Queen Mary security services face cuts Page 5
Monday February 6 2012
Can a child be
QM Profraised genderless? awardedIs it possible or right to keep the sex of your child a secret? Page 16 CBE Page 7
The Newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union
The “evolution” of sciences » Students voice their concerns in an open meeting about the cuts to the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
teaching and scholarship] roles”, with the possibility of 20 redundancies. Professor Evans The head of the school of noted redundancies may not be biological and chemical sciences necessary, if current staff fulfilled (SBCS), Professor Matthew certain criteria, which included sufficient published Evans, held a meeting with having students last week to discuss research, grant funding and a proposal – currently under teaching awards nominations. Overall staffing numbers would consultation - to restructure the school, with the aim of improving increase from 70 to 82, although research activity and league questions were raised about table positions, but at the risk how high quality researchers of “up to 20” staff redundancies. would be attracted to the school. Professor Evans indicated a “Queen Mary’s ambition as an institution is be to in the top 10% fellow Professor would require of universities in the country”, 13 published papers, four of Professor Evans told students. which were in a “high quality” “SBCS has accepted for some period journal and £500,000 research of time that it should be in the top funding to retain their job. When asked about specific 20% of comparable... biological and chemical departments, but numbers or timescale, Professor we’re a long way off that. In Evans was hesitant to answer, another internal general league tables for example despite we’re around about half way.” document reads “... the College Professor Evans says he aims considers that the potential to ensure teaching and research number of dismissals by reason “are done as well as they can be”, of redundancy will equate to and hopes to create “a different more than 20 but less than 100 sort of school, which is acting over a period of 90 days or less.” “The meeting was predictably and behaving in a different sort of way” later describing unhelpful. Professor Evans did the process as “evolution.” A quite a good job of evading most document addressed to the Queen of the questions, but did seem Mary Senior Executive – and unprepared for the turnout and leaked to this newspaper last some of the more sophisticated October – proposed “a significant queries, which is a start,” said refocusing of the School’s activity” Lucy Wyatt, second year Biology and suggested the possibility student and creator of the of laying off six staff “in the facebook page “QM Students current ecology and evolution Against Restructuring”, which groups” and replacing them currently has 98 members. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to with new staff in the molecular biology and psychology divisions. arrange something else with Professor Evans now suggests the actual SBCS staff (as they all staff will have “to demonstrate were banned from the meeting), how well they’d fit into new and we can get a clearer and [teaching and research, or more honest view from them.”
Image by Matthew TK Taylor
Professor Matthew Evan, head of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the open meeting where students voiced their concerns over the pending cuts. Image by Keeren Flora
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
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The Cloud How you fit into the news.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has accused President Obama of being a “European socialist” in a bid to decrease his popularity in the run up to the elections
President Obama has admitted that US drones have been targeting terrorists in Pakistan
Any views expressed in QMessenger section are those of the individual writer and do not necessarily reﬂect those of the paper, the editorial board, Queen Mary Students’ Union or Queen Mary, University of London.
@QMessenger In this digital age of ours it would be remiss for us not to keep an eagle eye on our online presence. So, here are the best messages tweeted @QMessenger this week. Warning! Don’t read the satire section on @ QMessenger in public. You will look like a crazy person when you burst out laughing on the train. @OzzyAmir fantastic article in @QMessenger #articleoftheyear
Doing lots of reading of science articles for my inaugural week as @QMessenger’s science editor. Woo!
David Cameron has angered Tory MPs over having agreed to go through the European Court to put in place the Eurozone fiscal pact
Over 3,100 vocational courses have been removed from English league tables by ministers
Ed Miliband has been accused of mounting a “witch hunt” against bankers
The UN Security Council will be asked support the Arab League in its call for the Syrian President to resign
Queen Mary’s Professor Harney has accused bonuses of being “bad business practice”
Established in 2008, QMessenger is the free weekly newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union. We are proud of our editorial independence and endeavour to always hold the College, Union and external bodies to account and to provide the best news and analysis to the students of Queen Mary, University of London. QMessenger is created entirely by students and the publication retains all copyright of design, text, photographs and graphics, along with the individual contributor.
The inspection service in Wales has found that 40% of students moving to secondary school have a lower reading level than expected
By Ariane Osman Images by: CBT Drone by f_mafra (Flickr) Strong Beginnings by heraldpost (Flickr) David Cameron by World Economic Forum (Flickr)
Graduate salaries on the rise but jobs are scarcer Sam Creighton Graduates will see their starting salaries rise but will find it harder to find a job in the first place, according to a new report. The winter edition of the bi-annual Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Graduate Recruitment Survey, released today, has predicted a four per cent increase in graduate salaries but a 1.2 per cent decline in the vacancies available. The report also raises concerns held by employers over the value of two year degrees. Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “The findings show that the market is predicted to re-
main relatively stable, which is a relief and should be seen as good news against an uncertain national, European and global economy.” AGR has placed the average graduate starting salary since 2009 at £25,000 but predicts it will rise to £26,000 this year “after an unprecedented period of stagnation.” In the AGR Summer Review, published in June 2011, they predicted that the average graduate salary would rise two per cent to £25,500, which has not happened. The highest salaries continue to be found in the investment banking sector, where a graduate can expect to start on £38,250. Law firms come in a close second, reporting an average starting salary
of £37,000. The predicted 1.2 per cent fall in the number of graduate jobs available comes after a 1.7 per cent rise in such positions last year, lower than the 2.6 per cent AGR forecast in the Summer Review. However, the report says some sectors, including construction, the public sector and IT/telecommunications, are planning to increase their recruiting over the next year. London and the South East continue to hold the most opportunities for graduates, with over 50 percent of vacancies concentrated in these regions. London also recorded the highest average starting salary for 2010-11, at £27,250. However, this has decreased from
£28,500 in 2009-10. AGR also reports that two year degrees, which are becoming increasingly popular at some UK institutions, concern their recruiters as they fear graduates will not be as well qualified as students who have completed traditional courses. Mr Gilleard commented: “Employers do value graduates that have work experience, and those students that have undertaken a year in industry as part of a four year degree. Consequently, there are genuine concerns surrounding students undertaking two year degrees as they do not have as much time to gain workplace experience.”
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
Queen Mary suffers drop in UCAS applications
Universities minister David Willetts remains optimistic that the 2012/2013 academic year will “still be a competitive year like any other.”
Ariane Osman Queen Mary University of London has revealed that it has experienced a 10.6% decline in UCAS applications for the 2012/2013 school year. 22,846 applications were made to the university in 2011 compared to 20,423 in 2012. This comes as UCAS released figures showing that there has been an 8.7% decline in the total number of UK university applications compared to last year. “Queen Mary, University of London experienced a similar drop in application rates for 2012 as other universities across the UK” said Marlon Gomes, Head of Admis-
sions at Queen Mary, “We expected applications to fall with the increase in student fees for 2012 and an increase in entry tariffs across most of our programmes”. Applications to the Barts School of Medicine and Dentistry have increased by 16%; a stark contrast to the 3.1% decrease in applications to medicine and dentistry courses in the rest of the UK. According to UCAS, demand for humanities courses at UK universites have noticeably dropped, with non-European languages declining by 21.5%, the most dramatic decrease of all subjects. Courses with the most applications have not changed from last year. Medicine related subjects re-
main the most popular with 330,00 applications followed by business with 260,000 and in third place creative arts and design. Male applications have suffered a steep decline of 8.5% compared to 6.7% decline in female applications. Previous speculations about the decline in applications by the poorest sector of the popultion were proved false. Applications from the UK’s wealthiest backgrounds experienced a bigger drop than those from the most disadvantaged fifth of the population, with a decrease of 2.5% compared to the latters 0.2%. “The proportion of English school leavers applying to uni-
versity today is greater than ever before, barring last year. It is encouraging that applications from people from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds remain strong, with only a 0.2% decrease” Said David Willetts, universities minister, “Even with a small reduction in applications, this will still be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long-term investment in your future.” UCAS also found that Non-European applicants have increased by 13.7%, in contrast to the overall decrease of overseas applicants by 7.4%. The figures have shown that uni-
Image by bisgovUK, via Flickr CC versities charging the maximum fees of £9,000 have not experienced any dramatic drops in applications. “There are two ways to interpret this” said Tim Leunig, chief economist at the thinktank CentreForum, “The first is that students are confused, and failing to pick universities rationally. The second is that students know that the lifetime effect of picking the right course at the right university is much more important than the relatively small differences in fees.” Over 540,000 students have applied to UK universities for the next academic year. This figure is estimated to rise to 640,000 as around 10,000 applications are made after the January deadline.
Bonuses are bad for business Candidate quits the ULU election Kaamil Ahmed
The problem of city bonuses extended beyond moral issues and are a matter of bad business practice according to a QM professor. Professor Stefano Harney, considered an expert on business ethics and the way corporations are governed, said at the end of last month he was alarmed by the existence of such practices. The Chair in Strategy, Culture, and Society at Queen Mary said: “ It was precisely such practices in banking that wrecked the British economy and ruined the government’s finances, resulting in the swingeing cuts in public services we are now experiencing.” At a time when city bonuses have come under scrutiny, with RBS
chief Stephen Hester giving up his not recur. Professor Harney also £1m bonus after a public outcry stated that he believed there was and his predecessor Fred Goodwin a need for a permanent change being stripped of his knighthood, to proactively tackled the issue. Professor Harney highlighted the “Laws must be in place well Rosie Reynolds issue of how bonuses are paid. before we are in the absurd “In addition to being a tax dodge, position of a publicly owned University of London Union management having Vice-Presidential giving shares to top executives bank’s candidate violates the very principle of the government over a barrel.” Ian Drummond has pulled the modern corporation, the Ammar Lillamwala, a PhD out of the candidate’s race separation between ownership student at Queen Mary was not and endorsed his former and management that allows convinced that bankers’ bonuses rival, QM student Ross Speer. management to act in the had a negative effect on society: He said his decision to step down long term interest of the “If City bonuses are avoided just three hours before voting company, where long term and some social benefit is was due to start was because he interest has its origin meaning achieved (hospitals built etc, not felt that Speer was “best placed of decades, not quarters.” unemployment benefit) then its candidate to keep a commitment Early last week, Ed Miliband, the fine. If bonuses are not given out to anti-war, pro-Palestinian and leader of the Labour Party, called and the exchequer gets no extra anti-fascist activism central to for there to be a change in the way funds then there is no issue. They ULU’s campaigning.” He is due bonuses are dealt with to ensure are all private companies and they to release a full statement later on. that situations in which bankers can do whatever they want with Speer’s manifesto focusses on such as Stephen Hester are being it. I don’t benefit in any way and creating a campaigning ULU. awarded £1m bonuses should it doesn’t affect me in anyway.” “ULU needs a Vice-President who
will stand up and fight against the attack on the fundamental right to education,” he says in his manifesto. He wants to co-ordinate action with the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), pressure the National Union of Students to organise a march for the next academic year, and make a stand against racism and Islamophobia. He says he will defend the right to protest for all students and show solidarity with Arab revolutions and the Palestinian struggle. Drummond had previously been involved in two ULU elections in the past two years but was not able to gain a place as a Sabbatical officer despite a controversial election outcome in last year’s election.
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
Green jobs movement has no substance
Ruth Faulkner The opportunities available for green jobs may not be as prosperous as normally advertised, says green jobs campaigner Hanna Thomas. As Lead Organiser for grass roots campaign organisation East London Green Jobs Alliance, Thomas revealed in recent press conference the difficulties with placing trained young people into successful green employment. “We talk about green jobs but there actually aren’t very many,” said Thomas, “I feel like the green jobs movement, especially here (in the UK), is just a lot of rhetoric and no substance.” This assertion goes against recent news on the Green Deal that hypes the green economy as a prosperous and growing option to lift people out of unemployment. The Energy Act pushed through by Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne became law on October 19th and sets in place the Green Deal which will launch autumn 2012, promising to bring with it a boost of green jobs.
“We talk about green jobs but there actually aren’t very many.” Climate Change Minister Greg Baker said on the law passing: “As well as helping people save money through home energy improvement, the Green Deal will be a massive business opportunity. It’s expected to attract capital investment of up to £15 billion in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at its peak, the Green Deal could support around 250,000 jobs.” The East London Green Jobs Alliance (ELGJA) is currently working to add substance to this green job rhetoric in one of London poorest boroughs, Tower Hamlets, with a project to get young, unemployed and unqualified people into green work placements. The project, Gear Up, is partnering with Tower Hamlets College to place 15 unemployed people in the area into green apprenticeships or green construction sector. ELGJA recently received a £50,000 funding grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, highlighting the support in their community work. Unlike other green job training
initiatives, ELGJA is aiming to ensure their trainees a paid job placement at the end, the difficulty of which highlights the troubles with the green job sector currently. “Green organisations are struggling like the rest of the economy, and already have their own trained staff so aren’t very open to taking on apprentices.”
Thomas explained, “A lot of the green jobs that are created are not very good jobs, they’re still very underpaid, dead-end jobs.” London is also falling behind in attracting new green initiatives that could create work opportunities because of higher costs in the capital. Thomas said: “Nothing’s really happening in London, all
of the most progressive work is happening in South Wales because that’s the cheapest area, so we need a few boosts here.” Chris Huhne’s new Green Deal will have to work hard to open up new green job opportunities in the capital, as London’s young unemployed will expect visible opportunities over rhetoric.
ULU elections under SBCS students beating the curve fire for ignoring rules » 23.37% of Biomedical students received first class degrees since 2004 Tom Stevenson The validity of the University of London Union (ULU) elections has been called into question this week, after a complaint was raised at ULU Senate. Ben Giddins, President of the Central School of Speech and Drama Students’ Union, raised the point that the election process had not properly followed regulations. The complaint centred around the fact that new ULU Election Regulations require the formation of an Elections Committee before the start of nominations. The Committee should oversee how the elections are publicised, and the guidance and training that candidates receive. As no Elections Committee has been formed, ULU is failing to follow its own regulations, which could force a re-run of the entire election process. Giddins told QMessenger that he noticed the Senate meeting agenda did not include any mention of the Election Committee, and therefore raised the issue. “I was a little bit disappointed, as I was quite looking forward to the election including more students from Central - it rarely reaches us at small institutions. My concerns were not meant to be an attack on anyone who is running, I just wanted to raise the
issue. It obviously isn’t good that ULU isn’t following its own regulations.” Sam Creighton, Vice President Communications and Senate representative for Queen Mary at the ULU meeting, said “the fact that the elections committee hasn’t been formed greatly damages the elections at every stage of the process. They are meant to oversee the election publicity and there has been no advertisement whatsoever.” Creighton also claimed this may have affected the number of people who nominated themselves for ULU positions. “Out of 120,000 students do you really think only one wants to be President? I don’t. The fact it has come to be like this is due to poor advertising.” In a statement released following the complaints, Rob Park, returning officer for the ULU elections, wrote that he accepts the complaint “is motivated by a genuine desire to ensure that [all ULU members have] fair and equal access to the ULU democratic process.” He also maintained, however, that the election “publicity has not been diminished comparably for previous years.” An emergency Senate meeting has been called for Friday to further discuss the issue. However, as voting has already opened, the elections in their current form are unlikely to be voided.
Kaamil Ahmed Almost a quarter of students studying Biomedical Sciences since 2004 have achieved a first class degree, according to data released by the university this month. Recent figures had shown that one in six students who graduated last summer achieved first class degrees - a record high - but students studying Biomedical Sciences at the School of Biological and Chemical Studies (SBCS) achieved an average of 23.37% over the past seven years, which is as far as the college holds data for. The information, which showed that Biomedical Sciences students at QM attained a degree higher than the general national average, was broken down to show how students who had taken certain final year modules had fared in their final results. Students who carried out the Biomedical Sciences Research Project (which is worth 30 credits) were the most successful with 72.09% gaining a first class degree as opposed to 19.38% of students who took Project Skills in Life Sciences. Recently, concerns have been voiced about grade inflation at universities following a national increase in the number of students achieving upper
Results at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences have consistently been above the national average. Image by Shafi Mussadique second and first class degrees. why our white paper proposes Figures released by the Higher that most institutions should Higher Education Education Statistics Agency develop showed that 54,000 students Achievement Reports for all undergraduates from graduated with a first class their degree last summer, reflecting 2012. This will be a more useful of performance.” a 125% increase in a decade. measure Some university leaders, “The whole system of degree have questioned classification does need however, reform,” said David Willetts, the whether the way degrees are Professor David Kelsell courtesy of Barts and the London currently awarded is appropriate. Universities Minister. “That is Image
QMESSENGER MONDAY JANUARY 30 2012
Security staff at risk of losing their jobs
QM security staff could be cut if they do not accept a pay cut Image by chiselwright(via Flickr)
Caz Parra Security staff on campus could be at risk of losing their jobs because of an ongoing reorganisation of the security service, which a member of the security staff said would leave the campus “wide open.” The officer has told QMessenger that the College issued an ultimatum to security staff through their union representative that they must sign a contract accepting a pay cut and a change in working responsibilities by February 3rd or be sacked. The source also alleged that the security staff’s union representative from GMB attended meetings with College management without first consulting with them. The source continued: “[Security] is being compromised
so someone can get a pat on the back and be told ‘well done, you’ve done a reorganisation’. Nobody is thinking about the university, the students or us. Our department is managers, managers, managers, and when it comes to cuts, it’s always us who are let go.” Security has been an issue in focus on campus recently with a event run by the Atheism, Humanism and Secularism Society cancelled due to a intruder bursting in the room and making threats. Also, in December a burglary of the student media room led to over £2,000 of equipment being stolen. The university security service is run by Student Campus Services (SCS) who when asked about these allegations released a statement commenting that the
reorganisation in the Security Service seeks to “improve its effectiveness within the College.” They added that “a small number of staff have raised a grievance that has been investigated by the College. The report of the investigation is currently under consideration and the staff concerned are to be invited to a meeting held under the College’s Grievance Procedure. As a result, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.” Sophie Richardson, President of Queen Mary Students’ Union commented: It’s terrible that the Security staff are facing cuts and we are concerned about effect this will have on students and safety on campus. QMSU strongly opposes all cuts and we are currently in discussions
SU elections officially start Rosie Reynolds A compulsory meeting was held on Thursday night to announce the candidates for the upcoming QMSU elections. The meeting clarified the election rules and regulations and gave candidates tips on running fair and successful campaigns. It also gave candidates the opportunity to see who was running for what and check out their competition. Andy Smith is running for Vice President Barts and the London uncontested apart from Re-open Nominations (RON). Ellen Kiely and Ozzy Osibudo are running for Vice President Welfare, with Jade Lee and Wilson Wong running for Vice President Education. Dom Todd, Elle Hallam and Babs Williams are all running for the position of President of QMSU. The meeting focussed on the importance of fairness to both the electorate and the candidates. Phil Gilks, Student Voice and Development Manager, and Sarah
Image courtesy of QMSU Gifford, the Deputy Returning Officer, who chaired the meeting, stressed that election rules were not there to stifle creativity or to control behaviour but the create a level playing field for all candidates. “Fair play and a bit of friendly competition will reflect best on you,” said Gilks. All candidates were issued a handbook with all the regulations and by-laws. Campaigning is not allowed near polling stations, and no canvassing or promotional material
is allowed in the library. Candidates will also be held accountable for the actions of their supporters. The Whitechapel candidates’ speeches will be held on the 8th of February in the Milton Lecture Theatre in the Garrod Building. The Mile End debate will be held on the 9th of February at 6pm in Ground. Elections open at 10am on the 10th of February and close at 4pm on the 16th. The results party will be held in Drapers at 7.30pm on the 16th.
with Security about this issue.” Talking of the financial implications of the changes, the officer said that over a three year period he would receive a salary cut of £10,000. He said that this reduction is taking place in three parts, with one already having happened, another scheduled for next August and the final cut for the August after that. The security guard has also alleged that they have been denied pay protection by the College. Pay protection is a right that when you are on a certain salary and are then offered a lower position within the organisation you should have your salary level maintained for three years before it is cut. The source said that the College rationale for denying pay protection is that due to changes in working hours they
say the security staff are no longer eligible to receive a shift allowance. The officer highlighted that these cuts were coming at a time when security is an issue because of the Olympics: “You’ve got the Olympics coming here, today the BBC report that they are recruiting in the Olympic Village, they’re recruiting for security officers, our campus is wide open, they are willing for us to walk.” QMessenger has attempted to contact GMB numerous times and has left messages asking for comments. However, at the time of publication there has been no response. QMessenger went to print before the alleged deadline for security staff to sign the new contracts, therefore the outcome, if any, was not known.
Students re- British Asians write history dual accents Britain’s past prime ministers have had their biographies rewritten by history students at Queen Mary as part of a re-design of the Number 10 website. The post-graduate students, who are members of the Mile End Group, visited Downing Street last week after writing the biographies of 11 prime ministers from Clement Attlee up to Gordon Brown. The students, who visited with Dr Jon Davis, a contemporary history lecturer, were personally thanked by David Cameron for their contributions to the website. Dr Davis: “Another example of the unique opportunities our students have to be directly involved in central Government, politics and history”. The Mile End Group, is a contemporary British history group based at the University which runs high-profile events with British politicians.
Asian women have developed two different accents for different situations according to research carried out by the Linguistics department at Queen Mary. Dr Devyani Sharma, a senior lecturer at the department, said that second-generation Asian women speak ‘prestige English’ in formal situations but speak with a heavier Asian accent when at home. Dr Sharma said: “It’s liberating for them to be able to inhabit these two worlds and have separate identities.” One of the 100 participants of the research wproject carried out in Southall in west London said: One female participant commented: “I won’t talk to mum and dad in the accent I’m speaking to you in now, I will put on an Indian accent when I speak English to them, which is kind of funny. It comes very, very naturally.”
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
The Great Debate
Is it fair, or even possible, to raise a child gender-neutral? Cuts Aren’t Just About Money Security is set to be a big issue in 2012, not just on QM’s campus but for London as a whole. It seems an odd time to be ‘restructuring’ any security organization, let alone to be making cuts to one. It seems that whenever cuts are made, its no longer the last ones in who are ﬁrst to go - its the people at the bottom of the food chain. The security staff here at QM feel that the managers are all being kept on, but the people are who are actually working on the ground are being pushed out the door. The staff at SCBS are in fear of losing their jobs under a ‘restructure’. Academia isn’t making as much money as it once did and some lecturers, whose specialities aren’t as marketable, simply aren’t bringing in proﬁt. Its wrong that some students might not be able to choose modules in the subjects that interest them simply because they don’t make money. Some of QM’s security staff have been here for ten years. In times of austerity its easy to think of a job as simply a way of making money but its not - its part of someone’s life. People don’t stay in a job for ten years unless they enjoy what they do and that’s why its so wrong to tell them that just to keep themselves in work they have to sign a contract that changes their duties.
Being A Third Year Isn’t A Reason Not To Vote There are pieces in QMessenger every year about how important it is to vote in your SU elections, and this year shall be no different. If you’re a ﬁrst or second year, its easy to understand why you should vote - the policies of the winners will directly affect you next year. The next academic year is set to be just as busy in terms of marches, strikes and industrial action and we need strong leaders to make sure that students are represented fairly and in the way they want to be. A few years ago, it might have been enough for a President to be involved with sports and societies and to have a lot of friends willing to vote for them, but now a President needs to really care about the Union and what they can do for it. Third years might be slightly more apathetic about the elections. After all, you’ll be setting off into the real world in July. But your vote is a chance to leave a legacy at QM. Don’t let someone who you think isn’t ﬁt for the job get into power just because it won’t affect you anymore - it’ll still affect your university, of which you will hopefully remember with affection.
Yes Sean Richardson Writing an article about raising a child genderless was never going to be an easy task. Firstly people hate being told how to raise their children, and secondly, gender is an all round touchy subject. Add to this the cries of disgust from the fearful right-wing: “I’m not having my boy dressed like a ponce”, and the uberliberal yummy mummies plaiting their “darling little boy’s hair” and you’ve got a real conundrum. But both these perceptions are exactly where the problem lies. Raising a child genderless is not about taking away their Action Man and replacing them with Play-doh, nor is it a matter of forcing them to experiment with the gender boundaries; it’s about choice. The best example I have ever been given to illustrate this argument is the toy shop. Toy shops are a haven for gender stereotypes, awash with aisles of pink and blue, apparently deﬁning what it means to be a boy or a girl. Raising a child genderless, however, is not about buying your daughter a replica gun or your son a plastic oven, and it’s certainly not about rushing to the toys that are “gender-neutral”, such as telephones and model cities: it’s about letting your child pick what they want, regardless of their gender. This simple act removes from the child’s mind so many of the prejudices they will hear about as adults; that women are “weak”, “love doing make-up” and are “good housewives” and that men are “rough, tough and dominant”. Character traits are nothing to do with your gender. Girls can be tough too, and if that is what they want then forcing them into a frilly princess frock isn’t going
to stop that. If anything, it’s only going to tell them that what they want is wrong, thus suppressing who your child is in favour of who you want them to be. Of course there will be obstacles to overcome such as school and other parents. The main argument against letting your child choose is bullying. If you let your son wear a princess dress to a party it might cause a backlash. Nevertheless, people let their little girls go as kings to parties, because in today’s society it isn’t demeaning for a girl to dress as a boy but it is for a man to dress as a woman because being a woman is demeaning. So of course, words may be said, and children will always pick on other children regardless, but the answer is not to shelter and suppress your children, it’s to help them when they feel bad and to tackle the problem head on, i.e. the bullies. Coinciding with this, psychological experiments have given empirical evidence that having a weakened perception of gender is something healthy. For example, following experimentation, Sandra Bem found that participants who had a mixture of “masculine” and “feminine” characteristics were more ﬂexible, stable and had a higher state of mental well being. Not only is it possible to raise your child genderless, it is also fair. For raising a child genderless is not about forcing them into a certain way of life, it is about letting them choose who they want to be. In doing this you will not only be allowing your child to be who they want to be, but you will be helping them become a healthier, more productive, and a more psychologically stable adult. Sean Richardson is a first year English Literature student and a member of the LGBT society and QM Equality.
Image by Maria D’Amico
No Jess Ashman Firstly, it is possible to raise a child gender neutral. However, I would argue that this could only take place in an environment removed from our society entirely. For a child to be truly gender neutral they would have to have no exposure to the pre-existing media, art, or language belonging to our society. They would need to be raised unaware of almost the entire history of their own species in order for them to avoid uncovering the concept of gender and instantaneously ﬁtting themselves within this concept. The most poignant inequality faced by imposing this isolation on a child is that they would not be able to socialise. Yes, you could perhaps raise a group of children gender neutral but this would still cause the same issues as exposing the group of children to art and history. It is most likely in this scenario that a single child would be isolated from all other children, as other children would have had the concept of gender imposed on them and so could inﬂict this on the gender neutral child. This situation could only be avoided if the entirety of human civilisation rejected the concepts of gender, meaning people would not try and impose gender on each other. This would still leave the issue of exposing the child to history and art. It would be unfair to pretend the concept of gender never happened; children should be taught about both the good and bad parts of history, and of course they should in no way be shielded from the past inhumanities of their kind. Gender has been so consistently
sustained a concept in society that, as soon as a child learns anything of its history (even in an utopian future world where gender does not exist), they will inevitably be thrown back into the gendered shackles of our present. Once the concept of gender is learned, it is unavoidable that a child would consume it. Even if they do not consider themselves to have a gender, they would then gain the concept of what they would have been had they been born in the past. Once a child’s curiosity for a subject is ignited, little can stop them seeking the answers to their questions. Nor can little stop this awareness from inﬂuencing their lives. Without being aware of the concept of gender, a child cannot understand any pre-existing art as all art is inﬂuenced by the context in which it was produced, and it is true of all art that this context is gendered right up until the present day. It would surely be unfair to not give a child a full understanding of their culture if its history is made available to them. Even though gender is a harmful thing for a child to be subjected to, I would not say its harm outweighs the gains that a child may receive from all the joys of art, literature, music and history. It is unfortunate that humanity has grown in such a way that causes it to wish to deﬁne people by a gender, but once that damaging concept has already been introduced to society it can never be withdrawn. To do so we would be tainting all the beauty of civilisation in our attempts to remove one, however large, part of evilness from it. Jess Ashman is a first year English Literature student and a member of the LGBT society and QM Equality.
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
Benefits cap will jeopardise families
Alannah Francis considers the risks of welfare reforms, as evidenced by Obama’s recent struggles, and the justification given by Tories for failing to intervene in banking bonuses. Images clockwise from left by: transplanted mountaineer; nikoretro; DFID; Ell Brown. All images via Flickr CC
Alannah Francis Don’t fall for the Tories’ tabloid tactics. After the start of the recent economic crisis it became commonplace for articles on benefit spongers to grace the pages of tabloid newspapers, and it seems that the coalition government are taking on this approach with the Welfare Reform Bill. Reform is always a risky step for a government, especially in areas such as welfare. Think of Barack’s recent struggles with Obamacare. The coalition appears to be faring no better in their attempt to make drastic changes to the welfare system in order to cut spending. The recent government plans have suffered a great deal in the House of Lords. Proposals to cap benefits at £26,000 were met by opposition, as were those to implement charges for single parents using the Child Support Agency. According to the Department for Work and Pensions website, they claim that one of the two main problems with the current benefits system is that “work incentives are poor”. But I fail to see how cutting off families in financial need addresses this problem. The cap, if passed as it is, will be a blanket measure, ignorant of family size or area of residence. These tactics are reminiscent of tabloid bashing of large families, dependent on ben-
The government has argued that efits. However, the children born into these families shouldn’t be the changes are in the interests of forced to suffer. Only a few weeks the public. They claim that the reago, QMessenger included an ar- cent decision by the House of Lords, ticle on how Tower Hamlets has “clearly flies in the face of public the worst child poverty in Britain, opinion”. Under the new plans an with, “more than half of children upfront charge of £100 or £50 will living in households earning 60% be payable for single parents using less than the national average in- the Child Support Agency. On top of come.” These latest reforms, which this, up to 12% would be deducted include imposing a cap on child from the Child Support payments received by the single parent. Surely it is this which flies in the face of public opinion and the whole purpose of the CSA. The idea of charging single parents who may already be living hand to mouth to receive the money that they are duly owed, and then to have those necessary payments reduced in order to pay the agency, is clearly irrational and out of touch with public opinion. Undoubtedly there is a need to eradicate the benefit culture and the existence of generational fambenefits, will only mean children ilies able but not willing to work. living in poverty in Tower Hamlets, There is also a need to stamp out and all over Britain, will face more instances where it is more financially viable to be on benefits than hardships. As someone who grew up in a sin- to be in paid employment. But can gle parent home, I am aware that we really expect these problems to benefits are not just for those who be solved simply by capping beneare not in work, or never have been, fits? More needs to be done to get but also for those in work on low people back into work and to make incomes. Despite the campaign by employment pay. Let us remember, tabloid journalists to rid Britain of benefit claimants are not to blame the benefit generation and house- for the crisis and punishing them is holds in which no one has ever not going to get us out of this mess. worked, the welfare reforms pro- At a time when more and more posed by the coalition will hit and people are facing situations where claiming for government support is hurt hard-working families too.
cap, if passed “The as it is, will be a blanket measure ignorant of family size or area of residence
necessary for survival, it seems in-
It seems insensitive to make such damaging changes
sensitive at the least to make such damaging changes. Cameron and his government are playing up to tabloid infused public opinions with regards to benefit claimants, whilst ignoring public attitudes to the financial world of big salaries and even bigger bonuses. The public outrage which saw bankers blamed for the economic crisis was then further maligned in the face of bankers’ salaries and bonuses, some amounting to almost 50 times the national average salary. Despite being bailed out by the tax payer, RBS is still offering bonuses of near a million pounds to its chief executives. Stephen Hester chose to give up his £963,000 shares bonus ahead of a Commons vote, forced by Labour. Although we should not fear for Hester as his salary of £1.2m is sure to keep him from needing benefits any time soon. His move to react appropriately to public pressure may end up casting him in a better light than the government, who re-
fuse to curb bankers’ big pay-outs, but are all too keen to enact a benefits cull. Instead of the government tightening the loopholes which allow big businesses to evade taxation and reducing the deficit that way, all we hear are arguments that if Britain was more hostile to these arrangements suddenly all the financial fat cats would up sticks and move abroad. So the government preys on the poor, on those who are unable to make a quick get-away. With a substantial amount of criticism towards the reforms coming from within the coalition as well as from outside government, from Labour amongst others, it appears that the government will be forced to make some amendments to the bill before it is passed. And that can only be a good thing. With the bank, 83% owned by the taxpayer, struggling to meet its set targets and the taxpayer facing a loss of over £10bn on their investment, it seems that the government are yet again rewarding failure. The government failed to pressure Hester enough to refuse his bonus and his decision was likely a result of the criticism from Labour and the media. At least the tabloids are keen to ensure that failure isn’t rewarded at the top or the bottom, if only the coalition would do the same. Alannah Francis is a third year History student.
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
Celebrating LGBT history
LGBT History Month
Filtered through the abacus; all born as numbers, one in seven billion. We are fed portions of the alphabetthese, our namesand none of us the same. Suits of many letters, each skin though made of ‘I’. We inherit D-N-A, and, perhaps, a couple ‘X’s, but sometimes ‘X’ and ‘Y.’ A few of us accessorise with ‘L’, ‘B’, ‘T’ and ‘G’, some work towards MAs, others work towards ‘MP.’ We are all born as numbers, live as people, go by names, and I wear mine all with pride.
Stephanie Elizabeth Rankin is a first year English Literature student and co-editor of the QMessenger Comment section.
Bill Gates’ LSE speech Mann Virdee
LGBT History Month claims that in order to “understand our present and imagine our future, we must first gain insight into our past.” Image from the archive of Paul Hartnett/PYCMA. paulhartnett.com, pycma.com
Kate Ailsa Sargan LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, however the acronym also incorporates those who define as asexual, pansexual, and anywhere else on the queer gender and sexuality spectrum. That’s a wide range of people. Not to mention LGBT people come from all over the globe, from different walks of life, religious backgrounds, cultures – do they even share a history? So why have the UK assigned LGBT people a ‘history month’, and how can it work? I believe the answer is just that: LGBT people are rich, poor, old, young; we are from every country on the planet, we are from the other side
of the globe, and we are your nextdoor neighbours, and in bringing together such diversity we are creating a rich, vibrant and exciting history, and claiming it as our own. A community finds unity and comradeship through its history; through the struggles it has faced and the victories it has won; and for a community as newly acknowledged as the LGBT community this history is still being discovered, uncovered, and reclaimed from its heteronormative setting. Just as individuals build their present self from what has happened to them in the past, communities are made up of their histories. Understanding our past, in all its forms, allows us to make sense of our present – who we are and what is expected of us – and carries us in to the future as a
community who embrace each other’s difference and look to make the changes that will give us all a better future. We are united through what we share, and enlightened through the understanding of what we do not. Perhaps this is also what the heterosexual community can take from LGBT History Month? An appreciation for what brings people together, and an acceptance for what is different. By understanding how we have discriminated in the past we can identify and change our behaviour today, and create a safer and more equal society for tomorrow. Kate Ailsa Sargan is a third year English and History student and Women’s Social Secretary of the LGBT Society.
To launch his annual letter, Bill Gates gave a speech to students, international development experts, and the first global poverty ambassadors at the LSE last night. In the speech, Mr Gates appealed to policy makers from around the world to maintain aid levels, which have been so effective in helping the world’s poorest and have improved the quality of life globally. He praised the efforts made by the UK in tackling global poverty, saying such commitment to reach the 0.7 per cent target is “exemplary”. However, he added that the only thing that stands in the way of eradicating extreme poverty is governments that falter on international aid because of financial difficulties. Cameron and other world leaders must also ensure that donations for the Global Fund are increased in line with commitments, and this Government needs to en-
courage others to do so too. Mr Gates said that the time to help build up self-sufficiency and overcome the need for aid is now, and the key to success is innovation. He cited innovations in health and agriculture, such as the near eradication of polio and development of disease resistant crops, and how they have completely transformed the lives of so many, as examples of this. On the progress being made, Mr Gates reassured the audience and stated clearly: “We will be successful.” He was joined by Professor Hans Rosling, who gave a presentation on global trends and the tremendous benefits of development aid. The speech came a day after Mr Gates addressed a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, where he praised the role Tony Blair and Gordon Brown played in pushing forward the agenda on development and aid to Africa. Mann Virdee is a second year Natural Sciences student and the President of the Labour Society
Why Britain should abandon “The United States of Europe” Christoffer Johannessen Europe has experienced 66 years of relative peace, and advocates from across the political spectrum continuously tend to attribute this feat of human rationale to the EU. The absence of conflict and an increased sense of cooperation have indeed remained the chief arguments for further integration and expansion of a political project only superseded in its vastness by certain empires from bygone eras. Thus it has become the ultimate Polaris of the moderate left and liberal centre in Europe - a regional continuation of the UN, built
on good intentions and undeniable ambitions for a glittering future. This vision of a united Europe is of course perfectly legitimate, and one that most of the continental and British populations share. The fundamental problem with it is not a desire for cooperation and de-militarisation, shared marketplace, common foreign policy initiatives, or standardised measurement policies. The fundamental problem is that the citizens of the UK have not been consulted regarding a common foreign policy fronted by Baroness Catherine Ashton or their milk sold in litres. The European Economic Community started out as an institution
with a single aim: to facilitate a com- premacy allows for massive portions mon market in which leading in- of power to be signed over to supradustrial nations could do commerce. national mechanisms, the statesmen With the nationalist build-up of mil- of this nation should not cowardly initary and civilian industry preceding terpret constitutional uncertainty to WWII, such an approach was both mean a carte blanche in entrenchprudent and expected. The nature of ing future MPs and their undeniable the EEC in the early years did not in- right to supreme power of the realm. fringe upon national supremacy, and And if they still want to do so, at the if it did the member nations had eve- very least they should find the courage to consult the people they claim ry right to exercise their vetoes. From these humble roots, the Com- to represent. No taxation without repmunity has evolved - some might resentation. The EU has become a modern vereven opt to declare it has morphed into a union aspiring to become the sion of empire; this time imposed by Europe on Europe, with the ensuing United States of Europe. Although legal scholars are still de- problems of democratic deficit we all bating whether Parliamentary Su- know. For some reason the left has
taken up the role as guardian of this empire. Labour has shown in the past that it is the party of international, regional and national cooperation and democracy, and precisely for this reason it should take the lead on this issue. There are many lefty arguments to leave the EU - from trade union rights to monetary policy - but most importantly Westminster should recognise what all those soldiers fought for 66 years ago: the right of every Briton to choose for himself. Christoffer Johannessen is a first year Law student and a member of the Bar and Law societies.
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
To get the job you must realise there’s more to a degree than grades Sophie Richardson President
I took part in a panel debate last week titled ‘Is a 2:1 degree an effective gauge of how good an employee a graduate will be?’ with business and education sector experts, as well as undergraduate students. I argued that no, a 2:1 degree is not an effective gauge. To an extent it reﬂects academic ability, knowledge of a particular subject area and that you are able to commit to something long term. However, beyond that I struggle
to see what else a 2:1 shows. This began to make me think about where, then, I am developing in order to be a good employee. I realised that majority of the social and cultural capital gained throughout my university life was done through the extracurricular activities I got involved in and by actively engaging with the opportunities that appeared. Most of these came through the Students’ Union and so I realised the value and impact the Students’ Union can
have on an individual, both from the representative point of view, but also as a means for providing opportunities for personal development and engagement with others, therefore bridging and bonding social capital. I know, as a 2:1 graduate myself, that when I walk into a job interview I will be using the experiences gained outside of the lecture theatre and away from the academic side of my degree as evidence of my ability and potential to be a good
employee. It is the soft skills and life experience gained throughout the years spent at university that will be transferred to the workplace and, when coupled with the academic skills built up in the classroom, will hopefully enable us all to go on to be successful employees, and maybe one day employers. Sophie @PresidentQMSU
Intercalated courses are great, but make sure you choose carefully George Ryan BLSA President
I love the idea of being able to intercalate at medical school. For those of you not familiar with the lingo intercalating is when you take a year out of medicine to study a Bsc (normally) subject of your choice, the equivalent of a 3 year degree in one. It’s an opportunity to delve into the world of research for the ﬁrst time, developing a key set of analytical skills vital to the progression of science and sub sequentially the effectiveness of our
healthcare system. It is also some- nity to undertake research can have. thing becoming more and more Now, clearly I am one in favour of common for graduating students offering intercalated degrees to to have and is in fact more than students but I do have a gripe with common but essential. A student what we offer at BL. Looking at the with a Bsc qualiﬁcation is instant- other London medical schools the ly more attractive than one with- majority of degrees align up with a out. It shows the student has that speciality in medicine, for example extra drive to push themselves into Anaesthesia and Surgery at Imperian unknown ﬁeld, a new challenge al or Neuroscience at Kings. What and along the way will have ac- we do at BL is something slightquired a new way of thinking only ly different; we offer some bizarre someone who has had the opportu- choices like Molecular Therapeu-
tics or Experimental Pathology. I struggle to see how topics like this, that are not obviously transferable to the medical profession will beneﬁt students in the same way speciality driven ones will. Agreed you gain the same analytical approach to things through the research you do but I feel this can be done alongside gaining more knowledge of a medical ﬁeld and contributing to the future development of our profession.
The manifesto is wrien, now we just need the candidates to sign up! Dom Bell VP Student Activities
The manifesto is written. We’re now getting ready to meet the candidates for London mayor, and I hope every single student will vote on May 3rd. Starting on February 20th at 5.30pm at King’s Waterfront Bar, we’ll be launching the ‘552,000 Students. One Vision for London’ campaign. It started in September 2011 with Students’ Unions discussing the issues that concern them while living and studying in London.
I want to raise students’ collective The manifesto contains the most pressing issues for the majority of voice and extend our inﬂuence into students to do with crime, transport, ‘real world’ politics, and by focusing housing, and employment – the four on issues that matter I want to major departments that the London motivate students to vote. Along with LSE, Imperial, Kings, Mayor oversees. The campaign is directed at the London Mayoral and Arts Unions we’re: • Passing the manifesto at Unions’ and GLA candidates running in the elections this year, aiming to student councils, AGMs, Executive inﬂuence their agendas and shape Committees, etc. • Promoting the manifesto to get public debate. One in 10 Londoners are students, involved. • Bringing parties of students, and together we can effect change.
candidates and national, local, and student press to the launch of the campaign. • Organising follow-up local launches here at Queen Mary and at many other campuses. • Getting involved with the ULU Mayoral Hustings in March. Finally, I’ve agreed with Tower Hamlets Electoral Commission to turn QMSU into a polling station on voting day and to do three voter registration days at the end of term.
Mums and Dads, classical music, beer and the cup of knowledge Oscar Williamson VP Education & Welfare
I spent Tuesday afternoon looking for ideas for the ﬁrst Mums & Dads social. In case you haven’t heard of Mums & Dads, it’s a Students’ Union programme that puts ﬁrst years into little families with a pair of second year ‘parents’ who help them with their university growing pains. The scheme is new in SBCS and SEMS this year, but we’ll be rolling it out to other departments next year. Anyway, I was looking for events
that other people have already or- musicians from the Orchestra of the ganised, so that I can hijack them Age of Enlightenment playing in a and claim lots of credit for little ef- pub on Commercial Road – with the fort. I’ve ended up with a good list threat of drinking songs to follow. of events from the Wellcome Trust, Option two sees a Fellow of the RoyGresham College and a couple of al Society, a writer, and an expert in other universities. It was good fun near-death experiences (what does rooting through all the great free her day look like?) debate alien enstuff that goes on London all the counters, the God Particle, and, yes, near-death experiences at the altime. I’ve come up with a shortlist of two ways-excellent Wellcome Collection. It surprises me that more Londonfor the social. Option one sees three
ers don’t go to this sort of thing. I passed the Science Museum on Wednesday night and the queue for late-night opening was dominated by tourists with bum bags and plastic ponchos from open top bus tours. I can’t really criticise London people for not chugging from the cup of knowledge (I was only there on my way to the pub) but it was good to be reminded of just how much is going on here if you know where to look.
It’s a job that maers so make sure you get your voice heard, vote! Sam Creighton VP Communications
NOMINATIONS ARE CLOSED! THE CANDIDATES ARE ANNOUNCED! Exciting stuff (you can tell by the capitals). There’s only one position I’m interested in though (okay, that’s not true at all, I’ll rephrase). There’s one position that I’m particularly interested, that of executive editor. I’m not going to discuss either of the two candidates who are running (or three if you include one)
as that would be vastly inappropriate and I would get in quite a bit of trouble from the powers that be. I do want to discuss the role itself, as it is new and therefore rather shiny. My job, as I’ve written about a few times before, has been abolished and I will forever wander through life with the title of the last ever QMSU VP Comms (I know!). In place of VP Comms will be the ex-
ecutive editor, charged with managing the students involved in the media, promoting the media on campus to maximise the number of people reading, writing, watching and making the media as well as getting feedback from students to make sure it improves. Therefore it is vital that you make sure you vote. This is the person who will be in charge of making sure that all the student
media at Queen Mary is of the best possible quality. A good student media is important for everybody. It holds the Students’ Union, the College and others in positions of authority to account and campaigns to make the student experience at Queen Mary the best it can be. So, go out and read the manifestos of the two candidates and decide which, if any, you want in charge.
www.youtube. com/qmtvchannel www.qm-tv.co.uk QMTV @QMTVchannel
QMESSENGER MONDAY FEBRUARY 6 2012
Satire All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Please don’t mistake anything on this page for fact.
Essays: A how-to guide
Following the suspicious disappearance of Queen Mary student, Claire Skinnetter, special reporter Tahmeed Zaki uncovers a version of Cub’s Qupid that never made it to print. Image by John
AnnaHarry Honorby 1. Wait until at least 24 hours before the deadline to start. You may know how much of a tosspot you are, but you probably don’t want to reveal to everyone else what a keen bean you are. Going out on the lash the night before will help to emphasise how laid back and conﬁdent you are with the situation. 2. You wanna get at least one swear word in your essay and some kind of joke phrase. Swap with your friends and see who can be the most daring. Good words to include are: thrust, penetrate, harass, intercourse, blow and tittywank. 3. The word limit is speciﬁcally a limit and not a target. Often there is no speciﬁed penalty for being under the word limit, only over. Get creative with this. Less is more, as they say. Only written 10 words? Close enough. 4. You’ll probably get bored shitless whilst writing this essay so after every 10 minutes take a break to check Face-
book, watch TV, rate people on Luluvise, eat pizza, have a wank, take a piss or anything else you can think of to kill some time. 5. For creativity’s sake try writing in broken English, text chat, 1337 sp33k or jast in a Eest Landan way innit blud. Trust, it’ll work fam, swear down! 6. See how much plagiarising you can get away with. No one gives a ﬂying fuck about references and you’ve probably left it too late anyway, so pull that outta your ass. 7. Play a game of chicken with the deadline. Watch the minutes tick down and then at 1 minute to deadline time, see if you can get the thing uploaded to the VLE. If handing hard copy work in, make sure you leave it ‘til the last possible minute so you’re sweaty and out of breath when handing it over. If they say anything just say you were having a quicky in the loo. 8. If you really wanna be a lad then scrap everything else said above and just pay someone to write it for you. Google is your friend.
Eugene Algernon, 2nd year BA Comparative Literature: Oh man! I was so excited about this blind date, I didn’t even wait for my friends to sign me up for it as a joke. I went down to Qupid’s ofﬁces and handed in my CV and 8 photographs of myself, along with a medical record clearly showing that I had no history of STDs or STIs or any other contagious diseases, which is a deﬁnite plus. On to the date itself, I prepared for it like nothing before. I showered twice during the day of the date and brushed my teeth for the ﬁrst (2nd, 3rd, 4th) time in like 6 weeks. And then I saw Claire! Oh man she was such a let down. I think I got my hopes up too much, she wasn’t pretty at all. She was disgusting in fact. And a bit of a bitch! Didn’t laugh at any of my Yoda impressions. So I concentrated on the food, I had steak (well done) and chips, and a red wine that was essentially some expired Ribena. Disappointing evening all round. Bitch didn’t even put out. And to think I wasted an entire evening of World of Warcraft for this. Never again. It’s a good thing this was free or I would ask for a refund. Claire Skinnetter, 2nd year BA Comparative Literature: I was very surprised when I got this call from Qupid, as I never signed up for it. I thought one of my friends had signed me up as a joke but turns out none of them even know what it is. I had been wanting to meet new people after a messy break-up and thought this might be a good way to get the ball rolling. Things didn’t start well. While we were having our photos taken before the meal he tried to put his arm around me, which was a little creepy. And to make things worse, he had clearly over applied Crusty (by David Attenborough). Things didn’t get better at the dinner either. He kept staring at my chest throughout, made sexist comments about women, made an offensive joke about my aunt’s struggle with breast cancer and my god, the endless Yoda impressions. Also, I’m not sure if I imagined it, but I’m sure he put something in my glass of wine. I didn’t drink any more wine from that point onwards, which was a shame because it was really good. I guess this is just one of those things that I will look back on and laugh about in ﬁve years’ time, although I’m still slightly unnerved by the experience. Qupid’s verdict: This was a disaster from start to ﬁnish. Eugene was very obnoxious and clingy to say the least, and I feel like I owe Claire an apology. To be honest, I still don’t know how our system matched Claire with Eugene. And to make things worse, the restaurant where we usually arrange these blind dates is now closed for two weeks for a criminal investigation, as one of the waiters was found unconscious. Apparently he had drunk some funny tasting wine from a customer’s table and died.
Fact of the week
Dear Queen Mary Students, You have been cordially invited to meet your Prime Minister, David Cameron, for a three course meal at 10 Downing Street. Mr. Cameron is eager to sit down to listen and discuss your thoughts on the rise in tuition fees. Your Prime Minister feels that the media may have misrepresented his thoughts and reasoning for this issue and as a result, Mr. Cameron would like to re-build bridges with you. Mr. Cameron is also willing to take time to open up the ﬂoor to any suggestions you may have, and negotiate any issues you have with the current educational state of affairs. Your Prime Minister will gladly reimburse any travel expenses. The meeting is scheduled to take place on 21 December 2012 at 12.00. We look forward to your attendance. Yours truly, David Willetts Secretary of State for Universities and Science
The 1974 ﬁlm Death Wish staring Charles Bronson was actually based on the life of the ﬁlm’s director Michael Winner.
Soap Box It’s been ﬁfteen years. Isn’t it time we called her Princess Dead?
Societies News I let out a moan as his thick candy ﬂoss entered my stuffed animal. He pounded deeper and deeper into my toy elephant. I was soon squirting my hot juices from my already throbbing chocolate fountain; I had the most intense funfair of my life. It was the ﬁrst time I’d ever let anyone near my donkey but needless to say, I’ll be doing it a lot more from now on. Marc Simpson -New member of LGBT Text has been edited by Sam Creighton as erotic literature makes him uncomfortable
Also in the news this week... “Civil Servants panic as government minister has a ‘good idea’” “Men Riot in Egypt as Valentine’s Day changed to Bank Holiday” “Robin Williams to star in new ﬁve hour arm shave epic” “Costa Concordia widely regarded as less important Titanic” “Tower Hamlets bids to become city” “Self important students run for petty positions of limited power” “Students’ uUnion criticised after rule banning criticism of students’ union criticised” “Aaron runs out of news towards end of column”
QMESSENGER MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2012
The Third Coming; a duel production for February
Film Society and LGBT Joint Film Night hold a joint screening this Monday
Lauren Mason On Monday the 6th of February, Queen Mary’s very own Film and LGBT societies will be teaming up to show a ﬁlm and socialise together. You might think that societies like these don’t mix, but we beg to differ - this is the third LGBT-Film screening so far this year. Previous ﬁlms shown have been ‘Transamerica’, with Felicity Huffman playing a pre-operative male to female transsexual who unexpectedly journeys across America when she discovers that years ago she fathered a son, and ‘Breakfast on Pluto’, where a devastatingly charming yet unnerving Cillian Murphy takes the role of a young man leaving his small town roots behind to travel to London, seeking his birth mother and a place where he will be accepted and understood. Both of these ﬁlms share a lot in common, quite apart from dealing with LGBT issues, such as the ever popular ﬁlm tropes of travelling, the (horribly clichéd) idea of ‘ﬁnding yourself’, and searching, which in each case is brought about due to a main character’s feelings of displacement through
Colin Firth stars in ‘A Single Man’, one of the choices for the Film soc-LGBT night adoption or fostering - an appeal to origins to try to ﬂesh out the self and make it complete. These sorts of ideas are the backbone of good ﬁlm - traits which are often used but always alive to reinterpretation, and
Upcoming Events February is a time of love. But don’t let the distractions of Valentine’s get in the way of some great society events! The next week will feature talks provided by ISOC and New Turn. Islam awareness week may have passed, but don’t let that deter you from the ISOC talk this Wednesday. New Turn, a society aimed at encouraging debate and attracting the big names of the political world, continues its success with a talk on Monday. Tuesday’s talk will also be at QM. For more inter-faith awareness, check out fundraising initiatives from the Hindu Soc. Or why not take a break as the week ends? Simply take a trip to Drapers and help raise funds for the Kenyan Orphan Project. See the full list of events below. Mon 6th Feb: NEW TURN Policy Week: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters [David Sizer Lecture Theatre, 6pm] HINDU SOCIETY Sewa Week – 6-10th Feb. Events will take place throughout the week. Volunteering, fundraising and giving back to the Hindu Society members with cultural and funﬁlled events. Tues 7th Feb NEW TURN The Lord Baron Mark Malloch-Brown, Queen Mary University of London, 6pm Weds 8th Feb ISOC Talk by Alamgir Ali [FB 2.40, 3 – 5pm] Thurs 9th Feb REACHOUT Fundraising on Library Square Kenyan Orphan Project Trafﬁc Light Fundraising Party
Drapers Room 2 Fri 10th Feb REACHOUT Fundraising on Library Square AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Fundraising on Library Square
You can ﬁnd out more about societies and upcoming events at www.qmsu. org/societies
can offer a latch to draw in the viewer, regardless of his or her background. Indeed, one of the aims of Film Society this year has been to explore the possibilities of ﬁlm as a way of bringing together seemingly
disparate people or groups with very different ideas and opinions. So when LGBT approached us planning a Film Night, we leapt at the opportunity. We believe that if we’re open-minded, good ﬁlm can bring us together and
help us appreciate the amount we have in common with each other, uniting people in the same way that a national event might connect us on a much larger scale. Grand claims perhaps, but if we can laugh and cry together at a ﬁlm, and maybe go for a drink and a chat afterwards (if you’re so inclined), surely that, in a small way, makes this campus a nicer, friendlier environment for us all to inhabit. The exact ﬁlm to be shown on Monday is, at the time of QMessenger going to press, still being voted on by our members, but is likely to be 2009’s ‘A Single Man’, starring Colin Firth. The screening will be taking place at 6pm in the David Sizer Lecture Theatre on the ground ﬂoor of Francis Bancroft. You’re welcome to attend, whether you’re a member of Film, LGBT, both or neither. While our Film Nights are an ongoing project, please remember that the LGBT and Film societies run events all year round autonomously too - so check our respective Facebook pages ‘Queen Mary LGBT Society’ and ‘QMUL Film Society’ regularly for more information.
QMESSENGER MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2012
Austerity measures for transfer deadline day
» Top Four and big spenders silenced » Spurs cement challenge with recruits
Shafi Musaddique The end of January passes before our eyes stronger than a winter freeze. A world frozen by weather and by money finally brittles the Premier League annual hoo-hah that is the transfer deadline day. Austerity times have truly hit the last planet of the economic galaxy, the monster of the Premier League schmoozers are on their knees. Its safe to say, the January window was a dramatic let down. Rituals are often holy revisits of habit cemented over time. For the average football fan, this comprises a tense viewing of Sky Sports News’ countdown to midnight. For the rational, this is the commoners’ New Year’s Eve, a baptism of fire. January transfers were down 70%, perhaps symbolised most by a lack of movement from big spenders Man City and Chelsea. This time last year, Chelsea and Liverpool exchanged Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres. Both had their potential, and so spectacularly so, that they have become the symbol of money’s failure. Unfortunately, the £50 million price tag for Torres is not his own doing. One can assume he has become a harbinger of doubt, with only seven goals in his Chelsea career to date. As for this transfer window, the shopping carts were merely dotted with the loanees. Former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge joined Sunderland on loan, with the possibility of joining a depleted Arsenal a
Spending has decreased 70% from the last transfer window fleeting chance. For Gunners fans, this was yet another drought in the transfer window. Being a Gooner myself has taught me to be as self restrained in excitement as Arsene Wenger loves to immoveably stitch together the seams of his chequebook. Perhaps the most notable transfers were the moves of two underrated strikers; Louis Saha’s move from Everton to Tottenham,
and Bobby Zamora’s move from Fulham to QPR. Saha came to the spotlight during his successful spell with Fulham, and was eventually lured to the heights of Manchester United. Since then, the Frenchman has lost his way. With the attacking prowess of Spurs, it seems a slightly strange move for Harry Redknapp. But with the team occupying third place comes expectation. Tottenham
Image by 401K, via FlickR CC will want to continue the pressure for places and competition as the run in starts. Zamora’s reunion with Mark Hughes is a brave but steady option; Zamora’s recent exploits in the big games such as the win against Arsenal prove his goalscoring ability that has gone under the radar at times. On a final note, spare a thought for Alan Smith. Remember him? Poster boy at Leeds United a
decade ago, he now goes on loan from Newcastle to MK Dons for a month. One reason for such stagnation, especially at the top of the tree, could be a lack of prize money for Champions League drop-outs Man United and Man City. Times really have changed, from the free for all landscape that shaped a decade of football transfers.
Aspire showcases wheelchair basketball for Paralympics Ruth Faulkner The fledgling student-led volunteer project falling under the umbrella of Provide Volunteering has set a date and chosen sports for its final event day. Starting with just an idea and attempting to make it into a reality is always difficult, as QMSU Aspire has found. Aspire started back in September with an aim to promote Paralympic sport. Now the team is finally putting its ideas into action with a partnership with Tower Hamlets Sports Development (THSD) Team. The final event scheduled for Friday March 16th will feature Boccia and Wheelchair Basketball, thanks to this new partnership. Boccia is a lesser-known sport and is normally played by wheelchair athletes
with cerebral palsy and related locomotor conditions, with players required to be in a seated position within a throwing box at one end of the playing court. Wheelchair Basketball will also be showcased, with chairs provided by THSD. A highly competitive and active sport, wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular Paralympic sports and was one of the first to sell out in the 2012 ticketing series. Aspire will give local Tower Hamlets school children the opportunity to try the sports during a visit to the university. The Paralympics can generally be seen to fall to the sidelines with excitement over the Olympics, however London 2012 saw unprecedented sales of Paralympics tickets with over 100,000 applicants applying for more than one million tickets.
London’s reputation in promoting disability sport at all levels has been heralded, with its sport options for young disabled persons in events such as the London Youth Games being seen as the cause of this. QMSU Aspire is currently recruiting students to volunteer on a one-off basis at its final event, with opportunities available in running the sports, delivering lessons to children, and in media coverage available. There’s still plenty of time to join in something new, exciting and relevant. Feed your CV, take charge and let the Olympic and Paralympic Games inspire you! If you’re interested in getting involved or maybe just want to know more about QMSU Aspire and the activities it runs then please email email@example.com.
QMESSENGER MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2012
Renaissance for 5ths as RUMS rotimi-zed
Club legend returns to guide fifths to another 3 points.
Sean Mahoney Sam Lowe may be a good golfer and an average historian but when it comes to kicking a football its safe to say he is more a ‘trier’. After a big away day at Royal Holloway, the fifths entertained a RUMS side who were struggling for form. Captain and History Journal enthusiast Ashley Sweetman stressed the importance of a QM win before kick off and his inspirational team talk clearly worked as the fifths went in 0-0 at half time. Sam Lowe, who is notorious for missing penalties in big games, had the chance to put QM ahead from the spot before half time but lacked the courage and ability to score from 6 yards. Sweetman led the team off at half time to a chorus of boos – mostly from overly keen substitute Femi Rotimi – who was desperate to stick on his Diadora boots and roll back the years in what would prove to be an emotional comeback for the big Ivorian. Lowe’s disgraceful attempt at a penalty was forgotten when a cross hit him on the head and dropped kindly in the net, breaking the deadlock and lifting the tension around Chistlehurst. Minutes later, ex-fourth team galactico turned referee Max Thompson awarded QM a second penalty of the match (four in two games). There was no chance Lowe would be allowed to take this one and Tommy Huckstepp who broke
Fixtures Wednesday 8th February QMUL v University of Greenwich Wednesday 15th February QMUL v University of Westminster Wednesday 29th February QMUL v Imperial College London Wednesday 14th March QMUL v Middlesex University
Football Seconds Wednesday 8th February QMUL v UEL Wednesday 15th February QMUL v University of Greenwich Wednesday 29th February QMUL v Goldsmiths
A renaissance by QM legends only matched by the heights of Thierry Henry through the QM academy stepped up and calmly doubled QM’s lead. A glamorous career refereeing Manchester United games clearly awaits the bent official. Rotimi was proving to be a handful for the RUMS defence, and minutes later a long Rotimi throw-in fell to Sam Lowe on the edge of the box who volleyed home from 20 yards. Although it looked a great finish, Lowe later confessed to it being a “sliced cross” and a “total fluke”; after all, there is more chance of
Image by Structures:NYC, via FlickR CC
Ryan Davis earning a return to the first team than Lowe scoring a decent goal. Mitch Ingram scored arguably the goal of the game as he sent a free kick – which the keeper should have caught – into the back of the net. Lanky striker Alex Cope rounded off the goalscoring as he rose above the RUMS defence to send a towering header into the top corner. Fan favourite Sean Mahoney has been a breath of fresh air to the league and he has revolutionised the
role of playmaker/keeper and he picked up another clean sheet after another 10/10 performance. It is important to note that Mahoney now has more clean sheets than top scorer – Andy Durr – has goals. It was a win that ensured the fifths would pick up their second ‘team of the month’ award this season. Champagne fifths is becoming a brand at QM after some dazzling performances from Ashley-Villas Sweetman’s boys. Promotion? Cup final? Why always us?
Wednesday 14th March QMUL v University of Greenwich
As the sporting year continues, please send in your sports team’s results and society news to: sport@ qmessenger.co.uk
Court cases galore; the week of trial and error
»Redknapp and Mandaric in the dock for tax evasion » Athletics smeared in controversy again Shafi Musaddique Summer rioters of 2011 and a constant stream of News of the World journalists pack the halls of justice these days. One would be forgiven for questioning the lack of space to fit into the courts anymore. Oh, how fickle we are for a major figure in the courtroom. This week, Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp gave
evidence against allegations of tax evasion and off-shore bungs. Most famously, predecessor and former Arsenal manager George Graham was sacked by his employers for taking a share of player transfer fees. The irony of a Spurs manager in the dock will ring laughter around the red half of North London. Proceedings in the case included findings of an off-shore account held by Redknapp in Monaco. Even more strange was
the name of the account, Rosie47, also known as a pet name and as a date of birth. For a man who claims to be stereotyped for his cockney accent and intelligence, there is more than a hint of the creative cleverness usually exuded by the Google password generation. Milan Mandaric, former Portsmouth supremo, was also giving evidence for tax evasion. Both have refuted the claims. The jury will resume this
week to continue their findings. Another trial will follow football allegations of racism committed by John Terry will be put to trial after the European Championships in the summer. Many in the FA would have preferred an earlier date, but commitments for Chelsea and England have delayed the hearing. Politically and symbolically, this could be a disastrous consequence. John Terry leading the side with the
cloud hanging over his head does not show England as a leading nation in fighting racism. Many have noted the quick damnation of Luis Suarez in comparison to the ‘fair’ trial of Terry. Meanwhile, in the world of athletics, trial and error hit hard on Sam Grammer. The American athlete has been banned by the British anti-doping agency after testing positive for three banned substances.
Issue 55 of QMessenger, the newspaper of Queen Mary, University of London