All that glitters Fact Faith? is glamorous vs Durham Cathedral hosts the debate indigo, Fashion
Michaela Strachan Liasing with lions indigo, Travel
The official student newspaper of Durham Students’ Union since 1948
Tuesday 23th November 2010 | Edition 723 | palatinate.org.uk
Durham will march against funding cuts Tomorrow, Durham will see students and staff take to the streets in a peaceful demonstration opposing cuts to higher education funding and the rise in tuition fees proposed by the coalition government. Organised by campaign group Durham Action for Education (DAE) and supported by the DSU, the march is taking place in conjunction with a wave of direct action planned in universities across the country. Congregating in the Market Place & Science Site from 11.45am, large numbers are expected to march through the city centre, culminating in a demonstration on Palace Green. Speaking to Palatinate, DSU Societies and Student Development Officer Kristina Hagen was keen to distance the event from the violent nature of incidents in London a fortnight ago: “We’re bringing the issue to Durham and giving our own students the chance to voice their opinions. We are in no way connected to the dangerous actions of some London protestors. The DSU is here to support its students where it feels mandated to do so”. Over the past week, organisers have embarked on a large-scale publicity campaign to encourage participation. With 100 posters and 5,000 flyers printed, both DAE and DSU hope that students will take the opportunity to send a clear message of opposition to higher tuition fees to both the government and senior University staff. In a University-wide email, Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins responded to the widespread belief that Durham had already made up its mind over fees: “No decision has yet been made, or indeed can be made, until further details of the regulatory framework can be placed around fee charging
University lifts ban on staff recruitment
Vice-chancellor lifts the temporary measure imposed over funding fears Page 3
Aidan’s DUCK representative Isobelle Boltt talks to Palatinate about her month of moustaches Page 4
Forty decades of student protests
Police informed ahead of demonstration Vice-chancellor holds open forum
have emerged from Government. We do not expect to be in a position to decide on the fees we will charge until around Easter 2011, at the earliest”. However, with the cap on fees set to rise to £9, 000 it is expected that Durham will be among the institutions charging higher rates to students to recover shortfalls, after the cuts in government funding for courses. In the run-up to the demonstration, organisers have contacted the Durham branch of the University and College Union (UCU) in an attempt to secure support from academic staff. Across the North East, lecturers and students are set to take part in direct action, with sit-ins planned at Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities. At New College, Durham, sixth-formers are expected to stage a walk-out from 11am onwards. “We are in no way condoning a walkout,” said Miss Hagen, “But we will be placing campaigners at key lecture locations on the day to invite students to attend the event, and we hope to get as many as possible involved”. Local police and the council have been made aware of the demonstration, which is set to be the largest event of its kind in Durham since the visits of Nick Clegg and David Miliband on the eve of May’s general election. The Vice-chancellor will be holding an open forum from 8pm tomorrow at Van Mildert College to offer students the opportunity to find out more about the funding situation, to voice their concerns and to have an input on future University policy. It is clear that the students and staff of Durham are refusing to accept damaging Palatinate, News Features spending cuts without a fight.
Palatinate digs through the history of student protests in Durham with some fascintating results. Page 5
Visual Arts & Fashion
Pulchritudinous Paris in pictures i11 Fashion Interning in Paris p8
Student protests The day as it unfolded
Do you fake ‘having-suchfun!’ status updates? i3
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
Editorial Favourites, letters, corrections and editorial
To have your say on anything featured visit palatinate.org.uk
23.11.2010 No. 723 Windsor, weddings and wasted youth Contents
o one can say that the Royals are living in the past. The future queen is most certainly not a virgin, and her mother was an air stewardess. They’re really trying, don’t you think? Naturally, the words on the world’s lips are that of the latest gossip from the house of Windsor. Wee Willy is getting hitched. What a lucky little Prince. I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has pronounced, ‘My God she’s fit’. * Yet, goodness me, isn’t the excessive media obsession with the impending matrimony utterly irksome? Further too, what is this sudden, garish infatuation with marriage! Not only are we faced with bounteous front cover stories all across Europe garnished with the latest design of Kate’s wedding dress and the exact shade of nail varnish that will compliment it, but left, right and centre, dozens of Durham folk are planning on tying the knot. Last time I was here, sharing my musings with you, I penned an editorial on the ‘Finalist Freakout’, much at the heart of many a third year, yet presently it appears the next delightful phase has now squat itself on our city’s horizon, eclipsing that more career-orientated future finalist fear. I call this one, Marriage Mania. This one crosses all year groups I’m afraid to say. Perhaps it’s the far-reaching shadow of Durham Cathedral reminding us endlessly of our historical sacramental duties, who knows. This week word reached my ears of two more engagements to add to the list, both from loving and suitable couples, yet all the same, having the knock-on effect of nestling uninvited in the minds of innocent others in typical university relationships. Once disclosure of a friend’s imminent betrothal reaches us, many start panic and wonder if we too, should pop the question to our unbeknownst partner. Everyone’s getting hitched, bugger, should I be thinking about it too? Is it our turn next? Swear to God, in some social circles, I am the only one who isn’t at the least cohabiting. Marriage is viral too it seems;
72% of Durham Graduates, it is said, meet their future spouse in this place. Should we all just settle down then, suit up and get married? No, I say unashamedly! Marriage is for show-offs and monogamists. For me, a massive hog-roast anniversary party every couple of years surrounded by my friends and the obviously still totally hot significant other (since marriage ceases all bedroom activity, right?) sounds far more idyllic than any fancy, institutional legallybinding ceremony. A couple of days ago my current, yet also of course, much adored, partner and I jokingly became engaged on Facebook in riposte to the mania. We promptly simultaneously freaked the other out and changed it back apace though. Maybe I’m not ready like the rest of you crazy lot, but still, the television shows completely engrossed in the madness of matrimony, the tailoring of the dresses, the handwritten invitations, the save the date, the circa 60-70 guests, the Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cake, the perfect flowers, the something borrowed, something blue... Jesus, I just want a 2:1 these days, not a ruddy string quartet for the ceremony and a modern-jazz band for the reception. We are all far too young, I say, all this gratuitous worrying about settling down, moving in to a three bedroom semidetached house, and ejecting two to three tiny infants from your insides is far too leaden a thought to bear on our springtime minds! What fuss. I’m not even going to get started on talk about motherhood. Pregnant women are just the original Trojan Horses anyway, thus an alien being in your belly where beer should rightfully inhabit, again, for a mere twenty year old, no thanks. Not now, please. In conclusion then, of course love, adore and cherish your partner but don’t believe all this silly, nuptial hype. I assure you, Kate and Will’s deluge of wedding plans will no doubt send us all to sleep in no time. Yet to be a little honest, just as an aside, between you and me, admittedly, there’s
something actually quite lovely about weddings. I’ve shot gun bridesmaid at one friend’s, and I already know who my hypothetical best man will be. But I didn’t say that. Shhh now... Moving on, this fine beast of an edition hosts a review of The Only Way is Essex, a television show sure to put you off women and men for life anyway so no need to worry you singleton folk! We additionally have extensive coverage of the student protests too, something I’m sure many of us have our ever so crucial opinions on also. Our cover photography this edition is unashamedly provocative, yet also sums up the overall sentiment last week adeptly. We weren’t authorized to print shots of some of the ruder signs, but I assure you, nowadays Nick Clegg must seriously be worrying about the size of his package. Finally, briefly, to close, it appears the modern, ‘I care about you’, has turned into the rapid email reply. What with Facebook granting @facebook.com email usernames to all, it couldn’t be easier to just send someone a quick hello, how’s it going. These days, though, it seems everybody has his or her own messy little issues. Everyone has too much work, too little sleep, too much to sort out, and too much Durham drama on their plate. Therefore it’s never been more important, vitally so, to keep in touch, to check in with your nearest and dearest and make sure that everyone is O.K. My advice to you is to ask, even if it is simply over text, just in case, if your unusually quiet housemate, roommate, lab partner, is alright.
Palatinate News pages 3-5
News Features page 6-7 Politics page 9 Careers page 10 Comment pages 12-15 Sport pages 17-20
indigo Features page 3-5 Food page 6 Travelpage 7 Fashion pages 8-9 Film and TV page 10 Visual Arts pages 11 Stage pages 12-13 Music page 14 Books page 15 Games & Photography page 16
Favourites Stage page 13
The Rivals review
Enjoy 723. - Ally Bacon. *(If you’re reading, Mrs Queen-to-be, yes, yes you are. My number is at the bottom of the page in case you’d prefer someone with slightly more hair.)
Sheridan’s classic brought to the Durham stage Careers page 10
Column Clanger In the last edition the DUCK and SCA columns on p4 were not the correct ones. Please ignore any of the information and dates on them. Close checking and proof-reading, it seems, is nut one of are strongths.
Should have gone to specsavers In the last edition, the scores for the Durham vs Leeds Met football match were not the rather unsteadyingly high 32-18 as reported but the rather more standard 3-1. Apologies to Durham 1XI for having to so cruelly shatter myths of the highest-scoring victory since the dawn of man. Similarly, the score for the Van Mildert A v Hatfield A on p18 was not 32-18 as reported but 17-11.
Fencing folly In an article entitled ‘Fencers give fair fight against northern counterparts’ on p19 we mistakenly reported that Helen Jameswas involved with the fencing match against Manchester. She was in fact fencing in Leeds that day.
Palatinate needs you!
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF (EPIPHANY TERM) As this term comes to a close, we are on the hunt for two news Editors for the Epiphany term. Editing Palatinate means acting as the CEO for all Palatinate ventures: from the print paper to Palatinate Television and
www.palatinate.org.uk. Previous experience on the paper is essential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form. The deadline for all completed application forms is Sunday 28th November at 5pm.
Lucy Mangan tells all about how to get ahead Fashion page 8
Diary of an intern
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Exploring what it’s like being an intern in Paris
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PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
For more news visit palatinate.org.uk
Durham ‘to lose over £30m from budget’ FLICKR ID: JUDYBLOO
Prof Higgins aruges that the “re-shaping of funding presents a number of opportunities and threats for all universities, including Durham”. The Vice-Chancellor has also called for a reduction of regulation of the higher education sector. The research predicts that Newcastle University will lose 44% of funding, as it offers more science degrees than Durham University. FLICKR ID: JUDYBLOO
esearch commissioned by the Labour Party has found that Durham University will lose more than twothirds of its teaching budget once cuts are imposed by the coalition, resulting in a £32.3 million shortfall. The coalition’s plans to cut the higher education budget from £7.1bn to £4.2bn will force universities to charge at least £7,500 a year just to avoid losing money, according to Labour’s business spokesman John Denham. He has criticised the cuts, arguing that universities who cannot afford to do so “will be forced to cut quality and dumb down”. Universities Minister David Willetts insisted that only “exceptional circumstances” would allow universities to levy a fee of more than £6,000 a year – in the case of more places being offered to poorer students. However, with the planned cuts, most universities will see no other option than to almost treble the annual fees paid by students. A Department for Business spokesperson has refuted this, saying that at the time “we cannot verify the numbers. The infor-
News in brief
According to the report, universities will be forced to charge at least £7,500 a year for tuition
mation is incorrect”. Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins is keen to reassure staff and students that Durham will be as prepared as it can be “to manage any disruptive change to the overall fund-
ing regime. We are determined to ensure we are suitably prudent in any period of uncertainty to safeguard the excellence in research, education and student experience we offer”.
Student and staff unions oppose the cuts
Freedom of Information request reveals Cambridge students’ antics Ettie Bailey-King
A Freedom of Information request from Cambridge student newspaper The Tab has shed light on a startling catalogue of misdemeanours at one of the world’s leading universities. The records, spanning 2005-2010, detail acts of violence, nudity and vandalism at 29 of Cambridge’s 31 colleges. Churchill College was among the worst offenders, with well over 100 individuals disciplined following 91 incidents. The Dean, who herself reports being ‘propositioned’ by a naked student, recorded incidents of ‘fouling’ corridors, an ‘illegal casino for 22 players’, and ‘indecent exposure’ in the library. One undergraduate who attacked a peer with ‘a beer bottle and then his fists’ was ‘mauled by a dog’ in a separate incident, attempting to escape from police. Trinity Hall students threw a bicycle into a pond but were ‘too drunk to retrieve it’ while at Clare College, damage to property was one of the most frequent offences.
Vice-Chancellor lifts ban on staff recruitment
Flooding Damages ITS
The University has decided that recruitment of new staff can continue, ending a temporary ban imposed in the wake of the ongoing review of higher education funding. Future financial uncertainty prompted Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins to e-mail staff informing them that recruitment would be suspended until the size of any funding shortfall could be fully assessed. Now a subsequent review of the University’s finances and future strategy has enabled the ban to be lifted. The recommendations of Lord Browne’s report and the proposals of the government’s Spending Review will not impede the University’s approach for next year, according to Prof Higgins, “As with any responsible university which manages its fi-
Flooding caused by heavy rainfall saw the temporary closure of the University Information Technology Service (ITS) Service Desk a fortnight ago. After downpours on the night of Monday 8th November, ITS was forced to limit its service for the rest of the week. Only urgent queries were received at a replacement desk elsewhere on the Science Site. Students were informed of the disruption in an emergency e-mail the following morning. The Service Desk became functional once again on Friday 12th November. Water damage to two network points damaged one computer and a telephone, but service has since been able to fully resume. The University Estates and Buildings Department have identified the flood risk and are taking action to prevent further disruption as the winter weather takes hold.
nances in a careful and sustainable way, the announcement of 80 per cent cuts to our teaching grant […] led us to temporarily suspend major expenditure as a precautionary measure”. The Vice-Chancellor is confident that “having completed further modelling, we are now assured that even with the government cuts, we can continue to operate as planned in the coming year”.
Amount which triggers a caseby-case review of spending
However, the Browne Review’s suggestion of lifting the cap on tuition fees and the Comprehensive Spending Review’s proposals to cut funding to higher education by 40 per cent will still have an impact on
larger outgoings by the University. Spending above £25, 000 will have to be reviewed on a specific case-by-case basis. Prof Higgins commented, “Staff are generally being advised to continue project planning as usual”. The University’s initial recruitment suspension reflects the concerns of higher edu-
cation institutions across England. Universities are anxious that there will be a serious funding gap should the proposals be passed by Parliament. The outlined cuts would be imposed in April 2011, but extra income from increased tuition fees would not begin to trickle through until September 2012.
Funding cuts in the North East
Durham’s predicted loss
Sunderland faces cuts of £25.8m
Relatively low cuts for Newcastle
York faces cuts of £26.9m
Judge Judy to take position in new Law School? DURHAM UNIVERSITY
Judge Judith Sheindlin is well-known as a no-nonsense jurist capable of swift litigation
As part of the £48 million Gateway development being undertaken along the Stockton road side of the Science Site, architects ‘Space Architecture and PH Partnership’ have released a series of fully-rendered publicity shots of the building and its interiors. Included amongst these is the model image of a lecture theatre in the new Law School showing students being lectured to
by a supposed member of the law faculty. This image is coupled with the statement, ‘a modern building for the north’s premier international law school.’ However, a closer look reveals a screen shot from the ITV2 daytime TV show ‘Judge Judy.’ Although not available online to the wider press, the image is numerously posted on the information boards along the construction site.
The rendered publicity shots can be seen on the sidings to the Stockton road construction
In this issue: tuition fees turmoil Aroesti p5 Rachel digs through the archives to reveal a mixed history of protests in Durham
Addinallp13 Thom Biddulph argues that a university
education is a legitimate career choice
Bogus Caller in Viaduct Lucinda Rouse
Durham City Police Constabulary are urging students to be vigilant following reports of a bogus caller at a house in the Viaduct area. A man gained entry to a student’s home after claiming to have been sent to repair the washing machine. The visit had not been arranged by the landlord, and the student in question was not expecting any such service. Although the man did enter the property, there have been no further problems. But residents have been advised to demand identification from unknown visitors, and to deny access to unexpected strangers.
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Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
It’s mo problem for a DUCK rep Durham will make Y A* offers in 2011 Isobelle Boltt
DUCK Officer’s Column Martin Dorset-Purkis
It takes a particularly sadist mind to come up with the concept of Tough Guy. However, this is nothing compared to the mental state of the person who takes one look at the course of billowing smoke, covered in barbed wire and ice covered water, and then strips down to a g-string and says “sure”. Tough guy is a festival of mud, machoism and manure but the hint of glory it offers the successful competitor, crowning them as at the peak of human perfection/stupidness, attracts 10,000 people a year to a set of boggy fields just outside Wolverhampton. Last year, 25 Spartanite Durham men and women formed the team “Fit as DUCK”. With inspirational resolve and incredible perseverance, after an 8 mile run, they scaled 100ft rope nets, were smoked through pot holes and broke through inch thick ice. This pioneering team set a daunting precedent and the Tough Guy organisers headed by a beautifully moustached and oddly named Mr Mouse have recognised DUCK as an elite squad. As part of this, they have given us unprecedented starting positions and a chance to pit ourselves directly against the likes of the experienced Loughborough University and squads from the Armed Forces. This year we’re taking a massive team down to the ‘killing fields’ to unequivocally assert Durham University as the owners of this event and the last word in physical and mental excellence. To get involved, visit duck.dsu.org.uk, fill in a form and return it to the DUCK office by 1st December. For more information, contact Challenges Officer Archie on firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t fight it – feel it.
ou’ve probably seen me around. If not, there’s a chance you’ve been hiding in some unfathomable corner of the Science Site. For all the wrong reasons, I have become unmistakeably recognisable. This is because I am a girl with a moustache. I’ll stop you before you suggest bleaching or waxing. In fact, a mere makeup wipe would suffice. My ‘tache is a phony, (eyeliner, if you’re curious) and it’s sitting on my upper lip entirely by choice. You see, we are currently in the month of Movember. For those to whom this word is unfamiliar, Movember is a global
charity campaign which encourages men everywhere to grow a moustache, or ‘mo’, throughout November to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. As senior DUCK rep for St Aidan’s College, I thought it would be a great idea to get a team of rugged young gentlemen together in support of the cause. As the team captain, participation seemed mandatory, but, tragically, my upper lip can only manage a fine golden down which I’ll probably have to wax off in my forties. So I stepped up. I did what I had to do. I took a liquid eyeliner to my face and inked myself a proud mo. And I haven’t looked back since. Except that I vehemently regret ever doing it, because as a result I have to
spend a month being stared, grimaced, smirked and, more often than not, laughed at. I may be raising a lot of money for charity, but I’m losing a lot of dignity. I’ve essentially signed myself up for a whole month of relentless humiliation. My French seminar tutor burst out laughing when I walked into the room and couldn’t stop for the whole lesson. I like to make peoples’ days a little less dull. But I do sincerely look forward to returning to my clean-shaven self! If you’ve seen me or any of the boys around and our moustaches have made you smile, please visit uk.movember.com/ mospace/693072 and help us in our fight against prostate cancer.
Monopoly man: mo’ money mo’ problems
Borat: it is very nice to meet you! How much?
Adolescent: when shaving wasn’t a chore
David Howe shines in the chin-growth area
Matthew Bates: just don’t mention the war
James Coy: he mo’s what you did last night
From next year, a small number of prospective Durham students will be required to achieve an A* grade at A-level to enter the University. Any students wishing to secure a place to study Mathematical Sciences will have to score at least one of the new A* grades, which were introduced for the 2010 series of exams. The University’s decision to use the A* grade means that it is one of fifteen UK universities that will be making such offers, alongside Cambridge, Imperial College London, Exeter, Manchester and the London School of Economics. This summer, one in twelve A-level exams was awarded an A*, and university vice-chancellors hope that the more exclusive entry standards will justify the possibility of charging up to £9,000 a year for some courses. Most universities had agreed that they would not use the A* grade in offers until 2012 in order to avoid placing state school pupils at a disadvantage. Cambridge and Imperial college were among five universities to break the agreement by requesting at least one, and in some cases two or three, A* grades in the first year of their introduction. However, Durham has stated that it will have a policy of phasing in the recognition and requirement of the A* grade at A-level whilst they evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of making these offers. The University’s policy will be reviewed annually, as more and more institutions throughout the UK begin to consider the use of the top grade in order to distinguish the highest achieving candidates on the most popular and oversubscribed courses.
Peter Tatchell speaks on sexual discrimination Rachel Partlett
It’s been an exciting fortnight as ever for SCA. The Jazz and Wine Tasting at Chad’s was a brilliant night, a big thank you to the college for some great wines, all the bands and to everyone who came along to help raise money for SCA. Next is the return of the hugely popular Tea Dance. The event will be held at St Oswald’s, on the 8th of December. If you’d like to lend a hand watch out for more info coming soon. Many CRB checks are finally being approved, which is good news for many students who can now start volunteering. Don’t worry if you haven’t got your CRB organised yet; SCA are constantly taking on new volunteers so there’s never a bad time to join. SCA’s newest project is ‘English Corner’. In weekly meetings fluent English speaking students practice their language skills with international students in a casual, friendly setting. The only requirement is that you have a good command of the English language! If you’re interested e-mail Sam at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into our office on the top floor of the DSU.
As one of the foremost campaigners in a wide variety of fields, many different people know Peter Tatchell for many different reasons. Palatinate managed to get hold of him before his various speeches in the University to pick his brains. Tuition fees seemed like a good place to start, and an opinion on the Browne report: “Rubbish, chuck it out, we can have both accessibility and leading education and research” says Tatchell. When asked about the problem of financing this, the answer was immediate: “Scrap Trident nuclear missiles - that will free up £76 billion for investment.” Tatchell’s views on politics are uncompromising. They all walk the plank. “Nick Clegg has abandoned his party’s key commitments. Even on the non-negotiable issues he’s caved in to David Cameron”. As a former Labour Party candidate, perhaps Tatchell still has some time for his old allies? “Labour is finished. It’s not even democratic anymore, it has become a highly centralised autocratic party”. That would be a no then. As an idealist, Peter Tatchell is the best. This does of course mean that many problems have solutions based on financial restructuring, meaning that what is currently impossible becomes a viable option, “I’m a strong supporter of the Tobin tax; a 0.05%
tax on all financial transactions. It would raise £150 billion a year. In 12 months we could eradicate the entire government deficit.” It’s too easy to dismiss suggestions such as these, but take some time to listen to Tatchell and suddenly the most complex crises have the most beautifully simple answers.
FLICKR ID: BINARYAPE
Peter Tatchell ran for Labour in the Bermondsey by-election
His current campaign, Equal Love, plans to legally challenge the discriminatory laws that deny couples of all sexualities equality in marriage. The current situation denies same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, while heterosexual couples are also refused the right to civil partnerships. Speaking to the LGBTA, Tatchell elaborated on the details of the campaign, describing how eight couples will apply for the civil statuses that they are currently prohibited from holding. Once they each receive letters of rejection a court case will be mounted showing this to be an infringement of the Human Rights Act. If the world ever needed a benevolent dictator, this is our guy. But as a supporter of democracy as pure as can be achieved, Peter Tatchell would never accept the job.
Peter Tatchell informed Palatinate how the government can avoid cutting education budgets
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
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Durham, national and columns News
Let’s see action: four decades of protest
DSU President’s Column Sam Roseveare
As Durham takes to the streets, Rachel Aroesti digs through the Palatinate archives to discover the highs and lows of our very own student activism throughout the 20th century and beyond
Nov 1974: NUS march in London over grants, Palatinate disappointed at Durham turn-out
March 1976: Ex-Home Secretary Charles Clarke leads student protest as President of NUS
Feb 1987: Students march through Durham, outraged by the potential introduction of loans
Feb 1990: Protest over ‘Gerbill’ caused by fears it could undermine the University’s autonomy
Nov 1997: Durham best of a bad bunch at Leeds protest, but still berated for poor attendance
May 2001: Durham-centric protest over rent combines a chaotic march with peaceful sit-in
It was all ditches and hoes this week in Durham’s smallest college as its members signed up to take part in the notoriously wild group past time that is amateur horticulture. St Chad’s Allotment Society was revived merely a fortnight earlier, but work has already begun to transform a small patch of college grass into a haven for organic fruit, vegetables and gnomes. The society has proved incredibly popular throughout the college. Members include both fresher acorns and the old oaks of the SCR. Chad’s chef Tony expressed his delight at the revival of the society, whose members he affectionately refers to as “the Cabbage Patch Kids”. With gardening’s well-known health benefits and therapeutic qualities, Chad’s students are certain that it is thyme we all released our inner Alan Titchmarsh. To find out more, email Durham’s answer to Charlie Dimmock: email@example.com.
Students applaud as Principal of St Chad’s Dr Joseph Cassidy officially unveils the allotment at a ceremony on Wednesday of last week
Allotment takes St Chad’s back to its roots
With the nights getting increasingly long and frost setting in early, winter has come early to Durham. With just under a month to go, it is very tempting to look back across the term; until realisation dawns that there are still carol services to attend to, Christmas Balls and, unfortunately, those end-of-term assignments. It would be premature to give a review of the Michaelmas Term, so instead I will announce a different review – a review of the Student Union itself. A representative body is only effective if it accurately represents its members, and we must, from time to time, reform, change and adapt to better reflect the needs and wants of the student body. As a student-led organisation, it is the membership that gives the Union shape, or at least it should be the membership – and we need to take action if this isn’t the case. With all the change to the HE sector, it is important that the Union changes, and to that end, I take great delight in announcing a review of the Union. As the Union is student-led, it’s important that consultation is as wide as possible, and to that end, your Senior DSU Reps should be in contact to get feedback from you. The Union exists, and it always will. This year, it’s your chance to inform some very fundamental discussions. I urge you to take them. With student protests on the front page of this newspaper, and indeed to my left, you could be forgiven for thinking that a Union is essentially a body that organises protests. It’s not, and it shouldn’t be. Protests are a by-product of the core activity of the Union – that of the representation of its members. The difficulty in representing students, or indeed any body of members, is that with every act or sentence, you often alienate them to a lesser or greater degree; even the word ‘Union’ will have put some of you off. Alienate too many, and you’re left with an unrepresentative organisation. However, the fear of alienating members can’t be the driving force – if you’re too bland, a milquetoast, you don’t actually get anything done, and your organisation is ineffectual, and you may as well give in. Tomorrow, there will be a protest against cuts in HE, culminating in a gathering on Palace Green. Regardless of what you may or may not think about the cuts, I would hope that everyone would agree that those participating are entitled to do so. Kick-off is at 11.45am outside the DSU, and from there, I would invite you to go with the flow. For those of you wishing to engage in a debate, I take delight in inviting you to the Main Hall at Van Mildert, where the final fourth forum hosted by the ViceChancellor and I will be held. Join us at 8pm on Wednesday 24th November for a very informal discussion, after which I will be consulting that great barometer of student opinion – the College Bar. Finally, regardless of which way the vote goes on Wednesday, it’s clear that we are venturing into a very new and very different world of Higher Education. If you have any opinions at all on the matter, please do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure that you specify whether you want a ‘real’ or a ‘political’ answer! It’s also worth noting that we have distributed two very critical documents to your DSU college representatives – one on the curriculum provided at the University, and the other on the induction weeks (freshers’ week). Please do let us know what you think.
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Tuesday 5th October 2010 PALATINATE
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Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATI-
Student protests: the day as it unfolded
For more information and analysis, log onto www.palatinate.org.uk
NUS says they expect significantly more than 24, 000 to march, after a surge of interest in the previous 48 hours.
March sets off through Central London. The march goes from Horse Guards Parade, in central London, past Westminster to a rally point in Millbank, by the River Thames.
Peaceful protests turn violent as
. Protestor who threw fire extinguisher arrested for attempted murder . NUS quick to condemn the violence
Lucinda Rouse & Daniel Johnson
talks with the NUS president. Another 225 police offiers are said to have been drafted in as the situation developed. Hundreds of workers, including the Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi, were evacuated from the building before the masked protestors entered, smashing windows, chanting slogans and detonating smoke bombs in the foyer. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson apologised to those left inside the building for their “traumatic experience”. “This was thuggish, loutish behaviour by criminals and we need to ensure that we have a thorough investigation to bring these criminals in front of a court to answer for their crimes,” he said.
ifty one protesters have been arrested following rioting at the biggest student demonstration in a generation, which led to fourteen injuries. 52, 000 students and lecturers from universities across England, Wales and Scotland, including 32 from Durham, joined the protest in London, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS). The peaceful demonstration was organised in opposition to plans to raise tuition fees and cut higher education funding by 40%.
Number of students NUS claims attended the march
“What are a few broken windows? The real vandals are in the Houses of Parliament and in the Millbank towers”
However, in what was condemned by NUS President Aaron Porter as “shameful, dangerous and counterproductive” an estimated 2, 000 students broke away from the main protest and stormed Conservative Headquarters at the Millbank complex in Westminster. Sam Barker, a second year student from St Aidan’s, was passing the Millbank Centre on his way to the march’s official end at Tate Britain when the first protestors entered Tory HQ. He said, “There were very few people in the foyer initially – twenty at most. Most of the parades carried on passing”. When Mr Barker returned an hour later, the courtyard was full of people chanting, some spraying graffiti, but there were “next to no police present”.
Mark Bergfeld, NUS
The Met admitted that the weakness of their defence preparations were “embarrassing”
“Once they started punching the windows from the inside and throwing fire extinguishers from the roof, loads of people left. The crowd was shouting, ‘Stop throwing shit!’” When demonstrators entered the lobby protestors shouted “Tory scum”, whilst effigies of David Cameron and Nick Clegg were burnt outside. The Metropolitan Police admitted to being “embarrassed” by the weakness of their defence. Only 225 police officers had been deployed to control the protest, since no violence had been anticipated, after extensive
Speaking on BBC News, Aaron Porter said that the violence at Millbank Tower was “absolutely not” part of their plan. However, academics at Goldsmiths, University of London, have backed the direct action taken at the protests. One PHD student and tutor said “It was not violence directed at a person. The general consensus is that in terms of getting media attention, it did the job”. The Prime Minister was attending a G20 summit in Seoul, but condemned the violence as “unacceptable” and maintained that he would not abandon his plans to raise tuition fees to up to £9, 000 per year. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was accused of hypocrisy by Labour MPs at Prime Minister’s questions for signing an NUS pledge during the General Election campaign promising to fight a rise in fees. He responded, “I should have been more careful perhaps in signing that pledge. At the time I thought I could do it”.
Durham students attended the march in London
What began as a peaceful demonstration of students and lecturers descended into violence around the Conservative Party’s HQ at Millbank T
Durham voice: students condemn violence “It’s a shame some people feel the only way they can be heard is through acts of violence” Ed Kay, John Snow
NUS members chanted slogans such as “We stand proud, we stand together, we stand united” and “No if’s, no but’s, no education cuts”. Those arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass have been released on bail until February. The protestor who threw a fire extinguisher from a rooftop could be charged for attempted murder.
“Violent protests in a democratic country such as ours are never justified, and are completely abhorrent” Edward Moore, St John’s
“By using violence, they have lost all credibility and have worsened rather than furthering their cause” Alex Burr, Castle Do you think that students shouldn’t be afraid to use violence? E-mail your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org
“The violence served only to detract from the fundamental issues at stake, doing much greater damage to the student cause than the plans of the coalition” Wilf Mortimer, Van Mildert
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
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Harman 13:50 12:30 Harriet accuses Nick Clegg of being “led astray” by the Tories over tuition fees at PMQs.
on 15:30 Atheprotestor roof tells
Members of staff are evacuated from Millbank Tower as a few hundred protestors gain entry.
a Guardian reporter: “this is just the beginning”.
As night falls on London, hundreds of people remain outside Tory HQ, around two fires.
a small minority storm Tory HQ FLICKR ID: GEOFF DEXTER
Violent means will not aid students’ cause Alexandra Bottomer Commentary
A protestor’s perspective on the day Emily Sommerville
4am outside the DSU is a time you only want to experience when it’s late from the night before, not when it’s early for the next day. We were definitely on the wrong side of wee hours, but everyone was still excited and ready to go. Thirty two of us Durham students were standing with placards (paint still wet) and woollies, waiting for the coach to take us to London for the national demonstration against educational cuts in funding and the rise in tuition fees. That morning a couple of students were interviewed for radio5live and we were feeling ready to make our voices
heard in London. Theorising about tuition fees is all well and good, but we were on our way to make noise. Pink and yellow signs were free for all, and homemade creations were as creative as they were enraged. “F**k fees” and the use of “ConDem” were memorable, as was “Cameron; putting the ‘n’ in cuts”. There was even a Guy on a stick, with Clegg’s face on one side, and Cameron’s on the other. One banner defended students as “not all pot noodle and Jeremy Kyle”. The majority of protesters were there with the intention to gather, march, campaign and leave, but trying to get past Milbank Tower (the Tory headquarters) wasn’t going to hap-
Tower. Placards as well as effiges of Cameron and Clegg were burnt outside, whilst demonstrators smashed windows and occupied the roof.
Wednesday 10th November 2010 was a historic day for the NUS, the University and College Union (UCU), and students and lecturers across the country as an estimated 52, 000 people formed a mass demonstration marching through the streets of London. The aim of the demonstration was to protest against these proposed changes to university funding, which were detailed in the Browne report as part of the NUS “Funding Our Future” campaign. The NUS campaign is opposed to scrapping of funding for arts, humanities and social science teaching, which it emotively describes as “privatisation”. The NUS does not support any increases in tuition fees, graduate debt or any kind of “free market” education system and instead campaigns for “fairness, equity, and a properly funded state education system”. Whilst these aims are admirable and supported by thousands of people around the UK, it is very difficult to see what the continued campaign will achieve. Unsurprisingly, media coverage of the march focussed primarily on the violence of a tiny minority of protesters who caused criminal damage at Millbank Towers. Eventually, the building had to be evacuated as violence escalated and police in full riot gear attended the scene. Windows were smashed in the building, the walls of the reception were graffitied and the ceiling there pulled down, fires were lit in the street outside and in perhaps the most infamous incident of the day, one student lobbed a fire-extinguisher from the roof, narrowly missing the police below. This particular event prompted the crowd below to start chanting “stop throwing shit”, proving that few protesters supported the violent turn of events. It would be a kneejerk reaction to say that the protest was undermined completely by the less savoury events of the day. Violence certainly brought more media attention to the event and many have argued that it demonstrates the raw anger of students. However, despite nationwide condemnation by students and protestors as well as MPs, of the violence and criminal damage, it seems
that it is the yobbish behaviour rather than the message of the protest itself, for which the day will be remembered. Ultimately, the use of violence detracted from the very important issue at hand. The NUS assures students and politicians alike that the 10th November protest was the beginning of their campaign, rather than its culmination. Indeed, our very own DSU is planning a march from Market Square to Palace Green on 24th November. It is hard to see whether these campaigns will actually have any real effect on policy making, especially as the violence of the demonstration has hardly endeared students to MPs. It seems likely that Nick Clegg will attempt to repress outright rebellion from his party, despite continuing to break key
One protestor threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of Millbank Tower
manifesto promises. Perhaps the most direct impact of such action is seen in the opinion polls. From the heady pre-election days when some polls went so far as to put the Lib Dems in the lead, the party’s approval is currently languishing around the ten percent marker. Whilst the direct impact of the marches on the issue of tuition fees remains uncertain, it is acutely apparent that these demonstrations signify a much wider mood of disappointment and anger towards the coalition over the drastic spending cuts and broken manifesto promises. The extent to which voters punish either party in the next general election remains to be seen.
NUS targets Lib Dem MPs with recall campaign pen. Smoke and broken windows. People on the roof. And not that many police, actually. Of course national papers can keep news interesting by describing a thrown fire extinguisher, paramedics, graffiti, and broken glass- and all of that is correct, but it was still a minority of protesters. Protesters who actually only served to undermine the integrity of the cause; of course politicians can now use that behaviour to discredit all students. Fellow Durham student Steph Bubb commented, “It was really inspiring to see so many people passionate about their right to education. It is a shame that...news channels are focusing on the violence of few, rather than the peaceful protest of 50,000 people”.
The National Union of Students’ (NUS) has launched the “Right to Recall” campaign, aimed at un-seating MPs who renege on election promises regarding university fees. NUS hopes to punish Liberal Democrat MPs who vote for higher tuition fees after they signed the ‘Vote for Students’ pledge during the election campaign. The campaign is aimed at showing “the strength of feeling against those MPs who vote for the raising of University tuition fees”, particularly in constituencies with large student populations.
Caroline Dowd, Sheffield Hallam University’s student union president, told The Observer her members were “livid” about visits Mr Clegg had made to their union prior to the election, “He came and spoke about how MPs should not make promises and then break them, about how fees were wrong”. However, former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris described the NUS campaign as a “transparent stunt”, arguing that manifesto promises could be fulfilled only if a party won a majority. NUS is also considering fielding a candidate at the Oldham by-election, if one is held.
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
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Politics Decision Points and Bush’s place in the history books
News and Information Elections
National, local, student political news From the UN to the DSU
George Bush’s recent memoirs have unearthed new perspectives on his Presidency
Irish economy in bailout fears
David Wynne-Griffith FLICKRID: BEVERLY & PACK
aving listened to George Bush’s recent confession that the practice of ‘waterboarding’ helped prevent the successful deployment of terrorist plots at Canary Wharf and Heathrow in London, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that Bush is not too bothered about his public perception. Indeed, during a recent television interview, Bush declared that ‘I really don’t care about perceptions at this point. I served, I gave it my all and I’m a content man’. Whatever the bullish architect of the Iraq War may say, on the first day after his memoirs hit the shops over 220,000 copies were sold, showing that he is certainly not hidden from the public spotlight. In fact, the ex-President seems to have embarked upon an unprecedented publicity campaign to advertise the book, conducting interviews with everyone from Oprah to The Times. It seems that although Bush may not care about public perceptions ‘at this point’, he will do with time. Perhaps the most revealing aspect to come out of Bush’s memoirs is his obsessive habit of reading his-
“It seems that although Bush may not care about public perceptions ‘at this point’, he will do with time”
tory books. One year, he competed with Karl Rove as to who could read more in one year. (Rove triumphed, though only just: he finished with 110 books to Bush’s 95). ‘Doing the math’ on this reveals that roughly one tenth of the time that Bush spent awake as President (he liked to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night) he was buried in a book. He described his time in the Oval Office as ‘reading history and making history’. His obvious attachment to historical reference reveals the controversial aspect of Bush’s personality, which led to him becoming so alienated from the American electorate: his propensity to avoid compromise. When asked to put forward his historical influences, Bush cites Lincoln and Jesus Christ. Tony Blair, predictably, is compared to Winston Churchill. These are not historical references, but blueprints of
Dublin has been forced to deny that it requires a European Union financial bailout that would amount to €80 billion (£67.8 billion). The UK government has stated that it would be able to pay 12% of any Irish bailout by the EU. The governing Fianna Fáil party has slumped to just 18% in the polls, down from 42% in the 2007 general election.
By-election ordered over smears A specially-convened court has ordered a by-election in the constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth, after finding that the winner of May’s election, Phil Woolas, had made false statements in election leaflets about his Liberal Democrat opponent, whom Woolas beat by just 103 votes. Woolas has also been bannedfrom standing for election for three years.
Burmese freedom fighter released In writing his memoirs, Decision Points, George Bush is looking to re-write his legacy alongside such contemporaries as Bill Clinton
goodness. They reveal how black and white the world really appeared through Bush’s clear perspective. It is here where opinion divides most: in a globalized world defined by cross-cultural complexity, is such a view admirable or foolhardy? As an avid digger of historical fact, Bush must know that many of his lauded predecessors were extremely unpopular as they left Capitol Hill, but subsequent events swept this unpopularity into the dusty halls of antiquity. Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman have both regained substantial credibility as they have aged. Truman left office as a widely derided president due to his role in initiating the unpopular Korean War. Only years later, as the Soviet threat began to bite, was he appreciated for his doctrine against communist expansion, the Marshall Plan and the reconstruction of Europe. For Bush, Truman represents what he aspires to. He wants to emulate Truman’s image, which ameliorated with time, and turned a contemporary shadow into a historical glow. Even the title of Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points, is modelled on one of the titles of Truman’s volumes, 1945: A Year of Decisions. Bush appears to believe that Iraq will turn out to be his Korea, and
that the American people will, with time, understand – maybe even applaud – the apparently costly decision that he made. Nowadays, most statesmen spend their first few months out of office tapping away at keyboards in order to get out a book
“When asked to put forward his historical references, Bush cites Lincoln and Jesus Christ” covering, or in some cases explaining, their career. Most, like President Bush, are not motivated by money, but by a will to influence or in some cases remould their ‘place in history’. It is this elusive and vaunted seat that finally defines an American presidency. Inevitably, perceptions of any politician enhance with time, emotions fade, caricatures transform and perceptions wane. Decision Points looks to exploit this trend, by eroding Bush’s own stereotype, revealing his wormlike appetite for the pages of his-
tory, his sense of humour and his willingness to acknowledge his own mistakes. In some ways, it achieves this well – after all, Bush’s extensive reading habit has come as a revelation to many in Britain, despite being well-known on Capitol Hill. However, there is an unfortunate glitch in the plan. Just as Truman’s legacy cleared with the contemporary escalation of the Cold War and the revelation of Soviet expansionist intentions, so Bush’s legacy will be shaped by subsequent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever convictions Bush expresses on the pages of his memoirs, he will not be able to change this fact. Although clarity is the one thing that pulsates through Bush’s memoirs, he should also know that history is seldom clear-cut. It vacillates, obscures and contradicts. Bush explains his presidency in simple terms, as a battle between the forces of freedom and ‘the axis of evil’. As is now widely known, the reality of this is far more complex. For some, his clarity of thought and his moral conviction are a substitute for ignorance. Unfortunately, as historians mull over his legacy, they may not judge him with the clarity with which he sees himself.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the celebrated pro-democracy campaigner in Burma, has been released from house arrest. Ruled by a military junta since 1962, Burma is ranked as one of the eight least free countries in the world. Suu Kyi, who was educated at Oxford University and who had been under house arrest for fifteen of the last 21 years, has stated that she aims for a peaceful revolution in her country.
Gerry Adams to step down The Sinn Féin party leader and MP, Gerry Adams, has announced that he will step down from the seats he holds in Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Adams, who has never debated in the House of Commons due to Sinn Féin’s refusal to swear allegiance to the British monarch, is seeking election to the Parliament of the Republic of Ireland.
French cabinet resigns Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, has accepted the resignation of many of his cabinet. The move, which allows Sarkozy to reshuffle his ministerial team without having to formally sack any colleagues, is designed to bolster the President before the presidential election of 2012, in the face of growing public dissatisfaction withis government.
The confusing concept of ‘jihad’: from past to present Harriette Douglas
Jihad, an arabic term meaning ‘struggle’, is to the west, a terrifying concept associated with terrorist extremism. To the east, it is a source of division amongst Muslims regarding Islam’s ethics of war and peace. However, it is also an idea ill-judged by westerners who do not fully comprehend it, and is arguably no different to its western parallel, the ‘crusade’. Evidently, to condemn Muslim extremists for engaging in ‘jihad’ when western leaders tread the same dangerous line in the use of their own emotive language which often incites widespread violence, is the height of hypocrisy. Take, for example, George W. Bush’s
apparently calamitous errors in the events leading up to the Iraq War following 9/11. In an often-quoted speech he professed: “This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while”. His use of such language gave Osama bin Laden licence to accuse the west of anti-Islamic ‘crusader’ aggression, which revolved around religious hatred and cross-cultural prejudice. For the most part, this conflict originates from a misunderstanding of the term ‘crusade’. Although there was no contemporary definition for the crusades when they took place, the word “crusade” has come to signify medieval holy wars of a bloody and prejudiced nature. First preached by Pope Urban II in 1095, the crusade came to symbolize religious military campaigns undertaken by Western Christian princes in the
Middle East, in the pursuit of imprisoned comrades, regaining Christian lands or in some cases, attempting to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity. It is this symbol that gives the image of a religious crusade such negative connotations in the Middle East. Similarly to Christianity, there is some confusion in the Islamic faith as to whether God permits holy war, or ‘jihad’, and if so, under what conditions. Just as there are undoubtedly grey areas of morality in the Bible, the Qu’ran can be interpreted differently because of the presence of conflicting verses inciting both violence and peace. However, there seems to be some consensus among Muslims that fighting in defence of their faith is sometimes acceptable, although the forcible conversion of
non-Muslims to Islam is not. Perhaps both terms have been perverted beyond recognition over time. Both originated from a religious context that has since been lost, mistranslated or abused. When Bush boldly labelled the Iraq war a “crusade”, he did not mean that he was fundamentally bent on cultural and religious conversion, he only meant to express the gravity of his moral conviction to the task at hand. Just as terrorists using ‘jihad’ as an excuse to bomb trains, plains and market squares and thereby kill innocent people abuse the true meaning of the term, Bush exaggerated his motives far and beyond their accurate description to fit the political mood. Iraq was no religious ‘crusade’; it was a collapse of moral relativism. There is still an ongoing debate about
the definition of both the concepts of ‘crusade’ and ‘jihad’, which is why it is very hard to justify the use of one or the other. These words are at least emotionally flammable, if not politically explosive, and without proper forethought, they can seriously backfire, as Bush found out to the detriment of his political popularity. Whether there will ever be consensus on the definition of either term is hard to discern, but until there is, it is probably wise to leave both terms within their ancient contexts. A contemporary interpretation of either can only lead to further violence and socio-cultural misunderstanding. Either way, as religious hatred is the life blood of both terms, it is perhaps time to clot them both, and let societies throughout the world breathe freely once more.
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
News and Information Careers
Careers Graduate Profile: Freshfields
The latest news in the graduate jobs market Advice, opportunities and alumni interviews
Lucy Mangan searches for inspiration
After speaking about her new book at Durham Book Festival, Guardian columnist and author Lucy Mangan stops to tell Palatinate how she reached her journalism heights HENRY GALGUT
Palatinate asked Emily Granger, 26, a former history student from St Hild and Bede college, to tell us about her transition from Palace Green to one of the world’s leading international law firms.
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How did you make the transition from history to law? My route into law was unusual, as I hadn’t thought about it at all whilst at Durham. But a few of my friends went into this sector and I did some research. I found that some of the things I’d practiced in history, for example researching and developing my writing, were transferable skills. So after saving up and travelling for a few months, I had an interview with Freshfields. I was offered a training contract with them and did my conversion course and LPC at BPP law school in London. Can you offer any advice to impress at an interview? Go prepared – that is the most important thing. It’s embarrassing to make a slip-up on something which you could have easily looked up on a website. Think about what skills you learnt doing shop work, for example, and how you might need them in law - e.g. team work, organisation and responsibility. And what are Freshfields looking for? Someone who is flexible – as a trainee at Freshfields you have the option of doing a three-month seat, which means every three months you can move department to see what suits you best. I now specialise in finance, but I tried out corporate, real estate and employment, pensions and benefits. Normally a seat lasts six months in other law firms. We hire around 100 graduates a year – you have to be able to adapt to working with different people and be willing to work hard. Starting salary?
Most exciting project? I worked with the employment litigation team advising Newcastle United on its dispute with Kevin Keegan, its former manager who resigned less than eight months after he joined the club, over a dispute about a player. Keegan was suing the club before the Manager’s Arbitration Tribunal for compensation, claiming that he had been constructively dismissed. I got to attend the tribunal, work with the barristers we had appointed and prepare our evidence for trial. What attracted you to this company? The chance to go abroad. I have just spent six months in our Hong Kong office, advising banks on regulatory law. In my spare time I was able to travel – I’ve been to Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. I’m now in London, working on deals. It’s really exciting to see the deal break in the papers and think “I was part of that”.
How would you describe your style? Rachael Revesz
Having your own widely-read, weekend column is a much sought-after dream. Lucy Mangan, Guardian columnist, features writer and bestselling author, talks to Palatinate about the shrinking industry of journalism. How did you get into journalism? I worked, briefly and unhappily, as a solicitor in the city. I then went to do some work experience with the Guardian, alongside my Saturday job at Waterstones. The paper got me back in after that to do some topical articles – then one day I was sitting on the sofa eating my sandwich when the editor of G2 passes me and says “You’re going to write a column for this Wednesday. 800 words”. That day was Monday, so I didn’t have much time to get on with it! You must have impressed him at your work experience! He wrote an introduction for my book of
Funny. I just try to get laughs where I can. It’s not easy to find inspiration, either. Every single week I’m thinking: “what can I write about this time”?
“I guess if you never cringe at what you’ve written in the past, you never learn” What advice would you give to aspiring journalists? It’s important to develop your own voice. I don’t know how you do that but you have to, somehow. I guess if you never cringe at what you’ve written in the past, you’ll never learn. Also, write a blog. Learn as many different skills as you can, such as multi-media and video-making. Printed journalism is being replaced by online journalism. Just read everything and anything.
Do you think that blogs have the potential to be pretentious? They do, but who are they hurting? Essentially you are just writing your own diary. I haven’t read many blogs anyway; I’m so busy that I don’t have much time to read around.
Tips and Tricks from the Top Tom Davie from the Careers Advisory Service advises you to use your Christmas holidays to your advantage. Tom Davie
“Every single week I’m thinking: ‘What can I write this time?’ ” What about so-called essential tools and qualifications, such as shorthand? I wouldn’t like to say. The industry has changed so much over the past few years. But I can imagine that a reporter’s shorthand is still very useful. What are your views about online journalism? I often find it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t. I could write about anything I wanted, but unless I got my facts straight it wouldn’t go to print. But if something is online and it is well written, spelt correctly and sounds authoritative, who can tell? Lucy Mangan’s new book, The Reluctant Bride (One Woman’s Journey, Kicking and Screaming, Down the Aisle), is now available.
You can do a lot of career planning over Christmas; obtaining some work experience to gain additional skills and an understanding of the types of jobs that you would like to do in the future, making even more applications to internships and graduate schemes that meet your ambitions, drafting personal statements for masters applications and thinking about what you might want to put in a PhD research proposal. Over Christmas you may receive the present of a job interview or a chance at an assessment centre. The Careers Advisory Service is open over the Christmas vacation (closed between December 24th and January 3rd ) to help you whatever your career needs are - so don’t hesitate to contact us. tel: 0191 334 1430 fax: 0191 334 1436 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Gap Yah to Tan-za-nah - or catering assistant?
It may not be the dream, but temping comes with its rewards Lucy Smith
FLICKR ID: I WOULD STAY
£39k. It rises to £60k after you have qualified.
columns and said that he’d only ever given one person a job after their work experience, and that was me, due to the strength of my emails. I used to write to him as if I was writing a normal email. I had no clue what I was doing when I first walked in there. I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t know how a newspaper worked and I offered no ideas of my own. I was utterly useless. But judging by the way I wrote to him, I got a job.
I realised early on that my Gap-Yah-to-Tanzanah plans weren’t going to happen. (Unless I resorted to fluttering my eyelashes at Daddy.) There seemed to be only one daunting opportunity open to a girl whose A-level grades clearly weren’t enough to land her an obscenely hard-to-bag job in retail: The Agency. As my friends embarked on the neonflashing and VK-drinking delights of Fresher’s week, I soon found myself dinner-ladying it up (complete with hair net and green striped apron), serving mates from the year below dollops of their all-time least favourite mince; elbow deep in a pizza-crusted, ketchup-misted, fairy liquidised soup and struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’ll never complain about unloading the dishwasher again.” Uniformed, track-suit bottomed and rubber-gloved, I have a night of waitressing, coffee-serving, sandwich-making and plug de-clogging to look forward to: enjoy
Fancy cleaning up tray after tray of this slop? Just keep that thought of the gap year in mind
your Saturday night on the lash without me, guys - I’m off to rave it up until 2am as KP. With minimum wage benefits, permanently wrinkly hands, anti-social hours, uncertain shifts, resentful long-term staff and stubbornly grimy fingernails, I tended to think, “rock on”. But despite all this, I know
that the first thing I’m going to do when we break up for Christmas is sign back on. Not only does agency work offer flexibility, but it is also an opportunity to meet new, and often extremely interesting, people. I’ve mopped up gravy/coffee/suds with old school friends, a PHD philoso-
phy student and people from all over the globe, all united in the common cause of a shiny-like-the-top-of-the-Chrysler building kitchen floor. Don’t get me wrong, my enthusiasm for my role as catering assistant doesn’t extend to setting my sights on temping until retirement, but the opportunity it offers to any student who wants to earn some Klute funds whilst also being able to work flexible hours to catch up on reading or to recover from last night’s party is unparalleled. I’ll never complain about unloading the dishwasher again. I’m fastidious with my Ps and Qs, I am much less judgemental (subconsciously or otherwise), I feel independent and I ended up earning every awesome second of my two months in Tanzania. Oh, and another major plus: when those fluorescent pink high-heeled biker boots impulsively tempt me in a shop window, I only have to remind myself that they’re worth ten hours of slamming industrial power-washers to put away my own, not daddy’s debit card. Durham University is still recruiting students for part-time catering work. If you wish to apply, send your CV and covering letter to Nicola Armstrong : (nicola@direct-recruit@.co.uk).
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
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Our writers discuss topical matters This edition: should prisoners vote?
Scotland’s tuition fees system could be unfair
From the Union
The devolved government intends to charge other Brits up to £9,000 for higher education BOON LOW
When deciding on the debates to run and the schedule for this term, I, like every DUS President, tried to predict what would be in the news each week, 6-8 months in advance – not an easy task. We rely on most issues staying important and relevant, despite not necessarily being on newspaper from pages during the week of the debate. However, couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed when it transpired that my scheduling of the monarchy debate last week missed the most interesting and widelyreported story relating to the royal family in the last decade by a mere four days. Despite ever-so-narrowly failing to be topical, I hope the debate was entertaining and interesting. It featured some very heated exchanges between Graham Smith, the Director or Republic, the group campaigning for a democratic alternative to the monarchy, and Rafe Heydel Mankoo, an expert media commentator on the aristocracy. Peter Tatchell, speaking for the proposition, brought a new dimension to the traditional debate by concentrating on the Queen’s alleged failure to recognise the contribution made to society by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Whether this was really the case was never firmly established: as one astute floor speech noted, the Queen possible also has never directly acknowledged the importance of heterosexual individuals to society in those term. As this question seemed unlikely to be answered conclusively, it was perhaps best that Peter Whittle, a successful journalist and media commentator took the discussion in another direction. Predictably, in Durham, we voted not to axe the monarchy. To add to last week’s catalogue of wonderful events, we held our annual Michaelmas ball in Lumley Castle. The wonderful surroundings, beautiful masks, piper, photographers, and a genuinely impressive table magician (!) all added a touch of magic to the night’s entertainments. After a wonderful dinner, guests spent the night dancing to a jazz band, ceilidh band and DJ, and the evening seemed a resounding success. The week was concluded in style by Durham’s debating A team, Pam Cohn and Guy Miscampbell, who reached the final of the Oxford Inter Varsity debating competition, the most prestigious IV of the year. We’re extremely proud of them, and of everyone who represents us competitively, and hope that the Cambridge IV goes equally well this weekend!
he zeitgeist of student rage reached its pinnacle this week as students took to the streets of London, protesting at the government’s proposal to raise the cap on tuition fees to £9,000. However, there is a development rapidly approaching through which English, Welsh and Northern Irish students will arguably face a far greater future injustice. This December, the Scottish Nationalist government is expected to release a Green Paper, which states that it too will be raising the fee cap for British, nonScottish students to £9,000 a year as well. This would not be such an outrageous concept if the raised fee cap was not so specifically aimed at just the other British nations. Students from the other parts of the UK are the only members of the EU which pay for a Scottish university, currently facing fees of £1,820 a year, and in the future a possible £9,000. This undermines the European Union rules which state that all EU students must pay the same tuition fees as the nationals of the country they are studying in. The Scottish government has, though, commented that the Green Paper proposal is “pretty straight-forward”. Lawyers have conceded that this is a legal anomaly which is set to remain unchanged. As education is a devolved realm of primary legislation for the Scottish Parliament, MSPs voted against tuition fees for Scottish students and, since 2007, abolished the Graduate Endowment Fee so that no money is paid for university education at all. While these laws are applied to the rest of the European Union, the complex nature between the nations of the UK means that Brussels has no jurisdiction over British education policy. The system has been deemed “an educational apartheid”. Crucially, if Scotland were independent this would be illegal. Although it may be difficult to contest
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Peter Tatchell: a Union Society guest www.dus.org.uk
Sophie Zeldin-O’Neill hates: The Stephen Fry scandal
The University of Edinburgh is one of the institutions that can charge far higher sums to non-Scottish Brits, arguably against EU legislation
the legality of this policy, it is still easy to break down most of the arguments that the Scottish government machine expels. The first reason is the most sensible one put forward. The government argues that it primarily wants its universities to cater for Scottish people and if the education was free, Scottish universities would be flooded with applications from below the border. Finishing university without substantial debts is an extremely attractive quality to applicants so perhaps this is a rightful worry. On the other hand, university is seen as an investment so the highest quality students surely try to compete for the best education, not just the cheapest. Another reason given is that economically Scottish students have a right to reap the benefits of the Scottish taxes which have funded their universities. This argument serves to highlight the economic injustice of what they are attempting to do. This fact cannot, and does not, change whether European students from beyond Britain pay a fee. Moreover, in arguing this, the Scottish government significantly neglects to men-
f there was one person, nay national treasure, who I didn’t ever imagine would be found to be getting his facts in a twist, it was Stephen Fry. I received news of the controversy surrounding his latest comments frankly bizarre. You only have to watch one episode of QI to feel like Stephen is the delightful, worldly grandfather you never had. What he doesn’t know about, well, anything, isn’t really worth knowing. With his every televisual appearance, he leads you to the hearth of history, nestles you into his lap of knowledge and offers you a Werther’s Original of wisdom. And somehow makes none of that seem creepy. Which is why the recent defamatory accusations of sexism levelled against him caught my special attention. I was initially shocked by the allegations, then confused about their legitimacy, and finally, indescribably angry when it transpired that they were inaccurate all along. The media don’t have the right to strap the unwitting public onto a rollercoaster ride of emotion like this, and if I’ve found anyone offensive, and worthy of embarrassment, over the last fortnight, it is them. Especially when it comes to Stephen Fry – someone who has given so much to the world of broadcasting media during his twenty eight years in the industry.
tion the big chunk of money (estimated at £1.3 billion) which Scottish universities receive from Whitehall funding. To take a specifically English perspective on this point, with a population of roughly 85% of the UK, the majority of this tax is from English people. Thus the Scottish government is expecting the families from the 12% of students at Scottish universities, who are English, to not only have contributed largely to the education the Scots get for free, but to expect their children to not enjoy it equally.
“Crucially, if Scotland were independent the system, deemed ‘educational apartheid’, would be illegal” The Scottish government also promulgate the myth that a four-year MA from a I understand that his comments about the female libido were rather ‘out there’ but let’s be grown up about this. I spent seven years at an all-girls school, and trust me, the chav who graffitied ‘Posh School for Lesbians’ all over our school gate caused me more distress than Stephen Fry. Rather than glancing at the context of his comments, or perhaps, maybe, considering that he might even have been joking, the media played their usual trick of hopping right onto the finger-waggingly polemical bandwagon. I mean, it’s not like Stephen’s the kind of guy to make a joke or anything…It’s not as if his wry wit has been celebrated for decades. Oh no.
“...‘storm in a teacup’ stories” You can just imagine his face when all of these heinous accusations began to surface – his brow would have ruffled, that Roman nose of his, with nostrils so full of the scent of book paper and knowledge, would have wrinkled in disbelief at the sheer absurdity of what he was hearing, and then he’d have said something witty
Scottish university is more desirable than a three-year BA from an English university so it should be paid for. Yet it is more difficult to comprehend how this justifies only English, Welsh and Northern Irish people having to pay for it. Moreover, they have reasonably stated they are worried about the standard of Scottish universities rivalling that of the English universities, once the latter have raised their fees. If the rest of the British universities are raising the cap precisely because in a time of cuts they wish to remain competitive, the Scottish government will find it a thorny exploit to explain away the media accusation of “antiEnglish” discrimination, when it appears that the non-Scottish Brits are supporting the burden of financing their ability to maintain leading academic institutions. If the Scottish government wants to alienate non-Scottish Brits from attending Scottish universities, it is going the right way about it, despite its supposed legality in doing so. If students can take to the streets against Westminster’s decision, can they really be silent against Holyrood? and wonderful that would have included the word ‘ludicrous’. Worst of all, he logged off Twitter, tweeted his farewell, and emitted radio silence to a world of fans desperate to ROFL at a shared bit of banter with the man himself. And to take that away from people is frankly unacceptable. What happened to good, honest reporting? So what if he strayed, for a fleeting moment from the predictable responses that render so many an interview unchallenging and dull. That’s the man’s trademark, for goodness sake. That’s why he’s a national institution, and I really disagree with some big shots in suits thinking that a Dictaphone and a knack for whipping up controversy give them the right to portray him as some kind of Antichrist. The truth is, as Fry himself put it, he was merely “taking a thought for a walk”. In the apology he posted on his blog, he speaks of his disappointment that anyone would believe him to be “dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief”, something the media should consider doing before they behave so irresponsibly. These ‘storm in a teacup’ stories are reductive, exhausting, and consistently ruin my morning cappuccino break.
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
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Opinion Comment BRANDON CRIPPS
Bonfire of the vanities Should the PM have hired a photographer? Hayley-Jane Doyle
A university education is without a doubt a legitimate career choice Thom AddinallBiddulph
n the past few weeks, as cuts to higher education funding and rises in tuition fees have been announced, there has been much talk in some quarters about whether or not higher education is really worth it. Whether students are merely lazy scroungers who can’t be bothered with the real world. Whether it’s just something for the middle classes to footle about with between school and getting a highly-paid City job. Not unsurprisingly, I would like to dispel some of these myths. Because, you see, I don’t just enjoy university (enough so that this is my fifth year, as I start a PhD): I genuinely believe it has turned me into a much more experienced, well-rounded, and even useful person. Bearing in mind that my BA, MA and PhD are all in that most abstruse subject, English Literature. It would appear to quite probably the majority of British citizens that, whether or not I enjoy it, this is not really an especially helpful way to spend the better part of a decade.
“My degrees have provided me with talents and knowledge I did not have before” Yet my degrees have provided me with talents and knowledge I did not necessarily have before. Granted, it is never likely to be of much use to me to know that there may be references to mutual masturbation in Old Norse poems of a certain kind, but the knowledge I have picked up, for example, about the details of American slavery from studying the literature surrounding it is invaluable in understanding much about society, history and humanity. It is, of course, hard to state how that knowledge directly and explicitly contributes to any future job I might hold, because
this sort of knowledge is by its nature of indirect use unless you’re an academic. If, however, I go into politics, as is currently quite possible, I know the lessons of history better than someone who has just skimmed Wikipedia on Slavery, and from literature written both at the time and by contemporary African-American writers understand, at least to some degree, the psychology and individual human actions that go into such issues. I do not claim at all to be an expert on humanity as a result; merely that this knowledge is, to my mind, at least equally useful to understanding the finer points of chartered accountancy. Though someone does need to understand the finer points of chartered accountancy- I would not be so arrogant as to state that higher education is right for everyone, or that only people with degrees are useful members of society. I merely argue that it is a perfectly valid and useful thing to do with one’s time. At that, I have been defending English Literature, one of the hardest subjects to defend- of course someone learning Modern Languages, researching groundbreaking technology, or getting a grounding in the law is doing something worthwhile. We have computer scientists working on new education technologies that could revolutionise learning, politics students learning international relations, which is surely so important in the globalised world, and indeed a very successful Business School training thousands of students for the world of business that is key to our economy, all at Durham alone. It should not need saying, let alone saying again, that there are many other extremely valid career choices that don’t involve university, but it is a lazy and fairly ignorant assumption to presume that all students are wastes of space and time, and indeed generally of the continuum. Though some are, sadly, just as in all walks of life… That’s also leaving aside the huge benefits university brings besides education. To look at my own life again, I am involved in a possibly ill-advised number of extracurricular activities. My school didn’t have a paper as such, whereas here I have become involved with Palatinate, and have learned things about commis-
sioning, editing and publishing I would never have done had I not come here. From various societies I’ve picked up management, leadership and organisational skills, besides the simple benefits societies bring of socialising, introducing you to new things, and allowing you to indulge your interests (which helps keep your mind nourished, needless to say). Besides that, I honestly feel in some ways I’ve been helpful to others through various roles I have had, and what better thing is there in life to do than that?
“Whatever happens, it is imperative that we are proud of our role as students” Beyond all of that, it’s a cliché but university does bring you so many new experiences, and broadens your horizons. Amongst other things, thanks to being at university I know a great deal more about computers, budgeting (or failing to), music, keeping a house, Finland, and the works of Joss Whedon. Not to mention that I’m from London, and barely knew the North East before; I freely admit I probably did harbour some of the standard prejudices about the region. I now love Durham and the area so much I refuse to leave, and support the local tongue as the ‘best English accent’. Without university, I’d still be stuck in the admittedly nice, but relatively dull, suburb of Golders Green. Perhaps what bothers people about higher education is that it’s such a conglomeration of different experiences, opportunities and learning- it’s not a straightforward institution you can trace a very direct line of skills and socio-economic benefit through like, say, running a building firm. That does not mean, though, that it should be dismissed as something for middle-class kids removed from reality, and don’t let anyone ever tell you that. Whatever happens with funding and fees, it is imperative that we are proud of our role as students.
face constantly spread across newspapers. His influential eyes gaze with total familiarity out of page after page of online news. Recorded excerpts of him continue to voice his inescapable opinions. Numerous cartooned depictions artistically and forcefully illustrate recent outlooks. Presenting, Mr David Cameron. Cameron is one of the world’s most important and powerful individuals. His actions, attitudes and ideas should be widely recognised and exposed. It is, after all, a democracy and all should have the option to engage as fully as possible with the Etonian head of our ever-growing, diverse and valued body politic. And, like any other nationally, or internationally significant person, Cameron himself should have the opportunity to gain some control over the presentation of his image, identity and life. Consequently, an official, personal photographer in principle is entirely justifiable.
“Business due to already known merit: Cameron cannot be criticised for conforming to our society of networking and contacts” Ed Miliband’s pathetic attempt to criticise Cameron’s decision to hire Andy Parsons on the grounds of vanity claiming that “apparently he does a nice line in airbrushing”, is unreasonable; it created an episode of playground name calling. And, although it is likely that it is a mocking comment voiced in order to highlight his disagreement with the issue rather than a genuine opinion, it shows a poor attempt at opposition. Another criticism is the fact that Cameron’s new recruits, who ironically have been photographed incredible amounts in the last week, were entered into short, fixedterm contracts. This meant that they were able to enjoy the astounding luxury of not going through the ordinary competitive process of gaining employment. Business due to already known merit: Nicky Woodhouse, for example, runs the WebCameron site, is an extremely regular occurrence, both in a government and commercial sense. Cameron cannot be criticised for conforming to our society of networking and contacts; and ultimately he has provided certain individuals with much needed jobs. Cameron did attempt to assign his new recruits to the Conservative Party payroll, but was told that then their work would not be allowed to appear on any government websites. This would have been a ridiculous sacrifice, which illustrates the inevitability of the Prime Minister’s ultimate decision to submerge them within the civil service. However, our leading man has demonstrated for himself that an official photographer is not an absolutely crucial position to be endorsing. Andy Parsons was peculiarly missing from Cameron’s recent China trip, and essentiality needs to be the key to government policy and workings within the current economic climate. This lack of attendance immediately undermines the Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comment,
“times are tough but we do need someone who takes photographs at official occasions”. It cannot be a mandatory requirement if Cameron does not feel it is of fundamental importance in a foreign policy escapade. Half a million public sector jobs are being cut. This unavoidable fact cannot, of course, be instantly solved, but the catastrophic re-
“Hiring an official photographer is highly inappropriate now given the situation of the state”
ality should not be worsened. Cameron highlighting how the coalition has cut the amount spent on communications by two thirds does not mean that unnecessary recruits should be selected in replacement. Cameron must do absolutely everything he can both to improve the current economic situation and to gain the faith and confidence of his nation. Although the principle of hiring an official photographer cannot be seen as an unreasonable exercise, it is highly inappropriate now given the state’s situation. Cameron - maroon your commitment to these new recruits.
Does David Cameron need a photographer?
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
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Does scientific theory have any bearing on religious faith? Following a controversial debate at the Cathedral, the relationship between science and belief is further examined Featured Article
he Science and the Existence of God debate that was hosted at the Cathedral on the 28th October heralded a new era for Durham Cathedral. A building that has witnessed the depths of medieval piety has opened up its floor to a largely secular debate questioning the credibility of scientific arguments disproving the existence of God. Such a protracted debate that made it into the headlines again over the summer with the publication of Stephen Hawking’s provocative book The Grand Design. But does scientific theory have any relevance to the question of faith?
“The study of science is becoming increasingly more abstract” Sir Arnold Wolfendale opened with the remarks that “it all depends on what you mean by God”. Which is certainly very true but does it not also depend on what you mean by science? When one thinks of science, the tendency is to equate it with the study of our reality. However, the study of science is increasingly becoming much more abstract. Largely because the majority of scientific study is now based around the study of either the incomprehensibly large or the incomprehensibly small. But also because science attempts to demystify life to such a degree that our everyday interactions are reduced to absurdity - and thus from a human point of view renders itself irrelevant. In reality, if you apply science to your life many parts will very quickly disintegrate into complete absurdity. Just imagine the martian equivalent to David Attenborough reducing your life to a zoological study. It ultimately becomes absurd. You look around in a club and
see everybody as birds of paradise strutting about during the mating season. In everyday life we explain the majority of our interactions with words that science tries to avoid. We explain our life in terms of love, friendship, happiness, fear and anxiety; and we surround the actions which can be explained quite nicely by science, like eating or flatulence, with incomprehensible customs of privacy and etiquette. Is mastication really more enjoyable with silver cutlery and a gown? Those who would wish to demystify the world with science need to first consider whether science is relevant to all aspects of our lives, and what we would gain from it - whether a life of blunt reason is more valuable; and perhaps why they as individuals wish to convert others away from their beliefs - what is it that motivates them. What science fails to realise, is that by trying to apply scientific theories to religion, science itself is forced to assume the mantle of a belief system, an ideology. Dangers of this crossover between science and belief are highlighted endlessly in the futures of dystopian novels but also stand out poignantly in our own past - people have very quickly forgotten the influence of the eugenics on schools of thought in the nineteen and twentieth centuries. When Marx termed religion “the opium of the masses” he was referring to the aspects of religion that satisfy the deep desires people have for meaning, belonging and validation. In many respects, those who challenge religious belief in the name of scientific truths use science in the same way. It is hard not to think of the passionate and prolific writings of Dawkins as sounding vocational. They exhibit much of the zealous rhetoric that a preacher would invoke. To those who assume this role of preaching the scientific theory, science very quickly begins to resemble that same opiate. Science provides hope and meaning through the promise of helping humanity with scientific development. Belief is placed in the complexity of the universe, indeed the unlikelihood of us to ever understand the abstract reality that is incomprehensible to the human mind. Just like we are physically unable to move
Durham Cathedral is an ancient centre of learning as well as a beacon for religious conviction, making it a fitting location for this key debate
ourselves at the speed of light, we are mentally unable to comprehend the 12th dimension. There is a belief in an intrinsic, wholly unknowable and incomprehensible truth that underpins the universe.
“Science is not truth, it is a set of rules to explain, and these can often be quite contradictory” But science is not truth, it is a set of rules to explain, and these can quite often be contradictory. To explain an electron, it is convenient to think of it both as a wave and a particle. Yet this cannot be a literal truth. The fact is that the reality is compli-
cated and so, at times, it is better for the electron to be a wave and at other times it is better for the electron to be a particle. It depends entirely on what you want to do. Life is far more complicated than electrons and it seems quite daft for people to expect that one can come to terms with it without a few different ways of looking at it - and what is wrong with those sets of views contradicting one another? The science of our zeitgeist seems to be trying to expand in the way an adolescent tries to find freedom. It has developed a certain ideological identity which can have a propensity towards arrogance. If scientific theory is applied to something absurd, which faith is by scientific definition, then the conclusion will be an absurdity. It should not be a surprise. Just like if you try to apply wave theory to an electron when you want it to be a particle. The rationale of religion is not in scripture
or dogma but lies in human emotion. Religion is not based on proving whether God exists or not, it is a deep yearning for something that science is unable to satisfy. In reality, humanity’s search for knowledge has largely led to the conclusion that we actually know very little, or that what we do know is hopelessly inconclusive in the end even Russel wasn’t completely convinced that his desk existed. Ultimately, this leaves the individual to decide what is true, what is relevant for them. The ultimate choice is whether you base your life on an absurdity of faith and give all actions meanings, or do you base it on the logic of science and accept that all your actions are absurd? And if you’re free to have both, who wouldn’t choose to be a wave one day and a particle the other. It isn’t absurd, it’s human. The would-be crusaders of the scientific theory need to be careful not to encroach on this fundamental freedom.
The Tea Party’s existence is good for American democracy Despite its limited success and vague policies, the Tea Party proves that real democracy is alive and well in the USA Matthew Lee
he incessant chatter of the cameras, the ranks of merciless journalists, the glare of media spotlights; Presidential press conferences are nothing new to Barack Obama. Just over two years ago, he gave his first as the victorious Democratic candidate. Back then he was riding a tidal wave of popularity: he was a President who bore the hope of a nation upon proud shoulders but on the 3rd November 2010 the strain began to show. Gaunt and visibly greying, President Obama faced the world to explain why the Republicans had eased rather than battled to a House of Representatives majority. He was eloquent as ever but amongst the spin he was clearly startled; the United States Congress was no longer filled with the smell of victory cigars, but with the rousing whiff of caffeine. The Tea Party is in town. Much has been said and written about the Tea Party. From the reprehensible
views of some Tea Party members to the vagaries of its policy, the Tea Party has rarely been out of the media spotlight. Even its origins are disputed but most political commentators trace the Tea Party’s birth to the anti-tax demonstrations of 2009. What followed was an explosion of libertarianism, popular discontent and fanatical patriotism. But who are the mad hatters of the Tea Party and what do they stand for? Once again it is not entirely clear. At best they are a lose confederacy of right-wing activist groups demanding that taxes be slashed and the state rolled back. In terms of THEQSP leadership Tea Party members EAKS certainly have their favourites, the bullish Sarah Palin and Rand Paul to name a few, but they have no official leader and are not even a registered party. One thing is for certain, the Tea Party movement has had an indelible effect on American politics.
Critics may raise the valid point that the Tea Party is simply a faction of the Republican Party whipped into a fury by Fox News demagogues. They lack direction and, more importantly, electoral muscle. In the recent mid-term elections only 32% of candidates supported by Tea Party money were successful. Furthermore, candidates such as Christine O’Donnell alienated voters in states certain to vote for a more moderate Republican candidate. However, the raw facts do not tell the full story. The Tea Party is a grass roots movement with haphazard organisation yet they have forced the dominant parties to change course. The Republicans have integrated the Tea Party’s anti-state into their own agenda in an attempt to benefit from public disillusionment. Similarly, Democrat candidates have been forced into distancing themselves from White House policy as a result of the
Tea Party’s virulent anti-Obama stance. The influence of the Tea Party should not be measured in percent and numbers but by the panicked reaction of all politicians. Fortunately, the reaction of many politicians is repulsion. The Tea Party
“...a movement based on people not power...”
epitomises all that is bad with America: institutional racism, manipulation of the constitution, homophobia and hypocrisy. Their attitude towards Islamic states is more Middle Earth than Middle East with the Tea Party trying to portray a childish good versus evil battle. They are an angry spasm, a painful yet natural response that won’t go away. But worst of all they are good for democracy. Most of what they say is an anathema to any informed and rational person but although their policies are deplorable their mere existence strengthens the democratic process. Over a number of years politicians have become detached from the people. Apart from elections we have few opportunities to influence the decisions that
affect our daily lives. Consequently, apathy not action is the order of the day. The Tea Party has shown that the little guy can be heard, that organised protest can make a difference, and in an age when powerful businesses have a monopoly on influence, such a development is strangely refreshing. What we need is a British Tea Party. A way to express our grievances and, crucially, to have them listened to and acted upon. The press has already touted buffoon Boris or even Nigel Farage as potential founding fathers of the British Tea Party movement, but they are missing the point. This is about more than just libertarianism, public spending and ideology; it’s about our basic right as citizens. Not that I want to resurrect hippie-ism but power really does lie with the people and it’s about time we had a medium to use it. So please feel free to continue the condemnation of the Tea Party’s policies but pause for just a moment to think what lies beneath the unpleasant façade. President Obama alluded to it at his explanatory press conference when he expressed his willingness to listen to “good ideas whoever they came from”. The mere fact that politicians are listening to a movement based on people not power is a success in its own right.
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
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Should UK prisoners be given the right to cast their votes?
In a historic ruling, the European Court of Human Rights has demanded that the UK extend the vote to prisoners CATHOLIC CHURCH (ENGLAND AND WALES)
Chris White YES
ublic opinion across the globe is clearly divided when it comes to whether prisoners deserve to have the right to vote – Russia, Japan, and all but two US states ban jail inmates from voting, and in ten of the US states convicted felons are banned for life. However, in 28 other European countries there is at least some form of electoral representation for prisoners. Despite the predictable ranting and raving in the tabloid press, the ruling from the European Court of Human Rights does not mean that every murderer, rapist and paedophile will have the right to vote. What the judges are saying is that a blanket ban on prisoner voting is unjust and unwarranted – should someone lose their right to vote because they’ve been locked up on election day for a minor motoring offence? The British ban “applied automatically to convicted prisoners in prison, irrespective of the length of their sentence and irrespective of the nature or gravity of their offence and their individual circumstances”.
“Voting is a fundamental human right, like liberty and equality under the law, and it should not be taken away from anyone unless it is clearly for the good of society” What the judgement actually means is that the system needs to be changed. I would imagine that government ministers and civil servants are rapidly drafting legislation to adapt the law to avoid the threat of litigation from Britain’s prisoners. David Cameron’s clear opposition to giving criminals the vote suggests that the action the government is likely to take will mean that relatively little changes. Possible courses of action include giving the sentencing judge the power to remove the vote from certain types of criminals – one possibility that has been mentioned is to remove the power to vote from anyone who has been sentenced to more than four years. Voting is a fundamental human right, like liberty and equality under the law, and it should not be taken away from anyone unless it is clearly for the good of society. The removal of liberty from certain offenders is for the protection of society as a whole, and is therefore justifiable, but giving sound-minded prisoners the right to vote does not harm anyone. Electing a government is a right, rather than a privilege – prisoners, like all responsible citizens of a country, have the duty to choose their representative. The right to vote cannot become a standard bolt-on for criminal punishment, as it is too fundamental to the operation of a democratic society. The primary objective of a prison sentence is to try and rehabilitate offenders into society – taking away the right to vote both excludes and alienates them. Many
fenders from society, in an attempt to both punish them, and ensure their rehabilitation. This is achieved in many ways.
“There are currently over 82,000 prisoners in the UK, and if even half this number were to become enfranchised, it would constitute a huge addition to the electorate”
icture this. An eager and over-zealous politician, battle-worn from the campaign trail, turns up at Durham Prison to canvas for votes. Amid his glorious rhetoric and the rapturous applause are the familiar clichés: “we promise lower taxes”, “we will ensure less unemployment”, “we will bring a better quality of life” and, of course, “we will be tough on crime”. How will the crowds from B-wing respond to this? A riot perhaps? This is a ridiculous situation, but what is to stop it from happening? Giving prisoners the vote, even a select group, can neither be morally justified, nor pragmatically implemented. The hugely idealistic arguments of both campaigners and the European Court of Human Rights simply mask the inherent difficulties with such a plan and rely too heavily upon human rights rhetoric. Human rights are ubiquitous in modern society. This is, of course, a good thing. However, their complexity is misunderstood by many. A fundamental and infallible set of rules, they are not. Instead, they are flexible and adaptable, universally applied, but able to be legitimately and lawfully limited where necessary.
“Human rights are not absolute. They are not infallible. They can, and should be, subject to legitimate limitations” Once inside a prison, prisoners become isolated from the community, which includes voting
offenders have never felt part of the community, and taking away another legitimate method to express their grievances is only going to strengthen their feeling of being forced out of society. If we want to rehabilitate these people, then we need to do our best to help them integrate, and help them find a way to develop an identity compatible with modern British society. There is also the big elephant in the room: the European Convention for Human Rights. If the government were to decide to ignore its directive on prisoner voting, then we would have to withdraw from the entire convention. This would send out entirely the wrong message to the world; this convention lays down rules on freedom of conscience, opposition to torture, and the right to fair trial amongst other things. You can’t pick and choose which human rights to enforce; the moral principle behind human rights is that they should be universal and applicable to all. Besides the moral case for giving prisoners the right to vote, it is also distinctly practical. After this latest ruling, Lord Pannick (a crossbench peer and legal expert) has suggested that there are potentially 70,000 prisoners who could bring legal cases against the government if some sort of reform is not implemented. This would cost the government at least £50 million to settle the cases, as well as a substantial legal bill. One of the practical arguments against giving the vote to prison inmates is that it might create a ‘prison block vote’, meaning that in places with large prisons, the prison
population could prove a decisive factor in the election. This is easily countered: prisoners should be given postal votes for the constituency where they last lived, or where they plan to resettle after having served their sentence, costing no more than the postal votes that many of us students used back in May to vote at home.
“You can’t pick and choose which human rights to enforce” There is also the argument that politicians may try to pander to prisoners in order to win their votes. Really? The amount of prisoners that are going to vote in any one constituency is far smaller than the number of voters that would be turned off by any attempt to buy the votes of criminals. There is no way any sensible politician could justify any policy promise of this kind. For me, the practical implications of continuing to prevent prisoners from exercising their democratic right alone are enough to change the law – a large bill is one of the last things that the country needs in these times of economic belt-tightening. Also, as a country, we cannot afford to lose what reputation we still have as an upholder of decency and human rights. It is vital for Britain’s interests that some reforms to the voting rights of prisoners are introduced. My opinion is that any prisoner who is mentally stable should be granted the right to vote.
The right to life; the right to a fair trial; freedom of expression; these are all considered by many (including the law) to be fundamental rights, yet all can, and have been, legitimately and lawfully limited. Furthermore, consider the right to liberty. This is a “fundamental” right which incarcerated criminals are deprived of every day. Yet, all these limitations are to be applauded. It would be unthinkable to declare prisons a deprivation of people’s liberty, or to suggest that soldiers deny people the right to life, or even that all discrimination laws be repealed to ensure freedom of expression. Human rights are not absolute. They are not infallible. They can, and should be, subject to legitimate limitations.
“Giving prisoners the vote, even a select group, can neither be morally jusitfied, nor pragmatically implemented ” Voting is one of these flexible rights. Members of the House of Lords cannot vote, neither can those below the age of eighteen, neither can those who lack the mental capacity. Quite rightly, nobody bemoans these restrictions. They are considered legitimate, as should the disenfranchisement of prisoners. Why is this a legitimate restriction? Simple. The very point of prison is to isolate of-
Prisoners are not subject to taxes, they are not entitled to welfare, nor are they able to use many public services. Disenfranchisement is a natural addition to this list. It realises the aim of prison: to isolate those inside from outside society. Moreover, the objective of elections is to select those members of society who will create the laws that bind all within it. Those citizens given a custodial sentence have clearly committed crimes that are considered more than ‘minor’. Thus, affording prisoners the vote is somewhat paradoxical. They are electing officials to create and maintain the very laws that they have broken. Naturally, your response to this may be to ask why we do not permanently deprive those convicted of the right to vote. This is again simple. Prison is rehabilitative. Voting is not essential to the process of rehabilitation and so it can be denied during their incarceration. Yet, when released, the prisoner is reintegrated into society. They are entitled to the state’s benefits and subject to its obligations. For this reason they should, and do, have the right to elect those that run ‘the State’. It should also be asked where exactly we draw the line. Most would say that murderers shouldn’t be enfranchised, but what about mercy-killers, or those who assist suicide? How much does a criminal have to steal before they are no longer entitled to vote? How many do they have to injure to be considered ineligible to vote? More importantly, if voting is such a fundamental right, if it is so integral to democracy, why do we not give the vote to everyone? These questions remain unanswered by all proponents of this argument. Finally, I return to the example offered at the beginning. It may seem flippant, perhaps even ridiculous, yet it is far from unrealistic. There are currently over 82,000 prisoners in the UK, and if even half this number were to become enfranchised, it would constitute a huge addition to the electorate. Do we really believe that politicians, dependent on votes to remain employed, will simply ignore them? Of course not. Anyone with the right to vote has a right to be canvassed. This situation could easily arise were the ban to be lifted. Allowing prisoners to vote, integrating them into a society that deliberately isolates them, is not only counter-intuitive, but foolish. The ban currently in place does not illegitimately interfere with fundamental human rights. It does not degrade the democratic legitimacy of our nation. Quite the contrary, it ensures that justice is done and democracy is preserved. To lift it would be an error of grave proportions.
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
Whatever your game, get into it at palatinate.org.uk
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London 2012: does overspending eclipse the intangible benefits? FLICKR ID: ANDY WILKES
London’s Olympic Stadium: the stunning centrepiece of the 2012 games, but at what cost to the British economy?
he 6th of July 2005 should be heralded as the day that the greatest show on earth was officially awarded to London, for a world-record third time. Instead, that day may well be committed to the tomes of history as the beginning of one of Britain’s biggest ever administrative miscalculations. With Britain’s economy apparently on the verge of entering an unprecedented halcyon period, the proposed budget of £2.4 billion was widely accepted in exchange for hosting the world’s most inclusive and hon-
ourable sporting event. Fast forward five years, and that confident vision has proven to be a spectacular mirage - the revised budget has ballooned to £9.3 billion, alongside Britain’s economy drifting helplessly towards the latter half of a ‘double-dip’ recession. At best, this is a gross oversight on the part of the Games’ organisers, but the more suspicious may take the sinister view that the anticipated cost of hosting the Olympics was shielded from the public, with the aim that the bid would not be jeopardised by public outrage at the astronomical expenditure. Olympic officials are keen to fall back on
‘the Olympic Legacy’ to justify any drastic spending. Organising bodies are being credited with ‘enhancing London’s legacy’ if their creations offer anything at all, regardless of cost, when the circus has finally packed up and left town. Neither do we have a sparkling recent record when it comes to grand constructions – the Millennium Dome and Wembley Arena of course being our two most epic disappointments of late. We must beware the dangers of artificially creating a future for these constructions. From the 2004 Athens Olympics, 21 out of 22 newly built facilities now lie abandoned. The total budget for the Games was a
monstrous £9.4 bn, which in the months immediately following the event was being footed at a rate of £43,000 per Greek household. Their administrators have since admitted that this problem was caused by inadequate planning concerning the future uses of the facilities – sound familiar? The following are two examples of the government’s insatiable desire to construct a synthetic Olympic heritage. Firstly, Bisley - the venue originally proposed for the shooting events, has been the National Shooting Centre since 1890 and prides itself on being ‘the world’s best known and most varied shooting centre.’ But apparently this was insufficient for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), who deemed it incapable of providing a ‘legacy’. What more could such an institution provide to its sport in this country, or any other, for that matter? The second is that of the equestrian venue. Hickstead, the most recognisable equestrian centre in the world, was offered by founder, Dougie Bunn, to the Olympic organisers for nothing – a beautiful setting, easy access, and 100% free of charge. Instead, in their infinite wisdom, the ODA have decided to construct a temporary 23,000 capacity stadium in the middle of Greenwich Park. Funnily enough, the extensive landscaping that will be required has been allowed by the council, and archaeological considerations and environmental issues have seemingly been sidestepped. But it is in monetary terms that these will be most acutely felt. In view of recent spending cuts, Olympic officials have stressed the necessity of defending the Olympic budget due to its importance in boosting the morale of a beleaguered nation. But, if we cut through all the eulogy, it becomes apparent that for this to happen, Sport England and UK Sport (two of the top three supporters of non-professional sport) will see funding cut by 28% and 33% respectively. So ‘grass roots’ sport – exactly what the Olympics promote and protect – will be hardest hit by the negligence of those at the top. The problem with all the economics is that there seems to be a distinct lack of transparency concerning the facts pub-
lished by the Government and the ODA. Factored into the revised budget was a £2 bn ‘contingency resource’, and when asked whether this fund would be touched, former Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell, said that she had “grounds for optimism” that it would not. What on earth does that mean? When one considers that she also stated that “months of scrutiny” had gone into their budget assessment, this seems an incredibly inaccurate answer.
“Organising bodies are being credited with ‘enhancing London’s legacy’ if their creations are anything at all, regardless of cost.”
Even more remarkably, her team attributed the rise of the proposed budget (a £7+ bn misestimate) to inflation, and whether or not the ODA would be subject to Corporation Tax! One would have thought that the eminent people involved in the budgeting project may well have investigated whether they were liable to Corporation Tax or not. But let us not forget that the Olympic Games really are special. The facts and figures should be left as a distant footnote to the intangibles created by such an emotive event. While in economic terms, it probably is a risk that Britain ought not to take, making a success of it will be a great achievement for the country as a whole. In a final note that echoes these sentiments, consider the observations made by our outgoing Chancellor, Bill Bryson. In a piece conerning the Sydney Olympics, he wrote: “I don’t wish in my giddiness to overstate matters, but I invite you to suggest a more successful event anywhere in the peacetime history of mankind.” Even I cannot argue with that.
Durham City AFC look to rebuild after a turbulent 2009/10 season Durham City Football Club could argue that as a team they have had the most turbulent three year period of their history. After two successive promotions taking them in to the Unibond Premier League North, they were subsequently told that they would not be allowed to move any higher up the football ladder due to their artificial pitch. This led to the withdrawal of the club’s main sponsor, placing the club in severe financial difficulty, given heavy investment in infrastructure and players. Clearly, the hope had been to invest in improving the team and try to push for a third successive promotion. However, now unable to even cover player’s expenses, the club were forced to offload most of the players and had to resort to filling their team with members of the local sixth form centre. This created a team largely made up of 16-18 year olds, who understandably struggled in the higher division. To add to the problem, the club were deducted six points and fined £2,000 for fielding a player, Joshua Home-Jackson, un-
der a false name, as he was suspended. This also led to the suspension of the manager, Lee Collings, as well as Home-Jackson, for fifteen games. With the club having not won a game and therefore on -6 points, they finally won in the 29th game of the season against FC United of Manchester, beating them 2-1; quickly followed by a 4-3 win over Whitby Town in their next game. These results were greeted with ecstasy by all involved at the club.
“Survival remains the main objective of this season, before any return to a higher tier” However, they failed to gain any positive results for the rest of the season, finishing up on 0 points and duly being relegated. This made them the least successful team in the country in last year’s football season. Despite this, the fact that the club complet-
ed all games in the season was an achievement in itself, and the one positive to come out from such a troublesome season was the fact that the club stayed afloat. Upon fast forwarding to a new season it appears the club are showing signs of improvement. Despite a bad start, with the club being deducted 1 point for fielding an ineligible player in the opening match of the league season against Clitheroe, they drew the game, and have enjoyed a mixed start to the season. At the time of writing, after the 4-3 away victory over Prescot Cables on Saturday 13th November, Durham City sit in fourteenth place in the 23 team league, with fifteen points after sixteen games. Admittedly, the league position in misleading, as a number of teams have played fewer games, but this is still a marked improvement on last season. Survival probably remains the main objective this season, but hopefully with a bit of luck in the next few seasons the club can return to a higher tier. For those that are interested in going to watch a match, Durham City play at the Esh Group Stadium, located on the Belmont Industrial Estate. Tickets for adults
are £8 and £5 for 15-18 year olds. For any more information including fixture lists
visit the Durham City FC website (www. durhamcityafc.com).
FLICKR ID: MATTHEW WILKINSON
Durham failed to win a point last year but have made a promising start to the new season
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
This year’s rowing race season is well underway, with college rowing once again making its impact upon Durham. Up to 500 novice rowers will descend upon the Wear on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of December to compete in the Novice Cup, a Durham College Rowing event. The Novice Cup is an opportunity for those rowers who have been learning to row since October to showcase their talent and get their first taste of racing in a 600m head to head regatta. The competition takes place in a series of heats over the weekend and traditionally two separate events are run, the Cup and the Plate, giving crews who are knocked out of their first race the opportunity to compete again in the Plate event. This year all sixteen Durham college boat clubs will be entering the event and it promises to be exciting, with near misses, college rivalry and all the close battles expected from such a contest. Last year’s winning men’s crew were from Castle and the women’s crew from St. Johns. Both colleges are looking promising in practice out on the water and it remains to be seen if they can retain their titles.
Unsavoury ending denies Durham fightback Women’s Rugby Durham:
premature ending to a spirited second half performance put paid to Durham’s hopes of advancing to the second round of the BUCS Knock-out Cup. Both teams decided to shake hands after Cardiff’s full back, Lela Hughes suffered a broken ankle in the 57th minute. Players were visibly shocked after Hughes failed to get up from an inauspicious tackle with her ankle hanging at an awkward angle. One eye witness fifteen metres away described the noise as ‘harrowing’. The injury will
have made the long return trip south a sombre one for Cardiff. “It’s very demoralizing to see our friend and team mate like this. We can’t celebrate this win”, said Cardiff skipper, Jen Hawkins. With the ambulance some time away and the score at 10-0 to Southern Premiership side Cardiff, Durham coach, Cameron Henderson offered Cardiff a route into the second round with 13 minutes remaining where they will face Loughborough. But Durham skipper, Carolyn Wilson, was able to remain positive. “I thought we adjusted well to the initial shock of coming up against opposition a league above us,” she told Palatinate. “We could have scored in the second half. Nonetheless, it leaves us with the opportunity to concentrate on our main priority: winning the league”. Despite entering the tie unbeaten and on the back of a 120-0 demolition of Manchester Met, Durham knew they were the underdogs and spent much of the first half
trying to settle. Cardiff’s superior physicality at the breakdown resulted in regular turnovers, faltering the momentum put in place by some fluid moves by the Durham backs, centering on fly half, Kate Langham.
“The forwards were able to create a firm platform, but handling errors meant the backs failed to capitalise” And it was these turnovers that allowed Cardiff to capitalise on Durham’s temporarily ragged defensive line. The speed at which Cardiff were able to counter attack and offload in the tackle was impressive, epitomised by their opening try - Cardiff’s
Fresh rowers take to water for annual Novice Cup
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“The event promises to be exiting with near misses, college rivalry and some close battles” Part of the popularity of the event comes from the satisfaction of showing off a new skill. Van Mildert Boat Club coach Lindsay Martin said, “The great thing about the Novice Cup is watching people row who have never even touched a boat before, progress so quickly to accomplishing a tidy performance in a race. It is definitely worth all the early morning outings”. Just like last year, adverse weather conditions and high river levels have been interrupting training on the Wear, so fingers are crossed for good weather on the day. Later in the week the Senate Cup is an opportunity for more experienced rowers to compete in a friendly head-to-head race, 1450 m upstream on the Wear. The course starts at Counts House and finishes just past Hild-Bede’s landing stage, taking competitors through Elvet Bridge at full race pace which ensures that the race is always a spectacle and never predictable. Aidan’s men’s 4+ dominated college rowing at Tyne United Small Boats Head last month, coming second overall with a substantial fifty second lead over runners up Van Mildert Boat Club. But with the event happening so close to the beginning of term, many colleges were underprepared and the Senate Cup is wide open for the taking. This year the Senate Cup will be held on Wednesday the 8th December and with invitations also being sent to Durham Amateur Rowing Club and Durham School Boat Club, the racing should be hotly contested. Every year an impressive amount of supporters line the river bank for both events, so come down to the river on the 4th, 5th and 8th of December to cheer on your college rowers. Good luck to all who will be involved!
Cardiff a cut above: playing a side in a higher league, Durham’s women performed admirably before a horrific injury forced the game to end.
powerful flanker, Claire Molloy was able to break a tackle across the half way line and suck in two more defenders, before offloading to the grateful winger. Her speed was enough to evade the scrambling defence and score in the corner on thirteen minutes. If Cardiff’s first try was due to a moment of individual brilliance, there can be no excuses for the second. A ruck inside Durham’s 22 resulted in an all too familiar turnover for Cardiff, who built up two more solid phases of play. With Durham’s defence at full stretch, Cardiff captain Jen Hawkins picked the ball off the back of the ruck and ignored the three women overlap to bundle across the line herself and double their lead. As Durham struggled to impose them selves on the opposition’s try line, Cardiff could have made the game safe by half time but for a brilliant last ditch tackle by Durham’s number ten, Langham. A moment of magic by Meg Tudor saw her collect her own chip on the half way line and break through the last line of defence. She looked a certainty to score if it wasn’t for Langham’s fantastic desire to pull her down just inches short of the line. If Durham’s first half was characterised by glimpses of promising play by the backs that could not be sustained by the forwards, the opposite could be said of the second. The forwards were able to create a firm platform, but a series of handling errors meant the backs were unable to capitalise. Durham’s imaginative moves were being increasingly well read by Cardiff’s centres, who delivered some big hits on Durham’s offensive line. This meant that Durham were not able to exploit full back Ruth Matta’s blistering pace and Cardiff’s pressure resulted in sloppy errors. On the other hand, Matta executed her required defensive duties admirably. When Cardiff’s considerably sized centre, Sally Tuson performed one of her numerous line breaks and found herself with only the petite Matta standing between her and the try line, the crowd feared the worst. However, Matta brought down Tuson with ferocity that few could have predicted. “Have you ever seen a cheetah taking down a wilder beast on the Serengeti…”? one bystander turned to ask me. With Durham’s forwards beginning to exert authority on the match, the premature end came as a disappointment. Whether they would have been able to stage a dramatic comeback remains to be unseen, but their second half revival will be reassuring as they continue to aim for promotion.
Dominant Ustinov too strong for courageous John Snow A Men’s Basketball Ustinov A:
John Snow A:
On Saturday 13th, John Snow’s basketball team made the journey north from Stockton to face Ustinov A in a clash between two of Durham’s finest college basketball teams. Last year Ustinov A finished as runners up in the Premiership and amassed the leading points-difference, while John Snow came in just behind them in third. The match promised much and got off to a lively start as Ustinov scored first following two near misses for John Snow. In a frenetic opening quarter, the balance of
play swung to and fro, and the scores were level at eight points apiece with just five minutes gone. Then came the first real moment of brilliance as John Snow’s Wayne Ho broke clear of his marker and after exchanging passes with a team-mate, guided the ball into the basket from distance, handing his side the lead for the first time in the match, his three-pointer making it 11-8. Ustinov responded well, however, and a flurry of quick scores saw them leading 14-11 at the break. The second quarter started where the first had left off, and after only three minutes, John Snow had come back to within a point of Ustinov, trailing by fifteen points to sixteen with Marco Li’s pace and agility integral to their resurgence. This only served to stir the Ustinov ranks, however, and the hosts, inspired by their talismanic captain Ioannis Lignos, notched twelve points without reply in
what remained of the second period. There was more pain for John Snow in the third quarter as Ustinov rapidly racked up a daunting 26 point lead with Brian Wei’s three pointer among the highlights. A brief riposte by the visitors, including
“Despite the challenge that lay ahead of them, John Snow remained positive and took the fight to Ustinov” a long range effort of their own from Li, saw the deficit reduced to 22, but following more inspirational play from Lignos, Ustinov restored the buffer and the scores stood
at 48-22 going into the final quarter. Despite the insurmountable challenge that lay ahead of them, John Snow remained positive and took the fight to Ustinov in the closing stages. With possession frequently changing hands as both sides tired, it took moments of individual quality to make the difference. One such instance saw Wayne Ho race from one end of the court to the other, beating two opponents on the way, before sending the ball home with a nonchalant flick which made the scores 52-26 at the time. The pace of the game dropped as the clock ticked down, and both sides looked out on their feet as the action drew to a close with the final score 54-30 to Ustinov. The end result was a fair one, with Lignos’ vision and superb passing range often the difference between the two sides, but John Snow can take heart from the way they refused to be cowed and gave as good as they got for much of the match.
PALATINATE Tuesday 23rd November 2010
Whatever your game, get into it at palatinate.org.uk
Croquet anyone? A new sporting society is proposed Liverpool No longer the reserve of the upper classes, Jack Percival examines why Durham needs a croquet club.
The DUCC Guide to Croquet 1. Set out six hoops in three lines of two with a post in the centre. Gather three friends, four balls and a few mallets, and you are ready to play. 2. The game is played with pairs of balls: the blue with the black and red with the yellow. 3. Each player takes turns to hit one of their balls and gains an extra strike if they run a ball through a hoop. The game is over when a team gets both of its balls round the entire circuit and to hit the post. 4. If you hit another ball on your turn you are said to have ‘made roquet’, meaning that you can move your ball next to the ball you hit and take a croquet stroke followed by a bonus continuation stroke. 5. Stringing hoop runs and roquets together leads to fast movement round the circuit, spoiling your competitors game whilst winning it for yourself. “It takes the guile of a cobra and the inhumanity of a Boa Constrictor” quotes one. Not the words that first come to mind when people think of England’s most successful sport, but as I stood on the sidelines and looked on in awe, I became transfixed with this game and its unique combination of strategy, sleuth and skill. Croquet, as I came to learn, is a sport not for the faint hearted. As someone who only played the sport for the first time over the summer, I approached it with the overriding impression
that it was a gentle game for those who enjoyed the finer things in life. I could never have imagined how wrong I would be. Instead I was immediately taken by the vicious nature of the sport, as individuals tried to extend their turns by making roquet and running hoops - one of the many intricacies of the game that I would come to know and love. The intellect of some of the players was astounding as they carefully planned and perfectly executed series after series of complex moves, always acting one step ahead of the game. Forget the polite game played by aristocracts, croquet is a fiercely cruel pastime that is addictive and challenging, allowing even the newest beginner to challenge the experienced player. More than 800 years after the Normans are seen celebrating their victory in the Bayeux Tapestry, the sport is still growing across the country with universities from Oxford to York sporting their own clubs and Oregon, USA even offering creditbearing modules in the sport. However in Durham, despite some colleges housing their own clubs, the university has no united front to take on these institutions, instead favouring small and informal inter-college competitions, due to their inability even now, to recognise it as worthy of status alongside its other “Team Durham” sports. The movement to change this opinion is already underway. Support from colleges alongside those who fail to resist a cheeky game of croquet with pimms in the summer, has combined to produce proposals which have been put in front of the University. As it is just next week that we will discover the fate of the society and the much anticipated “Team Durham Croquet” tracksuit bottoms, I hope that some movement has been made to promoting this fantastic sport to a new audience. So next time you think ‘I’d like to give that a go’, think about croquet for its unique combination of strategy, skill and sociability, and ask wheter the time has come for Durham to succumb to the craze and join one of Britain’s oldest and most widely known sports? Support the cause and show that Durham needs a croquet club. Search Durham University Croquet Club on Facebook and “Like” the page at www.facebook.com/ DUCroquet.
aturday afternoon. The sun, low in the sky casting looming shadows from the Cathedral onto Palace Green. Four lonely figures, six hoops and a post. Four balls and mallets are passed between players as each one considers the wide range of options open to them in turn examining every option from every angle.
Men’s Table Tennis
Women’s Hockey Durham:
Following three successive wins to start off their BUCS campaign, Durham University’s women’s hockey XI set out to continue their impressive form against rivals Loughborough, in their toughest fixture so far. The Palatinates set off to a positive start, squeezing the home side Loughborough into their own half, right from the whistle. However, neither side managed to grasp control of the game with much of the play being fought in the middle third of the pitch. The first chance of the game came from Loughborough in the form of a penalty corner just three minutes in to the half; but Durham’s keeper, Harriet Tebbs made light
Hild Bede’s East gym witnessed perhaps the most one-sided encounter of the sporting week on Wednesday, as the men’s table tennis team demolished Liverpool’s Firsts. Durham took just over an hour to dispatch their opponents as the men in purple continued their push for promotion to the Northern Premier League. High flying Liverpool sent an inexperienced team across the Pennines and they paid dearly for it, suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of the Palatinates, which will dent their own promotion ambitions. The gulf in class was apparent after the first two rounds of singles matches. Durham conceded just one game in their ‘best of five’ matches, and there was a depressing sense of inevitability for the Merseysiders at this early stage of the contest. Durham soon raced to an unassailable 9-0 lead to seal the tie; however the lads were in no mood to take their foot off the pedal. Points difference may yet prove decisive in this tight division, and with seventeen up for grabs, Durham went about securing them with ruthless efficiency. Liverpool certainly improved as the third round of matches commenced, but they still failed to offer much in the way of resistance to this talented Durham side. Captain Kevin Sham produced some stunning shots to beat his man, and this was emulated along all four tables. The technical ability of the side was simply too much for Liverpool, who endured an onslaught of winners and unreturnable serves.
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Women’s XI settle for goalless draw against Loughborough work of the strike from the top, allowing the defenders to clear the ball. Although both teams had equivalent chances on goal, Loughborough seemed to find their feet first, retaining most of the possession with quick and fluid play. Nevertheless, Durham’s defence proved to be one barrier too many for the Loughborough side to overcome, and they were unable to capitalise upon their midfield dominance. It was Durham who almost took the advantage when careless passing on the part of the Loughborough defenders left Cherry Seaborn with a one-on-one with the keeper, only narrowly missing the target. Much of the first half was a display of end to end hockey, as breakaway runs were a major part of the attacking play. Despite Loughborough displaying some of the more forceful hockey for the most part of the half, opportunities to score at either end were created; one of Durham’s better chances came from Emma O’Nien, whose reverse stick shot forced a tough save from the Loughborough keeper. As result of erroneous passing and solid opposition defending, play was often bro-
dispatched in record time by Palatinates
ken down in the attacking third of the pitch, and each side had difficulty making links with their forwards. Some excellent hockey was produced from both teams, and with Durham’s defence putting on a strong performance, the score was restricted to 0-0 as the whistle blew for half time. Once again, Durham began their second
“Loughborough were the ones who found their feet first, retaining possession with quick and fluid play” half well, winning a succession of penalty corners just five minutes in. Whilst Durham couldn’t convert their chances, Loughborough were able to re-impose themselves
on the match, and again, some exciting hockey was witnessed from both sides who moved with fantastic pace, and executed passes with a high degree of control. Loughborough again made their presence felt, but it was Durham who were the dominant side for the most part of the second half. The Palatinates took hold of Loughborough’s aerial balls, and effectively defended the opposition’s only penalty corner of the half. It was in the final ten minutes of the game that Durham began to burst through the Loughborough defence and really threaten the goal. After a slick short corner routine left room for the deflection, it was only the Loughborough keeper who managed to get in the way of what looked like an imminent Durham victory. Unfortunately for Durham, their final push for glory came slightly too late, and the sides had to settle for a goalless draw. Durham will be encouraged by their well earned point against a strong Loughborough side, and look to repeat many aspects of their performance in the most challenging games to come.
“Liverpool sent an inexperienced team across the Pennines and clearly paid for it ”
Durham were looking for a clean sweep as the match entered the final round of singles, and they duly delivered with some clinical play. Durham’s number one Jake Collins barely broke a sweat in defeating his opposition, and his example was followed down the order with comprehensive wins for his three teammates. Victory for Collins and Johannes Guzy in the doubles sealed a 17-0 whitewash for the Palatinates. The team has been in magnificent form so far this season; a narrow defeat against sporting giants Leeds Met being the only blemish on their otherwise perfect start. One-sided victories over Northumbria and Manchester have alluded to the potential of this side. After the demolition of Liverpool, Durham number two Tom Bray said “promotion is definitely the target this season. The side is even stronger than last year and this strength in depth will be vital if we are to keep this run going”. Tougher tests than this depleted Liverpool side will undoubtedly come, but the team’s efficient manner means that they can go into the decisive stage of the season with considerable belief.
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 PALATINATE
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Inside: James Percival on why Durham needs a croquet club, Novice Cup preview and all the latest college news CHRIS WILLETTS
Outmaneuvered and outclassed: in a game that gave meaning to the definition ‘one-sided’, Durham Men’s Lacrosse 1st team annhilated an overawed Nottingham side with their strength in depth, speed and ruthless goalscoring ability
Nottingham annihilated by Durham’s unstoppable Americans Nottingham:
omething of a rout took place at the Rubber Crumb on November 10th as Durham’s Men’s first team dealt out a comprehensive drubbing to visitors Nottingham, in the BUCS Northern Premier Division. The outcome was near total embarrassment for a Nottingham side which, led by current England Under 19s player Max Sandy, last year made it all the way to the BUCS knockout final. The Palatinates are yet to be beaten all season, with previous wins against St. Andrews (23-2) and Sheffield Hallam (19-1). When you add this to the accolade of current National Champions, it is not difficult to see why they look so unstoppable. The midlands outfit were simply unable to cope with the superior experience and
“Purps” went in 9-0 up at the end of the first quarter. Having taken control, Durham showed no signs of relenting in the second period, and in the run-up to half time they netted a further ten times. McTernan, who according to his injured captain A d a m Prescott was simply “everywhere”, was once more at the centre of the action, converting after Royce had stick-checked a Nottingham midfielder so forcefully that the player dropped it. Nottingham did then manage to force an excellent save from Palatinate goal-tender Adam Szczepanski, only to concede again themselves immediately afterwards, this time through Ric Topham. The visitors began to get sloppy and Durham took full advantage, putting their opponents to the sword in a match which began CHRIS WILLETTS
speed of the hosts, who, with twelve Americans in their squad of fifteen, were totally dominant from the outset. Within seconds of the first face-off, Durham took the ascendancy; midfielder Mike McTernan opened the scoring, and this first blow was followed in quick succession by efforts from Jeremy Sieverts and attacking pair Bennett and Linebaugh, all of Ustinov college. Sieverts in particular made a mockery of the Nottingham defence throughout the first twenty minute quarter, having played a season professionally in the US for Major League Lacrosse (MLL) high-fliers the Chesapeake Bayhawks. He and his teammates were not only clinical in attack but also utterly unforgiving in defence, and the high contact element of one of the most brutal sports played at university level (think American Football with sticks or hockey played in the air) was apparent to the watching crowd. With the score poised at 5-0, the home side found themselves a couple of players down due to personal fouls - Mcternan was sidelined for committing a slash to the helmet. Yet even after these infringements, Nottingham were still unable to break Durham down, and more goals were added. Tim Cassi took a share of the spoils, and the
to border on the ridiculous in its onesidedness. The half time break did allow time for Nottingham to regroup though, and as they emerged for the second half they showed a lot more promise. Skipper Sandy kept the ball well in the middle of the pitch, and the visitors at long last enjoyed extended periods of possession. In the third quarter, even the Durham goals began to dry up slightly after their early onslaught. But nevertheless Notts’ build-up remained slow and the hosts’ defensive line, led by Kyle Standiford of Aidan’s, routinely quashed any efforts which looked goal bound. Standiford himself added goal number twenty-three as the third quarter came to a close. Durham turned down the heat in the
final period, but even when fielding substitutes, they still both looked and played a cut above. By the time David Bennett flung home his eighth of the match, taking the score to a monstrous 28-0, the final whistle was blown and this was no doubt the sweetest sound the visitors heard all afternoon. Though clearly dejected, Notts’ skipper and England international Max Sandy remained optimistic after the match: “We’ve lost eight first teamers from last year, and those that have come through have come on leaps and bounds”. “But when you’re competing against American guys who have played for years, all postgrads, they know what they’re doing. Durham have got depth. That’s the difference - their subs are just as good as the starting ten. We did well considering what we were up against. This Durham side would probably beat England – that’s how good they are”. The victory ensures that Durham continue to sit pretty at the top of the Premiership, taking maximum points to go with an unprecedented goal difference of 88. Behind them are Hallam, also on nine points, but with Hallam’s goal difference standing at -13, a good draw with home advantage for the Palatinates in the Knockout which begins in January, is virtually assured.