Monday November 28st 2011
An In Influential Forgoen Man victims Professor John Oxford, one of London’s most influential people, talks to QMessenger. p. 3
Unemployment spike Is the crisis in youth unemployment being handled correctly? p. 7
The true story of young women in gangs. p. 6
The Newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union
Students vote against anti-fascist policy on campus
The motion to affiliate QMSU with Unite Against Fascism also contained a No Platform Policy against fasicst groups such as the EDL.
Arianne Osman The motion for UAF afﬁliation and a ‘No platform for fascists’ policy on the Queen Mary campus was rejected by an overwhelming majority by the student council last week. “What fascists really want from public platforms is the respectability they provide, they want to present the veneer of being mainstream and
acceptable. Queen Mary should not be playing in to the hands of Fascists by providing them with platforms that will allow them to this respectability, by treating fascist ideas as if they had some place in the political debate of our society” Ross Speer, a third year history and politics student who proposed the motion told QMessenger: “fascists such as the EDL are a clear and present danger
to our students both on and off cam- Postgraduate Ofﬁcer Michael Gilbert pus. We have seen the violent nature talked about the “defence of freedom of the EDL in recent months: 60 ar- of speech” calling it a “foundation rested for violent disorder on their for political discussion” for which to demonstration in Tower Hamlets, “understand the other person” as “we over 170 arrested as they tried to at- can still beneﬁt from what they have tack the St Paul’s occupation, an at- to say”. Defending the motion, Welfare Oftempted attack on the North West regional HQ of the trade union UNITE ﬁcer Eduardo Palombo said: “I am all for free speech” however “the univeronly last week”. Speaking against the motion, sity shouldn’t promote any such be-
Image by Gavin Lynn (via Flickr CC) lief that racist speech is acceptable”. He continued: “We don’t want BNP and EDL members coming onto campus and using language that offends many people”. Vice President of Communications, Sam Creighton responded that there are many groups who could potentially “cause offence to someone” and this did not warrant them being banned from the university.
Lowering fees risks creating a social gap between institutions
27 universities are seeking to reduce fee levels before September 2012
Arianne Osman The 27 unnamed institutions that have decided to decrease their university fees for the upcoming academic year 2012/13 risk forcing students from lower income backgrounds to settle for less when it comes to selecting where they want to study. The decision to lower fees from the £9,000 limit comes after a government promise to allow another 20,000 student places for univer-
sities who have agreed to charge £7,500 or less. While students coming from a high-income background will have the ability to choose institutions regardless of the fees, low-income students risk being pressured into staying within the reduced fee category. A report by MPs said: “This could have undesirable consequences for social mobility if able candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds felt constrained to choose lower-cost provision,”.
MPs say this will have “undersirable consequences” for poorer students
Prospective university students may also choose to take courses at local colleges in order to stay at home and save on student housing costs. The report noted: “Further education colleges (and other providers) are capable of offering excellent low-cost and high-quality provision, but they may not offer the same experience as a student might receive in a traditional university.” “The White Paper will create a much more sharply polarised edu-
cation sector with huge disparities in the resources institutions are given without any educational justiﬁcation,” said Ozzy Amir, Campaigns Ofﬁcer. “The government is exacerbating the problem of ‘social sorting’. Applicants will increasingly end up going to universities with students like themselves or choosing their university based on the price tag over the educational merits of that particular institution.” He likened the problem to that of universities in the USA, where students from a lower socioeconomic background are hugely un-
derrepresented at prestigious institutions. “This year alone we’ve already seen a drop in applications by 12%. The White Paper risks setting back any progress in social mobility in this country for years to come.” Beanish Mahmood, a third year English student said: “I think that universities should not have different fees. I believe it is incredibly unfair to split people on monetary basis rather than an academic one. Everyone should have equal opportunity to attend whichever university they like, regardless of wealth.”
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
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The Cloud How you fit into the news.
In the face of adversity, the government’s attack on youth services funding, youth workers have turned to corporate funding.
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have occupied a Cambridge University lecture hall after higher education minister, David Willetts, was forced to abandon speech due to heckling. Somerset school invites paralympian, Jen Browning, to give students a taste of wheelchair basketball, after raising funds for disabled students to promote a more inclusive sports and learning environment. New Delhi’s National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation has announced plans for a scholarship scheme to help over 1500 disabled students in higher education with ﬁnances.
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.
By Jennifer Toes and Ariane Osman
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.
Images by: Boris Bikes by swanksalot (Flickr) Youth Centre by Martin Topping (Flickr) Charlie Gilmour by Andrew Griffin (Flickr)
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. Going out tomorrow to give out Christmas presents to strangers for @cubmagazine. Excited, but feels like I’m cheating on @QMessenger. “I was wondering if you lot could put an advert on @QMessenger” ... great wording there!
@qmessenger is looking particularly sweet this week, and great special on page 6.
Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour son, a Cambridge student, Charlie Gilmour has been freed after 16 months incarceration for violence in last year’s protest against rising tuition fees.
QM PhD student, Natasha Awais-Dean, has curated a British Museum exhibition displaying contemporary jewellery inspired by renaissance men.
Bow roundabout has been branded a ‘death trap’ after several youth deaths, by youth cycling organisation, Re-Cycle.
Social enterprise organisation BikeWorks has announced plans of an investment programme, which will help 150 disadvantaged Londoners gain work skills by building their own bike.
Councillors fail to submit reports yet again Sam Creighton Student councillors have come under scrutiny from sabbatical ofﬁcers after the majority failed to submit reports of their work for the second consecutive meeting. At each council meeting, all members are required to present a short summary of their activities. However, at last Wednesday’s council only seven of the 36 members submitted such a report, a large drop from the 14 submitted at the November 1st meeting, where the lack of reports was also ﬂagged as a problem.
Sophie Richardson, President of Queen Mary Students’ Union, said: “I know many [Councillors] are doing some great work for students but not everyone is reporting it. I think it’s a shame that Council members aren’t keeping to what they agreed with each other to do and it makes it incredibly hard to hold members to account or provide support to them if nobody knows what they’re working on. It has been queried as to whether councillors are fulﬁlling their roles and doing the work they are mandated to do. One student councillor who has not submitted a
report to either meeting explained that it was not that they were not doing the work, but they did not have time to report. “Councillors all have a million and one other things to do, so ﬁnding time to write a report is difﬁcult. Maybe one a term would be a good idea, but having to submit a report every meeting is just too much. Also, it’s difﬁcult to say exactly how you impact the lives of students, but mostly it’s just laziness.” It has been argued that the reason for the lack of reports is that councillors have not received adequate support to explain why it is important to submit them.
Dominic Bell, Vice-President Student Activities, commented: “I think it’s indicative of the need for us to get a bit smarter in how we support Part-Time Ofﬁcers and how we motivate them. They obviously don’t see any reason to send in reports and that isn’t very good.” Andy Smith, a medical student representative on council, who has submitted reports to both meetings agreed with this, saying: “It is a shame there has not been a successful collective response to the requirement, but I’m sure that in time it will become second nature”.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Virology Professor John Oxford listed in top 0.01 % of Londoners » Leading researcher recognised in Evening Standard’s top 1000 influential Londoners Chris Smith Professor John Oxford was recently listed in the London Evening Standard’s list of Top 1000 most influential people in London. Described as a world leader in identifying new strains of the virus, Prof. Oxford has published over 250 times and authored several books on virology. A modest man with excellent communication skills, he has been most notably recognised by the Society for Applied Microbiology for their Communications Award and Time Out’s Movers and Shakers list. Oxford does not take all the credit for his ability to convey scientific knowledge to the general public. He credits media trainers such as a skilled opera singer who taught him how to present to an audience, appearing open and confident. His top tip for television was to imagine you were talking to your grandmother and “be yourself plus 20%”. Oxford’s interest in virology started when he was young. Virus Hunters taught him about Louis Pasteur, rabies and smallpox. He became intrigued and by chance studied with Sir Charles Stuart-Harris who discovered the influenza virus. With 28 virus families to choose from, Oxford’s decision was made and influenza became his speciality. Oxford relates virology to Pandora’s box and believes we can “slam the lid down on infection with antiviral drugs”. This belief is reflected in his book ‘Conquest of Viral Disease’ with the overall view that there is no “need to be overly pessimistic”. Prof. Oxford moved from the academic world to the business one when he founded Retroscreen Virology Ltd in 1989 as a small medium enterprise (SME). It has now grown to Europe’s leading contract virology research organisation. 50 people strong and a key part of Barts medical school; Retroscreen aims to generate income, research skills and publish. Oxford often qualifies for EU grants due to many research groups needing an SME attached. Oxford is honest and insightful when commenting that Retroscreen is “not going to eradicate world diseases with only 50 people” yet will help people who can. Retroscreen has the unique ability to isolate (for several days) and infect a group of young and healthy subjects.They recently received a grant from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA to look at fundamental
aspects of transmission and how it can be interrupted. This is reflected in a current trial of ten people for nine days being infected with Respiratoy Syncytial Virus and transmission monitored. Retroscreen has the confidence of the the ethics community and a strong team of medical and support staff to run these niche experiments. It is commercialised to pharmaceutical companies with products that have passed Phase 1 trials. Also any genes and subsequent protein products involved in natural immunity are identified and shared with third parties to develop potential cures. Oxford sees a bright future for Retroscreen and believes that staffing could double in the future, helping to make further positive contributions to the both the local and global community. Oxford’s work appears to take him far and wide. Recently returning from the Caribbean, he has been to London cemeteries and the Arctic in search of 1918 Spanish influenza samples. The Royal London has provided the best samples due to excellent preservation and brilliant record keeping. He was also a key part of VIRGIL, an EU experiement to create a network group, not a research group, against viral resistance. Retroscreen contributed to the screening of drug resistant influenza. Prof. Oxford’s work and influence can be experienced by students in so many way. His textbook Human Virology, now in it’s fourth edition, is a recommended text and well stocked across both campus libraries. Co-authored with Lesslie Collier, responsible for the heat-stable vaccine of small pox, it is intended to be light hearted and reflect Oxford’s ability to convey information. Oxford also made a permanent contribution to Whitechapel Library by commissioning a stain glassed window based on Gauguin’s ‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’ with reference to the 1918 Spanish Influenza and how we would react to an outbreak today. With winter fast approaching, the question of flu outbreaks rose. Oxford comments that swine flu has been very “dominating” and “Darwinian” in nature over the past two years. It has been unable to penetrate the over 60s due to their previous exposure in the 40s and 50s, targeting the young and the pregnant. This year however sees the decline of swine flu and other forms of influenza having the chance to act. Those over 60 are advised to get a vaccine.
Photo by Ben Rider
Businesses still waiting on reciept of promised riot recovery grants
The CarpetRight in Tottenham was one of the hardest hit by the riots in August
Josh Robin Thorpe Hackney businesses have found themselves playing the waiting game as they are still stuck without compensation nearly three months on from the August riots. Local shop-owners are yet to hear whether their applications have been successful, despite a promised pay out from Boris Johnson arriving as “swiftly as possible”. The London Mayor set up the High Street Fund (HSF) with the aim of paying out “easy to apply for’’ packages stating that “small businesses’’ needed “urgent repair damage to get goods back on shelves’’. The scheme was set up with £20m of funding, allocated
Photo by Alan Stanton
via local-authorities. spite over 5000 businesses subHalf of the 586 businesses mitting claims for that applied for the “immediate’’ Clarence Road has been one of £2,000 grant are still waiting and the worst hit, with not one storemust now prepare themselves for a owner having yet received comtough winter trading period, with pensation. Ian Rathbone, chair restaurants still leaking and some of the Clarence Road Traders’ retailers left unable to open at all. and Residents’ association, said, QMessenger has also learned “Traders hae now been waiting for that less than a third of the £3m more than two months for comHTF has been distributed, with pensation when we were told it Hackney shop-owners left describ- would only take a few days filling ing the turn of events as adding “an in the form. This is really adding insult to injury”. insult to injury.”. According to a BBC investigaJennette Arnold, Labour’s Lontion, the central compensation don Assembly member, deuced fund for small businesses, de- the Mayor of London’s regeneraspite having a government-funded tion scheme in a letter to his ad£250m, has only paid out a mere viser speaking in particular of the £3,584 which highlights further clearly “unacceptable and potenbad news for businesses still left tially fatal delay in getting support waiting for a reply from the HTF. to traders whose businesses are The BBC revealed that this is de- under very real threat of closure’’.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Research finds genes causing blood pressure Aamna Mohdin Scientists at Queen Mary have discovered five genes which cause high blood pressure, a key breakthrough they say that could be used to develop alternative therapies for lowering blood pressure. The aim of the study was to look into the role that genes play in high blood pressure. The work completed by the team, led by Professor Patricia Munroe, raises hope to develop innovative techniques to identify those who are most at risk of a heart attack or stroke due to hypertension which is when the heart has to work harder than it should to pump blood around the body. Senior author on the paper, QM Scientists are dedicated to dealing with health problems like high blood pressure. Professor Munroe from Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research blood pressure.” the tip of the iceberg in terms at more risk, genetic factors also Institute, said: “The new genes Around 10 million British of the role these genes play in play a significant role; some are are an important discovery in people suffer from high blood affecting blood pressure,” Dr at higher risk simply due to their tackling heart disease and stroke pressure while 191,000 people Johnson said. “We have a lot more genes. but now we need to further our die from heart and circulatory work to do to get the complete The study, published in the understanding of the way these disease in the UK and a further picture of the way these specific American Journal of Human genes function.” 43,000 from strokes. According genes function.” Genetics, increases our Dr Johnson, also from the to the British Heart Foundation, High blood pressure is understanding in the causes of William Harvey Research cardiovascular disease claims believed to be caused by both high blood pressure; a condition if Institute, said: “In discovering 88,000 deaths a year and is environmental and genetic left untreated can lead to strokes these genes we have taken another the cause of 50,000 premature factors. While lifestyle choices or developing heart disease. This step towards understanding the deaths in the UK alone. such as excess salt in your diet condition causes more than 7 biological mechanisms that affect “We suspect that this might be or lack of exercise will put you million deaths worldwide each
QM Historian calls for politicians to learn the lessons of the past Michael Hammond Politicians have failed to learn from the lessons of the past according to a QM Historian who spoke at a conference on the purpose of History earlier this month. The event, titled ‘History: What is it Good For?’, brought Modern British History lecturer Tristram Hunt together with a number of other noted historians, including Tom Holland, Richard Evans and David Starkey. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of history as a discipline in the United Kingdom at a time when funding for its study is being cut and interest in the classroom is waning. Dr Hunt, who is also the MP for Stoke-on-Trent, described the Palace of Westminster as “a Valhalla of democratic history”, yet lamented that ministers did not appear to have “learned the lessons of the past”, as shown by their decision-making in reforming the House of Lords and in implementing austerity measures. Also present was Universities Minister David Willetts, who spoke of history as being “part of the rights of a free society”,
and defended his policies against claims that they are “biased against the humanities”, although he did say that some courses needed to develop a better sense of “the overall shape of a discipline before going into more specialist areas”. Concluding the event, Richard Evans of the University of Cambridge spoke of history as “a critical and analytical discipline that exists precisely to interrogate and deconstruct myth and memory, and replace it with source-based, evidence-based argument”, adding that “a narrow, inward-looking sense of national identity is politically dangerous as well as culturally and socially stultifying”. Second year History student Ieuan Care described Dr Hunt’s comments as being “as perceptive as they are relevant”, and enthused that it was “brilliant to hear the case being made that politicians should strengthen their application of historical thought to public policy.” Vanessa Meade, a third year history student said: “You can’t project the past onto the present because political situations differ but some simple lessons could be learned like if you make cuts people strike.”
Image by DeathbyBokeh (via Flickr) year. Professor Munroe, Dr Toby Johnson and others from both Queen Mary and other universities, analysed blood pressure measurements from 25,000 people. They used a custom designed DNA chip to study 50,000 sites along the human genome. The team identified five new genetic variations as well as confirming a number of previous discoveries.
Girls at QM get higher grades than boys
» 65% of female students achieve 1st/2.1 compared to 60% of males
Heena Battiwala Queen Mary female students are completing their degrees with a higher success rate than their male class mates according to statistics provided by the university. 65 per cent of female students achieved a 1st or 2.1, compared to 60 per cent of male students in the 2010 graduating class. It has also been found that overall, female students are less likely to ‘drop out’ of university. The divide between male and female students who successfully complete their degree is also widening according to research carried out by the Higher Education Institute.
compared to less than 20 per cent of their male counterparts. Johnny Walker, a Cambridge graduate and trainee teacher who conducted a study on the effects of masculinity found that it is not gender but parental income and social class which are ‘the main determinants of academic achievement’. He believes that male students feel pressured to study ‘highly esteemed’ subjects such as Maths, engineering or the sciences due to Image courtesy of Enlish106 via Flickr (CC) cultural expectations and general Their report reveals that ‘just stereotypes. four in ten men now [go] on to The Guardian has found that graduate with a degree compared despite the fact that more women with half of women’ and that male than men enter higher-education, students are outnumbered by they still ‘lag’ behind in regards to their female counterparts at ‘every seniority and wage equality. type of university’. The Universities and Colleges After just a year of school, Admissions Service revealed that research shows that boys fall women aged between 20 and 29 considerably behind girls in were earning more than their terms of educational performance male counterparts. and this gulf tends to increase Although statistics suggest that throughout primary and women are outperforming their secondary school. male counterparts at university, According to the Daily men are still doing better than Telegraph, the previous academic females in the subjects which lead year 2010/2011 recorded a ‘record to the highest reputed careers gulf’ in GCSE results. Over 26 per such as mathematics, computer cent of GCSEs taken by female science, engineering and financial students were awarded an A grade, studies.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Public Sector Workers to Strike on the 30th Alex Badrick An estimated three million public sector workers, including university lecturers and schoolteachers, will participate in a national walkout next Wednesday, continuing a dispute between the government and the public sector over changes to pension plans. The strike will be the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom since the Miner’s General Strike in 1926, and will be led by the University and College Union (UCU) and UNISON. Many Queen Mary lecturers plan to refuse to cross the picket lines on November 30th, which will affect lectures, and tutorials, timetabled for the day. Although QMSU officially supports next week’s strike, student opinion is divided. QMSU resolved to “Support 30th November” in a motion passed at student council. The motion argued that “strike action is taken on a democratic basis”, and that “the
by Matthew TK Taylor
The public sector strike on November 30th is set to be larger than that of June 30th this year. government has refused to enter serious negotiations”. QMSU posters encouraging students not to attend lectures next Wednesday have recently appeared on campus. But not all students are supporting industrial action. “I don’t support the strike”, said second year Biochemistry student Ebun Ajewole, “it will affect mine and good number of other students’ learning... lecturers should find others ways of expressing their concerns with their pension scheme without affecting students.” Leaflets distributed by UCU
members last week in Library Square urge students to “help stop the great pensions robbery”. The leaflets cite “higher pension contributions at a time of frozen wages and a rising cost of living”, and “the value of pensions being cut by 15%”, as key reasons for students to support the strike. Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has described the government’s pension deal as “a very fair and balanced offer”, adding that “people are living much longer now... but we have to ensure it is affordable in the context of our pensions.” A branch of the Trades Union
Congress (TUC) has organised a march through central London on November 30th, beginning in Holborn and heading towards Embankment for a 2pm rally. The route is similar to that used in the public sector strike on June 30th this year. Lecturers from Queen Mary and campaign group QMUL Stop the Cuts plan to join this march. QMUL Stop the Cuts is inviting students on Facebook to “shutdown education: Don’t work, don’t study”. The TUC also plans to release a charity single, a version of Let’s Work Together, recorded by a group of 14
public sector workers in aid of Age UK. “Not only does it capture the determination of public sector staff to reach a fair settlement of the pensions issue,” says TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, “but also what is so special about the magnificent people who provide our vital services.” Francis Maude, Cabinet Office Minister, said that union leaders have “jumped the gun”, acting “irresponsibly” by calling a strike which has “the ability to inflict damage on the economy and on other people’s lives and jobs when we’ve still got the real prospect of reaching agreement.”
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• tips on how to make your experience relevant • making extra-curricular activities work for you.
To attend a session please book in person at QM Careers, Room WG3 Queens’ Building or phone 020 7882 8533.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Why young women are the forgoen victims of London’s gang violence •
Sexual exploitation occurs when one person wields more power than the other and uses it to abuse them
Many of the girls don’t realise they are being exploited; they mistake the gifts and attention for affection
While the report interviewed girls affected from all backgrounds, those particularly at risk are girls in the care system, those who are already known to the police and those who have been removed from full time education.
If they ever report their abuse, some girls find they are more at risk than ever as there isn’t an adequate support system available for them
For many girls, the first time their abuse is picked up on is when they enter the prison system themselves
offenders’ units. “Because I’m in care I’m not allowed a mobile phone, but [one of her abusers] bought one for me. They knew I couldn’t afford big bags of weed in one go, so they’d sell me a little bit for a quid,” she says. “In return I would look after things for them.” She isn’t forthcoming about many of her experiences, but she is recorded on her case notes as a victim of sexual abuse. Girls like Lorelai are known for slipping through the system unnoticed, but it seems that women from all walks of life are
“ The women that are exploited as part of the same culture are forgotten
she was twelve. She has been in care for most of her life and both of her brothers are in young
affected by this violence. The Female Voice in Violence report found that, while many of the girls
Image by Keeren Flora
A report recently cited at the Mayor’s Question Time with the GLA suggested that over half of all girls and women who are involved in gangs have experienced some sort of sexual violence as a result. The Female Voice in Violence report by Race On The Agenda surveyed 350 women affected by gang sex crimes and found that the women affected either come into contact with gangs through their brothers, fathers, boyfriends and friends, or they are initiated themselves. They are raped or abused as payback for perceived wrongdoing by those they are close to, or so that they don’t have to pay for drugs or protection. Sometimes they are raped to mark them as property of a particular gang. In one case, outlined in the report, a teenage girl was raped repeatedly by several members of a gang as a punishment after being arrested for selling drugs on their behalf. The girls aren’t just exploited sexually; they are often asked to pass along drugs and weapons, hide money, provide alibis to the police and recruit other girls to do the same thing. Some of the women are deliberately targeted and groomed by older men in gangs and are offered mobile phones, drugs and money in return for sex. So why isn’t this being talked about? Since the August riots it seems that politicians are falling over themselves to criticise inner city gang culture. Boris Johnson has invested hundreds of thousands into community groups that aim to get young people off the streets, but it doesn’t seem to have worked, in fact knife crime amongst young people has gone up by almost 30 per cent since he became Mayor. When gangs are discussed at Mayor’s Question Time, the emphasis seems almost exclusively to be on young men. The women that are exploited as part of the same culture are forgotten. Lorelai is 14 now but first became involved in a gang when
Exploitation: How does it happen?
affected are known to the welfare system, a significant proportion
choice.” Fear, shame and a wish to protect their families and
“ Girls are keeping quiet about
abuse because they fear a backlash
are from stable homes and good boyfriends were cited as reasons schools in affluent areas. Many not to report sexual violence to are sisters of young men involved police. Peaches Cadogan, a former in gangs, and are used as currency. gang member, told the BBC: Some have been arrested for “This is real life - you’re not only their involvement in gangs and putting yourself in that situation, have passed through a very you’re also putting families in a male-orientated and dominated situation. Those gang members rehabilitation service, unable have no problem in just putting to articulate and understand a gun in your mother’s mouth their own experiences in a safe these things happen on a day to day basis.” environment. If this exploitation is to end, it Girls are keeping quiet about abuse because they fear a backlash. isn’t just the male gang members’ Rape, according to report author attitudes to women that have to Carlene Firmin, is a “weapon of change. A survey by the women’s
rights group Engender found that whilst half of the 14-21 year old men surveyed felt that there were circumstances in which it was acceptable to hit a woman or force her to have sex, a third of the girls thought there were too. Lorelai doesn’t seem to feel that her experiences were unfair – she was given something and so had to give something back in return. “They didn’t mind that I didn’t have any money because I could help them out instead,” she says of the gang she was involved with. She doesn’t see herself as a victim of abuse – in fact she even seems to see herself as the exploiter. She boasts about the gifts and attention lavished on her from the older men in the gang, and how little she thinks she had to do to get it. To Lorelai, her body and her safety don’t have value – drugs, phones, clothes and money do. In the exchange, she thinks she came off better.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
The Great Debate The Striking Thing The fundamental power that all people have, so the old line goes, is that of their work. However excluded from political process or economic policy you are, you can always chose to withhold your work and, in numbers, this is power. But strikes, of course, have not always been the most successful form of political action. Many pass by into the distance having made little difference to those who hold the keys to the kingdom. Strikes, though, are not all of a kind. Magnitude is the variable that makes, or breaks, a strike. That is to say they must be on a truly industrial scale. November 30th looks set to be one strike on exactly that scale. With 3 million people estimated to take part, it looks set to be the largest strike since 1926. As a result, this, the largest strike in decades, has the potential to be a hammer blow to a Coalition government that, with bad economic growth and Occupy London taking their toll, is looking all black and no blue.
Defending The Right To Insult (And Quite Right Too) Greater minds than I have defended the right of all to free speech. “I do not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”, so said Voltaire. Or, to throw a bit of Mill in there: “If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one – if he had the power – would be justified in silencing mankind.” I think it’s a bit odd that there is a need to reiterate the following point at a university: free speech is an important, and indeed a rather lovely, thing. The fact that a No Platform policy was brought up at last week’s student council is disappointing. A university should surely be a place that, more than any other, celebrates the importance of free speech and open debate. When you disagree with someone, the answer is not to refuse to engage with them, but to attempt to understand where the person is coming from. I understand where the motion came from, it was aiming to defend and protect students from offence, but why are one person’s feelings more important than another’s?
Is youth unemployment being tackled effectively?
Yes Patrick Ford Is this some sick joke? How can anybody attempt to defend the Government at a time when youth employment (18-24) has hit the one million mark? It’s a tough sell, certainly, but it’s important to get a few basic facts right. Ed Miliband and the Labour Party may talk of a ‘lost generation’ but the reality is that youth unemployment has been gently creeping up since 2002, and Labour left office with the figure standing at well over 900,000. Their wish to get 50 % of people to go to university was sold as social mobility, but the cynics have been proven right: more and more people are getting worthless degrees – and racking up debt in the meantime – when they would be better off training up as an apprentice, learning new skills, or gaining work experience. Far too many graduates complain about not being able to walk straight into their chosen career, and the £9,000 tuition fees should certainly make people think twice about going to university for the sole reason of ‘that’s what people do nowadays’. The Office for National Statistics’ decision to calculate the ‘value’ of a degree for the first time should come as a welcome bonus. This issue transcends party politics. Youth unemployment rose under Labour and it’s rising under the Coalition. The harsh reality is that there ain’t all that much a government can do about youth jobs. Encouraging older workers to retire, so that companies can take on young people, isn’t going to work at a time when people are working harder and longer than ever to secure an adequate retirement. Lowering transport fees – especially on the Tube in London – for young people might help, as
they would be prepared to look further afield for work. But this would again cost huge sums of money, and Britain simply cannot continue to live outside its means. We have seen that piling up debt leads us to painful recessions. Chucking state money at a problem is a heavy-handed, inefficient and wasteful method of intervention. State-created jobs compete against the private sector, and the latter is responsible for growing the economy. You can’t grow an economy when the state pays your wages and only receives taxes in return. The private sector, which pays wages out of profits, produces goods for export and pays taxes to the state. So the Government’s policies of encouraging the private sector to hire young people are a small step in the right direction. Apprenticeships offer youths the chance to learn new skills, gain experience and have the chance to impress their employers with a view to gaining a permanent job. And the coalition government have worked with the private sector to increase dramatically the number of apprenticeships. A National Insurance holiday for firms who employ under 25-yearolds was announced in the Budget; likewise, cutting corporation tax for small and medium enterprises will directly place more money in company coffers, and this will only increase the number of jobs. But the single best way to reduce youth unemployment is to help the wider economy grow. In Britain’s boom years of the early 2000s, around 800,000 more young people were in work. In order to go back to these years we need to keep private sector taxes low and pay off our debts. The jobs will then return. Patrick Ford is a first year Modern and Contemporary History student and has been turned down for four jobs in the past two weeks.
Cartoon by Maria D’Amico
No Vanessa Meade Anyone who had harboured hope that youth unemployment was in decline will have been severely disappointed by figures released recently. According to the International Labour Organisation, youth employment has hit a record high, with 1.02 million 16-24 year olds out of work. In response, the government has repositioned the blame for these shocking statistics, away from their foolhardy handling of the economy, and onto the Eurozone crisis. However for all those economists out there the Eurozone is in fact a lagging indicator, therefore the crisis has no immediate effect on the economy. The figures we see today are wholly a result of governmental incompetence. While the coalition finds someone to blame for the economic climate, their schemes for youth unemployment continue to suffer. Instead of providing employers with incentives to take on young people, increasing university places, the coalition has put into place unstructured and inefficient schemes. When the government scrapped the Future Jobs Fund, a scheme set up by the last government to help the young unemployed get back into work, they failed to put an equal or better alternative in its place. Instead they offered to introduce a “work academies” scheme which, although promises work experience and training, does not result in a job. They have merely created an overblown CV workshop with limited places. Too late for many young people, Vince Cable revealed new incentives for small businesses to take on apprentices. Although the scheme may look good on paper, critics have slated it for placing too much emphasis on the num-
ber of apprenticeships being offered, rather than the quality. A recent report conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that some schemes last for just 12 weeks, hardly enough time to equip an apprentice with all the skills needed for the workplace. Additionally the IPPR has suggested that in reality these schemes are not actually going to young people at all. Out of 126,000 apprenticeships only 37,000 went to 16-24 year olds. The rest were allotted to over 25s. Unfortunately for Britain’s youth, it appears that these government schemes are merely ways of reducing unemployment figures. The apprenticeship schemes have the ability to provide jobs at the end, but they are not living up to their potential. Instead they are being used as a governmental tool to get young people off the streets for a short period of time. What the government should be focusing on is providing the correct economic climate to encourage businesses and firms to take on new staff. Employers themselves have commented on the situation, saying that their reasons for not hiring young people are largely based on the current economic crisis. It has been proven that young people who experience long periods of unemployment are more likely to be jobless later in life, earn lower wages and be unhappy. Young people are the future generation, providing jobs for them is an investment made for the benefit of the country. If the government does not come up with a viable solution soon, the “lost generation” will only become more helpless. As the economist David Blanchflower says “We’ve got to do something drastic, because young people riot when they are unemployed”. Vanessa Meade is a third year History student and is involved in RAG.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
The failings and fallacies of the left
George Obsborne’s budget will still see an overall increase in state spending.
Robert Hainault I want to put some distance between myself and George Osborne. You are no doubt steeped in the titanic criticisms that have come from the placardhappy Left and the opposition benches, criticisms that are ostensibly unsinkable, but are actually deserving of a little more analytical ice than the eighth-forshow bobbing up from the Labour side of the house. Fallacy one: “We are steaming into a double-dip recession because the Chancellor is cutting too deep, too fast.” Mr. Osborne’s priority is to cut government borrowing, and get us back onto an even keel. With that in mind, this criticism is easy enough to knock down: in the next five years government spending will not decrease, but increase from £697 billion per year, to £757 billion per year. Last year the budget deficit was £170.8 billion. True, this year the deficit is projected to be £167.9 billion (a relatively puny decrease) but this is chiefly going to be achieved by increases in taxation. It is an economic truth supported by over 35 years of statistical evidence that as tax goes up, economic growth goes down. The real reason we are
headed for a double-dip recession is because there is not enough economic growth due to punitive levels of tax, which means there is less money in the economy to reap back in tax revenue. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you lower tax sufficiently you can receive greater tax revenue. This is because there is more economic growth and therefore more money in the economy. Thus (though as a percentage it is less tax) the state is afforded more money in total. Fallacy two: “George Osborne’s draconian cuts have led to greater unemployment.” Yes, there is greater unemployment, and yes,
have become disillusioned
it is partly George Osborne’s fault, although his predecessors are more deserving of blame than he, but again, this comes down to levels of tax. When government “creates” a job, it destroys jobs elsewhere through the act of taxation necessary to pay the new workers their wages. And if it doesn’t
increase taxation? Then it must borrow the money and add to the budget deficit. Also, income tax, although it has been softened with the 850 thousand poorest in Britain being made exempt from any income tax whatsoever (a somewhat superficial gesture), is a barrier to economic growth. Income tax was introduced in 1798 by Pitt the Younger in preparation for the Napoleonic wars and was never removed. This is a remarkable oversight considering the impact income tax has on the incentive to employ: if you tax people for their labour, their labour becomes more expensive as companies have to make up the difference by increasing wages (an increase that profits the government rather than the worker, just as the tax on cigarettes or alcohol causes prices to go up with no extra profit for the shop-owner). This provides a disincentive for companies to hire because they simply cannot afford to pay the number of workers they would be able to were there no income tax. 850 thousand is not enough. If we want to create jobs we cannot simply magic them into existence with a word from parliament: we must lower income tax drastically. We have only to look at the work of John Cowperthwaite in Hong Kong to
Image by altogetherfool (via Flickr CC)
see the value of a low flat tax: after the introduction of a 15% flat tax, economic growth in Hong Kong boomed, and it is still booming, with a consistently high rate of economic growth and one that outstrips that of Britain more then sevenfold. The other main factor in growing unemployment is the minimum wage. At the moment we are a
Furthermore, our generous welfare system means that those who can are disincentivised from working by the prospect of having a lower income than that which they receive from the state. We can all agree that the current system is not working. Mr. Osborne’s cuts are an exiguous reduction in government expenditure and not nearly sufficient to reduce government debt, as we can see from the debt projections quoted earlier. What is needed is a radical shift away from a state that currently controls over half the British economy, to a much freer market. Our state is much too big and our private sector much too small. Until Mr. Osborne realises country of services, and as such our this, he will continue to hand market is dominated by secondary matches to the free-marketeers tax consumers. In order to escape who recognise that his supposedly the current system of tax churning ‘capitalist’ policies are anything and create real economic growth, but, and hand petrol to the we need to allow manufacturing socialists who are content to gloss to return to Britain by drastically blithely over historical evidence lowering the tax on labour and and economic good sense as they by making it cost effective to invade Library Square and use hire British workers. One fifth as points d’appui the failings of of our population is currently a ‘capitalism’ that is, in reality, workless and solely reliant on the ideological bedfellow of state benefits for income, at an the economic system they so immense cost to the taxpayer. vehemently espouse. However, without job creation and manufacturing enterprise Robert Hainault is a second year in Britain, many unemployed English Literature student and a people simply cannot find jobs. member of the QMUL Liberty League
camp is void “The of politics, void of clear goals and void of direction
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Comment Do we really want Queen Mary to support Israel in our name? Let’s talk about Palestine. Although it’s definitely one of the most contested topics of today, we mustn’t shy away from discussing the situation, and where we can, show support with those who are affected by it. Firstly, let us address some indisputable facts. Israel has broken more UN Resolutions than any other state in history. Furthermore, its settlements in and around the West Bank are illegal, its violation of Palestinian human rights is illegal, and obstructing the Right of Return is again, internationally illegal. An important distinction should be made: this is no war - many people assume the Israelis and Palestinians are two equal sides fighting.
An internationally condemned blockade traps stateless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation for 44 years. In the last “war”, 13 Israelis lost their
those who “ To say this isn’t
apartheid: what else could you call it?
lives while the death toll for Palestinians was 1,389 - more than 100 times higher. To those who retaliate that this is not apartheid I ask you: what else
could you possibly call it? Palestinians are not permitted the freedom of travel as we are; in some towns they are not allowed to walk on the same side of the road as Israelis, and they are consistently intimidated, tortured and humiliated. Should our institution be complicit in this conflict? Even if one were to completely dismiss the factual evidence and questions of morality: should QM take any role in this situation? A boycott is a nonviolent method of opting out of financial complicity, and also allows groups to politically challenge Israel’s actions. QMSU is twinned with the Islamic University of Gaza and a student there, Jehan Alfarra sends us the following message: “For everyone outside of Gaza who cares about justice
and humanity, if you choose not to speak out against the inhumane Israeli violent acts, then at least … do not contribute to it by paying for their war machines … let us see that you are supporting our long ignored non-violent resistance approach that have been taken up by Palestinians for decades”. Desmond Tutu further added: “While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.” A boycott is not targeted against Israeli individuals, nor intended to marginalise Jewish students, but to challenge the Israeli state. Indeed, many Israelis and Jewish groups support the call for a boycott. As QM does play a role in the conflict, we
must ensure it is the right one. We must not financially support apartheid. QM students have taken an active stance against injustices in the past, campaigning and even occupying against the arms trade, the atrocities of Sri Lanka and a boycott of Nestle. Students’ unions are fundamentally political and a tool to use to steer the direction of the university. Do we really want QM to support Israel in our name? “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Free Palestine. Fight Injustice.
Wanda Canton is a third year International Relations student, QMSU Women’s Officer and VP of the Palestine Solidarity Society.
Policy decisions should be Support public sector workers, join us on about humanity, not politics the picket lines for the November 30 strikes Babs Williams
in without question. If you are 18 and over the local council take you in, however, if you are 17 you must make a police statement against your parents to be taken in by social services. Policy left a large hole for those who no matter how much they hated their parents did not wish to see them in jail. This lack of human flexibility meant such a policy was implemented, and with that I was made homeless. (I got lucky, as Centre Point, a homeless charity for young people, took me in to one of their hostels.) My experiences of working in policy environments have taught me that the left and right have something in common; they all have weak and disengaged policies. The verbiage of the SWP on Marxism has done little for the poor in 60 years. Citizens UK, a relatively new organisation has
Reading QMessenger this term has almost been a trial of patience. I’ve had to wade through the drivel in the battle between the right and the left, both of whom predictably have nothing new to say. What is really worrying is that every week there is no tangible link being drawn by students between the creation of policy and its human implications. Sadly, this is the case across the policy world. When you’re homeless there are very few things you care about other than your next meal. The intervening years between running away from home and arriving at university for the most part were spent within the violent walls of a youth hostel. Dehumanisation is too distant a word to describe the weekly processes of teenagers fighting with one another over pennies, Pret a Manger Charity Deliveries and the chance to talk to the youth worker. My story matters because I fear that we have reached a dangerous point in the process of policy creation. People more to say on engaging the socially no longer matter. Answers such as disenfranchised than all of Britain’s “it will damage the economy,” are no Marxist parties combined. However, longer good enough when it comes we must remember Citizens UK to topics such as bankers’ bonuses. thrives because of the failure of our People have lost their jobs, they have “rational” political elite to create the lost their homes, and those who still relevant policies that will improve possess these things would be in the the lives not only of minority groups, minority if they did not fear losing but swathes of people not within the them. These are the moods that London bubble. Any policy that is should dictate and produce rational created in the next few years that is policy when regulating issues such not underpinned by this narrative, is as bonuses. However, policy creation probably not relevant whatsoever. has become an ivory tower, that The detachment of this sort of policy governments can fob off populations analysis serves only to radicalise the with accusations of “socialism, fiscal participants whilst alienating the irresponsibility and emotions are majority. running high” at every turn. The human aspect has been lost Babs Williams is a third year History in the policy world. If you are 16 and Politics student and founder of the and under, social services take you New Turn Society.
human aspect “The has been lost in
the policy world
Ross Speer On November 30th (N30) up to 3 million public sector workers will be going on strike. This not only includes our own lecturers but most of the education sector, the health service, local councils and the civil service. The purpose of the strike is pitched around the attacks on public sector pensions. It is impossible, under Thatcher’s anti-union laws (upheld under New Labour), to make the official purpose for the strikes any less specific but it would be foolish to assume that those on the N30 picket lines will be concerned solely about their pensions. Everything from the NHS through to education is under attack by the Tories; the vast majority of people in this country will be adversely affected. Students have a big role to play in both actively supporting the strikes by joining the pickets and also in working to generalise the politics behind them. When groups of people have fought back against the Tories November 30th will see lecturers at Queen Mary on the picket lines. around isolated issues success in Image by Matthew TK Taylor. overturning the specific reform has th not been found. continues, in a much bigger way, on 30 strikes and we can do that The conclusion to be drawn, N30. If we want to create a fairer again on N30. therefore, is that we must unite the society we need to stop the Tories We also need to be bringing fights, generalise the issues, and in their tracks, and strikes are the the argument that one day is not bring down Cameron’s govern- way to do that. enough. The Trade Unions need ment of the 1% if we are to prevent The logic here is simple. Ulti- to launch a mass sustained strike the costs of a crisis caused by the mately, the government can only wave if we are to win. rich being passed on to ordinary exist if it has the confidence of big On N30, do not cross the picket people. business (the Tories especially, be- lines. Instead, join your lecturers. Demonstrations have an impor- ing the political wing of the City of Help save not just their pensions, tant role to play here in mobilis- London). but your education, your NHS and ing people and bringing them conStrikes hit the rich where it hurts: your future. fidence. The wave of student dem- in their pockets. Workers going on onstrations last winter was cited strike disrupts the process of prof- Ross Speer is a third year History and by several Trade Union leaders as it making; students need to be join- Politics student and a member of the inspiration for the wave of strikes ing in with this. We brought con- Queen Mary Socialist Worker Student which began on June 30th and now fidence and militancy to the June Society.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Comment Those on strike do so not only for themselves but for future workers Sophie Richardson President
Wednesday 30th November is an important day for two reasons; it is the day of national strike action for fairer pensions and better working conditions and also the 15th anniversary and annual assembly of our East London Citizens (TELCO) branch of London Citizens and Citizens UK. Both are going to prove to be very interesting, and yet very different, acts of politics and I’m hoping you will support both. Those who choose to strike will be doing so not only for
the sake of their own pensions, but also for the pensions of future public sector employees, many of whom may be yourselves, your friends and your family members over the coming years. This isn’t just a ﬁght for our current public sector workers, but a ﬁght for our future selves too. The TELCO annual assembly will feature public negotiations asking Seb Coe, LOCOG and the Legacy Company to guarantee jobs and affordable housing for east London.
Many of us work, study, play and live in east London during our time at QM, as well as after too, and it’s important we make sure our opinions and voices are heard on these important issues. We will be meeting outside the Students’ Union Blomeley Centre at 5:45pm and going to the venue together so please do come along. You can ﬁnd the event ‘QMSU goes to the TELCO Annual Assembly’ on Facebook or for more info please do email me email@example.com
Both the strikes and the TELCO event are brilliant ways to get involved in local politics which will hopefully have a national impact so please do get involved and support in whatever way you can; after all, the outcomes will affect us all. T’rah for now, Sophie @PresidentQMSU
Dedicated mentors have the power to help students achieve their goals George Ryan BLSA President
A lot of students can only sing praises for their mentors and have developed a very good relationship with them. These mentors are the ones who are highly dedicated and feel it is their responsibility to take it upon themselves and inspire and encourage the students. The ones that put effort into developing the mentor/mentee relationship by getting to know them personally, by finding out their
aims and aspirations, what they want to achieve at medical school. Climbing this hurdle, taking the relationship from that stifled, awkward first handshake to developing a good rapport is the toughest one but once that is conquered, the rest is easy. Once you reach a point where you know your mentee and what they want to achieve at medical school, your job then is quite simply. You can facilitate whatever
this is using all the resources you have at your disposal within your profession. Researchers get students on board with their projects, clinicians invite them to clinics, if you are a researcher and a student wants a more hospital based experience point them to the person who will give this to them and so on. The guidance the school provides to medical students needs
to be noted, but not over used to a point where it stifles and suffocates the all important interaction between the mentor and student. Providing such intimate advice to someone you don’t know and understanding their aims is a tall order which is why the relationship you develop with the student is so important, get that right and we will have a successful mentor programme at Barts and The London.
We can do beer than a £200 start up fund for Sports & Societies groups Dom Bell VP Student Activities
At the Student Council meeting on Wednesday 23rd November there was a motion proposing that there is money reserved from the Sports and Societies’ budgets for new groups. A good motion in principle. However, the problem with the motion is the details such as the prescribed amount you can have which is only £200, or the fact that you need 120 signatures or students on mailing list (how veriﬁable is that and what do
names on a list mean?), or moreover the fact that you’re given a stationary budget for speciﬁcally 500 A5 ﬂyers, an 8x3ft banner, and 100 A4 posters (what if you want to spend your stationary budget on something else?). The motion was far too prescriptive for anyone to agree with it. I’m writing this column before the meeting but I suspect the motion will get voted down for the reasons that we could actually do more for new groups and
limiting to these particulars doesn’t help. But it needn’t get voted down if some more time and people were included in putting together the motion and actually discussed all those parts that we’re missing or that don’t need to be written in black and white. The reason I’m going to speak and vote against a motion I agree with in principle is that I’ve been left out of the discussion.
Still, this doesn’t mean that we can’t put together a start-up package for new student groups setting up that includes a grant or loan from the Union, promotional services, links and networks with sponsors and external funds that QMSU can build and help students submit bids for… the list could go on. And I don’t see why it couldn’t be done for the next ﬁnancial year. There’s just no point in forcing the issue before it’s ready.
Those who think QM students are apathetic misunderstand the real issue Oscar Williamson VP Education & Welfare
Each week we ﬁve full-time ofﬁcers put at least an hour aside to ask a random sample of students some questions about how the union should be run. Last week we asked if students think the Students’ Union should pass a motion of no conﬁdence in David Willets, Minister of State for Universities and Science, and if we should adopt a No Platform for Fascists policy. The majority of students I spoke
to didn’t know who David Willets is, or what a No Platform policy is. No Platform is a big deal for NUS and SWP types, and those of us who follow higher education are continually exasperated by the contradictory squeaks from the government. For people outside these two groups who it can be difﬁcult to know where to begin. My second ﬁnding was that students were often very keen to talk to
someone about these issues when given the opportunity. I had a long conversation with Michael, a Maths student, about higher education funding, the experience of early-career academics, the causes of the ﬁnancial crisis, and the policy implications of banks becoming too big to fail. As a former International Relations student my default mode of conversation is argument, but this time I did my best to moderate my usual bellig-
erence. I think those who bemoan the apathy of Queen Mary students (and of the population at large) may have missed the point. It isn’t that people are inherently uninterested; it just isn’t appealing to spend time learning about an issue only to be shot down by someone who (apparently) knows much more about it. The main challenge to engaging more people in debate may just be to tone it down a bit.
We voted for a more sensible head on the shoulders of the HE sector Sam Creighton VP Communications
I’m normally the first person to jump up and say that our Union shouldn’t stray beyond its remit. We’re not here to get involved with the Arab-Isreali conflict, we’re not meant to be putting our stamp on international affairs, in short, if it doesn’t impact our student body then, as an organisation we shouldn’t take a stance. However, when there is an issue that has a real and definite effect upon
our membership then we have an obligation to take a stance. There are few issues more pressing within higher education than the incompetence of David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister. He was responsible for the policy that brought the cap on tutition fees up to £9,000. It is because of him that the Treasury estimated, and thus reserved funds to support, a system where the av-
erage fee would be £7,500. It is because of the confusion that he introduced into the system that 1 in 5 institutions are now trying to reduce their fee levels before the beginning of next year. It was because of pressure put on HEFCE by him that they are changing the ratio that determines how much money institutions get to support postgraduate research students. It is for these and many oth-
er reasons that I am happy to announce that Queen Mary Students’ Union has no confidence in David Willetts. The College Council will be discussing a similar motion soon and I think it is of vital importance that we let them know that we, their students, want them to lobby for the government to place a more sensible head on the shoulders of the higher education sector.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 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.
Osborne's Monetary Concentration Lapse
What a banker!
Image by Ivars Krutainis
Leif Halverson 60 second Q&A with a city banker
With the UK’s net public sector borrowing revised down to £6.5bn by the Office of National Statistics, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne admits that there is still work to do. Having met with Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, earlier this week Mr. Osborne said: “It looks like we could be facing a monetary crisis. No-one told me about it which is annoying because I looked a right dick in front of Mervyn.” It seems that the Chancellor could be right, as statistics released by the Royal Bank of HalifAbby National Rock show recent quantitative easing measures to be ineffective. RBHANR Chief Executive, Simon Taylor said, “Flooding the economy with money seems to have had limited success thus far, but this is not a sustainable solution. We need a dynamic solution.” A dynamic solution is exactly what George Osborne has called his new ‘Magpie Programme’. The idea, which involves using ‘shiny’ objects
Auntie Maggie’s Dating Surgery Pawel Blanda Every gal dreamz dat one day she will find a mandemz dat does tings 4 her. Herez how 2 be da perfect BF: • Give her one of your t-shirts to sleep in • Leave her cute text notes • Kiss her in front of your friends (don’t be embarrassed, dey dunno bout her minging gash) • Tell her she is gorgeous. (I will love it if he tell me dat. But den, I will think dat he is just faking it to make me feel good, innit HAHA LOL) • Look into her eyes when u talk to her (they will think your bein honest and shit) • Let her mess wiv your hair (put bare gel in though, 2 make sure u still look bangin) • Touch her hair (even when its greasy, trust) • Just walk around wiv her. (Romantic and ting)
Image by Adrin Kenyon as a currency, was announced at a Treasury press conference on Monday. Speaking to our reporter at the even Mr Osborne said, “I got the idea watching CBBC’s Shiny Show. It’s blissfully simple, Mervyn said I’m not allowed to inject more Sterling into the economy, but he said nothing about other objects. The shiny objects will work alongside money. The shinier the object, the more it’s worth.” Simon Taylor commented saying: “We at RBHANR have our reservations, but have bought up massive stocks of tinfoil and have purchased a 51% share in William Hague’s forehead. Our advice to consumers would be to invest in a jar of polish before prices rocket.” On the matter, Sir Mervyn King said: “I have to meet this man all the time. I have to sit at a table with him and speak to him like a peer, all the while fully aware that he has no idea what I’m talking about. This man is in charge of things and he’s a fucking moron. I’m seriously losing sleep over this.” Image by Madame Tussauds
Q. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? A. I once found a box of abandoned puppies next to the bins at work, my heart sank. So I took the box home for my son, I knew he’d be overjoyed. He opened the box and cried with happiness. I blew the box out of his hands with a shotgun, taking his left hand off completely. I couldn’t stop laughing and the dogs perished.
• 4GiVE HER 4 HER MiSTAKES! ALWAYZ! • Look @ her like she’s da only gash u see • Tickle her even when she says stop (nah, it aint rapey) • Get her mad, den kiss her (angry sex iz da ONE bruv!) • GIVE HER DA WORLD! • Let her know she`s important. (Feminism) • Let her take all da photos she wants of you (even da naked onez) • Kiss her in da pouring rain •Tell her u love her like you’ve never loved someone before (even if u dnt. She’s more likely to get into bed wiv u if u say dat)
News In Briefs Cathy thinks NHS cuts are “too harsh”. She said: “My Mum has been diagnosed with a highly aggressive cancer. She’s only got two weeks left.”
Q. What’s your greatest achievement? A. I always used to punch above my weight in terms of taking shit off the boss. They’d fling a load of paperwork my way when they could see I was obviously overloaded already. One boss regretted it big time. I shot his daughter’s horse and burnt his mother’s sheltered accommodation to the ground. I’ll never forget the look on his face, he just sat there, motionless, teary eyed. Q. 12 seconds left, give us a quick one liner. A. Bleach.
Another Drink and Drive SAGA? Aaron Barber Saga are to start offering insurance specifically aimed at drunk drivers in a move widely criticised by road safety campaigners. The insurance company believe they have exploited a gap in the market based on the perception that fear of drink driving (your own car) is greater than drink driving itself. The insurance covers you fully and comprehensively against any damage you may cause whilst com-
pletely intoxicated, and also enables access to a team of top brass lawyers specifically trained to mitigate any criminal charges made against you. Road safety campaigners have said: “This is an absolute outrage, it’ll send out message that drink driving is socially acceptable”. The police have remained largely neutral on the matter claiming: “Although drink driving is illegal, it’s better to be insured against a crime you are about to commit than uninsured”. Critics are also angry that the
Photo of the Week
Quote of the Week “If John Lewis is never knowingly undersold then the he must be deaf, dumb, blind and stupid.” Aaron’s Grandad
Joke of the Week
Well, this is awkward... Keumars Afifi-Sabet
We would print a joke about Eric Pickles, but he has enough on his plate. AND HE’S FAT HAHAHA. THE FAT BASTARD. Enyi Okoronkwo
price of Drink Driving Insurance is cheaper than insuring a learner or recently passed driver on a plethora of cars. Saga responded, “The vast majority of drink drivers are very responsible, they just can’t be bothered with the long walk home from the pub”. George Osborne has stated: “Although Saga’s innovative new insurance policy may endanger a small number of lives it is exactly the type of thinking this country needs to get us out of the recession”. The Saga continues….
Also in the news... “Senior QM lecturer blasts students’ plans to ‘get jobs’ after degree.” “Westlife announce euthanasia plans to follow end of final tour.” “Michael Portillo found dead in oil slick.” “Cameron dildo found.”
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Sweaty Brow of the Week Riddle Me This The four people in this puzzle all competed in different classes of dog agility at a recent competition. The competitions all required the dogs to run over jumps, through tunnels and various other obstacles in as quicker time as possible. Each had a different result one came first, one third, one fourth and one ninth. All four dogs were each of a different breed. Can you work out who handled which dog, at what level each competed, the place each finished in and the breed of each dog? 1. If Tiff finished first then Terry finished fourth. 2. If Terry finished fourth then Jago is a collie otherwise Jago is not a collie. 3. If Jane competed in the Senior class then she finished third. 4. If Jane competed in Novice then she finished fourth. 5. The dog that finished ninth was an alsatian. This was either Jago, in which case Jago competed in the Elementary class, or this was Kelly, in which case Terry handled Kelly. 6. Mark won Starters. 7. If Mark’s dog is called Patti then Patti is a labrador otherwise Patti is a collie. 8. Ruth’s dog is called Jago. 9. If Jago finished fourth then she competed in the Novice class otherwise she competed in the Senior class.
Image by LD via Flikr
Which ginger MP is losing sleep over the “irresponsible and wrong” plans for November 30th? 10. If Patti finished first then Terry’s dog is an alsatian otherwise Terry’s dog is a collie. 11. If Jane’s dog is a doberman then Jane finished fourth otherwise Jane finished third. Handler’s Names: Jane, Mark, Ruth and Terry Dog’s Names: Tiff, Patti, Jago and Kelly Breed: Alsatian, Collie, Labrador and Doberman Level: Starters, Elementary, Novice or Senior
Last week’s answers: The answer to the riddle was: ‘The German owns the ﬁsh’ The sweaty brow belonged to: Silvio Berlusconi
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Shared Planet lecture calls for a Green Mary Andrea Blanco Toro “We, the people, have the chance to decide and save our planet,” assured Polly Higgins, environmental lawyer to 350 expectant students attending Shared Planet 2011. On the 12th and 13th of November Oxford’s Town Hall was the home of People&Planet’s Global Student Action Festival, involving young activists from schools and universities all over the UK. Needless to say, a weekend where this message was transmitted in the form of inspirational campaign sessions and workshops (including those led by pupils themselves), leaves you with no other choice and with no greater desire than to take action. The greatest national conference about Environment, Poverty and Human Rights took off at 10:00am on the Saturday, only to discover that speakers from diverse yet complementary backgrounds successfully managed to place inevitable questions in the audience’s mind. All the way from Kenya, editor in chief of Pambazuka News and former programme director of Amnesty
Saving the planet is key for Green Mary International Africa Firoze Manji set Lameman who narrated, in tears, the audience thinking with his belief the destructive consequences of the that “people are not poor, people are tar sands industry in her indigenous MADE poor” in his opening speech. community of Alberta. This Some say one’s freedom begins emotional scene gave encouraged where another’s freedom ends, but listeners to actively participate in a how true is this in a capitalist world? selection of around 20 workshops, A series of lectures included ranging from sustainability of Canadian Crystal Cardinal- controversial biofuels to Zero
Business networking for London Entrepreneurs Sandeep Ahluwalia Global Entrepreneurship Week is a worldwide movement of entrepreneurial people, with millions unleashing their enterprising talents and turning their ideas into reality. The week occurred in 104 countries with 40,000 events and 10 million participants, with 27,000+ students across the UK taking part. At Queen Mary, there have been quite a few exciting events. The week was kicked off with our Meet and Greet in Library Square. Members of our committee were speaking with students and letting them know about the events we had coming up during the week. On Wednesday, The Learning Institute hosted The Student Entrepreneurship Fund Awards Evening. Here ten winners were presented with their awards, including a £1500 grant to start their new business. Food and drinks were served leading to networking opportunities and student entrepreneurs sharing their business ideas, stories and experience. Thursday brought along a slew of workshops run by The Learning
Institute as well as our society’s trip to The Business Start-Up Show. The day was topped off with the official Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 boat party. Organised by students from entrepreneurship societies from 8 London universities, the boat party was a great way to celebrate student enterprise as well as mingle with the most entrepreneurial students from London and beyond. Even students from as far away as Warwick attended the event. There were raffles and auctions as well as plenty of partying! Lastly, on Friday we hosted the Technology Entrepreneurship Panel. This event brought together leading investors, iconic entrepreneurs, and ambitious students to debate, create and fund today’s most innovative internet and green technologies that will change our world in the years to come. Overall, it was a great week and there are many exciting things happening to entrepreneurship in the UK. Being at QMUL gives us a rare opportunity to experience it – we are right next to the technology entrepreneurship cluster in the Old Street roundabout area as well as the Olympics and their legacy business park initiative. Check us out at www.groupspace.com/QME/
Image by doug88888 (via Flickr) Carbon Britain 2030 plans and fair trade. In an over populated world where more than 925 million people are hungry, a worker can be paid less than £2 for 17 hours of labour and climate change is becoming a growing problem we are increasingly aware that the world
is not perfect. Whether the reason is the system, science or nature itself, it is time for UK universities to involve themselves and provide a platform to help eradicate these problems, using students’ unions as a venue for people to support a cause and fight towards sustainable development. People&Planet has launched a new edition of its “Go Green Week” campaign which will take place from the 6th to 11th of February 2012. It aims to raise awareness of environmental challenges the world is currently facing. Education centres around the country are more than welcome to contribute towards the cause, introducing initiatives such as “Meat Free Mondays” or “Waste Not Wednesdays” among others in their campuses, as well as creating their own proposals. Green Mary will be organising the event on our campus and all of you are encouraged to attend the meetings to be part of it. Other environmentally-friendly projects are available, for example “The Big Green Makeover” which trains students and staff on how to make their homes more energy efficient and cost effective. With all of this support on the table, it would be a pity not to raise your voice.
Motion offers £200 to new societies
» Student council reject poorly worded proposal Hollie Carter At the latest Student Council meeting, a motion for the proposal of a budget reserved for new societies and clubs was proposed by Edoardo Palombo, the Mile End Welfare Officer. The motion argued that newly established societies should be given a budget of £200 in their first year in order to develop and attract new members. This £200 would be awarded provided that the club or societies met the requirements of attending Fresher’s fair, gaining 120 members on their mailing list and having a minimum of ten paying members. The rationale behind the argument is that QM needs more sports and societies in order to maximise the student experience and increase student engagement. At present Queen Mary has 40% fewer clubs and societies in comparison to other London universities based on a Student per Club and Society ratio. The current system does not offer new clubs and societies a budget in their first year which often sees new societies struggle to attract members and establish themselves as a club. Funding for the new societies would
Edoardo Palombo at the last UGM
Image by Matthew TK Taylor
come from the leftover budget from existing sports and societies, and it would be distributed equally between the new clubs and societies that met the criteria. Many concerns were raised during the meeting, a notable one being that the budgets would be awarded regardless of need, which goes against the way the current budget system works. Wilson Wong, Mile End Societies Officer, argued against the motion suggesting, “It is a great idea but not a well thought-out motion.” He also went on to argue that “more societies does not equal better societies,” and instead we should work on improving and developing
our current societies. Despite the impassioned speech made by Edoardo, the motion failed to pass with only three votes for the motion. The way in which new societies are established is still something that requires refining and I am sure that this will not be the last motion of this nature to reach student council. Another issue raised by council members was the fact that only £2000 had been budgeted for the establishment of new societies in an academic year, the distribution of which would happen at the start of each year. This means that in reality only ten new societies a year would receive a full budget; it equally means that any new societies set up after the start of term would be ineligible for any financial support from the union. Student Council meetings are open for all students to submit motions and argue points, and everyone is welcome to attend. With more students engaging and participating in the decisions made by the Student Council, and student politics as a whole, we can ensure that the changes that are being made at Council are representative of the needs of all the students.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Grab your plus fours; Golf comes to Mile End usually charges up to £50 an hour, this is an incredible deal. For the more experienced golfers, a £50 QMGC membership fee means that you can then join Wanstead at a student rate of £200; this enables you to play unlimited golf all year round, and makes you eligible to play in club competitions. Once again, after taking into consideration that standard adult membership is over £1000, this is a brilliant deal. So what are you waiting for? Come and flex your muscles for the new QM golf club. Grab your best looking pringle jumper, snazzy gloves, hat, and the plus fours if you’re feeling especially brave. Sport has never been so cool...
Sam Lowe Mile End is famous for many things: fried chicken, drunk students, Drapers and crime among others. But now, thanks to Ramanan Muraleetharan, Queen Mary will make Mile End famous for golf. Being a beginner golfer, some may find it surprising that Ramanan decided to found a golf club, but he will be thanked by many students for bringing golf to the East End. Behind the likes of football, rugby and boxing, golf is one of the most popular sports in the country, and seeing as the world’s number one golfer is currently Englishman Luke Donald, it is about time QM had its own golf team. As it is the first year the golf team has been in action, much of the year has been spent filling out the paper work and organising. The following committee roles were allocated: President – Ramanan Muraleetharan, Vice President – Giulio Nuccio, Treasurer – Emile Spucyte, Club Liaison Officer – Sarah Macdonald, Club Captain – Sam Lowe, Vice Captain – Elliot Sale, and Social Secretary – Andrew Carlin.
Interested? Could you score the elusive hole in one? It is frustrating for the crop (2012/2013), and to do so they of talent at QMGC that they are need any keen golfers to come not competing in a BUCS league forward. against rival universities, but Situated only four tube stops planning and preparation over this away, Wanstead Golf Club is year will be essential for QMGC to the new home of QM golf. There be competitive in years to come. is a series of 12 competitions QMGC plan to be in a BUCS already arranged which will be league for the next academic year played competitively amongst the
Football 5ths win against St Georges in 4-0 victory Sam Lowe Queen Mary 5ths extend their unbeaten run to eight matches following a comfortable 4-0 win over strugglers St Georges 3rds. With some first team regulars out, the 5ths called on Alfie Sowden, Alex “from the fourths” and 4th team captain TJ Johnson, and Jose Villacis, 3rd team captain. The game started scrappily with neither team taking control of the game, and Tommy Huckstepp was straight in with some awful, awful challenges from the off. The breakthrough came 20 minutes in with a goal kick from Mahoney bouncing through the St Georges defence, and Sowden putting his body on the line to convert. From then on the 5ths took charge of the match and were firmly in control. Centre back Andy Durr got his third goal of the season with a great header from a set piece delivered in by Alex only 10 minutes from half time, giving the 5ths the cushion they deserved. After the break it was all one way traffic. The defensive display
throughout was solid, with both centre backs Sweetman and Durr not putting a foot wrong. Full backs Jack Briggs and Ollie Westlake also put in flawless performances to limit St Georges to only a couple of chances in the 90 minutes. The real highpoint of the game, some would say the icing on the cake, others would say the crème de la crème was the thunderbolt strike from Sam Lowe on the hour mark. The build up came from the right hand side, with TJ Johnson and Sowden combining nicely, resulting in a neat layoff to Lowe who hit the ball first time. It pierced through the crisp winter air, penetrating into the back of the net with the keeper helplessly flapping at it like a wet salmon. Lowe didn’t celebrate, he regularly strikes the ball from 30 yards out, he took the applause from the crowd and his teammates and got back into the centre of midfield to professionally see the game out. All in all it was a good team performance from the 5ths, who are staying grounded despite a good start to the season. The question on the lips of reporters is if Mitchell Ingram will get back into the squad after a mid-season trip to Spain...
Image by Espen Lodden (FlickR) current team, with a wide range of handicaps participating. QM Golf welcomes all abilities. If you are a total beginner you can join QMGC for £50, and from then on can participate in weekly lessons with professional golfer David Hawkins at £2.50 a session. Considering David
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£50 membership fee 80% discount on Wanstead Golf Club pass Training sessions with professional golfer David Hawkins
Get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook search: qmul golf
Battle of the Brothers: QM 2nds tie up with QM 1sts in an exciting series James Bird The excitement and anticipation that engulfs great sporting rivalries cannot be matched. Tensions mounted as the coach was boarded, supermarket sandwiches gobbled, and energy drinks coupled with hefty amounts of ibuprofen guzzled. Whispers about players’ weaknesses, and rumours about injuries circled. “So and so’s got a dodgy ankle”, “What’shisname’s got a strained calf”, “fairly sure he caught an STI last night” and so forth. As the fog rose, the teams began to change into their armour for the game. Drake bellowed out of the speakers from the 1sts’ changing room, inspiration flowed out of the mouth of co-captain Tommy Bassam from the 2nds’. The teams lined up on the pitch, the ref hobbled around croaking inaudible instructions to the linesmen and captains. And we’re off. The 1sts dominated possession for the first ten minutes, their creative midfield quintet playing tic-tac football around the half way line but, much
like the recent escapades of Titus Bramble, never truly penetrated. The 2nds’ back line of Mo, Tommy B, James Flude and Tort Jack Oliver was proving a stern test for the 1sts. The 2nds, seeing their counterattacking front line of Lolu, Newman, Alex Brown and winger James Bird, quashing phonehacking based allegations of time spent at a hip Swedish monastery, as a potent mix of strength and pace, began to create decent chances. However, it was the 1sts who made the breakthrough, capitalising on an uncharacteristic defensive error from the 2nds’ backline. The ball played across from social secretary Emre Woolf, was finished with Beethovenesque beauty by Johnny Mallet, making the little birds in the trees sing. Half time came, and the 2nds could feel hard done by going in 1-0 down. The 1sts seemed rattled, and suddenly the back line of Rob, Will Phoenix, Captain Magnus and Olly looked frail as the 2nds bombarded them with relentless attacks. The equaliser looked inevitable, and sure enough Lolu picked up the ball
and provided a goal. Furthering the recent discoveries that certain atoms can travel faster than light, Lolu collected the ball midway inside the 1sts’ half and fired it venomously into the top corner, resulting in a lion’s roar from his teammates. 1-1 and all to play for. The 2nds were piling the pressure on top of the 1sts “squeezed middle”. Time was running out, but temperatures were running high. With ten minutes to go, Lolu took the ball down the line and crossed for Newman who slid the ball home. Elation for the 2nds, but the flag went up. Linesman Tayo, who apparently used to play for the 2nds himself, made the decision that the ball went out. The 2nds, trusting their old pal, accepted the decision and carried on with the game. The referee blew his whistle, and the battle was over. The 1sts walked off, looking ever so slightly relieved with the draw, and angry that they weren’t given a corner at some point in the final ten minutes. The 2nds held their heads high, happy that they’d proved themselves an equal match for their counterparts. Good game, good game.
QMESSENGER MONDAY NOVEMBER 28 2011
Volleyball have the will to win against Met » From two sets down QM take the series 3-2
Romain Grad On a cold Wednesday afternoon, in a rather uninviting area of London, the Men’s volleyball team was to compete with London Metropolitan University in what would become their hardest and closest game yet. Signs of anxiety had gripped the team but nevertheless they met at the sports centre with a rather easy attitude as their number one position in the League gave them a sense of security. After a few minutes warming up, a growing unease began to be felt amongst the players: Vladimir the team setter had still not arrived; a victory was surely impossible without him. Thankfully, the crisis was averted as he showed up just before the match was due to start. Events from there on, however, were on a fast downslide as London Met commenced play with a magnificent and flawless spike serve which was barely caught in time by captain Hamza and led to a series of poor exchanges for the team. The first point was won by the London Met and would signal the start of a ghastly series of mistakes by all members of the
team. Eventually, after what was very likely the most embarrassing half hour the team had ever played, the set was lost with a horrifying score of 25-16. The second set saw very mild improvements but was still lost. Queen Mary was now losing 2-0 and the referee could observe a mixture of feelings on the court: anger, disappointment, resentment, and genuine despair. But during the interval between the second and third set something happened, they came back on court with a changed behaviour. Now their demeanour became one of focus, determination and more importantly, they all shared this rare animalistic gaze one can observe in the eyes of a man bent on winning at all costs. During this set many mistakes were eradicated. Captain Hamza, along with middle player Everest and outside player Juan made some brilliant, breath taking attacks which were not, and to be fair, could not be saved by the opposing team. As a result, the third set was a close but clear victory of 25-21. The fourth set followed along the same trend and was equally won by Queen Mary. With the score now equal at 2-2, the defining set was about
» Met waver after taking an early lead
to start and Queen Mary had not lost an ounce of this newly found spirit. On the other hand, London Met was looking increasingly uncomfortable and this was confirmed once the set began. Whereas before they had flawless execution from defence throughout the set, their preexisting strengths wobbled and eventually crashed giving a clear lead to Queen Mary who won the last set, and the match, 3-2. In the end, what London Met were lacking in those first two sets was not skill, but the will to win; an indispensable and invaluable addition to any sport’s team which this time, they learned the hard way. This latest result means that all of QM’s volleyball teams have seen success recently, with the Women’s team beating Kingston University 3-1. QMVC was established in 2009 and has active teams in mens, womens, and mixed volleyball. All participate in competitive university leagues. If you would like to join the club, or find out more, then please visit our website - qmvolleyball.com, or join our Facebook group Queen Mary Volleyball Club. Remember, all levels are welcome!
QM’s volleyball club at practice
Photo by Aiman Hussein
QM 2nds face controversy after UEL match » James Bird’s location still unknown » Victory tarnished by horrendous efforts on goal
Richard Treadwell “Boys, settle down, play our game and the result will come.” The mechanical tone, machine-like rhythm and Canadian accent meant, that as these words were uttered by captain Junior in the pre-match motivational speech, the players of the Queen Mary 2nds were left with the feeling that, once again, the pre-game speech template had been left unedited. However, regardless of whether the enunciation had been triggered by
the pulling of a string on Junior’s back or not, it was certainly advice heeded in the QM2nds obliteration of the University of East London 3rds 4-0. QM managed to break their curse of conceding in the first ten minutes, and this top class defensive work continued throughout the match. Boosted by the return from injury of summer draft pick James Flude, they kept a clean sheet and they weren’t afraid to use their heads to get the job done. This defensive display was clearly appreciated by captain
Thomas Bassam, who in a post always turn heads on the football match interview said: “I ask for pitch. 100 % from my team, if they give Iain Turner and Ricky Treadwell me more is okay too [sic].” controlled the centre of midfield, Going forward QM were equally however Treadwell later admitted impressive with two goals being “they were probably the worst fired in each by Junior Opara central midfielders I’ll play and Numan Ali. Both goal scorers against this year.” Two gin fines attributed much of their success were awarded to Treadwell for to the sublime wing play from horrendous efforts at goal from Lawrence Oligbo and man of the 20 and 30 yards. Desperate pleas match Ale Aqualion. Aqualion’s from Treadwell that he merely work rate, pace and technical “connected too well”, these weren’t ability means that, although he’ll given the time of day by Bassam, never be the mythical underwater who also handed out fines to feline his last name suggests, he’ll Junior and Lolu.
QM 2nds haven’t been short of off the field controversy this week, with the whereabouts of AWOL midfielder James Bird still unknown. When asked to confirm whether rumours that Birdy had failed a trial at Swedish outfit GAIS, or that he’d quit football to join a monastery were true, Bassam refused to comment, saying the club would be issuing an official statement in the coming days. In the meantime all is well for the 2nds who look forward to embracing the challenge of the QM 1sts in their next match.