ease the pain. Ending on friendly terms does not mean you’re not hurting a little bit; likewise, the end of a relationship does not necessarily mean the end of a friendship, too. “Can’t you just unfollow them for a bit if you’re that petty?” Though this new tool - tentatively named take a break - is very similar to unfollowing or editing your privacy settings, it also acts as a life-saver for those who have just left troubling or abusive relationships. Though the relationship is over, some people are still forced to remain friends with their previous partner; emotional abuse does not always end with the relationship, and unfriending their ex might not be something
they feel comfortable doing just yet. It’s also worth noting that unfriending does not automatically remove you from their posts and vice versa - you will still be tagged in any posts together. For these people, ‘taking a break’ could be the stepping stone between leaving their ex, and being free from their ex. Facebook’s product manager, Kelly Winters, writes: “This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives. We hope these tools will help people end relationships on Facebook with greater ease, comfort and sense of control.” The tool may seem immature at first glance, but for those who must remain friendly or civil with their ex for any reason from emotional abuse to having a child together or simply needing some space, ‘taking a break’ will act as a vital breath of fresh air and solace. Let’s not take the piss out of those who’ll be using this tool, because you never know when you might need it.
The social network is now trialling a tool which allows a newly-single person to excercise more control over the aftermath of their break up
HIV can only be passed on through infected bodily fluids, such as blood- not through kissing, not through spit, not through hugging, and not through sharing cups or cutlery
Many parents feel that the state should not be allowed to dictate their own particular parenting techniques, for their own children, in their own homes
Press continue to hound Sheen
fter something of a media frenzy last week, the truth finally emerged. Yes, a member of the Hollywood elite, an A-list star of TV and film was about to announce that they were, in fact, HIV positive. And, as we all now know, that person is none other than Charlie Sheen. The former Two and a Half Men star, no stranger to hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout his lengthy career, admitted to host Matt Lauer on the Today Show that he had in fact been living with this condition for almost four years, (“It’s a hard three letters to absorb”, he told Lauer), only now choosing to make this public after being accused of ‘hiding’ it for so long. And now, obviously, we (i.e. the public AND the media) can all begin the expected tirade of gossip and finger-pointing. It must have been his drinking, his drug abuse, his endless string of affairs and relationships with women, and his lifestyle in general. How dare he keep this from us for so long- why on earth would he do that? In all honesty, it couldn’t be clearer. Charlie Sheen kept his secret to himself because of exactly what has now happened- the fact his revelation has shown us to be the terrible people we are in our reactions. You may well have even indulged in the guessing game of who the celebrity could be before the news brokebefore promptly forgetting about it. Charlie Sheen can’t, and won’t forget though. This news will effect Sheen and his family for the rest of their lives. The media scrutiny that has
circled him for most of his career has now intensified in the days since his announcement that police have had to intervene to ensure his safety from the press and photographers. The only reason Sheen has come out and spoken about his health is because sooner or later, it was going to leak and he was going to be faced with an even bigger backlash than he’s had – and he cannot, he should not, be blamed for trying to keep this as private as he could, for as long as he did. Yet this didn’t stop some. He said when he revealed his HIV status to friends that “the truth became treason”, leading to what he called a process “blackmail and extortion and a circle of deceit”. Sheen alleges that he has paid “millions” to keep people, many of them ex-partners and even former friends and colleagues, from going public about his illness. But the backlash didn’t stop there. A day after his announcement, an article was posted on the Mirror website and was entitled ‘The Hollywood actor with HIV deserves everything he gets – and worse’, lambasting Sheen’s private life, his relationships and generally voicing the opinion that this is simply karma for his years of decadence. ‘You deserve everything you get because you’re famous’. It makes me sick. The article even ripped into Sheen over his admission that he didn’t always use condoms, and therefore must have had unprotected sex. Genuinely, can every single person reading this honestly say that every time they’ve had sex they’ve used a condom? Even here in Cardiff, as Gair Rhydd’s own
Pictured: The media exaggerated the state of Sheen’s illness (Photographer: Mike Mozart)
recent sex survey revealed, though 83 per cent of students said that they use contraception, 66 per cent said that they have had unprotected sex. Does that mean that everyone who has forgotten a condom deserves HIV? How the author of that post can sleep at night is beyond me. One of the worst parts about this story is the fact that not only will Sheen have to suffer with this every day, like the other estimated thirtyfive million people worldwide living with HIV, but that the stigma attached to it, that stretches back decades, tars him and others to this day. It is still taken at face value that HIV (or human immunodeficiency virus), is a death sentence- those who become infected immediately contract AIDS and die. This is not the case. In truth, it could not be further from it. Though HIV cannot be cured, the life expectancy for peo-
ple with the disease has improved rapidly over the last twenty years, meaning that the life expectancy for someone living with HIV, who is on the same anti-retroviral treatment that Sheen has admitted to using, and responding to treatment, is no different to the general population. HIV can only be passed on through infected bodily fluids, such as blood- not through kissing, not through spit, not through hugging, and not through sharing cups or cutlery. You can criticise Charlie Sheen all you want, but ultimately, he is human too. He is not a celebrity immune from all sickness and pain, as is now evident, but deserving of compassion, as anyone else suffering from HIV would. However, it would also appear that he also isn’t immune from the kind of vile slander and hate reserved for the worst in society, simply for being ill.
He cannot, he should not, be blamed for trying to keep this as private as he could, for as long as he did
Should smacking be banned?
ast week the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, expressed a desire to ban smacking children. Under current legislation - Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 - smacking is legal as long as it is “reasonable punishment,” is performed by a parent or carer, and does not leave a mark. Professional carers are not allowed to smack a child unless privately employed by the parent and explicitly given permission to do so. At the time this article was written, a poll on walesonline.co.uk showed that only 47 per cent of readers were in favour of the ban, outnumbered by the 53 per cent that believe smacking should remain legal. We’ve all come across a child - whether it be our own, a sibling, a neighbour, or just a misbehaving brat passed in public - whom we think deserved some firm discipline. And when frustrated and with no other resources on our hands, surely one small smack is justified? The child can come to no serious harm as an adult is not allowed to use another object such as belt or cane to smack the child, and the smack can’t be forceful enough to leave a mark. Many parents clearly feel that the state should not be allowed to dictate their own particular parenting techniques, for their own children, in their
own homes. A potential reason for the current lack of legal ban is that it would be incredibly difficult to police this, as it would be hard to monitor what goes on in private households, and to judge whether a child has been smacked if no mark has been left. The law would have to rely on children as witnesses, and potentially other family members also. But the law currently neglects to define what constitutes “reasonable punishment.” When the issue at hand is the wellbeing of a child, it seems distinctly unreasonable to legally base this on what a parent might be able to argue was justified. A long day or week at work; lack of sleep; problems in relationships: these are all issues that are likely to wear a parent down and bring them closer to the point at which they think it “reasonable” to smack their child. But is a child more deserving of a smack just because Mummy is tired, or Daddy had a fight with his boss? Holland believes that it is an injustice against children to legally permit someone to hit them, especially considering how much larger an adult is than a child, and how defenceless children often are. Shouldn’t the law protect children, the vulnerable group, and not the adult who can’t keep their temper? And what if a
Pictured: Smacking has been a particularly contoversial issue in the last few years (Photographer: Olly Coffey)
smack is the first step, but that becomes harder and harder each time, as the line becomes more and more blurred about what is “reasonable”? Many organisations are for the ban, including the NSPCC. The UN, also, has encouraged the UK to take steps to make all degrees of corporal punishment illegal. Such groups argue that support of physical discipline is archaic in today’s society, and set awful examples to children with regards to managing one’s temper and how to conduct oneself in relation to others. It is also argued that children, especially when they are younger, do not necessarily understand what their
mistake was and learn from it, and would benefit more from a clear explanation of the issues and a suggestion of alternate behaviour. Although many parents may argue that smacking is a necessary tool in their arsenal, Europe and children’s charities more often argue that it is a violation of children’s human rights, and Sally Holland is doing nothing but trying to give this minority a voice. A parent herself, she understands the frustrations parenting can bring, but the weak need protecting. Ultimately, is it really fair to physically punish a child just because you haven’t raised them to be better behaved?
Many organisations are for the ban, including the NSPCC
THE GAIR RHYDD COLUMN 17
Pass the tissues- the death of the ‘lad mag’
Last week, both FHM and Zoo announced they will no longer publish breasts and bums in print, and this is very bad news, for all of us
I am sad to see the lad mag go. This is not because I will miss big, bouncing breasts in print, but because it signifies a cultural shift I am not looking forward to
his year has brought a number of things for people like myself to celebrate. One Direction started splitting up, the President of the United States took a selfie with Jedward, SeaWorld promised to stop captive whale breeding and Adele released a new album for us to weep to. The death of the lad mag should be on this list. It should be a cultural triumph, but it is not. It is in fact exceptionally worrying. The past two years has seen the close of the four big boys. Nuts busted last year, Loaded was unloaded shortly after, and last week saw both FHM and Zoo empty their cages. I am sad to see the lad mag go. This is not because I will miss big, bouncing breasts in print, or because my life will not be the same without features like “big rat runs down street carrying pizza slice”, but because it signifies a cultural shift I am not looking forward to. I don’t know an awful lot about lad mags truthfully. I can’t understand the thinking behind FHM’s 100 sexiest women (Mary Berry came just one position behind Angelina Jolie), in fact, I don’t even know what FHM stands for. Fat, horny men? Female hairless models? Ferocious, hanging….perhaps ambiguity is for the best. However, what I am certain of is that the alternatives worry me greatly. It seems the lad mag era, perhaps like some of its readership, finished as quickly as it started. Within ten years, Zoo magazine was created and then discontinued. A cultural phenomenon perhaps, that was born with a particular generation. This was the generation that enjoyed 10p Freddos and portable CD players and video tapes. The generation that now can’t afford a Freddo without taking out a mortgage, and have moved their favourite Nelly CD to their iTunes account. The generation
that grew out of porn mags and grew into internet porn. What once were the industry big boys, are now being dominated by online productions that seem to recognise and relate to modern men more. The ‘Lad Bible’ being a particularly popular example. The masterminds behind the Lad Bible have produced something rather extraordinary. A combination of women and celebrities and current affairs and general ‘boy stuff ’ and instead of being a car crash, it’s extremely successful. How much more intellectually stimulating the Lad Bible is in comparison with the magazines is debatable. When Nuts printed articles like “Who’s the mummy” [rate your mates mum], and Lad Bible responds with “Why you should never hold in a poo” perhaps it’s challenging to distinguish between them. The difference maybe is where the traditional lad mags assumed men’s interests to be females, food and football, the Lad Bible has recognised most men have a little more substance. They combine current affairs, news, and important commentaries for modern men, including the importance of checking your bits, being safe with drugs, and how not to piss off women. Which is great, and significant. Initially, perhaps naively, I assumed that the decline in porn magazine readership was partially because it is no longer exciting or impressive to see breasts and arses, because we see them everywhere. You only have to look on social media to see topless girls, and it far from uncommon to see naked or nearly naked females on women’s magazine covers or in music videos. However, upon explaining this theory to male friends, I was corrected, and assured that breasts still are very much impressive. Therefore, it can be assumed that the readership of the maga-
zines are getting their tit-fix elsewhere, but where? If only there was an easier, more instant way of viewing naked women, without the awkward encounter with the cashier as they search for the bar code and expose to everyone your interest in seeing ‘Curvy girls naked!’ If only there was an infinite stockpile of pictures and videos and pornography that didn’t cost you anything… I despair. Whilst many dance around and burning copies of Zoo in delight, I can’t help but feel anxious for the future. I’m worried because the demise of the lad mag does not signify the end of the objectification of women, it just means there’s an alternative means to do so. The alternative to lad mags is internet porn. It’s cheaper, it’s reachable and nobody else has to know you’re indulging in it. However, the list of positives for this alternative culminates there. It can also be extreme, violent, and perhaps most dangerously, it is constantly accessible to anyone, and everyone. Porn magazines were not ideal, of course they weren’t. That said, it is significantly less harmful to browse through photographs of cheery, busty blondes, and reading how Charlene from Birmingham loves partying and horse riding and has five GCSE’s, than staring at hours and hours of unrealistic, hard-core pornography, often with storylines of rape or abuse. Loaded, amongst others, would interview the women that they photographed. Not in a ‘casting couch’ style, ‘how good are you at sex?’ manner but rather what she likes to do in her spare time and what she wants to do in the future. Fair enough, Tracy from Stockport didn’t get a chance to discuss her religious beliefs or her views on the migrant crisis, but she did have a chance to speak, which is more than can be said for the majority of internet por-
nography. Pictures of happy-looking girls with no top on is no longer satisfactory to those who are exposed to hard-core internet pornography. Internet porn makes lad mags look no more explicit than the Tweenies. We know that it isn’t as simple as all their readers moving online, because their online sites are entertaining only minimal audience’s too. In terms of online pornography, the big players in the magazine industry just don’t size up. If you search Zoo in Google, naked women are nowhere to be seen, and if you search Nuts, there’s a whole lot of cashews to search through before you find something worth dribbling over. Obviously, in an ideal world, neither would exist. This is the kind of world I would one day like to live in, a world where women are not objectified and the female body is something that is appreciated on a personal level, rather than a public one. That said, I am realistic in my expectations and know that as long as there are women who want to share their bodies, there will be men who want to look at them, and this is ok. It seems though, that rather than stepping towards a world free from misogyny, we are running head first and blindfolded into a scary world of accessible and hard-core internet porn, the effect of which is yet to rear its ugly head. So before we rejoice and dance around a large pit of burning lad mags, consider the alternative. Let’s not be naïve enough to assume their demise has come from disinterest. Porn is now found elsewhere, and it’s a realm which is uncontrolled and unmonitored and full of nasty stuff that nobody should be watching. This is not a triumph for feminism, the magazines have fallen out of demand for a reason, and it’s not because boys no longer like boobies.
Pictured: Sales of lads mags have ground to a halt in recent years (Photographer: Henrik Berger Jørgensen)
The alternative to lad mags is internet porn. It’s cheaper, it’s reachable and nobody else has to know you’re indulging in it
Editors: Carwyn Williams Luke Brett Sam Patterson @GairRhyddPol email@example.com gairrhydd.com/politics
Students to pay back an extra £3.2 billion
It is exceptionally unfair that students will have to pay back more money, on top of what is already an extremely large loan to repay Claire Blakeway SU President
Chancellor changes student loan terms to make you pay more
tudents are getting a raw deal from this Conservative Government, and matters got even worse last week in the Chancellor’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement. The Government announced further changes to student finance, and it means you will end up paying back more. Despite not mentioning it in his oral statement, paperwork showed that Osborne will freeze the repayment threshold for student loans at £21,000. This is the wage you will need to earn before paying back any of your student loan. In 2012, the Government said this threshold would increase in line with wages and the economy, but this change means student will pay back more of their wage in real terms. This change will affect every English-domiciled student who took out a loan after 2012, and therefore will even effect graduates who have already left university. It is not yet clear whether the terms will change for Welsh students. Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com who chaired a taskforce to ensure students would not be put off by the 2012 changes of raising tuition fees, told Times Higher Education “If this proposal goes through, the government will have mis-sold student loans… Governments shouldn’t lie. And who can trust them when they make retrospective changes?” In the Government’s own paper-
Number of students this will affect
work, this would affect 2.1 million people by 2020, recovering an extra £3.2 billion over the lifetime of the loans, compared to the terms originally proposed to students in 2012. The changes mean every student will pay back an estimated extra £306 a year than originally agreed. Lewis told the Guardian last week, “This is a disgraceful move and a breach of trust by the government that betrays a generation of students.” “It is one thing to set up a system that is unpopular but it is entirely different to make retrospective changes that mean you cannot even rely on what you were promised at the time you started to study. “The fact that the Chancellor didn’t even have the balls to put it in his Autumn Statement speech shows that he knew how unpopular it would be. If a commercial company made retrospective changes to their loan terms in this way they’d be slapped hard by the regulator – the Government shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it either.” The consultation report on the change admits, “Women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and mature students are more likely to fall into the range of income that is most affected.” Government recognises that these changes will be implemented disproportionately. What is more, the Government launched a consultation to the changes before the summer, and 84 per
Amount this policy generates in 5 years (£M)
cent of respondents were against the change, with many respondents objecting to the government making retrospective changes and would lead to a loss of trust in Government. One unnamed university showed concern, the changes would “place HEI [Higher Education Institutions] in an untenable position.” However, many feel it is the principle of the matter that is significant. The government is changing the terms of a loan after someone has agreed to the original terms. In response, the government defended itself, “All departments are required to support government’s efforts to reduce the national debt. With such large amounts of money being loaned the HE system in particular has an important role to play.” Before the summer the government announced plans to scrap maintenance grants for students replacing them with loans. This has been extended now to include student nurses, that depend on the grants to study, but will now have to pay them back when they start working. Labour MP for Ilford North and former NUS President Wes Streeting was also aggravated by the change. In a question to the Chancellor, he said, “Not only are changes to student finance being changed in a regressive way, they are being applied retrospectively. Not only do I regard this as a personal betrayal, how can any ap-
Current English tuition fee
plicant trust the information they are given by government at the point of application? Furthermore, what message does he think he’s sending to the nursing profession and aspiring nurses, that they should pay for the privilege of a profession that they have to work incredibly hard, and not for particularly good pay? What an absolute outrage. The Chancellor should apologise to students and for nurses.” The Chancellor did not apologise, if you were wondering. Cardiff students have reacted angrily to the change, with one English Language student telling Gair Rhydd, “surely that’s not allowed” and another commenting, “it’s just not right.” Chloe Law, an optometry student concentrated on the fact it is a retrospective change, “It’s especially bad for those who have graduated, as you think you are out of the woods, and then the terms and conditions are changed.” Ancient History student Sophie Broad had a similar view, “this is definitely not a surprising move from a Tory government.” Local Labour MP Jo Stevens said, “With these retrospective changes to student loan contracts, the Tory Government has cemented the betrayal of a generation that was started by the Lib Dems and has now been completed by the Tories. It’s not only unfair but deceitful to change the terms of student loans after they were taken out.
Student Loan interest rate this year (%)
Pictured: Chancellor George Osborne at the IMFC meeting last year (Photographer: Yuri Gripas/ IMF via Flickr)
This change will affect every Englishdomiciled student who took out a loan after 2012
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Continued from previous page
“Young people are already bearing the brunt of the Government’s swinging cuts on all sides with rocketing rents, stagnating wages, exemption from the national minimum wage increase and housing benefit cuts. During the last Parliament, cuts to ESA and increased tuition fees made it hard enough for young people to complete their educa-
tion. “In Wales, the Welsh Government have stood by young people keeping tuition fees paid by Welsh students at a lower level, and not changing borrowing terms, but for English students and recent graduates this is yet another a kick in the teeth from a Tory Government that has really got it in for looking
out for young people.” The NUS was also disappointed with the news. Cardiff Students’ Union President Claire Blakeway expressed her disappointment at the decision “and it is just one amongst several attacks being made to young people. It is exceptionally unfair that students will have to pay back more money, on top
of what is already an extremely large loan to repay. “Despite 84% of respondents to the consultation opposing the measure, the government are still proceeding. The Students’ Union will be working with the National Union of Students’ to oppose this change as well as all other cuts which are being made to young people.”
Argentina elects centre-right Party
he 22nd of November marked the run off of the Argentine presidential elections. In a surprising result former mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Marci, the candidate for Republican Proposal, the leading centre-right party among a large nonpartisan coalition (Cambiemos) beat the incumbent Justice Party by just thee per centage points. Various controversies marred the election process. During both the primary and local elections accusations of electoral fraud were made. Frequent thefts of ballot boxes from polling places were made. In Jujuy, a province in Argentina’s northwest, an opposition activist was shot whilst at home. Ariel Velazquez, a 20-year activist who campaigned on behalf of the Radical Civic Union, a centre-left social democratic party, died in hospital on the 19th August. It was only then that
this story began to have an impact on the campaign. The assassination was blamed on the Tupac Amaru organisation, a group led by Kirchner’s allies. Kirchner then stirred controversy by claiming Velasquez was no radical, a statement then vehemently denied by his family. The result marks the end of 12 years of the Justice Party’s ‘Kirchnerism’, a more left wing ideology embodied by the incumbent President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner. The Argentinian Constitution does not allow the President to stand for more than two terms in office. Kirchner’s allies had proposed an amendment to allow for unlimited re-elections, this came under heavy criticism from the opposition parties and ultimately failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority in Congress.
In opposition Republican Proposal have accused the previous government of being less than honest on issues such as the rate of inflation how the exact amount currently held in reserves in the Central Bank. With Argentina‘s economy at risk much attention will be placed on just how Marci will restore confidence among international markets. The main concern among some working class Argentines and the bulk of the Justice Party’s supporters is that economic reform may mean drastic cuts to the generous welfare programmes introduced under the previous government. Marci’s time as Mayor of Buenos Aires saw frequent conflict with unions representing city workers. However the new Presidentelect seems keen to avoid industrial strife, vowing to be a “President for all Argentines.” During an interview with el Nuevo
Herald on the campaign trail Marci was asked what he would change in Argentina’s foreign policy after his win, his reply simply began “Everything!” The most radical change will likely be a shift towards the United States and Europe and away from China, Russia, Venezuela and Iran. With Parliamentary elections in Venezuela due by the 6th of December Marci has threatened to suspend Mercosur (a six nation trade grouping) membership unless opposition leaders are released from prison. Observers of Latin American were keen to note that Lilian Tintori, wife of the jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. With a popular centre-right politician with previous experience as Mayor of the nations capital it remains to be seen if leading Westminister figures have drawn any parallels with political events closer to home.
Sun criticised for Islamophobic headline
Over 1,200 people have contacted the Independent Press Standards Organisation regarding the article
The most radical change will be a shift towards the US and Europe and away from China, Russia, Venezuela and Iran
‘1 in 5 British Muslims’ sympathy for Jihadis’
t least that was the headline in The Sun this week. Unfortunately for that story there were some technicalities that undermined the headline. For a start the poll this story was based on didn’t even mention the word “Jihadi”. The actual question used in the survey asked whether people had sympathy for “young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria.” This wording would of course encompass young people who hope to fight alongside Kurdish fighters, as well as those hoping to fight for ISIS, and even those who’d hope to back Assad, not exactly one coherent group. And the survey also gave respondents the options of registering “a lot”” of sympathy, “some’ sympathy or “no” sympathy. This methodology would always push the numbers a little higher because the middle option would, by The Sun, be viewed as an ‘in favour’ response, when it could easily have been given in an attempt to express sympathy for young people making a very poor decision, that is hardly support for Jihadis. Obviously this front page comes, in part, as a response to the recent attacks in Paris. On the evening of the 13th November 2015 a group of hateful bigots launched an attack on the city of Paris. And as a result at least 130 people have lost their lives. November, it seems, is a good
month for nominally religiously motivated acts of hatred. We’ve been commemorating another attempted atrocity for over 400 years. It’s called Bonfire Night. On November the 5th 1605, a Catholic plot to blow up the House of Lords was discovered. The nobility and the unelected Head of State and Head of the Church of England, King James I. This was followed (and preceded) some very harsh anti-Catholic laws. Within months the conspirators were caught, tried, hanged drawn and quartered right in the heart of London, (some even in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral.) For those of you keeping score: we still have an unelected Head of State who’s head of the Church of England, we still have a House of Lords and we still have Catholics living and moving freely right here amongst us in the UK. The terrorists didn’t achieve their aims and those implementing the intolerant laws made before and after the terrorist actions didn’t achieve their aims either. Our attackers don’t have the ability to define us, our responses to them will always do that. People’s responses to the Paris attacks have been varied. Perhaps one of the most noticeable responses was Facebook’s app allowing users to put the tricolour over their profile pictures. Many of the responses can be
succinctly, and fittingly, described as wanting to stand in solidarity with the victims of the attack on French soil. Sadly “solidarity” isn’t a word that can’t be used to describe The Sun’s front page. A better word for that would be “divisive.” It is divisive; obviously so, provocatively so, and deliberately so. After the Gunpowder Plot people found it profitable to stoke anti-Catholic sentiment. This week The Sun has discovered a similar reason to use such an Islamophobic front page. But it appears that this strategy has backfired. The Sun article has now been subject to a record number of complaints. Over 1,200 people have contacted the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regarding the article. Most of the comments were regarding the accuracy clause of its editors’ code which says newspapers “must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.” That seems like a robust response from the British public to the Sun’s misleading portrayal of British Muslims, but unfortunately things aren’t that clear. To very little public outcry the Government has announced plans for a 10,000 strong pair of Strike Brigades and an extra £12 billion for the Special Forces. This all in a time of “necessary cutbacks” and austerity. In 1605 the Gunpowder Plot struck
fear into the heart of the populous of London. In 1606 laws were passed bringing back fines and new restrictions on Catholics, they now had to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the state. Catholic Emancipation took another two centuries. It wasn’t the result the conspirators were hoping for, but it was a result they would have taken advantage of again. Vicious, deadly, terrorist attacks are terrifying; they’re designed to be. But they also have a long, sorry history showing themselves to be incredibly ineffective. They are meant to change the place in which they occur, and the people who live there, but they only do so when we let them. We aren’t defined by our attackers we’re defined by our responses to them.
Pictured: The front page of The Sun last Monday.
Air Strikes against ISIS increase
France is not the only nation to increase its air strikes on Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks
n November 13th 2015, the world’s eyes were all focused on one place, the French capital: Paris. French President Francois Hollande described the attack on Paris as an “act of war” and immediately declared a state of emergency. The opposition in France argued that this was not enough . and the race for the harshest verbal reaction began. Hollande began bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria, most notably the city of Raqqa. In many ways this is highly understandable and definitely does satisfy everybody’s primal need for visible retaliation. This turn of events, however, is not without its ironies. After 9/11, Europeans were very quick to offer their compassion but they also expressed serious caution at the prospect of retaliation. President George W. Bush was heavily criticised by European politicians for declaring his “war on terror.” Now we witness the French and several other European leaders repeating Mr Bush’s alleged mistakes. And, almost identically to how the US rushed into Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11, France appears ready to jump into an ill-fated military operation in Syria. The similarities are glaringly obvious yet it appears the West has not learnt from previous mistakes. ISIS has influence because of past attacks by Western countries, and therefore they can reinforce this message by further Western attacks. The sustained air assault of the last fifteen months, with close to 10,000 targets hit, has, according to some not pushed ISIS into retreat. France is not the only nation to increase its air strikes on Syria in wake of the Paris attacks. The United States have also amplified its operations against militant targets in both Iraq and Syria, however they have been using a different tactic to the French. The US have started destroying ISIS oil trucks in an attempt to cripple its principle supply of income. In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said that near the cities of Al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor, one attack destroyed 283 ISIS vehicles. It has also been reported that the U.S. dropped leaflets over the tankers that said “run immediately or you will be killed” before the attack. This was to prevent a high number of civilian casualties. The U.S. carried out its first strike against ISIS oil trucks on
November 16th. The strike marked a shift in U.S. strategy from attacking only military targets to new attempts to disrupt their cash flow. ISIS controls the vast majority of oil fields and refineries in Syria and a number in Iraq. The New York Times reported that ISIS are estimated to earn $40 million a month through the production and sale of oil on the black market. Even after these strikes, President Obama is still under continued pressure to do more in Syria, especially from the Republicans. Obama has even received criticism within his own Democrat party for not doing enough. The Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been very vocal in her appeals for more action. So far, Obama has just about managed to resist the critics, but surprised even his own supporters by calling Paris a “setback” last week. He is adamant that the U.S. will not put troops on the ground in Syria, apart from the limited special forces units he authorised last month. So Hollande’s hopes of proactive U.S. engagement in a global coalition may not be achieved. The best he can realistically hope for is more U.S. airstrikes, more arms to Syrian rebels, more drone attacks and some heartfelt condolences on the public stage. Russian President, Putin, cannot be criticised for being too soft in response to the attack. Having stepped up his country’s air campaign in Syria in recent weeks, targeting anti-government rebels as well Islamist fighters with ISIS. Russia began its air campaign in Syria on 30th September. The campaign has now intensified because of the downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and the attack on Paris. Despite this, there have been some calls for concern about the effectiveness of these attacks and the extremely high civilian death toll. Figures from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that so far Russian attacks have killed 403 civilians, including 97 children. This isn’t the only reason that Russia’s been criticised, Obama has been quick to also challenge Russian strategy. He has said that Russia need to make a “strategic adjustment” in Syria and drop its support for Bashar al-Assad, the current Syrian president. Obama said that, “Putin needs to go after the people who killed Russia’s citizens.”
The attacks in Paris have created the prospect for greater international cooperation in the fight against ISIS. President Hollande has proposed an alliance with Russia, and the meeting between Putin and Obama on the fringes of the G20 meeting was symbolic, although inconclusive. Since the Paris attacks, Western leaders and Arab Sunni states, first and foremost Saudi Arabia, have allegedly been pushing for Putin to end his country’s support for Assad. Yet these efforts are likely to be in vain because, for a host of powerful geostrategic and domestic political reasons, Putin is not going to give up on Assad. There are a number of reasons that Putin supports Assad. First of all, Syria hosts the only Russian naval base on the Mediterranean, as well as the newly-acquired Russian airbase. Russia’s involvement at the beginning of the Syrian civil war was to continue Putin’s policy of recovering Russia’s position as a key player in the Middle East, one of the world’s major geopolitical hubbubs. Therefore it is extremely naive that Putin’s main goal is to defeat ISIS because his main focus is actually to stabilise the Assad regime. Putin himself said last month that “stabilising the lawful authority” is the key objective of Russian intervention in Syria. A thaw between Russia and the West is actually highly unlikely. The only realistic choices the West have are to give in to Putin’s demands of making Assad a key factor in the settlement of the Syrian war, or to give up the idea of an anti-ISIS alliance. Closer to home, interestingly Plaid Cymru’s leader Leanne Wood said that the case for British airstrikes in Syria will be listened to by her party. Ms Wood stated that the party are not yet convinced about British involvement but she is certainly willing to listen to the proposals that David Cameron has to offer. Plaid has previously voted against numerous proposals for British action overseas, including the Iraq war in 2003. Speaking in an interview with Sunday Politics Wales, Wood said, “We would need to see some sort of plan to make sure there was an endpoint. I would like to be satisfied that there was some sort of definition as to what success would look like; what a peace plan would look like.” The backing of Plaid’s three MPs would not only be a significant symbolic gesture, but could
also be significant to any vote due to the small Conservative majority in the Commons. Maybe it is time that we had a rethink about the so called ‘war on terror’. Ever since 9/11, the U.S. has led us into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. Drones have dropped bombs on people in numerous countries. The U.S. has led substantial efforts to kill a handful of significant people - bin Laden, alAwlaki and most recently ‘Jihadi John’. However, terror still lives with us, it is probably more prevalent now than it was in 2001. This is proven by the attacks in Paris. There is nothing at all to suggest that this war on terror will ever succeed. Leave the Middle East alone. Stop creating more failed states. Stop disenfranchising the Muslims who share this country with us. We must stop supporting dictators, stop exporting arms to the Middle-East and also stop treating human-rights abusing countries such as Saudi Arabia as our allies. Understand that the “War on Terror” is a war on ideas, and as disagreeable as these ideas may be, you cannot bomb an idea. The talk of waging a war on the Middle East is actually just a distraction from the task that Europe really faces. Europe’s first step should really be to isolate the extremists that are already inside Europe, we can see there are a number of these as all of the Paris attackers were from Europe. It is highly important to dismantle the domestic radical networks that have been created and also work harder at integrating alienated Muslim minorities. This will obviously take a lot of time, money and some serious patience, unfortunately Europe is lacking all three of these things at the moment. This leads to the European politicians to continue talking about the ‘war on terror’ and more airstrikes on the Middle-East. This is exactly the reaction that ISIS are looking for, more Muslims both home and abroad become alienated and join their ranks. Another terrorist attack takes place and the vicious carousel continues. It is time that we break out of this vicious circle we have become stuck in and take a different approach because this one is clearly not working. We need a leader to stand up and be brave, to take a different and non-violent approach because it is innocents that continue to be killed.
Pictured: F-15Es after striking ISIL. (Photographer: Stuart Rankin)
Russian attacks have killed 403 civilians, including 97 children
Plaid Cymru’s leader Leanne Wood said that the case for British airstrikes in Syria will be listened to by her party
Some police forces across the country have as many as 580 per 1000 officers with questionable conduct
Britain has long been a world leader in the fight against global disease Bill Gates
Undercover cops let off scot free
five-year late and not a sufficient apology for the loathsome and utterly shameful behaviour of the Metropolitan Police this week, now would be an appropriate time to review the job police are doing. Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt issued an apology on behalf of the police’s procedures of two disbanded policing intelligence units, the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The apology is specifically to seven women, all of whom were affiliated heavily with protest groups, who had long-term emotional and sexual relations with undercover officers who were investigating their activities. Mark Kennedy, Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling and Mark Jenner all engaged in deceitful relationships between the 1980s and 2010, one of which lasted nine years. During these relationships, where the women gave their lives to state paid actors, officers attended family events including one of Mark Kennedy’s victims’ (a word I use deliberately) father’s funeral. Nauseating though is that these men in some cases had children with their victims. Need I suggest the kinds of feelings these children will have growing up knowing that their fathers were day-inday-out liars to them and their mothers? Martin Hewitt did not once mention these children in his apology. When Hewitt apologised, he regretted that these investigations were a “gross violation of the personal dignity and integrity” of the women involved. Compensation to the victims is estimated at around £3 million, courtesy
of the taxpayer. I do not take issue with these women receiving this money,it will not even begin to redress what must be unbearable grievances held by the women. The issue lies in the fact that in this case, the taxpayer is being mugged from an increasingly slender policing budget and the sole responsibility for this lies with the police – specifically the officers involved and all parties who oversaw the activities. Therefore, the responsible individuals I firmly believe should be sentenced to imprisonment as those who carry out similar fraudulent and rape-related activities are. The fact that none of the men involved will be prosecuted shows the gross hypocrisy and inconsistencies in our laws. You can trick women into spending years of their lives with you, sharing their bed with you and having children with you by lying about who and what you are by using the identity of a dead child, and all you need to get away with it is a badge. If an average citizen were to do this, they would rightly be regarded as a disgraceful individual without any form of conscience or morality. The state apparently will only access the extensive records of your communications if you are a suspected terrorist or paedophile Theresa May says. But they will conduct life-changing and unethical covert investigations if you so much as happen to be an animal rights or environmental activist. They will abuse your trust, your human rights (Hewitt’s word, not mine) and will make drastic changes to your life if you wish to pursue a life of campaigning for social or environmental justice. This is nothing short of a complete and
deliberate disregard for privacy, for basic human decency and for freedom of association and protest on the part of those we pay to supposedly keep us safe. If the state is to retain any integrity at all at this point, it must bring swift and potent justice to those responsible, firstly and most importantly for the direct victims and secondly for the tax payer who has been utterly and undeniably robbed by the police in this instance. This is why I welcome – albeit with scepticism – Theresa May’s judgeled inquiry into such undercover activities which still continue legally. Are the police becoming too big for their boots? A complete overhaul must surely be in order. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), in the Police Complaints: Statistics for England and Wales 2014/15 has revealed that since 2004/05, there has not been a year with as many com-
plaints against the police by the public as this one, and since 2013/14 there has been a 13 per cent increase in allegations of malpractice against the police – 88 per cent of these concern those in officer ranks. Per 1000 officers, 293 have received allegations of malpractice nation-wide – over 1 in 4 police officers you see, statistically, have been accused of malpractice. Some police forces across the country have as many as 580 per 1000 officers with questionable conduct. South Wales has seen a 20 per cent increase in complaints about police conduct since last year - 257 per 1000 officers in that specific force. I for one, am uncomfortable with these statistics, and as the police continue to refuse to enforce the laws that our elected officials have passed, I think the integrity and public image of the police is soon to be rapidly in decline – if it is not already.
Pictured: On duty (Photographer: Tadie88 via flickr)
Government commits £1 billion to tackling malaria
s part of the spending review, a fund worth £1bn has been set up by the government with the dedication to tackle malaria. The aim of the fund is to eradicate the disease and other deadly diseases. The fund is named after Sir Ronald Ross, a scientist who won Britain’s first ever Nobel Prize in 1902, after finding malaria was transferred by mosquitoes. The Gates foundation, co chaired by the billionaire found of Microsoft, will run in partnership with the UK government’s foreign aid budget, spreading the £1bn over the next five years. Unlike many other departments, the foreign aid budget has been protected and increased year on year since 2010. With £115m set aside to researching new drugs, diagnostics and insecticides for malaria, TB and other transmittable infections. A further £188m will be spent on improving biodefences and improving responses to any rapid epidemics such as Ebola. George Osborne explained that one billion people were infected with malaria and 500,000 children die from the illness per year. Therefore, despite malaria deaths
falling by a third since 2010, the Chancellor said the disease remained a significant danger: “I have always believed that our commitment to overseas aid is important to promote our national security and interests around the world. “That includes the fight against malaria – something I’ve been committed to since 1997,” he said. “The announcement of the £1bn Ross Fund is an important step to help tackle this global disease.” Adding to this, he warned that not combatting such a disease would harm national security and interests around the world. Speaking in Seattle, Bill Gates said “we are proud to be partnering with the Chancellor, the British people, and leading research institutes and universities around the UK in this endeavour to end malaria and combat neglected tropical diseases and future pandemics. “Britain has long been a world leader in the fight against global disease. Achieving the eradication of malaria and other poverty-related infectious diseases will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements.” This is all adding to a recent published journal by Nature early in the
year that showed that since 2000, 663 million cases of malaria have been avoided in Africa alone due to international and local efforts to combat the illness. Looking closer into Nature’s find-
ings, researchers at Oxford University attributed the reduction in those suffering in Malaria being as a result of bed nets mainly, the drug artemisnin and spraying homes with insecticide also.
Pictured: Bill Gates speaking to DFID (DFID via flickr)
Editors: Maria Mellor Lizzie Harrett @GairRhyddSci firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/science
Sex, sweat and genes
Do we use pheromones to help chose a mate?
Researches have studies the influence of odour on mate choice for two decades and alll fingers point towards our immune system
he music pounds, glasses clink. Tonight is a night many are on the prowl, hoping to hit it off with someone and find a love interest. However, this isn’t your average Wednesday night at The Lash (never YOLO): nobody is approaching anyone based on their fantastic dance moves or that gorgeous smile. Instead, people are picking up sweaty t-shirts and inhaling their scent. Pheromone Parties are a Los Angeles sensation catching on in the UK. Smelly BO has been rebranded with people now speaking about sexy ‘pheromones’, which are chemicals that an animal produces to induce a behavioural response by another animal. The party organisers claim that body odour communicates information to potential partners, and underlies what many describe as “chemistry” between individuals. That is, an underlying sexual attraction where you cannot put your finger on the cause. Prior to the event you must sleep in an unwashed t-shirt for 3 days without deodorant. T-shirts are then numbered, with only you knowing your own digit. The t-shirts are then laid out and individuals go forth and sniff l’eau de BO. If you find the smell attractive, you take a photograph with the numbered t-shirt. The results are compiled and at the end individuals who have provided the preferred t-shirts are encouraged to approach you and voila: chemistry and a match made in heaven (apparently). This sounds like a fantastic gimmick, but there has actually been a lot of research undertaken into whether humans use pheromones in sexual selection. Manfred Milinski, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolution-
ary Biology, has studied the influence of odour on mate choice for over two decades. And all fingers point towards our immune system. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a genetic region that produces molecules used in our immune response. These ‘immunogenes’ produce molecules that discriminate between ‘self ’ protein fragments, known as peptides, which are produced by our own body, and foreign ‘non-self ’ peptides that could potentially be pathogenic. Found in all animals with a backbone, MHC molecules will identify ‘non-self ’ molecules and mark them for destruction by our immune system. But what does this have to do with perspiring armpits? In addition to discriminating between proteins, Milinski argues that the MHC can be used to discriminate between people through the medium of smell in order to find a mate with a dissimilar MHC. The MHC is a highly varied genetic region, meaning that there are many different versions of these MHCproduced molecules within a population. Milinski explains: “We preferentially choose a partner with a dissimilar set of genes. There is evidence that offspring with genetically distinct parents have a robust immune system. If you have a child with a diverse range of MHC genes, they will be able to fight off a diverse range of pathogens.” This mechanism of mate choice was discovered in mice over 30 years ago, where they preferentially mated with those that had a dissimilar MHC. Mice convey their personal odour identity (termed an odourtype) via MHC molecules found in urine. This odourtype will represent the genetic identity of the mouse.
As humans and mice have a very similar MHC region, it poses the question of whether we also use this mechanism. While humans certainly do not share the urine sniffing behaviour associated with mice, perhaps the Pheromone Parties are on to something – we may be communicating an odourtype to potential mates. Claus Wedekind, now at the University of Lausanne, hypothesised that our odourtype was communicated through our sweat. The experiment he conducted was similar to the Pheromone Parties: people slept in a t-shirt for two consecutive nights and individuals of the opposite sex then rated how attractive the t-shirt smell was. All participants had their MHC genes determined, with the experiment demonstrating that people preferred the smell of individuals who had a dissimilar MHC to their own. However, the human genome is incredibly complex; regions other than the MHC could also be influencing olfactory mate choice. This issue was addressed by Raphaelle Chaix. Using data from genomic databanks, which store the entire genetic region of many individuals, they compared how similar the MHC region was between married individuals relative to similarities across the rest of the genome. This determined that the MHC genetic region in spouses was significantly more dissimilar than the rest of the genome. Therefore, it can be concluded that body odour may indeed be important in mate choice. However, if our natural smell is really so important, why is the global perfume industry worth £18 billion? Many cultures have valued perfumes over the centuries: Tudors
carried around perfumed balls stuffed with aromatic spices, whereas Ancient Egyptians preferred to rub musky oil over their bodies. However, finding a scent you like could be more important than simply smelling nice. A study by Milinski and colleagues discovered that individuals with specific MHC genes prefer to wear specific perfumes. While deodorant masks perspiration and the smells associated with it, your favourite perfume will instead complement body odour, highlighting your natural scent. While research has supported the argument that smell is used for communication between potential partners, we cannot ignore other important factors involved in choosing a mate. People often have their own tastes for personality and physical traits, be it desiring someone with bulging biceps or fancying the class clown. Whether it is the novelty factor or if people are seriously considering this research field, there is a developing market for using these MHC cues in matchmaking. In addition to Pheromone Parties, websites like Lovegene are offering a fresh approach to online dating. Your MHC region is genetically determined and then search through an online database of individuals, where it shows how dissimilar their MHC region is to yours. The founder, Laurynas Piliuskys, claims: “People can lie about their images personality and other biographical information. But with genetics you can’t fake it! You are what you are.” If you are frequenting Tinder and OK Cupid, you may want to think twice about how liberally you apply your deodorant – especially if you are going to Pheromone Party later in the evening.
Pictured: Is the attraction due to smell? (Photographer: Robyn Ramsay)
People can lie about their image, personality and other biographical information. But with genetics you can’t fake it! Lauryanas Piliuskys
Pesticide is a buzzkill for bee populations
Pesticide exposed colonies resulted in apples containing one third fewer seeds, a sign of pollination success
All the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality Professor Timothy Walsh
t is common knowledge that the bee population levels are under threat, but a new study has revealed the effect of pesticides on colonies of bumblebees. Bees occupy an important role by providing a vital service of pollinating many flowers which are of agricultural use and more obviously being directly responsible for the honey we consume. In addition, they have a vital ecological niche and many wild flowers rely on them for reproduction. Bees provide important services and without them our environment and many of our agricultural crops would suffer. New research brings to light a ‘missing link’ between the widely used pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, and their harmful effect on the pollination of whole colonies. In a study published in Nature, researchers at The University of Reading exposed bees to various levels of neonicotinoids and measured their ability to pollinate apple trees. It was found that the bees which were exposed to the pesticide visited trees less often as well as collecting less pollen. This meant that pesticide exposed colonies resulted in apples containing a reduction of one third fewer seeds. The number of seeds is an important sign of pollination success and is more valuable to farmers as it is associated with higher quality
fruit. This was the first study examining the effect of pesticides on a colony level, with relevance to pollination services, rather than the effects on individual bees. The findings show that the negative effect of such pesticides results in the impairment of the bee’s ability to provide pollination services which will have downstream effects on the production of staple crop yields and also the functioning of natural ecosystems. An interesting follow up study would be to look at why the pesticide affected the behaviour of the bees. Other work has shown neonicotinoids affect bees’ memory and ability to learn, which is vital in productive foraging. Syngenta, the company producing the chemical tested in the study denied the relevance of the study, claiming that the resulting number of apples produced was the same for the exposed bees and control group. Also, they criticised the experimental methods suggesting that the conclusions are only representative of a single experiment, carried out under artificial conditions. However, Prof. Felix Wäckers from Lancaster University whom was not connected to the research said that it could actually be an underestimate, as in natural conditions the exposure times of the bees to the pesticide would
be greater than in the study, and therefore the effects are greater than those measured. Indeed, in a separate study, it was found that male worker bees foraging in fields were more likely to die when exposed to the neonicotinoids. It seems this work points strongly
in the direction that the neonicotinoids are adversely affecting a processes which is very much important for commercial and ecological purposes. We must therefore assess whether it is worth continuing the use of such chemicals or add them to the list of EU banned pesticides.
ing both the agricultural and health ministries this weekend to discuss whether colistin should be banned for agricultural use. However, Professor Laura Piddock from the campaign group Antibiotic Action remains slightly more hopeful. She described how the rise of the post-antibiotic era “depends on the infection, the patient and whether there are alternative treatment op-
tions available” because combinations of antibiotics may still be effective. What will happen next? It is still hard to tell. But while we are still on gridlock with new antibiotic drug development, another antibiotic drug is soon inconsequentially slipping into the background, once again falling into the category of ‘bacterial resistant drugs’.
Pictured: A bee (Photographer: Autan via Flickr)
Bacteria can resist ‘last resort’ antibiotic
s apocalyptic as it sounds, the world is on the cusp of a ‘postantibiotic era’. Scientists have identified that bacteria are able to resist colistin, the drug of last resort, in patients and livestock in china. Scientists have said that the resistance would spread around the world and lead to a spectre of untreatable infections. This means that common infections could once again be fatal, and surgery and cancer therapies will be extremely hard to perform The Chinese scientists identified a new mutation, the MCR-1 gene which prevents colistin from killing bacteria, inducing its resistance. The report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases reported resistance in a fifth of the animals tested; 15 per cent of raw meat samples and 16 per cent in patients. The drug’s resistance is likely to due to overuse in farm animals. Furthermore, the resistance has spread between a myriad of bacterial strains and species, including E. Coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. And it has crept its way around the world, with evidence that it has spread to Laos and Malaysia. Professor Timothy Walsh from University of Cardiff and a collaborator in the study told the BBC that
“all the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality” such that “if MCR-1 becomes global, which is a case of when no if, and the gene aligns itself with other antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable, then we will have very likely reached the start of the postantibiotic era.” This all led him to conclude “at the point if a patient is seriously ill, say with E. Coli, then there is virtually nothing you can do.” While resistance to colistin has emerged before, in this particular incident the mutation has arisen in a way that is easily shared between bacteria. Professor Mark Wilcox, from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has stated how “the transfer rate of this resistance gene is ridiculously high”. Professor Wilcox’s hospital is dealing with multiple cases and is “struggling to find an antibiotic every month,” which was extremely rare just five years ago. The main concert is that new resistance gene will lead to bacteria resistant to all treatment; known as the greatly feared pan-resistance. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is aggressively addressing the issue. Professor Walsh will be meet-
Pictured: E Coli bacteria (Source: NIAID)
The consequences of an ageing population
In the UK the number of people aged over 65 years has increased by approximately 1.7 million people
t comes as no surprise that we are living longer. As government strategies have improved living and working conditions, mortality rates have ultimately been reduced. Community measures such as the national immunisation schedule, population screening and health education have all played a role in increasing life expectancy overall. According to World Health Organisation statistics, the average life expectancy for someone born in the UK in 1990 was 76, increasing to 81 in 2013. This trend is replicated globally, however the largest gains in life expectancy have been achieved in low-income countries. Zambia is an example of this, with an average increase of 15 years within the same timeframe. In the UK, the number of people aged over 65 years has increased by approximately 1.7 million people, and by 2035 it is predicted that this age group will make up 23 per cent of the total population. Increasing the lifetime of individuals globally is one of the 20th century’s greatest achievements. However, this shift in demographics means healthcare professionals are confronted with a changing landscape of chronic diseases. Elderly patients have complex needs, both biological and social in nature. One of the key challenges facing healthcare professionals is dealing with the rise in prevalence of chronic diseases: such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. These are difficult to manage as these illnesses often overlap, with patients suffering from
” Science questions: Answered
What is a light year? Light is the fastest moving object in the universe, travelling at 300,000 km per second. A light year measures the distance covered by travelling at light speed for one year, which is 9.5 trillion kilometres.
a combination of diseases and risk factors. Alongside the higher rate of physical diseases, the elderly are also vulnerable to conditions affecting their ability to self-care. Dementia is a major issue. With almost 4,000 diagnosed cases in Cardiff alone, this progressive disease can place stress on not only patients, but also their families and those involved with their care. Patient autonomy is compromised as communication is often impaired. A thorough evaluation of capacity is required to determine the patient’s ability to consent to treatment. The memory problems associated to dementia can also serve as a challenge as often patients live alone, and require carer support. Often multiple systems are involved in a disease process, which makes drug interactions, or polypharmacy, more likely. Doctors must therefore be more careful in the drugs they prescribe and the doses required. This is especially true of those suffering with kidney disease, affecting older populations much more. One of the core duties of a doctor is to do no harm (non-maleficence) therefore it is important that side effects are monitored with vigilance. The elderly generation access healthcare services more than other age group. With more hospital admissions, outpatient visits and GP appointments, it’s not surprising that the majority of the healthcare budget is spent on care of the elderly. John Appleby, from the King’s Fund charity in London, suggests that actually the ageing population do not de-
mand more medical care resources in particular. Instead, it is the social care costs which are contributing to the escalation in spending overall. He believes the lines between social and medical care are “blurred” and often overlap, as a great deal of modern medicine focuses on how to safely bring patients back into the community. The discharge and care planning process is much more complicated in older generations. Often the reason behind an extended hospital stay is a complex social situation, and not necessarily the consequence of medical conditions. In these cases, discharge is not deemed to be safe and is frequently delayed whilst awaiting evaluation from occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social workers. This is partly due to the elderly being at an increased falls risk due to mobility problems, in which discharge would not be safe without home adaptation. Alongside the physical and social problems, the elderly are known to be a risk group for developing depression and other psychiatric disorders In Wales, approximately 15-30 per cent of those aged 65 and over have some form of depression. This figure rises up to 50 per cent in those who are hospitalised. This is partly due to a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, often a source of pain and stress. It is also linked to loneliness and isolation. Approximately a third of elderly people in the UK describe themselves as “lonely”. Some illnesses themselves such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia may manifest with depression as a symptom. Care
of the elderly is multifaceted, requiring the balance of attention to many co-morbidities and social situations. Mental health is not bought into the focus of care because of these factors, and may be neglected. But the question remains. Why is it so important that we look after our ageing population? In a 21st Century Britain, many in this age category wish to continue to participate in their community, politics and economic affairs. According to Age UK, more than half of the people in the 65 plus category take part in volunteering or community help roles. With this in mind, perhaps a different approach to the elderly is needed. To do this there needs to be a change in attitude. Improving their health enough to allow integration into the community requires a holistic approach. This would require the collaboration of healthcare providers, community services, families and policy-maker expertise. Caring for the elderly population is seen not only as a responsibility, but can also bring various positives. Statistics from Age UK report that rates of employment in the 65 plus age group are rising. Approximately £50 billion is saved per year in childcare costs, enabling the working generation to raise a family and continue with their career paths respectively. It is not only in their best interest, but in the interests of the nation as a whole to promote good health in the ageing population. The life expectancy is still rising. What good is prolonging life if the infrastructure to care for these people does not exist to ensure a good quality of life?
Pictured: Do we need a different approach to the elderly? (Photographer: Andreas Lindmark)
In Wales approximately 15-30 per cent of those aged 65 and over have some form of depression
Why does holding your breath get rid of Why do teenagers sleep for longer and Why does gum not disintegrate? hiccups? later? Gum consists of sweeteners and flavouring A hiccup is caused by a spasm in your diaphragm, and there a million different household ‘cures’ to get rid of them. Some may not actually work, but there is some evidence that suggests that holding your breath causes a small buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood which affects how the diaphragm is able to contract. Otherwise, hiccup ‘cures’ are largely just placebos.
Even at the tail end of your teenage years, many young adults struggle to wake up early. In the past this has been put down laziness but recent research has told us that other factors are also important. Studies have suggested that the hormone changes teenagers go through can alter their body clocks. This causes them to sleep for longer, but also go to bed later with a longer morning lie in.
to give it its distinctive minty taste, and a gum base to produce the chewy texture. Food-grade polymers, waxes and softeners form a synthetic rubber, making it chewy and elastic. It is a myth that gum takes seven years to digest; in reality the rubber is churned out within a matter of days
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Energy harvested from plants could one day play a bigger part in our lives
Flower power: Photosynthesis generates electricity
o students, a plant is little more than something bought on a whim from IKEA only to die three weeks later when you forget to water it, but a group of Swedish scientists have formulated a system that could allow them to harvest power from the process of photosynthesis. The team, from Linköping University, incorporated electronics into the vascular system of living plants in an effort to recreate the processes that occur in an electrical circuit. In the study, a garden rose was ‘wired up’, being set in water that contained a soluble electricity-conducting polymer. The process of transpiration, where moisture is drawn through a plant from the roots via osmosis, was key to the success of this study, as the rose drew in the polymer with the water it took on. The polymer, known as PEDOTS, was found to attach itself to the xylem, which is the naturally occur-
ring water transportation channel of the plant. Charged molecules already present in the flower interact with the polymer in order to create a thin film lining the xylem, resembling a ‘wire’ that can conduct electricity within an organically created circuit. The transport of hormones and signals throughout a plant forms the basis of functions such as photosynthesis and transpiration. As well as the production and harvesting of plant energy, the organic circuit formed by PEDOT-S could allow for adjustment of plant functions in order to produce important molecules for medicine, sensors, and growth regulators within the plant. Researchers also incorporated components that caused the leaves of the plant to light up when voltage was applied. The basic concept of using plants to generate energy is not new. In 2013, Netherlands-based company Plant-e used energy harvested from electrons in waste organic plant mat-
ter to light up over 300 LED street lights for their project ‘Starry Sky’. However, the production of energy within the plant itself using naturally occurring processes is a relatively untapped area of research. The leader of this study Professor Magnus Berggren said: “As far as we know, there are no previously published research results
regarding electronics produced in plants. No one’s done this before.” Although such research is in its early stages, it’s conceivable that energy harvested from photosynthesis could one day play a bigger part in our lives, so why not choose now to start respecting that plant from IKEA. Maybe even water it now and again.
Pictured: Plants could be a green energy alternative (Photographer: Marilena)
Vocal cord grown from human cells
This development may revolutionise artificial tissue production
Two cell types began to assemble into layers that resembled healthy vocal cords
rom a loved ones comforting words to a mother’s shout of warning, human voices are the main way people communicate. Scientists in the US are currently undergoing extensive research, and have produced lab-grown vocal cords from human tissue that produce realistic sounds. Vocal cords consist of one or two small bands of smooth muscle tissue within the larynx. The muscle tissue is lined with a material called mucosa. When air passes through them, the folds vibrate hundreds of times per second to make the sounds we recognise as a voice. Diseases such as cancer can destroy the delicate folds within the muscle, and for many patients there is not much scope for treatment. Sometimes vocal cords become too scarred and stiff to work properly and consequently they must be removed. “Voice is a pretty amazing thing, yet we don’t give it much thought until something goes wrong,” said lead researcher Nathan Welham at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The ability to vibrate and make sounds is pretty remarkable and unique to this part of the body.” “When the tissue is damaged it doesn’t recover and regenerate normally and we don’t have great solutions at present to deal with that,” Welham added. “It’s an exquisite system and a hard thing to replicate.” The vocal cord tissue is highly specialised, being flexible enough to
vibrate, but strong enough not to be damaged by millions of hours of use. As the lab-grown tissue would have to display these same characterisics, the task of creating it in a lab is very challenging. The US team have collaborated with doctors in Japan, who have grown tissue from healthy connective tissue taken from four patients whose voice boxes had been removed for medical reasons, and one dead human donor. After weeks of study positive results were showing as two cell types began to assemble into layers that resembled the structure of healthy vocal cords. Scientists implanted the freshly grown tissue into one side of voice boxes taken from dogs, and attached them to an artificial windpipe to send air through them. Humidified air was blown over the tissue which vibrated, producing sounds that sounded similar to those made by natural dog. As transplant rejection can cause many issues, follow-up studies using mice were used. Mice have similar immune systems to human which can mimic the immune system of a human. The research showed that the tissue transplants were not rejected during the three-month trial. Scientists are unlikely to use tissue from patients to grow replacement voice boxes as there is too little tissue available that is free of diseased or cancerous cells. Doctors believe that they can create vocal cords from stem cells that are turned into muscle cells to form the
Pictured: Vocalising your thoughts is important (Photographer: Tammy Lo)
cords. While the research is just the first step on a lengthy journey towards clinical use, the results have proven to be extremely promising, providing a solid basis for future study.
More clinical studies are needed to ensure that they work well and do not aggravate an immune response, and the whole process must be performed with cells suitable to be implanted in humans.
Editor: Aletheia Nutt @GairRhyddSoc firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/societies
Hannah Sterritt VP Societies
Pictured: Nigerian Students Society at a bowling social and the Nigerian Flag
Winter Showcase is underway!
i everyone, hope you’re enjoying the last few weeks of term! I can’t believe just how quickly this academic year has gone so far and that we’re nearly at the end. In Societies, this means that the Winter Showcase is underway with a massive list of end of term events showcasing the brilliant things Societies do and have worked towards this term. Last week was Student Led Service week, with a day dedicated to each student led service. Nightline,
Student Minds, Fruit & Veg Coop, SHAG (Sexual Health Awareness Group), RAG and Cardiff Healthy People (CHiPS) having a presence each day. The highlight of the week was SHAG’s presence at Wednesday night’s YOLO in Y Plas where they were doing competitions and handing out glow in the dark condoms as prizes. Look out for Winter Showcase event promotion around the Students’ Union and on social media. It’s a great opportunity to take part in some festive events as an end of
term celebration with housemates or course mates as something different to do after all the roast dinners. For example, the majority of our music and dance societies are hosting festive events, Christian Union are running Cardiff Carols in Cardiff Arms Park and our Discussion, Campaigns & Awareness societies are raising money and resources in the festive spirit. As ever, stay up to date with everything that Societies are up to by heading to facebook.com/guildofsocieties.
Cardiff University Nigerian Students Society
he Nigerian students society, also referred to as the Nigerian society, is one of the international societies at Cardiff University. As an international community of Nigerian students, the main objective of the society is to provide support for Nigerian students at the university. From the moment you have been guaranteed a place at Cardiff University, our committee members ensure that we contact you and assist you in making your arrival and first weeks in the city as stress-free as possible. This has been really effective and beneficial to the new students, as in recent times we have heard students complain about their not so encouraging experiences upon arrival. So, if you’re a Nigerian at Cardiff University or coming to Cardiff University, be assured that we will do our best to make sure you never feel homesick, and if you do we are here to support you. Throughout the year we organise and participate in numerous academic, festive and social events. The first contact with our committee can be made during the Societies fair where you can become a registered member. As is our tradition, our first official meeting as a society is a gettogether held for the new students, where we fully induct them into the society, officially introduce them to our committee members and then debrief them on the events we have planned for the year . It also features free dinner (Nigerian cuisines), music and guest Nigerian speakers who talk about their academic and general experiences at Cardiff University and in the city itself. We organise and partake in events such as quiz nights, football compe-
titions, go global, movie nights, day trips to historical sites within Wales and the UK, visits to theme parks and many other interesting activities. We also hold general meetings fortnightly during which we socialise and discuss issues that concern the society and its members. This is an opportunity for members to share their academic and personal problems in a situation where support will be offered. In this first semester we have had 4 events in total, not including the general meetings. We had our gettogether in the second week, we also went to the bay for bowling the following week. In November we had a pub social with live music and very good deals on food from one of our event sponsors, and just recently we went on the ‘’Give it a Go’’ trip to Brecon waterfalls. We have an upcoming visit to the Winter Wonderland next week and many more trips and academic seminars in the upcoming months. Finally, we liaise with an African/ Nigerian shop to give discounts to our registered members (every registered member gets a discount card), they give us a 5% discount on food items. We also liaise with the Nigerian-Welsh community which is larger group of Nigerians who may not be students and live in wales. They invite us to many of their events, for example the summer barbecue and their football tournaments. In past years, we have collaborated with the African–Caribbean society (ACS) for black history month celebration and the Afro-gene. Please find more information on our Facebook page: https ://www.facebook .com/groups/ nsscardiffuniversity/?fref=ts
The Women’s Equality Party Society
Because the Women’s Equality Party is non-partisan, you are invited to join whatever your background.
he Women’s Equality Party Society is a brand new society associated with the Women’s Equality Party, a newly-formed and non-partisan political party who are concerned about equal representation, equal pay, equal parenting and caregiving, equal treatment of women in the media and an end to violence against women. We are open to anyone – men and women – who wants to campaign for equality in modern day life. Our society will be raising awareness of equality issues on-campus and driving positive change at Cardiff University. You can expect to join in extensive discussion at our meetings, but also take a relaxing break from study at our more casual meet ups. The society will also hold talks that give the opportunity to hear about how you can enter into certain fields and industries. Come 8 March 2016, we’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day with a range of activities and events planned by members of the society. As we are such a new society we don’t have an archive of events to call on, but members will be able to sculpt our plans and really help encourage equality on-campus and further afield. You can become a
member by finding us on Cardiff University’s SU website. It costs £2 for the year – in which you can expect a multitude of events, talks, meetings and campaigns. It will be a jam-packed year, but many hands make light work! If you want to get involved in a certain area, you are more than welcome to get in touch to find out how you can lend a hand. Whether you are keen on marketing, socials, finance or events, the Women’s Equality Party Society is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in a specific field whilst also working towards something you care about. Whether you align yourself with left, right or centre politics, because the Women’s Equality Party is nonpartisan, you are invited to join whatever your background. We want to work together in order to achieve an equal society – equality is better for everyone.We have now had our first meet up of the year, but will soon be holding our first committee meeting. Come along, ask us any questions you have about the society (we love questions!) and see how you can help create an environment where both men and women can thrive. Did you know? For every £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p on aver-
age. Around 20 per cent of university professors are women. Out of 650 parliamentary seats, 191 are held by women. Less than 24 per cent of FTSE 100 board members are women, and just 24 women (less than nine per cent of the total) hold executive board member positions. 70 per cent of girls say they have experienced sexual harassment at school.
There are more than 250 rapes or attempted rapes every day. To find out more about the Women’s Equality Party and their policies and six objectives, visit their website: www.womensequality.org.uk To keep up-to-date with our events, you can find us on Facebook: w w w.faceb o ok .com/C ardiffUniWEPSoc
Pictured: Sandi Toksvig talking at a presentation for Women’s Equality Party
Creative Writing Society:
Come along to a guest lecture from Mark Dorey for some creative writing inspiration
It is our hope that he inspires the students of Cardiff University to write.
ark Dorey, a Public Talk: Creative Writing and Publishing for Children (10th December 7:30pm, Main Building, 1.40): Free entry to all The Creative Writing Society has actively supported writers in the University since its creation. This year many activities focus on passing on techniques for writing and offer time every Tuesday from 7pm in the SU to discuss with other writers. In the past the society has been involved with publishing anthologies of short stories and poems of its members. For anyone who would be interested please look us up: there are weekly events, and occasional Saturday events in coffee shops. We hope to compile an anthology of pieces of writing. The society hopes to engage with students to a larger extent than previous years. In addition to this, we are pleased to announce that on the 10th December, from 7:30pm until 9pm, local writer Mark Dorey will be speaking in Main Building, Room 1.40. He will speak on writing and publishing for children. The event on the 10th will focus on these aspect, as he explains how and why he got into writing and publishing. He will give his own experiences on writing, with a focus on literature for children. Such writing has tended to be under-emphasized yet we allow it to pass on significant messages of morality, social norms
etc. If we give such trust to partially educate future generations (the future of our world), we should consider it more important. Furthermore, the current age seems to be one of mass-publishing from various sources. The most certain method of publication for any unpublished author is either in magazines (e.g. for short stories, poems) or self-publishing (for novels): this can be in digital format, but Dorey has published in physical form. Publishing is a big problem for many aspiring novelists which is difficult to overcome: being accepted by an agent and/or publishing company is very difficult, and the extremely vast
quantities of publishing and publishing companies causes panic among many. Because of this, many find it easier to turn to self-publishing, so as to eliminate such stress and constant rejection (remember that J K Rowling was several times first, and this must have caused immense stress!) The idea of editors pouring over works causes many writers discomfort, for they fear their work will become mutated far beyond its original nature. For these reasons, self-publishing is being more-so encouraged, and it is the hope of the Society that we inspire many students to self-publish or to consider its benefits (though it would be great
if everyone could get the prestige associated with a publishing company!) Therefore, Mark Dorey will discuss issues that the Creative Writing Society feels may be useful to anyone interested in writing within the university. We will also attempt to contact other writers to speak at the university. As one with a lot of experience, it is our hope that he inspires the students of Cardiff University to write, even a little. We recommend that anyone interested in writing comes to Room 1.40, Main Building on the 10th December, 730pm-9pm. Everyone is welcome, no entry fees!
Pictured: A piece of art work the Creative Writing Art Department produced
Cardiff University Jazz Society: What’s On?
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a multitude of music events.
ardiff University Jazz Society is a gold tier society and is one of the university’s leading musical societies. It formed in 2011 after the massively oversubscribed “Big Band Society” decided to expand into a fully-fledged Jazz Society. The society has expanded from a twenty person big band into a society with nearly 100 active members with four core society run ensembles and many smaller member run ensembles. The society run ensembles offer something for everyone; Jazz Choir, Saxophone Choir and Jazz Orchestra welcome all members to play in a friendly encouraging environment whether you are a beginner or experienced player looking to keep music up as a hobby. The society also supports an auditioned award winning Big Band. The Big Band is regarded as one of the leading ensembles in the university, specialising in both contemporary big band repertoire, and some innovative new arrangements, as well as playing the classics. Throughout the year we run a number of concerts and socials. We hold regular Jam Sessions at venues in Cardiff city centre as well as larger end of year events. We also hold a couple of master classes a year with nation-
ally renowned musicians, such as Pete Long. We have lots of concerts coming up, it wouldn’t be Christmas time without a multitude of music events happening. Check out what events we’ve got coming up: Thursday 3rd December: Jazz at Christmas in the union’s new ‘Y Studio’! Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Choir, Saxophone Choir and Big Band will be playing and there will be lots of space for small ensembles too so please let us know if you’d like to get involved! Ensembles will be picked on a first come first served basis! Have a look at the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ events/1559742551003932/ Sunday 6th December: Jazz Orchestra Matinee Concert. Sunday 6th promises to be a jazz filled fun day so make sure to keep the day free! It’s also our President’s (Harriett’s) birthday so don’t forget to break out into a Happy Birthday rendition if you see her! Have a look at the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ events/199374463736209/ Sunday 6th December: Our last Jam Night of the year will take place at Gwdihw Cafe Bar. Whether you love playing jazz or just listening to it, Jazz Society’s Jam Nights are always a great
event. Have a look at the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ events/515858435256078/ Wednesday 9th December: Jazz Ensemble Concert. This is a great opportunity to see our newest ensemble play and keep your ears open for a Jazz club night later on that even-
ing! Have a look at the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ events/1706049172958005/ All our events promise to be great fun and a chance for members and non-members to appreciate some fantastic music, so come along and see for yourselves!
Pictured: Jazz Society member Sam performing at one of the Jam Nights
Cardiff Volunteering: Jailbreak is coming!
or those of you who don’t know, Jailbreak is a major event in the student calendar. The general idea is that you are in teams of 3-4 and you have 52 hours to get as far away from Cardiff (and back!) as possible. The catch? You are not allowed to spend any money on travel. You’ll have to beg, borrow (we don’t advise stealing) and charm your way onto flights, ferries and coaches. Last year, the team that made it the furthest and back got to Rome. Another got to Barcelona, but failed to return to base within the allocated time. Creativity and endurance will be rewarded, here at Cardiff Volunteering, we want to see the wildest and wackiest ways you can get across
the world. At Cardiff University, we don’t like to be outdone. Previous Jailbreak teams from other Universities have made it to Israel, Tokyo, LA and Australia. Don’t believe us? Google it. Are you up for the challenge? Think you can outdo Oxford or Warwick? Then this is the competition for you. Jailbreak 2016 will be happening Friday 4th March – Sunday 6th March. It is £10 early bird entry per person (this gets you a teeshirt, third party insurance and a donation to RAGS Charities), each member of the team will also need to raise a minimum of £50 sponsorship. You need to be in teams of 3-4 of which at least 1 person must be a
Cardiff University student (so you can have a team with siblings, partners, and other university members for example. You could even bring your nan!). All team members must be 18 by the 4th of March, no exceptions. We will be holding information talks after exams and full briefing will be given to you! There will also be prizes for various challenges that we will be issuing over the 52 hours, with an overall prize for the team that gets the furthest and back in the allocated time – the more outrageous and creative you can be, the more likely you are to win a prize. Part of a sports team or society? This will count as one of your volunteering activities with Cardiff Volun-
teering for the tiering system! (You need to do 1 a year for silver, 1 a term for gold). More of a homebird? Not to worry, we will have plenty of opportunities to get involved at basecamp here in Cardiff. Earlybird tickets go live on 1st December, those of you at the Heath will get a presale on Monday 30th November in the Students Union at the Heath. If you’ve got any questions, email us at email@example.com, call us on 02920 781494 or message us on facebook (Cardiff Volunteering). You can purchase tickets and see the terms and conditions by heading to www.cardiffstudents.com/Jailbreak
Other Universities have made it to Israel, Tokyo, LA and Australia.
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PARK LIFE 31
Editor: Vacant @HeathParkCSU VPHeathpark@cardiff.ac.uk gairrhydd.com/park-life
Katey’s note: A busy week at the Heath Park campus
Katey Beggan VP Heath Park
We asked students what they love about our Students’ Union and we had a whole range of replies from the Taf burgers to the provision of academic space.
This is the last Park Life of the academic year, so have a lovely Christmas break!
ello, how is everyone? I hope you’ve had a good week and a swift recovery from Medics Varsity! As ever this week has been very busy, one of the busiest of the year so far so I have lots to fill you in on. Medics Varsity went really well; thank you to all who participated! We hope to replicate this event next year except it will held at Bristol. Just a heads up to all players you will be receiving your badges soon I’ll let you know when they arrive. Cardiff came away with a clean sweep and the Medics Varsity Shield again; looks like we were too much of a match for Bristol. Please have a look on our Heath Facebook page and tag yourself and any friends in the photos we have taken. The beginning of last week was a busy period with three different campaigns happening on Monday. Firstly, we had our COP 21 headed up by VP welfare Kate Delaney which entailed a fantastic four-tier chocolate fountain in the middle of Y Plas where students could help themselves to as many treats as they wanted to. This was to signify how we are treating our world and how, if climate change continues at its current rate, we will run out of cocoa for chocolate! The next campaign we ran was our #LoveSUs in line with the NUS campaign. We asked students what they love about our Students’ Union and we had a whole range of replies from the
event - I’m really excited to see how this revamped space is going to be used effectively for all your society events. We also have our Playzone event for all Healthcare students on Friday at 7:30pm. Tickets are still on sale on line if you are interested - it’s always a fun-filled evening and you even get a night out in Swansea afterwards with
transport back all sorted for you! This is probably the last you will hear from me before the Christmas break so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year. As ever I am still here over the Christmas holidays if you need anything just contact me on: VPheathpark@cardiff. ac.uk.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
Dealing with leaving for a placement...
o most of us know how it feels to leave home for the first time and enter the world of university, however many of us are faced with this prospect, albeit on a smaller scale, several times over our university careers. Going away to your first placement outside of Cardiff can be extremely daunting. Many of us have questions streaming through our heads such as:
Taf burgers to the provision of academic space. This was a great success with many students getting involved; we even trended in Cardiff as an SU and nationally as a UK-wide campaign. We raised so much awareness that we even received a personal thank you from the president of the NUS herself congratulating Cardiff so thank you to everyone that got involved. As will be mentioned later on in the section we also had a two day event to raise awareness for organ donation. We had numerous activities at both the Cathays and Heath campuses to get students involved and help them understand the changes happening to organ donation. This will be mentioned in more detail further on so please do make sure you take a look and are aware of the up-coming changes to the law. Last week I also had the privilege of visiting Cambridge where I got shown around their student parent provisions which are some of the best in the UK. I had a great time and there are a lot of new ideas and initiatives that I would like to bring back to Cardiff. These range from university-specific staff assigned to look after the welfare of student parents within the University to weekly coffee mornings. Coming back to events that are on this week, we have the official opening of Y Stiwdio this week. Good luck to all societies and clubs participating in this
What will the accommodation be like? And How many clothes do I pack? This type of upheaval and movement can often be distressing and many students have said how they often feel isolated and unsupported in their first few days of placement. This is why we have decided to develop and trial a brand new way of engaging and supporting our students who go away on their first placements. We have
developed a placement pack which is currently being rolled out across all first year healthcare students who are away on placements for their first time. The A5 parcel is a unique box of goodies that serves to act as a way to inform students of where and when they can get help whilst they are on placement. The box also serves to act as a small welcome to their new home for the next few months or so.
Along with containing key contacts unique to each students placement, the pack also contains a small notebook and pen for all those essential notes, amongst other small necessities. For everyone who has already received your packs through the post, I hope they helped! For those students yet to receive a pack, don’t worry as I haven’t spoilt all the surprises you’ll be getting.
I have been lucky enough to work with several radiographers and by doing so I get to see different ways of working, which I can then integrate into my own practise. All of the staff are always on hand to help and answer questions if needed. However, having some prior knowledge of positioning
and anatomy does impress staff and it has helped build my confidence and helps me feel part of the team. My advice for anyone going out to clinical placement is to arrive early to make a good impression, be proactive and help out if you can as staff don’t like it if you just stand about, and if
you have any doubts … ask. Another key aspect of clinical is respect the professional staff - they are there to help but you don’t want to add to their workload by taking on more than you can handle then asking them to help you out when they have their duties as well.
...and how to make a good impression
eing able to work within the clinical environment as a student is an invaluable experience. It has allowed me to see how the theory covered during the academic blocks links into practise. This also helps me to retain the knowledge needed as I am using it on a daily basis.
Pictured: Students posted things they love about the SU at the Park Place campus (Photographer: Sophie Timbers)
32 PARK LIFE
Medics Varsity: A great day for the Heath
Katey Beggan VP Heath Park
Cardiff Medic Ed Green won the player of the day due to his amazing tries he scored whilst playing prop.
ast Saturday Cardiff held the inaugural Medics Varsity showdown for the first time since the event started. This event, which has only been held twice, has significantly developed in size in the space of just one year. The event has become one of the times of the year where Heath students can take the sporting stage and show off their talents to the rest of the university community in Cardiff and Bristol. The morning started off cold with a sparse frost, the first of the year. Bristol arrived early from over the Severn Bridge at 8:30am ready to warm up for their first match. This year we had more sports teams than ever competing, ranging from basketball to rugby across four venues at different times during the day. Men’s hockey started off pro-
ceedings at 9am and a heavy battle ensued! On the whistle of the 70th minute we headed to penalty flicks and pressure mounted on the men’s team not to start the day with a loss. After a nail-biting couple of minutes we managed to claim the final penalty and win the match! Next to take the stage was netball and women’s Hockey. Both matches started in quick succession of each other and the ever-increasing crowd was starting to create a fantastic atmosphere to urge on our players. Both games had oppositions that proved tough to start with however once Cardiff got into their rhythm they soon started to put away the goals. Ladies’ hockey finished the game with a huge 6-0 win with netball finishing on an easy win as well. Both teams had amazing support from the
side-lines and played incredibly well! Squash and basketball were up next with many notable performances. Elizabeth Kelly had an amazing game coming back from 0-1 at half time to a 2-1 victory over her male Bristol competitor which was a huge achievement. There were also phenomenal performances from our mixed basketball team who despite starting out slowly managed to streak ahead and easily win the match. This was the end of the proceedings at Cathays and the crowds moved to Llanrumney ready for the rugby and football showdown. After several coach rides later both the football and rugby matches kicked off at the same time with spectators split between both pitches. Football set up on the 3G pitch whilst Rugby kicked off on the bordered grass pitch. Both games were very closely contested rugby managed to score their first try opening up a points gap where they continued to develop their lead and breeze to an easy win. Football was a little more close to the bone and the full-time whistle left a debate as to whether we should
go to extra time or penalties. It was decided that in tradition of the day, penalties was the best option. After very tense wait Cardiff had managed a clean sweep winning the football penalties 3-2. Cardiff won every match they played! To close proceedings the presentation ceremony began which was a lovely summary and end to the days activities. A huge congratulations needs to be extended to Ed Green from the Cardiff Medicals Rugby Club who won the player of the day due to his amazing tries he scored whilst playing prop. Ed was presented his award by Professor Nicholas Topley (Dean of Medical Education in the School of Medicine). This was soon followed by the presentation of the Medics Varsity Shield, which was given to all the captains of the teams that took part on the day. This was a lovely way to end the day and the positive attitudes and help given by all students and staff was a key aspect that made the day. A final congratulations to all who took part and a huge thank you to all spectators, staff and players who enabled this event to happen.
frame then your organs will not be used. The key message here is to talk to your family and loved ones about your decision, and if you feel strongly either way, opt in or opt out! The law is only applicable to those who have lived in Wales for a year or more, so first years – you don’t have to do anything just yet! It also only applies if you actually die in Wales. Although it’s a topic not many people really want to think about (understandably so – we’re all going to
live forever, right?) it is important to register your preferences, and to let your family know too! The new system is expected to cause an increase of around 25 per cent in donations, saving a number of lives. If you’ve already opted-in back in England, this decision will be transferred over on December 1st so you don’t have to do anything. You can opt-in, or opt-out by visiting www.organdonationwales.org, or calling 03001232323.
Pictured: Above: VP Societies Hannah Sterritt and VP Heath Park Katey Beggan watch Medics Varsity Left: Men’s hockey compete at Talybont (Photographer: Cardiff Students)
Raising awareness of the change to organ donation law
ardiff Volunteering’s Advice Squad recently hosted two organ donation awareness events – one at the Heath, and one in Y Plas. There were free sweets, tea and coffee and games of operation to lighten up what is considered a bit of a dry subject! Trained members of Advice Squad and staff were on hand to give info and answer questions students may have. If you couldn’t make the event, here’s the low-down – from December 1st 2015, the law relating to organ donation in Wales is changing. Under the old law, you had to physically opt in to become a reg-
istered donor. If you did nothing, your organs would not be donated. However, under the new law, if you do nothing, you are stating that you have no objection to being a donor. This is referred to as a “soft opt-in”. If you definitely do not want to be a donor, you now have to personally opt-out. The government is encouraging people to still take the five minutes to register and opt in. This is because there is a short time frame of around two hours in which your organs are of value, and if you have done nothing your immediate family still need to give permission. If they cannot be contacted during this time
Pictured: (Source: Organ Donation Wales via Twitter)
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BUCS Results: Wednesday 25th November Presented by:
Kingâ€™s College London 1st
4(8) - 4(9)
University of Southampton 1st
University of Essex 1st
University of Bath 2nd
Bangor University 1st
University of Southampton 1st
University of East London 1st
Trinity St David 1st
University of Bristol 1st
University of Southampton 1st
University of Aberystwyth 1st
Canterbury Christ Church 1st
University of Exeter 1st
Womens 2nd (Medics)
University of Sussex 1st
University of Bristol 3rd
University of Surrey 1st
University of Southampton 1st
Brunel University 1st
Oxford University 1st
Womens 3rd (Medics)
Cardiff Metropolitan 2nd
Portsmouth University 1st
Royal Agricultural University 1st
Aberystwyth University 1st
Aberystwyth University 2nd
University of Bristol 2nd
University of Southampton 1st
Imperial College London 2nd
Cardiff Metropolitan University 2nd
University of St Mark & St John University 1st
University of Surrey 1st
Plymouth University 1st
With Cardiff victorious in every other event, there was great pressure on the footballers to complete the whitewash and they certainly delivered the goods.
The strength and depth of the men’s team then showed as they won six matches in a row 2-0.
Medics Football victorious in shoot-out drama
ardiff Medics Football Club secured a second successive penalty shoot-out victory over Bristol University Medics after neither side could find a winner in normal time. Both teams began the shootout in convincing style with the first four penalties all being converted but, after Bristol had missed their third and Cardiff had capitalised to make it 3-2, the hosts went on to score their fourth and Bristol missed the decisive penalty to gift Cardiff victory. So yet more heartache was inflicted upon Bristol having also lost on penalties in last year’s competition, but it looked like it would be a very different story this time as they took the lead inside the first few minutes. After winning a free-kick on the right, the ball was looped over the Cardiff defence and bounced perilously around the six-yard box. A hesitant Cardiff goalkeeper failed to deal with the threat, the ball ricocheting off his chest straight into the path of a Bristol forward, who pounced quickly to give the visitors an early lead. Much to Cardiff ’s credit, though, they quickly took the game to their opponents and really pushed hard for an equaliser- coming agonisingly close to levelling on two occasions. Firstly, the right winger burst for-
ward down the right-hand channel before unleashing a venomous effort that was excellently tipped over the bar by the Bristol shot-stopper. And shortly afterwards, Cardiff came close again when forward Oscar, a persistent threat throughout, cut in onto his right foot from the left and struck a long-distance effort wide of the left post. Eventually, Cardiff ’s endeavours paid off thanks to their right-winger, who, along with Oscar, was the team’s most industrious player as the majority of Cardiff ’s creativity and attacking opportunities arrived from the right. After cleverly manoeuvring his way past several opponents on another dazzling run down the wing, he drilled his shot across the keeper and into the bottom left-hand corner to level the scoreline. Bristol nearly regained the lead before half-time when a perfectly placed cross from the left was met by their striker, who could not quite direct his header on target from close range, much to the relief of the home team. Chances were generally limited in the second period of 45 minutes, with much of the play being contested in the middle of the park. There were a couple of potential breakthroughs for Cardiff. Following
great work down the right yet again, the ball fell to Oscar inside the box but his first touch was slightly too heavy and subsequently fell into the clutch of the goalkeeper’s hands. Other than that, though, both defences remained resilient to restrict the number of openings- leaving the outcome of the match to be decided by the lottery of penalties.
With Cardiff victorious in every other event, there was great pressure on the footballers to complete the whitewash. With a good hundred watching from the sidelines, Cardiff certainly delivered the goods as a successful conversion rate allowed them to capitalise on Bristol’s occasional lack of composure from 12 yards out.
two, succeeding 2-1 overall. And Liz deserves a huge congratulations as she was unanimously voted Squash Player of the Day! The third seed match saw a play-off between the two ladies’ captains, with a close match resulting in another win for Cardiff thanks to a dominant performance by Annie Ninan. Our fourth and fifth seeds, Katie Adams and Emily Dickinson, were both making their debuts for Medics Squash and both convincingly won
2-0, meaning Cardiff Medics ladies won four out of five matches overall, a fantastic result! Both teams would like to thank everyone that was involved in organising the day and making it thoroughly enjoyable! We would also like to thank the Bristol squash team for travelling early in the morning to make it a very competitive and fun match, and everyone that came to support both teams! Until next year...
Cardiff and Bristol footballers in action during the 2015 Medics’ Varsity. (Photographer: Cardiff Students)
Cardiff Medics Squash Bristol
t was success for the men’s and ladies’ squash sides as they ran out 7-3 and 4-1 victors respectively. For the men’s team, this was their second year competing in the Medics Varsity. After a comfortable 9-1 win last year, Bristol brought a much improved squad this time round. The standard of the top four seeds was especially strong and well-matched for both teams, with Bristol taking an early 3-1 lead. Following a 2-0 victory for Angus White, Nick Hargreaves had a very tough game at second seed, losing 2-1 against a tough opponent. Ed Bottrill and Calum Jones, at seeds three and four respectively, each lost 2-0 but both games could have gone either way, with Bottrill and Jones both producing great performances. The strength and depth of the men’s team then showed, winning all the following six matches in straight games, 2-0. The fourth, fifth and sixth seeds, Amrit Dhadda, Chris de Souza and Sam Kelland played some excellent squash to prevent the opponents
taking the upper hand in the game, attaining a 4-3 lead in the process. Shyam Karia, Nick Gomez and Harri Davies then finished the match off with solid wins, showing a clear difference in experience between the bottom end of both sides. This secured a 7-3 win for the men’s team, claiming their second Medics Varsity success over Bristol. The ladies team also had a very successful event, winning 4-1. Competing in only their second ever competitive tournament, three players made their match debuts for Medics Squash. Our number one seed, Catherine Pollock, kicked off with a tough match against a very experienced player from Bristol and narrowly lost, but played incredibly well in what was her first ever competitive squash match. Next up was our second seed, Elizabeth Kelly, who faced a tough opponent from the Bristol Ladies team- a male player brought in to make up the numbers! After losing a challenging first game, she came back to win the next
Pictured: Cardiff and Bristol Medics Squash players in action during 2015 Medics’ Varsity (Photographer: Cardiff Students)
Medics’ Varsity results: Cardiff whitewash
Medics’ Varsity results Men’s Hockey - Cardiff win 3-2 on penalty flicks Women’s Netball - Cardiff win 28-22 Women’s Hockey - Cardiff win 5-0 Men’s Basketball - Cardiff win 51-29 Men’s Squash - Cardiff win 7-3 Women’s Squash - Cardiff win 4-1 Men’s Football - 1-1 (Cardiff win 4-3 on penalties) Men’s Rugby - Cardiff win 51-0
The Brinkworth -Reeves combination seems to be clicking well this season having connected for a score against Exeter a week previously.
Cobras maintain perfect start
hree games, three wins and zero points conceded. It has been the dream start to the 2015/16 season for the Cardiff Cobras. A 21-0 win over Tarannau Aberystwyth last weekend sent Cardiff to the top of the Western 1A courtesy of a brace from Dan Reeves and a rushing touchdown from Ronan Patterson. The game was played following days of heavy rain making the pitch extremely boggy and difficult for grip. The Cobras kicked off and adapted to conditions well and soon looked an early threat. Scott Higgins’ returned a Tarannau punt for what looked to be the opening score, only to be brought back for a hold. The penalty didn’t affect Cardiff as the confident offense, who had racked up 50 points prior to the game, took to the field. After marching down the field, Ronan Patterson punched the ball in for the opening touchdown after weaving his way through multiple Aberystwyth defenders - his fourth score in three games. Tarannau’s offense struggled to get going and never really posed much of a threat throughout the game. Cardiff ’s defense, in contrast, played with a sense of purpose and swagger and continually shut down numerous Aberystwyth attacks. Going into the second quarter Cardiff soon doubled their lead.
Chris Brinkworth threw an inch perfect long ball into the open arms of Dan Reeves who ran in for the touchdown. The Brinkworth-Reeves combination seems to be clicking well this season having connected for a score against Exeter a week previously. The game took a lengthy break following an unfortunate injury to Aberystwyth’s Timothy Wayne. It brought an hour wait as both sets of players did their best to stay warm in chilly conditions in Mid-Wales. To applause, six Cobras helped stretcher Wayne off - showing the sheer sportsmanship of the sport and the class of Cardiff. On the first play back from the delay, Cardiff made it 21-0. Reminiscent of Reeves’ opening touchdown, Brinkworth launched another long one into the hands of Reeves who powered into the endzone and put the game out of reach from Tarannau. With a comfortable lead, Cardiff began to rep in rookie players and get them up to speed in a real life game situation. After a solid game at tightend against Exeter, Sean PatrickCook pushed the offense forward. Twisting, turning and mowing down the opposition defense, Patrick-Cook relieved the offense who probably should have converted more opportunities throughout the game. Tarannau continued to push in search of any consolation. Rookie,
Rinay Kotecha made a huge tackle as Aberystwyth’s Quarterback looked to gain a first down. The defense remained resilient and oozed class. Sacks from Ryan Davies and Will Harris as well as a fumble recovery from Shaun Rees capped off a perfect afternoon, once more for the Cobras’ defense. A one handed grab from linebacker Jason Roberts led to the Cardiff offense taking the field again, however they couldn’t penetrate the Aberystwyth defense who changed
personnel and tactics to stop it being a drubbing. With the defense on the field once more, Roberts again had the opportunity to see off the game. With the ball in mid air and a gaping path to the endzone marked as clearly as the yellow brick road, Roberts spilled the ball much to the disappointment of his teammates. Cardiff closed the game out for a 21-0 win. The Cobras have a bye week this week as they prepare for he return fi xture against the Exeter Demons on Sunday 6th December.
Pictured: The resolute Cardiff defense are yet to concede this season. (Photographer: Briony Molly)
Coach’s Corner: Nick Bartlett
James Lloyd speaks to Men’s Basketball Coach and 2014/15 Cardiff University Coach of the Year, Nick Bartlett
Two comeback victories in a day, I was drained. It’s hard work coaching!
Last year, overall was the best season we’ve had by a mile for basketball within the university.
Harry Elliott Cardiff Blues Columnist
s one of the most popular sports clubs at the University, we thought we’d check out how things were going this year for Cardiff University Basketball Team. James Lloyd sat down with, and spoke to Head Coach, Nick Bartlett: Firstly, how is the season going so far? Tough season so far. It is going well but it’s a huge step up from last year as we’re Division One this year, Western 1A. We’ve played four, won two, lost two. We’re going ok, it’s an extra win than a lot of the teams have had the last four years and it is such a tough league. Do you have any season targets? Just to stay up. Two go down as there’s six in the league. We’re the only Welsh team so it’s a huge step up from last year, a lot of them are national league linked, BBL linked, so there’s some pros in our league as well. So if we stay up it will be a big achievement. What teams do you play against? So we play against UWE, they’re top. Plymouth, Bristol, Exeter and Bournemouth, they’re all linked with national league teams. We got promoted from last year, we were Div Two last year. Last year I coached the girls team as well, as men’s firsts and seconds. Men’s firsts won nine and lost one, girl’s team were Div One and played ten and lost ten. So only lost one game across both teams, so it was a good year, last year. The step up now means I can only focus on one team, so I’m concentrating on men’s firsts really. What past experience do you have playing basketball? I didn’t play until I was 15, I played football until I was 15. I picked up a basketball and started playing that, so within three years I was playing international level with the Welsh team and played Welsh Uni’s as well. I try and play a bit now when I can, just a bit of local league. Knees aren’t what they used to be! I played that until I was 25 ish, then moved into coaching, did my coaching badges and been coaching at the university for probably seven years now.
level in Europe, Europe is huge, it has got a lot better in the last ten years as it all used to be about America. Europe is catching up - Spain, South American teams too, France, Greece is huge for basketball.
Pictured: Nick Bartlett collecting the Coach of the Year award at last year’s Cardiff University Sport Awards. (Photographer: Cardiff AU)
Was last season the most successful season you’ve had? No we were Div One before and we’ve finished second in that before which was a big achievement. We had a weaker second squad back then. Last year, overall was the best season we’ve had by a mile for basketball within the university. What’s the general University standard like? A lot of it transfers over and there’s partnerships with BBL teams. So UWE have two BBL players and that’s the highest level you get over here. We don’t have a local BBL team, Bristol is probably the closest, The Flyers, Plymouth also have one, The Raiders, so they’re linked too. You need a squad to compete really. Do you have any notable performers in your squad? We’ve just recruited from America, with a company called Team Gleese, we’ve got a post grad student come over for one year for basketball, Durel Nelson, he’s our top scorer this year. He’s an athlete, he didn’t play any particular level in the States. You’ll see the standard, whereas we kick around a football, over there, as soon as they can walk, they’ll pick up a basketball and you can really see the difference. He’s not tall, he’s about my height, at around six, one. We also have a Greek international, he’s played under 20 Greek national level and he’s six foot ten. Is basketball in the UK upcoming? It’s played, a lot of local stuff going on. There’s high participation levels, but at elite level, they’ve pulled the funding because we’re struggling, especially at the last Olympics. They have NBA at the O2, which has been around for the last four, five years, it sells out every time.
Kobe Bryant or Lebron James? Kobe has faded away now, so he’s on his way out. He’s struggling this year. I hope he doesn’t read the Gair Rhydd! Steph Curry is the up and coming, he was the MVP last year, new breed, shooter, never seen anything like him. He plays at the Golden State Warriors, he’s the guy everyone wants to be like this year. There’s not been a shooter like him before, 3 point shooter.
seconds to go. It was like a film! It was from a timeout too, called the play and we did it. Two comeback victories in a day, I was drained. It’s hard work coaching! You can literally make or break a game, it’s not like football. As a coach I’m involved all the time, call the substitutes, put your stamp on the team, offense and defense possessions you can call the timeouts and run plays. You get five fouls per player so you have to keep an eye on that. It’s intense, coaching you can literally win or lose your team the game! Varsity showed that. And finally, you were Coach of the Year last year, congratulations, what did that mean to you? It was great just to be nominated. The whole of the university had such a good year sporting wise, so to be nominated by both the men’s and the ladies’ teams was good. But it was a big honour to win Coach of the Year. It meant a lot to be honest, it was good, and it worked out well with both teams. Joaquín Tuculet try won the game for the Blues 18-17 in the dying seconds. A repeat of that would be fantastic for Danny Wilson’s side, although ideally the margin of victory might be more although I guess at this point in time, beggars really cannot be choosers. As the Blues head back in to domestic action, fans can only hope that, despite the Quins defeat, the side will still take confidence from a resounding win in their other European tie. Is it possible that there is light at the end of what has been a very long, dark tunnel?
the sport, over there you can pick up a franchise player in the draft and he’ll change your team for five years.
What was playing for Wales like? It was good, it was juniors, under 18’s, under 19’s then. Got a couple of injuries, played over in Belgium. It’s a tough
Do you follow an NBA team? I watch NBA teams but I don’t follow one particular team. I tend to watch it all, different standards of teams, different standards of players. I just enjoy
Do you compete at Varsity? Last year was probably our best game. It was a helluva game, not been involved in one like that before. I coached the girl’s first, we were ten down at half time and we won it right at the end. I went straight from that into the men’s varsity and we were down by 12 with six minutes to go, considering we’d only scored 42 I think. We came back and won it with the last shot with two
The Cardiff Blues suffered a first European Cup defeat of the season (admittedly they’d only played once before) as they went down at the hands of English Premiership side, Harlequins, at the Cardiff Arms Park almost two weeks ago. The result itself: 20-32, was surprisingly not the most concerning aspect of the game for Blues fans, but rather the fact that the Twickenhambased side fielded a largely secondstring side, whilst Danny Wilson selected a strong XV from those at his disposal. Cardiff were well
in the game in the opening forty mintues, even going in at the break 6-3 up. However, it was to unravel in front of their eyes as the weakened ‘Quins side ran in four tries to Blues’ one. The defeat was compounded by Matthew Rees’ sending off for a stamp on England international Nick Easter. Worryingly, it seems that the Blues’ late losing mentality is not reserved exclusively for the first XV, as even the second string - the “Blues Select XV” - snatched an improbable defeat from the jaws of victory in the
British and Irish Cup versus London Welsh. As the clock reached the hour mark in the game, the Blues were comfortably 29-7 up at Old Deer Park before somehow calamitously being on the wrong end of a 33-29 reverse. It seems the Blues are unable to catch a break at present. Next up at the Arms Park for the Blues is a Guinness Pro12 match up against Irish province Connacht. The same fixture last season was a rare memorable moment (for the right reasons), as Rhys Patchell’s conversion following a last minute
It was a big honour to win Coach of the Year. It meant a lot to be honest, it was good, and it worked out well with both teams.
Sport Spotlight: Trampolining
This week in Spotlight, Gair Rhydd Sport’s Tom Morris sprung into life as he gave trampolining a go.
On the count of three, Rachel instructed me to “stick my arse out like I was slamming a door” and tuck my knees in.
Shaun Davey Cardiff City Columnist
s crazy as it sounds, despite me spending almost my entire time at University attending one club or another, there are still hundreds I’m yet to even think about trying. One of these would have been Cardiff University Trampoline Club, although it didn’t actually occur to me that trampolining is a sport. In fact, when I got there it seemed that neither did any other boys here trampoline club appears to be almost entirely girls, and when I attended there were no guys at all. At the start of the session, the members got out three huge trampolines and a load of safety mats that go in-between the trampolines (or beds as they say, so that I don’t repeatedly use the word trampoline!) They get straight into queuing up to bounce and do tricks. There doesn’t seem to be much of a warm-up required for a sport like this- most of the girls seem to do it almost every day of the week anyway! I talked to communications secretary Jess Cox-Martin in between jumping sessions. First, I asked her whether she thought I would be fit enough to pull off some jumps without getting tired out. She explained that when I first got on the bed I might have a slightly painful back, due to not using my
There seems to be a certain repetitive nature to Cardiff ’s season. One step forward and then two steps back. After a solid win against Reading before the international break that propelled City into play-off contention, it was all but undone against Derby last weekend as the Bluebirds put in another lifeless and inept performance against the Rams, going down 2-0 at Pride Park. The performance yet again highlighted two key areas that City fans will be screaming is addressed. Fundamentally, Cardiff lack any real potency in
core muscles properly. The thought of core muscles reminded me of an exchange between me and my old Talybont flatmates, where we were challenging each other to do situps: “Use your stomach muscles,” they told me, and I had never even realised my stomach was meant to have muscles! Jess did say though, that it was more than possible to get a trick learned in the small amount of time I had to try it. As we talked and watched the beginners’ group practice on our trampoline, behind them we could see the two more advanced groups practicing. They were a real sight to behold, doing spins and flips that I would never have thought possible. In trampolining, everyone is graded the same way whether they’re a little kid or an Olympic athlete- and those girls at the back of my view were definitely working their way up the grading scale. It would have been worth going just to watch them! That’s not to say the tricks were right every time. To prevent too much bouncing, the jumpers seem to have one of their friends slide a mat underneath them mid-jump, to stop them jumping again. I asked Jess about more general safety matters, and whether the club tends to get many accidents. She said that it’s
midfield and pace up front to stretch solid and rigid Championship teams. The Bluebirds seemed to arrive with an alarming lack of ambition, and looked a beaten side just moments into the encounter. A frequent mention in this column is Cardiff ’s lack of pace and yet again it was visible for all to see. The team do not press high enough, and some of the players frankly are too inconsistent to warrant a starting berth. The players play too deep to combat their lack of pace. Tactics need to be changed by Slade and the fans are
a lot harder to fall off the bed than you might think, and that the worst injury she’s ever seen was a black eye. The girl that got the black eye was a medic, and didn’t so much as bat an eyelid about it! As I stepped on to the trampoline for the first time, I felt a little selfconscious. I was in an elevated position and there were several dozen girls looking up at me – “please don’t let this go wrong” I told myself. Jess reassured me, though, that everyone starts out like this. I was eased into it by being shown how to make my “contacts” (jumps) with my arms out as I jump and pulling them back in as I land, then quickly bend my knees for the next jump. Now that I was more confident, Jess and one of the captains, Rachel Woodman, decided to teach me a trick. They said that somersaults are really easy to do, and asked whether I could do a forward roll, which I can. Then they grabbed hold of my hands and used their free hand to hold my shoulder, proceeding to jump at the same time I did. On the count of three, Rachel instructed me to “stick my arse out like I was slamming a door” and tuck my knees in, in an attempt to flip forwards. For me, having the confidence to do the flip at all was quite remarkable- but I suspect I was being helped along by their hands on my shoulders. This time round, though I was unable to complete the somersault properly and land on my feet. We took a break from the attempts to do a full somersault for a short while, and I went back to discussing things about the club with Jess. I asked her about the kind of people who join, to which she said that they get a lot of second years, like me, joining the club who say that they wish they started joining clubs like this one sooner. They also get a lot of people who have never done much bouncing before- for whom there is a special beginners’ session on Fridays, alongside the Tuesday and Thursday training. For those who aren’t sure about joining and committing fully, you can still come along and pay just £1.50 an hour to jump. I asked about competing, as this is, after all, a competitive sport. She said that they like to get the new members
into trying a competition as soon as possible- though nothing quite as scary as full BUCS events. The club also likes to have regular socials; about once a month, sometimes as part of a competition and most recently they did this in Bath. The club’s social secretary is actually a guy, so that proves that it’s not all girls! Back on the trampoline, for the final time: Jess and Rachel held my shoulders and hands once again as Rachel counted to three. On three, I went heels-over-head and landed on my feet, at last! It was an amazing feeling to be able to do a trick like that, and I could really see why all the others enjoy this sport so much. In fact, I told Jess and Rachel before I headed off that I think I might be coming back for more… If you would like to know any more about Cardiff University Trampoline Club, be sure to get in contact with them via Twitter, @CardiffTramp.
crying out for a performance of sustained attacking pressure, that shows imagination and flair. The fans also demand progress and it has to be said Slade and the players are just not showing enough of it. One encouraging sign from the Cardiff board this week was the loan singing of Tony Watt from Charlton. He joins a team struggling for goals, with Cardiff having scored just 17 times in 17 league games. Russell Slade complained of the lack of striking options at his disposal and the introduction of the Scot, who fa-
mously scored the winner for Celtic against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2012, will hope that he can be the catalyst for change. Though it remains to be seen if Watt, who hasn’t scored in his last 13 appearances, will change the Bluebirds fortunes in front of goal. December does look a slightly more manageable month for Cardiff City as they take on many sides currently sat in the bottom half, starting with Bolton away this Saturday before welcoming Sheffield Wednesday to the CCS on 12th.
Pictured: Above: Trampolining in action at the 2012 London Olympics. (Photographer: Daniel Coomber) Left: Cardiff University Trampoline Club at BUCS (Photographer: @CardiffTramp via Twitter)
Editors: Jim Harris James Lloyd Jason Roberts Jamie Smith @GairRhyddSport firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/sport
December sport in Cardiff Friday 4th December
Rugby Union: Cardiff Blues vs. Connacht Rugby BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 19:05. The Blues are in Pro12 action as they host Irish outfit Connacht, where they will want to change their recent form.
Friday 11th December
Rugby: Cardiff Blues vs. Montpellier BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 19:30. Just one week later, the Blues are back in action as they host French side Montpellier in the European Challenge Cup.
Saturday 12th December
Football: Cardiff City vs. Sheffield Wednesday Cardiff City Stadium, 15:00. Russell Slade’s side host an impressive Sheffield Wednesday team looking to improve on recent disappointing displays in front of their own fans.
Tuesday 15th December
WWE: Presents NXT UK TakeOver TOUR Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, 19:30. After we saw WWE hit the Motorpoint last month, the world of ‘sports entertainment’ wrestling is back for more with the first ever NXT UK tour, showcasing some of the WWE’s upcoming superstars.
Tuesday 15th December
Football: Cardiff City vs. Brentford Cardiff City Stadium, 19:45.
Tuesday 29th December
Football: Cardiff City vs. Nottingham Forest Cardiff City Stadium, 19:45.
Cardiff savour second successive Medics’ Varsity victory over Bristol
Also this week
Cardiff Medics whitewashed their Bristol counterparts in all six sports for the second year running, in what was the first instalment of Medics’ Varsity to be held in the Welsh capital Jamie Smith
ardiff Medics completed another emphatic whitewash victory over Bristol University in just the second Medics Varsity event to have ever taken place. Last year, both Cardiff ’s male and female teams were victorious in all of the events and they repeated that phenomenal feat with another dominant display against their Bristol counterparts. The Saturday started off early at Talybont Sports Centre, with the men’s hockey taking place at 9am before the ladies stepped up to the challenge afterwards. The former secured a 3-2 penalty flicks success, whilst the latter recorded a convincing 6-0 win to start the day off in the most positive manner. Following the success of the hockey, it was up to both the netball and basketball teams to continue the strong start
by Cardiff. And they did not disappoint; the netball side claiming an impressive 28-22 victory and the basketballers thrashing Bristol 51-29. Squash subsequently took centre stage at Talybont, where both the ladies’ and men’s teams reigned superior to maintain Cardiff ’s unbeaten recordwinning 4-1 and 7-3 respectively. Finally, it was down to the rugby and football teams, who both kicked off at 2pm, to finish the day off in style. And finish it off in style they did. The rugby side annihilated Bristol 51-0 at the very cold Llanrumney Sports Fields, ending just in time to catch the climax of the football, which had gone to penalties after finishing 1-1 in normal time. The men were sufficiently composed to handle the pressure, however, winning 4-3 in the shootout to complete the rout and end what proved to be a hugely successful day. Sam Parsons, AU President at Cardiff University Students’ Union, was
very impressed with the quality of the teams. “I thought it was a great day and a really good showcase of our medical sporting teams. They all put in a really good performance,” he commented. And Parsons is hoping that the event will increase in popularity over the next few years, with the potential for the competition to emulate the success of the Welsh Varsity, which is contested between Cardiff and Swansea University each year. He added: “I’d like to think that the Medics Varsity can get to a similar level. I can’t see it happening overnight but I think that, throughout the years, it’s going to progress and keep moving further. “It’s going to take some time to establish but once it’s there it has got the legs to go all the way. “It’s just a great opportunity to showcase all the talent we’ve got within the medical students.”
Cardiff Medics celebrate scoring a try during their victory over Bristol (Photographer: Cardiff Students)
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