1st February 2021
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News Societies in Lockdown: Surviving in a pandemic Biden’s first steps Sussex societies find new ways to stay connected with lockdown restrictions
Luke Thompson Lockdown three is well underway, and with no clear end in sight, the question of how Sussex societies will keep membership and interest stable throughout the period has started to raise concern. The Badger spoke to five different societies about how they have been coping with the numerous lockdowns, and what their hopes and worries for the future are. We first spoke to the president of The Album Listening Society (ALS), Henry Appenzeller. He admitted that whilst having some initial struggles in March 2020, the society has managed well with the online platform, Discord. Henry stated, “with Discord we found a great substitute that gives us the chance to run sessions semi normally again”. Each Monday the society listens to a different album via group call. The album in question is voted on by members in the prior few days. The platform has also provided a way for members to get to know each other. In the server, members have gone into lengthy discussions over their most played artists and songs, sharing new and different music with each other. Despite these successes, Henry has concerns about
what the future holds. He told us “the biggest worry at the moment is how we can get in touch with more members and how we take the society further”.
In particular there has been difficulty in trying to get new guests for their events, with just 3 of his 35 emails sent to music labels in hopes of guest talks gaining a response. One society that hasn’t fared so well has been the newly established Sussex Running Society, headed by Tom Lachlan. Back in Autumn, the society was able to hold weekly 6 person, socially distanced runs along with monthly socials, but this has since stopped. Because running relies on these tangible activities, Tom told the Badger that whilst “Interest and membership uptake started really well, due to the difficulties of lockdown it
has stagnated”. Despite the disappointment, this has not completely phased the committee. They have been able to hold some online quiz sessions as well as “joint running targets that we can track online”. Such an event was held on their Facebook site, allowing for members to add their Strava run statistics. Tom told us the lockdowns have been particularly tricky considering the group was only created in September 2020. As a result of this, members have not had the comfort of pre-Covid friendships made within the group. In contrast, the University of Sussex Cricket team, led by
James David, has coped very well under the lockdown, despite their events similarly being shut down. The group faced the challenges of lockdown initially
by organising a virtual running and cycling event to Bucharest, a distance equivalent to 1656 miles, which the group had 5 days to complete. In essence, the length of a test match. James relayed to The Badger that “Through the hard work of
& Coronavirus vaccine targets 3
Agriculture’s pesticide problem & Eco business 9
Features Chess affection & Valuing yourself everyone involved, we made it and raised an incredible £1730 towards the NHS”. This tremendous achievement not only bonded members and improved fitness, but also raised money that went towards saving lives. This success was not a be all and end all either. The group have also held guest talks during the lockdowns, with James stating: “thanks to our treasurer, we got the incredible opportunity to have Ajeet Dale (Hampshire fast bowler), come along and talk with the club”. ...Continued on Page 3
Lockdown Swift & Nuerodivegency in theatre spaces17
Travel & Culture Cuban Baseball & Love letter to Brighton 26
Science & Tech
Synthetic blood & 2020’s science highlights 29
Rosie Barker 22-23
Lampard sacked & What’s next for the UFC? 31
Editor-in-Chief Josh Talbot email@example.com Print Production Editor Ellie Doughty Online Production Editor Georgia-May Keetch Print Production Sub-Editor Gurpreet Raulia Online Production Sub-Editor Margaret Arabambi Marketing Managers Alex Norman Sarah Wong The News Team Oliver Mizzi Joshua McLaughlin Sam Kimbley Ewan Vellinga Grace Curtis badger-news@sussexstudent. com The Comment Team Issy Anthony Will Day Libby Mills Joel Renouf-Cooke badger-opinion@sussexstudent. com The Features Team Alana Harris Olly Williams Teddy Parkin Beth Pratt badgerfeatureseditor@gmail. com The Arts Team Jessica Hake Robyn Cowie firstname.lastname@example.org The Books Team Jasmine Smith Eric Barrell thebadger.bookseditor@gmail. com The Music Team Alice Barradale Percy Walker-Smith thebadger.musiceditor@gmail. com The Film & Television Team Yazz James email@example.com The Theatre Team Elijah Arief Harrison Fitzgerald firstname.lastname@example.org The Artist Focus Team Luisa De La Concha Montes email@example.com The Travel & Culture Team Hal Keelin Bryony Rule Katya Pristiyani firstname.lastname@example.org The Sports Team Charlie Batten Max Killham email@example.com The Science & Technology Team Isaac Hallé Eleanor Deane firstname.lastname@example.org Events and Publicity Jess Dingle Grace Ochieng Proof Readers Yasmine Yaguer Jake Nordland
Editorial Josh Talbot Editor in Chief
Georgia Keetch Online Production Editor
Hello hello! Welcome to The Badger’s first edition of the second term. Has anything changed since we signed off at the end of November? Well yes and no. There’s a new U.S president, multiple coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use, Christmas was cancelled and 2021 trickled into existence. It wasn't really the newyear, new-freedom thing that we were hoping for but, in the words of so many people at the moment, 'it is what it is!". With that said, these months of uncertainty are unwelcome and, wherever you're reading from, whatever life is throwing at you at the moment, be kind to yourself. We hope you enjoy this feature-packed edition that contains some really poignant reads that the team have worked hard to piece together for you, in these crazy times. If anything strikes a chord with you or inspires you to write some content yourself, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd love to hear from you. To that regard, we have weekly contributors' meetings on Zoom and are always looking for new people to get involved. Whether you want to write impassioned articles about something that really grinds your gears, thought-provoking feature articles that show a rounded perspective, or perhaps Sports coverage of events that mean something to you, The Badger's door is always open and the team want to hear from you. Although we are starting this term with a similar amount of uncertainty to the last, we drive forward with optimism and hope to keep building on our readership online as we celebrate all things Sussex and continue to keep you up to date with the things that matter to you as a student, wherever you’re reading from. On behalf of myself and the team, I would like to sincerely thank you for reading- enjoy!
Welcome to the 7th Edition of The Badger. We’ve been off for two months but the team is back, and raring to go! Lot’s has happened and is still happening - we’ll try our best to keep you in the loop and, importantly, make sure that you have your say; get in touch if you have any article ideas! The first edition of the new term is set to be a great read from what I’ve seen so far, and here are a few favourites that the team have crafted for you. Starting off with Travel and culture, there is a incredibly wholesome article that takes us through all the incredible features of this city we study and live in. In the sport section we have a dose of reality for the tennis community alongside a formula-1 piece about Nikita Mazepin. Looking at the Science & Tech section there is an amazing piece about the future of blood transfusions globally and how there has been a breakthrough in the palaeontology world. In news, there is a mix from local, national and international news. Looking locally news there is the gutting news about Park Village being set for demolition and the news that some students are facing eviction form halls. News where you’re not has you covered from Wales to Norfolk. Internationally there is an article highlighting what President Biden has been up to so far in his term. In Features there are articles describing how Chess and Mental Strategy go hand in hand to an incredibly poignant article about Holocaust memorial day. Similarly in comment there are pieces about contemporary issues such as the impact President Biden will inevitably have to how American White Supremacy and Terrorism go hand in hand. And Finally in Arts, there is an amazing article about Taylor Swift’s Album Folklore and an intricate and interesting look into the artist Rosie Barker.
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The Badger 1st February 2021
News ... continued from front With uncertainty about the future still high, especially given the rising presence of the new Covid variants, the group are sticking with online talks for now but are starting to “pencil in fixtures with local clubs and universities” that can hopefully occur in the summer. The Badger next spoke to the Sussex University Drama Society (SUDS) and their president Gift Onomor.
Like Henry from ALS, Tom praised Discord for its ability to keep members communicating. This has allowed LtD to continue with events SUDS had the comfort of having old members to rely on, yet Gift emphasises the difficulty of having “to introduce freshers to SUDS in a way none of us on the committee had ever experi-
3 enced”. As Gift points out, “in a Zoom Call, without breakout rooms, you can only have one large group conversation, which is intimidating and difficult to take part in, especially for freshers”. With online participation, one can simply click a button to shut themselves away, which is highly tempting when you don’t know anyone yet. As a result, membership growth for SUDS has slowed, which was made all the more challenging, Gift says, because the society had only just started to get used to the new SU website. She emphasised that communications with the SU, whilst not perfect, were “the best it was going to be” and that above all, “we just have to be patient with one another as we are all trying to get through this the best we can. Interestingly, I feel that the shared sense of frustration, in
many ways, made communication more enjoyable”.
Gift understandably has worries for the future. Despite online sessions keeping morale up, she assures us “nothing beats live theatre”. Her final message is a hopeful one though: “What I do know is that theatre was, is and continues to be is a great source of comfort and joy for so many; it is imperative that we keep creating”.
The Badger last spoke to Tom Wishart, the president of Sussex’s Liberate the Debate (LtD). Like Henry from ALS, Tom praised Discord for its ability to keep members communicating. This has allowed LtD to continue with events; Tom states “we’ve had at least one a week pretty much since the first lockdown occurred in March, with various extras like movie nights”. Indeed, the society concluded their epic weekly watching of the Twilight Saga on 23 January. This adds to what Tom calls “a very close-knit community, a bit like a family”. Welfare officer Charlotte Payne adds to this, saying “the members we started getting last year have gotten even closer”. Charlotte’s role allows her to sort out any conflicts that may occur in the debating sessions, as well as being a champion of caring for members’ wellbeing. Despite this, LtD has simi-
larly struggled to replicate the membership growth of previous years. Tom puts this “down to a lot of our regulars graduating last June and us not being able to recruit more freshers this year because of Covid”. Likewise, Tom believes that with the huge membership LtD still holds, and the community aspect staying strong, they can “muddle through” any future hardships.
“What I do know is that theatre was, is and continues to be is a great source of comfort and joy for so many; it is imperative that we keep creating”. He knows that “they’ll all be there for each other through this whole thing” and would welcome anybody who wishes to join an intellectually engaging and welcoming society.
COVID-19 breaches: Students evicted from on campus accomodation Kiran Sokhi Students of the University of Sussex have been evicted from on campus accommodation as a consequence of breaching Covid-19 restrictions for instance by throwing parties in halls of residence. This action has been enforced after over 100 residents broke the government guidelines to stay home after attending a party on campus on January 9. This is just one of the many incidents over halloween and new years where students and residents have breached the Covid- 19 rules to prevent the spread of the virus. Videos and photos were shared on social media showing mass gatherings of people being broken up by sussex police. Further implementation of Covid rules by the government have been ignored by residents that were put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the new strain of the virus that is more transmissible. In a leaflet sent to on campus residents, Sussex police and university stated ‘‘This means not having parties or gatherings. This is the law. It’s to save lives.” An email was sent out on the 11 January by Student communications to warn students about the consequences of breaking coronavirus laws on campus. It reads: ‘As a reminder, everyone must stay at home (unless for essential reasons and exercise), and different households must not mix. Unfortunately, this weekend a number of students chose to break these rules by having gatherings in residences with people from outside their
In addition to this information, the University issued a statement to The Badger stating: ‘The University thanks the majority of students who continue to abide by the law and follow Covid rules, which are in place to reduce the spread of the virus to each other and in the wider community. ‘However, a minority of student residents have broken the law and not followed Covid rules by holding parties and gatherings in University accommodation.’
University of Sussex household bubbles – this resulted in the Police attending campus. Such activity is completely unacceptable and the Police are likely to investigate those who broke the law and issue fines. Additionally, students who host or participate in gatherings in residences will be subject to University disciplinary procedures. The outcome of procedures could lead to a student being unable to continue their studies and/or unable to continue staying in University accommodation and face financial penalties. ‘ A second email was sent on the 14 January outlining: Every unnecessary contact – be that through a coffee date, party or travelling when not required - is another possible life lost. So we implore you now, make good choices and help us
to keep Sussex safe” In addition to the emails, further implementation was enforced by a leaflet that was sent to all on campus residents by the university and sussex police which stressed that ‘ The actions of a small group of students must stop.’ in order to keep the community safe and protected. This was followed by a formal letter enforcing the seriousness of breaching covid measures which may lead to students being dismissed by the University as well as evicted. The letter stated: ‘we will not tolerate repeats of the recent serious breaches in our residences, where gatherings have been held.’ ‘...We have now taken action to evict students who are identified as breaching the govern-
ment guidelines and the law. ‘ On Tuesday 26 the University of Sussex students union posted to their facebook questioning students about the level of involvement enforced by the police on campus: ‘Police and campus security have had to respond to illegal gatherings on campus numerous times over this academic year. However, after receiving several reports from students we are concerned that they may be overstepping their bounds in some cases. Have campus security or police entered your flat without cause? Have you been stopped on campus by security or police without cause? Please let us know of any concerning and/or unprovoked dealings with security or police.’
‘Police and campus security have had to respond to illegal gatherings on campus numerous times over this academic year. However, after receiving several reports from students we are concerned that they may be overstepping their bounds in some cases. ‘We have informed all students with University accommodation to ensure that those who do break the law are aware of the implications. As well as receiving a significant Police fine, they could face University disciplinary proceedings; and in the oat serious situations potential eviction from their stunt residence.’ ‘Students who break the Covid laws and rules aren’t just putting themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus, their actions may also impact some of the most vulnerable people in our community who need help from the Police.’ ‘The university is currently undergoing disciplinary procedure with a number of students and it wouldn’t be appropriate to share details, due to confidentiality reasons.’
The Badger 1st February 2021
COVID-19 vaccination rates not expected to reach estimate Grace Raines Since the first COVID-19 vaccine was delivered in the UK on 8 December, over 5 million initial doses of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs have been administered. Citizens who have received their first dosage will be offered a follow-up jab within 12 weeks to complete their inoculation course. Currently, the government is prioritising vaccinations within groups deemed most vulnerable, such as older residents of care homes, care home workers, those aged 70 or above, frontline workers like NHS staff, and those seen as clinically extremely vulnerable over the age of 16. Rates of vaccination differ between the nations. 6.55% of England’s population is currently vaccinated, whilst Wales has 5.14%, Scotland has 5.21%, and Northern Ireland leads with 7.02% vaccinated so far. Government officials originally estimated 15 million initial vaccines would be administered to at-risk groups by 15 February. This figure has since been amended to reflect now that 13.9 million individuals will be offered the initial vaccine, thus accounting for those who do not
U.S. Secretary of Defense wish to receive the jab in these groups. So far, around 270,000 initial vaccines are being administered per day. The current rate however suggests the target of 13.9 million doses by 15 February is not expected to be met. Whilst early polls revealed 76% of British citizens were likely to receive the vaccine if offered, medical professionals are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of uptake within BAME patients eligible for the vaccine. It was found in one survey that only 57% of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents would agree to the vaccination, as opposed to the 79% of White respondents who claimed to be likely to accept
the same jab. Professionals are suggesting one reason for the discrepancy within these figures is due to a reported increase in misinformation spread about the vaccine within communities through social media posts, and the forwarding of these messages on instant messaging services such as WhatsApp are deterring eligible individuals. Current plans for the vaccine roll-out state that the most atrisk groups will be offered their initial jab by 15 February, and that between the end of February and throughout the month of April, remaining priority groups will be offered their first dosage. The final priority groups in-
clude those aged 50 to 69, and individuals with underlying health conditions between the ages of 16 and 64. The rest of the UK’s adult population are expected to be offered their first vaccine doses by Autumn 2021, however this is subject to change as rates of uptake are evaluated, and plans to offer jabs to the entire population are reconsidered. As the majority of students fall within the last group, those attending institutions of further and higher education can anticipate waiting several months before being offered their initial dose of the vaccine. This will likely coincide with the commencement of the 2021/2022 academic year. So far, COVID-19 vaccines are only being offered to those aged 16 and above, as trials of usage and effectiveness within younger populations have not yet been thoroughly conducted. Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, has said that although children are able to catch, carry, and transmit COVID-19, they are far less likely to be badly affected by the virus as opposed to individuals more at risk, such as the elderly or clinically vulnerable. Therefore, efforts will focus on vaccinating those more susceptible to the illness before
they are concentrated on offering vital doses to the younger population. Each dose of the COVID-19 vaccines are valuable, as limited supplies are accessible within the UK. Yorkshire and North East counties are allegedly sending supplies to other areas of England, as populations with higher numbers still requiring jabs are deemed priority locations. Adverse weather conditions in North Wales have also been causing issues regarding vaccination, as a key vaccination production factory, where 300 million doses are scheduled to be created, was in serious danger of flooding earlier this month. It is reported that all measures have now been taken to prevent this and avoid further disruption to production. COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be offered to citizens in order of population vulnerability, and are available to be administered at local hospitals, dedicated vaccination sites, and local community locations such as GP surgeries and pharmacies. Although rates of injection are promising, these need to be maintained, if not improved, to ensure the timely administering of jabs to the entire population by the autumn months of 2021.
Glastonbury cancelled: 2021 festival season in doubt Grace Curtis News Print Sub-Editor On 21 January, Glastonbury founders Michael and Emily Eavis announced “with great regret” that Glastonbury 2021 would not be going ahead. This marks the second year running that the iconic music festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. As with 2020, the organisers have promised to roll-over tickets and guarantee deposit holders the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022. There is still the possibility that a covid-safe version of the festival might take place. On 23 January, Emily Eavis told The Guardian that Glastonbury could be put on as a livestreamed event for the first time. According to Eavis, “A lot of big artists have been in touch offering to perform for us at the farm.” “We would love to build a show that can be watched at home by people all over the world.” The announcement comes as yet another blow to the live music industry. Prior to the cancellation, organisers had been
eva_ben optimistic that there was going to be a successful festival season this summer. Some remain hopeful. On Twitter Rob da Bank, co-founder of Bestival Festival, wrote that he still feels “optimistic festival season will happen in the UK this summer.” He suggests that it was Glastonbury’s 200,000-person capacity that made it more difficult to organise. “Sadly Glasto is such a mammoth beast to plan it ran outta time.” Glastonbury is not the only festival to have recently pulled the plug. The Country to Country festival, which was supposed to take place in London, Dublin
and Glasgow throughout March 2021, also had to cancel due to the “current restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel.” These announcements come in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that it is “too early” to say whether England’s Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted by this spring. The decision to cancel has impacted other large festivals. The BBC spoke to Anna Wade, Director of Communications for popular music festival Boomtown, which is currently still scheduled to take place in early August. According to Wade, “the
cancellation of Glastonbury has got us all worried. If we can’t go ahead this year, it would be absolutely devastating.” She also emphasised the economic cost of the cancellations. “A huge amount of highly skilled people…rely on festivals being a large part of their summer income.” Since the announcement, pressure has been ramping up for the Government to provide more support to the festival industry. Speaking to BBC Breakfast on January 22, Paul Reed, the head of the Association of Independent Festivals, said that the UK was at a “serious point in the pandemic and festivals only want to return when it is safe to do so.” Mr Reed added that “festivals were currently struggling to get insurance for coronavirus-related cancellations.” As reported by the BBC, last week MPs from the House of Commons culture select committee wrote an open letter to the chancellor, advising him to launch a Covid-19 insurance scheme to protect the live music industry which has struggled to bounce back after the initial lockdown in March 2020.
Julian Knight MP, the committee’s chair, told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat that he had been to see the chancellor and that he thinks that there has been “some movement.” “I understand that they are dropping some of the objections that they may have had, and that we may end up with an insurance scheme.” “However, there’s a danger that it’s too little too late.” The potential cancellation of the 2021 festival season will inevitably affect students. Anna Yeo, a third year Sussex student studying Sociology and International Development, said that she thinks that it is unlikely that any festival will go ahead this year. “Realistically, not everyone is going to be vaccinated by the summer. People would have to have a test before they went in, so I would be surprised.” Corinna Leng, a Law and American Studies final year, was looking forward to celebrating her graduation at a festival this summer. “It’s really gutting, because this is something I look forward to all year long. There was so much optimism after the vaccine announcements, but now I just can’t see it happening.”
The Badger 1st February 2021
UK businesses slapped with post-Brexit red tape and unexpected tariffs
As the Home Office announced a third national lockdown on 4 January, many Britons were also dealing with the immediate consequences of the post-Brexit reality: the burden of red tape and its associated costs. Many UK products are either stuck at the EU border or have been sent back for not fulfilling the necessary checks. While some UK retailers consider abandoning or burning goods coming from the bloc to avoid return costs, Department for International Trade (DIT) officials have advised them to set up EU-based companies to circumvent border issues. Meanwhile, Ghana has imposed an unexpected £100.000 tariff on Fairtrade bananas. The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement was signed on 30 December, immediately prior to its deadline the following day at 11pm. It has been agreed that there will be no tariffs or quotas on any goods moving between sides, as long as they comply with certain rules of origin. At a Downing Street press conference in December, Boris Johnson celebrated the outcome of the tariff-free trade agreement: “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny”. However, what has come as a surprise for many British businesses is the collateral costs of the regulatory alignment with the EU. The burden of regaining sovereignty has created complexi-
ties for those dealing with the changes firsthand. Britons have had their sandwiches confiscated by Dutch officials at the EU border because they contain unregulated meat and dairy products; lorries have been held for days at the Northern Ireland border because products need to pass security controls; UK seafood exporters have been forced to stay in port as new certifications are required, while product prices plunge; and fishing lorries from Devon and Scotland have gathered at Westminster in protest. Amongst fears of a double-dip recession to hit the Eurozone after escalating lockdown rules, UK retailers have also been ap-
palled by new costly duties on returns. Some small businesses are considering the possibility of abandoning or even burning goods to avoid returning them from the EU, since they cannot afford the shipping costs. That is because many buyers, both in the EU and in the UK, have been sent an unexpected customs invoice when purchasing products after 1 January. According to the BBC, approximately 30% of goods bought online in the UK are being returned. Retailers from both sides now have to fill out custom declaration forms, and the responsibility to pay VAT charges falls solely on their customers. These costs vary depending on each spe-
cific product, cannot be paid in advance and there is no way for the retailers to know how much is going to cost. According to the Observer, officials at the Department for International Trade (DIT) have advised UK businesses affected by these tariffs to set up companies in the EU to act as distribution hubs, in order to avoid border issues and costly VAT invoices. That is the case of The Cheshire Cheese Company, which is considering opening a hub in France, after being unable to afford the veterinaryapproved health certificates for their products that are required before exporting its products to the EU. The unavoidable conse-
quence of UK businesses investing in EU companies is that they would be contributing to the tax system in the EU instead of the UK. The DIT has told the BBC that this advice was “not government policy”. Regarding cross-continent negotiations, after failing to either rollover EU trade agreements with West Africa or agree to a transitional measure, the UK has been slapped with at least £100.000 worth of tariffs on Fairtrade bananas coming from Ghana. The news was unexpected because the Government announced progress in its negotiations with the African country on New Year’s Eve. Ghana has been unable to agree on a different tariff to its neighbouring members at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), otherwise they could jeopardise their trade relationship. Farmers, both in Ghana and the UK, worry that the new added costs will lead them to bankruptcy. On the other hand, the Japanese manufacturer Nissan has confirmed that it will buy batteries from the UK, precisely to avoid tariffs. The news has been gladly welcomed by the UK’s largest car factory in Sunderland, which exports 70% of its cars to the EU. That is because manufacturing batteries in the UK that comply with EU regulations that require 55% of the car value to be made in either the UK or the EU, will qualify for tariff-free exports to the EU.
Riots in the Netherlands over introduction of Covid Curfew Oliver Mizzi News Editor Riots erupted in the Netherlands last week after the government announced the introduction of further lockdown measures to curb the Covid-19 infection rate. A new curfew lasting from 9pm till 4:30am has been brought in to help stop the spread of Covid, which has taken the lives of over 13,000 people. Nearly 500 people across the country were detained after protests and subsequent riots broke out across the country, including in both major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, and The Hague and smaller cities like Amersfoort and Helmond. In areas where rioting was taking place, shops were boarded up as a reaction to the looting that had taken place in previous nights of rioting. Some of the worst instances of violence occurred in Eindhoven, where
protestors threw golf balls and rocks at the police. In Rotterdam, bins and cars were set ablaze, and in The Hague, fires were lit on the street. Most notably, in the village of Urk, protestors set alight the local Covid testing centre. Rioters also attempted to attack hospitals across the country, with a hospital in Rotterdam warning that patients should stay away whilst the riots were ongoing. The anti-curfew riots also prompted football ultras from the cities of Maastricht and Breda to come out and defend their cities against potential riots. The Prime Minister Mark Rutte has condemned the violence calling it “unacceptable” and “criminal”, whilst the Mayor of Eindhoven said, “I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war”. The new measures are unprecedented, with curfews being absent in the Netherlands
since the Second World War. It comes after restrictions were tightened in December, when schools and non-essential shops were closed, after a rise in the Covid infection rates. Although cases in the Netherlands have declined since the December measures, worries about the spread of the UK variant of Covid, with it’s 30-70% increase in infectivity, prompted the introduction of the curfew. This prompted the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to say that the situation in the Netherlands is still serious. A vote for the introduction of the curfew had been approved by parliament, but only by a narrow margin. The violence has come at a time of political turmoil in the Netherlands. Last month the government resigned en mass after a child benefits scandal. The scandal saw thousands of families unduly paying back benefits on claims of fraud,
which were actually paperwork mistakes. This saw some families go into debt, having to pay tens of thousands of Euros back to the government. Moreover, political parties in the Netherlands are gearing up for an election on 17 March, and both the curfew backlash and benefit scandal have been used by parties to gain the upper hand in the election. Most political parties have condemned the violence, including the Pvda, ChristenUnie, and VVD. However, other political parties have been late to condemn the violence. This includes the FvD which insinuated opposition to the government, stating on Sunday that “This is the second night that Rutte has locked up the Netherlands. More and more people are turning against the curfew. Only together can we regain our freedom”. However, they later stated “FvD naturally condemns the violence used in the protests”.
Political scuffles also broke out online due to the incident. Jesse klaver, Leader of GroenLinks, and Geert Wilders, the leader of the PVV, clashed on twitter, with the former blaming the PVV of stoking the riots, and blaming them for inciting the incident at Urk which saw the burning of a Covid centre. This was after a local PVV group in Urk issued a statement against the curfew saying it will “do everything it can to ensure that it is not enforced in Urk”. Other politicians such as Leonie Vestering who is part of the Party for the Animals, criticised the police for its use of horses during the riots. Although there has been criticism of the curfew, with riots being the most prominent manifestation of that, the government has stuck to the policy and continued to implement the curfew.
The Badger 1st February 2021
6 Protests sweep across Russia amid Navalny arrest
News Online Editor Thousands of people across Russia defied a police crackdown on 24 January and again on 31 January by protesting against the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Footage shows protestors chanting “Putin is a thief” and “freedom to Navalny” at one rally in central Moscow, which Reuters estimates was attended by 40,000 people. Although Russian authorities have denied that the numbers were so high, a significant number of people protested across at least 100 cities, from St Petersburg to Vladivostok, in what appears to have been the largest protests in Russia in a decade. Russian authorities had threatened a tough crackdown, warning people not to attend due to the risk of Covid-19 and potential prosecution for attending an unauthorised event; this threat soon turned into reality, with over 5000 people having been detained. Footage shows riot police beating protestors, with some rallies turning into pitched battles as protestors and police turned violent. However, arrests were also made in cases where the protests were more peaceful, and there are even reports of journalists being detained. Russian authorities had already arrested a number of Mr
ation of Crimea being a violation of international law, the reality was that Crimea had been taken, and that “Crimea is ours.” However, Mr Navalny’s popularity continues to grow, with Reuters noting that protests calling for his release also occurred outside of Russia in cities in Germany, Bulgaria and France.
Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta Navalny’s closest aides in the days leading up to the protests, with President Vladimir Putin seemingly intent on silencing growing criticism. The protests are in response to Mr Navalny’s recent arrest on 17 January, the day on which he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been treated after a near-fatal nerve agent attack in August which he claims was authorised by the Kremlin. He was arrested at the airport and quickly convicted of violating parole conditions, his sentence amounting to 30 days in prison. Mr Navalny claims the arrest was politically motivated, a claim he also made after being barred from running for politi-
dismissed claims of what was termed “Putin’s palace”, stating that the video amounts to a “pseudo-investigation.” However, Mr Navalny has a significant following on social media, and by 24 January the video had already amassed 75 million views. Not only did it cause significant online debate, but many of his followers also seem to have responded to the plea at the end of the video for people to take to the streets. Social media has taken a prominent role in the protests, not only through YouTube but also other platforms such as Tik Tok, with users spreading videos documenting the events. This led Russian authorities to threaten fines if Tik Tok did not take down content it felt was “encouraging minors to act illegally.” The BBC also noted that there were reports of disruption to mobile phones and internet coverage during the protests. Although a common tactic to stop protestors communicating, it was unclear whether the two were connected. Despite Mr Navalny’s online popularity and growing prominence as President Putin’s biggest critic, he has faced some criticism himself from within opposition circles. The BBC notes that some have voiced concern over his Russian nationalism. In an interview in 2014, he stated that, despite the Russian annex-
cal office in the 2018 presidential race because of an embezzlement conviction. Mr Navalny has also spent years campaigning against corruption, having first risen to prominence for his anti-corruption stance in 2008. He has frequently referred to the United Russia Party headed by President Putin as a “party of crooks and thieves.” Despite his recent arrest, his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) released a video on YouTube two days after his return showing a luxury resort by the Black Sea, which they claim was built by a businessman for President Putin as the “world’s largest bribe.” Russian authorities have
Mr Navalny claims the arrest was politically motivated, a claim he also made after being barred from running for political office in the 2018 presidential race because of an embezzlement conviction. The police crackdown has also seen criticism from international politicians, with U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemning the “use of violence against peaceful protestors and journalists”, and calling on Russia to respect its international commitments to human rights, and release citizens detained during peaceful protests. The U.S. and the E.U. have also voiced criticism, with U.S. Embassy spokesperson Rebecca Ross suggesting the arrest of peaceful protestors and journalists was a “concerted campaign to suppress free speech” and “peaceful assembly”, and E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell deploring the “widespread detentions” and “disproportionate use of violence.”
Major US government reorientation as Biden overturns Trump era policies For President Joe Biden there is no time like the present: in just one full day after being inaugurated as President of the United States, he signed 17 executive orders, nine of which are direct reversals of policies enacted by Donald Trump Georgia Keetch Online Production Editor The contrasts of Biden’s first day in office to Trump, who signed 24 executive actions in his first 100 days, are numerous. After Trump took the presidential oath, he pledged to build a wall against the southern border of the U.S., eliminate gun-free zones in schools, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and remove federal restrictions on energy protection, among other orders that Biden’s administration seeks to reverse. Biden has a lot of changes in store. Pledging his commitment to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, revising immigration policies, and taking the threat of climate change seriously are just a few of the many executive orders that Biden has signed in just one day as President. Though, Biden, a former Senator, knows there’s only so much he can do alone and this is just the beginning.
Speaking from the oval office he said that “There’s a long way to go [..] These are just executive actions. They are important, but we’re going to need legislation for a lot of the things we’re going to do.” President Biden got straight to work by mandating masks in airports and on many planes, trains, ships and intercity buses. His action comes on the heels of a similar order the day before— his first as president — requiring masks on federal property. Biden’s choice of masks as a leading item on his agenda illustrates a possible early win in tackling the virus and the challenges he faces in trying to turn around the nation’s response to the coronavirus and reduce its devastating death toll. It’s also a break from the Trump administration’s handling of the issue. Biden also announced that the new position of Covid-19 Response Coordinator will soon be filled. This person will directly report to Biden and be in charge
of producing and distributing the Covid-19 vaccine. Whilst breaking away from his predecessor, President Biden quickly stopped the construction of the Border wall via an Executive order. This terminated the national emergency declaration that was used to fund the construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico. President Biden has been a complete contrast in more ways than just masks and walls to his predecessor. Last July, Trump announced plans to reverse the United State’s involvement with and funding of the World Health Organization. The news came as a shock to those who saw the government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic (and the ways in which Trump repeatedly downplayed the danger of the virus). Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Wednesday morning that the U.S. will continue to support the WHO. Dr. Fauci has also been named the
head of delegation to the WHO. In the spirit of unity, President Biden also decide to re-join the Paris Climate Accord that was signed in 2016.
Speaking from the oval office he said that “There’s a long way to go [..] These are just executive actions. They are important, but we’re going to need legislation for a lot of the things we’re going to do.” Whilst focused on Environmental policy, Biden has revoked the permit for work on the 2,687-mile oil pipeline that runs between Canada and the United States and is owned by TC Energy and the Government of Alberta. For over a decade, citizens have protested the existence of the pipeline for the threats it poses to the climate, drinking water, and public health, and in 2015 it was vetoed by the Obama administration. Biden is also looking into to reverse over 100 of Trump’s executive actions
concerning the environment. When looking deeper into the country’scountries issues, the new president has made some dramatic changesd to foreign policy. Biden reversed the travel ban that saw The Trump administration place restrictions on entry into the United States for passport holders from primarily Muslim countries and African countries. Biden has revoked Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement in the U.S. by executive order. He also extended a deferral of deportations for Liberians who may need to use the U.S. as a safe haven until 30 June 30, 2022. “We must also adhere to due process of law as we safeguard the dignity and wellbeing of all families and communities,” he wrote. “My Administration will reset the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws to align enforcement with these values and priorities.”
The Badger 1st February 2021
Chinese billionaire reappears after long absence from public eye Sam Kimbley Staff writer
The Chinese billionaire Jack Ma recently reappeared after a long absence from the public eye. Ma’s departure from public appearances began in October, and coincided with his criticism of Chinese financial regulators, - which sparked much speculation about the reason for his public withdrawal. In the first sighting since his disappearance, Ma appeared on a livestream on 20 January 20th livestream praising rural teachers in China in association with his rural teacher initiative, a part of his wide-ranging charity foundations. During the livestream, he stated that during this time he had been focusing on “learning and thinking” and told teachers that “we will meet again” once the pandemic has died down to honour teachers in person. This led to a rise in confidence from investors, who were reassured by the reappearance as it stopped the speculation about his fate. Many thought that he had fled the country, according to sources from The Guardian,
Foundations, World Economic Forum but others believed he was just laying low. The disappearance from the public view happened following criticisms of Chinese financial regulators and the Chinese Banking system at a conference in October. He criticised the lack of innovation within the Chinese financial sector and its inability to adapt to today’s issues. At the conference, Ma said “we can’t use yesterday’s methods to regulate the future”, referring to the focus of the financial system which he said needs to move away from “risk control” and
Bill Russo: Sussex Student to Senior Whitehouse Aide Grace Raines A Sussex alumnus has become a key member of President Biden’s administration following the defeat of Donald Trump in the recent US presidential elections. Bill Russo graduated from the University of Sussex in 2010 with an MA in Environment, Development and Policy. From there, he has only gone from strength to strength. Moving back home to the States after graduating, Russo applied for an internship at the White House on the recommendation of a friend working in Washington DC at the time. After successfully securing the internship and working as part of thenVice President Joe Biden’s office under the Obama-Biden administration, Russo moved forward into a full-time position within US government as a senior aide to President Biden. Russo now acts as the deputy press secretary to the president, assisting the White House’s executive press secretary, Jen Psaki. Graduating from the University of Delaware before travelling to the United Kingdom to pursue his MA in Environment, Development and Policy, Russo
began thinking seriously about a career in politics. When talking to Sussex University to create a profile as a part of the ‘Gamechangers’ alumni webpage, he stated that “Sussex was at the top of the list” he had been recommended to consider when selecting an institution to further his studies in the field. Beginning his MA in 2009, Russo attended the university and was shocked by the abundance of diversity within his classes, claiming this “vastly exceeded [his] expectations”, and that he was surprised to be “the only American” in the room for one of the first times in his life. Though the completion of his thesis was difficult due to the passing of his father, Russo commends the university for its understanding and help during this challenging time, as he says the school was “wonderful”, awarding him additional time to complete his work as he dealt with the family tragedy. Looking back on his time as a University of Sussex student, Russo expresses his gratitude for the instructors and friends he met during his time studying here, as he believes their help allowed him to find the work he truly believes in.
more towards “development” to solve the problems of today. Ma further explained how he wants the banking system to work for the poorest members of society and to remove the monetary barriers that prevent poorer people from gaining access to loans and other financial services. Within two weeks of these comments, which are said to go against the Chinese Communist Party’s views, Ma was summoned by financial regulators. During this time, Ma’s Ant Group was supposed to launch
its IPO (initial public offering), but this was abruptly halted at the last minute by Chinese financial regulators. Regulators cited “changes to the financial technology regulatory environment”, but many analysts such as Bill Bishop believe it was a punishment for comments that he made at the conference in October. Ant Group was not the only organisation that was hit with problems during this time, as regulators also set their sights on Tencent, a technology group that owns a variety of high value products such as the popular messaging app WeCchat. Regulators have since launched further attempts to rein in what it calls “suspected monopolistic practices” by Alibaba Holdings, - Ma’s organisation that Ant Group was spun off from. Analysts believe that Ma’s problems with financial authorities are only just beginning. According to sources at the Financial Times, there is speculation authorities are hoping to “break up Ant Group.”. Sources also told the paper that the Peoples Bank of China is drafting rules which
will lead to the reigning in of Ma’s financial organisations. Preventing the Ant Group IPO from launching was significant. Multiple sources were ready to declare it the world’s largest IPO, valued at $313 billion, but since the events of the past months that valuation has been slashed. Jack Ma is also a significant figure himself in China, starting life as an English teacher but rising quickly within the business world. Utilising the possibilities of the Internet, he went on to launch the Alibaba group which facilitated business to business transactions in China; Ma’s businesses only grew from there. Ma was a popular figure within China according to the New York Times’ Li Yuan, and was associated with “success”, but public opinion has since been changing according to Yuan. This change in opinion appears to mirror his shifting status with financial regulators. Only time will tell how this story will unfold, but analysts including Rupert Hoogewerf believe that it will no longer be “business as normal” for Jack Ma.
Sussex’s last affordable student accommodation set for demolition Grace Raines The University of Sussex has confirmed that Park Village is set to be demolished. Providing affordable accommodation on campus since the ‘70s, Park Village, and the surrounding Park Houses, are to be demolished to make way for newer and more costly accommodation. Park Village is Sussex’s latest accommodation to close, following the replacement of the original East Slope, which closed in 2017. Both accommodations provided affordable housing, with Park Village offering a shared-bathroom study bedroom for £95 per week (2020/2021). The university announced plans for a new development in March 2020, citing that if confirmed, the new ‘West Slope’ development would consist of increased study areas within a new library, a café, supermarket, and 1,900 new bedrooms where the original Park Village originally stood. The university claims that Park Village has become ‘very tired’, and that student feedback indicates demand for ‘high-quality, en-suite study
bedrooms’. However, the proposed development has sparked criticism, with students questioning the university’s dedication to providing affordable accommodation for all. The Sussex Renters Union has called for students to oppose development plans, as increased rent prevents individuals from low-income backgrounds from attending university. First year law student, Liam, criticises Sussex for ‘strip[ping] campus of yet more affordable housing’ during the pandemic, which has seen increased economic strain and job loss, as this prevents students from having equal opportunity to reside on campus ‘without fear of being able to afford rent’. When asking two students who lived in Park Village during their first year, similar comments were made. ‘I met all my best friends there’ explains Hannah, stating more affordable accommodation shouldn’t be replaced ‘if there isn’t a similar price alternative’ available. The proposed en-suite rooms would cost upwards of £172.75 per week based on East Slope’s current rent, a price not easily afforded by all. Eloise states Park
Simon Carey Village’s low rent ‘made life a lot less stressful finance wise’, and that she ‘could actually justify buying bread from the Co-Op’ as a result. On-campus accommodation now starts at £118.50 for a shared-bathroom study bedroom in Norwich House, almost £100 more a month than Park Village . As accommodation prices year-on-year have continuously increased, this is likely to continue to rise with each academic year.
The Badger 1st February 2021
News Where You’re Not
Grace Curtis, News Sub-Editor, reviews some of the big stories from across the country
Glasgow – NHS worker runs four marathons in five days
Joe Waite, 31, made headlines this week for running 104 miles in five days to raise money for charity. The physiotherapist from Govanhill, a Glasgow suburb, managed to raise more than £1,800 for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a movement against suicide that seeks to raise awareness of men with mental health issues. Waite told the Glasgow Times how he managed to combine the impressive athletic feat with his daily work schedule. “I decided to use my commute from work to do the marathons, so when I finished my shift I would put my uniform in my backpack and get on my way”. “The run from the hospital in Gourock to Govanhill takes around 3 hours and a half, and I ran Monday and Tuesday after work, took a break Wednesday as I was working from home, and then again Thursday and Friday.”
Ceredigion, Wales – Child’s football bypasses Brexit checks to travel from Ireland to Wales
Birmingham – Student party attracts guests from 200-miles away A group of students in Birmingham have attracted strong criticism for hosting a party in their University halls that, reportedly, drew guests from as far afield as Newcastle, Nottingham and London. According to the BBC, the party hosts live in private accommodation that is predominantly used by students from Aston University and University College Birmingham. Birmingham Police Inspector Steve Barnes said: “We understand that young people are frustrated at not being able to enjoy themselves and I do feel their pain, but we have to stick to the rules so that we can get back to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.
On 10 January, Aoife, 10-year old girl from Waterford, Ireland kicked her football into the sea. A week later it, remarkably, turned up on a beach over 124 miles away in the Ceredigion region of Wales. A litter-picker found the ball, with Aoife’s full name on it, and posted a picture to Twitter. Within five hours the tweet had gone viral and the news had made its way to Aoife’s father. There are reportedly plans in the works to return the ball to the original owner.
Dorset - Knob-throwing festival falls victim to lockdown For the second year running, The Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main draw of the festival is usually the famous ‘Knob-Throw’, a popular competition that rewards whoever can throw the county’s traditional biscuits as far as possible. In 2019, the festival attracted 8,000 attendees. Ian Gregory, chair of the Dorset Knob Throwing Committee, told the BBC that the decision to postpone “was reluctantly made due to current Covid-19 restrictions and their anticipated continuation”. He described the practice of knob-throwing as a “zany, quintessentially British event which has caught the public imagination”.
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Norfolk – Full-size Oval Office replica used for TV dramas
A former RAF base in Norfolk has been transformed into a full-size replica of the Oval Office, the US President’s official office in the White House. The replica was originally built in 2018 for the film ‘Watergate’ and measures 4,500 sq. ft. It was built to exactly match the real thing, down to every detail, and is said Norfolk to be the only permanent full-sized replica of the Oval Office outside of the United States. Steve Murphy, head of film studios October Films, said that the replica has been a big draw for US film productions to work in East Anglia as filming in Norfolk can now be as “cost-effective” as doing it in the States.
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The Badger 1st February 2021
THE BIG DEBATE In The Big Debate this week, two writers debate whether Biden will save America, or if he is just another part of the problem.
Issy Anthony Comment Editor
It is hard to view Biden as anything but a hero in the immediate moment; his mere presence in the White House lowers the anxiety level of a world paralysed for four years by an inept fascist, and his elder statesman persona matched with an inauguration that hit all the right notes allows for a level of calm inconceivable under his predecessor. However, considering the prospect of a Biden presidency is a fraught business – he must deal with sectarian violence bubbling beneath the surface, a pressing need to address racial injustice, COVID continuing to ravage the nation, the erosion of American international prestige, myriad national and international issues, all relying on the most minute Congressional majority achievable. Mustering enthusiasm for Biden himself, elected partly on the strength of him not being Donald Trump, with a checkered legislative past and a penchant for policies trending more centrist than seismic, is no small task either. With that said, there is reason to be hopeful about 46’s tenure in the White House. The question of the Senate looms large over Biden’s presidential prospects – with a 50/50 split he is reliant on total Democratic loyalty not always guaranteed, with figures like Joe Manchin infamous for siding with the Republicans on critical welfare or economic bills, and a simple majority that is alone incapable of passing the groundbreaking legislation desired by many Democrats. However, much as Lyndon Johnson’s years as Majority Leader enabled him to break the Southern Caucus’ hold on the chamber in 1964, passing Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act seemingly doomed to die in committee, Biden has the history and skills to keep the Senate in line. This familiarity may hamper his leadership in some areas – his reticence to tackle the Republican filibuster the most obvious among them – but experience in the chamber empowers presidents to work around its more obstructionist tendencies. Having enough control to set agendas, control key committees and confirm executive appointments empowers Biden significantly, and the Georgia run-offs have elevated his chances of legislative success from nil to passable. The passage of relief bills is now plausible, and a strong Biden-led executive facilitates change all the more. When it comes to Biden’s presidency, there are grounds for hope. Sweeping exorcising of Trump-era executive orders, from the Muslim ban to rejoining the Paris accord, immediate outreach to international allies and the
restoration of détente with global rivals, set a strong precedent within the first week of taking office. The chances of him interceding in the prosecution of Trump seems slight, a key step in rehabilitating the nation, while his experience as Obama’s vice president leave him wellequipped to overcome the gutting of the executive branch and pitfalls left behind by his predecessor. Biden’s own intentions, which include elevating climate scientists to the Cabinet, deferring student loan payments and federal mask mandates, indicate that he intends to hit the ground running with an agenda that addresses sweeping national and international issues. When it comes to increasingly fraught relations with Iran, China and Russia – addressing abandoned nuclear disarmament treaties, responding to the Uyghur genocide and maintaining peace in areas of tension – Biden has legislative and executive experience in these areas, and is capable of steadying the ship.
We’ve waited four years to be able to say it, and boy does it feel good: Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States. But I think most of us can agree that our happiness comes from the absence of Trump rather than the presence of Biden. Watching Joe Biden’s inauguration may have been therapeutic, and as I will be studying in America next year (Covid allowing), a huge personal relief. But is Biden the hero that we’ve been waiting for? My answer would have to be no. Biden’s inauguration speech called for unity in stopping the nation’s ‘uncivil war’. But as he is a centrist what will that really mean? While one side is fighting for racial equality, ending police brutality, and reproductive rights, the other side includes those fighting directly against this. A call for unity between racists and those who suffer at the hands of racism is not the sort of situation where you can simply meet in the middle. And Biden is very much a meet in the middle
Is Biden the hero we’ve been waiting for? One overriding question that will dictate Biden’s activities and policy direction over the next four years is: how long is he in the game for? With his preCharlottesville disposition to withdraw from electoral politics, advancing age and the overwhelming obstacles he faces as president, the possibility that he will not run in 2024 is worthy of serious consideration. With this in mind we could envision a single-term Biden presidency, tight on time but without the pressure of re-election, with plenty of scope for optimism. Biden’s most progressive ideas, from raising the federal minimum wage to sweeping immigration reform are the kinds of legislation that can serve as landmarks, but are stymied by shifting control of the House and the Senate. If Biden continues to front-load his agenda in the current Congressional session, making full use of the Democraticcontrolled legislature and post-Trump grace period, the potential for sweeping change prior even to the 2022 midterms is worthy of serious consideration. The forthcoming presidency bears a progressive mandate of the old Democrat type, FDR and LBJ alike, and while Biden’s position at the fore might leave many cold, his political acumen and actions so far inspires confidence that he will rise to the challenge.
president. The reality is that the majority of American’s will struggle to feel represented by Biden. Trump’s supporters will see another member of the establishment, and those on the left see a man who’s past voting record—backing social security cuts in 1995, voting for the Iraq War, supporting the Hyde Amendment in 2019—shows his reputation for being on the wrong side of history. I’m sure we all remember Trump’s 2016 campaign, and his attempt to market himself as the common man. It was laughable, and yet the reason it was so well received by his supporters is because, funnily enough, he did share something in common with them. He was a political outsider. People felt he listened to them. While I’m not arguing for a president who represents the crazed racists and Capitol-invading conspiracy theorists, I don’t think i’ts hard to see that many people end up on these paths as a result of feeling ignored. Trump gave them validation, but what they really need is a more equitable world view. And I don’t think they will start to see everyone as equal, while they continue to be reigned over by a political elite. While America definitely needs a president with political experience, they must also be able to relate to the everyday
person. Working class Americans don’t see themselves represented in American politics, and that’s because they’re not. According to Nicholas Carnes’ research, the majority of those on the Supreme Court and in Congress are millionaires, while working-class people have never held more than 2% of the seats in Congress since it was founded. In a country as large as America, there will always be a large diversity of opinion, and while that won’t change, I think extremist views can be gotten rid of, once people feel that have a stake in their country. According to the Federal Election Commission, Biden’s campaign received funding from 134 billionaires. While we could fantasise that all 134 of these billionaires are deeply passionate about helping to make the US government, and therefore America, a better place, that would be ignorant. Billionaires don’t give money unless it’s going to help them, and it’s not a far cry to think they believe Biden is more likely to help them keep their money, which was largely made in finance, than a more liberal candidate, for example Bernie Sanders.
A call for unity between racists and those who suffer at the hands of racism is not the sort of situation where you can simply meet in the middle. And Biden is very much a meet in the middle president. While Biden promised to raise taxes on corporations on his first day in office, all is not quite as it seems. Biden would raise taxes on corporations to 28%, which while being higher than Trump’s 21%, is still lower than taxes have been between the Second World War, and 2017, when Trump cut taxes. Americans need a president who is going to do what is best for the people, not just those on Wall Street. America’s political divide will require a great deal to bridge it. What America needs is a president who has political experience, but isn’t one of the elite. Someone who wants to make positive change in America, who sees everyone, and wants to make an America that works for them. While this may sound like a utopia, I believe it’s a worthy mission. Whether this person is already on the political scene, or yet to arrive, only time will tell. But what we must recognise is that while Biden has saved us from Trump, he is not our saviour. America deserves better, and is still waiting for its hero.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Agriculture Today: What Can We Do? Why sustainable farming is crucial for the future of our crops Mayla Westward In a single handful of healthy soil, you can find millions of living organisms all performing important functions. Fungi and bacteria break down dead matter so that it becomes part of the soil, the link between life and death. Fungi hold the soil together with a vast underground network, consisting of thousands of fine threads known as mycelium, helping to store water and prevent the soil from degrading. This mycelium also acts as a network to connect plants and trees and distribute nutrients through the soil and even help trees communicate with each other. There is as much life below the soil as there is above it, it’s a world that thrives in its natural sate and like all ecosystems, it plays an essential role that is connected to a myriad of other organisms. Healthy soil is the growth medium for all plants and trees that feed all animals, including us…but not so much anymore. With the spread of intensive agriculture, preserving underground ecosystems is far from a priority, output is the main factor considered here, the more the better. This generally doesn’t involve long-term planning or in-depth research about soil profiles and how to preserve fertility. Industrial agricultural endeavours are no longer simply about feeding people and making enough to live on, but the accumulation of profits and therefore fast and cheap crop turnover. This demands pesticides to kill the weeds, insects, fungi, and bacteria that are considered harmful to the crop and fertilisers to make them grow faster and with higher yield. But these methods that seemed so productive are killing the resources that allow us to grow anything in the first place and the soil is deprived of its role of nurturer. Pesticides don’t just kill the organisms that threaten crops but also the beneficial bacteria and fungi that not only produce fertile soil but help to deter harmful microbes and insects through outcompeting them for nutrients while also helping crops to thrive and produce their own chemicals to deter pests. When growing on soil that is depleted, farmers have no choice but to use pesticides and fertilisers to get a good yield. Changing intensive agricultural practices requires enough
Lite-Trac time to restore the soil to a healthy ecosystem. To maintain naturally healthy soil, monocultures must be replaced with permacultures, the practice of growing crops organically and sustainably without the use of manufactured fertilisers and pesticides. These methods are ancient and have been used traditionally by indigenous people for thousands of years and was a mainstream farming method until relatively recently.
Pesticides don’t just kill the organisms that threaten crops but also the beneficial bacteria and fungi that not only produce fertile soil but help to deter harmful microbes and insects through outcompeting them for nutrients while also helping crops to thrive and produce their own chemicals to deter pests. A perfect example of how well permaculture can work is the ‘three sisters’, a native American traditional method where corn, beans and squash are grown together. The corn grows tall and provides a stalk for the beans to climb up as their vines grow. The beans are legumes and so have nitrifying bacteria on their roots which provides the nitrogen essential for healthy plant growth. The squash has large leaves that shelter the ground beneath and keep it from drying and out as well as preventing weeds from growing by blocking their light. Many plants such as marigolds can be used to deter pests, as they release a scent that is
unpleasant to many insects that would eat the crops. Food scraps and weeds can be composted and used to make natural fertiliser that does not damage ecosystems. So, it’s not that there aren’t alternatives to damaging agricultural practices, it’s that changing current growing methods is not being prioritised enough. A limited number of farmers
to pesticides. In addition, some companies have patented their GMO seeds so that only they may own the rights to trade them. This is problematic because they have started selling them to small farmers, especially in African countries with the result that farmers can no longer participate in traditional seed saving and trading and become reliant on expensive patented seeds. These companies also use large amount of environmentally detrimental artificial fertilisers and pesticides which also pose risks to human health.
are willing to grow organically because it’s more costly short term, and governments don’t provide many if any subsidies to help organic farmers. In countries with lower food standards such as the US, large agricultural businesses have dominated the food market, incentivised by profits. These companies are having a profoundly negative effect on agricultural practices, as they take shortcuts to reduce costs such as engineering genetically modified organism (GMO) crops, which are meant to give better yields but have unpredictable effects on the environment, such as resulting in superweeds which are resistant
There is as much life below the soil as there is above it, it’s a world that thrives in its natural sate and like all ecosystems, it plays an essential role that is connected to a myriad of other organisms. Healthy soil is the growth medium for all plants and trees that feed all animals, including us…but not so much anymore. Despite these obstacles, transitioning to sustainable agriculture is essential; forty percent of the world’s soils are already badly degraded and if intensive agriculture continues at this rate, there will soon be no farmable land left in the world. Permaculture and organic farming is more time consuming, but it preserves soil fertility and biodiversity, saving money in long term because there is no need for pesticides and fertilisers. The good news is that there
are lots of ways everyone can reduce the negative impacts of agriculture and encourage sustainability. Reducing food waste is one of them; we don’t even need to currently expand our agriculture, as the world already produces one and half times enough food to feed everyone on the planet, we just need to change how we distribute food. Reducing food waste at home and campaigning for less food waste helps to lessen agricultural demands and better distribute food. Charities such as FareShare and the Real Junk Food Project save food from supermarkets and farms that would otherwise be thrown away and make it available to the people who need it most, helping to reduce food poverty and food waste simultaneously. They have branches in Brighton and are always happy to accept new volunteers. You can also get involved with directly harvesting surplus crops through the Gleaning Network, run by the food waste charity, FeedBack by signing up to their mailing list to find out about gleaning near you. There are plenty of small farms that use permaculture practices where you can volunteer or become a paid worker. A good way to find out about where you can do this is on the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) website where you can find hundreds of international volunteering opportunities which may also lead to paid work, and often come with a room and three meals a day. While the pandemic is currently making some of these opportunities difficult, you can try sustainably growing stuff at home, even if its just a few herbs in a plant pot. There are so many online resources where you can learn about making natural fertilisers, composting and organic growing methods even if you’ve never grown anything before. Changing your shopping habits to incorporate local veg boxes is a great way to support more sustainable local farmers. If you’re local to Brighton then you can find a list of veg boxes on the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership website. It’s important for us to stay connected to where our food comes from and to give something back to the earth so that it can continue to sustain us and future generations.
The Badger 1st February 2021
How Big Business Can Help Save The Enviroment Jasmine Crowhurst Staff Writer As narratives spin the pressure on individual consumption yet is companies that have a larger environmental footprint. In the first steps towards recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns, the discussion has shifted to what kind of world we will be returning to and a time at which corporate sustainability must be at the forefront of these changes in a post-covid-19 era. In an environment where closed borders and arguments over lockdown rules has created a mistrust of others and also plays a role in the widening gap in global consumerism and citizen trust in big corporate players. Transnational corporations are everywhere with an overwhelming influence on our lives, and threatening potential on the planet. Our planets climate is steering ever deeper into an environmental crisis as mass production, transportation and
industrial agriculture continues to intensify to satisfy consumption habits fed to us through clever marketing ploys by successful conglomerates. Now more than ever it is a crucial time to evaluate their actions, and irrevocably shifted attitudes towards companies making substantial contributions to ensure sustainability by making meaningful changes, not just boasting their efforts. Big brands becoming more sustainable can be fruitful to a company’s perception by the public. Recently, Prince Charles launched his climate campaign which encourages businesses to adopt sustainable practices by 2030. Aptly named the Terra Carta meaning ‘Earth Charter’ was Inspired by the Magna carta which over 800 years ago inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. It aims to raise £7.3 billion in the next decade, to spend on establishing a more sustainable future, and stand as a legacy of our generation by putting sustainability at the heart of the
private sector. This action by a prominent social figure is pertinent to the green revolution and the inclusion of businesses in the green movement. The Global Pandemic has certainly created some positives not only for the environment itself but also for green technologies and the sustainability sector moving forward. Carbon emissions have seen a drop as high as 17% globally due to a reduction in transportation, air travel, and industrial emissions. Now can actually be an advantageous time for companies. By offering new green products or services, a business is more likely to cater to an emerging trend or niche market, which can make it more competitive. By catering to new niche markets using green products and services, these businesses can emerge as future leaders in their sectors and create a higher sense of organisational purpose that will appeal not only to their customers, but to the next generation of employers. Studies have shown millennials and Gen
Z’s are more concerned about the environment than any previous generation, prioritizing employers who put sustainability at the forefront. As COVID-19 has had a damaging effect on recycling efforts globally, companies need to really focus on reducing their waste, particularly when It will be tempting for firms to put any commitment to the environment in the back seat as they attempt to recover and governments reduce requirements which will undermine environmental protection. This is a short-sighted view; businesses should not have to sacrifice their environmental goals to protect their growth. Greening initiatives and promoting sustainable practices that is beyond compliance requirements, can actually help firms and make them more favourable in the public eye. It is business who are responsible for a huge proportion of society’s IT consumption. With Growing concerns over corporate ewaste, it is crucial that compa-
nies foster a growing awareness about a better, greener way to consume technology. By 2040, carbon emissions from the production and use of electronics, from devices such as PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones and tablets will reach 14% of total emissions and by Reusing equipment it can reduce the CO2 emissions per device and save the company money. It Is crucial that businesses to invest in the health of the planet, and the importance of mainstreaming sustainability into all aspects of the global economy, and COVID-19 presents a generational opportunity to rethink the way that we live our lives. The onus is now on businesses to strengthen their commitment to sustainability. Why? Not only is there a dire responsibility to conduct business with environmental morality in mind, but it will also give businesses the opportunity to stand out against competitors in a postCOVID landscape.
American White Supremacy: A Look in the Mirror Ellie Doughty Print Production Editor The US has long been the global leader in the ‘war on terror’. Interestingly, attaching the same term ‘terrorist’ to those domestic white supremacists sewn into America’s make up appears to be a very last resort. Organisations of white supremacist terrorists, such as the 90s Michigan Militia, the Klu Klux Klan and more recently QAnon are an arguably bigger threat than the Islamic extremist organisations more commonly shouted about in American political discourse. The majority of deadly extremist attacks in the US are motivated by far-right ideology and white supremacy (an often complementary combination), precisely because they are not paid the same grave attention or gravitas as that of organisations like Al Qaeda. Only one murder in the US has been linked to an anti-fascist ‘far-left’ attack in 25 years, the shooting of Aaron Danielson in 2020. Data in the Guardian reads that white supremacists were in fact responsible for 67% of the domestic terror attacks and plots enacted in America by October of 2020 that year alone. In previous years the annual number for victims of domes-
TapTheForwardAssist tic terrorism has been much higher than that of 2020, with CSIS analysts accrediting that in part to the anomalous fact that as of October there had yet to be a politically motivated mass shooting. Recall the El Paso Warlmart shooting in 2019 targeted against Latinos, making up the somewhere between 22 and 66 people who died annually as victims of domestic terrorism. It was only in May of 2019 that the FBI eventually admitted that the threat of domestic extremism and conspiracy theorists constituted a terrorist threat and potential violence. Beyond the FBI the same hesitancy to label dangerous white suprema-
cist groups for what they are is not difficult to find. The US government and judicial branch did not prosecute Dylann Storm Roof who murdered 9 African Americans at a church in South Carolina in 2015 for domestic terrorism; but rather hate crimes, weapon related charges and murder. Hate ‘crimes’ and ‘groups’ are terms often designated to white supremacist terror organisations, to the detriment of American people’s safety and in contrast with Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ stance; which begs the question; are the terrorists only terrorists if they’re not White Americans with a weapons & ammunition loyalty card and an American flag hang-
ing off their enormous 4X4? The small FBI concession and other occasional acknolwedgements of this type of terrorism are not enough. Countering violent extremism requires significant resources, financial and research-centered, in hopes of disbandment. But the domestic deradicalization programs in the US are hugely inhibited by the lack of such resources which instead are paid to the neverending ‘war on terror’ abroad. Statistically, the money America spends on counterring Islamic extremist terrorism abroad, and the number of troops they send out for foreign occupation and engagement are positively correlated with an increase of global attacks and anti-American feeling. If some of the unimaginably huge resource pool dedicated to this was directed internally, America might be in with a better chance at easing some of the white supremacist racism which still very actively overshadows it’s ideals of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. American white supremacism has been a problem for longer than anyone alive could personally recall. And yet, it took the domestic terror incident of January 6th when the Capitol was stormed by pro-Trump
conspiracy theorists for a significant change in elite rhetorics. Both Pelosi and Biden referred to the rioters as ‘domestic terrorists’ and there have already been calls for the government to utilise some it’s truly vast counterterror measures against the threat and its associations. Even Trump’s ex-Assistance Secretary of Homeland Security compared the symbol of Trump to his supporters who attacked Congress to the symbol of Bin Laden to Al Qaeda. Perhaps this coming year and those afterwards will see the great leader of the free world and his army, refocus their vigilant and often misguided attempts at countering Islamic terrorism, into addressing the ever more present threat produced by so many years of cavernous inequity. It seems that Trump’s foiled efforts to designate far left wing group Antifa a terrorist organization, whilst simultaneously feeding the hungry white supremacists of his following, has backfired. The domestic terror threat the US has tried to ignore for so long is now standing in its hallowed halls, waving the flag around, bare-chested and painted with the American stars and stripes. A catalyst for change, one can hope.
The Badger 1st February 2021
The Great Replacement-A Great Big Racist Lie Will Day Comment Sub-Editor Over the past decade, the Great Replacement conspiracy theory has gained significant traction amongst the far-right and has become a frequent feature of extremist manifestos. It is entirely without merit yet, as Keir Starmer highlighted so painfully in a recent radio interview, it mostly remains unchallenged. The more this conspiracy proliferates, the more dangerous it becomes. Adherents to the theory believe that Western demographics are being ‘replaced’ through waves of non-European/nonwhite migration. This, they believe, will lead to the erosion of Western values with traditional European demographics becoming a minority within the coming decades. Predominantly it is immigration from countries with large Muslim populations that are singled out by the theory’s believers. They proclaim this migration is not a natural phenomenon, instead this apparent ‘replacement’ is an orchestrated, deliberate attack on western society. Behind it all, as so often is the case with the far-right, are the globalist elite, manipulating politicians and media alike, to ensure Western society will be once and for all destroyed (oh and if you weren’t aware ‘globalists’ is just a less obviously anti-Semitic way of saying Jews). Now, it pains me to have to say this, but apparently to some people it isn’t blindingly obvious – THERE IS NOT, NOR HAS THERE EVER BEEN A GLOBAL SOCIETY OF JEWS RUNNING THE WORLD. This is a conspiracy propagated by the Nazis to create the conditions for which the holocaust was possible. It might seem ridiculous that such a theory could be believed but sadly, it’s far more prominent than you might first think. We’ve all heard of the Rothschild’s, right? That the shady family that has monopolized world banks and secretly manipulate geopolitical events for their own gain. - except they don’t. Whilst the Rothschild family was once powerful, they lost most of their wealth a long time ago. Far from running the world, the richest Rothschild currently sits at 1284th on the Forbes rich list. So why the conspiracy that they secretly run the world - they’re Jewish. There is no globalist society manipulating world events, it’s a deranged anti-Semitic conspir-
Anthony Crider acy that seeks to perpetuate the demonisation of Jewish communities. We only need to into our recent history to show the danger of this conspiracy taking root. Next time you hear someone rambling about globalists or the Rothschild’s make sure they know they’re literally quoting Hitler and maybe suggest doing some outside of social media. Right, so no globalist society trying to eradicate western culture. There will be some people however who say, “look listen here, I don’t believe any of that crazy globalist stuff, but if you look at current immigration trends, European’s will soon be a minority.” Nigel Farage, for example, has claimed that Muslim immigrants are “coming here to try to take us over”. Similarly, on the rise of immigrants from East Africa to the US, Fox News host, Tucker Carlson stated, “it’s going to overwhelm our country, and change it completely and forever”. So, is there any truth to this claim, will migration levels lead to a complete demographic transformation leading to the eradication of western values? Or is this just another case of the far-right trying to whip up hatred to justify their exclusionary politics? For starters, their arguments are based on uncertain assumptions; they assume current trends of migration will continue exponentially but, it’s very unlikely this will be the case. As with most trends, it will eventually plateau. I’ll draw on a personal anecdote to highlight this. Last year I started running, at the time I could run a kilometre in roughly five minutes.
After a year of practicing, I can now do it in four. If this trend continues, within the next four years I’ll be able to run a kilometre in zero minutes. Now, as much as I’d like to squeeze into some tight spandex and speed around the city fighting crime, unfortunately, I’m not becoming the flash (sulks in spandex). I will soon reach a point when my running times will plateau.
Whilst the proponents of the great replacement will insist their only concern is the protection of western values and culture, this isn’t the case. Western values aren’t biologically determined, there’s no reason why immigrants can’t and won’t share these values too. There’s no reason why rates of migration will continue, especially considering current rates are the product of a refugee crisis. Despite what certain rightwing pundits might try and tell you, people aren’t travelling over open oceans in perilous conditions because they want to seek a cushty life on the welfare state in western countries. In most cases, migrants arriving in Europe have risked everything, not because they want to, but because they’ve no other choice. As put by Warsan Shire, “No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” It’s likely then that when the conditions that have caused the refugee crisis alleviate, that migration rates will plateau. But fine, let’s just play along for a little bit. Let’s assume that these trends of migration do
continue, how many weeks will be it be before the Muslim takeover of the west is complete, the far-right are pretty worked up about it so surely, it’s got to be pretty soon right? Well, no. According to the Pew research centre, the Muslim population of Europe was six percent in 2010, if current trends continue (which they won’t), by 2050 the figure will rise to roughly 10 percent, meaning they’ll still be outnumbered by nine to one. If it really is an attempted takeover, I’d say the globalists are doing a pretty terrible job. In fact, as YouTuber ‘Shaun’ highlights in his video ‘The Great Placement isn’t real’ the Muslim population of Europe as a percentage of the whole has only been increasing by roughly one percent per decade. This means that it wouldn’t be until 2500 that Muslims will account for over 50 percent of Europe’s population and become the majority. Right, so there’s no Muslim takeover of Europe on the horizon, but what about America, I mean there must be some truth in it to have Tucker Carlson so worked up, right? Well, according to the Pew research centre, by 2050 Muslims are predicted to be the secondlargest religious population at a whopping…… 2.1percent. Whilst the proponents of the great replacement will insist their only concern is the protection of western values and culture, this isn’t the case. Western values aren’t biologically determined, there’s no reason why immigrants can’t and won’t share these values too. Similarly, many of these ‘migrants’ they say will be replaced by, won’t
be migrants at all. For example, in Britain, if someone arrives from abroad to live, they are a migrant. If they have children in Britain, these children won’t be migrants, they’ll be British, by virtue of being born in Britain. The only difference is, they might not be white. This is where the real problem lies. Let’s be real about what they mean when they say they want to protect western values – they mean they want to protect whiteness. These people are terrified that they might one day exist in a world where they are no longer given preferential treatment because of the colour of their skin. They’ve convinced themselves their whiteness makes them special and will do anything they can to protect it, because, deep down they know, they’re spectacularly unremarkable. If the far-right really wanted to protect whiteness, there’s plenty of better places they could start. May I suggest not fighting to keep a man in the White House who appeared to be one missed putt related tantrum away from slamming his greasy Wotsit fingers on that big red button and causing a nuclear holocaust? Maybe they could start taking climate change seriously, there’s little chance of humanity even making it to 2500 at this rate. Or maybe they could just, you know, WEAR A FACEMASK.
But fine, let’s just play along for a little bit. Let’s assume that these trends of migration do continue, how many weeks will be it be before the Muslim takeover of the west is complete, the far-right are pretty worked up about it so surely, it’s got to be pretty soon right? Well, no. While we’re at it, it’s not some evolutionary freak that people in Australia and America look and sound like those in Britain, nor that Spanish is spoken in most of South America. There have already been a series of ‘great replacements’ all of which were propagated by Europeans. They occurred, not by decades of immigration attempting to slowly replace indigenous populations, but by a series of brutal and barbaric genocides. If we’re really going to open a dialogue about replacement maybe this is where we should start.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Autism, dating & lockdown Staff Writer Jerry Silvester speaks with James about what lockdown took from him, and what he’s hoping to rebuild.
t was all going quite well for James that afternoon, until it wasn’t. Following a hurried goodbye, his vanishing date’s father turned up at the park demanding to know where his daughter was. He went on to explain that she was supposed to be quarantined with her family after a holiday, but had snuck out of the house to meet James, unbeknownst to him. After using the app, ‘Find my phone’, the father had tracked down his daughter and sent her a message, which caused her to panic and leave the date immediately. Still bemused by her sudden exit, James explained that she’d left abruptly ten minutes before, and blocked him, so he couldn’t help him any further. The unforeseen incident had caused a resurgence of unease that felt both familiar and very unwelcome. James knew it was actually just an unfortunate, albeit strange, series of events, so why could he not help but ask himself, “Did she leave because I’m not normal?”
The unforeseen incident had caused a resurgence of unease that felt both familiar and very unwelcome. James knew it was actually just an unfortunate, albeit strange, series of events, so why could he not help but ask himself, “Did she leave because I’m not normal?” For as long as James, a third year International Development student at Sussex University, can remember, he’d worried whether or not he fit in with others when in social situations. After being diagnosed as autistic aged 14, he felt that he began to understand why he always felt a little bit different to his peers.
fortable. It kind of became the thing, or was the thing, that I strive for the most. I’ve realised I need to try to f lip that around to focus on myself. The feeling of being wanted and liked, and the elation of a successful date is such a high, but now lockdown has changed everything”.
Pre Covid-19, James would plan every detail meticulously before a date. He’d pick where they’d meet, where they’d then go, what would be eaten, which cocktails they’d order, whilst also formulating a get away
Pexels ly into at the time and I wouldn’t ask them anything about themselves. As strange as it may sound, dating taught me how to listen and not talk all the time. To talk when you have something to say and not to just talk for the sake of it”. The current government restrictions mean that those looking for love will, for now, have to mostly rely on Zoom dates and digital communication, something James has found to be very out of his comfort zone. “Normally I would try and meet up before even speaking at all. I find texting so hard. Every time I would text I’d be hoping they would say we don’t need to text, that we can just wait until we can meet up”.
Pre Covid-19, James would plan every detail meticulously before a date. He’d pick where they’d meet, where they’d then go, what would be eaten, which cocktails they’d order, whilst also formulating a get away, if things were to go badly. “Everyone over thinks and is anxious about things at times. But I think when you’re autistic you want to plan everything out and get a routine so it works and is comfortable. Well that’s what I do and how I feel”. James was feeling anxious to arrange another date immediately after the strange encounter at the park, but couldn’t understand exactly why he felt it with such urgency. “I finally realised that I was using dating as a way to reset my brain and to be com-
After being diagnosed as autistic aged 14, he felt that he began to understand why he always felt a little bit different to his peers “It took me years to understand social situations and to not say weird and inappropriate stuff. It wasn’t bad, it was just odd. Trying to fit in, while trying to be yourself is confusing. I wouldn’t realise people would be bored because I would be talking and talking and talking about whatever it was I was real-
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The ever-growing lists of conversation starter prompts and questions, as well as fastidiously studying the body language of the other person, had become a safety net for James to navigate the world of dating and the nuances of communication. Following the changes that ensued with UK lockdowns, dating, or the lack of, unexpectedly became a focal point of change for him.
The ever-growing lists of conversation starter prompts and questions, as well as fastidiously studying the body language of the other person, had become a safety net for James to navigate the world of dating and the nuances of communication. “I realised I just wanted to connect with people so much, and I placed my worth in my ability to date in a way that I perceived as correct. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise this, but the lockdown made me face it and ref lect on it deeply. I don’t think I would’ve realised it at this point if I hadn’t had to face the strain of not being able to date in the only way I knew how. Although it’s been hard, I’ve also realised how funny and unusual so many of my experiences have been, I’m writing a book about it which hopefully will help others see that the development of self-worth through dating is ill-advised to say the least, but more importantly, that it applies to everyone, atypical or not. Mine just included a few extra socially anxious quirks’’.
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The Badger 1st February 2021
Fighting for Truth, Seventy-Six Years on Olly De Herrera Features sub-editor
Is our handling of Nazi legacy damaging the way in which we remember the Holocaust?
omeone at Auschwitz Birkenau, who knew they were to die there, buried a suitcase full of photos brought by the families in a forest area south of the concentration camp. We’ll never know their name or why they did this, but it was most likely because they knew the power these photographs would have in telling the real stories of the millions of people the Nazis intended to make unknown to history. In addressing the Holocaust, we often hear the word “unspeakable horror”, and whilst these words are meant in respect, the horrors of the Holocaust have not remained entirely unspeakable thanks to the courage and determination of survivors and their testimony. Where these horrors are not to both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, on the glorification of Nazism, unspoken, survivors and Holocaust academics increasingly fear that they are being overshadowed. Since 2012, the General Assembly has mandated the Special Rapporteur to submit annual reports, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is of (mostly) mainstream thinking to understand the Nazis were bad, but it is terrifying mainstream how the Nazis are also viewed, by these same denouncers, as something monumental. World War Two could be called the last ‘great’ victory of war. War becomes a complicated game in the age of mass media and has lost much of the heroic façade as political critique takes the place of government propaganda. Painting the Nazis and not only greatly evil but also powerful glorifies Britain’s victory, the triumphant “good guys”. What this does, however, is ‘others’ the Nazis. Educational programs produced by the Holocaust Education Trust (HET) home in on this problematic tendency to ‘other’ the Nazis. They state one of the goals of their teaching program to be: “Re-humanise all involved – the Nazis were human beings not monsters”. This may initially seem to be an unexpected rhetoric in Holocaust education and remembrance, until we see some of the effects that have arisen from the tendency to make monstrosities of the Nazis. Such ideas remove the humanity and thus very human culpability of the Nazis from which we should be learning how to identify and combat fascism. A furthermore, slightly less straightforward, consequence of this rhetoric is its tendency to contribute to the popular belief that the Nazis were somehow superhuman through their nonhumanity.
Quite often one will hear that Hitler used “mind control techniques” on his audience. An extract from “The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy” reads: “Lebensborn was one of numerous Nazi programs that incorporated mind control techniques”, it continues, “SS officer Doctor Josef Mengele, infamously nicknamed the Angel of Death for his horrific human experiments at Auschwitz, is said to have been employed in the Lebensborn program, albeit quite secretively”. Critics of Conspiracy Theory culture point to the tendency of Conspiracy theorist writings to use phrases like “it is said” without presenting any evidence or citing as to who this was said by. As archive from the Jewish Virtual Library reveal, “Lebensborn” was a proposed Nazi repopulation and eugenics program which did not involve “mind control”: “The purpose of this society (Registered Society Lebensborn - Lebensborn Eingetragener Verein) was to offer to young girls who were deemed “racially pure” the possibility to give birth to a child in secret. The child was then given to the SS organization which took charge in the child’s education and adoption”. source: Jewish Virtual Library. To much of the general public, conspiracy theories seem to represent either harmless fun or embarrassing nonsense, however indulging into these fanciful ideas of the supernatural only serves to further dehumanise and mystify the Nazis in a way counterproductive to anti-fascist education. A focus on the Nazis is not a perverse focus within itself, indeed many survivors and associated organisations urge us to examine the Nazi rise to power in hopes of preventing fascism and genocide. Popular focus on Nazism often
Ted Eytan fails to condemn the Nazis or honour their victims in any meaningful way. A glance at Netf lix and daytime television makes it appear that the Nazis are being remembered not as humanity as its darkest, but as a formidable
Carol M - PICRYL and somewhat exciting spectacle. Titles such as “Hitler’s death squads” and “Nazi Mega-weapons” use raw and brutal images of human torture to promote a sci-fi villain allegory of the Nazis which elevates them to a level of superiority undeserved not only in the reality of their actions but in the actual truth of history. Bestselling author Tom Phillips, known best for his anthro-historical work “HUMANS: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up”, calls Hitler “Incompetent and Lazy—and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show” in a 2017 article tackling this misplaced glorification of Hitler. The Nazis were people so obsessed with their own superiority that they were blind to the utter failings of their regime. Many of the inventions that inspire such modern intrigue in these Nazi documentaries were merely ref lections of Hitler’s grandiose ego and never actually made it to the battlefield. Over half of the weapons appearing on the International War Museum’s “SECOND WORLD WAR WEAPONS THAT FAILED” list are Nazi inventions. Just one example follows: “The Panzerkampfwagen ‘Maus’ (Mouse), designed by Ferdinand Porsche, was the ultimate expression of Hitler’s desire to produce an indestructible super-heavy tank. “Trials began in 1943, but there were constant mechanical problems associated with the drivetrain. The tracks were driven by electric motors powered by a huge Daimler-Benz aircraft engine, but top speed was barely 12mph”. Every documentary on Nazi military tactics takes the viewer one step away from real stories like that of survivor Leslie Kleinman who was 15 at the time he experienced the Holocaust. In a 2018 interview he recalled his experience the Jewish education publication, Aish: “The local police came for my father and the first thing they did was cut his beard off. My mother was crying.
“She said to my father ‘I don’t think I’m going to see you again’. My father said ‘Don’t worry, God is going to bring me back’. “But my mother didn’t believe it, and she was right – we never saw my father again. “They told him a lie, that he was going to Russia to dig trenches. My father was only 33 years old and I thought he could work so he would be back. “I managed to say goodbye, he gave me a blessing. I was always a big strong man, and he thought I would survive and carry on the name.” Leslie, who was 14 years old at the time, added: “Two weeks later the police came for us. I later found out my father never went to Russia. He went straight to Auschwitz-Birkenau and that’s where he died.” Whilst beliefs that the Nazis were supernatural or created mega weapons may be entertaining and perhaps fascinating, it is harmful to survivors and the ongoing way in which our future generations will view fascism and this period of history. People still subscribe to Nazism and this is undoubtedly partly because of the false air of sleek superiority that was carefully crafted by Nazi propaganda itself and continued today by those who choose to convert the Nazis into a visual metaphor. Music videos and films appropriate the Nazi ‘aesthetic’ for their villains in storylines, creating an image of the Nazis that is more enduring and widespread than survivor testimony and real understanding of the Holocaust. This perverse legacy continues to inspire fascination and exploration into the Nazis which contributes nothing to the past, present or future of antifascism education. Take for example the four-part documentary series “Hunting Hitler” which aired on the History Channel in 2015. In this documentary 4 men hike around Latin America only to find that their smoking gun evidence photo of Hitler in Brazil was actually a photo of Moe Howard from The Three Stooges. This display of Nazi facination contrasts with the actual reality that there are people today who are still trying to ascertain if their baby brother was murdered or is still out there somewhere. Currently, we are only about 10 years away from there being no survivors. Soon we will have no lived testimony to confront this fetishization of the Nazis and their associated symbols as well as tell the stories of the Holocaust. This is why our role in deciding how the Nazis will be viewed is ever more decisive and why education is still the most valuable tool in combating the ongoing grip of deadly propaganda.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Atlanta Cook: How valuing yourself is key “The key is not to have so much focus on the environment, but to think that you are actually doing it for your own wellbeing, for your own good and for your own life. You owe it to yourself ” : An experienced marine consultant’s advice on how to help our oceans by valuing our own wellbeing. Chiara Tomasoni Features Online Sub-Editor I meet Atlanta at the Beacon hub, an educational centre located in the heart of the stunning Rottingdean nature reserve, a stone’s throw away from the seashore. This meeting point between sea and land has a sense of freedom to it and, even on a rather cold and windy afternoon, I instantly mention that the conditions would be ideal for a midwinter surfing session. I show up while Atlanta is tidying up her café with a friend. She offers me a cup of beautifully hot coffee and we bond over our passion for surfing, kitesurfing in my case. We move from the café to a cosy room where I am surrounded by books, pictures, leaf lets, all about environmentalism. In the middle of the room, on top of the main table, I can’t help but notice an immense renovation plan, which Atlanta hopes will make the Beacon Hub completely off-grid. Atlanta Cook is a marine consultant and co-founder of the Beacon Hub Brighton CIO eco-education and visitor centre, founded in 2014. “I’ve learnt hands on how to connect people with the sea and the problems caused by humans”. This is how she describes the social impact of her projects. She has managed, over her 27 years of activism, to create a network of experts all over the world so that, when someone refers to her for guidance on how to reduce marine plastic pollution, she always knows someone who can help. Plastic has only been around for a few decades. 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s and this hyperused material has already outgrown most man-made materials (Geyer, 2017).
at the usual age.
“We all have a lot of power. You have a lot of power. We may feel helpless sometimes, but it’s not true because we are born on this Earth, we are the Earth, we are nature. It is powerful. We just have to use our power for good, and when we connect with people, it drives change. You are totally worth it.
13 million metric tons of plastic waste generated on land entered the marine environment in 2010 alone (Barras, 2015). After acknowledging the detrimentality of plastic use is to the Earth, Atlanta has a passionate look in her eyes as she states: “If we’ve made all this mess, surely we can reverse it.”
“I think that right now is the moment to not panic and to keep calm and carry on changing the world, because it can’t stay the way that it is. And it doesn’t have to.”
Therefore, I ask: “What can be done to reduce such damage?” She explains that changing household energy to frack-free gas would be extremely effective, as well as switching to electric vehicles in order to reduce cli-
mate change, which, in turn, would be beneficial to the marine environment. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle that isn’t soy-based would also help by decreasing the carbon dioxide levels emitted during the process of production of beef, pork and chicken. Atlanta reminds me that there are many everyday plastic items that we just do not need: “None of us need two slimline plastic straws in our JD and Coke and, the day that somebody did that to me, I was horrified.” She then provides a shocking example of how damaging toxins, phthalates and single-use plastic can be to our waters. In Delft, Holland, the biggest port in the world, the toxic chemicals which end up in the sea and in the drinking water were found to affect testosterone levels of local boys, causing their testicles not to descend
This is just one worrying instance, but plastic pollution really is a serious threat to our beaches, rivers and lakes. There is one thing that Atlanta stresses a lot throughout our conversation: if we put ourselves first and look at saving the environment as a way of saving our own future, that instinct of self-preservation will benefit our planet. “We all have a lot of power. You have a lot of power. We may feel helpless
sometimes, but it’s not true because we are born on this Earth, we are the Earth, we are nature. It is powerful. We just have to use our power for good, and when we connect with people, it drives change. You are totally worth it. That extra penny on an eco-friendly product, you are completely worth it.” I would have expected an environmental activist to have an accusational outlook on plastic marine pollution. However, to my surprise, Atlanta is incredibly calm, confident and hopeful. I realise that small individual actions can make a great difference. “I think that right now is the moment to not panic and to keep calm and carry on changing the world, because it can’t stay the way that it is. And it doesn’t have to.” I leave Atlanta confident of two things: that the harm we’ve caused to this planet can be reversed through sensible choices and self-love, and that I will definitely be back to Rottingdean to do some kitesurfing.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Chess: Strategy, Mind and The Queen’s Gambit “Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy” - Siegbert Tarrasch.
Teddy Parkin Features online Sub-Editor
4. The most common opening in the entire game of chess. C5. “The Sicilian”. The most statistically effective response to E4. Now we have an interesting game on our hands. Mind vs. Mind. A mental war. Two people engaged in a menacing intellectual arena, both creatively constructing their own in-genius strategies to checkmate the opponents King. This is the beautiful game of Chess. It is the most played game in the world. FIDE, the world chess federation, approximated that 605 million people play chess. To contextualise this figure, that is almost three times as many people that play (football). There is a reason for this popularity. It is a special game that brings people together. “The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it… Life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with.” – Benjamin Franklin Chess players and the huge community of chess proponents often espouse a metaphorical connection that links the game to life more generally. The dynamics of the game ref lect aspects of life and can teach us how to be better people and make better decisions.
Frames of mind that stand to seriously increase your brainpower and ability to live a more considered life. This is more than just a game. Garry Kasparov, six-time world champion and the youngest to ever achieve such a feat aphorises “Chess is life in miniature. Chess is a struggle, chess battles.” Someone who hav-
where seemingly I have control and calm in contrast to the chaos of the world around me. Healthline lists some benefits in regard to certain mental struggles. “Chess can make therapy more effective, chess may offer protection against the development of dementia, chess can improve the symptoms of ADHD and electronic chess may stave off panic attacks.” I understand some of these may come across as far-fetched, yet I am not claiming that chess is the magic pill.
Akshay Gupta - PixaHive
ing mastered the game speaks of life lessons that have transcended the 64 squares. Chess forces you to think ahead, think creatively, be more pragmatic, consider your opponent’s perspective and shapes within the sphere of your attention many more different thought patterns. Frames of mind that stand to seriously increase your brainpower and ability to live a more considered life. This is more than just a game.
“All that matters on the chessboard is good moves”. – Bobby Fischer One of the greatest games to ever be played was during the match between Fischer Spassky world championship final in 1972. A true coming together of giants. Spassky world champion at the time one of the greatest soviet players to ever touch a pawn sat across from his opponent Bobby Fischer, the child prodigy who went onto to become the best player in American history, beating multiple soviet grandmasters and thwarting their Soviet chess superior-
ity in this period.
The game became a microsphere of geopolitical conflict. USA vs. USSR. Kissinger, the US defence secretary of the US at the time was sure to call Fischer and wish him luck. In Game 6 Fischer employed brilliant strategy and f lair to dispatch Spassky. A game renowned in history and ever since has been studied emphatically by students of chess. It is a highly competitive sport. At professional level, the greatest chess minds go to head to head. They combine short term strategy with a lifetimes worth of preparation, studying the game inside and out. The game I mentioned above is a great example for you to see how beautiful the game can be when played at the highest level. It is also an example of how the chess often transcends itself. Fischer vs. Spassky was played during the height of the cold war. The game became a microsphere of geopolitical conf lict. USA vs. USSR. Kissinger, the US defence secretary of the US at the time was sure to call Fischer and wish him luck. Some added pressure always helps. “Chess doesn’t drive people mad, it keeps mad people sane.” – Bill Hartston A critical aspect that is often unspoken with chess are the positive benefits on the mental health of people who play the game. With the conversation around mental health becoming more expansive and normalised, I would like to add chess to this dialogue as an incredibly useful tool. People who play chess understand the feeling of certainty that it brings, there is a sense of alleviation and relief almost when engaged in a game. When I feel down myself, playing chess is a great way for me to dedicate my mind and attention into a sphere
When I feel down myself, playing chess is a great way for me to dedicate my mind and attention into a sphere where seemingly I have control and calm. There are clearly ways in which it can help us be calm and improve the health of our minds. The full extent of its capabilities here are yet to be determined. “Let’s Play” – Beth Harmon ( from the Queens Gambit) There is now a plethora of Chess media content out there. The award-winning Netf lix mini-series the Queens has been a huge hit. An excellent show I must say, not only effectively conveying the excitement and beauty that surrounds chess but an excellent storyline to accompany it. If you haven’t seen the show, I truly recommend it for your next media binge session. Most people that I know who have watched it, who didn’t play chess before, now are self-proclaimed chess lovers. Furthermore, there is a growing cohort of Chess youtubers f looding the scene, one of great notoriety is Agadmator. His videos entail a break-down of famous chess games (check out Fischer vs. Spassky game 6 on his channel!) and other interesting ones with indepth analysis. The quality and consistency of his videos have turned the man into somewhat of a chess icon and the culmination of a large chess community. His content provides a simple and easy way to familiarise yourself with the entire culture of chess as well as the nitty gritty of the game itself. These is much more to be discussed in relation to the game of chess. I intend to write many more articles about it. It is a truly fascinating subject and I believe there are many more things that I could explore in relation to it. However, for now, I hope I have effectively introduced you to its beauty and communicated the value it could bring to your life.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Arts • Books
Nikesh Shukla: The Good Immigrant Jasmine Crowhurst Staff Writer Nikesh Shukla’s ‘The Good Immigrant’ challenges common misapprehensions of why people come to the UK, and what it means to be an immigrant here today. It creates conversations into why they stay, what it means for their identity, where their place is in the world if they’re unwelcome in the UK and what effects this has on the education system. It gathers BAME writers, poets, artists and journalists from across Britain to curate a selection of essays that explore topics like otherness, racial inequality and immigrant experiences. Shukla has created a book that is full of revealing insights that together provide an invaluable snapshot of modern Britain that is a vital innovation to cultural conversations around race in the UK. Despite the narrative that we live in a multicultural conflation, a post-racial society, we are still consistently shown that it is still a hard time to be an immigrant, the child of one, or even the grandchild of one. The strength of this collec-
in intent to be poignant in their delivery. In her Essay “Beyond ‘good’ immigrants” Wei Ming Kam argues that Chinese immigrants have become an invisible community, by being “quiet and shy”, and so they “integrate well”. Despite achieving this, this minority group are still not seen as complex individuals, as “our defining characteristic is generally our foreignness”, dispelling the notion that assimilation is the way that the British “will see us as one of them”.
tion lies in the diversity of stories, as Shukla gives a platform to some of the most interesting and emerging voices currently in the UK. Some have engaging conversations on gender and sexuality and others poignant anecdotes on privilege and the British experience. Instead of statistics and dogma we find real human experience and impassioned argument as a moving body of work that explores a multitude of feelings that vary in tone; from funny, to polemic and angry, yet all are coherent
Shukla inspires his contributors to write confident, challenging and emotive pieces, which are deeply personal and resonating. One of the pieces that stood out to me in the publication, rather aptly is the final chapter which is titled ‘The ungrateful country’. Musa Okwonga talks about his relationship growing up in Britain as one where he was always “making sure that I was grateful”. Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian poet, playwright and TV screenwriter from London. Her Essay ‘Wearing where you’re
at: Immigration and UK Fashion” talks about the way whiteness is defined and the racial binarity that is conversed, saying that some in the UK “believe that if someone is not black, then they are white and vice-versa”. She also goes on to negate the problematic conversations that occur around the perception of clothing and problematic cultural appropriation. She mentions particular experiences of wearing a hijab in London and on another occasion a faux snakeskin pink biker jacket and the judgements she and others have received by people. Shukla inspires his contributors to write confident, challenging and emotive pieces, which are deeply personal and resonating. One of the pieces that stood out to me in the publication, rather aptly is the final chapter which is titled ‘The ungrateful country’. Musa Okwonga talks about his relationship growing up in Britain as one where he was always “making sure that I was grateful”. He talks about how he became an “unofficial ambassador for black people” in a predominately white place. Although he managed to get a good education and believed that by making
a ‘good impression, I could help to erode some of our societies finest prejudices”, it didn’t stop his treatment within different class systems. Okwonga felt he has to give something back to the country that had taken him in, despite that they didn’t make him feel like an equal member of society. He hoped to see “a recognition of what people like my parents brought to the country economically and culturally” and in discovering this nuance was often absent from news coverage. He ends the chapter on a note of great poignancy; “I had long realised that of there was a greatness in Britain, then it lay in its everyday citizens, and not in its institutions”. The Good Immigrant helps to open up dialogue about race and racism in the UK and can act as a document of what it means to be a person of colour, through this collection of stories. This book has come at a good time, as people are left desperately wondering what they can do to repair the damage of anti-immigration rhetoric. For anyone who understands of wants to learn about the breadth of the British experience, then reading this book would be a great place to start.
Review: Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport Libby Mills Comment Online Sub-Editor In a world where the type of connection most referred to is one’s internet connection, Cal Newport offers a simple, yet refreshing approach. One in which true connection with others and the world around you is at its centre, whilst maintaining technology usage. Introducing: the concept of digital minimalism. As a professor of Computer Science and writer of the intersections between technology and culture, Newport’s book Digital Minimalism seems to juxtapose the very premise of his career. Yet it is this very factor that makes the book such a worthwhile read. His ability to be present within the digital world, despite never having had a social media account, is all the proof in the pudding needed. But how? Newport breaks the book into two parts. He firstly discusses the main issue at hand: our digitally-obsessed culture, particularly with social media. His statements and statistics are like a cold shower waking you up to the reality of our dependence and addictions to our devices. You suddenly find yourself nodding along, almost cheering, wanting to grab your phone and chuck it out the...
authoritarian-style may not be to everyone’s liking, he explains how digital minimalism will look different for everyone. An aspect of technology one person may struggle with, another may not. Opening up the opportunity for personal reflection of one’s own digital struggles. Newport’s writing goes beyond a self-help book of how to decrease your digital usage. It prompts you to evaluate what holds true meaning within your life and how technology can be used as a tool to support these values; as he nudges, “is this the best way to support this value?” He establishes a need for a re-focus of the intentionality we have within our digital lives and how this intention can be the means in which we begin using technology again, as supposed to it using us. Quickly, Newport’s propositions are no longer unobtainable and radical - they are realistic. The more you read, the more sense digital minimalism makes, it is neither encouraging you to be a member of the Quantified Self or a Luddite - it is promoting the reclamation of balance. Newport also takes unlikely inspiration from a community associated with pretty much anything but modern technology - the Amish community. He notes the words of John Hostetler, “Amish communities are not
relics of a bygone era. Rather they are demonstrations of a different form of modernity.”
just joking. However, whilst Part 1 offers a stark reality at where we are at with our relationship with technology - Newport offers a solution: ‘The Digital Declutter’. The 30-day ‘Digital Declutter’ consists of 3 simple steps. The steps require you to declutter the optional tech and apps you use, replace time previously spent on these devices on old or new hobbies, to then reintroduce only what you really need - with the help of intention. Newport is firm but fair in his approach. He describes the process as a “rapid transformation”, but one that must be “aggressive” in order to be successful. Whilst Newport’s, at times,
Technology and the digital world is not something that has to be banished from our lives, and in fact for many of us - this is simply not possible. Instead Newport encourages a new outlook on these technologies, whilst reminding us not to get confused between what is convenient and what is critical. On closer inspection, surprisingly, the Amish are not entirely dismissive of technology. However, as Newport explains, they only adopt technology that they deem fully support their values and way of life in the best way possible. Certain Amish communities incorporate tools such as drills, solar panels and even websites for their businesses that are run by outside firms. Newport reveals how their selectivity of technology enables them to live a life that is complemented by certain devices, as supposed to be dictated. Technology and the digital world is not something that has to be banished from our lives, and in fact for many of us - this is simply not possible. Instead Newport encourages a new
outlook on these technologies, whilst reminding us not to get confused between what is convenient and what is critical. The 30-day ‘Digital Declutter’ provides a recalibration for us to be able to make this distinction clearer; while Newport’s suggestion of incorporating an “operating procedure” for our remaining digital devices, covers the when and how usage of a piece of technology. Newport reveals the hidden rotten core of our relationship with the digital world. This book offers a reminder, that you have more control than you think and more control than the digital creators want you to know. However, in a world where we are bombarded by self-optimisation tips, is this just another means in which we can compete by being as digitally minimal as possible? Could digital minimalism be just another badge of honour we end up wearing with pride to provide ourselves with identity fulfillment? Yet when we look around, we find ourselves in a world in the midst of a mentalhealth crisis - with all the fingers pointing at our techaddiction. Perhaps Newport’s self-optimisation through digital minimalism is the starting-pistol we’ve all been needing.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Arts • Film & Television
The Badger’s 2020 Favourites A Hidden Life Rob Salusbury Writer
When he’s at his very best, there are few directors who can reach the emotional heights of Terrence Malick’s work. With films like Days of Heaven, Badlands, and The Tree of Life, the veteran American filmmaker has etched a series of stunning tapestries filled with natural beauty and moral angst, and his latest, A Hidden Life, deserves to sit in the very highest echelons of his filmography. This three hour epic is an adaptation of the true story of Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to step into line under Nazi occupation during WW2. Filmed amidst the stunning cloudy peaks of a breathtaking mountainscape, it is magnificent filmmaking. Beautifully composed, but increasingly disturbing in its depiction of how paranoia and evil can rip through even the most tranquil of communities, it taps into the evils of our current-day situation without ever becoming heavy-handed or tone deaf. A Hidden Life, like all of Malick’s best work, buried deep into the emotional heart of Franz’s situation. Through two remarkably committed central performances from August Diehl and Valerie Pachner (as Franz’s wife Fani), along with cinematographer Jörg Widmer’s ambitious use of extreme wide-angle lenses to shoot both the stunning alpine surroundings and Franz and Fani’s interactions, the film continually probed their determined efforts to resist mob rule and emphasised the struggles of their tortuous moral battle. But beneath all of the darkness, it was Malick’s instinct for creating space and his immaculate instinct for pacing that drew out an ultimately optimistic message. Through motifs both visual and musical, including the gorgeous refrain that is weaved throughout James Newton Howard’s stunning score, Franz and Fani’s love lifts them high above the blind rage and hatred of the rest of the village, their compassion for each other becoming the beautifully steady constant that withstood the storm of anger. Truly the story for our times.
Bridgerton Katie Drake - Staff Writer
Released on Christmas day, the new Netflix series Bridgerton has been storming our screens, reaching 60 million households
over the past month. The series is a pseudo-period drama set in 19th century Britain. It focuses on the dynamics in high-society, with the main character and so-called “diamond of the season”, Daphne Bridgerton, taken to several debutante balls as she tries to find a husband. The series is particularly good at focusing on scandal - something often absent in period dramas - and characters must do all they can to keep their secrets from being revealed by the anonymous columnist, Lady Whistledown. A gripping and scandalous watch, the gossip writer’s identity is not revealed until the final moments, but provides lots dramatic tension and intrigue throughout the series. However, what makes this series particularly interesting is its exploration of social issues both in the current day and those that would have existed during the period. The role of women in terms of sexuality and patriarchy, as well as race is explored in a progressive, empathic way. Race is all but ignored and the role of the duke is played by Rege-Jean Page presents viewers with interracial marriage which would have been unheard of at the time. It is a very progressive reflection on 19th century debutante culture. Rumours suggest that due to the success of the first series, Netflix will be commissioning 7 more series so there will not be any shortage of binge material.
The Vast of Night Phoebe Adlard Writer
Director Andrew Patterson’s debut film, The Vast of Night, is a thrilling nod to old school scifi mystery movies. Although this movie premiered in 2019 it was released to a wider audience in 2020. Set in the small fictional town of Cayuga, New Mexico in the 1950s, it follows two high schoolers as they uncover potential extraterrestrial mysteries. With a storyline that could easily have fallen into the realm of cliché, this film manages to give it a refreshing, charming and exciting twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The film opens in a high-school gymnasium before the start of a basketball match. Most of the sparsely inhabited town will be attending. We get a glimpse of the players skimpy shorts and the cheerleaders floor-length skirts, appropriate to the era! After testing out a new tape recorder, Everett (a radio disc jockey) and Fay (a switchboard operator) leave the noisy venue and walk across the unsettlingly quiet town to get to their nighttime jobs. After an interference of the radio, calls are cut off and
Fay hears strange, unrecognisable noises through the line. She receives a call from a terrified woman warning her about strange occurrences just outside town. Fay seeks Everett’s help and together they throw themselves into a wild chase to discover what is really hiding in the vast night. This film is character driven, with long but capturing dialogue, that slowly draws audiences closer and luring them into its setting. Patterson’s low-budget film proves that you don’t need a crazy amount of funding to make a great movie. Expect an immersing, eery atmosphere, impressive tracking shots and great acting. If you’re into slow burn and sci-fi movies, you should definitely give this a shot!
the viewer in, immersing them entirely in an unseen part of life, and the people existing within it. Set against a consistently beautiful backdrop of rural America, Nomadland’s cinematography works hard to perpetuate this sense of immersion, with each camera movement and frame conveying a sense of intimacy between the viewer and the characters. Concurrently, the film’s delicate score ties all of this together, providing a gentle vibrancy to every scene. The subdued, and sometimes silent, nature of the screenplay allows more emphasis to be placed on the score and sound design, enhancing the beauty of each scene as it unfolds. Ultimately, Nomadland is both sombre and heart-warming in its depiction of solitude, providing a subtle, refined telling of an extremely powerful and complex story. Delivering social commentary and insight into a hidden side of contemporary America, coupled with stunning cinematography and a hauntingly beautiful score, Nomadland is a wonderful exploration of both the beauty and briefness of human existence.
American Utopia Yazz James - Film Editor
Nomadland Daisy Holbrook Writer
Written, directed, and edited by Chloe Zhao, Nomadland follows the life of Fern, (played by Frances McDormand) a 60-year-old woman who becomes a modern-day nomad following the loss of her husband, job, and community during the Great Recession. Nomadland is a subtle, slow portrait of human existence, solitude, loss, and rediscovery, exposing what exists on the outskirts of mainstream society and how it feels to become an outsider. Through nuanced writing, Zhao is able to create characters that are profoundly human, conjuring a sense of rawness and believability within them. This poignant storytelling coupled with a cast predominantly formed of real-life nomads providing documentaryesque accounts of their personal stories and perspectives results in an incredibly powerful character study and exploration into an overlooked side of the new American Dream, and the consequential loss that follows with changing times. The quiet nature of Zhao’s storytelling draws
After months of loneliness and bad news, American Utopia offers 100 minutes of comfort, whilst somehow remaining fairly down to earth. Spike Lee’s film of David Byrne’s Broadway show of the same name reminds audiences of what it means to be human, highlighting the beauty of exchange and collaboration. It feels almost impossible to compare American Utopia with the well-loved Stop Making Sense - the two films couldn’t be any more different. If the earlier concert film emulated a loose, wild and carefree nature, American Utopia is angular, decided and direct. By no means does this mean the performances are any less expressive, to me it just feels more modern - emphasising the artists talent for changing with the times. Whilst there were jokes about Byrne’s iconic big grey suit having shrunk, I think he’s rather grown into it. Now white-haired, with all the wisdom to match, David Byrne uses breaks between numbers to discuss topics like voting, police brutality, immigration and xenophobia. If you ask me, this is the most sense he’s ever made. Bursting with love and light, the film proves Lee and Byrne to be creative saviours, producing a film that so many of us desperately needed.
It’s a Sin Channel 4’s It’s a Sin follows a group of friends growing up in London in the 80s and early 90s. Spanning a decade, the series is powerful, joyous and mournful as they navigate the HIV/AIDS epidemic. WandaVision Available on Disney+ Marvel Studios’ WandaVision miniseries tells the story of Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they attempt to conceal their powers and live an idyllic suburban life. Euphoria Two special episodes of HBO’s Euphoria have been released, the first centering on Rue and the second on Jules. Trouble Don’t Last Always is heavy with emotional dialogue as Rue converses with Ali in a diner. F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob is equally heartbreaking. The episode sees Jules attend therapy, sharing truths and reveals another side of the character.
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris (2020) dir. Terence Dixon An intimate portrait of the beloved writer and political thinker James Baldwin comes to MUBI this week. A short documentary of less than 30 minutes, the film captures Baldwin in a range of symbolic Parisian locations. Ham on Rye (2020) dir. Tyler Taorminas Also available on MUBI is Tyler Taormina’s debut feature. Ham on Rye is said to be an off beat and quirky coming-ofage film that follows a group of teenagers as they attend a surreal ceremony, hosted at their local deli.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Arts • Theatre
Unspoken Rules, ‘Getting it Wrong’ and Adaptive Superheroes Nuerodivergency in Theatre Spaces Elijah Arief Thearte Editor In a world of rigid social structures and unspoken rules, where certain cues and the ‘right way to behave’ reign supreme, theatre is often a place where that world ceases to exist. The world of theatre is often a place for total liberation and complete freedom of expression, and that can be an amazing confidence builder for those who feel the pressure of strict social conformity from the larger society. Neurodivergence is defined as a variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood, and other such functions. And to be nuerodivergent means that your brain most likely operates differently from your peers. Such conditions include but are not limited to Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Dyspraxia & Dyslexia and Borderline Personality Disorder. Navigating life with a nuerodivergent condition can often be stressful and upsetting, the society we are currently living in is only just starting to understand these conditions and our health system is not equipped to help those who need extra support. And with 1 in 7 people, (that’s 15% of the population) who have a nuerodivergent condition, it is for the best that society begins to recognise and give support to those who require it.
Many nuerodivergent people within theatre are often keen to express how liberating working in theatre is. Theatre knows no boundaries and it doesn’t require a strict social code of conduct in order to be successful. Often it encourages and welcomes a wide variety of creative processes and artistic ideas and should be a place of liberated artistic expression. Having a nuerodivergent condition myself, I am aware of how important it is for me to have a creative outlet to pour my emotions and frustrations into, and to have a space where I can just be me without any masks or pretence. After a day of moulding myself into a neurotypical box that is often overwhelming and exhausting,
it’s essential that I have a creative downtime in which I can just be. For many people with a neurodivergent condition, that creative space is theatre. Many nuerodivergent people within theatre are often keen to express how liberating working in theatre is. Theatre knows no boundaries and it doesn’t require a strict social code of conduct in order to be successful. Often it encourages and welcomes a wide variety of creative processes and artistic ideas and should be a place of liberated artistic expression. Of course, that’s a very idealistic world view on how the Arts should operate, and whilst there is truth in stating this, it’s important to address the fact that there are still improvements to be made. Dyspraxia is a condition which affects roughly 10% of the population, with 2% being severely affected. It’s a condition which affects coordination, organisation and impairs movement control, and many artists have commented on how much of a struggle it is to put together a well organised physical theatre piece when your body just doesn’t move that way. Thus, one artist in particular commented on how he made his performances Dyspraxic, and said how he adapted his clumsiness and awkwardness into his performances. I believe that this is the right way forward, the expectation on nuerodivergent individuals shouldn’t be to conform to a neurotypical standard, rather the artist should have personal artistic freedom regarding how they should adapt their work to suit the needs of their condition. Thankfully, working in theatre can give performers that sense of individuality and can ultimately help aid somebody’s creative process. I interviewed Sarah Johnson, Artistic Director of The Bathory Project and Performer about her experiences working in theatre with neurodivergency.
How has navigating theatre been for you as a nuerodivergent person?
Ok that’s quite a big question, and one that will get you a very wide variety of answers. I’ve been negotiating theatre spaces for my whole life, but whilst completely unaware of my nuerodivergent condition. I was put into dance classes at the age of three and a half and would stand at the back of my
ing my best every time and excoriating myself whenever I failed to reach that perfection. It had the knock-on effect of making my text based acting awful. When you have gotten ‘it wrong’ in the eyes of neurotypical folks in your life time and time again, it takes a toll and you find yourself focused on that and not the thing that makes you interesting, creative, different or amazing and thus fail to make your performance as amazing as it can be.
How can theatre spaces make themselves more accessible for nuerodivergent people?
Image: Wikimedia: MissLunaRose12 sister’s class and copy what they were all doing, so I have been expressive my entire life, which led me eventually to theatre. There are so many things I love about it, both in terms of the practical and physical spaces. The practice of creating work is so exciting. Whether it be working out what a Shakespearean scene would look like in modern clothes or speech, to creating new work from scratch, the simple act of ‘make believe’ is thrilling. Everyday asking “what if?” “what would?” or “How could I?” is exhilarating. But theatre spaces themselves are also amazing. I love being in a space in the hour or so before everyone else arrives and just existing in the quiet before everyone rushes in to create a brand-new world every night. As a late diagnosed person, I am still untangling my life experiences from the expectations of the neurotypical world. I’ve worked on stage, and off stage in a variety of roles but also as a producer and a creator. I guess it’s the unspoken rules that catch me every time. I guess the tricky and non-satisfying answers is that I have never known what it is like to enter a theatre space as a non nuerodivergent person, so I don’t fully know the challenges I faced,
because I had been there for so very long before knowing about my divergence. I just thought that the things I got wrong such as social cues or peoples lack of tolerance for things I found fascinating or essential were just normal and that somehow, I was in the wrong.
I am still uncovering who I am and what I need, but I guess the main one is more openness around neurodiversity and what it can look like and a preparedness to do what is possible within the limitations of the time and place to accept the divergence and accommodate it. Because neurodiversity is so, well, diverse. It covers Autism and ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia and Borderline Personality Disorder. These conversations need to occur when they are needed. However, that is also balanced by the fact that we don’t have easy access to funding and endless time to find the best way forward. It is something that I believe is crippling our theatre industries.
Can you think of anytime where your nuerodivergency as aided you?
My first major training was in dance and I developed a knack for improvisation. The free flow of movement in the moment, in response to the stimulation of music and ideas that music has inspired is a core part of my creativity. I might not dance anymore, but I still have that internal response and when it leads to the flow state, where everything in the universe aligns and you feel as if you are hardwired into the universe, it’s amazing. That instinctive flow state moved with me from dance to singing and eventually to devised theatre. Because neurodiversity allows me to connect so intensely and completely with the outside world, I am hugely vulnerable to anxiety and fears about getting things wrong. I spent most of/ my life stressed and anxious about getting things right, about giv-
I spent most of/ my life stressed and anxious about getting things right, about giving my best every time and excoriating myself whenever I failed to reach that perfection. It had the knock-on effect of making my text based acting awful. However, it is important to remember that there are far more divergent people in theatre than one might realise. In part because those of us who can, become ‘adaptive superheroes’ a phrase my dear friend and colleague Sarah Saeed of Lava Elastic coined. Because we never know what unspoken rule, we might break next, we are constantly poised to find a solution to every problem. Big or small, ours or someone else’s and thus we don’t get seen for our deficits, just our amazing ability to cope and get by, but that cope is limited, and the cost of that adaptation is very high indeed.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Arts • Music
20 Review: Folklore and Evermore An exploration of Taylor Swift’s Lockdown Endeavours
Grace Curtis, Robyn Cowie & Claire Cunningham News, Arts and Contributing Writers
As the world turned to the arts for distraction during the first wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Taylor Swift created new music in an effort to distract herself from the outside world and in doing so releasing not one, but two albums, both critically acclaimed. Continuing to prove that Swift is a modern musician like no other. Folklore and Evermore, shows Swift’s transition from pop, which we have seen with 1989, Lover, Red and Reputation. In contrast, both Folklore and Evermore are indie-folk and rely on imaginative storytelling, rather than that of Swift’s own life. Both albums, created in partnership with Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, use acoustic guitar and melodic piano to create thoughtful escapism. Both albums topped the charts, with Folklore being nominated for six Grammy Awards. Grace’s Choice’s: If you have been a Taylor Swift fan as long as I have, since at least 2009, both Folklore and Evermore will hold a close place in your heart. The recent double album releases represent her maturity as both a person and an artist and for fans like us, the transition could not have felt smoother. When I first heard ‘Invisible String’, the eleventh song from Folklore, I’m ashamed to admit I burst into tears. Not because I was sad really, but more because I was happy. Invisible String is a song about Taylor’s relationship with her British boyfriend of three-years Joe Alywn. Her current happiness and contentment radiate through lyrics like “isn’t it just so pretty to think…all along there was some…invisible string…tying you to me?” and “hell was the journey, but it brought me heaven”. For a longterm fan like myself, it was moving to hear Taylor exude such happiness, especially after years of sharing her pain through her anthems. We’ve all been with her through years of bad break-ups (‘All Too Well’ and ‘Dear John’), high-profile feuds (‘Innocent’ and ‘Bad
Folklore - Photograph: Taylor Swift & Repbulic Records Blood’) and public criticism (‘Look What You Made Me Do’). After all of this, listening to the happiness that emanates through ‘Invisible String’ for the first time nearly did me in. As tears poured down my cheeks, my older sister looked at me with disdain. “Why don’t you care this much about my life?” My favourite song on Evermore is slightly less emotionally loaded. ‘No Body No Crime’ is a lesson in musical storytelling. Taylor partnered with friends and collaborators Haim to tell the story of a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her friend by a suspicious cheating husband. Through tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “Este wasn’t there… Tuesday night at Olive Garden at her job or anywhere”, Taylor emulates the short-form country music style storytelling of her earlier career to tell us a fascinating tale of revenge, lust and murder. This song is Taylor at her best: the lyrics are witty, the hook is catchy and a movielength story is ambitiously told in the 3-minute running time. Robyn’s Choice’s: For me the first track from Folklore, ‘The 1’, situated Swift within her new era of musicianship. Swift is informing the listener that she is in a good place, “ I’m doing good, I’m on some new s***”, whilst also introducing her use of storytelling, moving past her autobiographical style. ‘The 1’ is reflective, remembering a past relationship, informing them of how their life has progressed and how they are attempting to
make the most of what life has offered them, “I hit the ground running each night, I hit the Sunday matinee”. ‘The 1’ allows the nameless lead to reflect on what would’ve happened if their romantic relationship had not ended, but also allows to come to an understanding that the relationship although seemingly not right, was special, and that ultimately, “It would’ve been fun, if you would’ve been the one”. From Evermore, the stand out song for being has to be ‘Champagne Problems’. The ballad reminds us of the mastery which Swift has lyrically, and one of her most evocative bridges, “She would’ve made such a lovely bride, what a shame she’s f***** in the head”. The song presents a couple, meeting with different perspectives and different goals. One being to end the relationship due to their inability to cope with it along with their own mental health, whereas the partner desire’s to get married and continue their life of luxury, and yet they must go on and find someone else to live out this life with. The song examines struggles with mental health which result in her refusing a proposal, only for it to be deemed ‘champagne problems’ by onlookers. The song is considered one of her greatest to date, due to the powerful lyricism of it, “Sometimes you just don’t know the answer, ‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you”. The ballad is a masterpiece in modern songwriting and is one which shall be hard for Swift to
Claire’s Choice’s: Taylor Swift’s surprise album release did more than just give me a multitude of new songs to listen to during monotonous lockdown walks, they offered a point of connection. My sister and I talked incessantly about theories behind songs and my mum who isn’t a Swifty but a folk music fanatic became obsessed. Especially with the song ‘Cardigan’, and asked for it to be played over and over again in an attempt to learn the lyrics (she never did despite hearing it 1000 times). ‘Cardigan’, the lead single from Folklore, is part of a musical trilogy that showcases Taylos unique and imaginative storytelling ability. ‘Cardigan’ along with ‘Betty’ and ‘August’, narrate a teenage love triangle, from three different perspectives. Throughout the three songs, there are clues and ties to the others so an avid listener can connect them and uncover the story buried in the album. Taylor crafts a highly dramatic and emotional story of love, summer and youth. A boy leaves his girlfriend to have a summer affair with another girl, but once summer ends he is back to beg for her forgiveness. During the most boring summer of my life, Folklore was a lovely surprise that was able to inject excitement into the day to day routine and soothe the burn of missing Taylor headline Glastonbury. While Folklore was an album that encapsulated a feeling of summer, Evermore was the
perfect counterpart for winter. Her song ‘’Tis the damn season’ tells the poignant and nostalgic tale of someone returning home for the holidays and rekindling a romance with an old hometown flame. The song is a nod to Christmas and the familiarity of returning to the comforts of your “parents house”, sinking back into old routines with “you can call me babe for the weekend”. This created a viral trend for millions of Swifties, a holiday hookup anthem and the excuse to text their ex. This is just one example of the power of Miss Taylor Swift, and the influence of her heartbreaking, gut wrenching, shoe stomping, fist bumping tunes. Taylor Swift fully embraced the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic and in the process created two evocative, intimate albums which provided fans all around the world with something they had no idea they needed, but greatly appreciated. Evermore and Folklore in tandem are considered two of the leading artistic results of the pandemic and for the three of us at the very least made the whole experience of 2020 more manageable, as we had music which we could distract ourselves with, as it allowed us to escape into the many narratives which Swift presents throughout these sister albums. Folklore & Evermore are available on all streaming services.
Folklore - Photograph: Taylor Swift & Repbulic Records
The Badger 1st February 2021
Arts • Editors’ Choice
21 Editors’ Choice
Editors’ choice is a column in which the Arts Editors have both the platform and opportunity to share what we are engaging with from the world of the arts. We wanted to create this section so that we are not only being the Arts Editors this year but also have the chance to write as well. We hope you shall discover some up and coming events, ideas, artists, productions, musicians and texts which may peak your interest, as we share what has caught our eye as well as getting us thinking about the events, new releases and ongoings from within the arts. For our first article we wanted to share some of our all time favourite texts; movies, books, podcasts, artists, albums, magazines, social media accounts and our cultural highlights, as a way to establish this new column and also share the types of artistic media we consume and enjoy. Robyn Cowie Arts Co-Editor Like millions around the world, who tuned in to watch the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden be inaugurated on 20th of January, I was confident in my knowledge of what would happen. Lady Gaga would give an outstanding rendition of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, Jennifer Lopez bringing swagger with ‘This Land Is Your Land’, we would see previous Presidents of a bygone age and look back with a warm sense of nostalgia. Newly elected President Joe Biden would offer a unifying message of getting America back on course, dealing with leading issues of inequality, injustice and also trying to gain control over the pandemic, all whilst showing to the world that the United States if America wanted to return to the world stage. And yet, the stand out moment was the powerful words of Amanda Goreman with her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’. Goreman’s poem was like a universal sermon for what a modern, diverse nation can and should be. Amanda Goreman is a poet, activist and author, who has recently been named the first Youth Poet Laureate and has with her most recent performance at the inauguration, reminded people all around the world the power of this art form, spoken word, one which is often forgotten or deemed to only be influential when coming from a very select, historic and quite frankly old fashioned format of expression. However, Goreman has in fact made poetry have a revival and if anything modernises this use of prose into format which has the power to raise awareness to issues, unite the masses and importantly to spread the message of hope. ‘“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried. That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.” The Hill We Climb’ is a poem created in order to heal a world which is reeling for many different reasons to cause us all to feel lost. Not two weeks before Goreman was standing on a platform at the Capitol in Washington D.C., the very same place where insurrection had been attempted in an effort to prevent democracy from
taking place, she used her words to encapsulate all which the world was feeling when witnessing that event. The poem is a call to action, for us to remember past events good and bad, to acknowledge them and to learn from them, all so that our future can be brighter. One in which we have learnt from past mistakes, recognise that all of us are humans worthy of inclusion, individuality and representation. That we offer a voice to those who are voiceless. Goreman managed to capture a mood which has been casting shade over the world, and with her poised wit and sunshine smile, offer faith and optimism when we are still all reeling in a dark place. “In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country, our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful. When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” I therefore encourage that we continue this revival of poetry in as many formats as possible. Whether this is by rediscovering the classic poets of the past, such as; Emily Dickenson, Syliva Plath, John Keats, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg or Walt Whitman. Or if you wish to continue discovering the prose of African-American poets, I would reccomend; Maya Angelous, Langston Hughes, Gwendoyln Brooks, Claudia Rankine or Toni Morrison. Poetry comes in many forms, whether it is put to music with Hip-Hop, with lyrics which are able to encapsulate many different, relevant and modern experiences with compositions from the likes of; Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, to the more modern melodic lyrics of the likes of Loyle Carner and Dave. To deeply instagrammable poets of Rupi Kaur or Charly Cox. Maybe even try to look back on your old GCSE English poetry texts, with the likes of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage. What I am trying to say is that; rhyming couples, metre, symbolism, and alliteration can transform our everyday experiences into something remarkable. And Amanda Goreman did just that, she was able to capture the mood of both America and the world and offer all of us positivity and light, with her words and her wit. Reminding us all the impact which poetry can offer.
Jessica Hake Arts Co-Editor
Recipe for delicous Banana Bread: Ingredients: 150g butter
It’s the start of the New Year! Everything is going to be different! Start of new and exciting things!
140g caster sugar
Oh, do me a favour; As someone who started 2021, like many, lacking in the seasonal joy that is traditionally associated with the start of the New Year, I think it’s safe to say that the whole ‘new year’s resolution’ was not something I chose to partake in. Instead, I decided to practice my writing skills by keeping a diary, heavily inspired by the very new (and still available on BBC iPlayer) Bridget Jones documentary.
2 bananas (mashed) 1 egg (all whisked up) 1 tbsp of apple sauce 140g self-raising flour 5 tbsp icing sugar Plus any extra’s youd desire to add into the mixture; chocolate chips, peanut butter, walnuts - go wild with your humble bake. Method: 1. Oven wants to be pre-heated to 180C or gas mark 4 2. Line and butter a loaf tin (this is where your cake batter is going to go) 3. Mix (cream) the butter and caster sugar together until it’s all mixed up and light 4. Gradually add your egg, applesauce and mashed bananas 5. Now gradually spoon in your flour and baking powder
Tuesday (this is before I started putting the actual bloody date down) Banana bread is highly overrated. I cannot decide if I think this because of all the hype surrounding the cake that started in the first lockdown. Or, more likely, because whenever I bake it, it just never seems to work out right? I’ve made brownies, blueberry cupcakes and an upside-down pineapple cake in this past week that all turned out sublime. So I’m really confused as to why I can master so much of the patisserie world, yet am truly unable to bake a decent banana cake. . . . I think this has prejudiced me against bananas. And possibly all slow energy release fruits.
6. Pop the mixture into the tin and bake for 55 minutes or until when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean 7.
Leave to cool
8. Mixing sugar with 1-3 tsp of water to make a lovely runny icing and drizzle on I wish you all a lot better luck than me and hope you 2021 is going well x
Below I have attached my recipe for the aforementioned banana bread, maybe you’ll have better luck then I did. I’m not entirely sure where it’s from – my mum wrote it down for me on the back of a Boden catalogue, so go figure. Flikr: Robyn Anderson
ARTIST T H E A RT I ST S
Artist Focus: Rosie Barker With the constant stream of bad news and uncertainty, art seems to have become our only source for escape. Despite it all, at least we have movies, photographs, books, music, and illustrations to look at when we need a break. That’s why The Badger’s Artist Focus is an essential space. Here, readers are invited to forget the world for a little while by submerging themselves into the exciting projects that Brighton artists are working on. This week, I spoke to Rosie Barker, a final year BA Illustration student at Brighton University. Her artwork, which is injected with striking colours and influenced by Japanese art, has the capacity of transporting you to faraway places. I talked to her about her transition from University to Art School, about her storytelling techniques, and how the pandemic led her to embrace food as her main subject. Tell me a bit about your background. How did you decide to get into art? I was always very good at art in school and college, however, I was
never taught the amount of available jobs within art sector, which I believe is a massive shortcoming in our current education system. Thinking that I would be unable to develop a stable career, I kept trying to veer away from art jobs, which led me to apply to Goldsmith’s University to study English Literature instead. Soon enough, I realised how jealous I was of my flatmates pursuing art-based degrees, and I made the choice to drop-out and attempt to get into an Art School to do something I actually loved. My degree had no foundation course, so I spent my lunch breaks whilst working at a restaurant building up my portfolio for my application. Luckily, I got into the course I wanted to, which gave me the motivation to pursue being an Illustrator more than ever. Some of your artwork reminds me of Japanese manga art, is this intentional? It’s interesting you pull that out of my work. I grew up watching films by Studio Ghibli, and I always had a love and interest towards the art of Hokusai, Utamaro and all the Ukio-e artists, which was a woodblock print and painting style from the Japanese Edo period. I also deeply admire the art of Moebius; his comics have a softness
Words by Luisa De la Concha Montes
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The Badger 1st February 2021
O F B R I G H TO N
to them that I really enjoy compared to the bold pop-art styles you might commonly find within the UK art scene. I guess this inspiration has fed into my work unintentionally, as it’s what I interact with the most, so it has naturally filtered into my practice. How does illustration allow you to explore storytelling? Illustration allows me explore storytelling in a very accessible and emotional way. People are much more likely to engage with something that is visual.Therefore, through my drawings, I am able to transport the viewers into a world where they can question, wonder and relate to the situation that is being depicted. I love how a great illustration can tell a story immediately. I think being able to achieve that is a really amazing skill and I hope to get better at this throughout my career.
up illustrating my own stories, so it seems funny to me now that I’ve actually began creating my own comics. I am really enjoying the process but I also respect comic artists so much more now. I now realise how hard it is to find a good midpoint between a story that is too obvious, and one that is too niche or difficult to understand. I have also challenged myself to not include any text so that I can let my artwork do the talking. Through this, I have discovered how important composition, atmosphere and mood are when telling a story to create engagement. I definitely want to explore this further this year. A lot of your work explores the idea of food, why is that?
I’ve noticed that you’ve been experimenting with comics too, how has this experience been for you?
During the pandemic, food seems to have become the centre of our lives. From our daily trips to the supermarket, to eating something nice, food seems to be the one thing we can enjoy despite the situation. Usually, a lot of my inspiration would come from travel and seeing friends, but since I’m unable to enjoy this part of my life, I have discovered a new interest in drawing food.
When I broke the news to my college art teacher that I was going to pursue English at University, they jokingly said that maybe I would end
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The Badger 1st February 2021
The Badger 1st February 2021
Travel & Culture 25 Cuba: The Estadio Latinoamericano, Industriales and Cuban Baseball Travel and culture editor Hal Keelin recalls a trip in the baking heat to the Baseball in Havana Hal Keelin Travel and Culture Editor The murmurs around the stadium rise, the whispers of disapproval grow steadily into a chorus of dissent. A woman stands up from some rows down and cries “Tranquillo! Tranquillo!” Calm! Calm! The Industriales, Havana and Cuba’s most successful baseball team since the revolution, are one run down already in the 3rd inning, and the opposition's bases are loaded. They’re set to lose a further four runs. On the mound, the pitcher seemingly listens to the woman’s cries, and, despite throwing two wayward balls previously, recalls his focus. Stilling his mind, and blocking out the noise, he throws straight. It whips through the baked air, the batsman swings, he’s late. The ball went straight through him. The tension is distilled, the inning over. The Estadio Latino Americano – Latin America's largest baseball stadium- is due west from our apartment in central Havana. I am with my dad, exploring the city and eager to see my first live baseball game. The city’s grid system - a legacy of the town's colonial past eases our navigation and we walk, almost entirely in a straight line for a few miles. We cling to the shadowed side of the pavement, as the midday Caribbean sun beats down overhead. We punch west, out of the cobbled streets of Centro de Habana and the buildings and tourists thin out while the roads grow wider. The bici-taxis are replaced in their number by ancient American cars. Their bright pastel pinks, light greens, yellows and reds zip through the grey and black plumes left by those in front. Like many sports stadiums around the world, the Estadio Latinoamericano is further out of town than would be ideal, and we submit to walking in the midday heat and jump in a taxi for the rest of the way. We see the floodlights first, eight blue crooked cranes, bent up and over the ridge of the stadium, climbing high, facing the field inside. It looks abandoned. Rusty scaffold clings to a frame that looks as if it could collapse at any moment. The top tier is a faded white bowl, the whole thing is like a gigantic rotten bathtub left in the square, unwanted and unkempt. A barred metal fence surrounds the scaffold and eats about 40 metres into the square.
to play the veteran Warren Spahn ahead of Willey and wondered despondently how the result for Milwaukee would have been different, had the younger Willey been chosen. With the triumph of Castro’s government, the abolishment of professional sport ensued, and the pre-revolutionary Cuban League disbanded in favour of a new National League. The Industriales of Havana quickly established themselves as champions of the new format, winning the championship in its infancy four times consecutively. In one of these seasons, their record of 66 victories from 96 games is still a record. State-run baseball had found a home in the capital.
Three blue benches sit on the unpeopled side of the fence, they all face different directions as if a change of face could beckon the people to come back. There are people, nevertheless. They are scattered about in small groups on the far side of this concrete square, almost every one of them is on some kind of device, a phone or talking fast and emotionally into a headset. It’s one of a few public spots in the city where people can access Wi-Fi. No one seems bothered about baseball. Four children in dusty caps and vests sat on the wide steps. They come over giggling, some behind their leader are nervous. The confident one asks us for a ticket for the match, we clumsily say yes but make it obvious we don’t actually know how to do this. There’s no obvious box office. The confident one seems to understand and beckons us to follow him, pointing toward where the stadium overhangs the ground floor around the back.
student demonstration against the tyranny of the Fulgencio Batista regime within the ballpark’s walls. I can almost hear their nervous whispers, echoing through the wide concrete halls as they anticipated attending this momentous occasion in Cuban history.
It’s an old stadium and being built in 1946 means it has overseen one of the most turbulent half centuries’ in Cuba’s history. As well as playing its role in ushering in the new Communist government, The Estadio
Latinoamericano can be credited to helping consolidate the essence of the new government through the sporting success of the new team on the block, Havana’s Los Leones, The Industriales. The head of the new regime was an avid baseball fan. Amid one revolutionary battle, six weeks before the fall of Havana to his forces, Castro is noted to have sat and talked at length about the past year's World Series. Apparently, he wanted to know why the Milwaukee pitcher, Carlton Willey, the 1958 Rookie of the Year, had pitched so few innings in such a crunch game. Castro lamented over the coach’s selection choice,
We see the floodlights first, eight blue crooked cranes, bent up and over the ridge of the stadium, climbing high, facing the field inside. It looks abandoned. We pass under the dirty white and blue badge above the entrance. It’s an old stadium and being built in 1946 means it has overseen one of the most turbulent half centuries’ in Cuba’s history. It’s dilapidated appearance, with its timber frame, scaffold and faded colours increase the feel it is of a bygone age. In 1956 Jose Antonia Echeverria housed a mass
It is said to have represented a major symbolic statement of “thawing” between the USA and Cuba. It seems the Estadioamericano will never cease to be an important political arena. For, seventy years after the stadium housed its first tussle, when Almandares swept Cienfuegos aside nine runs to one in 1946, Barack Obama and Raul Castro watched the Tampa Bay Rays of Florida beat the Cuban national team four runs to one in 2016. It is said to have represented a major symbolic statement of “thawing” between the USA and Cuba. This dilapidated old stadium, site of long forgotten matches and arena to a bygone age of political turbulence, with its creaking timbers and peeling paint, its half hearted scaffold support and looming cranes, its halls and entrances of hollow echoes and surfaces of dust, could crumble amidst the weight of its own memory and nostalgia at any moment. Upon leaving, I'm thirsty after our long walk across the city and ask at the only stool for food if they have any water. "No water, my friend". There’s a short pause. "But we have juice," the man offers kindly. He hands me a bag of orange liquid. "Ok, I’ll take it, do you have a straw?" I say, slightly confused. "No.." he smiles and then raises his hands. "This is Cuba, my friend! You have to bite it". We leave the stadium behind us and step out again into the sweltering heat. The juice is good.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Travel & Culture
Carnival around the world Phoebe Adlard Staff Writer The first months of the New Year can feel a bit sad. We’re potentially coming down from festivity highs and are now faced with endless weeks of winter blues. In some parts of the world, however, the month of February gives way to colourful traditions and celebrations. Streets are filled with parades, music, costumes (and booze). In other words, it’s Carnival! The word carnival originates from the Latin word carnelevare, meaning “to remove the meat”. Traditionally Carnival was celebrated in Europe by Christians, during the days leading up to Lent. Lent is a 6-week period before Easter, during which some believers enter a strict fast and others choose to forego certain luxuries such as alcohol or meat to commemorate Jesus Christ’s 40 days in the desert. Carnivalesque expression, however, is much older than Christianity and can be traced back to ancient civilisations. In Ancient Mesopotamia, The Babylonians’ organised a spring festival of ‘Akitu’ to celebrate the rebirth of nature, while in western Antiquity, many “pagan” cultures dedicated celebrations to seasonal change. Carnival is a period of ‘freedom’, during which people can let go and indulge in celebration. In Europe of the Middle Ages, the Church promoted carnival as a visualisation of sin, during which people surrendered to their ‘follies’ and ‘desires’. The ‘fool’ was a symbol of evil and people would parade through the street wearing masks and costumes. Carnival parades and costumes were full of symbolic imagery. Animal and devil costumes are thought by some to have symbolised the inversion of the ‘civilised human’ into a primitive, savage being, while others argue
cities in the area, are best known for their wild carnivals. There is a historic but jovial rivalry between the two. In Cologne, the carnival is considered to be the fifth season of the year, the locals call it the “fünfte Jahreszeit”. During this time, most pubs and bars have no closing time and people get drunk on the traditional beer, called “Kölsch” that is served in thin halflitre glasses. The ‘Kölner Karneval’ is considered to be one of the wilder carnivals in Europe.
Carnival is a period of ‘freedom’, during which people can let go and indulge in celebration.
this is suggestive only of their proximity with nature. The usage of masks also prevented animosity and removed social differences by hiding one’s identity. After the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, which split Christianity into different branches, carnival became less popular amongst the reformed. It was deemed irrational and disruptive, and some traditionally protestant cities in Europe remain carnivalfree to this day. Yet, as we know, carnivalesque
celebrations aren’t limited to Europe. The Americas and the Caribbean are also rich in carnivallike festivities. The carnival in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans’ ‘Mardi Gras’ are world-famous events. Although these festivals may have been influenced by the arrival of Europeans, they have incorporated indigenous traditions and beliefs resulting in unique regional characteristics. Although carnival is celebrated in many other places, I have only experienced carnival first-hand in Germany where I was born and during a trip to Venice. In Germany, ‘Karneval’ officially begins on the 11th November but only really kicks off in February on the weekend before Ash Wednesday (“Aschermittwoch”, traditionally the first day of Lent). Celebrations commence with the Coronation of a ‘carnival prince and princess’ and parties, parades, costumes and music take over the streets from Thursday (“Weiberfastnacht”) to Tuesday in most big cities of the country. The Rhine area (an area of Germany that stretches out around the river Rhein) is the German Carnival hotspot. Cologne and Düsseldorf, two big
I grew up in Munich and have fond memories of this Winter fest. The capital of Bavaria, a southern region of Germany, also celebrates Carnival but calls it “Fasching”. Our street Carnival isn’t quite as elaborate as in the Rhein area but is still a muchloved yearly festivity. Although it’s pretty cold this time of year with temperatures dropping well below zero, we put on a costume, grab some confetti and head out onto the streets. The Fasching Week starts on a Thursday, called ‘Weiberfasching’ or Women's Fasching. On this day people dress up and wander around the town, getting drunk, playing jokes and pranking each other. A custom consists of challenging women to cut off the neckties of passing men. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday festivities gradually increase and peak on Monday (“Rosenmontag”) and Tuesday (“Faschingsdienstag”). The city organises a small parade and a big open-air dance party on the ‘Marienplatz’ square. Roughly 800 carnival balls take place in grand theatres and hotels around the city, but the highlight of this season is the ‘Krapfen’, a pastry that resembles a doughnut but without a hole in the middle. The
traditional Krapfen is filled with apricot jam and powdered with sugar. Many different variations exist and are limited only by the baker’s imagination but can include cream, chocolate, coffee, and even fruit. In contrast to the ‘rowdy’ German celebrations, the Carnevale di Venezia is a more ‘refined’ celebration that focuses on aesthetic, music and art. The Carnevale is one of the oldest and most famous carnivals which takes place every year in Venice. The festivities start in February roughly two weeks before Ash Wednesday. This carnival is a spectacle and the city of Venice its stage. Every year you can watch as beautiful parades are orchestrated on the canals. During Carnival, Italians enjoy ‘Chiacchiere di Carnevale’ a typical sweet fritter covered in icing sugar. However, Venice is best known for its stunningly lavish masquerade costumes and masks. Traditionally the primary role of Venetian costumes was to abolish socio-economic constraints as the poor dressed as the rich, the rich dressed as the poor and people weren’t obliged to greet one another as their identity was hidden away by a mask. Remember the ball scene in Romeo and Juliet? This sense of freedom was expressed through colourful and flamboyant gowns and headwear still present today. The Carnival gained attention across Europe in the 17th century and has remained a tourist hotspot ever since. Whilst many artworks attempt to portray its mysticism and beauty, none have come close to being in Venice on Carnival day! Unfortunately, revellers will have to stay at home and dream of the fun times they had celebrating carnival in the past whilst looking forward to a Covid-free future when we can all hit the streets again in silly costumes.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Travel & Culture
Borders of both oppression and opportunity: how ‘affinity ties’ saved lives across the China-Myanmar border Clementine Thompson Staff Writer Despite the vibrancy of blue protruding from the roofs of endless huts, only dullness emanates from the Internally Displaced People’s (IDPs) camps in northern Myanmar. ‘Surplus populations’ arise when nation-states deem groups of people unproductive and a threat to national sovereignty, enacting laws and violence which compromise that population’s survivability. It is a concept unheard of for many, but a reality for the people of Kachin state, Myanmar. Ongoing conflict between the Burmese (Myanmar) military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has pushed hundreds of thousands to the clusters of IDPs camps along Kachin’s eastern border with China. The camps are overcrowded, inaccessible and depriving people of their basic needs: camps controlled by the government harbour high levels of violence and alternate camps managed by Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and their army face obstacles in accessing international humanitarian assistance because of the government. During the 1400s, the Kachin peoples are thought to have migrated South from central Asia through Yunnan, China to occupy areas now considered northern Myanmar and the neighbouring lands of India and southern China. ‘Kachin’ ethnicity refers to six main tribes, of which the ‘Jinghpaw’ are most common (also known as ‘Jingpo’ in China). During British rule, Kachin land became British Burma and much of its sovereignty was lost. Because it was rich in natural resources of jade, timber, and gold, it quite literally became a goldmine, contributing a substantial portion of revenue for the Burmese economy.
Jan Van Raay, flickr
Myanmar Prime Minister Nu’s declaration of Buddhism as state religion resulting in the majority Christian population of Kachin to be alienated yet still denied true independence - it is here the KIO and it’s military partner (KIA) was founded. As the Burmese military’s control over the government rose, so did the violence against Kachin civilians and Kachin Independence Army. Despite the Kachin ethnic group being considered one of the eight races permitted to reside in Myanmar, they have faced major discrimination and subordination; artillery attacks and battles between the KIA and Burma Army have trapped civilians within conflict zones or pushed them to the blue-roofed camps at the borderlines, displacing them from the country’s population.
When Burma (Myanmar) gained independence from Britain in 1948, Kachin was promised regional autonomy as a separate state. When Burma (Myanmar) gained independence from Britain in 1948, Kachin was promised regional autonomy as a separate state. This was far from the reality: the central government continued to intervene in Kachin state to maintain exploitation and direct access to their natural resources. This coincided with
The camps are overcrowded, inaccessible and depriving people of their basic needs. The power of the government does not stop there. As many as half of the IDPs choose KIO camps beyond government control (despite the limited humanitarian access) to avoid horrific violence enacted by the government’s military. Those residing in government controlled camps risk severe chastisement and criminalisation for alleged association with the KIA, much like two men travelling to a local football match from Kutkai Township’s camp. Their local camp leader, Bawk Tawng, recites: “They beat him and forced him to admit he was a member of the KIA….The soldiers covered their eyes with some clothes and beat them all over with sticks.” The two men were later released by the soldiers, though lacking justice or assurance that it would
not happen again. Both local and international humanitarian organisations face a multitude of obstacles in aiding the IDPs. Their accessibility is determined by whether it is a government or KIO-controlled camp, if they can access them through Myanmar or China, and whether they risk prosecution by doing so. The government remains a powerhouse over the flow of resources from many international humanitarian organisations, meaning community and faithbased actors must utilise their Kachin protection networks to regain control; trade bargaining, translator volunteers and transporting goods across state are just a few examples which highlight how imperative social capital is for supporting IDPs. Utilising affinity ties between the Kachin IDPs and Chinese citizens are how such protection networks have been formed, providing the opportunity to disintegrate their difficulties. ‘Affinity ties’ are a concept introduced by Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho in her paper “Mobilising Affinity Ties for Humanitarianism”. They are established through webs of connections, bridged from common histories, religion or even just co-inhabitance that can link people from differing social classes.
can avoid obstacles of aid. When the Chinese police detained a truck carrying food supplies for the Kachin displaced peoples - suspecting it was being used for just that - local Kachin humanitarian workers were forced to act quickly and reached out to a Jingpo pastor in China. Subsequently, he contacted another pastor in the village where the police were holding the truck: claiming the food was for the people of his church, the Chinese pastor ensured safe passage for the IDPs’ supplies. Explaining his actions, it became apparent that religious affinities were relevant yet subordinate to the proximity his village had to the resettled Kachin IDPs. Proximity provoked notions of empathy and responsibility from the pastor which in turn encouraged him to get involved in activities which put his own life at risk and ultimately saved theirs. Anecdotes like these showcasing acts of kindness and care for the IDPs are abundant and truly represent the importance of affinities in any form. ‘One hand washes the other’ There is a tendency when picturing giving - whether it be in the form of resources, acts or knowledge - to consider it a vertical transaction. An act from a pedestal, in one direction, from the giver to the receiver. The affinities and subsequent acts of protection tying the Jinghpaw communities together demolish both those tendencies. The power relations appear non-hierarchical in nature and diminish the power of the Myanmar government in its attempt to block aid and freedom of the Kachins. As the phrase ‘one hand washes the other’ implies, interventions which appear to flow in one direction often reap mutual
benefits either immediately or as a future prospect. The manau poles of Jingpo culture (pictured below) facilitate a traditional ‘manau’ dance ceremony, a festival which can take place over many days. However, a Chinese volunteer describes how in the Cultural Revolution their connections to cultural practices were severed: the poles were removed from villages to distinguish all elements of tradition, resulting in future generations wrongly guessing the traditional number of poles for the manau. It was only through cross-border interactions with Jinghpaws in Kachin that the Jingpo rediscovered that there should be six. Not only did they achieve cultural rediscovery but an even greater sense of affinity, crucial for reducing the suffering of Kachin people from across the border.
As the phrase ‘one hand washes the other’ implies, interventions which appear to flow in one direction often reap mutual benefits either immediately or as a future prospect. It is almost comical that the scramble for territory paved way for their cross-border affinity ties. National borders drawn during British rule birthed an intersection of multiple nations’ land holding language affinities, religious commonalities and kinship systems which may not have halted the civil war, but created a sense of belonging the Kachins never received from their government. “We Jingpo in China are the same as Kachin from Myanmar, but we have different governments; therefore, we love and support our family members from the other side of the border.” – Chinese Jingpo interviewee
Affinity ties are established through webs of connections, bridged from common histories, religion or even just co-inhabitance that can link people from differing social classes. Although affinity ties between groups can be formed through shared identities, a story concerning a benevolent Chinese pastor highlights how merely proximity to displaced peoples
Mohigan (Jul 2015)
The Badger 1st February 2021
Travel & Culture
A love letter to Brighton Bryony Rule T&C Online Sub-Editor For whatever reasons you decided to come to Sussex, its proximity to the city of Brighton was likely a huge pull factor. Renowned for its diversity, vibrancy and anythinggoes disposition, Brighton has captured countless of us under its spell. At the advent of Spring term, another national lockdown has meant that many students have remained in their hometowns or countries, away from Brighton, the city they love and chose to spend (at least) three years of their life in. Whilst we may be presently unable to mooch through the eclectic lanes or devour salty chips on the pier, we can reflect on all the things we cherish about our wonderful city, and look forward to a time where we can enjoy it once more.
Countless evenings are spent on the pebbles waiting for the sky to be streaked orange, pink and golden, as the sun descends behind the iconic silhouetted ruins of the old pier. The perfect remedy to university and life stresses, Brighton seafront provides the backdrop for many a Sussex students’ time in the city. From the balmy summer sun drying saltwater into your skin as you enjoy tinnies with friends, to being swathed in a winter scarf and hat, watching
the tumultuous waves crash against the west pier, the sea is a constant, reassuring presence for Brighton inhabitants. Countless evenings are spent on the pebbles waiting for the sky to be streaked orange, pink and golden, as the sun descends behind the iconic silhouetted ruins of the old pier. There is a comforting sense of unity at this time every evening, as people from all walks of life gather on the beach to watch day transition to night. In the autumn
and winter months, faces tilted upwards, we watch in awe as thousands of starlings congregate around the pier to dart and swirl in elaborate patterns, seamlessly choreographed and coordinated as they dance against the dusk sky.
There is a comforting sense of unity at this time every evening, as people from all walks of life gather on the beach to watch day transition to night.
your preferred watering hole, and infamous characters of Brighton we all know and love, Brighton is brimming with diversity, community spirit and friendly faces. Brighton is progressive, exemplified by its Green Party political representation and frequent demonstrations for human and environmental justice. People you meet are always willing to chat, debate and educate; Brighton, for many, has been a place to expand horizons and outlooks, to introduce new ideas and see the world through fresh eyes.
For Sussex students, weekends are invariably spent wandering the lanes, snooping for undiscovered treasures and feasting the senses on the hustle and bustle of the colourful cobbled streets. No two visits to the lanes are ever the same; new street art appears overnight, every mooch down the North Laine seems to offer a new independent shop filled with unique trinkets, and there is always a new alleyway to be found after taking a wrong turn – still so easy to do, even after three years of exploration.
The multiplicity of identities and communities in the city offers something for everyone, permitting everybody to find their place and their people.
Brighton, for many, has been a place to expand horizons and outlooks, to introduce new ideas and see the world through fresh eyes.
For students, it is our home away from home, offering up friendship, independence and opportunity. Brighton is flamboyant, electrifying and unique. For students, it is our home away from home, offering up friendship, independence and opportunity. Those beginning second term away from the city realise the strength of their affinity to Brighton when they start to wonder: am I even starting to miss the seagulls at this point?
Brighton would be nothing without its people, who enrich the fabric of everyday life in the city.
Beach, shopping and charming architecture aside, Brighton would be nothing without its people, who enrich the fabric of everyday life in the city. From the buskers who inhabit every other street corner, to the barista at your local coffeeshop, barman at
The Badger 1st February 2021
Science & Technology
10 good things in 2020 10 scientific achievements, technological advancements and positive stories to start 2021 off 8. Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election now means that America - the world’s second largest CO2 emitter - will rejoin the Paris climate agreement in the world’s battle against global warming. Just hours after being sworn in as President, Biden also signed a mandate stopping the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, and an executive order issuing a Covid-19 ‘mask mandate’ on all government property.
Harry Smith Let’s face it, positivity has been in short supply recently. This last year has been filled with constant ‘Breaking News’ alerts illuminating our phone screens and informing us of rising death counts across the world. We have been overwhelmed by ceaseless televised announcements condemning us to tighter lockdown restrictions, and to top it off, we’re now back in winter. However, although it might feel like December 39th of the year of Armageddon, good things did happen in 2020. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been many scientific achievements, technological advancements and positive stories for animals and in nature that occurred in the midst of the past year. Here is a rundown of 10 of the many good things that came out of 2020 to start 2021 off right.
1. In August, the WHO de-
clared that Africa was officially free from wild polio following decades of vaccination campaigns. Nigeria, which accounted for half of global polio related deaths under just a decade ago, was the final country to be cleared of the deadly disease as the vaccine successfully reached the most remote corners of the continent. Whilst there is no cure for polio, the disease has now been eradicated with a vaccine that protects children for the rest of their lives. After a quarter of a century battling the disease, scientists reached a monumental milestone in 2020, saving the lives of millions of children.
“ SpaceX Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX turtles this past Spring were able to peacefully carry their babies across beaches usually populated by humans, laying over 60 million eggs.
3. Prior to Covid-19 the fastest vaccine ever developed, used to treat mumps, took over four years to be produced. As a result of an incredible global effort, teams of scientists have now released various COVID vaccines in less than 12 months - a remarkable achievement that has introduced new, quicker ways of making drugs and vaccines for treating illnesses.
Behnken and Doug Hurley, pilot the Crew Dragon spaceship. The astronauts worked on the space laboratory for two months whilst onboard the spaceship and eventually returned to Earth, parachuting down into the Gulf of Mexico. More recently, SpaceX did it again on the 15th November, launching four astronauts into orbit - the company’s first crew transport mission. They are expected to stay on the International Space Station until May of this year.
5. As nations continue to be forced into lockdown various traditional festivals and events that mistreat and
parades in India continued to be spared this form of abuse.
SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, launched the world’s first crewed commercial spaceflight. 6. Scientists have continued to attempt to turn the tide on global warming, as researchers in the UK recently developed a new plastic-eating enzyme that can break down plastic bottles. The enzymes have the potential to make a significant dent into the 300 million tons of plastic that humans create each year. Prior to this development, plastics could only be recycled a few times before degrading. This new enzyme means that we could now have infinitely reusable plastic in the not so distant future.
9. In December, Denmark the EU’s largest oil producer - committed to ending all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, as part of a movement to stop extracting fossil fuels by 2050. Although nonEU members Norway continue to produce far more oil than their neighbouring EU countries, Greenpeace described Denmark’s announcement as a “watershed moment” in the fight against climate change. 10. A huge, new coral reef was discovered for the first time in 120 years. In October, scientists located the new coral structure at the northern tip of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The reef was mapped at 500m high - taller than the Empire State Building. The new reef is also home to 30 new species of sea life.
The highly endangered East Indian sea turtles this past Spring were able to peacefully carry their babies across beaches usually populated by humans, laying over 60 million eggs. 2. The lockdowns of the past year have forced humanity to stay at home. This has been hard on many of us, but with fewer of us out and about, animals have been able to roam around their natural habitats more freely. The highly endangered East Indian sea
Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election now means that America the world’s second largest CO2 emitter - will rejoin the Paris climate agreement in the world’s battle against global warming.
4. In May, SpaceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, launched the world’s first crewed commercial spacef light. The mission saw two NASA astronauts, Bob
abuse animals across the world have been cancelled. Throughout the course of the year over 120 bulls were saved by the lack of bullfighting in Spain, and elephants used in
7. Evidence for alien life gained new momentum with scientists discovering saltwater on Mars and a dwarf planet named Ceres. Researches revealed that Mars possesses saltwater lakes buried beneath its glaciers of ice, supporting the belief that the planet is capable of sustaining life. In August, it was also announced that saltwater has been found on Ceres, with the water having built up beneath the planet’s surface from an underground ocean. These are exciting discoveries that demonstrate the potential for life outside of our own planet.
Researches revealed that Mars possesses saltwater lakes buried beneath its glaciers of ice, supporting the belief that the planet is capable of sustaining life. While we continue to save lives by hunkering down binging Netf lix, studying and working from home, we are also giving the planet a crucial moment to breathe. Even in the midst of a pandemic, progress has been made all over the world, pointing us towards a more hopeful and positive future.
The Badger 1st February 2021
Science & Technology
Developments in artificial blood Is synthetic blood the future of transfusion medicine? Nisal Karunaratne The concept of ‘artificial blood’ has been around some centuries, ever since English physician William Harvey was the first to recognise and name the importance of ‘blood and circulation’ in the human body in 1616. In the medieval ages, this was known as the theory of the ‘4 humors’, that the main substances that were thought to make up the human body was: black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. The ‘4 humors’ was first coined by Hippocrates, who linked each humour to an element in the universe. For ideal health, they have to be in perfect balance. When this balance is lost, it leads to sickness. Therefore, medieval scientists and doctors widely believed that by changing or replacing the composition of the humors with substances such as wine, milk and honey, diseases/personality disorders could be cured. As usual, this was mired by controversial and disappointing experiments until the Germ theory was published by Louis Pasteur in 1861. The initial quest for a source of artificial blood was prompted by the blood shortage crisis in World War I and II which lead to many avoidable deaths and patients getting infected with HIV during blood transfusions in the 80s. Although, there has been significant improvements in blood screening, collection and storage, blood still need to be cross-matched and discarded after a couple of weeks. If only there was a solution where blood was immediately available, completely safe, and ideal for use during emergencies. Many artificial substitutes for blood developed today which includes Perf luorochemicals, Haemoglobin-based Oxygen Carriers (HBOCs) and cross-linked Polyhaemoglobins. These substitutes were only designed to serve one purpose which is to carry oxygen. This approach was deemed safe and effective as this gives a simple starting point where it has the potential to save someone’s life as well as building a strong foundation for the ad-
“ Pixabay dition of other functions such as coagulation and immunity later down the line by merging with Nanotechnology.
The initial quest for a source of artificial blood was prompted by the blood shortage crisis in World War I and II which lead to many avoidable deaths and patients getting infected with HIV during blood transfusions in the 80s.
gen carries (HBOCs) utilize the same haemoglobin molecule, but it is not contained within a membrane. The absence of plasma membrane solves cross-matching and typing issues, saving time and allowing immediate transfusion. HBOCs can be stored for many years, compared to six weeks with human blood, making HBOCs ideal for use in locations where access to blood banks a rare commodity such as: remote locations, disaster sites, and war zones.
Perf luorochemicals are inert organic compounds found in large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes, that can dissolve approximately twice more oxygen than human blood plasma. As well as being completely free of biological material so there is no infection risk, they are relative cheap to produce in mass quantities. Despite having good oxygenation properties, it does not readily dissolve in blood plasma and therefore must be combined with aqueous/lipid compounds. This generates an emulsion of extremely small particles which can be injected into the patient. Some companies have already developed blood substitutes based on Perf luoroctylbromide and Perf luorodichoroctane combined with egg yolk lecithin (surfactant). Phase II clinical trials are currently being carried out on surgical patients, in hope of delaying the need for use of autologous blood transfusions which is required by Jehovah’s Witnesses who cannot accept donor blood. Haemoglobin-based oxy-
Phase II clinical trials are currently being carried out on surgical patients, in hope of delaying the need for use of autologous blood transfusions which is required by Jehovah’s Witnesses who cannot accept donor blood. Although HBOCs sounds promising, haemoglobin on its own is susceptible to oxidation, degradation, and conversion into toxic molecules such as bilirubin and inactive metmyoglobin. Furthermore, oxygen delivery using a cellfree carrier instead of RBCs causes idiopathic alterations in blood f low in arterioles and capillaries. Major advances have been made in overcoming both of these problems such as cross-linking haemoglobin with enzymes for oxidative protection or modifying the molecular structure of Hb. Bifunctional agents are used for chemical cross-linking or modification using recombinant DNA technology to form
large number of surgical patients. There is strong reason to believe that within the next couple years, some of these products will soon become available for clinical use with many experts in the field hypothesizing that HBOCs will perform their specialized function even better than RBCs. A third-generation blood substitute is also being developed which utilizes artificial RBCs. Two potential methods are to either to encapsulate haemoglobin and anti-oxidative enzymes inside lipid vesicles, or biodegradable polylactic acid membrane nano-capsules via the use of Nanotechnology.
Polyhaemoglobin. The crosslinked haemoglobin molecules are far more stable and shown to have greater oxygen releasing capabilities under low pO2 compared to RBCs. Another additional advantage of using blood substitutes, is that it can be pasteurized, filtered and chemical-cleansed to make them sterile, helping us to combat transfusion acquired diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C A number of companies have developed many blood substitutes which have shown immense potential and are currently utilized in clinical trials:
Northfield Laboratories Inc has developed Pyridoxalated glutaraldehyde cross-linked human haemoglobin. Currently in phase III trial, where 5L was infused into surgical patients during operations. Hemosol Corp developed Oraffinose cross-linked human Polyhaemoglobin. Currently in phase II clinical trials Baxter International developed Diaspirin cross-linked human haemoglobin. Currently considering for use in Phase III clinical trials with a
There is strong reason to believe that within the next couple years, some of these products will soon become available for clinical use with many experts in the field hypothesizing that HBOCs will perform their specialized function even better than RBCs. University of Washington in St Louis went further with this and developed a ‘powdered blood form’ called Erythromer. It consists of extracting haemoglobin from RBCs and coating it with an ‘Immune Silent’ synthetic polymer. The polymers unique
properties make Erythromer compatible with any blood group and allows control oxygen delivery in relation to blood pH. The powdered form allows Erythromer to be freeze dried at room temperature and can be stored for a year. When needed the substitute just needs to be dissolved in sterile water and is ready for transfusion. The lab trials of Erythromer on rats and mice have already proved successful and human trials are being planned.
The Badger 1st February 2021
31 What’s Next After UFC 257?
Will Vo If the key word after the event isn’t ‘underdog’, then perhaps it is ‘gameplan’, as both Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier perfectly set up their finishing sequences with educated strategy and managed to overcome the favourites in Dan Hooker and Conor McGregor respectively. As the threat of the takedown weighed on Hooker’s mind, the actuality of calf kicks weighed on McGregor’s legs, and both men fell when their opponents moved their offense towards the head. So, after looking at what happened, the next step is to look at what’s next, how does the biggest star in the sport bounce back? What happens to the lightweight title? Where does Michael Chandler, the new kid on the block, go from here? Let’s see. To begin, a look at Conor McGregor. Immediately after the fight, McGregor indicated a desire to remain active in 2021, which opens a number of possibilities. After his defeat to Diaz in 2016, a rematch ensued, however due to the current title picture this seems unlikely. So, where does he go from here? The first option, and what is seemingly a perpetual option, is the trilogy fight with the aforementioned Nate Diaz. Dana White has already expressed the likelihood of Diaz returning this year, so it would be reasonable to suggest that this could be next. This would be interesting, and potentially likely for a number of reasons. Firstly, a Diaz fight has
SteveLipofskyBasketballPhoto Msmirlie2863 done big numbers for the UFC before, and that is always desirable for the company; both their fights have done over 1.5 million PPV buys, so it only seems reasonable to suggest the rubber match would follow suit. Secondly, and perhaps cynically, it is a fight that McGregor would be heavily favoured to win, even more so than he was against Poirier. McGregor has already shown his ability to gameplan for a Diaz fight, and knows that he can outstrike him for as long as his stamina holds up. Furthermore, Diaz was convincingly outclassed by Jorge Masvidal in his last outing, which only emphasises the idea that he isn’t the threat that he once was. Thirdly, as it pertains to the wider picture in the 155lb division, neither McGregor nor Diaz hold a legitimate claim to challenge for the title, so both men would look to get back into the win column in their potential trilogy fight.
Another option for the Irishman would be the human highlight reel Justin Gaethje, and whilst the likelihood of this is low, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question following Gaethje’s defeat to Khabib. How this fight would play out has become infinitely more intriguing following their respective recent bouts, as McGregor’s damage from leg kicks against Poirier would play right into the hands of Justin Gaethje, who Khabib claims hits harder than anyone he had previously faced. Furthermore, against Tony Ferguson, Gaethje showed a patience that we had never previously seen, as he managed to do what many thoughts was impossible, and stop El Cucuy, having kept pace with him for five rounds. This makes a potential McGregor fight all the more interesting, as this version of Gaethje seems to be less likely to recklessly charge in and be open to the pinpoint precision of the
Notorious one. Now to look at the previously mentioned boogeyman, Tony Ferguson. Despite being in the lightweight division simultaneously, McGregor and Ferguson have never met inside the cage. On the back of two consecutive defeats, the American would be looking to bounce back against McGregor and prove that he’s still a force in the division, whilst McGregor would be attempting to either earn his trilogy fight with Poirier or put himself back in title contention. This would be a fascinating bout, as Ferguson is often described as a ‘better version’ of Nate Diaz, with his seemingly granite chin, never ending cardio, and python-like submission threat. The possibilities here are endless; would McGregor crack the chin of El Cucuy early? Would Ferguson survive the storm as he usually does, and come back as McGregor starts to fade? As the cliché goes, there’s only one way to find out. Looking at the wider picture in the lightweight division, for the sake of speculation let’s presume Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t coming back, and we can play matchmaker with regards to the vacant title. The most likely option has to be Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira taking on Dustin Poirier for the vacant belt, with the winner facing the winner of a Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje fight. Oliveira has quietly amassed a 7-fight win, and finish, streak, whilst Poirier has just knocked out the biggest star in the sport. This bout would be exciting, and also make sense. Poirier
hasn’t faced a submission threat on the level of Oliveira, who holds the record for most subs in the UFC, whilst Oliveira has yet to face an opponent with the power and technical boxing of ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier. How this would play out is truly impossible to call, as Oliveira seems to have overcome his previous propensity to crumble under pressure, and Poirier has improved leaps and bounds from the brawler he was before. Could Oliveira snatch the neck of the Diamond, or would the pressure boxing of Poirier earn him another stoppage? We’ll have to wait and see. In Michael Chandler, the UFC have a cannon on their hands, as the former Bellator lightweight champion knocked out Dan Hooker, a feat which many thoughts would not be possible in a single round, if at all. Matching Chandler up after UFC 257 is tricky, if only due to the sheer number of options available for him. The aforementioned Gaethje fight seems to make sense, purely due to rankings, and the undoubtable fact that their fight would be chaos. Or perhaps the UFC will match him up with McGregor. Chandler’s reputation as somewhat of a glass cannon, meaning he can knock anyone out as easily as he himself can be knocked out, cannot be ignored, and a bout with Conor McGregor would be intriguing but also unlikely. Overall, UFC 257 tore up the script, and made the already brilliant 155lb division exponentially more unpredictable, exciting, and ultimately intriguing.
Lampard leaves Chelsea Josh Talbot Editor-in-Chief Chelsea legend and first-time premier league manager Frank Lampard has been fired from the club after a decline form. In a statement released by the club, it was stated: “There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the Club time to improve performances and results this season.” This decision came after Chelsea placed ninth in the premier league table and had only one win in five of their previous league games.
@cfcunofficial Club owner Roman Abramovich said: “This was a very difficult decision for the Club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect
for him. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers. “On behalf of everyone at the
Club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as Head Coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.” Reports circulated in light of the clubs 3:1 home defeat to Manchester City on January 3, that Lampard would be given time to improve the team’s form. Mounting pressure to gain a place in the Champion’s League (by finishing in the top four of the table) and Paris Saint German- vetran Thomas Tuchel’s publicly announced interest in the position saw sacking on January 25th, however.
Lampard, who as a player made 429 appearances for the club, scoring 147 goals, released a statement calling the expereience “a huge privilege and an honour.” He continued: “I am proud of the achievements that we made and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and have performed so well. they are the duture of the club.” In the statement released on Instagram he reflects that he is proud of the achivements the club has made but “disappointed not to have had to have had the time this season to take the club forward and bring it to the next level”.
The Badger 1st February 2021
32 A Dose of Reality for the Tennis Community We’re living in unimaginable times and the world of tennis needs to stand in line.
Max Kilham Sports Online Editor Times are hard. There can be no doubting that statement and as much as we instinctually ridicule those with greater resources who complain about their own hardships, we must take them into consideration. They are human after all. However, there comes a point where perspective is warranted. With the first major tournament of the tennis calendar on the horizon and the COVID-19 pandemic no closer to dissipating, a major decision was needed. And that decision was made, the Australian Open will take place this year, two weeks later than its usual date. However, should the tournament be taking place at all? The short answer is no. The long answer is also no. Dfat, the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reported in November that just under 37,000 Australian citizens are stranded abroad as a result of the pandemic. Over 8,000 of these people are classed as vulnerable. To hold an international tour-
nament, bringing athletes from every corner of the globe to one area, whilst Australian citizens are still being refused entry, is a travesty. The reaction in many of these situations is to blame the players. However, these assumptions are often the result of unconscious scapegoating. The players are at minimal fault in this scenario, they are merely following the protocols and actions placed down by various tennis federations. As reported by the BBC, around 1,200 people have flown to the island for the tournament, adding fuel to the fire. This is not to say that the players are never at fault as many within the sport have done its image no favours in the past year. 17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic hosted an exhibition tournament last year which resulted in various covid cases, including for the Serb. It led to widespread criticism, including from fellow player Nick Kyrgios, who stated on Twitter that the world number one ‘went missing’ when it was time to show ‘leadership and humility.’
As said previously, it is not just the players who have harmed the sport’s image. Tennis federations are currently enabling an environment in which the sport is being painted as above the ordinary man or woman, hiding behind the players, damaging their reputations in the process. Katie Boulter, a British tennis player currently in quarantine in preparation for the tournament, described to the BBC how tennis players are now being “looked at with a magnifying glass… to make sure that no-one steps out of line.” Tennis Australia and the Australian government must take responsibility. Allowing 1,200 people to enter the border is an insult to the 37,000 people stuck abroad, not to mention their families and loved ones who have no doubt been experiencing an extremely stressful period. It is understandable that there is a clamour to see the tournament go ahead. But there are larger forces at play and it does not seem right to continue with the event considering the circumstances of many. There would be little issue if
37,000 people were not stranded abroad as the Covid protocols currently being implemented would hopefully keep cases down, despite recent cases amongst players.
The level of support for tennis is global, and therefore the pressure to host the Australian Open is understandable. But it is simply not the right decision to be making under current circumstances. Unfortunately, there are many stuck abroad fighting to return home. Frankly, a tennis tournament should not take priority over the displacement of the general public. The level of support for tennis is global, and therefore the pressure to host the Australian Open is understandable. But it is simply not the right decision to be making under current circumstances. Focusing on the tournament itself, 72 players have been forced into a strict quarantine after four players tested positive for Covid. Despite voiced concerns from some players, most significantly
Novak Djokovic, quarantine is still being imposed. As per Sky Sports, CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley had this to say when speaking to Nine Network: “The vast majority, most of them have been fantastic and been supportive. “(They) know that this is the contribution that they have to make in order to get the privilege of when they do come out to compete for A$80m in prize money. “So we will turn the corner on those few that don’t have the right approach to this. But the rest have been really good.” The Australian Open is set to go ahead. Despite the desperation for those stranded abroad, some of the greatest athletes on earth will compete once again for the first major silverware of the year. Djokovic will be looking to add a record-breaking ninth Australian Open crown, whilst American Sofia Kenin will look to defend her title. It will be an entertaining tournament, even with protocols in place. But in reality, Melbourne should be seeing no play over the coming weeks.
Formula 1 and Nikita Mazepin – money or morals? Rob Barrie After Hass’ decision to keep Nikita Mazepin, are we seeing another example of F1 focusing on greed rather than doing the right thing? When Haas Formula 1 team announced their line-up for the 2021 season, Mick Schumacher seemed destined to captivate the fans’ attention. Being the son of Michael Schumacher, who is statistically tied with Lewis Hamilton for the greatest driver of all time, all eyes were on the young German’s entry to the pinnacle of motorsport. However, it was his future teammate, Nikita Mazepin, who attracted the headlines, and for the wrong reasons. The Russian driver, who has a history of controversy, posted a video on social media of him groping a woman. Immediately, there was a collective call from the F1 community for punishment. Pointing towards the ever-present slogan that F1 has displayed in the past season – ‘We Race as One’, fans called upon the sport to uphold the message it was so keen to promote. The hashtag
#WeSayNoToMazepin regularly trends on Twitter such is the unified voice of fans. The incident in question happened off-track, so the choice of action fell to his current employer, the racing team Haas. Haas swiftly condemned the video and said it would deal with the matter internally. The FIA, F1’s governing body, also issued a statement in support of Haas’ response. There was a considerable media blackout from the team, with no update about the proceedings. From the outside, it looked an easy decision – carrying out, morally, the correct course of action and dismissing a driver who so brazenly had offended women not just in motorsport, but sport in general. However, Formula 1 is a sport ultimately dictated by money and sponsorships, put simply: money talks. It was hoped from within the F1 community, though, that financial gain would take a back seat in proceedings and that Haas’ moral compass would resist the allure of mountainous funds. From Haas’ point of view, however, they were in a predicament.
They clearly do not possess the same resources of Ferrari or Mercedes and, upon joining Haas, Mazepin brings with him substantial cash injects via sponsors. Not forgetting, either, that his father is a billionaire; so regular top-ups throughout the season will not be a hurdle that needs traversing. Dismissing the driver, therefore, would also realistically be dismissing any chance they have of further developing their car and consequently, any hope of moving up the grid in the forthcoming season would be all but diminished. In late December, Haas finally emerged from their investigations and publicly backed their new driver, confirming he will drive for them in the forthcoming season, with any penalties issued by the American team staying behind closed doors. Haas team principle, Guenther Steiner, called for Mazepin to “grow up” and although inside sources at Haas say Steiner was extremely annoyed, he was still ultimately part of the decisionmaking process that allowed Mazepin to stay. Steiner also
pointed to other ‘pay to race drivers’ in Mazepin’s defence, seemingly implying Mazepin’s actions were dismissed because of the fact he brings in money. Indeed, the issue that catalysed the fans’ uproar was clearly not Mazepin’s financial status. Steiner’s argument further rendered useless, of course, when one considers that other ‘pay to race drivers’ have no history of sexual assault. Haas cannot act surprised, either, about the recent unfurling of events. Mazepin has a long history of controversial incidents. He is notoriously aggressive on track, not only pushing, but going beyond the rules of racing and incurring multiple penalties. In 2016, Mazepin even punched fellow Formula 2 driver Callum Ilott. The chequered history of Mazepin should have sent warning signals to Haas, and his recent incident only cements the consensus that the Russian is not worthy of a Formula 1 drive. After confirming Mazepin would not be sacked, there was widespread anger and frustration from fans of all
teams. Haas’ acceptance of such deplorable actions has brought the sport, and its message of equality, into disrepute. The same sport that, with the aid of Lewis Hamilton, has been active in trying to achieve increased opportunities for women and ethnic minority individuals. Though this work should be praised, the internalised and somewhat dismissive discipline of Mazepin’s actions, coupled with the ‘brushing of the saga under the carpet’ mentality from Haas, has created a certain redundancy in the steps the sport has taken towards a more equal paddock. Therefore, Formula 1, it seems, is simply wasting its time in pursuing fairness and equality within the sport. By so easily disregarding such an important issue, a prime opportunity to show that the sport really does ‘Race as One’ unfortunately went unheeded, and with it, Formula 1 has not only turned its back on women, but every group vulnerable to discrimination too.
Read The Badger's first edition of second term. From vaccine updates to Brighton love letters, this issue's got you covered. Although we are...
Published on Feb 1, 2021
Read The Badger's first edition of second term. From vaccine updates to Brighton love letters, this issue's got you covered. Although we are...