Page 1


Science & Technology enlightens you with 750s in science

Sir Harold Evans talks about Palatinate in the 1950s as we celebrate 750 editions

SciTech, pages 16-17

Editorial, page 2

No. 750

Palatinate Durham’s student newspaper since 1948

Thursday 14th March 2013 | FREE

Durham University is looking to acquire the Three Tuns, with the site’s potential to increase student numbers in the city Photograph: Nicoletta Asciuto

University poised to buy Three Tuns James Ablett Durham University is in talks to buy the Three Tuns Hotel, a move likely to expand college residential numbers in Durham City. The University’s acting registrar, Paulina Lubacz, told Palatinate: “The University can confirm that it is in discussions to acquire the Three Tuns. We have no further comment to make at this early stage.” It is thought that the potential for an extra 50 bedrooms, and the possible use of the building’s conference facilities are driving the University to invest in the property. The hotel is a landmark of Durham City. Situated on New Elvet, the building dates back to the 16th century and retains features relating to

its historical background. Swallow Hotels, the Edinburghbased group who own the property, describe the décor as including “stained glass ceilings, extensive oak panelling, original woodcarvings and open fireplaces that provide you with a unique hotel experience.” Despite the period features, and its excellent location for students – it is opposite the Elvet Riverside lecture rooms – any acquisition is likely to come with a few hurdles. Primarily, the property is in need of refurbishment. Speaking to the Durham Times, one employee, who did not wish to be named, said: “Our bosses won’t say anything…[closure] would be very sad. “The hotel’s tired and neglected. I would say it would need £3-4m to tidy it up.” The second matter is the effect

upon students and tourists. Many local politicians feel that were the site to be converted to student accommodation, it would both isolate students from other university accommodation and damage the city’s allure to tourists.

“The loss of the Three Tuns will be a step backwards in attracting visitors to the City” David Freeman, Durham County Councillor

Speaking to Palatinate, Liberal Democrat Councillor David Freeman, of Durham County Council, said County Durham “should be making

the most of its tourist potential. “For this strategy to work we need good quality hotels. The loss of the Three Tuns will be a step backwards in attracting visitors to the City.” He also stated that the “Three Tuns site [...] would be isolated from other Durham University accommodation. “While extra university accommodation may reduce pressure on family housing being bought by landlords this does not appear to be a good location for either the University or students.” He added that this has “come as a surprise to local residents. I have already spoken to many people who are unhappy with the University plans. “The University’s Estate Strategy makes no reference of the [Three Tuns] site.”

The Elvet Residents’ Association was more upbeat. Jonathan Lovell, the Association’s Chair, told the Durham Times: “If this property were to become student accommodation, ERA would welcome the possibility of reducing pressure on family housing being acquired by landlords in Elvet and elsewhere in the city.” The issue of family housing has repeatedly been a cause of concern for the ERA. Last November, Palatinate reported that two houses on Old Elvet, the Grade II listed numbers 44 and 45, were to be converted from offices to student housing. The ERA at the time stated that there was an “urgent need for the University and Durham County Council to have a joint accommodation strategy to ensure that other areas of the city do not become a University campus.”


Against all the odds, Palatinate has somehow managed to reach its 750th edition. Admittedly, 750 could just seem like any other number. However, a spot of rudimentary number crunching will perhaps provide a clearer insight into why we’re all so excited about this milestone. Given the very rough estimate that an average page needs 600 words to be filled, this issue of Palatinate (excluding indigo) has likely printed in the region of 14,000 words. Hard to picture? That’s roughly equivalent to a double module dissertation. Furthermore, as this is the ninth edition of the academic year, so far we have published an absolute minimum of 126,000 words. The mind boggles. So then, is reaching the 750th edition really that big a deal? Well, we like to think so, and not just because it gives us a perfect excuse to cast off our looming summative work and head off to the pub for a celebratory pint instead. Take a look at page 10, where you will be presented with a selection of front pages from Palatinate both past and present. While

these only scratch the surface of this newspaper’s history, they show just how much Palatinate has changed over the years. Or you could look at the collection of former Editor testimonials below, which make for some fascinating reading. While it’s always fun to delve into our archives and dig out amusing articles from days gone by, the paper would never have reached 750 editions without embracing change and modernity. With this in mind, go check out our lifestyle pullout indigo, which has had something of a facelift. Unlike so many of those celebrity facelifts which look hilarious and terrifying in equal measure, this one has been a great success. We think it looks beautiful and hope that you feel your reading experience is rejuvinated as a result. Despite our own commitment to constantly adapting as a news medium, the creation of this landmark edition has made clear that not everything in this university has changed as much as students might like. To save you finding out for yourselves, have a read of David Siesage’s comment piece

and make up your own mind about whether the University could also be doing more to embrace change. Reaching a 750th edition has taught us that while change within Palatinate is inevitable, and even beneficial, the same cannot necessarily be said for other university matters. Many students remain apathetic, and even more frustratingly, the University consistently refuses to take the thoughts of its own students seriously . How much longer must we watch these problems stagnate? Let’s hope that it will not be so long that another 750 editions of Palatinate can be printed before they are resolved. For now though, take a wellearned rest to enjoy this bumper edition of Palatinate. Here’s to the next 750.

I felt I’d got to Durham on false pretences. I was like a character in a Bateman cartoon, surrounded by people in mortarboards and gowns pointing fingers and declaring, “He doesn’t have Latin! He doesn’t have Latin!” Well, I didn’t, but I did have shorthand, learned in a girls’ business college; shorthand got me a job on a weekly newspaper at 16, and somewhere or other I’d developed a skill for using glue to paste up press clippings and the like. This was even more crucial than shorthand for wrangling a spot on Palatinate, with the grand title of assistant editor, which meant I assisted the editor by pasting up his typeset columns into layout pages. There were only two other staffers, one of whom seemed to be engaged in writing The Great Novel. Happily, the editor got worried about exams, and went off to prepare. The Student Representative Council (SRC) invited me to an interview to say I was elected editor, but I should understand that it was going bankrupt. By sketching the glittering prospects in journalism for anyone who’d been on Palatinate, I seduced a group of talented eager beavers to join in. We got by. A brilliant Cuthberts man got an interview with Evelyn Waugh, except he turned up five minutes late at Waugh’s mansion, and the great man’s angry face appeared at an upstairs window: “You are five minutes late, I will not tolerate rudeness! Good day to you sir!” We fell back on a Hatfield English scholar’s account of a great

pub crawl. So Palatinate survived – and look how it flourishes today, so much a better newspaper than we managed in the Fifties.

recommend getting involved to anyone studying now. I went from covering ever dull DSU goings on in first year to interviewing Bond girl Gemma Arterton and even Nick Clegg and David Miliband on the eve of the 2010 Election which got picked up the following morning by national newspapers. On that final day when you turn from graduand to graduate, one handshake will culminate 17 years of education. When you look through the list of those past alumni’s achievements it’s clear that whatever you want to go on and do Durham will have prepared you. When you leave you will meet and work with fellow Dunelm graduates of all ages with whom you can quickly build a bond to help you in your career and become part of what is jokingly known as the ‘Durham Mafia’. I would never want to call any past time ‘the best days of my life’ as I would always hope for even better to come but Durham definitely sets the bar high. Don’t get too caught up with rushing ahead to the rat race, Durham’s a special place and afterwards you have to work hard to bridge the gaps in lifestyle and geography to keep your friends together.

Florence Snead

Inside 750 News pages 3-7

News Features pages 8-9 750 Special page 10 Business page 11 Careers page 12 & 13 Politics pages 14 & 15 SciTech pages 16 & 17 Comment pages 18-20 Sport pages 21-24


Editorial page 2 Visual Arts page 3 Features pages 4 & 5 Food & Drink page 6 Stage page 7

Fashion page 8 & 9 Music pages 10 & 11 Film & TV page 12 Books pages 13 Travel page 14 & 15

Memories of Palatinate past: former editors reminisce

Sir Harold Evans Former Editor of the Times

Thinking back on my time at Durham it’s true the memories do get more rose-tinted with each passing year. You forget the essays, the panic ridden run down the bailey to submit your freshly bound dissertation and post-Klute quady hangovers. Nevertheless talking with friends I have known since being a fresher at a recent reunion weekend we all agreed that the years you spend studying at Durham are some of the best you could have. None of my friends from school had quite as rich as diverse experience as the college system at Durham provides. If you’ve ever wanted to try something then it really is the time, before I arrive I had never acted, never rowed and never written an article. I left having been a lead in a DST play, rowed for my college fits VIII and editing a newspaper. You will never again be offered or have the time to do all of the things you can so easily do at Durham so try to make the most of it! Working on Palatinate was one of the biggest highlights of my university experience and I would

Vincent McAviney Sky News Political Producer

I have many fond memories of my time working on Palatinate, not just as editor. There was a real sense commitment and enthusiasm among the team, which led to some great stories and editions. It is no coincidence that a lot of us from that period are working as journalists today - I am a sports writer on the Oxford Mail newspaper. Winning the Independent/NUS best student newspaper award in 2001 was definitely a highlight, but I also vividly remember our many hours together in the Palatinate ‘bunker’ in Dunelm House. It was a small office that was not always as tidy as it could have been, but we made the most of it. Often using old computers and listening to promo CDs of varying musical quality on the boombox, many of us started honing the skills we still attempt to practice today. Other student newspapers had sabbatical staff, but I think the fact that we were all regular students was a strength for us. At times we were probably a bit self-important, but generally we did a good job of reporting all the news, sport, arts and much more than Durham students looked for.

Ed Mezzetti Oxford Mail Reporter

Palatinate is published by Durham Students’ Union on a fortnightly basis during term and is editorially independent. All contributors and editors are full-time students at Durham University. Send letters to: Editor, Palatinate, Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AN. Alternatively, send an e-mail to

Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief Harriet Line & Florence Snead Deputy Editor Matt Lee News Editors Jillian Ward & Sally Wardle News Features Editor Joanna Thom Deputy News Editors James Ablett, Natasha Tierney & Justin Villamil Politics Editor Francis Still Deputy Politics Editor Joe Mayes Business Editor Florence Childs Careers Editor Amy Sandiford-Watts Science and Technology Editor Jonny Bowers Deputy Science and Technology Editor Chris Somers Comment Editor David Siesage Deputy Comment Editor Catherine Malpass Sport Editors Kate Houghton & Rob Berkeley Deputy Sport Editors Ben March & Daniel Hobbs Indigo Editors Robin Marshall & Justina Crabtree Features Editor Sophia Chan Deputy Features Editors Emily Woodhouse Food and Drink Editor Prudence Wade Travel Editor Dan Hunt Fashion Editor Cordelia Yeung & Lois Edmett Deputy Fashion Editors Jess McGahan Film and Television Editor Alex Leadbeater Stage Editor Victoria Ferguson Music Editors Patrick Bernard & Alex Denby Deputy Music Editor Sophia Smith Galer Books Editor Stepahnie Stafford Visual Arts Editor Lucy Edwardes Jones Chief Sub-Editor Kelsey Tollady Sub-Editors Tom Willshaw, Aurelien Hayman, Frances Teehan, Helen Tredget & Patrick Fletcher Online Editor Ben Hamer Web Editor Rhiannon Mehta Photography Editor Nicoletta Asciuto Deputy Photography Editors Asher Haynes, Naomi Ellis, Rose Innes, Emma Werner and Samuel Spencer Illustrations Editor James Crosland-Mills Blogs Editor Michelle Wray Publicity Officer Tilly Barr Advertising Officer Natalie Carnachan

Photograph of Sir Harold Evans by David Shankbone Editorial 750 editions and still going strong

Thursday 14th March 2013| PALATINATE

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013

News Editors: Jillian Ward & Sally Wardle


@PalatinateUK Palatinate


DURHAM ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM ON THE MOVE Durham University’s Museum of Archaeology is moving from the Old Fulling Mill to new exhibition facilities in Palace Green. The Old Fulling Mill, situated on the banks of the River Wear, is seen to be too far removed from the ‘tourist trail’ by curators. The move will take place early next year in the hope of attracting more visitors.

DURHAM UNIVERSITY OFFERS FULL-FEE £25,000 SCHOLARSHIP As part of Durham University’s fulltime MBA program, the university is offering a full-fee scholarship that comes out to about a £25,000 value for students who apply. This is run through the business school, and anyone wishing to apply is encouraged to visit for more information. The application deadline will close on the 22nd of April. MARY’S INTRODUCES SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNING

St Mary’s college has passed a motion to allow the use of Internet and social media in JCR election campaigns. The move by the college is part of a wider trend across the University. Supporters argue that social media campaigning provides greater access to election material for livers out, allowing them to make a more informed vote. Louise Corrigan, JCR President at Mary’s argued “it is really important to get the entire student electorate mobilised for the election of these roles.” The decision comes in the wake of a controversy at Trevelyan College, where Presidential candidate Jeremiah Riad was disqualified for an ‘unofficial’ social media campaign. Trevelyan has since altered its election guidelines. ANTI-OSWALD FACE SET-BACK



Local campaigners opposing the £200m development at Mount Oswald have been told they are unable to fight the planning permission granted for the site. According to officials, the Mount Oswald development does not fall into the category for referral to the Secretary of State, and so planning permission cannot be reversed. Durham University is currently working with the Banks Group to create new collegiate accommodation as part of the development.

“Best student representative system of any university in the country” Students dispute claims made by Vice-Chancellor in interview with Purple Radio Sally Wardle

Durham University Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins has defended the University’s handling of 38 week lets, college allocations and implementation of the living wage in an interview with Purple Radio’s Alex Morgan. The interview, broadcast on 7th March, saw the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor Tom Ward questioned on issues decided by listeners. In the interview, the Vice-Chancellor reacted to the recent controversy surrounding changes to the college allocation policy. The changes mean that once accepted to the University, students should be assigned to their first choice college. However, if the college is oversubscribed for a particular subject quota, students will be randomly selected and unsuccessful students being randomly allocated to an alternative college. There has been heated reaction to the changes, including petitions from both Chad’s and University College. However, in the interview with Purple Radio, Chris Higgins argued “false rumours [and] false myths have perhaps led opposition.” He added, “the vote in Chad’s was not on the right motion anyway because they’d been presented with a system which wasn’t the system that was being introduced. Hopefully their college Principle will talk to them and give them the real story.” However, an anonymous JCR member, who contacted Palatinate, stated “there is a good flow of information in Chad’s from both the Principle and the Senior Man.” The source also attached an email addressed to the JCR on 23rd February, in which Senior Man Tom Bishop reflects upon the Vice-Chancellor’s reply to their petition. The email states: ‘It is our firm belief that they have Durham’s best interests at heart. ‘However we believe their methods to be both flawed and detrimental to the collegiate system.’ It continues, “We would however question the Vice-Chancellor’s assertion that College Heads “singly and collectively, developed and implemented the new processes,” for our understanding of the process gives an entirely different narrative of events.” According to the email, Dr Cassidy, the Principle of Chad’s, said: “When it was clear that not every College Head was keen on the proposed policy, all

the Heads were invited to send comments on the policy directly to the Deputy Warden, who then undertook to make the decision. “The issue was also discussed at an Away Day, and then the Deputy Warden subsequently decided (last July) to implement the policy. Dr Cassidy said he had thought there was supposed to be a consultation period, but this seemed to have been cut short. In his reply to the petition, the Vice-Chancellor had stated there would be a meeting “to have a general discussion of the issue with any interested students as soon as a date can be found.” In reference to this, Tom Bishop responded, “We don’t want another meeting to explain the policy. We want to question the policy at a level where our questioning can really matter.” During the Purple Radio interview, the Vice-Chancellor responded to claims over a lack of student consultation in the college allocations policy change. “There are specific miscommunications which may have happened in one or two of the colleges, but the general consultation and input from students has been phenomenal.”

“We have a good representative system but it isn’t deployed... by the University” Purple Radio Listener

However, this contradicts a statement in the email sent to Chad’s JCR, in which Tom Bishop comments: “We see things very differently. Student consultation simply did not occur. “Student representatives were informed about the policy late in the day, but they were certainly never consulted during the development of the new policy.” Alex Morgan, of Purple Radio, pushed the issue of student consultation with the Vice-Chancellor during his interview. Chris Higgins argued that Durham has “probably the best student representative system of any university in the country.” However, some Purple Radio listeners rejected these claims in messages to the studio during the broadcast. One commented: “We have a good representative system but it isn’t deployed/ used by the University.” Another listener added: “We might

Students feel poorly consulted Photograph: Emma Werner have access to communication but often people are told to ‘keep quiet’ about issues.” 38 week lets were raised in the interview as an example of a lack of consultation between the University and students. The Vice-Chancellor responded: “There is no purpose in going backwards and looking at the details of something which has already been implemented.” Some students assert that enforced 38 week lets at college accommodation mean students no longer have the ability to opt in or out of the agreement, as was the case previously, removing an element of student choice. However, Chris Higgins stated “There is much greater choice actually,” and argued as some colleges do not have 38 week lets applicants can apply to a college which suits their needs. He added: “Of course it doesn’t mean choice for the students who are in college already.” Comments made by the ViceChancellor concerning the Living Wage Campaign have also been subject to scrutiny. The Living Wage campaign is attempting to implement the ‘livingwage’ of £7.45 per hour for all staff at the University, a figure which is calculated by looking at the basic cost of living, describing the minimum hourly wage necessary for an individual to meet daily needs. FOI figures from 2011 show that at Durham University, more than one

in eight members of staff were paid less than the Living Wage. In his interview, Chris Higgins suggested the University “haven’t had any representation from the DSU” but admitted that “there are certainly students out there who think this might be an issue.” He continued, “it is not clear to me that actually this is a necessary and important concern. If it is then the students really ought to raise it through the DSU.” However Stuart Armstrong, Durham University Labour Club Living Wage Officer and Jim Elliot, DSU Societies and Student Officer, attended a meeting with Human resources this term with Mrs Joanne Race, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Mrs Susanne Bradley, Rewards Manager at Durham University to discuss the implementation of the Living Wage, a claim backed by those involved. Students have reacted forcefully to the Purple Radio interview and in particular the discrepancies in some of the Vice-Chancellor’s comments. One stated: “Nothing about this seems black or white. Sensible examination of the claims made to students seems like the way forward from here.” Interviewer Alex Morgan reflected, “it was certainly a fruitful conversation, though I was alarmed at the discrepancy between some things said by the Vice-Chancellor and others I’ve heard from students and staff.”


Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE


UNIVERSITY TO WORK ON INTERNATIONAL TELESCOPE PROJECT Durham University is collaborating with scientists across Europe to build the largest telescope in the world. The European Extremely Large Telescope will be assembled in the Chilean Andes, at a cost of £1.1bn, in order to take advantage of the dark skies of the region. Durham physicists are leading two projects to build vital instruments for the Wembley Stadium-sized observatory. The E-ELT will generate images 16 times sharper than the Hubble space telescope.

‘FRESH MEAT’ CAST STRANDED AFTER DURHAM VISIT The cast of Channel 4’s ‘Fresh Meat’ were held up on the motorway for hours following visits to a series of Universities in Durham and Newcastle. On Friday 1st March, the cast took part in a tricycle race on Palace Green as part of their fundraising tour for Comic Relief. The hold up meant the cast had to cancel appearances at Manchester and Sheffield universities. Jack Whitehall posted an apology on his twitter page: “So we have been stuck on the M62 for three hours haven’t moved so sorry to anyone that’s waiting for us.”

BILLIONAIRE PUTS TUITION FEE ‘STREAK BOUNTY’ ON NICK CLEGG Actor and billionaire Alki David is offering to pay a year’s tuition fees to any student who streaks in front of Nick Clegg. David says ‘the cash offer is open to anybody over 18 in full time education who can provide video evidence that Mr Clegg has witnessed them doing a streak in public.’ David made the decision due to the politician’s ‘U-turn over student tuition fees.’ LOCAL NEWS

DURHAM’S MP LABELS MARKET PLACE “A TIP” Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Labour MP for the City of Durham, has denounced the Market Place as ‘a tip.’ In reference to things like the stone seats, street furniture and cleaning regime, she is demanding improvements, saying ‘I’m not going to give it up. It can’t stay the way it is. It’s not acceptable.’ She claims the new Market Place – the square that received a £5.25m overhaul completed in Summer 2011 – is wearing poorly and she has had meetings with the council that produced no progress.

University defends pay of PhD student teachers James Ablett A report investigating postgraduate employment by universities, released by the National Union of Students, has provoked debate at Durham University. The report, titled ‘Postgraduates Who Teach,’ alleges that a third of the students are paid less than the National Minimum wage. The conclusion is reached by considering the ‘real’ working hours of teaching postgraduates, and calculating their ‘real wage’ based on these figures. Almost 1500 postgraduate teachers were surveyed, asked about their working conditions, pay and motivations. The average nominal hourly pay for teaching postgraduates is £19.95. However, on average they work twice as many hours per week as they are paid for. According to the report, this makes the average ‘real hourly wage’ £10.39, with a third of those surveyed working for less than £6.19 per hour, the National Minimum wage for over 21 year olds. The NUS has denounced this situation as “exploitation.” Rachel Wenstone, NUS Vice-President, said: “This report reveals that much of the hard work of postgraduates is woefully undervalued and underpaid by their institutions. “There are far too many cases of postgraduates working long hours without the training and support they need, and being paid for only a small portion of their work. “If a temp in an office or a labourer on a building site were working ten hour shifts but only getting paid for five, we’d call it exploitation. “Unpaid or underpaid labour is unfair and exploitative and we must work with the sector to stamp it out.”

The views of the NUS were put to Professor Tom Ward, Pro-ViceChancellor of Durham University, by Palatinate. He said: “The University reviewed this issue in 2011 and, as a result, approved key principles for the employment of postgraduates who teach and assess. “The HR Steering Group has agreed that we should standardise the employment conditions for students, and a lot of work has gone into preparing a guide for student employment. This will be introduced at the start of the next academic year.” However, on the central issue of how many hours PhD students currently work for their department on average, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor could not answer the question: “We do not currently capture this information on a University-wide basis, but we are introducing a new human resources computer system in 2014 that will be able to do so.” Ward referred to the university’s pay scale, which fits in with the NUS’ findings. For teaching a tutorial, a student with less than three years teaching experience can expect a wage of £22.79. This includes one hour contact time and one hour for pre/post work associated with that contact time. We shall have to wait until the new computer system arrives to see how this translates into ‘real’ terms of an hourly sum. Palatinate interviewed a member of Castle’s MCR to gain an alternative view. She did not wish to be named, but spoke of her time as a lab demonstrator in the Biology department. She voiced skepticism over the NUS’ findings: “At about £10 per hour [the exact figure is £11.40] personally I think most demonstrators are probably overpaid. “The wages work out pretty similar for exam invigilation, and frankly I think that’s pretty well paid - it’s far

higher than any standard bar job, for what is generally very easy and enjoyable work. “Marking is slightly different, and Biology postgrads sometimes find it tough to meet the expected rate of scripts per hour, which is set by the lecturer in charge. “I guess in that context of ‘output work’ it would be possible to earn less than minimum wage if you were to work at half that rate, but if scripts are taking longer than expected you can apply for extra pay so that’s not really an issue. “I think it may be slightly different for some subjects.”

“There are far too many cases of postgraduates [...] being paid for only a small portion of their work”

Rachel Wenstone, NUS Vice-President

Indeed, PhD candidates from other subjects voiced opinions much more similar to the findings of the NUS report. One PhD student, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that ‘individuals on a scholarship are not paid anything other than their scholarship (£6000 p/a in contrast to many science students who receive far more, who are paid additionally for demonstrating). ‘I get paid nothing for marking, and nothing for office hours beyond this.’ Another teacher, who also wishes to remain anonymous, was paid a lump sum for teaching 27 hours of tutorials that equalled out at a fifteen hour total. The justification for the twelve hour discrepancy in pay, they said, was attributed to a ‘miscommunication in HR arrangements.’

Little information is known as to how PhD students are paid Photograph: Emma Werner

DSU President’s Column Archie Dallas For those who haven’t had the pleasure, I strongly urge you to listen to the Vice-Chancellor being interviewed by Alex Morgan on Purple Radio. Most VCs wouldn’t go within a mile of student media, so all credit to Professor Higgins for doing it; we’re lucky to have a VC so keen to ‘get involved’. Having said that, there are one or two issues that need to be addressed that cropped up during the course of the interview. Firstly, I did enjoy the idea that the Living Wage hasn’t been looked into because the Students’ Union didn’t bring it up - apart, obviously, from when my predecessor brought it up. Secondly, I fail to see how 38week lets has increased student choice when it forces the majority of students into a £500 contract that they neither need nor want? On that note, the VC claimed that they are happy to give us any information that we would like without having to FOI (Freedom of Information) the University, e.g. doing a story on costs. This seems rather strange as I do distinctly remember Palatinate doing a story on costs, and being turned down. Finally, I would like to end on a positive note of agreement with the VC. He’s right, we do haveone of the best systems of representatives in the country, be it course reps, JCR execs or sports captains The problem with this is that our reps are only useful if University staff listen to them. When I was younger, my family had an incredibly old Labrador called Cracker. This dog had an incredible ability to ignore any instruction that you gave her regarding walks, cleaning or not defecating all over the carpet. However, you could barely whisper ‘dinner’ and she would come bounding over like a spritely spaniel. It’s an unkind and very cynical comparison, but it demonstrates the point. The student body fights tooth and nail to have costs reduced in colleges and is ignored. Strangely though, the moment a couple of students speculate that it might be useful to have accommodation over Easter and suddenly we are all forced into 38-week lets. We might have the best representatives in the world, but if there’s a problem of ‘selective hearing’ from the University then we may as well not bother.


PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013

@PalatinateUK Palatinate

News in brief LOCAL NEWS

POLICE PUT ON ‘MAD MARCH’ EVENT A ‘Mad March’ campaign has been launched by Durham police in a bid to cut fear of crime in the area and improve relations with residents. Every day in March, the police in Durham City will organize something outside of their normal duties to try and increase community engagement. So far events have included meeting students to discuss anti-social behavior and an information event in Market Square. The fire brigade, Durham County Council, HM Revenue and Customs and the Vehicle Licensing agency are also all involved with the scheme.

DURHAM COUNCIL TO REVIEW ‘CLOTHING ALLOWANCE’ The Labour leader of Durham County Council has announced plans to review its spending after receiving criticism for paying its chairwoman “clothing allowances” of almost £12,000 a year. This review follows a petition launched by Liberal Democrat councilors to scrap the civic allowances given to the chairman and vice chairman. The Lib Dem councilors commented that a review was not enough and demanded immediate action. NORTH EAST TOUGHEST PLACE IN THE UK TO FIND A JOB

New figures have been released which show the North East of England to be the hardest place to find a job in the country. The survey was carried out by Unison and showed an average of eight people chasing every job vacancy in the area. Durham proved to be less affected by job shortages than many other areas in the region, with an average of about seven applicants per vacancy.


The former Durham Wasps ice rink is to be redeveloped. The dilapidated building on Freeman’s Reach, Durham City, is to be replaced by 9,500sq metres of office space, a visitor centre and a cafe. Last used in 2009 as a bowling alley, the demolition, and new construction on the site, has been granted planning permission by the council. The £27m project will commence shortly, with the first phase to be completed by 2015.

OFFICES TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO HERITAGE SITE The Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) has put together a £600,000 Heritage Lottery Fund bid to turn the current Durham Miners’ Hall at Redhills into a museum and heritage site.

“My life was parallel to that of a camel” Sir Don McKinnon reflects on his diplomatic career in a speech at Durham Jillian Ward

On 1st March, Durham University United Nations Society hosted a speech by Sir Don McKinnon, a highranking diplomat and politician. Sir Don is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, and was the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2000 until 2008. His speech focused on the history, purpose and future of the Commonwealth, an international organisation, the roots of which go back to the 1870s. Sir Don also reflected on his career as a whole, offering students an insight into the glamorous world of diplomacy. He told students: “While I had been a foreign minister for nine years I’ve decided my life was parallel to that of a camel. “You see, a camel can work for three weeks without a drink. A foreign minister can drink for three weeks without actually working.’ However, Sir Don’s career was not solely composed of luncheons and entertainment. He witnessed an important turning point in the role of the Commonwealth as an instigator of democratic values. As Sir Don pointed out, the Commonwealth was one of just three international organisations in the world at the end of World War II. It is now one of about 200 international organisations, and must “fight for its place under the sun.” Sir Don cited the creation of the “Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group” as key in the re-definition of the Commonwealth. The action group has the power to suspend countries from the organisation when they violate democratic Commonwealth principles, and to subsequently help the country reinstate the values needed to regain

Sir Don McKinnon poses with students following his talk Photograph: Yusef Abdulwahab membership. Throughout his time as SecretaryGeneral, Sir Don claims he had “that moral authority, that I could say to any Commonwealth leader: you are clearly on the border of breaching Commonwealth values.” Sir Don also noted the importance of institutional consistency between Commonwealth countries, which makes the international organisation unlike any other. He noted his experience with Gambia, which he criticised during his time as Secretary-General for “the number of people that were in detention, and awaiting trial” in the country. The Gambian President at the time, Yahya Jammeh, blamed a lack of judges as the cause of the problem. Sir Don replied: “well, I have judges!” The Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association found six judges from their database and were able to clear the cases of 100 Gambian prisoners per day. The story is just one example of the “tremendous depth of organisations that you can call upon within the vast network” of the Common-

wealth, which is “something that you cannot replicate in any other international organisation.” When asked how students might develop their diplomatic talents, Sir Don noted that working with people is an important skill. He said: “I’ve employed a lot of diplomats in my time, and I found some of the best that we were recruiting [...] were the ones that were recruited at [ages] 25 to 27, who had done other things prior to coming into foreign affairs. He added, “good personal skills end up being good diplomatic skills. Beyond that I would say languages are also important.” In an interview with Palatinate, Sir Don held that the Commonwealth was not particularly concerned with Britain’s new immigration policies and their impact upon overseas students. Stricter visa rules were instigated by the UK Border Agency in April 2012 as part of the Coalition government’s goal of reducing net migration figures by hundreds of thousands by 2015. Students who reside in the UK

for more than a year are considered long-term migrants, and are therefore included in the government’s net migration target. The policies have received widespread criticism both in the UK and abroad. Prime Minister David Cameron visited India last month to ensure that Indian students continue coming to the UK. Sir Don told Palatinate that when he has visited “places like India and Nigeria [...] they really bring that one up all the time. “The developed countries of the Commonwealth are all expecting there to be a free flow of financial goods and services, but not people. “At the end of the day, every country determines its immigration rules, and that’s probably not going to change that rapidly.” After all, as Sir Don said in his speech, “the Commonwealth can’t negotiate the world, but can help the world negotiate. Used properly, the organisation is certainly capable of that.”

hall. That’s not to mention the hundreds of other ludicrous things people have been getting up to in their colleges!

Help the Heroes, Food Cycle, Moving on Durham, Oxfam, the Children’s society, NSPCC, Breast Cancer Care, East Africa Playgrounds, Hawk and Comic Relief (watch out for Tricycles on your TV this Friday!)- are just some of the charities you’ve supported this term,. With the allocations process open until March 29th, there’s still time for you to nominate a charity you want us to support. Just as Friday brings us the end of term, if you’ve felt frustrated by work and just not had the time to get in-

volved, don’t fret. Next term we’ve got a huge range of events: from our Bungee jump on Palace Green, Summer Jailbreak to the Great North Swim and the incredible Three Peaks Challenge. Moreover, if you want to do more than just participate, want to get involved in the fun, enthusiastic, energetic, and dedicated team that make up the DUCK exec, keep an eye out for when we’ll be opening nominations. For more information on how to nominate a charity you want to support look online at

DUCK Officer’s Column

Carmen O’Loughlin DUCK Officer So far this term people in Durham have participated in a huge number of ridiculous events for a range of charities through DUCK. People have taken on the challenge of Tough Guy, got themselves Formally Lost, jumped out of planes, dived with sharks, run half marathons, slept in a cathedral, found love with Blind Date (so far we have a least one secondary date confirmed!), and jumped on tricycles with Jack White-

“There’s still time for you to nominate a charity you want us to support.” Carmen O’Loughlin


News News in brief NATIONAL NEWS

MINISTER URGES BANKS TO OFFER MORE LOANS TO POSTGRADUATES Dave Willetts, the Universities Minister said that banks should offer more postgraduate loans, and that government involvement is not a possibility. In a speech to the Guardian’s Future of Higher Education conference in February, Willetts said that professional and career development loans to postgraduate students are the classic way of getting loans. Expanding student loans into a universal loans system including postgrads would lead to undue controls for postgrads in the end. Specifically, Willetts called for banks to increase the spread of their loans. UK banks only gave development loans to 44% of students who applied last year. COSTS OUTWEIGH TUITION FEES

University think-tank million+ has said that the loss of earning power associated with students choosing not to take up a degree will increase public borrowing by an extra £3.6 billion. The Treasury expected to save £1.7 billion by moving higher tuition fees and abolishing teaching subsidies. However, the changes are estimated to cost 6.5 times more than the Treasury estimated.

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Students bribed into completing NSS survey Natasha Tierney A number of University departments are bribing students into completing this year’s National Student Survey. The nationwide survey gives finalists the opportunity to provide feedback about their course and overall university experience. The results are published to provide information to prospective students and their parents about university choices. To encourage people to fill out the survey, Durham University offers a £500 pound prize to the department and college with the highest completion rates. This has led to some departments bribing their students into completing the survey in a number of creative ways. The Philosophy Department sent an email to third year students promising to “spend the money on a big party for all final year undergraduates taking philosophy modules.”

They added that at the party, “there will be high quality wine and nice fizzy stuff,” and that the heads of department would dress up “in full gorilla costumes, singing House of the Rising Sun and handing out free bananas to everyone.”

‘All the lecturers were walking round topping up peoples’ glasses, and directing them towards the computer to do the survey.’ Laura McBride, St. Cuthbert’s Society student

The Archaeology department chose a more direct approach, hosting a free lunch with wine in early February at which students were asked to fill out the survey. Laura McBride, who attended this lunch, told Palatinate:

“It was pretty bizarre. All the lecturers were walking round topping up peoples’ glasses, and directing them towards the computer room to do the survey.” “It all seemed a bit unnecessary! If Archaeology wins, whatever money they receive is apparently going to be spent on another party.” Meanwhile, the Computer Sciences department is encouraging people to take the survey by offering everyone that does £10 of free printer credits. Colleges have also been emailing students, reminding them of the possible £500 prize money that would be awarded to their JCR were they to have the highest survey completion statistics. The University explained why it is so important that as many finalists as possible complete the National Student Survey, telling Palatinate in a statement: “Durham welcomes it as a means of giving our students an opportuni-

ty to provide the University and the outside world with a valuable insight into their educational experience and the issues that matter to them. “The University uses the NSS to make improvements in areas that students tell us are important and to monitor the outcome. “As an institution we are required to achieve a threshold of both a 50% response rate and responses from a minimum of 23 students for each subject area in order for our results to be published. “The University therefore encourages students to complete the NSS and has worked with JCRs and DSU to promote it. “Departments and Colleges are given a weekly update on their response rates, particularly to identify those subjects where the response rate is below the 50% publication threshold, so that students can be reminded about the NSS and the approaching closing date at the end of April.”

Live on the Hill raises over £1000

FEMALE GRADUATES EARN LESS THAN MALE COUNTERPARTS A report published by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HESCU) has revealed a pay gap between men and women who graduate from the same universities having studied the same subjects. More than half of female graduates earned £15,000 to £23,999 annually. Men were more likely to take home £24,000 and above. Men were found to earn more than women across all degree subjects. Jane Artess, of HECSU argued that the difference in pay between the genders was “strikingly uneven.” These figures come despite the introduction of laws to ensure equal access to jobs.


The University of Birmingham will use teacher predictions to distribute up to a quarter of its undergraduate places. The 1,000 ‘unconditional offers’ will be made to those students expected to achieve the strongest marks in their subjects, in order to reward the brightest students and take pressure off them in their final year at school, the university has said.

Trev’s annual ‘Live on the Hill’ concert saw over 100 students audition for 13 performance places Photograph: Chris Wastell Matt Hogarth Last Friday’s ‘Live on the Hill’ concert is estimated to have raised around £1100 for DUCK. The event was a sell-out, with organisers having to sell standing tickets on then ight to meet the demand. During the performance, the audience was treated to a variety of songs by groups such as Elbow, Queen and Coldplay. The jazz classics performed

ranged from Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ to Dean Martin’s ‘Sway.’ The concert also included a variety of Bond themes, from the iconic ‘Goldfinger’ to Adele’s recent hit ‘Skyfall.’ The premise of the event was to showcase some of the university’s best singers and bands, backed up by a large-scale orchestra, which played arrangements of the songs written by Trevs students. The event is now firmly established in the University calendar.

This was the second time that the event has taken place following last year’s successful performance. However, one change this year was the recording of the event by Purple Radio. The concert was broadcast on Saturday 9th March at 7pm. Alluding to the success of this year’s event, one of the organisers, Tasha Gill, praised the participants: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with everyone involved in ‘Live on the Hill’, from singers, to musicians and of course the brilliant

tech team, both at Trevs and Purple Radio!” “It was a fantastic night, and the audience’s enjoyment and enthusiasm helped make such a brilliant event so much better! “I couldn’t think of a more enjoyable way to make money for charity”, she said. The amount raised is hoped to increase with the sale of CD recordings of the performance, the proceeds of which will again go to DUCK.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


@PalatinateUK Palatinate

News in brief NATIONAL NEWS

DEBATERS HECKLED AT GLASGOW UNIVERSITY On 2nd March, students Rebecca Meredith and Marlena Valles were booed and heckled with ‘sexist’ remarks while debating at the Grand Final of the Glasgow University Union Ancients debating competition. The incident has sparked media furore and caused Cambridge University students to boycott the prestigious debating competition. INTERNATIONAL NEWS

EU STUDENT FUNDING ‘SOARS’ Increased demand from eastern European nations has driven a rise in the level of funding given to EU students. For the 2011/12 intake, a record £103.9m in loans was dispensed to some 31,700 students from EU member states. Students from Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria were second, third and fourth respectively in terms of the number of loans taken out.

UK UNIVERSITIES SLIP DOWN INTERNATIONAL RANKINGS The Times Higher Education Reputation Rankings for 2013 feature fewer UK universities than previous years. Only nine UK institutions were recognised in the league this year, compared to ten last year and twelve in 2011. Oxford and Cambridge were positioned in third and fourth place respectively in the league, which is based on a survey of top academics across 144 countries. Imperial College, UCL, LSE, Edinburgh and Manchester also all managed to make it into the top 50. Whilst Durham has not ever even appeared in the Reputation Rankings, it was this year ranked 80th in World University Rankings, up three places from 2011.

SYRIAN STUDENTS ‘SHOULD STUDY AT UK UNIVERSITIES FOR FREE’ Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and David Willets, the Universities Minister, have written to vice-chancellors urging them to allow students to remain at UK universities even if they cannot afford the fees. Institutions including Edinburgh, Newcastle and Bath have already launched campaigns to support Syrian students trapped in Britain since the outbreak of civil war. The letter comes after the Home Office announced changes to visa controls allowing Syrians to extend their stay in Britain.

University declares ER ‘back to normal’ Jillian Ward The Elvet Riverside building is “almost back to normal” after last term’s flooding damage, the University has told Palatinate. Since the flooding, students have complained of cold lecture theatres, disruptions caused by power shortages, and the length of time the University has taken to rectify the issues. In a statement, the University said: “parts of the heating system have now been manufactured, delivered and installed. “Repairs to the plant room have minimised the risk of future damage when the river floods again, and options for completely re-siting the plan room are being appraised. “The system providing heat and hot water to ER1 was successfully restarted last week although there will be some balancing of the system required over the next week as it settles in to normal operation. “Some of the larger lecture theatres in ER1 are warmed via air ventilation and these are scheduled to be back in full operation early this week. “Both staff and students have been affected by this situation, something which the University takes very seriously.” However, many students feel that the repairs have taken too long and are distracting them from their studies. The Facebook group “Elvet River-

Elvet Riverside is alledgedly ‘back in full operation’ this week Photograph: Samuel Spencer side disruptions” has garnered over 283 ‘likes’. The group’s description reads: “We have moved around the city, sat in freezing lectures where we can see our own breath, [and had] classes disrupted by power cuts. What will be next?” Daniel Robinson, a second-year History student, told Palatinate:

“drilling was incessant throughout our 12 o’clock lecture when surely there were better times to do the work. “I don’t think it was fair to make our lecturer have to shout to be heard! “I think the time it has taken to do the work and the fact that the whole building has been so cold for such a

long time is disgraceful. “It has not been a pleasant learning experience for me for a while.”

ends. At the Queen’s Campus Library, 9am to midnight on weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends. At all other times, when the library is normally closed at other times of the year, security staff will be on hand to maintain the peacefulness of the working environment. It is likely that this is the reason the library is able to offer Library 24/7. As one day-time staff member told Palatinate, except for dealing with some mess when they arrive in the mornings, Library 24/7 does not really affect the regular staff. Evening staff further acknowledged that they are “less fraught” because they do not need to lock up at the end of the evening. When questioned about whether the lack of overnight service staff would affect their night-time library use, students overwhelmingly agreed that the most important benefit of 24-hour opening hours is the availability of work-space. Also, the lack of catering facilities available within the library over night, was dismissed as a minor setback. “As long as there is a space to work, that’s isolated, it’ll help,” said Karim Foda, a third-year Engineering student. Important news, nonetheless, is

that from Monday 11th March until Saturday 16th March, and from Monday 22nd April until Sunday 26th May, the YUM Library Café will be offering a staffed café service on a 24/7 basis, in response to comments from students using Library 24/7 in 2012 urging improved provision of food and drink. However, a significant number of day-time library-users have not foreseen the need to make use of Library 24/7. “Actually, my latest time to leave the library is 9 o’clock, so [it will have] little influence on me,” said Jenny, a student in MSc Management. Despite advertisment of the temporary service, some students are unaware of Library 24/7. One student asked Palatinate: “What’s that?” whilst another replied: “Um, I think I saw a sign.” In contrast, the night-time libraryusers inteviewed unanimously knew the details of Library 24/7. Perhaps reflecting the fact that they were working in the library at late hours, the consensus was an expression of relief: “Oh, definitely. If they weren’t closing, I’d still be there now,” said Julia Taylor, a 2nd year Languages student.

“Start it now!” was the request of final-year student Heba Hashmi, who was in the middle of her dissertation before library 24/7 began. Some students went further and suggested that Library 24/7 should operate throughout the entire year. “I think it should be open all the time, like other libraries”, said Sam Gonzales, a 2nd year PPE student. Many other university libraries are in fact open 24 hours all year, round like the JB Morrell Library at the University of York, where the policy has been in operation since Easter 2012. There are others, however, that are not open all the time, but have 24-hour study areas, such as the University of Edinburgh. However, there are welfare issues associated with 24/7 opening hours. Last year there were reports of students brushing their teeth in the bathroms, and even stories of students moving into study rooms for several days at a time. As the library website points out, students should “make sure to take breaks and get enough sleep.” Palatinate was unable to reach the DSU Education and Welfare Officer for comment on this issue.


React online at www.palatinate.

Library students buzzing about 24/7 coffee

Matt Hogarth Since Saturday 9th March, the Bill Bryson Library on the science site and the Queen’s Campus Library have been open 24 hours a day. This service will continue until Monday 18th March at 8pm for the Easter break, and resume on Saturday 20th April, to last until midnight Monday 27th May. Called Library 24/7, this service was trialled last year for the first time and was largely welcomed by students. Similarly, students this year generally responded enthusiastically, and library-usage is predicted to rise dramatically as exams approach. As a result, the library has reminded students that study space during exam time is at a premium, and students should make sure not to ‘hog’ study space. Also, as usual, a Durham University campus card will be required to gain access to the library. During this period of extended opening hours, however, staffing will remain the same as usual and will not extend overnight. For the Bill Bryson Library, that means staffed service runs from 9am to 8pm on weekdays, and 2pm to 6pm on week-


News Features

News Features Editor: Joanna Thom

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Living back in College: Is it worth it? News Features explores the different housing options available to students Joanna Thom With most college ballots completed, and the majority of houses signed for next year, News Features explores the different housing options available to students. The amount of third years living back in college varies between the different colleges. At Van Mildert up to about 70% of third years opt to move back in while elsewhere it can be only around 20% of returning students. Students decision about whether to live back in college is often dependent on a number of factors including the availability of spaces in the college. Some Colleges come with additional incentives, for example for castle students this is the chance to live inside the castle, one of the key reasons for applying to the college. Additionally for students who do not want to have to worry about


The cost of living in Hatfield College for a 39 week let, 29 of which are catered

paying for extras such as food and bills, living in college can make life a lot easier. Camilla Hadland highlighted the ability to cook her own food, the time accommodation was available for and the cost of accommodation as the main factors that influenced her decision. However students keen on staying in Durham during the holidays, whether for a job, to use the library or for a sport commitment would struggle. The college lets do not allow students to stay over the summer. They will also not cater for students during the holidays even if they do opt for a longer let, which in many colleges are now compulsory, and allow them to stay over Christmas and Easter. Meal times can also be restrictive for students whose other commitments mean they are unable to be in college. This can result in students having to pay for additional food despite having already paid for their college food. For most students the overriding concern is one of money. Many consider the cost of living in as cheaper than living out. However looking at the different areas offered, News

the societies which I’m involved in from within college.” Students returning from years abroad are often relieved to be given the option of living back in to college as it removes the stress of having to deal with housing while they’re out the country. Pandora Lupprian will be spending a year out in Canada. She expressed her relief at not having to sort out housing for her final year, from so far away. She also added that: “college provides a greater sense of community.” College facilities tend to include a library with study area, gym and bar. The proximity of these facilities allows students to focus on their commitments without worrying about time spent travelling to places. Many of the facilities are also regularly updated to ensure that students are provided with the best service possible.

College student accommodation Photograph: Emma Werner Features has found that students may be misled. At Hatfield College a standard let for first year and finalist students will allow them to occupy their room for 39 weeks, and will be catered for 29 of those. This will cost £5995 and will include all bills and meals over the allocated time. The University indicated the continuing popularity of the accommodation by saying: “We have more returning students seeking College accommodation than our facilities allow. There is also high demand amongst our postgraduate population.” News Features has explored the different pricing options available to students. Rachel Munday lives in a five bedroom house, located on Hawthorn terrace in the viaduct which costs £77 per week. This does not include bills which on average come to £8 a week for her, or food of which she spends about £15 a week. For a full 52 week year a student in this house will pay £5200. This is £795 less than the college room and includes an extra 13 weeks accommodation and 23 weeks food. Additionally its location in the viaduct means that it is only marginally further than Hatfield from town and the science site. Some colleges such as Josephine Butler charge the same amount to live back in but are far further from town. The average walk from Josephine Butler to Elvet Riverside takes half

an hour while it would only take ten minutes from the viaduct, indicating that you are not necessarily paying for greater convenience. For a house located on Mount joy crescent which is directly opposite the science site, only a five minute walk from Maiden Castle and of a similar distance to town, students can expect to pay £92 a week. With similarly priced bills and food, the total cost for 52 weeks will come to £5980, a saving of £15 from

“Having lived out, going back to college would be restrictive.” Anabel Farrell

college prices with a larger amount of accommodation time available to students. If bills and food were calculated for the same amount of time spent in college then the total cost would be £5531, a saving of nearly £500 in an area which for many is of greater convenience than any of the colleges. Students who wish to pay less are also offered greater choice to do so by living out. Living further from the centre of town gives students greater freedom of prices. For example Natalie Carroll will live in Merryoaks which is close to Neville’s cross, for the next academic year. This will cost her £39 a week, re-

sulting in her paying £3224 for the entire year with bills and food. This is a saving of £2771 from the college prices. However this cheaper cost will mean a longer walk to access the university facilities. Natalie has calculated that it will take about six minutes to walk to Van Mildert College and 25 to get to town where her department is located. The ability for livers out to differentiate between prices highlights the lack of choice that Durham students are given when it comes to choosing accommodation. In most colleges, all rooms are priced the same which means that students have no choice to pay less. At Nottingham University prices differentiate between shared and single rooms, ensuite, shared and communal bathroom, and the size of the room. This means that prices vary from £5993.13 for a room with an ensuite and study area, to £3701.11 for a shared room. Additionally flats are available for £6,600.64. However concerns have been raised that a differentiation between prices will prevent any diversity of colleges and would result in discrimination. This would remove from the college spirit for which Durham colleges are so famed. Anna Tyndall is moving back into college for her final year. She cites the social life as her main reason. “Living in will make participating in college events and activities a lot easier. It will be easier to coordinate

“College provides a greater sense of community” Pandora Lupprian

The University added: “The University continues to invest in the refurbishment and development of facilities at both Durham and Stockton.” 35% of the budget price for 2011/2012 was for refurbishment and renewal of facilities. This was the largest percentage of the budgeted costs. 12% of the money was spent on utility costs while 43% of the catering budget was spent on catering staff. Additionally being fully catered allows students to focus on their work and it is thought that students who live in on average do better than those that live out. It also allows students to be within closer proximity to their friends, particularly if they wanted to live with more people than could live together in a house. Some students however see returning to college as a step back in their personal development. Anabel Farrell said: “It would be a regression. Living in is a great first step, particularly when it’s your first time away from home, and is a valuable way to settle in to university. However having lived out, going back to college would be restrictive.” The Student Union plans to release a survey to explore students’ opinions on the accommodation options.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


@PalatinateUK Palatinate

Staying safe inside the Bubble A recent spate of student house burglaries and bike thefts in Durham have caused concern amongst Durham students Joanna Thom Durham has often been referred to as the bubble, indicating the safety of the area. However a recent spate of burglaries has shown that perhaps the bubble isn’t as safe as students think. The viaduct in particular has been hit by thefts to houses. In January six burglaries were reported in the Durham area. One Hatfield student described her trauma when a man attempted to break into their house on May street, in the middle of the night: “He tried to get through the front door and when that did not work he attempted to get in through my window. It was horrible.” Other students have also had items stolen from their homes A fourth year University college student described their experience when their house was burgled. “We were burgled three weeks ago after we all left to go to a house party.

“You don’t expect things which are locked up to be taken out of your own college” Olivia Lewis

It was quite obvious we were leaving as we turned off all the lights and left together, so if someone was watching the house, ours was clearly empty. One neighbour saw a suspicious man lurking in the dark alley behind the house around the time of the burglary and others reported a short period of banging. “The burglar broke through the back door and used dumb bells and a hammer to get into the locked bedrooms, taking laptops, cameras, jewellery and money. We arrived home and were unable to open the front door as it had been bolted across, and the back door was left wide open. The rooms were completely ransacked - every draw was emptied as they searched for our valuables. One of my housemates lost his dissertation on his laptop which was arguably worse than the financial losses suffered. It has been particularly distressing for my female housemates who are now quite anxious if left in the house alone.” Uj Nneji says she doesn’t consider

the safety of her house: “I often leave my door unlocked, despite the fact that it opens onto a street and will often swing open.” However having heard about the recent burglaries she says she is more likely to make sure her front door is always locked.

“The rooms were completely ransacked - every draw was emptied as they searched for our valuables” University college student

Students are particularly concerned about their safety with approaching Easter break which will see many student houses vacated. Durham Constabulary has released information on how to keep your house as safe as possible. They suggest that when it comes to answering the door to strangers you should follow this procedure: Lock – make sure all the doors in your house are locked so you are not distracted by someone at one door while an accomplice enters via another. Stop – do not answer the door until you have looked through a window to check that you know who is at your door. Chain – put a door chain on the door before you open it and speak to them through that. Check – check their identity before you open the door. Additionally the police advise that any valuable property kept inside the house is marked so that it can be recovered and the owner identified. This can be done using SmartWater, a colourless and odourless liquid that forensically links burglars to stolen property. Property can also be registered


The number of burglaries in Durham in January

with immobilise, an online property database which helps keep property safe and reunite stolen items with its rightful owners. Almost any possession with a serial number can be registered for free, including mobile phones, iPods, other MP3 players and games

Hawthorn terrace: The location of a burglary Photograph: Joanna Thom consoles, Laptops, computers and PDAs ,Satellite navigation and in-car equipment and Bicycles. Additionally watches, jewellery and antiques can be registered for a small fee. During the Easter holidays it may be advisable to use a lamp on a timer which will switch on and off at certain times, indicating to a burglar that someone is present in the house throughout and therefore making it less susceptible to robbery.

“Always lock a cycle when leaving it, even if it’s just for a few minutes”

Durham students have also had bicycles stolen. Olivia Lewis’ bike was taken from its locked position within her college, St Marys. She said: “It was really disappointing and felt like an invasion of my privacy. I need my bike to get around Durham quickly. You don’t expect things which are locked up to be taken out of your own college.” For Bike safety the police advise the following steps are taken: Do not leave bikes in isolated places Store your bike at home in a secure and safe place, either inside

your house or in a locked garage or shed Always lock a cycle when leaving it, even if it is only for a few minutes.

“There’s always a crime being reported. It’s just not safe.”

Rachel at Nottingham Secure bikes to proper cycle stands or robust street furniture Invest in a good quality lock and secure your cycle through both the frame and the wheels Remove smaller parts and accessories that cannot be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick release saddles Have your bike marked with suitable security markings that are visible, securely fixed and provides clear information. Get your bike insured – look to extend your home contents insurance or take out a separate policy. However students at other universities have indicated that they are less safe at university than Durham students. Rachel Farrer who studies architecture at Nottingham said that she never feels safe there:

“I would never walk around alone at night here. There’s always a crime being reported and it’s just not safe. We would never consider not kocking our front door even though we live in the main student area.” Amy who studies architecture at York added: “Even though York is also relatively small and peaceful, I’m still always worried. One of my friends narrowly escaped an attack by 3 men. It’s particularly bad at the weekend.” While the recent crimes are cause for concern, Durham still remains relatively safe compared to other University towns.

When answering the door: Lock - make sure all

doors are always kept locked

Stop - look through a window or peephole before answering

Chain - Use a chain to keep the door closed

Check - Check ID be-

fore fully answering the door.

Founded in 1948, Palatinate is one of Britain’s oldest student publications. The paper has an illustrous history with notable past editors including George Alagiah, Hunter Davies, Jeremy Vine and Sir Harold Evans. This issue marks the 750th edition of Palatinate. This milestone stands as a testament to the commitment of Durham students, both past and present, to the production of good journalism. If you still need convincing, the featured front pages show you just how far Palatinate has come over the years. Long may it continue.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


Business Editor: Flo Childs


@PalatinateUK Palatinate

750 days of scandal: the top five that shocked Britain

Scandalous Britain (left to right): Kweku Adoboli, Michael Woodford, News of the World’s closing pages, Starbucks and Barclays respectively.

Florence Childs


here is little doubt that the business world has experienced colossal change over the past few years. In light of Palatinate’s 750th edition, we bring you the top five business scandals from the past 750 days. With numerous humiliations, financial outrage and reprehensible shame, it promises to be an interesting countdown.

5. Kweku Adoboli.

Kweku Adoboli shot to fame in September 2011, arrested under suspicion of fraud. The Ghanain-born UBS trader was found guilty of losing a whopping £1.4 billion of UBS capital in 2012, his movements nearly demolishing the Swiss bank at a time when the stability of the financial economy hung in the balance. Reports suggest the 32-year-old trader exceeded his multi-million pound trading limits and tried to cover his tracks by faking records at the UBS London office. He was described by colleagues as an “outrageous gambler” who thought he had a “magic touch.” The debacle epitomises the recklessness and greed that is believed to have encompassed our economies in the past 750 days. Why this individual felt it necessary to risk his £360,000 annual salary is verging on the absurd, and although claiming at trial that the managers of UBS pushed him to take too many risks, there is little doubt that his gambling obsession simply got the better of him. He will be remembered as the most sophisticated fraudster of all time, and duly earns his place at number five.

4. Olympus Expose

At number four, Michael Woodford became the first CEO in history to blow the whistle on his own company.

“The first CEO in history to blow the whistle on his own company”

Publishing a 200 page report on the biggest corporate scandal Japan has ever faced, the CEO of Olympus exposed a billion dollar loss-hiding in mid 2011. Rather than face up to the dire situation, Olympus had allegedly created counterfeit funds around the world to buy off billions of yen in bad assets. Later the company tried to write everything off by buying start-ups at a hugely inflated price, which subsequently vanished. Woodford claimed Olympus’ management was “rotten” and that it “contaminated other parts around it.” Upon unearthing the debacle, Woodford was thanked with a sacking for misconduct and shipped back to the UK in disgrace. However, Olympus’ shares plummeted sharply and the firm risked losing its place on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Interestingly, the Olympus officials said nothing, but on 26th October 2011, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa resigned his positions as chairman, president, and CEO and he was replaced by Shuichi Takayama. On 8th November 2011, the company admitted that the company’s accounting practice was “inappropriate” and that money had been used to cover losses on investments dating to the 1990s.

3. Phone Hacking

Poor Hugh Grant! The British icon was at the centre of the phone hacking scandal along with Sir Paul McCartney, Jude Law, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Worst, however, were claims that the News of the World hacked into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemail messages. Surely this is the lowest of the low! Of the eight suspects accused of illegally tapping into the phones of celebrities, politicians and others in the public spotlight, all had worked, at one time, for the News of the World, a tabloid that was once notorious for its ruthless pursuit of sensational stories.

“A warning to journalists that sometimes far is far enough”

Among those charged was Rebekah Brooks, a trusted Murdochian who headed many British newspapers before she resigned in disgrace. The scandal shone an intrusive spotlight on the dynamic equilibrium between the pillars of British public life: the media, politicians and the police. Since July 2012 the government has launched a judicial inquiry into media ethics and practices that is supposed to produce new proposals for regulating Britain’s unruly media establishment. Easily the most worrying scandal of our top five, and a warning to all journalists that sometimes far is far enough. After 168 years at the top, News of the World said goodbye to its 7.5 million follows and closed its pages for the last time.

2. Tax Evasion

It has been a torrid 24 months for those following the normally mundane world of tax. The ongoing evasion has dominated the business industries and triggered a public backlash since late 2011. At the debacle’s core is Starbucks, who got a serious roasting for manipulating profits through the use of Dutch royalties and offshore tax havens. Despite offering to pay £20 million to the taxman as a (guilt) penalty, there is no escaping the fact that the global giant paid just £8.6 million in corporation tax in its fourteen years on Britain’s high streets - and nothing in the last three years. As the American colossus is valued at £25 billion and has generated more than £3 billion of sales in the UK since 1988, the claim that it was paid less than 1% in corporation tax is highly questionable. It’s not just Starbucks that needs to wake up and smell the coffee however, Amazon, Google, the BBC and even the much loved Jimmy Carr were lured into the lucrative world of tax-scamming. When hauled before MPs, Google’s UK boss Matt Brittin was more than open about the fact that the company channeled billions of pounds into Bermudan tax havens. Chairman Eric Schmidt even claimed he was very proud of the elaborate structure. In 2012, Google made £2.6 billion of sales in the UK, yet contributed just £6 million in corporation tax. Frustratingly, it is these organisations that are best positioned to tackle the poverty, deprivation and inequality plaguing our planet. They are abusing their supremacy; did no one ever mention that with great power comes great responsibility?

Photograph: Creative Commons

1. LIBOR Scandal

As the most intricate scandal of the past 750 days, the LIBOR scam storms home with the title. Never has an industry been so deeply shamed, nor has a group of business elites been interrogated in such dramatic fashion. The London Inter Bank Offer Rate (LIBOR), calculating the level at which financial institutions lend to one another, is considered the most crucial interest rate in finance. Subsequently, its tampering sent the UK into uproar. On a daily basis leading banks submit rates for ten currencies and fifteen lengths of loan, ranging from overnight to annual transaction. These are then averaged and used to produce a mean figure. On 27th July 2012, however, the Financial Times published an article stating, quite controversially, that LIBOR manipulation was on the increase. Numerous banks were, in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage collapse, manipulating the rate to demonstrate stability in times of volatility. Despite penalties to leading institutions such as Lloyds and UBS it was Barclays, and CEO Bob Diamond, who were thrust to the heart of the scandal. After being fined £290 million, both Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius resigned to an onslaught of media torment. As such, the scandal further undermined trust in banks and led the deputy governor of The Bank of England to deem the LIBOR market a “cesspit.” Easily the most detrimental scandal of the era, the shame was more deceitful than Satan’s snake in the Garden of Eden. How the industry got away with such a beytrayal is anyone’s guess.



Careers Editor: Amy Sandiford-Watts

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

All job interviews are the same? Not at Heineken Amy Sandiford-Watts


eineken have released a video of the unusual (or terrifying, if you were the one being interviewed) approach they took to their latest search for interns. Rather than inviting the 1,734 applicants to all regurgitate basically the same answers to the usual competency questions, they really put interviewees through their paces by subjecting them to what might just be the worst interview in the world. To top it all off, they then released a video of it all as part of a viral marketing campaign. In order to win the events sponsorship internship, candidates had to cope with an interviewer who insisted on holding their hand, and appeared to have a heart attack half way through the interview. If that didn’t freak them out enough (the video shows one girl discussing salary expectations with the interviewer lying on the floor) they then had to assist in an emergency fire evacuation. The successful candidate was the one who stepped forward when firemen needed someone to hold the sheet that would cushion the fall of someone trapped on the roof of the supposedly burning offices. The video, entitled ‘The Candidate’, has over two million views on YouTube. As well as having to hold the interviewer’s hand as they walked into the interview room, applicants were asked if they’d enjoyed

holding hands – and then led out by a secretary who held their hand too. In the ‘medical assistance’ section, the interviewer keels over and acts as if he is having a heart attack. Some run for the door, whilst others immediately try out their first aid skills, and one seems to not acknowledge the apparent medical emergency and continue answering questions. Heineken decided which candidate to employ by posting videos of the interviews on its internal marketing portal, and allowing employees to vote for their favorite candidate. Guy Luchtung, who got the job, found out his application was successful when it was announced on the big screen at the Juventus Stadium. He now works promoting the brand at sports events. Heineken explained they were looking for someone who could cope well with these situations. As well as being a clever marketing ploy for the brand, it highlights problems with the usual interview process – namely that it encourages people to regurgitate prepared answers and that everybody, ultimately, says the same thing. Although answering 45 minutes’ worth of boring competency questions is probably preferable to having to perform CPR on your interviewer, and this style of interview is almost certainly not going to take off as a new way of assessing candidates, it does certainly give them a better chance to show who are they are than repeating a list of prepared answers.

How would you cope if this was part of your job interview?

Photograph: Remko Tamis

Bonuses all round for John Lewis employees Hannah Kasaby

Retailer John Lewis has announced it will be paying its staff a bonus worth 17% of their salary, which works out as the equivalent of nine weeks’ extra pay. Every one of John Lewis’s employees, from checkout assistants, to trainees on their graduate scheme, right up to the chairman, will receive the bonus. John Lewis is run as a partnership, so each employee is a partner of the company and entitled to a bonus based on end-of-year profits. The starting salary on the John Lewis Partnership graduate schemes is

£25,500, which means graduates on the scheme will receive a bonus of almost £4500. This year’s bonus is thanks to a strong year of sales, with profits before tax up by 16%. It isn’t, however, the largest bonus paid out by the company. John Lewis started paying the bonus in 1920 at a rate of 20% of salary, and in the boom years of the seventies and eighties staff received up to 24%. It is, however, an improvement on last year when a 4% fall in profits caused the partnership to reduce the bonus from 18% to 14% of salary. The lowest ever pay out was in 1954 and was just 4% of salary. The John Lewis Partnership was founded in the 1920s, after the son

of the founder of the John Lewis department store in Oxford street, a major shareholder in the company, realized that he, his brother, and his father were earning a sum equal to the combined salaries of every other person that worked for them. The ultimate purpose of the partnership, outlined in its constitution is, touchingly, rather than profit, “the happiness of all its members.” Reducing working hours, giving staff longer holidays, and eventually introducing the profit-sharing scheme created a more democratic working environment, and happier employees led to greater profits. Having a share of the company’s profits means that everyone, from sales assistants right up to head of-

fice, is motivated to do their utmost to increase the money the partnership makes.

“The ultimate aim of the partnership is the happiness of all its members rather than profit”

The democratic approach to business also means that employees at all levels of the organisation are treated as individuals, and have the opportunity to voice their opinions to more senior employees.

So if it’s good for profits and employees, why isn’t every business run this way, and why do we focus so much on money and often forget what will make us happy when looking for a job? It is difficult to give away such a large sum in bonuses, and in order to be able to do so a company must still make a sufficient profit in order to sustain and develop the business. However the main obstacle to more companies being run as partnerships is that for many years maximising the value of shares for external shareholders has been seen as the only way to judge a business – and few shareholders would be willing to give away their ownership of a company to its staff.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


@PalatiCAREERS Palatinate

A career at Enterprise Rent-a-car Queenie Chan


astle graduate Annabel Bergius gives Palatinate an insight into Enterprise’s graduate business management programme and what it is like to work for one of the biggest car-rental companies in the world. Name: Annabel Bergius Course and College: BA Classical Past / MA in Classics – University College Position: Graduate Business Management Trainee

Why did you pick Enterprise to start your career? There’s quite a few reasons why I picked Enterprise. First off, I was drawn to the fact that the scheme incorporated all my core interests, such as sales, marketing and customer service. Also, Enterprise is a global brand with locations all over the US, Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, and it’s continuing to grow. Working for a company with such global presence definitely stands out on your CV.

“Every month the top ten sales people are allowed a day off to go on an all-expensespaid day out”

Additionally, the Enterprise scheme is extremely fast track. They only recruit at entry-level, and therefore most promotions are only available to those who are already working there. Some trainees can get promoted within six to eight months. Their graduate schemes are so well known around the world that Businessweek have listed them in the ‘50 Best Places To Launch a Career’ for the past four years, as well as the Times’ ‘Top 50 Places where Women Want to Work’. What is a typical day at Enterprise like? No one day is the same at Enterprise, and I love the fact that I’m not stuck at a desk all day. It’s very fast paced – one minute, I might be deal-

ing with a customer at the branch, next minute I’m off to see a corporate account to improve our professional relationship and increase business with them. I also set aside some time to get through my training file which sets all sorts of goals and objectives for me to complete within my first year. The file varies from hitting sales targets to arranging marketing events or attending training days at our head office in Leeds.

“No one day is the same, and I love the fact that I’m not stuck at a desk all day”

hopefully be eligible for promotion to Assistant Manager. My long term goal is to make it up to management level, learn as much as I can about the business, and then ideally move into Head Office to take on an HR-related role, should the opportunity present itself.

What is Enterprise like as a company? Enterprise is a very fast paced and target-motivated workplace. The company is based on the motto that “if you take care of customers and employees, then rewards will follow.” As a result, there are constant incentives to reward hard work. For example, every month the top 10 sales

people are allowed a day off to go on an all-expenses-paid day out. Also, there are some financial incentives into completing the stages of my file on time or for generating corporate accounts.

“From day one I was thrown in at the deep end”

The people I work with are also great. All of my managers and even our CEO have gone through the same training programmes and are able to help me every step of the way.

What was the job application process like? Any advice? The job process was perhaps one of the most efficient and friendly that I have come across throughout my job hunt. It consisted of five stages: online application, telephone interview, face-to-face interview, half day branch placement and assessment day. One of the great things about the application process is that in my branch placement I had the chance to see what it was like to work for Enterprise. My best advice is to show off your personality and show you are a people person who can market yourself successfully, as well as a brand.

What sort of responsibilities does your position entail? From my first day, I was thrown into the deep end and was surprised by the amount of responsibilities I was given. It is a very fast paced role, so it’s important to keep level-headed and keep smiling as you work. One of the biggest responsibilities is to deliver excellent customer service no matter what. This has a knock-on effect on your ability to sell successfully and market the brand, which also impact the branch’s revenue. I also act as a financial controller for my branch’s corporate account, ensuring all invoices are paid up to date. Another responsibility is to help the management team lead your fellow trainees and interns. As I have spent more time with the company, I have been directly assisting my managers in running the branch, such as managing the fleet and the branch ensuring everything gets done in a timely manner. As you can see, there is a diverse range of responsibilities. What is the most rewarding experience at Enterprise? Through my excellent customer service, I have been able to generate a corporate account that has spent a considerable amount of money with the company within its first month and has driven branch revenue up. What do you think will be your next big step within the company? I’m now halfway through my training file, and so in six months I should

Annabel studied Classics at Castle Photograph: Annabel Bergius/ Enterprise Rent-a-car



Politics Editor: Francis Still

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Deputy Politics Editor: Joe Mayes

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies Harry Cross


he lives of Venezuela’s poor improved considerably during Hugo Chavez’s 14-year presidency. However, Chavez’s ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ also trampled on the feet of powerful vested interests in the country. The result has been a sharp polarisation in his of media portrayals that were this week elevated to the world stage. After an abortive 1992 coup, Hugo Chavez eventually became Venezuela’s leader through democratic election. From 1999, his presidency strongly emphasised the democratic process. In 1999 a new constitution for the country was passed by referendum and has informed political process during Chavez’s illness and untimely death. Promotion of the constitution was extensive: products in Venezuelan supermarkets bear various articles on the packaging. Such actions are seen by many as part of Chavez’s eccentric and theatrical style of government. However, this publicity has encouraged many of Venezuela’s poorest citizens to engage in the democratic process for the first time.

Widespread popular support for Chavez saw him three times re-elected. His flamboyant personality and sense of showmanship were actively portrayed through media and public appearances. In 2002, Chavez used his democratic mandate to intervene drastically in the Venezuelan economy. Profits from the country’s prime export, oil, were redistributed to fund social projects. This was an affront to the private interests of the country’s US-oriented business class who had previously dominated Venezuelan politics. The move triggered a media battle. Privately owned media became mouth-pieces for their owners’ virulent anti-Chavez views, calling him a dictator. Chavistas, meanwhile, tried to sell their political project through state media and weekly presidential broadcasts. This conflict came to a head in the abortive 2002 coup. After provoking street violence, groups hostile to the president in the military, political and business classes declared his presidency void. Chavez was arrested and removed from the capital. There is compelling evidence that the US, whose interests in Venezuelan oil had been compromised, supported the coup.

In the event, Venezuela became a unique scene in Latin America of popular mobilisation reversing a military coup. Poor people from the Caracas suburbs who had voted for Chavez came on to the streets. Under immense pressure and the defection of elements of the military the illegal government was forced to stand down, and Chavez returned. Chavez’s popular support arose not merely from his charisma and emphasis on democratic process, but in the restructuring of Venezuelan

society. Oil revenues have been spent on health, education and social programmes that have reduced infant mortality, nearly eradicated illiteracy and, most recently, funded extensive social housing construction. However, this restructuring has compromised Venezuela’s economic growth, creating debates over Chavez’s legacy. Extreme rhetoric in Venezuela’s private media has been replicated in news outlets in the US and elsewhere, portraying his divisive presidency to the world.

Claims that he is dictatorial abound; the government’s refusal to renew the contract of media outlets who sided with the illegal 2002 coup is often interpreted as an affront to free speech. At any rate, the outpouring of grief in Venezuela and Latin America was genuine: Chavez is seen to have championed the poor. The outcome of April’s election, held according to the 1999 constitution, and the resilience of Chavez’s numerous allies in Venezuela and Latin America will decide the endurance of his legacy.

It is believed that they originated in northern Iraq and north-west Iran. Possibly the descendants of the ancient Medians their origins are uncertain and still debated. Associated with the mountains, Kurdish people are portrayed as tough and independent; they retain a distinct culture. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 the Kurdish people sought to establish a nation state for themselves, Kurdistan, but this did not occur. Since that time they have been subject to oppression across the Middle East. While Kurdistan was never founded Syria did emerge from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. Comprised of different peoples and religions Syria’s borders did not reflect its ethnicity. Inside this new state was a sizeable Kurdish population. It is likely that Kurds have in-

habited Syria since antiquity; the north-eastern al-Jazira province is geographically connected to greater Kurdistan. According to Minority Rights Watch Kurds are the largest nonArab ethnic minority in Syria today. Their number is estimated at 1.7 million, roughly 10% of Syria’s population. Predominately Sunni Muslims, they speak their own language, Kirmanji. Since the 1950s successive governments in Syria have embraced Arab nationalism and accordingly pursued a policy of repressing Kurdish identity because they perceive it as threat to the unity of an Arab Syria. The Ba’ath Party seized control of Syria in 1963 and since then run the country as a brutal police state. Over the course of its rule the Syrian Ba’ath Party has sought to suppress the Kurdish people.

Components of this policy were to deny Kurdish people citizenship, encourage Syrian Arabs to settle in Kurdish areas, while also restricting the use of Kurdish language and prohibiting Kurdish festivals. In addition Kurdish named towns and regions were changed to Arabic names in 1977. In 2004, long before the Syrian Civil War, violent riots and demonstrations for Kurdish rights broke out across northern Syria against the Syrian Ba’ath Party. A vicious government crackdown followed. According to Amnesty International over 40 Kurds were killed and 200 hundred imprisoned, with torture and a lack of judicial process accompanying these arrests. In 2011 the Syrian Civil War began. Kurdish militias armed and deployed across north-eastern Syria in early 2012 and initially clashed with

Syrian Arab Army forces. The Syrian army withdrew from much of north-east Syria, presumably in order to concentrate on battling Free Syrian Army forces elsewhere. Then in November 2012 the Free Syrian Army and Syrian Kurdish militias began fighting over several key towns in northern Syria, spurred on by centuries of ethnic mistrust. However it was announced last week that the Free Syrian Army and Kurdish militias have signed a formal cease fire agreement. The Kurdish militias of Syria now effectively control north-east Syria, a region with significant oil deposits. With few government forces left in the north-east of Syria, a cease fire agreement with the Free Syrian Army and strong military units of their own, the Kurds in Syria have, perhaps, obtained a future for their people in Syria.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies aged 58 Photograph: ¡Que comunismo!

Syria’s Kurds position themselves for the future Edward East

Since 2011 the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Arab Army have been locked in a fratricidal struggle for the future of Syria. The Free Syrian Army has managed to capture and hold the capital of northern Syria, Aleppo, while also making territorial gains across Syria. The Syrian Arab Army, loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Ba’ath Party, has managed to halt any further rebel gains since mid-2012. These two forces have seemingly reached a bloody stalemate. While the fighting has raged in the northeast of the country Syria’s Kurds are positioning themselves for the future. Today Kurdish peoples are found in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


@PalatinateUK Palatinate

Student leaders clash Interview: Miranda Jupp, at party question time President of the Durham University Conservative Association Tom Dimaio When did you become a member of the Conservative association? I have been a member of the Conservative Party since I was 16 and I joined DUCA at the fresher’s fair in my first year. How long have you been President?

I was elected at the end of Michaelmas Term this year and I will be President until the end of the year. What exactly does your role involve?

Panel of politicians on the TV show Question Time Photograph: UK Parliament Joe Mayes


eaders of Durham’s student party political societies clashed at a ‘Question Time’ style event in the Reading Room of 24 North Bailey Club recently. In front of a partisan crowd of activists and supporters, Dale Bihari (Labour), Miranda Jupp (Conservative) and Joe Donnelly (Liberal Democrats) fielded questions on a variety of topical issues in a passionate and thought-provoking discussion. On the central question of the British economy, Dale criticized the government’s inability to revitalize economic growth. He called for greater borrowing and a reduction in the pace of George Osborne’s cuts to public spending. He also criticized the government’s decision to cut the top rate of tax to 45%. But Joe and Miranda defended the Coalition’s economic record, saying that austerity was the right approach if Britain was to reduce its deficit and public debt levels. Joe also questioned Labour’s economic competency for not ‘saving money for a rainy day’ in the buildup to the financial crisis whilst Miranda said that cutting the top rate of tax would increase receipts and make Britain more competitive. On the issue of education, Dale criticized the government’s abolition of the Education Maintenance Allow-

ance and the increase in tuition fees to £9,000, saying that the Coalition was treating students from poorer backgrounds unfairly. But Joe defended the Coalition’s tuition fees policy, saying that it was in fact a good system that had not deterred students from applying to university. He also praised the government’s ‘pupil premium’ initiative that targets funding at disadvantaged pupils. Concerning David Cameron’s offer of a referendum on EU membership in 2017 if the Conservative Party wins a majority at the next general election, Miranda said that it was the right time to have a national debate on the issue. But Dale said that the offer had been politically motivated to take votes away from UKIP and appease Tory backbenchers. On the question of the balance between security and liberty, Joe attacked Labour’s record on issues such as advocating 90-day detention without trial and the spread of CCTV cameras. An audience member also criticised the Iraq War, saying that it had significantly endangered British security. Other hotly contested areas, where audience members joined the discussion with their own strong views, included the environment, British energy policy and the legacy of the Thatcher government in the North East.

Basically I just organise a lot of the events for the Association. Speeches, socials and that sort of thing. I also coordinate relations between DUCA and the local conservative party. If you were forced to sum up conservatism in a single sentence, what would you say?

more holistic approach that is more socially conservative. I would describe my own conservatism as having a fairly small c, but my involvement in the party itself would also suggest quite a big C. Are you happy with the current British Conservative Party, with regards to both policy and ideology?

Two policies that I think have been really good are Michael Gove’s education policies and the big society. The new education policies really home in on the idea of aspiration, which I believe is very important. The Big Society is also a really important value, but I’m worried emphasis on it has fallen away. I think party is in danger of losing its identity separate to the coalition, which is certainly a worry. What’s your opinion on the current leadership of the party? Need for change? Boris?

A lot is spoken about the distinction between ‘Big C’ and ‘Little c’ conservatism. What do you make of the distinction? What category do you see yourself falling under?

Haha, I think Boris is great but I’m not sure whether he can be serious enough on the world stage. Cameron is doing a fairly good job but he needs to stop being such an apologist for who he is. People would rather he would just act himself as opposed to pretending he isn’t posh. If I had to pick a new leader today, I would choose William Hague, further down the line, Michael Gove.

I don’t really see the distinction as a matter of scale. Big C conservatism generally refers to the party line whereas little c conservatism is a

I met Michael Gove earlier this year. He was very personable face to face. I’ve also been to here George

Ha-ha very tricky. Umm. A general suspicion of state planning, evolution not revolution in society.

Have you met any famous Conservative figures? What did you think?

Osbourne speaking though I didn’t speak to him! What’s the Conservative scene in Durham like?

We have about 30 or 40 members that regularly come to our events and many more signed up with our society. We have a good social scene and we often go to the Stockton South constituency, as it is a Tory marginal. Do you personally have big ambitions in the world of politics?

Ultimately I think I would like to be an MP but I don’t like the idea of career politicians. I think if you want to truly represent people, you must gain some real world experience first. How do students get involved with DUCA?

You can contact us via our email conservative.association@durham. We are also on Facebook and we are on twitter @DUconservatives. What do you see as the future of the Conservative Party?

I believe the key to making a successful party is focusing on the idea of aspiration. Making it clear that our party appeals to anyone who wants to do better for themselves.

A view of Durham Cathedral on a beautiful day of sunshine Photograph: timrawle


Science & Technology Reader’s Scigest A QUICK LOOK AT SCIENCE

A paper published recently in Science Magazine found that the female Drosophila melanogaster would change the alcohol content of the food source specifically when a female larval endoparasitoid (ie. One who would lay their eggs within the larvae) was seen nearby. This was said to show that the flies could recognise specific types of wasps – male wasps did not produce the same response. Other species within the genus Drosophila showed similar behaviour. PRIMETIME FOR MATHS

A professor of computer science at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg has discovered the world’s longest known prime number. The 17,425,170 digit number, which is two multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, minus one, was uncovered as the result of the work of over 1,000 computers running continuously for thirty nine days. It is estimated that, using the computing power involved in this find, a longer prime number will not be discovered for at least five more years. There is, however, incentive; the US digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation is reportedly offering a prize of $150,000 to the person who discovers the first 100-million digit prime. YOU COULDN’T PLANET BETTER

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile are thought to have spotted the birth of a new planet, 335 light years away from Earth. The reportedly forming planet has been pinpointed in the vicinity of the star HD 100546, and is predicted to eventually take the form of a gas giant up to three times the size of Jupiter.

If confirmed, observations taken as the planet forms would provide a unique opportunity for scientists to update past theories of planet formation from first-hand recordings in a field usually limited to computer simulations. The suspected new planet is following the theorised pattern of gas giant growth, collecting gas and dust from the birth of its closest star.

Science and Technology Editor: Jonny Bowers

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Deputy: Chris Somers

Welcome to Science & Technology - you must be new Jonny Bowers

FLIES: DRUNK WITH SUCCESS In order to avoid their larvae being infected with parasitic wasp eggs, a species of fruit fly has been found to smother its eggs in alcohol-laden food.

This is the 750th edition of Palatinate, and it offers a great chance to look back at everything that has been in the paper over more than 60 years in print. As well as the chance to be nostalgic, the 750th edition is exciting for something else – this section.

“Not enough British people speak basic French, but even fewer can do basic coding”

The Science and Technology sec-

tion is making its debut in print, having being launched online just a few weeks ago. The instant popularity of the section online (at the time of writing it boasts the most popular story on the site) along with the huge numbers of keen science writers we have on our mailing list show that this section has been a long time coming. This is not down to some fantastic job done by myself and Chris, the deputy editor; instead it is just a manifestation of that which is evident everywhere – an increase in interest of what is going on in the world of science. This increase in interest is not without reason; now more than ever a need for understanding of science is evident in all that we do. Technology is advancing too fast for us to be able to keep up – not

enough British people can speak basic French, but even fewer can do basic coding.

“More people are becoming interested in science because... it is becoming a larger part of their lives”

The environment has been changed beyond recognition by humanity and yet humanity seems to have no control over it. Our bodies are under attack from more strains of viruses than ever before – and

most of this is down to our attempts to defeat the original ones. More people are becoming interested in science and technology because, whether they like it or not, it is becoming a larger part of their lives. It is our hope that this section will not only help you, our readers, explore an interest in the world around them, but also will encourage you to enter a debate on what place science has in the world, and what place it should have. If you are interested in writing for the science and technology section, or for more information, please email


Like our stories?

Nuclear power: past, not future? Bryony Hockin explores why countries around the world seem to be falling out with nuclear power

Bryony Hockin


f you live in or around Durham, you will, even if you do not know it, have a rather personal connection with nuclear power, as, when you turn on a light, most of the electricity that powers it will have come from the nuclear power station down the road in Hartlepool. You will be pleased to know that a tsunami like the one that caused the Fukushima disaster is extremely unlikely in the North East of England. Phew. Nuclear power has always been something of a touchy subject; ask anyone over the age of thirty if they remember the Chernobyl disaster and you will soon find enough antinuclear sentiment to supply an entire CND campaign. The popularity of nuclear power tends to peak and trough rather dramatically in sync with the latest INES (International Nuclear Event Scale) category seven accidents; that is, the most severe accident possible, the latest of course

Nuclear Numbers


16% of all of Britain’s power current comes from nuclear. This compares to 78.8% in France 1956 - The world’s first Nuclear power station was built - in Britan in modern day Cumbria During the 2011 Fukushima disaster google had more than double the hits on the word “nuclear” than ever before

being at Fukushima in 2011. When it was first introduced in the late fifties, nuclear power was presented as the energy source of the future; it was clean, safe, and almost unlimited (aside from the problem of where to put all of the radioactive waste produced in nuclear power plants). The Magnox reactors used in the UK in those days were also conveniently capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, which came in handy for our growing nuclear arsenal. Although many unreported accidents occurred in the former USSR, the first sign that perhaps we in the West could not quite rely on nuclear power came in 1979, when, due to operator error, a minor accident occurred at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The resulting public backlash against nuclear power was responsible for the halt in construction of many new nuclear power plants that had been proposed in the nineteen seventies. Similarly, just before the disaster at Chernobyl, public support for nuclear power had been growing, if perhaps more warily than before. Following the Chernobyl disaster, many British nuclear reactors were redesigned with more failsafe protocols; however, of the eight reactors in Britain, one Magnox reactor, similar to the model at Chernobyl, remains in the Wylfa power station in Anglesey. Its decommissioning – now due in 2014 - has been postponed several times, mostly because the sheer quantity of power it produces would be difficult to replace, and the National Grid can only pick up so much slack before new power stations have to be built. Now, with Fukushima still fresh in the public’s minds, it is no surprise

Could nuclear be on its way out? Photograph: digit-al that many countries are reluctant to expand their use of nuclear power. France is one of the most heavily invested in its nuclear infrastructure, to the extent that three-quarters of its energy is produced by nuclear plants, and seven out of Britain’s eight nuclear power stations are owned by EDF (Électricité de France SA). However, some commentators suggest that France should follow Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) and decrease its reliance on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Likewise, Britain’s proposed nuclear development programme has also been scaled down, despite the fact that approximately sixteen percent of British energy is still produced by nuclear power plants. America, as usual, has figuratively stuck its fingers in its ears and is continuing to invest regardless. Significant funding was given by the US government to

two new nuclear reactors in 2012, despite this being economically unfavourable. The debate on nuclear power has been raging for decades. Although much of this is media scaremongering, there are grains of truth hidden in the hype. Ask any scientist and you will soon realise that despite our understanding of how it all works, we do not quite know what we are doing with nuclear power. On the one hand, it seems like a lot less effort than building hundreds of wind turbines, and until fairly recently it gave us an excuse to produce nuclear weapons. But there are other issues that disasters such as Fukushima have forced us to confront. Is it really as controllable as we think? And can we account for all the risk factors? For humans who have progressed from playing with fire to playing with radiation, perhaps this is a step too soon.


PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013

@PalatiSciTech Palatinate

Why academia? A conversation with Del Atkinson Amal Vaidya


ast week Palatinate interviewed Dr Del Atkinson to discuss the experiences he has had throughout his career. Now a member of Durham’s Centre for Material Physics, Dr Atkinson graduated from the University of Liverpool where he studied geophysics, and continued into a PhD there researching applied magnetism. He has since worked in various academic and industrial roles, which include undertaking contracts for the MOD and working for British Aerospace, before joining Durham where he now teaches at undergraduate level and supervises level four research projects. Dr Atkinson was keen to stress the differences between the environments of working in industry and academia. “In industry you work until five or six or whatever, then you go home for the weekend and forget about work… [In academia] you never stop working. I was up until 10pm last night [a Sunday] to finish something that had to be done by lunchtime today” Dr Atkinson also mentioned the differences in the work itself. Whilst

in industry the focus was much more on fulfilling contracts and a specific output, in academia he has much more freedom to research what he is interested in. This allows him to design and work upon his own projects: “It’s not a job, but I get paid to do it… it’s just stuff that I’m interested in doing.” The greater autonomy Dr Atkinson enjoys in academia is also coupled with a chance to work with people who he described as better motivated and with similar interests to himself. Even though academia may offer a better work environment, it generally comes with a pay cut. Dr Atkinson’s move was no different; he gave up a permanent industrial position to come to Durham for a temporary research contract, a position that came with a significant pay cut of twenty percent. His main reasoning for the change was that he wanted a more fulfilling career, but he also spoke about other incentives: working within a successful academic institution such as Durham affords you increased job security and a path to develop and get promoted. The other major part of working in academia is teaching, and this is another part of the job which Dr Atkinson seems to really enjoy.

Del Atkinson: “It’s not a job, but I get paid to do it.” Photograph: Durham University He says that one of the most satisfying aspects of his job is seeing “the lights turning on as physics students become physicists” during the level four projects he supervises. He seems to take pride in their achievements; so much so that he keeps the project reports from those his has supervised on the office shelf with the

rest of his own academic work. Dr Atkinson can, however, see the potential issues arising from academics spending too much time teaching. “In some institutions, teaching pressure can have a negative effect on research… [In Durham] it’s genuine research lead teaching”. Dr Atkinson, who currently focus-

Google frame their latest ideas Joshua Stocco

If you visit the Google Glass website you will be greeted by a dizzying video of people engaging in various exciting outdoor activities which involve a lot of spinning in circles whilst filming from their point of view using “Glass”.

Quite how anyone would have the courage to go skydiving or snowboarding with $1500 worth of technology loosely resting on the bridge of their nose is beyond me. However, this does not stop Glass from being the coolest advancement in technology since 3G. For those who do not know, Google Glass is a pair of glasses with no lenses and a small prism of glass in

the corner of one eye that behaves much like an omniscient personal assistant. The prism beams information directly onto your eye and a small speaker on one arm of the glasses relays audio information to you through your skull. You control Glass using a touchpad on the side, verbal commands, and various head movements. The idea being that they will bring “information closer to your senses” as Google product director

“Google’s main goal is to get technology out of the way of real life”

Google co-founder Sergey Brin sports Google Glass Photograph: Thomas Hawk

Steve Lee puts it. Glass has built in Wi-fi and GPS and will be able to connect to your phone via Bluetooth and by extension the internet using 3G or 4G. You will be able to send texts and emails using the voice command and read them without removing your phone from your pocket. You will be able to get directions fed into your ear and annotated

maps on the screen using GPS. Most exciting, however, is the idea that you can ask it anything about whatever happens to be in your line of sight at that moment and it will trawl the internet in search of an answer to your question and put the answer right in front of you. Their biggest advertising point at present seems to be the fact that they have the capacity to film or photograph whatever it is that you can see using a forward facing camera and instantly share it. There is a big emphasis on the social aspects of technology here, ranging from private video calls to posting clips to your Facebook timeline and, most importantly, not getting in the way of faceto-face socialising. Google’s main goal is to get technology out of the way of real life social interaction and to blend it seamlessly into normal life. Some controversy has already arisen regarding this. How would you know if someone was filming you? Conversely, it could deter criminals. Imagine a massive network of 1984-esque CCTV cameras. Who is going to steal when there is the chance that your face has been captured by the twenty people you just walked past?

es on magnetic nanostructures, has had experience working with a wide variety of applied topics from archaeological dating to touch screens that can detect how hard you press. As Dr Atkinson puts it: “I’m just interested in things, I pursue it if the time and resources are available”.


By Chris Somers

Longest Millepede . The ever discovered was an

Illacme plenipes with a whopping 750 legs

Darkest known planet . The in the galaxy is TrES-2b. It reflects less than one percent of the light that falls on it and is 750 lightyears away from earth

million is the cost . $750 of a trip to the moon

with Golden Spike, the space tourism company of former NASA Science Administrator Alan Stern.

Curiosity rover is . The run by a revolutionary

RAD750 microprocessor, which can withstand up to 1,000,000 times the radiation that would kill a human being.



Comment Editor: David Siesage

Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Deputy: Catherine Malpass

750 reminders of problems in Durham The Palatinate archives reveal an uncomfortable truth about university inertia David Siesage


’m afraid that I am going to ruin the celebratory tone of this anniversary edition somewhat. This fortnight, I undertook the task of trawling through the Palatinate archives to find interesting hitorical perspectives on modern day issues. However, looking back at comment articles in Palatinate since 1948 has brought me to a depressing realisation: nothing has changed. Although the specifics, names and locations of talking points inevitably vary, in Durham, some fundamental issues remain. Those perennial annoyances, student apathy and poor town-gown relations are both issues about which we complain every year, yet little is done beyond complaining. It has been this way for some time. The issue of town gown relations was brought up in a 1977 letter in Palatinate. The author describes the behaviour of a ‘contemptible minority’ of the student population towards their northern home as ‘disgusting and uncivilised’, after University gardeners found a toilet filled with ‘human excreta’ in the middle of a patch of garden on the Sutton Site. Fifteen

years later in 1992, an editorial was dedicated to the issue: “I have been fairly revolted by the attitudes of a lot of members of this university. Having come here as the only ‘acceptable’ alternative to Oxbridge, a large section of the community then proceed to behave in a manner very offensive to the local culture. The North-East is extremely poor and is not receiving anything like the assistance it needs from the state.

Poor town-gown relations and apathy have endured

“Instead of being sensitive to this, however, many students attempt to shut it out and create their own little piece of the south, openly insulting the City’s permanent residents and laughing from behind their (bulging) wallets. What are they learning by doing this, except how to pretend the whole world lives in Surrey?” Now, more than twenty years

later, the issue is still a prevalent one. Town-gown friction lurks under the surface for our whole university career. Rarely does this friction materialise, but nonetheless, Overheard is swamped with remarks pertaining to the otherness of local residents on a regular basis; Durham is still the ‘acceptable’ alternative for Oxbridge rejects, many of whom entirely fail to engage with their northern home. As the university slowly expands, this apparent friction is unlikely to lessen. The tension is deeply ingrained. Attitudes and behaviour endure through the years. Traditions are instilled from day one and we accept them blindly. It will take a considerable effort to make people realise that they are not in a university bubble, but a small city, full of real people, who were here before we arrived, and will be here when we leave. The university experience may be shortterm and transient but that of locals is not. Apathy is other the perpetual complaint put to the Durham student body, and it too is not a modern phenonomen. In a comment piece published on 27th January 1950, entitled ‘That Old Chestnut’, F. W. Sharples described the apathy of the student body as ‘lamentable’: “One cannot wonder that the Union debates lack the spirit of Oxford and Cambridge meetings. “Whether it is our insularity, or

the sedative influence of so many ecclesiastics or the mere seeking for a Durham hood which obstructs the vision, muffles the hearing, and muzzles the tongue (the ideal atmosphere for work), I do not know; but the present feeble impotence of all but a few to propagate a semblance of virility will inevitably ensure that the hood is worth just its cost, and the shadow of the Cathedral still a good place to work.”

Meaningful change is almost impossible to achieve

Whilst we may marvel at Sharples’s phraseology, we sigh at his subject matter. Not only does the deference to Oxbridge remain, apathy too endures. The DSU election figures this year reflect this: 4,379 students of the 18,328 students at Durham turned out to vote in the most recent elections. A mere 23.8% of the electorate. This may be a considerable improvement on some years, but it

is still a deplorable statistic. Our excellent collegiate system, it seems, makes it virtually impossible to make people care about DSU elections. Whilst success stories like Collingwood, who achieved a 69.94% turnout thanks to an Exec campaign which granted more raffle prizes for each increase in turnout, are impressive, student politics should not have to resort to bribery for participation. The DSU will always be detached from the experience of the majority of students, other than those directly involved. This is not to do the DSU a disservice: the work they do is important, and it is not for lack of trying that they fail to engage with the student population. There really is nothing that can be done about this. So, it seems we have moved on very little; contentious and tiresome issues have remained so. This truth is depressing. The transience of university life means that meaningful change is almost impossible to achieve. Maybe this is why election turn-outs are so low across the university: if those in power aren’t there long enough to make profound change, why bother? But at least we’re not defecating in gardens... right?


Tweet your reactions to


The uncomfortable truth is that whilst countless students have come and gone from Durham, the same problems remain Photograph: Lucy Edwardes Jones

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013

19 @PalatinateUK Palatinate

Sporting scandal in the highest echelons Tinker, tailor, doping, murder: the darker side of our sporting heroes is revealed Jack Longden


012 will certainly go down as a year of considerable sporting achievement for Britain. Amongst other things, It saw Rory McIlroy secure the PGA Championship, Bradley Wiggins command the Tour de France and Team GB secure sixty five medals in what Great Britain’s ‘chef de mission’, Andy Hunt, claimed to be the “greatest performance, of our greatest team, at the greatest Olympics, ever”. Jessica Ennis graced our billboards, Chris Hoy our cereal packets and Mo Farah our Dance Moves; the sports star reigned supreme, providing an exemplary model for perseverance, dedication, teamwork and success. Unfortunately, the golden Olympic summer curtly swept into a harsh winter of discontent within the sporting community. The admission by Tour de France legend, Lance Armstrong, that his record seven consecutive Tour de France victories were part-product of illegal doping techniques firmly fixed the media spotlight back on professional scandal and dishonesty. Furthermore, the shocking revelation on Valentines Day, that Oscar Pistorius had been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, brought the façade of the punctilious ‘sports Hero’ abruptly crashing down. Oscar, affectionately known by the pseudonym ‘The Blade Runner’, had previously been unquestioned as a champion of the Paralympics cause, rightful recipient of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, as well as the Order of Ikhamanga for outstanding achievement in sport. He even featured in the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012 - now, he faces the possibility of life imprisonment. Of course, it is far from the first time that sports scandal has gripped the headlines. From infidelity to GBH, Icons from Beckham to Woods have all fallen short of the Achillean demigod status that they comparably occupy in modern culture. In a world of sponsorship, advertisement, ex-

Our hero worship for athletes does not allow us to remember that they are humans with flaws Photograph: Jim Thurston tensive media coverage and limited privacy, can we reasonably expect international athletes to consistently sustain and promote positive moral and ethical stereotypes for young and old to follow alike? And can their individual shortcomings be isolated from their successes, both in and out of the sports arena?

Contentious news flies off the shelves

I suppose an objective response to such considerations is impossible. Firstly, the lasting influence and legacy that an individual may have on a sport can always be held up against moments of contention within their professional career, and it is impossible to quantatively resolve these frictions. Equally, it is the elimination of the mantle associated with the ‘sports-icon’ that increases their accessibility as ‘role models’ to others, especially in a contemporary society

when we are encouraged to embrace and forgive flaws and differences. This societal pressure is equally pro-active elsewhere in the equation. The media loves scandal, and the media serves popular demand. Good news may sell, but contentious news flies off the shelf. In light of this, it is too easy to be persuaded to hold Manichean views of those that regularly appear in popular media. In December 2009, International Golf star Tiger Woods was publically shamed upon the exposure of his several infidelities in a press-frenzy that saw him take leave from international Golf. Woods, a firm advocate of racial equality in sport and one of the most successful contenders in the history of the game, fell victim to the age old sin of lust, something that one in ten couples admits per year in America. Yet, his wider contribution to Golf, alongside the launch of The Tiger Woods Foundation and $50million Tiger Woods Learning Centre is often lost or conveniently misrepresented in the global media. Woods may not be the exemplary husband, but his lasting legacy within the sport has been profound. Equally, Livestrong, which was once an arm of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, has been hugely influ-

ential in uniting, inspiring and empowering those affected by cancer. Despite the shame of Armstrong’s uncompetitive and unethical practices, it is hard to entirely condemn the ‘Armstrong Brand’ given the positive effect that his foundations has had, and indeed continues to have.

It is only a minority that brings the world of sport into disrepute

Unlike Woods, perhaps Armstrong is a strained and unworthy ambassador of cycling, but antithetically a role model for those suffering from cancer that desperately need a tangible symbol of recovery; after all, the drugs didn’t win all seven Tour de France on their own. Finally, given the sensationalist nature of global media coverage, it is also easy to forget that it is still

only a minority that brings the world of sport into disrepute. Despite the frosty chill of the winter, the social examples set by Usain Bolt, Lord Coe, Sir Steve Redgrave and Ellie Simmonds, amongst others, can only restore faith in the didactic power that our sporting hero’s wield. Perhaps a mediated respect for athletes, alongside a healthy scepticism for popular media scandal, will provide an optimum platform from which we can continue to enjoy and share in the triumphs of those we have come to worship. In the 21st century, we also need to be willing to view the personal life of these individuals as insular from their professional lives. In my eyes, Oscar Pistorius remains innocent until proven guilty, and regardless of the trials outcome, he will always be an important figure in the progress of the Paralympics cause; nobody should take that away from him.


For more, visit uk



Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

A welcome challenger to the status quo

The rise of the political right strikes at the heart of bland, centrist party politics Nick Bradley


ritain has long been in need of a breath of fresh air. And now, one party seems to be provid-

ing it. In the aftermath of by-election battle at Eastleigh, UKIP leader Nigel Farage reacted to his party’s remarkable performance by stating that UKIP will “take the tremor that we have created in Eastleigh and turn it into a national political earthquake” in the next European elections. This is fighting talk. UKIP’s phenomenal by-election successes in Rotherham, Corby, Middlesbrough and Eastleigh have solidified their place in mainstream politics and shot down in flames suggestions that they were a fad, a one-hit-wonder, or a one-man-party. Building on their continual successes in the European elections, UKIP have now made it clear that they are genuine contenders for the next general election. When the time comes, it is likely that they will field a large

number of candidates, and equally likely that they will receive a large proportion of the vote. One of UKIP’s advantages is that it is a party of people. Not cynical opportunists like the Tories. Or foolish clowns like New Labour. Or spineless liars like the Lib Dems.

UKIP has brought something different to the table

Crucially, it is not a party of career politicians. The party’s key flagbearers have worked hard and made their money. They are in politics because of their beliefs. What’s more, who could possibly be better qualified to steer the UK out of recession and stimulate economic growth in the country than the likes of ex-city trader Farage, and retired financial

economist Godfrey Bloom? The Coalition [Tory] Government is right to continue with their policy of austerity. However, in George Osborne’s own words, the “disaster” of having lost the AAA credit rating is testament to his own ineptitude as Chancellor. The Coalition [Tory] Government has failed the country. Meanwhile, New Labour is just a joke, with nothing to offer in the way of serious economic policy. The British people have fewer and fewer viable options. Faith is continually being lost in the status quo. UKIP has brought something different to the table. The popular media and the politicians have finally been forced to accept the permanence of UKIP, as well as accept that it is a moderate party with nothing whatsoever to do with xenophobia, racism or jingoism. But perhaps it will take Nigel Farage’s election to the Commons for David Cameron to retract his pathetic and thuggish attempts to discredit UKIP. UKIP is a passionate supporter of free trade in Europe (the original concept behind the European Community). It is also a supporter of maintaining amicable relations with Europe. However, the crucial difference between UKIP and the three

other parties is that it does not want the continuation of an undemocratic political union. Farage wants Britain to govern herself. But he also wants Greece to govern herself and for every country in Europe to retain its independence, democracy and dignity. His party opposes the imperialist qualities of the EU Empire, which increasingly resembles a totalitarian nation-state.

Farage is a figurehead and a unifier

In a time of monetary crisis throughout the continent, Brussels continues to flex its interventionist muscles in a bid to cut city bonuses across Europe. To impose financial restrictions upon the private sector contravenes basic principles of libertarianism and free trade. Importantly, for Britain, reducing the attraction

of London as a competitive market place will also discourage the foreign talent and foreign investment that we need now more than ever. The decision is out of touch with reality. It smacks of naivety. UKIP argues that the future of Britain should be decided in Britain by the British people. Its policies are what the economy needs to succeed. Its leader is a figurehead and a unifier. Ask yourself one question: What do the British people want?They want the economy to succeed. They want to govern their own country democratically They want to maintain their identity and celebrate the cultural quirks that make Britain unique. They want an end to the political colonization and economic hegemony of Britain by a collective European conglomerate of foreign politicians. They want genuine personalities and fresh ideas in the House of Commons, and an end to consensual, corrupt, circular politics. In a new age of European Imperialism we can learn a great deal by looking back at history. But right now, your country needs a future. People of Britain, your country needs UKIP!

History reforms bring welcome changes

If the reformed history lessons are insular, we must blame the quality of teaching Niall Oddy


eading Francesca Moll’s diatribe against proposed changes to the school history curriculum (Palatinate 749, 28th February), I was reminded of the dangers of using The Guardian as your only source of information about current affairs. I was also left wondering whether her obvious ideological antipathy to Michael Gove caused her to misunderstand the reforms or merely to misrepresent them in her article for rhetorical purpose. The new curriculum has been presented by some as a right-wing plot to indoctrinate young people with a patriarchal, nationalistic, monocultural and British-centred understanding of history that ignores women and minority groups in favour of of white men such as Churchill and Nelson, and ignores critical thinking and analysis in favour of hard facts. It is a view that is, frankly, ridiculous. Allow me to quote some of the

specified aims of the curriculum, which should serve to debunk Gove’s critics. Pupils should ‘know and understand the broad outlines of European and world history’. So the planned curriculum is not guilty of a narrow focus on Britain.

The planned curriculum is not guilty of a narrow focus in Britain

Furthermore, pupils should ‘understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historicallyvalid questions and create their own

structured accounts’. So the proposals, then, are not guilty of rejecting critical thinking. Additionally, pupils should ‘understand how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed’. So to the charge of presenting only one view of history we must find the defendant not guilty. And pupils should understand ‘the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history’. With this, Francesca Moll’s assertion that the proposed curriculum seeks to propagate the ‘Great Man’ approach to history is revealed to be – to put it simply – wrong. Taking a look at the suggested content of the curriculum, we find women in abundance: Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale and Annie Besant to name a few. Slavery is included, as is twentieth-century immigration and individuals from minority backgrounds such as Mary Seacole and Olaudah Equiano. This is hardly as narrow-minded as some have suggested.

Above all, critics are forgetting one crucial element – teachers. (It is not surprising that they have been forgotten because those on the left tend to overlook individuals, seeing only institutions, like the state, or what they regard as homogenous groups, like the ‘working class’.) The curriculum is just a document; it is individual teachers who will bring it to life.

The curriculum is just a document; teachers will bring it to life

The old adage that the French education minister knows what all pupils in France are doing at any given time on any given day can certainly not be applied to the British context. Even within a national curriculum

teachers are given a huge scope for personal choice when it comes to delivering lessons (even more so in free schools and academies - Gove’s flagship policies). If any history lessons are insular or narrowly focussed then that will be down to the teacher concerned. Many of those in that noble profession will be able to deliver fantastically wide-ranging lessons, using the new curriculum as a guide. Not that this curriculum is in place. It is a consultation document, designed to encourage discussion, and anyone who is interested can provide feedback until 16th April. Whilst I’m broadly supportive of Gove’s aims, I do feel that too much content is prescribed and that teachers should be given greater freedom. Let’s hope that Michael Gove considers all constructive feedback that is raised during this process of consultation but remains undeterred from promoting better standards. He should not give way to those who appear not to have read the actual curriculum document (or have done so but choose to distort what is written therein) and who would have their own political agenda pursued in schools.

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013


Sport Editors: Kate Houghton & Rob Berkeley

21 Deputy Editors: Ben March, Daniel Hobbs

@PalatiSPORT Palatinate

DUABC claims landmark gold Durham boxer Jack Haslett emerges victorious from BUCS Boxing Championships in Coventry

Crispin Logan

Durham University Amateur Boxing Club (DUABC) recently claimed its first ever BUCS Gold Medal. Jack Haslett prevailed in the final of the men’s 2-10 bout under-75kg category, beating Liverpool University’s James Farrell. Haslett progressed to the BUCS Boxing Championship final after defeating Balal Rashid (Derby University) on a majority points decision, being scored as the winner by four of five judges. After a close first two rounds, the bout looked like it could go either way. However, superior fitness allowed Haslett to win the bout with a strong display in the final round, using body-shots to good effect. In the final, the DUABC fighter came up against James Farrell, an opponent with a reputation as a hard hitter, with a number of knockout victories to his name. Being forced to box on the back foot against the combative Farrell, Haslett had to use his wits and keep a tight guard to avoid being caught by his opponent’s powerful shots. As the bout went on, Haslett started to get through with some good

shots of his own, and both boxers displayed remarkable tenacity, giving their all until the final bell. The result of the contest was entirely in doubt until the referee raised the hand of Haslett as having won the bout on a majority points decision. Knowing as much about the op-

“I saw he was a hard hitter, but it didn’t make me nervous - I knew I’d have to box cleverly” Jack Haslett

ponent as possible before a bout can give a boxer an advantage, as he can tailor his game plan accordingly. As Haslett commented, “I watched some of his fights and saw that he was a hard hitter, so knew to watch out for this, but it didn’t make me nervous – instead I knew I’d have to box cleverly, making sure to focus on my defence as well as my attack.” Haslett later added that he was very careful to make sure none of

his previous bouts were uploaded to any public video-sharing sites so that that none of his opponents would be able to gain an edge through studying his technique. DUABC also entered five boxers into the EUBS (English University Boxing Series), an annual inter-university event, held this year at the University of Essex. Crispin Logan, Malik Abbadi and Nick Spong all boxed, but unfortunately two boxers did not get matched against opponents - a common problem in boxing events since strict rules are imposed to make sure that bouts are well-matched contests. This means boxers must be within a specified weight of their opponent (3kg at the maximum) and must have a similar record. DUABC also entered two boxers into a boxing varsity competition held by Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam universities. With over 800 people in attendance there was a great atmosphere, and both representatives gave great performances. One bout was lost on an extremely close points decision, and the other won through a unanimous decision, with Rory Balfour making a successful ring debut after being unmatched in the EUBS.

Haslett celebrates with his father, Nick Photograph: Jack Haslett

Palatinate pool takes Trophy Geraint Evans

It’s no secret that Durham has the best university pool league in the country. With over 60 teams and roughly 550 people taking part last year, this involvement has often translated into strong inter-university representation for Durham. However, a mixture of ill-fortune and the loss of important players has weakened the team severely, and at first it appeared that the standard may drop further, with a number of pull-outs leaving replacements to be drafted in. The worry then became that the team may not make it to the BUCS competition at all, after a number of minibus near-misses. These fears were compounded by many players being eliminated on the first day of the men’s individual competition. In contrast, the women put in a great display as Lauren Davison, Clare Partington and Chelsea Orme progressed to the last 16. Friday saw the start of the team

competition and again performances were largely lacklustre. In the individuals, Peter Edwarde reached the last 64, and Simon Atkinson the last 32 (the best Durham result in three years) only to be eliminated in a decider. In the women’s event, Lauren Davison was knocked out in the last eight by the eventual champion.


BUCS points earned

Saturday was the turning point. After a disappointing 6-4 loss, Durham’s firsts were unable to qualify for the latter stages of the Championship. They did however thrash Edge Hill 6-1, with captain Peter Edwarde notably beating the reigning individual champion, Luke Tucker, executing a ‘break and dish’, and Geraint Evans pulling off a stunning pot to land on the black for the match. This secured third place in the group,

promoting the firsts into the Trophy competition. Unfortunately the other men’s teams were eliminated early. The women’s teams were not to be outdone; whilst the firsts had been unfortunate in not progressing, Miranda Hines edged out the Manchester Met captain in a one-frame decider to put Durham ladies’ seconds into the final. After a tense 3-3 draw, the final against Oxford came down to another decider but this time Hines, Finch and Partington

were less fortunate. However, for a team not in existence two months ago to take second place is an excellent achievement. Sunday saw the start of the men’s Trophy knockout stages. In the firsts’ quarter-final match against Southampton, everyone contributed a frame to the victory, with Ieuan Fenton eventually producing a heroic pot to give Durham the match 6-1. Durham then cruised past St Andrews to reach the final against a

Fenton, Tucker, Evans, Edwarde and Horne with the Trophy

tough Lancaster side. This started well with Durham securing a solid lead, before James Horne potted an outrageous black to bring it to 5-2. This left Durham only one from victory, but Lancaster fought back to make it 5-4. After a tactical exhibition, Evans was left with two balls for the win. Durham erupted as they both disappeared, claiming 30 valuable BUCS points and making it the most successful event for Durham in recent history.



Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Durham University sporting heroes A run down of the successful and inspirational sportsmen and women that Durham has produced over the years cricketer to have played for England since the war and perhaps the finest captain to hold the office,” and Strauss similarly has been deemed the second most successful captain of the modern era. However, if we continue to search for Durham alumni in the cricketing world, the list only goes on. Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson (Hatfield) was the winner of the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award in 1956 and a former player for the England cricket team, an achievement also attained by Tim Curtis (Hatfield), Laurie Evans, Robert Ferley and James Foster (Collingwood). Will Smith (Collingwood) is also the current Durham County Cricket Club captain.

Rugby legend Will Carling OBE Photograph: New York Times Anum Farhan In this 750th edition of Palatinate, it is an apt occasion to reflect on and applaud the University’s sporting achievements, perhaps best reflected by our alumni. With an accomplished ARA Rowing Performance Centre, a First Class Country Cricket status, British Fencing Centre status, and a team who annually competes in the England Hockey National League, among countless other successes, it hardly comes as a surprise that some of the sporting legends of this generation and past, were trained and encouraged in this very institution. So let us pay tribute to the great athletic legacy that Durham has created. Durham has seen many famous faces pass through its doors, a large number of which have gone on to

become widely successful cricketers. Durham was the first University Cricket Centre of Excellence to be established and is now one of six Centres throughout England and Wales. Two household names which immediately come to mind when discussing cricket are Andrew Strauss (Hatfield), and Nasser Hussain (Hild Bede), both of whom were re-


Caps for Will Carling, England Rugby Union captain from 1988-1996.

nowned captains of the England Test cricket team, and former students of Durham University. Simon Barnes of The Times wrote that “Hussain is the most significant

World champion Jonathan Edwards Photograph: Sky Sports

“Hussain is the most significant cricketer to have played for England... perhaps the finest captain” Simon Barnes, The Times

Our very own Graeme Fowler, too, who currently holds the post of Senior Cricket Coach at the university’s MCC Centre of Excellence, was a cricketer for both Lancashire and England, having been described by Colin Bateman as “a risk-taking lefthander… rarely bor[ing] anyone with his batting.” The legendary Will Carling OBE, former Rugby union player for Harlequins and later England’s captain earning 72 caps from 1988 to 1996, hails from Hatfield College in Durham. His successor, also a Durham alumnus, Phil de Glanville, won 38 caps for England and is remembered for his outstanding tour in South Africa. Further alumni who played for England’s rugby team include Will Greenwood (Hatfield), Tim Stimpson (Grey), and Charlie Hodgson. While cricket and rugby may be the quintessential British sports, that is not to say Durham’s alumni have not achieved successes elsewhere. Warren Bradley was a notable English footballer, who played for both Manchester United and England, Peter Elleray is an English engineer and race car designer famously known for designing the Bentley Speed 8 race car and Rahul Mehta (St Mary’s) was an Indian long distance runner, most famous for his victory in the 2001 Great North Run.

Rowing champion Sophie Hosking Photograph: North News Durham was also remarkably well-represented at the London 2012 Olympics with two gold medals being won by Durham alumni. Sophie Hosking (Trevelyan) won the Olympic gold model in the rowing lightweight double sculls, and Lily van den Broecke (University) won the Paralympic gold medal in the mixed cox four event. Former Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World champion in triple jump,

and holder of the world record since 1995, Jonathon Edwards (Van Mildert) reached his peak in the 2000 Olympic Games where he won a gold medal and has become yet another celebrated individual. And with that summary of exceptional Durham alumni who have triumphed in the world of sport, Team Durham can pat themselves on the back, and current students can try to follow in their outstanding footsteps.

England captain Andrew Strauss Photograph: ESPN

PALATINATE | Thursday 14th March 2013

23 @PalatinateUK Palatinate

DUAFC: best team in history

College Knowledge

Durham football will compete in the Northern Premiership next year for the first time

Sporting snippets from the world of college sport Collingwood A close in on title Daniel Hobbs

On Saturday 9th March, Collingwood A beat rivals Collingwood B 2-1. In awful conditions, Collingwood A took the lead after a Ben Hamilton own goal, but the B team equalised shortly after. However with fifteen minutes to go, Alex Goldstone scored the winner to put the A team in pole position to win the Men’s Premiership, with just two games left to play.

Van Mildert D football stop the rot Michael Yiapanis

The league-winning squad secured promotion after defeating Newcastle 2-1 last Wednesday

Photograph: Spencer Brown

first fixture away at Leeds in October. That finished in a 2-2 draw after the home side equalised in the dying minutes, but the new-look team had dominated proceedings and were full of confidence for the arrival of Leeds Met at Maiden Castle the following week. Durham were fitter, stronger and faster than Leeds Met, cruising to an emphatic 3-0 victory and sending a huge statement of intent to the rest of the league. Chester next made the long trip eastwards, escaping with a 0-0 draw after a series of gilt-edged chances were spurned by the home side. Three games in and Durham had been the best side each time, but it was time to convert performances into wins. And this is exactly what they did.

take them. Tensions were high as the crunch game kicked off, but Durham soon settled into it and were 1-0 up after half an hour, courtesy of top-scorer Joe Barwick. They maintained their slim lead until the hour-mark, when Newcastle equalised, leaving Durham with just half an hour to save their season. Chance after chance went begging, but with less than two minutes on the clock, super-sub Josh Richardson, in his last ever appearance for DUAFC, stroked a winner past the onrushing ‘keeper to send the team into delirium. A third league title, a third unbeaten season and a third glorious promotion were complete.

Billy Phillips Durham University Association Football Club (DUAFC) will be playing in the BUCS Northern Premiership next year for the first time. A last-minute winner against Newcastle on Wednesday 6th March ensured they finished top of Northern 1A, sealing their third promotion in three seasons and capping off a meteoric rise through the divisions. Just three years ago, the first team were plying their trade in Northern 3B, but next year they will compete alongside the likes of Loughborough and Stirling in the highest echelon of university football. The incredible three-year rise through the ranks began in the 2010/11 season, when the team cruised to the league title, earning promotion to Northern 2B. The winning form was maintained in 2011/12, as they conquered Northern 2B without dropping a point. Upon this second successive promotion there was an exodus of a huge proportion of the squad, with most of the first team graduating. The 2012/13 season in Northern 1A was thus initially billed as one of consolidation, especially with former Northern Premiership sides Leeds and Leeds Met in the mix, alongside Liverpool, Newcastle and Chester. However, after a hugely encouraging pre-season – which included a narrow 1-0 loss to Newcastle United’s reserve team at their training ground – expectations quickly shifted, especially after controlling the


Consecutive promotions for DUAFC

A gritty 2-1 victory away at Liverpool and a comfortable 1-0 triumph over Newcastle ensured Durham were sat in their customary spot at the summit of the table at Christmas. Because of an administrative error at their end, Leeds Met had to travel to Maiden Castle again in January, and left with a point after a late equaliser. This result maintained Durham’s grip on the league, and it was strengthened even further when

they were awarded a walkover win against Chester after they contravened BUCS rules over the referee. Thus with three games to go, it was Durham’s league to lose.

“Today was the biggest football game in the history of the University” Spencer Brown DUAFC club captain

Leeds arrived at Maiden Castle in mid-February, and the rubber crumb was covered in snow and ice. The referee deemed the surface playable, and in arctic conditions Durham showed their class and character to emerge 3-2 winners. Liverpool were then dispatched with ease to stretch Durham’s lead at the top of the table, but Leeds Met had been winning all their games too and were waiting to capitalise on any slip up. It all ultimately came down to the last day of the season: a win for Durham away at Newcastle and the league title, plus a dream promotion to the Northern Premiership, was theirs. Anything less than a win and Leeds Met, with the benefit of a game in hand against local rivals Leeds, would have the opportunity to over-


The score against Newcastle in the final game of the season

Club Captain Spencer Brown expressed his delight with the club’s achievement. “Today was the biggest football game in the history of the University and we delivered,” he said. “Our hard work as a squad has paid off, and we’ve maintained the winning culture and team spirit that make this club so special. “To win it with virtually the last kick of the season makes it all the more incredible. I cannot wait for next season.”

In boggy conditions Van Mildert D football team took on Cuths D on February 17th. Mildert were stuck to the bottom of the Division 2 table like a discarded piece of chewing gum after nine successive morale-crushing defeats, including a 15-2 loss to Collingwood E. The rot looked to be continuing when Cuths scored early from a corner, but Van Mildert eventually cruised to a 5-3 win. Collingwood hockey revived Jess Bray

Wednesday saw the comeback of Collingwood women’s hockey. As cup winners last year, the girls had had an unfortunate start in the league. Partly due to the freshfaced team of first years, the team took time to play cohesively, but the game against Hatfield was definitely a turning point. Players of the game had to be Askins and Banks for their ‘champagne moment’ goal, but a mention must go to Parry for her strength in defence, as well as her killer short corner hit.

John Snow win the Floodlit Cup Ben March

It was truly David vs Goliath at the Rubber Crumb on Friday. The team currently (comfortably) top of the college rugby Men’s Premiership John Snow took on Division One mid-table team University College in the final of the Floodlit Cup at the Rubber Crumb in a tense match that finished 15-6. Read the match report on the Palatinate website.


Thrashed your college neighbours and keen to tell all? Send us your snippet to, or tweet us @palatiSPORT


Thursday 14th March 2013 | PALATINATE

Durham sporting legends Read about our inspirational alumni, p.22

DUAFC: best team in history Third consecutive promotion for DUAFC, p.23

Josh Beaumont again leads the Palatinates forward in defeating the favourites from Exeter, securing a third consecutive BUCS final Photograph: Elis Wilkins

Twickenham beckons for DURFC greats Charlie Goodwin Durham University Rugby Football Club made it three out of three on Wednesday night as they secured their BUCS Cup final for the third year running, soundly beating Exeter 36-20 with an authoritative first half. Talk before the game had Durham as underdogs after a closely fought win over Bath and a naïve rugby follower would have thought the same. However a rugby scholar would never have underestimated the power of a three year unbeaten record on the home turf and what that means to the players. Durham looked the better side from start to finish and never looked in danger of losing the game. The Palatinates raced out the blocks to take a ten-point lead as Clements gathered a kick to score under the posts with Treglown adding the extras and a penalty of his own.

Exeter finally got their hands on some ball after the opening stages and did look threatening as their slick backs started causing Durham a few problems.


The number of consecutive years DURFC have made it to the BUCS final

A penalty allowed Chisholm to get the scoreboard moving, for the away side making it 10-3. Then the big names in the Durham pack stepped up their game to a different level, with the opposition having no answer. Treglown enforced this straight away with a penalty, which was quickly followed by a power try from Beaumont from a driving maul, crashing over in the right hand corner. A drive close to the line from Carson extended their lead further to a

daunting margin of 24-3. With 25 minutes gone, many people were questioning the hype surrounding Exeter, but a beautiful line from the outside centre Bain soon proved why. He sliced through some weak tackles to dot down under the post, with Chisholm converting. Durham however were relentless, and didn’t let Exeter get going. The ever-impressive Finnie burrowed over after another Palatinate driving maul that started outside the Exeter 22, Treglown added the extras and Durham headed into half-time 31-10 to the good. The second half saw Exeter come out strongly and Durham player Nathan Holmes in the sin bin. A surging run from the Exeter number 8, who ran through missed tackles again, gave the green and whites the first points of the half, with Chisholm adding the extras and another penalty moving them to within 11 points.

Exeter looked like they might spark a come back for a moment but Durham’s experience came into play and tightened the game up.

“The big names in the Durham pack stepped up their game to a different level, with the opposition having no answer”

The Palatinate pack took over and turned the screw on the Exeter eight. Lacking good set piece ball, Exeter began to fade as Durham reasserted their dominance. The Palatinate bench also made a

telling impact, with Payne and Bache catching the eye. Durham had the final say, as ‘captain fantastic’ Beaumont crashed over again from the driving maul.


The final score after a game in which Durham led from the very start

Duncan Finnie was outstanding all evening and was rightly named man of the match, while the Durham second-row partners of Beaumont and Robinson were similarly in majestic form. Treglown’s influence in the backs is starting to tell and his left peg is a crucial weapon for Durham’s game. The final takes place on the 24th March, where DURFC will play UWIC who they famously beat in 2011 with the “invincibles” side.

Palatinate 750  
Palatinate 750  

Science & Technology enlightens you with 750s in science; Sir Harold Evans talks about Palatinate in the 1950s as we celebrate 750 editions;...