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indigo, pages 8&9

No. 740 www.palatinate.org.uk

Politics, pages 12&13

Palatinate Durham’s student newspaper since 1948

Dangerous flooding along the Wear

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Photograph: Asher Haynes

Three Durham sport stars chosen to be 2012 Olympic torchbearers Emma Francombe Among the 8000 torchbearers passing the Olympic Flame throughout the UK will be three Durham students, who were nominated by the University in partnership with Olympic partner Samsung. Steph Elliot, Dr Naomi Hoogesteger and Kira Roberts, who have all represented Great Britain in hockey, rowing and fencing respectively, will be passing the Olympic Flame through County Durham on 17th June. Steph and Kira both study fulltime at the University, whilst Naomi studies part-time in addition to hold-

ing a teaching post within the Modern Languages department. The three athletes represent the high calibre of women’s sport at Durham, which is currently ranked 1st in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league table. Elliot, who is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport at Queen’s Campus, and revealed how she was surprised even to be nominated as a torchbearer. “Throughout my time at Durham University, not once did I ever think I would be captaining the University side, playing for England U-21s or carrying the Olympic Torch, ever. “It’s down to the help of everyone around me, my family, friends and

coach, who have really pushed me to achieve these things. I can’t believe that I was even considered to carry the Olympic Torch, but I’ll hopefully manage it without any embarrassment”.

“The support that I have received during my time at Durham University is unparalled.” Naomi Hoogesteger

Naomi wanted to expand upon the help and support that Durham has

provided her with: “Although I am a firm believer that true inspiration to achieve must come from within, the support that I have received during my time at Durham University, and in particular from my academic department and college, is unparalleled. “Along the various sporting paths that I have taken, I have come to realise that having such a rock to rely upon is of utmost importance in order to achieve ambitions and dreams.” To celebrate the flame staying overnight in Durham, on Saturday 16th June a free evening event with music and entertainment will be held at Durham University’s Racecourse sports grounds.

Music: indigo speaks to The Temper Trap

News Features: Durham team visit Hong Kong in KPMG contest

Food & Drink: Student cooking doesn’t have to be boring


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Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

www.palatinate.org.uk Editorial Exam nightmares? We’re dreaming of summer 10.05.2012 The Durham summer term is a period of extremes. Having returned from the Easter holidays, everyone reluctantly enters revision mode: an alien way of life that manages to engage even the most apathetic Durhamite. It is the only extended period of the year when many deem it necessary to partake in a three mile jog at 7am every morning (or at 10pm, depending on your work pattern); when every working day must reach double-digit hours; and when the first conversation topics that emerge from your straining brain upon meeting a close friend are revision progress, work location of choice and the overwhelming desire for the hellish period to end the very next day. As you read this, you will probably still be very much in the grip of revision fever – or perhaps rather fear – as the spectre of exams encroaches ever closer. Whether the ultimate goal is landing that dream job in the City or simply getting the best degree possible, these exams are incredibly important to us all. However, rather than dwell any

further on depressing exam-time caricatures, allow Palatinate to set aflame the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In three weeks’ time, and probably far less for many, it will all be over. Following these fateful three weeks is a month of luxury, dedicated to fun and leisure. Perhaps you’re now straining your eyes over a dimly-lit desk; take a few moments to cast your mind forward to this halcyon period; sunlit days, cider by the river, spontaneous daytrips, long-awaited tours. There’ll be music festivals, there’ll be ice cream, there’ll be lighter evenings. It’s generally just an amazing time. We are all privileged to have this month of Durham time paid for by our student loans. Going home and seeing school friends can wait until summer: why waste money that you’ve already spent on rent? Yes, breaking out of the bubble is a relief, but to head off in different directions straight after exams simply because it seems stale does us little credit. In the eyes of Durham students’ detractors, leaving the town as early as June just proves how little

we care about the place. It is our participation in Durham life that makes it such a vibrant student town, and it is we who can make a difference to it. That’s why we’re looking ahead to the post-exam period and enjoying the thoughts of a revisionfree Durham; perhaps taking part in Durham’s inaugural cash mob (p6), watching some of Durham’s most talented performers in plays and concerts, or witnessing three Durhamites bear the Olympic torch (front page). A free month in Durham can mean hitting The Toon, or joining a new society. You could learn a new language with LFA, redesign your website (keep an eye on ours), and dredge up your revision-soured social life. To an imaginative mind, the possibilities are endless. Our involvement can make Durham thrive; there’s so much to look forward to this summer that puts exams into perspective. If the occasional daydream of summer doesn’t help, well, you should be working harder. Charlie Taverner & Larry Bartleet

No.740

Contents Palatinate News pages 3-7

News Features pages 8-9 Careers pages 10-11 Politics pages 12-13

Comment pages 14-16 Sport pages 17-20

indigo

Editorial page 2 Stage page 3

Features pages 4-5 Music pages 6-7

Books pages 8-9

Fashion pages 10-11

Food & Drink pages 12-13 Film & TV page 14

PTV’s Revision Playlist

Durham Dining:

A four part competitive dining series, with a murderous conclusion.

Ella vs. The Happiness Society:

Can the president of The Happiness Society rid Ella of her cynicism, or will she ruin joy for everyone?

Travel page 15

The Back Page page 16

Palatinate is your student newspaper: Get Involved! Vacancies: Illustrations Editor Want to get involved with Palatinate? Keen illustrator? Email editor@palatinate.org. uk for an application form. Applications close 26th May.

Contributors:

Facebook:

Is Facebook ruining your degree, how acceptable is Facebook stalking, and what’s on your mind?

The Tech Side to Theatre:

Discover what goes on behind the scenes.

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Ever wondered how to get involved with Palatinate? It’s as easy as sending an email. Check the sections on the right and email the relevant section editors to be added to their mailing lists. No experience necessary.

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. Send letters to: Editor, Palatinate, Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AN. Alternatively, send an e-mail to editor@palatinate.org.uk

Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief Larry Bartleet Charlie Taverner editor@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Editors Alexandra Bottomer & Olivia Rudgard deputy.editor@palatinate.org.uk News Editors Katie Pavid & Julia Chapman news@palatinate.org.uk News Features Editor Christopher Murphy news.features@palatinate.org.uk Deputy News Editors Matt Lee, Harriet Line & Emma Francombe deputy.news@palatinate.org.uk Business Editor John Zhu business@palatinate.org.uk Careers Editor Amy Sandiford-Watts careers@palatinate.org.uk Profile Editor Jessica Waite profile@palatinate.org.uk Comment Editors Flo Snead & Joe Adams comment@palatinate.org.uk Sport Editors Spencer Brown & William Warr sport@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Sport Editors Kate Houghton, Hugh McDowell, Will Rudd & Tom Ryder deputy.sport@palatinate.org.uk Indigo Editors Molly Fowler & Alexandra Groom indigo@palatinate.org.uk Features Editor Sarah Murray feature@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Features Editors Catherine Bradfield & Sarah Holmes Food and Drink Editor Belinda Davies food@palatinate.org.uk Travel Editor Ellie Ross travel@palatinate.org.uk Fashion Editor Olivia Swash Deputy Fashion Editors Sophia Chan & Ella Cole fashion@palatinate.org.uk Film and Television Editor Ed Owen film@palatinate.org.uk Stage Editor Anna Bailey stage@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Stage Editors Gabriel Samuels Music Editors Jess Denham & Will Clement music@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Music Editor Patrick Bernard deputy.music@palatinate.org.uk Books Editor Justina Crabtree books@palatinate.org.uk Chief Sub-Editor Kelsey Tollady sub-editing@palatinate.org.uk Section Sub-Editors Alice Melton, Rebecca Lee, Rebecca Paul, Malik Al-Mahrouky & Gemma Neale Chief Web Editor Rhiannon Mehta web.editor@palatinate.org.uk Photography Editor Nicoletta Asciuto photography@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Photography Editors Katherine Merchant, Asher Haynes, Kelsi Butler & Anni Pekie deputy.photography@palatinate.org.uk Palatinate TV Station Manager Livia Carron ptv@palatinate.org.uk Blogs Editor Julie Fisher blogs@palatinate.org.uk Publicity Officer Tilly Barr publicity@palatinate.org.uk Advertising Officer Matt Lee advertising@palatinate.org.uk


News News Editors: Julia Chapman Katie Pavid news@palatinate.org.uk News Features Editor: Chris Murphy news.features@palatinate. org.uk

@PalatinateUK Palatinate Durham’s Official Student Newspaper

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Library donates day of fines to charities Julia Chapman On Friday 4th May all library fines paid off by Durham University students were donated to four charities selected by Library staff. Money raised totaled £2827.40, exceeding the value of fines cleared on any individual day in six years. The four charities chosen were Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, Save the Children and the Woodland Trust, all of which Library staff have been campaigning for throughout the year. Students were asked to vote in a poll, conducted at the Main Library, on the Library’s DUO page and the Library Facebook page, to select the proportions of money to be designated to each charity. 2571 students voted in the poll, selecting Macmillan Cancer Support as the recipient of £1311.91, 46.4% of the money collected. Save the Children will receive £667, 23.6% of the money donated, with Mind receiving £500 and the Woodland Trust receiving £344. Library staff members were hopeful that Fines Friday would lead to the return of more books, as books are less readily available during the exam period. Students could pay off fines at any University library, and were also able to pay fines over £5 online, as per the university’s usual practice. Some students expressed frustration that fines totalling less than £5 had to be paid in person rather than

the more convenient method of online payment. However, the overall student response was very positive, as many students appeared to be happier to see their money donated to charity than given to the University. Students with overdue books can be fined anywhere between 20p to £1 daily, depending on the loan period of the book checked out. Other universities, such as the University of Westminster, prevent students from entering the library if they have overdue books. Ordinarily, money accrued from the collection of library fines is designated towards services like More Books and Library 24/7, as well as the replacement of missing books. Durham University accumulates a significant amount of money in annual library fines. Between 2004 and 2011, the University collected upwards of £1m in fines from overdue books.

£2827.40 The amount earned in paid off library fines on Fines Friday

The University is amongst the highest collectors of library fines in the country. Despite this, income from library fines has decreased over the last few years.

2012 Olympic torchbearers: Steph Elliot, Dr Naomi Hoogesteger and Kira Roberts Photograph: Durham University

Dream start: Durham graduates to work at Olympics Harriet Line

out why >> Find the DSU is being asked to stop banking with HSBC page 8

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Six Durham University students will be seconding with the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) before starting careers with BP, owing to a 50% rise in graduate recruitment by the oil and gas company this year. The Durham graduates will be fully paid and take part in a range of jobs, such as working at Scotland Yard, event management, organising transport or helping with city operations. They will also receive an internship salary, accommodation and transport costs, after gaining training from both BP and LOCOG. BP, the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Games, is the only company offering graduate recruits this opportunity, and will help to ensure that the Games leave a lasting legacy. The increase in graduate recruit-

ment has been welcomed by the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, who said it was a “reassuring sign that the recruitment market is improving.” This opportunity acts to strengthen Durham’s pre-existing links with the summer games. Three Durham students who partake in international level sports alongside their studies, have been selected to carry the Olympic Torch as it passes through County Durham. The athletes will showcase the quality of women’s sport at the University, which is currently ranked first in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league table. The new £6.7 million sports facilities of Maiden Castle, which boasts world class resources such as the fencing facility and one of three national indoor rowing tanks, assist budding athletes to achieve their ambitions. With the highest university sports participation rate in the country of 92%, Durham University prides

itself on providing academic excellence alongside sports, the arts and volunteering. A report by Universities UK and BUCS has shown that British medal winners in the last twenty years were, in comparison to the country’s population, twice as likely to have gone to university. Team GB has also produced a series of videos explaining how higher education enables athletes to realise their sporting goals, highlighting universities’ contribution to the Games as part of the third annual Universities’ Week. Many graduates who were part of Team Durham during their time at the University have since gone on to compete at the Olympic Games over the years. Jonathan Edwards CBE, a graduate of Van Mildert College, is Great Britain’s most successful medal winning athlete in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games as a triple jumper. Since retiring from the sport, he has held a position on the Lon-

don 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee. He stated that “I had 3 great years at Durham in an environment which fostered both sporting and academic achievement.” Steve Rowbotham, a rower who graduated from Collingwood College in 2003, said: “Having never picked up an oar before I arrived at Durham University, eight years later I found myself on the Olympic podium with a Bronze medal around my neck. Without Durham I wouldn’t have realised my dreams.” Durham is also involved in the training of Sri Lankan athletes for the Olympics, due to the University’s close relationship with the country following the devastating 2004 tsunami. It is hoped that the links formed by the graduate recruitment programme help to strengthen Durham’s links with London 2012 even further, as the University contributes to both the planning and sporting aspects of the event.


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Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

Four in court following Oriental Museum break-in Katie Pavid Two men have been arrested in connection with last month’s robbery of Durham’s Oriental Museum. Last week 35-year-old Lee Wildman and 32-year-old Adrian Stanton were arrested by police in Walsall, West Midlands, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary. Two women were also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. Wildman appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody to appear at Durham Crown Court this week. Stanton, along with Justin Clark, Charmaine Wilkes, and Fallon Arrowsmith also appeared before magistrates at Peterlee, although police cannot currently confirm the outcome of the hearing. The thieves targeted the museum on the night of April 5th and took two highly valuable artefacts of the Qing Dynasty, a porcelain figurine and a jade bowl. It is thought the objects were stolen to order. However, they were recovered eight days later in a field on the out-

skirts of Durham City. The museum is planning to open a new gallery in autumn 2013, and museum curator Dr Barclay explained: “The new galleries are going to draw on both our existing collections of historical Japanese material covering everything from weaponry, ceramics, the block prints, textiles, ivories, and lacquerware. “We are also in the process of developing, with the assistance of the Art Fund, the new funding stream, a new collection based around modern Japanese popular culture. The incident has not affected plans to open the gallery and the museum staff remain positive about its future”. Around 20,000 visitors a year currently visit the museum, and the recent incident does not appear to have hindered footfall: “I think that we are watching a steady rise in visitor numbers, driven in part by our development of new galleries and our promotion of new galleries. “I suspect that, certainly locally, the unfortunate incident before Easter has at least helped to raise awareness of the museum.”

The Oriental Museum will be opening a new gallery in 2013 Photograph: Durham University


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Universities allowed to recruit unlimited top grade students Matt Lee The government has released details of its proposal to increase the number of students not affected by the cap on university places. Currently, universities can recruit an unlimited number of students who achieve AAB or above at A Level. This group of teenagers accounted for 85,000 applications last year. However, if the government plan is enacted, from 2013 onwards universities will be able to accept as many students as they want who have ABB grades or above.

”This looks like a triumph of ideology over evidence based policy-making”.

It is expected that the first year of relaxed restrictions will allow 35,000 more students, or one third of the total number of applicants, to be considered by universities without fear of using up their quota of places. Such fears have been exacerbated by a recent crackdown on over-recruitment that included £8 million worth of fines in 2011 and a record £6 million fine for Leeds Metropoli-

tan University only three months ago. Furthermore, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has committed itself to providing 5,000 more places to higher education institutions that provide “value for money”; defined as charging less than £7,500 in tuition fees. This proposal is part of the government’s wider plan to give universities incentives to reduce their fees and bring down the average cost of tuition fees which was calculated at £8,300 last year. Unsurprisingly, the plan to increase the number of students that can be given places without contributing to the overall places cap has come under particular scrutiny. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, warned: “It seems very premature for the government to expand its AAB policy when we have yet to see the impact of it. This looks like triumph of ideology over evidence based policy making.” It has also been suggested that the new policy will favour the elite Russell Group, to which Durham University recently became a member, and continue the squeeze on newer universities charging similar fees. Statistics for the number of applications to study at Durham in 2012 are already

on an upward trend with an 8% increase reported this year compared to the nationwide decrease of 10%. One Van Mildert second year commented: “I’m glad they’re removing obstacles for bright students but it’s not really going to widen access to university as a whole.”

Conversely, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “This is what our university reforms are all about- putting choice and power in the hands of the students. They will gain as universities attract them with a high-quality academic experience.”

don. This follows the Sunday Times University Guide which positioned Durham third in the country – its highest position yet, behind Cambridge and Oxford. However, this latest ranking is contradicted by other tables. The QS World University Ranking’s placement of Durham as 83rd out of 700, behind many other UK institutions such as University College London and the University of Edinburgh, which feature behind Durham on the Complete University Guide’s list. Durham has been praised for its high proportion of good honours; with 81.8% of undergraduates achieving either a First or Upper

Second, as well as the high quality of research conducted by staff, of which 90% is considered to be of international quality. The sports participation level of 92% was also commented upon. The University was also ranked in the top 10 nationally for 27 of the 34 subjects that it offers, as well as remaining in the top 15 globally for employer reputation. Professor Chris Higgins, ViceChancellor of Durham University, said: “Our continually strong performance in this and other league tables highlights the unique opportunities on offer at Durham. “Our students benefit from the

University’s tremendous strength in combining excellent research and teaching, delivered by world-leading academics, with the distinctive social and pastoral experience of our collegiate system and superb access to extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts, or community outreach. “This allows our students to gain a world-class education while also developing crucial skills for the future such as leadership, critical thinking and entrepreneurship, and is why Durham’s graduates are among the most sought after in the world by leading employers”.

From 2013 the University can recruit as many ABB or above students as it wishes Photograph: Durham University

Durham ranked as top 5 university

Harriet Line Durham University has retained its position as the country’s fifth best university, according to a new league table. Owing to its high degree completion rate, good student-to-staff ratio and above average student satisfaction, the Complete University Guide 2013 has named Durham as the best university in the North. The ranking places Durham behind Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and Imperial College Lon-

News DUCK Officer’s Column Archie Dallas

The biggest misconception about DUCK is that we just hoard all the money that we raise, possibly swimming in it, Scrooge McDUCK style. Tempting as this may be, (and God knows I could do with a bit of extra cash) it couldn’t be further from the truth. After a year of fierce fundraising in the name of ‘DUCK’ it’s a relief to find out where our money goes. In the end we split £25,000 amongst 54 different groups for a variety of different causes. The full details of where it went will be on the DUCK website but in this limited column I would like to focus on one charity that really stood out for me. RT Projects is probably the most unassuming group that I’ve ever come across. Their leader, Stuart, is a cheerful little artist with an infectious smile. He leads art sessions for people in the local community who are at risk of mental illness. This definition has no real limit and includes anyone who is considered vulnerable, whatever that may be.

“I couldn’t be more proud of where our money is being spent”. Archie Dallas

The example that he gave me was that of widowed men over sixty in the surrounding villages. Due to the closure of the local pubs, there is now nowhere to go for them to socialise and consequently the area experiences one of the highest suicide rates in Europe. RT Projects provide art sessions for these men to get social contact and hopefully address this problem. Nothing more, nothing less. DUCK gave them £520 to buy easels which will mean that they can extend their projects across the region. For me, this is charity at its best: creative, helpful, unassuming and fundamentally, heartfelt. Personally, I couldn’t be more proud of where our money is being spent and you should feel privileged to be part of the student body that helped to do this.

What you might have missed: a round up of our recent online news

Experts at Durham have discovered a new fertility gene, during work with Osaka Univeristy in Japan. Those working on it hope it will prove influential in future studies of human fertility, and impact on the cost and effectiveness of IVF treatment.

Tuesday 24th April saw Hatfield College host Durham’s first Mock Trial. The case involved a local milkman, Christopher King, accused of robbing four hundred pounds in cash from a Hexham Lloyds bank.

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The emergence of an increasingly competitive marketplace for degrees has led to some universities seeking to gain the edge on their competitors to incorporate professional accreditation into more traditional courses.

Liam Burns has been re-elected as the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) with 57% of votes at the recent NUS National Conference in Sheffield.


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Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

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Cash mob to open student eyes to local businesses Charlie Taverner Student shoppers will invade Durham’s Indoor Market next month as part of a new phenomenon aimed at supporting local businesses. On Friday 8th June, the Durham Market Cash Mob will gather in the Market Square before moving into the Indoor Market to spend money at the diverse range of outlets. Before entering the market, the mob will meet in the square at 12pm where there will be a band playing in support. The cash mob’s organiser, MariaGrace Smith, St. Cuthbert’s Society Bar Steward, explained the initiative: “We’re hoping to raise awareness among Durham students about the amazing resource that is Durham City Market.” “Durham is a changing city, with

more Starbucks and Tescos developing every year. However, there are a lot of great locally run businesses that need our support.” Originating from North America and deriving from the popular craze of flash mobs, in which members gather in a public location before bursting into song, cash mobs see groups of consumers target a particular independent retail location to spend their money, providing both publicity and a financial injection. Durham’s Cash Mob will not be the first in the UK. Cambridge Cash Mob, set up by local resident Will Bailey, has been active since March this year and its Facebook group has over 250 members. Colin Wilkes, Managing Director of Durham Markets, reacted to the plans: “It’s a cracking idea to help to introduce students to what we have to offer in the markets, particularly if they haven’t been there before.

“With a band playing and hopefully some good weather, we can make it a really great afternoon.” Although there is still a month to go until the cash mob, there are over 100 attendees to the online event. Maria-Grace Smith reflected on the potential impact of the cash mob: “Hopefully, this event will urge students to consider favouring local shops and restaurants throughout Durham and to use the Market more, exploring the variety of shops and businesses available there.” Mr Wilkes also added: “All the traders and businesses in the city centre really appreciate the impact made by the students. “Their impetus here for six months of the year is a real economic driver for the city.” If you want to get involved in the cash mob, join the Facebook event here: on.fb.me/JF6JTZ.

The Cash Mob in June will see massed student shoppers take to the Durham Indoor Market Photograph: Nicoletta Asciuto

Durham students help in the search for missing Ian Bell Julia Chapman

On Saturday morning Durham University students assisted in the search for Ian Bell, an eight-year-old boy who fell into the River Wear during the acute flooding two weeks ago. Nearly fifty student volunteers spent several hours on Saturday walking along a ten-mile stretch of the River Wear that had not yet been searched by police. Two groups of students walked from Finchale Abbey Farm upstream to Sunderland Bridge, encountering slippery riverbanks and adverse weather conditions including rain and hail. Bell’s body was finally located by police on Sunday 7th May. Durham Police had been looking for Bell since he disappeared into the River Wear on 27th April whilst playing with friends at the side of the river near Willington, Crook. It is believed that Bell was holding onto a tree branch which snapped, causing him to fall into the river. Durham Police had been searching for Bell since the accident and had decided to scale back the search due to the time that has lapsed since.

Despite this, hundreds of local volunteers took up the cause and continued to search for Bell. Durham Police Chief Superintendent Andy Reddick said, “We would once again like to thank the local community for their continued help and support in the search for Ian”. Graham Milne, Chief Inspector of Durham Police, warned volunteers continuing the search that the conditions in the wake of the flooding were still dangerous and that care had to be taken to avoid further accidents. Chief Inspector Milne also expressed doubt that Bell would be found alive. but this did not deter volunteers. A shoe was found by volunteers at Prebends Bridge in Durham City on Thursday but it is unknown if there was any connection to Bell. The River Wear began to overflow onto riverside paths in the city after Durham was subject to overwhelming rainfall. The river was also running extremely quickly due to the enormous increase in precipitation. The rainfall has been so intense that St Helen Auckland inhabitants recently had to be evacuated due to water entering homes.


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Blair hails revolution in UK Higher Education

In London speech, former PM calls for greater international focus in British university system Charlie Gardiner-Hill

Universities are experiencing a “permanent revolution of change” and should be prepared to “constantly re-assess, to re-evaluate and to adjust” or they risk being “left behind”, according to former British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Tony Blair.

Blair asserted that it is “absolutely essential” that “education has some realistic application in the world of work”

Mr Blair was commenting in an interview at the London School of Business and Finance, a private education provider founded in 2003. Hosted by David Blunkett, his education secretary from 1997-2001 and visiting lecturer at LSBF, Blair called for universities to be seen as a major British export and for the government and universities to embrace the importance of “globally marketable” skills, a “knowledgebased economy” and public-private

partnerships. Although Blair did not explicitly comment on the government’s higher education white paper, the interview represents an example of his continuing attempt to re-engage with British politics. Whatever his motivations, Durham is certainly keeping up with the “revolution”. According to the University website 21% of Durham students are of non-UK origin compared to 19% at Cambridge and 16% at Oxford. On top of prominent statistics, the University last week announced “plans for the biggest international recruitment drive in its history to build on its position as a leading university for global research and education.” Blair highlighted and encouraged the export of British education: “the truth is we’re up there with the best in the world at attracting students from all over the world to come and study here. “Those students will go back not just having studied the English language but [having] some tie to our country.” The former Prime Minister went on to cite private-public partnerships as “very exciting” and an “enormous

opportunity”. Durham already has a history of private funding, albeit not undergraduate. Many Durham postgraduates are completing Masters degrees funded by major graduate recruiting corporations, on the understanding of a job to follow.

21%

The proportion of Durham students of non-UK origin

With this in mind and the government’s white paper on the horizon, it is possible that privately funded undergraduate places will eventually become a commonplace reality. Blair also supported LSBF’s ‘sandwich courses’ which combine professional qualifications and traditional degrees describing a “paradigm change in the way education is conducted.” He asserted that it is “absolutely essential” that “education has some realistic application in the world of work.”

Stress Less campaign aims to take pressure off students In an effort to keep the student population’s stress levels low, this week the DSU have been running a Stress Less campaign. Events have been held outside the library on 8th, 9th and 10th May, with activities designed to give workers on the science site a five minute break from revision. Activities including a bouncy castle, sumo-suit wrestling, and head massages are available, as well as more practical advice to cope with the pressure of exam term. The DSU’s website also promotes a balanced attitude towards work, advising students to recognise and understand stress, make time for relaxation, and to break work down into “manageable components and approach these one step at a time”. The campaign runs until 4pm today, Thursday 10th May.

The new library extension aims to provide 500 extra study spaces in fresh surroundings Photograph: Rowena Caine

DSU President’s Column: New library space is a success Mike King DSU President A warm welcome into the Easter Term for everyone. This term is of course one of the most challenging for many as exams loom, but remember to keep post-exam freedom in sight. Don’t forget that DSU will be running the annual Stress Less campaign for the duration of the term, so look out for lots of free events and activities to help you to de-stress. I wanted to focus the column on a recent success that DSU has had in relation to provision for students to eat and drink in proximity to the main library. A number of you got in touch and expressed concerns about the fact that food and hot drinks had been banned in the library and many students were asking where they were expected to eat packed lunches during the busy exam period. As a result, your sabbatical officers worked closely with the library as well as staff from YUM and we were able to secure the following provisions:

A temporary marquee has been erected on library square with room for 100 students to eat packed lunches. The opening hours of the Library Café have been extended, as have the opening hours of the Calman Café. Temporary seating is available within the curves of the Calman Building, whilst new furniture is in both the Calman Café and the Chemistry Atrium. The library will also be opening 24/7 from the beginning of term until May 25th. It should also be mentioned that we now have 500 additional study spaces in the new library extension which takes total study spaces from approximately 700 to 1200 for the exam period. This is a project that both previous and current sabbatical officers have worked closely on, helping to shape the library experience of the soon to be renamed ‘Bill Bryson Library’. For more information about the increased library provision during the exam period please visit the campaigns section on www.dsu.org.uk.


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News Features

Cabaret opens in Durham Christopher Murphy The two Durham businessmen who own Studio and Jimmy Allen’s have reopened Loft as a new gay club in Durham. The add-on to Studio, which has rarely been used since the club changed hands in January 2012, is now being treated as a separate venue and hopes to pull in a new crowd as well as Durham students. The new club, the ‘Eazy Street Cabaret Bar,’ has been launched in conjunction with HH Leisure, who own Eazy Street in Newcastle, its sister bar. The venture was only agreed upon two weeks before launch, and has since received a £65,000 refit. And whilst many of Durham’s students are avoiding the nightlife for now as exams loom large, the new club has been relatively successful. Lee Smurthwaite, who is part of the team that operates Studio as well as Eazy Street, told Palatinate that whilst students may not have had the chance to sample the new place yet, locals were very much enjoying the weekend nights the club was putting on. The launch night attracted a mixed crowd, however the usual policy will be students-only during the week. The main night for the new club will be Friday nights, with live music as well as live cabaret and drag acts. Since opening, drag acts have come from as far as Brighton to perform in the North-East. Entry prices remain on a par with all other Durham clubs, whilst drinks are some of the cheapest around. Following the closure of Durham Live Lounge, the new club is set to receive plenty of guests in the post-exam period. General manager Paul Rowe said: “Durham is nice but it’s bland; it’s starved of entertainment. We feel Durham is ready for a few sequins and something uniquely Eazy Street. “It’s not in-your-face gay and we’re hoping everybody comes at least once; it’s like Marmite,” he continued. Eazy Street Durham is open from 8pm until 3am Thursday to Sunday.

@EAZYDURHAM

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Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

People & Planet society pursue DSU banking change

Durham’s People & Planet Society is pressuring the DSU to stop doing their banking with HSBC Photograph: Durham University

Christian Kriticos

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he DSU could be coming under increasing pressure thanks to a new campaign from Durham University’s People & Planet Society which demands that they stop banking with HSBC. The main cause for concern is the bank’s unethical investment choices, which support the extraction of tar sands in Alberta, Canada with considerable financial backing. Tar sands are oil deposits in the form of loose sand saturated with bitumen, and groups such as People & Planet have been recently protesting the exploitation of these sources due to the inefficiency of the removal process and the devastating environmental consequences. This inefficiency meant that the extraction of tar sands was not profitable until relatively recently. However, due to continuing rises in oil prices, as well as increasing demand, the tar sands are now attracting more and more investors and may soon be supplying the world with most of its oil needs. The environmental consequences of the tar sands extraction process are considerable. Each litre of oil produced requires the use of four litres of water and approximately 1600m3 of this polluted water is

leaked back into natural potable water sources daily. In addition to this, huge amounts of energy are used to obtain the oil, making the tar sands the single largest emitter of CO2 on the planet, accounting for 0.1% of the entire world’s emissions. The People & Planet Society argue that as a university which claims to have a green agenda (the DSU’s website states that they “always strive to be as environmentally-friendly as possible”) we have an obligation to back up that claim by choosing the companies we work with responsibly. Outside of the Students’ Union, the University banks with Barclays, a bank which is also infamous amongst environmental protest groups for its support of the tar sands. HSBC and Barclays have invested in tar sands with a combined total of over $23 million USD, and by supporting these banks the DSU and the University is indirectly supporting these environmentally unsound investments. The People & Planet society hopes that the University will drop these banks and start using The Cooperative, a bank which has a strict ethical policy. The Co-operative’s ethical policy makes it clear that they “will not finance any business whose core ac-

tivity contributes to global climate change”. They are the only major bank that follows an ethical policy and they even allow their clients to have a say in who they invest with. Of course, in order for anything to change, the campaign needs student support. Thanks to the influence of petitions, similar campaigns at York University and St Andrews University have already been successful with both of their student unions having changed banks.

$23m

Combined total invested in tar sands by HSBC and Barclays

In order to raise awareness, Durham University’s People & Planet society has held numerous screenings of the documentary film ‘H2Oil’, hosted speakers to share their expertise on the tar sands problem and held an information stall outside the main library. In addition to this, signatures are also being collected for a petition which will be presented at the Student Representative Council once the motion has been put forward proposing the changes. In a statement issued by People & Planet, Annabelle Acton-Bond, the society’s Secretary, stressed the im-

portance of the issue, insisting that they do not seek to “scaremonger”, but to “inspire positive change”. She continued by arguing that “Durham University has a responsibility to act as a beacon to other institutions,” and that “by changing banks and moving away from tar sands and unethical investors, we would be adding support to the antitar sands movement and indicating that it is not acceptable to invest in such a destructive industry.” DSU President Mike King responded by stating that the DSU is happy to consider any proposal if it “is important to students”. He added that the DSU will have to consider whether or not changing banks is “financially viable” and that students must also be aware that the process could take between six and twelve months (which seems to be in keeping with People & Planet’s nine month proposal). Furthermore, the changes could cause some delays and difficulties for DUCK, as well as other student societies, due to the administrative shuffling. However, the People & Planet Society are adamant that the changes are a necessary step. They argue that this “is an issue that should not be ignored” and that “if the University really cares then it will do the right thing.”


PALATINATE | Thursday 10th May 2012

Conquering Hong Kong Christopher Murphy speaks to Durham students Josh Eaton, Tom Kilford, Deepesh Patel and Joe Switalski, who made it to the international finals of the KPMG case study competition in Hong Kong in April, having beaten off the other UK entries including others from Durham.

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team of Durham students competed in the International Case Competition finals in Hong Kong, organised by KPMG, over the Easter holidays. The students, Josh Eaton, Tom Kilford, Deepesh Patel and Joe Switalski, are all Collingwood second years. They won the chance to represent the UK in the all-expenses paid trip to the Far East after winning first place in the national competitions, held in Birmingham last term. And whilst they may have narrowly missed out on making the International semi-finals, the quartet did return home with top prize for their One Direction themed introductory video. The competition, which will take place in Spain in 2013, tests participants in their business, economic and corporate social responsibility knowledge in a series of business case studies.

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Hours spent in a plane by the team to Hong Kong. A direct flight from London to Hong Kong is scheduled to take around twelve hours.

The groups were given a few hours, with no phones or internet, to sit down together and work out a strategy for the business in the case that they had been assigned to. The group admitted they were

surprised just to reach the national finals, and so were beyond shocked that their team was selected the best in the country to go on to Hong Kong and represent the UK.

“The competi-

tion was very well organised. We learned a lot about business as well as cultures from all over the world” Joe Switalksi, competitor “I was at the England versus Trinidad game at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, and we felt a bit like Trinidad,” commented Joe Switalski. “We were so surprised that we had made it that far, but once we arrived in Hong Kong, of course we wanted to give it our all.” However the trip did not get off to the greatest of starts for the team, whose flight to Hong Kong made a scheduled stop in Doha, Qatar but also an unscheduled one in Guangzhou, China – for nine hours. “We were on approach to Hong Kong airport, when the pilot pulled up due to poor weather, and diverted us to Guangzhou,” said Josh Eaton, speaking exclusively to Palatinate. “The Chinese authorities would not let us off the plane, and then the crew’s work hours expired. By the time we actually reached Hong Kong

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The team in Hong Kong (L-R): Tom Kilford, Josh Eaton, Deepesh Patel, Joe Switalski Photo: KPMG

we had been on that one plane for over 17 hours.” The group reached Hong Kong at two o’clock in the morning, with an eight o’clock scheduled start for the competition. Fortunately for them, the teams’ hotel was also where the competition itself would be taking place. “The competition was so well organised that we didn’t feel too bad the next day. We felt prepared to give it our best shot. The KPMG representatives took really good care of us,” Joe commented. Although the team just missed out on progressing further in the competition, they were able to take advantage of many other events put on by KPMG during their stay in Hong Kong. Team Durham was split up and joined with other groups, in an event raising awareness of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Josh, Tom, Deepesh and Joe went to schools around Hong Kong, in an attempt to learn more about the culture of Hong Kong, as well as teach the kids something about England. “I brought a little model of the Queen with me to the school,” Joe mentioned. “Most of them had no idea who she was. But as soon as I brought up Chelsea versus Barcelona they knew everything about it!” The event began with a talk from Lord Michael Hastings, the head of Corporate Social Responsibility for the BBC. Lord Hastings chatted with Team Durham, who said that they learnt a lot from him about how not to mould yourself around the company you work for but to maintain your interests and your social conscience. Another event was a scavenger

hunt around Hong Kong, where the teams were again split up into different multinational groups and sent off in search of finding certain famous spots in the city. The team were also able to watch the presentations of the teams who reached the final of the competion before the culmination of the trip: a gala dinner held by KPMG, where the winner of the compeition was announced – along with the Durham boys’ video win.

“Lord Michael Hastings gave a presentation on how important it is not to mould yourself around who you work for but to retain your personality and a degree of social conscience” Josh Eaton, competitor

The eventual winners of the competition were Team Hong Kong itself, who were widely commended for having put in the best performances over the course of the three day event. The Durham boys were happy enough to walk away with the best video award.

Tom Kilford told Palatinate that the questions from the judges in the later rounds of the competition were very business orientated, and that those who made it that far were graduates about to start jobs with KPMG, or those with much more history of business. Indeed, the team said that one of the best parts of the whole experience was the chance to connect with these like-minded young people from all around the globe, and experience their different approaches to both everyday life and the business cases themselves. The team were also very impressed with KPMG as a company. Josh said that, “Everyone was extremely friendly and a pleasure to deal with. “I would encourage anyone else to apply for the competition, as we ourselves prove that you can adhere to the KPMG motto of ‘go beyond’ and make it further than you ever dreamt was possible,” he continued. David Leigh, a second year housemate of three of the competitors was not surprised that they managed to reach the international finals. He commented: “I am exceptionally proud of them to be honest. They claimed they weren’t really trying to win, but they definitely put in a lot of dedication and passion to reach the finals.”

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Careers Careers Editor: Amy Sandiford-Watts

careers@palatinate.org.uk

@PalatinateUK Palatinate Durham’s Official Student Newspaper

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Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

Should the UK switch to a fairer method of degree classification? Employers will always resort to sweeping criteria to sift through applications Ben Hamer

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he difference between a 59 or a 60 mark may not seem to be a substantial one, but the difference between a 2:2 and a 2:1 to post-university job prospects is considerable. Increasingly, when employers are faced with a large number of applications they are turning to simply removing those with a 2:2 degree or lower from the running. Achieving a 2:1 or above is essential in jumping the first hurdle

£8000

On average, graduates with 2:1s or above earn this much more per annum than those with 2:2s or thirds at top companies, where job vacancies come with stiff competition. In a statement this year the head of The Association of Graduate Recruiters, Carl Gilleard, explained that the 2:1 benchmark was the central preliminary screen-

ing mechanism for three-quarters of its member organisations, up by 14% from two years ago. Understandably, many students are angry at the blunt nature of the degree classification system. The difference of just one mark really can have a significant bearing on the career prospects of an individual. The fiscal impact alone is clear: a recent survey by Adzuna showed that graduates with a 2:1 or above would earn on average almost £8000 per annum more than their counterparts with 2:2s or thirds. Should such indiscrete degree grading be scrapped? Is it unfair on the students? I would say no. The ‘fault’ is not with the degree classification system, per se, rather with the recruitment management processes within companies. Indeed, were all universities in the UK to switch to an American style Grade Point Average (GPA) system, which would more precisely show where graduates fell in relation to their classification, what would there be to stop companies from arbitrarily imposing a cut off point somewhere along the scale? Nothing. Simply put, it significantly aids the application process, and bluntly cuts the wheat from the chaff.

No doubt the process loses many candidates who would have been just as, if not more, able to perform the required job as competently as those with a higher mark. Companies will always employ sweeping discriminating criteria to decide on the suitability of candidates. The painstaking re-

“The painstaking

review of every individual candidate is not the best for a modern, efficient company” view of every individual candidate may be the fairest and most rigorous process in selecting the very best employee, but is not the best for a modern, efficient company. When facing a large number of applications, removing the 2:2s from the equation is the fastest legal way to reduce the bulk. It cannot be asked of employers to engage in unnecessary and expensive examination of candidates, such as onerous individual interviews and CV screening, when easy and effective methods, such as the results of a university degree, are available for use.

Employers will always need to impose a cut off point Photograph: Victor1558

The resulting classifications, 1st, 2:1, 2:2 or 3rd, are all a reflection of the capacity for hard work and achievement, so on leaving university with a 2:2, it is only natural for students to feel angry at their narrowed prospects; but it is not right to blame the system. Often those who receive a 2:2, or even a third, will be spurred on to action and to work harder in order to overcome their disadvantages and engage in long and successful careers. But if it can be helped, why not work harder now so the benefits can be reaped later? At the end of three years, you may have many fond memories fun times had in college or even out at Klute, but in the end, the most tangible mark of your time spent at Durham when printing off a CV, will be the name of a University, Durham, and the number next to it. Judging by the prospects of those with 2:1s and above against those with 2:2s and below, it would be a mistake not to try one’s utmost to achieve a 1st or a 2:1. When the former chancellor, Bill Bryson, gave advice to students he told us: “don’t let your degree get in the way of your education.” I would further add to that and say “...but don’t let your degree get in the way of your career.”


PALATINATE | Thursday 10th May 2012

Co-founder of GRB shares some job hunting tips

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Careers

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Alex Deung (centre) pictured with Iain Potter and Karl Donnan Photograph: Katie Blackman

Amy Sandiford-Watts Dan Hawes, Head of Marking and co-founder of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB) speaks to Palatinate about the hunt for graduate jobs, and how you can make your application stand out.

Do you have any advice for students graduating into the current economic climate? Many graduates falsely believe that it’s only the big, obvious graduate scheme recruiters that snap up graduates, but they are wrong – there is a massive untapped ‘hidden’ jobs market that graduates just don’t consider and thus limit their choices from the outset. You can find these jobs through networking, job centres and specialist recruitment agencies but also be proactive and send speculative letters. What makes an application stand out to you? One word – relevance. Graduates must do their homework on the employer and the job before writing a CV or covering letter. It’s a marketing exercise after all so it must speak to the reader. Recruiters will have key skills and competencies and will shortlist people based on these. If you don’t include good examples demonstrating these re-

“There is a massive

untapped ‘hidden’ jobs market that graduates just don’t consider” quirements then you will fail, so you pay close attention to this from the job description.

What are the most common mistakes you see in applications? For many graduates this is the first time applying for a “proper” job, so mistakes are inevitable. We can help you avoid the most common ones. Firstly, 60% of CVs contain spelling or grammatical errors so proof read your CV. With interviews, preparation is key so role-play beforehand to build your confidence and visualise getting the job. And, a final word of warning: the interview starts the minute you enter the office - so be nice to everyone!

Durham team win Unilever competition

Members of Durham’s largest business society impress judges with their proposal Natasha Tierney

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team of three Durham students have won the Unilever Sustainable Business Challenge, a competition open to all UK university students and organized by Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company with brands ranging from Lynx to PG Tips to Walls Ice Cream to Dove to Persil. The Durham team, Alex Deung, a 1st year English student at Hatfield, Rebecca Ellul 2nd year PPEist at Collingwood, and Dorian Krnonenwerth 1st year PPEist at Van Mildert, impressed the judges with their proposal to help meet Unilever meet the sustainability targets published recently in its ambitious Sustainable Living Plan, one of the aims of which is to halve Unilever’s carbon footprint whilst doubling the size of the business. The Durham team’s winning proposal focused primarily on creating a logo campaign to encourage consumers to change unsustainable everyday habits, such as the way

in which we shower or wash our clothes. Alex Deung, who presented the team’s ideas at the finals, explains that they decided to take this direction after their research showed that “by far the largest environmental footprint came not from manufacturing or distribution, but from consumer usage”, so the team sought the help of marketing experts to refine their idea for a logo campaign called ‘naturallyresponsible’ that would feature on product packaging.

detailed information. Ultimately the competition wasn’t just about engaging with graduates, it was also about listening to fresh ideas to help reach a worthwhile goal. All finalists had to sign legal agreements to give intellectual property rights to the organisation. So it’s very exciting to think that Unilever may decide to use and implement our ideas.”

Though inspired by the ‘Fairtrade’ logo, Deung says that the team wanted to create something more ‘active’, so that consumers were compelled to alter their behavior or usage of the product rather than simply using the logo as a label of the product’s sustainability. Each team submitted a proposal and the company then narrowed it

down to the top nine teams in the country, who were selected to attend the finals at Unilever’s Operational HQ in Leatherhead in April 2012. The eight other teams came from universities across the UK including LSE, Dublin, Nottingham and Lancaster. At the finals, the teams were allocated graduate scheme mentors for the day, and they each then gave a 20 minute presentation, answering questions about the proposals which ranged from sustainable refrigeration technology to iPhone applications to encourage recycling, to shower-gels that didn’t need water to refill pumps in supermarkets. At the end of the day, team Durham were pronounced winners and were awarded the enviable prize of £1500 worth of holiday vouchers and a year’s supply of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Deung says, however, that “Perhaps more exciting is the very real, genuine interest senior management have taken in the idea, which they have described as having real potential - ‘it’s got legs’ one director told me! We have been in contact following requests for more

have rejected a candidate after seeing how they present themselves online. According to Reppler, inappropriate comments, negative comments about previous employers, inappropriate photos and demonstrating poor communication skills each accounted

for 11% of rejections. 10% were rejected because of suggestions of personal drug use, and another 10% for posting discriminatory comments. However it was lying about qualifications that was most detrimental, leading to 13% of rejections – reminding candidates that the internet makes

fact-checking extremely easy. Social networks can also show candidates in a positive light. According to employers, positive characteristics on social networking sites include creativity, well-roundedness and honesty about qualifications.

“It’s very exciting to

think that Unilever may decide to use and implement our ideas”

£1500

worth of holiday vouchers and a year’s supply of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream - the team’s prize for the competition All three members of the Durham team met and found out about the competition through Entrepreneurs Durham, the University’s largest business society which organizes events such as lecture series, industry workshops and networking events. The society can be reached on Facebook or via their website, www.entrepreneursdurham.com.

91% of employers admit they “Facebook stalk”

Louisa Robinson A survey by social media monitoring service Reppler has found that 91% of employers use social networking sites to screen employees. Alarmingly, 69%


Politics

12 www.palatinate.org.uk

Thursday 10th May 2012 | PALATINATE

Politics Editor: Francis Still politics@palatinate.org.uk

Deputy Politics Editor: Joe Mayes

@PalatinateUK Palatinate Durham’s Official Student Newspaper

Nick Clegg is facing heavy criticism from Liberal Democract supporters and party members Photograph: Liberal Democrats

Clegg-mania to Coalition blues Al Russell

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For more, visit palatinate.org. uk

n the build up to the 2010 general election, “I agree with Nick” was the motto of a generation; swathes of young voters had been won over by the Liberal Democrat leader’s performances in the series of televised debates and his party looked set for a historic return of votes. Not only did the Lib Dems only win 9% of the seats in the House of Commons in 2010, but they have since dropped below UKIP in some polls to hold the undesirable title of Britain’s fourth political party. The latter can largely be ascribed to the curse of coalition government, whereas the former is more illusive. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it seems that what was perceived as a surge in popularity for the Lib Dems in early 2010 was rather a surge in Clegg’s personal popularity, and thus did not translate into votes for his party’s candidates nationwide. The millions who watched the debates, and who were persuaded of the virtues of a man many of them had never previously heard of, did not, on the whole, go out in force to cast their votes in favour of the Liberal Democrats.

Part of this was because they weren’t allowed to; as ‘Clegg-mania’ took off, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, many of those most taken by the Lib Dem leader were politically aware sixth formers who were too young to vote. To them, like many others, he seemed like a breath of fresh air by comparison to the dour and gaffeprone Brown, or Cameron, who, as a conservative, may not have been the default choice of a rebellious teenager. This was all very well for those of voting age, but not enough of a proClegg lobby formed to create any significant swing towards the Lib Dems; it was a movement capable of plenty of talk, but little action. The other factor that most dissuaded much of the population from voting Lib Dem in 2010 was the predicted tightness of the election. Many commentators rightly forecasted the first hung parliament since the 1970s, which considerably detracted from the Lib Dem vote as many of the party’s potential supporters chose to vote for a party that they saw as having a better chance of forming a majority government. That the Liberal Democrats reached such a low in 2010 came as a surprise to many, but their sinking

further since entering coalition was much more predictable. The most obvious example of this has come in the shape of perceived broken promises, most notably in the case of tuition fees.

“The Lib Dems falling behind UKIP can largely be ascribed to the curse of the coalition government”

This has reflected badly on Clegg himself, in part due to his previously high levels of personal popularity. He is now seen as a hate figure by many of those who were once such keen Cleggites. This is very bad luck. No party can be expected to uphold the promises they make on the campaign trail if they do not win the election, and, having won so few seats, being in government at all is a coup for the party. The minority partner of a coalition must fight hard to force any of

its policies through, let alone controversial and expensive policies such as freezing tuition fees in a time of austerity. The other important factor that has contributed to post-electoral unpopularity for the Lib Dems has also been brought about by their role in government: they are no longer outsiders in the clash of Labour vs Conservative. Thus, as was clear in the infamous by-election in Bradford West, they are not the recipients of protest votes against the two biggest parties, as they are no longer seen as an alternative, but as a part of the problem. Although Bradford West is most obviously seen as an embarrassment for the Labour Party, who lost a ‘safe’ seat to a man more famous for his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother than his politics, many anti-Labour votes (as opposed to pro-Respect votes) would normally have been expected to go to the Lib Dems. But they are now seen as soiled by their role in government and so their unpopularity grows greater still. In the same way that the Liberal Party certainly wasn’t dead when George Dangerfield pronounced it so in 1935, it is a long way from demise now, but its woeful approval ratings must be a cause for concern for the party’s leadership and activists alike.


PALATINATE | Thursday 10th May 2012

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The Budget: Pasty-eating grannies hit by tax Sarah Holmes

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ecent opinion polls, most notably the Guardian/ICM poll, have recorded an eight-point drop in the popularity of the Conservative party. Furthermore, perceptions of George Osborne in particular are looking worrying for the government, with 54% of the public disputing the statement that the Chancellor looks “after the interest of the many, not the few.” Has the 2012 budget cashed out the Conservative party?

50p

Increase in average pasty price The recent “pasty-gate” scandal has done little to help the Conservative’s image, leading to a staggering increase in half-baked jokes on the less working-class members of the Coalition, and has led to rising speculation on exactly what Sam Cam packs in David’s lunchbox. The crucial question that these

jibes miss, however, isn’t how many pasties Cameron can eat in under a minute, but the real worth of the measure themselves. The ‘pasty tax’, which introduces 20% VAT on hot food (including pasties, rotisserie chickens and pies) heated to “above air-ambient temperature”, has been estimated to raise the average price of pasties by around 50p, and has been met with stern opposition from business. Greggs’ share price has plummeted since the Budget and the company could be pursuing legal action. The Facebook group ‘Say No to the Pasty Tax’ has over six thousand members, and a petition to Downing Street has more than half a million. An even more damning critique of the tax was put forward by Labour MP John Mann in March, who pointed out that on especially warm days “a lukewarm pasty from Greggs is not VAT-able because the ambient temperature outside is the reference point, whereas if it is the middle of winter and freezing cold, it is. “It’s an extraordinarily complex situation when you are having to check with the Meteorological Office on whether or not to add VAT on pasties.” It isn’t only pie-lovers of the coun-

try who are angry with the Coalition though. A more likely source for this dramatic drop in popularity is the targeting of some of the Tories’ biggest supporters with the affectionately-named ‘granny tax’. With age-related allowances due to be withdrawn for new pensioners from April next year, existing pensioners will have their allowances frozen at £10,500 for the over-65s and £10,660 for the over-75s until overall tax thresholds catch up with them.

“Gregg’s share price has plummeted since the Budget”

Osborne has defended the move as simplifying the system by bringing pensioners into line with basicrate tax payers, balanced out by the recent £5.30 weekly boost on state pensions. Yet with an estimated 4.4 million pensioners losing an average of £84 a year, counterposed to the even more controversial income tax cut in the

Pasty prices will now add 20% VAT Photograph: Su-Lin top-rate for 300,000 richest households to 45p, even the staunchest Conservative supporter cannot deny this Budget is playing on the worst ideas of elitist Tory government. In this context, one can understand why so many people want to exam-

ine Cameron’s lunching habits. With a Budget hitting the lower-earners hard, it would be nice to find out if the Oxbridge-educated millionaires running the country have something in common with the people. Even if it is only rotisserie chickens.

been the third most popular party in recent weeks according to some national polls. Mr Galloway was famously expelled by the Labour Party due to his rigid opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He used the first Prime Minister’s Questions following the election to push David Cameron on the withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. Galloway is nothing if not divisive. A staunch critic of British Prime Ministers for their relationships with “brutal Arab dictators” yet a man who praised Saddam Hussein for his ‘strength’ and ‘courage’. He also appeared on the 2006 Celebrity Big Brother whilst still a sitting Member of Parliament. Known for his abilities as an orator, Galloway also contributes occasional articles to The Guardian. He has compared his success in Bradford West to the uprisings in the Middle East and the Respect Party website offers t-shirts featuring the slogan ‘Bradford Spring’. Writing for The Guardian, Galloway said of his victory: “This peaceful, democratic uprising comes from the same wellspring of discontent and alienation that fuelled disturbances in British cities last summer. But it is a positive counterpoint – bringing forth a new generation of political leaders, not another cohort

trapped in the criminal justice system.” And he accused the current political elites of “a rotten combination of complacency, incompetence, opportunism and rule by clique.” The Respect Party was founded by Galloway who renamed the Socialist Alliance and supports increased welfare spending, nationalisation of public transport, an increase in the minimum wage, environmentalism and support for Palestinian statehood alongside the removal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

George Galloway returns in ‘Bradford Spring’ Samuel Croft Former Labour MP George Galloway managed to deprive the three main parties of victory in Bradford West, with his Respect Party winning the constituency by 10,140 votes and securing a seat in Parliament for a second time. Labour leader Ed Milliband described the loss by his party as “incredibly disappointing” considering the fact that the constituency has been held by Labour since 1974.

“The voters of Bradford West have certainly sent a strong message to Westminster in the form of Mr Galloway”

A victorious Mr Galloway Photograph: David Martyn Hunt

Both Labour and Conservative candidates faced a negative swing of over 20% on the 2010 election. The Liberal Democrats also did poorly, receiving just 4.6% of the vote and failing to secure the return of their deposit. The Liberal Democrats did however perform better than the UK Independence Party who have

10,140 votes Galloway’s victory margin in Bradford West

Mr Galloway is at worst hypocritical, dogmatic and populist but is equally a principled individual who champions egalitarian values and is willing to challenge any established status quo. Some have attributed his success to discontent with the current government, and others have claimed that he won the support of the large Muslim population in the constituency with his anti-war policies. The voters of Bradford West have certainly sent a strong message to Westminster in the form of Mr Galloway.


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Syria needs decisive UN action Bashar al-Assad has failed to guarantee the security of the country Al Russell

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he ceasefire imposed by the ‘Annan Plan’ is being paid little heed in Syria: the time has come for decisive action from the UN. Unrest in the country has continued for fifteen months and a series of UN resolutions have done nothing to bring peace. It has become clear that a resolution is worthless unless those involved genuinely believe that the UN will enforce it. The solution proposed by Ban Ki-Moon, and passed by the Security Council on Saturday, is a force of 300 unarmed observers. However, this seems to be based on flawed assumptions. It is unrealistic to expect violence to end in Syria simply due to the presence of representatives of the international community. Killings have gone on for over a year while the world has watched from afar with a small number of UN observers already in Syria. The fact that a greater number of observers will now be in place poses

little real change, particularly in the wake of the unsuccessful visit of a team of Arab League observers in January. It is undeniable that Bashar alAssad’s regime has an abhorrent human rights record. However, it does retain the support of a significant proportion of the population. This means that a different approach to intervention is required from that applied in Libya, where NATO sided with the rebels. Intervention must take the form of an armed peacekeeping force. A revolution has become a civil war. For the UN to take sides militarily is to alienate those Syrians who continue to support Assad. The priority must not be to replace the incumbent regime with the Syrian National Council, but rather to ensure stability so that the country can hold free and fair elections. It goes without saying that those found guilty of crimes should not be allowed to stand, but it is vital that it should come through a democratic process. There is a real danger that the conflict in Syria will become an episode, like the Rwandan genocide, on which the UN looks back with embarrassment and regret. Mr Annan himself, in his former role as Secre-

tary General of the United Nations, posed the question in relation to Rwanda, as to when the responsibility to protect a country’s population moves from the sovereign power to the international community.

Killings have gone on for over a year

It was clear in 1994 that the Rwandan government was not fulfilling its obligations to its population. Annan’s argument was that in such circumstances it was incumbent upon the international community to intervene. This has theoretically become a norm of international relations since the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s report ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ was formally adopted by the UN in 2005. The fact that very little seems to have changed in the last seven years

shows a shocking level of cowardice amongst the Security Council. Liberal interventionism lives on in instances where western commercial concerns are at stake. However, in Syria, which produces less than a quarter as much oil per day as Libya, intervention is seen as a wasted effort. It is not overly cynical to suggest that the fact that Mr Obama faces reelection this year is a factor in his desire to avoid military commitment in the Middle East. The facts of the case are very clear: the Syrian government has not upheld its responsibility to protect the Syrian people. Now this responsibility falls upon the international community and Syria temporarily forfeits its sovereign integrity. Decisive action by the UN is the only way to bring peace to Syria and failure to intervene can only bring more bloodshed. Foreign policy should not be governed by a desire for a stable oil supply or to remain impartial in the face of elections. The situation in Syria requires effective intervention. Atrocities are being committed and the United Nations Security Council has voted to send a force of observers to witness it rather than peacekeepers to stop it.

Banning the Jolly Roger won’t stop the pirates The government is wasting their effort by blocking thepiratebay.org Joe Adams

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recent court ruling has ordered five of Britain’s largest Internet Service Providers to block access to the thepiratebay.org, the web’s largest file-sharing site. The ruling follows the successful closure of Megaupload, representing the latest feather in the music industry’s anti-piracy cap. However, the closure of such sites ignores the fundamental nature of those who pirate: innovation and replication. Blocking thepiratebay ignores the problem that is merely the most popular website of its kind: consider attempting to ban smoking by only preventing sales of Marlboro. Replacement websites already exist, and more will spring up to fill the gap in the market but given the current financial situation one might expect such a lack of understanding from those in charge. Furthermore, thepiratebay, unlike megaupload, is not a source of pirated files itself but merely a glorified torrent search engine. Torrents allow an

infinite number of individual users to automatically download the file from each other. Closing the website does not remove the files: a simple Google search for a copy of the ‘The Avengers’ provides dozens of links thepiratebay is only the fifth torrent search engine to come up.

‘Progress’ that wastes taxpayers’ money

Perhaps some people will be put off and be unable to find a replacement website. However, those who pirate online tend to be the most competent users of technology, and the rapid spread of information online will quickly educate those who are not. It will be easy to avoid a single website being blocked in the UK. The argument can been made that some progress, however ineffectual, is better than no progress at all - the same reasoning applies to the recent Kony 2012 viral campaign. Whatever the video and accompanying cam-

paign’s numerous shortcomings and factual inaccuracies, it raised awareness of the problems in the region. But ‘progress’ that wastes taxpayers’ money should be diverted elsewhere: to solving the cause - not the symptoms - of the disease. The cause of the disease is often touted as being one of entitlement: people expect everything for free. While this makes great right-wing tabloid press as it can be linked to ‘benefit culture’, it oversimplifies the problem. The real issue is the growth of the free sector of the internet. Services like YouTube, Spotify, iPlayer and Wikipedia all represent vast sources of information and entertainment. In the pre- and early internet age, these services cost money. Music had to be bought in shops, films paid for at the cinema. This free, ad-supported sector of the internet is supposed to be the factor preventing piracy, but if anything it is unwittingly encouraging it. Naturally the internet is not free: a monthly fee must be paid for access. The mindset thus develops that as the internet has been paid for, everything on it is should be free. This argument falls flat in the real world as there are consequences for stealing: to quote the famous advertising

campaign “You wouldn’t steal a car”. People don’t steal cars as it is difficult and dangerous; online, there is almost zero accountability. What is needed is punishment of individuals, not a half-hearted attempt at removing the tools of the trade. A letter or email threatening arrest for a repeat offence of those caught downloading files illegally is the sort of deterrent needed. Unfortunately, the sharing of internet connections makes this relatively unenforceable. Therefore a better option is to follow the Google and Facebook model of providing quality services for free, supported by adverts. But this needs to be extended to the two main areas of piracy: music and film. Spotify cannot compete with the iPod as it is fixed in the home, so where is the portable Spotify player? Netflix and Lovefilm provide film streaming on the cheap, but where are the free versions with advert breaks that would create a realistic challenge to TV and cinema? The government is on a wild goose chase. The internet needs to be truly free to stop piracy: commercial advertising, which could be removed at a price, is the only way to destroy the piratical mindset by rendering it completely pointless.


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Soapbox James Murray

Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons he acted with “scrupulous fairness” in the BSkyB affair Photograph: Conversative Party

Cabinet corruption needs to stop

Cameron’s defense of Hunt will lead to his downfall in the next election David WynneGriffith

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inisters, opposition leaders, and, most importantly, Prime Ministers have long sought to curry favour with Rupert Murdoch’s overarching power for many years. Despite Mr. Murdoch’s laughable confession that he “has never asked a Prime Minister for anything”, the relationship between Britain’s political elite and News Corporation is undoubtedly reciprocal. Rupert Murdoch gains extra lobbying purchase for his papers, while politicians gain the favourable media attention that they so desperately crave. Ever since David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry, observers have mused over the possibility of Rupert Murdoch exacting some twisting revenge that would threaten to derail the limping government. Last week, the Murdochs showed their hand. The new revelations about the direct access between Jeremy Hunt’s cabinet office and News Interna-

tional over their attempt to take full control over BSkyB are extremely damaging for Cameron’s corroding public image. Hunt stands accused of perverting his ‘quasi-judicial’ role in the deliberation over the BSkyB bid by offering James Murdoch almost unabashed access to privileged information about the bid. Text messages between Michel and Hunt’s ex-advisor show close collaboration between News International and Hunt’s office, and even the content of Hunt’s parliamentary speeches. The revelations have led to the resignation of Hunt’s special advisor, Adam Smith. Hunt claims that Smith went rogue, and that he himself remained totally impartial and scrupulously sought independent advice about the bid at every turn. It is difficult to see how the minister will survive the oncoming storm. He cannot avoid the accusation that he must have been aware of the correspondence over six months between his main special advisor and a major News International lobbyist. Either he was wilfully complicit or woefully incompetent, neither is a recipe for long-term career success. From here on in, the Leveson Inquiry looks set to take a political turn

that could yet derail the Cameron project. As the saga becomes a proxy for accusations about Cameron’s own complicity, he may be forced into a policy of damage limitation. Cameron knows part of his appeal is his image of integrity, common decency and personal virtue. The rolling train of News International sleaze threatens this sacred image to its core. With Mr. Cameron yet to appear before the inquiry himself, he must fear that the worst is yet to come.

Hunt claims that Smith went rogue

As Cameron’s political capital dribbles away, Hunt’s position becomes increasingly precarious. Until now, Cameron and Osborne have been happy to use Hunt as a human shield to shelter them from maelstrom surrounding the Murdochs. But as Cameron becomes increas-

ingly drenched in explanations about the extent of his relationship with News International executives, Hunt’s utility may quickly fade. Cameron cannot afford these incremental accusations of sleaze and corruption. He needs to deal with their festering sources before the media vultures disembowel his carefully constructed public image once and for all. Cameron’s promise of transparency is admirable, but now seems rather ironic, seeing as he has had the initiative to set up the most comprehensive, judge-led, fully televised and under-oath inquiry into press ethics in living memory. A year ago, Cameron was admired as a man who had taken to office with a calm serenity amid a raging storm. He is now lambasted as a Prime Minister who stumbles from one crisis to another. He must find a way to arrest this steady slide towards political incompetence. The only way to do this: to secure economic growth. With the economy slipping back into recession, Cameron must refocus on the economy, for it is this issue that could assure his electoral victory and the regeneration of our stumbling nation.

Examination concessions are not justifiable within the current examination system. Having been assessed as dyslexic, I am entitled to 25% extra time on examinations, yet even to me this seems grossly unfair. Assuming that examinations are meant as markers to society and prospective employers of our proficiency at performing certain tasks I cannot understand why those who will always be impaired at such tasks should therefore be entitled to effectively mask that impairment. With few exceptions, most people are generally constrained by the stringent timing of examinations. Given that such an onus is placed upon expediency it seems reasonable to assume that it is therefore considered a valuable skill by society and employers. If I am incapacitated in this way, why should I be allowed to compensate for it and present a false impression of my skills? Dyslexia is just the extreme end of a spectrum of ability concerned with inputting and processing information. The test is based purely upon identifying a discrepancy between ability in certain mental faculties and others, like conceptual understanding. The assessor simply has to judge whether they think that the discrepancy is sufficient to be termed ‘dyslexia’. Examinations are used to differentiate people according to their abilities. A large part of this is being able to perform expediently. If this is one marker by which we deem it necessary to differentiate people regardless of their subject, how can it be justified to exempt the particularly slow from that aspect of examination competition? The answer: it’s not. We tolerate it because we realise that to measure people’s expediency and conflate it with ability in any subject is foolhardy. Expediency is rarely necessary in professional life and is used in examinations merely to differentiate between people in a society based upon competition. Examinations are not about identifying ability relative to a subject but relative to your peers. That is why we all get that little kick when we understanding something the others have failed to grasp. What the extra time concession represents is the contradiction which lies at the heart of meritocracy. We like to believe in competition and differentiation by merit so we can justify wealth and poverty. Yet the system is compromised because we fail to recognise that in a society every individual is dependent upon the majority of others, and the great variety of their skills and proficiencies.

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Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up? Mitt Romney’s business credentials have reassured Republican voters Emily Dillon

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o country in the world takes its democracy as seriously as the United States. Every office is elected, from lowly town sheriff to leader of the free world. In order to be chosen to represent their political party in the November general election, a candidate must first win smaller elections known as primaries in each of the 50 states. They are long, drawn out campaigns, but former Governor Mitt Romney has won the place on the ballot. So will Mitt Romney be the first Republican since Ronald Reagan to unseat a one-term Democratic president? At first glance Romney looks like a president. A father of five, he has been married to his wife for over 40 years, as well as being a devout Mormon and local church leader. He made his money in corporate America, and his millions are a testament to his belief in the free market economy. Should he win, he would in fact be the richest President in history.

However, despite triumphing over the wide field of potential Republican candidates, Romney still does not enjoy the wholehearted support of conservative America, with even traditionally Republican outlets such as Fox News appearing unenthused by his victory. So why is this? Firstly, many believe that he is just not conservative enough to engage the key Republican voter bases in the mid-western and the southern states. In a poll taken in December, one in five people surveyed who described themselves as conservative said they thought Romney was too liberal.

$21.7m

Mitt Romney’s estimated income in 2010 Part of the problem stems from the fact that he was governor of Massachusetts, an east coast state, regarded by many as a breeding ground for Democrat voters. During the campaign for the Republican nomination, his closest rival was Rick Santorum, whose stances against abortion, gay marriage and universal healthcare checked many

of the conservative boxes. Romney, by contrast was accused of setting up a healthcare system in Massachusetts that was modelled on the muchmaligned ‘Obamacare’, and not being vocal enough in his opposition to gay marriage. Romney has also come under criticism for changing his opinion to suit the crowd he is addressing. At a rally in Jackson, Mississippi, he greeted the crowd with a ‘Morning y’all’, going on to say that he’d ‘started the day right with some cheesy grits’, the southern equivalent of oatmeal. The voters were unimpressed with this pandering, leaving Romney to trail in the polls behind his more conservative competitors. This perceived lack of true conservative credentials has seen Romney attempt to take more extreme stances on some key issues. For example, in a debate in Iowa in December 2011, he announced that he would veto the DREAM Act, which would allow a path to citizenship for young, commonly Hispanic, illegal immigrants who enrol in university or serve in the military. Polls have shown that immigration is consistently one of the most important electoral issues among conservative voters. However, just one month later in a reversal of his

previous statement, he told a crowd in Florida - a state with a 20% Hispanic population - that he would soften his approach to the DREAM Act, favouring what he termed ‘self deportation’.

His millions are testament to his belief in a free market economy

A Republican congressman from Texas said: ‘If you are not sure about wanting to support Mitt Romney, whether you are liberal or very conservative, you should be excited because he’s been on your side at one time or another’. It’s clear that Mitt Romney is not the strong conservative leader that many Republicans were hoping for. That said, the fact that Romney has beaten more consverative candidates such as Rick Perry and Newt

Gingrich suggests that he must be doing something right. In a poll taken in November 2011, 60% of Republicans surveyed said they thought Romney was intelligent, with 69% saying they thought his business background would be an asset. It would appear then that Republican voters are focusing on his strengths in the world of economics and business. He has a strong record on job creation: on average 15,000 people a year were able to find new jobs in Massachusetts under his tenure, something that many Americans will see as vital in these troubled economic times. As a seasoned businessman who cut his teeth on the trading floors of Wall Street, Romney may have more economic experience than President Obama, but will that be enough to send him to the White House? With seven months to go until the election it’s too early to say, but come November, President Obama is going to have a fight on his hands.

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The secret sins of Britain’s colonial past Honesty is vital when acknowledging British mistakes in former colonies Lucy EdwardesJones

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ver the past few weeks we have witnessed the release of 8800 files recording British action in 37 of its former colonies, now on display to the general public at the National Archives. Yet does this inflammatory disclosure really mark a milestone in the journey towards openness about our colonial past? The content of the reports is horrifying. The torture and killing of Mau Mau rebels in 1950s Kenya was meticulously relayed to London, including one man being ‘roasted alive’. In the aftermath of the rebellion, the name of Barack Obama’s father featured on a watch list of Kenyans studying in America. At the same time, the British Foreign Office was receiving monthly reports from Malaya (modern day Malaysia), detailing the colonial government’s ‘elimination’ of enemies. From another corner of the empire came documents of Britain’s brutal

expulsion of the indigenous population of Diego Garcia during the late 60s, in order to clear the island for a US military base. The words of the British Attorney General in 1950s Kenya encapsulate the chilling nature of this cover-up: ‘If we are going to sin, we must sin quietly’. Undoubtedly, the disclosure of these files represents a positive step towards recognising British colonialism’s darker side and towards achieving justice for its victims. However, it would be wrong to applaud the recent disclosure of these documents as the endpoint in Britain’s endeavour for greater transparency. Recognition of their significance should not detract from the suspicious way in which the files were released. The release of Britain’s colonial documents is long overdue. These papers have been hidden away for over half a century in a secret archive at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire. The Foreign Office has long denied any knowledge of a secret archive; previous requests for documentation of the Mau Mau rebellion have been repeatedly blocked. The initial need to suppress such sensitive documents, as a means of

avoiding further conflict, is arguably understandable. Yet the 30-year release rule usually applied to sensitive documents has long been surpassed, leaving these files in violation of legal compulsions for their public release.

True accountability remains an unattainable ideal

This raises the question of ‘why now?’ The documents were only exposed due to last year’s legal battle between Mau Mau veterans and the British government, over the British use of systematic torture in 1950s Kenya. The Foreign Office’s hand was forced. It is likely that, if it were not for these circumstances, the government would have continued to deny

the existence of any such archive. Given the government’s secrecy thus far, we must question what proportion of British colonialism’s failings have actually come to light. The much-applauded release of carefully selected documents has acted as an effective diversion from those which remain buried. There are many files which will never emerge. Among those disclosed this month are instructions for the destruction of thousands of the most incriminating documents. The suppression of systematic torture and murder is surely not an acceptable price for the protection of a government’s reputation. The more justifiable motive of avoiding outrage within precarious post-colonial states is also mentioned. In the wrong hands, documentation of the colonial government’s brutality could be used to provoke further conflict. The 1960s context of the Cold War must also be considered. What appears to be a hysterical over-reaction in hindsight may have seemed an entirely reasonable measure at this time of intense international suspicion. Yet within the correspondence of British officials, the issue of security

seems to remain of secondary importance to the maintenance of Britain’s reputation. These lost files mean that true accountability remains an unattainable ideal. Among the surviving files, an abundance remain unreleased. Public documentation of colonial Malaya remains limited. As a result, similar claims to those of the Mau Mau veterans are emerging from groups of Malayan veterans. It is clear that there are many more shelves of secret archives in Britain. From the comfort of our modern, Western society, it is all too easy for us to feel smug whilst condemning the informational restrictions of governments from the past. We are aware of the Nazis’ attempts to destroy their sickeningly thorough documentation of the Holocaust. North Korea’s continued censorship of the internet is frequently deplored. Although these cases are far more extreme, greater attention should be paid to the situation closer to home. The extent and longevity of the colonial cover-up makes me question whether Britain is as open as we like to think. There remains a long way to go before Britain has fully faced up to the sins of her colonial past.


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Sport

Rowers dominate first summer regatta

Sport Editors: William Warr Spencer Brown

sport@palatinate.org.uk

@PalatinateUK Palatinate Durham’s Official Student Newspaper

Durham’s lightweight quad after receiving bronze medals in their championship race Photograph: Sam Padbury William Warr Simon Mocatta

Rowing

to page 18 >> Turn for a preview of Uni Men’s cricket

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Durham University Boat Club has opened the regatta season in style with a very successful three days at BUCS regatta, held last weekend in Nottingham. The main achievement of the weekend came in the shape of the retention of the Victor Ludorum (the prize awarded to the most successful University overall) for the 9th year running. Durham finished top of the standings at the end of racing with 1145 points, 379 points clear of Newcastle who came second. This was one of the largest margins in recent years and represented a consistently high level of performance across the board, not just in the top boats. The individual highlights included the women’s intermediate eight holding off Nottingham to win gold, the men’s intermediate quad recovering from a poor start to row back through the field and a men’s beginner single producing a remarkable final 250m sprint to clinch gold by less than a second. “We were so happy with our re-

sult. It is proof of the great training that has gone in over the winter,” reflected Charlotte Trundley, the cox of the women’s intermediate eight, which won its final by almost a length.

It’s official: 9th VL in a row. Well done Durham.

#woopwoop DUBC Twitter

However, Durham’s local rivals Newcastle beat a number of the top men’s boats. The championship men’s eight, intermediate men’s eight, championship men’s coxless four and the championship men’s pair all won silver in their events, behind Newcastle, albeit often by very small margins, with the coxless four losing by a mere 0.3 seconds. “These results are really frustrating, especially as we train 20 metres

away from them on the Tyne,” said Callum McBrierty of the championship men’s eight. In the sculling events, the duo of Will Mace and Angus Groom secured a bronze medal in the heavyweight double and also a bronze in the championship quad, alongside Barney Stentiford and Stewart Innes. Similar fortune was also had in the men’s championship lightweight quad, who produced a stunning row to clinch the bronze medal despite having qualified for their final slowest. “It was a sweet race. We only just made it to the final, but changed our race plan around, swapped the order of the boat and smashed it!” enthused Lewis Weaver of the lightweight quad.

1145

the number of points Durham won The fresher’s boats also had an extremely close race in their finals. The men’s eight came second by an excruciating 0.07 seconds to Southampton Solent after producing a

brave comeback in the last 500m. The women’s beginner four had similar fortunes, coming second behind Bath by a mere 0.50 seconds. The women’s fresher eight also took silver behind Queen’s Belfast.

“The club has

set the stage for the summer season.” Club President, Franz Imfeld Fresher’s coach Matt Evans was positive yet frustrated about the outcome of the race; “It was a step on from last year, where we won bronze in the men’s event and fourth in the women’s event, but it is still frustrating to be so close to the gold.” Club President, Franz Imfeld, summed up the performance. He said: “Most medals, most VL points and most BUCS points has made for a successful weekend. “Big praise must be given to the fresher squad with the biggest medal haul for years. The club has set the stage for the summer season.”


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Cricket club looks to follow Feature: Durham on from last year’s efforts Hani Abidi Last Easter marked the start of a memorable season for Durham MCCU. Records tumbled largely due to the efforts of the 1st team’s excellent top order batsmen, whilst there were promising displays by individuals in the 2nd and 3rd XIs. The season culminated in the 1sts qualifying for the MCCU Championship final by virtue of their league position and a semi-final victory over Loughborough MCCU. The university’s batsmen were unable to impose themselves at Lord’s in the final as they had done against the MCCU sides all season; they were bowled out batting second 27 runs short of Cardiff’s total. However, the performances that took the team to the home of cricket in June will give them great cause for optimism for the season ahead.

“Both Chris Jones and Luke Durandt showed scintillating form last season.”

Both Chris Jones and Luke Durandt showed scintillating form last season, with skipper Tom Westley complementing the excellent opening pair. With over one thousand runs to their name (both record breaking to-

tals) and batting averages well above fifty, Jones’ and Durandt’s figures speak for themselves. It would, however, be churlish to forget the great promise displayed by the MCCU’s bowling department last year. Masood Shah, who bowled an impressive 5-67 against Oxford MCCU, and left arm spinners Nat Watkins and Freddie van der Bergh, will be ones to watch this season as the bowlers aim to emulate the men holding their own at the crease. Van der Bergh, who has played at first-class level for Surrey, is one of a number of the MCCU’s players who have represented their home county. With Tom Westley having left the club, Chris Jones has inherited the captaincy responsibilities this season and will hope to show similarly devastating form. Seren Waters, who represented Kenya at last year’s ICC World Cup, returns to the side to form another accomplished top order. The traditional series of first-class fixtures that take place at the start of each season have given the university’s side the opportunity to showcase their talents against county teams after putting in hours of practice in the pre-season. Being bowled out for just 18 runs against Durham CCC is not an experience that the team will want to dwell on too much. With the likes of Graham Onions putting on a stunning exhibition of fast bowling, Durham University were unable to find an answer to the county’s pacy attack in conditions that were ideal for the seamers. Two highly respectable draws

against Middlesex and Northamptonshire either side of the lacklustre display at Chester-le-Street should be enough to dispel any skepticism about the value of the first-class fixtures.

“Seren Waters, who represented Kenya at last year’s ICC World Cup, returns to the side”

The game against Northamptonshire in particular stood out owing to the emergence of medium-fast bowler Bertie Blackwell. Blackwell took six wickets in what was a dream first-class debut. The university’s recent fixture against Southampton Solent University, their first in the BUCS one-day tournament, is a more meaningful gauge of what level the team is currently performing at. The batsmen appeared in good nick, with most of the top order contributing to a score of 287, while the bowlers managed to skittle Southampton out for just 110 runs in what was a comfortable victory. Looking ahead, having shown flashes of brilliance and plenty of promise last year, the MCCU side will want to go one further than last season by clinching some silverware at Lord’s.

Durham MCCU recently made national headlines after a crushing defeat at the hands of Durham County Cricket Club, but the club are set for another strong season. Photograph: Durham MCCU

A breathtaking sight: Durham University Cycling Club out in force

Hugh McDowell

Cycling The stunning views and picturesque scenes of Durham gradually become the background of students’ daily routines, as the weeks, terms and years of our degree courses go by. The majority of this city’s inhabitants only tend to glimpse the surrounding countryside through the window of a stuffy train carriage or packed car at 10-week intervals. The committed members of Durham University Cycling Club (DUCC) can claim to know this area better than the rest, often escaping the bubble by at least thirty miles and returning by lunchtime, having seen more of the North East than most students will in 3 years. An interview with DUCC’s ‘exec’ allowed me to discover various weird and impressive things about this group of wandering, competitive sportspeople. Amongst all the ‘University sport club’ dialects, theirs is the second hardest to understand, behind that of those other lycra-wearing, ‘coxboxing’, ‘rigger-jiggering’ rowers. Leg shaving is a safety precaution for male cyclists apparently (although they were not so easily able to

excuse the use of muscle-enhancing oil). DUCC harbours a National Junior Track-Cycling Champion, Rob Lambton (Josephine Butler). Most notably, however, DUCC receives a budget of less than £1000, but so far in the 2011/12 season has contributed more BUCS points (96) to the University’s tally of 2944.5 than Durham University Netball Club (93) and only three less than Durham University Fencing Club (99). To contextualise this fact, netball and fencing are both classified as “tier 1 performance” sports by Team Durham and consequently the clubs enjoy full-time coaching staff. The University fencers have also recently gained a world-class fencing suite through Team Durham’s recent investment of £6.7 million into the facilities at Maiden Castle. On the other hand, the Cycling Club is entirely student-led and it receives minimal funding and no coaching support. Club President, Matt Wilson (Van Mildert), stressed that Team Durham often displays a lack of interest in the Club by regularly fumbling reports of the club’s impressive results. Palatinate Sport can report that the Men’s and Women’s teams won silver and gold medals respectively in the BUCS Road Cycling Hill Climb, with siblings Holly and Ben Page


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University Cycling Club

Meet Matt Rossiter - Olympic rowing hopeful and cycling speedster... Will Rudd Athlete Profile Matt Rossiter, 3rd year, St. Cuthbert’s Cycling Achievements: BUCS Silver Medal Individual Time Trial – 10mile

Rowing Achievements: U23 World’s Silver & Bronze; 3 Golds Junior Olympics ‘09; Junior World Champion ‘07; 2k PB = 5 mins 54 secs

Photograph: Alex Humphries

(both Collingwood) claiming individual silver medals each. At the BUCS Team Time Trial (an event that involves teams of three cyclists tactically slip-streaming their way as quickly as possible along a 30 mile course) the Women’s team won silver medals again, while the Men’s team was struck by ill-fortune when one team member got a puncture for his efforts. The BUCS Individual Ten Mile Time Trial was the proudest moment of the season for Andy Miles (Men’s Road Cycling Captain), “seeing the rowing convert, Matt Rossiter (St. Cuthbert’s), beating all riders except a semi-professional”. Consequently Durham University are third in the BUCS Cycling League behind Birmingham and Cambridge. DUCC has also climbed to the top of the North-East Regional Club Road and Track Cycling League, which sees them compete against non-University cyclists. Miles (St Aidan’s) stated that this is a distinguishing feature of DUCC amongst its university counterparts: “the fact that we also get involved in local and regional events adds an extra dimension to our riders’ ability and their experience of sport at Durham University.” Their success requires outstanding core fitness levels and a certain degree of masochism (which

Matt has shone on the world rowing scene, but a back injury has delayed his Olympic dreams. For the moment, he’s switched to cycling. Palatinate met the multi-talented sportsman for a quick Q & A. Why did you switch to cycling? As a way to keep my fitness up, when I was unable to row, my coach suggested I get a Turbo machine and when I got bored of waiting for my back to be better. Why are you well suited to en-

durance sports? I was given a good pair of lungs by my parents, and I’ve trained hard since I was 14. How much are you training? About four times a week, so a lot less than rowing. That’s down to the lack of funding for the cycling club and a busy third year. I was going to ‘retire’ from cycling but the BUCS Time Trial has kept me interested – the only person who beat me is a Polish professional weighing 60kg. I rode a borrowed bicycle and weigh 90kg so there’s definitely room for improvement. What is the plan once you finish here? I’m not sure, I have an injection to fix the nerves in my back, and ideally go back to rowing. I have a burning desire to get to the Olympics. I was in a bad place last summer as I saw some friends in GB heading for London this year where I should have been… If rowing doesn’t work, I might try and become a track cyclist: I have a test for that next week.

Sport Good News for...

Durham University Equestrian Team who over Easter ventured to Scotland competing as the only English team. The Scots however were no match for the Durham girls, who finished second overall with exceptional performances from Danielle Masterton, Laura Fenwick, Franki Crosse, Jo Slatcher and Martine Eide. DUET are currently preparing for Nationals held on June 24th. Will the girls finish on top again, or will they have a mare? Durham University Athletics and Cross Country Club, especially athletes Jen Walsh, Tom Knight, Alex Robinson and Michael Grimes who are among those who have been selected to race in the BUCS Championship. Ordinarily this is a fantastic achievement for these students, however this year it is particularly exceptional as the competition is to be held at the Olympic Stadium.

Collingwood Men’s Football A team who, despite dropping points against Castle on Saturday, are still favourites to win the Pre

perhaps explains the recent influx of five ex- University rowers to the club). Along with “social rides”, the top competitors often go out for sixty-plus mile rides into some of Britain’s hilliest countryside. Katharine Broadbent (Hild Bede), commented, “Cycling does not attract many women and it only tends to be those with a certain type of determined character”.

Then again, Team Durham’s mantra is, “Allowing exceptional people to do exceptional things”. While DUCC has to fight especially hard for its achievements, with little support coming from Team Durham, at least it can mount its efforts while exploring the hills, valleys and towns beyond Durham City.

The Hill Colleges, whose rugby teams were victorious in the annual Hill-Bailey Rugby games at Durham City Rugby Club. Proceeds from the showpiece event went to charity. Durham University Men’s Lacrosse team, who followed up their third consecutive BUCS Championship gold medal by defeating England U19’s 11-8 at Maiden Castle.

Bad News for...

Stephenson College Men’s Football A team, who lost out to Grey (who this year have established themselves as shootout specialists) in the Floodlit Cup Final on penalties.

The sleeping patterns of the members of Durham University Women’s Netball Club, who in June will have their stamina and endurance put to the ultimate test when they attempt to play netball continuously for 72 hours. The epic feat is in the name of charity (and a Guinness World Record).

Durham on course for best BUCS finish Spencer Brown

Dedication is essential for cyclists Photograph: Dan Bryant

miership. A win against Grey after exams will guarantee a title triumph.

A sporting year of outstanding success has propelled Durham University to an unprecedented second place in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) points table. After two terms of sporting action, Durham have left closest rivals Leeds Met, Bath and Birmingham trailing in their wake as they target a best-ever finish of second place. Durham have never finished higher than fourth before, and the lofty heights achieved thus far in 2011/12 can be attributed to widespread successes across the whole sporting spectrum. Indeed, this year Durham teams played in 60 leagues, winning 22, finishing second in 13 and third in 11. Northern Premier League titles were secured in women’s tennis, basketball, lacrosse, fencing and hockey and men’s rugby, lacrosse and hockey. Second-place finishes came in women’s rugby, men’s tennis and men’s basketball. The national BUCS Championships, held last month in Sheffield, also brought a multitude of medals (and BUCS points). Highlights included stunning gold triumphs in the women’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s basketball, women’s futsal and women’s tennis

(singles and doubles). Men’s hockey, rugby – in another momentous visit to Twickenham – and basketball were national runners-up, while women’s fencing and netball reached the championship semi-finals. National Trophy triumphs were achieved by men’s rugby 2nds, women’s football and women’s volleyball. Northern Conference cup finals were won by women’s tennis 3rds, men’s rugby 3rds, men’s and women’s hockey 2nds, men’s lacrosse 2nds and men’s volleyball 1sts. In total, 30 sports have contributed BUCS points to Durham’s historic campaign, with many more promised from the upcoming summer sports. Cricket, cycling, rugby sevens, sailing and athletics have all started this term, and will hopefully strengthen the university’s grip on second place. BUCS – as it has been known since 2008 after the merging of the University College Sport (UCS) and British University Sports Association (BUSA) organisations – governs all university sport in the United Kingdom. It awards BUCS points to every team depending on their league finish or performance in the cup, while in individual competitions the top four finishers usually earn points for their university. Visit www.bucs.org.uk for more information.


Sport

PALATINATE | Thursday 10th May 2012

Men’s cricket ready for new season

Palatinate assesses Durham MCCU’s prospects, page 18

Durham 2nd in BUCS table Highest-ever finish within reach, page 19

Rowers reap rewards Hard work pays off at BUCS regatta, page 17

Driving forward: Durham MCCU starts season Turn to page 18 for a preview of the cricket club’s campaign Photograph: Durham MCCU

Trampolinists scale new heights at BUCS event Steve King The weekend of the 24-25th March saw the finals of the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Trampolining competition held at UWE Bristol. Durham University Gymnastics and Trampoline Club’s (DUGTC) squad this year was drastically reduced due to injury and subsequent lack of training, but the two performers they did send excelled. Emily Green was looking to improve upon her 4th place from last year and competed a strong set in her BUCS 4 category before making last minute, high pressure adjustments to her voluntary routine. Green wisely opted for a simpler

routine allowing her to obtain the highest form marks and secure 2nd place.

“Douglas Simon performed a precise and difficult routine to finish 1st overall”

Later in the day in the BUCS 2 Men’s group Douglas Simon led from the outset as two precise routines in the qualifying rounds put him in gold medal position going into the finals.

Managing to control his nerves he again performed a precise and difficult routine to finish 1st overall and a whole point clear of his nearest rival. He was particularly proud of his performance having had relatively few training sessions due to his finalyear degree commitments. The overall competition was won by Bryony Page of Sheffield and Nick Davies of UWE, both GB athletes. Earlier on in the term it was the gymnasts’ turn to impress, when they sent a large squad to the championships in Surrey. While no one managed a podium finish in what was a highly contested event, highlights included Oliver Salt finishing in 10th place and Sarah Mack in 11th in the all-round com-

petition. With over 100 competitors in each category both gymnasts did extremely well to finish so high.

“Earlier on in the term it was the gymnasts’ turn to impress”

The men’s and women’s teams came in credible 6th and 5th places respectively thanks to numerous topten finishes in individual apparatus events. Greg Chambers, the club presi-

dent, congratulated the hard work of all of those who took part and was particularly pleased with the good spirit of the competition. For more information on how to join DUGTC - which accepts everyone from beginners to national competitors - email club president Greg Chambers at greg.chambers@ durham.ac.uk or log on to their website: http://www.dur.ac.uk/gym. trampoline

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Palatinate Issue 740