November 2008

Sex-filled club night condemned
A student club night in Oxford featuring naked wrestling in KY jelly, topless girls and a ‘fetish snake show’ has sparked an investigation by police. Astonished revellers were confronted with a virtual sex show laid on as entertainment at Kukui nightclub on October 29. Students who attended the event billed as ‘one of the naughtiest nights of the year’ have condemned the sexual shenanigans on show. One student told the Cherwell how she entered the venue and found herself surrounded by raunchy performers, “There were girls covered in jelly and wrestling with each other. They were only wearing small t-shirts, which they then ripped off and continued as good as naked except for tiny thongs.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

US election round-up - pages 12+13

Voices of dissent could be heard across the country as students took to the streets to protest the crippling debts they have to incur to gain a degree.
Hundreds of students turned out as part of the NUS organised ‘Students in the Red’ Day of Action on November 5. The action is part of the union’s education funding campaign, which will see them lobby for a fairer funding system. In Lincoln a joint protest between the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University College students’ union’s created a ‘Wall of Debt’ along the city’s High Street. Tuition fees are currently fixed at £3,145 a year, but the Government is proposing to change this so that universities can charge whatever they want. This could see some student debts rising to in more than £21,000 for fees alone. Davina Robinson, Vice President Democracy and Education at Bishop Grosseteste said, Students involved in the protest were not protesting for themselves, though they are in a great deal of debt from the current 3,000 cap on tuition, they are protesting for future generations who could be in more than double the amount of debt than they are in. Students feel a great deal of injustice, they know how difficult it is on the current system and so understand the issues future students would have to deal with.” Anglia Ruskin University Students’ Union, Cambridge University Students’ Union and University of East Anglia Students’ Union held not one, but two demonstrations in Cambridge. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

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The National Student, November 2008

The National Student welcomes contributions. The National Student works closely with student publications across the UK. We are happy to accept news, comment, features, and reviews on any subject. Contact us at: The National Student 58 High Street Lincoln LN5 8AH or email: editor@ or phone: 0845 46 300 46 The National Student is the independent, monthy newspaper for higher education students in the UK. Published by Defender Newspapers, 58 High Street Lincoln LN5 8AH. © 2008 All content is the copyright of Defender Newspapers unless otherwise stated
High Marnham Power Station


The 40,000-plus photographs taken by a University of Chester graduate have been permanently stored by the British Library in its digital archive, after being deemed to be of great importance to the history of British industry. Joe Collier, who graduated on November 5, amassed the stunning collection of photos of Factories, Foundries and Mines as part of an ongoing project to document industrial sites across the UK and Europe that are under threat.

Joe Collier

The OxfOrd UniOn has been forced to defend its choice of speakers for this term after receiving ridicule in the national press. it announced that that essex girl Jodie Marsh, strip club owner Peter Stringfellow and pop rejects ‘The Cheeky Girls’ would all address the prestigious debating society. The Daily Telegraph lampooned the ‘unlikely trio’ mocking the declining standards of debate at the union. President of the Oxford Union Josh roche said he was ‘delighted’ that they had accepted his invitation to speak. in a letter to the Telegraph roche denied the line-up was inappropriate and criticised the paper for not recognising the full range of speakers in his ‘heavyweight line-up’. Other well known figures confirmed to visit the Oxford Union this term include President Yushcenko of the Ukraine, Conservative politician david davis, prominent feminist Germaine Greer and Sir Michael Parkinson.


The National Student, November 2008

News in brief
College coursework fine criticised
A COLLege has been criticised for introducing a fine of £33 for students who hand in coursework late three times. Lecturers at Worcester College of Technology came up with the scheme to force their 800 undergraduates to properly organise their studies. now they are made to pay a £5 fine when they miss a deadline for the first time. A second offence leads to a penalty of £6, but if they are late for a third time it prompts a hefty £20 charge. The money-making scheme has been criticised by the nUs.

Mullan Sacked
The Kings College, London students’ Union president at the centre of an ongoing nUs racism row has been sacked. Chris Mullan was informed by letter of the sacking late last month following a row over allegedly racist comments he made at an nUs training event. The decision was made by the trustee board - made up of eight students (including the sabbatical team) and four university staff – who concluded that Mullan had broken the trustee Code of Conduct and should subsequently be removed from his post. The KCLsU AfroCaribbean society were also planning to bring a vote of no-confidence via a petition for a general meeting. Mullan had previously been cleared of making racist comments in an nUs inquiry. KCLsU released a statement today saying: “As Chris has the right to appeal you will appreciate that we cannot make any comments clear him of racism. A recent debate on free education at sOAs saw protesters disrupt the event and demand the resignation of nUs President Wes with respect to the decision of the disciplinary panel until the appeal is heard. Chris has now lodged an appeal. “Once the appeal is heard the board will consider Chris’ trustee position, reviewing his actions against, amongst other things, the trustee Code of Conduct which he and all other trustees have signed.” Although some students are happy of Mullan’s removal, the fact that a college board and not the student union, or student body, made the decision has raised issues regarding KCLsU’s independence. it has been alleged that King’s College had been putting pressure on the students’ union sabbatical team to kick Mullan out, in particular the communication department following negative press coverage of the comments made. The comments made in August have caused outrage amongst some student groups, with the nUs Black Students’ Officer Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy refusing to accept the nUs decision to CRAig COx, the other student at the centre of the nUs racism row has been banned from union events after holding up a poster which read ‘Bring Back slavery’. Cox will no longer be able to attend nondemocratic meetings of the NUS. An NUS investigation found him in “a serious breach of the NUS Equal Opportunities Policy”. The University of Nottingham Students’ Union Education Officer has apologised and said he made a “genuine mistake”. In a statement, he said: “I did not write the placard in question, I did not intentionally hold it up and I have never defended the placard’s contents. “As someone who has consistently fought against discrimination, I found the sign’s contents to be deeply distasteful and offensive so I understand how this mistake has offended people. “I would like to again unreservedly apologise.” A statement issued by University of Nottingham Students Union said: “We are sending a clear message that we do not accept racism at our university.” The Nottingham union are now deciding whether to take further action against Cox.


streeting, for overseeing ‘institutional racism’ by concluding that Mullan was not a racist. Mullan is now appealing against the decision.

Freshers army ban
n O R T h U M B R i A UniveRsiTy’s student’s union banned the army’s officer training corps from recruiting at their freshers’ week. The union would not say why they banned the organisation, but pointed out it was a democratic decision. The University Officer Training Corps recruits at all other institutions in the north east. n o r t h u m b r i a University’s commanding officer, Colonel David Madden, said: “it is really unfortunate. i understand why they want to do it, but i think they are misguided in the student Union. They misunderstand what the OTC is and what we do. We are a university club in exactly the same way that there is a climbing club and a diving club.” northumbria University student Union president David Wright said its policy did not prevent them from advertising at other times throughout the year. “student Council is an elected body to represent and pass policy as determined by our members. The students’ Union elected officers like myself to work for and on behalf of all students and it is our duty to ensure that policy decisions are implemented.” “Our job is to support our members and stand by democratic decisions that have been made,” he said.

Uni heads raise concerns that tighter rules could deter foreign students
FingeRPRinTing OF foreign students begins later this month. The first students required to provide fingerprints will be those applying for visa extensions from november 25. As part of tougher immigration rules designed to tackle bogus colleges, foreign students coming to the UK will require biometric identity cards. The government says overseas students pay tuition fees worth £2.5bn per year. set out earlier this year, the Home Office’s tightening of border controls will include the requirement that “we check and record the fingerprints of any applicants applying for a student visa”. “All students allowed to come here will need to obtain a biometric identity card, so we know exactly who they are and what they are entitled to do.” Overseas students, those classified as being from outside the european Union, are now an important source of income for universities as they pay higher fees than UK students. The university watchdog, the Quality Assurance Agency, said earlier this year that some universities were now financially dependent on overseas students. There are concerns amongst university heads that these tighter immigration controls, including compulsory fingerprinting, might reduce applications from foreign students. University chiefs have warned that the process needs to be a simple and efficient one. The higher education representative body, Universities UK, has warned that there are only six centres around the UK where biometric information can be collected - which will mean long journeys for some students. There are also concerns about queuing colleges have been uncovered in the last three years. From next March, overseas students will need to be sponsored by a college or university holding a licence from the UK Border Agency. From next autumn, there will be a further tightening of the rules, in which universities and colleges will use a “sponsor management system” to inform the UK Border Agency if students are failing to attend courses. “This new route for students will ensure we know exactly who is coming here to study and stamp out bogus colleges which facilitate the lawbreakers,” says Border and immigration Minister Phil Woolas. But he noted that international students contribute £2.5bn to the UK economy in tuition fees alone”. The home Office suggests that these students are worth £8.5bn to the wider economy. by Mary stott

Fingerprinting starts for foreign students

times - and an absence of any way of booking an appointment. Universities UK chief executive Diana Warwick said that “despite repeated requests for information on whether there will be a booking process we have not so far received this information.” in targeting bogus

colleges within the UK, colleges will now need a licence from the UK Border Agency. There have been concerns that in some cases these bogus colleges have acted as a front for people to enter the country without ever studying for any qualifications. nearly 300 bogus

The National Student, November 2008


Cookie killed in bus collision tragedy
A Chinese student was tragically killed in a bus collision in Preston last month. Xuan Wei, 21, otherwise known as Cookie, was cycling to the University of Central Lanchashire from her student accommodation, when the accident happened at a bus stop. Gary hua, a second year design student and friend of Cookie’s, said “she was a beautiful, lovely girl.” Cookie was cycling across the road when she was hit by the number 35 double decker Preston bus and became trapped underneath. heavy lifting equipment was used to free her but she was pronounced dead at the scene by Lancashire Police. she had been in the UK for just over a year, after leaving her home in Jiangxi Province, China to study for a Masters in human Resource Management. Reverend Geoff William, a senior pastor of King’s Church, Penwortham, told how she was a committed



“Last Christmas, Cookie had been part of a Chinese choir that sang carols in Mandarin and her lovely smile shone out as she sang. Cookie was an intelligent and beautiful young woman, with a wonderfully bubbly personality. she brought joy to all those around her and her Chinese student friends

‘She was a beautiful, lovely girl.’
Christian and member of the Free Methodist church. he said: “she was involved in many of the church’s activities and through her friendship she helped provide support to many of the Chinese students arriving in the town.” and church family are stunned by her death.” “We understand that her family in China have been contacted and are making arrangements to come over to england as soon as possible. We are so deeply sorry for their loss and our thoughts

and prayers are with them at this sad time,” he added. Amy Clark, a secondyear sports studies student at UCLan, was across the road in her accommodation when the crash happened. “i opened my curtains and saw all these police cars, ambulances and fire engines. There was a huge tent and green sheet around the bus stop; i didn’t even know what had happened at first.There were no rushing, lights or sirens going off,” she said. A tribute of flowers have been tied to a lamppost close to the bus stop, where the accident took place. One accompanying message said: “You are with Jesus now. You are safe and in no pain”. Another read: “Be happy in heaven, our hearts will always be with you.” by Lauren Oldland

‘Sexist’ Tory poster causes a stir
OXFORd UniveRsiTY Conservative Association (OUCA) has come under fire after displaying allegedly sexist material at a Freshers’ Fair. Controversy erupted when the association displayed a poster featuring an attractive young woman above the caption “Life is better under a Conservative.” The poster caused a stir with one disgruntled student even confronting the association members manning the stall. Rachel Cummings, OUsU’s vice-President for Women, was outraged by the use of sex for political purposes. “it’s disappointing that OUCA use female sexuality to publicise themselves,” she said. “it undermines the significant impact women have had on the Conservative movement and politics more widely; because of their intelligence and competence, not their attractiveness,” she told Cherwell. “in a country where the number of female MPs stands at a shockingly low 19%, i think it’s time for political groups to stop using women as models and start promoting them as role models.” henny Ziai, Treasurer of the Oxford University Liberal democrats, agreed saying that she was totally disgusted with the poster and astonished that it had been used. “i was shocked that OUCA, as supposed representatives of david Cameron’s new and progressive Conservative Party, would attempt to use sex to sell conservatism and, in doing so, would so unashamedly promote and help perpetuate the sexual objectification of women,” she said. “i was under the impression that as far as party politics is concerned such blatant cultural sexism was a thing of the past - apparently not for the Conservative Party,” she added. Former shadow home secretary and current Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe played down the dispute calling it a “load of politically correct nonsense”. “I might find the joke coarse, but I don’t find it sexist,” she added. “The poster is not sexist in any way,” said the Conservative Association’s President ernest Bell. “in the course of the Freshers’ Fair, we received no complaints about the poster. The only complaint we did have came while we were clearing up afterwards, and that was from the Liberal democrats in the stall opposite.” “Why is it always political activists who take politics (and consequently themselves) so seriously? in OUCA, we admit to occasional irreverence,” he added.


The National Student, November 2008


“There were girls covered in jelly and wrestling with each other. They were only wearing small t-shirts, which they then ripped off and continued as good as naked except for tiny thongs.”

CONT. FROM FRONT PAGE She added that there had also been a topless woman only partially covered by a 12 foot long snake she was carrying, whilst others put on performances of topless fire-eating. Another shocked reveller explained how she was appalled by the nudity on show. “There was a group around the girls that seemed to think it was great, but my friends and I were really embarrassed. The whole thing just descended into something that was really vile and made a lot of people feel a bit uncomfortable.” On Facebook partygoers were told to adopt a “scary” dress code and prepare

for “fucked up halloween shit,” with promises of “KY Jelly Wrestling ‘Naked’” and “Fetish snake shows involving a 12 foot albino python.” Condemning the night Rachel Cummings, Oxford University Students’ Union Vice-President for Women said, “It’s unacceptable for club organizers to use women in this way. Such acts demean women in a city where they have fought for their rights to be taken seriously as intelligent, autonomous individuals.” “It’s accounts like this that prove the need for continuing campaigns on gender equality,” she said. Spokesperson for Five Star entz, the Oxford based company which organised the night, described it as “a kind

of halloween fetish show.” “It wasn’t all centred around the KY Jelly wrestling, although obviously this is something that we gave a lot of publicity to as it is a big student thing,” he explained. A spokesperson for the Licensing Authority of Oxford City Council confirmed that an investigation into the legality of the performances had been conducted in conjunction with officers from Thames Valley Police. he said however that officials were now satisfied that no crime had been committed. “As the law stands at the moment there is nothing to stop them extending their current license for dancing and putting on pole-dancers and the like.”

Smiths guitar legend Johnny Marr delivered his first public lecture as Visiting Professor of Music at the University of Salford. Over 1,000 students and members of the public listened to the musician lecture about outsiders in the music industry – arguing that “in an age of stifling conservatism, outsiders need to be cherished.” Marr performed with The Smiths at the University’s Maxwell Hall in 1986, with the crowd getting so excited the speakers had to be tied down. John Sweeney from the University’s School of Media, Music & Performance said: “Johnny is the most influential guitarist of the last 25 years and it was a real privilege to welcome him back for this lecture. It was a really special event.”

Reversing the Charges: How the campaign unfolded
- Summer 2007: HSBC announce plans to charge new graduates interest on overdraft facilities

- NUS launch a campaign against the decision and set up a Facebook group in protest - Almost 7,000 students join the group putting pressure on the bank. Further action is planned for September.

August 2007: Bowing to student pressure HSBC cave and announce that they are ‘freezing’ interest in overdrafts for new graduates.

The NUS campaign that forced hSBC to change its decision to charge new graduates interest on their overdrafts has been nominated for an award. The union have been shortlisted in the digital media category of the Third Sector excellence Award for their use of Facebook to unite students to put pressure on the bank and generate interest from the press. The awards recognise and celebrate the work that voluntary sector organisations do, such as drawing attention to injustice and demanding progress. NUS President Wes Streeting said, “This is fantastic news for NUS and shows how much we have improved and developed in recent times.” “It’s great to have our good work recognised by an external organisation and hopefully more of our campaign successes will receive similar recognition over the coming year.” “I would like to congratulate all those involved in the project, and especially those staff who supported Vice President (Welfare) Ama Uzowuru and myself in the campaign. I think that this is a great achievement, and shows how officers can work together on campaigns to achieve great things.” “It is a testament to how far NUS has come over the recent years, and shows that when we use innovative campaigning methods, and have clear objectives we can effectively defend and extend students’ rights,” he added. The winners will be announced on November 18 at the awards ceremony in London.

HSBC interest charges campaign given the thumbs-up

The National Student, November 2008

Unis to target Facebook cheats
UNIVErSITIES ArE looking into their plagiarism policies to tackle students who use Facebook to cheat. Plagiarism experts have warned universities and colleges to be aware of students copying from each other when discussing coursework on social networking sites. Gill rowell, from the consultancy Plagiarism Advice, said that although universities Varsity, found 49% of undergraduates who anonymously took part in their poll confessed to passing off other people’s work as their own. Law students were the most likely to plagiarise, with 62% saying they had broken university rules. 82% of the cheats said they has used Wikipedia in their own work. One anonymous student said:



CONT. FROM FRONT PAGE In the North West, Liverpool Guild of Students, Liverpool John Moores Students’ Union and Liverpool Hope University Students’ Union joined forces for their protest. Their campaign bus transported local councillors and students’ union representatives to a school sixth form in the city to discuss the issues facing them in the future. Members of the community were also engaged in the campaign and were asked to send postcards to their local MP. The University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union’s event saw students writing their debt on a tag and tying it to a helium balloon. The balloons were then released by the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, and members of the University’s In Leeds, as part of Leeds University Union’s World Class Funding Campaign, students marched through the city to Millennium Square, accompanied by a giant globe and helium balloons. In the North East, students from Durham, Northumbria, Teesside and Newcastle universities erected a banner on the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, spelling out the average student debt. At the end of the Day of Action Kent University’s students’ Union hosted a night of ‘Fireworks and Funding’. University buildings were illuminated in red providing the back drop for speeches and interviews with students. National Union of Students (NUS) president Wes Streeting said: “Students are making a stand today because the current system is completely unfair. All students have to pay £3,145 a year in top-up fees, but they face a postcode lottery when it comes to financial support.” “We want a national bursary scheme, so that poorer students get financial support based on how much they need it, not on where they study,” he added.

Almost half of the students polled in Cambridge have admitted to cheating
were taking cheating seriously enough they needed to rework plagiarism polices with “internet working in mind”. A renewed focus on plagiarism comes after almost half of 1,000 Cambridge students polled admitted to cheating. “Sometimes, when I am really fed up, I Google the essay title, copy and throw everything on to a blank word document and jiggle the order a bit. They usually end up being the best essays.” Just 5% of the students admitted they had been caught. robert Foley, a professor in Biological Anthropology at King’s College, Cambridge, said, “It is a depressing set of statistics.” A spokesperson for Oxford University confessed that there is a similar level of cheating there. “Whilst we would be surprised if Oxford was not near the bottom of national and world rankings for the incidence of plagiarism, thanks to the measure of care taken with both teaching and examining at Oxford, we are not complacent.” “Students sometimes do not fully understand what constitutes plagiarism. We take educating them about these issues extremely seriously,” she said. Universities UK will discuss cheating with university plagiarism experts on November 19.

Pole-dancing blocked in Leeds
LEEDS UNIVErSITy UNION (LUU) has blocked a proposal to start a pole-dancing society at the university. Plans for the society were rejected by the LUU Activities Assembly by one deciding vote. One member of the assembly also branded the committee of the proposed society “inappropriate role models for running a society”. The decision was made even after the society received overwhelming support in a previous straw poll. The poll, which took place during fresher’s week, is estimated to received around 600 votes to 50 in favour of the new society. Barry Mcguire, Activities Assembly Chair who made the casting vote, said: “I chose to vote against the formation as the committee seem to be inappropriate role models for running a society, especially of this nature. “ Emma Hooson, President of the proposed society, said: “I’m really disappointed about the result. I feel as if the poll was pointless if they didn’t take into account the demand for the society, which there obviously is.” LUU Equality and Diversity Officer Maryam Ahmad said: “The potential dangers that could be presented to students in a city like Leeds, which has one of the highest number of pole and lapdancing clubs in the UK and a growing sex-trafficking problem, suggest that a membership organisation like LUU should not have a pole dancing society.”



The National Student, November 2008



National Day of Action - Wednesday November 5, 2008

NUS President Wes Streeting at the Leeds protest




The National Student, November 2008


AN ARMY soldier studying at the University of Central Lancashire has been awarded for his bravery, after he risked his own life whilst serving in Afghanistan. Danny Riley, 23, Blackburn, was given a certificate of commendation for ‘distinguished service in support’ for giving firstaid in the battlefield to a severely injured comrade. Lance Corporal Riley said: “I am honoured to get the award but I do think that there are people who’ve done braver things than me. It sounds a cliché, but your training just kicks in.” LCpl Riley, who studies Outdoor Leadership and has previously served in Iraq, was serving in the Yorkshire Regiment, second Battalion, when the incident happened last November. Whilst on a patrol, he was driving a land rover when it struck a mine. An explosion happened, throwing the vehicle into the air, on to its side. He inflicted a major trauma to his right leg from the blast, which was later amputated above his foot. With severe disorientation and whiplash, Riley dragged himself from the wreckage to aid the fellow comrade from going into shock. A senior officer said: “Despite his age and comparative inexperience, Riley’s composure was remarkable and it sustained his comrade from further deterioration.” “Riley is a young soldier. Despite his own injuries and the savage shock of the attack, he maintained his presence of mind and acted with decisiveness and a selfless disregard for his own safety that is absolutely striking.” “Riley demonstrated a courage, single mindedness, composure and compassion for his comrade that demands formal recognition,” the senior officer added. Brigadier Mike Griffiths, Commander 42, North West Brigade, presented him the award during a Preston Military Show at Fulwood Barracks. The Territorial Army (TA) soldier, who used to attend Our Lady and St John High School, is now based at Moss Street, Blackburn, with the B Company Fourth Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. The commendation for ‘distinguished service in support of Operation Herrick’ is the full title, Operation Herrick being the name given to the British military operation in Afghanistan. The injured soldier, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, continues to make a recovery and hopes to return to active services. by Lauren Oldland

THe UNIveRSITY of Warwick has bought body parts for £400,000 from the controversial professor Gunther von Hagens. The 200 body parts which have been preserved using Prof. von Hagens’s patented plastination technique are to be used by medical students to study anatomy. The controversial professor hit the headlines in 2002 when he televised the UK’s first public autopsy since 1830. He was warned he would be breaking the law although no charges were brought but more than 100 complaints were registered with independent broadcasting regulator Ofcom. Prof von Hagens is also famous for his popular Body Worlds exhibitions in which preserved corpses, stripped of flesh and exposing muscle and sinew, are exhibited in natural human poses. The exhibition has been slammed by some as being in bad taste but hailed by others as merging science and art. Prof von Hagens’s method involves removing fat and water from body parts and impregnating them with a

Warwick buys body parts


Gunther von Hagens

polymer. The University of Warwick said it had bought the body parts using a £1.1m grant from the county’s strategic health authority. The money was intended to help develop its medical department as a centre of excellence in anatomical surgical study. Prof Peter Abrahams, Warwick Medical School’s chairman of clinical anatomy, said the specimens were essential for anatomy teaching. “Gunther von Hagens’s

plastination technique is the most effective and his specimens are of the highest quality,” he said. “Our students can use these specimens again and again to understand how the body works. They will be a unique and invaluable tool for the training of doctors,” he added. The university’s consignment of body parts arrived in London on 24 and is now on display at the Body Worlds exhibition at the O2 arena before moving to the university.

More news and features at:


The National Student, November 2008

ToileT Talk
the facilities. Last issue, The National Student reported how signage on two toilets had been altered to suit transgender people with them changing to read ‘toilets’ and ‘toilets with urinals’ rather than the more traditional ‘ladies’ and ‘gents’. The UMSU move came under fire for not consulting the student body in the decision and many students did not agree with the change. During the debate Women’s Officer Jennie Killip spoke with dismay that some of the objections to the change had lead to destructive actions claiming, “signs have been ripped off these safe places.” The tackling of these ‘transphobic attitudes’ were at the top of agenda at the discussion, and Rebecca Dittman from The Gender Trust highlighted the history of transgender people “who have been in society for - forever really” and the problems which they face. “There is still bigotry, there is still hatred, but things are changing,” she said. Trans rep from the NUS Women’s Committee, Ruth Pearce, told the assembled students that non-gender toilets would not pose a threat to other toilet users. “We’re not a threat to women – trans people are a bit like spiders. They’re more scared of you than you are of them,” she said. The false reporting in some media that all toilets on campus would be subjected to the change also came under fire from officers speaking at the forum. “There are and always will remain gender toilets for those who prefer to use them,” assured Natalie Heppenstall from the University of Manchester’s LGBT Society. Heppenstall was also keen


Manchester students air their views on controversial non-gender toilets
TOILeTS ReMAIN the hot topic on campus in Manchester as a debate was held to discuss new nongender facilities. Approximately 40 students attended ‘The Big Debate: Toilets and the Union’ hosted by the University of Manchester Students’ Union (UMSU) which gave students the chance to voice their opinions on the new toilets. None of the panel speakers on the day argued against to stress that these were not uniquely “trans toilets” as has been misconstrued in the media, citing the benefits for students with children and disabled students with care-assistants of the opposite sex. “We’ve now got an extra toilet if there is a queue,” she added. National press were banned from the event and a crew from the BBC’s The One Show were also denied access.

Female preacher at Oxford causes Islamic protests
A PROFeSSOR visiting Oxford sparked protests from many members of the Muslim community after she became the first woman in Britain to lead an Islamic prayer service last month. Amina Wadud performed a service before a mixed congregation of men and women at Wolfson College, Oxford. The event marked the start of a conference on Islam and feminism at the college and has provoked mosques throughout the country to join the debate. A Muslim student at Oxford who opposed the event, told Cherwell, “It is clearly stipulated in law, with agreement from the majority of Islamic schools of thought, that amongst the main factors in choosing an imam, or leader of prayer, are being male, just, and having a good command of the Arabic language.” He explained that though there is no direct reference in the Qu’ran to suggest that a woman leading the congregational prayer is not allowed, the Qu’ran is not the sole basis upon which Islamic law is based upon. “Muslims extract law not only from the Holy Qu’ran, but also from the teachings of the Prophet and his progeny,” he said. “Islam venerates women, whether they be mothers or policy makers” and “promotes scholarship, as evident by the female academics in Islam at Al Azhar University.” However, he added that there is “no historical or theological basis to women leading mixed congregational prayer.” Professor Wadud first delivered a Friday sermon in South Africa in August 1994 and, after leading a service in New York three years ago, received death threats from some extremists. Traditionally, only male Imams hold mixed service. Women are allowed to lead the prayer for other women, traditionally men have to lead the prayer for a mixed congregation. Dr. Taj Hargey, Chairman of the Muslim educational Centre Oxford (MeCO), who invited Amina Wadud to lead the prayers, said there should be no gender inequality in who leads prayers. Mokhtar Badri, the vice-president of the Muslim Association of Britain, told Cherwell, “With all respect to Sister Amina, prayer is something we perform in accordance to the teachings of our Lord.” “It has nothing to do with position of women in society. It is not to degrade them or because we don’t think they are up to it.” Nawaz Ahmad, President of the Oxford University Islamic Society, explained that some schools of thought believe “the reason for the prohibition for women to lead prayers is based on a statement of the prophet that men are to stand in front of women, and the imam (prayer leader) must stand in front of the congregation.”

The National Student, November 2008



Clubbers hit by ‘gruesome’ skin condition after foam party
RevelleRs health has been put at risk at foam parties in two separate incidents during the last month. Clubbers in Oxford were treated for the gruesome skin condition, hives after raving all night in a dancefloor covered in foam fired from cannons at the Coven nightclub. Many students awoke the next day to find themselves covered in skin welts and itchy red blotches. hives, or Urticaria as it is officially known, is a skin condition commonly caused by an allergic reaction, with sufferers developing itchy red welts all over their bodies. after a large number of students from many Oxford colleges complained of the condition the thames valley health Unit was called in to deal with the problem. In a separate incident in Birmingham a first year student fainted as a result of getting to much foam in her face. after being carried out of the venue by security, her friends struggled to bring her back to consciousness. she eventually woke up, and had no serious injuries. the party was held as an official welcome event. according to eye-witnesses while some students were trying to rub the foam out of their eyes – with their already foamy hands – others were swallowing what has been called ‘toxic foam’ while attempting to breathe in some air. First year business student vendela Brannstrom said that she ‘started coughing as soon as the generators began pumping the foam.’ a statement released by Pulse, the company responsible for organising the Oxford party on behalf of the Oxford University Students’ Union, confirmed that several students had suffered skin rashes after attending the Coven party, but distanced themselves from the outbreak by pointing out that responsibility for the foam cannons lay with an outside events company. “We are very sorry to hear that students developed mild skin reactions after the foam party,” it said. “NiteGlo FX, an outside events company who ran the foam cannons for us, believe their suppliers used a different type of foam without informing them on the night of the event.” “there was no way in which we could have foreseen this problem, but we will make every effort to ensure it does not happen again. Keeping the students who come to our nights safe and happy, while they have a great time, is our top priority,” it added. NiteGlo FX said that the problem may have been caused by a last minute change in the chemical used in the foam for the Coven event. David hart, owner of NiteGlo FX, said, ““there are two different types of foam that we use - one has a much thicker consistency, a bit like shaving foam,” he said. “We ran out of this kind on the night however, so we had to switch to the other type, which is much more watery and hasn’t been used by us for about a year.” he said that they had been notified by the Health authority the day after the foam party that some people had suffered allergic reactions. “We immediately stopped using the second type of foam and cancelled a party that we had been booked to use it at that day. We’ve also given a bottle of the foam to the health authority for testing. this may well be just one dodgy batch, but we can’t tell for sure,” he added. hart also added that the problem may have been caused by clubbers not following the health and safety advice on display at the venue. “according to the health authority, it could also have possibly come down to some people going home and not having a shower

Toxic foam hives outbreak

afterwards,” he said. an enquiry into what

exactly caused the outbreak is still ongoing.

News Juice
FREshly sqUEEzEd mEdiA
Global financial meltdown couldn’t do it… The US election didn’t stand a chance… Even a Timelord resignation wasn’t able to take this story off the front pages! Frankly it was a rather bizarre news week that brought the morals of comedy to the forefront of public debate and saw the BBC under scrutiny once more. The tabloids raged, complaints flooded in and the host of Newsnight grilled her boss about mocking the Queen’s “pussy”! News Juice boldly sifted through the rage and the bile to bring you selected titbits from the tabloids and beyond… Disgust
Andrew Gilligan called it “delinquent” and “ugly” in the Evening Standard. Also in the London Evening Standard, Matthew Norman dubbed it “brazen idiocy, seasoned by a dash of arrogance and garnished with a flake of indistinct, puerile nastiness.” The Mail called Russell Brand a “lewd braggart” who was “wild-haired and foulmouthed”. The Express announced Brand and Ross’ “grovelling apologies” following their “vile remarks” “I’d like to give him a smack” exclaimed Georgina Baillie’s “pro-wrestler ex-boyfriend” in the Star about the “crude sexcalls” and “stupid antics”. Baillie’s dad called Russell Brand a “weirdo” in the Mirror while Baillie herself was “horrified”. Jack Straw wrote in his column for the Lancashire Telegraph that he “thought perhaps that the newspapers had exaggerated what had happened,” but no, “in many ways it’s worse than I imagined”. He insisted that if local radio presenters, “BBC Radio Lancashire, for example,” had behaved in this way “they’d have been given their P45 before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’”. News Juice notes that ‘Jack Straw’ would have been even quicker to say.


The National Student, November 2008

and torches for a “disgracefully foul so-called joke” in a repeated episode of Mock The Week first broadcast eighteen months earlier. The Guardian took a less sensationalist and more fiscally aware approach pointing out that Ross’ “controversial three-year deal with the BBC - estimated to be worth between £16.9m and £18m - is understood to include production fees, which are payments for his company making the show.” Continuing to disregard the outrageously overpaid solo contract approach they added that “around 30 staff are employed by Ross’s independent production company, Hot Sauce, to make his BBC1 chatshow Friday Night with Jonathan Ross” along with your bare hands, then poking a rabbit’s eye out with a pen for good measure.” He bore equal incredulity to their plentiful use of asterisks (for fear of offence); “perhaps next week it will produce a free sheet of asterisk stickers for readers to plaster over their own genitals, lest they catch sight of them in a mirror and indignantly vomit themselves into a coma.” not reprimanding the many other comics purveying offensive material within the corporation. Tatchell seemed almost ashamed that he “would not have said those things” himself and that’s because “boringly, I am not inclined to risqué ribaldry.” “Oh please!” exclaimed Tatchell on the matter of “burlesque dancer” Baillie’s “claims” that “Brand’s jokes have damaged her public image”. Charlie Brooker put matters into context for the Guardian: “if it’s OK to be retrospectively enraged, why stop at April? Be ambitious! Keep going! There’s an endless list of comedy shows that would qualify for the Mail’s hall of shame. How about Monty Python, which in 1970 included a gloriously tasteless sketch about a man eating his mother’s corpse, then puking the remains into a grave?”

Live On The Scene

“I’ve just seen someone going into the building with sandwiches” scooped James Shaw for 5 Live (12:52 30/10/08), their reporter live on the scene outside the lengthy crisis meeting between BBC Director General Mark Thompson and the BBC Trust Editorial Affairs committee. Channel 4 News pointed out that; “Georgina Baillie, a performer in the Satanic Sluts group was today performing for The Sun”. In the London Evening Standard, Andrew Gilligan, who knows a BBC scandal when he sees one, noted that Georgina Baillie was displaying “synthetic anguish” but had “found comfort in a six-figure deal with a red-top newspaper which has also, no doubt, out of pure solidarity, reprinted her extensive topless modelling portfolio.”

Me, Me, Me…

Sobbing To The Sun

The Daily Mail… Yes them again, gave Richard Littlejohn the opportunity to outline how the Beeb should be done: “I’d give the BBC enough money

Complaints Culture

It Doesn’t Stop Here


Delving into Brand’s My Booky Wook, as many journos did during that week, London’s Evening Standard pointed out the irony of the situation; “In the darkest days of his heroin addiction, Russell Brand wrote down a number of goals he hoped to achieve if he could get off drugs. ‘Keep radio show’ was one. ‘Don’t f**** [sic] up jobs I have’ was another.” They learnedly recognised that Brand had “flirted with an old enemy, self-harm.”

Sack ‘em

“Can someone please explain to me why Jonathan Ross hasn’t been fired yet?” pleaded Piers Morgan in the Daily Mail… However Brand was much less of a concern to him; he regarded the comic as “just a sexobsessed ex-junkie, a pre-Raphaelite version of Bernard Manning.” Worse still, seemingly ignorant of his own past, Piers Morgan said Brand will do “literally anything to make a cheap tabloid headline”.

Never one to waste an opportunity, Richard Littlejohn filled a page in the Daily Mail with ease asking many questions of the BBC and beyond: “why should we put up with being charged billions for a National Health Service” he cried… And what’s more; “why should we pay for a police ‘service’” he demanded... Littlejohn doesn’t just speak for the little people, he also hates them: “why should we finance a vast elf ‘n’ safety industry” he went on to ask!! Proving that it’s never too late to take offence, the Daily Mail also began highlighting their outrage at BBC comedy content stretching back to April by printing extracts from various programmes with the obligatory apology to “readers who may be offended”. But a one week time-delay for outrage simply wasn’t enough; they also dusted off the pitchforks

Andrew Gilligan wrote for the Evening Standard commenting that he’d once researched exactly “how many indignant callers it takes to achieve that staple measure of public outrage, jamming the BBC switchboard”, the results of his enquiries revealed that it’s “about 14.” “I was never able to take tabloidcreated BBC taste’n’decency horrors quite so seriously again” he disclosed.

“Ross’s Saturday Radio 2 show and topical BBC1 film review programme Film 2008.”

Quest For Truth


“The Joke Is On Us” squealed the Daily Express’ front-page (before Ross’ suspension without pay) as they bemoaned the fact that “Jonathan Ross is to be handed £16,000 a day of your money for doing nothing”, readers wishing to waste more of their own cash were invited to vote upon whether Ross should resign by calling one of their premium rate phone lines printed on page 2.

The Mail chastised BBC News for presenting a “heavily sanitised, jokey version of the obscene calls”, damning them for featuring “the briefest and least offensive sections”. In order to show “the truly vile nature of the material”, “lest we forget”, they printed “the entire transcript” and also helpfully included a section of the show that was never broadcast. Being caring souls at the Daily Mail, ever conscious of their delicate followers, they apologised “to readers who may be offended by the explicit and disturbing language used” but they reckoned “it is important to know exactly the sort of material these presenters thought so funny.” News Juice was left frantically searching its mental obscenity data-bank to work out what “m********e him” meant! In response to the Daily Mail’s informative transcript, Charlie Brooker pointed out in the Guardian that “this was like making a point about the cruelty of fox-hunting by ripping a live fox apart with

to run Radio 4 and maybe two television channels” he declared. Being of sound mind he recognised that absolutely everybody shares his particular views and tastes stating; “Noone would be disadvantaged if Radios 1 and 2 were sold off”. Anyone wanting to have “puerile trash” he stated, could “pay for that themselves”… News Juice notes that Mail readers set a great example in doing just that on a daily basis!


The Sun who once named Brand “shagger of the year” splashed across their 30/10/08 front page the news that “Disgraced Russell Brand had yelled ‘Qué?’ as he romped with the granddaughter of Manuel actor Andrew Sachs”… But… “Georgina Baillie, 23, said that despite his ladies’ man reputation, he was a ‘disappointment’ in bed.”

The BBC Russell Brand blackout meant that his prerecorded appearance as guest team captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks was hastily removed from the schedules and replaced by an episode with James Corden in the role. He hadn’t been excised from our screens altogether though; his new series of Ponderland coincidentally begun that very night on Channel 4. London’s Evening Standard displayed concern for the man: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Russell Brand... he’s on TV tonight with a video of a woman who has sex with her pet dog.” Radio Times could not possibly have predicted the furore and highlighted Ponderland as their “Comedy Of The Week” and they chatted briefly to Brand on their Today’s Choices page; “Has he any regrets over mocking the Jonas Brothers?” they asked… Their preview of Ponderland pointed out that it contains “gleefully filthy moments” and that Brand is a “compelling figure”.

Gone, But Not Forgotten… Or Gone.

Pay Attention!

The previous day Andrew Sachs was widely quoted that he was “not out for revenge”, so naturally the Independent chose to run with “Manuel’s Revenge” on their front page.

Be Fair!

One Rule For Us…

“Stop witch-hunting Ross and Brand” pleaded rent-a-gay Peter Tatchell in the Guardian who believed the situation had become a “storm in a tea-cup” and that singling out Brand and Ross made “the BBC top brass look like hypocrites” for

Richard Littlejohn was still angry in the Daily Mail, and for good reason, he had noticed that there was a body of people out there who had taken to “finding out what we like to do and then devising ways to stop us” – yeah, you give ‘em hell Richard!

The National Student, November 2008


All Change, Please, All Change
evaluation of his choice, CNN exit polls showed a majority of Republican voters asserting that neither of the VP candidates were qualified to act as President if necessary. Joe Biden, officially placed on the ticket via text message on August 23rd, was chosen to counteract perceptions of Obama as inexperienced. Biden’s position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reinforced Obama’s commitment to a sensible foreign policy, as well as later burnishing his common-man credentials with a humble all-American upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania – a state which came to matter a great deal when the Wall Street crash upturned the election. Biden was not a bad choice, but neither was he earth-shattering, and kept a reasonably low profile after the conventions. While Biden’s lack of ‘celebrity’ was certainly a necessity for the Obama campaign, McCain needed something a little different to get himself out of the ‘more of the same’ mould. That something was, of course, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who may well have been the biggest casualty of the 2008 campaign. Preliminary they may be, but polls are already showing that voters see the future of the Republican party as lying with the unsuccessful Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee instead of Palin. The selfstyled hockey mom tried to claim allegiance with ordinary Americans, but in the end became a divisive figure within the Republican party whose increasingly uncontrollable campaign message ended up alienating more than it won over; and, of course, providing great material for comedians, not least Tina Fey. Palin’s future is uncertain, but her immense popularity in her home state of Alaska means that she is not short of options for the time being.
The Issues


As Barack Obama prepares to enter the White House The National Student’s Elizabeth Davies looks back over this historic US election; how Obama became the first black President and what his election means for the future.

I intend to win this election,” announced Barack Obama to the 84,000 delegates, journalists, and lucky ticket-holders gathered in Denver’s Invesco Field (along with the thenrecord 38 million watching it on television at home) on the final night of his party’s convention. Not to be outdone, John McCain provided his own assurances a week later that “let there be no doubt…we’re going to win this election” – and managed to snag himself almost 39 million viewers. But ignore the Nielsen ratings. In reality, the whole world was watching; and they were still rapt on November 4th, when only one man could live up to the bold statements of his speech. But how did Obama do it, and rise to become the first black President-elect of the United States? Never has a position with so little power or purpose been so highly sought after and speculated about. The only duty vested in the Vice President by the Constitution is to succeed to the Presidency should the President die – and to cast the deciding vote in the Senate in the case of a tie. Under the new markedly Democratic Congress the second situation is extremely unlikely except in the most controversial of circumstances, and despite McCain’s age, most expert assessments had him lasting out a two-term Presidency. Of course, these are only duties which exist once the successful duo have taken office. Prior to that, the role of a campaign running mate is even more uncertain. Usually they are selected to either reinforce the campaign theme or to compensate for something seen to be lacking. In 2008 both candidates went for the latter, which worked rather more successfully for Obama and may have proved a critical factor in McCain’s downfall. In a rather damning

The Running Mates

Despite the unusual attention paid to foreign policy for much of the campaign – a focus which helped McCain on many occasions, not least when Obama unfortunately found himself on holiday during the Russia-Georgia conflict – in the end it came down to what it always does; the economy, stupid. Obama began to moderate his tone on foreign policy over the course of the general election campaign, and it is telling that, for a candidate whose initial appeal was founded almost entirely on his opposition to the Iraq War, it hardly seemed to matter. Now more concrete things, like the speculation that Robert Gates will be asked to stay on as Secretary of Defense, seem to solidify this tempering. Rhetorically American foreign policy may become less bombastic, and there may indeed be more attention paid to Pakistan and Afghanistan – but in reality there are likely to be few spectacular turnarounds. Obama may not have got the country into the mess it is now in, but in a mess it remains; and one where the path to cleaning up becomes far less obvious once you actually have to do it. There were worries that 2008 would turn into a repeat of 2004, with candidates preying on fears of another terrorist attack, but voters turned out to have something much more pressing on their minds. The economy had been a crucial issue for many voters, particularly those in Rust Belt regions losing their jobs, but it became the issue on everyone’s mind when Wall Street crashed in late September and the government was suddenly faced with the imminent collapse of some of the country’s biggest banks. An Associated Press exit poll found six in ten voters citing the economy as the most important election issue; none of the other options offered

to them (energy, healthcare, Iraq and terrorism) were chosen by any more than 10%. It was Sarah Palin who tried to cash in most on Democrats’ traditional taxand-spend image, painting Obama as a socialist, a hilarious characterisation for those in countries with actual left-wing movements. It was here that Joe the Plumber (who turned out to be neither a real plumber, nor actually called Joe) became the figure of the campaign, claiming that Obama’s tax plan would mean he could no longer start his own business. Despite each campaign seizing on him as a rhetorical device during the final debate (and regardless of the fact Joe’s financial calculations actually turned out to be incorrect), little appeared to rattle voters. Interestingly, CNN exit polls found a majority of voters forecasting tax increases regardless of who won the Presidency. So clearly concrete economic policy was not the determining factor for many here, but the hope that bringing a new party into the White House would increase the likelihood of the situation improving.
The Ads

Perhaps the most creative were those online during the early stages (who remembers Obama Girl, with her crush on Barack Obama?) – but they had little measurable impact during the primaries, and nothing equivalent emerged during the general election fight. Where were the Swift Boats of this year, or the flip-flop windsurfing John Kerry? One which appears to have stuck in people’s minds is known as ‘Celebrity’, a McCain ad which compares Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Splicing together footage from Obama’s speech in Berlin, a woman’s

voice hisses over the top ‘He’s the biggest celebrity in the world…but – is he ready to lead?’ Perhaps more notable for the hilarious response it prompted from Paris Hilton (who wants America to know that she’s ‘totally ready to lead’, even if Obama’s not), the ad was successful because it struck at a deep concern many Americans, even supporters, had about Obama. The President is supposed to be the everyman, yet one who’s displayed competence. Not only were voters worried about Obama’s lack of experience, but many were also horrified by the almost cultish devotion of

As many American’s rejoice in the election of Obama, journalists, comedians and satarists mourn the end of a presidency that wrote their material for them.... We don’t think Obama’s speeches will contain little gems like these..... “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.” - January 3, 2000 “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.” January 27, 2000 “They misunderestimated me.” - Nov. 6, 2000 “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” - December 19, 2000 “I’m honoured to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.” - May 25, 2004 “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - August 5, 2004

One feature of American elections which either makes them fascinating, or deplorable examples of capitalist democracy running riot, depending on your point of view, is the persistent barrage of campaign advertisements; some so iconic they become enshrined in the public imagination and trotted out for comparisons every four years. Yet for an election claimed to be of such momentousness, there was a distinct lack of memorable commercials this time around.

More Bushisms at: thenationalstudent/Bushisms


The National Student, November 2008

reinforcing his was a bold move by Barack Obama, whose extraordinary charisma and compelling life story are likely to feature as points of reference in campaigns for decades to come.
The Key States

his followers – and the campaign’s rising to it. The Berlin speech was one such example, but the debate was ignited once more when ABC News gained preview footage of the Romanesque stage being constructed for Obama ahead of his convention acceptance speech. Of course, the Obama campaign ran their share of negative ads as well. But the one whose impact is likely to be still being assessed years from today is their pre-election 30-minute ‘infomercial’, which ran on three major networks and got a larger viewership than the final game of baseball’s World Series. Obama’s ad evoked the political use of television of the past, before the cost of advertising and the advent of the soundbite pushed candidates into two-minute snipes at each other; although it is certainly unprecedented for a campaign to have the money left at the end of a campaign to spend on something so lavish. The spot opens with lush, open cornfields, recalling not only America’s wide open spaces but also Iowa, where the power of Obama’s campaign was first seen. Throughout Obama introduces ‘American stories’ to reinforce that he’s patriotic enough to be President; and, of course, that despite his legions of celebrity supporters and snazzy slogans, he’s still in touch with ordinary supporters. It’s the kind of move which is unlikely to have won over anyone hovering in the ‘undecided’ column because of their concerns about his tendency towards overstatement. But American campaigns are always constructed around a powerful narrative, and devoting a full half-hour to

Theyarewherethepunditry class focus with hawk-like vision, memorising the ins and outs of their electoral history and geography to lay out the grand strategies each candidate must pull off to win. Everybody knows about the perennial favourites of Ohio and Florida; the states whose mention prompts a gasp of terror from journalists at the thought of having to cover torturous electoral procedures in both yet again. But this year’s electoral climate was far removed from those of 2000 and 2004, not only because of Obama’s attempts to reach across party lines – the economic crisis and record disapproval ratings of the country’s direction made many areas far more disposed to abandoning traditional preferences than ever before. When it came down to it, Obama simply had a more flexible path to victory than McCain. Ohio and Florida did still matter, of course. It was when the networks called Ohio, with its twenty electoral college votes, that most saw an impending Obama victory. No Republican in a modern Presidential campaign has ever won without it (in fact, the last to do so was Obama’s compatriot from Illinois, the ‘Land of Lincoln’; Lincoln himself), and as an industrial state hit heavily by the country’s economic problems, it was going to be crucial in 2008. Republicans had hoped that as in 2000 and 2004 they could win the strong blue collar vote here, perhaps made easier by the fact that Hillary Clinton was so overwhelmingly favoured by these voters in the Democratic primary. The last poll before the election had Ohio as the very definition of ‘tossup’, with support running 50-50, but Obama ultimately triumphed with 51% of the vote. The campaign now claims that they never had any anxiety about getting the votes of Clinton supporters. In recent weeks McCain had been pouring money into Pennsylvania, another Rust Belt state, in an attempt to disprove the conventional wisdom that extensive political canvassing is not cost-effective and show that Obama’s consistent lead was in fact ephemeral. It was, after all, rural Pennsylvania Obama had been referring to when he talked to a room of San Francisco fundraisers during the primaries about those who are ‘bitter’ and ‘cling to their guns and their religion’. Yet blue-collar voters were Obama-blue, and he won by more than the

polls had predicted – a result which did not augur well for McCain’s overall strategy. Florida was somewhere McCain had hoped to win; it is, after all, full of a lot of older voters and its CubanAmerican population is generally more right-wing than Hispanic voters nationally. However, rhe Clintons have a large and vocal following in the Sunshine State, and it was perhaps their vigorous campaigning on behalf of Obama which eventually brought over those Jewish grandmothers so sceptical of Obama in the media. The key area of Florida to win is known as the I-4 corridor, between Tampa and Orlando, where about twenty percent of the state’s unaffiliated voters live, and who have been hit particularly hard by job losses and home foreclosures. Obama did not sweep the area, and the statewide result was extremely close, but in the counties he did carry he won by a wide margin, and in those he did not McCain was only narrowly clinging to victory. A surprise swing state this year was Indiana, which is normally one of the reddest and also has a tradition of preferring balanced politics – it was thought that voters might be wary of a Democratic White House working with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. Yet once again economic concerns won out, in conjunction with Obama’s extremely effective campaign in the state, exemplified in places like Madison County, near Indianapolis, where Obama managed to turn an almost 20-point Republican lead in 2004 into a Democratic victory. In North Carolina the results were still being processed two days after the election, showing the closeness of the race, but indicators appeared to suggest an Obama win – particularly after the state’s long-serving Republican Senator, Elizabeth Dole, was trounced by her Democratic challenger. As in Indiana, a Democratic win here illustrates just how much the electoral landscape has changed this year, since North Carolina was traditionally part of the Republicans’ Southern stronghold. The Obama campaign’s attention to detail and in increasing African American voter registration and turnout appears to have paid off, with areas like Wake County round Raleigh shifting from the Republican column in 2004 into giving Obama a 15point lead. Missouri, another state whose results are still being processed, looks set to become the only swing state to break for McCain, but it will be a hollow victory. In this traditional Republican state polls should not normally be within a percentage point

of each other, and the state’s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has been an extremely vocal Obama supporter from the primaries onwards. Yet the very fact that the results of these last two swing states did not matter for Obama’s overall victory exemplifies exactly how successful the Democrat was at shaking up the electoral map. As well as triumphing in these various states designated as ‘tossups’, he also swung over three of the Western frontier states – New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado (having the Democratic convention there clearly paid off) – as well as Iowa and Virginia, a former Old South member whose progressively more Democratic politics (its last two Governors have been Democrats, along with the most recentlyelected Senators) has now solidified into Presidential support. With these results in, CNN’s John King could envisage no scenario on their Magic Map which led to a McCain victory. Should the Democrats solidify their hold on these states, Republicans face an uphill struggle in Presidential elections to come.
The Future

Joe The Plumber Joe the plumber asked Barack Obama some tricky questions about tax plans during a walkabout in Toledo. Joe is actually called Samuel and is not a licensed plumber. My Friends Everybody John McCain ever speaks to.

Election Glossary
Vice-President) is proud of his coal-mining, working class background in Scranton. But his grandfather was a mining engineer not a miner, and his family moved to Delaware when Biden was 10 because his dad got a job in a car dealership. Joe Biden is one of the least wealthy members of the Senate; his lake-front house is worth only around $3 million… which may be why he spends so much time in Home Depot.

Economy A major talking point of the election build-up. The economy is in crisis, John McCain stopped everything to try and fix it – he knows a lot about economy; Obama’s campaign cost twice as much as his. Joe Six-Pack More likely to be seen drinking a six-pack than working out to achieve one. Joe Six-Pack is also known as Regular Joe, Average Joe and Joe Schmo. Closely related to Hockey Mom. Hockey Mom Doesn’t play hockey but will happily watch it with Joe SixPack by her side. Often seen delivering offspring to hockey practice. War Hero John McCain is one of these. He spent years as a P.O.W. thus making him particularly worthy of high office. Main Street Just like a high street, suffering because of Wall Street. American Dream Promise of opportunity made by wealthy yanks in order to make the poor people work harder. Votes Voters are required to queue for hours to make their votes; this is apparently a sign of a great democracy. Votes don’t need to be counted however, as most states were able to ‘call’ their results the moment that polling closed. Joe ‘LunchPail’ Biden Barack Obama’s running mate (and

Pitbull Mouthy lipstick wearing hockey mom. Healthcare Something everybody should have access to, just as long as everybody doesn’t have to pay for everybody elses. Gaffe Disappointingly rare moment of verbal idiocy mostly supplied by vice-presidential candidates. For example: Joe Biden calling for a wheelchair bound senator to stand up during a campaign rally. G.I. Joe Everyone loves a man in uniform, but none more than Joe Biden and Sarah Palin who proudly reminded us, whenever they could, that their sons were being deployed to fight in Iraq during the election. Which is great timing that unfortunately didn’t work out for John McCain who’s sons had either just got back from the war-zone or hadn’t yet qualified. President Bush White House incumbent who no-one wanted to associate themselves with, whether they were Republican or not. Bush spent only 12 minutes with McCain during his 20-month campaign. Real America Republican voters… Military focussed… Definitely scared… Possibly racist. Primaries Potential candidates get a chance to abuse and discredit members of their own party before moving on to the opposition.

All the candidates were promising change in this election, but it was Barack Obama who created a movement based around it and whose future it most depends on. He was, after all, asking voters to take a leap of faith over his lack of high-level political experience because he would really deliver ‘change we can believe in’; and now it needs to materialise. Yet the difficulties faced by the United States are so acute he may find it harder to keep voters believing, despite his support from an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. Of course,hehasacknowledged the difficulties, and presumably hopes that personal adulation and legislative cooperation can carry him through. But when the 2012 Presidential election starts in earnest only a couple of years from now, who can say whether belief will be enough. But all this is still to come. Cynical assessment and forecasting should be put aside while we take the opportunity to contemplate the huge shift which has taken place in American politics. In the past eight years they may have become the whipping-boys of almost every nation on earth, but can Americans show they realise this and have a desperate desire for something better? Yes, they can.

A Traveller’s Tale
How much difference a month makes! We rejoin Nathan Millward on his Aussie adventure with his relationship in tatters and coming face-to-face with a celebrity from childhood past...


The National Student, November 2008



ow quickly things change. Just last month the relationship with the Wrecking Ball was going swell, I was happy to be in Australia and marriage had been very seriously mentioned. And now, this month, I’ve been relegated to a youth hostel after being kicked out the house by that same lady. Not permanently I hope, just long enough for her blood to stop boiling after an argument we had about something or other that I’d better not tell you in case she reads this and murders me as a result. Needless to say, I’m in the dog house. Or rather in a dorm with seven strange men who snore. But there has been one good thing come of it… The other day I was sat in the communal lounge when a member of staff walked past. ‘He looks familiar,’ I think to myself. Ten minutes later he walked back the other way. ‘Yup, I definitely know him.’ But where from? I mull it over for a minute. Then it hits me. Brett Stark from Neighbours. Back in the nineties he was brother of Danni, son of Cheryl and owner of a bird called Dahl. Nah, it can’t be. Not working here in this hostel, surely not. So I go back to my book and think no more about it. A few days later, on my way out to meet a friend for a beer, I spot the same man on reception. “This might sound stupid,” I begin cautiously, “But has anyone ever said you look like Brett Stark from Neighbours”. He stops, looks me square in

the eyes and replies, “That’s because I was Brett Stark from Neighbours.” No way! A famous face from my childhood, and now, nearly fifteen years later, he’s stood fingering some backpacker’s dirty sheets no more than a meter away. Even putting it kindly that’s one mighty fall from grace. One blossoming career down the drain. Of course I don’t say that. Instead, I just enquire what brings him to Sydney and nod encouragingly while all the while wanting very much to ask him where it all went wrong.

be a handy thing to know. You see, we all make plans and have ambitions about what we’re going to do when university finally spits us out into the real world. It might be travelling, or postgrad, or working solidly until you can retire comfortably at the age of 35. Whatever it is, we, and especially our parents, would like to think our future is as simple as picking some ambitious point on the horizon and marching merrily along until we get there. But things change; ambitions change, options change, and it sounds kinda

‘I spot the same man on reception. “This might sound stupid,” I begin cautiously, “But has anyone ever said you look like Brett Stark from Neighbours”. He stops, looks me square in the eyes and replies, “That’s because I was Brett Stark from Neighbours.’
Leaving Neighbours in 1996, no doubt he imagined his next step would be cracking Hollywood, or doing naff adverts alongside Holly Valance. Either way, he probably thought he was on the up. A smoking honcho with the world, and a couple of horny groupies, gyrating at his feet. Now look at him. A flop, a dud, a nobody. Someone with ambition and a grand plan that never quite came off. And that, for anyone on the cusp of graduation, could corny, but so do people. And that means we don‘t always end up at the place we were aiming for. Just like Brett Stark. Just like me. Just like Pube Head. As previously mentioned Pube Head is the girl who flew to Australia with the hope of resurrecting a relationship with a guy she’d been seeing back in England. Well that plan failed when he proved himself to be a total cock for not having the balls to return her calls and say

‘no thanks’. So her reason for being in Australia no longer exists. Her original plan has failed. But already she’s moved on and found other things, like a job and a new man she likes more than the one who turned her down. A new direction, a new adventure, just like that. It’s the same for me. When I left university I anticipated finding a graduate position with one of those faceless employers who advertise in Prospects. Instead, I panicked, took a management trainee job with a car rental company then quit because all it really meant was that I wore a suit to clean cars in the rain. “Never turn a job offer down,” the careers advisor told me. It was the worst advice I ever took. So from there I went to work for the council, then back to uni to do a post-grad and on from there to PR. I hated that with a passion so I jumped the fence to journalism where I found I enjoyed writing about cars and after enough perseverance landed a job doing just that. Now I’m in Australia making sandwiches for Spiros the Greek. How the hell did that all happen? What I’m trying to say is don’t panic if things don’t go to plan. You might not get that job, or place on the post

grad scheme you always dreamed of. Likewise, you may never own that red Ferrari or impregnate that supermodel you always frothed over. But there will always be other things, other options, other jobs, courses, cars and other women, that spring from nowhere and whisk us off to brighter, sunnier places that we couldn’t possibly have imagined as we sit wondering ‘where do I go from here’ on graduation day. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to; Brett Stark in a hostel, me in a café and Pube Head in Australia. But things come good in the end. So stop worrying if you are. This time next year I’d like to think I’ll have no more visa issues and be settled down with Wrecking Ball. Whether it’ll happen or not I don’t really know, but in the meantime I can’t complain. I just stand behind my sandwich counter talking rubbish to friendly folk like Vic and Joe, two local builders who everyday try and explain how they get cranes to the top of skyscrapers and back down again, which I can never quite fathom. Or Alex, who was once someone special in the London opera scene, but who now sells men’s suits in the department store

over the road. People from all walks of life with stories to tell and advice you learn only to take with a pinch of salt. Like mine. And at the heart of my working world is Spiros the Greek, my boss and a short man who swears a lot. Think Danny DeVito with Gordon Ramsay’s mouth. The customers love him, the staff, not so much. He makes you feel nervous and incompetent of doing even the most basic things, even buttering bread. “You’ve put too much on and next time scrape from the left first,” he’ll scream as customers stand there thinking you must be a bit thick. But that’s his tact and he’ll never change. Unlike Brett Stark, who clearly has. Neither a flop, a dud or a nobody, he’s a musician now, with his own songs and album that me and him sit and listen to the next time I see him in reception. What a genuinely nice chap who should feel no humiliation for no longer living on Ramsay Street. One day I’ll ask him about the last twelve years and find out what twists of fate occurred for him to end up here in this hostel. But in the meantime, I’m off to win the Wrecking Ball back. Well, at least that’s the plan.
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The National Student, November 2008


Barrington and Birmingham left counting the cost of no sponsor
ImagIne DavID Beckham being told he didn’t have a team to play football for. Or that andy murray no longer was able to play tennis competitively. Imagine a top class team ceasing to exist just prior to the start of the new season, leaving players of international calibre facing the bombshell that the sport they dedicated their lives to and trained for was in danger of being ripped from them through no fault of their own. This is the harsh reality that faces Joey Barrington, the squash world number 26. The son of squash legend Jonah Barrington played last year for the Birmingham UnITe Squash team made up of University of Birmingham alumni and current students. Based at the university, they have had great success over the last three years which continued last season when they earnt themselves a semi-final spot before losing to eventual winners Surrey. Fast forward just a few months and Birmingham are no more, having had to pull out of this season’s competition after UnITe, the student accommodation provider and their sponsor, pulled out at the last moment. They failed to give Birmingham a decision on whether they would continue to pay the money necessary to sustain the team until after the deadline set by the Premier Squash League. It left the team with no time to find a replacement and they had no choice but to pull out a mere month before the season was due to start. Luckily, Barrington has been able to find another team in the shape of fellow Premier League side Duffield. Other members of the UnITe team, such as scholar alastair mutch, were not so lucky and have been left without a Premier Squash League side to play for. The reasons as to why UnITe withdrew are somewhat complicated though it seems to centre on a lack of progress in their plans for a large accommodation site in Birmingham. It is thought that the sponsorship of Birmingham’s squash side was the first stage in attempting to persuade the university to support and endorse their plans. The university are thought to have helped acquiring planning permission on some land but were reluctant to support the project any more strongly than that. However, Kate meakin, UnITe’s sponsorship representative, dismissed the idea and insisted that their sponsorship of the team for the last three years is the standard amount of time that many sponsors support a team for, including UnITe. ‘We’ve been delighted with the progress and growth of the club. However, we have a portfolio of student accommodation in 23 towns from aberdeen to Plymouth and have a policy of reevaluating opportunities regularly to make sure we have a balance of sponsorship throughout the country’. Birmingham team coach Jon Tate was disappointed but philosophical about the outcome of UnITe’s decision. ‘The club welcomed UnITe’s support and we had a good relationship with them throughout the time of our longstanding partnership. We understand the reasons for their withdrawal though it doesn’t prevent us being frustrated that we didn’t know about the decision earlier’. Knowing full well Birmingham’s commitment to letting the league know by the start of august, it is startling that UnITe failed to let the club know beforehand, reportedly declaring that they needed an agm before deciding on whether to continue their verbal agreement to fund the club. What makes the issue even more uncomfortable is the news that UnITe have since signed up to sponsor University Business, a website dedicated to the business of higher education that has contacts with a vast number of businesses and universities around the country. Coach Tate, however, was quick to recognise that the harsh nature of such financial decisions was a ‘reality’ that had to be accepted. ‘In an ideal world we would have found out in June or July but these things happen’. It is a


Ben Whitelaw asks how can one of the most successful sporting clubs at university level not be playing this year?
chilling thought that UnITe so easily relinquished the responsibility for the Birmingham team after deciding that handing over the necessary money was unjustified from a business perspective. What is most frightening though is that any sports team, including Birmingham, can be so dependent on their sponsor to a point that, irrelevant of their recent success, they now cease to exist. The way in which UnITe have dealt with the matter has certainly made it seem that Birmingham Squash was always secondary to the financial implications of the deal. Jenni anderson, Head of Communications at BUCS, believed cases of this nature are extreme: ‘Sport is operating in a tough climate, but we believe that the funds are out there for any team willing to work smarter and show a little initiative in pitching to a potential sponsor. Clubs and teams should be reiterating and demonstrating the benefits and rewards of sponsorship to existing and potential sponsors.’ Tate remains positive about the chances of having a Birmingham team in the future, the need to be competitive and the importance of attracting more students to future games. The club have begun building for a return to the Premier League and talks are ongoing with edgbaston Priory, one of the country’s largest racket clubs, of a joint venture between the two sites. The moral of this story is that, whilst money has the ability to enhance sport, it also has the potential to transcend it in terms of importance and subsequently derail it. Birmingham Squash is an omen of the financial troubles that may lie ahead as clubs find it harder to obtain a level of financial support that is not available in the business sector. Luckily for Becks and andy, the mainstream sports such as football and tennis will be the last to go. Until then spare a thought for University of Birmingham Squash because for now they can only watch from the sidelines.

South African’s get settled on Welsh ground
aS THey geared up for the clash with Wales on Saturday november 8, the South african rugby team had been taking advantage of the top sports facilities at the University of glamorgan. The Springboks squad had been conducting their daily training sessions on the University’s playing fields at Tyn y Wern in Treforest. Sports and Business Development manager Steve Savage was delighted to have Brian Habana and co.; “It is great to be able to welcome a team like South africa to Glamorgan. We are proud of the first class sporting facilities we have here and hope that we can continue to work with such high profile teams.”

College student to face Irish stars
HarTPUry COLLege student and rugby academy fly half, Matt Evans, has been named in the Canada squad to face Ireland at Thomond Park on Saturday 8th november. Uncapped evans will be hoping to make his full international debut against a strong Ireland side filled with top class players. The match will be Canada’s second of their four game test match series, which will see evans and Canada line up against Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Hartpury director of rugby, allan Lewis said on hearing the news; “matt is a very hard-working and dedicated young player who has come on leaps and bounds during his time at Hartpury and has developed into a very mature rugby player.”

Scottish University to host Championships
THe UnIverSITy of aberdeen has been selected to host the 2009 British Universities & Colleges Sport Cross Country Championships. around 1000 runners, including some of the UK’s most promising athletes, are expected to travel to Balgownie Playing Fields on 7 February for what will be the first time the University will have held the event. gB Olympian Steph Twell is likely to compete in the event and attempt to retain the title she won in Swansea earlier this year. Twell also ran the 1500m in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, finishing sixth in the semifinals.


The National Student, November 2008


Baseball becomes big hitter in university sport
Sport Editor Tom Clarke sees how the formation of a new association and recent championships have helped throw Baseball into the spotlight
rivals southampton in the first semi-final, and found themselves staring down the barrel after digging themselves a 4-0 hole in the first inning, punctuated by a three run shot from Mustangs outfielder Lin. A superb relief performance from Nottingham head coach Tatsuya Yogo, quietened the Mustang bats however, giving the Thieves the chance to claw their way back into the game, leaving it delicately poised 6-6 with two innings to go. But the impasse didn’t last as long balls from adam Brown and Craig sinclair soon broke the deadlock, leaving Nottingham the eventual 12-6 winners. The biggest shock at Grove Farm came with a remarkable result over in the second semi-final where a much improved performance from the Uea offense saw them gain revenge for their first round drubbing by the Kings. The Blue sox tore into the Oxford pitching with 13 base-hits, seeing them hold off several Oxford comebacks to sneak through 14-11 with Zach Garlitos picking up the win for the Blue sox. It was fitting then that in the final it was two of the founding members, the Thieves and the Blue sox, who were to battle it out for a place in history. It all looked over as the Thieves strolled out to a 7-1 advantage after only two innings, but, perhaps distracted by the idea of celebrations around the BBQ, complacency crept in, and Nottingham mistakes allowed Uea to come back strong to take a 9-8 lead going into the final inning. The thought of throwing it all away must have helped the Thieves clear their heads and they rallied with a five-run inning, and shut down the Uea offense to record a famous victory by 14 runs to nine. Oxford gained some consolation in the plate final by ousting the University of Durham 15-5, with home runs from Tom Williams, Dan semelsberger, and a grandslam from Paul Boland leading the way. The success of the championships and win for Nottingham was a fitting reward for adam Brown the man who founded the University of Nottingham baseball club back in 2005; “I had played very little baseball before university but after visiting the states, I had started to get into watching it on Channel 5, and, being a decent enough cricketer, I fancied giving it a go. sadly when I got to Nottingham I found there was no club in place, but I was fortunate to randomly meet another guy who was interested in playing. For some obscure reason, we decided to start our own club, despite neither of us having any experience of coaching before. I can look back now, and see it was one of the best decisions of my life’ Brown added ‘Baseball is such an awesome sport, I would recommend anyone who has an interest in playing to start their own club. It is much easier than you would think” John Irving, Director of Finance for BUBa is delighted with the progress the sport has made in Britain; ‘University baseball has made great strides forward this year, and the formation of an accountable governing body has a lot to do with that. rather than each university club simply supporting decisions that favour themselves foremost, we attempt to come to an agreement that puts the interest of university baseball first. Although entirely voluntary, we are working hard trying to progress the league, and we have ambitious, but hopefully realistic plans for the future: we would like to add 4 university teams every six months for the next 2 years, at least.’ Irving believes that there is no reason why baseball at this level cannot push on to gain even more recognition and success; ‘We have an eight team league scheduled for spring 2009, and we wish to increase this number to 16 teams in 2010 and 24 teams in 2011. The British University american Football League has over 40 teams, and we see no reason why a well-organised baseball league should be any less successful’

The sTarT of the university sporting calendar in October was a special and momentous occasion for one sport that is not a familiar sight on British campuses. October 18 and 19 saw the inaugural British University Baseball championships. held at Nottingham’s Grove Farm it was the first student-only tournament after several events being run on and off over the past ten years. The event was a significant milestone for the newly formed British University Baseball association (BUBa). Formed in 2007 as a collaboration between the three main university teams at that point: Nottingham, southampton and Uea, BUBa has gone from strength to strength. adam Brown, director of development says that their goal is ‘to promote university baseball within the country and assist in the development of new teams whilst also running a successful student league and cup program each year.’ along with the initial three university teams BUBa have added clubs at

Durham, Oxford, Lincoln, Brighton and Leeds, and are said to have had interest at several more. In order to help the progression of university Baseball, BUBa are working in conjunction with the British Baseball Federation in running several “taster sessions” at universities around the country. The running of three separate events helps to spread the word and give students the opportunity to get a ‘taste’ of the sport. a league and playoff system is run from February to June along with a weekend tournament in October, and a tournament called “The Drunken Cup” at easter which features both BBF (amateur) clubs and universities. Before the formation of BUBa a university tournament had been in place since 2005 with the southampton Mustangs hosting the tournament for the first three years beginning in October 2005 when they defeated the Uea Blue sox. They repeated their success in 2006 against newcomers the Nottingham Thieves, who then had their revenge

in 2007, becoming the first team to take the trophy off the Mustangs. The Thieves then repeated their success in March 2008, again defeating the Mustangs in a tense final at UEA. None of these tournaments were strictly student-only and so it was decided to form an organising body and begin a student-only

and the University of Nottingham Thieves. The Thieves, hoping to make it three straight university competitions in a row, breezed through the first round of matches, qualifying for the semifinals with two comfortable victories. There they were joined by the Kings, who were showing why, along with the Thieves, they

‘University baseball has made great strides forward this year, and the formation of an accountable governing body has a lot to do with that.
tournament and league for the increasing number of university teams to participate in. And so the first BUBA championships took place in October with five teams competing. The University of Durham Bishops and the University of Oxford Kings joined the older stalwarts the Uea Blue sox, the University of southampton Mustangs were joint favourites by dismantling Uea in the opening game of the tournament, before star pitcher Thomas O’Ban threw a no-hitter against the University of Durham. A 5-5 tie in the final group game saw the Mustangs and the Blue sox gain the point needed to pip Durham into the semifinals. The Thieves faced bitter


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TeamBaTh have reached the first round proper of the Fa Cup for the third time in seven seasons after defeating Salisbury City 1-0 in the fourth round qualifying tie. The win was thanks largely to substitute Shaun Benison’s first goal in TeamBath colours which proved enough to earn his side a home tie in the FA Cup first round where they will face Forest Green of the Blue Square Premier. The game will be played on Sunday 9th November. Benison calmly converted for the University of Bath side after Mike Perrott had fed Rob Hobbs and he had selflessly squared to the unmarked Benison, making only his second TeamBath appearance from the bench. Perrott went close to giving TeamBath the lead on 58 minutes, but his shot from an acute angle following Steve Abbott’s pass was just deflected wide by Salisbury keeper James Bittner. And Matt Lock was on hand to clear the ball from the TeamBath line from Liam Feeney’s header just three minutes before Benison broke the deadlock. Josh Llewellyn’s pace caused Salisbury problems all afternoon and twice late on he pressurised the Salisbury keeper into serious errors on clearances. Team Bath will be hoping the likes of Llewellyn will be on top form to cause problems for a Forest Green side who are struggling in the Blue Square Premier. With just sixteen points from seventeen games, Jim Harvey’s men sit fourth from bottom and having won just once in the last thirteen games, this must be a great chance for TeamBath to progress to the second round and the prospect of facing a Premiership side. Afterwards TeamBath head coach Andy Tillson said: “We’re chuffed to bits. This is a very young club with young players, and this sort of thing is what the FA Cup is all about.”


TY 0

Oxford and Cambridge gear up for Varsity Clash
OxFOrd and Cambridge gear up for one of the biggest clashes in university sport next month when they come face to face at the 127th Varsity Rugby match at Twickenham. The match which takes place on December 11 has been held at Twickenham since 1921 , and has been won by Oxford 52 times and by Cambridge 59 times, including in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Both sides have been performing well so far this season but it is Oxford who will surely have the confidence going into this colossal battle. At the time of going to print they had won all seven of their games this season amassing an impressive 241 points in the process. In comparison, Cambridge have currently won just two of their five games played. The most telling fact to come from examining recent results is that the boys from Oxford have recorded an impressive 32-24 victory over Saracens when the Cambridge side suffered a 59-15 defeat to the same opposition. All the talk will soon be over and past results will become irrelevant as the teams take to the field. Last month we reported that there were doubts as to whether the match would go ahead with it facing financial uncertainty following the collapse of the main sponsor Lehman Brothers. The sponsors were two years into a four-year deal before their bankruptcy. The situation has now

been resolved with the help of Nomura, the pre-eminent Asia-based investment bank. The match will be now be known as The Nomura Varsity Match. Sadeq Sayeed, Chief Executive of Nomura’s

acquired businesses said “We’re delighted to be building on our existing relationships with two of the world’s top universities and look forward to continuing this in the future.”

With the financial situation resolved, the two sides can now focus on their preparation over the coming weeks for what is sure to be a thrilling and compelling clash.

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