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Issue 45

Monday October 31st 2011

Find CUB Magazine inside this issue

QMUL in high demand Undergraduate applications rise by 3.7% Page 3

Surprising Police Stats Statistics suggest the riots never happened Page 4

CUB meets Russell Howard The comedian talks about his projects, students and economics. CUB pages 4 and 5

The Newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union

Exiled Ribal al-Assad speaks at Queen Mary Kaamil Ahmed Tom Stevenson A future Syria will need all of the different elements of its society to be included in the running of the country, according to the exiled cousin of the Syrian President. Ribal al-Assad spoke at an event run by the New Turn Society in Queen Mary last week about the situation in his country of birth. Assad said: “Syria needs a new democratic constitution which allows a multi-party system, guarantees the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and protects the rights of individuals, groups and minorities.” “It must immediately abolish article 8 of the Syrian constitution, which enshrines the Ba’ath party at the centre of National life.” “It is fundamental that all voices of opposition must be

heard ... true freedom and democracy can only be delivered by secular liberalism.” “The chances of sectarian war in Syria leading to wider regional war are high,” said Assad, the director of the Organisation for Democracy and Freedom in Syria. He insisted that it is important to consider the importance of not alienating any of the competing forces in Syria. Assad also warned against what he claimed were interfering outside forces, mentioning Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. “The incitements against Syrian religious minorities, promulgated by extremist TV stations in Saudi and Egypt, coupled with equally damaging behaviour by Iran, if left unchecked could result in a bloodbath. It would be wrong to deny these risks.” “The Iranian regime, lead of so called resistance, uses proxy groups to have greater influence and control in the Middle East

and ferment trouble in the region,” said Assad. “Iran’s aim is also to create instability in the region, by fueling conflict in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and Afghanistan.” He also tried to distance himself from the current regime in Syria, despite the family links. “Yes my name is Assad, but I am not part of the regime; I have never been part of the regime.” Ribal al-Assad left Syria with his father after tensions in the ruling Ba’ath party began to escalate. His father, Rifaat alAssad, is accused of being responsible for the Hama massacre in 1982 which saw thousands killed in a crackdown on a campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood. Ribal al-Assad denied these claims. Babatunde Williams, Chairman of New Turn - the society which organised the event - received death threats from people protesting against the invitation to Ribal al-Assad.

Image by Matthew TK Taylor

Principal addresses students at open meeting Alex Badrick Last week on the Mile End campus Professor Simon Gaskell hosted this semester’s Principal Open Meetings, with an emphasis on tuition fees and questions ranging from Library and IT problems, to the proposed restructing in SBCS and personal academic grievances.

Gaskell opened Monday’s Mile End Meeting with some general comments about the university’s current position. The meeting was attended by 27 students. “This is an interesting time for higher education in the UK, and in England in particular, we have significant funding cuts this year, we have the prospect of a new fees regime starting next September. I

won’t be discussing the rights and wrongs of that new fees regime but what I will focus on is how we’re coping with that new regime at Queen Mary and how we are trying to see some good in it despite the fact that it is problematic.” He described the coming year as “challenging”, but added “if there is a silver lining on the cloud of the news fees regime” it would be that

“students are increasingly looking at the quality of the student experience, the quality of teaching and everything that is provided by this university.” “This irony,” he continues, “is that for most universities there will be no change, and for many universities a decline in income, just at a time when students feel they are paying more ... and indeed

they are after graduation.” Students were asked to submit questions in advance; some asked how Queen Mary had calculated its new fees at £9,000/year – the new maximum from September 2012. “We decided that rather than, if you like, following a market driven approach, we’d start initially with costing”.

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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

News Editorial Team: • Executive Editor - Sam Creighton vpcommunications@qmsu.org • Managing Editor - Caz Parra editor@qmessenger.co.uk • Sub-Editors - Robert Pritchard, Maria Sowter and Lauren Mason proof@qmessenger.co.uk •News Editors - Rosie Reynolds and Kaamil Ahmed news@qmessenger.co.uk • Comment Editors - Ross Speer and Kashmira Gander comment@qmessenger.co.uk • Satire Editors - Ben Richardson and Aaron Barber satire@qmessenger.co.uk • Sports and Societies Editors - Shafi Musaddique, Hollie Carter and Ashley Sweetman sport@qmessenger.co.uk • Photography Editors - Keeren Flora and Bethia Stone photography@qmessenger.co.uk

You should be writing for us. Email any of the above email addresses to sign up to our award winning team and get your career in student media off to a flying start.

The Cloud How you fit into the news.

More than 20,000 high street jobs have disappeared in the last year, as retailers shed part time workers and cut hours to save money The Bishop of London had offered to organise a debate between anti-capitalist protesters and political and business figures - as long as they peacefully disband from St Paul’s

A ULU seminar called Islamophobia Off Our Campuses hosted speakers including Hicham Yezza - a man detained for researching Al Qaeda at Nottingham University

QMessenger is printed at Mortons of Horncastle Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 6JR. Tel: 01507 523 456. Each issue has a print run of 1,000 and costs £445 to print and deliver. 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.

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. At @QMUL Principal’s Open Meeting for @QMessenger. Free sandwiches ahoy. We never get a mention on the front page, so here’s saying you should read the Satire section in this week’s @QMessenger. Of late I have taken to pressing copies of @ QMessenger upon fellow customers in Ground and telling them to especially admire the photography

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Business secretary Vince Cable has been forced to pay £15,000 in back taxes and fined £500 for failing to register or pay VAT

There have been more calls for a fox cull after a five year old was attacked by one in his bedroom

Alternatively find us on Facebook at /QMessenger.

QMessenger is created entirely by students and the publication retains all copyright of design, text, photographs and graphics, along with the individual contributor.

Tension has escalated between Kenyan and Somalian forces, after several thousand Kenyan troops invaded the Somalian border

The International Criminal Court has charged Gaddafi’s son Saim al-Islam for crimes against humanity for the bombing of civilian protesters in February

QM President Sophie Richardson joined sabbs from across the UK in Liverpool for the NUS Zones conference

By Kaamil Ahmed and Rosie Reynolds

New Turn society organisers received death threats after Ribal al-Assad, the cousin of the Syrian president, gave a talk about his thoughts on the regime at one of their events

QM students appeared on BBC1’s The One Show to discuss honorary degrees, in particular the one QM gave to Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson in July

Images by: International Criminal Court by MMR (Flickr) St Paul’s Cathedral by J. Pundt (Flickr) Boris Johnson by Jason (Flickr)

Boris Johnson has been labelled a “part-time Mayor” after it emerged that he has been writing a book, as well as his regular Telegraph column, on top of his duties as Mayor of London

Gaskell answers students questions Continued from page 1.... Gaskell explained: “if you do that calculation for the least expensive courses – those which don’t depend on, for example, laboratory facilities or clinical experience. Even in those cases the true cost of what we deliver is close to £9,000.” He then stressed his dedication to research led teaching. One student, concerned after this newspaper published plans to shake up staff structure within the SBCS, asked the Principal

why students had not been consulted. Gaskell replied: “Some degree of restructuring will take place, but that is not designed to rebalance away from teaching into research. It’s to play to our strengths in the school. You have to be careful with these processes, and as universities are not the most confidential of places there’s no intention to change the teaching programmes and no changes midstream to degree programmes”. Other topics discussed included “around £20 million” overhaul of IT infrastructure,

suggestions to improve event advertising, the “ring fencing” of library books budgets with increases for some departments and whether QMUL’s high employability statistics discriminate between graduate and other jobs. “We’re simply quoting league tables!” Gaskell says.


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

News QMUL joins Academic Health Sciences System to improve local health services Ariane Osman Queen Mary last week became the newest founding partner, along with Barts and the London NHS Trust, of UCL Partners, making it the biggest Academic Health Sciences System (AHSS) in the world. UCL Partners is part of the five accredited Academic Health Sciences Systems in the UK whose aims are to transform academic research from partnership institutions into practical health solutions for local communities and hospitals. “There are very significant opportunities through the new partnership between major health providers and academic excellence across north east and north central London.” David Fish, Managing Director of UCL Partners said: “The synergistic strengths will enhance clinical quality, education and research at real pace for the patients and population both in London and nationally. The scale of the new AHSS will enable a step change

in our global competitiveness.” Queen Mary and Barts aim to use this partnership to help improve health services in East London where social resources are known to be poor. According to the English Indices of Deprivation 2011, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets continue to rank as the most deprived boroughs in London. Both colleges will be contributing their specialised knowledge to health concerns with the highest demand throughout the local communities. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease, trauma, stroke and human genomics to the organization. Professor Richard Trembath, Vice Principal & Executive Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry added: “The School of Medicine and Dentistry is extremely excited at the prospect of making a substantial contribution to the AHSS partnership, which brings together the many strengths across London in bio-medicine and healthcare

delivery, providing an outstanding opportunity to pull through translational discoveries and innovation, in order to realise patient benefits for our local population and beyond.” Other founding partners include UCL, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and University College London Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust. Academic Health Science Systems are networks of healthcare organisations that collaborate on edcuation, research and clinical practice. QMUL Principal, Simon Gaskell, had previously talked to QMessenger about UCL Partners, commenting: “Do we really want to join big, bad UCL next door, will they overwhelm us with their size?” The choice we have, Gaskell explained, is, “be in the partnership and run the risk of people disagreeing with us and being outvoted, or not being in the partnership and definitely not getting what we want.”

UCAS applications to QMUL and Barts at all time high Rosie Reynolds More students than ever before want to study at QM and Barts and the London this year, despite the number of university applications across the rest of the UK falling. While 3.7 per cent more students applied for the QM this year than last, numbers for the other London colleges are down by almost ten per cent. UCAS has seen an 8.3 per cent decline in applications across the board. The biggest coup for the College has been Barts and the London, which has seen the biggest spike in applications. Applications for Medicine and Dentistry have gone up overall by 15 per cent, with applications exclusively for Medicine going up by almost a third. Nationwide, applications are down on last year. “Our current students seem ever more confident about recommending the School,” said Professor Anthony Warren, Dean for

Education. “They are making a big investment in their years here and they can see how committed we are to making sure they get everything they need from their university life. They are the ones I believe we need to thank for our increasing popularity this year,” he continued. QM is bucking the trend of falling application numbers, and seems to be at odds with the idea that the rise in tuition fees will put students off going to university. Southwark Council is so concerned that this might be the case that it has become one of the first councils to pay tuition fees for local students. Six sixth formers from low income families were each awarded a £10,000 scholarship by the Southwark Youth Fund. They have earned the money through their academic achievements and contributions to the community. One of these students, Dominique Manshadi, is now studying maths at QM.

The London 2012 Olympics creates new jobs for students Josh Thorpe The London 2012 Olympics is set to create thousands of jobs, especially for the hardest hit unemployment age group of 16-24 year olds (currently 21.3% unemployment across UK). The London Organising Committee of the Olympics Games (LOCOG) are to provide at least 1,000 jobs for Tower Hamlets residents with officials urging Barking and Dagenham residents to apply for one of tens of thousands jobs that will become available between now and the Games next August. Stratford is one stop from Mile End on the Underground, which gives many QM students an exciting opportunity to get involved. Those wishing to do this can join the “Bridging the Gap” scheme that sees young people guaranteed an interview for a role at the Olympics on completion of the required security certificate with G4S – the official security provider at 2012. Conor O’Callaghan, first year Film Studies student, spoke of how the games are an “exciting idea’’, yet added “in terms

it is hard to get a job’’ while pointing to the fact it “gives the option to people who didn’t get tickets to be a part of the games’’. James Weaver, Employer Liaison and Events Officer at QM Careers discussed the Games and how as a department they feel about the Games taking place so close to the university: “We’ve already been working with the various organisations involved with 2012. At our Experience Works event, held at the start of term, students met The Retail People and High Society who will be contractors at the Games and have around 1,000 jobs available.” QM Careers have been to several LOCOG events and roles over the past year and James Weaver brought attention to an event they are currently looking to run alongside QMSU Provide, which will showcase paid and voluntary Olympic jobs in the New The London Olympics are the most anticipated event of the year Image by Givingnot (via Flicwkr) Year. Meanwhile, students can visit the Summer Jobs of a Life% of 16-24 year of creating jobs it’s not that big al lack of support from the gov- time website: www.summerolds currently a deal, considering how much unemployed in the ernment’’. jobs.jobsforthegames.co.uk, an it’s sucked away from other arEdward Webster, a first year important recruitment channel UK. Number of jobs LO- Chemistry student, highlighted for London 2012’s contractors eas, especially the arts in which COG has pledged a lot of creative groups strughow the opportunities “sound which lets you register your into provide Tower gle financially with an additionlike a good idea in a time where terest in working on the Games. Hamlets residents.

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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

News

Surprising riot statistics show fa Kaamil Ahmed Crime dropped in Hackney during August, the month of the London riots. At least, that is according to statistics released by the police earlier this month. Hackney saw some of the worst violence in East London and was one of the hotspots of the four day riots but apparently had 200 fewer crimes than in July and actually recorded one of the lowest numbers of crimes this year. Unsurprisingly, the amount of individuals committing crimes did not actually fall between the 6th and 10th August - the days of the riots but the way the police recorded the crimes makes it seem so. According to Home Office rules, if a crime is carried out by more than ten individuals it should be recorded as one crime, whereas if a crime is carried out by less than that number then each person is recorded as having committed a separate crime. “That is surprising, I don’t know why that is,” said Raymond Antrobus, who witnessed the riots. “I mean, if they’re saying that crime actually went down in August - that’s a strange one. So there must be a flaw in the way it was recorded or the way they report crimes.” This rule means that across the country, statistics almost suggest that the riots never happened, with figures showing at most a slight increase in crime. One of the focal points of the riots, not just in Hackney but in the country as a whole, was Mare Street in Hackney Central. According to statistics, there were only seven more crimes on Mare Street in August than in July - using the Home Office guidelines on the recording of crimes this could mean that at least 70 more people were involved in crimes on Mare Street than the statistics suggest. Hackney Central, which Mare Street runs through, saw a 4% drop in crime overall during the month according to the statistics. Antrobus, who lives in and grew up in Hackney, said that

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one of the most tense parts of riots that he witnessed was on the Pembury estate, not on Mare Street, though the statistics actually reflect a drop in crime in August in that area. “I find it is weird that nothing is said about Pembury estate, which is next to Mare Street and it’s kind of a no go zone,” said Antrobus. “There was like a war between police and the kids there. They started burning cars to get the police’s attention then when they came they threw bricks at them.” Antrobus was keen to say, however, that even though there was plenty of tension, there was not a constant warlike scenario that seemed to come across on the media and that maybe this could also reflect lower statistics. “It wasn’t as chaotic as what you saw on TV,” he said. “It happened in short bursts. You felt like anything could happen at any moment and it was really tense.” Misleading crime statistics were also attributed to Manchester, Tottenham, Liverpool and Birmingham. The overall crime for August in Manchester was a four month low. In Tottenham, where the riots began after a man was shot by the police, the recorded crime rise of 63 on Tottenham High Road was the highest. Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, denied that the police had tried to ‘airbrush’ the impact of the riots on crime statistics. “It is plain silly to try to assess the impact of the riots in terms of the number of individual crimes that were committed,” he said. Over 2000 people were arrested during the riots for a variety of crimes, though 44% of arrests were for burglary with the looting of shops being one of the lasting images of the four days of unrest that rapidly spread across England. The police.uk website has recieved more than 420 million hits since it was launched in February this year and has been according to the Home Office providing people with an opportunity to easily access information about crime in their areas. It is possible to look at specific neighbourhoods and streets.

Burning cars in Hackney from 8th August this year, part of riots sparked by the killing of Mark

Kings College more dangero

Matthew TK Taylor All rates of major crime in the three London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham are well above the national average, a QMessenger investigation can reveal. As part of our feature on crime in areas where students

are most likely to live around Queen Mary we found that some crimes nearly doubled the national average occurrence rate in the area. None of the three had any crime rate below the national average, though this is generally true for any urban area. When looking into which central London university’s

location had the highest rates of criminality, despite Queen Mary’s ‘East London’ reputation, common with many freshers, Kings College in Westminster was found to have the highest rate of offences overall, with particularly high results for theft, with some statistics 7x national average. Imperial College, in Chelsea


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

News

all in crime

Murder Capital Kaamil Ahmed

k Duggan by police in Tottenham. Image by Il fatto Quotidiano via Flickr

ous than Mile End

East London is home to some of the worst murder rates in London, according to statistics released by the police this month. Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest are all in the top ten and Tower Hamlets came in at 11th with a combined total of 162 murders in the last five years. The top ten consists almost completely of East and South London boroughs with Newham only just behind Lambeth on the table with 56 murders, and Hackney fourth on the list with 42 - behind Southwark. Some East Londoners expressed surprise that some of the statistics were so high but also admitted that there are plenty of problems “Having lived in Newham for over 18 years, I’ve always known that there were such incidences, but not to the extent of the second highest murder rate in London,” said Visnhu Naidu, a third year Medical student at Barts. “I think in these areas, you need to think twice about where you are and whether it is appropriate for you to be out alone at certain times. “The fact that there has been an increasing number of murder attempts, especially the shooting in Beckton just last week, has me rethinking the actuality of the situation in Newham.” Crime in London as a whole, but specifically East London,

has become a serious concern with attempts being made to solve the problem. Citizens UK, which describes itself as the “home of community organising”, set up the CitySafe campaign three years ago in an attempt to combat crime through grassroots organisation of communities in London. “It is a practical result of death in our communities,” said Sebastien Chapleau, a Citizens UK Community Organiser for Hackney and Education. “We’ve started building relations with the police because often there are no relations between young people and the police. We’ve also started building relations with community leaders. “It is [CitySafe] called by the deputy mayor of London the most effective anti-violence campaign in London - because it is grassroots.” Chapleau argues that young people are not to blame for crime in inner city boroughs, even though the media, which he says often sensationalises crime, often portray it that way. “We are working with hundreds of young people” said Chapleau. “They are not a problem, they are a solution. They are very brave, they are trying to tackle the problems. Safety is a major issue and they’ve been orgnanising the community to deal with it.” The statistics appear to suggest that Chapleau is correct to suggest that the murders are not a problem exclusively linked to young people, with gang-related violence often being attributed

to deaths in London, as the average age of victims in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and Waltham Forest was 33 years. Of the 162 murders that took place in these boroughs between 2006 and 2011, 30 of the victims were in their teens, suggesting that reasons behind are possibly more complex than commonly perceived. Chapleau also said that violence and crime have deep social roots in East London. “East London has been poor for a very long time with bad housing and education,” he said, “there are lots of reasons for unrest.” He also criticised the role of the media, arguing that reporting crimes and statistics and also phoning organisations such as the The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) for comments and stories about crime in the area is not useful. Chapleau said that there needs to be more focus and support for positive attempts by young people to tackle the issues that are believed to be at the root of the violence. “As with all places you need to be very cautious at what times you walk alone in streets and where, and I’ve always known that, yet still used to walk home at 12am alone because ‘I’ve done it so many times before’. Upon hearing the recent news, I look back at those times, and think what a naïve outlook I had,” said Naidu, “just because nothing major has happened to me, I had this view that nothing will ever happen.”

Incidences of ‘other theft’ per thousand. and Kensington, was the safest area, with the rate of theft less than half of that of Westminster. When focusing more recently, figures released by police departments across the country have shown that over the course of August this year 1909 crimes were committed in Tower Hamlets, with 1883 in Hackney and 1573 in Newham. Crimes recorded include burglary, anti-social behaviour, robbery, vehicle crime, violent crime and ‘other’. Crimes in this survey are recorded to street-level and are

usually less than ten, though some streets, such as Myrtle Road in Newham Borough, have 37 recorded, and Rainhill Way in Tower Hamlets numbers 25 anti-social behaviour offences alone. With anti-social behaviour filtered out of the results, crime hot-spots can begin to emerge. For burglary, Dare Place in Tower Hamlets, is joined with Rochester Avenue in Newham, with ten instances each. Hackney, however, is the most dangerous borough overall in this respect, with 113 burglaries recorded in August.

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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

News

Interview with Ribal al-Assad, the exiled voice of Syrian opposition

Ribal al-Assad, son of the notorious Rifaat al-Assad, at a QM New Turn event. Image by Matthew TK Taylor

Kaamil Ahmed Tom Stevenson “Is this the place where I will be shot?”, a smiling Ribal al-Assad asks as he walks into a small room in Queen Mary University. Like all good jokes, Ribal's words are not entirely without truth. Cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and son of Rifaat al-Assad - once a leading figure in the regime - he has his fair share of enemies. It is hard to pin Ribal down for the crimes his opponents accuse him of, considering that he was only seven years old at the time of the Hama massacre in 1982. Ribal also refuses to accept that his father is guilty of supervising the killing of 25,000 people by the Syrian regime. It is with an air of quiet confidence, and undeniable charm, that Ribal smooths his suit and takes a seat. Well groomed, and fluent in French, Spanish, Eng-

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lish and Arabic, he looks like a man who is comfortable under pressure. “In a democratic election it’s impossible that Bashar al-Assad would stay in power,” he says. “It’s been going on for too long now and a lot of people have died.” Ribal has only met Bashar once, many years ago, and is vocal in his criticism of the current Syrian government’s “bloodshed”. The United Nations currently estimates that as many as 3000 people have been killed. The conflict, he says, “cannot continue ... we have to find a solution.” Ribal chaired the satellite Arab News Network for five years before it was blocked by the Syrian government in 2009. He left Syria as a child and has never been part of the ruling regime. As founder of the Organization for Democracy and Freedom in Syria, he is seen by some as a voice of opposition to the current

ruling party. “I think that everybody, the Syrian people, the opposition, and people in the regime - if that is the way to move forward and stop the bloodshed, if that’s a way out - I think they should all sit together”, he replies. Comfortable under pressure, indeed. Anyone who considers the matter concedes that one of the mountain-shaped problems lying between modern Syria and a functional democratic state is its factional internal politics. In 1916, Britain and France drew the borders of Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, in the secret ‘Sykes-Picot agreement’. As a result, Syria has deep ethnic and religious divides. Ribal speaks at length about this problem, but a good deal of his ire is saved for what he calls ‘Islamist’ parties in the Middle East. He is fiercely critical of the ‘Islamist’ Shia government in Iran, and of Hizballah in Leba-

non, but also of Erdgogan’s Turkey. Many Syrians, he reminds us, still see Turkey as an imperial threat. “A lot of people in Syria do not agree with wearing the veil, they are open minded”, he says, “and it should not be imposed on anyone. If you want to pray, you pray. If you want to wear the veil you wear it.” But, he says, “there shouldn’t be a government or a party telling people you wear it, or you’re going to be hanged.” “Remember Syria had a very bad experience with Islamists” Ribal concludes. He is alluding to the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in 1976-82, which culminated in the Hama massacre. Much of Syria’s fourth largest city was destroyed by artillery fire, and the body count was chilling. This leads us towards the destination that, Ribal knows, any interview will inexorably reach. Though Ribal is not Rifaat, and was only a child in 1982, his fa-

ther’s shadow follows him. “The Muslim Brotherhood chose to take up arms against the state”, he says, and “this led to a lot of bloodshed”. In particular, he stresses the Brotherhood’s targeting of the Syrian Alawites. “They were killing people for belonging to a religion, or a sect, and even people who just didn’t agree with their ways”, he says. Though Ribal is anti-Islamist, his father is not culpable for any of the crimes committed at Hama - or any other during his time in the regime. Furthermore, he claims, Rifaat wasn’t even in Hama. “When you’re the head of the Presidential guard - and the regime is in Damascus - and at the same time the Muslim Brotherhood was fighting the regime,” you have no reason to be in Hama. “Why would you send your forces,” he asks, “whose job is to protect the capital ... 200 kilometres outside of the capital?”


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Comment Is Andrew Lansley's health bill right for the NHS? The Use Of The Survey While UCAS figures show a drop in university applications for the 2012-2013 academic year, applications to our university have risen by 3.7 per cent. This figure, small but significant, proves that QMUL is attractive to students. The official press release named student “commitment” and “friendliness” as some of the reasons for the result. QMUL has a lot to offer and is in constant improvement. We, the students, contribute to these improvement when we return a module feebback form or, in the case of the third years, fill in the National Student Survey (NSS). As of this year, the NSS will also record students’ opinions of their own students’ unions, and while we’re sure our Union is set for high scores, we knowit can get better. This is only be possible through student involvement: we need to have a say on what the Union does and proposes as it not only influence us but those who will come here after us.

The Link Between Crime and Student Satisfaction While you might not think there is an obvious link between NSS statistics and those quantifying the level of crime in our country, there is seemingly one indeed. That is because they are both needlessly manipulated. As we reported in a previous QMessenger, the 22nd question of the National Student Survery is misleading when used by individual departments to show student satisfaction. Equally, to airbrush the riots that recently swept through the country out of crime statisitcs doesn’t help anyone. While the argument will go that the riots were an anomoly and therefore shouldn’t slant the year’s statistics as a whole, removing them entirely encourages people to ignore them and therefore to ignore the causes of the riots, the very social issues that we, as a society, should be addressing. It’s time that people faced the facts rather than stubbonly glued rose-tinted glasses to their faces.

Ryan Henson There are many myths in politics. It is, for example, a myth that socialism leads to progress. It doesn’t. All the evidence suggests it leads to debt and despair but there you go, some people will insist on believing otherwise. Then there’s the one about Labour being the party of the working class. We all know that’s not the case – that working people don’t particularly like being over-taxed and over-regulated and yet, once again, a fair proportion of people keep thinking it regardless. But these are minor compared to the myth about the Tories and the NHS. Just the words “Tories” and “NHS” are enough to provoke screams - Janet Street-Porter style – from anyone of a centre-left persuasion. Ever wondered how Gordon reacted when Tony told him he wouldn’t be stepping down after all? Well, mention “Tories” and “NHS” to a Guardian reader and you’ll soon get the general idea. So when you read about the Conservative party’s plans for the National Health Service, it’s best to take what you hear with a large pinch of salt: what you read may have been influenced by myth. Now, time for the truth. The NHS is the Conservative party’s number one priority. Labour said they’d cut the NHS budget by £30 billion over the course of this Parliament, the Conservatives will do the opposite. By increasing the NHS budget in real terms each year a total of £12.5 billion will be spent improving care. Furthermore, the Health Bill going through Parliament at the moment will improve

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quality, empower patients and staff and improve public accountability. How can that not be the right course of action for our Health Service? Critics have argued that Lansley’s Bill will lead to some sort of “post code lottery” and that GPs may have to “compromise” care in order to meet financial targets. Well, first of all, we already have a post code lottery in this country when it comes to finding a good GP. Second, it’s right that GPs, rather than faceless bureaucrats, should have the final say in how our money is spent; they’re the ones who treat us after all. In North London I know people who have to wait five days to see a doctor. Meanwhile, in Hertfordshire, I can usually get an appointment to see my GP within 24 hours. That isn’t fair and we should support Andrew Lansley as he attempts to put things right. As many experts have pointed out, the Health Bill isn’t perfect. Its core message was lost amid a very selfish and public act of political back-stabbing on the part of the Lib Dems. This in turn has led to wild accusations and overblown conspiracy theories. That’s politics for you. But the significant thing to remember is this. The Bill won’t damage the NHS, it will improve it. And most important of all the Bill won’t lead to privatisation through the back door, on the contrary it will empower patients by cutting waste and making the health service more accountable. Let’s remember that amidst all the myth making. Ryan Henson is a second year History student and is VP of the Queen Mary Conservative Society. .

Laura Blair David Cameron’s election pledge read: ‘I’ll cut the defecit, not the NHS’. Just how true is this statement? The Department of Health outlines their aim to ‘remove unnecessary tiers of management’, giving more power to doctors and patients, making the NHS a more efficient organisation and saving money. However, hours after Cameron claimed the Bill had backing from health professionals, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of GPs released statements stating opposition to the Bill. The British Medical Assocation called for a complete retraction of the proposal. In a survey conducted by the BMA, only 18% of health professionals were ‘broadly supportive’ of Lansley’s plans. 88% believed the reform would lead to increased competition, but 79% believed that this would be detrimental to the quality of care patients would receive, and 89% felt that it would lead to a fragmentation of services. Lansley said “For years, GPs have been telling me ‘if only they would listen to us, we could do it so much better’”. However, requiring GPs to manage finances is very different to listening to their ideas. In the BMA survey, 61% of doctors believed that taking on responsibilities previously dealt with by ‘unnecessary tiers of management’ would mean less time spent with patients, which 99% were opposed to. GPs are stretched far enough as it is with their current paperwork. Lansley stated that there is a “role for the patients in being able to exercise choice” and so there must be a “choice among

providers”. Treatment options rarely vary greatly between providers; just the waiting time and the comfort of the bed. Lansley denies that the proposals aim to privatise the NHS, but Baroness Thornton claims that ‘healthcare would become a traded commodity’ while GP Dr Phil Hammond said the reforms ‘focus on competition’ not ‘collaboration and co-operation’. It’s hard to think of an example of privatisation that has benefitted the public in recent years – has it improved National Rail? Why is a system known to be one of the best in the world facing 50,000 clinical job losses to make £20billion worth of savings by 2015, when that amount was spent upgrading the irrelevant Trident nuclear system? These job losses are not to the ‘unnecessary tiers of management’ but instead to hospitals, primary care trusts and mental health units – the latter of which is known to be the most understaffed area of healthcare. The changes outlined in the Health Bill put too much pressure on organisations to save, and the only way they can do this quickly is by cutting jobs. In A&E you may have to wait, but you will be seen and won’t be charged. Obviously saving money is beneficial, but the reform attempts this under the guise of ‘improving services’, despite medical professionals and the public being completely opposed. As stated in a letter to the government: ‘It is clear that British people do not support the privatisation of the NHS; no one ever voted for it, so this Bill has no democratic mandate whatsoever’. Laura Blair is a first year English Literature student and is a member of the Rock and Metal Society.


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Comment

Haven't you heard going to uni abroad is "hella chill brah"?

Queen Mary students studying abroad are offered life changing experiences at top class universities across the globe.. Image by courtesy of Bethia Stone.

Ariane Osman If you have no idea what the headline of this article is referring to, that’s ok, neither did before I arrived in Berkeley, California to begin my year as an exchange student - a year that turned my world upside down and will affect each decision I make for the rest of my life. Before I begin, I would like to let readers know that this article isn’t an excuse for me to ramble emotionally about how much I miss the athletes, frat parties and the sunny beaches, but to let you all know what an amazing opportunity Queen Mary has created by offering us the chance to experience university life in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Studying in another country is an eye opener. The more involved you become in the life of your host country, the more you begin to realise that your system back home, in the fields of education, health and politics are not synonymous the world over, something that is very easy to forget. We all like to think that our own countries gave us the best start in life, that they

are the safest, the most democratic; that life could not be better anywhere else. The superiority of America is the message I got from many US students that I met at the beginning of my year abroad, that America was a safe haven in a sea of third world countries. My roommate told me quite simply that they were brought up to believe America was the best. Needless to say, I was quick to set the record straight. Being an exchange student is not only about leaving your own prejudices behind but also about dispelling the prejudices of oth-

realised how “ Ilucky I was to see things with my own eyes.

ers. Hearing people make assumptions about a world that they had never explored made me realise how lucky I was to see things with my own eyes, allowing me to make educated comments on fact rather than fiction. “It’s clichéd, but it’s true; studying abroad has made me a better global citizen,” said Candace Cu-

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nard, an exchange student who studied at Queen Mary. Experiencing another education system is a great way to challenge your own assumptions about what you hope to gain from your degree. A major problem, which I believe plagues our system, is students’ lack of perspective when it come to careers; something that stems from specialising too early. I found myself frustrated throughout my time in school at not being able to explore different subjects that I was interested in. The American system, on the other hand, doesn’t require you to choose a degree subject until the end of your second year, after you have had a chance to explore multiple areas of interest. Students also have to fulfil breadth requirements which means that someone studying Physics is still required to take an English class - something that makes for more rounded graduates in the long term. Studying in another country allows you to take classes that are not available at your home institution. I was able to study Turkish, Classics and Journalism, something I would have never

have had the opportunity to do at Queen Mary. The chance to study something totally different is a thrilling prospect, which refreshes what can sometimes become a mundane curriculum. “Studying abroad gives the student an opportunity to develop their independence and confidence,” said Harry Gibney, head of the International Exchange

pecially on game days (during football season) when the whole of Berkeley is painted blue and gold and the roar of “Go Bears” resounds through the stadium. I learnt about s’mores, root beer, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the hundreds of cereal types whose principle ingredients are sugar and artificial flavouring. I learnt about American family life, set foot in my first suburb and took part in the Thanksgiving meal. I held hands with my friend’s family during grace before the carving of the turkey. I found a home half way round the world. I cannot emphasize enough Programme at Queen Mary. “It what a personal development exprovides a competitive edge that ercise living in a foreign country is. will make their CV stand out. The If you want to find out the sigexperience will leave the student nificance of “hella chill brah” just with a network of global friends pick up an application form. and contacts. ” Queen Mary offers internationFor all the academic benefits, al exchange programmes at instithe truth is 90% of what you will tutions such as: New York Unilearn will not take place inside a versity, University of Western classroom but outside it. There is Australia, Nanyang Technologino doubt that the professors who cal University, Korea and Sungtaught me were world class, but kyunkwan University, Singapore. the people who educated me the For more information go to the most were my fellow students. Queen Mary International ExI learnt about school spirit, es- change website.

Studying “ something different is a thrilling and refreshing prospect.


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Comment Social media means that Strictly vs XFactor is in the past ly update me on song choices, wardrobe malfunctions and the judges’ comments before I This year’s X Factor is one of the have even pressed play on my best yet. New judges and bigger Sky box. shows makes staying home on a Social media is becoming such Saturday night more appealing an integral part of the viewing than ever before. experience that last year BrandAlmost 10.4 million viewers watch claimed it could predict tuned in for the first live show, who would be exiting X Facmaking it the most popular protor by monitoring Twitter posts. gramme of the night. However, This year Facebook and Twitter for those torn between Strictly seem to be as influential as ever. Come Dancing and X Factor it watched the other. Janet Devlin and Misha BryHowever, this year, thanks an were the only acts to receive also marked the start of the anto social media users and their positive feedback from social nual autumn dilemma. As ITV and BBC continue to commentaries, recording shows media commentators - coincicompete for viewers, a large ma- has become pointless. A chance dentally Betfred gave these girls jority of the nation are forced to glance at Facebook can instant- the lowest odds out of all the

Vanessa Meade

choose between the two popular dancing and singing competitions. Last year I would have simply recorded one and

have tak“ Tweeters en on the role of

Cowell’s all too absent cynicism

contestants, a bet on Misha or Janet having the odds of 11/4 and 4/1 respectively. But, does Twitter truly represent or influence public opinion? Looking at posts on Saturday night the Twitter crowd had no favourites. Tweeters indiscriminately criticized, using the site to post witty asides rather than encourage votes. Twitter viewers appear to have taken on the role of Simon Cowell, providing the cutting cynicism all too absent from this year’s judging panel. According to Brandwatch’s standards Frankie Cocozza should be the nation’s favourite,

over 600 tweets have so far mentioned him as the competition’s winner. However following his first live performance, the Twitter crowd were less than complimentary. One Tweet even likened Frankie’s performance of Ed Sheeran’s “A-Team” to watching a “spider monkey straining for a poo”. With voting available free on Facebook this year, social media should logically have a much bigger role to play in the voting system. However, if you are inclined to place the odd bet my advice is to listen to your instinct rather than the fickleness of the Twitter masses.

6,999,999,999 people on Only education can solve the lack of this planet, plus you! female representation in Parliament Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the “7 Billion Day”! Today is the day when the world’s population is estimated to pass 7 billion for the first time. Seven billion people are now walking around on Mother Earth. Okay, maybe the 7,000,000,000th person (welcome to you by the way!) and a couple of others haven’t learned to walk yet, but anyway, this is a pretty big milestone in our history. The world’s population passed 5 billion in 1987 and is predicted to pass 9 billion by 2050. That means that the world’s population will almost be doubled during our generation. That’s fascinating, isn’t it? I get amused when I hear these predictions and numbers, and get curious about the future and how the demography of the world will be in the years ahead. First of all, let me say that I’m not an expert on the subject, I simply find it interesting and want to share some thoughts. My first thought is: “How many people can we actually take?” No, wait, that was the second. The first thought was that it was cool to think about person number 7,000,000,000 coming to life. Back to the second one, when I hear about all the starvation, the natural disasters like floods and earthquakes going on, I’m starting to wonder how many we can actually give a decent life to? Can the growth go on forever? Luckily for the unknowing though curious, like me, the UN has initiated a big project

regarding the milestone number, called “7 billion actions”, www.7billionactions.org, (where you can keep count with a live clock that shows the current world population.) The main point about this project is to raise awareness about the challenges an increasing population will meet. Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, says: “The seven billionth citizen will be born into a world of contradictions. We have plenty of food yet millions are still starving.” So it all boils down to how we split the cake, doesn’t it? How will we? Well, I think that during the next decades we’ll see migration on a whole other level than we’ve done so far in history, based on natural, rather than political events. To be extremely brief, I

Ruth Irwin

There are 29 ministers in the Cabinet. Four are women. Of the remaining 25, 14 attended all-male public shools. But what do these stastistics mean? It is easy to blame the Tories by looking at pictures of Boris and Dave in the Bullingdon Club and dismissing this lack of female personnel as a symptom of a Conservative government. In this party, the pace of change has been galactically slow. In 1931 there were 13 Conservative women MPs. In 1997 there were 13 Conservative women MPs. But we must give Cameron some credit. After an effort on his part to recruit more female PPCs (prospective parliamentary candidates) there are now 49 Tory women in Westminster, more than double previous numbers. But it is still 49 out of 306, and Cameron shows reluctance to appoint them to powerful positions. The story is no better in the other governing party, the Lib Dems. Here, seven out of 57 MPs are women. think there will be a massive urWomen are under representbanisation from rural areas, vul- ed in all parties. Blair’s cabinerable to climate change and nets fluctuated between 5 and natural disasters, towards more 7 women. Brown presided over safe areas and other countries. the most equal cabinets ever in An increase in urbanisation 2008 - 2009 with 10 women, might also make it easier to split still nowhere near equal. But the cake into fairer pieces, if the these statistics only show us the richest and poorest people live problems, not the solution. more closely together. I believe that lies in educaThis makes me look forward tion. The leaders of our nation to being old, when we pass 9 are forged by the institutions and then 10 billion. How will the they attend. We need to focus world look then? on showing girls that they can

many people “ How can have a decent life? Can the growth go on forever?

Stian Slaatten Skistad

Out of the 29 cabinet ministers, only four are women. Can the government really claim to represent the country? Image by Downing Street

become the ministers, company directors and newspaper editors of tomorrow. And more than just teaching them well, we need to give them role models now to look up to, not just token figure heads. As unpalatable as they may be, all-women shortlists work. When the EU Parliament was established in 1999, the Lib Dems used “zipping” for the first time, ensuring equal representation amongst MEPs. This has continued subsequently with-

out any need to “fix” candidacy. The same thing happened in Westminster for Labour. After all-women shortlists in 1997, the numbers have sustained on their own. The conclusion is clear: once people see women in these positions, they accept it as normal, and capable women put themselves forward in far greater numbers. It may not be a perfect solution, but it is the only thing that works, so we must grit our democratic teeth and do it.

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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Comment Visiting SUs across the country showed me what unis all share Sophie Richardson President

Last week I spent most of my time in the North West of England in both Manchester and Liverpool. My trip to Manchester proved to be very interesting as I visited the University of Manchester Students’ Union. I met their Exec of 14, 8 who are full-time Officers and 6 who are part-time Officers, so quite a different set up to us. Some of their

challenges with their institution are similar to ours and some are very different but it was great to hear from another union and share ideas and practices. I also spent some of last week in Liverpool for the annual National Union of Students Zone Conferences. They included speeches from leading people in a variety of

fields and workshops aimed at supporting and informing the work of officers and staff in students’ unions. I feel I learnt a lot from it and will be using some things for my projects here at QMSU. I’d also like to take this opportunity to invite you to the Student Council meeting on Tuesday this week. It’s a great way to feed into the work the

union is doing. For more info head to www.qmsu.org T’rah for now, Sophie @PresidentQMSU

Barts has bucked the national trend and seen applications rise by 27% George Ryan BLSA President

You know how everyone wants to go towards the end of the week when doing their OSCEs so they can find out what the stations were from other people (come on let’s be honest, most of us do,even GEPs)? I had a meeting with Dr. Revest this afternoon and found out something interesting. She showed me a graph of OSCE results for 4th years and how they varied throughout the week, and

it shocked me. Results do not improve the later on in the week you do your OSCE, they remain constant, can you believe it! How can someone walk into an exam, knowing everything they are going to be tested on and not do better than someone who didn’t know anything at all?! Very interesting indeed. Another interesting yet completely unrelated fact is that university applica-

tions have gone down 12% on average. As you would expect, Barts and The London has bucked this trend with applications increasing by 27%, quite surprising at first glance considering the rise in fees.It will be interesting to find out how other medical school applications compare to this - is it a trend? If so you’d imagine that with higher fees students want to study a course with a guaran-

teed job at the other end. I prefer to believe that applications to other medical schools have not risen and it’s all the hard work staff and students put in to raise the profile of the school, reflected by last years MTAS results (2nd in the country did I mention?), alongside our NSS score (8th). Go BAARTs. For non-medics who don’t have a Scooby Doo what I’m talking about…I apologise.

Socieites are important and need to communicate this to students Dom Bell VP Student Activities

If you’re involved in societies or want to be then this column is for you, because this week has orientated around addressing the need we have for developing societies. It hasn’t been until this year, when sport went its own ways, that QMSU realised that societies as a programme needed development. Even now we’ve only got one dedicated member of staff and

we’re really only starting to address the issue. A number of things come to mind that we need to improve for societies, but the first major hurdle for me is for QMSU to get a grip on the vast quantity of stuff going on, because, to be brutally honest, we don’t really know what all our societies are up to, we don’t really know if what is being organised is really impacting students’ lives and

experiences in a positive way. How can we drive the societies vehicle without knowing what we’re driving? Societies have been set up and passed on to new presidents without those new students coming in and actually getting a clear direction on what they should be contributing as a part of the societies programme. Unlike sport, societies can involve nearly any topic or any type of activity. To

make any forward steps the society leaders need to look at their own groups and be self-analytical and self-critical and ask themselves why they exist, how they define themselves, and what activity is of utmost importance to them and students who will want to join. More importantly, they need to be able to communicate this to QMSU. Socieites, when we come asking, be ready.

Student-led teaching awards go to those who deserve it more Oscar Williamson VP Education & Welfare

I went to Edinburgh on Thursday for a conference about studentled teaching awards. The idea is that students nominate and vote for members of staff who…you get the idea. Academic staff tend to favour either teaching or research, and teaching-focussed staff often lose out to researchers when it comes to promotions. There are

lots of external measurers of a researcher’s quality, such as the number of publications in prestigious journals, or of collaborations with researchers from other institutions. And, crucially, how much research funding have they brought to the university? It’s harder for universities to measure teaching quality, because the record of a student’s

appreciation is scattered across memories and conversations: not the easiest format to aggregate. As a result, excellent teachers can lose out to mediocre researchers. And students lose out too. For research-focussed academics, teaching can be an unpleasant and incongruous distraction from their real job. Universities can’t be overly strict with such

staff in case they up sticks and move to another institution, taking their research funding with them. Student-led teaching awards can help rebalance recognition in favour of teachers – and therefore in favour of the majority of students for whom an academic’s focus on research is a distraction from their real job: teaching.

Two different paths: I wonder who will be better off in five years time? Sam Creighton VP Communications

So. Still on work experience. Not much more has happened since last time we spoke and I used up my only major notat-work-this-week idea in last week’s column. One thing I have noticed though is that even though I’m not at work, work certainly hasn’t slowed down at all. I’ve been coming onto campus for a few hours a day af-

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ter work just to do some basic tasks that can’t be left undone and the amount of stuff that is waiting for me when I get back next week (I’ll actually be back by the time you’re reading this) is astounding, and slightly, scaring me. There is a huge amount of tasks that a Sabbatical Officer is expected to do and it’s only when you’re not doing them

that you can fully take stock of what they are. It’s little remarks that people have made to me while on work experience, that has got me wondering about the benefits this sort of work will have for me in the future. Someone at my placement just had his 23rd birthday, so he’s a few months older than me, he’s already two years fur-

ther ahead than I am in the career that I want to pursue, but I’ve had more training that he has up to this point by a long way - in editorial practice, libel law, managing people, relevant software etc - but he is head writer at a national magazine and I’m still, technically, a student. I wonder who will be better off in five years time?


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

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.

Top Tips for Toppling MPs Caught Red-Faced in Riot The Capitalist State Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Call that a revolution? Sort it out, guys! Image by James Guppy

Sam Creighton No, Reading Festival hasn’t relocated to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The sea of happy campers breaking against the steps of London’s most famous Songs of Praise set are the politically motivated, making the decision to occupy the streets rather than the voting booths. The Occupy the London Stock Exchange movement is the latest peak in the unsteady ocean (I think I’ll have to abandon the quickly sinking maritime metaphor here) that has been British politics of late. A western liberal democracy we may be, but fee fighting students, austerity avoiding unions and r-something rioters have proven that revolution may indeed be hanging in the air. So, never ones to be left behind the curve, we at QMessenger have channelled our inner Ches to compile this list of must-know tips for toppling the dirty, capitalist state. Enlist your best mate: Fidel had Che, Lenin had Trotsky and Brain had Pinky. In short, revolutionaries come in pairs, so you need someone you can trust. He proved his loyalty by taking the blame when your missus found the incriminating evidence from your last drunken adventure. He showed his remarkably kung-fu fighting style before getting lamped in the face by the bouncer outside that seedy club you always seem to end up at. Your bezzie is definitely the man for the job, so do whatever you need to to make him your first convert, promise him that once you’re ruling the country with a iron fist you’ll let him have the North, that should do it. Get the girl: Who’s going to respect you as the firebrand leader of the uprising if you don’t have a least a few dozen hotties dripping off you? Don’t worry though, the fact that

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even Michelle McManus won’t look twice at you at the moment won’t be an issue once people view you as the saviour of the soon to be freer world. Nothing turns the girls on like a bit of danger, and nothing says danger like being chased around by the government’s death squads. Plus, all the hottest girls are revolutionaries, whether it’s Michelle Rodriguez showing off the world’s greatest abs in Machete or Princess Leah stretched out in that gold bikini, every hot blooded male can’t help but chant “Viva la revolution!” Find a good speech writer: People are impressionable things and if your plan for domestic domination is to be successful it needs to be your world view that is impressed upon them. However, Hollywood has proven unequivocally that leaders who rely on brainwashing are invariably short-lived, and you’re going to be way too busy with all the sexy vixens you can handle (point 2) and getting drunk with your second in command (point 1) to have the time to craft the silver-tongued demagoguery needed to hold sway over a population. However, if school taught us anything, it’s that homework is what geeks are for, so hire yourself a fancy wordsmith to write your speeches for you and you’ll be well away. Grow a beard: Face-fuzz is a must when taking on the metaphorical man. However, you have to be careful with what style you tame your facial hair into as it says a lot about your political leanings: Pointy means Communist, rounded and fluffy means socialist and blocky and square means fascist. The message your beard sends out is intractable, so choose carefully. With these tips in your arsenal, no state, however draconian, will be able to stand up to you, so grab you geek, your girl, your mate and your beard trimmer and get this show on the road…

Last night shocking footage was released showing two MPs briefly participating in a looting spree across the Hackney area during the ill-fated summer London riots. An inquiry has been launched into the validity of these claims with a view to “serious consequences.” The two government officials were identified as Mark Llandon, and Jim Renchcroft. CCTV from the Hackney chain of Sainsbury’s showed the two men entering with fellow rioters at 11:24pm, armed only with dining room chair legs and a Waitrose recyclable shopping bag. The pair broke from the group and began making their way through the fruit and vegetable aisles, filling their pockets with organically grown tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. They continued to grab several cartons of skimmed milk nearby, but only after what appeared to be a heated debate did they realise their bag was unable to maintain an adequately cool temperate and proceeded to consume the cartons where they stood. The pair soon joined the rest of the looters in the baked goods section, and filled their bag

Mr Renchcroft selects his loot.

frantically with as many boxes of expired doughnuts as was possible. The mob finally left at 11:37pm, but the two MPs abandoned the rioters and made their way to a nearby convenience store, where they allegedly tried to sell the doughnuts they had previously acquired. Upon failure, however, they frightened the neighbour’s dog, and stole three packets of mature cheddar cheese and a bagel before walking away at a mildly brisk pace. A store employee, who wishes to remain unnamed, told local reporters: “it was all very strange. The men first tried to sell me doughnuts and then made ludicrous sounds at my neighbour’s dog. I was thinking they were escaped mental patients.” Psychologist Dr. Warren Mitchell tried to clarify the situation,

Just Call Me Jezebel: 3 steps to make sure you have a successful one night stand Image by Grimo

Mya Medina 1. Always take his name. Even if you can’t remember it from the night before, it’s bound to be on a piece of documentation in his room. Have a quick, silent rummage; if there’s cash on the side take this too, he deserves to know that last night came at a price. These funds can go towards a pregnancy test, and his name can give your illegitimate child a head start

in finding his father. 2. Keep calm and carry on. In all likelihood you consumed too many atomic jaeger bombs in Drapers bar and after digging deep into your student loan you are now facing the ominous black abyss that is the “student hangover”. The amount of money spent to inflict this horror on oneself is something over which a qualified sadomasochist would cower. When you wake you

suggesting “their behaviour is very typical of crowd mentality.” Conflicting opinions were raised by human behavioural expert Ms. Tess Graham as she claimed “[crowd mentality] is only valid to an extent. We need to focus on why they felt the need to steal three packets of cheese, instead of just one. This could be the key.” The motives to this point remain a mystery. With the inquiry aiming to seek the truth, the family of Mr. Llandon issued a short statement this morning reading: “We are deeply disappointed and disturbed by Mark’s alleged actions. They are unjustifiable, but may perhaps be attributed to clear and visible stress at work.” While the Prime Minister refused to comment, awaiting the outcome of the inquiry, the opposition leader uttered only a single word: “emblematical” when prompted for a response. While results of the investigation are pending, concerns as to the level of corruption in Whitehall have now been raised; there is little to suggest against further MP riot involvement. A number of government officials may find themselves facing heavy disciplinary action over the coming weeks. probably won’t know where you are, or who this naked man possessing all the glory of the morning may be. As Dumbledore might say: “never tickle a sleeping dragon”, so wait til you believe the coast is clear and focus on rule 1. 3. Sleep with your jewellery on and your possessions by the door. When your primary aim is “escape”, you don’t have time to gather up your clothes in a clichéd fashion. Putting earrings and necklaces on the desk only equates to an awkward revisit. Don’t sacrifice your diamantés and dignity by returning to the scene of the crime; the handcuffs were never designed to be utilised in sobriety. Joke of the week. What’s the difference between a politician and a flying pig? The letter ‘f’ by Enyi Okoronkwo


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Games Sweaty Brow of the Week

Image by The Sport Review It wasn’t a lazy Sunday, in fact more of a bloody Sunday for this purplenosed gent.

Sudoku

QMessenger are looking for a new Games section editor! Please send your name to editor@qmessenger.co.uk

Shape Algebra Rules: Each of the shapes corresponds to a number. What are those numbers?

Last week’s answers: The sweaty brow belonged to Simon Cowell

games@qmessenger.co.uk


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QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Societies

The Quest begins this week Chris Smith and Kat Williamson hosting their show Vs. Image by Maria Sowter.

Hollie Carter Last week saw the long awaited relaunch of Queen Mary’s student radio station Quest. The station, which was first established five years ago, has been plagued with problems over the years with a devastating flood damaging equipment two years ago keeping students off the airwaves. However, this week the students triumphed and the first shows went out live on Monday at questradio.co.uk.

The first day was a great success with an eclectic line up of shows including Dear Girl with a Moustache, “THE seminal anonymous confessional show”, and Stormy Monday Blues which “offers a darker side to comedy on a Monday morning”. The listening figures for the first day of live broadcasting were impressive and presenters are confident that they will rise even further in the coming weeks. The success of the radio station relies on student participation as presenters and

producers but also as listeners, so QMessenger would urge you to tune in and listen to the amazing talent Queen Mary has to offer. Shows are live from 10am – 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and recordings of previous shows, show schedules as well as the live broadcasts can be found at questradio.co.uk. Maria Sowter, Quest station manager, said: “It’s been a great success, everyone’s having a great time. It’s really exciting to finally have the ball rolling after 5 years!”

A sure way to PASS Jessica Guy Ever sat in a lecture, slightly puzzled but don’t know who to turn to? Maybe someone who has been through it all before could lend a hand? Well perhaps PASS could help. PASS, the Peer Assisted Study Support scheme, offers mentoring style sessions for many departments across the university. Run by second and third year students, PASS delivers a friendly and informal atmosphere for first years to run any queries or problems by those who have already experienced first year life. As higher year mentors, we can offer firsthand experience of the bewildering transition that is A-level to degree level.

Whether you want to run a particular question by us, want to know whether that book is useful or not, or just want a structured environment to work in once or twice a week, we are here to help. We don’t aim to give you the answers, but to help first years to come to their own conclusions and solutions with the help and guidance of higheryear students. So, why PASS? Talking to lecturers can be quite daunting at the best of times, which is why we believe peer mentoring can work. Student to student there is no real hurdle to overcome; we are on the same level. Our sessions are relaxed, running weekly on a “drop in” basis, offering an extra resource to those already offered by the university.

Currently, there are twelve departments running PASS sessions throughout QM: Biological and Chemical Sciences, Dentistry, Physics, Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Materials Science, Mathematical Sciences, English, History, Languages, Linguistics and Film, Geography and Economics and Finance. To find out more, just search PASS in the search box on the QMUL homepage and click on the first link, where you’ll find more information as well as email addresses of the student organisers and central organiser. Look out for posters and flyers on your departmental notice boards for more information too. Together, we can PASS.

Want to write for societies? Make sure people know about your events! Email societies@ qmessenger.co.uk societies@qmessenger.co.uk

Queen Mary students set to become STARs Ellen Kiely STAR (Student Action for Refugees) is a student network of 5000 students working at 34 universities up and down the UK (quite randomly there is also a STAR Cairo!) to improve the lives of refugees. They do this through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising and promoting a positive image of refugees. Now it is time for Queen Mary students to get involved! Despite the myths, refugees and asylum seekers are a vulnerable group of people who often have a long and difficult struggle to secure their safety in another country. As people fleeing persecution, torture and prejudice they need and deserve our support. However, the reality for refugees in the UK is often very different as asylum seekers in the UK have to live below the poverty line, they are not allowed to work and have no choice about where to live. They have a greater chance of being refused asylum than accepted and are at risk of being detained and forcibly deported back to the country they were

fleeing. It is worth noting that it is war, persecution and political instability that are the main factors that drive people to seek asylum in the UK and not our benefit system. We can make a real difference by supporting STAR campaigns including Still Human Still Here, a campaign to end destitution of refused asylum seekers; Equal Access, a campaign to make higher education accessible for individuals seeking asylum and right to work, a campaign for the government to give those seeking asylum the right to work. As students you can also get involved more directly, volunteering at homework clubs in schools and refugee organisations, offering classroom support for refugee children, running English conversation classes, volunteering at night shelters, youth clubs, sports clubs, refugee women’s groups and drop in centres. So to get involved contact qmulstar@gmail.com, facebook: Queen Mary STAR or come along to our first meeting on 31st November at 5-6pm in Francis Bancroft 3.40!


15

QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Sport

Czech Mate for Drunken Referee

Kings feel the sharp end of the QM sword Andy Carlin QMBL Fencing 118 - 103 Kings The men’s fencing first team made an impressive start to the season against last year’s league winners. Queen Mary suffered several problems in the build-up to the match, including the absence of two team members with the captain suffering an eye injury mere days before the match. Having been promoted after winning South East 2B last season, Queen Mary were immediately thrown up against the reigning league champions, and arguably the strongest team outside of the premiership last year, Kings. The day got off to an inauspicious start as first we struggled to find the Kings team, and then the match had to be moved into a different room. When the order of the weapons was finally agreed QM got off to a strong start, despite an improvised team, taking the épée comprehensively 45-34.

Next up was sabre, QM’s strongest individual weapon last year. The strong performances continued with a resounding 45-24 win over a Kings team lacking the specialists the weapon needs. This dominance in the sabre was more impressive as the team was lacking its usual 3rd sabreur. The weapons order is down to the home team and Kings, as expected, went with their strongest weapon, foil, in order to attempt to chase down the gap. Despite a valiant effort from a strong Kings foil team, they could only manage a 45-28 victory over a makeshift QM line-up that needed just 14 hits in the foil to guarantee victory. Special mention must go the new guys on the team, Ivan and Artur, who both more than held their own, and to Morgan and Ivan for having fenced all three weapons, not just their own specialties. The victory was the perfect start to the season for QM and one which we hope to build on with a further victory over Kent on the 26th.

Refereeing relies on level-headed decision making, but there are no rules prohibiting them from being drunk while officiating. Image by David Levitz. decisions. Rocking up to the players, and finally ended 1–1 stadium, smashed out of his after the opposition agreed not Keumars Afifi- Sabet mind, he (somehow) explained to attack following the prior Apparently it’s completely legal there were no rules which madness. In the end, all justice for a drunken referee to officiate prohibited a drunken referee was done and the match was a football match. to take charge of a fixture. annulled by the regional football In this modern age of health It’s bemusing that all parties authority on grounds of “fair and safety checks, hyper- eventually agree to kick off – but play.” professionalism and relentless what ensued was pure hilarity. Things aren’t so bright for protocol, you’d think such an Smelling “like a brewery”, Tomas - he faces a twelveinquiry need never be raised. Fidra began the match stumbling month suspension following a Deep in the land of the Czech around, losing balance and breathalyser test which revealed Republic, however, Tomas falling over. He was later asked his blood alcohol level to be an Fidra quite embarrassingly if he was okay to continue by astounding 1.94 per cent. His found himself silencing any three Jestrabi Lhota players. actions fall under a very morally doubts about the matter. He’d Tomas showed no hesitation in grey area; but one could cite, in been harmlessly celebrating showing them all the straight red his defence, a solid dedication his birthday moments before a card on the half-hour mark… one to the job (he actually turned much-anticipated clash between would assume on the grounds of up). And even though his antics local rivals Jestrabi Lhota and dissent. were reasonably unprofessional, Tynec-nad-Labem. The game persisted regardless, highly tactless, and bound to Although in hindsight, it was with Jestrabi Lhota having backfire, at least he had a rather probably not one of his finest a somewhat short supply of memorable birthday.

QM faces down last year’s champions, Kings, in the season’s first match. Image by Shafi Musadiqque.

St Georges 3rds vs Queen Mary 5ths

Lord Seb Coe visits QM

Mitchell Ingram After a bright start to the season the 5ths were looking to extend their good run with a victory over a mediocre St Georges outfit. This was made difficult, however, by a tiny pitch which made it hard for any team to play football and create goal scoring opportunities. Deploying a five man midfield, with a lone striker upfront in the shape of Adam

McDaid, the team failed to create many chances with McDaid’s inability to control a ball hardly helping matters. A brilliant display by the back four kept a first clean sheet of the season for Shaun Mahoney, with Jack Briggs earning the man of the match award for a performance full of gusto from left back. Indeed the only time the side’s goal came under any threat was when St Georges aimed a ball at the head of a wandering Oliver Westlake, whose

brilliant last ditch tackles only come into play when he allows his winger a few yard’s head start. The Leopards had a few chances to win the game; Sam Lowe’s last minute drive rattling the crossbar being the nearest they got in time not added on, because the phone being used as a stop watch ran out of battery. Overall, however, a 0-0 draw was justified for two teams who between themselves did not do enough to win the game.

Shafi Musaddique In front of an audience within the Octagon on Wednesday 26th October, the man at the helm of overseeing the Olympic project, Lord Sebastian Coe, gave a talk on his new book called “The Winning Mind”. Talking on topics such as the influence of athletics on his political life, how disciplines can overlap, and the future of the East End, it was a chance for a lucky audience to pitch their thoughts to the man

overseeing the regeneration of the East End. The chance to cover such a high profile figure was an opportunity to delve into the mind of a man diverse in career and thought. An in depth report will feature in next week’s issue of QMessenger.

Want to write for sport? Make sure people know about your victories! Email sport@qmessenger. co.uk

sport@qmessenger.co.uk


16

QMESSENGER MONDAY OCTOBER 31 2011

Sport

Rugby World Cup 2011: The final story Kumari Tilakawardan Well the Rugby World Cup is done for another four years. And what a tournament it was. We had a bit of everything: dwarfthrowing, fisticuffs, red cards, tears, tantrums and to top it all off, a bit of rugby too. It was truly an awesome spectacle for all spectators, not just rugby fans. New Zealand put together a brilliantly organised event, which was made all the better by some scintillating sport being played and some great images of the camaraderie and sporting behaviour that goes hand in hand with this sport. For me, there were some stand out moments and some headin-hands moments. Here are a select few: HERO OF THE WORLD CUP The IRB have put together a list of their Top 5 players. Given the shambles they call their ranking system (how can fourth placed Wales be eighth while England are fifth?) I was expecting to have a good laugh at it. But surprisingly I have to agree with Israel Dagg, Jerome Kaino, Jamie Roberts, Jacques Burger and Sean O’Brien. Honourable mention has to go to Thierry Dusautoir for his unbelievable performance in the final against the mighty All Blacks. But for

The rugby world cup transfixed the world over the last few weeks, Image by James Chou, me, the hero of the World Cup, and yes, it’s a cop out, is New Zealand as a nation. They put together a brilliant tournament, provided all the “underdog” teams with voracious support and pretty much got the whole event off without a hitch. And they won the thing, of course. VILLAIN OF THE WORLD CUP Being Welsh, it’s hard not to say

Alain Rolland. But I’m going to have to go with Eliota FuimaonoSapolu, for making a true idiot out of himself in the media. Not only did he compare Samoa’s game schedule (gruelling as it was) to the Holocaust and Apartheid, he then went on to call referee Nigel Owens a “racist, biased prick” on Twitter, the bane of all sportsmen. Totally unsporting behaviour.

Honourable mention goes to Mike Tindall, for wasting valuable newspaper pages with his dwarf-throwing and blondekissing antics, and Wayne Barnes for turning every game he refereed into a farce. NIGHTMARE MOMENT Sam Warburton’s red card. No doubt about it. That little card ruined a World Cup semifinal and ended the dream of

thousands of home nations supporters. Can I see where Rolland was coming from? Yes. Was it the wrong decision? Absolutely. Ruined a fantastic tournament in my opinion. BEST TRY Gethin Jenkins (Wales) vs Namibia. The prop came in at an angle to take the ball, sprinted past one would-be tackler, throws the most audacious dummy in history to beat the next man, out strips another on his way and takes two more Namibians over the line with him. You can’t make this stuff up. BEST GAME There were a few stand outs – New Zealand v France in the final (8-7), Ireland shocking hopefuls Australia 15-6 to turn the World Cup on its head, but the winner has to be the pulsating quarter final between Celtic rivals Ireland and Wales. The game had everything: blistering pace, thudding tackles and several of the best tries of the tournament. BEST QUOTE OF THE TOURNAMENT “I told them what I thought of them. That they’re a bunch of undisciplined, spoiled brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining, and they’ve been frustrating me for four years.” – Marc Lievremont. Love him or hate him, he’s entertaining and can’t be accused of hiding his true feelings…

Perfect opening of the season for Queen Mary 1sts Martin Bergesen QM Men’s 1st football team took their important first 3 points in the ULU league this Saturday, after a well-deserved 3-1 victory against arch rivals UCL 1sts. With an impressive pre-season preparation to boost their confidence, winning both the ULU tournament and beating King’s College, the QM 1st squad were ready to test their strength

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against the team considered to be the biggest challenge of the season. The QM boys were eager from the start, creating several chances on target in the first ten minutes. The early aggression paid off at the 15 minute mark when a low cross-in forced a rebound from the goalie and was picked up by the fresher, Malachi Dubarry, who provided his team with their first goal of the season. But

the joy was not long-lasting as UCL immediately claimed an equaliser after a moment of sloppy defensive work by QM. The second half was all about Queen Mary. The guests struggled to take control over the offensive and dominant QM midfield, which constantly posed a threat to their defenders. The Leopards were rewarded in the 60th minute when a golden pass from the experienced Alex

Mikolay found Tayo Oyebola on the right flank. Charging towards the box he beat the goalkeeper with a thunderous strike in the far corner. Any UCL hope of stealing a point was erased near the end, when another beautiful lay-off from Mikolay tricked their back line, and was picked up by the pacey Dubarry. He calmly placed the ball in the right side of the net to claim his second of the day, settling the score for QM.

As the winners of the ULU league, UCL 1sts did not conceive a single defeat last year. “It’s definitely a great feeling to beat the reigning champions,” said QM veteran Elliot Morsia, adding that he could not remember hearing of a Queen Mary side to ever have beaten them. Saturday’s convincing victory might mark the beginning of QM 1sts’ new era as the best university football team in London.

QMessenger Issue 45  

Issue 45 of the student newspapar for Queen Mary, University of London.

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