Tuesday October 22 2013 | www.thebeaveronline.com | No. 794
Feature Interview: David Lammy MP The next Mayor? “I am seriously thinking about running” Features p. 23
FREE Newspaper of the LSE Students’ Union
Uni is not the be all and end all Opinion page 8
Mystery over SU branding costs
SU rebrands website, publicity and logos James Evans and Rachel Chua
The LSE Students’ Union (SU) has recently undergone a major cosmetic rebranding over summer. The overhaul spanned a complete redesign of the website, publicity materials, and logo. The changes to the SU’s official publicity are based on the New Students’ Centre set to open next year. The rebranding was the result of 2012 Annual Student Survey, which over 1100 students completed. A general conclusion was that the Student Union needed to have a better platform for communication. Jay Stoll, General Secretary, expressed confidence that this new branding had “more [relevance] to the LSE,” and that the “message [would] carry”. When asked, Alex Skirvin, 2nd Year Government Student, expressed surprise at the sheer scale of the rebranding: “It’s clear that major work has gone into this.” While Stoll was keen to place emphasis on the SU’s “slicker more professional look,” when pressed, he was reluctant to reveal the cost of this overhaul. Jay Stoll said that the SU “[had] not spent any money on rebranding outside of [their] regular marketing budgets for physical publicity.” However the exact cost of the rebrand remain unknown. Suhanya Suresh, 2nd
Year Economic History Student, expressed this scepticism: “A website design alone costs a lot of money, I doubt they were within budget.” Jay Stoll said that unlike the NUS rebrand, reported to cost around £60,000, the LSESU’s costs had remained within the budget allocated for that year, though in 2010 the SU spent £17,605 on web development alone. The reluctance to reveal the cost of this branding has raised many questions within the student body. “An overhaul intended to improve communications has so far failed to communicate this one important detail,” says Chima Ngerem, 2nd Year Law Student. At a time where many students are acutely feeling the pinch of a sluggish economy, financial matters inevitably receive more attention. “I’d like to know how my SU spends its money,” said Faye Battye, 2nd Year Statistics Student. While Stoll pointed out that the SU “will undertake a wider audit of [their] physical branding,” the continued culture of secrecy surrounding the SU’s financial matters may very well thwart the SU’s attempt to reach the 45 per cent of students who, in the Annual Survey, felt that they were removed from decisions made at the LSE. The SU does not release the full budget from the previous year until the AGM, held in the last week of Lent Term.
The LSESU’s new branding is based on the new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre opening early next year
Ex LSE Professor nominated Chair of the Federal Reserve Raisa Huq
On October 9th, President Obama, nominated former LSE lecturer Janet Yellen as Chair of the Federal Reserve, succeeding Ben Bernanke, who has served as chief since 2006. Obama cites his decision was based on her “good judgment” and her impressive qualifications, as she has served as the President and Chief Executive
Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and served as a Professor Emerita at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Currently she serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. With her past posts, Obama claims, Yellen is “the kind of person who makes everybody around her better.”
In her speech, Yellen credited to Bernanke for strengthening the financial system during a critical time in the Fed’s history, and said although America’s economy was recovering, there is still a long road ahead as many Americans are still unemployed. Yellen has stated that she will try to achieve maximum employment and control inflation; the primary motives of the Federal Reserve. continued on page 4
IN THE NEWS LSE to recruit more Northern students
Crowdsourcing a Constitution
Ask the Director Twitter Q&A Returns
New strategic direction emphasises recruitment from the North.
Academics spearhead a venture to crowdsource a new UK Constitution.
Director Craig Calhoun answered your Twitter questions last Monday.
NEWS page 2
NEWS Page 2
NEWS page 3
Is the American Crisis really averted? Page 6, Kaveh Farzad BARACK OBAMA
The Progress of the Paralympic Movement Sir Philip Craven spoke on the ‘taking off’ of the movement last Monday. NEWS page 4
Tuesday October 22 2013
LSE aims to recruit more Northerners Flickr: Tim Green
More than ‘Blurred Lines’ was discussed at the Union General Meeting (UGM) on 10th October, as Jay Stoll, General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union (SU), mentioned that he and University Director Craig Calhoun spent time over the summer discussing the strategic direction of the School with the interest of getting more Northerners in [the] university. The SU has said that they regularly pressure the School to recognise the lack of regional diversity amongst LSE’s UK undergraduates. They believe that the key to solving this deficit lies in humanising the school’s policy for student recruitment, and have suggested redirecting the school’s funding away from marketing programs to School ambassadors, who would be sent to underrepresented regions. With 56 per cent of 2013-14 applications from UK students coming from London and the South East of England, it is clear that more attention needs to be directed further North. An LSE spokesperson has
pointed out that “measures to increase the contact [LSE recruiters have] with schools in regions outside London and the South East” are in place. The School currently uses a database of 662 regional schools to send out “personalised letters offering further information and advice about the School’s study opportunities, admission procedure and requirements”. While the Recruitment Office hopes that these letters will encourage the schools to bring student groups to visit the LSE, they also aim to send the Student Recruitment team to visit interested schools and regions. The SU additionally believe that student recruitment should begin at an earlier stage of secondary education. Going to university – arguably more so for one in London – is a huge decision that requires much thought. Students, the SU asserts, need enough time to fully consider their options. While LSE’s strategy is a step in the right direction for regional diversity, it may take some time before the full effects are felt on campus.
A crowdsourced UK Constitution? Maurice Banerjee-Palmer
LSE Professor Conor Gearty has begun a nation-wide conversation. Chairing a panel of four in front of an audience of two hundred, Tuesday, October 8th marked the initiation of the “Constitution UK” project. LSE is attempting to crowdsource a codified constitution for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A codified constitution is a single document containing the basic laws that make a country work. Crowdsourcing is where ideas are open to contributions from a wider group than otherwise. So why do we need the former and how will the latter help it?
In an article in The Guardian’s Comment is Free: section, Gearty claims that an uncodified constitution hampers our ability in the UK to tackle serious issues. The UK’s uncodified constitution is formed by a disparate array of laws spanning centuries, so it is much more difficult to find clear-cut overarching themes as are evident in the US Constitution. And this, he says, translates to a lack of “any clear idea of what [the UK] stands for, what principles and values matter to it.” Constitutions ‘are for the people but they are never, except in [Tuesday’s] assembly, by the people’ suggested LSE Emeritus Professor of Law, Carol Harlow. The crowdsourcing project is the UK’s medium
for the will of ‘the people’. Yet many have voiced opposition to a written constitution. Some believe the current state of democracy in America is a poor advert for it. The former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, highlighted the restrictive rigidity of a written constitution; one written over a century ago, in his opinion, would be infringed by many of the very modern ideas that came forward over the course of the discussion. The project will be finalised on June 22, 2015 to celebrate the anniversary of King John approving the Magna Carta.
Desmond defaced racism at King’s? A mystery sticker has appeared on the photograph of the former Archbishop Desmond Tutu outside the Strand campus.
UCL makes £1.7m a year from Kazakh University partnership. University College London has made £7m in profit from its partnership with a university in Kazakhstan, a country with a “dreadful human rights record”. Through its involvement in two departments of Nazarbayev University, which is named after Kazakhstan’s autocratic leader, UCL has made an average of £1.75m a year since 2009.
QMUL scientist leads study on the synthetic polymer that could block HIV. A synthetic polymer could be used to prevent the spread of HIV, says a study led by Dr. Remzi Becer, a materials scientist at QMUL.
Professor Conor Gearty, the academic spearheading this initiative
UCL introduces motion to ban ‘Blurred Lines’. UCLU have followed the example of other UK university unions, including Edinburgh, Leeds and Queen Mary, in introducing a motion to ban Robin Thicke’s controversial hit song, “Blurred Lines”. Proposed by UCLU’s Women’s Officer, Beth Sutton, and seconded by third-year History student Emily Hilton, the motion will be going to a general assembly which any UCL student is welcome to attend and vote at.
Tuesday October 22 2013
News Spinal Tap, ASH feature as #AsktheDirector returns Ollie Hill
The second ever ‘Ask the Director’ session took place last Monday. University Director Craig Calhoun’s Twitter-based digital Q&A session once again threw up a wide variety of issues, some of which were interesting, some worthy, and others downright silly. Among admirable attempts to get him to come to Zoo Bar (“Am I really invited? Or would I spoil your fun?”) and quoting rock movie ‘This is Spinal Tap’ (“We get it, you’re American”), the LSE’s Director took time to address questions ranging from new government immigration rules to the recent controversy surrounding the Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society (ASH). Calhoun waded into the thorny ASH issue in as diplomatic a fashion as one could expect. The Director confirmed that he believes “All LSE students should be able to express them-
selves freely, and with respect for others and for community”, and when pressed on the issue said he would not go so far as to call the events at the Freshers’ Fair ‘censorship’, noting that it “certainly [seemed] to have promoted lots of expression!”. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of our institution, the Director said that our enduring legacy should be having led the way “for social science to help solve some of the biggest global problems”. In the same vein, when asked which one single cause he would choose to volunteer for, he chose ending extreme poverty as his crusade of choice. The Director also responded to a query from Jay Stoll, General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union (SU), about whether he opposed new government immigration restrictions that would drive foreign students away by agreeing. Director Calhoun stated that he found the policies to
be “foolish and short-sighted”. He also stated that were he a current LSE student, the course he would most like to take would be Advanced Mandarin. Turning to more cultural matters, Calhoun said that the one album and one book he would save from a fire would be “Cream” and Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’. While the classic Russian novel was a sober choice, the Director’s album selection was the cause of some debate. It remains unknown if he was referring to the ‘60s British psychedelic band ‘Cream’ – who never actually released an album called ‘Cream’ – or Sandra Collins’s 2001 Techno album of that title. Interest in the event was intense and varied, with people contributing questions from as far afield as Sudan to hear the Director’s thoughts. It is clear that the next ‘Ask the Director’ session will be widely anticipated.
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Tuesday October 22 2013
Progress of the Paralympic Movement Tksteven
Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, spoke at the LSE’s Old Theatre on Monday on the values, progress and potential of The Paralympic Movement. Sir Craven talked about four core values of determination, encourage, inspiration, and equality found embedded within the Paralympic Movement, elaborating that it was the amazing athletic performances centered around these values that surprised, inspired and excited the public. The London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sir Craven remarked, symbolized the ‘taking off’ of the Paralympic Movement. One million more Paralympic Games tickets were sold in London than in Beijing in 2008. Global TV coverage went from a total of 1381 hours in 2008 to 2514 hours in 2012, with approximately a billion more viewers. People, post-
2012, were more aware of Paralympians such as Tanni-Grey Thompson and David Weir. On why London was particularly successful in promoting the Paralympics, LSE Director Craig Calhoun commented that to begin with, mainstream media throughout Britain gave the London 2012 Paralympic Games more attention. Rather than focusing on just star athletes, people were also made aware of the larger issues of disability. The British people also played a vital role in the success of the Paralympic Games, buying tickets, attending events, and embracing the Paralympic Games as a significant part of the Olympic season in London. Ned Boulting, Channel 4 reporter, raised an issue of concern in the post-lecture Q&A session. While in Montreal, Canada to cover the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships, he found that “it [looked] like the game
[was being] held in a mini school swimming pool”. He noticed that there was a noticeable gap between the Summer Games and what happened in the four-year intervening period, and asked if the IPC was working to address the issue. In his response, Sir Philip Craven stated that the IPC was aware of the problem, and was paying due attention to the matter. There were, he went on to state, practical difficulties, such as finding suitable stadiums. Sir Craven, however, did go on to say that higher-quality events could be expected in the future. When asked for his opinion on how LSE students could contribute to the Paralympic Movement, Jay Stoll, General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union, said that the foremost way was to ensure accessibility on campus. More inclusive societies – especially athletic societies – were also a must. Sir Philip Craven at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing
A “status quo nominee” continued from front page
Academic Board responds to zero-hour, equality concerns Khanh Nguyen and Ollie Hill
Last Tuesday saw the year’s first meeting of the Academic Board, the School’s highest body on education, student affairs and research. LSE Director, Craig Calhoun and the Academic Board addressed questions raised about the casualisation of labour, gender bias in promotions and even a complaint from Westminster council that Houghton Street was becoming intimidating to pedestrians. The issues at hand provoked a high turnout amongst staff. Indeed, Room 3.12 of the Old Building seemed almost too small to hold the 100 copies of the 60 page agenda let alone the academics accompanying them. LSE officials attempted to exclude The Beaver from the meeting before allowing just one reporter into the room. The first issue raised was problem that recently surfaced in the media about the School’s casualisation of labour in the form of issuing ‘0 hours contract’ that results in non-full time staff may arrive to work without guarantee of any work. The board claimed that the issue is somewhat “misrepresented to
the public” and more complex than meets the eye, but they will do their best to address the problem. The topic of job security sparked the most interest from members in the room. Many members raised concerns towards the security of their research staff as well as nonacademic staff members such as catering personnel. To this the head of Human Relations assured everyone that all those employed by the School are provided with all their rights guaranteed by legislation. The Board proceeded to discuss an issue brought to attention by the Westminster councillor of planning development; the School’s recent reconstruction had made it somewhat “unwelcoming to the public” and seemed “intimidating” to pedestrians. This immediately sparked laughter across the room, however a disgruntled member of the audience declared that the School has changed from what it was 20-30 years ago, presumably a pedestrian-welcoming place. To this statement, the Board responded by saying that the development of the school will consider the needs of public in its future plans but also implying
that it may well develop to satisfy student’s needs for a proper campus. Returning to academic issues, the use of citations metrics as a criterion for academic promotion was criticised for creating a gender bias against female staff. Studies have shown that women are less likely to be cited in credited journals than men. Though the board assured that the system takes into account many different measuring criteria before awarding promotion, there remains a belief that whatever measuring tools is implemented, there will always be a gender bias that tends to give female academics a disadvantage. A radical approach to this fact would be to assume that women are cited less in academic journals simply because their work is considered less relevant or prominent in that particular area. The next Academic Board meeting will take place on 5th December, which is likely to vote on issues such as whther to pass the Teaching Task Force report, which would have a wide ranging impact on teaching across the LSE.
Described as a “status quo nominee” as she worked alongside Bernanke as his Vice Chair, and worked with him to put the stimulus package into effect. Although not considered a “controversial choice,” she is popular with the Federal Reserve System and was the very much-expected choice to serve as Chair, at a critical point in its history. She will continue Bernanke’s policies, and maintain near zero levels into 2015. Yellen was a former lecturer from the LSE Department of Eco-
nomics and has accepted an invitation to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the School for her “distinguished record of public service.” This will be awarded at the 2014 graduation ceremony. If her nomination is confirmed, she will become the second most powerful person in the United States, and have the most powerful economic role in the world. Yellen, 67, will be the only woman running a central bank in a major economy, and the first woman to serve as Chair of the Federal Reserve. INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Janet Yellen is being sworn in as vice-chair of the Federal Reserve System
Tuesday October 22 2013
Edmund Phelps on Grassroots Innovation Flickr: Redfalo
Professor Edmund Phelps discussed the phenomenon of ‘roller coaster prosperity’ in his public lecture at the LSE last Tuesday. Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Director of the Centre on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University, and the Dean of the New Huadu Business School at Minjiang University, briefly reviewed his book, ‘Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change’, at the Old Theatre. He was accompanied and welcomed by the LSE Director Craig Calhoun. As one of the Michael Oakeshott memorial lectures, Director Calhoun, in his welcome address, emphasised
the importance of Oakeshott and his various contributions to both the LSE and political philosophy. Professor Phelps went on after to address the packed hall, illuminating how mass prosperity was brought about by mass innovation. It was explained that the various aspects of innovation observed in late 18th century resulted from individualism and self-expression, and the accumulation of such modern values led to the stirring of desire to innovate. Phelps argued that it was not the modern economy but economic dynamism that gave rise to indigenous innovation. Professor Phelps elaborated on the central thesis of his book: that modern values led to innovation, which then leads to job satisfaction. Results of surveys show that nations with modern
values have high job satisfaction rates, while nations with traditional values had lower said rates. His talk was concluded by citing the malfunctioning of the banking industry, rise of materialism, and insurgency of antimodern values as causes of the decline of innovation. New corporatism had come to various economies, which then began to show signs of less innovation and more rent-seeking. Phelps believed that a good economy had to be just in order to foster a ‘good life’, and that grass roots dynamism had to be restored. If Western nations were to have a future of mass flourishing, modern values, he went on to add, had to be reaffirmed, and indigenous innovation strengthened.
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Tuesday October 22 2013
The misuse of metaphor in political debate Sebastien Ash
It will be news to no one this side of the Atlantic that, once again, partisan politics and the practice of the English language in America are tending towards the downright dysfunctional. In the midst of once-looming financial crisis, President Obama wanted you to know he was being taken “hostage” by a radical, Teaparty-led faction in the House of Representatives. The kind of ‘Wild West’ politics, he meant by this, is not acceptable. It is banditry, these guys are punks, and the President is come to save you. Toeing the Presidential line, the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was only too happy to extend the metaphor in his press briefings. As he would have it, what the Republicans were demanding in the US Government shutdown was nothing short of a “ransom”. “The President will not pay ransom“ Carney began Thursday, 10th October before he was interrupted by protests from the gallery. Not because Carney was now mixing metaphors, a big enough crime itself (was it the President that was hostage or was it the United States, for whom he would have been paying an Obamacare-sized ransom?). Rather, Ari Shapiro - NPR reporter, journalist, and soldier in the war
against the oppressive yoke of political semantics - stood up to take a stand in the White House Press Room. “You see it as a ransom”, he interjected, “but it’s a metaphor that doesn’t serve our purposes”. The issue for Shapiro was that the Executive’s rhetoric on the government shutdown was effectively an exercise in the obfuscation of the facts. Understanding the political machinations within Washington is just that more difficult because the language in which it is dealt with does not correlate directly to the situation. Seeing as this was not an episode of The West Wing, any Sorkin-esque use of elaborate imagery (my own description of Shapiro included) was quite superfluous and, what is more, deleterious to the public’s understanding. In his famous essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, George Orwell noted how contemporary political discourse was formed “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. Figurative language, along with jargon (and one might get the impression, an overzealous use of a thesaurus) were the main constituents of what was dubbed in 1984 as ‘Newspeak’, the language that blurred the lines between right and wrong whilst denying the public any meaningful participation in politics through the erection of semantic labyrinths. Likewise, in the US today, Metaphor - or any other kind of figurative language for that matter - can and are being used to euphemise and twist reali-
ties to the political ends of the rhetoricians. Simply put, how could you deal seriously with the opposition, at a moment of enormous importance for the United States and the rest of the world, when you were not speaking in the same terms? The United States is not a dystopian totalitarian state but a little clarity might go a long way. By adding a touch of colour and slinging a little mud in the process we are getting away from the point: the two main parties of the US government couldn’t agree on raising the country’s debt ceiling and why wasn’t anyone doing something serious about it until the eleventh hour? This is not a new phenomenon, either. Politics has a history of sophistry and moralising debate. Case in point being: the Axis of Evil. What is an ‘axis’? I don’t know myself but it sure sounds bad. And where did this aphoristic label leave us? With a war? With a surveillance state? Take your pick. The problem is unfortunately, not limited to the Amer-
ican continent; Marine Le Pen is another wielder of unruly metaphorisation. Her far-right party, the Front National leads what is not only a venomous anti-immigration campaign within France, but one that is furthermore anti-intellectual and counter to reasonable discourse (Economist, Oct. 12, 2013). Her campaign for dédiabolisation, roughly ‘de-demonisation’, isn’t so much aimed at expunging the supposedly satanic elements from within French politics, as at creating them. Clearly, Ms Le Pen sees herself as some sort of crusader. But what is a crusader without something to crusade against? How is one supposed to defeat a devil that no one else can see? Well, instead of slicing thin air with her demagoguery, the campaign for dédiabolisation does a nice job of analogising the establishment to the worst monsters of fiction and myth. What the UMP or Hollande’s Socialists did or propose to do materially stops being the issue. And should
this become the case, what of French politics? Well, it would just be smoke and vapours. Naturally, one does not expect to eliminate all rhetoric and metaphor from political discussion. Metaphors are a natural part of language. Whether you can believe any of it now is down to you but we are all in need of little more perspective and little less imaginative polemic. Moreover, it is not just wanton ransom-taking and fuelling of all manner of hot debates that poses a risk to clarity. I am personally fed-up with the use of words like ‘socialism’, ‘liberty’, and ‘freedom’ as rhetorical tools within Western political discourse, though especially in the United States. Idealists and ideologues alike may cry foul but what might appear to be unassailable or unalienable rights are often employed in rhetoric in such an off-hand and all-pervading manner that any meaning they may have had in the first place has been distorted beyond recognition. Modern American ‘freedom’ as it is, is simply a verbal battering ram; gravitas without theoretical substance. In the end, dealing frankly with our leaders is key to keeping the political process in check. And the use of intelligible language, minus the extra layers of spin, and the casually moralising metaphors is necessary if we are to be informed about what our elected representatives do exactly in order to do our job too. That might be expecting a bit much of politicians, especially in the postAlastair Campbell era. Thank goodness then, for people like Ari Shapiro.
ASHes to ashes, dust to dust Jamie Pelling To offend or not to offend, that is the question. When planning the LSESU Amnesty International Society’s stall at the Freshers’ Fair, this is the question that threatened my mental sanity more than all the others. The photo-petition which formed our main campaign action of the two days called for the release of the Pussy Riot members who remain imprisoned in Russia for violating their right to Freedom of Speech. It was a case which had the potential to inspire debate, not least from some other societies in the room, and it could cause offence that a group of London-
based students on the orders of an NGO such as Amnesty International would deem themselves able to decide on Russian domestic policy and what is right for Russia. Bearing this in mind, we refrained from rubbing our photo-petition crudely in the faces of those who disagreed with it and directly advertised it to only those who had expressed an interest in Human Rights and joining the society. Many people donned the fluorescent balaclava masks and held up the sign to show solidarity with Pussy Riot but any offence caused to the legions who disagree with Amnesty’s work in general and its stance over this particular case were allowed to go on their way without interruption. As a society, we have long since abandoned the hope of converting everyone to the Hu-
man Rights revolution and have learnt that those interested in our cause will not need to be attracted by cheap tricks. Perhaps we also avoided the “light-hearted lampoons” of the Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society because we were aware that our actions might reflect poorly on a global network much larger than our small campus-based society. These concerns seem simply to have bypassed the society now positioning itself as the majestic defender of free-speech and the right to be atheist. The stunt at Freshers’ Fair has garnered the ASH much publicity, it is a shame that it comes as a result of such a negative stand. In donning the now infamous tshirts, the ASH has positioned itself as a group that exists purely to irritate those that still follow
a religion in this newly secular age. The t-shirts were, in my opinion, offensive, they were disrespectful, and the only intention seems to have been to poke fun at the religious community; it is understandable why the issue has sparked such a debate in the LSE community. The pages of this esteemed paper were full of students defending free speech, some admirably - Joe Pearson, and some as if they have so little conceptual clarity that you wonder whether their article harmed the case they were making - Peter Cornett. Overall, the debate about free speech is irrelevant, the issue has passed, but what will continue to affect the LSE community is how the ASH perceives its role. It needs to make a contribution to LSE rather than fo-
cus on destroying what religion can be found here, the t-shirts have damaged its reputation and it will take many a poorly-attended panel discussion to change that. For the moment, they are defended by free-speech zealots, but soon they will recede once again into obscurity. Causing offence for its own sake is never the way forward. Perhaps Pussy Riot may also be guilty of this oversight, but that is beyond the remit of this article. What is important is that the ASH understand its error and continue its otherwise excellent work, often in tandem with the religious societies, to make the LSE a more accepting, diverse atmosphere. On a final note, Richard Dawkins should look at his own record before calling anyone a ‘sanctimonious prig’.
Tuesday October 22 2013
Opinion I dropped out of LSE. I have no regrets
Different people are suited to different environments
You can’t be successful if you don’t go to university. I feel like I had this attitude drilled in to me as I was growing up. I spent six months at LSE feeling like a completely deficient human being. I knew from the first week that it wasn’t the right environment for me. I felt as if I’d been funneled in to university; told that it’s just what people do, that there was no other option; you can’t be successful without university. Often people proclaimed that the only other alternative was to work in McDonald’s, which I didn’t think I’d enjoy much either. For half a year I believed that there was something wrong with me for not enjoying it, that I must be stupid for not excelling. Dropping out would be equivalent to failure. It wasn’t an option. Whenever I voiced my dissatisfaction to other people, their response was ‘but you study at THE LSE’. It was impressed upon me that I should feel privileged to attend such an institu-
tion. Even if I had no idea what sort of career my course was leading to, I was told repeatedly to just stick it out. This attitude completely destroyed my self-confidence.I stopped recognising myself. I became silent and withdrawn. Every phone call I made to my mum was tearful. I found it difficult to attend classes, because being surrounded by people who were thriving in the subject just made it painfully apparent to me how much I wasn’t enjoying it. I grew more and more frustrated at myself for being unable to connect with the course and the institution. It took me six months to realise that my outlook was wrong; I was defining failure in such an arbitrary way. I wasn’t lazy and I wasn’t stupid. I was just a fish out of water; I was in an environment that I just wasn’t suited to. My family was conflicted about the prospect of me leaving university; they had all this horrible misconception about failures and were convinced that dropping out meant giving up. Dropping out of university isn’t giving up; it’s just recognizing that you’d be better off elsewhere. It’s taking an active decision
to pursue your own happiness and success. Since dropping out, my happiness has increased drastically. Within a month, I’d started a paid internship in political campaigns. I was elected as vicechair of Liberal Youth, and shortly after my internship finished I became a constituency campaigns organiser. I felt capable and skilled, I’d found something I was passionate about and I’d gone for it. Different people are suited to different environments. Academia isn’t for everyone, and if
it isn’t for you, then that doesn’t make you a failure. Something people aren’t told enough is that your grades don’t affect your self-worth in any way. You can be a thoroughly good, productive human-being without a degree. If anybody makes you feel as if you’re worth less because you’re considering dropping out of university, then that’s their problem and it isn’t a reflection on you whatsoever. I don’t regret dropping out of university, I regret not realising all of this sooner.
At our first LGBT Alliance executive committee meeting of the year, we discussed the important changes that we wanted to make. The one thing we all strongly agreed on was the need to create a greater sense of community for LGBT+ students and LSE, and to make events more inclusive and welcoming to all students. One way that it was suggested this would be achieved was through the inclusion of an ‘LGBT Ally’ position to the committee. This would be a support role, held by a student who didn’t strictly identify as LGBT, but felt strongly affiliated to LGBT+ campaigns and politics. Starting the year as we meant to go on, it was decided that we would present this idea at the Alliances AGM, opening it up for a discussion and vote to all its members. I was naturally hesitant towards the idea at first. After all, the world is set up for straight people. LGBT people face constant worries over being different and othered, in a heteronormative world. Every new environment including work, university and social settings bring up negotiations over ‘coming out’ and worries
of how people will react and respond. That is why it is so important for the Alliance to create a safe space at LSE for LGBT+ students where they can be themselves and feel open to talk about all LGBT+ issues with other identified people. However, I came to realise that this opinion came from a very privileged position. That being one where I am comfortable and confident in my sexual identity and surrounded by friends and family who are all very accepting and open, many who are LGBT+ identified too. However, we all know that this is not the case for many people; There will be students at LSE who have never met a Gay, Bisexual or Trans* person, or have grown up in a culture where LGBT people are vilified, ridiculed or sent to prison and have never known anything different. There may be students who are questioning their sexual or gender identity for the first time. Some may simply be ignorant to LGBT issues but willing to learn more. The inclusion of an LGBT Ally position, along with the encouragement for Ally’s to get involved in events means that not everyone in attendance will necessarily identify as LGBT. Students who are questioning or curious can come along without feeling like they will be assumed to be LGBT, or
worry that people might talk about it. On a wider level, it promotes equality and acceptance throughout the university through the normalization of LBGT issues. The writer of last weeks article very much positions herself in opposition to straight people. She ignores the fact that not all people who identify as Queer also identity as LGBT, and some might want to represent other non normative gender or sexual identities. Her comments on the lack of diversity within the Alliance are, in my opinion, unfounded. The committee has a BME, Women’s, Trans*, Postgradu-
LGBT Allies within the LGBT Alliance Nathalie Pinole
ate, Undergraduate and Bisexual officer for that very reason, to insure that the needs of all members of the LGBT+ community are represented. The turnout to the AMG very much reflected this diversity and I’m sure anyone who was in attendance would not agree that the LBGT Alliance is a white, cis-genderd mans club as the writer suggested. Almost 90% of those in attendance voted in favour of the Ally position and an LGBT Ally Officer, Connie Cho, was elected. I am really looking forward to working with her, and the rest of the committee over the year!
Yes, it is that time of year again. People who have absolutely no idea what they are standing for explaining that they are by far and away the best people for the job. Last year we had Trustees promising world peace, and Gubernatorial candidates promising an increase in the AU budget. What awaits us this year? Who knows, but I would be wiling to place a bet that the individuals in question don’t know what the positions entail even in the slightest. Mind you, even then, most of the positions are symbolic. We have five members on the Court of Governors, a school body with around 90 members, so clearly the student votes on that are going to be decisive. The same with the Academic Board. An area where students could have real input is on the board of Trustees, basically having the power to block anything the SU does, and are ultimately in the position of power over the union, though there are 11 of them, and five of them are the Sabbatical Officers, so the votes count for more but not everything. The Post-Graduate Officer, now this one is paid, and as a result is one of the most competitive races. Alas, your newspaper editors are forbidden from standing for this position, as it may threaten editorial independence. Still, turnout in these elections is rather poor, around 10 per cent. Democracy in action. Mind you, beats UCL with a turnout of 4 per cent last week. The LSESU certainly suffers from a democratic deficit in this respect. Even Lent Term elections only manage to reach around 30 per cent (again higher than UCL’s 16 per cent, so thank heaven for small mercies). The problem with democracy at the LSE can be seen in the UGM this week, or rather the lack thereof. A turnout of 89 last week (the highest for a year) pales in comparison to the hundreds who used to pack the Old Theatre. Union democracy is dead, and once again, only Jack seems to care. Our Sabbs are once more unaccountable. Even the controversy of the last few weeks caused no response bar a few words in the UGM. If this keeps up, it may be time for Jack to retire once again. But let’s see how the elections go.
Tuesday October 22 2013
More to LSE than just ‘Straight Econ’ This country would be in complete disarray without our Social Policy Department Dan Martin Among the LSE’s alumni, there has been just one British Prime Minister. That is perplexing in itself, but the department in which he was based is probably even more surprising to the ordinary LSE undergraduate. For our Prime Minister was not based in the Economics department, the International Relations department, or even the Government department. No, he belonged to the Social Policy department. Clement Attlee lectured on Social Policy early in his career. He is one of many prominent public officials who have studied or taught Social Policy at the LSE: the founding father of modern Fiji, Kamisese Mara, is another example. The department has advised governments across the globe since its founding in 1912 and has had a profound impact on the development of the modern state; the whole academic discipline of social policy, now
taught at the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, including Harvard and Oxford, was pioneered here. Only a handful of our departments are older, only a few can realistically claim to be pioneers in their discipline, and fewer still can boast of being as influential on contemporary society as Social Policy. The British welfare state is inextricably linked to academics in the Sociology and Social Policy department at the LSE. William Beveridge, appointed Director in 1919, was a social policy visionary and one of the most important politicians of the last century. Why, then, is the subject so misunderstood by students? Perhaps one reason is that all of our most famous alumni appear to have studied ‘Econ’. Do not fall into the trap of assuming that BSc (Econ.) graduates studied in the Economics department. For most of its history almost all degrees awarded at the LSE were given this title, regardless of the discipline students specialised in. Perhaps another reason is that too many of our students stick as closely as they can to their
area of expertise. We learn in the magnificent LSE100 that we can only tackle the world’s most pressing problems by using tools from across the social sciences. It should be clear to all of us by now that it is misguided to simply learn calculus and aim to frame all decisions in terms of game theory – if we do not try to see the world through a number of lenses, we will never be able to understand it. As students of the London School of Economics, whose original aim was the betterment of society, we have a duty to improve the world by using all the resources available to us. Those resources are our disciplines. But students are arrogant and see no reason to step outside of their field. Students do not just misunderstand Social Policy, they also misunderstand Geography, Anthropology, Accounting and History. We all have misconceptions of departments outside our own, and, inevitably, our fellow students. This is naïve. We are supposed to be some of the brightest young minds in the world,
and yet we cannot appreciate the value of all of the subjects taught to our peers. It may be called the London School of Economics & Political Science, and not the London School of Social Policy, but that is simply because the breadth of social sciences that we now have did not have independent titles when the School was founded – ‘Economics & Political Sci-
ence’ may as well have meant ‘Social Science’. Begin to recognise the benefit of being exposed to students of all the social sciences, then, or risk becoming a narrow minded specialist with little to offer the real world. And get to know your peer in Social Policy – the evidence suggests they will be a future world leader.
Tuesday October 22 2013
Republicans surrender to reason, but they’ll be back.
Here are the basics: hours away from an inevitable market collapse and a probable global economic catastrophe, the Republican Party of the United States Congress threw in the towel in its ruinous strategy to extort the full faith and credit of the most powerful economy in the world in order to get its way. Cooler heads at long last pre-
“There were absolutely no concessions procedural or policy - from the Democrats” vailed within the embattled and dysfunctional Conservative coalition as members approved a deal reopening the government - after more than two weeks of shutdown - and, perhaps more importantly, sidestepped the threat of default. President Obama signed the bill into effect early Thursday morning, and the United States of America is back in business. And for all their efforts; for the estimated $24 Billion the US economy lost during this boondoggle; the harm done to the nation’s public, global image; and the historic, rock-bottom approval ratings the Republican Party now enjoys - Ted Cruz
and his merry band of vandals got absolutely nothing from the Democrats and President Obama. Nada. Zilch. There were absolutely no concessions -- procedural or policy -- from the Democrats. For those of us who have grown up watching the Democrats consistently bungle political opportunity after political opportunity, that’s pretty amazing. In fact, Democrats were able to get away more than they thought possible less than a month ago. They wanted a budget conference for the last 6 months so they could negotiate their way out of some hard sequestration cuts: got one! They wanted a continuing resolution (CR) of a particular length, ending before the next round of sequestration cuts: got one! They wanted a debt-ceiling increase that extended into January: they got one that extends into February! With the added fact that this entire episode has made the Republican Party look abhorrent in the eyes of 3/4 of Americans (according to polls), the Democrats couldn’t have asked for a better outcome - or a better shutdown. And here’s something else to keep in mind: Had the Republicans skipped the shutdown strategy and instead simply remained vigilant in their hate for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and continued on with their misinformation campaign against it, they would be exactly where the Democrats are now. Ted Cruz and Co shut-down the government on October 1st, the same day Obamacare began, thus diverting attention from the law’s abysmal, catastrophic roll-out (the website crashed, didn’t work properly, etc). In-
After attending the LSE Politics & Forum’s Question Time debate in Tower 1 tonight I am utterly impressed with Alan Sked’s Eurosceptic reasoning and comedic value yet also utterly disappointed by his denying how far the UK Independence Party has come since he founded it 20 years ago. It seems that the LSE’s very own history Professor and founder of UKIP and New Deal parties has been filled with vitriol and bitterness. Following a thoroughly convincing argument on how the EU is an anti-democratic and profligate institution full of selfserving careerist politicos jumping on the gravy-train, he let himself down by calling UKIP an “extremist right-wing party”. Cue heckling from yours sin-
cerely. You’d think a man who founded a political party that has come such a long way in just 20 years would be proud of what he started- regularly gaining 1521% in prompted opinion polls and set to come first in the European elections in 2014. But no, he informed the room how UKIP Party Leader, Nigel Farage is a racist (so racist in fact that he called me, an Indian this evening to give me a word of support and encouragement when dealing with the thorns of politics). Obviously Sked’s racist claim is entirely untrue and I made a point at the end of the debate to give him a piece of my mind. He responded about how UKIP want to “stop immigration”. Firstly this is wrong - UKIP does not want to stop immigration at all! Immigration is a beautiful thing and the UK, and London especially, would not be the exciting cultural melting pot that it is today without it! As the proud child of an Indian immigrant family I would not be caught dead sup-
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stead they chose to play Russian Roulette (with an unloaded gun) with the Democrats, who, to their surprise, were more than ready to pull the trigger.
“they chose to play Russian Roulette (with an unloaded gun) with the Democrats, who, to their surprise, were more than ready to pull the trigger” The kicker is that we may be here again come January 15 when the continuing resolution runs its course. Then there’s the added pressure of the Treasury
hitting the debt ceiling again on February 7. But while many of the members belonging to the extremist minority of the Republican Party have already vowed to keep the fight going come 2014, the embarrassing futility of using extortion as a means of political leverage will be fresh on the minds of the rest of the Party, as well as the voters (Congressional midterm elections take place in 2014). Not only will Republicans be wary of trying to to shut down the government or threaten the debt ceiling again before votes are cast, they know that if they do decide to go that route, they’ll have virtually no public support and an unafraid Democratic Party standing at attention. It’s not much, but it’s something to work with.
UKIP and its bitter founding father Sanya-Jeet Thandi
An American crisis averted
porting a party that was anti-immigration. Attempting to explain how UKIP’s immigration policy is actually benevolent and fair and equal for all to him was impossible. He was too busy repeating the words “stop immigration” at me to notice my points about how UKIP simply wants a 5 year freeze which would be followed up by fair and equal immigration opportunities for everyone the world over, as already demonstrated by the Australian pointsbased immigration policy. When I explained to him how the current immigration policy implemented by the Tories is arguably more racist than UKIP’s he had nothing to say. When I explained that the current policy subordinates the rest of the world under Europeans and that is unfair, he seemed to pay no attention. Tell me honestly that it isn’t unfair that European citizens get priority over everyone else when coming to England! Well..? Yes exactly. I love Europe and European people and cul-
ture, don’t get me wrong, but it is unnecessary for any country to treat one differently over the other. Especially as we don’t have any more in common with someone from Bulgaria than we do India or Nigeria. Regardless of policy, what’s most angering is Sked’s dismissal of the progress UKIP has made since its establishment 20 years ago. 15-21 per cent of the population are now voting this way and youth membership alone has at least doubled since 2012. In claiming that UKIP are extreme right wing, Professor Sked has claimed that an average of 18% of the UK population is extreme right wing. Also for the record the majority of UKIP’s Young Independence membership is actually libertarian and conservative libertarian. Oh and before I forget, to round off this article with the fact Professor Sked told me I should join New Deal instead of UKIP. Thanks for the offer but I shall politely decline. All the best though Sir!
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Tuesday October 22 2013
LSE Week Two By now you may have noticed that the LSE is not all about partying every night as happened in Freshers’. You will have discovered, hopefully, your reading lists, the Library and made friends with those on your course. Now is the time where work begins, this is your final week to select your courses, so make sure that you are happy with your options. Finally, you will probably have been to far too many society AGMs. You will, at most, be able to do two successfully. May I recommend that you drop all but the two you are most interested in. They will not help your career as much as you think.
Careers’ Fair Already LSE Careers’ Fairs are beginning, particularly for consultancy and banking. There are even adverts for events hosted by Oliver Wyman hosted in this paper. Yes we have sold out. But as someone who has no interest in banking or consulting, it should be pointed out the LSE Careers service does offer a large number of alternative options for those who are so inclined. Notably the options for those interested in the third sector start up shortly. The idea that the LSE is dominated by banking is one of the great caricatures of the LSE. Its also not entirely true. Yes, banking and consultancy fairs tend to dominate Michaelmas term, but after Christmas other possible career options come to the for, such as those within the third sector. Of course by then LSE and banking is firmly ingrained in your mind-set.
Bias It took until week two for the paper to be accused of bias over the coverage of the Freshers’ Fair, due to the Opinion section carrying a large number of pieces condemning the action of the SU / School. The reason for the large amount of comment pieces in the issue in favour of one side over the other was due to the articles that were submitted. We only received articles from that perspective. We can only print the content that we are given. We aspire to print everything we can, even if that means the section can become a little word heavy from time to time.
LGBTime to Chill Out Matt White
LGBT Officer Matt White replies to Fikri Alkhatib Let me first underline that this year’s LGBT Alliance cohort is extremely diverse. Both the President and Secretary-Treasurer are female, the Social Sec is bisexual and I’m mixed race. Amongst our newly elected Community team, in addition to our fab new Trans* Officer, we’ve got ourselves a great mix of female, international and black & minority ethnic students. Fikri’s allegations that we struggle to engage those that aren’t white cisgendered gay men are unfounded. (a cis-gendered individual is one whose gender identity matches that assigned at birth. For example, I am cis-gendered because I was born a male and still consider myself to be male). So far our careers events are banking and finance related because firms in this industry have taken the steps to invite us. A significant proportion of our members are considering careers with these so-called “capitalist, colonialist, patriarchal…heterosexist institutions”. Who would we be to deny them that? We made clear in our AGM and on our Facebook page that we will be seeking out opportunities for a variety of careers for our members – limitations on resources and funding just delay this slightly. Had Fikri attended our AGM, perhaps the fury expressed last week would have burnt out. I must say that what perplexed me most was Fikri’s apparent outrage at the LGBT Alliance’s decision to seek additional support from our peers for LGBT students at the LSE. The LGBT Alliance is a society that promotes welfare, social and careers opportunities for LGBT students at our school. Membership requirements are that students must be enrolled at the LSE and define as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer and questioning), or as an ally. An LGBT ally is a person that is not LGBT but believes in the rights of LGBT people
and is willing to act on these beliefs to support their LGBT peers. In a world that has such an incredibly long journey ahead on the road to true LGBT liberation, it is vitally important that we utilise the support that is out there. Allies are good. We like allies. So we want more allies? I put up informal posters at the Freshers’ Fair inviting allies to join the society. An overwhelming number of allies grabbed barcodes from our stall, telling us that they thought that they weren’t allowed to join. Last week, the vast majority of the LGBT Alliance members voted to elect an LGBT Ally representative to our Community Officer team. This position was actually contested. As relieved as I was to read that Fikri acknowledges the necessity of non-LGBT people’s involvement, I can’t understand why these people must be kept at the side-lines. This isn’t about “allowing allies access” but about stimulating awareness and furthering support. Often allies aren’t fully aware of how they can be involved; the LGBT Ally Officer has not been created to liberate straight allies but to lead in encouraging allies to engage in the liberation of L G B T
people. We are far from “pandering” to allies and I have so far had no complaints directed towards me other than last week’s article. (Should you have any concerns to raise, do not hesitate to contact me at su.lgbt@lse. ac.uk).
Our newly elected KoreanAmerican female LGBT Ally Officer, Connie Cho commented: “I am so excited to support the LGBT Alliance Committee this year as the newly elected Ally Officer. Hopefully, the estbalishment of an Ally Officer within the LGBT Alliance will address the imperative to foster solidarity between the diverse identities of the LSE community. I hope that we will be able to promote more than just tolerance on this campus and build a more open, inclusive and actively engaged community of support for LGBTQ students. I hope that my previous coalition work and exposure to queer politics in various organizations and campaigns for racial justice, immigrant rights, and feminist sexual education as well as my personal experiences in growing as an ally for friends and loved ones will contribute to the promotion of allyship on campus.” Though the three of us running for LGBT Officer in last year’s elections took very different angles, Nathalie (LGBT Alliance President) and I are delighted that we are able to work together with the Alliance now. I am confident that the LSESU LGBT Alliance will achieve great things this year. This is no fight. LGBT people do not live in some other world apart from the straight and cis-gendered. LSE and LSESU are supportive of LGBT students, and that largely includes the stereotypically anti-LGBT groups too. The Chaplain and I will demonstrate at our LGBT Interfaith event that differences in beliefs do not have to lead to animosity. The inclusion of straight people is not just “heartening”. It’s bloody great. I’m not asking for a cake filled with rainbows and smiles but we as LGBT people need to understand that allies can and are willing to offer substantial help. I u rge the militant LGBT activists to take a breather. It was genuinely suggested that the LGBTea & Sconess welcome event was transphobic on the grounds that the ‘T’ had been commandeered. I only wish now that I’d gone on the Freshers’ trip to IKEA to spend my budget on a load of lamps to throw at those that need to lighten the hell up.
The Beaver 22.10.2013
intuitive statement as time progresses. We are constantly witnessing a growing number of individuals keen to push the boundaries beyond what is presented on globalised news channels such as CNN and FOX International News. If anything, the pursuit of knowledge and truth is seen to be the driving force behind re-establishing what it means to be democratic. Mediastan clearly highlights that censorship is not purely limited to countries perceived to be under blatantly oppressive rule. The dynamics of journalistic styles in Central Asia, particularly in Kyrgyzstan, and the common Western world is surprisingly not as vastly diﬀerent as one would have initially imagined. Here we are introduced to the ideological concept of ‘Mediastan’; Wahlström stated, "it is not so much a physical place, as it is a state of mind among many of the journalists and editors who form our perceptions of the world".
SIXTEEN DOCUMENTARIES / RAINDANCE
ollowing the Wikileaks team’s tumultuous breakthrough of ‘Operation Cablerun’ in 2011, regarding thousands of secret US government related cables, we have seen the political consequences of publicly releasing such anonymous information. This has had a particularly profound aﬀect on the livelihoods of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is now a political refugee at the Ecuadorian Embassy, London. More recently, Edward Snowdon suﬀered a similar fate. Johannes Wahlström’s Mediastan is a clever collectivisation of the Wikileaks team’s documented travels in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan as well as Kazakhstan in an attempt to encourage local media distributers to run sourced cables that are speciﬁcally relevant to their country. The duration of the ﬁlm focuses on interviews with local journalists about their encounters, with particular insight into the implications of their actions to disclose such information, not to mention the consequential need for protection from the Wikileaks team. However, as a documentary, ‘Operation Cablerun’ merely serves as the foundational basis on which the overarching thematic explorations of the ﬁlm are held upon: the perils of investigative journalism. It was truly remarkable to witness the lengths this team of journalist were willing to go through in order to source out the ‘truth’. Of course, ‘truth’ is and will most likely be for a long time, a very loose term in the world of news media journalism since freedom of speech, or the lack of it, has become a prevalent problem around the world. During the Q&A session after the initial screening of Mediastan at the Raindance Film Festival in London, director Wahlström commented: “The problem of the ‘Mediastan’ state of mind is the assumption that mankind are sheep. To me that is a very oﬀensive idea”. This is a particularly poignant notion as the assumption that ‘mankind are sheep’ has proven to be an increasingly counter-
batch. Both are up against each other in the box oﬃce; however, Mediastan over � the weekend was screened for free on the Wikileaks webpage for users within the US and Canadian borders. As a whole, Mediastan is a thoroughly well done documentary exploring the fundamental implications of investigative journalism in a thought-provoking manner. Beautifully shot with a familiar niche ﬁlming quality, this is deﬁnitely a worthwhile watch for those who are interested in the impact globalised and local media franchises have on our thoughts, opinions and actions as a race.
"We are constantly wit-
nessing a growing number of individuals keen to push the boundaries beyond what is presented on globalised news channels such as CNN and FOX International News. Assange quoted, with regards to the ‘Mediastan’ mentality, "to understand who controls you, understand who you can not talk about": a well-known Voltaire citation. Such a claim is now even more essential to act upon since, ironically, Mediastan has been adapted into a Hollywood funded ﬁlm entitled The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumber-
Josh Jinruang Janie Tan
Neraj Thangarajah Dorothy Wong
Tom Barnes Cathal Laughran
Cover artworks—Original Author: 'Deevad' via deviantart.com. Title: 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Yin Yang of World Hunger'.
SHIRA GAL / FLICKR
PARTB EDITORIAL TEAM
The Beaver 22.10.2013
A CHAT WITH TWENTY ONE PILOTS
he Beaver was given the chance to catch up with Twenty One Pilots, the duo responsible for causing a stir in the live music scene for their energetic live sets. Frontman Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun sit down with us ahead of their show at the Camden Underworld to talk songwriting, festivals, and being forced to deal with the British dialect. How are you guys liking the UK so far? I know you only just played a show earlier in March, is that the only time you’ve been to London? J: Yeh that was our first time here, playing at the Barfly in Camden, and it was great! We love it over here.
I’ve been reading that you guys are pretty much self-taught musicians, so at what point did you stop just playing for yourself and start to take music seriously as a potential career path? T: Well, obviously my parents were the ones that encouraged me to start playing, and whenever they had guests over they would pressure me to get the piano out. They would all gather around and make me play something, and I was terrible! But to my parents, it was so foreign to them because neither of them were musicians. So I’ve been forced into playing in awkward situations from the moment I started playing the piano. And I’ll be honest with you, that’s probably more nervewracking than going in front of thousands of people and playing. Those living room concerts that I’ve played, those are the worst. How about with songwriting and recording? T: I was drawn to writing my own songs from the moment we started making music, and I would show my little brother or my parents something but other than that no one else really was going to hear what I put together. But what I think is interesting is the fact that this first group of songs that were putting out weren’t really written for anyone, they were just written because I wanted to write them. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the second batch of songs we put out because all of a sudden there is an audience. But hopefully Josh and I are able to disappear and put ourselves in the same mindset of ‘What do we want to hear?’ instead of ‘What would people want to hear?’ and get to release something we’re happy with. Your music is pretty unique, so much so that I think it’d almost be unfair to limit it to a genre. What is it that inspires you? Are you influenced by other musicians? T: Our inspirations definitely come from a lot of things, not just music. I think the whole confused-genre thing that we have going on comes from the fact that we’re in a generation of kids that have access to so many different types of music. If you look at any kid’s collection of music today, it’s not all
I don’t know if you remember Tyler, but at your last London show you mentioned that you’d written The Run and Go with a mind to playing it in front of a London audience. Why is that so? T: Along with being able to get your hands on any type of music you can also watch any kind of video on the interview. And I’ve watched a lot of outdoor festival videos, always of European festivals. Whilst I was writing that song I was thinking…that’d be the perfect song to play during the day at one of these festivals. That’s where my head was at; I was inspired by that image. Speaking of your live show, I think it’s really commendable how whenever anyone mentions Twenty One Pilots, it always goes hand in hand with a ‘…but you have to see them live’. I was wondering, with your ever-increasing popularity, how are you adapting your live show to go from the basements and living rooms to these huge festival crowds? T: We’re in the process of doing that. We know we’ve got to keep it fresh. But the good thing is…we’ve got a lot of big ideas. Pyrotechnics? T: Haha, yeah. J: That’s kind of an easy go-to. But we’ve always said that we’d always play the same for five people as we would for fifty thousand, so there is some aspect of the live show that isn’t going to change. We’re still going to play as hard as we can, and I’m always going to try to play harder and faster. T: But we’re always thinking—what have we never seen done? I guess if anything going on bigger stages just gives you more room to try out everything you want. T: Exactly. More things to climb. Do you think with the way the music industry is heading, that the future of it is in the live show? T: I think there’s a sense of credibility that goes with a live show. If you can recreate your songs live and manifest what those songs are saying on stage, people start to respect what it is that you’re actually saying. So as much as I don’t think we’re outside of the era where people can suddenly become famous because of the internet without having the backup of a live show, I’m not sure just how much those people are being listened to. There’s a credibility that comes with a live show and I think that we’ve been working our butts off with shows in preparation for the next batch of songs we decide to put out so that people go ‘You know what, I’m going to stop and I’m going to listen to what these guys have to say.’. The live show prepares people for what you have to say next. I definitely agree with you on that one. Bands that have poor live shows tend not to get remembered. T: Bands that have poor live shows also give concerts a bad name! Let’s keep live music alive! Put in the effort, or you’re not going to have a career!
TWENTY ONE PILOTS / DAN MASSIE
What sorts of stuff have you got up to? J: Some touristy things. I like to shop here. T: There’s something about buying clothes in a different country. At home when someone asks ‘Where’d you get that?’ You get to say... London. You wouldn’t know the place, don’t worry about it.
one artist or one genre, it ranges from all over the place. I truly believe that we are a product of this. For me as a songwriter, my thought process has always been creating what it is that I want to hear, and that’s truly what we do. We’re playing music that we wish other people were playing.
That’s going to be one of those quotations you get remembered for. On your tombstone it’ll say ‘Tyler Joseph – Keepin’ live music alive’! T: Haha yeah. You can say that I said that. So you’re booked to play Reading and Leeds which you must be excited about, what should we be expecting from you guys? J: European festivals were always some of those that we would watch and get really inspired, and even when we first started playing music together we decided…we’re gonna play one of these one day. We’ll be on one of those stages. Did you ever watch the Nirvana set at Reading? I think that’s probably the most iconic one associated with the festival. J: I’m not sure. T: Really? I’m gonna look it up. J: But as far as what to expect…probably…probably just expect that we’ll be the best band there. (Tyler laughs). No, I don’t know. I don’t even know what time we’re playing. Probably early in the day on a side stage. T: You’ve got to start somewhere. But that’s definitely the best part of the day! You’re getting people at their peak, not too drunk yet… J: Yeh exactly! We’ve noticed that! So last question. What do you guys have planned for the year ahead? Obviously Vessel is going to be released here in the UK soon, but what else do you have planned? Will you have any time to hit the studio? J: This year I don’t know if we’re going to be able to go back into the studio. We’re going to be writing songs though, in the midst of travelling a lot. We have some festivals in the US this summer that we’re also excited about. And then in the fall we’re pretty much busy travelling around playing shows until the end of the year. We’re excited to hit the road. It’s just something that since we started I’ve always dreamed about playing more than 3 shows at a time, more than 50 miles away from
our home. And now it gets pretty tiring sometimes, but we’re able to do that. I was going to ask, how do you cope? I mean. You’ve had such a relentless tour schedule. J: I think just being able to use our phones, to sit on our social media feeling like we’re a part of what our friends and family are doing. T: Also. I mean you have to remember we’re still pretty new. But at the same time there’s something to be said about what the songs do and what they say, that they truly do mean something every time we explain them. We’re not just a filler. We’re not a band so we write songs. We write songs, and so we are a band. That helps add meaning to all the shows. Another great quotation! T: Write it down write it down!! Tombstone alert! J: My tombstone’s probably just going to say killed by tacos or something. T: Killed by… by crisps! Crisps? You’ve got used to the lingo then! J: Yeah! Potato chips. T: And chips are fries? J: And what’s cookies? Cookies…? What, biscuits? J: Biscuits, yeah! T: Eurgh! Don’t you know what a biscuit is? That’s something you give your dog! But they’re a bit different though, cookies are the big round chocolate chip ones and biscuits are the ones you dunk in your tea. J: Ohh. Okay I see what you’re saying. T: Man. You guys are real creative. So any final thoughts for the interview? Anything you’d like to add? T: Hmm. A final thought? .... Josh and I love our mums very much. J: Yeah. Shout out to the mums.
THE CURSE OF ELIZABETH FAULKNER
that broach on sensitive subjects in a blunt, yet rather disturbing tone. Infanticide, machismo, suicide, oppression, famine and tyranny are all on Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s agenda, resulting in a play that is (almost too) powerful, and certainly not for the lighthearted. The six actors take on different roles with the exception of Katie Leung, who portrays the heart-warming Sunny in a very watchable manner. Whilst some characters may seem rather one-dimensional at ﬁrst, the second act of the play gradually peels the layers to reveal more complex individuals who bear the scars of Mao's great famine, Tianamen Square massacre and other great historical Chinese landmarks. There is no true hero in the story, as each character is riddled with his or her own downfalls: the father’s ridiculous love for pigeons, the younger brother’s naïve aspirations to become a performer and Sunny’s obstinate and dogmatic aspiration to reach managerial position which leaves the audience feeling slightly uneasy, not knowing who to sympathise
CHARING CROSS THEATRE Thurs, Fri, Sat 10PM UNTIL OCT. 24TH
without becoming slapstick. The enthusiasm and energy of the cast showed they were clearly having as great a time as the audience, whilst keeping the straight face the piece deserved. A bare set allowed for comedy to be exploited further, encouraging large movements and unconventional stage paths. The emptiness also allowed lighting to play a major role in the creation of horror,
through spotlights, red washes and dramatic lightning storms. Simple props and costumes allowed for quick, seamless character changes, and eerie sound eﬀects such as deep, vocal narration and almost upbeat music, added to the atmosphere, not least due to their somewhat unexpectedness. Don’t head to Charing Cross expecting elite theatre. This is the kind of show where
mistakes and malfunctions are so in tune with the piece that it may be scripted. But essentially, simplicity in production, a small, talented cast and a hilarious script are all that are needed to create an hour of laughter, suspense, and maybe even a little fear. ‘Elizabeth Faulkner’ seems more like a blessing than a curse.
THE WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESS review
Written by Francis YaChu Cowhig
THE SHED @ THE NATIONAL UNTIL OCT. 26TH
with and who to despise. The set and lighting are basic, as would be expected in a temporary structure like The Shed. A contrast forms between the dirt-covered ﬂoor and the neon rainbow lights and plastic dolls adorning the stage, representing dank rural living, the new urbanism and the industrial world of factories and self-help cults respectively, all cleverly reinforcing Sunny’s journey. This simplicity is balanced out by the sheer power of language used and the topics raised by Cowhig’s
hard-hitting script, to create a compelling, though if not disconcerting play. It is easy to be put-oﬀ by the Public Relations and advertising surrounding this piece. The trailer in particular has some serious ﬂaws that left me feeling slightly anxious prior to arrival at The Shed. However The World of Extreme Happiness itself doesn’t have these ﬂaws: Though the numerous issues raised are predictable, and the attacks made on China are somewhat unoriginal, the dabs of black humour, stark re-
alism and sobering storytelling will have you leaving the Shed feeling an inordinate, peculiar sense of ambiguity and discomfort, knowing you’ve watched something that can’t be far from the truth. Of course, this is not an easy watch, but for an audience in the right mind-set, this thought-provoking piece of theatre is deﬁnitely worth the ticket price.
'Can they get away with this?' was the initial reaction of one of the actors upon reading the script, and you can understand why: Within the first 30 seconds a Chinese middleaged man describes his dream of a woman defacating on his face.
ith the Cottlesloe theatre undergoing refurbishment, the National Theatre opened The Shed in April 2013 which will keep its doors open on the South Bank until Easter 2014. This temporary structure by Haworth Tompkins architecture creates an unusual and defying performance space, challenging all members of the production teams to adapt and play with this new environment. It’s a small space, with a thrust stage forcing actors to spill into the crowd. This creates a sort of actor-audience intimacy that some may ﬁnd disquieting, but director Michael Longhurst has used this much to his advantage in his rendition of Frances YaChu Cowhig’s latest play, ‘The World of Extreme Happiness’. playing at the Shed until the 26th of October. ‘Can they get away with this?’ was the initial reaction of one actors upon reading the script and you can understand why within the ﬁrst 30 seconds of the opening act, where a Chinese middle-aged man describes his latest dream of a woman defecating on his face as he proceeds to eat it. Within just over a minute of this, a child is born and thrown into a bin full of pigswill for being born female. This sets the scene for the play which tells the tale a young Chinese girl, Sunny, who decides to leave her rural home behind to join the frenetic life of Shenzhen with hopes of a new, prosperous being. She faces great disillusionment when she ends up cleaning toilets in a gruelling factory and resorts to self-help classes and sexual favours to improve her chances of securing a managerial position within the factory. The play depicts the daily struggles of Chinese economic migrants and factory workers with crude dialogues
ences. A prior knowledge of literature or philosophy will not help you here, as it may do elsewhere. Instead, ‘The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner’ is an unpretentious, easy-towatch ‘horror’, with a laugh a minute, and a scream at the end. The show’s writer, Tim Downie has used simple writing to great eﬀect, with wellplaced jokes, clever repetition, bizarre recurring themes and excellent pacing. The cast of four were a cohesive ensemble, between them playing nine roles, and bringing Downie’s writing to life with excellent delivery and timing. Accents were (by and large) well held, with movement, gesture and the odd magic trick all acted broadly,
CHARING CROSS THEATRE
transfer from the Edinburgh Fringe, The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner is entertaining, comic and not at all frightening. The show tells the story of James Faulkner and Reginald Thorndike, strangers united by the misfortune of a curse that will leave them dead on their (shared) 33rd birthday. The play takes us through their journey (and their encounters with mysterious strangers) to end that curse by releasing Elizabeth Faulkner from her grave, to prevent a bloodsoaked destiny. Perhaps I should start by saying this is not ‘high-brow’ theatre. There are no hidden meanings, or cryptic refer-
The Beaver 22.10.2013
for other ‘mothers of colour’, barring Natasha’s best friend, the slightly airheaded, naïve Izzy (played superbly by Olivia Poulet). In keeping with the ‘authentic’ theme, Natasha serves only Ethiopian food, accompanied by a special drink she calls an Obamatini. The dialogue is absolutely biting. Sarah Rutherford has laid open and baldly addressed all the racial issues in society that most people would prefer to pass oﬀ as something that does not happen, something they choose to pretend does not exist. Every actor in the piece is an absolute powerhouse. Susannah Doyle is brilliant as former-lawyer, current-controlfreak Natasha. She starts oﬀ as quiet, relatively calm, and brings the gradually simmering character to a complete boil by the end. Olivia Poulet plays the innocent Izzy, who is the only one of the group who does not, strictly speaking, belong—a character that starts oﬀ as dizzy and obnoxious, but one wom you feel pity for by the end, in a way reminiscent of a Woody Allen heroine, especially towards the end when she realises the truth about her partner. Mo is a wonderfully written character. It is through her and the ‘games’ she initiates that the characters' dark past and secrets are laid bare for all to see. Amy Robbins shapes the character with absolute élan; she is warm, aﬀable, lovable, loving and intensely protective—an
THE PARK THEATRE UNTIL NOV. 3RD
instantly identiﬁable character, the sort of friend everyone has. Jacqueline Boatswain plays Angela, the only black character in the play, providing the ‘other’ perspective when it comes to race and colour Certain elements of the play—the more obvious ones such as the focus on Obama, the Ethiopian sculptures in the background, and the pretentious names Natasha has given her children, as well as the more subtle ones through wordplays in the dialogue—make it an absolute joy to watch. The ‘Color Me in Obama’ mats the women were given were a wonderful, understated touch. The writer,
The play discusses issues of race, social tension, and real or imagined heirarcheies that exist in modern-day society, giving a brilliantly insightful look into 'Beige Britain'.
ANURADHA SANTANHAM talks to SARAH RUTHERFORD about her new play, 'Adult Supervision'.
How much personal experience went into the play? S: A lot. I have been married to a black man since 1997 and have two mixed-race children, so a lot of the things mentioned in the play are things I have gone through and experienced myself. So did you base any of the characters on yourself, or people you know? S: No, although a lot of the experiences that Mo went through, some of the things that were said to her were actual outlandish things that have been said to me, to my face, by people who are not racist or malicious, just naïve and do not know what to say. Izzywas a personiﬁcation of those people, easily identiﬁable— most of modern London feel as she does. You see a lot of Natashas (the main character) at private schools: high-powered career women whose children become
director, and actors are all powerhouses of talent. Outrageous, in-your-face, and yet realistic about the problems we still face in a world that is as multicultural as it is, Adult Supervision is a great look into all the racial issues society would rather sweep under the carpet and walk over. Completely entertaining and elucidative without being pedantic, the play is enjoyable from start to ﬁnish, leaving you to ponder long after you have left.
interview £12 Tuesdays for under 25s. PARK THEATRE
I absolutely enjoyed the play. It was unlike anything I’ve ever watched before—in your face, baldly exposing how people still think, even in 2013. How did you begin writing it? S: Actually, the play just popped into my head, completely written. I was working on another commission for Jez (Jez Bond, the Artistic Director of Adult Supervision) called Allah in Neon, which will be out next year, and this play was fully written in my head. It was more personal and experiential.
ocated in Finsbury Park, a minute’s walk from the tube, but ensconced in a little corner, the Park Theatre is a small, warm bar-theatre that is incredibly welcoming and envelops you in its cosy atmosphere, which is where my wonderful experience with the play began. Sarah Rutherford’s Adult Supervision premiered at the Park Theatre on the 8th of October, 2013, an event I was invited to watch. With an all-star cast that includes Susannah Doyle, Olivia Poulet, Amy Robbins and Jacqueline Boatswain, its reputation preceded itself. The play itself discusses issues of race, social tension, and real or imagined hierarchies that exist even in modern-day society, giving the audience a brilliantly insightful look into ‘Beige Britain’—a multicultural melting pot. Considering that it discusses an extremely sensitive subject, one might expect the play to be politically correct, mellow, avoiding stepping on anybody’s toes. However, it takes the bull by the horns and tackles the subject head-on—the language, situations and dialogue completely unabashed. The atmosphere is tense. It is 2008, United States election night, the ﬁnal showdown in the Battle Royale of Obama vs. McCain. We are introduced to a motley group of women at a party hosted by ex-lawyer Natasha, who has just adopted two Ethiopian children. This party, as it turns out, is only
Written by Sarah Rutherford
their projects. Natasha’s character extended beyond this, though—a lot of her anger stemmed from not being used to failure. Do you feel that adopting a child, and speciﬁcally one from a diﬀerent race, has become a status symbol, some sort of fashion statement? S: Absolutely. If you are going to adopt a child of a diﬀerent race, you should have some sort of awareness. They will face diﬀerent problems that you do not, and you need to be aware of them. So when Tom Cruise adopted his son and said ‘race is not relevant’, of course it is. You said a lot of the play is stuﬀ that you have seen and experienced. Did you draw a lot of inputs from others? S: Some of the play was from personal experience. Some from talking to friends. We all got together and discussed how we felt, our experiences. The
play was just an excuse to socialise, to talk. Do you think now, in 2013, attitudes towards race are changing? S: Yes, I think that attitudes are changing, and more mixed race children are identifying as mixed race rather than thinking of themselves as one speciﬁc race. I think it’s amazing how incisive the play and dialogue were; no holds barred, and completely unashamed. S: Yes. I hope that things that were previously unsaid have been said, and the play was, in a way, my way of dealing with the people I have met. I would rather deal with the issue through writing and tackle ignorance through a play. I hope to make people think about what they say, what they think, and their personal belief systems.
FASHION 101: RANIA KOUROS With the fashion empire's chicest fashionistas residing at Somer set House for London Fashi o n We e k , a t t e n d i n g t h e e v e n t i m p e c c a bl y d r e s s e d i s a d a u n t i n g p r o s p e c t . D e s p i t e t h e o d d s , L S E S U F a s h i o n ' s E d i t o r i a l O f f i c e r R A N I A K O U R O S t o o k t h e f a s h i o n s c e n e by s t o r m , w i t h h e r e l e c tic style spotted by notorious Australian magazine 'Missy Confidential'. JODIE MOMODU int e r v i e w s t h i s s t y l e - s a v v y s t u d e n t a b o u t t h e o r i g i n s o f h e r i n t e r n at i o n a l l y r e c o g n i s e d f a s h i o n l o v e , h e r t a k e o n L o n d o n F a s h i o n We e k , a n d p r e d i c t i o n s o n t h e n ex t ' i t ' d e s i g n e r s . ion Bloggers project, contributing articles and reviews for their blog. I collaborated with the BuyMyWardrobe preloved fashion initiative, and was also part of their promotional photoshoot last April. I was also lucky enough to meet Fiona, owner of France and UK based start-up company Rentez-Vous, who invited me to rent out my clothes as part of the company´s concept. Meanwhile, my fashion show addiction had begun. Whether it was in Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, France or the UK, VIP front seats or back seats, I was there, reporting, writing, and generally being fortunate enough to get invitations. Alongside these, I have also been a freelance stylist and fashion advisor. I have created quite a solid network of designers, entrepreneurs, artists, PRs and fashionistas, ready to assist, advise or influence me at any given time. The fashion realm has truly became my second home. RANIA KOUROS
Rania, tell everyone your background in fashion. (Your opportunity to list all the amazing things you have done!) R: When I was just 3 or 4, my mum got me an amazing pair of swede Dolce & Gabbana cowboy boots with these little amazing tassles on the side, and that was when it all began! I had always been a fashionista due to my family background in the countryside, and was often invited to social events and featured in magazine. However, my real passion arose as soon as I turned 18 and got a part time job at Greek fashion magazine MUST, where I was responsible for the street fashion section. During my time there, I met an array of cool designers, became gradually influenced by stylists, as well as interacted with PRs and artists. Anyone artistic really. As soon as I came to London though, my enthusiasm around the fashion field got augmented due to the city´s intense vibe. After my dad´s encouragement, I launched my own blog in 2012 and from then on everything followed a sequence. I became part of Diana Kakkar's London Fash-
What ignited your passion for fashion? R: My passion for fashion derives simply from being an enthusiatic child, and prob-
Which designer stood out from the fashion crowd? R: Zoe Jordan, an upcoming designer, was in fact one of my favourite picks. She has a very playful and at the same
What were the key trends you spotted at LFW? R: a. Grunge—tartan patterns combined with those beloved biker boots. (Don´t forget the badass attitude.) b. The Pink coat—think big, bold, minimalist and pink. Yes pink. c. Nature—fur is another trend but keep it in earth colours like brown, khaki, and olive green.
RANIA'S prediction of n ex t ' I T ' d e s i g n e r s : fur : GRAHAM & SPENCER t - s h i r t : U R BA N O U T F I T T E R S bl a z e r : M I C H A E L K O R S trousers: ZARA shoes: MARC BY M A R C JAC O B S b a g : L A N A D E L R E Y, M U L B E R RY g l a s s e s : TO P S H O P
ELGD - EDGY
LITTLE GREY DRESS
LANVIN / NET-A-PORTER
Contrast is key; spice up your Little Grey Dress by mixing 'n' matching it with black leather laced-up ankle boots. These boots are, after all, made for walking.
OUTSTANDING ORDINARY / WANDERING MINDS
What was your main highlight of LFW, except for being spotted by Missy Confidential? R: The main highlight of the LFW to me was actually the street style. People gathering to such events have a heightened and bold sense of fashion. They are the ones who truly inspire and constitute fashion. Of course, designers materialise the creativity but it is such people who take it to the extremes, portraying its true essence in the most artistic ways.
time minimalist style which I find intriguing.
G r e y i s t h e n e w bl a c k ; t h i s s e a s o n s e e s w a r d r o b e q u i n t e s s e n t i a l L i t t l e B l a c k D r e s s r e i n c a r n at e i n t o i t s l i g h t e r, s a s s i e r, m o r e c o q u e t t i s h f o r m . U n a p o l o ge t i c a l l y f e m i n i n e , t h i s E d g y L i t t l e G r e y d r e s s i s s u r e t o m a ke a b o l d s t at e m e n t . fter the graphic and notorious LBD (Little Black Dress) initiated by the iconic Coco Chanel and promoted by Audrey Hepburn, it is inevitable that the fashion empire would revive the staple classic with the ELGD, otherwise known as the Edgy Little Grey Dress! As a new abbrevation introduced into the fashion wardrobe, it is neither as naughty nor provocative as the LBD. And yet, its quirky modern structure earns it the fashion seal of approval as the latest new obsession. Lanvin is one of the brands which greatly supports this new practice of “grey adding to it a bit of the spin of the trendy “pret-a-porter” checked ortartan pattern and shaping it to perfection. Nonetheless, 'Wandering Minds’—a company traveling around the world discovering up-and-coming young designers in the world’s most fashionable cities and bring them back straight at you—made a 60's cut discovery that is also intriguing (to say the least). The ELGD is a creation by Outstanding Ordinary, a Seoul based brand that specialises in creating perfect basics with a twist. This makes our grey garment a definite basicmust-have item for this winter, at an affordable price (£49.00).
ably because I have a crazily creative mom who acted as my mentor throughout. Nonetheless, it is fashion´s social power over people that fascinated me growing up—this creativity diffused in people´s outfits and the journalistric drive that urged one to report on all these visual stimuli. This probably explains my development in the blogging world too.
The Beaver 22.10.2013
FASHION / TECHNOLOGY
hristmas has come early in this fashion capital with 'Thread for Less'. Designer clothing, by their very nature, refers to the type of clothes dreamed up the fashion elite and stamped with a price tag only a few of us can aﬀord in our waking lives. However, for a limited time only, our dreams can ﬁnally come true with fashion discounts galore in the heart of fashion capital London. Everyone loves threads for less, particularly those made of the ﬁnest silk materials and the most exquisite of designs. Now LSE students have the rare opportunity to shop, but not til' they drop.
FINGERPRINTS, PHABLETS AND iMIND
JOSEPH SAMPLE SALES Only a few metres away from Bond Street station lies a fashionista's dream: discounts of up to 70% oﬀ this fashion royalty. From Missioni to Carven, Joseph's boutiques will deﬁnitely brighten up a cold Winter's day with hundreds of pounds oﬀ these premium threads.
The soon-to-bereleased HTC One Max boasts ﬁngerprint scanner at its back for user's convenience. By scanning your ﬁngertips, you can unlock the device and launch all your favourite applications. Users can register up to three ﬁngerprints per phone.
WHEN? Oct 22nd-23rd 10am-8pm, Oct 24th 10am-7pm WHERE? The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 5LF DESIGNER WAREHOUSE SALES Envisage this: a cascade of fashion rails withholding sample sales of over 180 acclaimed designers in a single room. Impossible you ask? Not any more. In the midst of the Islington streets holds the European fashion capital's longest-running sample sales, making it inexcusable for a fashion fail. HTC
DESIGNER WAREHOUSE SALES
WHEN? Oct 25th 10am-8pm, Oct 26th 10am-6pm, Oct27th 11am-5pm WHERE? 6 Islington Studios, Thane Works, Thane Villas, London N7 7NU (Only menswear are available during these dates. £2 entry fee) THE STYLIST'S RAIL A fashion ﬁesta of the ﬁnest silks, sculptured with the most innovative of designs—the stylist's sale is back. East London's notable stylists once again wave their fashion fairy dust and make our designer dreams come true. With an exclusive one-oﬀ sale of barely worn designer samples used from shoots, catwalks, and high-end events, this rail is simply ripe for the picking.
THE STYLIST'S RaIL
WHEN? October 26th 12pm-6pm WHERE? The Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU Jodie Momodu
ast week, HTC revealed its new 5.9-inch screen ‘phablet’, the HTC One Max. The device’s notso secret, not-so original, not-so safe passage to the heart of consumer wonderland is its back-screen ﬁngerprint scanner. Granted, it also features a Micro SD slot and has a longer battery life but it is doubtful that any of these features give the Taiwanese ﬁrm a shot against their eye-tracking, phablet-making South Korean counterpart Samsung. News of HTC’s new oﬀspring came as Belgian university KU Leuven’s iMind researchers released the ﬁndings of their study into digital ﬁngerprinting, the practice of identifying the properties of browsers and devices to track users. A digital ﬁngerprint is a combination of attributes that are unique and can thus function as identiﬁers. It doesn’t take much to single out a device, as it mostly comes down to installed fonts, downloaded software and screen size. Once the device is identiﬁed, the ﬁngerprint is created and the tracking is on. The novelty in the type of ﬁngerprinting that the iMinders identiﬁed is that it is Java script based. This means it is able to track devices that have opted for the strictest, cookieforbidding, privacy settings. Even devices browsing on
Tor, the ‘anonymous’ network, were compromised until its developers were alerted by the researchers and set in motion to create a new version. Approximately 1.5% of the 10,000 companies evaluated were understood to be ﬁngerprinting potential customers. Though the ﬁgure might seem low, it should be taken into account that once the digital ﬁngerprints are ‘produced’ they can easily be packaged and sold to third parties. Therefore the number of companies tracking the ﬁngerprinted devices is likely to be a lot higher. Taken individually, neither the HTC One Max nor Leuven’s study of digital ﬁngerprinting
"The novelty in the type of ﬁngerprinting that the iMinders identiﬁed is that it is Java script based. This means it is able to track devices that have opted for the strictest, cookie-forbidding, privacy settings"
are especially striking. The debates surrounding biometrics, privacy and transparency are still very relevant but let’s face it—the HTC One Max is outshined by the new colourful iPhones and Digital Fingerprints are the latest addition to the long list of more daunting Big Brother-style revelations. Together, however, these two items of news point to one of the more interesting developments in the technology industry: the convergence of human physical and intellectual identities in the cyber-sphere. If a mobile device incorporates physical characteristics (it’s only ﬁngerprints for now but we are not far from irisscanners) and it is used by social, economic and political bodies to identify people across borders, there is the potential for the device to become more institutionally relevant than the actual human body. By a stretch of the imagination, the man-machine convergence signalled by the HTC One Max and the iMinders could be the ﬁrst step towards Ray Kurzweil’s ‘Singularity’—a time ‘when humans will transcend biology’ and scientists that ‘are a million times more intelligent and operate a million times faster’ will give life to quidditch-like magical entertainment. Gillian Caﬁero
The Beaver 22.10.2013
Tuesday October 22 2013
THE SOCIETY COLUMN features LSESU Politics and Forum Soci-
THE POLITICS OF EDUCATION OUR CHOICES Ali Hughes, LSESU Politics and Forum Society
Politics is fundamentally about choice. The ability to choose a government to represent you in national debates is perhaps the most obvious expression of politics as choice. But of course politics runs deeper than this and affects your everyday life: your choice of societies to get involved with in the SU, the choice whether or not to accept the free coffee offered by Linklaters on Houghton Street, your choice of readings from Moodle for this week’s class; all these choices are in one way or another political. Perhaps one of the fundamental choices we make in our lives is how to educate ourselves and, of course, our children. Which university should I go to? What school should I send my child to? Which country should our children be educated in? These questions are at the forefront of any political debate. So this week’s revelations about the state of education in Britain deserve greater attention from those interested in British and world politics.
FALLING BEHIND First came the news of an “education crisis”, as the Daily Mail helpfully summarised an OECD report which placed Britain 22nd out of 24 countries for literacy and 21st out of 24 for numeracy. The report also claims that retirees have better skills than young people in Britain. In the domestic sphere, the Conservative Party immediately seized upon the report, using it to reinforce
their message that Britain is falling behind in the “global race” and that the failings reflect the Labour government’s policy of “dumbing down” between 1997 and 2010. Internationally the report highlights the continued strength of Eastern European and East Asian countries in educating their children. The question remains, however, when these regions of the world will develop higher education and research systems to
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compete with those found in the West. Can the LSE survive if UK students are no longer competitive compared to their peers abroad? DIY EDUCATION The second major piece of education news of the week was the report by the inspectorate of English schools (OFSTED) into the Al-Madinah free school in Derby. Describing the school as “dysfunctional”,
TODAY'S CLASS: FINDINGS FROM THE OECD In Italy & Spain, 5% of adults are proficient at highest level of literacy compared to 80% in Finland & Japan. Most variation in skills is observed within, not between countries. England/Northern Ireland among highest performing when comparing literacy proficiency of 55-65 year olds, but amongst lowest performing in 16-24 age group. In nearly all countries, 10%+ of adults lack basic computer skills.
OFSTED was highly critical of the structures in place regulating the school. This time it was Labour’s turn to criticise a Coalition policy of setting up free schools: a dangerous “ideological experiment” as Tristram Hunt (Shadow Education Secretary) describes the program. The idea behind free schools was to provide a DIY approach to school provision aimed at giving people more choice in where to send their children. By increasing choice the government hoped they might raise standards, so both reports on Britain’s education this week are inherently linked. What we can be certain of is that the politics of education in Britain and around the world will keep on revolving and changing, long after this week’s headlines have passed. As Tony Blair’s aphorism reminds us, while our choices keep changing, governments’ stay the same. The focus must always be “education, education, education”. LSESU politics & forum is LSE’s official politics society. Events run every Thursday 7pm Tower 1. Join the debate at www.lsesuforum.com
R A G C O R N E R features raising money for Dementia UK Team RAG tell us of their recent charity raising activity and the results of their AGM.
i Freshers! What a great two weeks it’s been! Freshers’ Week this year was huge with the RAG bands. Where might you find Twister, a playdough version of Jay Stoll’s face, and a strong performance from Passfield? Well, RAG’s Alternative Pub Quiz. This week, teams from Passfield as well as freshers,
second, and third years from LSE battled it out to become champions of our slightly odd take on the pub quiz. Just over £100 was made from our quiz, so thank you to everyone who participated and well done to the Passfield team who won overall! Not only that, but RAG had their AGM, electing our wider executive for the year. From first years, to second years, to General Course students, we had a wide variety of students running for positions and we are proud to announce that; Sam Altmann, Damon Wilson, Molly Brien, James Wurr, Amy
Hoffmaster, Colby Pann, Smita Bhirgoo, and Xuan Ji will be running your challenges for the year, so get to know them as well as the rest of the team! Team RAG made their way down to Brighton this weekend to collect money for Dementia UK. Despite torrential downpour in parts, Team RAG received not only pennies but pounds, and the occasional five pound note. Later on the team had the chance to explore Brighton and hit the pier, making it a top day out. If you want to see another city and make some money for charity, definitely join us on our next raid!
Lastly, coming up is our trek to Kilimanjaro, with the recruitment meeting THIS TUESDAY AT 6PM STC.S421 (St Clements, Ground Floor). Climbing Kilimanjaro is not only an amazing experience but a vital fundraiser for charities. This year we will be climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of Dig Deep, an international development charity which works primarily in East Africa, working to improve water access and cleanliness. The charity focuses on community led development and proper consultation about the needs of the people they try to help, mean-
ing that the work is meaningful and beneficial to the area. Kilimanjaro itself will be taking place on 7th September next year. The trek is hard, it is a challenge, but it is also the experience of a lifetime. Nathan Paterson, a recent LSE graduate who went on the trip about a month ago said it was: ‘The best two weeks of my life.’ Dig Deep and RAG will explain everything in much more detail at the meeting this Tuesday so make sure you come to the meeting AT 6PM STC.S421 so you don’t miss out! Have a great week, and big RAG. Love from Team RAG. xxx
DEMENTIA UK • • • •
Dementia refers a collection of symptoms, including problems with communication, memory loss, loss of ability to carry out daily activities Roughly 820,00 people in the UK live with dementia There are about 15,000 people under 65 who have dementia Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form in the UK, affecting 417,000 people
• • • •
Dementia UK promotes Admiral Nursing - specialist nursing focusing on meeting needs of families and carers of people with dementia Contributes to policy on dementia, older people and carers’ issues. Connects carers across the country through a national network, Uniting Carers. Promotes good practice in dementia care and works with the NHS, voluntary groups and social services.
Tuesday October 22 2013
Features Eyes to the Left Sam Barnett
Press Accountability is not censorship
ictories for common sense and compromise are rare in British politics, but the proposed Royal Charter to firm up press regulation certainly looks like one. Built on the ideas of the Leveson Inquiry and drawn up by Maria Miller (Tory), Harriet Harman (Labour) and Lord Jim Wallace (Lib Dem), the plan has taken a lot of flack on front pages, but it represents a real chance for the UK to moderate the lawless cowboy country that is Fleet Street. At the moment, the newspapers allegedly regulate themselves through a non-body made up of press figures, the Press Complaints Commission. The new proposals lay the groundwork for a proper regulator that will be accountable to government- the kind that most industries have as a matter of course. This regulator will take and investigate complaints from the public, arbitrate disputes and, most importantly, publish and explain its decisions. What it will not do is censor or dictate to the press. It also won’t be made up of newspaper editors, or packed with crony politicians. Making sure people can complain effectively about shoddy or illegal journalism is a boost to free speech, not an infringement. At the moment, media barons and sensationalist editors have amassed disproportionate influence. They have the power and the freedom to act with impunity; they have big megaphone to raise their free speech over everyone else’s. Hopefully this move by Westminster will help us to negate the worst of their excesses and allow people to challenge the press on equal footing.
The LSE Briefing: Student Union Accounts
The LSE Students’ Union generated an income of £3.5m in 2011/12. We give you a quick rundown of their income and spendings.
write for Features, whether it’s the International and LSE article an idea for an interview, or a story that you think people need to know about, drop us an email at: email@example.com
NAB Shop Profit Gross: £216,849 Net: £10,667
Houghton St. Shop Profit Gross: £419,632 Net: £44,487
Bars/Catering Profit Gross: £543, 765 Net: £7,336
Gross: £215,232 Net: £1,437
COST OF WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT: £17,605
The International Briefing: US Shutdown Vince Harrold
Most people are aware of the recent United States federal government shutdown, but less clear is how the government of the most developed state in the world can come grinding to a halt. Is it a regular occurrence? And what are the consequences of a suspension of government for sixteen days?
First of all, a government shutdown of the type experienced in America is virtually impossible in other democratic systems. It is a phenomenon resulting from the separation of powers in the US Constitution which divides government into three distinct spheres: the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The aim of the system is to prevent an abuse of power by providing checks and balances, however, these mechanisms also encourage fractious government when the different branches hold opposing views. The separation of powers leaves the responsibility for appropriating government funds to Congress, the resulting bill then needing the approval of the Senate and President. When these bodies stand in opposition to one another, as is the case now with
a Republican Congress alongside a Democratic Senate and President, the situation is ripe for clashes. If disagreement over budget allocations persists through the end of the previous budget cycle, a funding gap is created requiring the shutdown of certain federal operations. NOT THE FIRST TIME
Whilst the 2013 suspension was particularly severe, shutdowns are not new to American politics. The Reagan administration saw no fewer than seven shutdowns although none lasted longer than three days. The longest shutdown occurred under Clinton between 1995 and 1996. A funding gap persisted for twenty one days following clashes over funding for healthcare, education and the environment. OBAMA CARE The most recent shutdown under Obama, lasting sixteen days, came when Congress disagreed with the Executive branch defunding or delaying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘ObamaCare’. The shutdown came to an end on October 17th when the President signed a deal to extend funding for government services until January 15th and raise the debt ceiling, which rescued America from
defaulting on debts. Nevertheless, the agreement did not address many divisive issues. DISRUPTION
The disruption caused by the suspension has been significant. Under a shutdown, the law requires non-essential government activities to curtail their operations and put substantial portions of staff on temporary leave. About 800,000 federal employers were left out of work, with payment dates unknown for a further 1.3 million. A bill has been passed to provide back pay to all those furloughed during the suspension, reported by CNN Money to total around $1 billion a week. Private sector business has also been hit by the suspension with disruptions to import-export services, de-
layed loans to small businesses and government contracted manufacturers having to layoff staff. Although there has been some relief at the raising of the debt ceiling, Standard and Poor’s have estimated the shutdown has taken $24billion from the economy. Arguments have been made, such as that from Secretary of State John Kerry, suggesting the shutdown reflects the “robustness” of American democracy. However, a Gallup poll has shown widespread dissatisfaction with the conduct of both parties, the Republicans recording their lowest approval rating since measurements began in 1992. With the end of the shutdown being only a temporary fix, further crises in American government do not seem unlikely. WIKIPEDIA: DINKYTOWN
Briefings, a science
This reduced the Union’s ‘general fund balance’ - the free reserves available for spend by the Union’ to a deficit of £42,805 (down from £64,286 in 2010/11)
SEPARATION OF POWERS
If you would like to
2011/12 GENERAL FUND SURPLUS
Tuesday October 15 2013
Features The Feature Interview: David Lammy MP “I’m seriously considering running” - Tottenham MP says he may run for London Mayor. David Lammy has been MP for Tottenham since 2000. He was the first black Briton to achieve a Masters from Harvard Law School and became the youngest MP at 27 when he became a member of the Commons How much did the experience of living in London and studying at the University of London influence yourself and your career? I think hugely because in the end London is a big, diverse, multicultural, cosmopolitan place. Charles Dickens wrote the Tale of Two Cities and London’s story been a tale of two cities. I was the first person in
since your time at the University of London? I think issues such as housing and the cost of living have intensified. We’ve got a massive housing crisis in London that didn’t exist when I was at university, which means that we’ve got a short supply of housing and a huge demand. There’s also a real issue about work for young people for lots of reasons and for students [trying] to get a job, particularly beyond the campus, it’s a lot harder than it was previously. That is partly because there are many young people from all over the world, particularly from Europe, fighting for those jobs – we’re talking about casual employment ALAN STANTON
The riots of 2011 started in Tottenham after a protest over the death of Mark Duggan.
my family to make it to university. I remember the day I walked through the doors of SOAS. I was going for an interview there and I was wearing my brother’s suit – a grey shining number, seriously uncool. It was a bit like the sort of thing that someone would wear on Miami Vice. So being a Londoner I am sort of touched by that: seeing both the greatness of this city but also if you like the city’s underbelly. I very much frequented LSE, actually; it used to have fantastic parties on a Saturday night so you would go to LSE on a Saturday night. It was one of the places you would find yourself at and because I was at intercollegiate halls there would be students there from right across the family of the University of London and I had many friends that were studying at LSE although I was at SOAS. SOAS always had a reputation for being a very left wing institution so LSE was its kind of sister – a little bit more to the centre left but nonetheless a fellow left wing institution. How have the issues facing students in London changed
obviously – the sort of employment that makes student life a bit easier. There’s a big concern about student debt, about what you’ll do for work once you leave for university that’s a constant pressure. Could briefly outline the impact these riots have had on Tottenham and its community? It’s been tragic for Tottenham to have two riots in a generation. We are a resilient bunch in Tottenham, we are coming together, there are new funds for young people coming into the constituency and we are pulling together in a very tough environment, with serious cuts to benefits and very high unemployment in the constituency but I still feel we are managing to come together with a determination to support young people who are having a very tough time. You caused some controversy at the time by suggesting relaxing the law around smacking children could have help prevent the riots. Why do
think that? I wrote a 250 page book and only one page was on smacking but the Daily Mail did a big story so this aspect may have been overplayed. The reason I wrote [about] it was because it’s my job to be honest about what my constituents say to me. It’s not that they’re rushing to beat their children up – something which would be quite rightly illegal, but they are saying “we’re not able to repr imand our own kids. We’re not sovereign in our own homes. We fear social services turning up and taking our kids away”. That is a very real concern in a seat like mine that’s had cases like Baby P and it is a very real concern in many deprived neighbours across the country. There is a fundamental question about who should determine what is right for their children and if they cross the line should a jury decide whether that is a criminal act? Or should a social service team decide that in a process that is largely hidden from the public, and is largely something only poor people experience? If you’re middle class and you smack your kids you’re not going to get a social worker turn up at your house. That’s the issue I raised – it’s a thorny and a difficult issue but the side I came down is the side tha says this is something parents should determine for themselves and the criminal law is something you should bring to bear when that line is crossed – that’s the argument I was making. So for you it’s about parents’ right to do what they want in raising their children rather than an argument in favour of smacking per se? I was communicating what parents say to me, which is that they feel very powerless. You see there is quite a lot of evidence now about this. If you’re middle class and l i v i n g in a five bedroom house you could run away from your kids
(laughs) you can just go upstairs. But if you are living on the fifthteenth floor in a tower block and your biggest fear is knife crime, pimps, drug dealers – those sorts of things then for you a smack for [your] son as saying ‘I don’t want you to go near those guys’ - we’ve just really got to get our heads around what that means. You turned down an offer from Ed Miliband to join the shadow cabinet and backed his brother in the leadership contest. How do you think Miliband’s is doing as a leader? I think that Ed has turned the Labour party into a very effective opposition. His speech to party conference set a very clear direction with some big divided lines between us and the coalition. I think his pitch on energy prices was very interesting and will appeal to lots of people in the country and I think that he keep getting better and better. [But] I don’t think that the Labour party can just be about the leader it’s got to also be about those in leadership positions in party. They should take the message out there to the country and articulate what we would do different and how we would be an alternative government so we need now to become a government in waiting over the next few months and I have no doubt that we will do that. Do you still think David would be a better leader? (Laughs) You’re being a journalist! David is not the leader of the Labour party, that fight is over. I know he is happy in New York. I expect Ed to lead us into the next election and to win it. You’re clearly a very proud and progressive Londoner what do you think of the job Boris Johnson’s doing as London Mayor? I think Boris has been a great entertainer, I think he has been a great ambassador abroad but I think that the detail, the housing crisis, the levels of unemployment and constantly increasing fares, these are big concerns. London needs a clear vision now– it needs someone far better on the detail of that. We are in danger of seeing a London that is not for all Londoners but only for some, and often those some
Right Approch Liam Hill “Fear of Greater State Regulation will be pervasive” The government’s proposals for a Royal Charter setting up a body to regulate the publishers of “news-related material” means we may soon have a system of press regulation that would be unconstitutional in the United States, where freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment. Why are so many willing to see Britain’s free press diminished? If the Royal Charter is enacted, fear of greater state regulation in future will be pervasive. Could the fear of greater intrusion into the press, by the state, not have stopped the Telegraph publishing MPs’ expenses, or stopped the Guardian publishing Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of state surveillance? We are plainly putting at risk the ability of the press to expose corruption and excess. Furthermore, the British state creating a regulatory system for the press would be a gift to authoritarians abroad, who would be able to claim that, in persecuting the press and censoring journalists, they are merely following Britain’s example. State intrusion in the realms of the social and the political are hallmarks of authoritarianism. The failure of so many liberals on the left to confront this challenge to Britain’s free press is one of the principal reasons this article appears here, rather than in the ‘Left’ column opposite. Antagonising Murdoch and Dacre over press regulation is a pyrrhic victory for liberal journalists, who are risking their own freedom as much as anyone else’s. Regulation of “relevant” publishers of “news-related material” is anything from meaningless to dangerous in the Internet age. A free press, and free journalists, truly independent of the state, with the power to scrutinise governments and politicians without fear of reprisal, is a principle worth defending. Russia or the Middle East or China. So I am critical of Boris, even though when I meet him I like him and get on with him, I think London does need a serious mayor: and that Mayor inevitably needs to be a Labour mayor. Could that London Mayor be you? I am seriously thinking about running but I haven’t made that decision because we are still years away from that race.
Tuesday October 22 2013
Education - Are Our Schools Homophobic?
Benjamin Butterworth looks at the ‘daunting return of Section 28’
great swathe of laws govern the UK. From how fast we drive, to when we’re allowed to drink, to how we’re allowed to treat other people. New laws are passed or implemented all the time. Yet, few laws, let alone clauses of laws, become so infamous as Section 28. Introduced in 1988 as an amendment to the Local Government Act, the clause instructed that local authorities could not ‘promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. It banned books that feature gay couples, banned advice from school teachers and banned educational recourses for LGBT kids wanting to understand themselves. Millions were educated under the law, in action for some
15 years, until 2003. It’s almost exactly ten years since its repeal came into action, making 2013 an obvious time to mark the long journey gay rights has come in less than a generation. But a Humanist Society investigation found that more than 40 schools across the UK still had Section 28 style policies in place. Private and state schools, religious and non-religious, thousands have continued to be educated in schools with homophobic sex and relationship education (SRE) rules in place. It is eminently possible that there are students from these very schools amongst the new cohort of LSE students. One academy chain of schools in the West Midlands had a sex ed policy that stated: ‘Objective discussion of homosexuality may take place in the classroom’, but: ‘The governing body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.’ In spite of Section 28 being
outlawed ten years ago, schools remain able to have their own SRE policies, without government guidelines. Whilst state funded schools have to teach to a national curriculum, and all schools are expected to take standardised national exams, there are no rules governing the education of such personal matters as sex. When the Tory/Liberal coalition took office in 2010, SRE was highlighted as an area of concern. But after a brief look, they dropped plans to reform sex education for school pupils. This leaves schools able to preach what they want - including homophobia, whether subtle or not so subtle. I met with Nick Clegg recently at an event to celebrate the passing of same-sex marriage, and put the issue to him. Clegg told me: “I am concerned about that – very concerned – that’s absolutely not what should be happening”, adding, “generally we are a
bit out-of-date in the ways in which we provide guidance to schools to talk about sex and relationships.” When pressed, he argued that there are broader issues than just those schools with Section 28 style rules: “I actually think the most important thing of all is what goes on in the playground – how children talk to each other and are encouraged to talk to each other about love and about relationships.” Ofsted, the body which regulates schools, has including homophobia among its antibullying criteria for schools to meet. But many schools are lagging behind even implementing these existing rules like Section 28’s long-standing ban. Clegg said: “”Yes absolutely, the last time sex and relationship guidance was updated was 13 years ago and the world is a very different place now. Everyone needs to be quite vig-
ilant [because] there is a lot of institutionalised reluctance to keep up to date with things and that’s an area where we let our children down. And actually we create dangers for our children – not just health dangers but wider dangers if we are not open with kids in keeping with the kind of environment which they now inhabit.” It would be unreasonable to imagine that those educated in schools with prejudiced policies in place have automatically assumed their school’s position. A recent poll found 90% of under-25s support marriage equality. But it highlights how some areas of the country still have some way to come, and do not justice to their LGBT students who, aside from the usual battles of teenage, have to overcome the most intimate of differences.
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ONLINE AT www.pulselse.co.uk
Tuesday October 22 2013
Diary of an LSE Student
LSE events and gossip - know something is going on? Email us.
Music society karaokes its way into
A chance for any LSE student to pose their questions to Craig Calhoun and receive his replies. With the return of this LSE phenomenum some of the questions and answers proved quite interesting...
‘An evening to unite all members of music society’ Gemma Rhodes (choir coordinator on the music committee)
All LSE students should be able to express themselves freely, and with respect for others and for community. @CRAIGJCALHOUN @craigjcalhoun Thanks for your reply, did @lsesu 's decision to censor atheist society help promote respect & free expression? #askthedirector @RUSS_95 Not sure I'd call it censorship, but it certainly seems to have promoted lots of expression! @CRAIGJCALHOUN
Do you believe the LSE atheist society should be able to freely express itself & confronting offence is part of everyday life?#askthedirector @RUSS_95
The music society got their term of musical endeavours started with their annual welcome party in the underground. With the prospect of free drinks and pizza attendance was high. Seeing the behind the scenes workings of the party everything was under control however it was unfortunate that the pizza deliverers had to do two round trips of around 30mins each for the expected pizza. The live music was well received, as was the karoke with a performance of ‘Don’t stop believing’ being a definite crowd pleaser and highlight of the evening. Aleksi Aaltonen
------------------------------------------------------------------------When are you going to come to Zoo Bar? #AsktheDirector @OLIVERDOWIE Am I really invited? Or would i spoil your fun? @CRAIGJCALHOUN You're definitely invited. I'll even let you have some of my jug. @OLIVERDOWIE
AU welcomes in the newbies
With term and a new set of freshers now truly settled in all that was left to do was finalise the latest AU memberships. From the Three Tuns to Zoo the AU welcome party is arguably a must-do event at LSE but also one which is probably best not to repeat!
Photos by Sanam Shah
From the Beaver’s Archives To read the complete Beaver archieve please visit: http://digital.library. lse.ac.uk/
Tuesday October 22 2013
Join the department of economics for a public lecture presented by Dr Yaron Brook entitled ‘Capitalism Without Guilt: the moral case for freedom’.
Join in the ‘Black Ascent’ debate/ discussion from 6:30pm - 8:30pm in the New Theatre, East Building. Topics being disussed include ‘Is enough being done to tackle the issue of eurocentric perception of beauty in the 21st centry?’ and ‘Has positive discrimination become the black man’s silver spoon?’ Guest speakers include Professor Thandika Mkandawire, Leroy Logan MBE and Justine Lutterodt.
Tuesday (22nd) If you are a member of the LSE choir (it is a non auditioned choir) then join your singing peers after choir at 7:30pm in the Shaw Library, 6th Floor, Old Building for food and drinks in order to get to know each oher better. Wednesday (23rd) Join the Centre for the Study of Human Rights for a public lecture presented by Professor Karima Bennoune on “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here”: the human rights struggle against Muslim fundamentalism. This is from 6.30pm-8pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building. Thursday (24th) Need some chill time? If yes then head along from 1.05pm-2pm to the Shaw Library, Old Building. Morgan Szymanski (guitar) will be performing Julio César Oliva Twenty Mexican sketches for solo guitar.
Weekend (26th/27th) Join in the ‘Reclaim the Night’ march on Saturday. This is the 10th annual Reclaim the Night march in London and is a women’s only protest to reclaim the night from violence so as to feel safe at night. Meet outside the Old Building at 6pm. For more information on any of these events or other events you may be interested in go to www. lsesu.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7955 6043. If any societies would like a specific event mentioned in the listings section then please do send a request to social@ thebeaveronline. co.uk.
Work experience galore Amelia Thomson
As most new and also returning students have probably already noticed the importance of internships and work experience is not to be underestimated at LSE. On arrival you literally get asked straight away what you’ve applied for (in my first week I was thinking what is there even to apply for) and what work experience you have done. You get the usual complaints from people who say that others only get work experience due to family connections and that this is unfair. Well even if it is unfair unfortunately life isn’t fair and the sooner one realises this the better. Moreover if you don’t have connections you have to go and do the all so famous ‘networking’. This can prove just as fruitful as people see you as a selfstarter with ambition. So with these thoughts in tow I set off on my first ‘LSE’ summer feeling somewhat apprehensive about the thought that this summer could define my future.
thing to keep me active. From here it was to an MP’s office where administrative tasks were at the fore. It was intriguing to see how the office ran and how constituents’ issues were dealt with. After having spent quite a bit of time outside my comfort zone the final work experience of the summer was at a solicitor’s firm. Client meetings and research were the order of the day here and it was great to feel I was actually contributing.
[Just to note since this time I have revised my views on the importance of the summer. Certainly putting the time and effort into improving your employability is well worth it however it is important to never forget that time (especially free holiday time) is limited so enjoy it. Companies are looking for people with experience however not just the formal kind.]
So what did I learn from these experiences and what can I pass on?
Summer began with 3 days at Barclays in the private equity research department. After having spent a year focussed purely on law my rusty mathematical and financial skills were resurrected whilst I attempted to decipher stock predictions and create models. After this I went to the (slightly) more comfortable zone of a mergers & acquisitions company. This work was extremely interesting and varied. Researching into various sectors, searching for buyers and sellers - there was always some-
2.Ensure that on your first day you get your key/fob for everywhere you need to go. Having to ask to borrow one to go to the loo, lunch, kitchen etc. gets very tedious and a little embarassing.
1. There is a lot of research involved in any form of work experience. Be prepared to troll the internet for answers, get brain freeze from summarising overload and be able to explain a complex concept in a matter of sentences.
3. Embrace the experience. Don’t feel hard done by in so much as you think you should be sunning yourself on a beach somewhere. Be grateful - these opportunities don’t come to everyone.
Tuesday October 22 2013
A shock to the system
Care free days are soon a distant memory
and several liability is seen as standard! However once the burden of this was dealt with all that was left to do was move in and settle in. This proved not to be as simple as expected. The flat was not clean or how it seemed on first viewing (I think this is quite a common phenomenon). My Mum went into cleaning overdrive which proved useful as milk could now inhabit the newly bleached fridge without it becoming a bio-hazard! Once unpacked (finding space for everything was a challenge) we began to set up home as a three. This has definitely been the best part of second year... living with two of the loveliest people and letting these friendships grow. Together we have faced many a challenge such as when/how to turn on the heating (we haven’t quite worked out the how yet),
working the grill and finding out that the garden we put our washing in wasn’t actually ours but the neighbours! Ours was next to it. Domestic bliss has descended and it is wonderful. We can now joke about the ‘quirks’ (as we have rather kindly called them) of our flat with humour and work through them together. I suppose my point is - enjoy the simplicity of halls. There may be a lot to keep you up at night but none of these things include the stresses of having to pay and do everything for oneself. Don’t get me wrong I would not want to be in the social experiment of halls for another year - living in a house with friends is the best - but if you are a first year and starting to despair about lack of sleep and the build up of work just remember the stresses that come with private accommodation.
My mini gap year
From the finish of exams until the end of summer, a remarkable migration occurred; thousands of young adults packed up on adventures to far flung corners of the globe, in search of their dream gap year ( more commonly known as the ‘gap yah’). With aims of enlightening, confidence enhancing, and perhaps (less advertised) C.V boosting experiences, I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous as friends planned what seemed to be in theory, the best year of their lives. Anxious to get on with my future, and conscious of the expense of said ‘gap yahs’ I opted to go straight to LSE, starting as an undergraduate this September. However, even knowing my reasons, friends, family,
and colleagues did not cease to wince when I explained how I wasn’t gap- yearing: ‘Don’t you want to have fun?!’ was a phrase heard once too often. Now, let’s set the record straight. If money and the opportunity cost of a year off (obviously an economics student over here) were not issues, of course I would have taken a gap year! Conservation projects, full moon parties and internships were all things that appealed to me- but just not to my circumstances. Hence, I decided I’d had enough of just listening to other friends plan their amazing years ahead; I too was going to go on a gap year! Be it on a much smaller scale. I had just under 4 months to complete all I could. And voila, my ‘mini gap year’ concept was born.
I broke my summer down into three strands; cultural, partying, and wage-earningmy aim being to earn enough over the summer to fund my mini gap year.
First, let’s start with arguably the most conventionally ‘fun’ aspects of my mini gap year: Zante. As soon as exams were over, I jumped on a plane with my two best friends to the Greek party island of Zante. Alcohol, laughing gas and cheap pizza were all consumed in excessive quantities. Highlights included the paint party and watching the sun rise on the beach after a crazy night. However, not everything was good. The groping hands during the foam party, the cringey booze cruise and the unrelenting nature of the holi-
day were all downers on what was otherwise, a very enjoyable week. Bestival. Amazing acts quite literally in the middle of a field. Bastille and Fatboy slim were both incredible, but by far the best part of Bestival was dancing with DJ fresh as they came down to the bar to see us.
Phil and Pam
First year saw me staying in the LSE hall of residence known as Rosebery. I really enjoyed my time here what with the constant socialising and people always on hand however after a while the communal kitchens, bathrooms, constant noise and generally the smell of sick started to grate. With these thoughts in mind two friends and I ventured out into the world of privately rented accommodation. With the prospect of full nights of sleep, house parties, communal food making and happy times house searching was fun. However this period of time was also stressful given the ridiculous deposits needed to be paid in London. A holding deposit and then 6 weeks upfront payment...who can even actually afford that?? Not to mention contracts which seem to prohibit all kinds of behaviour and the fact that the use of joint
Moving on to the next ‘fun’ part of my holiday; my cultural holiday: Amsterdam. Contrary to popular rumour, Amsterdam as a city has a whole lot more to offer than coffee shops and the red light district. The streets are so picturesque and the count-
less amounts of art and food are enough to satisfy anyone’s cultural appetite. Anne Frank’s house was intense, but equally one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. Lastly, what most would consider a chore, earning a wage to fund my mini gap year: Working in a café. Starting off at the beginning of the summer as just a Saturday waitress, by the end of the summer I was working full time- and loving it! The responsibility, friends I made and also the money I was earning all made this one of the best decisions of my summer. So that’s it! Now I’m at uni and work has started, I’m glad I spent my summer well - long live the ‘mini gap year’!
Tuesday October 22 2013
Let the Beaver answer your questions...
DOWN 1 Opener's opening (7) 2 Wants pressmen on Tyneside (5) 3 Liberty cap off reformed revolutionary (7) 5 Smashing up public transport with traveller aboard (6) 6 Air in UK affected an inhabitant of Lviv, perhaps (9) 7 Allow in French championship (7) 8 Royal 15 from Wigan in t'daily press (4-2-7) 14 Cockney character: 'e 'as to look after 'er! (4,5) 16 Hold on: time to crack Abel's assassin (7) 18 Ablaze then frozen over? The result depends on it (7) 19 ...and he would get his pound of ﬂesh from the Beast of Bolsover? (7) 20 Tebaldi out of turn: what a nerve! (6) 23 Sounds like no sound of a horse (5)
ACROSS 1 Martial art: kendo usually no good for unqualiﬁed beginners (4,2) 4 Like the whole point - take it for granted (6) 9 Ancient city held by party reject (4) 10 Annoy old Cleopatra's killer with English tariff (10) 11 Fired Steiger without purpose (6) 12 No Lancastrians kiss Tory bum (8) 13 Don't worry: Kelly keeps a higher breed than Bevan's Tory Party! (5,4) 15 First class of French assistant (4) 16 See 24 17 Holbein eats in for convenience (9) 21 Concern Home ruler during trial (8) 22 Open tin lid to get a penny for a pound (6) 24, 16 Dotty and her charades: such money doesn't grow on trees (4-6, 4) 25 Head off Vietnamese capital in return for Scottish island (4) 26 Standard article on Wisdom (6) 27 The legendary King Henry wants primitive art in the ﬁrst place (6)
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Dear Beaver, I have a meeting with my academic advisor next week and I was wondering what I should talk to him about. I feel like a lot of my questions would seem quite trivial to a professor with a PhD at LSE. Can you give me any advice? -Worried How Academics Talk Dear WHAT, Your academic advisor is a great source of knowledge and the best person to go if you have any worries so don’t worry about your queries sounding unimportant – remember your academic advisor was once in the position you are. It is your advisors’ role to help you along with your studies and answer any academic related questions you may have no matter how big or small. You could ask him/her questions regarding an outside option, maybe some guidance in writing an essay or a particular topic you do not understand. Even if they may not be able to help they will point you to the most useful person to speak to. Make the most of their expertise and knowledge! -Beaver ------------------------Dear Beaver,
Set by Slovany
I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years and we have both now started university. We agreed it would be a challenge for us both to pursue the relationship as he is now a 3 hour train ride away. Part of me wants to stay with him, but another part of me wants to leave him and concentrate on university. What should I do? -Relationship In Doubt Dear RID,
Question corner Q: What do the words ALMOST and BIOPSY have in common?
Q: What ﬁve odd ﬁgures when added together make fourteen?
Q: What is the only US state which borders with just one other US state?
My advise would be to give it a little more time as term has just started and then make a decision once you are more settled. After a few more weeks you will both have
adjusted to university life more and will be in a better place to decide how much you can manage. Just make sure you are both honest with yourself and with each other. If you are both willing to work hard at the relationship then I believe long distance relationships can work. Good Luck! -Beaver ------------------------Dear Beaver, I am a second year that didn’t do very well last year even though I attended all my lectures and classes. I need to do well this year so I can apply for jobs and internships. How do I ensure the same thing doesn’t happen this year? -Worried Operator Requires Knowledge Dear WORK, First, don’t worry or put too much pressure on yourself! You have spent a year at LSE and now should be more settled and comfortable as ﬁrst year can often be a whirlwind and quite overwhelming. I would look back at your ﬁrst year and reﬂect on the ways you studied and revised. Even though you attended all your lectures and classes, did you do enough independent work or engage strongly with your content? Perhaps you were not the kind of learner you thought you were - so try diﬀerent methods of studying, maybe set up a study group, do more practice papers or instead of making notes make mind maps or posters. Next, I would use all the resources possible. Make use of oﬀice hours and reﬂect with your teachers and lecturers on where you can improve. Remember not having an internship is by no means the end of the world; you are better oﬀ focusing on your degree. Best of luck! -Beaver
22.10.2013 The Beaver
“rUN. vOTE. wiNCE.”
RAG GETS LOST LOOKING FOR EL DORADO Concern is mounting about the disappearance of 31 LSE students in Ecuador this week, following LSESU RAG’s annual ‘Rag Raid’. Past destinations had included Brighton, Norwich and Ashby de la Zouche, but this year the charity group was more ambitious, instead mounting an expedition to find the legendary city of El Dorado. Believed by Spanish Conquistadores to lie somewhere between Mexico and the Western seaboard of South America, and by everyone since to have been a figment of conquistadors’ coca-leaf fuelled imagination, the city is said to be constructed entirely from gold. The last known image of the group showed expedition leader Alistair Duncan being attacked by an Anaconda whilst wearing a Beaver costume and a ‘RAG ME SENSELESS’ t-shirt somewhere near the Colombian border exclusion zone. RAG president Nona Bloody-Idea had been enthusiastic about the trip. ‘I received a promotional pack in the post from this totes ethical company called Gold4Cash,’ she told Private B.
‘It’s such an amazing deal - you only have to give £5000 each to a private company and they sort it all out for you! As much as 10% of any gold you find goes straight to the charities.’ Ms BloodyIdea has denied allegations that the trip was a desperate attempt to meet her absurdly high stated collection targets, which have ranged from £100,000,000 to ‘literally all the money’, depending on whether she was up for election or not, and was sadly not on the trip at the time. LSESU General Secretary Jay Stoll remains bullish about the fate of the students, mostly freshers, believed by the UK Foreign office to be well outside advisable visiting areas. ‘I’m categorically sure they’ll make it. Hopefully they’ll find a statue that looks a bit like me to go in the office,’ he said, before adding ‘If they don’t, I had nothing to do with it and it’s all Anneessa’s fault.’ A Union General Meeting has been proposed to send a rescue operation, but UGM Chair Joe Anderson believes it is likely to be inquorate and thus not really worth it.
Totally Legit Letters Dear Beaver We would just like to thank all the rugby ladz who intiated us last Sunday. So much banter, so much tour. Yours laddishly, Asa Wiseman Juan Said C. E. Toff U. Zulu Wally Orr Dear Beaver I would like to congratulate Craig Calhoun on his hugely successful and engaging #AskTheDirector Q and A. Yours ‘sincerely’, P. R. Stunt
ZOO WHO? The Beaver’s mystery ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ gossip columinst is DEFINITELY one of these people!
UGM Chair Joe Anderson
The one on the left
Professor Alwyn Young
His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
FREE BLOW-UP STOLL WITH EVERY EDITION! Extremely flexible, especially under any kind of pressure Full of hot air* Teflon-like coating means nothing sticks Produces authentic Mancunian sound when let down Fully endorsed by Labour Students! WARNING: sustained contact may result in irritation *Hot air not included
This week's edition compiled by Tam Banters Captain Hack Sparrow Col. Honey Badger Frederic Photochopin David Wetherall
AU SPEED DATING OFF TO ROCKY START
In Other News • Beekeeping Society to host
Tommy Robinson for a guest lecture entitled ‘The Threat Posed to WASPS by Africanised Bees’ (Thursday, 6pm, NAB LG.07)
• Bondage Society suspended
by Activities Committee. The Society President is said to be too aroused for comment.
• Ultimate Frisbee Club down-
graded to Satisfactory Frisbee, following poor attendance at Zoo Bar.
Tuesday October 22 2013
The Curious Case of Cardiff City Gareth Rosser - Deputy Sports Ed
2013 may well go down in the collective memory of Cardiff City fans as their greatest ever. After years of playoff heartbreak, they won the Championship and finally took their place alongside bitter rivals Swansea in the Premier League. Ignoring preseason predictions of doom and gloom, Cardiff settled into the life in the top flight, helped immeasurably by new signings Steven Caulker and Gary Medel. Meanwhile, in Malky Mackay they have a manager joncandy
fast gaining a reputation as having the potential to one day manage a world class side. None of this would have happened without the backing of flamboyant owner Vincent Tan. A Malaysian businessman, Tan was seen as the saviour of the Bluebirds when he became majority shareholder in May 2010. He promised to pay off the club’s substantial debts, and invest heavily in a team capable of gaining promotion to the Premier League. And he did. However, it soon became clear that Tan would run Cardiff City on his terms, when he announced his intention to replace the Bluebirds’ traditional blue kit with a red one. The switch was a bitter pill, but one that the majority of fans swallowed in the hope that their Premier League might finally come true. So when Cardiff finally won promotion this year, it seemed that the future was bright for Cardiff (even if it were bright red, rather than bright blue). But even the years of mismanagement under Sam Hammam failed to prepare Cardiff City fans for what Vincent Tan has had in store for them over the past fortnight. The firing of Head Scout Iain
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Moody has sent shockwaves through the club, particularly the staff. His replacement is 23 year old Alisher Apsalyamov, a friend of Vincent Tan’s son whose only experience of Cardiff City was his work experience painting the stadium walls this summer. This latest decision by Tan has confused and angered fans in equal measure, and no reason for either Moody’s dismissal or the choice of replacement has been forthcoming. This is particularly troubling for fans, as Moody
was seen as an integral member of the backroom team, as well as one of Malky Mackay’s closest friends and allies. Mackay’s interview in Saturday’s pre-match press conference has done little to assure fans that he will still be here next season. Many fans, myself included, might not blame him for leaving either, if the rumours emanating from the club are proved to be true. Disturbing reports suggest that Vincent Tan regularly calls Mackay from the stands during matches to suggest substitu-
tions and formation changes. If true, these would suggest meddling at a level that even Roman Abramovich might baulk at. Whilst the conflicting reports and murky communications continue to come from Cardiff City’s boardroom and backroom, fans are left hoping that the squad can continue to avoid a relegation fight on the pitch. The 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea suggest that the club will need to pull together sooner rather than later.
in the Quad with a mystery man. Phew. An excellent set of results left the FC in confident mood, ready to finally win the Boat Race. To further their chances, they sent a team up against a contingent of netball girls. Three hours later, a lone FC trooper was reported to still be stood alone on the stage, valiantly sipping his way through a half pint of Diet Coke. Maybe next year. Elsewhere, the cricket captain failed to make it to the Tuns, and in the process secured the second mention in this column for his team in two weeks, a club record. His uppalling behaviour included a brush with a tow-truck which left him leaving the fire station in order to have his mangled bangle removed from his wrist, although not before he’d promised to see a fellow A&E attendee next Tuesday. After a period of mourning for his departed General Sexcretary, the Hunnay Badger was back to representing rowing as an unnamed young lady became the latest victim of Meadophilia. One fresh cup of Char got with a lotta Second
XV Captains past and present, leaving the Shire to dive into a new poole. The second Seconds captain (tongue-twister! =P) then cried a poole of tears as he confessed his Vice to his little lamb. Netball initiations saw a Diva show off her talent for twerking. Broadly speaking, the club’s true talents were later revealed, as their social sec took the Executive decision to ingratiate herself with the FC. The FC Elder was back on safari, Stevo got up Close and personal, and Olympic champion Michael Philps once more did the breast-stroke with her Boy(d). Elsewhere, hockey initiations saw the men’s and women’s teams simulate the only sex any of them will be having this year. Post-Zoo, Willski continued his fight for the working man as he stole a pint of milk from Tesco. As Lil Jon famously said, ‘oh Ski Ski motherf***er, oh Ski Ski God damn’. Welcome one, welcome all. Welcome to a four year 2-2 degree.
(Formerly) Wednesday was the Welcome Party, and what a welcome it was. No pitchers? No problem. A pitcher-less Tuns was a perfect picture as people pitched up, everyone seemingly making up for the lack of multiplebeverage jugs by just drinking more booze. Three Tuns? More like Three PINTS. At once. #guilty The rugby club’s refusal to venture downstairs following reports that some of those present did not attend private school meant that the events of the evening were delayed for some time. Fortunately President Walter White had his nerves calmed by The Blonde One from Abba (Captain Lee was last seen crying by the toilets #DidCaliMeanNothingToYouWalter?). Another reason for the Rugby Club’s hesitancy to move later became apparent: they were too busy watching an American rugby fresher be brutally dry-humped by a sevenths netballer. Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, women’s rugby allegedly went one further, with a fresher reportedly spotted down to her bra and doing ‘IT’
Got gossip? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday October 22 2013
Beaver sports fantasy football Every week we’ll print the top three, the bottom three and the best performing team.
The TOP... Poly FC (Robin Park) 489 Points Monstars (Hitesh Gulati) 417 Points Sheazilla (Alexander Shea) 455 Points
And the BOTTOM... Menton Marvels (Jon Allsop) 252 Points
Shayree’s (Shaheer Ghoury) 188 Points Think you can do better?
SPORT IN BRIEF Cardiff Blues upset defending champions Toulon in the Heineken Cup group stages, winning 1915 after a late try from Gareth Davies.
Every Formula 1 fan is aware that Sebastian Vettel has undoubtedly been the dominant force in the sport for the past few years. Much however like Michael Schumacher before him, he has become rather unpopular with the wider F1 fan community, including me. Before I go on I must stress this is purely an opinion article and is not a personal attack against Vettel at all; rather this is more a criticism of the current state of the sport. Firstly I must get this out now before anyone attacks me for being biased: I am a Lewis Hamilton fan. As a result I obviously naturally dislike Vettel’s current success; it prevents Hamilton from winning himself. But that is not the sole reason for my disappointment; the manner in which Vettel wins is extremely boring. Every time he wins it seems to be that the rest of the grid simply shuts off and stops racing. The race lasts about a minute as the cars go around the first corner and then Vettel streaks away and stays in the lead for the rest of the race. I only need to point to the Singapore grand prix this year to prove my point. In addition to that Vettel makes it look so easy almost every time he wins, removing the excitement and tension that comes with an F1 race. Watching the Korean grand prix last week made me realise this. While Vettel was sauntering off into the distance as usual, Fernando Alonso, Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg were racing their hearts out trying to overtake each other. It showed that while Vettel is indeed an excellent driver he is not really a racer, as of yet. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Vettel wins, Formula 1
Andy Murray has received his OBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. He looked thrilled as usual.
is about entertainment; something that Vettel simply does not provide. Again, I might be biased, but whenever anyone else wins the race it always seems so much more exciting. Another reason I don’t like Vettel winning is simply because he keeps winning. Like with any other sport, the same team or person having all the success can get pretty irritating and that’s exactly the situation here. Probably the worst thing about Vettel’s domination is that a very similar thing has happened before. Michael Schumacher dominated the
sport for the first half of the 2000s and it is no coincidence that the years after he retired were the best seasons for a long time. 2007 saw the rise of Hamilton and the subsequent all out war between him and Alonso as well as the crowning of Kimi Raikkonen as champion, coming out out of nowhere at the end of the season. 2008 saw seven different race winners in a season full of surprises and controversies and possibly the closest most exciting end to a championship ever. 2009 was a battle at the top between two relative newcomers in Brawn GP and
Squash start strong Milan Neergheen
The FA’s new chairman Greg Dyke has faced criticism over his selection of an all-white, all-male commission to investigate the future of English football.
Los Diablos Verdes (Hari Prabu) 266 Points
Sebastian Vettel - F1’s Pantomime Villain
Wednesday saw the opening Squash fixture of the season, LSE 1st’s vs Imperial College London 2nd’s. Stepping onto court first was Jonny Clayson of LSE up against Rafael Pesquidous of Imperial College. Jonny quickly found his groove, and midway through the first game, a series of powerful forehands won him 5 points in a row and with it the set, 11-6. The opening of the second set was a tighter affair. Rafael threatened to open up a lead with a couple of perfectly placed forehands, however he failed to capitalise on these winners making errors that allowed Jonny to build a momentum, executing an array of cultured drop shots to win
the second game 11-6. A dive across the court in the third game showed that, although in the lead, Jonny would not get complacent. A superbly angled backhand took Jonny comfortably home with another 11-6 win and with it the match, a convincing 3-0 victory. Social Secretary of the Squash Club, Jonny, dedicated the win to “Beer and the girl’s netball team.” 1st team captain Tom Bearpark faced Imperial’s Ujjval Jaipuriah. Tom stormed through the first game 11-1 using some deft touches to give his opponent the run around. To begin with the second game was a more even contest, however at 4-4 Tom turned up the heat to win 6 points in a row winning the game 11-6. The third game
provided more of the same, Tom showing devastating form to win 11-2 - ending the contest 3-0. Meanwhile Andrew Porter followed his teammates lead sweeping aside his Imperial opponent in a 11-5, 11-1 11-8 victory. Former LSE 1st team captain Ethan Thornton outplayed Imperial’s James Hay winning 11-6, 11-4, 11-2, nearly achieving an a coveted bagel in the final game. Due to the 5th member of the LSE team arriving late, the final match was conceded, however this didn’t take the shine off what was a comprehensive team display. After the match 1st team captain Tom Bearpark proclaimed, “Teams of the south, beware!”
Red Bull Racing; refreshing in the way it broke the McLaren against Ferrari tussle for success that had been occurring throughout the sports history. 2010 was, in my opinion, the best season ever mainly due to the closeness of the championship battle with four drivers having a chance to win the title at the final race. However this run of great racing ground to a halt with the 2011 season when Vettel and Red Bull simply clicked and ran away with the championship, leaving the last four races pretty much meaningless. So while Vettel’s success might have been acceptable if this was the first time it has happened; the fact that this is almost a carbon copy of the Schumacher years not only makes it tedious but also seems to indicate that there is something wrong with the sport itself. The final reason I do not like Vettel winning is Vettel himself. The controversy that occurred at the Malaysian Grand Prix was bad enough, showing Vettel’s disregard for team orders but it was his reaction which really grates. His insistence that he did nothing wrong and deserved to win the race shows a complete lack of respect for his teammate Mark Webber, his team and the sport as a whole. Whereas Vettel has previously been a likeable character, his arrogance has grown in parallel with his trophy haul, culminating in his infamous (and extremely annoying) one finger salute in the wake of each of his victories. Ultimately Vettel has done nothing wrong by taking a firm grip on the fastest sport on earth. He completely deserves his success and subsequent championships. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Write Match Reports for your team! They don’t have to be long. Just tell us briefly what happened, including the scores, the people involved and a picture and send them to email@example.com
What’s going on at Cardiff City?
Sport Why I hate Seb Vettel
LSE Squash Team Match Report
D ZOO BAR!
Roy’s boys are going to Rio Aris Moro
EW F T S!! S LA ACE PL
After a roller coaster ten games, after both despondence and exhilaration in the media and public, England have achieved their objective, namely direct qualification to the 2014 World Cup taking place in Brazil. Come the next international break, England will be able to worry about the usual inconsequential and pointless friendly matches against Germany and Chile. Relief was evident in the stands and staff. Hodgson claimed he ‘died a thousand deaths every time Poland crossed the halfway line,’ which shows both his sensitivity to the team’s fortunes (unlike a previous, £6.5 million a year manager) and his apprehension about a squad seemingly incapable of structure and composure and of closing out weaker opponents. Yet this narrow focus on the present successes begs an important question: what were the expectations before the qualification group began? And what should they have been in the light of the Three Lions’ history? England won six games and drew four, scoring 31 times and only allowing 4. The goal difference is second-best to the Netherlands’, they are one of seven unbeaten teams, and their final points tally is the same as Italy’s. Were the opponents significantly stronger or weaker than in other groups? Since groups are formed based on FIFA rankings, these cannot be used as metric. If we look at each group’s teams’ record in the last six major competitions (i.e. 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup, and 2004, 2008, and 2012 Euros),
we see that in group H there have been 11 times in which either England, Poland and Ukraine have qualified (Montenegro qualified as Serbia & Montenegro in 2006, yet hardly any of players in that representative would have been eligible to play for the newly established country). Only Italy’s, Germany’s and Spain’s group had, according to this measurement, a more challenging competition, whilst the other five groups were composed by teams who had not been as successful at the international level in recent history. England’s group was not easier than most, and hence their difficulties in the group could be blamed on factors other than the players’ lack of passion for their country or Hodgson’s overcautious tactical choices. Group H, realistically, should not have been a walk in the park, as the other three main contenders had both the players and the organisation to frustrate the Three Lions; Moldova and San Marino should have been swept away, and they were. However, the question we should be asking ourselves is another one. What are more realistic expectations of England in general terms? Should it always be considered a contender for major international trophies and part of the upper tier of national football teams, or is it merely a skillful underdog? England’s history is hardly impressive: one World Cup, no Euros, and only three semifinal appearances, in 1968, 1990, and 1996. Compare that with Germany’s (3 World Cups, 3 Euros, 13 semifinal appearances), or Italy’s (4 World
Cups, 1 Euro, 8 semifinal appearances), or even France’s (1 World Cup, 2 Euros, 6 semifinal appearances). The Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey, and Sweden have better recent records in major tournaments, times which the English national football team has spent missing penalty kicks, giving origin to catchy acronyms and frantically changing managers. England are not one of the best teams in Europe, arguably have never been, and will likely not be for the foreseeable future, unless the FA Commission comes up with a revolutionary plan to foster English talent at both the youth and professional level. If you look at players’ transfer market value, you may be fooled into believing it signals worth more than just media hype and rampant commercialisation of the
people’s game: English players cost a bucket load of money (see Andy Carroll) because they play in the richest and most glittering football league in the world, with prices dangerously inflated by even more dangerously profligate sheiks and tycoons, not because they are technically or tactically more gifted than their counterparts. If you look at the media’s extensive and over-hyped coverage of the squad’s efforts, you may be fooled into believing they know better: truth is, they don’t, and the pressure and the digging for scandalous information certainly does not help in accomplishing something that only four national teams in the past 21 attempts have achieved, namely access to the semifinals. Add to these reasons a perceived divine right to be the
best team in the world, since Englishmen invented the sport (i.e. they came up with a common set of rules); a rather futile line of reasoning given how little else English football has contributed to it becoming the most beloved game in the world. England will (probably) not win the World Cup, Andros Townsend is not a godsend, Theo Walcott is just another winger, and Hodgson has not suddenly become a master tactician fond of attacking, fast-paced football. Don’t expect Carrick maintaining possession in the middle of the park against more skilled opponents. England are skillful underdogs, and watching them will be occasionaly exhilarating and frequently frustrating. But isn’t that what football is all about?