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Glasgow University Guardian - November 11th 2008 - Issue 3

Glasgow University Guardian - November 11th 2008 - Issue 3



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The third issue in the 2008/2009 run of the Glasgow University Guardian.
The third issue in the 2008/2009 run of the Glasgow University Guardian.

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Published by: Glasgow University Guardian on Feb 13, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Glasgow University
Scottish Student Newspaper of the Year
Tom Bonnick reviews a Tenessee Williams classic
Frank Lazarski praises SteveMcQueen's bold new work
Hunger Strikes
11th November 2008
Student loses deposit on bogus fat lease
A STUDENT AT GLASGOW UNIVERSITYhas signed a tenancy agreement to a flat that isalready inhabited, and is now unable to reclaimhis deposit and first month's rent, totalling£850, from the landlord.Waqar Sadaat, an international studentwho is completing his masters in research inElectronics and Electrical Engineering, wasin desperate need of accommodation when hearrived in Glasgow. Having found DouglasSwan, a Glasgow landlord, on Gumtree.com hearranged for a look around his prospective flat.He told Guardian: “I didn’t have any accom-modation in Glasgow, I was in London but Italked to the landlord on the phone.“I told him that I was coming on Saturday,so would it be fine to take the flat at the sametime? He told me ‘that’s fine.’ So then I went tothe flat on Saturday and I met him, it was verygood so I decided I would stay there. He toldme: ‘OK, it’s your flat now.’”At this stage the Swan produced a ShortAssured Tenancy Agreement, complete withan inventory list, and asked Sadaat to pay a£425 deposit and £425 for the first monthsrent. Having completed the transaction, Swanpromised the student that he could move inafter two days.Sadaat explained: “So I’m signing thetenants agreement, and he told me he has to dosome work for the flat, some decoration. If Isign it I can live anywhere else in Glasgow fortwo days, and on Monday I can have the flat.”
(Continued on page 5)
Suddenly this Autumn
News Staff 
STUDENTS AND AFFILIATESof Glasgow University were givena rare glimpse into one of the mostrespected minds in Britain whenthe Archbishop of Canterbury,Dr. Rowan Williams, visited thecampus.The Archbishop appeared inconversation with Professor MonSiddiqui, Director of Glasgow’sCentre for the Study of Islam,in front of a packed Bute hallon Wednesday 29th October. Prof.Siddiqui introduced the Archbishopand described how the ‘BuildingBridges’ project upon which theyhad been working since 2003 hadbrought their paths together.She said: “It is a huge honourfor me to welcome ArchbishopRowan Williams to Glasgow, andan even greater privilege for me tobe able to have this public conver-sation with him on home ground.“How did this come about?The simple answer is, at least formy part, through friendship andthrough learning. The seminarbrings together every year a groupof international scholars, Muslim 
(continued on p3)
GlasgowwelcomesDr. RowanWilliams
George Binning
debris inCrichton
CRICHTON CAMPUS' NEWLYopened £37 million super campuswas evacuated, after pieces of woodencladding fell from heights of up to 30feet, whilst students worked at thecheck in desk just yards away.Crichton University CampusStudents Association (CUCSA)officially reported health and safetyconcerns after wooden claddingattached to the window fittings wereblown down on several occasions.In a letter sent to David Deakins andTed Cowan, the campus directors,CUCSA’s Student Welfare Officer,Laura Hill, states that debris hadfallen from the library ceiling in theextreme weather conditions.She said: “One piece of liningwas eventually blown so stronglythat it forced a louver from its posi-tion in the window frame just belowthe ceiling of the library, smashingonto the floor just in front of thelibrary check-in desk. We immedi-ately evacuated the students from thelibrary as a safety precaution.”She goes on to say that in thefollowing two weeks pieces of thebuilding continued to fall, whilststudents were still in the building,raising serious safety issues.
George Binning & Ishbel Begg
Louver tumbles from wall mountingStaff insist situation has been resolved
3rd December 20082 NEWS
HUB to become TheFraser Building
The HUB building is to be known formallyas The Fraser Building, despite the fact thatthe majority of the development’s adver-tising has been under its original name.A University spokesperson said: “TheHUB project management group is pleasedto announce that an official name has beenselected for the building. The HUB devel-opment will be formally known as TheFraser Building.”The name is to recognise Sir WilliamFraser’s contribution to Glasgow Universityover the past fifty years.A spokesperson for the Universityexplained: “Sir William Kerr Fraser wasPrincipal of the University from 1988 until1995, and then a very active Chancelloruntil his retirement in 2006.“The naming of this building recogniseshis massive contribution, not only to theuniversity’s development, but also to thewelfare and success of the many studentswho studied here during his stewardship.“Sir William was President of theSRC during his own studies here in the1950s and has retained a keen interest instudent affairs.”Sir William and Lady Marion Fraserwill officially open the Fraser Building onJanuary 13.An article by a Glasgow University philos-ophy lecturer was the one of the mostpopular on the BBC website last month.Over 592,000 people read Dr. DavidBain’s analysis of four major philosophicalquestions, which was written to coincidewith World Philosophy Day.The article was the most emailed andthe second-most popular in the world on theBBC’s website on November 20.A spokesman for the Universityexplained the significance of the article’spopularity.He said: “To be the BBC News website'smost e-mailed story around the world is agreat achievement and demonstrates the realinterest there is in philosophy.”The article invites readers to considerfour philosophical puzzles, each challengingthe morals, ethics and rationale underlyingour decision-making.Dr. Bain told Guardian that he waspleased with the feedback he had received.He said: “The reaction impressed on menot only the extensive reach of the Internet,but the widespread thirst for deep and diffi-cult questions.“I received nearly 100 replies, somewanting to apply to Glasgow. The onlyarticle that was more read on the BBC thatday was about a Czech underwear modelwho lacks a belly button. Not even philos-ophy can compete with that.”Commission says, but it has to be rememberedthat one of the referendum questions which theLabour party put, honouring our commitmentthat there shall be a Scottish Parliament was,were the Scottish people in favour of tax raisingto a limit of 3p?“Now that’s a power that no legislation inHollyrood has chosen to use, but its there. Andgiven the problems that have emerged fromthe Scottish Government freezing the counciltax, for example, its not unreasonable for us toreturn to the issue and say, ‘Wait a minute, youdo have tax raising powers,’ and also to reflecton whether those go far enough or go too far.”Sophie Hall, President of GlasgowUniversity’s Liberal Democrats, claimed thatthe majority of people in Scotland wouldsupport the aims of the Calman Commission.She explained: “We welcome the Calmanreport because it would lead towards givingus a fiscal home rule which is what peopleare actually looking for. Most of the Scottishpeople don't want a status quo or indepen-dence, however moving towards greater fiscalautonomy is widely welcomed by the people of Scotland.”Paul O’Kane, Vice Chair of GlasgowUniversity’s Labour Club, told Guardian hefelt that, thus far, devolution had been a verysuccessful process.He said: “The Calman Commission hasassessed devolution after ten years and hasfound a wholly positive and forward movingprocess, although there is room for debate anddiscussion on progress on a number of keyissues.”The commission, first proposed by WendyAlexander, former leader of the Scottish LabourParty, won support from the Tories and LiberalDemocrats to review constitutional arrange-ments. The SNP have chosen not to back theproject, instead launching their rival NationalConversation project.SNP MSP for Glasgow, Sandra Whitetold Guardian that the National Conversationproject will offer a wider focus and be open toeveryone in Scotland.She said: “The National Conversation,unlike the Calman Report which only engagedwith invited audiences, is open to everyoneto comment on what they wish to see for thefuture of Scotland, independence, status quo,more powers or indeed any suggestions thatthey feel will benefit Scotland.“The Calman Commission offers no suchchoice and is very narrow in its focus. As aparty who wish to see Scotland flourish andtake responsibility for its own affairs we couldnot support such a narrow agenda.”The Commission will release the first partof their report before the end of this year, withthe final report expected by the end of 2009.A RECENTLY PUBLISHED REPORT FROMan expert economic panel established by theCalman Commission has been met with mixedreactions in Scotland.The interim report, which was to examinealternatives for allocating funds to Scotland,comes in the wake of the Westminster depart-ment’s submission to the Calman Commission,which did not recommend any further transferof powers from Westminster to Holyrood. Thechairman leading the commission, Sir KennethCalman, was elected Chancellor of GlasgowUniversity in 2006.The publication of the report coincidedthe tenth anniversary of The Scotland Act,which created devolution. The report was tooffer updated recommendations on issues suchas greater financial powers for the ScottishParliament, and the Barnett formula, which isdesigned to automatically apply a proportionateshare of any increase (or decrease) in compa-rable English spending programmes.However, the expert economic group,chaired by Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principalof Heriot-Watt University, has decided not tomake specific recommendations on Holyrood'spowers over taxation and spending, in contrastto the pro-Union parties’ expectations of enhanced financial powers.Days before the report’s release Tom Clarke,Labour MP and architect of the 1998 ScotlandAct, commented: “We shall see what thePRIOR TO THE JOHN SMITH MEMORIALDebate, Hazel Blears enjoyed a drink with theGlasgow University Labour Club and took timeto speak with Guardian.
Have you always been politically active?
Yes, I first got involved through my tradeunion; I joined my union before I joined theLabour party. I was a shop steward, a safetyrep, and then I got involved with lots of community groups and campaigned to get a lawcentre in my community.In those days we had a Tory government soI was organising the march for jobs, protesting,doing all the things young people do.Then I joined the Labour party and some-body said to me: ‘Have you ever thought aboutbeing a councillor?’ So I was a councillor foreight years in Salford, my own city, and had afantastic time getting things done.And then somebody said: ‘Have you everthought about standing for parliament?’ andthis is what happens to you in life: you end upin the Cabinet!
Speaking to the Labour Club you referredto the House of Commons as predominantlyold, white, middle class and male. How longdo you think it will take to achieve a morerepresentative parliament?
Well, it’s just about a hundred years sincewomen started getting the vote and I hope itdoesn’t take another hundred years to get somekind of equality. I think it is getting better.“We have got a number of MPs fromdifferent ethnic backgrounds; we‘ve got fiveMuslim MPs, but we haven’t yet got a Muslimwoman MP, and I’m hoping that Rushnara Ali,who’s our candidate up in East London, willactually be the first, which is fantastic.But I think we have a way to go, and I reallywant to see more young people in parliamentbecause the world is changing so fast now
Guardian Q&A with Hazel Blears
Ishbel Begg
Report reviews Holyrood tax powers
which means having people with contemporaryexperience is really important.
Gordon Brown today dismissed speculationof a summer election, will he call the electionas late as possible?
I wouldn’t dream of speculating on whenwe will have an election. The task in handnow is helping people through what is a verydifficult financial situation and I can genuinelytell you this: the whole of the Government iscompletely focussed on keeping a roof overpeople’s heads, keeping them in their jobs andmaking sure they get through. It’s not the timefor election talk.
But Northern Rock’s rate of repossessionshas doubled since its nationalisation inFebruary, and is 50% ahead of any of itsmarket competitors on this front. How is thisconducive to “keeping a roof over people’sheads”?
It’s not good at all, and people are veryworried. But it is a lot less than in the recessionin the early ‘90s. That’s why I have broughtforward a program of £1 billion both to buildmore social housing for rent, but also to makesure we can help people with their mortgagesover this next year or so, so we don’t see peoplegetting repossessed and out on the streets.In June 2007, Hazel Blears was appointedSecretary of State for Communities andLocal Government.
George Binning
Jim Wilson
Web success forlecturer’s article
3rd December 2008NEWS 3
Jim WilsonJames Porteous
WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT THEJohn Smith Memorial Debate would be thescene of such bawdy rollicking and tabloid-worthy shenanigans?Admittedly one of the most prestigiousdebating events in the country, promising sucha star-studded line up of speakers, was boundto draw a crowd. But I did not expect to seethe Secretary of State for Local Government,amongst others, being harangued so loudly fromthe balcony by teams of inebriated students. Allthis was taken in good cheer and helped tocreate an atmosphere not too dissimilar to theHouse of Commons itself.The reasons for Charles Kennedy’s last-minute cancellation were left to general specu-lation, though his absence was swiftly over-shadowed by a far more interesting pres-ence: the eternal, the ageless, Nancy Dell’Olio.Once associated with Sven Goran Eriksson,Miss Dell’Olio now seems to be romanticallyattached to Andrew Neil. It seemed fittingthat the chairman of the debate should havethe most glamorous date, with Hazel Blears’husband, Michael Halsall, coming in at a with-ered second.As the chairman’s ‘date’ it was necessaryfor her to arrive at least half an hour late withan entourage of beautiful ladies, a requirementshe fulfilled with ease. Although her latenessdid mean that she was denied entry to the maindebating chamber and had to brave the vulgari-ties of the balcony.It was not until the votes were cast that thereal scandal began. Having been instructed towalk through either the left door or the right inorder to cast one’s vote, Miss Dell’Olio madefor the left door, voting in favour of re-electingthe Labour Government. Eager to catch her fora brief word I introduced myself, swallowedmy pride, discarded my principles and walkedthrough the left hand door with her.With a result of 97 votes to 94, in favourof the motion, it occurred to me that, had Ifollowed my better judgment instead of MissDell’Olio, the result would have been 96 to 95.I then considered the possibility that, if just oneother indifferent student had decided to followNancy, the outcome of the debate might havebeen completely different. This possibility soonbecame a likelihood, and then very quicklycertainty in my mind.Therefore, I put it to you Mr. Chairman,ladies and gentlemen of the house, that theresult of this celebrated debate was swungsinglehandedly by Miss Dell’Olio, a lady whowas not only not a student, nor a member of theGUU, but who was also over half an hour late,and who had a vested interest in the Chairman.“Shame!” I hear you cry.
Nancy That!
Narrow Labour win at GUU
George Binning
Jim Wilson
“THIS HOUSE WOULD RE-ELECT THELabour Government” was the title of thebi-annual John Smith Memorial Debate, held inthe historic Debates Chamber of the GlasgowUniversity Union on November 30.Hazel Blears MP, the Secretary of State forComunities and Local Government, led a benchof Labour MPs and MSPs, against Lembit OpikMP, Liberal Democrat, and his coalition of SNPand Conservative Party MSPs. Andrew Neil,the eminent journalist and broadcaster, chairedthe debate.Opik took a jovial approach to the debatebut remained competitive. He was evidentlyexcited at the prospect of leading a “rainbowcoalition”.He joked: “We’ve got to remember of course, whatever the outcome it’s just a bit fun.May the best team win, so long as it’s us.“What Glasgow University debatingsociety has achieved is something that even theScottish Parliament couldn’t achieve and that’sa rainbow coalition, a triumph of negotiation.Poor old Labour must feel outnumbered threeto one tonight. I’m very fond of Hazel Blearsand I’m here as a critical friend rather than anasty enemy.”There was some discrepancy on the Labourbench as to Gordon Brown’s actual electionplans. Tom Clarke MP, Labour claimed GordonBrown had postponed the election due to theglobal economic crisis.He told Guardian: “Had there been an elec-tion when Gordon planned to call it originally,and I think it’s publicly known that that wasquite early when he became prime minister, wewould have won. Yes, we would win an elec-tion now because I think people do appreciatethe extent of the global crisis and trust Gordonto deal with it.”Baron Foulkes MSP, Labour, was adamantthat Gordon Brown had always intended tohold a late election saying: “It’s always beenhis plan to go the full term and he stuck to it.I have always been of the view that he wasgoing to weather all the storms he was goingto face.”During the debate the Labour Party’s argu-ments played heavily on the unpopularity of the Conservative Government of the early ‘90s.Hazel Blears warned the house: “The Torieswill let the recession take its toll.”Bill Kid MSP, SNP, rebuffed saying thatLabour’s hidden conservative policies were notto be trusted.He exclaimed: “Like the snake, Kaa, in theJungle Book, Labour stares us in the eye saying‘trust in me’ as thousands of jobs vanish.”The opposition also brought the house’sattention to the Afghan and Iraq wars and theexpensive replacement of Trident.After 90 minutes of heated debate Labourwon a marginal victory with 97 votes to 94.Andrew Neil, an ex-editor of Guardian, haddifficulty maintaining order in the DebatesChamber, but was in high spirits.He told Guardian: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyedmyself because, well just look at this, look atthe numbers, it shows debating is alive andwell. And it was a good, feisty, traditional,robust Glasgow debate.But even after the votes had been cast Neilwas reluctant to cast his own vote explaining:“My BBC contract doesn’t let me say whomI would vote for, the chairman must remainneutral.”Another notable presence that eveningwas Andrew Neil’s guest, Nancy Dell’Olio.Voting in favour of the motion she explainedto Guardian: “I hope Labour is going to bere-elected but I find it very difficult to allycompletely with Labour or Tories. It is impor-tant to be pragmatic.“I’ve enjoyed myself, I love Scotlandthough its not my first time here, I’ve beenhere a few times for football reasons.”
Would this paper re-elect labour?Debates, page 11
>> George Binning

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