Debating – Old

Tipsy Debating Social!

November 26th, 2010

This week we held our ‘tipsy debating’ social, which wa a light-hearted public debate in the Black Swan pub on the motion ‘This House believes that the North is better than the South’. The proposition defined the motion as North Korea being superior to South Korea – which made for a challenging case to propose!

The debate was brilliantly chaired by Jason Dunn, and the motion was carried. All are welcome to debating social events, and we are looking forward to the Christmas meal at the end of this term.

The panel in full swing

The panel in full swing

Mid-term social

November 14th, 2010

Courtyard SocialLast week instead of a public debate, we had a mid-week social. Thanks to everyone who came along and joined us. The plan was to compete in the Deramore’s bar quiz, but it was (bizarrely) too busy so we all headed for drinks in the courtyard.

Our next social will be ‘tipsy debating’ in week 7, where we will rent out a function room in town and debate while enjoying a few drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic – all are welcome). We also hold an end-of-term meal, and we will be sending out details of that closer to the time.

York Debating at the Durham and Newcastle IV 2010

November 14th, 2010

On the 6th November 2010, York attended the Durham and Newcastle IV 2010. Many thanks to Mark Schofield and Jamie Campbell, who judged throughout the day.

York sent one team, of Ethan Hoddes and Chris Montanaro, who broke to the semi-finals of the competition.

Motions during the ‘in-rounds’ included:

  • This House would let better universities charge higher tuition fees.
  • This House would allow people to sell themselves into slavery.
  • This House believes that the state should encourage traditional gender roles.
  • The House believes that America should apologise to Japan for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • This House believe that judicial activism harms the gay rights movement.

We are hoping for more success as the year goes on.

This House Would Scrap Trident – Results

November 14th, 2010

Thanks to everyone who came along to the public debate ‘This House Would Scrap Trident’. The debate was one of the closest we’ve had this year, with almost a dead heat in the preliminary vote.

Proposition argued that the current nuclear deterrent was outdated and ill-equipped for modern warfare. They argued that the sorts of enemies faced by the UK, such as terrorist cells or distant rogue states, posed either no nuclear threat (by being too far away), or a threat which could not be resisted with nuclear weapons (such as terrorist attacks).

Opposition countered that the costs incurred from decommissioning were fixed and would not be any lower if we decommissioned trident now or in ten years time. They argued that the rogue states pose real threats to national security, and it would only be a matter of time before a rogue state could reach the UK. They further argued that the such actions needed to be multi-lateral rather than uni-lateral, because uni-lateral action jeaprodises mutually assured destruction and is less effective worldwide than multi-lateral decommissioning.

The motion was carried by 18 votes to 16, with 2 abstentions. We hope to hold more closely-fought public debates in the coming weeks.

York Debating at the Lancaster IV 2010

November 2nd, 2010

Congratulations go to the York teams of Nathan Paulson and Mark Schofield, and Chris Woods and Angus Hill, who reached the final of the Lancaster IV 2010 on Saturday 30th October.

All three York teams at the competition performed superbly, including Nathan who was awarded best speaker on the tab, including a striking top score of 88 in the second round.

The tab is available to view at:

The motion in the final was ‘This House Would Put Out to Get Ahead”, which provided an entertaining and lively debate. We look forward to more successes in the coming competitions, including the Durham and Newcastle IV this weekend.

This House would allow people to live off benefits indefinitely

October 27th, 2010

Thanks to everyone who came to the debate yesterday. We chose the motion to be engaging and topical, and we hope that was reflected in the debate.

The proposition argued two things. Firstly that all people have the right to benefits based on compensation for arbitrary property rights, and second that the capitalist system subordinates certain people who are entitled to benefits as victims of the system. Property rights are essentially arbitrary (given that no one ‘owns’ forests, land etc.), and, by virtue of their exclusivity, cause some people to be unable to own enough property to subsist. Indefinite benefits should be a compensation for that. Also, the commercial nature of capitalism denies us the right to live as we would like, the state bears the responsibility for supporting that system and thus is responsible for giving benefits to all people subordinated in this way.

The opposition responded by positing that property exists to create the incentive for people to achieve those rights. If no property was defended, there would be no point in getting it. The motion will therefore cause a devaluation in labour or work, and will cripple the economy. Worse still, the rights to benefits are self-denying – because by enshrining the right to benefits the house will cripple the economy and the state that delivers them. This risks actually being able to provide any benefits in the first place.

The motion failed by a large majority.

Thank you for coming if you came, we hope to see you at the next debate in the next week!

This House Would Re-criminalise Adultery

October 20th, 2010

Thanks to all of you who came to watch this debate on Tuesday night. We hope you enjoyed watching a heated and exciting debate, and we have more to come during the term.

The proposition argued that adultery constituted a breach of the marital contract and should be punished as such. Both women and men have a right not to be cheated on, and this should be represented in the legal system. They argued that, in the same way that rape cases result in very few convictions, it shouldn’t matter whether convicting adultery is difficult, it should still be recognised as a crime.

The opposition countered by arguing that the state has no legitimate right to interfere in our sex lives. It would be almost impossible to prove any cases that a man has (without reasonable doubt) committed adultery. As such, it would be an ineffective law requiring huge surveillance and interference to actually enforce it. Furthermore, adultery can often be a means of keeping a failing marriage together (that took quite some explaining). Lastly, even if adultery is bad for the other partner, we already offer the right to divorce.

The motion failed by a vast majority, so the opposition were the winners in this debate. We hope you enjoyed it, and will send details about the next debate to the mailing list soon.

The Istanbul Open 2010!

September 30th, 2010

We were thrilled and privileged  to have attended the Istanbul Open 2010 at Koc University. The competition was truly outstanding, for a number of reasons:

  • Superb, world-class judging.
  • Accommodation, Food, Free drinks for 5 days for just 50 euros!
  • York made the final!

Everyone had a brilliant time, and many thanks are due to our External Debate Officer, Matteo De Martino, who did a superb job of organising the York convoy and judging in the tournament. From the cheap flights, to driving us down to Heathrow at 4 in the morning – we are very lucky to have him! Congratulations also must go to Nathan Paulson, 4th best speaker in the tournament, and Mark Schofield who both made the final. They did a super job. Congratulations must also go to Chris Selby who was 7th best speaker in the tournament and made the semi-final.

You can read a full review of the competition at:

To find out more about our visits international competitions, come and find us at freshers’ fair! Below is a photo of the group and of Nathan speaking in the final.

debating team in istanbullNathan Paulson in the final of the Istanbul Open

York Debating at the Nottingham Summer Cup

September 10th, 2010

This August we sent two teams and one mixed team to the Nottingham Summer Cup. It was an informal competition, and was aimed at general socialising between different university debating societies with some good rounds of debating in between.

Motions included:
“This House Would Sterilise Drug Addicts”
“This House Would Remove All Limits on Immigration Based on Economic Reasons”
“This House Belies That Technocracy Is Better Than Democracy For Society”
“This House Would Bribe Religious Leaders and Organisations to Preach Liberal Values”

York had mixed success in the competition, which was eventually won by a composite team from Manchester and Cambridge. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to beginning the next year on the British debating circuit!

Just to prove debating isn’t always serious…

August 2nd, 2010

York recently competed in the first ever Harry Potter debating open at the University of Birmingham!

Motions included:

“This house believes that house elves should not be held criminally liable for their actions”

“This house would make the use of memory charms an unforgivable offence”

“This house would give ‘creatures of near human intelligence’ wand lore and actively aid them in a revolt”

Nathan Paulson was placed in the top 10 of the 60 speakers present, and Matteo De Martino broke to the final (admittedly as the second half of a Hippogriff costume). A great time was had by all!

Mike and Nathan in ‘death eater’ costumes: