1975-84 Recovery


Following a comparatively quiet year under Baines’ editorship, the Union decided to continue the trial of sabbatical editors for another year, and Russell Hall took over the reigns from 1976. Hall overhauled the design of the paper, but conflict with the SRC flared up again. The SRC, in line with the NUS, considered introducing a no-platforming policy for racists and fascists, with the Courier openly criticising this proposal on the grounds that it would limit free speech. Once again the letters page became a battleground between the Courier and the SRC. The SRC’s simultaneous decision not to continue with sabbatical editors was met with an angry editorial in the Courier, and an editorial published by Hall’s successor as editor called for a clean slate and an end to the “private personality battle” between the Courier and the SRC, which also saw the Courier moved into a smaller office “against the wishes of many of the staff”.

Several smaller spats with the SRC followed throughout the late 1970s, but nothing could compare to the drama of the early part of the decade. In 1980 Iain McBride took over as editor, promising to make Courier less political and more fun, and editorials disappeared from the paper. A string of building projects, including a further extension of the Union and the construction of the Robinson Library, safely filled the Courier news pages, while the paper was on hand to provide explanatory features when the Union-SRC merger, for so long a seemingly unachievable goal, was finally completed in 1983.

Geordie’s Marra made a brief return to the paper later that year, while the Christmas issue came complete with a “Union pantomime” mocking Newcastle’s student politicians of the time. The letters page continued to provide occasional criticism of various editorial decisions, but the paper largely avoided controversy.

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