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The Gaudie Issue 3


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The Gaudie Issue 3

  1. 1. 07.10.15 For more exclusive, up to date and interesting student content, check out our website: The Gaudie now has an app which can be downloaded from the Apple and Android Stores. facebook/thegaudie | @the_gaudie By Thomas Danielian The University of Aberdeen has announced the creation of a new scheme to support refugee students. The Shining Lights scheme will aim to fund at least four refugees in order to become students at Aberdeen.The award is available to any prospective student with refugee status. It is hoped that the scheme will be popular and receive more funding to help the University accept more refugees into education. The decision to offer the new scholarship programme has been greeted with wide ranging support from students and staff. University Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Sir Ian Diamond announced the launch of the new award. In his speech he stated that: ‘This University has always opened its doors to the world’. He also said that the new scholarship would ‘cover tuition fees, year round accommodation, and support for living costs for four refugee students’. He invited Alumni and local businesses to support the scheme and help ‘welcome and support even more refugee students to gain the benefits of studying at the University of Aberdeen’. Aberdeen University Student Association (AUSA) had a significant role in the development and creation of the Shining Lights scholarship. Laura Cristea and Dominic O’Hagan (the current and previous President’s for Ethics and Environment respectively) were forthcoming in their praise of the new scheme. Cristea said that AUSA were ‘very excited to welcome refugees into our family of students and prove our solidarity through education. We have worked hard to ensure the recipients of these scholarships will enjoy a full breadth of experience at university and benefit from all of our support systems’. O’Hagan added: ‘These scholarships are recognition that our universities have a moral obligation to help shape the world around us in a positive way’. The scheme will allow for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students to receive funding to attend the University of Aberdeen. Businesses and members of the public can donate to the Shining Lights scholarship scheme. TheGaudie 03 Inside NEWS page 3 Largest solar farm in Scotland FEATURES page 7 My Body My Rights OPINE page 9 Strategy in Syria SPORT page 12 Superteams Success UoA Shines Light for Refugees
  2. 2. p.2 07.10.2015 For the IV. editorial team see page 3 of the supplementary pullout Butchart Centre University Road Old Aberdeen AB24 3UT Tel: 01224 272980 We voluntarily adhere to the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct ( and aim to provide fair and balanced reporting. Head Editors Online Manager News Editors Deputy News Editors Opine Editor Deputy Opine Editor Puzzles Editor Sport Editor Gaelic Editor Head Copy Editor Marketing Director Gemma Shields and Richard Wood Darren Coutts Aemilia Ross and Thomas Danielian Huw D’Costa and Michaela Hernychova Maximilian Fischbach Rachael McMenemy David Robertson Alistair Hunter Aemilia Ross Benjeman Farrar Natalia Kajdas EditorialTeam Head of Production Deputy Head of Production Production Assistants Illustrator Online Publishing Assistant Claire Livingston Kevin Mathew Richard Wood Gemma Shields IonaTaylor Vincent Muir Steven Kellow ProductionTeam Wanting to advertise with the Gaudie? Get in contact with our Marketing Director at Go to our website to download our Media Pack with all our prices, online and print statistics— Editorial Edition 3: I n this edition I would like to take a moment to reflect on the human propensity for change. We at The Gaudie are somewhat blessed with a two week gap between weekends where we lock ourselves in the glorified cave that is Gaudie HQ and push ourselves to the precipice creating something of integrity, intrigue, and importance. This grants us the advantage of having a moment to step back and consider the world around us, and extract from that fortnight, from that 14 day zeitgeist, exactly what is the most relevant and interesting for our readership. We get to rise above the minutia of the everyday and deliver to you something considered, giving us the ever- welcome advantage of being current, relevant and non- repetitive. In this edition, however, you will notice that we have flown in the face of this fortnightly grace and chosen to showcase the same subject matter we did last time: the worldwide refugee crisis. Last edition, we highlighted Aberdeen’s vigil for refugees, at which many students and student groups were in attendance. This week we draw attention to the Aberdeen Shining Light scholarship from our university that offers students with refugee status a chance to further their education in the North East. Readership spiked when we featured humanitarian action. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t all about numbers. We will be here whether you pick up a copy or not, in our windowless dungeon, looking out of the gap under the door where the light breaks in, being filled with joy that what we are met with is a student body who is caring, compassionate, and considerate of their fellow man. So whether or not this scholarship programme amounts to more than a kind gesture, or whether you want to argue that holding candles in a rainy park in a relatively wealthy city in the highlands of Scotland will do little alleviate the pain and suffering and constant struggle of those who have been displaced around the world, we care too much to stop talking about it. Thus, we will continue to perpetuate that image for as long as we see fit. Or until there really is a fire in Meston. Front cover photography (Early morning over King’s College) courtesy of Ian Cowe
  3. 3. Aberdeen and Scottish Universities Ranking in new TimesTop 200 News Editors: Aemilia Ross & Thomas Danielian 07.10.2015 p.3 Photo by Alexandre Dulaunoy (Flickr) By Amanda Connelly The University of Aberdeen is up six places in the Times Higher Education World Rankings. The University maintained its position in the top 200 at 172nd place, while the rest of Scotland also saw five other higher education institutions gain respectable rankings. The University of Edinburgh was the highest-ranking Scottish university at 24th. Dundee emerged back into the top 200 at 185th, Glasgow ranked at 76th and St Andrews placed 86th. Angela Constance, Scottish Education Secretary, said: ‘To see five institutions back in the top 200 and all five substantially improving their placing again demonstrates that our Higher Education institutions are up there with the very best in the world’. Despite Aberdeen ranking higher in the recent QS World University Rankings at 137th place, it remained stationary with only a marginal improvement in its overall score from 62.9 to 63.2. The THE World University Rankings indicate a marked improvement for Aberdeen in terms of mobility within the league table. The scores were collated on the basis of a number of criteria such as employer and academic reputation; staff to student ratios; international students and faculty; and research citations, although the tables do not necessarily mean a degree from the university is more favourable than another. Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: ‘It is fantastic to see our rise in this latest set of the World University Rankings. This is further evidence that we are continuing to make progress in an increasingly competitive global education environment’. 34 UK institutions placed in the top 200, meaning Scotland makes up a significant proportion of the British universities in the table despite the earlier concern from some when tuition fees were scrapped in Scotland that it would pale compared to other UK higher education institutions. Universities Scotland’s Director Alastair Sim claimed the rankings showed Scotland was producing ‘highly-skilled graduates’ and ‘record levels of world-leading, impactful research’. ‘League table results always make for interesting reading, but the sector’s excellence is not just a label. What it means in practice is that universities are always pushing to deliver more and better in every aspect of what they do’. FMT is not regularly accessible for doctors to perform in the UK because the doctor needs to find a suitable donor, screen them for infectious diseases, and then prepare the transplant material themselves, which is time consuming and expensive. Mackie’s ‘largest solar farm in Scotland’begins generating Well-known Scottish ice-cream brand Mackie’s has recently reached out and involved itself in a new area of business: the solar energy market. The firm has dedicated four acres of their large estate in Aberdeenshire to a solar farm with 7,000 panels—enough to sustain 485 homes. It began operating on September 30th. The largest solar farm in Scotland was constructed in cooperation with Absolute Solar and Wind. Mackie’s itself is no novice to the renewable energy field. According to the company’s website they installed their first wind turbine in 2005 and have since added three more, including one installed earlier this year.The environmentally-conscious farm also includes a biomass energy plant. The breadth of energy sources that allows for electricity production at different peak times is a part of the firm’s efforts to minimise its impact on the environment. ‘As a business we have always seen the value of renewable energy, from both an economic and an environmental perspective’, said the company’s managing director Mac Mackie. He added the company is always challenging itself to be as green as possible. While about 40% of the total amount of energy produced by the solar panels will be used for the farm’s operation, the rest will be sold to a renewable energy supplier. Mackie’s family business spans over four generations and has retained its strong ties to the Aberdeenshire area. The current director’s father, Maitland Mackie CBE, studied Agriculture at the University of Aberdeen and became a popular rector for the University before passing away in 2014. By Michaela Hernychova By Huw D’Costa Two University of Aberdeen medical students have created a social enterprise called EuroBiocix CIC with a view to offering improved access to a treatment of the infection Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff) on the NHS. The C. Diff bacterium, which exists harmlessly in the digestive systems of about 5% of the healthy population in the UK, can become problematic when a person is treated with certain antibiotics that alter the balance of bacteria in the gut leading to an infection. Afflicting approximately 15,000 people each year in the UK, it can prove difficult to treat, with roughly one in four cases relapsing, often resulting in lengthy hospital stays. The fourth year students and co-founders of EuroBiotix CIC, James McIlroy (CEO) and Matthew Bracchi (Technical Director) hope to make a procedure called faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), where healthy donors’ faecal matter is implanted into infected bowels, more accessible in the NHS. A randomised controlled trial has recently shown that cure rates of 31% by conventional treatment rise to 81% with FMT. James explained that ‘FMT is not regularly accessible for doctors to perform in the UK because the doctor needs to find a suitable donor, screen them for infectious diseases, and then prepare the transplant material themselves, which is time consuming and expensive’. The pair hope that by creating a ‘bank’ of faecal matter, similar in concept to blood banks, it would make obtaining a faecal sample quicker and easier whilst also reducing risks of contamination that a doctor preparing the samples might otherwise face. The students’ idea has so far won them the Santander Business Pitching competition and more recently they finished in the top 3 of their category at the University Startup World Cup in Copenhagen. Medical students get green light to continue with award winning Enterprise
  4. 4. p.4 Government shake-up of University Courts By Kieran George A proposed shake-up to the way that universities are governed has been met with condemnation from sectors of the university community. Under the terms of the controversial Scottish Higher Education Bill, published in June, university governing bodies would be required to have two board members elected by staff and students, and two members elected by trade- and student-unions. 67% of respondents in a recent consultation opposed the plans, citing concerns that trade union representatives could have a conflict of interest between acting in the interests of the institution, and the interests of their members. The process by which university chairs are elected has not been revealed, but regulations are expected to be announced after further consultation. However, this has failed to ease fears about a threat to the future role of Rector, who are traditionally elected to chair the university court at Aberdeen University. They are seen to bring an essential element of democracy to these institutions and represent the interests of the student body at management level. Eight former Rectors of the University of Edinburgh recently signed an open letter condemning the move, saying: ‘We feel that the proposals in the Scottish Government’s Bill takes away an ancient democratic right, unique to Scotland, and seeks to replace it with a system where the chair of the university’s highest governing body will be someone pre-approved and vetted by a government process’. A spokesperson for the University of Aberdeen stated that: ‘We consider autonomy – with appropriate accountability for public funding – to be a key factor in our success as a university operating at a global level’. They went on to state that ‘[t]he measures put forward in the Bill would significantly reduce our autonomy and independence from Government’. The Scottish Government has moved to allay these fears, with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning releasing a statement saying that: ‘This Government has no intention at all of abolishing the position of Rector. Just as the position of Rector was introduced to bring democracy and transparency to the governance of universities, we want to extend these principles to all our higher education institutions’. Former Aberdeen University Student Accused of Terror Offences By Adelina Kiskyte Yousif Badri, 29, gave evidence at his trial at the High Court in Glasgow last week. The former University of Aberdeen medical student was accused of being involved in conduct ‘with the intention of committing acts of terrorism’, and was arrested on June 6, 2013. After Badri was arrested just a month before his graduation, his laptop, external hard drive and books were seized from his home in Aberdeen. Some files found on his computer included footage of allied troops being ambushed and shot at by snipers, while other videos showed how to make bomb shells. However, advised by his counsel Murdo Macleod QC, Badri stated that he never wanted to kill anyone or make any ‘shells’. During the trial, when asked by Judge Lord Turnbull as to where he obtained the footage, Badri indicated that he got it from Google. When some alleged terrorist articles were found on Badri’s computer, the accused said: ‘There are passages of the Koran that have been used to justify crimes and the only way to have a rebuttal of this is to read these articles and pull them apart’. Moreover, Badri ‘strongly agrees’ that there is no room for terrorism in Islam and says that he is ‘strongly opposed’ to terrorist organisations such as al Qaeda and ISIS. The trial continues. University deep-sea explorer nominated for top book prize By Amanda Connelly A deep sea explorer from the University of Aberdeen has been nominated for a top book award. Dr. Alan Jamieson’s book, The Hadal Zone: Life in the Deepest Oceans, has been nominated in the Royal Society of Biology’s Postgraduate Textbook Prize category. The book has received notable backing from fellow explorer and Hollywood film director James Cameron. Cameron, who directed both Terminator 2 and Titanic, proclaimed the book to be ‘the most comprehensive book yet written on the mysteries of the ocean’s deepest places, written by one of it’s best explorers’. Technological advancements in the past decade have seen a revival in hadal zone exploration, an area that had seen minimal research since the 1950s. Made up mainly of ocean trenches, the hadal zone is the deepest marine habitat on the planet. The sum of all the trenches covers an area approximately the size of Australia, and it accounts for 45% of the ocean depth range. Described as ‘an outstanding influential review of a unique under- explored ecosystem’ by the award’s judges, the book contains information on all that is known at present about organisms in the depths of the hadal zone, along with offering greater understanding of how, where and what species live and prosper in these depths. Dr. Jamieson will be present at the Royal Society of Biology Annual Awards Ceremony on 15th October, held in Charles Darwin House, London. Gàidhlig a’soirbheachadh ann an sgìrean air feadh na dùthcha Tha figearan ùra bhon cunntas- sluaigh 2011 air sealltainn na h-àitichean san dùthaich far a bheil Gàidhlig as làidire. ‘S e na sgìrean còmhairle Gàidhealach a tha Gàidhlig as cumanta, mar a bha an dùil, le 61% ‘s na h-Eileanan Siar, 7.4% sa Ghaidhealtachd ‘s 5.9% sa dh’Earra Ghàidheal is Bòd le sgìlean Gàidhlig. Bha Glaschu co-ionnan ris a’ chuibheas nàiseanta aig 1.7%. Air an laimh eile, bha Lannraig Tuath ‘s Deas, Siorrachd Air a’ Deas, Lodainn Mheadanach ‘s Dùn Phrìs is Gall-Ghàidhealaibh uile air 0.7% den t-sluaigh le Gàidhlig. Ann an naidheachd eile bhon cunntas-sluaigh, thainig piseach air aireamhan daoine òg le Gàidhlig, ‘s 618 clann a bharrachd a’ bruidhinn Gàidhlig ann an 2011 na bha ann an 2001. Thuirt neach-labhairt bho Bòrd na Gàidhlig: “It is very encouraging that the decline previously seen has almost stabilised and that there has been growth in Gaelic speakers between the age of three to 19. “This is evidence of the successes of Gaelic-medium education. “Bòrd na Gàidhlig will continue to work in partnership with National Agencies, sectoral and local groups to continue this growth and increase the number of speakers especially in the zero to 30 age group.” Ged a chaidh àireamh daoine òg le Gàidhlig suas, thuit sluagh le Gàidhlig a-rithist le 5,300 nas lugha le sgìlean sa chanain ann an 2011 na bh’ann an 2001. Ach ‘s e sin an crìonadh as lugha a th’ air a bhith ann o chionn trichead bliadhna. Tha Bòrd na Gàidhlig den bheachd gu bheil adhartas mhòr air tigheann air a’ Ghàidhlig san ùine sin agus gu bheil Achd na Gàidhlig a chaidh cur air bhog ann an 2005 air mòran a’ dhèanamh gus a chanain a’ bhrosnachadh. By Steven Kellow Oisean Gàidhlig Sgìrean comhairle as motha airson Gaelic a’ bhruidhinn Na h-Eilean Siar - 61.2% (16,489) Gàidhealtachd - 7.4% (16, 596) Earra Ghaidheal is Bòd - 5.9% (5, 550) Sgìrean comhairle as lugha airson Gaelic a’ bhruidhinn Siorrachd Lannraig a Deas - 0.7% (2, 106) Lodainn Mheadhanach - 0.7% (546) Siorrachd Air a Deas - 0.7% (733) Alba gu léir - 1.7% (87, 056) Photo by @notnixon (flickr) 07.10.2015
  5. 5. p.5 By Tom Cole Between September 25th and October 2nd the University of Aberdeen played host to the second annual Explorathon, a discovery-based science initiative intended to bring together schoolchildren, academics, and the public alike from across Europe, following the university’s first successful application to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. Having won a bid to host the week- long event two years ago, last week’s European Researchers’ Night saw the appearances of over 50 research specialists hosting educational talks on topics ranging across the academic spectrum. The programme has remained true to its original intention of persuading young people to broaden their horizons and seek out innovation- based career paths. The Explorathon even saw numerous attractions spread from Union Square to the Satrosphere Science Centre, showcasing various research projects being carried out by universities across Britain. In addition to the more than lucrative prospect of motivating people to pursue inventive new professions in the name of discovery, the event also brought considerable advantage to the University of Aberdeen’s research profile. With an estimated 6,000 participants, it goes without saying that this year’s Explorathon event was a step in the right direction. Aberdeen host second annual Explorathon summit By Zoe McKellar The latest firm in the North East of Scotland to be hit by potential job losses as a result of the recent instabilities in the oil and gas industry is energy firm Hydrasun. The company, established in 1976 and currently a leading provider in services to the oil and gas industry, announced last week that it was in consultation with employees due to a situation where 97 out of its 592 strong workforce were classed as ‘at risk’. Of the 592 employees, 338 are based at the Aberdeen headquarters, meaning a further potentially significant blow to the already hard-hit job market in the North East. In a statement released by the company, Hydrasun cited the recent downturn in the oil and gas sector as presenting a significant challenge to the company’s operations. They stated that the number of job losses is by no means set, and that they are still assessing the situation, but warned that a reduction in pay may also follow for some employees.The company stated that ‘while the detail of these options has yet to be finalised, the situation is that up to 97 positions within our Aberdeen HQ operations are being considered for possible redundancy, along with a potential pay cut of up to 12%’. Chief executive Bob Drummond, however, said he remains hopeful that the final number of redundancies would be fewer than 97. Hydrasun acknowledged that this was ‘a very difficult and unsettling time’ for all of their employees, but has given assurances that they will deal with the consultation process as swiftly as possible. Completion of the process and confirmation of the outcome is expected by the end of October. Aberdeen firm in job cut consultation Photo by Hans Hillewaert (Flickr) Scottish Greens leader has high hopes for Aberdeen as global leader in renewables By Zoe McKellar The North East has been plagued by job and pay cuts due to a significant downturn in oil and gas operations. However, Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie has stated that a recent report shows promising job potential through the renewables sector. Harvie, the party’s economy and energy spokesperson, states that this report shows that jobs created by the renewables sector would outnumber the total number of job losses in the event of a complete offshore industry collapse. While visiting Scarf (the Aberdeen based renewable energy group) on September 28th, Mr. Harvie commented that in light of the recent difficulties Aberdeen has faced due to reliance on the fossil fuel industry, the time had come to begin ‘localising’ the North East economy, with a reduction in the focus on multi-national firms. In a bid to secure the area’s long-term economic future, Harvie stated that the decommissioning of oil and gas platforms should be an immediate goal, saying: ‘I see this as a period of transition where we should be investing in alternative technologies which allows us to create more jobs in the renewables industry and a whole host of sustainable industries. ‘There are more jobs to create in the new economy than are at risk in the old economy, but we are not going to be able to create those if we do not commit […] to investing in that transition now.’ He also added that, in his view, jobs created by ‘green’ energy would outnumber the estimated figure of some 350,000 jobs that would be lost if the larger companies were to withdraw completely from the North Sea. Viewing decommissioning as an opportunity for the northeast to take the first steps towards becoming a global leader in renewables, Harvie declared: ‘This is a transition that is required. It is not a choice and it is the only sustainable and reliable path’. By Natascha Ewert Students and staff at the University of Aberdeen experienced power and internet outages on Thursday the 24th of September from 1pm onwards. Many lectures had to be cancelled, while some others were even held outside around the campus where the weather permitted it. IT services had to run on emergency power, and students received updates during the day informing them about which services were either offline or being restored. Student Portal, MyAberdeen and MyTimetable were some of these services that were inaccessible for a period of time while student mail services remained functional. In an email, the IT service stated that the majority of services would function by 7pm. However, the power outage had an impact on other domains as well. Students living in residence halls and having catered accommodation were given meal bags instead of the usual warm dinner at the Hub as the lack of power had effected these facilities too. According to Aberdeen’s Press and Journal and Evening Express, the spokesman for Scottish and Southern Energy confirmed that ‘a third party’ was responsible for causing damage to a power cable. Even Robert Gordon University was affected by this power outage, as the house of their data centre is at located at the University of Aberdeen. A University Spokesperson confirmed that the power outage was caused by a third party, stating: ‘The power outage was caused by a digger operated by a contractor on the Third Don Crossing construction work underway at St. Machar Drive which accidentally cut through a high voltage power cable supplying the King’s College Campus’. It is hoped that there will be no further outages. confirmation of the outcome is expected by the end of October. University experiences power outage and internet failure 07.10.2015
  6. 6. By Zoe McKellar A joint study funded by the Natural Environment Research Group and the Department for Energy and Climate Change has found that offshore wind farms may pose more of a threat to gannets than previously thought. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, has warned that up to twelve times more of Scotland’s globally significant gannet population could be killed by wind turbines than suggested by previous estimates. Research by scientists from the universities of Glasgow, Leeds, and Exeter has shown that the seabirds flight paths may reach higher altitudes than previously thought while searching for food, increasing the risk of impact from spinning turbine blades. After the Scottish government approved plans in 2014 for four new major offshore wind farms on the East Coast, the RSPB made swift moves to challenge the government’s decision in the courts, stating that they believed that the farms would be ‘amongst the most deadly for birds anywhere in the world’. Despite the findings, sources in the offshore wind industry have questioned the validity of the claims, owning to the ‘tiny population’ they say may be affected from Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. The island was named the largest gannet colony in the world, following counts earlier this year, with around 70,000 breeding pairs recorded. Conservationists have challenged the claims by stating that, due to the sheer size of the colony, scientists would have had to observe some 800 individual gannets to achieve a representation of a mere 0.5% of the entire population. Over 300 turbines will make up the four individual wind farms in locations off the east coast. Bass Rock lies less that 50km from the proposed sites, and as gannets can cover hundreds of kilometres when searching for food this presents a potential threat to the colony. It was previously believed that gannets flew well below the current minimum height of 22m above sea level that the blades can reach, a figure dictated as a safety measure for the shipping industry. However, this new research has shown that the birds actually record an average flight level of 27m, placing them at risk of potential collision with turbine blades. An estimated number of 1500 birds could be killed each year as a result of impact with the two proposed sites nearest to Bass Rock, creating concern for the long term effects on the gannet population. The study has therefore suggested raising the current minimum blade height to 30m. A spokesperson for RSPB Scotland has stated that the survey is an excellent indication of the limited extent to which the behaviour of seabirds away from their nests around the coast is understood, but, due to the ongoing legal proceedings, said ‘it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on the implications of research in relation to these cases’. p.6 Gannets at risk from offshore wind farms By Annika Benz After the collapse of the iconic European cod fishery in the 1980s, the North Sea cod has finally been taken off the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) list of fish to avoid eating. For the first time, after years of reducing fishing and efforts to avoid catching cod in mixed fisheries, numbers have been rising above sustainable levels. The signs of improvement have led the MCS, which assesses seafood on a traffic light system, to increase fishery to an amber rating. Cod is currently the fish species most imported to the UK, accounting for 18.7% of all fish imports in 2013, mainly from the North East, the Arctic and Iceland. UK fishermen and merchants have welcomed the news of a recovery for more local North Sea Cod stocks. Fish merchant Don Tyler said that customers would feel the benefits of the announcement soon, adding: ‘We can go back to it being a British product, caught by British fishermen, on a British plate’. MCS Fisheries Officer, Samuel Stone, called this development a ‘milestone’ for the North Sea Cod, but also mentioned that the job is not done yet: ‘Efforts of recent years need to continue in order for the fishery to head towards the green end of the spectrum’. The population needs to increase further above precautionary levels to achieve what’s known as the Maximum Sustainable Yield, being the maximum level at which a stock can be fished without depleting the population. Although being back on the menu of fish and chip shops, North Sea cod should only be enjoyed as an occasional treat. Decades of overfishing and the warming of the European shelf seas have reduced the reproductive success of the cod drastically and it may never fully recover to its previous glorious days in the 1970s. Photo by Jean Jacques Boujot (Flickr) To drive further reforms, decisions on fiscal policy should be underpinned by the principle of maximising economic recovery (MER). Warnings over Corbyn’s “dire” energy plan for North SeaBy Steven Kellow Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has led criticism of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s energy policies, warning that they could have ‘dire’ effects for industry in the North Sea. Corbyn’s flagship energy proposals include re-nationalisation of gas works and the National Grid that supplies energy to homes, but Ewing has said that this would weaken the industry at the potential cost of thousands of jobs. Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ewing also called for the UK Government to examine the use of tax breaks for the industry to encourage new exploration, saying: ‘It is imperative that the UK Government commits to no tax rises during the lifetime of the UK Parliament and that any significant policy proposals will be consulted upon with industry and the Oil & Gas Authority. ‘To drive further reforms, decisions on fiscal policy should be underpinned by the principle of Maximising Economic Recovery (MER). ‘The MER policy will only work if the UK explicitly commits to using their fiscal levers appropriately. Without that, the operators will simple invest elsewhere.’ Scottish Labour public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie responded: ‘We join with the Scottish Government in supporting further tax incentives to the industry. ‘But has the minister done any analysis of cost and will he publish this because the tax revenue from oil is at an all-time low, much less than was forecast by the SNP in their White Paper (on Scottish independence)?’ Although the position of the Scottish energy industry is precarious at the moment, with oil prices falling by over 50% in the last year, Ewing pointed to ‘substantial new discoveries around the west coast of Scotland’, such as the Clair Ridge field west of Shetland that could provide Scotland with oil for years to come. Cod taken off MCS’list of fish to avoid eating 07.10.2015
  7. 7. p.7 By Rebecca Lindsay Scottish Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, received criticism this week after it was revealed that the Scottish government funded the T in the Park music festival with £150,000. According to the Scottish government the money will be used to enable a ‘successful transition’ of the festival to its new location at Strathallan Castle, Perthshire. Their usual venue, Balado Airfield, is no longer suitable due to health and safety issues. Hyslop is currently facing accusations of cronyism. These accusations were prompted by the circumstance of Alex Salmond’s former aide, Jennifer Dempsie, working as Festival Project Manager for the company of the music festival at the time of the funding agreement. Hyslop affirms, however, that she never had any funding-related discussions with the former SNP aide. In a meeting before a Holyrood committee, Hyslop was questioned as to why taxpayers’ money was needed to fund the music festival move. Conservative MSP Liz Smith stated that ‘[t]he taxpayer surely deserves to know the details’. Hyslop defended the funding of the music festival, stating that DF Concerts had ‘expressed concern’ that the festival ‘might have [had] to move out of Scotland’because of the moving costs. A Scottish Government spokesperson added, ‘last year [T in the Park] generated £15.4 million for the Scottish economy as well as employment opportunities’. Therefore, the funding was provided for the continued benefit of the festival to Scotland. A T in the Park spokesperson said: ‘Many events in Scotland […] receive public funding’, which Smith conceded was ‘not unusual’for Scottish events. The festival move to Strathallan Castle received criticism from some local residents. In light of this, a public consultation will be held in that area to approve the venue for the next three years. Scottish Government Funds £150,000 toT in the Park Scotland to welcome junior doctors from England as contract changes proposed Proposals to renew junior doctors’ contracts with NHS England have resulted in an announcement that the 53,000 junior doctors who work in England will be balloted for industrial action. The proposed contract will come into effect in August 2016 and is proving contentious due to disputes over the minutiae of pay and concerns for staff and patient welfare.The government has said that they ‘want to improve patient safety’, and view the current contract as ‘unfair for doctors and patients’. The British Medical Association (BMA) have said that they will ‘resist a contract that is bad for patients, bad for junior doctors and bad for the NHS’. Discussions started in 2013 between the government, NHS Employers, and the BMA—who were all in agreement that the contracts needed updating—but these broke down in October 2014 after the BMA pulled out of negotiations. In August of this year they refused to re-enter talks. A Department of Health spokesperson has said that ‘the secretary of state [Jeremy Hunt] stressed the need for higher standards for patients and doctors in order to address the 11,000 excess deaths a year owing to the “weekend effect”’, referring to the estimated excess 11,000 patients who died within 30 days of being admitted to hospital at the weekend. Key changes in the contract that are proving controversial include the redefining of social working hours. Currently, unsocial working hours are considered to be anytime outwith 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday (and are paid at a higher rate according to a banding system), but under the new contract social hours would extend to 10pm and include Saturdays. It is also claimed that the conversion of time-based pay progression to ‘rate for the job’ pay would negatively affect doctors who take maternity or extended paternity leave. Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robinson has said that Scotland would ‘welcome’ junior doctors from England and issued a ‘cast iron’ guarantee not to reduce junior doctors’wages in Scotland, which alongside Wales has decided to continue with the current contracts. It is hoped that this will help avert a ‘brain drain’, where twice as many junior doctors leave Scotland to work abroad compared with the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland has not yet made a decision regarding the contracts. The University of Aberdeen’s MedSoc issued a statement describing the new contracts as ‘a crippling blow to already overworked medical professionals’ and issued concern for the implications on patient safety. They concluded: ‘Medsoc stands in solidarity with the protests happening across the UK and supports the actions of junior doctors wholeheartedly’. A final year medical student at Aberdeen, who wished to remain anonymous, said that ‘the prospect of starting work is looming ever closer. I should be excited. I am not, I am worried’, and went on to describe the new contracts as ‘unsafe, unjust and punishing’. By Huw D’Costa By Aemilia Ross Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell urged Scottish voters to ‘come home to Labour’ during his party’s conference last week. In his speech, which came four months after Labour saw their Scottish seats almost completely eradicated, he stated that he was ‘devastated’ by the results north of the border. McDonnell continued that Labour was the only anti-austerity party, insisting that his party’s plans for economic growth would reach ‘all regions and all nations of our country’. He went on to announce that Labour would be launching an ‘aggressive’ campaign to ensure multinational corporations paid ‘their fair share of taxes’. His speech also included criticisms of the Scottish National Party, stating: ‘Let’s be clear, the SNP has now voted against the living wage, against capping rent levels and just last week voted against fair taxes in Scotland to spend on schools’. He emphasised that Labour’s economic strategy would be based on growing the economy by strategically investing in key industries and sectors. Addressing the conference, he said: ‘For those in Scotland who want to campaign against austerity, now is the time to come home - come home to Labour’. Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour leader, also highlighted business and economics as key sections at the conference in Brighton. She insisted that her party needed to develop a ‘renewed relationship with those who generate the wealth Scotland needs to make our country a fairer place to live’. Labour had previously been criticised by businesses during this year’s general election campaign after promising to freeze energy prices, break up high- street banks, and place workers on executive remuneration boards. The Scottish Labour leader, however, has pledged that she wants entrepreneurs to see Scotland as a ‘good place to do business’. In response to McDonnell’s attack against the SNP, the Scottish National Party stated that the Shadow Chancellor had offered Scotland nothing new from Labour as he continued to commit the party to voting for George Osborne’s austerity plans. SNP deputy leader, Stewart Hosie MP, said: ‘Mr McDonnell’s comments confirm that, when it comes to Scotland, Labour haven’t changed’. McDonnell calls on Scots to ‘come home’to Labour Top to bottom: Photo by official craigwatson (wikimedia); Ragazzi00 (wikimedia) 07.10.2015
  8. 8. p. 9 arts| culture website/database 57 Degrees North, the Scottish Music Industry Association, Comprende Records and Aberdeen Performing Arts. The event showcases some of the best music Scotland has to offer, and people get the chance to interact directly with the labels, often with the owner. Highlights include Chemikal Underground, home to artists like The Phantom Band and RM Hubbert. There’s also Lost Map, who will have releases by the likes of Kid Canaveral and The Pictish Trail. New labels for this year include Edinburgh-based Gerry Loves Records and Aberdeen’s own Fitlike Records. There will be live DJ sets during the event, which runs from 11:30am-4:30pm. Details of an after- party will be released soon. For a full list of attending labels, consult the event poster or visit www.57north. org. Vin Diesel has claimed that the popular Fast & Furious film franchise will end with “one last trilogy”. This year’s instal- ment, the seventh in the series, had been expected to be the last. However, what with it making over one and a half million dollars at the box office, apparently another three are now required to give the plot sufficient closure. The Recording Industry Association of America this week released figures that suggest sales of vinyl records are worth more than streaming income. Although streaming continues to grow in popularity, vinyl sales grew by 52% in the first half of 2015. While streaming services are still seen as vital to the future of the industry, they are often criticised for not being nearly as profit- able as other income streams. JK Rowling and Stephen King have been beaten by Australian novelist Michael Robotham in this year’s Crime Writers’ Association Awards. Robotham won the ‘Gold Dagger Award’ for his psychological thriller Life Or Death. Long-running cartoon The Simpsons will soon feature an episode in which Mr Smithers comes out as gay to his boss, Mr Burns. It has always been understood that the character harboured romantic feelings towards his boss, but at some point in the new, 27th season of the show, the charac- ters will openly discuss Smithers’s sexuality. NEWS Aberdeen Live 8/10/15 New Focus Quartet @ The Blue Lamp Konrad Wiszniewski and pianist/composer Euan Stevenson collaborate with a top rhythm section of Mario Caribe and Alyn Cosker to create joyous music that is “lush, modern and brilliantly accessible” (BBC Radio Scotland). Blending jazz with classical and Scottish folk influences, they write and perform original music that is “aesthetically pleasing and then some but also, in essence, just plain damned heart-lifting” (The Herald). 10/10/15 Forest Fires @ Downstairs Local alt-rockers, reminiscent of early Muse albums, headline a rare hometown show. Expect lots of raucous new tracks from their upcoming debut album. 12-17/10/15 The Shawshank Redemption @ His Majesty’s Theatre A new stage adaptation of the much-loved film, itself an adaptation of the classic Stephen King novella. 13/10/15 Tim Vine: Tim Timinee Tin Timinee Tim Tim To You @ Music Hall You’ll probably already know whether you appreciate Tim Vine’s smart-arse one-liners, but that title had to be included here. Excellent. 15/10/15 Sleaford Mods @ Tunnels Angry, socially conscious duo’s Aberdeen leg of their huge UK tour rolls into Tunnels. Pretty close to selling out at time of going to press. 15/10/15 National Theatre Live: Hamlet @ Belmont Filmhouse If Sleaford Mods aren’t for you, the same night has the live broadcast of BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (whimpers) as Hamlet, showing at Aberdeen’s lovely independent cinema. Independent Record Label Market By Alasdair Cliff On the 17th of October The Lemon Tree will host its second Independent Record Label Market, following on from the success of last year’s event. Fourteen of Scotland’s most esteemed independent labels are currently scheduled to appear, along with two record stores: Aberdeen’s own Chameleon, as well as Coda Music from Edinburgh. The Market is organised by local music Review: Community By Thomas Danielian Community details the lives of a rag tag bunch of misfits attempting to sort their lives out at the fictitious Greendale Community College. Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a former lawyer who was caught with a fake degree, is the founder of the study group to which the misfits belong. Other characters include former activist Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), the socially awkward Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) a devout single mother, former high school quarterback Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), Annie Edison (Alison Brie) a young former pill addict, and eccentric old millionaire Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). With such a wide variety of characters the concoction of different backgrounds and stories the show works perfectly and rarely has a dull moment. The on-screen chemistry of the main characters and the supporting cast is mesmerising and hilarious. However, it has rarely been plain sailing for the successful series, created by Dan Harmon in 2009. The show coped with many adversities, from mid-season cancellations and high profile bust ups to unpopular managerial changes and moving channels. In spite of all the difficulty the show has faced it has been very popular and has a passionate following. The sixth series concluded on the 2nd of June this year. While it has been confirmed there will be no more series there is hope that a movie may be coming soon.