Well we’re pretty exhausted, aren’t you? Term one is nearly at an end and Christmas is a-coming. Keep going with those deadlines guys, you’ve absolutely sleighed it.
Our front page image this week relates to the issue on everyone’s lips. Unfortunately this isn’t whether you prefer Mariah to Bublé, but the rather more terrifying concept of going to war. The decision to begin military intervention in Syria was passed last Wednesday. With many students disappointed to hear Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw voting for the motion, we were surprised to see him appear on campus just two days afterwards. He was here however, not to talk about his decision, but about the EU referendum – a farcical attempt to debate a topic few people are talking or caring about immediately after Parliament’s agreement to initiate airstrikes. With protesters greeting Bradshaw on arrival to the Forum, it was naive to expect students to ask questions about the sanctity of the EU over the survival of Syrian civilians. We cover the event in News in page 5 and provide an in-depth analysis of Parliament’s decision over on page 13 of Features.
With our committee spending an ungodly number of hours in the Exeposé office, the Guild Points loyalty scheme has provided us with some reward for the sheer amount of money we spend on campus. However, not everyone is reaping the benefits – with only 12 per cent of points having been redeemed at present, and over half of students having not even used the initiative. The scheme’s success is hung in the balance. Costing £2000 to implement and adding transaction time onto already manically busy Guild outlets, the technicalities of the scheme mean that students aren’t earning nearly enough points in one term to claim back. There is no doubt that LJT’s master plan would rocket in popularity if the points carried over into next term. After all, how else are we going to afford that £16.99 bottle of Ram prosecco?!
Elsewhere, in an almost unprecedented move, the University appears to have actually listened to the student body and have moved January exams back by a staggering full thirty minutes, meaning that 8:30am exams will now start at the ever so slightly more reasonable hour of 9am. It’s interesting that the powers that be seem to think we are incapable of taking exams at 8:30, yet are only too happy to make us attend lectures and seminars at that unholy hour. For Deputy Editor Eamonn Crowe’s thoughts, see Comment page 10. In the meantime, enjoy that lie in folks – you won’t be getting one in term two.
In other news, last week the University Vice-Chancellor Steve Smith confirmed that none of us wanted to hear; he hopes to raise tuition fees AGAIN in the near future. This announcement hardly comes as a surprise, however, it will still come as a crushing blow to prospective students from lower income families, who will also have to contend with the Conservatives’ decision to replace maintenance grants with loans from September 2016. For the full story see page 3.
More high profile interviews grace this fortnight’s edition of the paper. Music lead the way with the incredible scoop of internationally renowned indie-rock band The Strokes. Albert Hammond Jr., the band’s guitarist, begrudgingly answered questions about the future of the band and his relationship with Julian Casablancas, despite currently touring to promote his (less glamorous) solo project. Head over to page 20 to hear his thoughts.
Features aren’t far behind however. Sophie Harrison talks to Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb about his admirable campaign for equality in mental health on page 12, whilst Flora Carr questions controversial figure, Maryam Namazie, on feminism, atheism and Islamism (all the isms) on page 14.
Elsewhere in the paper, Christmas themed content is omnipresent as we get into the festive spirit. Highlights include Music’s seasonal mixtape (page 21), Arts & Lit interview with the Northcott Theatre’s A Christmas Carol’s leading man Derek Frood (page 28) and Science & Tech’s list of this year’s must have gadgets (page 33).
Finally, with the biggest blockbuster of the year about to hit cinemas, Screen go back a long time ago in a galaxy far far away to reflect on the legacy of the Star Wars franchise ahead of Episode VII’s release later this month (pages 24-25). Have a great Christmas break and may the force be with you…