gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff â€™s student weekly Issue 1078 | Varsity Special Monday 25th April 2016
Cardiff retain Shield but Swansea have rugby bragging rights Get the full results in our Varsity Supplement
2 EDITORIAL Gair Rhydd Coordinator Elaine Morgan Editor Joseph Atkinson Deputy Editors Carwyn Williams Anna Lewis
the free word We won our Varsity
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 Rhian Floyd Park Life Vacant Sport Jim Harris James Lloyd Jamie Smith Social Media Editor Jack Boyce Proofreaders Jamie McKay Tom Morris 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.
Check out our 16-page supplement Joseph Atkinson
ell that was Varsity, and my last Varsity at that. Not that I was actually in Swansea this year to experience myself and Gair Rhydd’s social media wizard Jack Boyce were located firmly in the Cardiff Student Media office as all the action went down at Sketty Lane, and then the Liberty Stadium. The Sport team have created an awesome pull-out that would rival a professional publication in its design, content and breadth of coverage. As a former sport editor who worked on last year’s award-winning (I won’t get bored of saying that) coverage of the 2015 Welsh Varsity, I was a bit nervous to see what we could do this time around, but I think that we’ve equalled, and probably bettered the effort from last time out. To produce a 16-page supplement plus a front and back page, and a sport section is no mean feat, especially when recovering from Varsity / the post-Varsity celebrations, so it has been a monumental effort from Jim, James and Jamie to produce such excellent coverage. I also extend my
own, and the thanks of the sport section, to everyone who helped with the coverage last Wednesday. We’d also like to thank the sport clubs who helped provide live updates and reports from the nearly 40 events taking place over Varsity week. Elsewhere in this week’s paper we’ve got an exclusive interview with Cardiff Central’s Member of Parliament Jo Stevens in the Politics section, to add to some of the great interviews we’ve had in Gair Rhydd this year. Stevens goes in depth on topics such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the recent Conservative benefit cuts and her role as Shadow Minister for Justice. We’ve also been to last week’s ‘Big Debate’ between party members hoping to win over students ahead of this year’s Welsh Assembly elections. This week we’ll be at another debate - Xpress’ ‘Cardiff Central Decides’, between six of the candidates vying or the Cardiff Central seat in next month’s election. In News we’ve looked at the fallout from last week’s National Union of Students (NUS) conference, which has made headlines perhaps for the wrong reasons, firstly with new Pres-
ident Malia Bouattia’s past political statements being criticised, then a motion to not commemorate being applauded because apparently doing so isn’t ‘inclusive’ enough. It would be interesting to see how many students actually believe that such motions represent their views, or whether the NUS do as a whole. Our columnist Helena Hanson has, as ever, produced a great piece, this time about the number of celebrity deaths that 2016 has subjected us to so far. In the first four months of the year up to now we’ve seen the likes of David Bowie, Sir Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, and now this week Victoria Wood and Prince left us. Science meanwhile have gone sexual, exploring how yours genes help determine the age at which you lose your virginity, while also looking at the effects of circumcision (*shudders*). We’ll very soon be appointing a new editor for the 2016/17 year, and with that we’ll be looking for a new editorial team to carry on the torch, as it were. Application forms will be going out in the coming weeks and whether you’ve contributed to the
paper this year or not, I’d recommend applying if you fancy doing so - getting involved with Gair Rhydd has been by far the best decision I’ve made while at university and it has benefitted me in so many unexpected ways. This year’s editorial team will be attending the Cardiff Student Media Awards this weekend along with member, contributors and consumers of the best of Cardiff ’s student media bubble. Celebrating the year’s achievements with each other and acknowledging the exceptional work that goes into Gair Rhydd, Xpress, CUTV and Quench every week is a great way to bookend the year, as is the prospect of giving a drunk acceptance speech to a room of your peers.. It really feels like we’re winding down now, and with two issues to go I’m running out of things to talk about in these editorials. I’m hoping that something really controversial will happen in the next few weeks so that I actually have words to fill these four columns. So enjoy our Varsity coverage, as well as the rest of the paper, it’s another really good one this week.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY: GAIR RHYDD 894 27/4/2009 Not much mention of Varsity in this issue, other than an advert informing students it would be on the Wedenesday after it was published. A far more exciting article is a two-page double spread of Nick Clegg, former leader of the Lib Dems and at the time heading for his 2010 post as Deputy PM, including photographs of him pulling pints at the Vulcan. Clegg wasn’t the only famous face on campus that week, as Carol Vorderman also showed up to open the revamped Trevithick library. The front page story shows a rundown business student looking rather forlorn after a taxi driver hit him with the car when driving off, in retaliation for not paying his fare. This story ran alongside an expose of a computer science lecturer who was accuse of poor teaching practices. Staff told students to “live with it.” This was followed up inside by a story on Manchester students protesting about lecturers who turn up late. The free word team of 2009 were no strangers to a little provocative imagery, with drugs, bras, cash and nuclear explosions scattered throughout the paper. The columnist was accompanied by ghostly imagery as she [assuming that it is a girl because of the subtitle, Em Cetera] speaks about students’s sudden realisation at the end of the year that they ought to get some work done.
There was also an anthology of creative writing, much like Ty Celf which now appears in Quench. One of the poems was written by Sanja Dragojlov, the incoming president of today’s creative writing society. It wasn’t all humour. In features, a girl who seemed to be descending into alcoholism tried to give it up for lent. On the opposite page, another young lady wrote about the heartbreaking occurence of her mother’s death from multiple sclerosis during freshers’ week. This was accomapnied by a harrowing picture of a naked woman stamped all over with USE BY stamps. Much of the rest of the paper is business as usual, with thought-provoking articles on depression, bulimia and feminism, as well as an attack on a university ViceChancellor -this time Manchester’s. In Sport of course, amongst IMG articles, hype was building for Varsity. Cardiff was hosting, we had already won the fifth annual Welsh Boat Race, and the Sport editors were impressed by what they described as “text-in banter” including “Give me an E, give me an E, give me a U! What do you get? Into Swansea Uni!” A massive advert on page 30 also warned, ominously: “Streakers will not be tolerated.” - Tom Morris
Campus in Brief
Cardiff University researchers have made a breakthrough discovery that could lead to improved treatment for sufferers of asthma.
Welsh billionaire has proposed putting in his own money in a management buyout of Tata Steel’s UK operations. Sir Terry Matthews, who is known for his ventures in the high tech communications field, said he was “feeling really good” about the prospect of a deal which could save thousands of jobs in the steel industry. Matthews is part of a consortium of public and private sector figures from south Wales who are supporting a management buyout. The government is also prepared to take 25 per cent of the business alongside a private sector buyer. The police have recovered £30 million worth of banker’s drafts during a raid of a home near Bridgend. The recovery is believed to be the largest money seizure ever by the UK law enforcement. The funds are suspected to have been generated from fraudulent Ponzi schemes and on foreign exchange markets before being laundered through the 58-year-old man’s bank account. DI Craig Mullish, from the City of London’s money laundering unit, said: “His arrest and the massive money seizure is further evidence of how banks and law enforcement are working very closely together to take criminal proceeds out of the UK economy.” Cardiff University researchers have made a breakthrough discovery that could lead to improved treatment for sufferers of asthma. The international study, led by School of Medicine’s Dr Stephan Caucheteux, has found that blocking a certain signalling molecule can help to alleviate symptoms such as swelling, constriction of airways in the lungs and mucus production. “We found that by adding a signalling molecule, Interleukin 1 (IL-1) using an experimental model of allergic asthma, the symptoms would worsen dramatically”, explained Dr Caucheteux. Around 5.4 million UK citizens are receiving treatment for asthma, including more than one million children.
London mayor Boris Johnson has come under fire after commenting on US President Barack Obama’s ancestry. Writing in The Sun, Johnson criticised Obama’s opinions on the UK remaining in the European Union, calling it “downright hypocritical” due to his “ancestral dislike of the British Empire” because of his Kenyan heritage. Johnson, who is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum, has argued that the US would never give up control of its affairs like Britain has as a member of the European Union. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused Johnson of “dog whistle racism” and called on him to apologise and withdraw his comments. The owner of Alton Towers has admitted to breaking health and safety laws over the rollercoaster crash that seriously injured five passengers. The collision occurred on the Smiler ride in June last year, with two people having to have legs amputated. A total of 16 people were injured when their carriage crashed into an empty carriage on a lower section of the ride, which can reach up to 50mph. Merlin Entertainments, the theme park owners, now face a multimillion-pound fine. The British public are severely underestimating the number of refugees fleeing Syria, a report has found. Nearly five million Syrians have fled the country due to civil war, yet British citizens believe the figure to be closer to 300,000: a near 4.5 million difference. The report from the Edelman Group also found that the British public believes the UK had accepted around 10,000 refugees, double the latest official figure of 5,000. The US, UK, Germany, France, Iran and Lebanon were all surveyed in the report, which found similar patterns across all nations of huge public underestimation of the scale of the crisis and the perception of their own governments’ response to it.
Volkswagen have slumped to its first annual loss in 20 years after having to make a €16.2 billion provision for costs relating to the diesel emissions scandal. Due to these provisions, Volkswagen were pushed into an annual operating loss of €4.1 billion for 2015 after a €12.7 billion profit in 2014. This was the company’s first annual loss since 1993. Chief executive Matthias Müller said: “The current crisis is having a huge impact on Volkswagen’s financial position. Yet we have the firm intention and the means to handle the difficult situation we are in using our own resources.” Chad president Idriss Deby has won a fifth term in office after winning 62 per cent of votes in elections, officials confirmed. Nearest rival Saleh Kebzabo took home 12 per cent of the vote, with opposition parties stating that the gap showed a lack of credibility. Deby took over as Chad president 26 years ago, and has been celebrated in the West as a key force in the fight against militants in central Africa, such as Boko Haram. Claims of corruption have been made due to an online and mobile phone blackout at the time of voting, while hundreds of ballot boxes apparently disappeared. Thousands of Sudanese students have protested in solidarity following the death of a student North Kordofan, situated in central Sudan. Abubakar Hassan, 18, was killed from a gunshot wound to the head after intelligence agents opened fire on a peaceful march at Kordofan University on the 18th April. Students were marching in an effort to nominate pro-opposition candidates for campus elections, according to Amnesty International. 28 students were reported injured during the clashes, five of them seriously. According to political analyst Fathi El Daw, more than 100 Sudanese students have been killed since Sudan leader Omar al-Bashir seized power 27 years ago.
Pictured: A consortium has expressed interest in buying out troubled Tata Steel’s Port Talbot operations (Photographer: Phil Noble)
Volkswagen have slumped to its first annual loss in 20 years after having to make a €16.2 billion provision for costs relating to the diesel emissions scandal.
Editors: Anna Lewis Joanna Beck Toby Holloway @GairRhyddNews firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/news
NUS Conference clouded by controversy
I am against the NUS ignoring and forgetting other mass genocides and prioritising others. It suggests some lives are more important than others. Darta Kaleja
” Pictured: Left: NUS delegates vote Right: Newlyelected NUS President Malia Bouattia
he NUS have come under fire after their controversial conference last week which saw their first Black Muslim President elected. The conference, which was held in Brighton, involved almost 1000 delegates from a number of UK universities and discussed around 100 motions. These motions covered a number of issues, some of which have caught negative social media attention. One motion proved surprisingly controversial as some NUS representatives argued against implementing university events on Holocaust Memorial Day. The motion, which did eventually pass, was met with unexpected resistance when Darta Kaleja of Chester University suggested that the motion was not “inclusive enough”. Kaleja stated: “I am against the NUS ignoring and forgetting other mass genocides and prioritising others. It suggests some lives are more important than others. When during my education was I taught about the genocides in Tibet or Rwanda? It is important to commemorate all of them.” This resistance to the motion was heavily criticised on social media and many students expressed their outrage. One student took to Twitter to show their anger, tweeting:”Honestly disgusted that we had to listen to speeches against commemorating HMD.” Women’s Officer for Manchester Students’ Union expressed similar views on the social media site: “Why are we even debating whether NUS should commemorate the holocaust?
And ppl say NUS doesn’t have an antiSemitism problem.” One second year Religious Studies student at Cardiff University, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to Gair Rhydd about her views: “In my opinion, you shouldn’t not commemorate the holocaust because the NUS doesn’t commemorate other mass genocides, six million Jews were murdered. Just because it’s not ‘inclusive’ of other genocides it doesn’t mean it can be ignored.” Discussion surrounding anti-Semitism has been a common theme of the controversy during the conference and the newly elected President, Malia Bouattia, has faced allegations of discrimination due to her views.0[ Bouattia won the election by 50 votes, beating the previous President who was running for re-election. This is only the second time that this has been done in an NUS election and Bouattia made history as she became the first black female Muslim President. Whilst some have praised this as an achievement for the NUS, Bouattia’s views are proving problematic as some universities are threatening to disassociate themselves with the organisation. Oxford and Cambridge are amongst those threatening to stop their support for NUS as their students lobby for a vote to leave. Bouattia first caused controversy when it was discovered she had referred to the University of Birmingham as “something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher Education” in a
blog post from 2011. Jewish Societies from across the UK were in uproar about the comments and 47 Jewish Society Presidents signed an open letter to Bouattia whilst she was campaigning for her new position: “We are shocked that someone who is seeking to represent this organisation could possibly see a large Jewish student population as a challenge and not something to be welcomed. “Our question for you is clear: why do you see a large Jewish Society as a problem?” The new NUS President, who previously held the position of Black Students’ officer responded to this criticism saying: “I do not now, nor did I five years ago when I contributed to the article cited in your letter, see a large Jewish Society on campus as a problem. “I celebrate the ability of people and students of all backgrounds to get together and express their backgrounds and faith openly and positively, and will continue to do so. “I want to be clear that for me to take issue with Zionist politics, is not me taking issue with being Jewish”. Zionism is a movement which supports the establishment of an Israeli state as hte Jewish Holy Land and is mostly discussed as a political movement rather than a religious one. Nevertheless students still suggested these views were not appropriate for a leader of the NUS. One particularly outraged student took to Yik Yak to express their concerns about the
NUS and its new leader: “Oh good the NUS have elected an Anti-Semite to be our president. Clearly the main problem with student politics is the self important twats who forget they’re there to represent us not dictate to us.” Bouattia has also come under fire for blocking a motion put forward by the NUS which condemned ISIS as she felt it could encourage Islamaphobia. It was not the motion itself, however, that Bouattia objected to but the way it was worded. The original motion that was put forward called for the NUS to: “condemn the IS and support Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.” Bouattia then put forward a ‘Kurdish Solidarity’ motion which condemned the”atrocities” committed by ISIS. This motion was approved unanimously in 2014. Despite the negative reactions to Bouattia’s election, a spokesperson for Cardiff University Islamic society said they were happy with the new NUS President. “We welcome the election of Malia as president of the NUS. We feel this is a great achievement for students, Muslim or otherwise, up and down the country. Her work towards a better society has been exceptional.1 Malia’s family fled a terror torn country when she was just a child. Any attempt to paint her as some sort of terrorist sympathiser by any outlet is inaccurate and ignorant of what she has been working for in her activism.
Pictured: NUS Conference Brighton (Source: NUS)
I want to be clear that for me to take issue with Zionist politics, is not me taking issue with being Jewish. Malia Bouattia
Censorship debate remains high on student agenda
The audience took a lot from it and many students were really glad that the topic was finally being made into a conversation at Cardiff Uni. Izzy Lyons, debate organiser
We had hundreds of drivers turn up to register an interest in partnering wiht us. We’re very excited to finally be able to launch in Caridff. Fred Jones, Head of Uber expansion
debate occurred last Monday regarding Cardiff University’s stance on censorship and ‘no platforming’. The debate also broached the subject of ‘safe spaces’ at Cardiff University, following the University’s recent history of criticism over its decisions not to grant platforms to particular entertainers and speakers. In 2014, comedian Dapper Laughs was told he would not be allowed to perform in the Student’s Union after a petition accused his material of being ‘sexist’ and ‘condoning rape’. Then, in 2015, feminist and academic Germaine Greer delivered a lecture in the Julian Hodge building, despite facing a petition and extensive protesting that lobbied against her being allowed to speak. This backlash was due to comments Greer made about transgender people, in which she argued that transgenders do not know what it is like to be a woman, stating: “Just because you get your dick lopped off and wear a dress, doesn’t make you a fucking woman”. The debate involved four speakers, two of which argued for Cardiff University being a safe space - that is, “a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe” and two of which argued against it. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, the or-
ganiser of the debate, Izzy Lyons, said: “The audience took a lot from it and many students were really glad that the topic was finally being made into a conversation at Cardiff Uni seeing as we have accumulated quite a bad reputation regarding the issue of no platforming”. Lyons went on to add: “All in all it was very successful, and we hope the issue will become widely spoken about at Cardiff Uni in the future”. Cardiff University received a red rating for freedom of speech following spiked.com’s investigation into freedom of speech at higher education institutions across the UK, further fuelling the discussion on the University’s ‘no platform’ policies. However, Cardiff University’s future LGBT+ Officer, Marcus Connolly, was one of the speakers at the debate, on the ‘against’ side. He condemned spiked.com, calling their campaign ‘biased’, saying: “Well it was an interesting and biased campaign by spiked. Where the opening remarks trivialise cultural appropriation. “One remark, from the spiked side, if trans students aren’t strong enough to cope with transphobia, they should seek medical attention, an ‘interesting’ viewpoint”. Speaking about the events of Monday’s debate, Connolly said: “My mention of how utterly ridiculous the spiked rating are and how
Pictured: Students watching the debate (Photographer: Izzy Lyons)
they’re decided, was ignored which I found funny. Especially when the SU drags it’s feet giving policy documents to students, let alone terrible online resources”. Connolly went on to say: “We rarely focused on what actual Censorship is and countries where people are killed for challenging the state, just disagreeing on how far hate speech should be allowed on campuses/society”. However, Lyons later confirmed that Connolly and fellow guest speakers were aware that the event
was collaborated with Spiked. She also stressed that the event was created with “complete impartiality”, stating that “we are wholly aware that there are many students who don’t know where they fall on the issue.” Speaking of Connolly’s fellow speaker in favor of safe spaces Payton Quinn, Lyons concluded: “Payton Quinn seemed to really appreciate the healthy debate that the event caused (she took to twitter after to let it be known) despite being completely against spiked’s general aim.”
Taxis strike as Uber launches in Cardiff
ardiff students will now be able to use the popular taxi app Uber, following its launch on Friday. After warnings made by Fouzan Ali, head of Cardiff ’s branch of Uber, advising customers to be “patient”, the service began to operate at 4pm. In response to concerns over the safety of customers, Ali also confirmed that all taxi drivers working for Uber will be insured and subject to background checks. Drivers will be licensed by Cardiff council. Talking to Wales Online, head of Uber’s expansion, Fred Jones, stated that demand for the app to reach the Welsh capital has remained high. According to Jones, feedback and petitions have previously been created, whilst 127,000 people have already opened the app looking for Cardiff services. He said: “That’s really exciting. We had hundreds of drivers turn up and register an interest in partnering with us. We’re very excited to finally be able to launch in Cardiff.” According to Uber, Cardiff ’s launch will be approximately five times bigger than its equivalent in Birmingham. The service is currently established in 16 cities in the UK. An Uber spokesperson also stated that the city’s large student population may benefit from the company
in multiple ways. In addition to using Uber taxis for transport,it was suggested that some students may choose to register as a driver in order to generate extra income. This is thanks to flexible contracts allowing staff to work for as many hours as desired. However, others have raised concerns that whilst Uber will provide opportunities for some, existing taxi drivers may lose business and profit. Previously, ITV reported that London hackney cab drivers have lost up to 25 per cent of business due to the app. Ultimately though, speaking to the media local taxi firms remain optimistic and have expressed hope that demand will continue as normal. The news follows after Cardiff hackney taxi drivers went on strike for a second weekend in a row last weekend, in response to the council’s decision to establish new regulations and fines. During the first strike on Saturday 16th, approximately 200 taxi drivers decided to strike but for only one hour between midnight and 1am. The action took place by Cardiff Hackney Drivers’ Association in order to speak out against new Cardiff Council regulations fining drivers for refusing requests for short journeys. According to the head of the Association Mathan Khan, drivers only refuse to take customers who are too
drunk to travel. He also reported that taxi drivers have been blamed for the sexual attacks which took place during September, a claim he strongly refutes. Khan has alleged that the new council regulations against Hackney cabs has led to an increase in verbal abuse faced by drivers. However, in an investigation conducted during the Rugby World Cup Gair Rhydd spoke to students who
The SU drags its feet giving policy documents to students, let alone terrible online resources. Marcus Connolly
had been refused travel after finishing shifts late at night in the city centre. Khan himself was recently given a ten-day driving ban after being accused of refusing a short journey to two women, one of whom lived in the popular student area of Roath. The council continue to urge those refused service to report the taxi’s name and registration plate to authorities.
Pictured: A Hackeny cab (Photographer: Angel Abril Riuz via Flickr)
The simple fact is that pressures on doctors are ridiculous at the moment. Chairman of the Family Doctor Association
Union nights such as YOLO and Flux will benefit from ‘club hosts’ in future to ensure that potential issues and abusive behaviour is identified.
Junior doctors suffering in silence, Cardiff research proves
unior doctors are less likely than fully qualified professionals to report suffering from mental health issues, Cardiff University research has revealed. In a report created by Professor Debbie Cohen from the School of Medicine, it was found that only 41 per cent of doctors suffering from mental health issues would disclose such information at work. Such statistics provide a stark comparison to the 73 per cent of doctors who confirmed they theoretically would seek help if they were to experience the same problems. Of the 2,000 doctors involved in the study, 60 per cent confirmed having experiences with mental health, rising to 82 per cent among English doctors. It was also found that of those who have not experienced mental health problems, only six per cent would consider seeking help from occupation health facilities. In a more worrying finding, none of trainee staff interviewed stated they would willingly go to their deanery support unit, despite it being the recommended action. This was attributed to a lack of understanding about the support struc-
tures available, with doctors stating that there are “no options” for accessing help. Other issues included a reluctance to be labelled and the fear of involving the General Medical Council. According to doctors, the professional responsibility of the role is a contributing factor to health problems. This includes the pressure of managing both one’s workload and personal well-being. The British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee has also blamed the NHS for creating the “worst conditions in living memory” for GP’s, due to a combination of increasing demand for services and funding cuts. Talking to the Daily Mirror, the chairman of the Family Doctor Association said: “The simple fact is that pressures on doctors are ridiculous at the moment.” When asked who they had sought for help, 38 per cent of healthcare professionals stated that they saw occupational health staff, whilst 37 saw colleagues and only 31 per cent line mangers. It was also suggested that telling staff was not always a voluntary
action but rather necessary during pre-employment screenings and when returning to work. In the study, doctors without mental health issues were asked at which point they would theoretically seek help. The results were then compared to the time period where doctors had actually sought support in the past. The results proved that those with health problems approached col-
leagues and staff at a much later time than the first group predicted. This is not the first time that concerns about the wellbeing of junior doctors have been highlighted. The findings come after a nation wide survey earlier this year found that the majority of students studying medicine “do not feel supported by their medical school” when tackling issues such as mental health.
Lad culture ‘no joke’ in SU
ardiff Students’ Union has launched a new anti-lad culture policy, after joining forces with the NUS, South Wales police and local politicians. The launch of the ‘It’s No Joke’ policy took place last Friday at the Students’ Union, and saw students, the NUS Women’s Officer and Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens in attendance. After being selected as one of nine UK Unions to take part, Cardiff SU will pilot the national NUS scheme. After spending eight months conducting research and targeting areas for improvement, ‘It’s No Joke’ will work to tackle lad culture and create an inclusive campus for all students. This follows after the University and Students’ Union launched their ‘Can’t Touch This’ policy last March to emphasise their zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment. On the website it states that “no student should have to accept” behaviour such as groping, catcalling and unwanted sexual comments. Speaking about the event’s suc-
cess, Claire Blakeway, Students’ Union President said:“I was delighted to see such a high attendance from a diverse range of student groups today at the launch. I can’t wait to see these students amongst others be champions for change, creating an even more safe and inclusive community on campus.” Defined by the NUS as a “pack mentality”, links have been made with lad culture and activities such as “sport and heavy alcohol consumption”. The NUS has also stressed the problems associated with ‘banter’ labelled as “often sexist, misogynist and homophobic”. However, despite the NUS’ links between lad culture and sports, Cardiff SU has made sure to stress the importance of educating all clubs and not simply teams such as football and rugby. As part of the scheme, Union nights such as YOLO and Flux will benefit from ‘club hosts’ in future to ensure that potential issues and abusive behaviour is identified. Compromised of
student volunteers, it was confirmed that club hosts will receive extensive training before starting their roles. Other areas of the policy will seek to help both male and female students suffering form domestic abuse, and includes building relationship with a Glamorgan help centre. outh Wales Police also reassured those at the event that Cathays has seen a rise in security in student areas. This follows after a joint summit
was held last year between Cardiff University and the police proclaiming that a “crackdown on laddish culture” is high on the agenda. During the summit “laddish culture” was also associated with the sexual assaults that took place in September. However, such a suggestion was not received well by all, especially given that a 40 year old man has been arrested for 12 years after pleading guilty to one of the incidents.
Police investigate sexual assault in Cathays
Pictured: Junior doctors protesting (Source: Rohin Fraces via Flickr)
he police are investigating a sexual assault allegation after an incident involving a 25-year-old woman. The alleged assault took place just before three am on Friday morning in the Sengennydd Road area. A spokesperson from the Students’ Union has issued a statement
regarding the incident: “As always, Cardiff University Students’ Union takes the safety of its student members very seriously. Whilst Cardiff is a safe city, we want to emphasise the importance of taking sensible precautions when out at night. “These include planning how you
will get home before you go out, staying in pairs and groups while walking around at night, sticking to well-lit populated areas, and looking after friends. Students can also take advantage of our safe taxi scheme if they don’t have enough money to get home.” The news follows after a string of
sexual assaults were reported in the Cathays and city centre area during Freshers week. Police are asking anyone with any information about the incident to get in touch by calling them on 101, or contacting Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 quoting occurrence: 1600142305.
Pictured: Students’ Union sabbatical officers and guests launch anti-lad policy.
The assault took place at approximately 3am
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Editors: Gwen Williams Caragh Medlicott @GairRhyddAdv email@example.com gairrhydd.com/advice
We’re all going on a summer holiday: Staying safe abroad
Remember to research where you are going beforehand so you know what to expect, particularly if it’s somewhere far away which may have different customs.
veryone loves a good holiday, but before you go off sailing into the sunset there are some things to consider to make sure you keep yourself safe and are prepared for any unexpected problems. The majority of the stuff you need to arrange to keep yourself safe lies in the preparation. Make sure you have everything booked. Particularly if you are travelling around and will be staying in hostels it’s important to make sure you know where you are staying at each different place. Remember to research where you are going beforehand so you know what to expect, particularly if it’s somewhere far away which may have different customs. A good guidebook can never do any harm, and one bought ahead of time on Amazon is likely to be a lot cheaper and possibly better quality -(read the reviews people!)- than one bought last minute at the airport. It’s also worth considering buying a cheap phone before you go away, that way it doesn’t matter as much if you lose it. Plus if you’re on contract it means you can try and seek out a better deal on international calls on a pay as you go SIM, just remember to inform your friends and family or your new temporary number. Another good idea is to try and save money beforehand so you can bring more money than you need
just in case of emergencies. If you don’t want to get a travel card for your trip make sure you call your bank to check you can use your debit card abroad and to inform that it is you using it so they don’t cancel your card. If you decide to bring cash, never bring it all out with you and don’t keep it all in one place. Otherwise you really will be in trouble if it goes missing. Before you go away, why not brush up on the local language? In general we Brits are terrible tourists who always expect everyone else to speak English. So why not take this opportunity to try something new? if you don’t have time to learn a lot of the language, make sure you at least know key words and phrases. If your memory isn’t the best then bring a phrase book. If you have special requirements or allergies it’s particularly important that you can inform people of this. Last summer my vegetarian friend ended up ordering the slow-roasted lamb, it’s a funny story now but I think she was pretty hangry at the time. Something that really is important to remember is to buy travel insurance. Yes, it’s a pain, but take it from someone who once to had to claim on their insurance, you’ll be pleased you did it when you don’t have to fork out £500 to replace your valuables. And on another note, don’t ever
leave your stuff unattended on the beach. Even if your friend has been bitten by a fish. (In my defence her toe was turning purple!) If you’re going on holiday in Europe make sure you have your E111 card so you have access to free health care in the case of an accident. Though hopefully you wont need it! Also don’t forget the little thingshave you packed enough sun cream? Are there any vaccinations you need before going? First aid kit? Don’t forget your towels! I know, I know, I sound like your mum. But you will be grateful when you’re not bright red and drip-drying on the walk home from the beach. It’s always a good idea to bring photocopies of your passport or any other important documents just in case they get lost. And always remember to keep these documents somewhere safe…like in a safe, for example. If you’re in a hostel or camping at a festival you can use a locker (do NOT lose the key)! In the case of a festival you are sometimes expected to reserve a locker online in advance so make sure you check this out before your trip. It is also worth considering transport before the trip, how are you getting to the place you’re staying from the airport? If you are renting a car then remember to check out some tips on driving on the different
side of the road or any other driving customs, which may be different. If you’ll be catching trains and buses look into whether these can be bought last minute or if they must be booked in advance. In terms of staying safe when actually on holiday, just remember the obvious things. Don’t go off on your own in an area you don’t know, particularly at night. If you are travelling on your own then make sure someone at home knows your itinerary and calls you often to check you’re safe and well. Avoid bringing valuables out with you and don’t leave them unattended. If you’re going somewhere warm then don’t forget to stay hydrated and out of the sun around midday. Again, I know it sounds boring but another of my friends got sun stroke when we were at the Benicassim festival in Spain and I can tell you it did not look fun… Overall, there is no reason to be stressed so relax and have a nice time. Providing you have prepared properly your holiday should be anything but lovely. Remember, the sooner you can arrange things, the less stressful it will be nearer the time. Plus you wont be running around trying to sort things last minute. Have fun!
Pictured: It is important to stay fafe on holiday (photograph by Kansasphoto via Flickr)
I know, I sound like your mum, but you will be grateful when you’re not bright red and drip-drying on the walk home from the beach.
Final year finance
Alex gives her advice on how to keep on top of your finances between exam season and graduation
t’s April. The final instalment of student loan is in. There are approximately twelve weeks until graduation, and graduation costs. In addition to all the usual costs of a final semester, graduation means renting the gown, getting a new outfit, paying for tickets and photos, possibly renting a hotel room, going for a meal with family and on a night out with your mates. So how to deal with the added financial burden? Budget, budget, budget. Go and check your bank account. Write that number down. Take away the amount you have to spend on rent and bills until the end of your contract. If you don’t have fixed bills, estimate generously. It’s better to have money left over than to be caught short.
Next, work out how much graduation will cost. How much do the gowns cost to hire? Are you paying for transport, accommodation, tickets? How much will your outfit cost? At this point, the real money saving experts will be thinking, “Hang on, do I really need a new outfit?” The answer is no, you don’t, not really. The last nice dress or suit you bought will look just as good now. As a reward for making do with an outfit you already own, you’re rewarded with saving all the money you were going to spend on a new one. So you’ve got your total, minus rent and graduation costs. Next step, divide by twelve. This will give you your weekly budget from now until then. Some people like to divide each weekly budget so they can allocate it
to different things. I like to keep it as a lump sum. The key to sticking to the budget now is seeing it as an absolute. You are not allowed to exceed this amount. However, you can convert it into a running total. For example, you have £20 a week now. Week one, you spend £15. You note down in your diary, on your calendar, or in a note on your phone, 15/20. Week two, you spend the full £20. You note down 35/40. You’ve got an excess £5 from week one left around, you’re allowed to let week three get up to 60/60. You aren’t allowed to make week 1 25/20 in the hopes that you’ll save £5 next week. With that mentality, you won’t save £5 next week. A top tip for keeping track of your money is note down every expenditure. It’s easy to do this in a note on
your phone, since we all have those on us at all times. If you have a very low budget, you might want to accurately record every purchase. If things aren’t too tight, you should round every purchase up to the next 10p, or next pound. If you always note down that you’ve spent more than you have, you can’t possibly overspend. And the money you’re pretending you’ve spent adds up, and you could come out of this with £10 or so to spare. To actually boost instead of just maintain your funds, there should be time for everyone to get a part time job between the end of exams and graduation. Everything you earn helps you claw yourself a little further out of your student debt, and the work experience can’t hurt.
A top tip for keeping track of your money is note down every expenditure.
Dissertation: Going the distance Pictured: The dissertation, viewed by some as a right of passage. (photograph by Sustainable Development via Flickr)
Once you are happy with the content, proofread your work a second time for errors.
he time is here. It’s the final countdown (cue epic guitar solo). The dreaded dissertation deadline is only a couple of weeks away. Hopefully you’ve completed a first draft and just need to refine your work a bit. If you haven’t, don’t panic! Sure, you’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s not impossible to get it done as long as you focus. No matter what stage you are at , you will worry about not completing it in time until you’ve actually finished it. The question on everyone’s lips at the moment, particularly family and friends at home, is ‘how’s your dissertation going?’ Honestly it’s probably a question you’d rather avoid as it is a constant reminder of how much work you have left. Like everyone else you brush it off with ‘fine thanks’ while thinking like a Mean Girl ‘she doesn’t even go here’. Then there are other students posting dissertation pictures on social media, which just reminds the rest of us that we’re still moving mountains to get our work done on time. And how could we forget the Tab writ-
ers regurgitating each other’s stories, claiming to have written their whole dissertation in sixteen hours. Seriously, pipe down. Anyway, for those of you redrafting and polishing, here are some things to think about before getting it printed and bound. Firstly, if you have received feedback from your dissertation supervisor, ensure you take time to go through it and make the necessary changes. Your tutor has lots of experience with this sort of thing, having written a dissertation for their degree, masters and a thesis for their Phd as well as supervising previous students’ work. If you are unsure of anything, book office hours to discuss how you can improve. If there is a lot of feedback, don’t feel disheartened. Each point that you correct and build upon brings up your overall mark a little higher. Secondly, proofreading is paramount. Give the whole dissertation a read and tick these questions off the check list. Is the argument concise and focussed? Does your introduction outline what you aim to
achieve? Does your conclusion bring all of your ideas together? Is it well structured and coherent? Have you italicised and underlined in the correct places? This is also a great time to check your word count. Can you cut out irrelevant bits without losing consistency? Remember, they are strict on the word count so try and stay within the parameters set. Once you are happy with the content, proofread your work a second time for errors. I find that casting your eye over a hard copy helps you spot inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation and grammar far quicker instead of staring gormlessly at your computer screen. If this is a weak point in your writing, there are plenty of books in the library that can help with essay writing and grammar errors. Personally, I found that ‘The student’s guide to writing: spelling, punctuation and grammar’ particularly helpful when I’m unsure about something. Next, make sure you check that your referencing is correct and con-
sistent. Take a look at your referencing from previous essays to see where you went wrong and consult your course style guide if you are uncertain. Also make sure your work is well presented. Are the line margins correct? Is it double spaced and in the correct font type and size? Examiners will pick up on the smallest of deviations from the style. When you have finished tweaking, why not swap dissertations with a friend for a third read through? If you have been working on a piece of work for a long period of time, it’s easy to miss little errors that could bring down your mark. A pair of fresh eyes is always beneficial. Trust me, my dissertation is stressing me out too, but I’m trying to focus on what my graduate friend recently told me: “You’re so close to the finish line now. No matter what you feel towards your dissertation now, it will all change when it is finished and bound. The sense of pride and relief on completion is well worth the stress. You will feel like a champion!”
Make sure you check that your referencing is correct and consistent. Consult your course style guide if you are uncertain.
That’s rightPanama! Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands used to be the places to hide all your cash, but that’s just for entry-level rich folks.
Knowing which submission dates you need to work towards will allow you to tackle your workload sensibly.
How to open a bank account in Panama
re you rich - I don’t mean ‘Can afford Sky+ HD’ rich, I mean really, really, stinking, ‘own a private island or maybe most of Russia’ rich? Do you consider yourself one of the world’s global financial elite? Do you have a few million dollars’ worth of spare cash lying around that needs to be safely deposited somewhere- somewhere those filthy socialists can’t milk tax money out of it to help poor people with, blowing it all on useless inventions like the NHS and all that other tosh? Then why not try ferreting it away in a place formerly only known for, literally, the canal that gets you out of it? That’s right- Panama! Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands used to be the places to hide all your cash, but that’s just for entry-level rich folks. The best place to hide your money is well, well away from the grabbing hands of Brussels. That is not to say this deal is only for the Eurocrat, it is for any wealthy person from around the world to take advantage of. Panama’s best known bank is Mos-
sack Fonseca, although it has only really become “mainstream” in the last couple of months. Don’t let its newfound fame deter you from placing your faith and cash in it- it’s not like it’s the source of the biggest data leak in history or anything like that. Mossack Fonseca offers mainly business based banking opportunities. All the better of course if the main operation of your business is hiding sponds in offshore economies. You may find it particularly useful to use the theoretical base of your business in Panama as a means of hiding the fact that you own it. This way, you won’t have to pay too much tax yourself, and neither will your business! I say your business, but really in this case, especially if you are a particularly influential sort of person, it might be best to get someone else to handle it for you to keep it out of the public’s reach. For example, if you are the prime minister of Iceland, maybe you should take out an account in your wife’s name. That way your money can live in a warmer climate
and you can donate less tax to the sunless country you are already supposed to be setting a good example to. Of course it’s not all about the money- it’s also about the fame. When your company’s account sits alongside accounts owned by a head of state, you know you’ve made it. Unfortunately, Mossack Fonseca can’t guarantee that the account alphabetically above yours is actually owned by a head of state because, of course, the owners’ identities have been successfully obfuscated. You can rest in the knowledge though that whoever it is,
they’re definitely rich. Your money won’t be alongside some pauper’s money, someone who is learning bad habits like how to smoke around the back of the sheds. That’s right! Your money will be so incredibly safe that it will even need to be protected from you. Mossack Fonseca advises that you sign up with any name as long as it’s not yours. Perhaps use your favourite fictional character. If you want something less obvious, you should probably go for someone no-one’s ever heard ofmaybe go for Harry Potter or Darth Vader.
Pictured: The offshore account scandal caused outrage among the British public (Photographer: The Weekly Bull via flickr).
Exams: What’s your game plan? I
Alice talks about strategies of revising and dealing with exams and stress
t’s that time of the year again. Despite feeling like you’ve only just recovered from the chocolate-coma that is Easter, revision period has rolled around and it’s time to start tackling those looming deadlines. Here are my top tips to make this time as stress-free as possible. 1. Organise your time Make sure you’re aware of your deadline dates well in advance. Knowing which submission dates you need to work towards will allow you to tackle your workload sensibly, and will avoid any last-minute cramming in the library the night before your essay is due in. Be aware of your exam time, date and venue so you don’t get any nasty surprises on the day. You could make yourself a revision timetable with allocated subjects to revise at a certain time, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to this. Just allow yourself enough time to dedicate to all of your assignments and you will put yourself in a great position for success. 2. Find out what works for you It goes without saying that not everybody learns in the same way. I have a friend who can only study in her
room with all the lights off, and another who only begins her revision at 11pm. I prefer getting to the library early and spending my morning and early afternoon there, so I can be back in time to chill out and bingewatch Made In Chelsea in the evening. Don’t get stressed out by how many pages of revision notes that girl in your seminar says she has done, or that friend who constantly asks you “How are you feeling about your exams?” Everyone works differently. Go at your own pace, stay in control and use revision methods that work for you. 3. Healthy body, healthy mind Don’t allow the stress of deadlines to compromise your health and wellbeing. Get enough sleep and make sure you schedule yourself days off (even if that does just consist of watching Netflix in bed). Having said that, make sure you get out of the house and go for a walk .Taking regular breaks will allow you to clear your head and return to your essay with a fresh mind. Resist the urge to eat that fourth packet of crisps, and try to eat three healthy balanced meals a day instead. Your body and mind will thank you for it later.
4. Relax Most importantly, stay grounded. Don’t panic. The truth is, you’re going to have those days where your stress levels are rising, and you consider whether you really are cut out for your degree. When this happens, take a step
back and re-calibrate your mind. This is especially important on the day of your exam too. Realise that you have done all that you can, and last-minute revision outside the exam hall can only be detrimental. Relax, prepare and be positive. You can do this. Good luck!
Pictured: The exam hall, AKA the last stand (Photographer: James Steel via flickr)
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The Australian legal system has grossly let transgender people down
These attacks happened almost every day of her sentence, but should have been stopped from the very beginning... both the law and the prison system failed her.
his week, a transgender woman has come forward about her shocking experiences in an all-male prison, revealing that she had been raped more than 2,000 times. Speaking to Australian press, the woman said that the worst of the abuse took place in Queensland’s Boggo Road prison during the nineties. Mary (not her real name) was singled out as being ‘different’ in the four prisons she went to, consequently making her a vulnerable target amongst the male prisoners. According to Mary, she was subjected to sexual harassment within mere hours of her arrival at Boggo Road. She served four years in total for stealing a car, with the same experiences being repeated again and again. Mary explained how: “You are basically set upon with conversations about being protected in return for sex. They are either trying to manipulate you or threaten you into some sort of sexual contact and then, once you perform the requested threat of sex, you are then an easy target as others want their share of sex with you, which is more like rape than consensual sex.” These attacks happened almost every day of her sen-
tence, but should have been stopped from the very beginning. In order to escape the abuse, Mary attempted to escape three times, leading her to be labelled as a highrisk prisoner. This also meant she would serve the rest of her time in maximum security with violent prisoners. Her escape attempts were only to escape the sexual assault. The underlying reasons of Mary’s attempts to escape were not understood by the prison, with their actions likely to escalate the situation even more. “It was rape and yes I was flogged and bashed to the point where I knew I had to do it in order to survive, but survival was basically for other prisoners’ pleasure,” she said.“Each time I said no and tried to push them away, they just force you and it’s not just one or two people, there’s a bunch of them”. Mary was a pre-operative transsexual, meaning that she did not have the legal right to stay in a women’s prison, as a post-operative male-to-female transsexual would. Statistically, she would have been far safer in a female prison. Both the law and the prison system failed her. She was also denied to continue her hormone therapy during her sentence. This would have
caused distress on its own, but combined with Mary’s other experiences, what she endured is unimaginable. It may be easy for some to dismiss this as a problem that existed decades ago, in a different system. However, the problem still prevails today. As recently as last year, Bristolian Tara Hudson was sent to a violent, allmale prison. Despite going through six years of gender reconstruction surgery and being declared a woman by her doctor, she is still a male on her birth certificate. This meant, by law, that she was not allowed to carry out her sentence, for a bar fight, in a female prison. A petition set up by her family quickly gained tens of thousands of signatures, with her eventually being moved to a female prison. Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, and LGBT equality charity, said: “The treatment of trans people in the prison service is one that needs careful review, and while it’s encouraging that the current Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry is looking into this, something must be done now.” These cases are still happening today – it is clear that urgent improvements need to be made.
In response, a British Prison Service spokesperson commented: “It is longstanding policy to place offenders according to their legally recognised gender. There are strict rules in place to ensure transsexual prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law.” Rules regarding the rights and treatment of transgender prisoners need to be revised. Changes regarding such prisoners will be a huge step forward in the LGBT community, as current laws are outdated and do not safeguard the wellbeing of vulnerable people in prison. Mary may have been deemed a criminal by the law, but that does not mean that she should have gone through any of the things that she experienced in prison. It should not happen to anybody. It is easy to villainise those who have committed crimes, but when instances such as these are allowed to happen repeatedly, are others really any better? Luckily, due to the media attention surrounding more contemporary cases, it seems that attitudes have changed through the decades. The law is often rigid and too objective: a person’s birth certificate or passport does not define them. The law should reflect that.
Pictured: Transgender prisoners need to be protected regardless of being deemed a criminal by the law. (Photographer: Sean Hobson)
Changes regarding transgender prisoners will be a huge step forawrd in the LGBT community, as current laws are outdated.
Terrorism should not stop us travelling
If we allow our lives to be altered, we will have only conceded to the fact that terroism is a matter of life. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I don’t think either side is misleading, they’re merely stating facts most favourable to their argument, and if we’re honest, that’s what we would all do to win.
e’ve all seen the headlines these past few years regarding terrorist attacks in North Africa and the Middle East. We have all been deeply saddened and impacted by such events and some, those who knew the victims personally, have been faced with even more pain and sorrow. Only last month in Ankara did we witness another atrocity once again where 37 people lost their lives and many more were injured. But arguably the moment when people here in Britain really began to feel the true impact of these attacks was last June, in Tunisia, where 30 Britons were killed in attacks on beaches. Yet, some still went on holiday to these regions. In October 2015, British tourists were among the many stranded in Egypt after a plane was reportedly blown up in mid-air; this was only a few months after the Tunisia attacks. But should we all stay at home and never leave, a home that is at risk from terrorism itself, or should we continue as normal going to holiday destinations that are prone to terrorist attacks? Personally, I am worried by the situation surrounding holidaying in areas that we used to love spending our summers in. However, I often
think about what it is like here in the UK and closer to home in Europe and sadly, the threat of terrorist attacks is nearly just as likely now in Europe as it is in North Africa and the Middle East. The UK has put the current threat level as ‘severe’ and reports of ISIS planning attacks on our shores is a regular occurrence in the media. In spite of that, we appear to be ever more concerned about the threat abroad. Some, it has to be said, are fuelling the fire projecting fear and hatred around the subject of terrorism such as the comments by Katie Hopkins about refugees and migrants, blaming refugees and the EU for the Brussels Terror Attacks, and this is only going to make the situation worse. These comments are not only demeaning and derogatory towards people in need, but they are also making people even more scared than they already about the threat of terrorism. The economies of countries affected by terrorist atrocities are only going to become even more depressed and struggle further. It has been reported that workers from various hotels who helped the victims of Tunisia Attacks are set to lose their jobs due to a severe decline in tourism, leading
to plummeting profits for the hotels in which they worked. The impacts of terrorism are, therefore, wide reaching and can last for many years. The risk of terrorist attacks ensuing is, arguably, never going to disappear especially in a world facing an unprecedented amount of danger and stress. But if we allow our lives to be altered,
our paths to change course and our anxiety to increase we will, possibly, have only conceded to the fact that terrorism is a matter of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Despite the threat being so high, if we let worry and fear overwhelm us we will struggle to live the life we once did and have always wanted to.
Pictured: Is the threat of terrorism putting people off certain destinations? (Photographer: Mark Doliner)
Hard truths or scaremongering? Informing debate on the EU referendum
ith around two months to go until the big vote on whether the UK will remain a member of the European Union or not, I find myself writing another article on the topic. This comes amid more grand claims about the benefits and problems with either a ‘Brexit’ or a ‘Bremain’ (my personal favourite alternative, coined by David Mitchell). It’s difficult, as in any referendum, to ascertain which side is being truthful and whose information is false and misleading. One way is to examine the track record of the person or organisation that provides the information, for example, the controversial Treasury report was this week condemned by ‘out’ campaigners due to the Treasury’s past failings in predicting global financial troubles like the 2008 financial crisis, as well as understating the fallout from said events. This approach becomes problematic however, especially if it applies to politicians, who can say one thing and mean another, sometimes creating problematic arguments for the general public. Despite the leaflets and flyers that have been given out and posted to people by both sides, I still fear that many people simply don’t think that they’re informed enough about the coming referendum. And here’s the hard truth: they probably aren’t. This is a problem for the whole country; we can’t trust the statistics given out by the government, as they’re immediately discredited by anyone campaigning for an EU exit and vice versa. Although the government likes to present a trustworthy face by parading
the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to every photo opportunity in Britain, the dilemma comes when considering that around half of the cabinet and Boris Johnson are on the opposite side. This causes issues, as it’s not easy to accept figures from either side when people of this significance are disputing their accuracy. It’s not even as if there’s much of a difference of political ideology on either side, as the leaders of the respective campaigns are all Conservatives. This, simply put, means that neither side’s arguments can be easily discounted by supporters of a particular political party, reducing the clear cut divisions in the debate. And whilst the actual figures may not be available, it is a shame that people feel under informed about this referendum. The information, such as an actual figure of how much we pay Brussels and the EU in a year would help enormously, but I highly doubt that something like that would ever be released to the public. Figures and statistics like this one are crucial for shaping the response of the British people, as those participating in the debate. In fact, those who have to judge the debate and decide the winner, must be in possession of all the facts. Otherwise, it becomes a vote that we could’ve just had in February and done away with the tedious act of campaigning. Despite all I have said, I don’t think that either side is misleading the people of the UK, they’re merely stating facts which they’ve gathered in the light which is most favourable to their argu-
ment, and if we’re honest, that’s what we’d all do to win an election. Hell, most of us have done it in an essay! To sum up then, I do think it’s a shame that the debate isn’t more informed, but I suppose that this is the best we’re going to get; also each side seems to be as bad as the other when looked at like this.
I’ll finish by saying what I say to anyone who’ll listen to me: although there may not be the amount of information available about the referendum that people want, the vote should still be cast with the utmost care and respect. It’s only the future of the United Kingdom and 60 or so million humans after all.
Pictured: There are many inaccurate EU statistics circulating. (Photographer: Jim Killock)
We may have left it too late to save our British steel industry
With the future of the steel industry in Britain looking extremely bleak, Jamie McKay reflects on its downfall and what could lie ahead
Welsh steelworkers will be hoping that the failiures that have marked Britain’s deindustrialisation will not be repeated in the steel industry.
hen I was still quite young, my Dad took me to a street just outside of Newcastle, the city where both he and my mum were born and raised. There, I found a street totally abandoned, only a few decades earlier it would have been home to hundreds of families with the coal that lay thousands of feet below forming the community. Men would have worked at the local collieries, which had long before been absorbed back into the natural landscape. Those former miners who had once called the town home had long since moved to the major cities nearby. But though the terraces were abandoned, evidence of former lives still remained. Rusted bike frame leant against the walls; lost dolls lay in the gutter. The North East of England currently has the highest unemployment rate in Britain since the collapse of traditional industries. The rapid decline in the use of coal came as a shock to all political parties and successive governments failed to adequately support the industry, instead heading a managed decline. As the news of Tata Steel abandoning its UK operations dominates headlines, Welsh steelworkers will be hoping that the failures that have marked Britain’s deindustrialisation
will not be repeated and the Steel industry will not see the same chaotic and devastating end seen by Britain’s Coal miners. The Save our Steel campaign founded by the Unite union has been on-going since late last year. But only now as the crisis faced by UK Steel becomes unavoidable, with inevitable closures, have Britain’s most influential politicians and the nation taken note. The industry has been in decline for the last 25 years with little done by successive governments from both sides of the political divide to correct this trend. Last week, in TV debates ahead of the Welsh elections, the First Minister stated that a Welsh Government led by his party would be willing to take an equity stake if it were needed to save the plant at Port Talbot, and that it was affordable. This was in response to being pressed on the issue by Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood. The day after the TV debates were held, the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, announced that the British government is prepared to take a 25 per cent part stake in any rescue of Tata Steel’s operations in the UK. Though the Secretary was keen to emphasise that the government would not take any direct control over the running
of the business. Regardless of which company does decide to take over Port Talbot, the announcement still comes as a shock. Though a handful of Tory MPs called for a partnationalisation of the plant since the beginning of the crisis, should the government follow this it will mark the first time since the 1970s that a Conservative government has nationalised part of British industry. Jeremy Corbyn’s top policy adviser Andrew Fisher has come under heavy criticism for stating that the on going crisis had “played very well for us”. Though he admitted in his speech made to Labour group Momentum that he was “quite cynical”, his remarks call into question just how serious both Government and opposition figures are in safeguarding jobs in British industry. Indeed the crisis surrounding British Steel has been a long time coming, and few figures have been ready to act until recently. One of Jeremy Corbyn’s first moves on winning the leadership of the Labour party was to remove the Steelworkers Union Community from the party National Executive Committee. The unions’ leadership were caught unawares of their removal from the committee with their focus on the crisis emerging in Redcar as their local
steelworks was closed. Labours leadership seem more pre-occupied by their own internal splits than with acting to protect British workers. Last December Kellingley colliery, the last deep coal mine existing in the United Kingdom, closed with the loss of 450 jobs in the local community in the surrounding area of North Yorkshire. Coal mines had been closing across the county since the 1970s but little has been done to help those who lost their careers in this industry. If government and opposition leaders cannot further help the industry, or if they are unwilling to, they should be open and honest, and perhaps follow a radically different approach. Port Talbot lies between Cardiff and Swansea, hubs for business. Cardiff has been ranked as one of the best areas for start up businesses in the country. The government should ask a committee of industry experts to determine what future the industry has and, if decline is unavoidable, government funds would be best used to retrain former steelworkers and business schools set up in the areas surrounding Port Talbot. This may be the only way to avoid the industrial wastelands, which marked the death of British Coal.
Pictured: It seems it could be too little, too late for the future of steel in Britain. (Photographer: Nick Parkin)
The government should ask a committee of industry experts to determine what future the industry has.
Celebrity injunctions: Their right to privacy
The humiliation of successful individuals sells, and coverage of this story keeps people coming back in the hope that they would soon read the name behind this sordid tale.
n interest in the lives of others is natural, but is it imperative that we know all about the lives of these individuals? A recent injunction regarding the ‘threesome’ of an unnamed celebrity brings to attention an issue; should celebrities have the right to privacy? Or should their actions be public knowledge? If so, should we really care? Many feel that injunctions are infringing on an integral human right: free speech, where an injunction is basically a gagging order, making an individual unable to bring the truth to light. This preventative action in essence silences an individual in order to protect another, but is this okay? I think it is, but only in some situations. Situations such as the ‘threesome’ are deeply personal, and the details of it do not need to headline tabloids. By telling the press these names and making the information public, this individual is not ‘righting wrongs’, but instead attempting to humiliate someone. The most interesting part of this story may just be the coverage it’s had in the media; the press jumped on the chance to uncover the private affairs of a well-known celebrity, why? The simple answer is the popularity of human interest stories.
The humiliation of successful individuals sells, and coverage of this story keeps people coming back in the hope that they would soon read the name behind this sordid tale. The coverage of this story isn’t for the sake of news, it’s more to give people what they want to read, people are always interested in celebrity news. Do these human interest stories qualify as news though? People are certainly intrigued by these types of stories, however their impact on the world is negligible and it’s hardly ‘hard hitting journalism’. It’s undeniable that these stories have their place in the news, these insights into the lives of others are interesting to people and are news in their own right. Celebrities have a huge impact on popular culture and the media and are therefore worthy of being reported on and being the centre of scandals. However, I don’t think that their actions need to be public knowledge, their privacy alongside free speech is also a human right. Regardless of their fame celebrities are still people, they should still be able to maintain at least some form of privacy. Their actions are not without scrutiny, but they should not be punished just be-
cause they are famous. People may be interested in their lives, but that
doesn’t mean they need to know everything about them.
Pictured: The press have become somewhat obsessed with lifting celebrity injuctions about private affairs. (Source: downstairsdev via Flickr )
Regardelss of their fame celebrities are still people, they still have a right to privacy.
Research into drugs to reduce paedophilic desires does not brand paedophilia a medical issue
octors in Sweden are attempting to prevent paedophilic desires, in order to stop child abuse before it occurs. The project is called ‘Priotab’ and is led by Christoffer Rahm from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The experts are attempting to raise money to fund a drug called degarelix, which is predominantly used in the treatment of prostate cancer, and decreases sexual arousal and aggression by reducing testosterone levels. Obviously, this is a very controversial subject. However, paedophilic incidents still occur today, and so
it is one that needs to be discussed. When I heard about this study I was immediately sceptical, especially as many of the headlines claimed that the experts were hoping to ‘cure’ paedophilia. This is a bit too optimistic for my liking. It is a treatment that reduces the current levels of testosterone and suppresses urges, but this only lasts for three to four months. Afterwards, their psychological state needs to be assessed and the medication administrated again. Clearly it is a positive step, but the desires of these individuals are not going to be eradicated.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Oxford University studied the different factors that increased the risk of sex crimes. They found that 40 per cent were genetic, whilst 60 per cent were influenced by personal and environmental factors. This suggests that there are many people from different backgrounds that have paedophilic urges. What is positive about this new potential drug is that it will not be limited to one of the groups. This drugs acts on a medical level rather than psychological. Obviously both treatments go hand in hand frequently, but it is arguably a step forward that there could be a drug which actually decreases the hormones that cause these desires. Many people are sceptical about the outcomes of this research, and in some cases even question why it is taking place. But it is important to note that a lot of paedophiles do not actually want to be attracted to children, and would stress that they literally cannot help it. Subsequently, it is these individuals that need to be targeted in this research so that they can be given an alternative. Evidently this study relies significantly on men with paedophilic tendencies coming forward and seeking help, and several men have volunteered already for the trial. The focus on men is because of the potential to alter testosterone levels. This could have the potential to change the mind set of someone before they have the potential to harm anyone, and this has to be positive. What is interesting about this study
is that they are hoping to get the financial support through the crowdfunding website Walacea. It obviously has to be dealt with in a respectful manner due to the controversy, but this is an effective way of encouraging public involvement in the study, and breaking down stigma orientated barriers. It seems that the researchers are being sympathetic to public opinion, and this definitely adds a democratic edge to the project. One of the potential downfalls of this project is that it neglects the 32,000 registered female sex offenders. It is not just a male orientated condition, and therefore further research needs to take place in relation to women too. This study focuses primarily on the male sexual hormone which could be limited when discussing the cause of paedophilic temptations within females. Rehabilitation centres can be effective, but this study takes it one step further and actually tries to prevent child abuse from occurring rather than treat the repercussions. If it decreases the risk of children being taken advantage of then I have to ask, how could it possibly be a bad idea? Medical research constantly pushes the conventional boundaries in society. It is only through original findings from studies like this that we can begin to make a conscious effort in treating and reducing child abuse statistics. The potential findings could be a serious breakthrough in an alternative treatment, and impact the future of treatment for paedophilic urges.
When I heard about this study I was extremely sceptical, especially as many of the headlines claimed that experts were hoping to ‘cure’ paedophilia.
Pictured: Medical research is constantly pushing controversial boundaries (Photographer: Alex Promios)
16 THE GAIR RHYDD COLUMN
Crying Purple Rain
It’s not the end of the world, no, but it’s the end of their world, and that’s sad too.
As Prince becomes the latest legend to die in 2016, is it really rational for it to hurt this much?
o this is it. This is the end. First it was Bowie, then Rickman, Terry Wogan, Harper Lee and now this week Victoria Wood and Prince. PRINCE. In just a couple of months we have lost a legend, a hero, the least-horrific part of the Eurovision song contest, a story teller, an entertainer and the Prince of funk. Literally, what the fuck. There are so many shitty celebrities that, quite frankly, just need to go. Donald Trump is bungling around the States somewhere, just begging to be pulverised by lightning. Piers Morgan? He can go! The world may even be an improved place without that show where he makes vulnerable celebrities cry by probing them about their dead parents and deteriorating careers. Or, what about a celebrity that simply NO ONE likes? Like Robin Thicke, or the sulky girl from Twilight? The world could probably manage minus a Kardashian or two, there’s an adequate amount of them to keep us going, AND if we got desperate, I’m willing to sacrifice Brucey. Not to be rude old boy, but it is probably your time. Off you go dear Sir, time to go dancing with the stars, for real this time. That said, please, just somebody find Attenborough. Find Attenborough and wrap him up in cotton wool and bubble wrap and keep him safe and protected in a special room where he cannot die. The
world needs Attenborough. Give him whatever they’re giving to The Queen and Mary Berry. That will keep him going. But why is it that it hurts so badly when superstars die? Why does it feel misplaced to mourn them, as if we knew them, as if our lives would be impacted significantly? The grief police are often out in full force, reminding us that we didn’t KNOW them, it isn’t personal, that it isn’t the end of the world. But it is, it hurts because it is personal, it’s not the end of the world no, but it is the end of their world, and that’s sad too. I remember when Whitney Houston died. Vividly. I remember hearing the statement on the radio and sensing an instant lump in my throat, and for a long while I couldn’t fathom why it was that I was so affected. Why I felt so connected to this lady that I had never spoken to, never met, never known. But I wasn’t mourning Whitney Houston the human, not in the way that her family would have. I wasn’t going to yearn for her company, or ache for her existence, or miss her on Christmas day. But I felt the change. I recall being fourteen years old and shrieking the lyrics to ‘I will always love you’ on my Play Station 2 SingStar, thinking about my crush in school that asked my best friend on a date but never noticed me. I remember being eighteen and in my first club and twirling with my friends
to ‘I wanna dance with somebody’. I remember watching The Bodyguard for the first time, and falling in love, over and over and over again. I remember hearing ‘When you believe’, sat on my bed the day after she died, wondering if she was still moving those mountains long and I remember feeling just a little bit emptier than before. Because somewhere along the line, somewhere across time, these singers, storytellers, actors, magicians, dancers, writers, comedians, they become part of you. They become entwined in your own life. And that is why it hurts. We want to thank them. Thank them for their contributions to music, to comedy, magic, to film-making or acting or literature or art, or perhaps most significantly just to our lives. Thank you Bowie for making it fucking cool to be a weirdo, and to Rickman for reminding us to have faith in the bad guys, and to Amy Winehouse for proving to the world that you can use the line “kept his dick wet” in a song and still somehow make a heart-breaking and beautiful record. Some people don’t get it, and I understand that, because it hasn’t been their person yet. But one day, perhaps in a month, or a year, or ten years, it will be their turn, and they will be shocked by their own reaction. It will be the artist that wrote your wedding song, or the actress that starred in your favourite child-
hood series, or the comedian that reminded you how to laugh, or the lead role of the movie you watched whilst your wife was in labour, or the writer that wrote that story from your childhood, but you’ll feel it, and you’ll know. So often, social media response to news headlines brings me despair, but during these times it’s reassuring. It feels warm to know we are combined in our loss and pain. It reminds you that it was okay to wellup when you heard the opening line from Lazarus after Bowie died and it suddenly meant something different. It assures you that it’s fine to spend an afternoon watching Harry Potter back-to-back because it is momentarily filling that little empty space inside you somewhere. It promises to you that you’re not the only one lay wide awake at night wondering if these wonderful people were quite so aware of their impact on the ordinary people of the world. Just prior to her death, Victoria Wood said “Life isn’t fair is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597” and she’s right. It isn’t fair. But it is ok, because that is life. And we can all be assured that one day, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing and the God’s are kind, Trump will too die. Just please, God, not Attenborough. Not yet.
Pictured: Some of the world’s most friendly and loved celebrities that have died in 2016 - and it’s only April.
The world needs Attenborough. Give him whatever they’re giving to The Queen and Mary Berry. That will keep him going.
VARSITY 2016 Swansea 13-24 Cardiff Gair Rhydd Sport
2 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Cardiﬀ retain Varsity Shield
Editors Jim Harris James Lloyd Jamie Smith Gair Rhydd Editor Joseph Atkinson Photography credits Israel Junior Chukwu Huw Evans Kelsey Rees Contributors Olivia Abbott Luke Brett Oonagh Clarke Hatty Culver Jack Cutler Shaun Davey Harry Eade Tim Erskine Elin Harding Lewis Henry Toby Holloway Caspar Jayasekera Rich Jones Charlie Knights James S. Lloyd Natalie Machin Martin Murphy Alice Petheram Philip Sanchez-Heinzer Henry Sanders-Wright Maddy Scott Rhys Thomas Amy Thompson Johnny Wright Cardiff victories Ladies’ Rugby - page 4 Cricket - page 6 Ladies’ Hockey - page 6 Men’s Hockey - page 7 Rowing - page 8 Ladies’ Lacrosse - page 9 Rifle - page 9 Ladies’ Basketball - page 9 Sailing - page 10 Netball - page 11 Freshers’ Rugby - page 11 Men’s Ultimate Frisbee - page 12 Ladies’ Fencing - page 12 Men’s Squash - page 13 Ladies’ Squash - page 13 Kickboxing - page 13 Water Polo - page 14 Archery - page 14 Taekwondo - page 14 Men’s Volleyball - page 15 Ladies’ Volleyball - page 15 Men’s Basketball - page 15 Men’s Lacrosse - page 15 Swansea victories Men’s Rugby - page 3 Men’s Football - page 5 Ladies’ Football - page 5 American Football - page 7 IMG Football - page 8 Equestrian - page 10 Golf - page 10 Ladies’ Ultimate Frisbee - page 12 Men’s Fencing - page 12 Cycling - page 13 Equestrian - page 15 Athletics - page 15 Swimming - page 15 Canoe Polo - page 15 Draws Tennis - page 10 Badminton - page 15
eam Cardiﬀ cruised to their fifteenth successive Varsity win over Swansea University with a comfortable 24-13 Shield victory. Swansea opened the scoring in the Shield contest with a win in cycling, the first event of the competition on Wednesday 13th April, but that lead did not last long as Cardiﬀ asserted their control in the following contests. Firstly, Rowing blitzed to victory in the Welsh Boat Race before Archery and Rifle won their fixtures on the Sunday preceding the main day of games. With the Boxing event cancelled due to a lack of Swansea fighters, it
FINAL SCORE: -
was the turn of Equestrian and Kickboxing. The Green and White took the spoils in the horsing event before Cardiﬀ knocked the Swans down in the ring. Waterpolo eased to a win on Tuesday night before the Wednesday festivities took place; with the majority being held at Swansea’s Sketty Lane. Thousands turned out, armed with beer, sun-cream and some wild chanting as Athletics got proceedings underway with a home team win. The sun continued to shine as Cricket, away from Sketty, recorded a dominant win, as did Sailing on the
glistening water. Inside, Netball and Taekwondo added to Cardiﬀ’s winning tally with Badminton and Tennis playing out intense draws. Swimming and Golf clawed points back for Swansea and in the eagerly anticipated Freshers’ Rugby event, Cardiﬀ shocked Swansea with a 3125 win. Men’s Ultimate Frisbee and Squash extended Cardiﬀ’s lead before Swansea asserted their control in the Football. Both the men’s and women’s team succumbed to losses with Swansea’s Fencing team also stabbing their way to victory. The ladies’ Hockey won, as did Lacrosse and Basketball,
however Ultimate Frisbee suﬀered defeat. In the clash of the Titans, Swansea handed the Cobras a lesson in American Football and inside, Canoe Polo gave Swansea another point. Further wins for the ladies, including Volleyball, Rugby and Squash gave Cardiﬀ a comfortable lead with Swansea picking up wins in a tight IMG Football game as well as Staﬀ Netball. Men’s Basketball, Volleyball and ladies’ Fencing put the seal on a Team Cardiﬀ onslaught with Staﬀ Football adding the cherry on top of the icing with a win.
A timeline of the Varsity Day via social media 9:56am
Swansea 18 Cardiff 19
Cardiff’s Ladies’ Rugby put on an epic performance.
And we’re off. The first batch of sports have begun.
11:13am Swansea 16 Cardiff 49
Swansea 26 Cardiff 6
A first Shield point of the day for Cardiff in the Netball with a comprehensive win.
Swansea Titans hold off the Cobras to secure a big win.
1:45pm Swansea 2 Cardiff 17
Swansea 2 Cardiff 0
Swansea win 2-0 in the men’s football. Disappointing after the penalty miss.
Cardiff’s AU President Sam Parsons takes to the field to collect the Varsity Shield.
A big win for Cardiff in the Ladies’ Lacrosse, to add another point.
A streaker has made his way onto the pitch, but the security don’t have the bottle to tackle him.
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 3
Men’s Rugby rocked by Swansea fightback
The crowd were treated to an unforgettable half-time show, featuring the Swansea Sirens, the outstanding Cardiff Snakecharmers and an uninvited, yet hilariously refreshing streaker.
Swansea 16-10 Cardiﬀ
ardiff University men’s rugby first team succumbed to a Welsh Varsity Day defeat as Swansea edged a tight affair 16-10. Rory Garrett had missed an opportunity to gift Swansea the lead with fifteen minutes to play, but his blushes were saved as a penalty in front of the posts and a last ditch three-pointer sealed the win for his team. Cardiff had led at half-time after Harry Griffiths’ try, but a second half fightback from Swansea proved decisive with Joshua Guy scoring their only try. Thousands of students from both universities’ rocked up at the Liberty Stadium having enjoyed a glorious day of sun and sport at Swansea’s Sketty Lane. At the ground, the fans were treated to a pre-game mascot race where Dewi the Dragon stormed to victory. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau belted around the the Liberty before kickoff as Garrett kicked off the game with a deep kick to Cardiff ’s Owen Davies. Swansea did make the better start of the two teams in front of a raucous student crowd, who began to warm up their vocal chords. Garrett, however, seemed fazed and failed to give Swansea first blood with a skewed penalty just three minutes in. The hosts were on the front foot and thought they had found the opening try but the referee blew his whistle for an infringement in the build-up. And, minutes later Ollie Joyce crossed over before the referee pulled it back once more in the build up; much to the anger of the Green and White Swansea crowd. Garrett, however, soon made amends for his earlier miss and opened the scoring with a penalty after Cardiff were off their feet; a kick which certainly settled the hosts and Garrett down a little. Cardiff fly-half, Julian Mogg, then had the opportunity to level the
game just minutes later but his penalty cannoned off the left upright. Garrett too squandered another penalty which would have doubled Swansea’s lead, as Cardiff took their grip on the game. Countless minutes deep inside Swansea territory past and the Redmen soon found their reward. After winning the put-in at the scrum, five metres out, Cardiff recycled the ball effectively. And soon, a clever overlap on the left hand side met the hands of Griffiths, who coolly crossed over for the opening try. Mogg impressively added the extras from distance to give the visitors a four point lead at the break. The crowd were treated to an unforgettable half-time show, featuring the Swansea Sirens, the outstanding Cardiff Snakecharmers and an uninvited, yet hilariously refreshing streaker. The pitch-invader rather rudely interrupted the oblivious Sirens routine, until being escorted off the premises. The Snakecharmers’
Venom team took to the pitch and produced a superb display; much to the appreciation of the roaring audience. And after the half-time shenanigans, Cardiff carried on their forward serge with Mogg adding a penalty two minutes into the half from around 30 metres out. Swansea thought they had scored for the third time on the night, but this time Matthew Pearce spilled the ball on the try-line after a last-ditch Cardiff tackle. But, Swansea soon made it fourth time lucky. After a string of plays and a kick into the corner, Guy touched down under the posts leaving Garrett with the simple task of adding the extras to tie the game. With fifteen minutes left, Garrett had the chance to put the hosts into the lead but miss-cued as the ball flew wide. Judging by his petulant body-language, the young 10 thought he had missed the chance to win the game for his team - though, little did he
know what was to unfold. Cardiff dropped down to 14 men with a sin-bin as Swansea continued to search for a winner. Wave after wave of persistent Swansea bombardment continued before a penalty gave Cardiff some breathing space as they clawed desperately to fend off a late Swansea onslaught. But, after his earlier miss and somewhat inconsistent kicking performance, Garrett found his rhythm and slotted a penalty in front of the posts before putting the seal on the victory with a last gasp penalty from distance. Cardiff will hope to avenge this defeat by winning next years’ event, with rumours already circulating that Varsity will be back in Cardiff next April with the Principality Stadium the likely host for the Blue Riband event. Player of the match: Rory Garrett - In the end, the Swansea fly-half came good and sealed the win for his team.
Swansea XV M Pearce A Claypole J Evans D Evans O Joyce R Garrett J Guy T Kaijacks A Dunham W Guy L Burley J Williams D Hill D Holder A Thresher Replacements T Ball S Byrne Z Cinnamond J Kaijacks T Hayward J Tingle A Dix M Jenkins J Phillips W Bennett Cardiff XV I Phillips M Roberts H Griffiths B Madgwick (c) L Lewis J Mogg O Davies T Boot Alun Rees Aled Rees J Kenny T Bell T Wilson J Sawyer C Williams Replacements F Young J Haines M Bosanko B Egan J Gaughan S Montieri J Preddy L Molloy H Salisbury G Heath
4 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Ladies’ Rugby sneak past Swansea in Sketty Lane thriller
ardiff University’s women’s Rugby team scraped their way to victory in a 19-18 thriller. Varsity Day was in full flow when the Ladies Rugby kicked off at 1pm under a blistering Swansea sun, with Cardiff Ladies looking to avenge two defeats earlier this season against Swansea in BUCS. It was clear from the start that both sides were out to play positively, and in the early stages the run of play went from Swansea to Cardiff and back again. The first points of the match went to the home team who won a penalty just inside the Cardiff twenty-
two for an infringement at the ruck and they made no mistake with the kick, 3-0. After this, Swansea gained the upper hand and moved the ball more fluently than the visitors although there was some basic handling errors on both sides. The pressure mounted on Cardiff and despite some ferocious defending, Swansea took advantage of a quick-tap from a penalty to burst through some weak defending from short range to dot down. With the simple conversion slotted, the home side led 10-0 and it was starting to look ominous for the girls in red and black. Cardiff needed to hit back - and they did. After taking a kick deep in her own half, Cardiff inside-centre
Robyn Wilkins caught the ball and sped up-field, spotting a gap and beating the opposition prop with ease, then impressively sidestepping around the full-back despite the option of support on the outside. It was a brilliant individual effort and the try of the match which came against the run of play. She was unable to convert her own try so the score stayed at 10-5. The home side benefitted from a whistle-happy referee in the first-half which stifled many Cardiff set-pieces and attacking plays. Swansea made their superiority pay with a score similar to their previous try, with an aggressive pick and go from a ruck and the Cardiff defence parting like the Red Sea for an easy run in. A simple conversion from virtually in front of the posts was missed, and despite some entertaining play from both sides before half-time the score remained 15-5 at the interval. Going into the final forty it was clear that something would need to change from Cardiff if they were to have any chance of winning and they started the half well with an extended period of pressure in the Swansea twenty-two, winning penalties but turning down simple kicks at goal in favour of throwing the ball around in search of a try. This gamble paid off with outside-centre Abbie Fleming scoring from close range and bringing the score to 15-12 with the conversion added. The game’s see-saw nature continued as Swansea came back onto the front foot with their attack punching holes in the Cardiff defence. Swansea’s inside-centre went on a scything run upfield cutting through the defence only to be denied by a brave, committed tackle by Cardiff ’s full-back Maeve Liston. Swansea retained possession and the pressure led to a penalty which dissected the
uprights to make the score 18-12. The second-half wore on and it was Cardiff ’s turn at dominating the match, with a new-found sense of urgency and a tiring home defence. A long, mazy run by Fleming and a dash down the wing by Liston tore the defence to shreds, and Cardiff were unfortunate not to get penalties or even yellow cards brandished for a high and late tackle respectively. Despite those decisions not going in their favour, Cardiff kept at it and after several phases passed the ball out wide to winger Patricia Booth who was on hand to just about beat the last defender to get the ball down, scoring the sixth try of the match and Cardiff ’s third. The kick was the most difficult of the match about halfway out to the touchline, but was cooly converted by Wilkins and saw Cardiff take the lead for the first time in the match with ten minutes to go. The rest of the match was tense Cardiff determined to hold onto their hard-fought slender lead, and Swansea desperate to claw themselves back in front. For the home side there wasn’t enough time, and as eighty minutes elapsed and Cardiff secured the ball it was booted off the park to scenes of jubilation amongst the visitors. Inside Centre, goal-kicker and Wales international Robyn Wilkins commented on the comeback, saying “It was half-time and we were only ten points down and then we got our first score which we knew was crucial, and after that I think the momentum just swung and we had the wind in the second-half as well, so we were able to pin them down and with territory came points” Wing Patricia Booth added “It meant everything to us, we fought every second of that game. It was my first Varsity, it meant so much and I’m going to have a great night!”
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 5
Cardiff pay the penalty as Swansea take Men’s Football spoils Jack Cutler
ardiff were left to rue a missed penalty on the cusp of half-time as they suffered a disappointing 2-0 loss to Swansea in the Men’s Football match. The sun was shining on a wonderful day in Swansea as the atmosphere built up towards Swansea vs Cardiff in the anticipated fixture. The match started cautiously and with few chances, the main highlight being the ever frustrating 12th man, and I do not mean the outstanding Swansea support; in this case I am a talking about the wind that had a huge impact on the opening of the game which neither side could adapt to. The first chance of note was a free kick for Cardiff which led to the Swansea man being yellow carded, the ball was slightly fumbled by the goalkeeper, but was ultimately a comfortable save. In the first half, Swansea only edged it slightly with their number 4, Hyden, dictating the midfield. Then, just when fans thought the half would end a dull 0-0, the game had its first twist, and the first of three crucial set pieces. Cardiff ’s left winger, Doorwood was the stand out player in the first half; looking the most dangerous for either side, he cut in from the left into the penalty area and in the 41st minute was bundled over by the ‘keeper. It was a penalty to Cardiff. Hurley, Cardiff ’s number 10, stepped up to the spot and agonisingly skied it over, just as Tom Rogic had done so recently for Celtic, and we all know how that ended. At the beginning of
the second half Cardiff ’s big number 9 was subbed off for a fellow striker wearing the 96 shirt, a fitting tribute to the Hillsborough disaster. In the second period, Cardiff picked up in terms of chance creation while Swansea had most of the ball. Cardiff ’s number 21, Patterson, had one decent header blocked from a corner before a great chance with a volley at the back post was denied from the resulting corner; Cardiff appeared to be piling on the pressure. Alas, a marauding run by Swansea’s number 11, Davies, resulted in a free kick to Swansea, it appeared a rather harsh decision.
However, it got so much worse for Cardiff as the resulting free kick was curled beautifully over the wall with the left foot of Swansea’s number 9 Sheppard; the keeper despairingly tipping it onto the bar as it flew in to the top right corner of the net. Only five minutes later, the visitors foolishly gave the ball away in midfield and Davies was away again, this time dancing into the box and was brought down, penalty to Swansea. This time the penalty was calmly tucked away into the top left corner, a very confident spot-kick by Swansea’s number 10 Jordan Smith. Swansea had the upper hand and it
showed as the impressive Doorwood had to clear off the line, with his head, from a corner in the 70th minute. 2-0 was how it ended, despite much determination and effort from Cardiff they could not break down Swansea’s backline. The Swansea fans deserve a special mention as the atmosphere they created was immense and it could be argued that they gave the Swansea players the edge. The Swansea coach said after the game: “You’ve got to take your chances”. How right he was, the tale of three set pieces, proving to be Cardiff ’s downfall in this year’s Varsity football match.
but the Swansea front three were quick to pressure their rivals again. Their strikers isolated, Cardiff brought on midfielder Athina Varnava, who managed to turn the tide against Swansea’s Charley Haynes, a dominant presence in the midfield throughout the game. Determined efforts from Cardiff ’s Varnava and Moulton opened up opportunities for an equaliser through clever play, the best chance being a curling effort from the edge of the
box, which narrowly missed the far corner. Despite a courageous showing from Cardiff, Swansea held their nerve against a spirited rival to complete the victory. Individual excellence proved decisive throughout the game, but Cardiff can take pride in their team performance against an admirable Swansea side. And the ladies will look to avenge their losses by getting back to winning ways next year.
Ladies’ Football narrowly lose out
ardiff ladies succumbed to their second successive Varsity defeat with a slender 2-1 loss in a tight contest at Sketty Lane. The game began with some testing pressure from Swansea, forcing a defensive scramble at the back and two shots on goal within the first ten minutes. Cardiff regained their composure and were knocking on Swansea’s door with an off-target header after a flick on from a long free kick. However, communication errors between Cardiff ’s keeper and her back four proved costly, as a looping ball over the keeper allowed Swansea’s Lauren Cubban to score from close range. The match was end-to-end but with little goalmouth action. The hosts’ front three showed great intent all game with some excellent movement to make space for each
other, which kept Cardiff pegged back with two corners and a shot off target. Despite such pressure, Cardiff produced the best counter attack of the game through star player, Julia Moulton, as she tricked her way across the field, switched the ball wide and found Eleri Parry with a low cross to make it 1-1 at half-time. Unfortunately, an early secondhalf corner from Swansea caught Cardiff off guard as the ball failed to be cleared, allowing midfielder Charley Haynes to bully the defence and bundle the ball in for Swansea to restore their one-goal advantage. Swansea did not slow down after their goal, with a good chance blocked by a last-ditch Cardiff tackle. The visitors had to try their luck with long balls over the defence, which caused a spill by the Swansea keeper that was eventually cleared. The momentum began to shift in Cardiff ’s favour at the hour mark
6 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Cricket make it four in a row
Swansea.......................................101/7 Cardiff.........................................105/6 Cardiff win by 4 wickets
t was more success for Cardiff University Cricket Club after Joe Collings-Wells’ men strolled to a four-wicket win over their Swansea counterparts to extend their unbeaten Welsh Varsity record to four years. Located away from the city of Swansea, Neath’s Ynysygerwn Cricket Club hosted this year’s installment of the cricket Varsity fixture, and under glorious blue skies things started brightly for Cardiff as captain, Joe Collings-Wells, won the toss and elected to put his team in to bowl. The decision proved the right one
as Cardiff soon had the hosts on the back foot following early wickets for Andrew Brewster (1-16) and Nabel Shaikh (1-23). Despite a mini resurgence in the shape of a 28-run partnership between Swansea’s Ben Stein and Dom Alcock, the run rate struggled to ever really break five an over. James Aston (1-9) took the fourth wicket with the score at 57, but it was the introduction of Harry Allen that truly reigned in the hosts during the innings’ latter stages. Allen’s three overs, 3-12, was crucial at a time when Swansea tried to push towards a score that might have at least looked competitive. As it was, the hosts limped over the three-figure mark in the final over, eventually ending their innings on
101-7, leaving Cardiff with the target of 102 to win. Led by Joe Ludlow and Joe Collings-Wells at the top of the order, Cardiff ’s reply failed to start as planned. Both fell in the opening few overs and by the seventh, Cardiff had stumbled to 35-4 with Harry Allen and Feroz Baig also back in the hut. At 50-5 from 10 overs, Sam Wood (23) walked to the crease to join Guy Harper (38*) and the pair’s partnership would eventually prove matchwinning. Their 47-run stand steadied the ship for Cardiff and when Swansea captain, Jake Peake, kindly sent down four wide balls in between a pair of Sam Wood boundaries during the 18th over, victory was all but secured. Wood disappointingly fell just before the end- trapped LBW, but by then the damage was already done. Harper nudged through the winning runs in the 19th over to spark scenes of wild celebration among the fifty-plus Cardiff supporters who had made the trip. Cardiff captain, Collings-Wells, who has now been a part of three Varsity-winning squads, was ecstatic with the efforts of his side: “To have won for another year is a huge achievement”, he stated. “This was the most complete bowling and fielding display in my three Varsities for the club. We had a bit of a wobble up the top of the order with the bat but we only really needed one solid partnership chasing such a small total and it was very impressive that it was two first years in Guy and Sam who did it.” “Our squad had six first year’s in it and it was great to see them all per-
form. This is a very exciting time for the club and hopefully this side can become even better over the next couple of years.” With the Welsh Varsity traditionally acting as a season curtain-raiser for CUCC, the First Team can now switch their concentration to the beginning of the regular BUCS campaign with the University of Bath first to visit this Wednesday.
ance to take us 1-0 up. This raised the teams’ determination even further and we were swiftly awarded a second short corner after a foot from Swansea in the ‘D’. The ball was sent to Alex Graham who slapped it in before Jessica Greaves got a touch just in front of the keeper, sending it around the keeper and into the net. At 2-0, playing in the sun and nearing the end of the first half the energy levels were dropping and we lost our drive and communication. Swansea took advantage of our laxity and lethargy and sent a ball across the goal to an unmarked player on the post. At half-time the score remained at 2-1, however after a short break and
some tactical changes we were ready to get back on the pitch. Cardiff went out strong and played a patient game of hockey, distributing the ball out to the wings to utilise the full pitch. With 15 minutes left on the clock we were awarded a third short corner. Olivia Abbott lined up for the drag flick and at the last moment slipped in under her right shoulder for Jessica Greaves to pick up. A strike from Jessica flew into the bottom left corner at a speed that left Swansea with no time to react. At the final whistle the score was 3-1, and with Cardiff having around 80 per cent of possession, this was a fair score for a match in which both teams fought hard.
Ladies’ Hockey: Cardiff cruise to comfortable victory Swansea....................................................1 Cardiff.......................................................3
he Ladies’ Hockey club came out victorious once again in the Varsity match, beating Swansea 3-1. Having won on flicks last year, we were determined to walk away with a convincing win this year. Af-
ter a strong start from both teams, we started to dominate and quickly gained ourselves a short corner, unfortunately after being slipped out to the right, the shot was was saved by the keeper. After 15 minutes of patience and a couple of missed opportunities, Zoe Balfour took a first touch strike straight off the Swansea goalie’s clear-
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 7
Cobras humbled by Swansea Titans in American Football
ardiff Cobras suffered a disheartening end to their 2015/16 campaign with a 26-6 defeat in their Varsity American Football match against the Swansea Titans. The Cobras were left ruing a sluggish start as they were condemned to their fourth defeat of the season against their arch rivals. It was a disappointing afternoon for the side as they were well-beaten in a fiercely-contested clash and relinquished the trophy they won in dramatic fashion 12 months ago. After holding Swansea to a field goal on their opening possession, the Cobras struggled to gain territory on offense before the hosts struck two quick-fire touchdowns to take a 17-0 lead after just the first quarter. From that point on Cardiff had a mountain to climb, although they responded with a much-improved second quarter to show signs of life entering the second half. Still trailing by 17, the Cobras missed an opportunity with a surprise onside kick before their hopes were handed a boost as defensive
tackle Will Harris recovered a fumble on the Titans opening possession of the third quarter. They then put together a confidence-boosting drive led by quarterback Chris Brinkworth before a costly fumble as they closed in on the Swansea endzone saw them leave without any points. Fine defensive performances from Harris, linebacker Toby Lock and defensive end Shaun Rees amongst others shut down the Titans potent offense for the second successive quarter to keep their slender hopes alive. When Nathan Pinel punched in a touchdown for the Cobras within the opening moments of the fourth quarter they began to dream of an unlikely comeback. However, Swansea running back Jacob Amadi immediately responded by brushing off four Cardiff tackles to run in a spectacular 20-yard touchdown and all but end the game as a contest. They added two more points with a safety to move 26-6 up – a scoreline which remained when the final whistle blew on what had been another ferocious contest between the sides.
Despite never looking like winning the game, the Cobras more than held their own after recovering from a disastrous first quarter. Swansea’s star trio of running back Amadi, elusive quarterback Joe Cotterill and reliable wide receiver Sam Huxtable ultimately made all
the difference as they completed an unbeaten season at the expense of the Cobras. Cardiff were able to leave with their heads held high following another brave display, with a number of leavers putting in creditable performances in the losing cause.
Cardiff win in Men’s Hockey penalty flicks drama
ardiff University Men’s Hockey Team won a thrilling contest on Varsity Day, besting Swansea after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, referred to as ‘penalty flicks’ in hockey. In a match that Cardiff were heavily backed to win, momentum constantly ebbed and flowed, with neither team able to break the deadlock come half time. Swansea went closest as they saw a powerful shot clat-
ter into the post and out. But the real action started after the break, with Cardiff taking an early second half lead to go 1-0 up against the Swans. As temperatures rose on the pitch, a strong challenge from a Cardiff player resulted in a yellow card, and 5 minutes in the sin bin for the offender. With Cardiff temporarily reduced to ten men, Swansea took their chance to equalise, drilling a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
In a fiery few minutes that saw tackles flying in and a Swansea player yellow carded, Cardiff were unable to capitalise on a number of short corners that could have given them a crucial lead. With ten minutes to play, Cardiff were awarded a penalty which was saved by the Swansea keeper via an outstretched foot, much to the delight of the home fans. With Swansea seemingly energised by Cardiff ’s missed penalty, the hosts netted minutes later, leaving Cardiff a mountain to climb and
seemingly securing an important point for Swansea University. However, on the stroke of full time, the visitors piled pressure on Swansea and equalised, hitting a low shot into the middle of the goal from the centre of the shooting circle. As the final whistle blew, both teams lined up at one end of the pitch for the deciding penalty flicks, with Cardiff up first. Neither team could settle it in the first five penalties, and the contest had to be decided with sudden death, with Cardiff eventually victorious.
8 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Penalty shootout heartbreak for Cardiff in IMG Football
Swansea.............................................1 (4) Cardiff................................................1 (2)
James S. Lloyd
ardiff ’s very own IMG Football team suffered an agonising 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss to Swansea after the teams played out a 1-1 stalemate in front of hundreds at Sketty Lane. After a close 2-1 defeat at Sketty Lane last year Cardiff IMG Varsity Team wanted to level the score. Both teams struggled to keep any real possession, however Cardiff ’s wingers began to look more threatening as the half progressed. A few half chances began to put increasing pressure on the Swans’ defence, and a poor back pass almost put centre-forward Daniel Lewis through on goal, however a dubious holding back of his shirt went unnoticed by the referee. It was clear that Cardiff had the better of the home team, whose only real threat was shut down by solid defending from Tom Bancroft and Dan Bailey. The pair dealt with the highball well as well as keeping tabs on Swans’ quickfooted captain on the left wing. As the pressure continued Cardiff ’s Captain, Luke Allen almost slotted a free-kick before moments later finding a loose ball at his feet in the box and decisively volleying it into the Swansea net to make it 1-0 to the Redmen. Swansea just managed to hold on, with their goalkeeper almost making a mess of an unexpected shot before going into
the break trailing. It was clear that Swansea intended to fightback and although Cardiff ’s defence had made short work of the Swans in the first half, the continuous barrage of territory was naturally causing chances down at the Cardiff end. Eventually after few wayward shots, and body on-the-line defending, a ball was whipped into the Cardiff six yard box. And despite some quick reactions from ‘keeper, James Kelly the ball fell to a recently brought on substitute who poked the ball into the goal to level the tie. Swansea kept up the attack with a header as well as an effort from their captain which glanced the post. At the other end Tom Mawhinney’s pace resulted in a shot that beat the Swansea ‘keeper to the ball, causing him to be brought down prematurely. The game fizzled out for a draw as the referee informed the teams of extra-time, despite a pitch invasion from the rowdy crowd. Cardiff ’s defence were forced to deny a string of Swansea chances before Johnny Genin teed up a glorious opportunity for Cardiff with the ball just falling short of the line - it was the end of the 120 minutes as penalties loomed. Cardiff ’s captain stepped up to take the first head-to-head and held his nerve despite the gathering green wall behind the Swansea keeper. Swansea’s Will Bazen followed suit, leveling the score 1-1. The amassing pressure behind the goal, coupled
with the surreptitious mind games of the Swansea keeper was unnerving to say the least. A diving parry from Swansea’s keeper prevented the advantage, before another solid penalty from Swansea gave them the lead 2-1. An attempt to claw back the shoot-out followed by for Cardiff, however after another save
by Swans’ ‘keeper and a fortunate penultimate penalty from Swansea gave the home sides’ captain had the chance to seal the game. With the freedom of a goal’s lead and a supporting crowd he placed a convincing penalty into the top right side of the goal, to give Swansea a 4-2 penalty shootout victory.
Swansea sunk by Cardiff in Rowing
ardiff University secured the Welsh Boat Race bragging rights with a 3-1 win on the River Tawe. Wins from both the Novice men and women as well as a blistering win for the Senior women sealed the victory and gave Cardiff an early weekend Varsity Shield lead. In the second event of this year’s Varsity, the Rowing Club made their way to the Tawe in Swansea to de-
fend their title at the 11th Annual Welsh Boat Race. Over a course of 1700m, a crew from each squad faced off and raced down the host’s river to finish beyond the Sail Bridge into Swansea Marina. Split into four races for the Senior and Novice men and women, each victory creates a point for the respective University with a 5th race being added this year for Alumni crews over a 500m sprint that did not add to this tally. In 11 years and 34 total races, Cardiff have lost a mere five to Swansea and have
finished with the highest aggregate wins for every one of those years. 2016 was no different. The Novice women began the event in an exciting fashion that set the tone for the day. Despite the pressure of a seven year winning streak and blustery conditions, Megan Walker led the women to a two length lead at the finish line in what was the closest finish this category has seen since its conception in 2009. Further adding to the tension, the Novice men added a second victory for Cardiff in a tight finish. Swansea showed their sharp start sequences and took the lead from the beginning, however with the cheers of supporters from the Sail Bridge and the calls of Captain and cox Hannah Robinson, the crew took advantage of a tight final bend and combined it with a burst of power to snatch an exciting victory within the final 150m. In the middle of the day, a mixed gender crew of Alumni from each University returned to the water to fight for bragging rights in a quick sprint. With a collective experience of over 65 years, the Cardiff crew donned aged CURC lycra and the spotted COBRA (Cardiff Old Boys Rowing Association) all-in-one to show the new generation how it’s done in a half-length victory.
The strongest success of the day went to the Senior women, who pushed off the start quickly, taking a length lead within the first minute, and only increasing from there. A very clean performance from the squad in their brand new women’s Hudson 8+, their technical precision and strength won them 6 lengths over their counterparts. Unfortunately it wasn’t the Senior men’s year as due to an incident at the start line, Swansea had the lead by a boat length and a half within the first 500m. With the category’s trophy in Swansea hands for the previous two years, the squad hoped to bring it back home to Cardiff and a clean sweep with it. Unfortunately, despite an impressive come back to merely a canvas between them, the Men were unable to obtain the lead, resulting in a third consecutive win for their opponents. It was an unfortunate end to an exciting day of racing, with all crews showing the hard work put in over Head Race season. After over five hours of racing, the official result gave Cardiff University their first Varsity success at 3-1, not including the Alumni. With BUCS Regatta in at the end of April, Varsity provided a great first taste of sideby-side racing for the Novices and an exciting start to Regatta season for all.
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 9
Ladies’ Lacrosse net another Varsity win
ith a final score of 17-2, Cardiff Ladies’ Lacrosse team absolutely smashed it at Varsity 2016. In similar fashion to last year and in the wise words of Greg McChesney: “One has to wonder what was in the Lacrosse Team’s breakfast” after this annihilation. The first few minutes were ex-
tremely tense with Swansea taking an early three shots on goal which were luckily saved by Cardiff ’s agile goaltender, Sophie Thorbek. This brief onslaught slightly rocked the boat, but soon afterwards Cardiff scored a goal and subsequently, their confidence was back up to its usual swagger-like level. The goals soon continued to hit the back of the net as Cardiff grew with confidence.
At half time, captains Rebecca Jordache, a Great Britain team member, and Ella Fairlie led a discussion about how the half had gone as the girls in Red wanted to continue their barrage on the Swansea net. The score was 10-0 to Cardiff with goals from Fiona Tait, Jordache, Jess Benelli, Sophie Snell and Flora Milne. Swansea scored twice in the second half however, this was no match
for Cardiff who scored seven more times to well and truly put the game to bed. A combination of a strong defence, quick midfield transitions and determined re-defending guaranteed yet another Varsity win for Cardiff Lacrosse; especially after last years’ 18-4 domination. At the end of the game, the team were deservedly greeted by a champagne shower to celebrate their tourde-force victory.
Rifle team shoot down the Swans
o Swansea have their name on the trophy from last year but this year we had a range that we could practice shooting on during the run up to the competition (last year our team captain Chris basically pulled one of the walls down midJanuary) so we were already feeling quietly confident that we’d be doing better this year! Shooting isn’t hugely a spectator sport – watching four people trying
to lie as still as possible, shooting at targets 25 yards away isn’t incredibly exciting so I’m not going to try and describe how each round went. Each shooter gets two cards with a maximum of 100 points to score on each. Round one: Chris scored 96 and 94, I scored 94 and 91. Swansea scored 92, 97, 95 and 93. Cardiff 375 – 377 Swansea Round two: Liam scored 89 and 92, Dan scored 96 and 98. Swansea scored 89, 85, 93 and 94. Cardiff 750 – 738 Swansea
By this point the ice had been broken between us and we were all talking and it turns out that they’re not a bad bunch and none of them had heard the Irish Knock Knock Joke before so I was able to have fun with that (ask most of our members about the Irish Knock Knock joke and they’ll probably shake their heads in displeasure where personally, it’s one of my favourites). By this point, round three was well underway and we were confident in the abilities of Ruth and Dean (they regularly bring down the average for
GB in shooting competitions) so the final results are as follows: Dean scored 98 and 97, Ruth scored 98 and 96. Swansea scored 95, 99, 99 and 95. Final score Cardiff 1139 – 1126 Swansea. We thanked Swansea for their hospitality and shook hands sportingly then drove away with Queen’s “We are the Champions” on full volume. A good day had by all and we look forward to competing with them again!
support. With Cardiff running rampant and Swansea seemingly powerless to stop them, the visiting team built up a 55-21 lead going into the final quarter, leaving the hosts a mountain to climb if they
wanted to rescue a crucial Varsity point. Despite edging the final quarter, Swansea were unable to do enough to overcome the Cardiff Ladies, who won the match 66-36, and added another point to Cardiff challenge.
Comprehensive win for Ladies’ Basketball Swansea.................................................36 Cardiff.....................................................66
ardiff University’s Ladies’ Basketball Team produced an exhilarating display to beat Swansea
66-36. The contest started off evenly, with Swansea edging a tight first quarter 11-10, to the delight of a packed gymnasium. Cardiff Ladies began to assert their dominance in the second quarter,
emerging with a healthy 28-16 lead at half time. The noise grew inside the Sketty Lane main hall, as the Swansea fans attempted to spur on their players. The momentum, however, stayed with Cardiff, and the gap in quality became increasingly obvious. The visitors pulled further and further ahead in the third quarter, in which a moment of sheer brilliance came when one Cardiff player sunk a skilful threepointer to the cheers of the travelling
10 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Tennis serves up mixed results to kickstart Varsity Wednesday Swansea Ladies......................................0 Cardiff Ladies........................................2
Shaun Davey & Toby Holloway
ardiff snatched two vital victories in the Women’s Doubles Tennis varsity against Swansea in dramatic fashion, with Cardiff taking victory thanks to two nervewracking final set tie-breaks. On a beautiful morning over on the Sketty Lane tennis courts it was Swansea team that started off the brighter, Over, on Court 4, some lovely net play resulted in Cardiff losing some vital points in the opening stages, and two-breaks of serve resulted in Swansea claiming the first set 6-3. Similar things were happening over on Court 5 and it was Swansea with the early dominance, some lovely rally exchanges between the pair to the back of the court opened up some space for some vital net play and a lovely lob
over the net resulted in a vital break of serve and Swansea claiming the first set. The second set saw a swing in momentum to Cardiff and some early exchanges saw Cardiff break serve on numerous occasions and over on Court 4 the team flourished into claiming a 6-0 victory in the second set. Over on court 5 a similar story was unfolding and after some bright exchanges team Cardiff fought back to claim a 6-2 set win. It was third set of both contests that was the most intriguing however and neither side seemed to be able to break through with both games having to be decided by an all important tie-break. In the end it was Cardiff who came out on top in the Varsity with a 10-5 win on court 4 matched by a brilliant 10-8 win over on court 5.
Swansea Men.............................................2 Cardiff Men................................................0
ardiff’s mens’ doubles teams slumped to dual defeats at Varsity 2016, with both pairs losing to their Swansea counterparts in straight sets. Despite a spirited display by both teams, Swansea proved too strong, beating Cardiff’s first pair 6-4 6-4 and the second pair 6-3 6-3, to take an important point early on in the Varsity day. The standard was incredibly high in the first pair’s match, with Cardiff powerless to resist a Swansea team that looked as if they would run away with the contest. Twice breaking Cardiff’s serve, the hosts surged to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Cardiff then found a foothold in the match, winning four of the next six games to make it 5-4 to Swansea, before the hosts served out the set to take a 1-0 advantage. The story was much the same in
the second set, which produced some top quality tennis, however ultimately ended in Cardiff losing 6-4 as Swansea proved simply too good. In the game which contained the men’s second pair, Swansea served first and held, to go 1-0 up in the first set. Cardiff also held to make it 1-1, before Swansea stormed to a 5-1 lead, winning four games in a row. With a mountain to climb to stay in the first set, Cardiff won the next two games to make it 5-3, before losing the third to surrender the first set 6-3. Despite a skilful display with few unforced errors, Cardiff’s second pair found it impossible to challenge the Swansea serve, losing the second set 6-3. Match point, however, was somewhat contentious, with Swansea calling a Cardiff baseline shot ‘out’ when to some it appeared as though the ball had bounced on the line. But with no umpire and Cardiff unable to challenge the call, Swansea claimed victory to earn a point for the men’s tennis.
Cardiff putt in their place in Golf
wansea secured Varsity victory for the second successive year with a comfortable 7-3 advantage over their Cardiff counterparts. The Swans welcomed Cardiff to the magnificent Pennard Golf Club and, endowed with beautiful views and tough winds, it gave a true test of links golf in the spring sunshine. With the usual hold ups caused by security for the busses in Cardiff, the team arrived late for the first tee, meaning that a relaxing warm up to fine tune their skills was out of the question. Johnny Wright and Dan King were given the honour of leading Cardiff onto the course against the scratch duo of Rob and Geraint. While honours were
relatively even at the halfway stage, the Swansea pair turned up the heat to outclass the Cardiff boys to both win before the 14th, although it is fair to say that Geraint had his fair share of luck, striking the pin on the 11th when his chip was destined to roll halfway down the fairway. Welsh national player Bethan Morris and Jake Prosser were next out the blocks, with Jake recording a fantastic victory after playing some wonderful golf, while Beth was unfortunately unable to find her full flow and slipped to defeat. The lovely couple of Isabel Marin and George Sandford (who had been unbeaten throughout the year up to this point) followed Beth and Jake, but sadly neither was able to get a foothold in the match as both suffered heavy defeats. Cardiff’s big guns in the form of President Lewys Charles and the inspir-
ing captain Alan Maher were slipped into the middle of proceedings, Alan displaying why he had recently represented Canford School at the prestigious Halford Hewitt tournament with a crushing victory. Lewys was sadly unable to match his captain’s performance and fell to defeat on the 16th. It was now becoming apparent that it would be Swansea’s day but the remaining matches were still bitterly contested to the last hole. Due to the aforementioned bus service, Ryan Rowe and caddy Aron Nyberg were forced to take a taxi from Sketty Lane, arriving at the course nearly an hour after the first tee off time. Nevertheless, Ryan and playing partner Georges Neill set about their business with Ryan able to close out a thrilling 3&2 victory to at least give Cardiff the
last laugh after Georges had been overcome earlier in the round. Despite Swansea’s success, an enjoyable time was had by all on a beautiful day at a stunning course. Special thanks must be given to all who came out to caddy for the players on the day, especially to Ellis Mead who was available to drive the mini bus back to Swansea to ensure we were all able to make the rugby. The result was a sad farewell to a fantastic bunch of final year students, many of whom have put a lot of time and effort into the running of the club. But the fact that all players and caddies remained at the club for over three hours after the conclusion of the last match was concluded, shows the great comradery and spirit that this club has been able to build over the past few years.
Plain Sailing for Cardiff
ailing cruised to victory on the water as Cardiff beat Swansea 5-2 in a splashing contest. It was another fantastic sunny and windy day for the event with racing commencing at 10:30 am between two teams that know each other very well; having competed against each other all year, both fresh from the BUSA/BUCS Team Racing Nationals over Easter. Swansea have been undefeated for the last two years, but Cardiff are hungry for the win as for
some of the team it is their last ever event. The wind built up throughout the event, averaging 12 knots with 18 knot gusts, but the waters of Tata Steel maintained fairly flat conditions. The marks were laid, boast rigged and launched, and our wonderful umpire Nigel Vick was in place, as the battle of the best of nine got underway. Cardiff made a confident start, staying strong from the first leg of the race to the last. And the team took the first race with a 1st, 2nd and 4th place, giving Swansea a 3rd 5th and 6th combination. The next starting sequence swiftly moved on for the
second race, with the first leg looking even windier. The fleet was much more compact this time around, as positions shuffled constantly. Cardiff, rounded the last mark in 1st, 3rd and 5th, narrowly winning. But, as the boats got closer there was a collision and one of the Cardiff boats capsized, gifting Swansea the second race. After draining the boats of the large volume of water they had obtained, the third race was underway and quickly over with another win for Cardiff, coming 1st, 3rd and 6th. They maintained their winning streak taking the fourth and fifth races, bring-
ing it to match point. Swansea put up an excellent fight to begin their comeback, and took the 6th race, leaving it 4-2 to Cardiff. The seventh race commenced, and Cardiff had an uneasy 1st, 4th and 5th at the top mark. Swansea fought hard on the downwind leg of the course, but gained a penalty turn at the last mark, giving Cardiff the seventh race and consequently, the event, securing overall score of 5-2. It was yet another year of tight racing between the two Welsh sides as both teams met up for some postrace celebratory drinks.
+ ½ ½
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 11
Cardiff crush Swansea in Netball Swansea..................................................16 Cardiff.....................................................49
ardiff University Netball team stormed to a 49-16 Varsity win to gift Team Cardiff the dream start in the Shield. Cardiff were the favourites going into the game and took to the court looking fierce and ready for the challenge that Swansea would bring. With big expectations after last years’ whitewash of 47-7 to Cardiff, the girls were determined to get a similarly impressive win. Cardiff brought with them a strong number of supporters despite it being early in the morning. They began the day with Varsity chants which were retaliated by an even bigger home crowd. In this years’ Varsity squad there were a number of girls making their debut appearance in a Varsity competition an exciting opportunity for all.
As the first whistle sounded it was a centre for Swansea so Cardiff were looking to turn it over. The defence worked extremely hard to get a turnover which eventually allowed Elin Harding to open the scoring for Cardiff. The game continued with Cardiff dominating and the first quarter ended 15-1 to Cardiff – an outstanding start for the team. No changes were made at the break and the second quarter saw Cardiff extend their lead to 30-9. The hall, at this point, was jam packed and the Cardiff supporters were holding their own on the chants front despite there being many more green shirts than red. At half-time Cardiff brought on Varsity debutants, Gemma Ford GA, Megan McCrea C, and Carys Mansfield WD with Lauren Fraser also coming on at GK. Some dodgy decisions from the umpires made it
more difficult for Cardiff but with an unbelievable defensive effort, the Swansea shooters were forced to take shots from far out and therefore only scored three in the whole 15 minutes of the third quarter. Leaving the score at 40-12 going into the final quarter. Sally Fisher, Katie Llewelyn and Ellie Crowley were back on and raring to go in order to maintain this
impressive win. Swansea kept on fighting and contesting until the final whistle but Cardiff were just too strong. Another impressive performance from all Cardiff players secured the win, with the score at the final whistle at 49-16. The Cardiff supporters ran onto the court into one big group hug and an extremely loud Cardiff chant.
Freshers’ Rugby secure first Varsity win
ardiff Freshers’ rugby team twice came from behind to seal their first ever Varsity victory over Swansea, achieving a convincing 31-25 success at Sketty Lane. Five tries, three of which arrived in the second half, along with two conversions, proved enough for the visitors to claim the Varsity point and make amends for the 23-18 defeat suffered by Cardiff in last year’s event. Things did not start too well for the visitors, though, with Swansea building on early pressure to score the opening try inside the first 10 minutes in front of a packed crowd. Unfortunately for the Swans, the resultant conversion fell well wide of the left post and that set the precedent for a low standard of kicking
throughout the game. Cardiff soon had an opportunity to quickly reduce the arrears from a penalty but the kick landed just short to the right. However, it was not long before they equalled the scores with a try of their own, racing through the posts to bring it back to 5-5. And, where Swansea had previously failed, kicker Fin Robjohn was able to convert the try with a routine kick from directly in front of the woodworktaking a lead of two points. Swansea finally succeeded with a kick, converting a penalty and regaining their advantage- only for Cardiff to secure their second try of the game prior to half-time. That swung the momentum in Cardiff ’s favour ahead of the second half, despite not managing to score the conversion. With a 12-8 scoreline, Cardiff never really looked back- leading the
game throughout the second half until the final whistle. Immediately after the half-time break, they extended their advantage with another supreme try after Aaron Hughes penetrated the sievelike Swansea defence with such ease it left the hosts as red-faced as those unfortunate Varsity spectators who had succumbed to the searing heat of the sun- including myself. Sadly, the game was marred when a Swansea player instigated a confrontation with one of Cardiff ’s men before the conversion was about to be taken. The incident resulted in both men being dismissed but, despite the unexpectedly long wait, Robjohn kept his nerve to place the ball between the sticks. The Swans kept Cardiff on their toes with a converted try shortly after to make it 19-15. But, as had been the case for the duration of the game,
each time Swansea put points on the board, Cardiff had tricks up their sleeve to suppress any sort of hope their opponents gained. In this instance, Cardiff delivered the sucker punch. Two more triesthe first converted, the latter noteither side of a successfully-taken Swansea penalty made it 31-18 and virtually guaranteed the victory. Credit to the Green and White army, Swansea continued fighting until the very end and were able to decrease the deficit once more with a late burst from their own half to the tryline. As the Swans successfully converted from the left, the final whistle blew to confirm a 31-25 win for Cardiff. Cue ecstatic celebrations from players and coaches, as well as the conventional pitch invasion from the persistently noisy, if sometimes overly-rowdy, Cardiff supporters.
12 WELSH VARSITY 2016
Mixed fortunes for Ultimate Frisbee...
Swansea Men.........................................7 Cardiff Men.........................................13
ardiff men’s Ultimate Frisbee team successfully brushed off late Swansea pressure to ease to victory, 13-8. The team started brightly, going 4-1 up in the first few minutes with great prowess and attacking play. While Swansea fought back in the first half, Cardiff consistently maintained an advantage of over two points. The second half saw Swansea again pile on the pressure, with the intensity of the game increasing. Cardiff, however, managed to contain this pressure and counter attacked effectively, with tireless play from captain Alden Ching cheered on by the travelling support. The last play of the match saw Swansea come close, narrowly missing out on the final catch. Yet, Cardiff responded perfectly. Breaking down the play and scoring immediately to finish the game with a five point advantage.
Swansea Ladies...................................10 Cardiff Ladies........................................9
ardiff Ladies’ Ultimate Frisbee team were sadly unable to emulate the men’s result, but ran Swansea extremely close when falling short by ten goals to nine. The visitors drew first blood but Swansea came back quickly, taking the lead minutes after. After regrouping Cardiff came back well, despite Swansea defending strongly, piling on the pressure and going 5-3 up. Swansea were effective in their comeback, though, and fast attacking play saw them go into the half winning 7-5. Following the restart, Cardiff were rocked after star Jo Lewis went off with an injury. They overcame this well by narrowing the deficit to 7-6, but Swansea’s resistance to waves of Cardiff attacks paid off well, as they
were only level shortly at 8-8 before Swansea took the lead. In the final minutes Cardiff drew level for an exciting end to the match. At 9-9 a deft float that would have seen Cardiff win was excellently blocked, and the resulting counter attack saw Swansea claim the victory. It was a difficult way to lose, but squad player Laurel Gibb was optimistic. “It was fantastic play, the tight score was not reflective of how everyone did”. She went on to say that, despite the loss, “spirits are still high” and was excited for the team’s future. Ultimate Frisbee is certainly an upcoming sport, especially in the UK. The advert for the game was perfectly demonstrated at Welsh Varsity and will no doubt continue to grow and become one of the highly anticpated sports at next years’ event.
...and Fencing follow suit
Swansea Men........................................136 Cardiff Men...........................................106
Speaking to Alden Ching after the match, he was delighted with the outcome and praised Swansea for their efforts. “First Varsity we smashed Swansea with ease, but now they are better. Like them, we are improving despite struggling with numbers this year.” He summed up the game: “We started well, they pressured us but we came down with the best play. The early lead kept us calm and patience really helped us. But this was the closest game despite how comfortable it was in the end”. Teammate Alistair Muir added that it was a “good showcase”, with “exciting play and layouts”. Before going on to say it was a “fast paced, enjoyable game to watch and certainly fun to play in against a similar opposition”. Cardiff certainly impressed and ran out winners comfortably, with a similar score to the 13-7 victory that Cardiff had achieved in the previous year, maintaining their overall 100 per cent Varsity record.
encing, known for its copious amounts of swagger, bravado and penchant for controlled violence, kicked off at high noon in ‘The Pavilion’. Our beautiful Men’s team had a disappointing season, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League to Bristol. Unfortunately for us, though, we were without club legend Deamer. Despite the absence of such a ClassA athlete, the team were in high spirits as we began the first weapon; foil – a light, elegant weapon for a more civilised age, and by far the most difficult of all three disciplines. We began slowly, but found ourselves behind after the first period of the match, only for another club legend - incumbent President Jack Houlston – to steer us back into the lead. The match toedand-froed between the two sides, with Swansea’s team almost a match for our own. Going into the final bout, Cardiff led 40-39. After ceding the first couple of points, el Presidente seized the day and brought home the victory. The second weapon is sabre. Swansea stormed to a 15-3 lead, and it was
all looking a bit hopeless for us, until a shiny-haired Irish prince sauntered up with a semi-drunken swagger and proverbially kerb-stomped their best fencer. Not that we were drunk. Obviously. Because you weren’t allowed alcohol on the premises. And we are elite athletes. So no alcohol for us. Anyhow, despite some more rousing performances, Swansea were far too sporadic, and we found ourselves on the receiving end of a 45-21 defeat. The final weapon, the epee, is the heaviest of all, and we could feel the weight of expectation on our shoulders. Sadly, we lost 45-40- failing to avenge our 135-118 overall defeat to Swansea in last year’s competition.
Swansea Ladies...................................78 Cardiff Ladies....................................135
ur women’s team have massively overachieved this year, finishing an unbeaten season for a league and cup double. And, Varsity also went according to plan, as we began in the foil. Leading the way was Costanza Peretti, Italian princess and the shining light of the Cardiff University High Performance Programme. She trained hard when all was against her, and guided the rest of our team through the foil with an utterly dominant display. Under the watchful eye of captain Zoe Boreham, who, despite looming deadlines and an impending
dissertation, made the trip to Swansea, the women’s team steamrolled the first weapon 45-15. Up next was the sabre, although this was arguably Swansea’s strongest weapon. Their speed and timing were highly impressive, though not as impressive as the timing of Cardiff ’s own Vicky Perrio who, in a remarkable turn of events, actually turned up this time. Despite her vertical disadvantage she kept the score close, alongside reliable cheese and wine aficionado Claire Grelon. The scores remained close the whole way through, until the last round of fights saw Cardiff pull away for a 45-38 win. Needing only three points to secure victory overall, it was left to the epee team to do what the men’s team could not and bring home the victory. And bring home victory they did, with Cardiff ’s Gemma Frewin – the latest in the production line of one of the great fencing family dynasties– securing the winning points. Victory was secured. But we couldn’t go through Varsity without a mention for the one and only Amy Radford. She competed in every weapon in varsity, even fencing the last fight of the match with her right hand!
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 13
Squash secure scintillating double
Swansea Men..............................................2 Cardiff Men.................................................3
ardiff men’s squash came from behind twice to seal a dramatic 3-2 win against Swansea. It was one of the closest matches between the two teams for a good few years. First to play was Cardiff’s number 5 Harry Henshaw against Swansea’s Sam Rooks. It was a slow start for the former as he lost the first game but things started to pick up in the second game with Henshaw powering through to secure it. However, this seemed to spur Rooks on to step up his game as he cruised to win 3-1 and give Swansea a 1-0 lead. Next up in the fourth string match was Josh Watkins against Swansea’s Cam Bryan. After two tight games, Bryan took the upper hand by going 2-0 up so Cardiff were in huge trouble. But, against the odds, Watkins completed an impressive comeback to succeed 3-2, with an intense final game finishing with a score of 14-12. That left the scores tied at 1-1. Kieran Collinson was on court next for Cardiff, this time up against Cam White, who quickly took charge of the game to take a commanding 2-0 lead. However, Collinson seemed to find his legs in the third game and managed to grab the vital points. Still, White continued strongly in the fourth and finished off the match 3-1. With Swansea leading 2-1, they required just one more match victory to claim the
Varsity point. Cardiff’s captain, Angus White, subsequently stepped up to the court. Under the pressure of needing to beat his opponent to keep Cardiff in the contest, he took on Swansea’s Pierse Herrod, to ensure a team win. White started off strongly, winning two successive games, taking advantage of Herrod not quite being warmed up. It was a different story in the third game, though, when Herrod seemed to settle in; securing this game and, following a controversial decision, the fourth game as well to make the score 2-2. At this point, the crowd was getting particularly rowdy as the players and supporters felt the pressure. However, skipper White withstood the immense pressure and fought to win the 5th game. Cardiff had fought back from behind twice, meaning that the result would be decided in the final match. Said match was to be played by Cardiff’s Joe Cornwall and Jamie Johnson from Swansea. Thankfully for Cardiff, Johnson was no match for
Cornwall’s tactical game and strength, with Johnson quickly disposed of in three games. That success handed the Cardiff Men’s team a fantastic 3-2 win to secure the Varsity point!
Swansea Ladies........................................0 Cardiff Ladies...........................................4
ollowing the impressive victory by the Men’s Team, the Women went on with serious determination to build upon the success and secure their Varsity point as well. Unfortunately, the Swansea Women’s team could only field 3 players as opposed to the usual 4, so Cardiff obtained an automatic walkover for the fourth string match and lead 1-0 by default. First on to play was number three, Georgie Durell, playing Swansea’s Jules Clarke. The game had some close rallies with both players working hard, but Durell came out on top winning 3-0
and extending Cardiff’s lead to 2-0. Next up was captain Anna Johnson, who made a strong start to comfortably win the first game and take a 1-0 lead. But her opponent, Harriet Boyle, fought back and levelled the scores at 1-1. Both competitors performed to high standards, trading two more games to bring the score to 2-2. All down to the last game, captain Johnson found some last reserves of energy and stormed through to win the final game. It was a fantastic effort from both girls. With a now unassailable 3-0 lead, the ladies had secured the Varsity point. Nevertheless, one more match remained to ensure a whitewash victory over Swansea. Last on court was Natalie Machin against Sophie Alderman from Swansea. Both displayed impressive quality of squash, executing very competitive rallies, but Machin easily seized the win 3-0. There was great squash on display from all involved, but Cardiff walked away with a comprehensive 4-0 win to ensure a squash Varsity double.
Kickboxing land knockout blow
wansea were clearly punching above their weight after Cardiff’s Kickboxers with a compelling 9-4 overall scoreline. On Monday 18th April, the members of Cardiff University Kickboxing Club travelled to Swansea to battle it out against their opponents and maintain the Varsity shield for yet another year. Swansea initially claimed that they had been training hard over the Easter break while Cardiff students had been scoffing their chocolate eggs, but they were soon put in their place when the fights began. The brilliantly talented Cardiff fighters, ranging from near beginners to high
belt Kickboxers, fought Swansea in both points and continuous fighting, and performed an incredible array of techniques learnt from their two instructors, Cheryl Fulcher and Andrew Fellows, who were both present at the event. CUKC fighters showed a high level of respect and calmness throughout the competition, which put them in good stead to win, particularly when one Swansea opponent was disqualified for foul play. One of the most memorable fights involved Engineering student Ylli Vlasolli and his opponent “Viking”, which included 3 incredibly tough rounds, with both fighters near exhaustion. After the results were collaborated, the decision of a draw was
not taken lightly by either player, but they were required to have one more sudden death round. Both fighters did incredibly well but Ylli’s determination saw him through to the end, giving CUKC an extra point on the score board. Another impressive performance was shown by Kuan Jon, current club Vice President. His fight was over in under one minute, due to gaining a 10-point lead against his opponent, and therefore taking an automatic win. There was not a single fight in which CUKC were not proud of their fighters – each one gave their all in every round. The other Varsity 2016 CUKC competitors included the girls; Lauren Weeks, Mariam Serhan, and Elisa
Gache, and the boys; Nathan Slater, Francis Matthews, Berke Dermirkazik (“Scotch”) and Ben Lewis. Joseph White and CUKC President Carina Banziger were also due to fight but unfortunately had to pull out of the event due to injury. Despite Swansea’s fight club background, Cardiff completed a 9-4 landslide against their fierce rivals. Cue screaming, shouting, dancing, and a lot of bromance! The evening ended peacefully with both teams congregating at the University’s student’s union for a few celebratory drinks – a chance for each team to get to know one another. CUKC will most definitely be looking to keep hold of their title for the third year running at Varsity 2017 so look out Swansea.
Cardiff outpaced by Swansea Cycling
t was a clear, still day at Maindy track for the annual Varsity clash between Cardiff and Swansea cycling teams. We were aware of the abilities of Swansea’s team, having ridden with them multiple times this season in races across South Wales. We knew they were going to be hard to beat, but the training had been intense and now it was time to take to the tarmac. Points from each event contributed to a total score at the end of the day. The first events went relatively well, with each team pulling similar results out of the bag. Many fresher riders put
in great performances alongside our long-term members. Our Team Pursuit teams took two morale boosting wins against their Swansea counterparts, with the A team of men’s captain Joe Locket, Lewis Henry, Ben Millar and Jake Wilkinson-Filmer putting eight seconds into the time set by Swansea’s A team. This put our A team first and B team third overall. Ben Millar also rode into first place in the individual pursuit, Geoff Smart won the Kilo with Gwilym Evans in third and Joe Lockett took third place in the Elimination race.
Heading into the final event, the points race, Cardiff were trailing Swansea by 11 points. It was still all to play for. The race incorporates 40 laps with intermediate sprints every 10 laps, before the final sprint at the 40th lap. This is where Swansea’s strength in depth showed, with their riders relentlessly attacking ours at every opportunity. Our riders closed down all attacks they could, but over the course of the event our riders were tiring from the intensity of the breakaways. We featured in all of the intermediate sprints, with Lewis, Gwilym, Geoff and Jake all
taking points in these sprint laps. Coming into the final five laps, Rhys Williams of Swansea was ahead solo. Our riders pulled huge turns to try and neutralise his attack with Gwilym Evans bringing him close but Rhys held on for the win. Ben Millar made use of the Cardiff lead-out to bring the sprint home for second with Jake in fifth place. So, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. We are accepting in defeat, as we know how strong the Swansea riders are! But watch this space; we’re going to be back with a vengeance next year.
14 WELSH VARSITY
Water Polo too good as Swansea brushed aside in the pool
ardiff University’s men’s Water Polo team held off a late Swansea fightback to win the first ever Varsity match between the two sides, 9-6. After a successful trial match in 2015, Water Polo finally made its debut as part of the Varsity Shield as the team headed down to Swansea on Tuesday night to add to kick-start the collection of victories for Team Cardiff. As expected for any Varsity event, the turnout by Swansea’s fans was fantastic and created a great atmosphere as the match began. A slow start and a solid defence from both teams resulted in a low scoring first quarter, with Cardiff taking an early lead at 2-1. Cardiff looked to increase the intensity of its attack in the second quarter, creating more opportunities in front of goal. After 14 minutes of play, Cardiff extended their lead to five, only allowing one Swansea shot past them and creating a healthy score-line of 7-2.
Swansea put three balls in the back of Cardiff ’s net, to bring the score to 9-6 with four minutes to go. A tactical substitution and some strong defend-
ing from all of the away team, though saw them hold onto their lead and bring home victory in the first ever Varsity Shield Water Polo match.
Cardiff Archery, take a bow
The second half began where the first left off. Cardiff were strong in attack and solid in defence and added to their goal tally with some great play between Captain, Danwiel Picton, and Centre Forward, Iain Greig. However, a tiring Cardiff were beginning to slip and allowed Swansea to fight back and put two goals past the away team. The score at the end of the third quarter was 9-4, with the same five-goal lead for Cardiff, however, momentum – and support – was with Swansea going into the final quarter. A struggling Cardiff were unable to create the same opportunities in front of Swansea’s net during the fourth quarter as they had done previously. Some strong goalkeeping from Swansea and close misses from Cardiff meant that the away team would not add to their goal score at all in the final quarter. The momentum then, remained with Swansea as the home team looked to capitalise on a weakening Cardiff. The first three minutes of the final quarter saw
rriving in Swansea on Sunday morning, most of us on the Cardiff University Archery team had accepted that we weren’t going to win. We were unable to fulfil a shooting category, which automatically gave Swansea an advantage over us, and the team has had close to no practice outdoors this year, so our outdoor shooting wasn’t exactly the best it could be. Nevertheless, we arrived ready to give our best and at least make Swansea feel nervous. After a morning of shooting in the qualifiers in order to determine who would be competing
in the head-to-head, the stage was set for the real competition to start. As expected, Swansea took an early lead, winning the male compound, male recurve, both male and female barebow, and automatically winning the female compound due to Cardiff not having a female compound archer to shoot. Cardiff managed to claw back some points by winning the female recurve and male longbow, making the score 5-2 to Swansea at the end of the individual head-to-heads. It was not looking good for us as we had to win all three team events just to draw with Swansea. However, we didn’t let the prospect of almost certain defeat get us down as we entered the team events, the first of
which was the male CRB (Compound/ Recurve/Barebow). Our male archers took it in a close match, making the score 5-3. A tiny spark of hope started to grow inside all of us at this win. Next up was the female CRB, although Swansea were kind enough to allow us to substitute a recurve archer due to our lack of a female compound. The Cardiff ladies destroyed Swansea, winning the match in three ends and giving Swansea no chance, raising our score to 5-4. We were getting excited now. The final event was team recurve and our Cardiff archers took another win, levelling the scores at 5-5. At this point, we realised that we could actually win if we came out on top in the decider so the tension was
high. Ultimately, then, the competition’s fate was determined by one final decider event; four archers on each team (compound, recurve, barebow and longbow) and an arrow for each of them. The minimal crowd for the event watched with bated breaths as each archer fired their arrow, shooting for the gold and the Varsity win. The scores of each arrow were then totalled and Cardiff took the victory in a close win by a simple two points, met by loud cheers from the Cardiff team. The whole competition went from accepted defeat upon arrival to loud celebrations from Cardiff by the end, vowing next year to not let it be so close and to annihilate Swansea.
Cardiff slam Swansea in Taekwondo
ardiff had a fantastic 20½ -7½ victory early on Varsity Day in the Tae Kwon Do, taking home the trophy for the sixth year in a row. Cardiff had won every appearance of Tae Kwon Do in the history of the Welsh Varsity, so the pressure and expectations on the team were high. The competition kicked off with a single Kata, with Cardiff overall winning nine out of the ten rounds; most of the rounds were unanimously decided by the judges in Cardiff ’s favour. Next up was group Kata, with three rounds of three people per team. Cardiff won all three sets with some fantastic coordination, with the teams also working in perfect synchronicity. It was interesting to see how everything was almost cho-
reographed, down to even how they walked onto the mat. The team appeared nervous at this point with Cardiff leading 121, knowing they only needed a few more wins to take home the trophy. However they went on to only lose two of the sparring matches with all fighters on both teams boasting huge energy. The personal highlight was the yellow belt fighters, who had only been there since November, with some having no prior martial arts experience. But, they performed with exceptional technique, with some of the kicks and speed impressing all of the spectators. Finally the competition opened up for board-breaking, with both teams having to field a competitor to break an inch think wooden board with a kick and a knife hand strike. Both teams broke all boards with no issue, with this being the first time board
breaking was in the competition, and looking like one to come back next year. The Swansea captain said she was just glad she won her fight this
year, but the team have learnt their lesson as they aim to improve for next year. Cardiff ’s captain, in contrast, had no complaints about any of the performances this year.
GAIR RHYDD SPORT 15
Cardiff take the Ladies’ Volleyball crown
ardiff women’s Volleyball team beat Swansea in dramatic fashion after five tense and exciting sets. The venue was Swansea’s new Bay Campus and both sides drew huge supporting crowds. Going into this match, Cardiff knew it was going to be tough. Captain Anasstasiya noted: “We’ve beaten them twice already this year, but they’re continuously getting stronger”. In the end, Cardiff proved themselves as the stronger side, winning 3-2. This set the standard for the men’s match where we
saw Cardiff Men beat Swansea for the fourth time this year. Swansea served in the first set. Despite a great block by Cardiff Setter Chi, Swansea won the first point. Following this, we saw both sides make a series of mistakes costing valuable points. Swansea led for a number of plays. Great serves by Cardiff player Aspasia leveled the scoreboard. The remainder of the first set was painfully close as Cardiff edged to a lead and won the set comfortably with a score of 25-21. Swansea took the lead in set two with Cardiff following closely behind. Some controversial calls by the refer-
ee in favour of Swansea widened the score gap. After calling a timeout, the Cardiff side came back more focused as the score was quickly narrowed and for a brief period Cardiff took the lead. Swansea bounced back and won a series of points, winning them the set with a very close score of 26-24. The third set was similar to Set two with both teams close in score. Tactical hits by Cardiff players Jo and Georgie secured the lead for Cardiff early on in the match. However, Swansea countered Cardiff ’s attacks and won the set 25-20. The tension in the hall was palpable. Cardiff knew that they needed to
redeem themselves in set four. Their determination was obvious and from the start they were clearly the superior side. Cardiff dominated and the set ended 25-19. The fifth set is played to 15 points, leaving no room for mistakes. Cardiff came out fighting and quickly took the lead. There was no hope for the Swansea side at this point. The final set score was 15-7, which left Cardiff as the clear winners, 3-2. This win ended a strong year for the Cardiff women who have also remained Welsh League champions and finished top three in their BUCS table.
Men’s Volleyball dominate in straight sets
he Men’s Volleyball team eased to victory in three straight sets having watched the women’s team win in dramatic fashion. It was the fourth win for the men against their rivals having already dashed the Green and Whites’ BUCS promotion hopes earlier on in the year. The venue was Swansea’s new Bay Campus and the supporter turnout was high from both sides. The previous match in March saw the two rivals meet in the BUCS Conference Cup Finals, and Cardiff took home gold medals after winning in three straight sets, as they
would last Wednesday at Varsity. Swansea always field a strong and passionate volleyball side. Setter and team coach Mohammed Al-Korbi wisely said in the pre-match huddle: “They could win. Play as if this is the first time”. Warm up spikes gave the first indication of Cardiff ’s superior attack. As known from previous matches, Swansea currently only have one exceptional all-round player in outside, Sean Davies. Cardiff ’s team has benefited for several years from three players with national league experience –Al-Korbi, Thabang and Buiser. However their setter and one of their middles expertly demonstrated a very quick diagonal attack. The outcome
was uncertain. Cardiff took an early lead with strong attacks and one brilliant block by Al-Korbi, hands deep over the net in control of Davies’ powerful hit. Their passing was on form and there was good cohesion between setter and attackers. The first set ended a comfortable but not easy 25 – 21 to Cardiff. As often happens in Volleyball the losing side makes a bit of a comeback in the second set. Play becomes more predictable, which leads to more successful blocks. However, Cardiff held their ground. Highlights included a save off of the toe from defensive player Mikey Elias that had the crowd whooping with excitement. Elias saved
ball after ball in a relentless contribution. The second set ended an uneasy 25 - 23 to the Dragons. The final set was somewhat predictable. Many of Swansea’s supporters had left the hall after a season of losses to Cardiff. Their team remained resilient and played a thoroughly enjoyable game. Davies hit powerfully and with witty targeting. Swansea’s setter was consistent and quick around the court. As expected, though, Cardiff Men’s Team brought home the second Volleyball win of the day with a 25 – 22 third set. This ended a fantastic season for the Men’s Team, featuring BUCS gold medals, league promotion and a Varsity win.
The best of the rest
Men’s Basketball Swansea..................................................55 Cardiff.....................................................80 Derrell Nelson shoots 24 points to secure big win for Cardiff ’s basketballers in Swansea.
Men’s Lacrosse Swansea....................................................1 Cardiff.......................................................4 Cardiff comfortable as Swansea strike late consolation in second lacrosse victory of the day. Equestrian Swansea.................................................W Cardiff.....................................................L Swansea come away with the Varsity Shield point with a team event victory, though Cardiff ’s Hannah Broughton won individually.
Athletics Swansea..................................................2 Cardiff.....................................................0 Swansea win both men’s and ladies’ relay races to take victory in inaugural Varsity Athletics event. Swimming Swansea................................................489 Cardiff..................................................399 Indoor success for Swansea at the
Welsh National Pool as Cardiff are left in their wake. Canoe Polo Swansea....................................................2 Cardiff.......................................................1 Swansea take victories in the open and freshers’ matches as Cardiff strike back in ladies’ game. Badminton Swansea Men.........................................6 Cardiff Men............................................2 Swansea Ladies......................................2 Cardiff Ladies........................................6 All square in the badminton as men are heavily beaten but ladies turn on the style.
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Editors: Carwyn Williams Luke Brett Sam Patterson @GairRhyddPol firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/politics
Interview: Jo Stevens MP
EXCLUSIVE Sam Patterson
We talk to Cardiff Central’s Member of Parliament
o Stevens is the MP for Cardiff Central having won the seat from the Liberal Democrats in last year’s General Election. We spoke to her in March about UK politics in general. Critics of the cut to the ESA benefit point out that it coincided in the budget with a small cut to corporation tax, is this a telling observation?
Osborne has failed to achieve three of his targets he set himself. Jo Stevens MP
I think it’s a pretty telling observation. What we saw was George Osborne reducing corporate tax again, which is something this government and the previous government have done, which I don’t necessarily have a problem with, but I do think if you’re constantly taking money from people who have very little in the first place, it’s not a fair approach to the economy. The Tories have put through policies which improve the life of already fairly wealthy people, and its people in the middle and at the bottom who are suffering, there’s only so much more of that you can do before people fall right through the safety net and it contributes to social issues that are developing. The cut to the ESA benefit was defended as having being intended to help disabled people into work, was there any honesty in this claim?
I’m absolutely not happy. We are the fifth richest nation on the planet to say that we will take 20,000 refugees over five years is pitiful, I’m ashamed of the government’s response to it. Jo Stevens MP
If you talk to people who are in that group, they will say taking money from them is not going to make it easier for them to get into work. The most effective way to get people with disabilities and long-term health issues into work, is with help in the workplace, and that’s not where the government’s attention is. As a party, Labour have absolutely kept pressure on the government over this. We’ve voted consistently against the welfare bill and so have the House of Lords, I think Osborne and IDS got the mood of the country wrong. What do you think of the sugar tax announced by Osborne? It’s something that we have talked about before. I thought it was a headline-grabbing announcement in what was otherwise a pretty downbeat budget, so it was taking attention away from the fact that our productivity is not rising, that Osborne has failed to achieve three of his targets he set himself. This is a bit of a gimmick because they’re going to increase the sugar tax, give some money to sports in schools, regardless of the fact that money has been cut to sport and schools. This isn’t really new money, it’s just replacing what they’ve already taken away. Many say that Osborne’s deal with Google was a shoddy attempt to pan-
der to voters who agree with Labour’s proposal of cracking down on tax avoidance as a major point of policy, is this true? The Google investigation has been going on for almost ten years, I think Osborne and the HMRC did a pretty poor deal with Google, for me it’s a simple moral argument which is, you should pay the tax you’re supposed to pay. HMRC is happy to go after small business, but Google, Amazon, Boots and many others seem to have so much leverage with HMRC. Many people, regardless of their political leanings feel that corporate tax avoidance is unfair, and we need to do something about it. The answer is always, “the tax rules are too complicated.” Well let’s sort them out then. Can you elaborate a little bit on opposition to the trade union bill? Where do I start? The trade union bill is one of a number of measures the government is taking to silence opposition to them, it’s quite a clever strategy. Changes to voter registration, changes to parliamentary boundaries, changes to how the house of lords operates, changes to short money, which is the money which enables opposition parties to function, and hold the government to account. What the government will say is that we need the TU bill because there are too many strikes and they cause too much inconvenience. The reality is, strikes are actually at a ten year low. Any industrial action is taken as a last resort and is the result of a democratic ballot by members. There’s no urgent strike related issue that warrants government legislation of this sort. This is a merely a partisan measure designed to silence six million plus working people, many of whom don’t agree with Tory policy. There have been successes in the House of Lords and I’m hoping we’ll get some amendments to the bill when it comes back to the House of Commons. Is the refugee debate over? Are you happy with the Conservatives’ plan to accept 20,000 refugees by 2020? I’m absolutely not happy. We are the fifth richest nation on the planet and to say that we will take only 20,000 refugees over five years is pitiful, I’m ashamed of the government’s response to it, Yvette cooper is responsible for leading the task force looking into what we can do. There’s a lot of work going on trying to persuade sympathetic MPs in other parties to do more, because we can afford to do more. I’m old enough to remember the Vietnamese “boat people”. Everybody said we couldn’t take them, that we couldn’t afford it and that they wouldn’t integrate, yet they have made
a huge contribution to our country and I know that many Syrian refugees would do exactly the same. What do you make of the recent allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour, is this an exaggerated issue, or is something going on? I’m really concerned about the allegations that are currently under investigation about possible anti-Semitism within the party. Jeremy made it absolutely clear that he is against any form of racism, he has been all his life. The investigation’s underway, if there are any findings, I hope it’s dealt with properly. There’s absolutely no place for this in the Labour party. Jeremy said his first priority in 10 Downing Street would be to address what he calls the “scandal” of homelessness, can we expect to see real changes with a Corbyn Prime-ministership? I think you will see changes if Jeremy becomes PM. This is something that is absolutely at the forefront of his political priorities, and he’ll make references to it most weeks at PMQs. He believes, quite rightly, that everybody has the right to a roof over their heads. If you look at other issues such as family breakdowns, crime and debt, they stem largely from insecure housing. If people have got a decent home that they can afford to heat, the prevalence of many social issues would decrease. I think it’s a top priority, it’s a sensible and laudable aim to have and the time has come to do something about it. I think Jeremy can and will. As Shadow Minister for Justice, what reforms would you like to see in the prison system and the justice system? What has happened in last six years, is that the justice system has become inaccessible to many people. For exam-
ple, employment tribunals. If you lose your job, if you’re sacked because you’re pregnant, made redundant without proper process or you’re not paid your wages, you now have to pay a fee in order to take your case to an employment tribunal. Many people want to access them, and many can’t get justice. Legal aid has been removed from many areas. Criminal lawyers, who do a great public service in defending people, have had their rates cut and their average earnings are now about £25k. Michael Gove is talking the talk about prison reform, but we’ve got a prison system that is over populated, under staffed, a third of prison officers have left the service in recent years, violence is at its highest levels recently, drug taking is rocketing. You cannot reform prisons without getting the prison population down and spending money on educating people in prisons, to rehabilitate them. Gove has said he isn’t going to be reducing the population and he’s not going to spend more on education so I think his plans won’t make any difference whatsoever. Many comment that Jeremy has taken Labour in a new direction, and a recent Yougov poll put him one point ahead of the Conservatives, do you think he will continue to increase in popularity? I think Jeremy is starting to cut through in terms of what he stands for and his very different approach to politics. He’s constantly fighting against an extremely hostile media, but he is a decent man and he is a principled man. A lot of people think politicians change their views to suit the mood and that they don’t have any conviction, but Jeremy does. Many people will agree with him, others won’t, but you can’t say of him that he’s someone who will say what he thinks his audience wants to hear. I’m hopeful. Polls can be inaccurate, the only poll that matters is the poll on Election Day, but they’re heading in the right direction now and it’s really good news.
Pictured: Cardiff Central Labour MP Jo Stevens.
Where do I start? The TU bill is one of a number of measures the government is taking which is intended to silence opposition to them, it’s quite a clever strategy. Jo Stevens MP
POLITICS 19 In parliament, you brought up the issue of what effect Brexit would have on the functionality of the European arrest warrant, have you had a satisfactory response? We’re not getting responses on anything to do with Europe because the Tories are so split on it. Look at the ministry of justice team, half of them are voting in and Gove is the most prominent out voter so they’re not giving responses for anything at the moment. The whole focus of the government is containing the Tory party and keeping it on track until the referendum, so they’re not producing anything. Parliament is just ticking along and not really talking about anything important because they don’t’ want to upset their backbenchers over Europe. So we’re on hold until the 23rd of June What would you say to students who are unsure on which way to vote in the European referendum? I’m going to vote in, for three reasons mainly. Firstly, peace and security. We
haven’t had a major war in Europe for over 60 years, and I think the European movement is central to that. Second, the social chapter, most of our progressive laws and rights come from Europe. Things like maternity pay, paid holiday leave, adoption leave that sort of thing, if we come out of Europe, those rights that have taken so long to acquire, health and safety in the work place all the things that protect us, will be whittled away. And finally, Cardiff Central and Wales in particular, are net beneficiaries of the EU so we have extra money coming in, it creates jobs, businesses invest here, we have three universities here in Cardiff, if we leave, the lost European research money means we might not be able to sustain three unis here in the future. So particularly for young people and students, the impact for that demographic will be even more significant if we come out so I hope students will vote to stay in.
could you tell us a little bit about it?
Alongside working as an MP for Cardiff Central, you’re active in an NGO called Justice for Columbia,
You will see the return of the rail system to public ownership. You’ll see an economic credibility and economic
JFC is an NGO that was setup by the TUC to lobby for and campaign and represent TU and human rights lawyers and community organisers in Colombia who have been tortured, disappeared and killed by paramilitaries under the instruction of the Columbian government over the past decade. I went out there as a trade union lawyer, I took an interest in working with political prisoners who had been incarcerated without charge in the most horrific conditions and so I have made that a corner stone of my campaigning life over the last decade. I visit lots of prisons in the UK and there’s some pretty awful stuff you see but compared to the womens’ prison in Bogota, yeah absolutely horrible. If Jeremy were to become PM in 2020, what would be the major changes we’d see?
review that is going to produce economic policy taking into account expert views from the panel that John McDonnell has put together and you’ll also see, what will be called workplace 2020, which I’m working on alongside with Ian Lavery TU Shadow Minister, about producing a new piece of legislation for 2020 to reflect what rights and responsibilities employers and employees should have in 2020, tackling all sorts of issues, highlighting good practice and good social partnerships and working between good employers and trade unions and getting rid of the exploitative conditions that are currently in place like zero hours contracts. But this will be a detailed discussion over the next 18 months, and we’re particularly interested in hearing from young people in insecure employment about what they want to see in 2020 under a Labour government in the world of work. It will be launched in May and I’d really actively encourage anybody who’s interested to feed into the review because we want to hear from you.
I’d really actively encourage anybody who’s interested to feed into the review because we want to hear from you. Jo Stevens MP
Corbyn opposes Brexit
His speech in London admits a critical attitude towards Europe but that he believes reform can be achieved.
The Labour leader is supporting remain, after previously wanting out
hough the upcoming referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union has, and will continue to, dominated headlines the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has been remarkably quiet on the issue until recently. In along awaited speech at Senate House in London Corbyn finally made his stance on the EU clear. Coming under heavy criticism recently from his critics within the party the Labour leaders staff have been hinting at a major intervention on the referendum over the past few months. Labour figures campaigning for the UK to remain complained at their leaders failure to mention the subject over the past month, whilst making the time to attend the National Kebab Awards, in their view failing to discuss matters important to British voters. In his absence, Labour’s pro-EU membership have been led by the head of “Labour In”, Alan Johnson, who has made numerous appearances in the press discussing the importance of the EU in respect to British jobs and security. In the past Corbyn made no secret of his feelings towards the EU. This year isn’t the first time Britain’s membership was put to the vote, in 1975 then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson allowed a referendum on the EEC. Last year Corbyn admitted that, when he was just a councillor in Haringey, he voted for the UK to leave. His admission worried some in the Labour party who believed his “lukewarm” attitude would turn Labour voters, most of whom are in favour of Remain, away from voting come June. His statements during last years leadership election did little to reassure pro-European figure stating that he would not rule out joining the
leave campaign should the Prime Ministers renegotiation fail to adequately protect workers rights. Come September Corbyn pledged that Labour would campaign for a Remain vote regardless of the negotiations and reverse any changes Cameron might make to workers rights. The change in opinion expressed by Corbyn seems sudden. Reviewing past articles of his in the left wing tabloid, the Morning Star, readers will find frequent criticisms of what he viewed as European attacks on workers rights and an undemocratic, opaque leadership. Indeed, Labours most prominent Eurosceptic, Kate Hoey, stated that she did not believe Corbyn’s conversion in favour of Europe was genuine. His speech in London admits a critical attitude towards Europe but that he believes reform can be achieved within Europe by working with Britain’s allies on the Continent. Looking to achieve democratic reform to make the Union more accountable to its people, economic reform to end austerity in member states, labour market reforms to protect workers rights and new rights to allow governments to support public enterprises, preventing services being privatised. With clear majority of Labour voters planning to vote for continued British membership of the European Union and only 8 Labour MPs campaigning for a Leave vote, roughly 3% of Labour’s 229 MPs, much speculation has been made over Corbyn’s motivations regarding the referendum. As his critics in the party point to Labour poll ratings falling ahead of the May elections, with Labour looking to finish behind the Conservatives in Scotland and
lose support in English local elections, Corbyn may be moving to suppress dissent within the party. After a list of Labour MPs ranked by their loyalty to the leader was unveiled, long serving members of the party were enraged as David Cameron revealed at PMQs to overshadow the splits in his own cabinet as Iain Duncan Smith resigned shortly before the Easter Break. Labour MP John Woodcock called for a change in leader, immediately backed by Jamie Reed and Angela Smith. In the run up to the decisive elections taking place across Britain next week Labour staff have been accused of trying to downplay expectations by promoting polls
suggesting the party may lose 150 seats in English local elections in towns seen decisive to elections. For context, for an opposition party in Labours current position to gain power in the next General Election, the party should gain at least 300 seats in May. The upcoming referendum has led to splits within both the Conservative party and the cabinet. Corbyn’s change of heart in relation to the EU may yet sway some voters towards the pro-European campaign, but his motivations may lie in securing his position as leader and ensuring his party avoids the same fate as the Conservatives in intra-party fighting.
Pictured: 42 Days: Jeremy Corbyn. (Photographer: Jason via Flickr)
Police and Crime Commissioners: Ellise Nicholls
It is the PCC’s responsibility to oversee and set the budget for the force area.
Mariana Diaz Montiel
A political deputy compared the current political moment Brazil is going through with the one the country lived in 1964 after the military coup victory.
The other election on May 5th
n the 5th of May, not one but two important elections will open to the public. Alongside your chance to decide which AMs will form the Welsh Assembly, for the second time you will be able to choose your next police and crime commissioners (or PCCs). There is one elected officer per Welsh force area, including Gwent, South Wales, Dyfed Powys and North Wales. But the roles have been shrouded with controversy from the start, and, since 2012, seem to have slipped even further into the unknown. So, this begs the question: What are Police and Crime Commissioners? Well, in an attempt to bring more accountability to policing, the Police and Crime Commissioners were implemented in 2012 by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The new roles replaced the police authorities in England and Wales, which consisted of councillors appointed by local authorities that formed part of the force. Now, there is a Police and Crime Commissioner for each force across England and Wales. The first PCC’s were elected on 15th November 2012 to serve for three-anda-half-years, but subsequent PCCs, including those elected in 2016, are to serve for four-years. And what do Police Crime Commissioners actually do? Similar to the former police authorities, it is the PCC’s responsibility to oversee and set the budget for the force area. This includes allocating itself enough money from the overall policing budget. They are responsible in determining
the local police ‘precept’ – the amount people pay through their council tax for policing, which often acts as a top up for grants from the Home Office and above. They are in place to make sure the force is efficient and effective, setting the policing priorities, which are drawn up with the help of the public and victims, through what is known as a ‘police and crime plan’. But, most importantly, they are able to hold the chief constable to account giving them the authority to take action to appoint or dismiss as they deem necessary. Since the enforcement of the Police and Crime Commissioners, there has only been one example of this happening in Wales. In 2013, chief-constable Carmel Napier was ousted from her position by independent Gwent PCC Ian Johnston. Mrs Napier, who had lost the confidence of the public, her officers, and her staff was forced to quit, described by Johnston as ‘for the good of the people of Gwent’. PCC’s hold the strings in part, but they are not in the position to tell police officers how to do their job, which falls under the responsibility of the Chief Constable who has full control over his or her staff. Although PCC’s have power of direction over Chief Constables, they cannot interfere with the operational independence of the police, which is protected in legislation. The first PCCs election in November 2012 had the lowest turnout in peacetime Britain. Across England and Wales, fewer than 15 per cent of voters turned out in the 41 police areas electing a Police Crime and Commissioner.
Ministers were quick to place the blame on a lack of familiarity and understanding of the PCC, using the first election of the Mayor of London, which had a low turnout but quickly gained momentum, as a prime example. Others were more critical, proposing that the low turnout was a direct effect of bad planning and procedure. Former Labour Home Secretary Charles Clarke told BBC news those elections had ‘no mandate to lead policing in their communities’. He continued saying the low turnout together with ‘large numbers of people spoiling their papers and many people saying they have no knowledge at all or information about the elections as a result of the way the government organised it means there isn’t a mandate’. The government were criticized for not providing appropriate funding for mailshots alongside holding the poll in
an unfamiliar time of year. The Electoral Reform Society - a group who campaign for a better democracy - called it a lesson in how not to run an election. Elections for the 41 police force areas in England and Wales will take place on Thursday 5th May 2016. Candidates running for the South Wales Police Crime and Commissioner 2016 position include: Mike Baker (Independent); Tim Davies (Welsh Conservative Party); Alun Edward Michael (Labour and Cooperative Party); Linet Margaret Purcell (Plaid Cymru); and Judith Barbara Woodman (Welsh Liberal Democrats). For more information and to view candidate election statements you can visit the choosemypc website where you can use their online search tool to find individual candidate profiles or download a candidate information booklet.
Pictured: You’ll be voting for the next Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales Police on May 5th.
Possible impeachment of Brazilian President
ollowing the corruption scandals all over the world, it was just a matter of time for Brazil to host one of them. On the evening of Sunday 17th, 513 Brazilian politicians, from the lower house of congress, voted to decide whether they should impeach Dilma Rousseff, of the Worker’s Party (PT) and current president. The poll ended with 367 in favour of impeachment. It is now the senate’s turn to decide, but it seems the senate will also vote to expel the president. In 2002 Lula da Silva, also a member of the Worker’s Party, was elected the first left-wing president in 40 years. During his political term, he pledged to eradicate hunger and promised political and economic reforms, reinforcing his popularity among the working class, securing his re-election and Dilma’s election in following years. The party survived a corruption scandal in 2005 with a simple televised apology. Thanks to his popularity and the country’s socio-economic improvement, the citizens forgot about the corruption, and re-elected him in 2006. Despite the corruptions scandals the party had to overcome, in 2010 Dilma Rousseff was elected first female president in Brazil, securing another eight years, with Rousseff ’s re-election, for
the Worker’s Party to rule. At the beginning of Rousseff ’s term, the country still enjoyed the socioeconomic prosperity they experienced with Lula, but by 2013, the political landscape changed. Brazil was living a time of economic recession, an increase in unemployment, and a hard time to finance the social welfare that Lula introduced. The Worker’s Party, who had been known as one of the country’s least corrupt party, chose to solve its financial problems by dipping into a trough of money diverted from Petrobras, the national oil company. Apparently they acted the same way as any other political party had been acting. The Petrobras scandal is one of the largest corruptions scandals in the country’s history, which has been going for almost a decade, and where 5.3 billion dollars came into play. Rousseff was the chair of Petrobras’ board from 2003 to 2010, thus the scandal occurred under her eyes. After the Petrobras scandal, Brazil’s inequality was more obvious. Citizens had a negative response towards it, and along with the economic recession the country was experiencing, people dissatisfaction towards Rousseff ’s government started to increase.
The opposition took advantage of the increasing citizen’s displeasure towards the current government and, leaded by Eduardo Cunha spokesperson from the lower house, decided to impeach Dilma Rousseff on a Sunday. They televised the poll, something new for the country, and a steel wall was raised in the centre of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, to prevent pro-Dilma and antiDilma activists confronting each other Some Brazilians labelled the poll as a ‘bizarre circus’ where they could actually watch, for the first time, how their politicians were acting in the congress. The opposition, guided by an extreme conservative policy and made up of wealthy reactionary politicians, magnates, and part of the media, voted in favour to impeach Dilma Rousseff appealing to moral rules, God and their family. They were able to stage a coup against democracy, as there was no actual proof of her imputation, and managed to impeach her under the accusations of involving loans from public banks to the treasury. Jair Bolsonoro, a political deputy, compared the current political moment Brazil is going through with the one the country lived in 1964 after the military coup victory. For him, Brazil is living now a democracy coup.
There were some key aspects leading to Dilma’s impeachment, her unpopularity with the citizens, consequence of her personality and the economic recession; the Worker’s Party embrace of a corrupt system to finance their party; and the dysfunctional relationship of the Brazilian executive and legislature. Ironically, those wanting to expel Dilma from the government are confronted with corruption charges. Eduardo Cunha, the house speaker, is facing charges of up to 184 years in prison if condemn. If Rousseff is expelled from the government, the vice-President Michel Temer will be leading the country. Temer could also face impeachment himself under the same accusations as Rousseff. The next possible successor would be Eduardo Cunha, who is, as mentioned before, also facing charges for the Petrobras scandal. This situation would leave the country with an uncertain future, and an urge to change the current political landscape. Nevertheless, the Brazilian press specified that their current political situation will not affect the Olympic Games in Rio, despite the country going through an economic recession and a possible coup d’etat.
Ironically, those wanting to expel Dilma from the government are confronted with corruption charges.
Before the event, Blakeway gave a passionate speech on the importance of voting, arguing that those group who fail to turn out to vote are often over-looked by those in power.
After 17 years in power it comes as no surprise that Labour came under heavy criticism as the representatives made their closing statements.
Cardiff Students: The Big Debate
ust before midnight on the 18th of this month marked the deadline to register to vote in this year’s Welsh Assembly elections. In one last attempt to boost voter registration the Students’ Union held a debate in the Great Hall featuring six party representatives and hosted by the outgoing SU President Claire Blakeway. The debate saw Blakeway put questions sent in by Cardiff students to the candidates and representatives present, with some interjections from the audience. The parties attending the event included; the Conservatives with their candidate for First Minister Carwyn Jones’ seat, Bridgend, George Jabbour. The Green Party in England and Wales with their Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, Labour sent the incumbent AM for Cardiff Central, Jenny Rathbone. The Liberal Democrats sent the incumbent member for South Wales Central, Eluned Parrott. Representing Plaid Cymru was the candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, Dafydd Trystan Davies. Finally, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (or TUSC) sent the secretary for the Socialist Party in Wales, Dave Reid. UKIP were invited to the event, but declined to attend. Before the event, Blakeway gave a passionate speech on the importance of voting, arguing that those groups who fail to turn out to vote are often overlooked by those in power. Her speech culminated in arguing that, with 30,000 students at the University, a lot of collective power could be exercised. With the narrow window left for students to register, SU staff were on hand to help those students who had not yet registered for the upcoming elections in May. Jabbour, originally from Syria, is an Engineering graduate whose previous experience includes working at Goldman Sachs, but he was keen to point out that “I am not a fat cat bankster”. In his role at Goldman Sachs he acted as a whistle-blower exposing corrupt practices and set up Ethos Capital Advisors Ltd, a firm who have helped renegotiate debt. Davies, who is currently the Senior Academic Manager and Registrar for Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, (the group established to encourage the use of the Welsh language in Welsh universities) outlined Labour’s failings over their 17 years in power, in a fiery introduction, asking the audience “is it good enough?” Labour incumbent for Cardiff Central paid tribute to her constituency, praising its diversity and stating “I’m Labour because I believe in giving everyone the best start in life”. TUSC candidate Reid Argued Labour hadn’t done enough to push against cuts from Westminster arguing that Welsh families were £2000 worse off after the past six years. As the Green Party hope for a breakthrough in this years election, Womack told students that this was “your opportunity to be part of history” and highlighted the importance of youth participation. Liberal representative Eluned Parrott introduced herself as a Cardiff University graduate and highlighted the need for a long-term plan to prevent graduates from leaving Wales. The first question to representatives covered Higher Education, referencing the increasing cost of living; can-
didates were asked what they would do to make university more affordable. Plaid argued that the Welsh government lacks the resources to fund those “great universities [who] need the funds to succeed”. TUSC stated that they see education as a human right, to be provided for free by the state. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens argued that the cost of living, not fees, were to be targeted. The Green party offered free transport for those under 21 in an effort to combat these costs. The Conservatives argued for their policy of a 50% tax rebate for students and pointed out Labours failure to discuss policy. Labour argued, with particular focus on past Liberal pledges, that it is too easy for smaller parties to over promise but under deliver. Eluned soon went on the offensive, pointing out just which party first introduced tuition fees, and later trebled them, before arguing that Labour failed to adequately respond to the Diamond Review. The review finds that Welsh students have less debt than English students but that the current system is unsustainable and needs reform. Jabbour referred to the First Minister’s recent appearance on “Ask the Leader” attacking his vague answers and citing his admission to Welsh Labour ‘dropping the ball’ on education, asking how he remains in the same position. Housing followed this discussion, as the NUS finds that three-quarters of students have suffered sub standard housing. The Greens started the debate arguing for the abolition of deposits, giving students access to housing without up front costs. Liberal incumbent, Eluned, discussed her own experience with housing as a student at Cardiff and looks to push landlords to tackle energy efficiency in student houses to save students money on bills. Plaid agreed with both parties, stating they would introduce similar policies whereas the Conservatives pushed their policy regarding new homes. Arguing that the problem lied with supply and demand, the Tories discussed their policy of building 70,000 new homes across Wales. TUSC attacked the incumbent Labour government in Wales and their recent Renting homes Act, Labour pointed out that the Act only came into force two weeks ago and that it was too early to judge the effects of the law. After an open debate around housing with questions from the audience, including one student
who found their house marked with a Liberal poster despite not supporting the party. After taking it down, the poster was soon replaced, this time just out of reach. Parrot was keen to emphasise that her party respected the will of voters and asked for the students address post debate to adequately deal with the issue. The next subject covered was mental health, and what the representatives believed they could do for students suffering from such issues. The opposition parties highlighted the stresses on the Welsh NHS; Davies spoke of the need for mental health to be treated on a par with physical health and highlighted the case of one constituent who waited years for psychiatric health. The Conservative candidate stated that Wales was the only part of the UK to experience cuts to mental health services in the past five years. Eluned Parrot revealed her own experience of mental illness, suffering depression after the birth of her two children. The candidates moved on to matters of equality and discussed matters of economic inequality, racial equality, feminism and LGBT matters. Jabbour praised the UK as a land of opportunity, a nation in which, just five years after becoming a citizen, he can stand as a candidate for the Welsh Assembly. It wasn’t long before the Conservative candidate felt the pressure, as Labour attacked Tory plans to cut tax rates. In turn, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dem candidate brought up a recent debate from the Senedd. The parties proposed plans to ban zero hours contracts in the public sector which were defeated by Labour when it came to the vote. In the discussion it was pointed out that poverty levels had remained unchanged since powers were first devolved to Wales. TUSC raised the point that Liberal and Plaid run councils had outsourced work to companies paying below the minimum wage. It was left to a member of the audience to point out that the Assembly doesn’t have powers to regulate wages. Returning to the subject of Mental Health, one audience member with experience of those services provided by the Welsh NHS criticised the way patients are treated when switching from children’s services to those providing for adults. Both Rathbone and Womack criticised the current set up and called for improved, joined up
services. Davies referred to this year’s Plaid manifesto which looks for a more robust service for the transition to adult services, ensuring these are delivered in an age appropriate manner. Another audience member referred to a number of his lecturers leaving the University and asked what could be done to ensure Welsh universities keep and recruit high quality lecturers. Rathbone cited research-showing universities in Cardiff topped lists of Universities across the United Kingdom. Plaid look to end the current set up seeing Wales send an estimated £92m to English universities. Liberal Democrat policy seeks to ring-fence the education budget arguing this will a return in investment of six to one. After 17 years in power it comes as no surprise that Labour came under heavy criticism as the representatives made their closing statements, though Rathbone cited the recent success as this year’s GCSE results in Welsh schools were at their highest ever. As TUSC argued that the party had supervised the ‘managed decline’ of public services in Wales. The Lib Dems argued Wales still does not have the services required and that nothing short of “a revolution” is needed. Jabbour received a good reception from the audience as he reworked a famous Oscar Wilde quote in reference to Welsh Labour’s buying of Cardiff Airport for above the market price stating Labour “know the value of nothing, and the price of nothing”. Despite predictions that the party will make serious gains in the Assembly, UKIP declined to send a representative to the debate. Their absence didn’t stop Davies from going on the offensive, denouncing South Wales Central candidate Gareth Bennett after his recent comments blaming Eastern European immigrants for rubbish problems in Cardiff, the Plaid candidate urged voters to “lend your vote to forces of progressive change”. The Welsh Assembly is made up of 60 members. On May 5th you have two votes, one for your Constituency member and one for your Regional member. There are 40 constituencies across Wales and five Regions, each receiving four representatives. This election gives you the opportunity to vote on just who you want to represent you during your time at Cardiff, readers are urged to turn out next week and help choose the make up of the next Welsh Government.
Pictured: Candidates at the debate last Monday (Photographer: Jamie McKay)
On May 5th you have two votes, one for your constituency member and one for your regional member.
Editors: Maria Mellor Lizzie Harrett @GairRhyddSci email@example.com gairrhydd.com/science
Genes linked to the age you lose your virginity
This does indicate that early sex may not always be a sign of personality, maturity, or genetics, but due to other socioeconomic and biological factors.
large study using data from men and women from Iceland and the UK biobank has linked the age people lose their virginity to 38 specific genetic regions. Unsurprisingly, many of these genes are linked to other factors. Genes associated with ADHD were strongly linked with having sex younger, and genetic areas influencing schizophrenia were also significantly negatively correlated with age of first sex, whereas genes related to intelligence had the opposite effect. Irritability also has an associated gene, MSRA, which was suggested to relate to later age of first sex. Correlations between genes which indicate likelihood of smoking and the age of first sex were also found. It is also bad news for redheads, as ginger hair was found to be associated with later first sex for both men and women, though freckles only affected women in the same way. Unsurprisingly, a major factor focused on in this study was genes associated with risk-taking. CADM2 is a gene that is associated with numerous traits, including: risk taking; neuronal development; affects propensity of developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder; and was found to have a significant relationship with age of first sex
through neurobehavioral influence. All neurobehavioural factors were categorised in the study as stimulus seeking (risk taking), which lowered the likely age of first sex, and moderating traits such as intelligence and irritability, which raised it. Risk taking is also itself moderated by executive functions in the frontal cortex of the brain which control decision making and impulse control, hence the influence of intelligence. Thought this study may seem sensational, it is not the first time such genetic links have been investigated. CADM2 has also been linked to a higher number of sexual partners, and other genes related to risk taking or novelty seeking have been similarly identified. The gene DRD4 has long also been associated with such behaviours, and like CADM2 has also been linked to ADHD and low attention, as well as sexual behaviours. Another study by Garcia et al. in 2010, showed via questionnaires that people who had the DRD4 gene had twice as great promiscuity rates (measured in one night stands), and were more likely to be unfaithful in relationships. The less ‘bloggable’ but more concerning aspects of this study are those which link early puberty with age of
first sex. Early puberty (often a sign of poverty due to childhood obesity, and not necessarily linked to reproductive fitness) is also linked causally with early first birth and lower educational attainment. Other established correlates of younger age of first sex include social disadvantage and family insta-
bility. This is not to imply that all those who have sex young are impoverished or to be pitied, but does indicate that early sex may not always be a sign of personality, maturity, or genetics, but due to other socio-economic and biological factors which limit the potential of young people.
Pictured: No diggety, you’ve got to bag it up (Photographer: aerial_m via flickr)
How deep-sea creatures survived the killer asteroid Cardiff University researchers answer the key question
The survival of deep sea creatures has consistently puzzled scientists because the asteroid caused chaotic upheaval to many ecosystems.
esearchers at Cardiff University have continued to make a significant contribution to scientific discoveries. A new study has shed light on the mysterious survival of deep sea creatures after an asteroid collision resulted in a mass extinction 65 million years ago. Many scientists believe that an asteroid collided with the Mexican Yucatan peninsula around 65 million years ago. The impact caused many different catastrophic events to occur, for example the excess amount of debris blocked out the sunlight, whilst the rise of greenhouse emissions similarly increased the temperature of the Earth. This starved the planet of natural resources, whilst earthquakes and tsunamis also contributed to making an inhospitable environment to survive. Additionally, there was an increase in Sulphur Trioxide (SO3) in the atmosphere. This caused acid rain which dramatically impacted water sources, like rivers and lakes, and oceans, especially in the Epipelagic Zone. These hostile factors resulted in the mass extinction of dinosaurs, invertebrates, large marine animals and also microscopic organisms. It was believed that this collision cut off food supplies for many differ-
ent animals. Subsequently, scientists were extremely puzzled because of the continued survival of animals in the deep sea. This study, which was led by PhD student Heather Birch from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, provides answers to some long sought after questions. The composition of shell fossils, which were found in drilling cores from the South Atlantic Ocean floor, were analysed during this research project. The findings provided information to examine the movement of organic matter from the surface of the sea to the sea bed after the collision. This research enlightened the otherwise murky understanding of this subject, and Heather Birch explains that their research has exposed ‘some types of photosynthesising organisms, such as algae and bacteria, were living in the aftermath of the asteroid strike’. This revelation suggests that the asteroid did not destroy all potential life lines. Indeed, algae and bacteria offered a constant, if not slow, food supply to the sea creatures that were situated near the ocean bed. This study has helped to answer how these sea creatures continued to exist during this destructive period.
Additionally, this study has also suggested that it only took 1.7 million years for the food supply to return to its normal state. This is surprising as it is half of the time that was previously estimated, suggesting the capability that the Earth has to adapt to difficult climates and physical phenomena. The survival of deep sea creatures
has consistently puzzled scientists because the asteroid caused chaotic upheaval to many ecosystems. The findings, as Heather Birch affirms, answer ‘one of the outstanding questions that still remained regarding this period of history’. This research has offered vital clarity, and the paper can be read fully in the April publication of the Geology journal.
Pictured: These sea creatures were saved by algae (Source: Cardiff University)
Can paralysis be cured?
With recent advances in the field, we take a look into the attempts researchers have made to ‘cure’ paralysis
Researchers have found ways to mimic the electronic signals the nerves transmit, bypassing the damage and going straight from the brain to the paralysed area.
aralysis is most often caused by damage to nerve tissue, either through a stroke or break in the spine, and it is so far untreatable. Recent innovations in science, however, have meant that the damage can be bypassed to allow someone to walk using machinery or even play Guitar Hero with the aid of artificial electronic impulses. It is the job of the nerves to send and receive information through electronic impulses. Information from our senses is sent for the brain to translate, and instructions are sent back from the brain to the muscles. Therefore if these nerves are damaged in some way, the part of the body they lead to will be unable to move nor feel sensations such as touch and pain. You can break your spine without becoming paralysed, however if the spinal cord where all the nerves lead up to the brain is damaged, a whole area of the body will be left paralysed. So what is so difficult about fixing damaged nerves? Unfortunately nerves are very tiny, very delicate things. They are highly individual cells that are so specialised they are unable to heal themselves. Even if it was even remotely possible to reattach damaged nerves, there are so many variables that could go wrong. A surgeon would have to reattach each individual nerve with disastrous results in the wrong nerve was put in the wrong place. There are risks of harming the patient further, and it’s simply not feasible for such a thing to happen today. The simplest solution, but perhaps not the cheapest, is to give a paraplegic person an exoskeleton. These machines strap to the paralysed area and use motors to move the joints. The wearer is then able to control
their movements through a series of buttons. It’s purpose isn’t just to let a paraplegic person move their legs again, but it also allows them to get out of their wheelchair in order to minimise secondary health problems they may gain due to extended sitting. Exoskeletons do have their problems: they’re expensive, bulky and overall not all that practical in day to day life. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Researchers have found ways to mimic the electronic signals the nerves transmit, bypassing the damage and going straight from the brain to the paralysed area. Ian Burkhart from Ohio, US, has just had a chip implanted into his brain to hopefully give him a new lease of life. The chip reads signals from his brain which are interpreted by a computer that sends precise electronic impulses to control the muscles in his hand. He sustained damage to his spinal cord following a diving accident five years ago that meant he was paralysed from the elbows down and left unable to walk. This is the first time this kind of technology has been used to successfully allow a person with paralysis to move their hand. Six months ago Gair Rhydd reported on a breakthrough in the technology, when a paraplegic man was the first to be able to walk again without the use of an exoskeleton or prosthetics. He was trained to control walking and idling (staying still), and went on to walk a 3.66 metre course with the aid of a walking frame and harness. The technology is still in it’s infancy: the equipment is too bulky and too expensive to be used in everyday life, but there are hopes that with development researchers can make ad-
Pictured: Being unable to walk can cause a lot of secndary health problems that researchers hope to help (Source: Binomialphoto)
justments to make it more practical to be used by anyone who needs it. What about attempts to actually cure paralysis? While it would be impossible to reattach damaged nerves, there is a possibility that they could be encouraged to mend themselves. There is the method of epidural stimulation, where an electrical current is passed at different frequencies and intensities just below the injured part to activate the nerve circuits. Participants in a study are reported to have regained some voluntary movements as well as improved cardiovascular and bowel health, even after the device was switched off. Another method which attempts to encourage the nerves to heal themselves is through the use of stem cells. Stem cells are effectively the ‘master
cells’ and can be found in bone marrow. These cells are able to become any type of specialised cell, whether it’s a muscle cell, a blood cell or a nerve cell. The idea is that these stem cells are injected at the site of damage in the hopes that the nerve cells would re-attach and work again. It’s incredibly risky with limited success rates, but it could be possible with some fine-tuning. Paralysis is a terrible thing to happen to a person, and the key to its reversal is much desired by both scientists and doctors alike. There are many paths being followed at the moment with a few breakthroughs in technology, but unfortunately nothing good enough for permanent use. All we can hope is for one or more of these technologies to be refined in the near future.
The idea is that these stem cells are injected at the site of damage in the hopes that the nerve cells would re-attach and work again.
The rise of super-gonorrhoea and antibiotic resistance
While 34 cases may sound like a drop in the ocean when there are 70 million people living in the UK, the issue is with how quickly it could spread if those who are infected have multiple sexual partners.
uper-gonorrhoea: it’s back in the headlines, increasing in incidence and spreading across the country. Gair Rhydd Science reported way back in October that several cases of an antibiotic-resistant strain of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) had been detected in North West England. However, a press release by Public Health England (PHE) has now confirmed 34 incidences of gonorrhoea detected that are resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin between November 2014 and April 2016. These cases have been reported around the country, with the outbreak spreading to the West Midlands and London. The initial cases reported in October were just among individuals who were involved in sexual activity with the opposite gender, but it is now also being reported in homosexual men. Gonorrhoea is also known as “The Clap” and is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is spread through sexual activity, with symptoms including sore genitals and a burning sensation when peeing. However, approximately 1 in every 10 infected men and half of women do not experience any symptoms. If left untreated it can result in painful infections of the genitals in men and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can cause miscarriage and result in infertility. In the UK, it is treated by a course of two antibiotics; azithromycin which is orally administered, and ceftriaxone that is injected. This is so if bacteria is resistant to one, it is killed by the other. The reported
” How does it work? Deodorant
Deodorant, antiperspirants in particular, doesn’t just work to mask the smell that comes from your armpits, but it is actually designed to stop the root cause of it. It’s bacteria that makes that lovely BO smell as it feeds of your sweat and produces smelly chemicals. Deodorants work to block or kill this bacteria - for example some contain triclosan which makes your armpits too salty for bacteria to survive, while antiperspirants block up sweat glands, thus cutting off the bacteria’s source of food and preventing smell as a result.
cases of this super-gonorrhoea are therefore only killed by the ceftriaxone, which means that it could potentially rapidly build up a resistance to this drug too - gonorrhoea is notorious for quickly building one up. However, if this happens then we will be all out of options. Super-gonorrhoea will be totally untreatable, which could be a health disaster for clinicians and epidemiologists. While 34 cases may sound like a drop in the ocean when there are 70 million people living in the UK, the issue is with how quickly it could spread if those who are infected have multiple sexual partners. Worryingly, PHE confirmed that out of all of those diagnosed with the strain of super-gonorrhoea, partner notification levels were incredibly low. Just 22 per cent of all the partners reported were successfully notified. Scientists who analysed the genetic makeup of the bacteria showed that they were related to previously reported cases, and were recently transmitted. Dr Mark Lawton, a spokesman for the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, has said that research is partly emerging due to individuals who test positive for gonorrhoea buying treatments online confidentially from internet stores. You can only buy non-injectable drugs online, so instead of buying ceftriaxone they are purchasing the oral drug cefixime. This is not as effective as ceftriaxone as it does not penetrate the tissues which can host the bacteria very well This puts the pressure on azithromycin to treat the infection, putting it at a much greater risk of bacteria developing a
Lava lamps The liquid in lava lamps is made up of two liquids - oil and water. The two can’t mix so they stay in the lamp as separate liquids. When heat is applied from the light bulb at the bottom of the lamp, the liquid closest to it heats up, becoming less dense and rising to the top. At the top, away from the heat the liquid cools down again, becoming more dense and falling down to the bottom again. This happens in a cycle, but very slowly to create a cool effect.
Helium It’s the token party trick - inhaling Helium from a balloon to change your voice. But how does this work? The air that surrounds us is primarily composed of nitrogen. Helium is
resistance to it. The rise of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhoea is part of a much wider picture of an unprecedented health challenge facing the world. In a 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) report on this problem, they noted that antibiotic-resistance was present in bacteria responsible for common and serious health diseases. These include blood infection, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. They stated that these results were a cause for high concern, especially as resistance is being found in “last resort” antibiotics - such as azithromycin in Gonorrhoea. Bacterial resistance occurs due to natural selection, which is Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. When bacteria reproduce, random mutations can cause changes to their genetic makeup. This includes altering the mechanisms that antibiotics attack. If a mutation causes bacteria to survive a course of antibiotics, those which resist the treatment will be the only survivors. They will then reproduce, passing on the genes which confer this survival to their progeny and causing resistance to spread. The WHO Assistant DirectorGeneral for Health Security, Dr Keiji Fukuda, highlighted the need for critical action, saying: “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.” He added, “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live long-
er, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and take antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.” PHE are spearheading the response to the outbreak of this antibiotic resistant drug, with protection teams supporting local work to prevent further dissemination of this strain through enhanced data collection, interventions and communications to raise awareness among affected communities. Dr Gwenda Hughes, consultant scientist and head of the STI section at PHE urged individuals to reduce their risk through “using condoms with all new and casual partners,” as well as getting regularly tested for STIs in order to get treatment before taking up new sexual partners and potentially furthering the spread of the disease. When looking at the larger problem of antibiotic resistance, a much greater strategy is needed. The WHO have developed a large-scale plan, which includes offering better global access to improved hygiene, access to clean water and better infection control - all with the aim of reducing the need for antibiotics. There is also a push for researchers to develop new antibiotics. However, when looking at supergonorrhoea, the easiest way to avoid it is of course to follow Dr Hughes’ advice and the age-old mantra: don’t be a schmuck, wrap it up.
much lighter gas than nitrogen, causing sound waves to travel through it much quicker. When you inhale Helium, you’re changing the type of gas molecules which are found in your vocal tract, causing the speed of sound of your voice to increase. This causes a change in vocal timbre: the faster soundwaves change the resonances in your vocal tract, making it more responsive to higher frequency sounds.
Pictured: The pills we pop to treat infections may soon be useless (Photographer: Martin Cathrae)
Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and change how take antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods. Dr Keiji Fukuda
bubbles will grow in size and buoyancy until they rise to the surface of the cola, allowing the process to repeat.
Mentos and diet cola experiment You may have seen this on YouTube: mentos sweets plus diet cola creates an explosive reaction with foamy liquid. Research has shown it is largely down to the structure of the mentos reacting with carbonated properties of the drink. The porous mentos surface provides a site for carbon dioxide bubbles to form. These
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Study finds circumcision does not affect sensitivity Researchers are attempting to settle the age-old debate
This study can also be used as preliminary evidence to show that the foreskin is not the most sensitive part of the penis as has been believed.
They target lead pollution which, considering the catastrophic events surrounding the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is a very real problem we face.
hough circumcision procedures have been practiced for thousands of years, the impact it truly has on sexual pleasure is unknown. However, a study published in The Journal of Urology has suggested that sexual functioning does not differ between those who are circumcised and those who are not. Many people in university may have heard this crop up in conversations and debate. It can understandably get pretty heated. Boys who have been circumcised for medical or religious purposes have often heard that due to the procedure they will have altered sexual experiences and sensitivity. Indeed, the procedure of removing the skin that covers the head of the penis can seem invasive. However, circumcision does have its positives. Circumcisions have previously been proven to lower rates of urinary tract infections and can reduce the transmission of STI’s such as HIV by up to 60 per cent. Also, circumcised penises can be easier to keep clean for improved sexual and personal hygiene. Nonetheless, these promising figures have not stopped rates of circumcision falling in America. Currently, 75 per cent of American men are circumcised. Yet, only 55 to 57 per cent of newborn babies are now undergoing the procedure showing that people are turning their back on
the practice. The decision to get an infant circumcised is a difficult and personal one. Whilst parents in certain religious groups will opt for the procedure on the grounds of tradition, other parents are often faced with the decision with little evidence compelling one way. This is where scientific research steps in to help solve the dispute. A team of researchers from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada studied 62 young adult men: 30 were circumcised and 32 were not. The men were all subject to a number of penile sensitivity tests and the results were recorded. Methods examining tactile detection, warmth detection and pain threshold were taken at various locations on the penis and compared between the two groups. Similarly, for four weeks the subjects went away and wrote a report on sexual satisfaction, orgasmic function and sexual desire. The results of all these tests showed that there was not distinct differences between the two groups in the tests and self-reports. However, the validity of the self-written reports can come into question as one man can’t possibly compare experiences between having a foreskin and not. Not only does this study show that circumcision in babies does not lead
to changes in penile sensitivity later in life but this study can also be used as preliminary evidence to show that the foreskin is not the most sensitive part of the penis as has been believed in the past. Whilst a clear conclusion was not drawn up relating sexual function and circumcision status, the findings do suggest that any differ-
ences in sexual function were not due to decreased sensitivity from a circumcision. Whatever path people choose to take, it is a personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when making a decision on behalf of future offspring. Choose wisely.
the creation (and disposal) of batteries and electronics. Unfortunately, there are certain issues with the production of these microbots that could mean putting them into widespread action may not be plausible for some time. The cost of creating such complex, yet tiny technology, alongside the fact that many of the production materials, such as platinum, are expensive to acquire and work with, means that a suitable business model and source of funding will need to be established before the
microbots can be mass produced. However, the idea of a self-propelling microbot has now inspired researchers from other fields, such as medicine, to theorise about the prospect of using such nanotechnology for both the discovery and treatment of disease in humans. So, it seems that despite technical and financial issues which may need to be dealt with in the early stages of this technology’s development, microbots could provide new solutions for problems in many areas in the years to come.
Pictured: To peel or not to peel? (Photographer: Emilian Robert Vicol)
Microbots hailed as success for cleaning up polluted water
tating that “heavy metal contamination in water is a serious risk to the public health and other life forms on earth,” several researchers from universities and institutions around the world have collaborated to theorise about the mass production of a “GOx-microbot”: a piece of nanotechnology with the capability to remove damaging pollutants from water without leaving any residue behind. The microbots are reusable, selfpowering, and are described as being in a cylindrical tube shape and “smaller than the width of a human hair.” Specifically, the microbots target lead pollution which, considering the catastrophic events surrounding the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is certainly a very real problem we face. The researchers, Diana Vilela, Jemish Parmar, Yongfei Zeng, Yanli Zhao, and Samuel Sánchez, designed the microbots to have three “layers,” and to work in polluted water which has had hydrogen peroxide added to it. The hydrogen peroxide is designed to react with the innermost layer of the microbots, which consists of platinum. The platinum would then decompose the hydrogen peroxide into
“microbubbles” of water and oxygen, with the expulsion of these bubbles from inside the microbot providing enough force to propel it through the water. The second, or middle, layer of the microbots is made up of nickel, the purpose of which is to allow magnets to pull them out of the water once the pollutants have been dealt with. Thirdly, the outer layer of the microbots is made out of graphene oxide, which adsorbs lead ions from the wastewater. The high absorption of lead by these microbots, alongside the fact that they leave no harmful residue behind and can later be “cleansed” of lead ions through a pH readjustment and reused, makes this an incredibly efficient and economical model for dealing with rising heavy metal pollution levels worldwide. Researcher Samuel Sánchez particularly stressed the importance of creating a “smart remediation system where we can target and remove traces of pollutant without producing an additional contamination,” when designing the microbots. The outcomes of this study could potentially lead to improved methods of dealing with the fallout of a rise of industrial activity, such as mining and
Pictured: Microbots can easily clean up water (Photographer: Joost Nelissen)
Editor: Aletheia Nutt @GairRhyddSoc firstname.lastname@example.org gairrhydd.com/societies
Hannah Sterritt VP Societies
With a wide cast, and being a heavy description novel, I was interested to see how the interpretation would follow.
Elections for societies!
i all – we’re at the end of another very busy week with a lot of deadlines for most of you! This week I’ve been at the NUS National Conference in Brighton, which is the head policy making body of the National Union of Students. It brings together almost 1000 delegates from all over the UK to discuss the year ahead for NUS. There were eight delegates who represented Cardiff and it was pretty intense, with almost 100 motions submitted for discussion. Wednesday saw Varsity in Swan-
sea once again – and once again we retained the Varsity shield. It was a gorgeous day to see so many of our amazing teams competing, and the atmosphere in the Liberty Stadium for the rugby was amazing! Towards the end of the week I was busy doing the finishing touches for the Societies Ball, which will be held this Friday 29th April in the Great Hall. There are 330 people attending, so it’s no small affair coordinating so many aspects, which should all be well worth it, celebrating the successes of our diverse Societies
and the 2015-16 academic year. We’re also in the middle of Elections for Societies, where I’m currently running several Election results every day. This is pretty exciting, as the new cohort of committee members begin the first step to transforming and developing their new Societies in their new roles. This also means Handover for many committees is ongoing, to enable new committee members to be as prepared as possible for the year ahead, which will come round far too quickly again!
Act One: Animal Farm review
remember when I first read George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm. GCSE English, back in my days of being young and fancy free (4 years ago). I loved it, the symbolism, the drama, the characters, all pulled together in a brilliant writing style to create one of the most iconic pieces of literature I can think of. Coupled with the huge hype for the Act One production I had the pleasure of seeing last week, I went into this with high hopes, and extreme trepidation. Lo’ and behold if they didn’t rise to the challenge and exceed my expectations. I was greeted by a coupling of energy and enthusiasm that blew my mind. Animal Farm is a difficult production to put on, having previously been adapted for film twice, both in 1954 and 1999, as well as to theatre twice, in 1984 (ironically for an Orwell production) by Richard Peaslee, and in 1985 in a solo version that has toured worldwide since. However each of these deviated in some regard, be it changes to the story seen predominately in the movie versions, or to the cast. This was not to dissuade our earnest director Martin Newman. Animal Farm, for the uninformed, is an allegorical and dystopian tale, warning of the beliefs of communism and the issues that would come about after reflecting on the events leading up the Russian Revolution of 1917. With a wide cast, and being a heavy description novel, I was interested to see how the interpretation would follow. All the characters took turns acting as the narrator for the story over the course of the story. Moses (Becki Dack) was the most frequent narrator, acting as the sly raven that observed the events unfolding. The production opens to the animals gathering around Old Major (Luke Merchant) who delivered an impassioned speech on the ideal of communism. The hoarsely croaked delivery enraptured cast and audience
alike, although I have to say the highlight was the sung delivery of Beasts of England at the end. Opened by Phil Sim (who was a member of the ensemble, as well as playing Mr Pilkington), it gave me chills. Commendation must be given to the pigs. The de facto leaders of Animal Farm, Snowball (Anna Crosby), Napoleon (Verity Masterson), and Squealer (Katie Bradshaw). Each brought a certain feature I was particularly impressed with; be it Anna’s energy on stage and sheer volume of delivery, to the way Napoleon’s stage presence and way Verity carried herself on stage, to Katie’s hilarious lines and interactions with other cast on stage. At parts they definitely hog-ged the limelight on stage, but I find it difficult to complain about that. (Side Note: I apologise but the chance to abuse some puns are too sweet to put off, swine that I am). Now back in the day of reading Animal Farm, my favourite characters were Benjamin and Boxer, and boy o boy did Dominic Parish and Aaran Thomas do them justice. Orwell always considered himself similar to the beaten down Benjamin, world weary and critical, and the death of Boxer in the second act was heart wrenching. It’s always a good sign to have audience members tearing up after an hour or so of interacting with a character. Adding to this little pair was the other main horse of the show, Clover (Imogen Carter) whose care for Boxer was beautiful, and it was her cry of pain that broke me when Boxer is taken away. Animal farm features two large battles pivotal to the plot, and they were exciting scenes indeed. With choreography arranged by Lucy Spain that ended up involving Anna being thrown around in what seemed like every directors heart attack moment. Chaos was on stage. Actors and props flew about. I would say that during these particular scenes the mu-
sic could get a bit loud, and with the changing narrative it was tough to follow what was on stage. However, you can’t really complain too much about the energy, with none of the ensemble (Miriam Hopkins, Elis Williams, Jasmina Saleh, Jack Miles) stopping or pausing, I almost never knew what to watch. But a production of this quality would not be wrapped up without a top quality behind the scenes crew, and other than the choreography I have to mention the costume and makeup, arranged and put together by CJ Friday, Elisa Leppanen, and Sara Williams. The pigs all had synthetic snouts, which led to Napoleon dramatically ripping it off at the end of the final scene. Also to Emily Broad, the stage manager, who constructed the best set I have seen so far at Act One, which had the joint delight of being dynamic at parts, with sections be-
ing folded out by cast or crew behind the scenes, and at the end new lights shone and revealed UV paint writing “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS” in what I thought was a fantastic stylistic choice. To summarise, despite the overwhelming hype for this production, and my confusion due to the overwhelming nature of certain scenes, I thought Act one outdid themselves on this one. Martin Newman said that the cast and crew was the best he had ever worked with, and you can tell they had bonded. Act two I considered to be stronger, but in my brief foray into the smokers’ area during the interval, the excitement of the audience and the way everyone was speaking about individual details spoke volumes. Rest up all involved, and be incredibly proud of all you achieved. I hope to see more of everyone involved in future.
Pictured: Act One’s Animal Farm Poster.
I was greeted by a coupling of energy and enthusiasm that blew my mind.
Welsh Assembly elections 2016: Lara Stace
A focus on equal representation
ith the Wales Assembly election coming up in May, the Women’s Equality Party Society has made equal representation in politics a focus for the coming week or so. We’ve had a special report on equal representation broadcast on Xpress Radio, and we’ll also be holding a Women in Parliament workshop on Tuesday 26 April. The figures surrounding female representation in Welsh politics are mixed. On the one hand, before the Assembly went into dissolution there was a reassuring balance between male and female AMs: 23 men and 17 women in constituency posts, and 12 men and eight women in regional posts. Although not the perfect 50/50, it is strides ahead of the UK government’s 191 women MPs out of 600 seats – that’s just under a third. Furthermore, two of the five main parties in Wales are led by women, compared to a big zero in the UK’s major three. If you include the Green Party, then the total figure
jumps to one in England and three in Wales. Council figures hold little encouragement. Women make up 27% of council members in Wales, just about tottering over the quarter mile distance. Furthermore, only one of the 22 councils in Wales is led by a woman: Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn in Ceredigion County Council. Also, if we return to the Welsh Assembly figures, they become problematic when you discover that there was a halfand-half gender balance in 2003. Wales had grabbed a record because it was the first legislative body in the world to elect an equal number of men and women, but the balance has swayed since. Why? I spoke to former Labour AM Jenny Rathbone for the Xpress report about equal representation in politics, who pinpointed childcare responsibilities and the working environment as factors that influence women’s engagement with ‘high-flying’ politics. She added that, despite
figures showing otherwise, women were engaged with local politics because community campaigns are often started by women. Different reports offer different estimations for the amount of time it will take to reach gender parity in politics, ranging from 20 years to 50. Positive discrimination appears to be the way forward, but it can come under fire. It seeks to jump-start gender parity by introducing all-women shortlists for political candidates. If it brings more women into parliament and the Assembly, it is thought the working environment will begin to change so that it is more hospitable to women and that perceptions of female politicians can progress. This Tuesday we have arranged for an engaging Women in Parliament workshop to take place in the SU. It’s free to attend and everyone is welcome – even you aren’t a member, it would be great to see you there. Find us on Facebook (‘Women’s Equality
Party Society, Cardiff University’) to get all the event details. If you want to learn more about equal representation in politics and hear from politicians across the political spectrum, you can find our report on mixcloud and on our Facebook page. The report was inspired by one of the Women’s Equality Party’s six objectives: equal representation. This includes representation in politics, business and the judiciary. If you would like to read more about the objective, and how the WEP aims to improve parity across the board, take a look at www.womensequality. org.uk Although the report, the first in a series, is inspired by WEP’s different objectives, it has been carried out with upmost attention to accuracy and impartiality. Before I sign off, make sure you don’t forget to have your voice heard on Thursday 5th May in the Wales Assembly elections.
This Tuesday we have arranged for an engaging Women in Parliament workshop.
Belly Dancing Society host a belly dancing Hafla! Emma Furzer
he Belly Dancing Society provides a fun, light hearted environment to learn traditional Egyptian dance, taught to us by a talented professional belly dancer. The society is open to all abilities from novists to experienced dancers and gives opportunities to take part in exciting events such as Cardiff Fringe Festival and Go Global. We also organise our own Belly Dancing ‘Hafla’, which not only raises money for a great cause, but is also a hit amongst the local belly dancing community! Whether you’re looking to try
something new or fancy yourself as the next Shakira, with our fun classes and lively socials, Belly Dancing could be the perfect society for you! So if you are interested in trying belly dancing, or fancy watching some professionals dance, then come along to Cardiff University’s Belly Dancing Hafla! It is being held at the Heath Sports & Social Centre on Thursday 28th April at 7:30pm. All ages/abilities/ experiences welcome! Tickets £3 on the door. Contact email@example.com for more information!
What’s on at Cardiff Volunteering?
e know that most of you will be knuckling down soon for revision and those dreaded exams. If you want a bit of respite, or finish super early, or are one of the lucky few that don’t have exams, why not consider volunteering on some of the remaining events before summer? Keep reading for more information… Community Inside Out Film Screening: Saturday 21st May, 9-1pm. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, the National Centre for Mental Health are holding a community screening of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, in partnership with Cardiff University Community Gateway. The event is in the Hayden Ellis Building. We’re seeking 6 CU students to assist with stewarding and supporting the execution of the event on the day. In particular, we welcome applications from students studying a relevant mental health based topic. If
you’d like more information or would like to register your interest in volunteering, please email us and include your name, student ID, year, course and why you’d like to apply. Get It Out For Cardiff: GIOFC is the annual end of term waste, recycling and charity collection scheme, set up to ensure that moving out at the end of term is stress free and leaves our communities clean and tidy. The scheme includes a re-use and charity collection of unwanted items, so when students clear out, we ask them to donate it! Do you want to help keep our communities clean and tidy, or maybe you would like to gain experience working alongside Cardiff Council and local charities? We have many ‘Get It Out for Cardiff ’ (GIOFC) events that you can get involved with. Help out with promotion on 24th/26th May and 2nd June, from 11-2pm. Alternatively, join the walkabouts from 6-10th June, 4-6pm.
Finally, if you’d like to help collect the items from the public, you can help out on one of the pop up stands at Maindy Pool, Cathays Library or Penylan Community Centre, on 11th/18th/25th June! Email cardiffdigs@Cardiff.gov.uk to sign up! Nightingale House Creche Workers: is a local homeless hostel in Cardiff. They are seeking volunteers to run a creche for young children, providing entertainment and childcare whilst their parents engage in education and skills development activities. Activities for the children should include basic play, arts and crafts, cooking lessons and potentially playing sports and trips to local parks. This is a great opportunity to really shape your volunteering experience with both the children, parents and staff as you will be leading the sessions. Nightingale House request a 2-3 hour weekly commitment for a minimum of 6 months to foster good
relationships with the clients. If you’re enthusiastic, empathetic and friendly, with a good understanding of personal boundaries, they’re looking for you! Full training provided. Ideally, you’ll be available over summer. Email us to apply. Merthyr Rising Festival: if you’re interested in gaining events planning experience, this could be perfect! The Merthyr Rising Festival is a 3 day music and arts festival in June, and Hwyl Hub is looking for volunteers to help plan and set up the festival over the next few weeks. Travel expenses to North Merthyr can be covered, and hours are flexible! Alternatively, if you’d like to help out at just the event itself, this is also possible – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info! As always, if you have any questions or a specific idea of what you’d like to do, drop us an email at volunteering@ Cardiff.ac.uk, or pop in to see us in CSEV, 2nd Floor, SU!
Pictured: Above: Belly Dancing Society members.
If you’re interested in gaining events planning experience, this could be perfect!
April/Ebrill Treatment Presents: Dusky, Heidi & more
29/04/16, from £20 ADV
24/05/16, £15 ADV
13/07/16, £23 ADV
November/Tachwedd Jack Garratt
19/11/16, £18.50 ADV
27/07/16, £20 ADV
December/Rhagfyr The Alarm
02/12/16, £22.50 ADV
06/10/16, £12.50 ADV
Alien Ant Farm
09/06/16, £20 ADV
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Editors: Jim Harris James Lloyd Jamie Smith @GairRhyddSport email@example.com gairrhydd.com/sport
Ched Evans to face fresh trial after rape conviction quashed
As former Wales international Ched Evans faces a new trial after winning an appeal against his rape conviction, Dan Heard discusses whether the disgraced footballer will ever make a return to professional football
Those who argue that he needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ need to consider whether resuming his high-paying career and luxury lifestyle fit the parameters of rehabilitation.
Harry Elliott Cardiff Blues Columnist
hed Evans, the former Wales international footballer, has had his conviction for rape quashed at the Court of Appeal in London, but will stand a new trial. The former Sheffield United striker was jailed for five years in 2012 for raping a nineteen-yearold girl at a Premier Inn hotel in Rhyl, North Wales, something which he has always denied. He was released in October 2014 having served little over half of his term. Judges on the case had heard “fresh evidence” over the course of the two-day hearing last month that was deemed sufficient enough to order a retrial. This new development in what is an already controversial case has once again seen an old question posed, which is, of course, “should he be allowed to play football again?” And this only raises further issues. Certainly, legal restrictions on employment or re-employment of an individual after they’ve committed a crime only apply if the job would see that person pose a threat to the public or to society in general. Evans’ “job”, though, does not see him do that. In fact, in his profession, he probably led one of the most sheltered kinds of life anyone could ask for. Therefore, there should not be any legal restrictions in his case either, right? If teams wanted to sign him, they should not be barred or told not to, and it isn’t a matter for the Football Association to involve themselves with either, surely? You could make this point- but on the other side of the coin, where does it stop? Would you be setting some kind of warped precedent if it was deemed acceptable for a rapist to return to playing football, but not, say, a murder, such as in the case of former Notts County player Lee Hughes or Plymouth’s Luke McCormack, both welcomed back following their release, or a paedophile? This question will be raised again once former Sunderland and England star Adam Johnson has served his seven
year sentence. What crimes are, and are not, therefore, “acceptable”? At the time of Evans’ release, PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor presented something of a moral argument surrounding this idea, arguing that Evans should be allowed to resume his career in the same way that former prisoners should be allowed to resume their lives. Now, while I believe he is right in that sense, this is not the issue here, because Evans did not lead what was considered to be an ordinary life or lifestyle before his conviction. He was not a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a supermarket worker, but a professional footballer, earning x amount a week, playing in front of thousands of fans and representing his country on a global stage, and, whether he wanted to be or not, this made him a hero for fans, and of course, a role model. Some embrace this image. Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings gave out free tickets to supporters. Norwich’s Steven Naismith and Swansea’s Angel Rangel provide food for the homeless. Others though see themselves as sportsmen and this alone. But that they have a cultural, a social responsibility should not be beyond them in their position. The pockets of support for him have come from some unlikely places. Numerous websites were set up, proclaiming his innocence. Sheffield United fans clapped in the thirty fifth minute of each game for a time following his conviction, signifying the number of goals he had scored in one season. He was even named in the League One Team of the Year for this, something which Taylor again defended. Legal teams, barristers and private investigators were all hired, at some expense, the majority of which was covered by the father of Evans’ partner, who has continued to stand by him despite the undoubted humiliation this whole saga has caused. His club followed suit, as despite his contract being terminated,
then-manager Nigel Clough and Chairman Kevin McCabe visited Evans in prison to discuss a possible return at the conclusion of his sentence, something which Clough said would be an “above football level” matter. The board faced criticism from numerous individuals for this stance, most notably from Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill, who requested her name to be taken off the stand at Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United and where she trains, should Evans return. More than 150,000 people signed a petition demanding the club should not re-sign him, while several rape charities said that barring him from returning to football would “send out a strong message condemning sexual violence against women”. With the number of rapes up seemingly year on year (22,000 cases were recorded the year Evans was released alone), it becomes even more of a necessity for teams to take some kind of stance on this. Evans’ argument is not only one of his innocence, but that in not allowing him to return to football, he is being further punished for his crime.
At 27, the best years of his career, and indeed life, have been spent in prison. But this was the same argument made by clubs when they signed the likes of Hughes and McCormack, with their reasoning sitting about as easily. His case highlighted that a rape culture existed, and even continues to exist within a dressing room environment. If anything, it his seeming lack of remorse about what happened which strikes me the most. Those who argue that he needs to be “rehabilitated” need to consider whether allowing him to resume his highpaying career and luxury lifestyle fit the parameters of rehabilitation. Honestly, I can’t see a way back for him. However unjust he feels, he needs to accept that his career is over. He is still a young man, who clearly has the support of a loyal partner (which is more than the loyalty he showed her, but that isn’t the point) with the rest of his life ahead of him. It is a life without football though.
A comfortable 28-8 derby day success versus the Newport Gwent Dragons was The Blues’ fourth consecutive win, and means the outfit from the Welsh capital keep alive their hopes of European rugby next season. The Blues sit in eighth position in the Pro12, one place ahead of fellow Welsh region the Swansea based Ospreys. Incidentally, it is the Ospreys who the Blues face next, the penultimate fixture of the season, at Judgement Day IV in front of a near sell-out Principality Stadium. The impressive 28-8 victory over
Newport was the last home fixture of the season for The Blues, and forever in the case of utility back Rhys Patchell. Patchell has impressed for Cardiff this season, but has already agreed a move to the Scarlets due to competition with Welsh international Gareth Anscombe at number 10 for The Blues. Even on his farewell to the Cardiff Arms Park it was Patchell, not Anscombe, who had to play out of position as it were – with the twicecapped Wales international Patchell lining up at full-back, and the New
Zealand-born Anscombe at 10. That said, the 24-year-old, six cap Anscombe proved his worth to The Blues by scoring a fine try and kicking two penalties and three conversions. The final fixture of the season for The Blues is an away trip to Edinburgh Rugby. At the time of writing, Cardiff are two positions behind Edinburgh but are only one point worse off than the side from the Scottish capital. The Scots, currently in sixth, occupy the last European spot in the Pro12. However, as the gap is only a point, and considering the red hot
form The Blues are in going into the last two fixtures against the Ospreys and Edinburgh, one would not be at all surprised if Danny Wilson’s men snuck into the top six. That would be (if it were to happen) some achievement considering the less than impressive start to the season The Blues endured. Whatever happens, the recent rich vein of form has restored pride to Cardiff, and they will no longer be the lowest ranked Welsh region, as was the case last season. All in all, a solid, if not spectacular start for Danny Wilson.
Pictured: Ched Evans during his days as a Wales footballer. (Photographer: via Flickr)
Evans’ argument is that in not allowing him to return to football, he is being further punished for his crime.
PRO12 Preview: Judgement Day IV
With Judgement Day IV taking place this weekend, Gair Rhydd Sport’s Jim Harris previews arguably the biggest event in Welsh domestic rugby
The four regions will undoubtedly hope to use Judgement Day as a catapult to take them into the final fixture of the season with positive momentum.
Shaun Davey Cardiff City Columnist
udgement Day IV is already shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in recent memory as Wales’ four Guinness PRO12 regions go headto-head inside Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday 30th April. The four regions: Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets, and Newport Gwent Dragons; have all had below par campaigns to date, and will undoubtedly hope to use Judgement Day as a catapult to take them into the final fixture of the season with positive momentum. Scarlets are the top ranked side in this year’s PRO12 and the only left with a realistic chance of breaking in to the top four play-off places, whilst Cardiff Blues and Ospreys both harbour aspirations of a top six finish, and with it a place in next year’s European Champions Cup. The Dragons, meanwhile, are sat safely in 10th place with Italian outfits Benetton Treviso and Zebre propping them up, yet following the departure of Director of Rugby, Lyn Jones, last week, preparation for next season’s campaign might have already begun. Crowds in excess of 50,000 are expected to flock to the Principality Stadium on Saturday, with Cardiff Blues first taking on the Ospreys at 2:30pm, before the Dragons take on Scarlets at 5pm. The Scarlets look likely to require two wins from their final two fixtures
if they’re to have any hope of overtaking Ulster in fourth place, meanwhile the Blues-Ospreys match will take extra significance, with the loser most likely having to kiss goodbye to any hopes of Champions Cup qualification. Despite a patchy start to 2016, Danny Wilson’s Blues side have enjoyed a rich run of form in recent weeks, picking up five wins from their last six, including an impressive scalp at Parc Y Scarlets at the start of April. Wilson will be able to pick from a near-full strength squad, so fans can expect to see Wales stars Sam Warburton, Tom James and Gareth Anscombe all in the squad again this weekend. For the Swansea-based, Ospreys, Steve Tandy’s side have suffered inconsistent form through 2016 but did put 48 points past Treviso during their last outing earlier this month, and their 13-6 win against Blues in the reverse fixture in November will also give them further confidence. Wales’ half-back pairing of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are the stand-out stars in this Ospreys side, and whilst Alun Wyn Jones has not played since Wales’ Six Nations defeat to England on 12th March, the veteran Second-rower could be in contention for a return on Saturday. The five o’ clock kick-off sees fifth placed, Scarlets, take on Newport
Gwent Dragons with top four qualification still very much in the sights of the former. The Dragons have won just seven of their 31 PRO12 meetings with the Llanelli club and have not won in the league since a 23-13 win over Leinster on 29th January. Taulupe Faletau and Cardiff University’s-own Hallam Amos provide the Dragons with some international firepower, but it will take more than these two to stop an in-form and starstudded Scarlets outfit. Wayne Pivac’s side are the top per-
forming Welsh region this year and sit just two points adrift of fourth placed Ulster in the PRO12 ladder. That said, they’ve not won since beating Ospreys at the end of March and fell out of the top four following a humiliating 46-10 defeat at home to Glasgow nine days ago. Quite simply, another slip up will all but end their hopes of securing a playoff place. Whatever unfolds, fans are sure to be entertained by an afternoon of high quality rugby showcasing some of Wales’ and the world’s finest players.
Pictured: The Principality Stadium will host the annual Judgement Day (Photographer: Nagarjun Kandukuru)
Glamorgan suffer humiliating ten-wicket defeat
lamorgan CCC got their 2016 County Championship campaign off to a disappointing start with a comprehensive 10-wicket loss against Leicestershire at The SSE SWALEC. Leicestershire reached their victory target of 113 with ease just after lunch on the final day, with Paul Horton (64*) and Angus Robson (49*) finishing unbeaten. It was a tough start to the season for Glamorgan, with their third day woes with the bat ultimately making the difference as they were dismissed for just 191 in their second innings. The sides were evenly matched at the halfway stage, with Robert Croft’s team batting first and reaching a total of 348 thanks to half-centuries from Will Bragg, Chris Cooke, David Lloyd and Graham Wagg along with a useful 44 from Craig Meschede. However, they were made to rue a
number of missed chances in the field as Leicestershire put together a strong reply. The hosts appeared to be wellplaced when young off-spinner Lloyd dismissed both Neil Dexter and Mark Cosgrove within the space of an over to reduce the visitors to 99-3. Yet opener Horton reached a classy half-century whilst Niall O’Brien struck a vital 93 to lead their recovery. With Wayne White and Clint McKay, who took six wickets in Glamorgan’s first innings, both passing the 50 mark the visitors eventually reached 427 before being dismissed. Although the Foxes held a slender advantage, the match remained in the balance heading into the final two days. But influential Australian McKay dismissed James Kettleborough and Will Bragg in quick succession – and when Chris Cooke joined them back in the pavilion they were left in severe trouble
at 29-3. Skipper Jacques Rudolph and young talent Aneurin Donald put together a recovery before their 60-run stand was brought to an end as Rudolph edged through to wicket-keeper O’Brien off the bowling of Charlie Shreck. Donald, 20, was joined at the crease by Lloyd who built on his excellent firstinnings knock to steady the ship. However, a mix-up between the pair saw Lloyd run-out before Donald was also caught behind off the bowling of Shreck just five balls later. When Meschede and Mark Wallace also departed quickly, they had lost four wickets for just two runs and needed a minor miracle to rescue their innings. Michael Hogan and Wagg dug in with solid scores, but it was unfortunately not enough to put together a total to challenge Leicestershire entering the final day.
Their opening pair made no mistake to condemn Glamorgan to a disheartening defeat in their opening competitive fixture of the season which they will be keen to forget. There were positives from Croft’s young side, with highly-rated duo Lloyd and Donald demonstrating their potential in the middle order whilst Wagg and Meschede proved their capabilities with both bat and ball. Dutch seamer Tim vann der Gutgen claimed his first ever first-class scalp when he trapped Mark Pettini in front on day two as he showed promise on his debut. However, it was their collective lapse in concentration on the third day which ensured they left with just five County Championship Division Two points. Meanwhile, it was a fine performance from a much-improved Leicestershire to claim their first County Championship win in Cardiff since 2001.
Fine margins can always make or break a Championship campaign and after the Bluebirds picked up some crucial form over the Easter period, it seemed as though that form would fluctuate in the fight for an all-important play-off spot. Cardiff are tussling over the final play-off place with Sheffield Wednesday and their late charge seemed to have gone under the radar. However, the Welsh side’s hopes of staying in contention to make a solid last push for sixth spot were dashed
by a disappointing 0-0 stalemate at home to QPR. Russell Slade conceded that his team would almost certainly have to “win all four remaining games.” The former Leyton Orient manager also added: “In one way, we may see that as an opportunity where we lost two points. But we’re still in there and fighting. It’s a big ask but it’s not impossible.” The midweek away trip to Brentford was seen as a last chance saloon and after a good solid display for 60 minutes, a frantic final ten minutes
saw the Bluebirds capitulate and Brentford score two late goals in dramatic fashion. The defeat left the Bluebirds with a dauntingly uphill task. At the time of writing, they lie six points behind Sheffield Wednesday, and the battle looks almost over. The disheartening Brentford result suggests that Cardiff will have to realistically secure a maximum of nine points to stand any chance of playing Premier League football next season. Nonetheless, there is still some
hope. Following the match against relegated Bolton Wanderers, Wednesday travel to play- off contenders Derby County. It’s the following fixture that looks most promising for Cardiff, though. The penultimate game of the season sees Cardiff make the long trip up north to Sheffield in what could potentially be a promotion sixpointer. A win would certainly leave The Owls nervously looking over their shoulders if the Bluebirds managed to beat Bolton at the weekend.
It was a tough start to the season for Glamorgan, with their third day woes with the bat ultimately making the difference.
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