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Pros and Cons


18th Edition

Edited by


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!t.1J (;(,.0
:(" ~ FranC'-~

London and New York


First edition by J.B. Askew, published in 1896 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Editorial Team IX
A catalogue record for this book is available from
Eighteenth edition published 1999
Foreword X
the British Library
by Routledge Preface XI
Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE How to Debate 1
Reprinted 1999,2000 A catalogue record for this book has been
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis requested
Group [A] Philosophical/Political Theory 11
© 1999 Routledge
,j Anarchism 13
Typeset in Bembo and Franklin Gothic by
Keystroke, Jacaranda Lodge, Wolverhampton Capitalism v. Socialism 14
Censorship by the State 16
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall ,Civil Disobedience 18
Democracy 20
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or Ends v. Means 21
by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, Ideology v. Pragmatism 23
now known or hereafter invented, including ., Legislation v. Individual Freedom 25
photocopying and recording, or in any information Marxism 28
storage or retrieval system, without permission in ISBN 0-415-19547 -0 (hbk)
ISBN 0-415-19548-9 (pbk) Pacifism 29
writing from the publishers.
Privatisation 31
Tradition v. Innovation 33
Welfare State 35

[8] Constitutional/Governance 37

Bill of Rights 39
Churches in Politics 40
Coalition Government v. Party Government 42
Devolution of Scotland and Wales 43

Disestablishment of the Church of England 45 C Terrorism, Justifiable 120

Eighteen-year-old MPs 47 C) Terrorists, Negotiation with 122
House of Lords, Abolition of 49 United Nations, Failure of 123
Monarchy v. Presidency 51 United Nations, Standing Army for 125
Party Funding by the State 53 United States, Fear of 126
Politicians' Outside Interests, Banning of 54 United States of Europe 128
Proportional Representation 55 War Crimes, Prosecution of 130
Referenda, Increased Use of 57
Regional Government 59
Term Limits for MPs 61 [E] Moral and Religious 133
Voting, Compulsory 63
Voting Age, Reduction of 65 v Abortion on Demand 135
Written Constitution 66 @nimal Experimentation and Vivisection, Banning of 137
Animal Rights 139
Beggars, Giving Money to 140
[C] Politics and Economics: National 69 Blood Sports, Abolition of 142
Divorce, Easier 14L1
Affi rm ative Acti on 71 CJ Euthanasia 145
Broadcasting, Ending Public Control of 73 Feminism, Devaluation of Parenthood by 147
Calendar Reform 75 vGambling, Immorality of 150
Immigration, Relaxation of Laws against 76 Gay Marriages 152
National Health Service, Privatisation of 78 Gays, Adoption of Children by 154
National Identity Cards 80 Gays in the Military 155
'.L~ational Lottery, Abolition of 82 God, Existence of 157
National Service, (Re-) Introduction of 84 Homosexuals, Ordination of 159
Pensions, Ending State Provision of 86 Homosexuals, Outing of 161
Salary Capping, Mandatory 88 , ~ Marriage 163
7Sunday Entertainment and Shopping, Restricting 89 Political Correctness 164
Taxation, Direct, Abolition of 90 Pornography 166
Trade Unions, Modernisation of 92 ;'12) Privacy of Public Figures 168
Workfare 94 Surrogate Mothers 170
Vegetarianism 171
Zoos, Abolition of 173
[D] Politics and Economics: International 97
Armaments, Limitation of Conventional 99 [F] Education, Culture and Sport 177
China, Fear of 100
Commonwealth, Abolition of 102 Arts Funding by the State, Abolition of 179
Democracy, Imposition of 104 Classics (Latin and Greek) in Education 181
Dictators, Assassination of 106 Co-education 182
Environment: Links to International Trade and Relations 108 Contact Sports, Abolition of 184
European Union, Expansion of 109 Corporal Punishment 185
Islam, Fear of 111 'J Examinations, Abolition of 186
Nuclear Weapons, Banning of 112 Graduate Tax J 189
\y Population Control 114 High Art v . Low Art 191
Sanctions, Use of 116 '" Mandatory Retirement Age \ 192
Single European Currency 117 \i~<:,Museums, Entrance Fees to 194

Nursery Education, Free Provision of by the State 195

Oxbridge, Abolition of
Private Schools
Religious Teaching in Schools
School Sport, Compulsory
School Uniform
School-leaving Age, Lowering of 205
Sex Ed ucati 0 n
. ~~ Sport, Co m mercia Iisati 0 n of 207
. Tuition Fees for University Students 209

[G] Law and Crime 213

Capital Punishment 215

Child Curfews
'Drugs, Legalisation of 218
Handguns, Ownership of 221
General Editor: Trevor Sather, Head, Centre for International Debate and
Judges, Election of 222
224 Communication Training, English-Speaking Union
Jury System, Reform of
Licensing Laws, Relaxation of 226
228 Assistant Editor: Thomas Dixon, PhD Student, King's College, Cambridge
Mandatory Prison Sentences
Prison v. Rehabilitation' 230
Prohibition of Alcohol 232 Contributors:
Prostitution, Legalisation of 233
235 Alastair Endersby, Head of History, Newstead Wood School for Girls, Kent
Sex Offenders, Chemical Castration of
237 Dan Neidle, Trainee Solicitor, Clifford Chance, London
Sex Offenders, Registers of
238 Bobby Webster, Student of English, Trinity College, Cambridge
Trials, Televised
Zero Tolerance

[H] Health, Science and Technology 243

Alternative Medicine
Contraception for Under-age Girls 246
Eugenics: IVF and Genetic Screening 247
Genetic EngineerIng r::~M j::OO(1 250
Global Warming, More Action on 252
Internet, Censorship of
r;I\ Nu c lea r Ene rgy
~ Science: a Menace to Civilisation?
Smoking, Banning of
,I \Space Exploration

When a politician says that he or she wants to open up a 'debate' on this or that burn- The English-Speaking Union and Debating
ing question of the day the interested citizen should immediately be on their guard.
For this is political code for not wanting any kind of real discussion at all. What is The English-Speaking Union is an independent, non-political, educational charity
meant instead is that we should accept the politician's definition of both problem and with members throughout the UK, the US and some forty-one other countries. Its
answer in terms that the politician wants, and then 'debate' within those parameters. purpose is to promote international understanding and human achievement through
The agenda is thus set; the questions naturally follow on; and so do the consequential the widening use of English as the language of our global village. The ESU has played
policies. a prominent part in debating since shortly after the Second World War, when it lent
But reasoned argument with no such limits is the stuff of democracy. We need to its support to the tours ofAmerica organised by Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
keep alive a more genuine conception of debate. Of course politicians will wrestle Soon it became responsible for administering the tours - opened up to all British
with us to set the agenda and confine the terms of the argument, but citizens need to universities - and selecting the very best student debaters to go on them: names such
be wise to their wiles. This means they must be equipped to judge when argument is as Patrick Mayhew, Brian Walden, Leon Brittan or Michael Howard.
being guided on to predictable tramlines, supported with insufficient evidence and Nowadays, the ESU administers a wide variety of public speaking and debating
resting on flimsy core assumptions. They need, in short, to be familiar with and com- competitions designed to promote the effective use of spoken English in British
petent in the art of debate themselves. umversities and schools. In 1995 it set up the Centre for International Debate and
This book and the debating tradition which it seeks to nurture are thus not just Communication Training to co-ordinate the activities and undertake new projects
pleasant diversions - although engaging in good argument is very good fun. The art to address the lack of public speaking teaching in the national curriculum. The
of debate is one of the props on which we build our democracy and capacity to argue Centre runs the John Smith Memorial Mace (the national debating competition for
our way to the best solutions. In this revised edition it is intriguing how the terms Bnush and Irish universities), the national Schools Debating and Public Speaking
of debate of so many subjects have moved on, even while the subjects themselves CompetitIOns, the International Public Speaking Competition, the Universities
remain hardy perennials. But we should expect no other. Times change. Issues change. Mootmg Competition and a programme of workshops through the UK and in countries
But what is enduring is our need to debate. I welcome this book and wish everyone such as Argentina and Portugal. It selects and coaches the England team for the World
associated with it, especially young debaters, every success. Schools. Db· e at1l1g ('I . . h·· .
~ iampions IpS, and m 1998 hosted those championships m
. .
London. All of these activities are seen as part of a coherent whole: an effort to instil
Will Hutton into as many people as possible the confidence to speak fluently in public.
11 November 1998

About This Book member of the Cambridge debating team. Together, as teenagers, they were debating
partners and won their first competition relying solely on the seventeenth edition of
This is a book of arguments. It is intended for beginner (or lazy) debaters who are Pros and Cons - despite the warning above.
helped by suggestions of arguments for and against a variety of controversial topics. Two people must be singled out for their extensive research. Alastair Endersby, Head
First written in 1896, it has undergone seventeen revisions in order to cope with the of History at Newstead Wood School for Girls, was Coach of the England Schools
growing or diminishing relevance of different issues. As the preface to the previous Team which won the World Championships in Australia in 1996. Dan Neidle, a
edition pointed out in 1985, each new version bears little resemblance to its pre- solicitor, was Runner-Up at the World Universities Debating Championships in 1997
decessor and that is again the case today. We say goodbye to certain topics included and on the British Debate Team which toured the US later that year.
previously - feeling that it was too late to debate calling off the Channel Tunnel Thanks are also due to Denise Rea, the development editor at Routledge, for the
project, for example - and have added several more; but the bulk of the change has opportunity and her patience; Richard Chambers, former Head of the Centre, for
come in the emphasis placed upon and language used to describe perennial favourites. initiating the project; Will Hutton; Bobby Webster; Jonathan Hills; Stuart Kirk; and
The attitudes towards feminism, gay rights and in particular socialism, for example, Niki Mardas.
have all evolved as Britain has moved away from the radical polarisation ofThatcherite
times and towards a greater consensus of liberal capitalism. The eighteenth edition of
Pros and Cons has therefore updated old topics to fit this modern context.

Examples and Arguments

Examples can be the first to tire and become cliches. No persuasive speech should
seek to argue solely by using examples; instead they should be used to support argu-
ments and make them clearer in the minds of the audience - and that is all we have
tried to do here. However, the examples used are selective, only temporarily up to
date, and in many cases only alluded to rather than explained. Debaters are therefore
strongly warned to research their own - to make sure, for example, that laws have not
been repealed, governments overthrown, projects abandoned and so on. Nor, for that
matter, should the arguments be relied on as being comprehensive; in each case we
hope to have given enough on which to base a decent debate, but some will always
be missed, and new areas of discussion will arise. It is, in short, a danger to rely on Pros
and Cons and assume that you are fully prepared for debate!
In our choice of topics we have tried to pick most of those commonly debated
at the moment that are likely to remain largely the same for a few years at least. This
restriction means that many notable controversies have been omitted, owing to our
belief that rapid developments in those areas in recent years may well continue: hence
we offer no treatment of Bosnia, Palestine and Israel or Northern Ireland.

About the Editorial Team, and Thanks

All of those involved in the preparation of this edition take part in debating as
competitors, adjudicators, coaches and trainers. Trevor Sather is Head of the ESU
Centre, responsible for its public speaking and debating programmes and workshops.
Co-editor Thomas Dixon is a PhD student at King's College, Cambridge, and a senior


Styles and formats of debate differ considerably around the world. 'Policy debate' in the
US, for example, is seen very much as an educational discipline, with far more emphasis
put on research and content than on rhetorical ability. Enormous amounts of
information are delivered at great speed which, at the highest level, only trained judges
can follow. In Australia the technique is paramount, with strict requirements of timing,
structure, and logical progression of speeches. Britain, where debate was fostered in the
heckling bear-pit of the House of Commons, has always enjoyed a different style, where
swaying the crowd is the most important thing. Humour, rhetoric and use of striking
analogies take precedence over the inconvenience of examples and well-organised
argument. Of course, the best debaters in any country will combine all of these skills,
which can loosely be summarised as content, strategy and style.

The Rules

The style of debate described here is common in British schools and on the American
'parliamentary' debate circuit, with two speakers per team and two teams per debate. A
format involving four teams in a debate, used in British universities, is also described
Each speaker is allowed one main speech, seven minutes in length, after which a floor
debate is conducted in which members of the audience may contribute opinions. To
conclude, one speaker on each team otfers a four-minute speech summarising their
case, with the Opposition team speaking first. The order of speeches is as follows:

First Proposition Speaker

First Opposition Speaker
Second Proposition Speaker

Second Opposition Speaker another at the end of the sixth minute, between which points of information may be
FLOOR DEBATE offered. A double bell or knock will sound at the end of seven minutes, after which the
Opposition Summary Speech speaker should conclude as quickly as possible. If the speaker continues, the Chairman
Proposition Summary Speech has the discretion to ask him or her to stop immediately.

The Standing Orders The Floor Debate

The Standing Orders are the actual rules of the debate. To enforce them is the job of The floor debate is a significant feature of British school and university debating,
the Chairman, the 'Me' of the debate. As one would expect in the debating world, allowing members of the audience to react to the debate so far. Points may be made in
controversy rages over many of its terms - but the use of'Mr' or 'Madam' Chairman favour of the motion, against it or in abstention, and should be kept short to allow
can be justified if one adopts the theory that he or she has the hand (manus) on the others the chance to speak. All points must be made to the Chair.
Chair, thereby avoiding the clumsiness of the more politically correct 'Mr/Madam The main speakers in the debate do not offer points during the floor debate or reply
Chairperson' . immediately to any raised. The summary speeches, however, should deal with
All debaters, officials and other members of the audience are members of the House, significant arguments raised.
who are called to vote on the motion after the debate. The Chairman does not usually
cast a vote but may do so in the case of a tie. The proceedings of the House are subject
to the ruling and guidance of the Chairman, to whom all speeches should be addressed Summary Speeches
using the formula 'Mr (or Madam) Chairman' or 'Madam (or Mr) Speaker'.
Points of information may be made during a main speech, by either speaker on The job of a summary speaker is to review the debate. New arguments should not be
the opposing team. The first and last minutes of the speech are known as 'protected introduced, although new examples to illustrate arguments that have been discussed
time' and points may not be offered then, nor are they allowed during the summary before may be. A single knock or bell should sound after three minutes, and a double
speeches nor at any time by other members of the House. To offer a point of signal after four.
information, a speaker must stand up and say,'On a point of information!'. The speaker
holding the Floor (i.e. giving the main speech) then has the right to accept or decline
the point. If it is declined, the speaker offering the point must sit down at once. Points Tips for Debaters
of information must not exceed fifteen seconds in length. The clock is not stopped
while they are delivered. If you are taking part in a debating competition, the judges will usually be given three
Points of order concerning the procedure of the debate are exceptional, but can criteria on which to judge you - Content, Strategy and Style or similar categories - and
be made at any time and by any member of the House, if the Standing Orders are even if you are only trying to sway an audience, it is these three qualities that will make
being contravened. They must be addressed to the Chairman who will ask for the them want to believe you. Most important of all, however, is to remember the key
clock to be stopped while the point is being considered. The Chairman may then rule difference between public speaking and debating - in the latter, you must be flexible
on the point or act in consultation with adjudicators. A Chairman may also warn and respond to the arguments the other team is making. Anyone who reads out a pre-
and has the discretion to take action against any member of the House who acts in a prepared speech or memorises one word for word, without altering it to react to
discourteous manner, harasses the speaker holding the Floor, or obstructs the debate previous speeches, is not debating.
111 any way.

Preparing for the Debate

Seven minutes can seem like a long time if you have nothing to say.Your first task, then,
A common model for these debates allows seven minutes for the main speeches and is to research the motion you are given, even those topics on which you are an expert.
four minutes for the summary speeches. The Chairman should arrange for an audible It is likely that somewhere on the Internet, in an encyclopaedia or in a newspaper you
signal (a bell or a knock) to be given at the end of the first minute of a main speech and will find a piece of evidence, such as a statistic or little-known fact, that could devastate

an argument of your opponents. Reading Pros and Cons does not count as thorough at only three or four case-studies to support it. No-one will remember your points if
research! you have seventeen of them.
Try to think how you would argue the other side of the motion, that is, as ifyou were Divide your speech into sections. Signpost each section. Make sure each has an
your own opponents. Once you have listed their arguments, make sure you have introduction and a summary all of its own. In effect, you are giving a running
answers to them. But be careful of pre-empting them and bringing up arguments for commentary on yourself, describing what position in your own speech you have
their side before they have used them - as you may just be giving them ideas that they reached:
would not otherwise have thought of. It is useful to have a list of opposition arguments
and counter-arguments on the table in front ofyou during the debate. Then, when your 'Next I am going to expand on my second point, which is what we could
opponents do introduce those arguments, you can quickly make a point of information do with the money raised by a banana tax. Let's consider the figures. We currently
or start working the reply into your speech. import 100 million bananas a year and sell them for £1 each. If we put a 15% sales
No talented debater writes out a speech word for word, even to memorise and tax on, we would raise another £15 million. This in turn is the exact cost of setting
discard it. Using a system of notes allows you many benefits. You will find it easier to up an Academy for Non-Organic Insect Development. So my second point is
this: the banana tax would bring clear benefits to insect research. Now,
look the audience in the eye; you will deliver your speech more naturally and fluently;
point number three ... '
and you will be able to add rebuttal arguments to the relevant parts of your speech as
you think of them. For example:
In other words, keep drumming your points in by repeating them constantly. Make sure
you summarise all your arguments at the end of the speech. Of course, this structure
Instead of writing this out ... . .. try making notes like this.
applies to the team as a whole. The first speaker should mention briefly the points that
There are many reasons why we should Advocate: 15% import tax on bananas the second speaker will make, and the second will remind us of arguments used by the
implement a 15% import tax on bananas first:
being brought into Britain. First, the
countries producing bananas are clearly International benefits 'I will be talking about bananas and pears, while my partner, Robin, will go on in
making far too much money for their Penalise rich and greedy banana his/her speech to discuss the wider implications of the existence of fruit.'
own good - for example Atlantis or growers
Sparta - and we should penalise their - e.g. Atlantis, Sparta Timing is very important in the context of structure. If you have three points of
roughly equal importance, make sure you spend equal time on them! Be very careful
Second, this banana tax would raise 2 Increased revenue
not to spend so much time on your first point that you are forced to cram your other
£ 15 million because there are currently 100m imported = £15m in
100 million bananas imported every year, two into your last minute.
sold at £1 each. The £15 million could Finally, although you may have lots of different points to make, do not forget that
- to fund Academy ofNon-Org.
easily be used to fund a new Academy for Insect Dev. they all tie into one guiding principle which you are trying to prove (or disprove): the
Non-Organic Insect Development. motion. After every argument or example, remind the audience how this shows that the
Third, the Ministry for Raising Banana 3 Resources already available motion is true (or false).
Tax has employed 27 people since 1994 justify salaries at Ministry of Rais.
without ever doing anything useful, so Ban. Tax
this would justify its existence. - 27 employees since 1994 Thinking on your Feet

Remember that the ability to think quickly and deal with unforeseen arguments is
Structuring your Speech What differentiates debating from public speaking. There are two major areas where you
need to think on your feet.
A debating speech delivers a great deal of information to the audience and to the
adjudicators. Sadly, most humans do not have a very long attention span and it is Points of Information
unlikely that they will take in all the information unless you make it easy for them. This Both speakers should make and accept points of information. It is the only way to prove
means structuring your speech. You should not have more than three or four different that you are on top of your material and not simply reading out a speech that someone
arguments in your speech - and even if you have only one argument, you should look else could have prepared. Offering points, even if they are not accepted, shows you are

interested and active in the debate; accepting them shows you are confident of your points. And try not to use 'urns' and 'ers' when you hesitate - turn hesitations into
arguments. A team that does neither of these is not debating. pauses, too.
When offering a point, you should stand up and say 'On a point of information!'. If Next, consider your body language. Some people have mannerisms that can
you are not accepted, sit down again. If you are, you may make a simple point of no irritate audiences and distract from what you are saying. Examples of bad body
longer than fifteen seconds - do not try to make a mini-speech.You are best advised to language include putting your hand over your mouth, jangling coins in your pocket,
offer a fact that disproves what the other speaker is saying, to point out a contradiction walking back and forth too much or scratching body parts! Good body language is a
in his or her argument, or to ask for further information.Your point should be relevant comfortable stance and the use of gestures to emphasise what you are saying, not to
to the current topic of discussion. distract from it. Most important of all is eye contact with the audience, which becomes
There is a real knack to accepting points of information which comes through very easy if you are using notes rather than a written speech.
practice. Do not take points in mid-sentence, or when you are unsure of what you are All audiences appreciate humour, although some adjudicators will appreciate only a
saying and could come unstuck. Do not take two in quick succession, and do not take certain type. Debating is not stand-up comedy, and jokes should not be at the expense
too many. It is easy to be distracted and diminish the impact of your own speech. You of content - that is, irrelevant to the debate - and certainly not offensive towards your
should aim to take two or three in a seven-minute speech, at natural pauses. But opponent. Ridicule the arguments, not the people.
remember: you should reply to them as soon as they are made: interruptions cannot just Think carefully, also, about what sorts of rhetoric you use. In particular do not feel
be ignored! obliged to over-use the traditional vocabulary of debating: 'worthy', 'honourable',
'eloquent' and so on. Modern audiences are scornful of cliches and you will tend to be
Rebuttal more convincing if you speak in your own natural dialect.
You are also required to address the arguments that the other team has come up with. Some people wonder what difference an accent makes. The answer is: none.
Even if you find yourself agreeing with a point, you must find some way of 'Received pronunciation' is neither a benefit nor a burden in debating; many of
undermining it so that it is less appealing to the audience or judges. Question its history's finest debaters had strong regional accents or speech impediments.
relevance, point out how it is inconsistent with something else they were saying, or Finally, there is nothing worse for your style than a dry mouth. Make sure you have
simply disprove it. a glass of water available during your speech, and do not be afraid to use it.
There are different ways of fitting rebuttal into your speech. One way is to spend the
first few minutes addressing the major points of your opponents, before going on to
your main constructive material.You might choose just to seize on several unconnected The Roles of the Speakers
statements your opponents have made, especially if they can be made to look ridiculous
out of context. This is known as scattergun rebuttal. First Proposition Speaker
Another method is to sort the rebuttal into your speech. For example, if you are It is the role of the 'first Prop' to define the motion, to describe exactly what the basis
planning on covering three different areas - perhaps the economic, social and for debate will be. This means you must first, explain any ambiguous words, second, set
international benefits of a certain plan - then rebut their economic points during your any limits to the debate and third, interpret the motion as a whole and state exactly
economic section and so on. This will show adjudicators that you have identified the what contention you are going to try and prove. Some things to think about are:
key arguments and seen how they all fit together.

This House would censor the Internet

What exactly do we mean when we say 'Internet' - the Web, e-mail or anything
Stylistic Tips
transmitted by modem' What sort of things should we aim to censor? And who for?
What is censorship? And who is going to do it? A valid definition would be: 'The
In competitions, what you say is usually more important than how you say it. 13tH I3ritish government should make it illegal for any written or pictorial material to be
audiences can be swayed by persuasive style, and the ideal speaker will combine all sent or posted on the World Wide Web that is pornographic or racist.'
This House would respect its elders
First, are you appealing to listen to? Make sure you modulate your speech, varying Who is this House? And who are its elders' Is respect a vague feeling tmvards
your tone at important points, even changing your volume and speed. An audience will someone, or does it require a definite action' In this situation it is acceptable
tune out from a speech delivered at the same level throughout its duration. Be prepared (although not mandatory) to tie the motion in to a specific issue, in order to provide
to speak more slowly than normal, and to use pauses, especially before important a focused debate. A valid definition would be: 'The vast majority of people who

have made major beneficial differences to society were over the age of 50.' An Second Proposition and Opposition Speakers
equally good definition would be: The British government should continue to
The second speakers on each team should divide their time between rebutting points
provide guaranteed welfare for the elderly and abandon plans to privatise the state
made by their opponents and continuing with their side of the argument. At the end
pension.' Vague motions of this sort which beg specific topics to be substituted are
very common on the British university circuit but less so - although not unheard of of a second speech, a brief summary of the whole argument of your side should be
- in school debates. gtven.

Although it is generally accepted that the Proposition may define the motion in any Summary Speeches
way It chooses, mtelhgent and straightforward definitions are expected. In particular, a Either speaker on the team may make the summary speech, after the floor debate. It is
good definition must be fair to the Opposition and give its members an equal case to intended to review the major issues of the debate and to leave a lasting impression on
argue back. If, for example, the proposers of the motion 'This House would break a bad the minds of the audience or adjudicators that is favourable to your side. A summary
law' defin~d 'bad law' as being 'a law it is impossible to observe, such as a law against speaker has been compared with 'a biased news reporter', going over the various
breathmg , then such,; must bydefinition be broken and the Opposition has nothing arguments that have already been made but implying that your side has won them
to argue. ThIS IS a truistic definition and would result in the Proposition losing the all.
debate. It is important to concentrate on the major areas of difference between the two sides,
On the other hand, motions are taken as being general principles rather than rather than on trivial points or areas of agreement. Your job is to remind the audience
statements ~f absolute truth. In other words, ifyou are arguing that 'the United Nations 'exactly where we disagreed in this debate', and then to prove why your arguments in
IS Impotent, you only have to show that in the vast majority of cases this principle is these areas are superior.You are therefore looking at the debate as a whole rather than
true rather than in every single case. There are always one or two small exceptions to simply reviewing points one by one.
anythmg, but the OppOSItIOn should not win this debate unless it shows that the UN New arguments should not be introduced into summary speeches.You are reviewing
has had a major area of success. the debate that has already happened, not starting a new one. However, if major
After the definition, the first proposer should say how the case will be split between arguments have been raised in a floor debate, you should also incorporate those into
the two speakers, and then go on to prove his or her half. your speech.

First Opposition Speaker

The Job of the first Opp speaker is to rebut the arguments of the Proposition (perhaps Other Styles of Debate
by highlighting mconslstencles or weaknesses) and to explain why there is a difference
between the two sides. This speaker is the first to isolate exactly what the debate will be The most common format of debate in the UK is known as British parliamentary
about, by saying which part of the Proposition's case his or her side will agree with and style, and this involves four teams of two people all taking part in one debate, with two
which It chooses to dispute. He or she will then go on to explain the structure of the teams on each side. In order to win the debate you must agree with the other team on
OppOSItIOn case, and to prove his or her points. your side, but argue that side better than they do. Four speakers sit down each side of a
Here you must be prepared to be flexible, as you may need to react to a slightly table, facing each other, with the Chairman at the end - similar to the layout of the
unusual or unexpected definitiori.Ym; should accept any definition by the Proposition House of Commons. The order of speeches is: 1 Prop; 1 Opp; 2 Prop; 2 Opp; 3 Prop; 3
unless It presents an unreasonable or clearly irrelevant interpretation of the motion, or Opp; 4 Prop; 4 Opp. There are no summary speeches. Points of information may be
IS truistic and does not leave you a side to argue. In these cases you may challenge the made by any of the opposing speakers.
definition .by statmg your reasons for rejecting it and introducing an alternative Debating societies wishing to encourage many audience members to take part might
interpretation. The second Prop speaker must adopt your definition unless he or she like to try a hat debate. Suggestions of different motions are taken from the Floor and
can prove that his or her team's is valid. put in a hat.Two volunteers who will speak in the first debate are given one motion at
It must be emphasised that definitional debates are generally not good ones. random, and allocated sides by the flip of a coin. They are given ten minutes to prepare,
The best debates involve an mteresting and fair proposition which the first Opposition say, a four-minute speech each. Then, just before they begin debating, the Chairman
speaker accepts. selects another two volunteers and gives them a motion to prepare while the first
debate is taking place. This can be repeated several times.
Or, for individual speakers, you might prefer a balloon debate. Pick about five
or six people, each of whom chooses a famous historical or contemporary individual

to impersonate. They take part in a role-play scenario, set in a hot air balloon which
is rapidly sinking. One of them must be thrown overboard in order to save the others
- but which? Each participant makes a speech saying why he or she should be
allowed to stay in the debate. The audience votes, and the losers are disqualified from
the debate.


Philosophical/Political Theory


Pros Cons
[1] Anarchism aims for a classless society [1] While it may be possible to live in a
but, unlike communism, rejects a strong state of complete anarchy it is not desirable
controlling state. Anarchism fights for to do so, AlL the greatest achievements
human freedom by opposing all forms of in science, technology and the arts have
1 ,.~ierarchical organisation and control - only been possible through human society
~~jP . ,
) these are inherently repressive. Itd~"~!l0~ and co-operation. This requires a deg,:ee/" •
argue for complete disorder butadvocates of social organisation and structure. As -
local co-operation and universal pacifism. populations increase, so the degree ofhier- !
~.\ \~ "I
archy and government needs to increase.
[2] Anarchists recognise that even so- Far from being repressive, democratic
called democracies are essentially repress- government is a way to prevent powerful
ive institutions in which an educated, or fanatical minorities creating tyrannical
-1 . ~( .'
privileged elite~8( go.1iti3ians and civil regimes. 1 ' { I ' [',/. ,c

servants imposesf'tt's will on the mass of . . . '~:'4

people. Anarchists want to live in a non- [2] The answer to the problem of
merarchical, natural world of free associ- undemocratic democracies is reform, notr-,
ad~n in whichi;;(Ii~idual expression is anarchy. Democracies can be made more.:
paramount and all the paraphernalia (of ' ,.
representative through devolution, pro-
voting, government, taxation, laws I~na 'portional representation and increased
police are~one away with. use of the referendum. In any case, 'free
association' between people (perhaps
[3] While anarchism may not achieve local co-operation 111 agriculture or
its aim of universal non-hierarchical learning or trade), where successful, will
living, it is still an important voice of be continued and eventually formalised
dissent, highlighting the injustices done in its optimal form. An anarchic 'state of
to minorities, animals and the environ- nature' will ine~Wably evolve through the
!"!lent. Many anarchists are truly self- formalisation of co-operation on larger
sufficient, living otT the land, making their scales into something like the societies we
OWn clothes and bartering .with each now have. Anarchism, then, is a point-
other. Such people include the'!'hcw'age Icssly retrograde act - a state of anarchy
travellers' and radical environmentalists can never last.
who opt, out of traditional hierarchies
altogether for a natural, pacifist lifestyle. [3] Anarchism is often used as a political
rationalisation ofacts oftcrrorism and civil
disobedience in the name of 'animal
rights' or 'ccologv'. These acts should be
seen for what they are - self-indulgent and
anti-social acts passed otT as an exprcssion
of 'anarchist' morality. A true anarchist better working conditions and an a good education, an in-born intelligence
II· Possible motions: improved quality oflife - they should not or sense for business, or success in the lot-
would not eat, wear or usc anythIng--
I,I be required to do so a second time tery of the market-place, do not mark out
This House would rage against the machine. created by those who are part of the
This House would drop out. organised state. As long as these terrorists through redistribution of their private an individual as anything more than
This House says 'Anarchy rules'. and ceo-warriors use the fruits of the wealth. lucky or in the right place at the right
labour of the members of the hierarchical time. It is society at large (usinR particular
Related topics: society they seck to subvert,.. they are [4] A socialist system encourages individuals) that creates commercial and
Civil Disobedience acting hypocritically. At any rate; th~ir acts laziness and welfare dependency. A industrial success and it is society at large
Democracy of vandalism. and 'violence belie their capitalist system encourages enterprise that should benefit. Therefore wealthy
'.'/' fl
l , '

Legislation v. Individual Freedom professed pacifism, and progress. People see that hard work individuals should be taxed at a high rate
Terrorism (Justifiable) and ingenuity are rewarded and thus and their wealth redistributed through
they are motivated. In a socialist system the welfare system.
where the state provides for all, there is
Capitalism v. Socialism no motivation to work hard, and the [4] One does not need to be a capital-
elimination of the market halts the ist or individualist to believe in progress.
processes of competition and selection. Historically, the forms of socialism
Pros Cons employed by the Soviet Union produced
[5] Free competition is the only way to Immense scientific and technological
[1] The fundamental basis of human [1] The natural and human worlds are protect against monopolies. State-owned progress. A socialist system does not entail
life, and of the natural world as a whole, characterised by co-operation as much as and -run monopolies, in the absence of providing more than minimal welfare
is competition. Human nature is fun- by competition. In nature, species flourish competition, become inefficient, waste- support for those truly in need. Flexible
damentally selfish and competitive, and through the practice of 'reciprocal altru- ful, and bureaucratic. and supply bad socialist systems do not therefore do away
capitalism recognises that by letting the ism' - mutual helping behaviour. Groups overpriced services to the consumer. with the attraction of paid employment
most successful individuals flourish rather than individuals are the unit of over welfare.
through hard work and success in an selection. Socialism recognises these facts [6] The nation state has had its day.
open competitive market. Capitalism is and proposes an equal co-operative Nations will form into ever broader eco- [5] Large-scale industries (such as a
an economic and social version of the society rather than an unnaturally harsh. nomic and political alliances (e.g. the US, state-run health or education service) are
'survival of the fittest'. individualist and competitive one. the EU). In these circumstances it does more efficient than smaller ones through
not make sense to force individuals to economics of scale. There is also a 'third
[2] Capitalism gIves supreme auto- 12J The capitalist belief in the auto- share their wealth among a virtually way' compatible with socialist ideology,
nomy to individuals and accords them nomy of the individual is a myth. We non-existent 'nation', or among a large which allows some competition while
protection for their property. Hard work are all dependent first on our parents conglomerate of nations which is so still retaining ultimate state control of
should be rewarded with material gam, and more broadly on the education. culturally, politically and economically important services.
not penalised with punitive taxes. resources, services, industry. technologv diverse as to make the socialist idea that
and agriculture of fdlow members of all are part of one 'community' look [61 The nation state has not had its
[3] The endeavours of the entrepre- society. An 'autonomous individual" ridiculous. The real economic unit is not day but is in a process of transition. There
neur. the landowner or the capitalist in would not survive more than a few days. the state, nor the confederation, but the is currently a dual process of change both
fact benefit not only those individuals but We are all reliant on and responsible ttll individual. towards nationalism and a guarding of
all those millions who work under them. each other. national cultural identity (as in the
Individuals who bring in investment from nations of Eastern Europe) and a simulta-
abroad and create successful enterprises 131 As in nature. so in society, f.ivour- neous movement towards transnational
II are already benefiting the community at able variations and adaptations are the alliances (e.g. the EU). In the future there
large by creating wealth. employment, work of rhancc. Such chance advantages as will still be loyalty to a national society

and also a broader communitarianism others - we all recognise the value of, for expression, they must be free to express
Possible motions: that will be potentially global. These example, legislating against incitement H) themselves in a free and civilised society.
This House believes that the community is developments open new horizons for racial hatred. Therefore it is not the case . Censorship such as legislation against
more important than the individual. socialism, they do not mean its end. that censorship is wrong in principle. incitement to racial hatred drives .racists
This House believes there is no such thing as and others underground and thus en-
society. J"·c[2] Certain types of literature or visual tr~,~c,h~s'i}n.d ghettoiss?~ ~~~t .section of
This House believes in enterprise.
~ ~~ge have been conclusively lin~_<cLto the" ~'ommlinity rather! fuan' 'drawing Its
This House believes in the survival of the
'" ~r.!rn~. Excessive sex and violence 111 film members into open and rational debate.
I ( _" '..
,\ and television has been shown (especially
in studies in the US) to contribute to a [2] In fact, the link between sex and
Related topics: tendency towards similar behaviour in violence on screen and in real life is far
spectators. There is no excuse for this and from conclusive. To look at it from
Ideology v. Pragmatism such images must be sacrificed, no matter another angle, those individuals who
Legislation v. Individual Freedom what their artistic merit. already have tendencies to violence are
likely to watch violent 'video nasties', just
[3] We also accept forms of state as those with a predilection.jor rape are
W c1fare State
"",,1:tdrisorship in the practice of giving likely to use pornography. 'ni two are
National Health Service (Privatisation of) ". 'certificates' to llhns, videos and some therefore connected but the individual's
Pensions (Ending State Provision of) co~puter games so that children below personality is formed first. t / .s
Salary Capping
a certain age are not exposed to inappro-
Taxation (Direct, Abolition of)
priate scenes of sex or violence. We [3] Such forms of state regulation are
Trade Unions (Modernisation of)
should entrust the state, as our moral notoriously ineffectual. Children of all
guardians, with the regulation ofmaterial ages can obtain acce'~s·t'6' '18 certificate'
Democracy (Imposition of)
such as this, as well as material on the videos and games and adult Internet sites
Private Schools
Internet, in order to provide consistent if they really want to. Inthe end the only
Tuition Fees for Uriiversitv Students ~ffeZti~~ 'p;ot-;;-~t~6-n-' of children from
moral protection for all our children. -- h
Sex and violence in magazines and on inappropriate material must come from
television should be made as inaccessible the parent. And this protection is not a
Censorship by the State to children as possible - pornographic fo;m of state censorship but of individual
magazines should only be available to parental choice and control. That is the
This is one of the most common topics, underpinning .manv civil rights issues, media adults with ID, and explicit TV pro- appropriate location for such decisions.
debates, and efforts of the state to regulate new technological developments. grammes should only be shown late at
'Censorship' is an ambiguous term but the debate is better if the Proposition takes it
~~t. [4] Again, people will get hold of
as it is commonly accepted, as the banning of certain texts, images, films, etc. Defining pornography if they want it. Censorship
censorship simply as regulation or indeed as 'any law' makes it too easy for the [4] We need state censorship in the case will not change the number of people
Proposition to win.
of hardcore pornography in particular. who use pornography. Itjs down to the
: . , \'
Children as well as young men and women parent and the community to bring up
need to be protected from exploitation children with healthy attitudes - not
Pros Cons by pornographers. And society at large down to the state to make ineffectual
should be protected from the seedy, legislation about what sort of images
[1] . Freedom of speech is never an [1] Censorship is wrong in principle. unhealthy, repressive and objectifying " ~]-jould be published. In the end porno-
absolute right but an aspiration. l~ ceases However violently we may disagree with attitudes to women and sex perpetuated graphic pictures and films will not have a
to be a nght when it causes harm to a person's point of view or mode of by pornography. . .< ,. truly harmful effect on a well-balanced
p rI


[5] We need state censorship to protect mind. Pornography only has insidious in Britain in 1990; occupations of con- lobbying, there is no need for civil
public figures from unacceptable intru- effects on those who are unbalanced for struction sites by roads protesters at ·disobedlence.
. sions by the gutter press. State legislation other reasons or have been abused. Child Manchester Airport and the Newbury
on privacy would be a good example pornography is a red herring - it is bypass) is necessary as an effective method [2] Peaceful protest is quite possible,
of legitimate censorship. Already courts already illegal, breaking existing laws on for the people's voice to be heard even in even in an undemocratic society, without
can place injunction~, or newspapers to age of consent, and we do not need extra democratic countries - as a last resort. resorting to civil disobedience. A point
prevent them fromppblishing material censorship laws to attack it. can be made quite well without coming
likely to put an individual in danger (e.g. [2] . Historically, civil disobedience has into confrontation with police, trespassing
the location of a suspected paedophile ':'{5] In principle, newspapers should not triumphed over insidious regimes and or causing disturbance and damage to
or a criminal who has been released after be 'gagge~l' in this way. If a mob, is deter- forms of prejudice where other methods people or property. The racist attacks on
serving a prison term). These forms of mined to'c·fina the location of a criminal have failed,j.g. the movements orches- the Chinese in Indonesia in 1998 illus-
censorship are right and necessary. then it will do so without the help of the trated in India by Gandhi and in America trate how civil disobedience, however
press, and the individual in question 1!,£ by Martin Luther King. More recently worthy the cause, too often descends into
will in any case be able to seek protection the riots and looting. in Indonesia in a breakdown of law and order and legiti-
Possible motions: or a secret identity through the police. 1998 protested against a corrupt and mates all sorts of other crimes.
This House believes there IS no place for As for privacy laws - public figures accept undemocratic regime. Peaceful protests
censorship in a democracy. that their lives become public property by minorities in undemocratic countries [3] There is no excuse for provoking
This House would censor. when they enter the public sphere. They are often banned or quashcdcor they can violent confrontations with police, riot-
This House fears a free press. also have recourse through libel and fail to bring about change. ~~lI:e the less ing, looting or trespassing. Such actions
defamation laws. These laws, along with civil disobedience movements can be result in assaults, injuries and sometimes
Related topics: self-regulation, and not state censorship, are ':'Iltirely peaceful (e.g. Gandhi). in deaths (e.g. during the miners' strike,
Legislation v. Individual Freedom the ways to regulate the media. and-during the looting and riots in
Broadcasting (Ending Public Control of) [3] Civil disobedience involving public Indonesia in 1998, which started as a pro-
Pornography confrontation with authority is often democracy demonstration). Animal rights
Privacy of Public Figures .the only way to bring an issue to wider campaigners and anti-abortion cam-
Internet (Censorship of) \If fs;.ptib~lic and international attention. This paigners have been particularly violent
'~~ tactic was successfully employed by the in the past. This is too high a price to pay
~gettes'ofthe ear~y women's move- for media attentIon' - such groups should
Civil Disobedience
~.n nt, and' alSo by supporters of nuclear use peaceful and lawful methods to make
Q,jiu-mament, from the philosopher theiLP9i n£'- - j ~--- . -
Bertrand Russell, who was arrested for
Pros Cons civil disobedience several times in the
cause of pacifism, to the women of Possible motions:
[1] Democratic governments which are [1 J In fact, democratic means are much Greenham Common in the 1980s (the This House supports civil disobedience.
elected only every four to five years do not broader than a general election every few last cruise missiles were withdrawn from This House believes the end justifies the
provide true or adequate representation years. The election of local representatives the base in '1991). The student protests in means.
of public interests. Once a government is takes place regularly. MPs in Britain are Tiananmen Square in 1989 (and their This House would break the law in the cause
elected, it may entirely ignore the will of available for 'surgery' with their con- bru~J,. crushing by the authorities) of justice.
the electorate until its term is finished. stituents -every week and will always brought the human tights abuses of the
Therefore civil disobedience (e.g. the respond to letters and bring matters of Chinese regime to the forefront of inter- Related topics:
student riots of 1968 in Paris; the miners' concern to the attention of ministers. national attention and concern more Anarchism
strike in Britain in the 1980s; the 'Poll Tax Given this direct democratic access to effectively than anything else before or Democracy
riots' and the non-payment of Poll Tax government, through letter-writing and since. Ends v. Means
Terrorism (Iustifiable)

Democracy but it is their will that counts. In a liberal populism but do not change the fact that
democracy the press provides informed, real democracy is an unattainable and
In Western democracies we frequently forget that there are other types of political sys- independent analysis on which the public undesirable system.
tem and that ours may not necessarily be the best. In debates set in democracies, e.g. can base opinions.
that 'leaders should listen more to their people', the Proposition must do more than ..1 [3] It is the media, the spin doctors
assume that 'democracy is a good thing' - this is an assertion that needs to be justified. and the politicians who determine the
'will of the people'. People do not have a
Possible motions: 'democratic will' that comes out of thin
Pros Cons This House believes in democracy. air. The opinions of the mass of people
This House believes that democracy is a sham. are moulded by the partial and biased
[1] A country should be governed by [1] Modern 'democracies' (unlike information fed to them by the gutter
\/ representatives, chosen by every (adult) Athenian democracy in which the whole Related topics: press, and control of the press is where
member of society, who are afls~(~ra~l_e_55~, populatIon met to make decisions) are a Capitalism v. Socialism real power lies - with the educated, intel-
and removable by the people. This way a ! ,s,pam. Such a system is impossible except Civil Disobedience ligent and successful -members of society,
minority, wealthy, land-owning, military em a very small scale. For a large country, Marxism and there is nothing wrong with that.
or educated elite will not be allowed dis- decisive and effective leadership and Coalition Government v. Parry Government
proportionate power. This ideal of the government is incompatible with true House of Lords (Abolition of)
liberal democratic society was established democracy. Therefore we have supposedly Monarchy v. Presidency
by the French and American Revolutions democratic systems in which the people Proportional Representation
and is endorsed as the ideal method of have a say every four to five years but have Referenda (Increased Use of)
government aroundthlworld. no-real input into important decisions. Voting (Compulsory)
There is nothing wrong with this - an Affirmative Action
[2] Certainly, modern democracies educated minority should be entrusted Democracy (Imposition of)
could be made more truly democratic, with power and leadership - but it is not Terrorism (Justifiable)
and this is happening t~r()ugl1 increased 'democratic' . Terrorists (Negotiation with)
\.L use of referendum (especially in Swit- High Art v. Low Art
zerland and also in France and Britain [2] These measures are mere tokens Judges (Election of)
- e.g. on Scottish and Welsh devolution, - rhetorical gestures required to keep the
the Northern Ireland settlement, and people happy and satisfy proponents
questions of European integration) and of democracy. But the truth is still that ~nds v. Means
proportional representation (e.g. in the real power is isolated within an elite of
Sc·ottish parliament and the Welsh politicians and civil servants. It is the
assembly). Democracy is brought closer political parties which decide who will Pros
'<'i! Cons
to the people by devolving power to local stand for election and who will be allo-
government. People also have a direct cated the 'safe seats', thereby effectively. g~r I~~~!l.d ~.l\\,ays justifies the means., [1] The end does not justifv the means.
voice through access to representatives undemocratically, determining the con- . moralIty should be a 'consequen- We must have firm moral rules that we
throughout their term of office (in stitution of the House of Commons.' one - we should Judge
" an action stick to as closely as possible. Regardless
Britain, through MPs' weekly 'surgeries'). In Britain we have a powerful unelected On the higher good (or bad) that it brings of what an act brings about, if it is wrong
second chamber (the House of Lords) about as its consequence. If I can save a then it is wrong. If I can save a hundred
[3] Decisions must be made according that functions effectively through the hundred'mnocelJt
. c hiildren from dying
, by
ur innocent children by murdering one -
to the will of the people. People should appointment of leading industrialists. l1l dering one, then I should do so. This
however those strange circumstances
be as well informed as possible by the scientists, academics, politicians and civil IS a 11l0r' .
~,_" .e pragmatIc an
d Iong-term view
might arise' - I should not, as it is al\\fays
politicians, scientists, economists and the servants. Referenda and elections are <1 o~?E~lity. wrong to kill innocents. Pragnlatism
media in order to make those decisions - harmless gesture in the direction of .compromises moral integrity.


[2] In politics. it is acceptable to be [2] To allow the flouting of interna- and unfair. Social justice is not attained by
somewhat secretive, undemocratic or tional (or domestic) law by politicians at Possible rrrotions: reducing all to the 'lowest common
corrupt if the end is a recognised good. whim is to go down a slippery slope to This House believes the end justifies the denominator. And jobs should always be
For example, the shipment of arms corrupt government and despotism. The means. offered on the merit and worth of the
, I
to Sierra Leone from Britain in 1998 was whole point of our legal system is to have This House believes in the greatest good for candidate - privileging a candidate on
(probably) done with deliberate secrecy a morality and set of rules that are above the greatest number. grounds other than merit and suitability
and in contravention of a UN arms subjective personal judgements of what is is always wrong. 'The greatest good for
embargo, but helped to reinstate a demo- a good or a bad thing. Governments must Related topics: the greatest number' is not an excuse for
cratically elected leader to power and stick to the rules and achieve whatever Civil Disobedience injustices being perpetrated.
overthrow the leaders of the military good results they seek by legal means. Ideology v. Pragmatism
coup. So the breaking of international law The price of such pragmatism - dishonest Pacifism
was justified by the end - the restoration -government - is too high. Bill of Rights
of democracy. Voting (Compulsory)
[3] First, war, unlike corruption in the Affinnative Action
[3] In war the end (justice) justifies the previous example, is not something that is
Democracy (Imposition of)
mean~(kiili~g). No-one thinks war is an always inherently wrong. Killing in war is
Dictators (Assassination of)
ideal solution but, for example, in 1939 not immoral in the way in which killing Sanctions (Use of)
there was no option left but to declare in general is. Second, however, the ends
Terrorism (Justifiable)
war on Germany to halt its aggressive in the case of the Second World War did
Terrorists (Negotiation with)
territorial expansion. Justice and the pro- not justify either the bombing of hun- Abortion on Demand
tection of nations' sovereignty (and, had dreds of thousands of civilians (especially
Animal Experimentation and Vivisection
it been known earlier, the prevention of in Dresden by the Allies) or the dropping
(Banning of)
the Holocaust) were ends that justified of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Euthanasia
the means of war. Hiroshima. Bombing civilians and using
Homosexuals (Outing of)
nuclear weapons - howev<:!:.desirable was Corporal Punishment
[4] When democratic routes of protest the defeat of Germany and Japan - is Capital Punishment
are unavailable under repressive regimes, always and everywhere wron~. Child Curfews
violent and unlawful protest - even
[4] There are always other ways of Zero Tolerance
terrorism - is justifiable as the means to
campaigning against injustice. In the case Eugenics: IVF and Genetic Screening
the end of democracy. Violent protest i~
of overthrowing unjust regimes (e.g. Genetic Engineering
the only way to get enough international
South Africa, Indonesia) it was aLvays Global Warming (More Action on)
attention and support for the cause.
ultimately international economic and Internet (Censorship of)
[5] If the greatest good for the greatest political pressure that succeeded. If Nuclear Energy
number can be attained by taxing the rich the international community fails to .ur Science: a Menace to Civilisation;
at 90 per cent or by forcing landowners to without the inhabitants first resorting
share out their land and wealth among to violence then that is a failing of the
poorer members of society then, however international community that should be
unfair it is on them, it is right to do so. It rectified - but not a justification tC)!" ~eology v. Pragmatism
is also right to give women and ethnic rioting, looting and killing, which ;1I"l'
minorities preferential treatment in the always wrong. Many debates involve this clash in some form or other. The best debates have ideo-
job market until equality is achieved. In ,; logical and practical arguments on both sides. but it is often the case that one side will
i)I, ~Iy "'0:-' 0" principle and one more au practical benefits. Tbe tollowinp; "
the pursuit of economic and political [51 Punitive taxes and the absolute merely a
equality, the end justifies the means. redistribution of wealth are merely wrong .' • • I1lplihcd version to Illustrate the foundarions of this basic debate.

1,<"; "

Pros Cons to society and let it clearly be known and actions are more important than their
what is right and wrong. Principles must conformity to a moral code. This means
[1] Morality comprises of principles [1] Morality is not an abstract thing be upheld to give moral certainty to soci- that the pragmatist is more open to
that have evolved over time as the best containing specific timeless principles, ety and so that justice is seen to be done changing values and problems in society
way to order a society: e.g. the principle but is an ad hoc enterprise, making deci- - so that each case is seen to be treated in over time and is more adaptable to
that we should not kill another person, sions and policies 'on the hoof' to secure the same fair way.The ideologist stands by change. The pragmatist will weigh up the
that we should help those less fortunate tangible practical results or benefits. Prag- what is right. pros and cons of a situation and decide
than ourselves, that the role of the doctor matism itself rests on just one general which policy benefits the most people
is always to preserve life, and so on. In guiding principle, rather than on a set (where benefit is calculated in terms that
forming specific policies it is our job to of specifics - the 'utilitarian' principle are indeed relative to the time and culture
apply these principles to particular situa- (advocated by Jeremy Bentham and Possible motions: in question). For instance, the pragmatist
tions. It is by the rational and systematic other progressive social reformers of the This House would stick to its principles. will talk to terrorists even if it is 'morally
application of a set of principles that a eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) or This House believes in right and wrong. wrong on principle' (according to the
society's laws and policies are coherent the 'conscquentialist' view of ethics. This House is idealistic. ideologist) if talking might ultimately
and defensible. The pragmatist sacrifices The utilitarian will adopt the policy that reduce the amount of death and suffering.
that coherence and consistency in aban- secures the greatest happiness for the Related topics:
doning specific principles. greatest number. The consequentialist Capitalism v. Socialism [3] Pragmatism is essential to ensure
judges the moral goodness of an action Pacifism not logical coherence between rules and
[2] The pragmatist is being dishonest. not by the intentions of the agent nor Tradition v. Innovation policies, but tangible benefits. Principles
He must appeal to certain principles in by the action's conformation to a prior Affirmative Action can be sacrificed for the sake of real nat-
deciding what is the greatest good for moral code but simply by its practical National Health Service (Privatisation of) ural justice, which does not come by
the greatest number. His refusal to make consequences. The ideologist blinds him- Environment (Links to International Trade and blindly applying set principles. The world
those principles explicit simply reveals self or herself to the best and most just Relations) is not a morally certain place, and treating
that he has an ever-shifting, ungrounded practical option by adhering dogmatically Nuclear Weapons (Banning of) all cases and cultures as the same is not
set of values, some of which are contra- to an age-old principle, however inappro- Gays in the Military fair, it is simply foolish. The pragmatist is
dictory, to which he is tacitly appealing in priate to the specific case. Examples Tuition Fees for University Students realistic in acknowledging the moral
an underhand way - e.g. the principle include the Catholic church's continued Drugs (Legalisation of) messiness of the world. The pragmatist is
that individual autonomy overrides the condemnation of homosexuality and Prostitution (Legalisation of) interested in what works.
moral authority of religion, the principle abortion on the grounds of Biblical prin-
that individual sexual freedom is a ciples, the refusal to legalise prostitution
greater good than social condemnation on the grounds of Victorian morality, and Legislation v. Individual Freedom
of promiscuity, the principle that social the refusal to ban handguns in the US
condemnation of violent behaviour is on the grounds of the constitutional right A central issue in most debates about government social policy. How far should
a greater good than individual freedom to to bear arms. The pragmatist sacrifices politicians intrude into our lives? What are the benefits of letting them? This can be,
defend oneself. The ideologist is merely principles for the sake of practical results. of course, a classic Left v. Right debate, with socialists supporting an interventionist
being more honest and open than the state because of the benefits it can offer and conservatives valuing their individual
pragmatist about his or her values and [2] The difference between the ideol- freedom above all - as many militia groups in the US resent any legislation affecting
principles. The ideologist also resists the ogist and the pragmatist is that the them. Some even refuse to accept the authority of the American government.
idea that all values are utterly relative to a pragmatist does not unnecessarily commit
specific time and culture and that there himself to specific principles and policies. Pros Cons
are no enduring moral principles. Certainly a pragmatist has 501111' values -
but they are secondary to the underlying [1] Legislation is .required to protect 11 J Legislation is required to constrain
[3] Ideology is essential to give a lead belief that the consequences of policies s.::.ciety. at large. I,n electing representatives and punish those who act to reduce our

we democratically mandate them to draw individual freedoms, for example those for example - surely a good thing - then [4] i\s__superior animals at the top of
up the rules by which we all should live. violent criminals who threaten our free- it must raise money through taxation to the food chain and the most successful
Basic civil liberties must be curtailed to dom from fear and attack. Its role is to do so. Individuals cannot club together species in the history of evolution we
ensure the safety of others, as with ban- protect our freedoms, not to curtail them. to build roads for their local area; a have a natural right to use animals for our
ning handguns or imposing a speed limit '~6Ciety' is merely a collection of indi- central government must have the role own ends. Governments should represent
on drivers/Individual rights and freedoms viduals who must be treated as morally and power to create a social and environ- the' interest of the individuals to whom
must be b~lanced by duties to society..' responsible agents, allowed to make moral mental infrastructure for the country. they are answerable, not the supposed
choices for themselves and to speak 'rights' of lower species. .
[2] The state must also legislate to freely. Crimes should be punished but
protect its citizens from self-imposed personal moral choice must not be [5] Obviously the government should
damage. It is the responsibility ofan elected infringed. '.' Possible motions: have some role in providing essential
government to research the dangers of This House needs a nanny state. services (roads, public transport, national
certain practices or substances and con- [2] The libertarian principle is that This House would put society first. defence and so on) - but these should be
strain the freedoms of its members for people can do whatever they wish, as This House would legislate, not liberate. kept to a minimum as should tax-
their own safety. Hard drugs, alcohol and long as it does not harm others - and this ation. Individuals can contribute to non-
tobacco for the young, violent sports must mean that they are allowed to hurt Related topics: essential services (arts programmes,
and sado-masochistic violence should all themselves. If consenting adults wish to Anarchism scholarships, etc.) as they wish and give to
be regulated or banned for this reason. indulge in sado-masochism, bare-knuckle Ideology v. Pragmatism the charities of their choice.
boxing, or driving without a seat belt Welfare State
[3] A further role of the state IS to (which endangers no-one other than Voting (Compulsory)
provide children with certain basic themselves) then there is no reason for National ID Cards
opportunities and protections. We allow the state to prevent them. The role of the National Service ((Re-) Introduction of)
the state to take it upon itself to make state is, at most, to provide information Salary Capping (Mandatory)
certain of these compulsory in order to about the risks of such activities. Population Control
protect children from ill-informed deci- Blood Sports (Abolition of)
sions they may make themselves, or from [3] The case is not the same with chil- Privacy of Public Figures
irresponsible parents. In the past parents dren, who do need to be protected and Mandatory Retirement Age
would curtail children's schooling to guided prior to full intellectual and moral School Sport (Compulsory)
i I utilise them as labour to bring in family maturity. However, the principle still School Uniform
income. In preventing this, the state applies that the freedom of independent Child Curfews
curtails freedoms for the good of the morally mature individuals is paramount. Drugs (Legalisation of)
individual children and for the long-term The state has gone too far in making Handguns (Ownership of)
benefits to society of an educated and educational and medical opportunities Prohibition of Alcohol
healthy population. compulsory. The parent is naturally, bio- Internet (Censorship of)
logically, responsible for the care of the Smoking (Banning of)
[4] We also owe to our animal cousins child. If parents wish to educate their child
a duty of care that should be enforced by at home or not at all, or have religious
state legislation, by banning blood sports objections to medical interferences with
and vivisection. their child, then as parents their views must
prevail - those of certain Christian belict-
[5] Legislation must be seen as indi- object to blood transfusions, and however
rectly constructive as well as limiting. If harsh it seems, it must be their right to
the state is expected to provide services. prescribe the same for their family.

Marxism no necessary link between Marxism and communist regImes moves are
despotism or human rights abuses. Indeed inevitably being made towards a capitalist
Marxist communism can be practised at a free market economy and, more slowly;
Pros Cons devolved level, in local communes or towards democracy.
regional 'soviets' as well as at higher levels
[1] Marxism proposes that, as history [1] History has taught unequivocally of government.
develops, feudalism gives rise to capital- that Marx and Engels were simply mis-
ism, then socialism, and finally the ideal taken. It was not the most capitalist coun- Possible motions:
classless society is realised. Lenin and tries (Britain, Germany, the US) that This House would be communist.
Stalin were not true to the Marxist ideals became socialist by revolution but Russia, This House would give Marxism another try.
but were corrupted by power. But the which was less advanced. The regimes of
Marxist dream of an egalitarian classless Lenin and Stalin (and Mao, in China) Related topics:
society is one we should still strive for. made it clear that a 'classless society' is Capitalism v. Socialism
not the result of these forms of socialism. Ideology v. Pragmatism
[2] Even if the classless society is still a Instead the 'first among equals' are Privatisation
far-off dream, we can endorse the Marxist inevitably corrupted into despotism by Welfare State
analysis of the 'class struggle', and can the power that they have over the masses. Monarchy v. Presidency
see that the working classes should rise National Health Service (Privatisation of)
up against the exploitative capitalists to [2] Marxist analysis of the 'class Pensions (Ending State Provision of)
demand redistribution of wealth and the struggle' is outdated and unrealistic. In a Democracy (Imposition of)
ownership of the means of production by modern capitalist state everyone can be Oxbridge (Abolition of)
the workers. The capitalists are not giving a shareholder and can receive dividends Private Schools
this up voluntarily. from the company they work for or own
a share in, no matter how modest their
[3] We should endorse the Marxist income. There is no }_~12~r an owner- Pacifism
view that there is no really individual worker divide. And history has shown
property and that we are all dependent that gradual change, rather than revolu- In one of the most famous debates ever at the Oxford Union, the motion 'This House
on society at large for our livelihood and tion, has been the most successful route will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country', was passed in 1933 by 275
security. Therefore all property is property to a fairer and more affiuent society. Votes to 153. It sparked off a national controversy in the press, and Winston Churchill
of the whole people, and should be re- denounced it as 'that abject, squalid, shameless avowal' and 'this ever shameful motion'.
distributed in an egalitarian way. The [3] Individual enterprise should be It is rumoured that the vote gave Adolf Hitler confidence that Great Britain would
autonomy of the individual is a myth. rewarded. Marxism and communism fail not militarily oppose his expansion in Europe.
to recognise the autonomy of the indi-
[4] Marxist socialism requires strong vidual and the right of the individual
government, 'enlightened dictatorship', to private property. Pros Cons
and a strictly planned and controlled
economy working in the interest of the [4] Marxism is undemocratic, unrepre- [1] Great moral and religious leaders [1J In practice, world religions (espe-
whole community with emphasis on sci- sentative and restrictive of economic (Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi) have been paci- cially Islam and Christianity) have
ence, technology and industry (as in the freedoms. It can never again flourish in a fists and taught, rightly, that violence believed in holy wars and crusades as a
Soviet 'five-year plans'). The state is all- world dominated by liberal democracy, always begets violence - 'those that live part of their role. Pacifism is simply an
powerful, but working in the interests of where the power of the state must always by the sword die by the sword'. The only unrealistic and idealistic belief. There are
all the people. This is an ideal model for be balanced against individual freedoms. hope for human harmony is the rejection times when force (for example upnsmg
an enlightened classless society. There is In China - one of the last remaining of all violence, even in self-defence. against an unjust regime or rioting)

[2] Pacifists such as the 'conscientious or even war (e.g. in the face of Hitler's Privatisation (,
objectors' of the two world wars (some of aggression) are the only remammg J

whom were executed for their refusal to options. What use are pacifists then?
fight) have always served an invaluable Pros Cons
role questioning the prevailing territorial [2] Pacifism was a luxury that most
militarism of the majority. Pacifists say could not afford during the world wars. [1] In Britain, both New Labour and [1] There is more to providing a good
there is always another way. The carnage There was a job to be done to maintain Conservative are now committed to the service than ruthless efficiency, free
of the First World War and the Vietnam international justice and prevent the virtues of private ownership and compe- market economics and the drive to make
War in particular is now seen by many as expansion of an aggressor. In those cir- tition in a free market. The New Labour profits. The vulnerable sectors of society
appallingly futile and wasteful of human cumstances it is morally wrong to sit back Party has abandoned 'Clause 4' of its con- will always suffer from privatisation.
life. and do nothing. stitution which expressed a commitment People in isolated villages will have their
to public ownership of 'the means of unprofitable public transport scrapped.
[3] In the extreme cases where war [3] Opposition to the excesses of production, distribution and exchange'. Treating elderly patients will not repre-
seems to be inevitable (perhaps the war and contraventions of the Geneva sent an efficient targeting of medical
Second World War) pacifists can continue Convention are not the preserve of the [2] Private businesses in a free market resources. Public ownership ensures that
to campaign against the many cruelties pacifist. The true pacifist rejects the use of are in competition and must therefore health, education and the utilities are
and excesses of war (the maltreatment war outright. seek to attract customers by reducing run with a conscience. Furthermore,
and torture of prisoners of war, the prices and improving services. This there is a 'Third Way' that invites private
bombing of civilians, the use of nuclear, [4] Often disputes can persist after wars contrasts with the old nationalised (state- investment in particular projects (e.g. the
chemical and biological weapons). but often also some resolution is achieved owned and -run) industries such as overhaul of the fabric of the London
(e.g. the Second World War, or the Gulf British Coal and British Steel, which Underground system, hospital and school
[4] There are no true victors from a War - as a result of which Saddam were perceived as inefficient and un- meals) while retaining overall state control
war. Issues are rarely settled by a war but Hussein withdrew from Kuwait). Violent competitive. Privatisation also allows of fundamental services.
persist afterwards at the cost of millions conflict is a last resort but is shown by companies to raise money in the City
of lives. There are still territorial and evolutionary biology to be an inevitable instead ofonly from the Treasury. [2] It is misleading to identity privati-
national disputes and civil wars in Eastern fact of nature and by history to be an sation with deregulation. Monopolies can
Europe and the Balkans (Bosnia, Serbia, inevitable fact of international relations. [3] Privatisation gives ordinary people a be ended through deregulation without
the former Yugoslavia) despite the world Nations should determine their own chance to be 'stakeholders' in the nation's the government giving up its control of
wars and countless supposed settlements. settlements and boundaries and this. economy by owning shares in services a state-owned and/or state-run element
War in these cases is futile and the UN regrettably, sometimes involves the use and industries. Privatised industries and within an open market. A state-run
should do more to enforce peace in these of force. services are answerable to shareholders. service operating within an open market,
areas. H~ving a real financial stake in a company drawing finance from the private sector
~ll give people a direct interest and a say and giving ordinary people a chance to
In the running of national services.
invest, is the ideal of the 'Third Way'
mentioned above. Neither is it true that
Possible motions: Dictators (Assassination of) ~4] 'Fund-holding' medical centres and privatisation always brings improved
This House would not fight for its country. Nuclear Weapons (Banning of) grant-maintained' schools were intro- service and increased efficiency. There has
This House rejects all forms of violence. Terrorism (justifiable) ~uced by the Conservatives as a way to been much opposition to privatisation in
United Nations (Standing Army for) Introduce competition into the welfare
state an dgive
' cases such as water and train companies
Related topics: Contact Sports (Abolition of) sch ools and doctors pur- in Britain that have not improved services
Ends v. Means Corporal Punishment chasin .
g power m an open market, and to and yet have provided huge salaries and
National Service ((Re-) Introduction of) Capital Punishment reduc h' .
e t e meffiClency of centrally bonuses for 'fat cat' directors.
Armaments (Limitation of Conventional) Handguns (Ownership of) administered funds.

[5] The welfare state is in crisis. The [3] It is a fantasy to suppose that private opportunities and wealth. Society can
rate of spending on welfare is increasing individuals who are shareholders or stake- only function by 'reciprocal altruism' -
more rapidly than overall economic holders exercise any power over privatised those who succeed must help those who
growth. This is an untenable position that industries. The only way to guarantee do not (in this case by paying large
requires private sector investment as the answerability to the people is for utilities amounts of tax to fund public services).
remedy. It will be necessary for people and services to be run by the government,
to be obliged to take out private health- which is truly open to influence through
care insurance and private pension funds the democratic processes. Tradition v. Innovation
whenever they can afford to do so, espe-
cially as the population ages with the [4] Giving funds to individual schools, Many debates will end up polarising into one between the case for traditional values
extension of life expectancy. surgeries and hospitals has several un- and the case for innovation and change. Tradition or innovation are sometimes argued
desirable consequences: doctors and for as good things in themselves, and at other times argued for as means to an end.
[6] It is right that hard work and indi- teachers end up spending much of their Below are some sample arguments.
vidual enterprise should be rewarded, and valuable time engaged in paperwork,
i: that part of that reward should be the expensive resources cannot be afforded Pros Cons
opportunity to pay for superior health- out of an individual annual budget, so
care and education. Hard work should large-scale investment or expensive sorts [1] We need a sense of continuity with [1] Innovation and diversification are
not be punished by high, redistributive of medical treatment will not be available the past in order to benefit from the of themselves good things. They reject
taxes, taking money from the rich to pay to some under this system, depending insight and wisdom of past generations the authoritarianism of traditionalists,
for the ideal of free universal welfare on the local demands on resources that and learn about the ethos from which who use old religious and moral views
for the rest. Those who use private sector year in their area. A state-owned and -run contemporary morality, politics and cul- to oppress groups such as homosexuals
education, health and pensions continue health service will always be able to offer ture have emerged. Respect for tradition and women, and to attack positive inno-
to pay tax and finance public services that treatments universally regardless of local and authority is of itself a good thing vations such as the advent of political
they do not use. In other words, they are differences. because it is essential for social continuity correctness simply on the grounds that
Ii! already repaying their debt to society, and the preservation of moral stability. it is new. Innovative thinking allows us
without increasing taxation. [5] People have until now always paid Moral relativism is a doctrine that, as we to redefine, for example, 'family values' or
I have seen already, leads to moral degen-
for public services through taxation 'sexual ethics' in a modern way that
and there is no reason why they should eracy and the break-up of society and the breaks free from the constraints of tradi-
not continue to do so simply through family. tional ideas. Innovation recognises the
Possible motion: an increase in taxation (as proposed by value of diverse approaches (from many
This House welcomes privatisation. the Liberal Democrats in Britain). [2] Uncontrolled technological advances different religions, cultures and minority
are particularly dangerous. Books, draw- groups) providing cultural pluralism and
Iii Related topics: [6] Private healthcare and education ing and the theatre are being replaced acknowledging moral relativism.
Capitalism v. Socialism take up much more than their share of by electronic forms of entertainment
I' Marxism resources and expertise. The best teachers (CDs, computer games, videos, the [2] Children have never been saints
Welfare State and doctors are 'poached' and hence Internet) that are intellectually bankrupt new technologies have had no significant
Broadcasting (Ending Public Control of) unavailable to the less well-off who rely and morally insidious. Children are grow- effect on them. Many (most) still grow up
National Health Service (Privatisation of) on the state sector. Hence privatisation of ing up with a shallow lust for violence to be morally respectable, law-abiding
Pensions (Ending State Provision of) education and healthcare further deepens and no higher sentiments of truth or and worthy citizens. As for new tech-
Trade Unions (Modernisation of) the class divide between those who can morality. Traditional sorts of education nologies, they should be encouraged as
Arts Funding by State (Abolition of) and those who cannot afford them. Those and entertainment should be reinstated in ways for children to learn about history,
Private Schools who become rich by enterprise and an attempt to rebuild some of the moral science, literature, religion and other cul-
fabric of society.

Sport (Commercialisation of) hard work rely directly and indirectly on tures in a new, dynamic and exciting way
Tuition Fees for University Students the rest of society for their education,

II [3] In medicine unrestrained advances on the Internet and with multi-media Welfare State
have also been disastrous. Enthusiasm for CD-ROMs.
the 'wonder drug' of Thalidomide, for
example, led to thousands of children [3] In medicine and science we have
being born deformed. Science and medi- learned from our mistakes. Science and Pros Cons
cine (especially in the area of human medicine now use even more rigorous
reproduction, embryo research, cloning testing procedures. It is irresponsible to [1] Society should provide free educa- [1] State welfare should be provided
etc.) should be kept in check by tradi- argue against innovations (e.g. in genetic tion (arguably including university edu- not as a matter of course but only in cases
tional moral and religious teachings engineering) that could save millions of cation), healthcare, unemployment and of extreme need. The welfare state should
about the absolute sanctity of human life lives on the grounds of scare stories and sickness benefits, and old age pensions function only as a safety net. Even in
and the warning against 'playing God'. traditionalism. As for the sanctity of life for all. These are fundamental rights in communist countries and in postwar
Science cannot answer moral questions and 'playing God', these raise questions a humane society (and the yardstick; of Britain, where there was great enthusiasm
about the status of foetuses or the - which science can often answer - such a civilised society is sometimes said to be for these ideas, economic realities have
morality of cloning. as when sentient human life begins. how well it looks after its pensioners). made free welfare for all an unrealisable
And when science alone is not enough, The welfare state, as defined in the 1942 dream.
[4] The first-past-the-post electoral new pluralist ethics, drawing on secular Bev~ridg~" Report, should be universal
system, the monarchy and the House humanism as well as different religions, and free for all. [2] Society is responsible to all its
of Lords in Britain are great traditional should replace outdated theological members, but equally its members should
institutions that have served the nation VIews. [2] State-owned and -run welfare not all receive welfare if they cap afford
proudly for many centuries. It would services are the property of the nation l)fiv,!~healthcare, education and pen-
be foolish and sacrilegious to destroy [4] Tradition should be sacrificed in and therefore should be available to all. sions. All state benefits should be means
" ..

them on a superficial and ill-thought-out the interest of modern values of equality, They are a physical manifestation. of tested so that only the truly needy receive
modernising whim. democracy and accountability. We should the responsibility of society to each of its them.
innovate in the name of democracy, members. Everyone pays tax and National
introducing proportional representation, Insurance, and so everyone should receive [3] It is right that those who are hard-
presidency and an elected second free welfare. working and successful should be able to
Possible motions: chamber. buy sUIJc:ri()E education and healthcare,
This House believes in traditions. [3] In the interest of equality there which are not rights but luxuries or priv-
This House regrets the rise of modern should be no private education, health ileges to be earned. Privatisation of
technology. services or pensions. The state should healthcare, education and pensions means
This House would respect its elders. have a monopoly on the welfare state comIJetitioll3n the f1!.~_. m arket and
This House looks to the past, not the future. in order to ensure truly efficient welfare therefore better and cheaper services.
- through economies of scale and cen-
Related topics: f,'H~ .!ralisation - which is also egalitarian. [4] The cost of the welfare state is ris-
Ends v. Means The best resources can be distributed ing more rapidly than the rate of overall
House of Lords (Abolition of) within" the public system rather than economic growth. In the case of many
Classics (Latin and Greek) in Education being creamed off for the elite who new and expensive drugs and medical
High Art v. Low Art can afford private schools and private techniques it is simply impractical to
Museums (Entrance Fees to) healthcare. expect the state to pay for all. Private
Oxbridge (Abolition of) investment and private health insurance
Alternative Medicine [4] It is a myth that we can no longer are the only sensible way forward.
Science: a Menace to Civilisation? afford universal welfare - this is a smoke-
screen for ideological objections. In fact,

economies in capitalist countries are Related topics:

constantly growing year on year and Capitalism v. Socialism
so an increasing welfare bill is not an Marxism
insurmountable problem. Privatisation
National Health Service (Privatisation of)
Pensions (Ending State Provision of)
Taxation (Direct, Abolition of)
Possible motions: Workfare
This House would not means test state Beggars (Giving Money to)
Arts Funding by the State (Abolition of)
This House believes in welfare for all. Mandatory Retirement Age
This House believes that the welfare state is a Private Schools
right, not a safety net. Tuition Fees for University Students
Constitutiona I/Governa nee

Bill of Rights

There are three crucial questions at issue here. First, to what extent do people actu-
ally have inalienable or fundamental 'rights'? Second, if they do have such rights from
birth, what are they, and who decides what they are? Third, is it necessary for each
nation to write down the rights of its citizens in a constitutional document - a 'bill
of rights' - in the way in which the US has done?

Pros Cons

[1] There are certain inalienable rights [1] Unfortunately there is no absolute
that no transient majority, whether in concept of what is a 'right' - the question
parliament or country, should be able to of how to defme 'rights' is one that has
override. Indeed this principle of 'reci- divided philosophers for centuries. There
procity' underpins liberal democracies can never be any political consensus on
- one can be in the majority one day, the matter. For example: is being allowed
and the minority another - and it is thus to have an abortion a right, or do unborn
in everybody's interest that minority children have rights? Is there a right
rights be protected. In many countries to own a firearm? Should people have
(e.g. the US, Germany) there is a codified a right to a job? At what age do children
bill of rights that parliament either can- acquire the full range of rights of
not change, or requires an overwhelming adults? The list is endless. Thus any bill of
majority to change. But Britain's current rights adopted would either be mired in
constitution is driven by the doctrine of political controversy or watered down
'parliamentary supremacy' - parliament and rendered bland and ineffectual.
can pass whatever law it likes, trampling
on individual freedom if it so wishes. And [2] The above problems are com-
Britain's 'winner takes all' electoral system pounded by the question of which rights
effectively gives a prime minister un- take priority over others; to take but the
checked power. most obvious example, the right to free
speech and the right to privacy inevitably
[2] It is easy to exaggerate the diffi- conflict. The legal arguments employed to
culties of framing a bill of rights. Dozens resolve these difficulties remove the very
of nations have solved this problem. element of certainty a bill of rights aims
Of course there will be difficulties - but to protect.
Controversy is a ubiquitous feature of
political life. [3] For a bill of rights to be able to
withstand the will of parliament, it must
[3] In Britain we have seen too many be difficult, if not impossible, for future
governments abuse their freedom. parliaments to amend it. Herein lies yet
Margaret Thatcher removed the right to another problem - for as our rather tran-
join a trade union at GCHQ and freedom sient concept of rights changes through

of speech from Sinn Fein. John Major the decades, so the bill of rights will From the Hebrew prophets, through Jesus left to deal with broader social and political
removed the freedom of assembly from remain as a fossilised reminder of past to Mohammed, religious leaders have matters. Church attendances are plum-
demonstrators and the right to silence values. So our American cousins are stuck always linked spiritual progress with meting. Standards of private morality are
from suspected criminals. Nor are these with a constitution that was progressive social change. The fight against poverty, at an all-time low. These are the priorities
isolated incidents - and a bill of rights is in the eighteenth century but is down- disease, social injustice and economic that religious leaders should be tackling,
the only way to prevent their recurrence. right dangerous today. inequalities as practised and preached leaving debates about health service
by Jesus, for example, is an explicitly reform, the social security system, defence
[4] Most of the criticisms made - [4] All of the problems raised above are political agenda. It is right that churches spending and international aid to the
unelected judges and an ossified bill of inevitably reduced to legal questions to should continue to take political stands. politicians who are elected to make
rights - are really criticisms of the be resolved by some form of supreme There is no such thing as 'private' decisions on these matters.
American system. If the rights are drawn constitutional court. Thus are essentially morality or religion - these are inherently
as simply as possible, the scope for judi- political questions potentially placed in social phenomena. [2] The encroachment of religion
cial intervention is significantly reduced. the hands of unelected and unaccount- into politics is inherently dangerous in the
For example, the European Charter able judges. (Most judges in the US [2] Religion has had a progressive role modern world. The accountability of
of Human Rights has been the subject of are elected, but Supreme Court Judges in society through history and retains it political leaders is essential to avoid
extensive legislation, none of which has are appointed.) And of course the judges today. The first attack on the divine right corruption and self-interest - yet religious
extended the Charter into territory more must remain unaccountable and un- of kings can be found in the Book of leaders can by their very nature never
properly the preserve of politics. representative, or majority opinion will Kings in the Bible. Slavery was first pro- be accountable. It is true that in the past
triumph, albeit indirectly, and the purpose hibited by Jewish religious leaders 2,500 religion and politics were inextricably
of the bill of rights is negated. years before Lord Wilberforce. From linked, but that is no longer the case. In
Possible motions: Martin Luther King to the Beveridge the modern democratic world there are
This House demands a bill of rights. Report, it has been religion that has secular political mechanisms to ensure
This House would codify its rights. inspired society's betterment. representation for the poor and under-
privileged without religion interfering.
Related topics: [3] Religious leaders do not rely on
Civil Disobedience the support of companies, organisations [3] The potential political power of
Written Constitution or political parties. In times of political religious leaders is vast. For this reason
consensus, we need such people to defend alone, they are open to hijacking by
those in society who have no voice. political extremists. The extremes and
Churches in Politics Religious leaders can fulfil a unique role certainties of religion have no place in
as genuine critics of the abuses and dis- a political life that must be about compro-
In an increasingly secular world, does the Church still have anything left to say about eases of the secular world - a position that mise and pragmatism. Democratically un-
social and political issues, or should it be confined to the realm of private spirituality; no secular figure could take without accountable religious leaders straymg
And if it does have anything to say about political matters, will anybody listen? Or is being accused of hypocrisy. This is the tra- into politics too often can be responsible
it the case that in a multi-cultural society only democratically elected politicians ditional role that was played by Biblical for whipping up public outcry by ped-
should have the authority to shape social and economic policy? prophets such as Jeremiah and Hosea. dling their extreme and zealous views (e.g.
against homosexual marriages, in favour
Pros Cons [4] In our multi-cultural and multi- of the death penalty or against nuclear
faith world, the leaders of many different weapons). Religious leaders should restrict
[1] Religion and politics cannot be [1] Politics and religion are separate faiths (rather than just Christian leaders) themselves to preaching to their flocks
compartmentalised. The idea that there is spheres of life. Religious leaders can should be encouraged to take part in the about religion and morality.
a clear line between religion and politics minister to people's private moral and political system - for example by taking
is recent in origin and wholly artificial. spiritual needs and politicians should be seats in the House of Lords. [4J When Britain had a single religion,

the Christian faith, it made sense for reli- are just as common in 'strong' party poli- [3) Government by coalition makes it
Possible motions: gious leaders to make political statements, tics, but the electorate does not get to see difficult to hold political parties to
This House believes that religion is and but now they will necessarily be partial what is going on. So coalition is in reality account. In Britain and (to a lesser extent)
should be a political force. and unrepresentative because we do not a necessary feature of both the alternative in the US, the governing party will be
This House believes that religion and politics live in a Christian society but in a multi- systems. judged against its manifesto promises.
should mix. faith community. Bishops should be The parties governing as a coalition must
removed from the House of Lords and [3] By its very nature, 'winner takes all' amalgamate their manifestos - no-one
Related topics: religious leaders should accept that they politics results in much of the population can then expect a particular party to do
Disestablishment of the Church of England are no longer credible political figures. backing losers, and hence being unrepre- what it promised. This has happened
Monarchy v. Presidency sentative. A coalition government can in time and time again in France, where
Sunday Entertainment and Shopping many ways be considered a microcosm the manifestos of the winning Gaullists
(Restricting) of the electorate as a whole, rather than or Socialists are utterly impracticable and
Islam (Fear of) merely representing one vested interest. never have the slightest chance of being
God (Existence of) The ease with which alliances can shift implemented.
Religious Teaching in Schools promotes rather than hinders democracy,
as government will change with the
popular mood. Possible motions:
Coalition Government v. Party Government This House believes in government by
This House values co-operation above leader-
Pros Cons ship.
This House demands fully representative
[1) Most countries are governed by [1] Countries run by coalition govern- government.
coalitions, alliances of political parties that ments are renowned for their instability,
share out power. This can be contrasted lack of democracy and Byzantine politics. Related topics:
with the 'strong' party systems of Britain Throughout Europe, the power-brokers Democracy
and the US, where one party is in power behind coalition governments are the Ideology v. Pragmatism
by itself at anyone time. Coalitions are small parties that hold the balance of Proportional Representation
more democratic, as they naturally repre- power.Yes, it is far from ideal that a party Referenda (Increased Use of)
sent more strands of opinion. with 40 per cent of the vote can control Regional Government
a government, but it is even less ideal
[2J The British and US political parties for parties with 15 per cent or even 5 per
may appear monolithic, but they are in cent of the vote to decide who governs. Devolution of Scotland and Wales
actuality themselves coalitions. For exam-
ple, the Republicans are an uneasy mix [2] Good government requires the A bill for the creation of Scottish and Welsh assemblies was introduced in 1976 but
of fundamentalist Christians and liber- making of decisions that are unpopular rejected by referenda in Scotland and Wales in 1979. Devolution of Scotland and
tarians, while the British Labour Party in the short term. Coalition govern- Wales was one of the manifesto pledges of Tony Blair's 'New Labour' Party, which
spans the spectrum from Trotskyists to ments find this difficult, as a period of was elected into government with a landslide majority in May 1997. Referenda
monetarists and the Tories are fundamen- unpopularity may prompt their coali- on devolution in Scotland and Wales were among the first visible acts of the new
tally split over their approach to European tion 'partners' to jump ship and form government, both taking place in September 1997. The result of the referenda was
I integration. The view that the political a government with opposition parties. a 'Yes' to devolution in both cases, although only by an incredibly narrow majority
parties are monolithic deceives the elec- Thus coalitions can lead to a dishonest in Wales. As a result there will be a Welsh assembly and a Scottish parliament. In
torate. The problems of coalition politics populism. a second question on the Scottish referendum the voters were asked whether the

proposed new parliament should have tax-raising powers. The answer given by the [3] The referenda of 1997 showed a result, in neither case did more than 50
voters to this question was also 'Yes'. The Welsh assembly will not have tax-raising conclusively that the people of Scotland per cent of those eligible to vote actually
powers. The question remains: Was devolution of powers to Scottish and Welsh and Wales wanted devolution. In Scotland vote 'Yes'. In 1979 both countries said
assemblies a mistake or will it prove to be the correct decision? 74 per cent of the votes cast were 'Yes' 'No', in 1997 they very marginally said
votes. There is clearly, as the late John 'Yes'. These are not firm and settled
Pros Cons Smith said, a 'firm and settled' view in expressions of the will of the people of
favour of devolution among the popula- Scotland and Wales. We should have
[1] There is much to Scotland and [1] Cultural identity and political tions of the countries concerned. To defy required two significant 'Yes' votes five or
Wales that is different from England - in autonomy are totally different matters. It that view is to defy democracy, and bottle ten years apart to establish a truly settled
Scotland's case even a different legal sys- is nonsense to say that national identity up resentment that can only lead to the view for such a major constitutional
tem. The peoples of Scotland and Wales can only be maintained through political break-up of the United Kingdom. change.
have different problems and different structures. Scottish and Welsh identity
political priorities. Maintaining the is as strong as ever it was. Indeed, much [4] Devolution is a balanced and stable [4] Devolution should be opposed
United Kingdom while recognising of what we now consider as traditional arrangement that provides just the right because it inevitably leads to the break-up
these differences is only possible by the Scottish culture (from haggis to kilts) compromise between those who argue of the Union. The boundaries between
devolution of power. All over Europe, dates from the nineteenth century - a for complete independence of Scotland powers devolved to the regions and pow-
there are partially self-governing regions time when Scotland was very much part and Wales, and those who would have ers retained at Westminster will be fiercely
within countries, the most successful of the United Kingdom. Other regions of Westminster strictly control both those contested. Every power retained will be
examples perhaps being Catalonia in Britain, from Liverpool to Cornwall, have countries. Without devolution, dissatis- resented, every power devolved one more
Spain, the German 'Linder' system and the a strong local identity despite having far faction with the status quo would find step down the slippery slope. There is also
Swiss federation of quasi-autonomous less political autonomy than Scotland. its outlet in calls for outright indepen- the infamous 'West Lothian question' (so
'Cantons'. dence. Devolution is the ideal middle way named because it was first raised by the
[2] Cynicism and distrust of politicians staving off the views from both extremes. West Lothian Labour MP Tam Dalyell)
[2] In the past the balance of political is at an all-time high. Devolution will - why should Scottish MPs have a say at
and economic power in the United create yet another tier of expensively Westminster when English MPs have
Kingdom has been overwhelmingly maintained politicians, giving handouts Possible motion: no say over decisions made in the Scottish
weighted towards Westminster, London to their own constituencies. If we want This House has no regrets about devolution. parliament? Devolution seems to give
and the south-east of England. This is real empowerment of communities, we Wales and Scotland twice as much power
unrepresentative and unfair. It is a basic should devolve power all the way down Related topics: and representation as England and an
principle of democracy that decisions to local councils rather than creating a Proportional Representation unfair say in English matters. The only
should always be taken at the lowest totalitarianism of the regions. An inter- Regional Government solution to this problem is complete inde-
possible level. There are some areas of mediate level of regional government is Commonwealth (Abolition of) pendence for all the countries of the
government, such as defence, education an unsatisfactory and unnecessary half- Union.
and health policy, that are best handled way house.
nationally. Others, such as planning and
traffic schemes, should be the province [3] The referenda, especially the one ~sestablishment of the Church of England
of local councils. But many decisions, for the Welsh assembly, did not provide
from transport policy to education, are convincing majorities at all. In both cases Currently in Britain the Church of England is 'established'. This means that Anglican
more efficiently and democratically dealt the turnout was low (60 per cent in Christianity is the official religion of Great Britain. The monarch is head of the
with at the intermediate regional level. It Scotland and 50 per cent in Wales) and in Church of England. In addition, senior bishops of the Church of England can sit in
is this sort of intermediate regional gov- the case of Wales only 50.3 per cent of the House of Lords. There have been increasing calls for the disestablishment of the
ernment that is appropriate to Scotland those who voted said 'Yes' to devolution Church of England - the ending of its privileged status as official religion of Britain
and Wales. - the narrowest of possible majorities. As - from many quarters, both within and outside the Church itself.

Pros Cons Church of England in the 1980s, and the proved a success. Stalinist Russia's sup-
meddling of parliament in the debate pression of religion resulted in the revival
[1] The case against the establishment [1] The Church of England has been over the ordination of women show the of superstition on an unprecedented
of the Church of England is simple - it is central to British history for four hun- danger that can result from this. scale. The constitutional separation of
an embarrassing anachronism. It fails to dred years and still plays a vital role. church and state in the US sits uneasily
reflect our largely secular-multicultural Historically Christianity has been fully with vulgar and extreme expressions of
society. In Britain today, believers are a engaged with secular laws, wars and social Possible motions: fundamentalism.
minority, Christians an even smaller policies. The separation of Church and This House calls for the disestablishment of
minority, and Church of England wor- state is a development of the past century the Church of England.
shippers a tiny fraction of the population. or two. It is right that moral and spiritual This House believes that religion and politics
To provide such a minority with a legally leaders should be involved in political do not mix.
and constitutionally privileged position decision making. It cannot be denied
is bizarre. The secularisation of the past that religion is still vitally important for Related topics:
two centuries and the rise of an atheistic a great many people. The Christianity Churches in Politics
and scientific world view make all forms represented by the Church of England is Monarchy v. Presidency
of traditional religion irrelevant. Moral not an exclusivist religion - there are few Religious Teaching in Schools
issues are discussed by philosophers, sci- of other faiths who view it with hostility.
entists and bio-ethicists - there is no need Indeed, Muslim and Jewish leaders
for the superstitious angle provided by oppose disestablishment. Eighteen-year-old MPs
[2] These are academic niceties of
[2] Establishment is not just philo- symbolic importance only. Attacking Pros Cons
sophically objectionable, but embodies establishment can accomplish little in
religious discrimination in practice. The practice, and ignores the real problems [1] In Britain currently you have to [1] It is misleading to present standing
monarch has to swear an oath of alle- of prejudice and religious mistrust. Dis- be at least 21 years old to stand for for parliament and voting in an election
giance to uphold the Church of England. establishment would send out a strong Parliament. This used to be in line with as comparable democratic functions.
Bishops sit in the House of Lords - no signal that there is no place for religion the minimum voting age. Now that the Being an Mp, unlike simply voting for
other religious leaders do. More perni- in modern society. Instead of taking voting age has been reduced from 21 to one, requires a level oflife experience and
ciously, the heir to the throne cannot away the secular and political role of the 18 there is no logical reason to prevent maturity that an 18-year-old cannot pos-
marry a Catholic, and the prime minister Church of England, all major religions those aged 18-20 standing for parliament. sibly possess. Many complex issues and
cannot be a Catholic. These medieval should be given some degree of repre- Eighteen-year-olds can marry and they different groups need to be understood
hangovers contribute to a Catholic sense sentation in parliament and by the royal pay taxes. So, 18-year-olds are fully and represented. A democratically elected
of victimisation, particularly in Northern family. Leaders of other religions should fledged members of society. If the demo- assembly is required to represent the views
Ireland. To end this religious discrimina- be given a place in the House of Lords. cratic system is designed to reflect the and interests of the electorate but not to
tion, the Church of England should lose and Charles, Prince of Wales, has already views of those aged 18 and above (the resemble that electorate in every detail of
its secular privileges and be disestablished. stated that he sees himself as 'Defender of electorate) then it is only proper that demography, such as age.
Faith' in a multi-cultural Britain rather 18-year-olds should be allowed to be rep-
[3] Ironically, establishment has actually than 'Defender of the (Christian) faith'. resentatives. It is ageist and discriminatory [2] The electorate of a constituency
been dangerous for the Church of Religious discrimination can be ended to exclude them from that role. It implies cannot be expected to trust an 18-year-
England in recent times as its ties to the by making the establishment multi-faith that they are second-class citizens. old to fulfil such a demanding role.
state have prevented it from speaking out. rather than no-faith. Eighteen-year-olds with little or no
Margaret Thatcher's damning of the [2] Being an MP (or representative) is Iife- or work-experience are not given
'Faith in the City' report produced by the j3] So-called secular societies have not not the same as being a business person highly responsible jobs in industry and

or even a political leader. An elected rep- commerce, nor should they be in politics. in their constituency and should not be
resentative merely needs to present an This is recognised in the US where possible motions: seen as examples of good MPs. Eighteen-
open and articulate channel of communi- members of the House ofRepresentatives This House would allow 18-year-olds to be year-olds in general, and university MPs in
cation for those he or she represents. must be at least 25 years old, and Senators MPs. particular, would have too little experi-
Intelligence, listening skills, openness, must be at least 30. This House would give the young a voice. ence and too narrow a range of expertise,
integrity and articulacy are all skills that interests and concerns.
can be well developed by the age of 18. [3] There is no significant sense III Related topics:
which 18-year-olds are more 'in touch' Term Limits for MPs
[3] Elected assemblies are too often with reality than 21-year-olds (or, per- Voting Age (Reduction of)
stuffy, pompous and out of touch with the haps, 61-year-olds). This is just ageist Mandatory Retirement Age
public, especially with the needs and rhetoric. And, in fact, the sort of 18- School-leaving Age
interests of the young. Allowing 18-year- year-old who wanted to become an MP
olds to be democratic representatives would most likely be a precocious and
will give a voice to those concerns and pompous young person not in touch House of Lords, Abolition of
do something to bring the democratic with youth culture at all.
process closer to real people. At the time of writing the Labour government under Tony Blair has declared its
[4] First, it is ageist to suggest that intention to reform the House of Lords, at least by removing the voting rights of
[4] Young people are well known for people in their thirties, forties or fifties hereditary peers. We have therefore left out another debate, on 'Reforming the House
being idealistic and this is a great strength cannot be idealistic or dynamic. Second, of Lords'; but it will be interesting to debate the success of Blair's reforms when they
in an ever more cynical political world. there cannot be a significant difference come into effect.
Eighteen-year-olds could bring dyna- in degree of idealism between an 18-
mism, idealism and values to bear in the year-old and a 21-year-old. Third, it is
political system. questionable whether wide-eyed naive Pros Cons
idealism is truly an attractive trait in
[5] Students in schools, colleges and a representative when the alternative is [1] The rationale for a second chamber [1] The reason why almost every major
umversities are already involved III idealism balanced with pragmatism and (the bicameral system) comes from democracy has a second chamber is that
politics and representation at a high informed by worldly experience and centuries-old political philosophy and the overwhelming will of the populace
level through student unions. Through deep thought. a time when parliaments were so unrep- can be ignored by a government with
these organisations 18-year-olds could resentative that they had to be held in a suitably large majority in a unicameral
have accumulated much relevant know- [5] The narrow range of issues that check. In a modern democracy, checks (or 'single-chamber') parliament. Even
ledge and experience, campaigning on concerns student unions (mainly educa- and balances are supplied by the people Britain's bizarre and unrepresentative
educational, social and environmental tion and its funding) is not sufficient themselves rather than massed ranks House of Lords prevented some of the
issues. We should consider re-introducing experience for the broad issues and of politicians. Rather than fiddle with worst excesses of Thatcherism and has
university MPs who would give students challenges of being an MP. The sort of the way the House of Lords works, it stood up against some of the policies
a real voice in parliament. There are people who would want to be MPs at the would be much simpler and more effec- pushed through by Tony Blair's massive
already many MPs who, in effect, repre- age of 18 would most likely want to go to tive to abolish it outright. There is no Commons majority (e.g. tuition fees for
sent a limited interest group such as the university - this would not be compatible need to have two chambers in a demo- students). Rather than abolish the House
trade unions or a particular industry with the huge demands on time and cratic parliamentary system. Norway, for of Lords, we should reform it. Options for
(tobacco, cars, arms) associated with their commitment of being an M P. For these example, has a single-chamber parliament, a reformed second chamber include a
constituency. University MPs would be reasons the idea of university MPs is the Storting; Israel's parliament, the fully elected second chamber (like the US
similar to these other MPs. untenable. If there are other 'single issue' Knesset, is also a single-chamber legisla- Senate) .
MPs in parliament then they are failing in ture. Other countries with single-chamber
their job as representatives of all interests elected legislatures include Albania, [21 So-called 'gridlock' is in fact a

Bulgaria, Denmark, Portugal, Egypt and proper manifestation of representative Related topics:
Bangladesh. democracy. No fleeting majority in a first Possible motions: Democracy
chamber - reflecting temporary swings in This House would abolish the House of Lords. Marxism
[2J If the second chamber is not to be opinion polls - should have absolute This House would do without a second Tradition v. Innovation
a carbon copy of the first, it must be power. The balance provided by a second chamber. Monarchy v. Presidency
elected by a different system and at a dif- chamber (elected or otherwise) is to be
ferent time. All successful governments go welcomed, as is the disruption of the
through periods of unpopularity - and it programme of the majority party in the Monarchy v. Presidency
is likely that elections for the second first chamber that the second chamber
chamber would occur in one of these can bring about - a parliamentary Britain is one of the oldest surviving hereditary monarchies. Several other European
periods. This is a formula for US-style embodiment of popular dissent. In countries are monarchies (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain)
'gridlock', where the second chamber (in Britain and the US it is almost always along with a few countries further afield (such as Morocco and Lesotho in Africa and
the US, the Senate) stymies the policies of only a minority of the electorate (around Bhutan in Asia). Arab sheikhs and the Japanese emperor are also hereditary rulers.
the elected government (in the US, the 40 per cent) that votes for the ruling Historically, a partially elected parliament was seen as a mechanism to check the power
House of Representatives). party. A unicameral parliament is the of the monarch. As centuries passed, more and more real power passed to parliaments
first step towards a one-party state and and away from monarchs, in some cases through violent revolution (as in France
[3J Abolishing the House of Lords totalitarianism. and Russia). In other cases, such as Britain or the Netherlands, the process was more
would send a message to the electorate gradual and the monarch has simply been left with only ceremonial duties and
that its political system had been democ- [3J Public confidence in the system is nominal powers. Is there any point in maintaining this institution or is an elected
ratically reformed and rejuvenated. Even of some importance, but simply to bow to president the only appropriate head of state in the modern world?
if a second chamber were elected, the old alleged public stereotypes and prejudices
image of a fusty chamber full of un- in a matter of such constitutional impor-
accountable, sleepy, drunk or senile old tance would be to give in to the worst Pros Cons
men and women would persist in public kind of populism and gesture politics. A
consciousness as long as there was a reformed House of Lords with appointed [1] It is the genius of the British con- [1J Britain's hereditary monarchy is a
House of Lords. Abolishing the House peers and no voting rights for hereditary stitution to make apparently untenable ludicrous anachronism. The divine right
of Lords would restore public confidence peers, perhaps even with a changed name institutions such as the monarchy and of kings may have been acceptable nine
in the democratic system. ('The Second Chamber', 'The Senior the House of Lords work and provide hundred or even one or two hundred
House', 'The Senate') could recapture stability in each new era. There is value in years ago, but it has no place in today's
[4J We need to make a clean break public confidence. tradition, particularly when it has served egalitarian and secular society. The Queen
with the anti-meritocratic rule of the Our country so well. The monarchy holds has unmerited political influence that
privileged and the 'old boy network' of [4 J Every new age (wrongly) believes Britain together in times of national dis- few members of parliament can dream
past political eras. Abolition of the House it has invented meritocracy and fair and aster (e.g. the Blitz or the death of Diana) of (e.g. weekly meetings with the prime
of Lords is the most important step in this open government. The whole democratic and unites the nation in times of peace. minister). The Queen represents every-
new political age. system exists to fight against the con- The monarch symbolises the nation and thing that was bad about the Britain of
centration of power in anyone group. its heritage not only for Britons but also the past - the empire, the class system and
That is why the existence of a second for the nations of the Commonwealth unearned wealth and power. In todays
chamber is so important. Our ideal should Who still recognise the British monarch as multi-cultural society, the idea of a mon-
be reform that is still in continuity the symbolic head of their egalitarian and arch who must be a white Anglo-Saxon
with the great democratic traditions of modern association. Christian is quite untenable.
our parliament rather than a petulant and
melodramatic destruction of a central [2] The monarch symbolises the 121 The British prime minister has
element of it. United Kingdom as no elected politician more personal power than any other

ever could. Every opinion poll shows she democratic leader. The American presi- party Funding by the State
has the support of at least three-quarters dent has to contend with an often hostile
of the population. No politician in his- House and Senate, while the French
tory has matched that degree of sustained president is checked by a parliament and Pros Cons
popularity. Any candidates for a presi- prime minister. But a British premier has
dency would need to seek the backing automatic parliamentary support. This [1] Many political scandals in Britain [1] State funding controls actually foster
of one or more parties - and hence be lack of 'checks and balances' is caused by and America have been caused by the and encourage corruption by their com-
dragged into the political fray, as has hap- an unelected head of state who has no quest for funding of political parties and plexity and lack of transparency. French
pened in Ireland. With public respect for political role. By replacing the monarch candidates. A notable example came in politics is engulfed by funding scandals,
politicians at an all-time low, surely we with an elected president we could fill 1997 when the Labour government despite limited state funding. Campaign
should welcome heads of state who stand this democratic deficit. The fact that a argued for an exemption for Formula spending limits in British local elections
above petty party politics. Paradoxically, it president would have political allegiance One motor racing from the Europe-wide are totally ignored and unenforced. In
is the unelected nature of the monarchy of one sort or another would not be a ban on tobacco advertising in sporting practice, private individuals and groups
which ensures its independence and its bad thing. If presidential and parliamen- events. It later emerged that the head of who wish to make donations, perhaps
popularity. tary elections were staggered, the presi- Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, had with half a mind to influence future legis-
dent would normally not be allied to the donated £1 million to the Labour Party. lation, will always find ways of doing
[3] 'Crown' property does not belong ruling party, thus providing a welcome When politicians are forced to compete so, for example by making donations to
to the Queen or to the monarchy, it democratic balance. The experience of for cash, they place themselves in hock to funds set up by politicians ostensibly, for
belongs to the nation. Very little of the Ireland has been that an elected head of lobbyists and interest groups (such as the example, for 'research' purposes.
land, houses and property ascribed to state can have a political affiliation but arms, alcohol and tobacco industries) and
the Queen is kept from the public. In fact still fulfil a relatively neutral and states- the weak or dishonest will break the law. [2] When there are many other calls on
the royal family generates a vast amount manlike role. If private political donations were banned the public purse, it is absurd to suggest
of money for Britain through the trade and replaced with state funding, perhaps that the state should be throwing money
in tourism which it attracts. Without a [3] The Queen is the richest woman in proportionate to average opinion poll rat- at politicians. Why should our taxes go to
monarch, Buckingham Palace would lose the world. The monarchy costs the ing, these problems would not arise. parties which are not in power and which
its mystique as would ceremonies such as exchequer £30 million every year. More we may well not support? And if parties
the Changing of the Guard. significantly, the Crown is the largest [2] The necessity for a plentiful source are removed from the necessity to raise
landowner in the country; if sold off, the of funding for a political campaign pre- funds from their membership, they lose
receipts could be used to fund massive vents new parties without wealthy contacts any obligation to serve their membership
Possible motions: investment into our infrastructure - and supporters from breaking into the and become centralised and unrepresen-
This House would be a citizen, not a subject. schools, hospitals and public transport. It mainstream and gives an unfair advantage tative. It is also likely that state money
This House would rather have a president is unacceptable to see economic inequal- to parties with business support, which being provided for any party with a mod-
than a monarch. ity and deprivation persist at the same will usually be the established parties. est degree of support (say a minimum of
time as one particular family continues to State funding provides a level playing field 5 per cent or 10 per cent) would give
Related topics: enjoy extremes of wealth by the mere fact and encourages the formation of new encouragement to extremist parties and
Democracy of its ancestry. parties. possibly even end up giving state money
Tradition v. Innovation to racist and nationalist political parties.
Disestablishment of the Church of England [3] Freedom of speech cannot be
House of Lords (Abolition of) used to justify millionaires buying votes. [31 Freedom of speech and political
Democracy is under threat fron: million- belief are pivotal in a democracy. Banning
aires with money to spend and parties private donations to political parties
With politicians to sell. The costs of removes this freedom from the individ-
State funding arc tr itlinp; compared with ual, and places vital decisions in the hands

national budgets, and the potential savings of unelected bureaucrats on funding Interests. The only solution IS outright [3] Political lobbying is acceptable so
in terms of democracy are far-reaching. committees. Bernie Ecclestone, for exam- abolition. long as politicians declare their pay-
ple, claimed that he simply admired Tony masters. It is not the fact that finance
Blair and his New Labour Party's oppo- [4] It is wrong in principle for any is involved at all that is objectionable - a
Possible motions: sition to punitive taxes and so wanted to individual or group to be able to buy politician's job is to persuade the govern-
This House believes that the state should fund help finance its advertising. It should be political power and influence. Even if ment to pass legislation, so why should
political parties. the right of any individual to make such lobby groups are allowed to influence they not profit from doing their job? -
This House would ban all private donations a decision. politicians, they should not be allowed but the fact that, if the arrangement
to political parties. financial arrangements with them. Other- is concealed, their motives are unclear.
wise only the wealthy groups paying the Declaration of outside interests is suffi-
Related topics: most (major corporations selling tobacco, cient - they need not be banned.
Democracy arms, cars, etc.) would be able to win leg-
Politicians' Outside Interests (Banning of) islation in their favour; smaller, poorer [4] Politicians do not have the time to
factions (e.g. animal rights defenders) listen to every opinion and weigh them
would have no say. If money is removed up against each other. By the very nature
Politicians' Outside Interests, Banning of from the equation, then each opinion has of capitalism some groups will wield
a more equal chance of being heard. more power and may be able to influence
parliament directly; but there are many
Pros Cons other methods which smaller parties can
Possible motions: use to make themselves heard. These
[1] Politicians are elected to serve their [1] The recent trend for politics to This House would ban MPs from having include petitions, use of the media, direct
constituents full time, and for this they are be populated by career politicians is outside interests. action and so on.
well paid. When members of parliament deplorable. Few 'normal' people would This House believes that MPs should repre-
continue their past employment or accept enter politics if they had to abandon their sent their constituents, not lobby groups.
new directorships or posts as consultants, previous life, especially as the salaries of
they are short-changing and insulting MPs, once expenses and researchers' tees Related topics:
their constituents, who expect their MP are deducted, are actually very small. It Capitalism v. Socialism
to be working solely for them. is far better to allow outside interests Ideology v. Pragmatism
and attract, for example, experienced Party Funding by the State
[2] Britain should not be ruled by businesspeople or lawyers to parliament. Trade Unions (Modernisation of)
'pressure group politics', where the most Privacy of Public Figures
important decisions are made by small [2] MPs are elected to represent the Sport (Commercialisation of)
interest groups which influence the most population of the UK, which must
important MPs. This subverts natural include interest groups as well as geo-
democracy where all MPs represent their graphical constituencies. They will alwavs
constituency and the people who elected represent the special interests of vocal ~roportional Representation
them. groups of constituents with particular
grievances (e.g. cases of alleged mis- In recent years in Britain the Liberal Democratic Party in particular has argued for
[3] It is impossible to police outside carriages of justice) but that need not reform of the electoral system. It favours a system of proportional representation (PR),
interests. We can never know precisely totally exclude representing broader SUch as that used for elections to the European parliament and to the Scottish and
what an MP has promised to do in interest groups.An MP's own constituents Welsh assemblies, in which the proportion of MPs a party gains is the same as the
exchange for money, even if that money must always be his or her first concern hut proportion of the population that voted tor that party. The present 'first past the post'
is declared in the Register of Members' need not be the only concern. system means that most governing parties need to receive only around 40 per cent of

the vote to have a decent majority in the House of Commons. In 1997 Tony Blair minority of the vote. In 1997, the Liberal for example, the Liberal Democrats could
promised to set up an 'electoral commission' to consider the question of switching to Democrats won Tweeddale with 31 per well be in Britain?
a PR system for the Westminster parliament, but indicated that he was opposed to cent of the vote; seats won with under
such a switch. 35 per cent of the vote were by no means [4] Many of the systems proposed are
uncommon. So the people's so-called hugely complex. If the public does not
representatives normally represent only a understand the political system then
Pros Cons minority of their constituents. results can seem arbitrary and account-
ability is lost. The uncertainty and confu-
[lJ Britain's current electoral system is [1] All electoral systems are unfair in [4] In 'safe' seats, there is hardly any sion this creates can cause disillusion with
winner-takes-all, 'first past the post' one way or another. PR creates govern- incentive for people to vote. In seats in the the democratic process. The transparency
democracy. Whichever single candidate ments that are at the mercy of the whims north west where Labour regularly wins of the 'first past the post' system is one of
gains the most votes wins the con- of tiny parties with negligible electoral 80 per cent of the vote, it is often said its many virtues.
stituency, and votes for the other parties support. Such small parties can hold that a root vegetable with a red rosette
are ignored, even if the winner only won larger parties to ransom if it is their sup- would be elected. People feel their vote is
by a couple of votes. Thus parties with a port that makes the difference between wasted, since the result is a foregone con- Possible motions:
slight lead in the country can get a vastly a coalition government maintaining an clusion.With a PR system everyone's vote This House believes in proportional represen-
disproportionate majority in Parliament. overall majority or losing it. PR leads to counts even if they are in the minority in tation.
Small parties are not represented at all. instability and disproportionate power trw their particular constituency. This House believes that the 'first past the
For example, in the 1997 general elec- small parties. post' system is undemocratic.
tion, Labour won less than 45 per cent
of the popular vote but 64 per cent of [21 PR creates weak coalition govern- Related topics:
the seats in parliament. The Liberal ments, as in Italy where the Communist Democracy
Democrats' 17 per cent of the vote gave Party, despite a low level of support. Coalition Government v. Party Government
them around 7 per cent of the seats. And frequently holds considerable sway by Devolution of Scotland and Wales
the Referendum Party's 2.5 per cent gave offering to form coalitions with larger Referenda (Increased Use of)
them no MPs at all, as happened with parties and thus form a majority govern- Regional Government
the Green Party's 15 per cent in the 1990 ment. Elections there are far more
elections for the European parliament. frequent than in Britain, for example.
This cannot be fair. Introducing PR is the because the coalition governments that Referenda, Increased Use of
way to end this unfairness. PR produces are weak and unstable and
frequently collapse. No system is perfect.
[21 It is right that we should be gov- but the current one at least guarantees Pros Cons
erned by coalitions, since in reality there some continuity and strength of govern-
is no majority opinion on most issues. ment over a sufficient period of time to [1] The first democracy, in ancient [1] Government involves more than
The art of social harmony and fair govern- instigate a legislative programme. Athens, did not rely on elected politicians individual decisions. There has to be an
ment is the ability to reach compromises. and parliaments. Instead, the citizens met underlying strategy, one that is not blown
This is the most mature and civilised way !31 Systems that count a voter's second in a square to debate and vote on every with the wind from day to day.
to govern. 'Strength of government' seen choice force political parties to bargain issue of policy. Modern democracy and Government by constant referenda does
another way is simply the minority steam- for each other's second place recommen- the size of the modern electorate have not allow this. California holds dozens of
rolling their views through over the dations. Back-room dealings like this do removed this participative element from referenda every year. The reams of paper
majority. not aid democracy. Second, would the day-to-day politics. We should return to voters have to read through result in
public be happy to be ruled by a party this direct form of democracy. For exam- widespread apathy, low turnouts and con-
131 MPs often get elected with a that was everyone's second choice - as. ple, setting a minimum turnout of 50 per sequently freakish results.

cent and requiring a 70 per cent or [2] The vast majority of people are not time, information, expertise and authority
higher majority of those voting for a interested in politics on a day-to-day basis. Possible motions: to make well-informed decisions. There
decision to be made would guard against Government by constant referenda would This House calls for more use of the refer- is no need for any increased use of
freakish results being produced by small become government by the politically endum. referenda.
numbers of voters. Referenda might obsessed - government by zealots and This House believes that true democracy is
work particularly well at the level of local extremists. A system based on Internet direct democracy.
government, making transport, environ- access would be elitist and privilege
mental and planning decisions. the rich and technologically educated Related topics:
over those without the equipment or Democracy
[2] Modern technology gives us the know-how to vote via the Internet. Devolution of Scotland and Wales
power to return to the Athenian ideal. Voting (Compulsory)
It is now entirely practicable for every [3] The phrasing of the question to be Written Constitution
major policy decision to be made by asked in any referendum has a significant
referenda via the Internet. impact on the result. The timing can also
[3] Britain's essentially two-party sys- be crucial. The politicians who control Regional Government
tem often falls out of touch with the pub- the wording and timing are retaining
significant power, and in a way that Do we need a level of government between local councils and Westminster?
lic. There are many issues where the will
is insidiously unaccountable. So, in fact, This debate occupies a position on the domestic scene equivalent to that of the
of the public is simply ignored because
referendum results are often simply 'United States of Europe' debate on the international stage. In both cases, the goal
both parties agree - from drugs to capital
manipulated by the media machines ofthe of local autonomy is brought into tension with the goal of collective unity and
punishment. Genuine democracy would
circumvent the parties' prejudices and put political parties involved. Furthermore, it identity.
power back in the hands of the people. is a strength of the first-past-the-post
democratic system that government is
[4] When important constitutional not just a version of mob rule. Capital Pros Cons
decisions need to be made concerning punishment has not been reintroduced in
matters such as greater involvement in Britain despite much popular support [1] Modern democracies have [1] It is necessary to have a strong
the European Union, the devolution of because the question is settled by elected developed in a way that has resulted in centralised government so that important
Scotland and Wales, and the 'Good Friday representatives with a higher than average excessive power accruing to central decisions can be taken on behalf of
Agreement' in Northern Ireland in 1998, amount of information, experience and government. Central government decides, the nation by one publicly visible and
matters are so significant as to demand intellectual ability at their disposal. Using for example, how to share out public democratically accountable executive.
the direct say of the people - in some, but referenda may be more superficially spending between education, health, Democracy is not about government by
not all cases, representatives cannot be democratic but will lead to mob rule police, defence and so on. We have the people but government on behalf (~f
entrusted with total power but must bow as opposed to enlightened government. grown accustomed to this but it is the people, in a way that is answerable
to the direct decision of the people. This 'Real' democracy is not necessarily a good essentially undemocratic, The ideal of to the people. A nation retains its unity
should happen more often than it cur- thing. democracy - government by the people - and coherence by having a single policy
rently does on important issues such as is best attained by increased regional on important matters of domestic as well
reform of the House of Lords, privacy r4] It is already the case that referenda government. This brings power and as foreign policy.
laws, party funding, electoral reform, are used for important constitutional decisions closer to 'real people' rather
crime and punishment and allocation of issues, which is appropriate. But they than seeing power centralised in the [2] In a country the size of the US,
lottery grants. Switzerland provides a should not be used for anything else. hands of a few politicians. differences in laws about speed limits and
model of an effective direct democracy in Elected representatives must be trusted so on cause relatively few problems. In a
which referenda are frequently held to with other decisions. It is they, especially [2] Some decisions are truly national country the size of England, the diffi-
determine policy decisions. ministers and civil servants, who have the - e.g. defence policy, contributions to culties of enforcing varying speed limits

and role in trans-national economic and or minimum drinking ages between inequality and unaccountability of gov- national identity are separate historical
political alliances and organisations (e.g. neighbouring regions would be more ernment. Regionalisation for all but and cultural aspects of the nation that are
the UN, NATO, the EU, NAFTA) - but considerable. But, more importantly, deci- the most central and truly (trans-)national independent of political and economic
most decisions could be taken at a more sions about education, health and police decisions is the way forward. The nation strategies. Regionalisation will break
local level (as happens in the Cantons of must be made nationally in the interests state is a romantic ideal of the past. down the traditional cultural identity of a
Switzerland, for example, and, to some of equality. There must be a national Cultural and linguistic boundaries are nation. Whatever powers may be granted
extent, in the different states of the US). curriculum so that a GCSE, A-level or rapidly being broken down (especially by to supra-national organisations (e.g. to
For example, laws on the minimum age other qualification means the same information technology). Power should determine trading conditions or lay down
for driving, drinking, smoking, having sex thing throughout the country so that all devolve to the lowest level - to regional universal rights), or devolved to regional
or marrying, speed limits and so on can have the same qualification and the same communities of people who genuinely councils (e.g. local transport policy, plan-
be decided on a region to region basis. opportunities with employers throughout identify themselves around local issues ning decisions), the central focus of
More major decisions on taxation and the country. Health spending must be the and local traditions. power and government must remain the
spending can also be devolved so that same throughout the country, unless (as nation state.
regions set their own priorities. Regional has started to happen with fund-holding
legislatures could decide, for example, GPs and hospital trusts) what medical Possible motions:
what law and order policy to follow for treatment you can have will depend on This House believes in the devolution of
the special problems of their region, or which region you live in and the drugs power.
tailor the curriculum in schools in a way and treatments your region has decided it This House would decentralise government.
supported by the inhabitants of the will pay for. Wage settlements for public This House demands greater regional
region. sector employees (teachers, doctors, the government.
police force) must be the same nationally
[3] This process of regionalisation has for the sake of equality. Policing must be Related topics:
already happened to some extent with nationally consistent. Devolving decisions Devolution of Scotland and Wales
the devolution of Scotland. It should be about taxation and spending would make Proportional Representation
extended to the regions of England, Wales Britain a confederation rather than a United States of Europe
and Northern Ireland too. Thus areas in nation. In the interests of national unity
the west and north of England would and coherence, further regionalisation
no longer have to feel that they were must be opposed. Term Limits for MPs
being unfairly subjected to the decisions
of a London-centred legislature, and [31 The example of Scotland illustrates This debate, along with the debates about 1S-year-old MPs and a mandatory retirement
could raise some of their own taxes for perfectly the point that regionalisation age, addresses the question of whether we need to take any action to counteract the
their own priorities. and devolution are the first steps down perceived dominance of older and more established figures, particularly in political life.
the slippery slope to complete indepen- It also raises the question of whether politics should be perceived as a career in itself. At
[4] In the modern world federalism dence. It is important for a nation to keep present there is no limit to the number of terms in office that an MP can serve, whether
is the preferred and successful mode of fiscal policy in particular centralised so as as a back-bencher, a minister, or even as prime minister. Margaret Thatcher won three
government. The US and the EU are to remain truly a nation. consecutive terms as prime minister (the last of which she did not complete, having
the two most influential and successful been deposed in 1990 by her own party in favour of John Major). In the US an
examples. The way such power blocs 141 Nationhood is defined by culture, individual may only serve as president for a maximum of two terms.
work is to combine regionalisation with not by politics and economics. Britain
centralisation in the right balance. Cen- can join in an economic alliance with Pros Cons
tralisation alone (e.g. Hitler's Germany, the rest of the European Union, and
Stalin's Russia, Thatcher's Britain) leads to even grant some powers to Brussels as [11 A regrettable trend in recent [1J This is a perfectly valid view - but it
unacceptable social injustice, economic part of that alliance. But sovereignty and years has been the development of the is not valid to force this view onto the

'professional politician' . Politics should be political system. If people want to prevent candidates, say every ten years, to their candidates and down to them to
a brief interlude in a career, not a career someone standing two or three times, counteract the current inequitable system. decide whether to value youth over
in itself. Limiting members of parliament they can vote against them. And if experience or vice versa. This is not a
to a set number of terms (two or even we want to re-elect a veteran MP, we decision that should be forced upon them
one) would therefore be healthy for should be able to. To attempt to remove Possible motions: by legislation.
democracy. elected representatives by legal means is This House would limit the term of MPs.
undemocratic. This House regrets the rise of the career
[2] Young people are diving into politician.
student politics, emerging as full-time [2] Term limits create 'lame duck' This House favours youth over experience in
political organisers and resurfacing as politicians in their last term who know its politicians.
parliamentary candidates a few years later they will never face the electorate again. Related topics:
without every having done a 'real job'. This has the double disadvantage of Tradition v. Innovation
This produces bland politicians with no reducing their moral authority and elimi- Eighteen-year-old MPs
experience of the real world. Term limits nating their motivation to keep in touch
would mean that people would be more with their public. Term limits would
inclined to accumulate experience before produce less effective representatives.
Voting, Compulsory
entering the political system for their one As for the argument that career politicians
chance as an elected representative. are ineffective because they start when
The only major democracy in which voting is compulsory is Australia (voting is also
they are too young, we agree - it is on this
compulsory in the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru, which has a population of around
[3] Once elected, politicians enjoy side of the debate that we affirm the
10,000). In Australia, failure to vote is punishable by fines or even by imprisonment.
a significant 'incumbency factor'. The value of experience. This problem is not
publicity their post affords them and addressed by term limits, but by having
the apparatus available to them provide a higher minimum age for MPs (perhaps Pros Cons
a significant advantage to them and a 30 years old, the lower limit to be a US
disadvantage to their opponents; this IS senator). [1] Turnout in British elections is [1] There are many reasons why people
unfair and undemocratic. distressingly low. In the 1998 local elec- do not vote. Up to 10 per cent of the
[3] In a system where politicians are tions it averaged 30 per cent, and in some population is not on the electoral register at
[4] Like introducing a mandatory under unprecedented pressure both from areas under 20 per cent. Even in the 1997 anyone time. Many people cannot get
retirement age, limiting the amount of the executive and from lobbyists, in- general election, almost 30 per cent of away from work, or find someone to look
time a person can serve as an MP will experienced neophytes are ill-equipped the population did not vote. Voting is after their children. Some cannot phy-
create regular openings for young talented to cope. Experienced legislators benefit compulsory in other countries such as sically get to a polling booth, others are
people at the bottom end of the scale. both their constituents and parliament. Australia, and failure to comply can result simply not interested in politics. None
Term limits would increase the number Term limits would effectively abolish in fines or even imprisonment.We should of these motivations can be affected by
of younger and more energetic repre- the experienced politician at considerable adopt the same system to secure greater forcing people to vote - those who cannot
sentatives and relax the stranglehold on loss to the nation. Even more power democratic involvement of the popula- will continue not to, and those who are
power enjoyed by the career politician by would then be concentrated in the hands of tion. Proxy voting and postal voting not interested will vote randomly or for
virtue simply of his or her age. In practice unelected civil servants and functionaries. will be available for those who cannot fringe candidates.
an experienced MP is never deselected in physically get to the polling station -
favour of a younger candidate, however [41 It is ageist to assume that younger voting by the Internet could also be [2] Abstention from voting is a demo-
out of touch he or she has become, MPs will be more dynamic and talented. arranged. cratic right. There is a long and noble
and this perpetuates an ageing and ageist and it is foolish to throwaway the tradition of political abstention, from Dr
House of Commons. Legislation must be experience and skills of older MPs. It [2] Low participation rates are doubly Johnson to David Owen. To deny the
passed to force local parties to select new is down to the political parties to select dangerous. They mean our politicians are right to abstain in a vote is as dictatorial

not representative of the population as a as to deny the right to support or oppose parliament or become a lawyer or a sol-
whole. Since the poor and disadvantaged it. Just as the right to free speech is com- dier. Similarly it is wrong to confuse the
are far less likely to vote than any other plemented by the right to silence, so the importance of having the right to vote
socio-economic group, they can safely be right to vote is balanced by the right of with a repressive system of forced voting.
ignored by mainstream politicians. The abstention. Refraining from the democ-
only way to break this cycle is mandatory ratic process is a democratic statement of
voting. disenchantment. Forcing those who are Voting Age, Reduction of
disenchanted with politics in general to
[3] Liberal democracy relies upon a go and spoil a paper is a pointless waste
balance of rights. The above argument of resources. Their right to register dis- Pros Cons
shows that our democracy is endangered satisfaction should not be taken away
through a lack of participation in elec- by politicians who want to hide the fact [1] In society today young people reach [1] It is not true that young people
tions. The resolution of such a crisis may of their unpopularity and irrelevance in social and intellectual maturity at a are more mature than ever in todays
in a small way restrict some personal lib- society. younger age than ever before. By the time society. They masquerade as adults by
erties, but it is in the interests of society compulsory schooling ends at the age of mimicking traditionally adult behaviours
as a whole. We compel people to wear [3] The 'balance of rights' arguments 16, young people are well informed and (drinking, smoking, using drugs, having
seatbelts and to serve on juries and we cannot be used to infringe an individual's mature enough to vote. sex, swearing, fighting) at younger and
should not be afraid to do the same in the liberty. How would this system be en- younger ages, but that does not make
case of voting. Besides, anyone wishing to forced? If those who refused to vote also [2] Not only can young people leave them mature. If anything, the voting age
register an abstention can do so by spoil- refused to pay fines, presumably we school and get a job at 16, they can also should be raised to give these immature
ing the ballot paper, or leaving it would gaol them. Creating political pris- have sex and get married. It is absurd for would-be adults a longer time actually
unmarked. oners can hardly help the democratic a married person with a job and children to grow up and mature intellectually.
process. The analogy with jury service not to be recognised as an adult who can
[4] Especially after the suffering of and does not hold since we do not need vote. Voting is an important decision, but [2] It is perfectly acceptable for different
sacrifices made by suffragettes and others people to vote in order for an important so is getting married. Such a person is a 'rites of passage' to occur at different
in the campaign for universal suffrage, social institution to function (in the way full adult member of society and should ages. The ages for leaving school, being
we owe it to our ancestors and to history that we do need a jury to turn up for the be treated as such. allowed to have sex, smoke, drive, drink
to exercise our democratic right to justice system to function). Elections do and vote are staggered over three years
vote. If people are so apathetic that they not need a 100 per cent, or even an 80 [3] Because of the advances in infor- (16,17,18). This reflects the considered
will not do this freely, we must make it per cent, turnout in order to fulfil their mation technology over recent decades, decisions of a series ofgovernments about
compulsory. function. The analogy with seatbelts teenagers are now more aware of politi- the appropriate age for very different
does not hold since not voting does not cal issues than ever before. The broadcast activities. Voting is a responsible act that
endanger the life of self or others. media in particular ensure that everyone, requires more than a year or two of adult
Possible motions: including 16-year-olds, is familiar with experience of life and politics. The age for
This House would make voting compulsory. [4] Suffragettes and other suffrage the issues of the day. There is no need to voting should stay at 18 or, be raised to 21
This House believes it is a crime not to vote. campaigners sought to make voting a wait for young people to be 18 in order - as indeed should the age for marriage,
This House believes that voting is a duty. right rather than a privilege, but they did for them to have a fuller understanding of another momentously important decision
not seek to make it a duty. Campaigners politics. that should not be made by adolescents.
Related topics: for equality for blacks, homosexuals or
Democracy women have ensured that they have aaess [4] Even if one takes a pessimistic view [3] On the contrary, the rise of broad-
Legislation v. Individual Freedom to higher education, political power and of the ability of some 16-year-old school- cast media and information technology
Democracy (Imposition of) the professions, but these groups are not leavers to make a well-informed and has led to a ridiculously simplistic and
now forced to attend university, stand for well-thought-out democratic decision, it superficial political world emerging - a

is not clear that the passage of two years world in which real political argumenta- incorporated into that constitution in 1791.) The United Kingdom is the exception
will make any real difference to such tion has been replaced by the 'soundbire '. in having only a 'virtual constitution'. That is to say that the constitution is not written
people. Many people are politically un- This is a reason to demand that the voter down in a document anywhere but has emerged over the centuries as the result of
sophisticated or disinterested in politics, be older and be wiser to the tricks of the various different agreements, laws and precedents. Important laws that are part of this
but there is not a significant difference media spin-doctor. A 16-year-old voter 'virtual constitution' are Magna Carta of 1215, the Habeas Corpus Act of 1689, the
between the ages of 16 and 18. The same would be putty in the hands of media Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 and the Reform Acts passed between 1832 and
proportion of 16-year-olds as of 18-year- managers. 1928 to extend the electorate. An organisation called 'Charter 88' was set up in 1988
olds will be apathetic, disinterested or ill by a group who were concerned with what they perceived as the autocratic way
informed. The extra two years without a [4J There IS a significant difference in which Margaret Thatcher passed unpopular legislation with small Commons
vote is a case of arbitrary discrimination. between the levels of analysis of which majorities and on a minority vote from the electorate as a whole. Charter 88 argues
a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old are that a written constitution would safeguard the liberty of the individual against the
[5] In any case, voters are not required capable. Sixteen-year-olds are still children excesses of an 'elective dictatorship'. The massive majority of the Labour government
to be fully informed or highly intellectual mentally. Ideally the voting age would be elected in 1997 and the 'presidential' or 'dictatorial' style ofTony Blair led to renewed
- such a requirement would be elitist and 21, to allow fuller mental development. concerns about the excess of power put into the hands of elected politicians.
anti-democratic. Sixteen-year-olds are, in
most other respects, adult members of [5] Voters have a duty to inform them-
society. selves and be competent participants in Pros Cons
the process of politics and democracy.
Voting should not be made available to [1] In countries with a written con- [1] This is a theoretical argument that
Possible motion: all but should be restricted to those stitution, the parliament cannot pass laws ignores the facts. The countries with
This House would reduce the voting age to who quality. This would not be an elitist infringing on the rights of citizens. If it written constitutions have been just as
16. measure but would simply ensure that a does, the courts can declare the laws reprobate in their assaults on individual
bare minimum of competence in under- illegal. For example, segregation in the rights as those countries without. The
Related topics: standing political ideas was attained. United States was ruled unconstitutional constitution of the US was said to allow
Tradition v. Innovation Something analogous to the driving test by the Supreme Court despite several for slavery and segregation, and today it
Eighteen-year-old MPs should be introduced for 18- (or 21-) state assemblies supporting it. Without a fails to stop the death penalty - the ulti-
Voting (Compulsory) year-olds, which they must pass before written constitution for the judiciary mate expression of the state's oppression
School-leaving Age they can vote. It is a sentimental mis- to appeal to, the power of parliament is of the individual. In practice, Britain has
Child Curfews understanding of democracy to think that ultimate and this means that there is no a very good human rights record - much
anyone at all should be given a say.We do constitutional way for unjust and un- better than most countries that have
not let just anyone drive on our roads popular laws such as the Conservatives' written constitutions. Nigeria and Iraq
without maturity or instruction, and Poll Tax legislation of 1990, or the ban both have written constitutions.
we should not let just anyone determine on beef on the bone and the banning of
who we are governed by without maturity handguns by the Labour government [2] Written constitutions are ruled upon
or instruction. in 1997, to be deleted from the statute by judges, who, in Britain, are unelected
book. A written constitution provides a and who tend to be pro-establishment, if
check on parliamentary power. not reactionary. If society is minded to
Written Constitution oppress minority rights, the chances are
[2] Britain is one of only two democ- that judges will also be so minded, and
The' constitution' of a country is the set of fundamental laws that lay down the system racies in the world without a written interpret a constitution accordingly - just
of government and define the relations of the executive, the legislature and the constitution (the other, Israel, has spent as segregation was said by successive US
judiciary. Almost all countries have a written constitution, of which the oldest is fifty years failing to agree on one). And Supreme Courts to be constitutional. It is
the American constitution of 1787. (The Bill of Rights is a set of ten amendments since British law is made by governments less desirable to place more power in the

with minority public support (generally hands of judges (whether unelected or

around 40 per cent), it is all the more vital elected) than it is to place it in the hands of
that that minority is not given un- elected representatives.
impeded power. Charter 88 was founded
in response to the particular excesses of [3] Of course Britain does have a con-
Thatcherism, but a written constitution, stitution, albeit an unwritten and hence
including a bill of rights, is needed to subtle one. British history has shown
guard against all future autocratic parlia- that the convoluted interaction between
ments of whatever political leaning. precedent, convention and the wrath of a
vengeful electorate at the ballot box is
[3] Liberal democracy relies on the 'rule a more effective check on politicians than SECTION C
of law', first enshrined in Magna Carta in any legalistic written formulations.
1215 in England to guard individual
rights against the excesses ofthe monarchy Politics and Economics: National
and royal officials.Thus the idea was estab- Possible motion:
lished that the powers of government This House demands a written constitution.
must themselves be subject to law. But
the British parliament is subject to no Related topics:
authority beyond its control of itself. This Legislation v. Individual Freedom
is philosophically repugnant and politi- Bill of Rights
cally dangerous. A written constitution
would remedy this situation.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is the concerted use of legislation or policy to favour minority

groupS over others, in an effort to redress previous discrimination against them. It may
include mandatory hiring or selection quotas, all-'minority' short-lists, extra funding
for education/training projects to promote 'minority' candidates, and so on. The
Proposition does not have to offer a specific affirmative action proposal but to do so
may produce a better debate.

Pros Cons

[1] The race, gender or sexual prefer- [1] Every type of person has equality
ence of an individual should not affect of opportunity but only those who
the potential to succeed on his or her deserve a position on merit should win
own merits. The mix of people in jobs, it. We live in a meritocracy where
higher education, political office and so employers, universities, and so on should
on should be very close to the propor- choose the best person for the best posi-
tions of each group in the nation as a tion, irrespective of background. To do
whole. This has not been the case in the anything else is inequitable.
past and concerted steps must be taken to
redress the balance - to create a 'level [2] In fact, prejudice can be increased, as
playing field'. other groups resent the new privileges of
affirmative action beneficiaries, with the
[2] Affirmative action can overcome suspicion that newly selected or promoted
traditional prejudice by bringing to the individuals did not make it on merit but
fore the qualities of a group which is through government patronage. This is
discriminated against. The appointment made worse when selection procedures
of Colin Powell as the US Army's first are transparent, as in university examina-
black chief of staff in the early 1990s, tions where test scores may reveal that
and the Labour Party's promotion of individuals with better qualifications are
female candidates in winnable seats were rejected in favour of the less able. Such
very effective in changing attitudes; accusations led to the dismantling of many
this will continue until prejudice is no university affirmative action programmes
longer current and fair hiring practices in the US, for instance at the University
are the norm. of California (where, incidentally, many
Asian-Americans from wealthy back-
[3] Having beneficiaries of affirmative grounds took advantage of measures
action on the 'inside' (of companies, gov- designed to help black and Hispanic
ernments, etc.) will shake up recruitment students). After the 1997 elections in
procedures and working conditions, Britain, the principle of affirmative action
ensuring that informal and unspoken suffered from the alleged shortcomings of
codes of behaviour which discriminate 'Blair's Babes', the huge influx of young

against minorities are no longer accept- female MPs; it is not racist or sexist to be Broadcasting, Ending Public Control of
able. worried that people in positions of
authority are not up to the job. This is an example of a debate over the role of the state in a free society. The
[4] The legacy of past discrimination Proposition could include specific plans such as privatising the BBC and/or funding
exists even where there is no prejudicial [3J Again, this is simply not true in it through advertising and commercial sponsorship, with an end to government
treatment today - although university practice. People winning their places interference in its management and programming.
selection or, say, the legal profession is through affirmative action are not wel-
open to all, many may be handicapped comed by those who have won theirs
by poor education or low expectations. on merit; instead, divisions are hardened, Pros Cons
Only pro-active government action can cliques formed and suspicion intensified. cI-t' t"I"" bcn
be successful in bridging this gap. Even on the inside the former will [1] I.- The nature and power of broad- [1] Broadcasting is the most powerful
rapidly find themselves excluded. casting mean that it ought not to be method of conveying educational and
[5] Affirmative action may be liable to subject to governmental control, for political messages to the public, and it
charges of tokenism at first, if candidates [4) Past wrongs are no justification for fear of bias and censorship, and the sup- cannot be left without regulation to pri-
are chosen purely on the basis of race, reverse discrimination. Women gained pressio~f mi~ority opinion. ]French vate control. Some form of public control
gender, and so on, when merit alone the vote in Britain on an equal basis in TV and radio under General de Gaulle is necessary to guarantee high standards
would not have got them selected. But 1928, and slavery was abolished in the were notably hindered by state control, and impartiality. Otherwise broadcasting
this is to miss the long-term point - US in 1865 - so why should their and even the BBC has been subject may end up as the tail that wagged the
having more women in parliament or descendants still be privileged? Why make to numerous attempts by Ministers to dog, as in Italy where Silvio Berlusconi
blacks in the senior ranks of the army, of white males pay for past wrongs in which . ~r programmes. ~oard ofgovernors was able to promote his own political
whatever calibre, will raise expectations they had no complicity? Also, we must is appointedby the government. ambitions through his dominance of
and encourage people from the group in give the current meritocracy time to Italian media. Many in Britain and else-
question that the doors are open to them. work; the reason why there are so many [21 Too much of the money paid to the where are suspicious of the agenda of
Eventually the quality of the intake will white males in senior management is BBC for television licences is spent on Rupert Murdoch, the dominant figure
rise, and at that point affirmative action because universities in the 1950s and radio and TV programmes oflit~leinterest behind Sky and Fox television networks.
will have been successful and can be 1960s were dominated by the same group ~~_rn9st, while government interference Public control can ensure fair access for
phased out. - but when today's undergraduates are leads to religious programming and party all political parties, especially at election
middle-aged, we will find a very different political broadcasts instead of popular time.
make-up in senior positions. shows. Even lTV is forced to maintain
Possible motions: its mid-evening news, constantly disrupt- [2] Broadcasting IS not like other
This House supports affirmative action. [51 The whole idea is nothing more ing feature films. Throwing radio and businesses and the free market is not the
This House would introduce hiring quotas. than tokenism, if candidates are selected television open to the nlarket.~i!L~nsure place for it. The BBC safeguards and
to make a point rather than to do a job. that the audience gets theprogr;.Jr~:mes it transmits national culture and encourages
Related topics: Not only does this devalue the principles wants. excellence. The television and radio
Ends v. Means of affirmative action but it can also hand- schedules, and government interference,
Legislation v. Individual Freedom icap its beneficiaries, as excluded groups [3] The BBC licence fee is a regressive combine to make sure that all tastes are
Feminism (Devaluation of Parenthood by) become used to patronage and less moti- poll tax which equals a higher proportion catered for across a broad spectrum of the
Gays in the Military vated to succeed on their own. More of a poor family's income than of a rich public - including minority groups and
Political Correctness simply, why should you work hard at family's. The poor family has little choice the very young - rather than showing
Oxbridge (Abolition of) school if you will get a place at university whether to pay it - unlike the rich, these only programmes that are certain to win
Judges (Election of) anyway? people have little access to other leisure high viewing figures. It is also free (after
pursuits. the licence fee), while privatised televi-
sion hides costs such as pay-per-view

[4] Allowing the free market to oper- events and the higher price of goods due Calendar Reform
ate fully in television and radio will also to artificially inflated advertising rates.
strengthen our ability to compete in the
global market place and to remain abreast [3J The BBC caters, or attempts to Pros Cons
of developments in satellite, cable, digital cater, for all sorts of viewers and it is only
and high-definition TV and interactive right that everyone should make an equal [1] Our current calendar, devised by [1] All systems of chronology are
programming via the Internet. contribution towards it. It is certainly not Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, is incon- arbitrary to some extent, and the choice
the job of a television company to worry venient, illogical and prejudicial, and the of any fixed point in history on which
[5] Free sports broadcasting for all, as about how many leisure pursuits a family arbitrary division of the year into months to base a calendar is utterly so. Christ's
guaranteed by the government's 'listing' of has. ofuneven length could easily be improved birth has immense cultural and historical
certain events, is a fine idea in principle. upon. The basis of the calendar on a fixed significance to the entire world, and the
i' But it penalises the sporting organisations [4] There is no reason why govern- point of AD 1, which refers (probably erro- Gregorian Calendar has been satisfactorily
(the TCCB, the FA, etc.) by reducing ment interference in broadcasting should neously) to the year in which Christ was accepted for four centuries. Months and
their ability to earn revenue in a free hinder its technological development. born, is surely offensive to those who do days all get their names from ancient
market. If this means that English cricket On the contrary, it can help to support not share the world view of Christianity. mythology or cultures (e.g. January from
is significantly poorer, then its players services that would suffer in the free Many different calendars exist anyway Janus (Roman), Wednesday from Woden
and coaches will be less well paid, and market, such as the BBC World Service. - the Eastern Orthodox Churches, for (Anglo-Saxon) and Thursday from Thor
facilities will suffer, with a detrimental It is also important to control techno- example, are split among themselves after (Viking)). They are named differently in
effect on its ability to compete inter- logical developments in the airwaves some but not all skipped the first thirteen other languages in any case.
nationally. The rude health of English and prevent chaos from unlimited private days in October 1923. It would be better
football, by contrast, coincided with its usage, which would disrupt essential to settle on a common fixed point (Year [2] None of these schemes would be
exclusive deal with Sky Television and the services such as police radio, air traffic Zero) of meaning to all humanity - for useful unless universally adopted, and this
revenue which that brought. control and telephone communication. instance, the splitting of the atom, the would not be the case - it took even
founding of the United Nations or the Britain 170 years to accept the Gregorian
[5] Public control offers benefits in launch of the first sputnik. Calendar. Countries and religions using
Possible motions: the form of guaranteed access to sporting their own calendars (e.g. China or the
This House would privatise the BBe. events such as home Test Matches, the [2] There are several logical methods Islamic nations) would be equally unlikely
This House believes that the state should have FA Cup Final, Wimbledon, all of which for tidying up the calendar to avoid cur- to embrace it.
no role in broadcasting. have to be shown free on terrestrial tele- rent irregularities with pay, holidays, etc.
vision. These events are of great national A simplistic version would abolish weeks [3J In fact, the support for calendar
Related topics: importance and their potential as tools and months altogether and distinguish reform is very small, consisting of a
Capitalism v. Socialism for pay-per-view companies to squeeze the date only by number - you could handful of cranks. Similar schemes have
Censorship by the State money from obsessed fans is vast. make an appointment for 11am on the been tried in the past, and failed - for
National Health Service (Privatisation of) 159th. Leap years would end on the example, the French Revolution Calendar
Arts Funding by State (Abolition of) 366th. with twelve months of thirty days, plus
Museums (Entrance Fees to) five extra holidays, which lasted from 1793
Sport (Commercialisation of) [3J Just as the Imperial system gave to 1806. Russia abolished Saturday and
Trials (Televised) way to the metric/decimal, it is inevit- Sunday in favour of a five-day week but
Internet (Censorship of) able that measurement of time will be has reverted.
standardised at some point in the future.
There is considerable support already [4] The number 13 is widely unpopular
for a change, mainly in two schools of because of superstition. It is also difficult
thought - the equal months school to divide by and impossible to divide into.

Neither quarter- nor half-years would those fleeing persecution and oppression countries combine economic prosperity
(favouring the 'International F ='ixed
consist of a whole number of months. in their own countries. In theory the and opportunity with generous social
Calendar') and the equal quarters sc:l:lhool
Thirteen monthly balancing- stock- UK is open to genuine refugees, but the benefits and relaxed economic laws. If
(favouring the 'World Calendar').
takings and payments would increase the immigration criteria are so concerned to we relax our restrictions we will soon
II [4] A perpetual calendar would llhave complications. weed out economic migrants claiming become known as an easy target. We must
I great advantages in business and acco T unt- political refugee status that it is made very prioritise the opportunities of settle-
ing. George Eastman, the founde a r of [5] It has also failed in the past,asshown difficult and humiliating for those in real ment, offering them first to those whose
Kodak, argued passionately against the above. The costs of replacing calendar danger. birthright they are. Genuine refugees must
variation in working days in diffe~rent systems throughout today's technologlCal be welcomed but a strict line between
months and against the 'Wande er ing world would be enormous, and nnmcn- [2] Britain is an obvious place of shel- the deserving and undeserving must also
Easter', and advocated an early ver- -::-sion sely dangerous - surely the millenmum ter to many: partly as a legacy of empire, be maintained.
of the International Fixed Caler-::-ldar. bug shows the problems we can create partly because of our reputation as horne
This would involve thirteen mont~s of when we do not plan properly for to the mother of all parliaments and to l2J Times have changed, and Britain is
twenty-eight days, with the extra m coonth chronology. democracy, and partly because we have no longer in need of extra labour. In
('Sol') and an extra day bctweera n 28 accepted refugees for centuries (e.g. the the past immigrants brought specialist
December and 1 January, called ,- Year French Huguenots in the sixteenth and skills which we did not have; now we
Day'. Months, quarter-years, and l:Ihalf- Possible motions: seventeenth centuries and East European have acquired them, and where we need
years would all be the same length anc::::i the This House believes it is time for a change. Jews in the late nineteenth century). We to acquire more we do so through tech-
need for annual calendar updates w eould This House would change the calendar. should be proud of this heritage and nology and communication rather than
be gone. Kodak has implemented I his maintain it. Restrictions imposed since manpower. Britain is no longer a world
calendar successfully, and many comp~nies the 1960s because of fears about the post- power at the head of an empire; while we
in France pay on the basis of a thirt eccn- war influx should be lifted now that the should be proud of our heritage, we must
month calendar (with the thirteenth g;given fears have proved ill-founded. recognise that our role and facilities have
as a welcome bonus before Chr istmass a). changed.
[3] Immigrants are important to our
[5] Calendar reform has been acce- :~pted economy and culture. Many possess [3] Many migrants place a strain on
in the pastThe costs ofits implementaBtion special skills; all bring new ideas and the welfare state which British subjects
would be outweighed by the reductic=:m in contribute their cultural heritage to our have paid for; poor English can make
costs through simplification. Compuuters Own. Almost all immigrants are very them hard to employ and children may
should serve our interests, not vice ve =,rsa. young and by their nature ambitious and need special schooling for the same rea-
dynamic. Such individuals (e.g. Ugandan sons. We must also be careful to safeguard
Asians in the 1970s and Cambodians in the our own culture - the US is a melting-
early 1980s) are often prepared to work pot of cultures but Britain is not. Previous
.. . - . b II . ' '0 this debate I, essen- very hard, building up small businesses immigrant groups have been integrated
A reasonable Opposition WIll not w aiish to an a ll111111grants, s . .
. . .' I . "h' t those eXpencncmg and contributing to the economy. They slowly over a long period of time. An
tlally. about the scale desirable, Both ~ sIdes. WIll probab y agree, t a wn countrydeserve
genume persecution for political or religious acnviues 111 their o. . ti . .. are less likely to rely on the welfare state open-door policy risks losing this organic
. . for llllnligra Ion IS less than those who have grown up taking it development and its social cohesion,
asylum; a fruitful debate will focus O:I n those whose motivation (
for granted. alienating many existing citizens and
raising the dark spectre of racism - as has
Pros Cons [4] Current laws arc often racist in happened in Israel where the Ethiopian
th .
err underlying assumptions - why are Falashas and Russian immigrants have
' rld of mass Communi- Americans. Australians and Canadians created strains in what was previously a
[1] Current restrictions on imn1igr8ation [11 In to d ays wo
cation, it will rapidly be knOWn which allowed in much more easily than those relatively cohesive state.
are impossible to justify as they victi iimise

(favouring the 'International Fixed Neither quarter- nor half-years would those fleeing persecution and oppression countries combine economic prosperity
Calendar') and the equal quarters school consist of a whole number of months. in their own countries. In theory the and opportunity with generous social
(favouring the 'World Calendar'). Thirteen monthly balancings, stock- UK is open to genuine refugees, but the benefits and relaxed economic laws. If
takings and payments would increase the immigration criteria are so concerned to we relax our restrictions we will soon
[4] A perpetual calendar would have complications. weed out economic migrants claiming become known as an easy target. We must
great advantages in business and account- political refugee status that it is made very prioritise the opportunities of settle-
ing. George Eastman, the founder of [5] It has also failed in the past, as shown difficult and humiliating for those in real ment, offering them first to those whose
Kodak, argued passionately against the above. The costs of replacing calendar danger. birthright they are. Genuine refugees must
variation in working days in different systems throughout today's technological be welcomed but a strict line between
months and against the 'Wandering world would be enormous, and immen- [2] Britain is an obvious place of shel- the deserving and undeserving must also
Easter', and advocated an early version sely dangerous - surely the millennium ter to many: partly as a legacy of empire, be maintained.
of the International Fixed Calendar. bug shows the problems we can create partly because of our reputation as home
This would involve thirteen months of when we do not plan properly for to the mother of all parliaments and to [2] Times have changed, and Britain is
twenty-eight days, with the extra month chronology. democracy, and partly because we have no longer in need of extra labour. In
('Sol') and an extra day between 28 accepted refugees for centuries (e.g. the the past immigrants brought specialist
December and 1 January, called 'Year French Huguenots in the sixteenth and skills which we did not have; now we
Day'. Months, quarter-years, and half- Possible motions: seventeenth centuries and East European have acquired them, and where we need
years would all be the same length and the This House believes it is time for a change. Jews in the late nineteenth century). We to acquire more we do so through tech-
need for annual calendar updates would This House would change the calendar. should be proud of this heritage and nology and communication rather than
be gone. Kodak has implemented his maintain it. Restrictions imposed since manpower. Britain is no longer a world
calendar successfully, and many companies the 1960s because of fears about the post- power at the head of an empire; while we
in France pay on the basis of a thirteen- war influx should be lifted now that the should be proud of our heritage, we must
month calendar (with the thirteenth given fears have proved ill-founded. recognise that our role and facilities have
as a welcome bonus before Christmas). changed.
[3] Immigrants are important to our
[5] Calendar reform has been accepted
economy and culture. Many possess [3] Many migrants place a strain on
in the past The costs ofits implementation
special skills; all bring new ideas and the welfare state which British subjects
would be outweighed by the reduction in
contribute their cultural heritage to our have paid for; poor English can make
costs through simplification. Computers
own. Almost all immigrants are very them hard to employ and children may
should serve our interests, not vice versa.
young and by their nature ambitious and need special schooling for the same rea-
dynamic. Such individuals (e.g. Ugandan sons. We must also be careful to safeguard
Immigration, Relaxation of Laws against Asians in the 1970s and Cambodians in the our own culture - the US is a melting-
early 1980s) are often prepared to work pot of cultures but Britain is not. Previous
A reasonable Opposition will not wish to ban all immigrants, so this debate is essen- very hard, building up small businesses immigrant groups have been integrated
tially about the scale desirable. Both sides will probably agree that those experiencing and contributing to the economy. They slowly over a long period of time. An
genuine persecution for political or religious activities in their own country deserve are less likely to rely on the welfare state open-door policy risks losing this organic
asylum; a fruitful debate will focus on those whose motivation for immigration is less than those who have grown up taking it development and its social cohesion,
clear-cut. for granted. alienating many existing citizens and
raising the dark spectre of racism - as has
Pros Cons [4] Current laws are often racist in happened in Israel where the Ethiopian
their underlying assumptions - why are Falashas and Russian immigrants have
[1] Current restrictions on immigration [1J In today's world of mass communi- Americans, Australians and Canadians created strains in what was previously a
are impossible to justify as they victimise cation, it will rapidly be known which allowed in much more easily than those relatively cohesive state.

from Africa and Asia? A study by the [4J Our relations with 'western Coun- government safety net of insurance insurance, as in the US. The ability of the
Commission for Racial Equality showed tries' are as equals; many British citizens funding for the poor. government to create a more equal society
that 1 in 140 visitors from the New seek to work in Australia and North by redistributing wealth would also be
[2J Taxes. should be lowered wherever
Commonwealth and Pakistan were America, and relatively few in Africa or reduced; th~ poor are likki y to end up
refused entry compared with 1 in 4,100 Asia. It is also true that countries from possible, giving individuals control over
p~ing a considerably higher proportion
from the Old (white) Commonwealth. the New Commonwealth are generally their own money. With private healthcare
of their income towards health insurance
poorer economically, and their immi- om;-'can choose from different levels of
than the rich. The wealthy would benefit
grants arrive here for economic reasons insurance depending on preference and
from better treatment, newer technology,
Possible motions: - and so must be vetted more carefully. lifestyle.
more expensive drugs and better qualified
This House would relax immigration rules. doctors: Healthcare is not like other goods
[3J The quality of hospitals would
This House believes that charity begins at and should not be treated as such.
undoubtedly improve. With the prospect
home. of long-term profits, private hospitals
would invest in new wards and beds, up- [3] The Labour government elected in
Related topics: 1b \1
to-date technology and n€'w research, as 1997 allowed private sector-public sector
European Union (Expansion of) I partnerships to fund the NHS anyway.
pharmaceutical companies do today .'
United States of Europe Ultimately, however, medical improve-
[4] Privatisation puts the responsibility ments must be paid for in some way
for healthcare back on the consumer or and are funded either through increased
National Health Service, Privatisation of citizen. Lower insurance premiums would taxation (which at least is means-tested)
reward those with healthy lifestyles, or through higher treatment costs and
The Proposition is unlikely to argue that governments have no responsibility for the encouraging better diets, more exercise insurance premiums.
health of their citizens and should leave even the poorest to fend fpr themselves ~ but and less drinking or smoking. Those with
they can promote privatised healthcare in which state funding acts 'only as a safety net dangerous hobbies (e.g. skydiving) would [4J Such lifestyle decisions are not
f~;'·th~neediest. The Opposition is broadly defending the status quo - or perhaps call- pay more. At the moment the healthy and made on purely financial grounds - if they
ing for -a return to the situation in the 1980s before government policy introduced safe are effectively subsidising those with ~ere, no-one would SlllOk.~. Giving
limited market forces into the NHS - of a government-run health service free at the self-destructive habits, who use hospitals insurance companies too much flexibility
point of use to all citizens. much more. with premium rates would be very
' I [' dangerous; if the poorest members of
society needed most hospital treatment
Pros Cons Possible motions: because of poor nutrition, how could
This House would privatise the NHS. their premiums be held down? The
[1J State bureaucracies are notoriously [1J Far from being inefficient, the This House believes that good health is a elderly and those with genetic diseases or
inefficient. Government-run healthcare NHS is very successful at keeping costs human right. ·{:\JQS_ could be charged equally heavily.
raises costs (meaning higher taxes), mis- down - Britain pays a far smaller propor- In reality, the government would have
directs investment and encourages waste tion of its GOP towards healthcare than Related topics: .t()Legulate premium rates so extensively
(through unnecessary treatments, over- the US, where private medicine is the Capitalism v. Socialism that the 'free market' description would
prescription, complacency and over- norm, or France, where the nationalised Ideology v. Pragmatism be meaningless.
staffing). A regulated, _Illarket framework health service is less regulated and less Privatisation
would avoid these problems, reducing managed than ours. It is the quality of Welfare State
costs and raising standards. This could be management that counts. Broadcasting (Ending Public Control of)
achieved by privatising the NHS, replac- Pensions (Ending State Provision of)
ing current entitlements with personal l2J Direct taxation would merely Taxation (Direct, Abolition of)
health insurance, and implementing a be replaced with compulsory health Smoking (Banning of)

National Identity Cards for a wide variety of purposes (proving our 10 cards that could be read by others
the owner is old enough to drink, guaran- and no choice about how much infoi-,
The arguments below assume a motion on the introduction of compulsory identity teeing cheques, etc.). Modern smart-card mation to declare. Employers and the
cards. A debate on voluntary identity cards is possible, and the last set of points technology would allow one small card to police could discriminate against us on
addresses this. encode a huge range of information, the basis of hidden facts that we should
including photographic images, retina and have the right to keep hidden. The cost
fingerprint records, signature, passport, of introducing 60 million smart cards and
Pros Cons driving licence, criminal record, bank vast numbers of card-reading machines
and credit details and even employee and would be enormous. Theft of the cards
[1] Many forms of crime depend upon [1] Identity cards represent a major library/ club membership details. would become major business, and police
individuals claiming to be someone else intrusion by the government into the are always technologically less advanced
(e.g. benefit fraud, tax evasion, dealing in privacy of the individual, and would [4] Given that most people currently than the criminals, as credit card fraud
stolen goods, terrorism, gaol-breaking, greatly increase state control. In order to carry all their multiple forms of identifi- and on-line financial crime suggest.
illegal immigration, or lying to police be effective, card-carrying would have cation in the same wallet or handbag,
after another crime). At present we have to be compulsory (as with the road tax the problems of losing a single card are [4] The chance oflosing all your forms
no form of standard identification for disc) and failure to produce it would be a unlikely to be worse in practice. In fact, of identification in one go is high and
domestic use that is widely accepted. crime. This would use up valuable police the chance of being impersonated is less, immensely inconvenient - your entire
Different forms of identification are and court time. if photo, retina and fingerprint details identity would be erased until a new
demanded for different activities. If we cannot be detached from the card; at the one could be obtained, which would pre-
had one official and standard form of 10, [2] Britain is very different from moment a thief could discard all forms of sumably be a strict and lengthy process.
verification by police would be easier and continental European countries, lacking photo 10, but keep, for example, a credit If criminals did obtain card-reading
many crimes would be avoided.

[2] Britain is unusual in Europe in not

their experience of authoritarian gov-
ernment under Napoleon and, in many
cases, Fascism. Along with the US,
card and forge the signature.

[5] Identity cards could be made vol-

technology, they could have access to
all parts of your life via a stolen card
and impersonation would become much
requiring identity cards; yet our Euro- Australia and similar countries, we
~I untary, producing many of the benefits of easier.
pean neighbours are hardly authoritarian value our liberties highly and should compulsory cards while avoiding most
police states. When abroad we willingly
carry a passport, while at home almost
everyone carries a driving licence. Carry-
ing identification causes no problem
to innocent people; it is only criminals
be wary of any attempts to undermine
them. ID cards would allow a considerable
degree of police harassment in the
name of enforcing the policy, probably
targeted at minority groups who arc
of the issues of civil liberty. Photos could
be added to driving licences which nearly
everyone carries already.
[5] Voluntary schemes are likely to be
the thin end of the wedge, soliciting
public support before proposals to make
cards compulsory are tabled. In any case,
unfair suspicion would naturally fall on
who would resist. Encouraging police already more likely to be stopped 011 I Possible motions: those who chose not to carry them - an
harassment is a negligible risk: the circum- suspicion of motoring offences. This t This House would introduce a National
infringement on civil liberties. Courts
stances under which ID cards would be harassment is a genuine problem in Identity Card. might take 'not carrying a card' into
demanded could be carefully regulated. France. Relations between minority This House would remain anonymous. account in the same way that the right to
groups and police will only grow worse. silence is treated. Voluntary in theory
131 ID cards are useful not only for Related topics: would become compulsory in practice
society but also for the holder. There [31 With separate cards we have a Legislation v. Individual Freedom if banks, rail companies, airlines and so
are many daily transactions where iden- choice about whether and when to carry Bill of Rights on demanded cards to be shown as part
tification is required; currently we are them, and which ones to take out with Zero Tolerance of transactions. To use driving licences
forced to carry a large number of separate us. Smart-card technology is so advanced
would penalise non-drivers.
cards. In the US, where driving licences as to be dangerous; we would have no
bear photos, they are used as identification idea what information was contained on

National Lottery, Abolition of [4] Lotteries encourage gambling (and enjoying it. Lottery funding brings many
the British lottery can be played at 1o, more of these opportunities to the wider
A 0 ular topic which often produces lively debates. The Proposition should not just two years below the gambling age). This public: construction of sports facilities
consider what is wrong with the way the Lottery is run in Britain (e.g. profits by the is an addictive activity which govern- and Millennium projects, youth theatre
franchise-holders, choice of recipients for lottery funding and so on), as the ments normally seek to restrict. Players and music groups and so on. These are of
Opposition could argue that these are issues of regulation. Rather, what IS wrong with may impoverish themselves and their benefit to everyone but not necessary to
the principle of a lottery in the first place? unwilling families. Scratch-card lottery the survival of the country: so better
games are particularly dangerous as they to raise money for them through optional
provide an instant possibility of winning, contributions via the Lottery than
Pros Cons which may encourage losers to buy more through mandatory taxation.
cards immediately.
[1] Lotteries provide the hope of [1] The lottery is harmless fun which [4] This is a classic issue of liberty
success for many people, but in practice brings colour into people's lives. It is [5] The claim that lotteries raise money should we disallow an activity enjoyable
the chances of winning are extremely patronising to assume that players are for charity is irresponsible. Direct contri- to many (e.g. alcohol, football, handguns)
low (about 1 in 14 million in Britain). It stupid and expecting to win; they know butions to charity fall when lotteries are simply because a small minority will
is statistically sensible to avoid buying full well that they are only 'buying a introduced, as happened in Britain in abuse it or prove unable to cope? We
a ticket until Friday, as until then your chance', and are happy with that. Every 1994. Many people greatly overestimate should rather trust the individual right to
chance of winning is less than your week some individuals do win millions the proportion of their ticket price that choose over a paternalist government
chance of being run over by a car before of pounds. We must let people make up will go to charity; and they cease to have which takes decisions for us.
Saturday's draw. Governments which pro- their own minds about their own money. any control over the choice of charities to
mote such activity are taking advantage It is not the role of the state to manage which their money goes. Government- [5] Even if direct contributions to
of the gullibility of their citizens - yes, it personal finance. appointed bodies may be more inclined charity fall, the overall amount given
could be you, but this is really very to favour certain types of charity (e.g. to them will still increase. A total of28 per
[2] The Proposition is equating poverty domestic rather than international) over
unlikely. cent of British lottery income is given to
with stupidity;just because poorer people others. the five Good Causes - arts, sports, chari-
[2] Lotteries are nothing more than play the lottery more does not mean that
ties, heritage, and the Millennium - most
indirect, regressive taxation, targeted at they should not be trusted to do so. N 0- [6] National lotteries redirect existing of which are community-based projects.
the poor who are most eager to win the one likes paying taxes; there is nothing expenditure on gambling, reducing the Additional publicity is given to these
jackpot but least able to afford the tickets. wrong with exploiting alternative ways profits of pools and race betting indus- projects through lottery broadcasts on
Some 80 per cent of players in Britain are of funding projects for public benefit. tries and causing job losses. TV, while very often lottery funding
in income groups C, D and E. provided that the public is well informed
for capital projects (e.g. new theatre
about the destinations of the money. In [7] If a lottery is allowed, it should not buildings, community centres, purchase of
[3] The British lottery is not only any case, the shift of government funding. be run for profit as Camelot has done in art treasures) is dependent on the charity
regressive but iniquitous; money raised from direct taxation such as income and Britain. Even its 1 per cent profit equates raising matching funding, thus encourag-
largely from working-class players is corporation tax to indirect taxes such as to almost £70,000 per annum for every ing further donations. Charity donations
redistributed to the middle class who gain VAT and excise duties, has hit the wallets employee; it is a licence to print money. are usually less anyway in the lower
disproportionately from cultural projects of the poor to a much greater extent. Either the government or a non-profit income groups which form most of the
funded from its profits (e.g. the Royal consortium (such as that led by Richard Lottery's players.
Opera House, the Millennium Dome, [3] The assumption that working-claS5 Branson) should administer the lottery,
museums). London has been similarly people do not benefit from cultural pro- and direct a higher proportion of the [oj The Lottery has been highly bene-
favoured, attracting much more funding jects is snobbish and ignores the fact th a: income to good causes. ficial in reviving the fortunes of small
than regional projects. it has often been the high cost of 'elIte
shops such as newsagents and local Post
culture which prevents most people fi'ol11
Offices. It also creates many jobs through

the new projects it stimulates (the Henley particular have a mandate for such action. disputable. The military does not wish to
Possible motions: Centre Report predicted that 110,00U No-one would dispute the importance of see the re-introduction of conscription, as
This House would abolish the National jobs would be created under Camelot's national service in times of war. Con- it dilutes the professionalism of a standing
Lottery. franchise). Other types of gambling have scription on a permanent basis would army, and many of its best instructors
This House believes it could be you. benefited anyway from the deregulation keep a 'standing army' ready and trained waste time training recruits who do not
This House believes that it is immoral to tax of the gambling industry in the mid- for times of emergency as well as catering wish to be there. In continental Europe
stupidity. 1990s which accompanied the creation of for other needs. the military is often less keen on national
This House would nationalise the lottery. the Lottery. service than its political masters.
[2J National service promotes a clear
Related topics: [7] Camelot was far more successful in sense of nationhood, integrating individu- [2] Britain does not have the unrest
Gambling (Immorality of) raising money for good causes than initial als from diverse groups and fostering a of Italy and Israel, and such arguments
Arts Funding by the State (Abolition of) government and independent predictions respect for different cultural and regional may mask a more dangerous agenda.
Museums (Entrance Fees to) suggested; it deserves to be rewarded. traditions. Over a generation this will help National service could easily be used for
The franchise-holder suffers the financial to create a more cohesive yet tolerant propaganda, not celebrating differences
consequences should the lottery fail; and society, more committed to public life.We but seeking to eradicate them; the British
removing the motive of personal profit can compare older generations in Britain armed forces do not have a strong reputa-
is unlikely to result in such effective man- with their more feckless successors, and tion for political correctness. Compulsory
agement and marketing (the National look to the states of Italy and Israel where patriotism is questionable and may be
Lottery game is the UK's most widely national service provides valuable social misused by politicians.
recognised consumer brand). The whole cohesion.
history of nationalised industries suggests [3] In fact compulsory service is likely
this. [3 J National service also provides the to be resented, undermining any possible
young with valuable experience, teaching benefits. A huge bureaucracy would be
self-discipline, a sense of purpose and needed to prevent candidates evading
National Service, (Re-) Introduction of important skills (e.g. driving, IT, adminis- call-up, which would often be easier for
tration and personnel management), prosperous middle-class 'insiders' than for
The Proposition needs to define what it means by 'national service'. In postwar along with a wider sense of responsibility working-class families - as in the US at
Britain, in several continental countries and Israel today, national service means to the community. In a way they are re- the time of the Vietnam War. The scheme
military service with one of the armed forces. This is a valid debate although some paying their debt to the society which would cost vast SUll1S even without this
countries (e.g. France and Italy) are currently abandoning the system; but other forms offers them largely free education and bureaucracy. Taxpayers already contribute
of national service could be considered: public service on environmental projects. welfare benefits throughout their lives. to the welfare state; there is no need to
working with the homeless, disabled and underprivileged, and so on. A choice
make them pay this debt twice.
between the two could be offered. [4J National service provides a way
Other issues should be considered: at what age should it be compulsory (pre- or to tackle social problems, from the envi- [4] As with any form of forced labour
post-university, or should there be a choice)? Should it be for men and women (only ronment to urban deprivation and major (e.g. slavery or workfare), leaving such
Israel currently has national service for women)? disaster relief. projects to national service recruits will
simply ensure they are done badly.
with little enthusiasm. Many people are
Pros Cons Possible motion: currently paid to undertake the kind of
This House would reintroduce National work that non-military national service
[11 It is the right of the state to call [11 There is no clear and present danger Service. would involve; their jobs and salaries
upon its citizens to serve it in times of to Britain to justify military conscription. would be at risk. It might also discourage
need, and democratic governments in and the existence of 'other needs' is volunteerism: if the state provides a
' /1,I,'



Related topics: workforce for such projects, there is no [3] Private pension schemes are not Group Pension Fund by Robert Maxwell
Legislation v. Individual Freedom incentive for anyone else to help. Instead, subject to political interference. This is a showed how vulnerable private funds can
Pacifism we should encourage a voluntary national ~k especially since older people are be to dishonest businessmen. Political
United Nations (Standing Army for) service plan, perhaps with lower tuition more likely to vote than the young, and interference is a strong possibility anyway;
Gays in the Military fees at university for those involved. can therefore elect governments who will in 1997 the Labour government removed
School-leaving Age pay generous pensions while squandering tax advantages from private pension
Child Curfews resources for the future. This is especially schemes. Governments also have the onus
true in the US where cuts to Medicaid to intervene to prevent private schemes
and Medicare are seen as political suicide, from 'going bust'; this unwritten guaran-
Pensions, Ending State Provision of since a president doing so risks losing the tee encourages private firms to speculate
retired vote. recklessly (e.g. the savings and loan indus-
Like the future of healthcare and unemployment benefits, this issue is made particularly try in the US in the early 1980s, or Asian
topical by the rapidly escalating costs to developed countries of old-age entitlements [4] Privatising pensions ends the banks in the 1990s).
(pensions and free medical care). As life expectancy increases, the average age of the 'dependency culture' and g~es~<:~~nsi­
population is growing, and in the twenty-first century many more retired citizens bility back to the individual, who should [4] This is a remarkably heartless atti-
will be supported by many fewer taxpayers. Britain does not face as severe a problem learn to live with his or her own eco- tude which would leave those who do not
fm;nci-Ilg p~l'ls~~m;asdo some other countries, but even here the National Insurance nomic choices and the consequences. invest wisely, leave investment too late or
system of deducting from one's salary in order to pay for future welfare needs (includ- Some may choose to invest in pensions, cannot afford to invest in the first place
ing healthcare and pensions) is a myth - in fact the money is spent immediately by others in their children's education in without the safety net of government
the government and is not saved for the future. the expectation that they will repay the support. _Self-sufficient individuals can
gift. It should be a personal choice, and (and do) invest in private pension schemes
Pros Cons lazy spendthrifts should not benefit from over and above the National Insurance
an equal state pension. - system, giving them all the freedom they
[1] Although civilised societies should 11] It is society's duty to care for its elder need to create a comfortable retirement.
provide for their citizens in old age, it citizens, and it is the government's duty to
does not follow that governments must ensure that those who cannot look after Possible motion: , I

b~ involved. Private pension schemes themselves are catered for. Many people This House would privatise the pensIOns
could ensure that- everyone planned for do not earn enough that they would or system.
and funded his or her own retirement could contribute voluntarily to a pension
income, reducing the burden on the state scheme; a state-controlled scheme is the Related topics:
and its taxpayers. only way to ensure they do not become Capitalism v. Socialism
penniless upon retirement. Welfare State
[2] Government bureaucracies seldom National Health Service (l'rivatisation of)
provide services as efficient as their private [21 The problems of government Taxation (Direct, Abolition of)
counterparts. A better system would be to control existed in nationalised industries, Mandatory Retirement Age
force citizens to invest in pension plans, but are not true of the welfare state -
but with considerable freedom as to how pensions, healthcare, education, and so 011
this- {s done. This system is successful in - since the free market is a poor way of
Chile, and personal and corporate pension guaranteeing these goods.
schemes are growing everywhere. The
skill of investment managers to guarantee 131 Governments can at least monitor
returns is likely to provide higher pensions state pension funds and guard against
than the government can. fraud. The exploitation of the Mirror

Salary Capping, Mandatory sufficient responsibility. Sportspeople and [3] Enjoyment and medium salaries
creative types largely seek fame and self- could not satisfy those with short-term
This debate is about the principle of a maximum salary level, and the Proposition fulfilment in any case. Jobs of great value ephemeral careers - sportspeople, actors
does not have to suggest what that level should be - although it might be more to society (e.g. politics, teaching, civil ser- and actresses, or singers, who create vast
interesting to do so. Benefits in kind and bonuses, such as share options or pension. vice) are likely to gain in status, become amounts of money for their 'employers'
healthcare and mortgage allowances should also be considered. better-paid, and produce better applicants in a short space of time and deserve to
or candidates. profit from it before the bubble bursts.
Politicians, teachers and civil servants
Pros Cons
should be utterly dedicated to their careers
Possible motions: and not merely attracted by a generous
[1] 1t is unfair for a few to be paid far [11 There is no evidence in Britain of This House would set a maximum limit for salary.
more than they could ever spend while social tensions so great that such a massive salaries.
many others receive low wages. Eco- intrusion into the free market in contracts This House would put the fat cats on a diet.
nomically, there is no need for anyone to between employer and employee would
receive a salary above, say, £200,000: this be justified. The nature of capitalism is Related topics:
will amply guarantee a very comfortable that successful businessmen - who fre- Capitalism v. Socialism
standard ofliving. The money saved could quently work for years, taking risks and Legislation v. Individual Freedom
be put to much better uses, and huge depriving themselves of holidays and Marxism
salaries exacerbate social tensions and family time - are rewarded and incited Privatisation
perpetuate class divisions. Uproar greets to succeed even more. Many companies Taxation (Direct, Abolition of)
every announcement of 'fat cat' bonuses, are so large that the SUlllS saved through a
such as the decision by partners of salary cap elsewhere would be meaning-
Goldman Sachs in 1998 to award them- less - perhaps an extra £1 a week for each Sunday Entertainment and Shopping, Restricting
selves post-flotation share packages of up ordinary employee or a fractional increase
to £100 million each. This money should in investment or research budgets.
be redistributed more equally. Pros Cons
[2J This definition of salaries is verv
[2] A salary cap need not thwart ambi- limited and creates anomalies. The limited [1] Britain has a Christian heritage, [1] Britain is no longer a Christian
tion if applied only to salaries - i.e. to company is not the only form of bUSI- traditionally recognised by making one country. Church attendees arc far fewer
employees paid by someone else. Profits ness; many, such as accountancy. consul- day special - 'the Lord's Day'. Sunday even than those who would profess a
derived from the ownership of a business tancy or law partnerships, arc actually entertainment and shopping erode any faith in God. There is neither a duty nor
need not be affected, encouraging ambi- owned by their senior practitioners. spiritual value for the whole of British a democratic mandate for a government
tious and able individuals to create their With a salary cap most of the ablest and society, whether church-going or not, by effectively to endorse a particular faith.
own companies, with all the economic most ambitious people would be directed removing an opportunity for reflection. Why should Sunday be kept special and
benefits this provides for society. towards such careers, in preference to Although the government should not not Friday (for Muslims) or Saturday
limited companies; and many businesses promote a specific religion, it should (for Jews)? Allowing people to negotiate
[3] The emphasis upon rewards of would remain wholly owned by their ensure that there are opportunities for days off with their employers is more
employment could be shifted from the founding partners rather than seeking Worship and ponder non-materialist likely to satisfy everyone's wish to honour
purely financial to issues of job satisfac- the capital which public limited status values - as it does with religious education particular holy days.
tion. Employees are more likely to com- provides tor expansion. To float your and assemblies in schools and prayers
mit their long-term future to a company. company on the stock market would III parliament. Religions other than [21 The major ity of the population 111
and companies likewise would ensure that mean gJvmg up your rights to a high Christianity may not share a commitment non-retail business have to work Monday
their employees are stimulated and given salary. to Sunday worship but they do respect to Friday. Pressures of work with long

spiritual beliefs, and they may value the hours and short lunch breaks greatly state, and it affects personal behaviour. A and such intervention is a right of the
Sunday restriction for this reason. restrict opportunities to shop, go to the significant part of the wealth of each citi- government given that citizens receive a
bank, sports clubs, garden centres, zen is effectively conftscated; this removes great deal in return. This is the give and
[2] Even for the non-religious, it is theatres, and so on. Even those with the incentive of the right to find better take nature of the 'social contract'
advantageous to have a day when most families need somewhere to go, and one jobs or work harder, and people may between individual and state, as outlined
of the population is at home, allowing day at the weekend is not enough. For move abroad in search of lower taxes. by Hobbes, Locke and many socialist
families to spend time together or visit this reason liberalisation of the Sunday The elderly dispose of much of their writers.
relatives. If Sundays are treated like any trading laws in the late 1980s was, property in trusts and tied gifts to avoid
working day, family life will fragment unsurprisingly, very popular. death duties for their heirs. Companies [2] Indirect taxes violate the first prin-
and communal gatherings or days out distort their own behaviour by minimis- ciple of taxation, in that they cause more
are much harder to organise. For these [3] Many people like the flexibility ing direct tax payments through complex to be taken from the taxpayer than they
reasons many other countries, notably the of the work patterns offered, and the investment and shareholding. This power bring to the state - there must always be
economic giant Germany, heavily restrict chance of extra pay when working on of intervention and distortion by the a cut for the middlemen. Direct taxation
economic activity on Sundays. Sundays. Given the number of part-time government is undesirable. is actually fairer since those on higher
employees in the retail/service work-
income pay a higher proportion of their
[3] Only a few people work in essential force, it is easy to find extra cover if usual [2] Although the level of direct taxa- earnings to the state. With indirect
services which must be maintained on a staff prefer a two-day weekend. tion is lower than in many countries, the taxation, the poor end up paying a higher
Sunday. Without restrictions on Sunday British public would not accept a rate proportion; although an individual earn-
trading, shop workers may be forced to Possible motions: much higher. The lowest earners find ing £100,000 a year may spend more on
work six- or seven-day weeks without This House would keep Sunday special. the level particularly high, thinking food, clothing, and holidays than someone
sufficient rest. Most workers greatly value This House says 'Never on a Sunday'. (justifiably or not) that the burden of on £10,000, he or she is very unlikely
a two-day break at weekends. For this direct taxation weighs more heavily on to spend anything like ten times as much.
reason trade unions broadly support Related topics: them than on higher income groups.
keeping Sunday special. Churches in Politics Many feel that a widely generalised sys- [3] Tax revenue pays for much more
Disestablishment of the Church of England tem of indirect taxation, replacing direct than goods and services - it is impossible
God (Existence of) taxes, would be more equitable. to measure how much an individual
Licensing Laws (Relaxation of) 'consumes' in the way of education
[3] Since indirect taxes are paid only on or national defence. Variation of VAT is
goods or services used by the taxpayer, the impossible within the European Union
Taxation, Direct, Abolition of poorest members of society can ensure and has failed in Britain when tried in
that they pay tax only in strict proportion the past - when, for example, electrical
Direct taxation covers any government revenue raised from income or wealth, for to their spending, whereas currently appliances such as refrigerators ended
example Income Tax, National Insurance, Corporation Tax and death duties. Indirect they may have to meet a disproportionate up being classed as 'luxury goods'. Any
taxation is levied on transactions between one individual and another, for instance, share of the tax burden. Indirect taxation system which could accurately tax in
customs charges on imports, excise duty on certain products (mostly 'harmful' ones rates could also be varied for different proportion to consumption would be too
such as tobacco, alcohol or petrol) and Value Added Tax. Thus indirect tax is paid only ~hings, to take account of the probable complex to administer.
on goods or services you purchase or consume, whereas direct tax is paid irrespective income levels of people using them; for
of your own expenditure. lllstance, Bollinger champagne would be [4] Fraud is a problem with any tax
taxed more heavily than Carlsberg Special system, and in fact in advanced economies
Pros Cons Brew, or a Rolls Royce more than a Ford it is probably easier to avoid indirect
Escort. These distinctions are perfectly taxes through car boot sales, black market
[11 Direct taxation is also a direct [11 Any form of taxation is a direct consonant with variable rates of VAT and goods, unlicensed trading and so on
intrusion into the lives of citizens by the intervention into the affairs of citizens; sales tax in other countries. than it is to avoid direct taxes levied

[4] Evasion of income tax is common through computerised company and bank Pros Cons
- so common that in some continental accounting systems.
European countries governments already [1] The trade union movement in [11 The rhetoric of New Labour and
have to rely on indirect taxation for the [51 The higher the 'moral' tax on these Britain anachronistically pits the 'workers' of modernisation IS simply another
bulk of their income. Indirect tax is much goods, the greater a drop in revenue from in a class war against the 'capitalists', method to oppress workers and deny
harder to avoid, as the strict application of them is suffered by the government. This or employers. The old view of the Con- them proper employment rights. The
VAT in Britain has shown. is also the sort of intervention by the state servative Party representing company rejection of Clause IV was an outrageous
that the Proposition claims to abhor. owners and the Labour Party the workers betrayal of the roots of the Labour Party
[5] Indirect taxation can be imposed has long been outdated. New Labour and the interests of its supporters, and
on articles for moral reasons, when their has deleted Clause IV of its constitution, it was no surprise when, in 1998, the
excessive consumption should be [6] In fact the high cost of living which committed it to the socialist prin- Labour government sided with the CBI
restricted - as it is on alcohol, tobacco created by indirect taxation would drive ciple of state ownership of the means rather than the TUe in its dispute over
our citizens to purchase much cheaper ofproduction, and has struck up a positive the level of the minimum wage and
and petrol.
goods in Ireland, France and the Low relationship with organisations such as the union representation in the workplace.
[6] If Britain were to abolish direct Countries. This can be compared with Confederation of British Industry (CEI) To 'modernise' is to give up the fight for
sales distortions near state borders in the which represents interests of employers fair pay, good working conditions and
taxation while others retained it, we
would create an attractive tax haven for US, when one state has a lower sales tax generally. The Trades Union Congress a voice for workers, and an irreplaceable
foreign high-spenders. Industry would than a neighbouring state. (TUC) must be reformed urgently to have mechanism to check exploitation by
become more competitive as tax is shifted any relevance to a modern world where greedy directors.
away from business towards consumption, productivity and co-operation rather than
and the transparency of indirect taxation Possible motions: strikes and disruption are the order of [2] Trade unions have never sOllght
reduces costs in tax management. This House would abolish direct taxation. the day. confrontation, nor are they in the least
This House believes taxation is theft. opposed to high productivity. It is the
[2] The trade union movement still unreasonable intransigence of govern-
Related topics: functions in a confrontational way. Today, ment (in the case of the miners' strikes),
Anarchism however, society depends on partnership, employers (over union representation) or
Legislation v. Individual Freedom between state and private businesses in both (minimum wage) that has led to
Welfare State health, education and transport, and confrontation. The first priority of the
National Health Service (Privatisation of) between employers and employees (e.g. unions must be to protect the fundamental
National Lottery (Abolition of) the John Lewis Partnership which is right to work in good conditions and
Pensions (Ending State Provision of) owned by its staff). All parties now have be paid above the level of poverty wages;
Graduate Tax common aims - working conditions and productivity is criticised only when it
Tuition Fees for University Students high productivity - and the obsession of conflicts with these rights.
the unions with the former obscures
progress. [31 Trade unions were independent
organisations in the nineteenth century
Trade Unions, Modernisation of [3] It is in the trade unions own only because the Labour Party did not
interests to modernise. Their traditional exist. It came about from developments in
In the Thatcher era in Britain, after the bitter disputes with the National Union of affiliation with the Labour Party has the trade union movement, and it should
Mineworkers in the 1980s, the powers of trade unions were severely restricted; tended to mean that unionists are socialist remain the party with the political goal
and with the advent of 'New Labour' and Tony Blair in the 1990s their traditional and political activists more interested in of protecting the rights of workers. There
influence over Labour policy was called into question for the first time. Is there more campaigning than in providing services. could be no such thing as an apolitical
to be done? Trade unions should return to their trade union movement.

nineteenth-century roots as independent farm labour, environmental projects, etc.). [2] The idea that people enjoy living
organisations existing to represent 'the Possible motion: Those who might otherwise seek to off the meagre unemployment benefit
common man'. This House believes that trade unions must avoid work will therefore be encouraged is insulting - few would choose it over a
modernise or die. to find better jobs, in order to avoid the real job. But to be forced onto workfare
workfare tasks. is truly humiliating, and will do nothing
Related topics: to improve confidence or motivation.
Capitalism v. Socialism [3] Victims of dependency are encour- The work is unlikely to be well done;
Civil Disobedience aged to learn habits of regular labour, pointless tasks provoke resentment and
Marxism time-keeping, teamwork, and so on, more meaningful work cannot be trusted
which are crucial to holding down proper to short-term workers.
jobs. Many will welcome the chance to
do something constructive, out of the [3] At the same time, those on workfare
Workfare house and around new people. are prevented from actively seeking proper
jobs, with all the research, form-filling,
The debate over how to reduce the burden of the welfare state upon taxpayers, and cold-calling and attending interviews
how to avoid a 'dependency culture' where individuals learn to rely on the state for Possible motions: required.
income, housing, healthcare, and so on, has raged for many years. Since the early 1990s This House would introduce workfare.
interest has centred upon 'workfare' - the concept of withholding unemployment This House would get those on welfare to
b~nefits unless the recipient is working in a community project. Various workfare work.
schemes have been piloted, notably in Wisconsin, USA.
Related topics:
Capitalism v. Socialism
Pros Cons Welfare State
School-leaving Age
[1] The cost of the welfare state has [11 Currently, to claim unemployment
become a major financial burden on the benefit you must declare yourself ready
government and its taxpayers. Resultant for work at short notice. 'Work-shy'
high taxes leave us struggling eco- people are therefore lying to the state and
nomically behind the US, various Asian this is an argument for better safeguards
tigers, and potentially Eastern Europe. against benefit fraud, not for workfare.
Simultaneously a 'dependency culture' has Unemployment benefit is also a tiny part
developed whereby 'work-shy' individuals of the welfare state; there are many other
rely on income benefits, not seeking 'middle-class' targets for cost-cutting such
proper jobs and 'sponging off the state'. as free health care, pensions and univer-
A new approach to unemployment sity education. Economically, workfare
benefit is needed. could hurt society by taking jobs that
'real workers' would otherwise be paid to
[2J The economic and social cost to do, creating even more unemployment
society of dependency is enormous. - not to mention reducing the number of
Workfare would lower the cost of the people available to work in the voluntary
unemployed, by extracting at least a mini- sector.
mal return from their labour (perhaps in
the form of street cleaning, unskilled

Politics and Economics: International


Armaments, limitation of Conventional

Conventional armaments include guns, mines, missiles, tanks, ships, warplanes - effec-
tively everything except nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The Proposition
should avoid general platitudes ('Let's all be nice to each other - give peace a chancel')
and instead suggest a plausible mechanism; the arguments below focus on a unilateral
end to arms sales and limitation of defence spending rather than abolition, retaining
the capacity for Britain to defend itself.

Pros Cons

[1] Horrific though the effects of [l] Weapons are a feature of society
nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and have always been so, as have wars.
are, the vast majority of deaths and It is naive to suppose that everlasting
injuries are caused by conventional arms. peace can ever be obtained. Given that
Action must be taken to engineer peace war is inevitable, there will always be
where possible and stop the proliferation a large international economy based on
of weapons; a unilateral end to the sale of weaponry in which we may justifiably be
such weapons by Britain would be the involved.
logical first step.
[2] Britain's refusal to sell arms would
[2] Even if a unilateral end to arms have little impact on a world awash with
sales would not stop others selling them, them. Others will simply take our place.
we should end our complicity in wars
and violence. British-made weapons are [3] Foreign policy is about promoting
among the 'best' and most destructive in our national interests, a process which is
the world and our boycott would have not always compatible with whiter-than-
a greater global impact than might be white ethical considerations. At least if we
expected. Such moral leadership would are on friendly terms with such regimes
shame others into following suit. they are more likely to listen to our
human rights message; if we ignore them,
[3] Arms may be supplied to oppressive, they will side with other countries with
non-democratic regimes which use them no such considerations.
for internal repression (e.g. Indonesia,
Some Gulf states). It is hypocritical to [4] The arms industry is a large and
argue for the respect of human rights successful one providing many jobs and
While supplying the means to suppress economic benefits. It would be wrong to
them. throw this away for a gesture of pointless
[4] The threat to defence industry
jobs cannot justify our involvement in [5] Arms sales to states such as
bloodshed, and the government could Iraq, Libya, Serbia or Cuba are already

support the redeployment of industries prohibited by international agreement. [2J China has clear territorial claims [2] Every country wishes to pursue its
and workers. The need to defend Britain Applications of such sanctions could be which may lead it into conflict with own national interest - and the peaceful
would continue to support most of the more widely made and enforced, but this neighbours, and through alliances with transition of Hong Kong and Macau to
arms industry. is not tantamount to a worldwide ban. the US and other Western powers. There Chinese rule shows that China does not
Why should we deny weapons to friendly, are minor border disputes with almost all necessarily seek to achieve its ends with
[5J Not only does our sale of weapons democratic governments, who may be our its neighbours, but major arguments with violence. Its other priority is a more open
involve us in conflict abroad, but British allies in times of conflict? Taiwan (which it regards as a rebel pro- foreign policy and improved trade rela-
weapons may often be used against us in vince) and the South China Sea (where tions (e.g. joining the World Trade
the future (as happened with Iraq). It is seven countries are claiming mining and Organisation) which will restrain it from
almost impossible to control the re-export Possible motions: fishing rights). upsetting the international community.
of arms to potentially hostile end-users. This House would end the arms trade.
This House would keep morality out of the [3J In both the Taiwan Strait and the [3J The Chinese military is largely
market. South China Sea, China has made a show untested and almost certainly over-
of armed force in the past few years. It is estimated; few of its forces have roles in
Related topics: a nuclear power and has the largest armed combat, and its equipment is poor.
Ideology v. Pragmatism forces in the world. Although its military Most analysts believe that even tiny
Pacifism strength is not particularly impressive, this Taiwan, with its hi-tech, Western tech-
Nuclear Weapons (Banning of) may hasten the use of nuclear weapons in nology and weaponry, could counter a
United Nations (Standing Army for) crisis situations. Chinese invasion without assistance. The
United States (Fear of) use of nuclear weapons is wild conjecture,
Handguns (Ownership of) [4J There is little internal stability in equally true of Russia, Pakistan or India.
Science: a Menace to Civilisation? China, with a central government strug- [4] There is no evidence that the mili-
gling to control the regions and the Red tary is not under governmental control,
Army. Growing crime, corruption and as key generals and commanders are
China, Fear of ethnic unrest suggest the leadership in appointed by the leadership. Nor is there
Beijing is losing control. This may lead a logical link between internal strife
This debate is not about 'disliking' a nation, although we may reject its values, leaders
either to aggressive, populist action such in China, should it happen, and a threat
or national behaviour. The Proposition must show that there is a perceived threat to
as seizing Taiwan, or to a situation where to the rest of the world.
international peace or prosperity.
the peaceful intentions of the leaders are
rejected by a more assertive military. [5J A trading China is even less of a
threat to world peace. Its economic
Pros Cons [5J China poses a threat in terms of development is slow enough to allow our
economic dominance; its ability to flood businesses to adapt to its presence in the
[l ] We should fear China because, as [1] Many states have poor domestic with cheap exports is increasingly hurting market. The opening of the Chinese
one of the very few communist states human rights records and yet are not an our Own industries. Its rapid development population also presents an enormous
remaining, it refuses to adhere to inter- international threat - Saudi Arabia, for also poses problems to the global environ- opportunity for our investors, as Rupert
national norms of human rights and example, is a key ally of Britain. Given ment, since the Chinese demand for cars, Murdoch has identified with his efforts to
democracy. Tibetans, Muslims and the perceived failure of communism 111 energy, CFCs, timber, and so on under- service them with satellite television.
Christians within its borders are under the 1990s it is unlikely that other states mines international attempts to deal with
particular threat, and yet China's huge will copy China's pattern of behaviour. pollution and resource depletion.
population and growing economy make and at any rate its record on these issues
it an example to others and hinder the is improving, with increasing political
spread of the values of liberal democracy. openness and personal freedoms.

Related topics: [2] International organisations (notably and co-operation simply because other
Capitalism v. Socialism the UN and Amnesty International) organisations exist with similar aims.
possible motions:
Ideology v. Pragmatism already exist to promote education, human There is room in the world for many such
This House fears China.
This House would beware the waking Democracy (Imposition of) rights and equality worldwide.The Harare organisations with particular emphases
Environment (Links to International Trade Declaration is simply an empty repetition and interests. Membership of the UN and
and Relations) of these organisations' principles. Trading membership of the Commonwealth are
Islam (Fear of) blocs such as NAFTA, the EU, and not mutually exclusive.
Nuclear Weapons (Banning of) ASEAN based on real economic and
Population Control political interest foster international trade. [3] Powerful countries such as Britain
United States (Fear of) In all its supposed roles the Common- can afford to ignore the policies and
wealth is merely duplicating functions interests of the rest of the Common-
performed better by other international wealth, and they sometimes do, unfor-
organisations. tunately. But the real beneficiaries are
Commonwealth, Abolition of
the less developed and less powerful
The Commonwealth (or 'The British Commonwealth' until 1949) is a voluntary [3] The Commonwealth is a sham. Its countries (e.g. St Kitts and Nevis, Sierra
association of fifty-four nations (as of 1997) - each (excepting Mozambique) having members, especially powerful ones such Leone, Tonga, The Gambia), whose heads
once been a colony, protectorate or dependency of Britain, or of another Common- as Britain, will always act in accordance of state can negotiate with the big
wealth country. In 1991 the Commonwealth Heads of Government issued the Harare with self-interest rather than in alliance world players at Commonwealth Heads
Commonwealth Declaration stating the principles and purpose of the Commonwealth with their Commonwealth colleagues. of Government meetings, and who can
_ co-operation in pursuit of world peace, commitment to the United Nations' In 1986 Britain refused to place sanctions foster bilateral trade agreements and
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, opposition to all forms of racial oppression, upon South Africa even though the programmes of technical co-operation
commitment to the removal of disparities in living standards among member nations, Commonwealth voted in favour of sanc- and education through the NGOs of
equal rights for women, the rule oflaw and democratic government. tions, and in 1991 Britain refused to join the Commonwealth network. The fact
in protesting against France's nuclear tests that Britain does not need the Com-
in the South Pacific. monwealth is no reason to deny its
Cons benefits to those smaller countries that do.
[4] The Commonwealth is indecisive
[11 The Commonwealth is founded [1] The British Commonwealth is a and impotent. Despite declarations in [4] It is acknowledged that the
upon an outdated and oppressive colonial marvellous testimony to how injustice Singapore in 1971 and Harare in 1991, Commonwealth is not an agency for
system. Now that the European empires and oppression can be transformed into vacuously asserting obvious moral truths the enforcement of international law - it
have been dismantled, we should base co-operation and harmony, using the about the iniquities of oppression, racism, is a low-budget network of mutual co-
international co-operation on truly inter- linguistic and historical links of post- sexism and so on, the Commonwealth operation. The principles of democracy,
national foundations, not on the imperial colonial nations in a positive way. The has no means of enforcing its principles equality, rule of law and individual
maps of the past. The Commonwealth nations of the Commonwealth share. or curtailing human rights abuses. The freedom are not at all obvious in many
fosters neo-colonialism and blinds its for example, English as a first or major 1995 Millbrook Commonwealth Action developing countries - e.g. in the cases
members to non-English-speaking cul- language and are almost all governed by programme provides only for 'collective of women's rights or child labour, which
ture. If there is a need for an international parliamentary systems modelled on th e disapproval' and suspension from minis- the Commonwealth combats through
talking shop and network of trade and British one. terial meetings if a member nation educational programmes.
technical support for developing nations, violates human rights. Technical aid will
[2] There IS no reason why the continue to be provided for two years
it should be truly global, not based on the
British empire, with the British monarch voluntary association of nations of the after a military coup before its provision Possible motions:
Commonwealth should be forced to dis- is even reviewed. In 1995, the Nigerian This House believes that the Commonwealth
as its head.
band and lose all their mutual support government executed the writer Ken has had its day.

This House believes that if the Common- [4] The Proposition is not advocating [3] The differing types of democracy
Saro-Wiwa and eight other opposition
wealth didn't exist no-one would think of invasion in order to impose democracy; make it impossible to choose which stan-
activists. Two years later the Common-
inventing it. even if this were justifiable, the lives of dards to impose. Britain, the US and
wealth had still failed to impose sanctions
our own citizens should not be put at European countries all differ in terms of
upon or expel Nigeria, but limited itself
Related topics: risk. However, when a war is won, it is restraints on government and the balance
to official letters of disapproval.
Devolution of Scotland and Wales then reasonable to impose democracy as between consensus and confrontation. In
Immigration (Relaxation of Laws against) a condition of peace as done after 1945 Africa, tribal allegiance may make party
Democracy (Imposition of) in Germany and Japan. Not to do so was politics inappropriate - Uganda holds
European Union (Expansion of) a great missed opportunity at the end of elections but bans parties, forcing all can-
United Nations (Failure of) the GulfWar. didates to stand independently. Given that
few states today do not at least go
[5] As well as imposing democracy through the pretence of holding elec-
through force, it should be promoted tions, what standards should we apply?
Democracy, Imposition of
peacefully through diplomacy, trade and
aid. In such cases countries can choose [4] Imposition of democracy can back-
Cons whether to listen to us, but we can make fire, especially after postwar partition, as
t~ir people well aware of our commit- minority groups become victimised by
[1J It is one thing to believe our system ment to democracy and the reasons for it, the majority - as with ethnic Russians in
[1] Democracy is desirable in itself as
to be the best, and quite another to for instance through the BBC World some Baltic states, Arabs in Israel, gypsies
the best system of government. Despite its
impose it on other countries. This is Service. Choosing only to trade with or in Romania and so on.
obvious flaws, any other system is bound
a blatant breach of the UN policy of give aid to other democracies is sensible
to be worse. It ensures that governments
non-intervention in the domestic affairs as their economies are more stable and [5] Of course we should be prepared
are accountable to their people, guards
of independent nations. Just as Western any use of aid can be openly monitored. to engage constructively with countries
against corruption, protects individual
citizens fought for their political insti- and pressurise them to hold elections, or
liberty, and allows flawed policies to be
tutions, we should trust the citizens of in some cases boycott them, but this is
corrected. Economies are more likely to
other nations to do likewise if they Possible motions: not the same as imposing democracy. The
be open, competitive and prosperous. If
wish to. Democracy is also not an absolute This House would take action to promote use of force against other countries, other
we believe in these benefits, we should
term - Napoleon used elections and democracy. than in self-defence, is fundamentally
promote them vigorously to others.
referenda to legitimise his hold on power, This House believes that democracy is so incompatible with the qualities inherent
as do leaders today in West Africa, Serbia good, everyone should be made to have it. in democracy.
[2J Democracy is not a purely domestic
issue, as it tends to produce governments and Indonesia.
Related topics:
that co-operate internationally. There
[2] It is true only in the strictest Democracy
has never been a war between two
sense that democracies have not gone to Ends v. Means
war; the collapse of Yugoslavia and Voting (Compulsory)
continuing tensions between Greece, Commonwealth (Abolition of)
[3] Democracy carries with it a self-
Turkey and Cyprus or between Pakistan Dictators (Assassination of)
correctingn1echanism; if Western pres-
and India witness this. States with partial Sanctions (Use of)
sure leads to the replacement of a
dictatorship with democracy, then the democracy are often more aggressive
electorate can always choose to return (e.g. Napoleon) than totally unelccted
to dictatorship - an unlikely prospect. dictatorships which are too concerned
So-called Western cultural imperialism with maintaining order at home (e.g.
actually consists of~~~ting the people to Myanmar).
choose for themselves.

trafficking or Iraq's refusal to restrict its international responsibilities As sassInation

• 0
. .
Dictators, Assassination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapon would
. become a tool of. our n a tOI lana
development. mterest rather than a moral requiirement.
This can be defined in two ways: whether subjects of a dictatorship should assassinate
their leader, or as a policy debate about international relations. Try to avoid using
[5] In their own countries, dictators [5] Such dictators should be removed
Hitler as an example! are dangerous in several ways: the use of but in different ways - preferably b;
VIOlence to maintain power (e.g. Tianan- bemg put on trial (as Ceausescu was in
Cons men Square when Chinese tanks crushed Romania) and allowing justice to be seen
Pros student protesters); deliberate policies of to be done. The entire military regime
(1) Assassination is simply unjustifiable attack on their own citizens (e.g. Stalin behmd a dictator must also be removed
(1) Murder is rightly seen as wrong in
as murder is always wrong. A soldier killing and the kulaks, or Pol Pot against the or one dictator will simply be replaced
all societies; but the specific circumstance
in war is a special case, but the cold- Cambodian middle class); and the lack of by another, as happened with the natural
of a dictatorship, where one unelected
blooded killing of a political leader is consultation about their policies which deaths of Kim II Sung of North Korea
individual rules a state through force and
not. The ends may not always justifY the may have disastrous consequences (the and General Sani Abacha of Nigeria.
fear, means that there are no other ways
means; dictators are usually replaced by failure of China's Great Leap Forward or
of removing the dictator from power. If
other members of their military regime, the famine in Ethiopia). Even relatively [6] The internal security of a dictator
the harm dictators cause is great enough,
and should the attack fail it would only 'moral' dictators may be surrounded by can be destabilised by isolating the regime
and their death would remove clear and
make them more bloodthirsty and corrupt advisers using power to serve diplomatically and economically, while
present dangers, then assassination may
paranoid than before. their own interests, as happened in keeping the people informed through
be justifiable as a last resort - the end
Indonesia under Suharto. global communication. Constructive
justifying the means. (2) Dictators may threaten their neigh- engagement remains the best solution'
bours but so do leaders in democracies [6] The security with which dictators history has shown that authoritariaI~
[2] Dictators pose a danger to interna-
such as India and Pakistan, Egypt and surround themselves and the climate of regimes do not survive when a wealthy
tional peace. Their unpopularity at home
Israel, and even the US in Vietnam. fear which they create make it virtually middle class is opposed to them. Creating
frequently causes them to launch foreign
Even under a dictatorship such conflicts impossible for either popular or elite (i.e, the middle class through economics IS
wars as a distraction (e.g. the Argentine
may be very popular with the people for army) opposition to remove them from our best attack on dictators.
military junta invaded the Falkland
patriotic, territorial or ideological reasons. power, as the career of Saddam Hussein
Islands in 1982, and Saddam Hussein
Assassinating dictators will not, therefore. has shown. If widespread suffering and
invaded Kuwait). The removal of one death of thei .. . commonplace
prevent international conflict. elf cmzens IS Possible motions:
individual through assassination may pre- this'
. justifies removing them from power'
. This House would assassinate a dictator.
vent thousands from dying and millions
[3] Even the world's greatest democ- III the only way left. This House believes it is never right to take a
from suffering. racy, the US, has employed terrorist life.
activity, notoriously against Nicaragua
(3) Dictators often promote terrorist
in the early 1980s. Assassination itself is a Related topics:
activity against other states, as in Iraq,
form of terrorism in any case and to use Civil Disobedience
Iran, Syria or Libya, to strike at former
it is to descend to the level of dictators. Ends v. Means
domestic enemies now in exile or as
Democracy (Imposition of)
revenge against governments which have
[4] Many unpleasant regimes have Sanctions (Use of)
supported their opponents. actually been supported by Western Terrorism (Justifiable)
powers, such as Marcos in the Philippines
[4] Most dictators care little for ethics
as a counterweight to communism. This
and ignore international conventions, law,
is not justifiable, but certainly gives
or standards of behaviour. Examples
us no right to preach to others abollt
include Myanmar's collusion in drug

Environment: Links to International Trade and Relations [4] The principle that 'the polluter
. to expect
. poorer d eve' Iopmg
must pay' is already put into practice by
nations to plough
. . money i nto fi
unpro H- L

some countries \11 their domestic policies

Cons able environmenrj] and saf,ety. Ineasures
Pros - fimng companies that pollute the
rather than.
into measures
t 0 Increase
'. .
atmosphere, rivers or oceans. The same
economic growth.
[1] With the threat to the future of the [1] Environmentalism is a luxury of principle should be applied internation-
planet posed by global warming, ocean rich nations. The evidence for the real ally by rich countries and multinational
and air pollution, depletion1£~ i natural causes ofglobal warming is inconclusive. [4] First, ~is. naive to believe that
corporations refusing to trade with coun~
resources and threats to biodiversity, the Environmentalism is a Western bgl1!Reois al~I::.c()rporation will genuinely put the
tries and ~ompanies with records as
environment must be a top priority for f~<!..that should not be imposed on devel- polluters. .> environment before economics in its
all nations. International aid, trade and n jo'ping countries. Linking" environmental cl:oice oftrading partners. Second, a, long
diplomacy should be used to promote protection to trade, aid and diplomacy [5] Coun_tries which show disdain for as there are 501111' countries (as there
environmental protection and conserva- is an unacceptably coercive form of neo- human rights are subjected to diplomatic mevitablv will be) which will trade with
tion. colonialism (i.e. the West: imposing its ~xc~n and economic sanctions by the companies and countries no matter
policies and values on the developing mternatlOnal community. By the same what their environmental record, trade
[2] Environmental protection could world). token,.we should extend this practice to embargoes of the kind proposed will
be made a condition of receiving inter- countries which show disdain for their fail, Those countries that refuse to trade
national aid. This can be done either by [2] Aid should not be tied to any par- fellow humans, their children and their with polluting companies and countries
..directly offering aid to finance program- ticular policies~id-ih-o-uld'be' used to own ecosystem by polluting and depleting will lose out to the less scrupulous, and so
mes of environmental protection, or by ;;:liev~-po~~;ty and disease and to finance the environmenj ult1l11a~ely no country will be able to
refusing to give aid of any kind unless the education of the underprivileged. afford to disadvantage itself economically
environmentally sensitive policies are not as a political tool bytj~e_YVest. Such for the sake of environmental principles.
Possible motions:
put in place. It is in the interest of the a linking of aid to environmental protec-
This House would put the environment first. [5J The abuse of human rights is in
country receiving aid in the long term tion is also deeply hypocriticaL The rich
ThIS House would cease trading with
and the planet as a whole that aid should and powerful countries of the wotla (and
an altogether different league from the
be linked to environmental protection in the World Bank itself, which administers neglect of environmental protection,
This House would not give aid to the which may be undesirable but cannot
one of these ways. Therefore the World many loans and aid grants to developing
POlluter. reasonably be judged to be malicious
Bank should consider the environmental countries) have been responsible, in their
implications of any lending decisions it accumulation of wealth, for massive envi- Related topics: and immoraL The use of diplomatic and
makes. ronrnental destruction (e.g. emission of Ends v. Means economic sanctions against polluters is
greenhouse gases, destruction of ram- unreasonable and extreme.
Legislation v. Individual Freedom
[3] Environmental aid given now will forests). Population Control
save money in the long run by averting Global W annmg . (More Action on)
long-term environmental crises. To take [3] In_tp.e past, foreign aid has very Nuclear Energy
one exam, investment in safe and non- rarely been effective in achieving its aims. Silla kimg (Banning of)
polluting fc IS of energy production will Foreign aid to Somalia, for example.
reduce the health bill of future genera- did not prevent famine and civil strife
tions who might otherwise suffer from overwhelming that country. The reason ~ean Union, Expansion of
th~ eff~cts of disasters such as Chernobyl, for this is often that conditions attached
from the unsafe handling and storage of to aid are ignored by unscrupulous or Pros
undemocratic regimes which use the Cons
nuclear waste, and from respiratory dis-
eases resulting from the burning of fossil money to invest in their own military and [IJ The E uropean U 11I0n
has had (Treat
fuels. industrial programmes. It is, in any case. sUccess i . '. . <0
" n reumnng a contment shattered
II J The EU III the past mav helve
achieved these benefits. but Its m~'mhtTs

by the Second World War. Members get are merely nation states acting in their Related topics:
clear benefits from co-operation and own interests. Iffurther expansion were to Possible motions: Immigration (Relaxation of Laws against)
avoiding confrontation. Trade and pros- sacrifice these interests, then it should not This House believes a wider Europe is not in Commonwealth (Abolition of)
perity are promoted, and citizens have be attempted. Given that all likely new Britain's interest. Single European Currency
increased opportunities to travel and entrants to the EU are relatively poor, for- This House would let them in. United Nations (Failure of)
work abroad. Through demonstrating merly communist states, the advantages United States of Europe
liberal democracy to Eastern Europe, it to current members of including them
may also have helped win the Cold War. are doubtful. Cheap farm produce from
All of these benefits should be extended Eastern Europe would hurt our agn- Islam, Fear of
to others. cultural sector, and cheap wages there
undermine our industries. See the notes on a similar debate under 'China, Fear of'.
[2] The world is dividing into major
trading blocs and the time is right for the [2] The time is not right, even if the
EU to expand. NAFTA and Mercosur are idea were good in theory. Huge changes Pros Cons
growing and a Free Trade Area of the are being undertaken by the current
Americas is proposed, as are deeper links members (Single Market, Single [1] Islam in this context really means [1] A different religious or political
with ASEAN. Europe needs to strengthen Currency, Social Chapter, Schengen Islamic fundamentalism, which places belief does not mean that we should be
itself for future competition with these Agreement, etc.) and they need time religious ideology over considerations of afraid; Christianity, Hinduism and com-
other blocs. A Union with twenty or to consolidate. Attempting to expand democracy, human rights, and so on. munism all have belief systems which
twenty-four members would carry more simultaneously could be disastrous. Such a creed is a threat to regimes in a could be taken to challenge concepts of
international clout than with the current number of Muslim countries (e.g. Egypt, human rights and democratic govern-
fifteen. [3] The last expansion of the EU Algeria). Its adherents in countries such ment. Islamic fundamentalism is also a
was uncontentious because it involved as Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan dubious concept, imposed as an umbrella
[3] Historically, the addition of new richer, north European countries such as have introduced laws based on their inter- term on a number of diverse movements
countries - whatever their circumstances Sweden and Austria. With the exception pretation ofIslamic law, such as restricting - we might as well speak of 'Christian
- has worked because each country has of Norway and Switzerland there arc no the role of women in society. We should countries of the West'.
contributed from its strengths (as the such countries left; instead we would fear this form of Islam as it conflicts with
economist Adam Smith suggested, free only be welcoming states that would take our conception of human rights. [21 Islamic groups are no more likely
trade works because it encourages every- more from the EU than they could gIVe. to resort to violence than those of anv
one to specialise in what he or she is as Greece and Portugal currently do. The [2] Fundamentalist Islamic movements other religious affiliation (IRA, Tamil
good at, rather than waste time and Union can bear a few poorer countries derive their authority from religious Tigers, Basque ETA, etc.). Their use of
money competing in other areas). Britain's without problem, but not many. belief rather than from popular mandate international terrorism stems from the
specialities lie in international finance, (although they sometimes claim this too). particular political circumstances of the
high-technology and creative industries, [4J The greater geopolitical danger This means that they are not bound by Middle East; religion is not the motivator.
and the service sector. Greece, Spain and 111 expanding the EU would be the normal conventions of political behav- Internal violence such as exists in Egypt
Portugal were all integrated without alienation of Russia, which (largeh iour and are more likely to use violence and Algeria is a response to authoritarian
undue difficulty. correctly) identifies it with NATO 'IS to achieve their aims, as with terrorist governments denying Islamic groups a
an alliance designed to strengthen Western groups such as Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, VOIce.
[41 Generosity must be shown in wel- Europe against Soviet expansion. With the GIA in Algeria or the Taliban in
coming former Warsaw Pact states into no clear physical limits to the European Afghanistan.
[3] The Israel-Palestine dispute is more
the European mainstream, reuniting Union, Russia will naturally be suspicious about territory than about religion: in
Europe after its wars. Our future security of where natural expansion may end. [3] The opposition of Islamic groups fact many Palestinians are Christian. The
depends on avoiding the resentment that Antagonising Russia IS in no-one s to Israel will perpetually destabilise the opposition of Islamic states to Israel long
might be caused if we do not. interest. Middle East. and will inevitably bring pre-dates Islamic tund.unentnlism. In

recent times, anyway, it could be argued thefts of vital control equipment for sale Disarmament therefore increases the risk
Islam into confrontation with Israel's on the black market have likewise caused oftheft and proliferation.
that Israel bears more of the blame for
friends in the West. This has led Iran near-accidents. The only way to ensure
the failing peace process than do any
in particular to sponsor international that these do not happen is to eliminate [3] Universal disarmament is impossi-
of the Arab states.
terrorism. the weapons. ble. It requires only one state to maintain
a secret nuclear capability for the system
[3] Nuclear weapons are a deterrent, to fail - without any deterrent, it would
Possible lTIotion: guarding against a perceived threat. To be free to strike at its enemies. Moreover,
This House tears Islam. avoid an imbalance of power, dis- the large nuclear arsenals of Russia and
armament must therefore be universal. the US help to reduce the danger of arms
Related topics: Moreover, it is vital that the superpowers proliferation; in extending a 'nuclear
Churches in Politics disarm. As India and Pakistan have shown, umbrella' over friendly countries, they
China (Fear of) the so-called 'nuclear club' is still presti- remove their need to form an individual
Democracy (Imposition of) gious; treaties such as the Comprehensive deterrent.
Terrorism (Justifiable) Test Ban Treaty cannot succeed while the
United States (Fear of) perception remains that the superpowers [4J The danger of escalation of regional
are simply making permanent their conflicts, and the knowledge on both
nuclear advantage. sides of their mutual ability for destruc-
Nuclear Weapons, Banning of tion, are powerful incentives for govern-
[4] The trend in modern warfare is ments to seek peaceful solutions to their
Cons towards 'surgical strikes', with the mini- problems. Whatever our feelings on the
Pros mum of civilian casualties. Nuclear Cold War, it may well have prevented

[1] Despite the end of the Cold War,

11 J The end of the Cold War has seen a weapons are designed to result in the a devastating third - conventional - world
diversification in the nature of a possible maximum loss of life. Were a modern war from breaking out between East
the danger of a nuclear exchange
nuclear threat, to include use by a number rogue state to employ nuclear weapons, and West. Although the use of nuclear
remains. Previously, it was held in check
of rogue states and by terrorists. The size the justification for a retaliatory strike weapons would be horrifying, the fear of
by the doctrine of MAD (Mutually
of the nuclear arsenal may therefore be would be unclear; the citizens ofa modern their use may have saved countless lives
Assured Destruction) by which a super-
reduced, but in today's complicated poli- democracy would not accept the resultant in the past fifty years, and will continue to
power launching a nuclear strike upon
tical climate, a flexible nuclear deterrent deaths of civilians not responsible for do so in the future.
its opponent would itself be destroyed.
is as vital as ever. their government's actions. Hence, the
With the end of MAD, the risk of use
deterrent role of such weapons has ceased
by a rogue state or a limited exchange in
12 ] There is no 'quick fix'; the process to be effective. Possible motion:
a regional conflict becomes more likely.
of disarmament is long and complex. This House would ban nuclear missiles.
Recent events in the Middle East and in
The nuclear material in the warhcld
the Indian sub-continent highlight these
cannot be destroyed, and must there- Related topics:
concerns. Ideology v. Pragmatism
fore be stored in a secure facility. The
demoralisation and disorganisation of Armaments (Limitation of Conventional)
[2J As the Russian military dis-
the Russian military, protecting sonIC China (Fear of)
integrates, mistakes become more likely.
thousand such facilities, often leaves them United States (Fear of)
In 1995 a Norwegian scientific rocket
unguarded; moreover, the Russian goV- Nuclear Energy
was mis-identified by under-trained radar
ernment has no accurate records to tLICk Science: a Menace to Civilisation)
operators, placing the Russian missile sys-
nuclear materials, making it impossible
tems only a few minutes away rrom a full
to tell when a quantity is missing·
strike; power-cuts to missile silos and

and subsequent children disqualify unpleasant, ignoring basic human rights

population Control families from a range of state benefits. with state intervention (e.g. China with
Contraception can be distributed widely its one-child policy) or attacking deeply
Unlimited population growth cannot be a good thing; Thomas Malthus pointed out
and cheaply (often a big issue in Africa), held religious beliefs (Catholicism and
200 years ago that the human capacity for reproduction could disastrously overtake
and educational programmes can enthu- Islam) through promoting contraception
the resources available to mankind. The debate now is whether we are heading for a
siastically promote the advantages of and therefore, by implication, relaxed
'Malthusian' disaster, and whether measures to avoid it should be 'soft' (education of
small families - as can better provision for sexual morality. Such measures are often
women, economic growth) or 'hard' (promotion of free contraceptives, abortion,
parents in old age. deeply unpopular within societies on
penalties for large families, etc.).A Proposition which ducks the second type and sticks
which they are imposed, and only totali-
only to soft measures does not deserve to win this debate.
[4] Restricting population growth tarian governments (such as China) are
has other spin-offs, particularly the em- able to implement them.
Cons powerment of women who can be given
control of reproduction. This allows [4] If our aim is the empowerment of
[1] Malthus argued that human repro- [1] Malthus predicted a major popula- them to pursue education and job oppor- women then legislating against families
ductive potential was geometric (1-2- tion crisis in the mid-nineteenth century, tunities, as well as better health and longer of more than one child, for example,
4-8-16 etc.) while growth in resources but none came. In the 1970s the neo- life expectancy. The spread of sexually seems entirely counterproductive. Such
was only arithmetic (1-2-3-4-5). Even- Malthusian Limit to Growth predicted transmitted diseases is contained when a measure radically reduces the control
tually a disparity between the two will another catastrophe, also erroneously. condoms are more widely used. of women over their reproductive life.
end in crisis, such as war over resources, Most disasters are caused by ideological It is certainly a good idea to increase the
famine, malnutrition, epidemic disease or ethnic rivalry, poor government availability of condoms and provide edu-
and environmental devastation. Such management of resources (famine) or Possible motions: cation on safe sex and STDs, but that
tragedies are clearly identifiable today greed (which causes much environmental This House calls for further population does not mean that we should make con-
and are sure to become worse unless steps devastation, such as the Bangladeshi control. traception (or sterilisation or one-child
are taken to limit the population growth. floods). It is difficult to prove any link This House would go forth and stop multi- families) compulsory. This would be
We owe it to future generations to give between natural disasters and over- plying. an unacceptable constraint on personal
them a chance of existence free from population. freedom.
Related topics:
malnutrition, poverty and so on.
[2] The real problem is not rapid popu- Legislation v. Individual Freedom
lation growth but inequitable distribution China (Fear of)
[2] There are, of course, other global
of resources between a rich Northern Abortion on I)emaml
problems, but population control still
hemisphere and a much poorer South. Euthanasia
needs addressing; problems of inequality
More urgent priorities to address arc Feminism (Devaluation of Parenthood by)
are often exacerbated by those of over-
different and fairer trade and develop- Marriage
population. Human prosperity and hap-
ment policies. An end to E U agricultural Co-education
piness and the environment are all
protectionism would greatly aid Africa. Sex Education
for example, while the large quantities of Prostitution (Legalisation of)
meat eaten in richer countries currently Contraception for Under-age Girls
[3] Many different means exist to
require a much less productive use of Eugenics: IVF and Genetic Screening
restrict population but it is not necessary
agricultural land than if our diets were Genetic Engineering
to compel individuals to undergo vasec-
tomies, abortions, contraceptive injec- more vegetarian.
tions, and so on. Instead, governments can
apply economic pressure on those with [3] Attempts to limit population
large families, as in China where second growth have traditionally been very

Sanctions, Use of ensure that they go directly to the starving against the 'foreign oppressors' who denv
people, not into military storehouses. them food, and usmg the SUffering l;f
By 'sanctions' we mean here economic sanctions, including cultural boycotts (such as the people as a stick to beat Western
the ban on sporting ties with South Africa in the 1980s), the denial of expected aid [4J Even if sanctions arc often ineffec- consciences.
packages, and restrictions on trade. The debate must address the principle of sanctions, tive, to continue to trade with nasty
but should also include salient examples (at the time of writing, Iraq, Nigeria, Cuba regimes is complicity in their actions. [4] To claim the moral high ground in
and North Korea, for example). Too often in the past we have sold them this way is pure hypocrisy. Sanctions have
arms, trained their soldiers or bought invariably been used selectively, putting
their oil, diamonds, gold or crops. national interests first - despite their
Pros Cons questionable behaviour, China, India and
[5] Sanctions can be effective not only Nigeria have not been the targets for
[1] Economic sanctions are the best [1] Sanctions are fine in theory, but by changing the domestic behaviour of heavy sanctions because they are seen
method available to the international they have little effect - and can even do regimes but also by limiting the resources as valuable strategic and economic part-
community for altering the behaviour of more harm than good. The standard available to them for future external ners. Serbia, Kenya and Cuba - which are
unpleasant regimes. Bloodshed is avoided example of success against South Africa is aggression. Without arms, fuel, communi- targeted more seriously - are seen as of
and direct intervention into another questionable; many factors were at work cations technology and so on, capacity for little value to the West.
country's affairs is eschewed. By linking there and change was a long time in mischief making is severely curtailed.
sanctions to specific behaviour we wish coming. Cuba, Iran, Iraq and Nigeria [5J Again, there will always be some-
to change, we can send a clear message to have all been under sanctions for long one else willing to trade - and dictators
regimes which abuse human rights, defy periods without any sign of crumbling to Possible m.otions: are much more likely to find arms and
democratic election results, proliferate Western pressure. This House believes that sanctions do more technology on the black market than
nuclear weapons and so on. harm than good. grain and medical supplies! The deter-
[2J Elections III Africa have been This House believes that sanctions are always mination fostered by refusal to give in to
[2] There are limited examples where largely cosmetic; none of the leaders preferable to war. sanctions can also outweigh the loss of
economic sanctions have been con- involved has lost power through elections, resources suffered.
clusively effective, but that is because which are conducted amid menacing Related topics:
sanctions have seldom been applied military presence at the polling stations. Ends v. Means
effectively by the whole international It will always be difficult to obtain full Armaments (Limitation of Conventional)
community. Following the end of the international consensus on sanctions; and China (Fear of)
Cold War, new opportunities exist to the targets are usually more insular states Environment (Links to International Trade
gain fuller co-operation and enforcement which depend less on wide trade links in and Relations)
(e.g. against Iraq) and thus to succeed. any case. Even when potentially effective, Islam (Fear of)
In recent years Western pressure on they may be circumvented by smuggling. United Nations (Failure of)
President Moi of Kenya and other African corruption and other forms of sanction
leaders to hold elections has been notably breaking.
successful. Single European Currency
[3] Too often the sanctions hurt the
[3] Sanctions can be designed in such a people they are meant to help; the poor
way that the suffering of the people is will always be a last priority in times of Pros Cons
minimised and pressure on the leadership economic crisis, while the ruling elite will
maximised. Medical supplies continue take first pick of available resources. [1] Britain should Join the European [I] Monetary policy decisions (e.g,
to be sent to Iraq, and food exports to Sanctions can also be exploited by leaders single currency in its own self-interest. interest rates) must be linked to fiscal
North Korea are carefully monitored to - tostcr mj; a sense of national resentment All European countries except Britain and policy decisions (regarding taxation and

Denmark are fully committed to a single expenditure) in order to have a balanced. could be expected to earn a stable and mconveniences but an inevitable aspect
currency, which will be the currency for healthy economy. If we surrender mone- predictable price. A single currency will of an international market. To have a
every consumer in the European Union tary policy to a European Central Bank bring stability and security for business single currency for the EU would not
by 2002. If Britain does not fully opt in, (which is the institution through which and thereby job security for employees. eliminate this fact but would simply
we will be left out of the most important the single currency will be administered), Jobs will no longer be at risk from the put British businesses at the mercy of
and powerful political and economic then we will also have to surrender fiscal vagaries of currency markets. the entire European economy. So a strong
bloc to emerge since the end of the Cold policy to the EU - i.e. Europe will have to Euro or a weak Euro, resulting from
War. The single currency is a crucial part set levels of taxation and public spending [4] A single currency for the whole of economic changes in other nations, would
of a really free market within Europe and for all its member countries. In other the EU is more likely to enjoy a strong have repercussions for British businesses.
a stable European Union. Economic and words, all important policy decisiom position on the financial markets, in Having a single currency is to put all
political self-interest should over-ride will be taken out of the hands of till' competition with the US dollar and the your eggs in one basket. The whole of the
rhetorical jingoism. Real patriotism is British parliament and given to European Japanese yen than individual currencies European Union will go into recession
doing what is best for Britain in the long bankers. That is why a single European are. together if a few national economies
term. currency will mean a loss of sovereignty fail. Currently fluctuations reflect real
and a loss of democratic accountability. [5] For all the alarmist rhetoric of national changes.We do not want Britain's
f2] A single currency brings many Real patriotism is safeguarding the power the anti-Europeans, a single currency will economic prospects to be determined
tangible benefits. For example, there arc of the British people and their parliament. have little effect on individuals' everyday by developments in Italy, Portugal, Spain
no longer bank commission charges taken lives. The coins of the 'Euro ' will have and Greece.
out of your money when you have to [2] There are ways other than having one side the same throughout the EU but
change it from one currency to another. a single currency to seck to reduce the other side left to each individual [4] The Euro will not be guaranteed,
So travellers in the EU will save money commission charges for travellers. 'Euro- country so that in Britain they can still simply by the fact of its existence, to be
by having a single currency. In 1998, if cheques', for example, can be used in all bear the monarch's image on one side. strong against the dollar or the yen, espe-
you started off with £100 and travelled European countries, and will minimise The fact that it is no longer called the cially if the convergence criteria for
through every EU country simply chang- bank charges. Credit cards can also be 'Pound'is of no material consequence, any EMU are fudged, as they increasingly
ing it into the local currency without used throughout Europe. No travellers more than decimalisation and replacing seem to be. Such a fudged currency
spending anything, by the time you got (except perhaps the very stupid) actually imperial (inches, pounds) with metric would be in danger oflosing international
back to Britain you would have had only travel through several counties simply (centimetres, kilogrammes) measurements confidence - a crucial factor in financial
£50.50 left. changing cash into the local currency .it had any profound political or cultural markets. The whole of the EU would
each new border. The loss of effects. then suffer.
[3J With a single currency there will sovereignty and democratic answerabilitv
no longer be the problem of varying that the single currency would bring is [6] There are stringent 'convergence [5 J The pound is a central part of
exchange rates that make business unstable much too high a price to pay for small criteria' for inclusion ttl European British heritage. Decimalisation of our
and insecure. For example, in 1997-9H, savings over existing payment methods tor Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) currency (until 1971 there were 240
the British manufacturing industry went travellers that minimise bank charges. and so strong members of the single cur- pence to the pound, threepenny and six-
into recession because the strength of rency will not have to 'carry' weaker ones. penny coins, and one and two shilling
the pound on the currency market meant [3] Each nation state has its ow» Only countries that have reduced their coins) was a major concession to
that British goods were prohibitively currencv as a sign of the economic national debt to acceptable levels and European integration; to give up the
expensive compared with those made in strength' of the n;tion. Currencies «Jllid reduced unemployment sufficiently will pound altogether would be many times
countries with weaker currencies. With be nicrccd indefinitely until there was be allowed to Join. Economic conver- more significant. The notes of the Euro
a single currency these dangers would be onlv.' 011~ bulobal curren·cv.
_ but that would gence has been flcilitated in the run up to will have no national symbols on thcm.
eliminated and the purchasing power of be to ignore facts of national differences EMU by fixing exchange rates through but the EU flag and examples of
your money in one EU country would be m productivity and wealth. Variations the European Exchange Rate Mechanism European culture. These changes arc not
the same as in any other. and your produce 1I1 exchange rates are not arbitrary (ERM). In any case, every currency and superficial but part of an insidious erosion

its associated monetary policy, from the from the everyday level upwards of be that the eventual outcome of a terrorist the satisfactory outcome is only achieved
yen to the dollar to the pound, is Britain's heritage and historic culture. campaign is beneficial and this outweighs once the terrorists are forced to renounce
inevitably used over a wide range of dif- the harm done in achieving it. History violence, but in most cases the fighting
ferent economic circumstances (e.g. the 161 The effect of a single currency III will be the judge, as when terrorism in continues and nothing IS achieved.
south-east of England is currently much the EU will be that the economic strength East Pakistan helped to bring about the The IRA won no concessions from the
richer than the north-east). A single cur- of the richer countries (Germanv, creation of Bangladesh, or the Jews forced British government in seventy years of
rency builds stability on a widely diverse Britain, France) will prop up the poorel the British out of Palestine and led to the violent campaigning, and the PLO was
economic base. If the United States can countries (Greece, Portugal). The poorer creation of Israel. forced to renounce terrorism before
function with J single currency then so countries will benefit at the expense of negotiations began.
too can the countries of the EU. the taxpayers 111 richer countries. [3] Terrorism draws international
The economies of the countries of the attention to your cause in a way in which [3] In fact, terrorism tends to draw
EU are too diverse to be unified by a nothing else can. international condemnation; the coun-
Possible rnorions: single currency. The analogy with the tries that support terrorist groups tend to
This House welcomes the single European United States is, indeed, telling. The [4] 'One man's terrorist is another be Islamic fundamentalist states and the
currency. only way in which a single currency man's freedom fighter.' The terrorists US with its notoriously immoral foreign
This House believes in the Euro. can be administered effectively is in a may see themselves as fighting a genuine policy.
This House believes that the pro-European is politically unified country with central war, directed against military targets;
the true patriot. direct tax-raising powers. The inevitable we condone killing soldiers and even an [4] War is a two-way process, and if
implication of EMU is political unification mevitable number of civilian casualties in the military targets are not attacking
Related topics: and the creation of a United States of wartime. you then it is not war. There must also
European Union (Expansion of) Europe. The desire to retain national be sensible criteria for defining war, or
United States of Europe political sovereignty and identity thus [5] Terrorism is about causing fear. any lunatic could declare himself a soldier
demands opposition to a single currency. Although some civilians will usually have and kill with impunity. Civilian casualties
to die, much of the campaign may not in wartime are usually accidental; any
involve actually violence but merely the attack deliberately targeting civilians
Terrorism, Justifiable exploitation of existent fear. In 1997 the therefore devalues the claim to be
IRA threatened to blow up several rail- 'freedom fighters'.
Be careful not to let this descend into a definitional debate about the exact meaning way stations in south-eastern England
of 'terrorism'. The Proposition is expected to defend violent behaviour towards without doing so; and they have used [51 The bare minimum is still unac-
civilians, at least in some cases; however, the Opposition cannot necessarily expect phony warnings to evacuate buildings, ceptable - no amount of phony warnings
blowing up kindergartens to be defended. exploiting the fear caused by previous from the IRA will erase the stark reality
explosions. The level of violence can be - of their surprise bombing at Omagh. The
Pros Cons and often is - kept to the bare minimum more often a terrorist exploits the fear
necessary to be taken seriously. from a previous attack, the more the pub-
[1] Sometimes minorities under [I J Having no other means of exprcs- lic will begin to see through it and the
oppressive regimes have no other means sion is no justification tor harm done to terrorist must attack again.
of expression, as they arc denied access to innocent civilians. Gandhi and others
media, the political system or the outside showed the potential success of peacdi.d Possible rnorions: Related topics:
world, as were the ANC in South Africa protest. A noble cause is devalued if it IS This House believes that terrorism can be Civil Disobedience
under apartheid. As a last resort it may be fought through violence. justifiable. Ends v. Means
defensible to resort to violence. This House believes that one man's terrorist Pacifism
12] There are very few cases of is another man's freedom fighter. I )ictators (Assassination of)
12] The cnd justitics the means; it may terrorism actually working. In some cases Terrorists (Negotiation with)

Terrorists, Negotiation with example, merely let violence continue capitulation IS consistent non-
in Northern Ireland for her decade in negotiation, even if it is not always
As with the previous topic, much depends on the definition - both of ,terrorists' and power. successful.
of 'negotiation'. A brave Proposition will define it as 'listening, and being prepared to
make concessions, to those who use violence against civilians to achieve their politi-
cal aims'. The debate is really only relevant to democracies, as dictators would have no possible motion: Related topics:
interest in negotiation. This House would talk to terrorists. Ends v. Means
Ideology v. Pragmatism
Terrorism (Justifiable)
Pros Cons War Crimes (Prosecution of)

[1] Negotiation may lead to lives being [1] 'Political prisoners' tend to be
saved, and this must be any government's imprisoned terrorists who will kill again United Nations, Failure of
first priority. Hostages tend to be civilians on their release, so any hostages saved in
who are not the property of the govern- the present must be weighed against This debate can often descend into example-swapping. A better tactic is to use
ment to be sacrificed for other matters. probable future casualties. Second, there examples, but to focus on the nature of the organisation and whether or not it has
If the price to pay for their safety IS is no guarantee that hostages will not be fulfilled its own aims.
the release of 'political' prisoners, it is killed anyway once their demands are
cheap. met.
Pros Cons
[2] Negotiation in its simplest form 12] Keeping an open dialogue with
means 'talking to'. We must keep an open terrorist groups gives them political [1] The United Nations was founded [1] To a large extent the UN has ful-
dialogue with terrorist groups, to under- legitimacy which they do not deserve. It in the aftermath of the Second World filled its remit, helping to prevent a global
stand them and encourage them to take is better to have no relationship what- War, in an attempt to preserve peace and war, standing up to aggression (especially
part in the political process without soever with them until they renounce to build a better world founded upon in Korea and Kuwait) and making human
arms. violence, to show that they are voluntarily respect for human rights. There have been rights a powerful worldwide concept
excluding themselves from democracy. so many conflicts, with so much loss of which states can flout but not ignore - or
[3] History shows us that negotiations life, in the past fifty years that it is clear else why would China have tried to
have led to ceasefires. The British gov- 13] Terrorists want all or nothing, and that the UN has not satisfied the hopes of justify its record as better than that
ernment under John Major held secret in many cases negotiations have failed. its founders. Not only do many regimes of the US? Some UN failures are tragic,
talks with the IRA in the early 1990s, Several IRA ceasefires were abandoned still abuse basic human rights, but the but it cannot be expected to succeed in
which led to the first, breakthrough due to impatience on behalf of the UN has been powerless to prevent ethnic every case; it should be judged against the
ceasefires; Bill Clinton negotiated with Provos, and meaningful peace has not cleansing and genocide in Central Africa outcome if it had never existed.
the PLO in making advances towards been established in the Middle East. and the Balkans.
peace in the Middle East. [2] Mutually assured destruction may
[4] Once any concessions are made to [2] The UN cannot be credited with have prevented nuclear warfare, but the
14] Non-negotiation - the refusal to terrorists, a dangerous precedent is set; preventing another world war; this is UN has been the global focus for nego-
make any concessions to terrorists unless other terrorist groups will be encouraged entirely due to the US/USSR arms race tiation and co-operation in the way
they give up their weapons - has no effect to believe that they can achieve their and nuclear technology, which has made its predecessor, the League of Nations,
on terrorists, who are unlikely to be aims with violence. The only possible it too dangerous to escalate local conflict. never was. Both formal and informal
brought to their knees by their enemies prevention of this encouragement ~ Similarly, human rights and democracy compromises can be reached in tense
not talking to them. Margaret Thatcher's which could lead to a disastrous escalation have been promoted through the deter- situations. The end of the Cold War has
firm stance of non-negotiation, for of terrorist violence and government mination of the West (what used to made co-operation via the UN even

be called 'the free world') to stand up easier, as shown by prompt action against united Nations, Standing Army for
to communism, and by the obvious Iraqi aggression and attempts to make
link between democracy and material peace in Central Africa, Angola, the A 'standing army' is one that is always ready for action, rather than one assembled only
prosperity - not by the UN. Balkans and Cambodia. Where it has on an ad hoc basis in times of crisis. The Proposition should have a broadly plausible
failed recently, it tends to be in conflicts plan for such an army, but need not go into very specific detail - an Opposition that
[3] Many of the UN's failures stem within sovereign states, where the UN has argues the scheme would fail because soldiers would disagree whether to drive on the
from its intrinsic bureaucratic short- little mandate to act. right or left is missing the point!
comings, such as the ability of any
permanent member of the Security [3] The Security Council could cer-
Council to veto decisions. The selection tainly be changed to reflect the evolving Pros Cons
of these members is looking increasingly nature of world powers. Rotating seats,
arbitrary and is not dependent on com- allocated on a continental basis, would [1] At present the ability of the United [I] The extent to which this problem
mitment to the UN ideals (China, for be a possibility. This is not a reason to Nations to enforce its decisions, even if is one of rapid reaction is questionable.
example, sells arms and nuclear tech- condemn the whole work of the UN. reached through broad international Ultimately, the UN is called upon to act
nology to dangerous regimes, while the consensus, is very limited. Too often, by in a wide variety of complex situations,
US refuses to pay its contributions to [4] The UN's greatest successes, which the time it has persuaded member states none of which offers a simple solution.
the UN). Some resolutions passed by have changed the face of the world, have to contribute a meagre number of troops Reaction could easily be speeded up
large majorities in the General Assembly not been in the area of peacekeeping for peacekeeping or aid protection, since many crises can be predicted and
(e.g. against Israel) have not been imple- and diplomacy. Through its agencies the crisis has peaked and many lives troops committed in advance by national
mented, in large part due to obstruction (e.g. the World Health Organisation, the have been lost unnecessarily, as happened governments.
by the US and other Security Council FAO, and Unicef) it has co-ordinated and in war in Croatia, Rwanda or Albania.
members. promoted efforts to improve the lives of Knowledge of such limitations may even [21 The United Nations is not a
billions. Smallpox has been eradicated, prevent the attempt being made at all. government in its own right and should
[4] International development has and the basic calorific intake significantly not be given the trappings of one. Its
been promoted more through the loans [2] To solve the problem, the UN
raised on the Indian sub-continent, for effectiveness is due to its being a trusted
of the World Bank and through the should be given its own standing army:
example. It is hard to believe that volun- intermediary, not a policeman; and its
benefits of free trade (under GATT and recruited, equipped, financed and com-
tary agencies or national governments unelected leaders (the Security Council)
the WTO), which are independent of manded independently of any national
would or could have had these effects. would fail to give its army any demo-
the UN. Nor is the UN involved in the army. Like the Roman army, or the
cratic legitimacy. Funding is already a
majority of development aid from French Foreign Legion, these soldiers
major problem for the UN and a hugely
national governments. would be a multinational force, loyal to
Possible motions: expensive army would not be funded by
their own flag and the principles for
This House believes that the United Nations national governments which it could one
has failed. which it stands. Funding could be con-
day oppose. Countries currently commit
tributed by member countries, in the
This House believes that the UN is a tooth- troops to the UN for valuable training
knowledge that they would not have
less watchdog. opportunities; this incentive would be
to contribute arms and troops to UN
lost. The secrets of advanced weapon
ventures as they previously did.
Related topics: technology would never be released by
Ideology v. Pragmatism [31 With committed, independent the countries which had developed them.
Democracy (Imposition of) soldiers, the UN might be more prepared
Sanctions (Use of) to commit such troops to dangerous [3] There are countless conflicts
United Nations (Standing Army fin) situations in which Western powers have around the world where UN troops
United States (Fear of) no direct economic or strategic interest could usefullv be deployed, and no possi-
(e.g. Rwanda) than is the case at present. bility of it atfording all of them. The only

let its short-term domestic agenda drive and America is not unusual here. More
[4J Policy co-ordination would be easier way of distinguishing is, unfortunatelv
its foreign policy, as has happened towards important is its long-term commitment
if only one organisation was involved. to prioritise major conflicts and the intc;,'
Cuba, Colombia, Libya, Israel and Iran. It to the causes of democracy, human rights
At the moment, a number of countries ests of the countries contributing mOst
ignores the realities of international affairs and free trade, which it does seek justifi-
contribute small forces which have to be of the funding to the UN.
co-ordinated despite having a wide variety and may prevent realistic and effective ably to export to the world.
of strategic traditions, languages, commu- [4] At the moment, the UN can ask for settlements being reached.
[2] The US provides leadership within
nication standards, weapon systems, and so a wide variety of equipment and types of
[2] The USA also threatens with its the UN, NATO and even in Asia, and
on. troops (e.g. tanks, paratroopers, marin-..
combination of vast military and eco- frequently acts to protect the weak and
engineers, bombers, surveillance aircraft)
nomic power with isolationism. The uphold international norms of behaviour,
[5] The nationality of current forces to meet the needs of a specific situation.
difficulties successive presidents have as in Kuwait (1991), Taiwan (1996),
'lent' to the UN can make a great differ- Either a standing army would have to bc
had in securing the passage of inter- Bosnia (1996-8) and Kosovo (1998). US
ence to their effectiveness. Traditional well enough equipped to deal with anv
friendships and foreign policy interests of conceivable situation in any terrain i;l national treaties - most recently, the ban presidents have brokered many peace
treaties, using the implied threat of US
their home countries will affect their the world - at unthinkable expense - or on chemical weapons and the authority
to negotiate free trade agreements - and in displeasure and the incentive of US
reading of the situation and behaviour it would lack essential equipment.
obtaining funding for international investment and subsidy to cajole the
on the ground, and may result in certain
programmes through Congress demon- people of former Yugoslavia, Koreans, and
forces being pulled out to avoid a conflict [5J Some soldiers even within a stand-
strate that American politicians are not Israelis and Palestinians into compromise.
of interests. The UN can be subject to ing army will face divided loyalties in any
prepared to face up to the responsibilities Precisely because the US could retreat
accusations of favouritism. A professional conceivable conflict situation - would
of power. Given the country's influence, into self-sufficient isolation if it wished,
standing army would avoid this. their allegiance to the UN flag outweigh
this behaviour sets a bad example to the when it does intervene it is respected and
loyalty to their own religion, country
or even family? In the present situation, rest of the world - and so does its abysmal listened to.
Possible motions: individual nations volunteer troops and record in paying dues to the United
Nations. [3J No-one forces people to like Walt
This House would create a United Nations an attempt can be made to match neutral
Disney, Big Mal'S or soft drinks; American
standing army. donors to specific problems.
This House would use force to defend human [3] The US is clearly guilty of cultural products are popular because they are
imperialism, dominating the world with appealing to anyone's tastes and represent
its tastes in films, TV, popular music, a culture which values freedom and
Related topics: clothes and food and drink which are opportunity. Nor is the US universally
National Service ((Re-)Introduction of) eradicating other traditions of great successful; EuroDisney was forced to
Armaments (Limitation of Conventional) antiquity and value - as with McDonald's stress European influences on its food
Sanctions (Use of) in Asia, Disney in Europe, Coca-Cola and management style, while the local
worldwide, the influence of American ThumpsUp! cola is still the biggest seller
tastes on French wine-making and basket- in India. When the US does succeed,
United States, Fear of ball in the Caribbean. Not only is the this is a natural by-product of the global
erosion of local cultures regrettable, but communication network which the
See the notes on a similar debate under 'China, Fear of'. American culture tends to be shallower, whole world welcomes.
cuter and less earthy than more sober
Pros Cons

[1] The USA poses a significant threat 11] Every country's foreign policy is Possible motions:
to world peace through its tendency to influenced by domestic considerations This House fears the US.

This House would support its friendly neigh- Related topics: taxation and spending throughout [2] EMU has already gone too far. A
bourhood superpower. China (Fear of) Europe, set down a common foreign and single currency should itself be opposed
This House wishes that the Plymouth Rock Democracy (Imposition of) security policy, a common legal system since it does indeed inevitably lead to
had landed on the Pilgrim Fathers. Environment (Links to International Trade and so on. This will result in a United political decisions being taken out of
and Relations) States of Europe that can compete as a the hands of national governments. This
Islam (Fear of) true 'superpower' with other major world is undemocratic. European bankers and
Sanctions (Use of) powers such as the US and China. legislators will take control of our lives,
United Nations (Failure of) leaving our own elected representatives
Nuclear Energy [2] Economic and monetary union impotent. As for the European parliament
cannot succeed without a central govern- low turn-outs 111 elections have
ment making crucial decisions on taxa- repeatedly shown apathy and a lack of
tion and spending - political decisions confidence in that institution from the
United States of Europe that need to be taken out of the hands of people of Europe. They have also shown
national governments, and put into the that people vote on national issues rather
With the rapid advance of economic and monetary union in Europe in the 1990s the hands of a central European legislature. than Europe-wide issues. The correct level
question still remains open as to what political shape the European Union should take. This will not be 'undemocratic', since of representative democracy is the level of
Opinion spreads between two opposing poles - the pro-Europeans (in this case the such a legislature will be elected by the the nation state.
Proposition side) who value European integration above all, and the anti-Europeans, population of the entire EU, just as in
or 'Eurosceptics' (in this case the Opposition side) who argue for the maintenance of the US members of the Senate and of [3] 'Subsidiarity' is just a piece of
national autonomy and political sovereignty of member states above all else. More par- the House of Representatives are elected 'Euro-spcak' to disguise the fact the fed-
ticularly, this debate is about the merits of a 'United States of Europe' - a federal by all States. The central legislature eralism is about taking power away from
European Union modelled on the US with a central federal government which passes will be an extension of the existing national governments. Iffederalism meant
legislation, raises taxes and determines levels of public spending, a federal judiciary European parliament. The relationship devolving power to the appropriate level,
and a central bank. The alternative is power remaining principally in the hands of the between this parliament and national then decisions about national security,
governments of individual member states. governments will be analogous to the levels of taxation and spending on schools,
current relationship between national and hospitals and social security would be
local governments. made by the govermnent of the nation
Pros Cons state.
[3] A federal Europe, as envisioned
[11 It is in the individual self-interest of [11 Economic matters need to be by the Maastricht treaty of 1991, will [4] The EU is not a logical political or
all the member countries of Europe to separated from political matters. The be governed on the principle of 'sub- cultural unit. Unlike the US it does not
continue the process of integration so EU as a trading bloc is indeed beneficial sidiarity'. In other words, federalism is even have a shared language. Each of the
successfully initiated by the Single Market to its member states. But trading blocs do not just about centralisation but about nation states of Europe has its own par-
and the implementation of European not need to turn into politically cen- devolving power to the appropriate level. ticular culture, language, legal precedents,
economic and monetary union (EMU) tralised federations. NAFTA and ASEAN Regional decisions will be made region- constitution, customs and traditions. It is
subsequent to the Maastricht treaty. This are successful trading blocs, but they ally while other decisions will appro- not an appropriate candidate tor federal-
process constitutes the European Union do not feel the need to have a common priately be made centrally - e.g. decisions isation. Entry into a United States of
as a political and economic unit that has currency or one single federal govern- on immigration controls, trade policy, and Europe would mean the 'normalisation'
greater power and stability than the sum ment in order to maintain that success. security policy. of each country so that it lost its historic
of its parts. For this unit to be strength- The benefits of an economic alliance or a traditions and institutions. The British
ened and stabilised still further, full feder- relatively loose 'confederation' between [41 Even in the US there is no longer monarchy, and the judicial system would
alisation is required. This will provide countries need not become afederatioll for one shared language - some US schools go the way of Imperial measurements and
a central government to set levels of the economic benefits to he maintained. now teach in Spanish as a first language, the pound - sacrificed in the name of

for example. The United States of Europe European unity. The fact that we can World War, the suspects would have been Those who may be prosecuted now were
would similarly have several languages. retain 'national traditions' such as morris prosecuted; they should not escape trial generally very young, very junior and
Switzerland and Canada are other exam- dancing, Yorkshire puddings or football simply because it did not. Age is no frequently non-Germans who were in
ples of countries with successful federal hooliganism is no consolation for the fact defence. fear of the consequences of non-co-
governments but no single shared lan- that the historic way the British people operation. This does not excuse their
guage. There is no need for alarmism. govern themselves has been lost. [2] We owe justice to the victims of actions, but it suggests that there is no
As the example of the US in particular war crimes, especially those who died in overwhelming case for prosecution at this
shows, federalism is quite compatible Hitler's 'Final Solution'. Crimes without stage.
with cultural pluralism and the retention Possible motions: motive apart from bigotry are so abhor-
of different national and ethnic traditions. This House believes that Europe should be rent that they must be punished. We [2j Such trials are very likely to fail, as
the next United States. cannot claim to have learned the lessons the experience of many countries in
This House welcomes European federalism. of the past without settling its unfinished the past decade has shown - conclusive
business. identification is very difficult after fifty
Related topics: years have elapsed, and there is a real
Legislation v. Individual Freedom [3] Victims are among those most in danger that innocent men and women
Devolution of Scotland and Wales favour of prosecution, and we should not will be convicted, not least because of the
Regional Government assume for them whether they can cope great pressure on courts, witnesses and
Immigration (Relaxation of Laws against) with the pain of testifying. Many have juries to satisfy the demands of victims.
Commonwealth (Abolition of) had to live with horrifying memories for
European Union (Expansion of) years, and to see justice done may achieve [3] It is questionable whether such
Single European Currency a cathartic closure. trials are in the best interests of surviving
victims; many may be subpoenaed to
[4] With the terrible genocide 111 testify against their will, while even vol-
War Crimes, Prosecution of recent years, it is especially important to unteers may find the process hideously
prosecute past war criminals to show that traumatising. Given that many such trials
Traditionally, this has been a debate about the prosecution of suspected Nazi war such atrocities will never go unpunished. will collapse for lack of evidence, even
criminals, often camp guards and civilian officials responsible for many deaths. Often the most committed witnesses may find
they were not German and were able to evade prosecution after 1945 by settling [5] Airing of the issues will remind the their testimony discounted for errors
around the world, while evidence was lost in the chaotic postwar period or was hidden world of the history of the crimes, and of memory, and suffer the anguish of
behind the Iron Curtain. Since the fall of communism in the 1980s it is now possible promote tolerance so that they never watching their former tormentors go
to identify many more suspects, often in their eighties, and considerable debate has happen again. free.
raged about whether it is desirable to prosecute such old men. Atrocities in Rwanda
and Bosnia have led to prosecutions of 'current' criminals. [4] Those who commit such atrocities
Possible motions: do not care for legal niceties like this. War
This House would continue to prosecute crimes are committed from fanatic hatred
Pros Cons Nazi war crimes. and bigotry, while rational evaluation of
This House would hunt them down to the the future plays little part.
[IJ No matter how long ago war [1] There comes a point where a line ends of the earth.
crimes - such as participation in geno- has to be drawn under the past; prosecu- [5] In fact, prosecution of elderly
cide, torture and murderous reprisals tion of very old men and women serves Related topic: suspects, even if guilty, may generate
against civilians - took place we must no purpose. The atrocities are remem- Ideology v. Pragmatism sympathy for them and spark a rise in
never forget them. If evidence had come bered anyway, and the civil and military far-right movements and ethnic tensions
to light immediately after the Second leaders most responsible are already dead. across Europe.

Moral and Religious


Abortion on Demand

Abortion was always considered sinful, and was criminalised in Britain and most states
of the US in the nineteenth century. Back-street abortions became the most popular
way to limit the size of families. In Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act legalised abortion
when advised by a doctor on medical grounds. In the US, the Roe v. Wade case of
1973 in the Supreme Court set down the principle that in the first three months
abortion is to be allowed, and in the second trimester it is to be allowed if it is required
in the interests of maternal health. In neither country is 'abortion on demand' - abor-
tions undertaken principally as a form of birth-control at the wish of the pregnant
woman - officially allowed, but doctors (especially those in private clinics) will happily
certify that carrying the pregnancy to term would cause severe mental distress to the

Pros Cons

[1] It is a woman's right to decide, in [1] The right to do as we wish to our

conjunction with the father when appro- bodies must be curtailed by the rights of
priate, whether she wishes to have a baby. others to be free from harm. In many
It is her body and she ultimately should instances the right to do as we wish to
control what happens to it. It is people, our body is overruled, e.g. drug laws exist
not fertilised eggs or foetuses, that have to guard against my making myself a
'rights'. danger to others by altering my mind
with drugs. In this case the mother's
[2] If abortion is not allowed on rights are overruled by the right to life of
demand, women will go to 'back-street the unborn child.
abortionists' where lack of expertise and
of sterile conditions can be a serious risk [2] We could argue against banning
to health. Such back-street abortions anything on the grounds that people will
result in an estimated 500 deaths per day carryon doing it on the black market.
world-wide. The fact is that abortion is morally wrong
and banning it will reduce the number of
[3] There is no definitive answer to abortions that occur.
when a foetus becomes a person in its
own right, but up to around 24-28 weeks [3J A foetus can survive if born prema-
the foetus is so undeveloped that it is not turely from as early as 20 weeks, and this
reasonable to consider it a person and to boundary is being made earlier all the
accord it rights. time by improved incubator technology.
Given that we cannot be sure at what
[4] In many areas of the world where point a foetus is a person or can feci
overpopulation and chronic food short- pain, we should err on the side of caution
age are perennial problems, abortion and consider the foetus a person from

helps prevent bringing children into the

conception or shortly afterwards. Abor- Animal Experimentation and Vivisection, Banning of
world who would probably know only tion, therefore, is murder.
Human treatment of animals can be a highly emotive subject. A dolphin trapped and
deprivation, illness, starvation and early
[4] We can address overpopulation in killed in a trawler net, a rat deliberately mutated by genetic engineering, a red deer
death. hunted to the point of terrified exhaustion and shot, a rabbit with eyes and skin
the developing world with other measures
such as increased availability of contra- blistered from chemical and cosmetic tests, a captive lion robotically pacing its tiny
[5] In an increasingly secular and sci-
ception as well as economic and technical cage at the circus or zoo - all of these are distressing images that arise in the context
entific world, the religious views of some
aid programmes. of debates about the human treatment of animals. But what are the arguments behind
about the infusion of a foetus with a soul
these emotional appeals? The Australian philosopher Peter Singer was one of the
by God at conception, for example,
should not be imposed upon the rest of
[51 Human life is sacred, as is recog- first, in the 1970s, to argue that animals have rights. This is still a contentious claim,
nised by the billions of adherents of the but one that more and more people seem to accept. The arguments in the next topic
main world religions. God creates each consider whether animals have rights, and whether, if they do, we should be doing
individual at conception and so abortion more to recognise and respect those rights. We currently use animals from bacteria to
[6] Many young girls who become
is murder, and an act against the will of primates in many different ways - for food, clothing, entertainment in circuses and
pregnant would have their future, their
God that destroys God's work. zoos, medical experiments, biotechnology (e.g. using bacteria to synthesise human
education, their family relationships and
hormones) and cosmetic testing, and in sports such as greyhound racing and horse
their career ruined by the birth of a child.
[6] Young people should be encour- racing, and even as objects of 'field sports' such as fishing, shooting, fox-hunting and
Others are pregnant as the result of rape
aged to have a more responsible attitude hare-coursing. Some would argue that all of these uses of animals are wrong and that
or incest and would have their suffering
to sex and pregnancy, and should deal they should never be used as a means to a human end. Others would take the oppo-
multiplied indefinitely by carrying the
with the consequences of their actions site view that it is right and natural for us to use other species for our own benefit
child to term. We cannot put the alleged
whatever they may be. There are even and that this is indeed the key to our continuing evolutionary success. This debate,
'rights' of a dividing cluster of cells ahead
schools now specifically for teenage and the four other debates on animals in this section, weigh up the pros and cons of
of such concrete harm to a person.
mothers and their babies to attend. In our treatment of animals in various contexts.
[7] We allow contraception. Abortion cases of rape or incest, either the child
is, in effect, no different - the prevention can be immediately put up for adoption,
or possibly exceptions could be made just Pros Cons
of the development of a potential human
being. In the case of the 'morning after in these distressing instances.
[1] Vivisection involves the exploi- [1] On principle it is right and natural
pill' the analogy is even closer. If we allow
[7J Barrier methods of contraception tation and torturing of innocent animals that we humans study, use and exploit
these measures then we should also allow
(condom, cap) are qualitatively different to benefit humans, and this is wrong on the natural environment for our own
abortion. principle. Mice are bred to be susceptible benefit. That is the way that our species
from abortion in that no fertilised egg ever
exists to be destroyed. Other methods to skin cancer, exposed to high levels has come to thrive and prosper and it
(coil, morning after pill) that are logically of radiation and allowed to die. Rats are is right that we should continue to do so
Possible lTIotions: genetically engineered to grow full size through experimentation on and exploi-
This House would put the mother first. equivalent to abortion should not be
allowed. human ears on their backs, and baboons tation of both vegetable and animal
This House believes that the unborn child has
are deliberately infected with the AIDS resources. Animals are not people and do
no rights. virus. No economic or medical gain can •not have 'rights', and anthropomorphic
This House believes that a woman's body is
justify such cruel and cynical exploitation sentimentalism should not get in the way
her temple. of our animal cousins. More advanced of scientific and medical progress.
Surrogate Mothers
Sex Education mammals - especially primates (monkeys
Related topics: and apes) - have complex nervous systems [2] Experimentation on animals saves
Contraception for Under-age Girls
Ends v. Means like ours and are similarly susceptible to lives.Animal experimentation and research
Eugenics: IVF and Genetic Screening
Population Control pain and fear. has historically produced innumerable
Science: a Menace to Civilisation'

[2] The successes, necessity and effi- medical ...and .. scientific breakthroughs Animal Rights
ciency ofanimal research have been greatly th~t could ~i:-h-;ve ~adein any -
exaggerated. In fact vivisection is wasteful, other ways: experiments on cows were See the introduction to the debate on 'Animal Experimentation and Vivisection,
inefficient and often unsuccessful, as well instrumental in developing the vaccine Banning of'.
as being cruel. In the US alone an esti- that eliminated smallpox world-wide;
mated 50-60 million animals are killed experiments on dogs in the 1920s led to
annually in the name ofscientific research, the discovery of insulin for the treatment Pros Cons
but with highly unreliable results. Half of of diabetics; genetic experimentation on
the drugs given approval in the US by the mice and primates is currently helping to [1] Particularly since the revolution in [1] It has always been acknowledged
FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) develop gene therapy for cystic fibrosis; biology associated with Charles Darwin by philosophers and scientists that man is
between 1976 and 1985, all of which had and so on. Animals from mice to primates in the nineteenth century, science has almost infJEiteJyr<:llloved from the other
been tested on animals, produced side to humans share the same essential biology forced us to acknowledge the continuity animals, p_~J!~-,:!larly by the powers of
effects serious enough that they had to be and physiology ~ith analogous organs, between humanity and all other animals. ~~ech, rational thought and moral con-
taken off the market or re-Iabelled with nervous systems, immune systems and If we, ourselves animals, have rights, science.-The Bible teaches Christians the
warnings; the Thalidomide disaster is hormones). then it is logical to extend rights to all .same moral - that humans are put above
another awful case. This is because vivi- animals. Animals, like us, have feelings, the animals to use them as well as to look
section is flawed as a scientific method. [3] There are no alternatives to animals even if they do not have reason and after them. It is only humans who have
One species (e.g. rats, rabbits or dogs) for re~earch int;---;;;mplex immuno- language. rights; animals are qualitatively different
cannot serve as a reliable experimental logical, neurological and genetic diseases. from us and it is nonsensical to speak of
model for another (humans) - penicillin is Computer simulations are only applicable [2] Animals, according to the theory of them having rights. According animals
fatal to guinea pigs, for example. to simple conditions of which we have evolution, have common ancestors with rights can lead to absurd conclusions -
full understanding. In more complex us - they are our blood relations. As such such as that we should respect the right
[3] There are more humane and more cases, our lack of understanding of the we should respect their rights. Having to life of bacteria or mosquitoes.
efficient alternatives to vivisection. For diseases (e.g. AIDS, cancer, muscular dys- risen to a position of dominance in the
example, in the 'Eytex test', vegetable pro- trophy) means we must experiment 011 natural world, we only have a right to [2] The _t..h eory of evolution tells us
teins extracted from the jack bean mimic animals or on humans. Human subjects make use of its resources in so far as it is that nature is 'r~d-in tooth and claw' and
the cornea's reaction to foreign matter and cannot in general be expected to be balanced by our duty of stewardship over that only the strongest and most ruthless
so can be used in the place of live rabbits, guinea pigs for untested drugs at all stages the natural world and our duty of care to sunTi\T~-ln--the struggle for life. It is most
to test for eye irritancy of products. Tissue of their development. our animal cousins. "unnatural to refuse to fulfil our role in
and cell cultures can be grown in the ;;ature, at the top of the food chain, using
laboratory from single cells from humans [3] It is not, as some might say, neces- ;nlmals t~ ensure our own survival.
or animals - these can be used for tests in sary for a being to be conscious and
the place of live animals. Computer simu- Related topics: aware in order to be given rights. Unborn [3 J Animals do not have the kind
lations of diseases and drug treatments can Ends v. Means children and those in comas are accorded of consciousness that we do. They are
also be used in the place of vivisection. Legislation v. Individual Freedom rights, especially the right to life. Rights more like automata than like people,
Pacifism are something that we decide to confer. they work on instinct and reflex, not by
Abortion on Demand And, especially in cases where it can be rational thought. Therefore they are not
Possible motions: Animal Rights seen that animals can suffer physical pain capable of understanding the ideas of
This House would ban all experimentation Blood Sports (Abolition of) and emotional distress (as in the cases of what is just or fair for them. They have 110
on animals. Vegetarianism bull-fighting, battery hen fanning, expectations about how they will be
This House believes that we have no more Zoos (Abolition of) cramped and unnatural confinement in treated and no emotions in anything like
right to risk the health of animals than we Alternative Medicine zoos and circuses, grotesque examples of the human sense. The argument for
do to risk the health of humans. Science: a Menace to Civilisation? vivisection), we should confer on them animal rights is based on a philosophically

the rights that we do on humans to pro- and scientifically false anthropomorph- and as a society we have a duty to help responsibility of Local Authorities to find
tect them from suffering and death. ism. We should, perhaps, seek to eliminate 'beggars' through individual giving on housing for the unintentionally homeless.
obvious cases of gratuitous cruelty such the streets as well as through charities and Those who are intentionally homeless
[4J It is not true that we need to as bear baiting or cock fighting, but III through government action. A society cannot expect to live on other people's
exploit animals to the extent that we do. general animals do not have rights. only succeeds through co-operation. charity.
There are synthetic alternatives to almost
all animal products such as leather, ivory, [4] Perhaps we do not need to use [2] If we can afford to give to someone [2] There are many 'professional
animal fat, fur, and even meat. Our animal products to the extent that we do, on the street then we should. Sometimes beggars' who are not even in dire need
lifestyles should be changed to acknowl- but synthetic alternatives are often many we may indeed be giving money to a but play on people's sentiments as an
edge the rights of animals to be free from times more expensive, and inaccessible to fraud who is not genuinely in need ~ but easy source of money. How are we to
cruelty and exploitation. the vast majority. Also, there is nothing our moral imperative to help those in real know who is in genuine need and who
wrong with using animals for our own need outweighs this. is a fraud? We should give money to
benefit - it is only natural. established hostels and charities instead.
[3] If we do not give to those who beg
on the street they will get their money in [3] Giving money to beggars guaran-
Possible motions: Related topics: other ways, for example through theft tees that they will remain beggars, rather
This House believes that animals have rights Pacifism or prostitution. By denying them money than going to seek a job or the help from
too. Bill of Rights we are driving them towards these the state to which they are entitled - we
This House calls for an end to all exploitation Abortion on Demand alternatives. should not reinforce their dependency on
of animals. Animal Experimentation and Vivisection the charity of others.
This House would put ecology before (Banning of) [4J If you are concerned about what
econormcs. Blood Sports (Banning of) someone may spend the money you give [4] Most beggars only want money
Vegetarianism them on, you can always buy them food from people to pay for alcohol and
Zoos (Abolition of) or clothing and give it to them. cigarettes or to feed a more serious drug
habit. We do not help people by financing
[5] Society works on the principle of their health-destroying addictions.
Beggars, Giving Money to 'reciprocal altruism'. Helping behaviour is
observed in many animal species, other [5] There is no such thing as society,
than humans. It is by such behaviour that just a collection of individuals. Biologists
Pros Cons a community survives and flourishes. such as Richard Dawkins have shown
That is the basis of our obligation to less that we are ruled by our 'selfish' genes.
[1] 'Beggar' in itself is a pejorative [1] While we cannot doubt that there fortunate members of our community. Our concern must be with our imme-
word that is inappropriately applied to are some beggars who are the victims of diate family, especially our offspring, who
many unfortunate people in our society circumstance, all too often people choose carry our genes. It is their survival that
who find themselves homeless and desti- to live on the streets and beg for money is our first priority, not the survival of
tute through unemployment, repossession rather than facing up to ditlicult family or unfortunate strangers. Charity must begin
of their house or, frequently, an abusive financial problems. We should not be at home.
family background. These people should expected to support these people on a
not be treated as human vermin - they random individual basis. The welfare Possible motions: Related topics:
simply need our help. It is all too easy to state, which is financed by working peo- This House believes that charity begins with Capitalism v, Socialism
end up as a beggar on the streets with no ple, exists as the safety net that can help the homcless. Welfare State
family or community support in our those in dire circumstances. In the UK, This House would help beggars become Workfare
increasingly selfish society. Individually the Housing Act of 19H5 makes it the choosers. Zero Toler.met-

stark example of the abuse of humanity's were bred to be shot. As it is, they have
Blood Sports, Abolition of position as 'stewards' of the natural world. a perfectly comfortable life ended instan-
See the introduction to the debate on 'Animal Experimentation and Vivisection, taneously when they are shot. If it were
[4] In the case offox-hunting, not only not for blood sports these birds would
Banning of'.
is the quarry not a genuine pest, it is also never have had a life at all - they would
not of use as food. Oscar Wilde famously not have been born.
Cons described the sport as 'the unspeakable
in pursuit of the inedible'. In the case [4] It is true that foxes are not eaten by
[1] There is a continuum between [1] Humans are at the top of the food of animals that are edible, such as deer, humans, but they are pests (see above).
humans and the rest of the animal king- chain and of the evolutionary tree and hares etc. there are more humane ways Other blood sports kill animals that can
dom. Animals such as birds, hares, foxes as such may use other animals to their of killing them that do not involve be eaten - pheasants, grouse, deer, hares,
and deer can, like us, experience stress, own ends, while preferably minimising terrorising the animal first. and fish - some of which are also a pest
fear, exhaustion and pain. As conscious the suffering of other species. Blood to agriculture and forestry (e.g. hares,
beings we should accord these animals sports exist as a way to derive community [5] Public opinion in Britain is clearly deer).
rights and not inflict suffering and death enjoyment from the hunting of animals opposed to hunting wild animals with
on them for the sake of our entertain- that would be killed anyway. The oppo- hounds. [5] Most of those who oppose hunting
ment. The infliction of unnecessary suf- sition to blood sports is largely based have never been on a hunt and are city-
fering on domestic and captive animals is on anthropomorphic sentimentality and [6] There are alternatives to blood dwellers. They live a life detached from
already a criminal offence - this offence squeamishness. People have always had sports that could maintain employment the realities of rural life and farming, and
should be extended to cover all animals. to kill animals to feed and protect them- for those involved in the industry and hence can afford to take an idealistic
selves. In the modern metropolitan super- maintain the pursuit as a hobby but with- stance on 'animal rights'. This is totally
12 ] Hunting with hounds ~ killing the market age, people have the luxury of out the cruelty to animals. An example of inconsistent if these same people rely on
quarry only after hours of terror and distancing themselves from the actual this is 'drag-hunting' where an artificial the efficiency of agriculture for the
exhaustion - is not an effective way to business of doing so. trail is laid and followed by hounds. affordable produce they expect to find in
kill hares, foxes and deer. Shooting is their supermarkets. In rural communities
more humane and efficient, if they really [2] Shooting, poisoning and trapping - there is very little support for a ban.
need to be killed to protect livestock or the alternatives to hunting with hounds Possible motions: The banning of blood sports would
reduce populations. - are not more humane. All these meth- This House would ban hunting with hounds. undermine the rural economy, since
ods potentially leave animals to die a slow This House believes that the unspeakable hunting provides jobs for many and
[3] Hunting IS defended on the and painful death (most farmers are not should leave the inedible alone. protects agricultural land.
grounds that it is legitimate pest-control trained marksmen - a shot is more likely This House believes that blood sports are
or legitimate hunting for food. Claims to wound a fox than kill it. leaving it to legalised barbarism. [6] As explained above, there is no
that hunting is a form of 'pest control' are starve through its inability to hunt). The need for such an alternative, since blood
usually bogus. Foxes, for example, are par- death of an animal caught by hunting Related topics: sports are not gratuitous entertainment
ticularly inefficient predators, accounting hounds is over in a second or two. Legislation v. Individual Freedom but the carrying out of legitimate and
Pacifism necessary killing of pests or game m an
for only a tiny percentage oflivestock lost
each year. Foxes were imported into [3] Blood sports only kill animals that Animal Experimentation and Vivisection enjoyable fashion.
are pests or food. The huge majority of (Banning of)
Britain specifically to be hunted, when
farmers agree that foxes are pests. In any Animal Rights
deer populations waned early in the
one year }O per cent of farmers in Britain Vegetarianism
twentieth century. and tox hunts still
sutTer damage or lose livestock because Zoos (Abolition of)
deliberately nurture fox populations.
Game birds are bred specifically to be of foxes. And it is hardly logical to com-
shot. These practices arc a particularly plain about the shooting of birds that

to a certain goal. But we all know that divorce implicitly acknowledges that even
Divorce, Easier
the best intentioned efforts to attain a goal people's most important vows need not
can fail, It is cruel to punish people for be wholly reliable. Such an attitude will
Pros Cons a promise they made which they have erode trustworthiness and commitment
sincerely tried but failed to keep. To avoid throughout society.
[1 J The idea of life-long marriage and 11] Marriage is never going to be a the complaints of people who take the
the promises to stay together 'till death bed of roses, and couples should be wedding vows at a very literal level,
[5J If divorce is made easy too many
do us part' arose in the early Christian encouraged to persevere through in- they could be reworded in terms of a
couples will enter into marriage lightly
church, when life expectancy was much evitable difficult patches. It should not commitment to stay together as long as
and unthinkingly with the knowledge
shorter. Nowadays we live around forty be assumed that marriage is all about the relationship flourishes rather than as
that if it does not work they can always
years longer and many people question romantic love - that is only the first stage long as both parties shall live.
get out. Such a situation devalues mar-
whether humans are naturally mono- of a marriage. Beyond that stage it is a
riage as a stable relationship and makes it
gamous creatures. At any rate, when there partnership that needs to be worked at [5] However easy divorces are to come
just like any other. It also, in itself, makes
is no love left in a marriage it is foolish and maintained. Those divorcing should by, they are still personally and financially
failed marriages more likely by reducing
to continue it for the sake of some high- have to prove a concrete reason such as undesirable. Those who divorce will be
the amount of thought and mental prepa-
minded principle. The practical thing adultery or neglect by their spouse before less well off separately (they will lose the
ration put into a marriage, and increasing
to do is to admit that in some cases they are allowed to divorce. economies of shared living expenses as
the social acceptability of divorcing rather
marriages fail, and to provide for easy well as possible tax breaks for married
than persevering.
divorce in such cases. Parties should not 12J It is bad for children to live through couples) than together, and will endure
have to prove adultery, neglect or un- the break-up of their horne. Children personal emotional trauma. No-one
reasonableness by their spouse. A simple whose parents have divorced are at a enters upon a marriage thinking divorce
declaration of the desire to divorce higher risk of underachievement at desirable, however easy it is.
should suffice. school and of anti-social or criminal
behaviour. The first duty of parents IS to
[2] It is bad for children to grow up struggle through difficult times in their Possible rrrorioris: Related topics:
with parents who are in conflict. Such marriage with as little strife as possible for This House believes marriage IS not Feminism (Devaluation of Parenthood by)
parents will provide role models only of the sake of the future of their children, at necessarily a life sentence. Marriage
bitterness and resentment rather than least until they have left horne. This House would make divorce easier.
of the mutual love and support that they This House celebrates the advent of the easy
should teach their children. In such cases [31 What we wish to maximise J1] divorce.
the best solution is a quick divorce for the society is life-long commitment, espe-
sake of the children. cially to the raising of families, not serial
monogamy. The view that sexual fidelity Euthanasia
131 We wish to maximise sexual fidelity. is the ultimate goal takes an individu-
If divorces are hard to obtain and a long alistic and selfish view of parents as sexual The term 'euthanasia', corning from the ancient Greek words meaning 'good death',
time in coming through, there will be an operators in their own right rather than IS used to refer to voluntary rather than cornpulsory euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia

increase in adultery involving married as parents per sc first and foremost. Harder IS when an individual asks to be given a lethal injection to put them out of pain and

people seeking divorce unsuccessfully. divorce means fewer broken homes and end his or her life. Compulsory euthanasia - killing those who are terminally ill or
Easy divorce means less adultery. broken commitments in the long run. who are above a certain age regardless of their wishes - is everywhere regarded as
murder. In the Netherlands voluntary euthanasia has been legal since 19H3; around
141 We should be realistic about the [41 Easy divorces devalue the meaning 3,000 people formally request it there each year. The Northern Territory in Australia,
nature of promises that we make to each of the vows solemnly made at the wed- where three-quarters of the population support voluntary euthanasia under due safe-
other. A promise represents a commitment ding ceremony. A society that allows easy guards, legalised it only for the bill to he overthrown by the federal Senate.

Pros Cons so amounts to discrimination against

practice will immediately open up grave
the physically handicapped, since it is not
dangers of abuse by unscrupulous doctors
11 J People should be allowed to [1J However much a patient is suf- illegal for others to commit suicide. and relatives who would like to see a
request 'mercy killing' to end their suffer- fering, it is the role of a physician, as Euthanasia, or 'doctor assisted suicide', certain patient 'out of the way' for the
ing. Victims of cancer, AIDS or motor- expressed in the Hippocratic Oath that should therefore also be allowed.
purposes of inheritance or freeing up
neurone disease may know, in the later all doctors have to swear, to cure disease
scarce medical resources.
stages of their illness, that the only and restore patients to health, not to kill [6J Euthanasia also spares the loved
prospect for the short remainder of their them. Doctors should not be forced to ones of a patient the needless agony of
[6J A patient in a coma or PVS may
life is more physical degeneration and compromise their professional oath nor watching them slowly degenerate and die have changed their mind subsequent to
acute suffering. They should be allowed be put under the great moral pressure of in great pain, and gives them the comfort writing their 'living will' but not altered
to die with dignity with the help of, for deciding when to advise a patient that of knowing that they carried out the the document. In such cases the loved
example, a lethal injection or an overdose euthanasia might be the best option. With patient's last wishes.
ones would be authorising the killing of
of morphine from a doctor. the highly effective painkillers now avail-
someone against their wishes and ruling
able there is never any need even for the [7] A person who dies 'naturally' by out the possibility of their recovery or
[2J Someone may wish to write a terminally ill to suffer great pain. Use of having life support removed, when in a cure.
'living will' stating that if they ever painkillers, not euthanasia, is the answer coma or persistent vegetative state, de-
become a 'vegetable' or are in a persistent to painful terminal illness. hydrates over a period of five days before
[7] Carrying out euthanasia in order to
vegetative state (PVS) as the result of an death and their organs are then unusable. use somebody's body parts for transplants
accident that they do not wish life sup- [2J People have been known to recover Euthanasia would increase the number of
is morally repugnant in that it reduces
port to be continued. We should respect from comas and PVS after considerable organs available for transplant in those
them to just one more medical resource
the wishes of such people rather than periods, and some 'terminally ill' patients cases where the patient's and family's to be exploited.
preserve them against their wishes with make miraculous recoveries. Allowing consent had been obtained.
virtually no quality of life. euthanasia would risk killing people
who could otherwise have had years
[3J At present doctors are sometimes more life. With euthanasia, as with capital Possible motions:
allowed, in effect, to carry out euthanasia punishment, the price of a mistake is too This House would legalise voluntary
on the grounds that the amount of high. euthanasia.
painkillers they had to use to alleviate the This House believes in the right to die.
patient's suffering in fact turned out to [3J There is a qualitative difference This House would assist suicide.
be fatal. Instances of this' double effect' of between seeking to reduce someone"
a drug are not currently considered pain and their dying as a secondary effect. Related topics:
wrong, and allowing euthanasia is only an and deliberately killing them. Doctors Ends v. Means
extension of this principle. should not be allowed or required to kill Legislation v. Individual Freedom
their patients. Abortion on Demand
141 Just as the right to vote includes
the right to abstain and the right to free [4J There is no such thing as a 'right to
speech includes the right to be silent, the die'. Suicide is always wrong, and is only Feminism, Devaluation of Parenthood by
right to life should be seen to include the legal because of the absurdity that can
right to choose to die. It is 'my body, my exist of sentencing people to death for Ther: are now fewer people than ever who would claim that feminism was a 'bad
life, my choice'. unsuccessfully attempting suicide. thmg . or would wish to disassociate themselves from the core principle of feminism
that women "should
" have eq ua I"ty
I 0
f opportullity
itv and " society
am status III " and the work-
[5] Not allowing those who are too [5] While it is true that suicide is not place. However, like any powerful cultural movement, feminism is open to criticisms,
physically ill to commit suicide to do illegal, assistino suicide is. Allowing such a one of the most persistent of which in recent years has been that feminism has

devalued motherhood and child-rearing, and more generally has portrayed parenting large number of part-time workers (who [4] It is right that feminists should
as a chore rather than a joy. Is parenting undervalued in today's society? Is feminism have no employment rights) and lower- campaign against low pay and lack of
to blame? paid workers This is to attack exactly those employment rights for part-time work-
sorts of work that mothers who wish to ers. That is not to undermine the value of
split their time between family and work splitting one's time between work and
Cons seek to find. Feminists implicitly tell family but to insist on fairer treatment for
mothers that they are collaborating with those - predominantly women - who do.
[1] Feminism has been responsible for [1] Feminism has attained a measure of sexism and injustice if they do not seek
many successes such as the legal recogni- equality for women but there is still high-paid, full-time employment. [5] Feminists do not want to see
tion ofwomen's rights to vote, and to have much more to be done. There are 'glass women forced into the old male stereo-
equal access to education and equal pay. ceilings' in many professions - i.e. despite [5] Government policy increasingly type of the breadwinner. Welfare policies
However, it has systematically devalued equal opportunities legislation, women in emphasises the duty of single mothers to encouraging people to come off welfare
the role of the parent and home-maker. fact fail to be promoted to the top jobs. go to work to support themselves rather and get into work will serve to enrich
Women have been driven by feminism to In the United Kingdom fewer than 10 than staying at home to work caring for the experiences of single mothers (and
want to 'have it all', which too often means per cent of judges, 20 per cent of MPs their children. Such policies, under- single fathers) while, crucially, ensuring
they feel pressure to spend as little time as and around 10 per cent of Oxbridge pro- mining the value of family life, are the that they are not financially worse off by
possible away from their careers with their fessors are women. Women in identical result of feminist campaigns for women going into paid employment - something
children. They have become 'surrogate management jobs to men still receive a and men not only to be given equal that was too often the case in the past.
men' driven by ambition at the expense of 10-20 per cent lower salary, on average. opportunities but to be treated identi- These policies therefore bring greater
time and closeness with their family. Feminism rightly directs its resources at cally.The resulting position is that all are freedom to women.
socio-economic injustice rather than the expected to conform to the old male
[2] Women who wish to work at home celebration of the family since the role of stereotype of the breadwinner. [61 Feminism has traditionally encour-
caring for their children and making mother and home-maker is not one that aged men to take a more active role and
a stable home are made to feel that they women need to struggle for. [6] In reacting against an imbalanced a fairer share in the work of child-raising
lack ambition, are inferior beings, are male-dominated workplace, feminism has and home-making. It is still only in a
giving in to patriarchy and injustice, are [2] It is extremely naive to imagine ended up arguing for a society in which minority of families that such division
mere drudges, and are letting down their that across the world there are billions of women free themselves from family of labour is found. While feminism does
fellow women. women celebrating the role of home- commitments and revel in sexual freedom not wish to undermine the value of
making, positively deciding that they do and professional achievements. We must parenting, its priority must be basic
[3] Women driven by feminist beliefs to
not want any sort of career. Of those reclaim work in the home and within equality and social justice, and that will
be 'high achievers' are coming to realise
women who devote their time entirely the family as something to be highly not be achieved while the majority of
that they have been sold down the river
to child-raising and home-making, it is valued in society as a source of fulfilment men remain voluntarily blind to the
through implicitly accepting the anti-
unlikely that a majority are doing so out and of well-balanced children, not as duties (and joys) of parenthood.
family rhetoric of well-meaning feminist
of positive choice. It is still a task for a chore. Feminism has consistently failed
campaigners. Feminists may claim that they
feminism in many parts of the world to to appreciate the value of this.
never forced anybody into any particular
break down the assumption that the role
decisi~n, but the coercive power of social
of the woman is in the home. No femi-
movements and popular political rhetoric
nist denies the right of a woman (or Possible motions: Related topics:
cannot be denied.The result is that millions
a man) to choose to devote time to the This House believes that feminism has Affirmative Action
of women have realised too late what they
family, but in most cases the woman does undermined the t:ellllilv. Divorce (Easier)
missed out on by working through the
early years of their children's lives. not have that choice. This House celebrates tl,e value of mother- Marriage
hood. Political Correctness
[4] Recently, feminism has complained [3J Feminism has never forced anybody
Surrogate Mothers
that, despite equal opportunities legisla- to do anything. It has merely made it
tion, women make up a disproportionately possible.

Gambling, Immorality of This is not the case. Many who have [4] Our lot in life is inherently random.
become millionaires through luck in a Good education and lucrative cmploy-
lottery have found that their marriages, ment are almost always accidents of birth
Pros Cons families or friendships have been des- rather than the result of hard work or
troyed through greed, envy and bitterness. real ability. In any case, those who make
[1) Gambling is immoral because it [1] Gambling brings a bit of real The materialistic life idealised by the money out of gambling (professional
gives false hopes to those least able to excitement and hope to the lives of many, gambling ethos is shallow and unfulfilling. poker players, horse tipsters and financial
afford the financial outlay involved. This especially those whose daily realities speculators) do so through their mathe-
is particularly true of state lotteries and bring them very little of either. Someone [4] It is fundamentally against the matical prowess and extensive knowledge
football pools. The psychological lure of a will win the jackpot in a lottery, and some ideals of social justice that wealth should of horses, markets, etc.
huge prize is immorally used to lure the people win each time there is a horse be acquired by chance and without skill,
poor into parting with money they can- race, dog race etc. Those who say gam- industry or merit. This applies to all forms (5) The gambling industries and finan-
not afford for the sake of a near-zero bling is immoral are puritanical kill-joys of gambling, including city traders m cial speculators provide services that bring
chance of becoming a millionaire. who do not appreciate the value that futures, options and derivatives. people excitement, hope and, sometimes,
simple fun and escapism can have in the wealth. The demand for gambling
(2) The more widely acceptable and dreariness of life. [5] There comes a time when - as with industries is there and its supply does
available gambling becomes, the more the firearms or drugs industries - we not harm anybody other than those
people will become addicted to it. [2] Virtually anything can be the must take a moral stand against certain voluntarily taking risks for themselves.
Gambling is as addictive as any drug and object of an addiction - sex, coffee, jog- ways of making money. It should be Gambling is not immoral, it is harmless
as ruinous. Those who become addicted ging, television, computer games - but hoped that those employed in the gam- fun.
invariably turn to crime to fund their that does not mean that it is of itself bling industries could be employed in
habit. All gamblers lose in the end - that immoral. Gambling is, for the huge alternative, more constructive industries. [6] Following that line of argument, all
is why bookmakers, lottery companies, majority, an affordable luxury, an in- money 'wasted' on pastimes or luxuries -
fruit machine companies and casinos expensive distraction, not a problem on a [6] The huge amounts of money such as sports equipment, expensive food
continue to make huge profits year after par with heroin addiction. The gambling wasted on gambling every year could be and wine, cosmetics - would compulsorily
year. We should regard gambling with the addict's problems do not derive from the put to any number of more constructive be redirected to charity. Gambling is not
same moral disapproval that we regard existence of gambling but from her own - e.g. charitable - uses. an immoral waste of money, it is a pastime
other activities (e.g. taking hard drugs) psychological disorder. or luxury that we are free to spend our
that lead via addiction to anti-social money on if we choose to enjoy ourselves
behaviour, financial ruin and crime. The [3) People do not gamble expecting Possible motions: that way. Furthermore, taxes on gambling
introduction of 'scratch cards' has seen a huge wealth - they gamble for fun, for the This House would ban all gambling for make it a valuable source of government
worrymg increase in child gambling buzz, and they spend money on gambling under-21 s. revenue.
addicts. as on any other form of entertainment. In This House condemns gambling.
any case, it is silly to assert that material
(3) The social toleration and state- wealth does not improve one's standard Related topics:
sanctioning of gambling inculcate of living. It is all very well for someone Legislation v. Individual Freedom
materialistic values in society. People arc who is financially secure to eschew the National Lotterv (Abolition of)
led to believe that their greatest aspiration importance of material goods, but tor
should be to increase their wealth by the many who Jive in poverty the acquisi-
whatever means possible - the advertising tion of wealth could buy them security.
of state lotteries suggests that huge education, healthcare and many other
amounts of money would transform a opportunitics that arc central to human
person's lite immeasurahly for the good. tulfilmcnt.

[3) Society has always been able to without pretending that they are just like
Gay Marriages adapt religious teachings and develop a heterosexual couple. Furthermore, their
Great strides have been made towards equal rights for homosexuals in the century that interpretations of religious principles relationships, not being child-producing,
has passed since Oscar Wilde was sentenced to hard labour for his homosexuality. proper to each new era. Religions should do not need the same permanence for the
However, in most countries homosexuals still do not have completely equal rights and respond positively to the role that homo- sake of children that a marriage provides.
status in the eyes of the law. In Britain and the US homosexuals are not officially sexual couples can play in communities. Homosexual relationships can last as long
allowed to serve in the military. In most countries homosexuals may not marry or Those sectors of religious communities as the love lasts but need not be con-
adopt children, and most denominations of Christianity still publicly oppose homo- that condemn homosexuality outright strained to last longer.
sexuality and the ordination of homosexuals, despite the fact that many Christian will simply find themselves increasingly
ministers are gay. The gay rights movement has much popular support, especially marginalised as society progresses. Those [3) Marriage is primarily a religious
among the 'politically correct', but should there be limits? Is it true that homosexual homosexuals who wish to marry may service and all the main religions con-
couples are equally good as parents as are heterosexual couples? Is it right for a child choose, in any case, to reject the homo- demn homosexuality. The Jewish and
to be brought up by homosexuals? Can a religion that speaks out against homosexu- phobic religious traditions and marry in a Christian communities would be being
ality really ordain homosexuals in good faith? In short, does equality of opportunity civil ceremony. hypocritical to endorse homosexual
for homosexuals necessarily entail identical treatment for homosexuals? Many still think marriage when their sacred Scriptures
it does not. This and three other topics below explore some of the most contentious [4) Many societies gIve certain finan- condemn homosexuality.
issues in the ongoing debate about gay rights. A fifth, on 'outing', is not about the cial advantages to married couples - e.g.
rights accorded to gays by law but about their treatment of each other. tax allowances. To deny these advantages [4] The financial advantages offered to
to committed homosexual couples is an married couples are not to encourage
unjustifiable case of discrimination on the marriage for its own sake but to encourage
Cons grounds of sexual orientation. the creation of traditional family units.
Child support payments and tax relief
[1) To complete the world-wide [lJ The equality of homosexuals with [5) It is circular to argue that homo- on mortgages serve the same purpose - to
movement towards equal rights for other members of society is achieved by sexuals are not parents and so are not encourage the creation of stable family
homosexuals in society, we should allow decriminalising homosexual activity and candidates for financial rewards open to homes. It is this that society seeks to
homosexual couples the right to a public allowing equal opportunities to homo- parents. If homosexuals were routinely encourage, not sexual unions per se.
legal and religious recognition of their sexuals in terms of broad education and allowed to adopt and foster children then
life-long loving commitment to one employment rights. Gay rights does not it would be appropriate to reward and [5) Homosexuals, by definition, will not
another. Homosexuals, as equal members mean ignoring the obvious differences encourage stable homosexual family produce children, and so are not appro-
of society, should have equal access to both between homosexuals and heterosexuals. homes with financial incentives. What we priate candidates for financial incentives
civil and religious fonns of marriage. Marriage is historically and logically a want to see is a reinvention of 'family to home-making and the maintenance of
heterosexual institution, the extension of values' in which homosexuals can marry, family values.
12] Whatever its historical roots, mar- which to homosexual couples would be be parents, and receive the same rights
riage is clearly not just for the purpose meaningless and even repressive of their and benefits as their heterosexual Related topics:
of reproduction. Infertile heterosexual distinct identity. Counterparts. Legislation v. Individual Freedom
couples are allowed to marry, therefore Tradition v. Innovation
homosexual couples should be allowed to [2] Marriage is primarily an institution Gays (Adoption of Children by)
marry. Homosexual couples, like hetero- to allow for the creation of children in a Possible motions: Gays in the Military
sexual couples, may wish to marry as a stable family environment. Homosexual This House would allow homosexuals to God (Existence of)
couples can never produce a family and marry. Homosexuals (Ordination of)
prelude to adopting or fostering children,
and this should be encouraged as part of to allow them to marry is to overlook the This House celebrates homosexual home- Homosexuals (Outing of)
a modern reconception of the idea of the history and meaning of marriage. We makers. Marriage
family and family values. can endorse their love tor one another This House demands new family values. Surrogate Mothers

Gays, Adoption of Children by [4) It is increasingly accepted by scien-

sexuality of their children and all .
nsts that there is a 'gay gene'. A signifi- '0\Vl11g
homosexuals to adopt would
See the introduction to the debate on 'Gay Marriages', above. cant mmonty of children are born with unaccept_'
ably skew and narrow the growing child's
a homosexual orientation. Banning
Pros Cons view of sex. Heterosexual child ' ht
adoption by homosexuals means that .. ren 111lg
often find hostIlIty from their parents to
none of this large population of children
[1] There are many accepted forms [1] A child should be brought up by its theIr emergmg sexuality.
will grow up with the role model that
of departure from the supposed 'ideal' own parents, and if that is not possible, they need but will all be subjected to a
family of a married heterosexual couple by parents who can as closely as possible [5J A child not only needs a biological
struggle against the dominant hetero-
with their own biological offspring, fulfil the role of the absent parents in a mother and father, he or she also needs
sexual norms. Homosexual and hetero-
which is increasingly rare. If we allow traditional family environment. Children masculine and feminine 1'01 c' mo.Ie Is
sexual parents alike need to be sensitive
single parents to care for children then should be raised by a mother and a father Homosexual couples do not give thi~
to the messages they give their children
why not homosexual couples? In fact who are in a loving relationship. There- variety but tend to fall at one end of the
and be open to the child's autonomous
the sexual orientation of their care-givers fore homosexual couples are not suitable masculine-feminine spectrum for their
sexual development - be it gay or straight. sex.
is irrelevant to the psychological and adoptive or foster-parents.
physical well-being of children. The only [5) Masculine and feminine roles are
difference displayed by children raised [2] The way that has evolved in nature princ~pally socially constructed - they are
by a homosexual couple is that they are for caring for children is by a mother Possible motions:
not tightly linked to male and female
more tolerant of homosexuality. and a father. We should not positively This House would let homosexual couples
bIOlogy. A homosexual couple are just as adopt.
encourage ways of rearing children that likely to provide a variety of masculine
[2] There are many ways of reanng are unnatural. The natural way evolved and feminine traits. This House believes in happy families.
children in nature. If one parent dies then because that is what is best for the
often an uncle or aunt without their own children. Related topics:
offspring can help to take the place of the Gay Marriages
lost parent. It has been suggested that [3] Our first concern must be the Gays in the Military
during evolution this role has been taken welfare of the children being adopted or Homosexuals (Ordination of)
by homosexual relatives. fostered. In society at large homosexuality Homosexuals (Outing of)
is not yet fully accepted as a way of life Surrogate Mothers
[3] Above all, children need love and and children of homosexual couples
nurture. Some parents may be victimised would be subjected to teasing, abuse and ~ays in the Military
in society for their race, colour, beliefs, social exclusion. It is not right to subject
physical appearance, handicap or social children to this pain and misery for the See th .
e mtroduction to the debate on 'Gay Marriages', above.
status, but that does not mean that sake of our high-minded liberal adult
they should be banned from adopting or ideals. The children do not have a voice
fostering children. In the same way, of their own so it is up to us to protect Pros
homosexuals should not be barred from them and oppose their being unneces- Cons
adopting or fostering children. Such sarily put in a situation of victimisation [I) Britain and the Umted States are
banning merely fosters prejudices. It and exclusion. alone in NATO I1J While we should not sanction
b . in mall1tall1ll1g a polIcy
may be that in some extremely violent arnng ho mosexua Is from serving in discrimination against gay men and
and homophobic localities adoption [4] A child should not be brought up t h e armed f( I lesbians in general, the armed forces
N orces. n Australia, Canada and
by homosexuals would not be recom- with minority sexual role models as his present a special case. In military lite,
ew Zealand it is an offence to discrimi-
mended, but this would be a question for or her only view of sexual relationships. nate against a . d I bi , the
. close ne-, In \\ .jIII
. encss . .h co IIeagues must
and . g y an es Ian servrccruen
individual cases, not a guiding principle. Parents have a huge effect on the live, sharing bedrooms and showers in
women. It IS time that the UK and
single sex accommodation, day and night

the US came up to date and allowed for extended periods, is such that homo- been decriminalised and is increasingly
homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. sexuality, if allowed, could intolerably socially accepted, the threat of black- "[6] Society in general, and
e th mlttary
There is no empirical research or scien- undermine group unity, discipline, trust, IIIparticular, are not yet ready for the full
mail is unrealistic. Furthermore, the force
tific opinion to support the view that stability and morale. This is not true of incorporanon of open . homo sexua I'itv,
of any blackmail would be significantly
homosexuals are less physically capable, any other career. It is not claimed that Open homosexuals III the military would
reduced If the exposure of a serviceman
less mentally determined, less in control homosexuals cannot fulfil other require- be III danger of abuse or attack from their
or woman as homosexual did not result
of their sexual impulses or in any other ments of military service. colleagues. The time is not yet right.
in dismissal. A 1988 US Department of
way less able to serve in the military than Defense report found no statistical link
their heterosexual counterparts. [2] The armed services are also special between homosexuality and security risk
in the intensity of emotional stress and Possible motions:
[2] There are many jobs that involve the levels of danger involved in perform- This House would lift the ban on h01110-
close comradeship, stress and danger, such ing one's job. In life-or-death situations sexuals in the military,
[6]. The way to reform society and the
as the civilian emergency services (police, the serviceman or woman must keep his This House would let queens fight for Queen
nuhtary IS to make it clear, from the top and country.
paramedics, fire-fighters). Homosexuals or her head. Homosexual feelings, though down, that homosexuals are equally capa-
are not barred from serving in these unavoidable, could be fatal in obscuring This House believes that you do not have to
ble, have equal rights and should equally
capacities in the UK or in many parts professional judgement in such situations. be straight to serve,
be free from unjust discrimination and
of the US. It is, therefore, inconsistent to The risk is too high. abuse. The way to do this is to allow them
ban them from military service Related topics:
to serve in the military. Maintaining the
[3] Since people in the US and the UK Ideology v. Pragmatism
ban Will Simply maintain the invidious Affim1ative Action
[3] Many people do not come to know; when applying for military service, homophobic prejudices in the military.
realise that they are homosexual until that a ban exists on homosexuals, it is National Service ((Re-)Introduction of)
their early twenties, which is often many surely their own fault if homosexuals join Gay Marriages
years after they have already committed up regardless and are later found out and Gays in the Military
themselves to a career in military service. sacked. Homosexuals (Ordination of)
It is not right that they should at that Homosexuals (Outing of)
stage have their career destroyed. Those [4] It is, of course, the case that any-
who do know they are homosexual body who is found to be unsuitable for a §.Od, EXistence of
should in any case be allowed to serve job (on grounds of deceit, sexuality or
their country in the way they wish, and both) and dismissed will represent a loss It is commonly held in educated 1 h " " -
this may currently involve concealing to the employer in terms of training stantiated But 11 h cu ture t at religious behef IS irrational and unsub-
their sexuality, and investment. That does not mean that out the ~ges h a t e grealt gemuses of Christianity and other religions through-
ave b een simp y mistake " .
we should do away with all constraints on believers world-wide toda ? S n, not to mention the billions of religious
have redefined G d 'h Y' ome twentieth-century theologians, such as Paul Tillich
[4] Even in the US, where investiga- what is and is not acceptable in certain
JO as t e ground of bein ' ' ,
tions are not undertaken or admissions careers. It remains the case that homo- tic and anthr hi , g , in an attempt to get away from simplis-
opomorp IC concepnon, of G d
sought, the armed services lose hundreds sexuality is not appropriate in the unique an old man with a Ion beard ' , 10 as a very powerful person, or even as
of personnel each year who are dismissed career of military service. conceptions of a p g i : 'IDl,oes this Idea of God make any sense? Can traditional
ersona , mte rgent ben 1 C ,
when it emerges that they are homo- all talk of God rend ,', evo ent .reator God be rejuvenated? Or is
ered meanmgless m a modern scientific world?
sexual. An anti-homosexual policy carries [5] Homosexuals in the military present
a huge cost in terms of lost expertise and a security risk. If their sexuality became
lost investment in personnel through known to enemy agents or, for example, Pros
training. terrorist organisations, it could become Cons
the basis of blackmail threats being used [1] Th '
1 e umverse is governed by natural
[5] Now that homosexual activity has to extract security information. aws and forces that seem to be the Produ~t [1 J We do not need God to explain nat-
ural laws and forces - they would simply

of an intelligent mind. That mind is have to exist for us to be here at all and for It is God who provides and guarantees
[51 The universe is ultimately meaning-
God, who created the universe. This fact there to be a universe.The fact that we find that meaning and purpose to the universe
less. We have limited mental powers and
of the universe's dependence on God is laws and forces should not therefore be a and to individual people. The universe
there IS no rational way for us to find
expressed in the Genesis myth of the source ofsurprise. In any case, the universe and humanity can be redeemed in the end
meaning in the 'brute fact' of the universe's
Jewish and Christian traditions, and in being a 'brute fact' that we cannot explain by the love of God. There is objective
existence. On top of this, the strong link
other myths around the world. is a more intellectually honest answer than meaning and redemption above individual
made by modern brain science between
inventing a supernatural Creator. human lives - there is a greater cosmic
what used to be called the 'soul' and
[2] Unlike other animals, we are moral process of which we can have intimations
the brain, makes it impossible that we
beings with consciences. This is because [2] Moral rules are created by human through belief in God.
could exist in any form after our death.
we were created by God, who is a moral communities so that people can live har-
Subjective meamng IS confined to
being who set down the moral as well as moniously with one another. They vary
individual, mortal human lives.
the natural law. from culture to culture and are merely
human constructions. It is a mistake to Possible motions: Related topics:
[3] Around 40 per cent of people in take moral feelings - the result of the This House believes that God is not dead. Churches in Politics
Britain report having had a 'religious moral rules set down by a group of This House believes that God created the Disestablishment of the Church of England
experience' of some kind in which they people - to be the result of the existence world.
Homosexuals (Ordination of)
were aware of a power greater than of something supernatural. This House believes in God. Religious Teaching in Schools
themselves or of a supernatural personal
being. People have had such experiences [3] Such feelings and experiences can
of the 'numinous', the 'sublime' and the be explained in terms of natural psycho- Homosexuals, Ordination of
divine throughout history. It is arrogant logical needs and of brain processes. It is
to think that we can write off all these no coincidence that Christians but not See the introduction to the debate on 'Gay Marriages', above.
experiences as being entirely mistaken. Buddhists have religious visions of Christ
or of the Virgin Mary. These experiences
[4] The fact that there are saints in are the product of religious teaching and Pros
the world capable of supreme charity, often also of sensory deprivation, drugs,
devotion and healing (such as the late sleep deprivation, fasting, meditation or [1] One of the merits of the Christian
[1] The strength of the Christian rcli-
Mother Teresa of Calcutta) reveals that other deliberately mind-altering practices. religion has always been its ability to
gion rests on its ability to stand up for
there is a source of ultimate love to which adapt its principles of love and inclusion
unchanging moral standards in a changing
humans have access (God) and which can 14J Human beings are so selfish and. to societal values as they evolve. It is now
and morally degenerating world. Homo-
triumph over human evil and selfishness. often, evil in their dealings with nature clear, scientifically (the discovery of the
sexuality is a misuse of natural gifts from
Evil in the world is a result of human and each other, that it is impossible to 'gay gene') and sociologically, that homo-
God, a rejection of His design, and
disobedience to God, as symbolised in believe that a loving God exists. Why sexuals are not deviant or diseased but
even if it is socially tolerated it cannot be
the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve would a loving God allow the sexual equal, normal members of human society.
an acceptable way of life tor a Christian
from their original state of paradise. abuse of children, the starvation of inno- There is no reason why they, any more
minister who must stand as a moral
Natural suffering, such as famine, is a sign cents in Africa or the Nazi holocaust? On than, for example, women, should be
example to the members of the church
that the world is not only disobedient but top of evil perpetrated by humans there eXcluded from serving God and society
and provide a role model of Christian
also free. God's love and forgiveness could is the suffering of animals in nature as Christian ministers. Homosexuals and
living. The existence of a 'gay gene' does
make no sense in a world without freedom and of people in natural disasters such heterosexuals alike are sometimes guilty
not make homosexuality morally right
for humanity and for nature. as tamines, earthquakes and floods (e.g. of the uususe of their God-given
any more than other biological pre-
Bangladesh). The natural world as much sexuality in abusive and unloving ways.
dispositions (e.g. to aggression, alcoholism
[51 The universe, like everything else, as the human world reveals indifference However, it is not right to bar all homo-
or promiscuity) make their outcomes
must have a meaning, purpose and destiny. and evil as much as goodness or divinity. sexuals Iro m ordination any more than it
morally right. The analogy with the

would be right to bar all heterosexuals ordination of women does not hold community is homosexual. Those gay
from ordination on the grounds of the either: people have no control over their given spiritual guidance by Christian
men and lesbians need spiritual direction ministers, but simple affirmation of
misconduct of which some are guilty. sex, but they do have control over their as much as heterosexual Christians do. It
sexual behaviour. homosexuality IS not the Christian
is right that there should be a significant answer. Lesbians and gay men need to be
[2] The Bible (especially the Old minority of homosexual Christian minis-
Testament) contains many regulations [2] The Bible, on the authority of encouraged by ministers to overcome
ters who can truly empathise with the their urges and to live in a truly Christian
(e.g. regarding diet, cleanliness, clothing, which Christianity is based, condemns needs of this portion of the church.
circumcision, etc.) that Christians do not homosexuality. If Jesus had wished to way. The simple existence of homo-
feel obliged to follow. The biblical oppo- see the age-old Jewish condemnation of sexuality is not an argument for ordain-
sition to homosexuality should be treated homosexuality overturned he could have ing homosexuals. The clergy are there
by Christians like these other forgotten taught his disciples accordingly. In other to lead and guide, not as a representative
microcosm of society.
'purity rules'. In biblical times homo- cases (e.g. rules about the Sabbath) Jesus
sexuality was not socially integrated and was prepared to challenge the orthodox Possible motions: Related topics:
probably generally took place in unstable view. However, he did not do so in this This House would ordain homosexuals.
situations detached from love and open case. Therefore we must assume that he Legislation v. Individual Freedom
This House believes that the road to God isn't Tradition v. Innovation
to abuse. That is no longer the case, so the was happy with the Old Testament view. necessarily straight. Gay Marriages
view should be rethought. Jesus himself, The unequivocal condemnation ofhomo- This House calls for a representative clergy.
the central figure of authority in the sexuality is repeated in the New Testament Gays (Adoption of Children by)
Gays in the Military
Bible for Christians, never made any in St Paul's letter to the Romans.
God (Existence of)
statement against homosexuality.
Homosexuals (Outing of)
[3] It is also clear from the Bible that
Privacy of Public Figures
[3] Many parts of the Christian sex is intended to produce children.
community are happy for their ministers The Bible condemns 'fornication', which
to have sex purely for recreation - i.e. is the use of sex for pleasure rather than Homosexuals, Outing of
married ministers using contraception. It procreation. All homosexual sex falls into
is therefore illogical to deny homosexuals this category and those who practise it
See the introduction to the debate on 'Gay Marriages', above.
the right to ordination on the grounds that cannot be role models for the Christian
they have non-reproductive sex. community.
[4] The argument that homosexual sex [4] Sex is also something that should
is wrong because it is outside the sacra- take place only within marnage. [1] Prejudice against homosexuality
ment of marriage is circular. It should Marriage is a sacrament of union between [1] There are quite enough gay
is linked to the fact that gays are seen
only remain outside the sacrament of a man and a woman for procreation. celebrities to fight the cause already -
as a tiny minority in society. In fact, it is
marriage if it can be established on other So, again, homosexual sex is necessarily most of whom have come out voluntar-
estimated, as many as one in ten people
grounds that homosexuality is wrong. outside the proper Christian life. ily - and society is changing to embrace
are gay. If this were known by the general
homosexuality even without widespread
public it would greatly reduce the exist-
outing. Declaration of sexuality is one
[5] Since heterosexual ministers who [5] Even non-practising homosexuals ~ng prejudice and discriminatory behav- of the most iurportant decisions in life
condone homosexual love within their are unacceptable as Christian ministers iour. Therefore, 'outing', or the naming of
congregation are not (generally) sacked, it since they condone a form of sex rejected and must be made by the individual
gay individuals who are currently 'in the
is illogical to sack celibate homosexuals by the Bible and Christianity as against concerned. Even if outing were to help
closet', is in the long run a valuable
for holding the same view. the natural purpose given to sex by God. the fight against discrimination, each
weapon against bias. This is particularly
individual case must be the choice of
true in the case of gay celebrities who
[6] A large minority of the Christian [6] Homosexuals should indeed be the person concerned, not anyone
can serve as role models.

[2J Many closet homosexuals are in [2] It is society's fault, not that of Marriage
fact hypocrites, maintaining heterosexual politicians or bishops, that people are
lifestyles and even campaigning against forced to cloak themselves in hetero- Frank Sinatra once sang that 'love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage'.
gay rights (two members ofJohn Major's sexuality for the sake of their careers. Did this view die with Sinatra in 1998 or is it still a defensible one? Is there something
Cabinet, widely believed to be gay on The British election of 1997 made great special about marriage that differentiates it from the ever more popular arrangement
Fleet Street but never exposed, voted progress in bringing several openly gay of cohabitation? Does marriage provide children with a more stable family home, or
against an equal age of consent). It IS MPs to Parliament, but there are many is the marital status of their parents (or parent) immaterial?
doubly important that they be outed. constituencies where they would have
stood no chance of success. Until society
[3] It is an unpalatable truth that many accepts gay men and women in all walks Pros Cons
people do not know what is good for oflife, those with ambition are faced with
them. Because of the traditional prejudice a stark choice: admit their homosexuality [1] Marriage is the foundation of the [1J Parents do not need to be married
against homosexuality, 'coming out' can and give up their chance of being a stable family unit within which children in order to provide a stable home life
be a terrifying experience that gays resist politician, a vicar, or so on; or pretend can have the best possible start to life. for their children. In the place of an
through fear of rejection, condemning otherwise. This is hypocrisy, yes, but we Studies repeatedly show that children old-fashioned marriage, couples can sign
themselves to a lifetime of secrecy, un- can understand why it is done. who grow up with married parents are 'child care orders' committing themselves
happiness and unfulfllment. In fact the best-adjusted and most successful. to care for their children, while not un-
society is more embracing than ever 13] The consequence of outing can be Therefore, for the sake of their children, realistically committing themselves to
and coming out will usually drastically terrible. Coming out frequently entails prospective parents have a duty to marry a lifelong partnership with the other
improve one's quality of life, with very rejection by family and friends and the in order to provide the real security parent.
little backlash - as the comedian Michael destruction of careers. It can lead to a and trust that children need. A couple
Barrymore found 111 the mid-1990s complete change of lifestyle and requires who are not married will never be able [2] Marriage is an unnecessary curb on
when he was exposed. Outing can there- careful and meditative preparation. To out to offer the same psychologically crucial freedom and happiness. True love in all its
fore be beneficial for individuals, even someone who is not prepared can lead promise of security to each other or to intensity does not actually last a lifetime
if they would not choose it at first. to nervous breakdowns or even suicide. their children. and it is unreasonable to sentence oneself
Many public figures have indeed given up to a lifetime of enforced fidelity to some-
their careers or killed themselves to avoid [2] It is important that marriage IS one with whom the spark has gone.
being outed. valued in order to uphold a healthy and Especially now that we are living longer
rational view of what loving relationships and longer, lifetime commitment is un-
Possible motions: Related topics: are about. Loving relationships are about realistic and unnecessary. Therefore we
This House would name them but not shame Ends v. Means working together for mutual respect and should not make unkeepable promises
them. Ideology v. Pragmatism support over a long period - not just but instead acknowledge that even long-
This House believes that staying in is the new Legislation v. Individual Freedom about 'falling in love' sex and romance term relationships can end when the love
coming out. Tradition v. Innovation which are relatively ~uperficial ends. I; is lost or one partner falls in love with
National Service ((Re-)Introduction of) is interesting to note that arranged mar- somebody else.
Gay Marriages nages have a high success rate - perhaps
Gays (Adoption of children by) because they do not give couples false [3] In the face of the huge divorce rate
Gays in the Military and superficial expectations of total (up to 50 per cent in some places) in
God (Existence of) sexual and romantic compatibility. today's world we should re-think our
Homosexuals (Ordination of) approach to relationships and parenting.
Marriage [3J The fact that marriages fail does It is time to admit that marriage does
Privacy of Public Figures not mean that we should give up trying. not work in to day's society and to look
Surrogate Mothers Social and legal institutions such as at alternatives. It is often the rigid and

marriage, the church, the criminal justice unrealistic constraints of traditional appearance or handicap.The great value of
just means 'all people' or that they
system, and so on exist to provide ideal marriage itself that make a relationship political correctness is that it recognises really use it in a way that implies men
models to which to aspire, often with stifling and unbearable. the need to challenge attitudes and are superior to women. Political correct-
success. We should not abandon the ideal behaviours from the bottom up - starting ness is a distraction from real issues
of truly loving couples providing stable with the very language that has embodied of discrimination.
homes for their children. Possible motions: prejudice and discrimination over the
This House would get married for the sake of years. Political correctness has successfully [2J It is absurd to believe that political
the children. argued for using something other than correctness is to be thanked for draw-
This House believes that marriage is an out- just 'he' as the default personal pronoun, ing our attention to discrimination and
dated institution. for the use of 'Chair' or 'Chairperson' abuse. The movements campaigning for
instead of'Chairman', and for' Ms' instead women's rights, black rights and gay
Related topics: of 'Miss' and 'Mrs' (to abolish the dis- rights all pre-date political correctness.
Disestablishment of the Church of England crimination between men and women, Political correctness reveals an unhealthy
Divorce (Easier) the latter unlike the former being defined and patronising obsession with so-called
Feminism - by their marital status). 'rights' and discrimination. Adults can
Gay Marriages
cope with being teased about their
Surrogate Mothers [2] Political correctness recognises the height, weight, age or IQ without the
important role of language in shaping need for the verbal witch-hunt ofpolitical
attitudes and behaviours. If it is socially correctness. More serious Issues of
Political Correctness acceptable to call people 'fat', 'ugly', discrimination are dealt with by the law.
'stupid', 'short', 'spastic', 'bent', 'bitch',
Political correctness is a movement that originated in the US in the 1980s. Its aim is 'Paki' and so on in derogatory ways [3J Political correctness is too often
to promote liberal and egalitarian attitudes especially through modifications to lan- then attitudes will not change. It is right taken to extremes. A London teacher
guage and behaviour. In Britain the main initial reaction to political correctness was to challenge such name-calling and dis- forbade her class to see the film of Romeo
one of derision, especially based on extreme examples of 'PC' talk. However, some crimination wherever it is found. And and Juliet because it was heterosexist and
examples of political correctness, such as the use of ,she' and 'her' rather than 'he' and we have political correctness to thank for did not provide gay role models. A teacher
'his' as the default personal pronoun (e.g. 'the reader is asked to use her imagination'), alerting us to this and making us watch in America suspended a six-year-old boy
have become widespread and accepted. The central question in this debate is whether the way we think, speak and act. from school for kissing a girl - this, it was
modifying language and behaviour at the everyday level can really have a large-scale
claimed, was sexual harassment. Political
impact on equality and social justice. As always, address the principles and beware of [3] It is easy for opponents to pick out correctness fosters paranoia, prudery, and
playing 'example tennis'. silly examples where political correctness smugjudgmentalism.
has been taken to extremes. The existence
of such examples does not mean that the [4J Political correctness is often self-
Pros Cons whole movement should be abolished. defeating in that it creates exclusive,
patronising or just silly names for groups
[1] Political correctness is concerned [1] Political correctness may be well [4] It is up to the groups in question to that it believes are being discriminated
with social justice. It is paying attention intentioned, but it has no really important find their own names. However it is still against. Using the term 'African
in detail to language and behaviour in consequences. The real battle ground for right to challenge the use of names that American' , it could be argued, implies
order to rid it of ingrained prejudice, social justice should not be incidental uses have been part, in the past, of discrimina- that black Africans in America are not
discrimination or oppression. It aims in of language but real attitudes in the tory ways of thinking and talking - that 'real' Americans. Calling someone 'differ-
particular to combat racism, sexism, workplace and in society at large. It is Was the original reason for challenging ently abled' rather than 'disabled' is pat-
heterosexism (homophobia) and discrimi- implausible and patronising to suggest the uses of 'black' and 'white'. It may be ronising. Calling a bald person 'follically
nation on the grounds of physical that people cannot understand that 'man' that terms such as 'black', 'queer' or even challenged' is just silly.

'bitch' can be 'reclaimed' by a group and

[3] Pornography can be part of a wide
used positively in future. Political correct- Possible motions: theatre and films in infinitely more
spectrum of approaches to sex and enter-
ness is not committed to any particular This House would be politically correct. subtle, 1I1teresting and erotic
tainment that are available. There is no . ways.
names but seeks to challenge the This House believes political correctness has Pornography IS trash in comparison _
need to ban it. Some people may be
unthinking use of old discriminatory reduced discrimination. simply bad photography and bad writing
turned on by less pornographic films and
ones. This House believes that political correctness of the most superficial kind. '
novels, but that does not mean there is no
will bring social justice.
place at all for pornography for those [4] The more that pornography is tol-
who enjoy its direct approach. erated, the more it will spread, and the
Related topics:
Censorship by the State more cases of abuse and exploitation
[4] A clear distinction needs to be will occur. There is already a disturbing
Legislation v. Individual Freedom
made between pornography made and mcrease 111 cases of child pornography,
used by consenting adults and pornogra- which are the result of a lax attitude to
phy involving children. The latter is pornography in the past.
Pornography always unacceptable and should be
attacked with the full force of the law. [5] Many rapists and sexual abusers
However, the people involved in popular are pornography fanatics. It seems likely
Pros Cons that pornography fosters obsessive, un-
adult magazines such as Playboy and TV
stations are not in any way connected balanced and violent sexual attitudes.
[1] We aspire to live in states free of [1] Young men and women are lured We should ban and seek to wipe out
with child pornography.
censorship. Censorship is only to be used into debasing and objectifying them- pornography with the same strength as is
as a last resort to protect groups who selves by the economic power of por- currently applied to the war on drugs.
[5] Sadly, sexual abuse and rape will
might be put in danger by certain nographers. Banning pornography
exist with or without pornography.
material. So, for example we have legis- would protect against this exploitation [6] Pornography is infiltrating every
Pornography does not cause these
lation against incitement to racial hatred. and against the objectifying attitudes aspect of the media, from pop videos and
cnmes, even if some of the perpetrators
This is a form of censorship. But in pornography engenders. It is naive to underwear advertisements to 'lifestyle'
may like pornography.
the case of pornography this does not say pornography is harmless. magazines and tabloid newspapers. Some
apply, since no-one is harmed by the urgent action needs to be taken to
[~] The use of potentially suggestive counteract this cultural trend. It is dis-
photographing or filming of consenting [2] The availability of pornography.
plCtures of attractive men and women to
adults for publication to other adults even if it is properly restricted to those ingenuous to suggest that pictures of
sell newspapers, magazines and other
for their sexual pleasure. over 18 or over 21, sends a message of 'men and women' are equally used to sell
products is not an instance of pornogra-
social consent to the objectifying of products. It is almost exclusively pictures
phy, but a normal and acceptable part of
[2] Pornography legitimately explores women 111 particular. It encourages of the half-naked bodies of women that
Our consumerist culture.
the realms of sexual fantasy, which is a young men to see women as sex objects. are used, and these pornographic images
rich aspect of human experience that it is From an early age young men, through continue progressively to undermine
merely prudish, oppressive and ignorant access to pornography, see women in respect for women as individual human
to deny. Admittedly it is desirable that the crude sexual and repressed poses rather beings.
availability of pornography be restricted than seeing them just as fellow humans.
Possible lllotions:
to adults, but for them there should be Such attitudes are insidious and lead to This Ho use wou ld Iegalise
. all adult porno- Related topics:
no restrictions. Pornography is used by disrespect and discrimination 111 the graphy. Legislation v. Individual Freedom
many couples as a way to spice up their workplace and elsewhere. This H ouse beI'icves pornography is harmless Political Correctness
sex life, and hence even acts as a way fiun, Sex Education
to strengthen and stabilise marriages and 13] Elements of human sexuality can This House
Prostitution (Legalisation of)
believes pornography saves Internet (Censorship of)
relationships. be explored in music, poetry, literature, marriages.

Privacy of Public Figures [4] Giving public figures a right to

to reveal the all-too-frequent c f
prIvacy_ IS_~~3_Iorm ..ilL censorship. _ h . ases 0
The death in a car crash in Paris of Diana, Princess ofWales in 1997 refuelled calls for Investigative Journalism into immoral and ypocnsy (such as secretly gay politicians
restrictions on the paparazzi (press photographers) from whom she and Dodi al Fayed speakmg out against the gay COut '
criminal activities with a demonstrable ,. , mu III ty
had been fleeing. Subsequently the press in Britain voluntarily agreed not to intrude or a politician cheating on his wife and
element of~~Qlic interest: (rather than
into the privacy of Diana's sons, William and Harry, but it is yet to be seen if voluntary preachmg 'family values') . Th e n1ediJa
seedy gossip) ~ill still be allowed.
self-regulation of this sort will be enough. More broadly, the private lives of politicians, perform an invaluable task as moral and
actors, singers and sports personalities are constantly subjected to media scrutiny. The politics] watchdogs and investigat
[5] We should condemn the media for I ors.
details of such figures' sex lives are particularly popular topics in the tabloid press. n any case, privacy laws do not w k
pri~ting intrusive photographs of cele- F ' or .
In 1989 a bill in the UK that would have prevented the press from printing private ranee, mdeed, has stringent privacy
brities and2is~_~Ild tell' stories from their
information about an individual without his or her consent failed to become law. Is it laws, yet It was there that intrusive photo-
alleged lovers. Th~bodles 'that regulate
fair that every aspect of the lives of public figures and celebrities should become public ~raphs, of the Duchess of York and a
the media should take the lead in banning
property, or should something be done to protect these figures' privacy? fnend were taken and published, and that
the prmtmg of such material, and if that
DIana, Princess of Wales was hound d
does not work, privacy laws will have to
be introduced. right up to her death, by papara:zi
Pros Cons photographers.

[6] L~el and slander laws are not good

[1] Public figures and their families [1] Public exposure is one of the prices
enough. People will assume that there is
[4] ~iving public figures a 'right to
deserve privacy and protection from of fame and power. Politicians and prIvacy ,IS in effect condoning media
no smoke without fire, and so a politician
media intrusion. What they do in their celebrities realise this from the start, and censorshIp and gagging the press.
or celebrity's name can be permanently
private lives, unless it has implications for if they do not like it, they shoU:lcl not
smeared even if they subsequently win a
e.g. na~~l security (as in the 'Profumo enter the public sphere. These figures rely [5] Interest in the private lives of
libel suit or a small apology is printed
affair' in the 1960s when a cabinet min- on the media for their fame and wealth public figures is an inevitable part of the
- by then the damage to their reputation
ister and a Russian spy shared a mistress), - they cannot then complain if their has been done. modern media world. And as long as
should not be investigated and reported lives become, to a large extent, public we keep on buying, in our millions
by the media. p.r0perty. I' • • the newspapers and magazines that dish
Possible motions: out the salacious stories and pictures it is
[2] What a politician does in private [2] It is in the public interest to know Th IS House believes that public figures have a hypocritical to feign outrage at each new
has no bearing on his or her ability to do whether a politician is unfaithful to his or right to private lives. media intrusion. These stories sell because
their job. The distress caused to politicians her spouse. If someone cannot be trusted This Hou d of our fascination with fame and
Thi se con crnns the paparazzi. celebrity.
';;;cCrTieir families by revelations about to keep a promise in their personal life,
s House believes in the right to privacy.
sexual indiscretions is unjustifiable. th;n'{t is to be doubted if they can
be trusted more generally with important [6] Libel and slander laws already exist
Related topics:
[3] are public servants, matters of state. If a person goes into Censorship by the State to protect public figures from unfair press
entrusted WIth nnmg the economy and politics, has sexual affairs, and is caught, it Party Fun dimg by the State coverage. There is no need to introduce
the public services in an efficient and is he or she who is to be blamed for the Politician' any more legislation.
UtSIide Interests (Banning of)
responsible way. They should not be seen distress caused to his or her family, not Broadcasti (E d
H . ng n mg Public Control of)
as moral paragons. Religions are there the media. ornosexuaIs (Outing of)
to providefnoral leadership. We should
follow the example of France where [3] In an increasingly secular world, we
there are strict privacy laws and the need politicians to be the moral leaders
people accept that their politicians are that they claim to be. Hence it is right that
not saints. the media scrutinise their personal life

Surrogate Mothers arrangements would be made with

- which has "frequently happened.
friends or family (e.g. the sister of a sterile
A surrogate mother is a woman who carries and gives birth to a baby for another Important bIOlogIcal and emotional links
woman) and hence would be less open to
couple, who are unable to have children in the normal way. A couple in which the are made between mother and bab
legal or commercial disputes.
woman is infertile might use the man's sperm and the surrogate mother's egg to pro- when it is in the womb - these will add
duce the foetus - the surrogate would not need to have sex with the man, but could to the pain and confusion for both the
[4] A ban on this kind of surrogacy
be inseminated in another way. Alternatively, if the woman and man are both fertile surrogate mother and the baby.
would be entirely unenforceable. A
but the woman cannot, for some other reason, conceive and bear a child, one of woman can easily be impregnated in the
the woman's eggs, fertilised by the man, can be implanted into the womb of the [4] There may be some cases that the
privacy of her own horne by the would-
surrogate. When it is born the child is handed over by the surrogate to be adopted by law. would
not be able to reach ' but tIIe'
be father's sperm without professional
the couple. In the US and some European countries 'commercial surrogacy' is allowed pr inciple is still to be laid down that
medical intervention.
(where the surrogate mother is paid). In the UK in 1984 the Warnock Report surrogacy is wrong. It is a recipe for dis-
condemned surrogacy. Under the Surrogacy Arrangements Act of 1985, it became aster for the would-be parents and the
illegal for third parties to arrange any surrogacy for payment. The practice of surrogate surrogate, and for the child in later life
Possible motions:
motherhood continues to raise vexed moral and practical questions. growing up with the emotionally confus~
This House would allow surrogate mo th er-
hood. 1I1g state of affairs that its natural mother
is not one of its parents but a friend or
This House would allow paid surrogate
Pros Cons relative of its parents.

[1] Surrogate motherhood is to be [1] Being a parent is not a right that Related topics:
encouraged as it is a way for people who everybody is born with. If a couple arc Abortion
could not otherwise do so (infertile unable to have children themselves then Feminism
couples, gay men, single parents) to start they should adopt or foster a child rather Gays (Adoption of Children by)
their own family. There are always more than bringing yet another child into the Marriage
would-be parents than there are children world, particularly through surrogacy. Eugenics: rVF and Genetic Screening
available for adoption. Couples who have which is a method beset by emotional. GenetIC Engineering
been through a process such as surrogacy legal and financial wrangling. Science'" a Me nace to C"
will love and value their children all the
more. [2\ It is wrong to make a trade 111
human lives. Surrogacy will inevitably ~egetarianism
[2] Surrogate motherhood need not be become commercialised. The result of
a commercial arrangement. If it is, it is, of commercial surrogacy will be that only
See the introduction to the debate on 'A" I E " "
course, carried out within strict medical the rich can afford to buy babies in this Banning of'. mma xperuncnranon and Vivisection,
and legal guidelines (as is currently done way. That is not the way that parenthood
in the US and some European countries) should be decided.
i by official surrogacy agencies. Pros
[3j It is naive to believe that there will Cons
[3] It is possible, however, to have not be disputes in these instances of [1] We .
sh are ammals ourselves, with
instead a non-commercial system where- unpaid surrogacy. Such agreements would [1) It is natural for people to farm and
,.,ared ance st ors wit. h all other creatures
by the surrogate mother is not paid be legally unenforceable (since the surro- we sh ld . eat other creatures. Humans have corne
rn I ou" take responsibility for our ani-
(except expenses) but agrees to hand gate mother would be the mother in the to flourish and dominate through their
e a" COUS1l1S ra th er t h an explOlt1l1g
"" and
the child over at birth to the prospective eyes of the law) if the surrogate decided at!llg the " C successful adaptation to and manipulation
W m unnecessanly. Furthermore
parents who can adopt the child. Such to change her mind and keep the child e cannot k now exact Iy what feelings' of other species. It is a strange and un-
natural idea that we have 'duti'"es' to other
and emotions other animals can have. animals - rights and duties are exclusively
[5] A vegetarian diet is safer and
There is good evidence that they feel fear applicable to humans. It is true that we healthier. Factory farming is increasingly processed meats, burgers and
and pain like us. Therefore, we must err cannot know what feelings or emotions which are affordable and fill' so on,
dangerous, both for us and for the envi- '. I mg even If
on the side of caution and not farm and animals have, but we can assume that they not full of vitamins. Sater farming t .h-
ronment. Agricultural slurry is poisoning n d . ec

kill animals at all. As Jeremy Bentham are minimal. Vegetarianism rests on senti- iques an increased health a
our nvers and I11trates entering our water wareness
said, the question about animals is not mentalism and anthropomorphism. It is not a wholesale switch to an un l'
supply have been linked to increased rates . n~urn
'Can they think?' but 'Can they feel natural for us, like many other animals, vegetanan diet, are the solutions to the
. ?'
of cancer. Antibiotics fed to animals in
pam.. to kill and eat other species to survive. vast quantities are causing the evaI u tiIOn problems of unsafe meat farming.
Human dominance over the other ani- of 'super-bugs' - bacteria that are resistant
[2] Most mass meat-farming techniques mals is expressed in the creation stories or immune . I USlOn
to antibiotics . Th e mc .
are barbaric, especially the battery-farm- of the book of Genesis in the Bible. Possible motions:
of animal brains in their own feed has
ing of chickens and the force-feeding of led to the disastrous spread of Bovine This House believes that meat is murder.
veal calves. Supposedly quick slaughter [2] Modern farming techniques may Spongiforrn Encephalitis ('mad cow This House believes that eating meat is a form
techniques are often botched - leaving often be cramped, but we cannot assume of cannibalism.
disease'), and the human equrva . Icnt,
animals half-alive and in pain for hours that chickens or calves really have much Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease. Animal fats are
when they were supposed to be dead. of an awareness of their quality of life Related topics:
more likely than vegetable Cats
t 0 cause
Cows are pumped full of antibiotics and anyway. Their slaughter is generally swift Legislation v. Individual Freedom
clogged arteries. People in parts of the
steroids to force them to grow to an and painless. If it is thought to be very Pacifism
world that do not eat meat have lower
unnatural size, and are forced to produce a important, free-range chickens, eggs and Animal Experimelltatl'on d
rates of cancer. Almost all potentially an Vivisection
massive and unnatural quantity of milk meat can be purchased to ensure that the (Banning of)
;eadly forms of food-poisoning (E-coli,
so that they become exhausted and die animal one is eating had a natural and Animal Rights
SE, salmonella) are transmitted throu h
at half the age they would in nature. more varied life. g
meat and poult ry. Th e' more vegetanans Blood Sports (Abolition of)
By buying and eating meat the non- Zoos (Abolition of)
there are, the more demand for vegetables
vegetarian is indirectly torturing animals [3] Humans have evolved as an omni- there will be, the more farmers will switch
that have unnaturally short, miserable and vorous species. Therefore the omnivorous from meat to vegetable growing and
confined lives. diet (meat and vegetable) is what we are the
cheaper the vegetarian diet will
adapted to flourish on. By cutting out b ecome.
[3] There is no need for meat in a half of this natural diet we are bound to
balanced diet. All sorts of fruits, vegetables lose the natural balance and variety we
and pulses provide the variety of carbo- need. ~os, Abolition of
hydrates, proteins, fibre, minerals and
vitamins that we need. Our closest animal [4] The issue is one of choice. Those See the introduction to the debate on 'A' 1 E .
relatives - the apes - have all-vegetarian who prefer to buy 'organic' food and have Banning of'. I11ma xpenmentation and Vivisection,
diets. It has been suggested that this is our the money to spare should be able to do
natural diet too. so. The rest of us should be left to buy
what we please, unhindered by others' Pros
[41 The taste of naturally grown food is phoney sentimental morality. Cons
far superior to that mass-produced on a [1] Animals have . I .
do Th ng l1S Just as humans
farm. Compared with organic chicken,
for example, factory farmed chicken is
[51 A vegetarian diet may be healthy
(if unbalanced) but it is exceedingly
ea~h b have evolved from nature and [1] Animals do not have rights (and it is
debatable whether 'rights' exist). It is
ural h e ongs undisturbed in its own nat-
watery, rubbery and tasteless. Free range expensive. Vegetarianism is a luxury for seek £abltat, left alone to live, breed and eritirejv at our discretion how we treat
eggs are also healthier and tastier than the rniddle classes - fresh vegetables arc them, since we are a stronger, predatory
will fi ood. To remove them against their
those produced by battery hens. prohibitively expensive compared with rom thi-, hahitat is immoral. speCIes.The use of a weaker species tor the
needs of a stronger one is entirely natural.

[2] Even if animals do not have rights, [2] It is easy to pick shocking, isolated [5] Animals chosen for zoos are usually Animal Rights
we as humans still have a duty to treat examples of animal cruelty. In fact the the popular breeds, which will attract Blood Sports (Abolition of)
them humanely in our role as 'stewards of general treatment afforded to most crowds. Endangered species in need of Vegetarianism
the Earth'. Although we may breed them animals in zoos is very good. They are protection may not necessarily attract
for our purposes, to use for entertain- given regular food and water, comfortable audiences.
ment, for company, or to wear or eat, we environments suited to their particular
must still avoid causing them to suffer. needs, and most importantly medical
Zoos do this in two ways. First, the treatment - something they would not
animals frequently suffer abuse, neglect benefit from in the wild. In many cases
and even death, through boredom, un- their chance of survival is better than in
familiarity with their new habitats and their 'natural' habitat. In other cases, it is
cruel treatment by zookeepers. A San certainly a comfortable existence. Zoos
Francisco zookeeper, explaining an do not condone cruelty to animals;
incident in which an African elephant the public is taught that all animals are
was beaten with axe handles for two interesting and precious.
days, described the treatment as 'the only
way to motivate them'. Birds' wings may [3] By all means close down roadside
be clipped, aquatic animals have too little zoos, or at least subject them to the same
water, herd animals are kept alone or in stringent safeguards as municipal zoos.
pairs, and many animals contract 'zoo-
chosis', abnormal and self-destructive [4] Zoos are useful both for educational
behaviour caused by their confinement. purposes and for research. In particular
Second, the exhibition of animals in cap- they allow children an opportunity
tivity tells an impressionable public that to observe closely animals from other
cruelty to animals can be condoned. countries that they might never have
a chance to see, as well as learn about all
[31 Few zoos approach satisfactory the species of the animal kingdom and
standards of care for their animals. Many how they are related. Scientists are also
make no attempt to do so, such as afforded valuable opportunities to study
'roadside' zoos or menageries, where the animals in strange environments, and draw
primary purpose of the animals is to conclusions about how we can affect their
attract customers to another facility such natural habitats.
as a restaurant, store or hotel. There IS
no educational benefit to these zoos. [5] Endangered species may be
protected from extinction In zoos, or
14] Larger, municipal zoos that claim to in wildlife sanctuaries.
be for educational benefit are kidding
themselves; visitors usually spend no more
than a few minutes at each exhibit, using Possible motion.
the animals rather for entertainment. This House would tree the animals.
Their primary use {()J0 research is to devise
ways to breed and maintain more animals Related topics:
in captivity. If zoos ceased to exist, so Animal Experunentation and Vivisection
would the need I'Jr their research. (Banning of)

Ed ucation, Cu Iture a nd Sport


Arts Funding by the State, Abolition of

Pros Cons

[1] The role of the state in the modern [1] If the state does not provide care-
world is not to prescribe the means of fully administered funding for the arts,
expression of its citizens. Funding of the then only the independently wealthy or
arts by the state amounts to such pre- those given patronage by the rich will
scription - money will always go to one be able to practise as artists - this is un-
favoured art-form (often traditional figu- acceptably elitist and haphazard. Art has
rative painting and sculpture) rather than always been associated with patronage
others (e.g. more conceptual art-forms). of various forms from classical times
To avoid having a pernicious influence onwards. Just as religion has always found
over artistic expression and development, a compromise with secular authorities,
state funding of the arts should be so the 'pure' artist will always find a com-
abolished. The ideal of art is individual promise between the ideal of individual
expression - this is incompatible with expression and the economic realities of
state (or, arguably any) patronage. life as an artist. Only the state can fund
the arts in a responsible way, appointing
[2] We have learned from the past committees of artistic experts to make
(especially in Communist regimes) that responsible, relatively impartial and up-
funding of artistic projects (including the to-date decisions about which art-forms
composition of music) all too easily slides and artists are funded.
into the realms of propaganda. Art should
be free to criticise the Government. [2] We can, indeed, learn from history.
What we learn is that arts funding must
[3] There are many more important be given without any strings attached
things that public money is needed for - - that artistic freedom must always be
obvious examples include books and guaranteed rather than the state dictating
equipment for schools, new drugs and to the artist. Mistakes of past regimes
technologies for hospitals, social security do not mean that state funding of arts
payments for single parents and the must be scrapped, any more than the tact
unemployed. Every spare penny should that democratic processes have been
be channelled into these areas. Public abused by autocratic regimes means that
spending should be on necessities, not democracy should be scrapped.
luxuries. Art is of no material use to the
nation and so is not a proper object of [31 It is very simplistic to see benefit
public expenditure. only in material goods such as textbooks
and medicines. Civilised societies need
[4] If there is no demand for works moral and mental education and healing
of art then why are they being produced? as much as they require educational
It is simply a tor m of pointless self- and medical equipment. Artists (poets,
indulgence by artists. The state has no painters, actors, comedians, sculptors,
business subsidising plays, paintings or musicians, film-makers) provide unique
Classics (Latin and Greek) in Education
concertos for which there is no demand. moral insights and function as irreplace-
Artists should compete on the free mar- able critics of society and politics (a cross Pros
ket like everyone else trying to sell a between academics and jesters). A society Cons
product. If there are too many artists for without arts would be soulless and blind.
[1 ] Latin and Greek language and
the limited demand, then some artists [1] Many great authors have had
literature have traditionally been the basis d . no
(actors, painters, musicians) should simply [4] There are some areas where we e ucation in Classics, especially notable
of education for many of the great
re-train, as did, for example, coal-miners should not let the market dictate policy
scholars, authors and leaders of history. . of the twentieth century. Mil
writers I ton
in the 1980s when their usefulness was and spending. Public transport and health and Shakespeare had to study Latin and
Milton, Shakespeare, TS. Eliot et al relied
exhausted. services, for example, should be kept Greek as the .source of most great pre-
heavily on classical literature for inspira-
in state ownership to ensure that they Chaucerian literature; now we have the
tion. Their study today can both inspire.
[5] Arts are indirectly funded by are run not according to supply-and- benefit of several hundred years of litera-
modern thmkers in the same way and
unemployment payments to young demand alone but on a moral basis, ture in English to study instead. If we
help us better to understand past works
musicians and artists who claim dole pay- so that non-profit-making activities - wanted to understand ancient influences
influenced by them.
ments while not seeking work but e.g. train services to remote areas, or there are also many others from which to
simply developing their artistic talents. expensive treatments for rare medical choose: Ancient Egyptian and Anglo-
[2] The whole nature of a 'canon' of
But there is no reason why such people conditions - are not scrapped. Arts fund- Saxon in terms of culture; prehistoric in
!iterature that survives the ages is that it terms of science.
should not organise their time to include ing is a similar case. The state should
IS considered to be qualitively better
part-time work as well as time for fund the arts to ensure that they are not
than many current, ephemeral works.
their artistic development. It is illogical sacrificed on the altar of heartless free [2] This is nonsense for two reasons
. literature of Greece and Ro nle IS .
to assume that artistic talent must go hand market capitalism. Capitalists may be First, it is impossible to define one work
simply better than many of the texts
in hand with a chaotic, self-indulgent philistines, but that does not mean that of art as 'better' than another; the only
studied in English Literature or modern
and undisciplined lifestyle. the whole of society should be made languages. yardstick by which it can be judged IS
culturally illiterate by abolishing state Its relevance to an individual reader or
funding of the arts. viewer. If r prefer novels from 1960s
[3] The study of Classics teaches
Possible motions: France, then they arc 'better' to me.
valuable linguistic skills that can be
This House would abolish state funding of [5] Young artists such as the Beatles or S,econd, even if the use of language in
applIed to many other areas. A know-
the arts. Oasis would never have had the time to Greek and Latin texts was more impres-
ledge of Latin and Greek helps us under-
This House believes that the arts are of no develop their talents if they had been stand the I . sivc, that IS ou~weighed by the increasing
. etymo ogy of EnglIsh words
material benefit to society. constrained by a nine-to-five job. The while the al h' ., Irrelevance of the events andI ic ideas.
most mat ematicnl decoding> described.
artistic temperament is not compatible of gra . b . L

th Ulmar moth languages teaches

Related topics: with such a routine. It is perfectly accept- e mind to be analytical.
Capitalism v. Socialism able for such gifted young people to live [3 J The skills learned from Classics can
Broadcasting (Ending Public Control of) on state benefits while developing their e~ually be gained from the study of e.g.
[4] Just as the measure of a civilisation
National Lottery (Abolition of) unique talents. IS sOmetil .J b Cerrnan or Russian which have use in
. nes saw to c how well it takes
High Art v. Low Art care of its re . .d .' . . ' es the modern world. Mental discipline IS
tire CItizen - i.e how far it
Museums (Entrance Fees to) more easily taught through the study of
g?es beyond the bare necessities for sur-
Vival - surcl I pure mathematics or philosophy.
y t le measure of education
sh ould be h II .
ow we It teaches the student
areas of k I d [41 Luxuries are onlv to be applauded
di nowe ge that are not imme-
late requi .t TI . I when they can be' atl()rded. Untor-
I . _ Sl es. ie mc usion of Classics
I IS a fme .. I - . . . tunatelv, the increasing demands of more
examp e of thi«: dead languages.
. I
relevant subjects - especially science and

yes, but poetic ones with immense rele- technology, vocational skills, modern lan- associated traits: arrogance , crudirv, J'uve-
vance to the understanding of our own guages and business training - leave less education: boys arc led to sh. . f'f-
nility, Teenage girls mature faster than 0"" a and
history and the birth of Western culture. and less time for the large number of even sexually harass girls, while both arc
~heir male counterparts and so are a good
This is the sort of unnecessary extra we optional extras: Classics, music, drama, art, dIstracted by each other T" .
influence on them. Also, competition .' . ' . teenage preg-
should embrace. etc. The limited benefit of studying the nancics are soanng in co-educational
between Sexes is greater than between
few ancient authors worth reading is not schools. Competition should be dis-
same-sex rivals, and this competition
enough to justify their inclusion in the couraged and students should not be used
leads to higher standards of academic
Possible motions: curriculum. achievement. as pawns to provoke each other into
This House would put Latin and Greek on working
. .
harder; it is the teacher's. J'00

the national curriculum. [3] Adult relationships between alumni to inspire them, and they should not be
This House believes that Latin is a dead of co-educational schools often have a mouvated by rivalry. Academic achieve-
language, as dead as dead can be. better basis. Both partners will under- ment is in fact generally higher in
stand the characteristics of their opposite Single-sex schools; in the 1990s, league
Related topics: gender, having experienced them in tables have been topped by the likes
Tradition v. Innovation daily life to a far larger degree - in the of Manchester Grammar School and St
High Art v. Low Art same way that boys with several sisters Paul's Girls' School.
Religious Teaching in Schools are frequently thought to be 'more
~nderstanding of women'. Thus their [3] Divorcr rates in the United States
Judgements of each other will be better do not suggest that co-education leads to
Co-education informed. stable relationships.

[4] The system of single-sex schools [4] Children of a certain age shy away
Pros Cons arose from the chauvinistic societv of from the opposite gender and prefer
the. past,. where men held all I~ajor many activities characteristic of their
[1] It is only natural to teach boys and fl] In fact it is more natural for sexes P?SltlO n s 111 sOCiety and were accordingly sex. It is only natural that they should be
girls together, for social and economic to be taught apart, in the formative given a better education. It is now taught during this period by same-sex
reasons. Most high schools in the United years between 7 and 15 when children r~cognized that the sexes have equal teachers. While men and women should
States are co-educational, as are state prefer the company of their own sex. fights: of employment, of social benefit have equal rights, that is not the same as
schools and an increasing number of pri- In the Caribbean, many single-sex schools and of education. The fact that single~ saying they are identical.
Sex schools. teen d to h ave a majontv
. . of
vate schools in the UK. Primary schools are based on the belief that gendned
hi f t at sex - espeCially In ' the
h. ' .
are nearly always co-educational. responses from children confirm rh.: 0 [5] In tact mixed-sex schools arc more
natural differences between the sexes. Igher positions such as that of head expensive to run, having to provide t:lcili-
teacher - 11 ' . h
[2] The benefits given to students It1 There arc also a number of subjects that d' . . leans t at women teachers are ties for both boys and girls, and teachers
a co-educational environment are enor- cannot be taught in the presence or ~scnm1l1ated against in boys' schools and and subjects to suit both.
Vice versa.
mous. Both boys and girls are given an both sexes, or should not be taught in the
easy confidence when dealing with the same way: sex education, women's Issues. [5] The lack f f- ,
o mance in the state Possible motion:
opposite sex; those at single-sex schools etc. sector me h
ans t at we must urgentlv
frequently find this more difficult. a dd ress w f di .' J
This House would educate
" 1)oys an, j glf Is
cc . ays 0, Ireetmg funding more together.
Students hom mixed schools are more 121 Confidence is a product of m.uurir- euectlVely D ib . '
. istrt utmg staff and equip-
fully prepared for adult lite. The presence and children can be just as shy in co- l11entsepn t I .
c . < ra e y to smgle-sex schools IS less Related topic:
of girls usually leads to better behaviour educational schools as they can in mixed Ost-effect' I I .
. ive t ian t icir distribution to Se" Education
among boys who would otherwise enJoy schools. In fact, co-education can lead to l111xed s .h I . "'-
ir l 00 S Vv here faClhtles tor boys and
an 'oppressively male' atmosphere with its behaviour that is extremely detrimental to g Is can be shared. .


Contact Sports, Abolition of players gives young people role models
popular, but it does not seem that
who are revered simply for their brute
teenagers were more violent th h
force and ability to injure other people. ' en t an
Pros Cons now. Violent behaviour is an C
Such role models can only have a nega-
fact of human nature that cannot be
tive effect and perpetuate the trend
(1] There are some sports, specifically [1] It should be up to individuals to blamed on one or two particular sports.
towards increased violence among young
rugby and boxing, that involve high levels decide whether or not to take part in
people. Rather we should revere Sports-
of violent physical contact. These sports contact sports. We let people decide for
men who display skill as well as physical
should be banned in order to protect themselves whether to drive cars or Possible motions:
individuals from serious physical injury smoke cigarettes - both, proportionately, This House would abolish contact Sports,
and to protect society from their brutal- far more dangerous. In general we should This House would ban boxing.
ising effects.Young people are introduced let people decide for themselves what
to these sports at an impressionable age risks to take unless there is a good reason Related topics:
when they may not be old enough to not to - for example, with heroin-taking, Legislation v. Individual Freedom
make decisions based on all the relevant which IS excessively and universally Pacifism
facts - there is also great peer pressure to harmful and destructive. School Sport (Compulsory)
be 'hard' and take part in contact sports. Sport (Commercialisation of)
Banning these sports is the only way to [2] In fact, there are relatively few
ensure that young people in particular are deaths from contact sports compared
Corporal Punishment
protected from the dangers involved. with deaths from e.g. incidents of drown-
ing in long-distance swimming and in Pros
[2] Unlike football, cricket, skiing or sailing. There are risks inherent not only Cons
swimming, in which there may be some in all sports but in virtually all forms of
[1] 'Spare the rod and spoil the child'.
incidental injuries from accidents or (in travel and many forms of work. Cricket
especially in their formative years, befor~
[1] The use of force is barbaric and
football) illegal tackles, in contact sports balls in the head, sliding football tackles, there are many other methods that
they have developed faculties of reason
injuries result from the central activity of skiing accidents, crashes in 'Formula One' should instead be used to teach good
and fair play to which parents can (try to)
the sport. The 'serum' and the 'ruck' in racing, are inherent risks of the games, behavlOur: verbal correction, grounding,
appeal, children need to be taught the
rugby are central features of the game not in some way incidental in a way that Withholding of pocket money and so on.
difference between right and wrong.
that place immense and dangerous pres- accidents in rugby and boxing are not. It IS not morally sanctionable to cause
A short, sharp expression of force, such
sure on the spinal column, hence endan- The distinction between inherently pain to others even in a parent-child
as a smack or a spanking - which inflict
gering the central nervous system. The and incidentally dangerous activities is a relationship.
no serious or lasting damage - is an
whole point of boxing is to knock one's SpUriOUS one.
~xtremely effective method. It is espoused
opponent unconscious by temporarily
y many chlldcare experts. [2] Parental use of force teaches chil-
detaching his brain from the inside of his [3] It is simplistic to believe that admir- dren that violence can be acceptable. Too
skull. Both the British and the American ation for boxers or rugby players leads to many criminals, bullies and children with
[2] The law in Britain allows parents
Medical Associations have repeatedly violent behaviour. People find all sorts other behavioural disorders have been
called tor a ban on boxing. Such forms of of scapegoats for the incidence of violent
DI . right 0 f ' reasona bl e chastisement'.
beaten as part of their upbringing for the
tmutely it is the parents' responsibility
'sport' are uncivilised and unacceptably behaviour - television, films, video games. link not to be accepted. Parents are not
~o rear their children as best they may and
dangerous, resulting in paralysis, brain sports - but in tact violence endures no necessarily trustworthy and many abuse
y Whatever methods they choose. The
damage and death for many unfortunate matter what forms of sport and entertain- number of p arents w h 0 h ave used smack- the right of chastisement.
players. ment prevail. In the nineteenth century mg. or span kimg to produce well-raised
bare-knuckle boxing, a more brutal sport [3] In 1998 corporal punishment was
cchlldren testif
. Ill'S to t h e usefulness
- of
131 The idolisation of boxers and rugby than modern boxing, was inuncnsclv orporal punishment. finally banned in all forms from the
remaining independent schools where it

[3] Corporal punishment has been was still employed - twenty-one years test creativity, imagination, or even a flex-
outlawed in British schools because of after the Plowden Report which first learned to an unfamiliar question, and
ible understanding of the principles
the risks attached to its misuse. In the past recommended the ban. Just as other to communicate their knowledge to
involved in a subject; on the whole they
too many school-teachers have been methods are available to parents, so there the examiner. Exams should be retained-
test the rotc-learning of facts. It is there-
over-ready to use the cane, even deriving are myriad options for teachers to employ and perhaps improved - as part ofa COurse
fore possible for students to idle for a
sadistic pleasure from it; and with the in maintaining school discipline, none of involving other means of evaluation as
year and then learn the course in a few well.
current fear of child abuse it is not appro- which involves violence. days, just as they might successfully 'ques-
priate to grant this right to teachers. This, tion spot' and only revise a few topics
however, is an argument against extreme [4] Clearly some techniques of dis- [2] Pressure is a fact of working lift"
that happen to come up in the exam. It
empowerment of teachers, not against cipline or motivation work in some cases, as are deadlines, and both need to be
is unfair that university entrance and
corporal punishment per se, which may and fail in others. Of course a variety of prepared for and tested. The number of
employment prospects are based to such
retain a role in the home. methods should be used, and stronger people who cannot handle the pressure is
I a large degree on examination results.
penalties employed when weaker ones very small and there is no indication that
II [41 Spanking and smacking should fail. But this need not be extended to they would manage the increased work-
I [2] The pressure attached to exams,
be seen as part of a wider strategy of physical force; the fact that there arc so load that curricula without exams would
I both because of their significance for the
involve; in many cases they are un-
II child-rearing. They should be used only many other options shows this. future and of the stress involved in intense
balanced anyway. Parents and teachers
II selectively, for acts of wilful disobedience revision, is extremely detrimental to the
and misbehaviour, and only after milder should encourage students to relax for
II forms of discipline (removal of privileges, Possible motion:
student. Not only can this pressure cause exams.
II a pupil to perform less well in the exam
addition of chores) have failed. Encou- This House believes that parents should have than he or she would in a stress-free envi-
II ragement and praise should be given for the right to smack their children. [3] Exams are intended to make pupils
ronment, it can also lead to breakdowns
good behaviour. think and use what they have learned to
or worse. School drop-outs, discipline
Related topics: answer a question they have not thought
problems and even suicides are increas-
Ends v. Means about before. They should not be spoon-
ingly common, often due to worry about
Capital Punishment fed the answer by teachers and should
poor grades and the effect that failure in
Child Curfews expect the examinations to surpnse
one set of exams will have for the future. them.
Mandatory Prison Sentences Schools and parents are frequently culpa-
Sex Offenders (Chemical Castration of) ble in reminding the student of the con-
[4J The disparity in mental maturity is
sequences of failure and hence increasing
significant only at primary school level,
the pressure.
Examinations, Abolition of where separate tests are set f()r late devel-
opers. It is also the school's responsibility,
[3] Public exams (e.g. GCSEs,A-levels)
rather than the examining board's, to deal
are set outside the school by examinatio~
Pros Cons with pupils of different abilities, putting
boards, not by the teachers who are
fa '1' . them into sets or forward tor different
rrn tar WIth the students. This means examinations.
11] Examinations test the ability to [11 More usc of pilla I'(l((' examinations
One of two things. Either the pupils
memorise large amounts of information (face-to-face interviews) should certainlv
WIll find that the exams bear little relation
for short periods of time. It is well known be made, as these test that the student has J [5] At some point opinions must be
to the course they have been studying,
that some students are much better at proper understanding of the principles of,l given about students, and their own
whICh can cause disillusionment and
'cramming' and revising than others and subject. There is also far more use 01 teachers are much more likely to be par-
surprisingly poor results, or the teachers
so do better at exams, despite performing coursework components as part of most tial than independent examiners who
mUst anticipate the exams so carefullv
less consistently well during the course of courses. But anv exam will evaluate their know them only as candidate numbers.
that they are enslaved to the curriculun;
a year's study. Exams do not necessarily ability to apply'the knowledge they have Examiners mark primarily tor knowledge
Without the ability to adjust their syllabu,
and clarity of argument rather than tor

to the needs of their classes. Creativity

conclusion. Extensive moderation and Graduate Tax
and initiative from the teachers are lost. examiners' meetings guarantee that all
papers are marked to the same standard. Another debate about the responsibilities of the state. The Opposition does not need
[4] For the most part examinations are to present a counter-plan but it may make the debate more constructive if they outline
set and taken as if students had reached [6] Intelligence tests are highly contro- how else higher education could be funded, for instance, ~~.rlding it fully through
the same level of understanding at the versial and can only differentiate between general taxation (as in Britain until 1997) or through loans taken out by students
same age. This is not true; boys and girls right and wrong answers. They cannot (th~S). The Opposition arguments here concentrate more on the idea of full state
mature mentally at different rates, as do judge whether the pupil used the nght funding.
many individuals within the same sex. thought process in reaching the answer,
Exams make no allowance for this. and cannot measure creativity, initiative,
hard work, structure and the ability to ) Cons
Q ,"\
[5] Examination success frequently communicate. All of these qualities are \ s'.
depends on the individual examiner who " [1] Higher education is expensive for [1] Education IS so important that it
evaluated by examinations.
marks a certain paper. Since academics the state to provide' b~~bighly£rofitapl~.. should be a responsibility of the state to
often disagree over interpretation of the for those who enjoy its benefits - gradu- fund it. Itisa._~ey. f~_c.tor in economic
same facts, a student's essay or opinion ates, who tend to monopolise many of growth, .as more graduates boost pros-
Possible motion:
may be thought correct by one examiner This House would abolish the A-level. the'-highest-paid professions. Given that perityfor ~l1~Y.!1siI1g.their skills. It also
and incorrect by another. Two examiners graduates are currently a minority in promotes social mobility and equality
could indeed mark the same set of papers British society, and are likely to remain by allowing anyone with academic
and grade them in completely different so, why should bus drivers and factory potential to make the most of his or her
orders. This is why marks given for exams workers who never went to university abilities. Because of the diversity of back-
are frequently moderated and raised or P3Y, through taxes, for others to gain a grounds of modern students, universities
lowered by a second examiner - clearly salary advantage? Equally, why should the also promote tolerant, socially cohesive
the process does not provide an accurate childless or parents whose children did societies. The very nature of taxation
evaluation of the candidate. not go to university pay for other people's means that many people pay for things
children to attend? A majority of univer- they do not need themseAv~~; in return,
[6] Intelligence tests should be used
sity students come from middle-class they draw on state services towards which
instead as a more reliable indicator of a
I! backgrounds while most taxpayers are others are contributing.
student's potential, both for education and
poorer; clearly this is inequitable.
"I" for employers. They do not favour the
1;1 [2J Graduates do earn more, generally,
I student with a good short-term memory
[2] A graduate tax would be progres- but not always - Richard Branson and
!' over another. They may also be used to
sive, linked directly to earnings in a way many self-made businessmen disprove
pinpoint exact strengths and weaknesses,
that a loans system could never be. This this. In addition, many graduates and
profiling a pupil to say,for example, that he
means that graduates who choose to pur- non-graduates hold similar jobs in the
or she is 'strong at logical inference whjle
sue a low-paid profession (e.g. teaching) same firms, for example in retailing and
poor at lateral thinking' These evaluations
would not be penalised. 'Fat cat' lawyers, some financial sectors - it would not be
are much more useful to employers in accountants and management consultants fair for some of rhein to pay more tax
selecting the right candidate for the right would pay much more, and overall the than others. Graduates contribute more
job. Meanwhile, coursework and regular receipts of all graduate taxes would be already through income tax and National
evaluation should be used in school and enough to fund the higher education Insurance, assuming th'ey do have higher
university to make sure the students are system. earnings - so a graduate tax would
working consistently and understanding
penalise them twice.
their entire course.


[31 A graduate tax does not act as a [3] Any extra charge on graduates is High Art v, Low Art
deterrent to entering higher education still a disincentive - France and G<,:rmany
in the way in which other systems do - show that full state funding can create
private universities in the US which a society where university entrance is a Pros Cons
charge fees favour the rich or those with common aspiration. But the US shows
the confidence to take out loans, and that fees and loans do not preclude a [1] There is such a thing as a 'canon' of [1J There is no such thing as a canon,
the current requirement in the UK is for higher percentage of university atten- art, including examples of music, litera- nor a consensus on art. We all have
students to borrow from the government. dance than Britain currently has. Tuition ture, painting, sculpture, architecture and different tastes and if something pleases
In both cases the fear of large debts on fees introduced in the UK in 1997 led to so on that are simply superior to others. one individual then it is good art to
leaving university may dissuade potential an immediate drop in applications but Consensus and any sensible criteria of that person. Even if Shakespeare et a/.
students from applying in the first place. they soon returned to approximately judgement tell us that Shakespeare, are generally regarded as very good,
This is especially true of working-class their former level. Would-be students Beethoven and Van Gogh were among
the best exponents of dance music, of
students; those from the middle classes recognise that they will benefit from the best of their discipline. Modern cul- blockbuster films and so on can be equally
are more accustomed to borrowing to higher education and are prepared to ture is producing fewer and fewer works good. The canon is foisted by older
finance investments (as in mortgages). invest in that. Unlike a graduate tax, loan to add to the canon.
generations on the younger, but they have
The deterrent effect becomes strongest in repayments are fixed and can be fully
no superiority in evaluating art.
times of recession. repaid over time. In times of recession, [2] It is no longer possible, for the most
those susceptible to a high graduate tax part, for artists to devote themselves [2] Artists have always had to cater to
[4] Many of todays most productive are more likely than anyone to move entirely to the production of high-class the public or to the benefactors who
careers require ...!echnical training which abroad - and these are the people society work, because their first priority must be support them; Virgil wrote The Aeneid to
can be provided by companies rather most needs to keep. to earn money. Whereas the system of please Augustus, and Dickens published
than universities. University students are patronage in the past, where artists were his work in popular magazines. And if a
acqumng a surplus of unnecessary [4] University education IS of enor- funded by wealthy benefactors, allowed work of art is popular, then surely it is
knowledge through their own choice. It mous benefit to society as whole (see rID them to work purely to their own tastes, doing its job.
should be their responsibility, not the and technical training is widely available now they depend on sales and must cater
state's, to fund this luxury. at all universities. Industry, commerce to the tastes of the public. Hence films [3] The advance of technology has
and the culture of a country all need the feature more special effects than quality brought innumerable benefits and the
benefit of graduates, and society should acting, conceptual artists must create decline of traditional recreation IS
Possible motions: be prepared to invest in them. unnecessary controversies to sell work, inevitable - tastes change and we do not
This House would introduce a graduate tax. and teenage violinists must pose half- have enough time to enjoy everything
This House believes that higher education naked to sell classical concertos. available to us.
should be free.
This House would pay back its debt to [3] Art as it is traditionally thought of
society. IS becoming less important in our society. Possible motion:
This House would make the student pay. The advance of modern technology and This House prefers Sega to Shakespeare.
media means that reading is in decline as
Related topics: computer games are rampant. Music has Related topics:
Ideology v. Pragmatism become increasingly dance- and rhvthrn- Arts Funding by State (Abolition of)
Weltare State based (as it has evolved from rock :n' roll Classics (Latin and Greek) in Education
Taxation (Direct, Abolition of) to disco to hip hop to techno) and the Museums (Entrance Fees to)
Oxbridge (Abolition of) traditional qualities of melody and har-
Tuition Fees for University Students mony arc lost. Museums and art galleries
attract fewer visitors than ever bcf()IT.

Mandatory Retirement Age open up the field for young talent to

age of 82), poets (e.g. Sir John Be~eman
come through. Mandatory retirement
who became Poet Laureate at the age of
Currently there is a mandatory retirement age of 60 or 65 for most people employed would thus encourage meritocracy in the
66) and writers (e.g. the phenomenally
by private businesses and corporations, and also for public sector employees (e.g. civil arts as well as in business. Older artists
successful popular novelist Catherine
servants, teachers, doctors, the policeforce).Traditionally women have retired at 60 and could continue to do creative work on an
Cookson who only started writing in
men at 65, although this distinction is rarely made today. Private practitioners such ~flpaid basis, .and should be encouraged her forties and produced huge amounts
as doctors and surgeons in private practice, barristers, artists and writers as well as to work for charities and teach younger
of work from her sixties to her early
people who run their own businesses and politicians are not subject to a mandatory artists, perhaps from underprivileged
nineties) t?EQ<:l!-1ce .their best work after
retirement age. Judges in Britain have a mandatory retirement age of 75, except Law backgrounds,~~.~",0~!! in their '.the age of 65,. Younger ,performers and
Lords, who sit as the highest court of appeal, for whom there is no rule. retirement.
,". r'"'- writers will geUI1t:ir chance, and there is
already much media eXP,?s\lre for 'prodi-
[3] It is unfair that some people are
Pros Cons ~~ and young stars especially in the
allowed to continue doing their job past film and music industries. If anything, an
s r:" ;,-" I
the age of 65 while others are not. In the
[lJ Although many judges, surgeons [1 J This is a repressive and draconian effort needs to be made to give older"
,I interests of equality there should be a
or entrepreneurs will be able to work measure and a complete over-reaction, . artists more exposure. The young have
lU~I::ersal ma~datory retirement age. plenty of opportunities and exposure
effectively after the age of 65, many will especially in a world, with an ever-
~ • C1 'I" , " " (" already. I' ,'" r :f
.i : (,
become less and less competent, lucid increasing. proportion of over-65s. There [4] Mandatory retirement should not -t. ,.\.' '.:
and-~li;ble'~s the effects orold ;.;ge"(alld may be some who become incompetent
be seen negatively. Too many people these [3] I:?ifferent j()1J.!, differ 111 many SIg-
p;';-ssibly senility) set--iIl~'The"impa;rment as they get older but they must be dealt
days are dominated by their careers and nificant ways suchaspaY~Job'security.
of judgement or skill may be slow and with on an individual basis - using the world of work. As more and more and working conditions.j] is a tact of life
gradual, or dramatic. But without a man- existing mechanisms to prevent them
datory retirement age there is no easy way from practising medicine, law or
people live beyond retirement age by two that some jobs have retirement age and
decades, this period of life should be free others do not..~~lieving in equality does
to oblige someone whose faculties are commerce on the grounds of their from the stress and strain of work. It not entail everyone's jobs having to be as
impaired to stop working - even when it incompetence. The huge majority whose provides a time for people to pursue similar as possible in all respects.
might be endangering life or, causing faculties are not --impaired should be creative and educational interests, ail.J~js~
miscarriages of justice. A mandatory allowed to continue working as long as to_give something back to the community [4] People must not be treated like
retirement age of 65 for all will£uar<l~.~e they are able to. Mandatory retirement with charitable work. Those who are children. This legislation would be an
,I, that this does not happen, and will put would unnecessarily and unjustly curtail 'workaholics' need a mandatory retire- extreme measure characteristic of an
an end to the spectacle of senile, out- many careers and pointlessly deprive ment age to give them the spur to develop overbearing nanny state'. We must
of-touch judges and politicians making the community of the wealth of experi- ~r sides of themselves and broaden let individuals decide for themselves
constitutional and judicial ence and ability that older lawyers,
doctors and businessmen have accumu-
lated. Most judges, for example, are over
their li;~"S.-
whetherthey wIsh
li~ to their job
to devote their entire
prefer to Tollo w other
[5] Looking at employment as a whole,
[2] At the moment, in the world of 60, because they require a huge amount We still suffer a problem of unacceptable
the arts, musicians, writers, actors and of experience to be able to do the job. [5] In fact, such a law would be dis-
~~y~.:::~_~. A mandatory astrous economically. The rapidly ageing
composers continue to work way past retirement age will free up more working
the normal retirement age. Thisprevents [2] Many composers (e.g. Michael population in Weste;n countries - where
opportunities which can be offered to the
young talented performers and writers Tippett who continued to work past his people are Jiving longer and longer -
young jobless - those who are more
means that a greater proportion of the
from breaking into the field. A mandatory ninetieth birthday), actors (e.g. Sir John ~, to be supporting tamilie«, buying population are drawing pensions and a
,,' retirement age would prevent those over Gielgud who won an Oscar at the age of houses, and so on.
65 from taking paid jobs (book deals, film 77, and Jessica Tandy who won her Oscar smaller proporti~;;-~ork;~lg" to provide
roles, po~iti~ns in orchestras) and hence for her role in Driving Miss Daisy at the the money. A mandatory retirement age
would only make this worse.

who cannot afford to go to cinemas,

Possible motions: those people who cannot afford even
theatres or museums can receive similar
This House calls for a mandatory retirement reduced rates to enter museums will not
resources (plays, films, documentaries) on
be able to afford a television either _
age. television. ~ /..~( ( -. ..

This House would put youth before

~ /
again, the poorest are those who are dis-
experience. criminated against; and second, seeing a
[3] Public money is allocated for essen-
documentary on television is a less par-
tial educationalr_esources - schooling up
Related topics: ticipatory, active experience. Art in par-
to the age of 18 for those who wa-nt it,
Term Limits for MPs ticular must be"se~n' first-hand to be
and up to the age of 16 otherwise, and
Pension (Ending State Provision of) . appreciated. These are invaluable cultural
to provide loans on favourable terms for
experiences, more important than mere
students to finance their higher educa-
entertainment, and they should be funded
tion. Museums, while certainly being by the state.
Museums, Entrance Fees to educational, are not a core, essential part
of education, and so should not be
[3] As stated above, museums are
funded publicly. Ifthe government can-
Pros Cons educational resources that will appeal ;s
not even afford to allocate money to pay
much to those (who have not had a
for university tuition fees, it certainly
[I] Museums cost money. Significant [1] Society at large benefits from the university education and do not have
cannot afford to run museums, which are
costs include the wages of curators and increased levels of public understanding a bookish intellectual mind as to those
something of a luxury 1Il comparison
other staff, the cost of purchasing new of art, culture, science and technology who do. They are important resources for
with higher education.
acquisitions for their collections (e.g. that museums engender. Even with continuing education of adults as well as
papers of significant politicians, writers or reduced rates, entry fees will deter the for chiid;~~;. The state should be commit-
scientists, works of art, rare technological poor and underprivileged - exactly the ted to funding museums as well as school
Possible motion:
artefacts and other items that come to sort of people who would benefit most and university education - it should not
This House would pay to go to a museum.
auction), and general upkeep ofbuildings. from the 'democratic' and unimposing confine itself to conventional modes of
It is only right that this money comes from form of education that museums offer; a education only. The fact that the state
Related topics:
those people who b.t:'_nef~t._.f~C:>.Il~_the form of education accessible to those is failing to provide enough funding for
National Lottery (Abolition of)
museum - those who visit it. Reduced who, perhaps, could not flourish in the universities is not an argument for its cut-
Arts Funding by the State (Abolition of)
rates can be applied to students, pensioners conventional academic system of book- ting back funding for other educational
High Art v. Low Art
and the unemployed. learning and exams. establishments such as museums as well.

[2] Museums, like cinemas, theatres or [2] It is arguable that some films and
Nursery Education, Free Provision of by the State
sports venues, provide several hours of plays should be shown free of charge as,
entertainment. There is no reason why like museums, they are educational
museums alone should be expected to resources. But in general museums are Pros
provide this service free of charge. Like more directly and cxplicitlycducacional
other forms of family entertainment, (e.g. the Science Museum, the Natural [11 Developmental psycholob'Y has
museums should be allowed to make a History Museum, the Victoria and Albert
[11 Up to the age of 4 or .5 it is right
demonstrated how crucial the early edu-
and proper that children be educated in
profit. Also, it is unconvincing to say that Museum) than are films and plays. Films, cation of children is for their later
the home. Parents (mothers in particular)
museums are educational but cinemas in particular, are largely commercial and progress. In other words, science has
are biologically adapted to be the best
and theatres are not - the latter can be superficial forms of entertainment that it shown that nursery education should be
carers for and educators of their children.
extremely educational, but are not pro- would be very hard to justify as educa- a priority tor any government. Many
Developmcnt during this period IS
vided free of charge by the state. Those tional. Television is no substitute: first, more doors are closed in the long term
important but can best be fostered by

by a lack of education and stimulation at parental attention and stimulation. Given lookout for disturbed or abused children. It [4J It is not clear that providing free
an early age than by the lack of free that parents can fulfil this role, nursery will be harder for parents to hide the nursery education for all is the most effi-
degree-level education. Specially trained education need not be seen as an essen- neglect or abuse of their child if nursery cient way to deal with child abuse. The
nursery school teachers are needed to tial part of an always financially stretched school is compulsory and the child is money would be better spent if it were
help fully to realise the development public sector education system. Public in regular contact with teachers from targeted at child abuse, in particular via
potential of all pre-school children, since education spending can properly be an earlier age. Hence, as well as enhancing charities and social workers. This would
most parents are not fully equipped or concentrated on the school years when equality of educational opportunity, be cheaper and more effective than
trained to do this entirely by themselves. specialist teachers are required, rather socio-economic equality and social adap- having free nursery education for all.
than being stretched and depleted to tation, free nursery education is a weapon
[2J If free nursery education is not cover, in addition, nursery education, against child abuse.
provided by the state then only the rich university education and museums. Possible motions:
will continue to provide it for their chil- This House believes that nursery education is
dren. This is particularly pernicious as [2J It is, sadly, already the case that a right, not a privilege.
it means that social and economic children of the rich will already receive This House believes that the child is father of
inequalities are being ingrained in the a better pre-school education, with or the man.
next generation right from the first few without nursery schools. It is the rich
years of their lives. Those whose parents who can afford books, educational toys Related topics;
could not afford nursery education will and technologies for their children, and Welfare State '
be at an intellectual and educational dis- who are often better educated them- Tuition Fees for University Students
advantage from the outset. Free nursery selves. With or without free nursery
education is a crucial way for a govern- school education, socio-economic in-
ment to fight against the perpetuation equalities will be active in children's lives Oxbrldge, Abolition of
of elitism and inequality. We should not right from the moment they are born.
be totally fatalistic about inequality - Oxford and Cambridge universities currently receive extra funding from the state in
free nursery education will do something [3J Again it is the home environment order to continue their costly systems of education. The distinctive elements of
to redress the balance even though it that is most important in the social devel- Oxbridge education are the collegiate system (everyone belongs to a particular col-
will not, of course, wipe out economic opment of children. Their most impor- lege within the university and every student has a director of studies who oversees
differences. tant relationships are with parents, siblings his or her work) and the one-on-one (or one-on-two or -three) 'supervision' or
and the children of neighbours and 'tutorial' method of teaching. Both of these aspects mean that an Oxbridge education
[3J Nursery schools provide crucial friends. Whether or not a child is born costs more per student. Also, Oxbridge students, unlike students from any other
social training for young children as well into a well-adjusted family and pleasant university, are automatically awarded an MA (Master of Arts) degree four years
as preparation for academic work and community will be the deciding factor in after completing their BA (Bachelor of Arts). The Proposition should not argue for
school. Without free nursery education, its social development. It is important that abolition of Oxbridge in the sense of destroying the buildings and closing the
more and more children will grow up parents take responsibility for the moral universities, but rather that their unique elements and privileges be removed, bringing
socially underdeveloped - a real worry and social education of their child and them into line with other universities.
in our modern society where the idea do not use the absence of state-funded
of community has almost completely nursery education as an excuse for the
broken down. Socially undeveloped chil- anti-social traits of their children. Pros Cons
dren can grow into anti-social and even Free nursery education would provide
criminal adolescents. another way by which parents could [1J The fact that more resources per [1J There are only a minority of
abdicate responsibility for their children's student are put into Oxford and students who could cope with and benefit
[4J Nursery schools also fulfil a pastoral, development. Cambridge by the state means that the from the more demanding and rigorous
social-work role. Teachers can be on the elitism of those establishments is com- mode of teaching offered at Oxford and

pounded. The message propagated by this Cambridge. This method of teaching IS any more than students from other Oxbridge method of teaching is part of
system is that those with inborn academic indeed more expensive, but it turns universities. this unthinking liberal drive to make
ability are worthier of the nation's invest- out excellent students with an excellent
everyone a graduate at the same level,
ment than those born with lesser abilities. education. Forcing Oxbridge to give up regardless of academic ability.
In fact, the opposite is true. Those fortu- the collegiate and tutorial systems would Possible motions:
nate enough to be born, by chance, with be to demand a 'lowest common denom- This House would abolish Oxbridge. [3] The collegiate system is a successful
intellectual ability and/or well-educated inator' higher education system in which This House would remove the privileges of and historical system, and it would be
parents who encourage them to get into excellence is not encouraged and all Oxbridge students. criminal to abolish it. Each college has its
Oxbridge are those least in need of the are treated as identical - spiting the
own strengths and traditions and caters
extra educational resources the state can intellectually gifted in an act of inverted Related topics: to different sorts of students. It is true
provide. The extra money should be used snobbery. As for re-directing the extra Marxism that the colleges are rich in resources
to improve facilities and staff-student resources, the amounts of money involved Graduate Tax (staff, libraries, etc.) - that is one of the
ratios in all other universities. are a minute fraction of national higher Private Schools great strengths of the Oxbridge system,
education spending (we are, after all, Tuition Fees for University Students one of the factors that make Oxford
[2] It is, as mentioned above, largely a talking about only two universities). As
and Cambridge centres of academic
matter of chance - the biology and soci- with private schools, the resources that
excellence of which we should be proud.
ology one is born into - who gets in to allow excellence in a few centres, if spread
Oxford and Cambridge. It is not right out across all schools or universities, would
[4] However hedonistic some Oxbridge
that the superior resources provided at be reduced to trivial and ineffectual
students may be, it is still an acknowledged
Oxbridge should compound such chance anlounts.
and well-documented fact that Oxbridge
advantages. In the interest of equality of
students put in many more hours per week
opportunity, all should have access to an [2] It is foolish to assert that everyone
than students at other universities and are
equally good higher education. That has a right to an equal higher education.
expected to work to a much higher level.
means equalising the university system Higher education, unlike more funda-
Oxbridge arts and humanities students are
and removing the Oxbridge privileges. mental schooling, is a privilege, not a
required to produce up to fifteen essays per
right. It is a privilege, or opportunity,
term on top of attending lectures (as
[3] The collegiate system is particularly that is open only to those with academic
opposed to three or four essays per term in
iniquitous since it duplicates resources. ability. And within the set of those who
other universities).
Every college has its own library, chapel, have academic ability, some have more
bar and tutorial staff, even though the than others. Liberal educationalists would
number of students per college is only a ignore these basic facts. The last two Private Schools
few hundred. These are wasteful excesses governments in Britain have both fallen
that should be curtailed. into the trap of advocating higher educa-
tion for all (or as many as possible) Pros Cons
[4] It is a myth that Oxbridge students regardless of the fact that this stretches
are hard-working academics who pay for resources, lowers standards, and attracts [1] Freedom of choice is a fundamen- [1] In a moral society, freedom of
their privileges with effort and self-sacri- half-hearted students. Employers exacer- tal principle of our democratic, capitalist choice is right because it is available to
fice. Anyone who has been through bate the situation by demanding degrees society. If parents can afford to send their everyone. If a choice is available only to
Oxbridge or visited students there will even while acknowledging the fact that child to a private school, and wish to do the few who can afford it, then it upholds
know that the students are as alcoholic, graduates are less and less well trained so, why should any restrictions be put on the classist, elitist society we are strug-
indolent and hedonistic as those just (because such huge numbers of students that choice? We are, after all, allowed to gling to overthrow. Education is necessary
about anywhere else. They certainly do are being pumped into higher education buy the best car or the best stereo equip- for everyone and should be freely avail-
not deserve an MA for their three years courses). The lobby to abolish the ment if we have the money. able - it is far more important than a car

[2] A good education costs money. It is or stereo and any comparison between freedom for imaginative, unorthodox they passed the exams, not by which
the government's responsibility to pro- them is fatuous. teaching techniques suited to their par- exams they were privileged to take.
vide proper funding for state sector ticular pupils. Second, it is agreed that the
schools which are showing gradual signs [2] The wealth of private schools, no standards required to pass public exami-
of improvement. In the meantime, how- matter how good an education they pro- nations have fallen greatly over the past Possible motions:
ever, there is no doubt that private vide, causes more problems than it solves. few decades - which is why the grade This House would pay for its education.
schools, with better funding raised from As long as these institutions exist they 'A*' had to be introduced for GCSE This House believes that private schools are
tuition fees, consistently achieve better will attract the best teachers, eager for examinations since the vast number of not in the public interest.
academic results for their pupils - far bet- high salaries, and the best resources. students attaining 'As' rendered the latter
ter than any school could do if private This means that schools in the state grade almost meaningless. Teachers at pri- Related topics:
schools were abolished. Until 1997 these sector, which cater to the vast majority vate schools have far more leeway in how Capitalism v. Socialism
schools offered places to those who could of students, receive disproportionately and what to teach; and several leading Marxism
not afford the fees through the Assisted poor resources. Only when private private schools have discussed breaking Privatisation
Places scheme; since the abolition of schools are abolished will it be possible away from the national curriculum to set Oxbridge (Abolition of)
the scheme by the Labour government, for staff and facilities to be distributed their own, more difficult exams, which
schools are raising their own funding equitably. would challenge their brightest students
to award scholarships to the needy. more effectively.
Manchester Grammar School, for exam- [3] Most of these facilities are not as
ple, is setting up bursaries to fund places welcome in a modern world. Boarding
for any student who passes its entrance schools offer sheltered existences where Religious Teaching in Schools
exam. outdated traditions and prejudice flour-
ish, leaving their alumni entirely inade-
[3] Many private schools offer facilities quately prepared for adulthood. 'Country Pros Cons
that are considered extremely worthwhile pursuits' are an affectation of the snobbish
and are not found in most state schools. elite, not the intelligent - most of the best [1] Religion has been so important to [1] A large number of people also
Many are still predominantly boarding modern private schools are day-schools. history - and is so important to a vast happen to regard religious belief as un-
schools, providing a secure community in cities (Manchester Grammar, St Paul's, number of people alive today, in the UK important or wrong. Religious history,
feeling which builds confidence in their King Edward's in Birmingham, etc.). and elsewhere - that it clearly merits its where relevant, can be taught as part
students. Extra-curricular activities are Co-educational schools provide a better place as an academic subject alongside of a History syllabus, but religious and
strongly encouraged to complete a well- education for all sorts of reasons. Extra- History and English. In fact the increas- spiritual discussion should be entirely
rounded and enjoyable education, in- curricular activities should be encouraged ing secularisation and scientific progress optional, the choice of the student or
structing pupils in many skills useful for in the state sector; where they do not of the world make it doubly important the student's family, and conducted out-
adult life. Several public schools exist exist, it is through lack of resources taken that the spiritual side of humanity is not side school. Too many people regard it
I in old manor houses in the countryside, by the private schools. ignored.
as irrelevant to have it imposed on every-
where pupils have wider opportunities
I one. Compulsory morning prayers, the
i for sports and the pursuits of country life. [4] The whole point of a national [2] Religious teaching can cover norm in the past, have been abandoned
A large proportion are single-sex with all curriculum and public examinations is many faiths and denominations, outside in many schools for this reason.
of the benefits such a system brings. that we can ensure that all students are specifically denominational schools (e.g.
given equal opportunity of education; a Roman Catholic), so it is not discrimi- [2] Even if religious teaching covers
[4] The national curriculum has breakaway league of private schools natory against minorities. Much of it all faiths, it is discriminatory to the non-
resulted in two damaging side-effects for would worsen the 'old school network' of is analysis of the histories and beliefs of religious. Usually, however, it is focused
the student. First, teachers become academic elitism that already exists. Pupils different religions rather than instruction largely on a small number of faiths or
enslaved to the curriculum and lose their should be judged by how successfully in anyone set of doctrines. even the one relevant to the majority of

[3] Religious teaching is the only its students; this is clearly unfair on the [2] Many children are unwilling to
framework for students to discuss morals minority who may have another faith. of good citizenship should also be taught.
play sports simply because they have
and morality. That they should form a When something is enforced it tends to
not been encouraged towards physical
engender resentment which undoes the
code of morals is clearly a useful benefit [3] Just because the law is based on pursuits in the past: toddlers who are
to responsible adulthood. In the UK and religious morals does not mean that it benefits it may bring when voluntarily
left to play or read in their bedrooms by
needs to be studied in that context. chosen. Sport should therefore be
other Western democracies, the entire their parents instead of being sent to play optional, although encouraged.
legal system is founded on the basis of Atheists can have a moral code. Morals outside with friends. These children,
Christian morality, so whether or not should be discussed in school, as should when older, may choose to avoid sports if
[2) Students who start school Sports as
the theology is accepted, the morality of the law, but in a modern setting dealing given the chance. In fact, if forced to take
that religion is still considered 'right' in inexperienced, reluctant participants
with citizenship. part, they may well discover a surprising
those countries. All faiths aim to improve and then go on to shine are very few in
enthusiasm and talent for certain sports.
number. Most of the resources - espe-
society and to alleviate injustice. [4] The United Kingdom contains an Many notable sportsmen and women
increasing number of British subjects of cially the attention of games teachers
started their careers this way.
- are devoted to children who are already
[4] The United Kingdom is a other faiths who are being discriminated
Christian country with an official church very sporty. Beginners are therefore
against. The Church of England should [3] Exercise is necessary to keep the ignored and lose enthusiasm.
- the Church of England - and it is the be disestablished and all religions should body and mind healthy. While children
duty of its government and society to be accorded equal treatment - which are naturally more fit and energetic than
address the falling numbers of church- is impossible inside a weekly religious [3] The fitness vogue of recent years
adults, they need exercise to let off steam
education lesson. has meant that adults are certainly aware
goers. Religious instruction is one way and to sleep properly; it is also advisable
to do this. of the value of exercise whether they
that they are prepared for a habit of
choose to do it or not. They are more
regular exercise when reaching adult-
Possible rnotiorr: likely to continue sports they enjoy and
hood. It has been shown that academic
have chosen to play. If children are over-
This House believes that religion has no place work is generally better when coupled
energetic, they will run around anyway.
in our schools. with exercise.

Related topics: [4J Most aspects of school are com-

[4] Most aspects of school life are
Churches in Politics pulsory only for younger ages; teenagers
compulsory and the enforced teaching of
Disestablishment of the Church of England develop discriminatory abilities that give
anything is not usually regarded as con-
Islam (Fear of) them clear likes and dislikes. Curricula
troversial. Students accept sport as part
recognise this and allow students to
God (Existence of) of the curriculum just as they accept
choose between optional subjects. Those
mandatory subjects.
that are enforced arc frequently resented.
School Sport, Compulsory [5J Most sports also entail social pro- [5J The competition ofsport engenders
grammes and those who have chosen
an inevitable elitism and clubbiness
not to play sports miss out on these; they
Pros Cons amongst the best participants; poor sports-
frequently feel excluded from events and
players who take part are ridiculed Elf
social circles they would actually like to
[1] A school education should involve [1] There are far too many 'life skills' more than those who do not play them
take part in.
for all of them to be satisfactorily taught in the first place.
much more than the simple acquisiton of
facts. All sorts of skills needed in adult life in school. An alternative to sport in many
should be developed. Sport provides schools is involvement in charity work. Related topics:
Possible rnorion:
many of these: the value of keeping fit, where students visit local residents Contact Sports (Abolition of)
This House would make school sport
teamwork and discipline in particular. with special needs - surely these aspects Legislation YS. Indrvidun l Freedom
School Unitorr.,

School Uniform School-leaving Age, Lowering of

Pros Cons Pros Cons


[1] A school should encourage tidiness [1] Many schools do not have uniforms [1] After a certain period of education, [1] A hallmark of our advanced society
and discipline in its pupils. A uniform aids while still demanding certain standards of most students have attained the basic is that maturity now does not begin until
this whereas freedom of dress tends to dress, such as forbiddingjeans, or requiring skills required by everyone in life: read- much later in life than when children
make pupils too eager to express their long skirts but allowing a choice ofcolour. ing, writing, simple mathematics, and were put to work at a very young age. It
individuality, wearing extremely messy or There is no reason why pupils not wear- a general knowledge of language, history, is a good thing that employment does not
flashy clothes and becoming obsessed ing uniform cannot still be smart. When science and technology. Education start until 16, and that instead we have
with clothes and appearance. There is also pupils reach a certain age, they are old beyond this point starts to add specific the time and opportunity to,.acquire extra.,
a widely accepted connection between enough to behave responsibly while still knowledge which will be relevant to kn~~e~ge and skills. Options in school
smart dress and good behaviour. making their own decisions. Why should some people in life but not to many 0curncula cater for p-~plls' vanous inter-
they not be able to choose how to dress? others; many of us, for exampl~" will I ests, and many of them only begin to
[2] School-teachers must manage a never need an understanding of the! enJOY education once this is the case
large number of pupils in a variety of [2] Unfortunately, uniforms also help chemical equations we study so hard as: - and then go on to higher education.
situations. Uniforms inevitably make the pupils to stand out to other people as teenagers. Second, educ~io11_is__si!:Dply'
that task much easier when the pupils well; fights are frequently picked between not int,(~xes~ing to a large number of [2] In fact, technological advances are
are out in public, on school trips. It is pupils from different schools who recog- pupils. Surely, therefore, they should be greatly limiting the number of unskilled
an administrative nightmare trying to nise each other's uniforms. Sometimes allowed to leave school as soon as they workers needed. Many such workers find
monitor a group dressed casually. anonymity is preferable! ha~., acquired the basic skills and have themselves redundant, r~;Jaced by robots,
the desire and maturity to move on to and without the skills to get a job in the
[3] Uniforms prepare students for the [3] A relatively small percentage of paid employment - say at 15. Students new industries of information technology
smartness demanded in office life. jobs require suits to be worn. Why should whowant to study further are, of course, and computer science. It would be far
pupils planning to be doctors not wear allowed to. better to give everyone as much training
[4] Uniforms reduce cost for parents white coats, or future computer program- in technology as possible, at school.
on their children's clothing, as they do mers not wear T-shirts and jeans? [2] Socierysimplv does not allow for
not have to replace wardrobes every few a fully educat~dpopulation. For every [3] Technology IS an increasingly
months to follow the latest fashion [4] Uniforms are very expensive and computer scientist ~r industrial engineer important part of school and university
trends. have no value or chance of use outside who creates a machine, there must also study; and in fact, apart from pure pro-
school. bean unskilled or semi-skilled worker to gramming jobs, m~~~~yers will
operate it. Educating every person to a demand evidence of qualification before
Possible motions: high level leads to over:-cgp}Q~i.tiQ.!1Jor hiring. A-levels and degrees in computer
This House believes school uniforms are a the skilled jobs and a lack of people will- science and similar fields arc an extremely
good idea. mg to take jobs as workers. It is therefore useful boost to employment prospects.
This House would rather go mufti. in society's best interests that a section
of the population receives only basic edu- [4J Educational resources are always
Related topics: cation. Many companies offer training stretched, and are usually a priority of any
School Sport (Compulsory) courses which give -everyone an oppor- government. The al1S~...cris not to reduce
Child Curfews tunity to improve their skills at a later the number of people taking up educa-
date if they so desire. tion - numbers that are consistently
'\ I' rising judging by university attendance
\ Sf"c (

[3] Technological development is usu- - but to increase the resources, either by which surely they playa part in causing. siblings or parents, To try to teach it in
ally spurred by the younger generations, raisingfunding through general taxation Again, classroom discussion can engender school can only be detrimental.
th-~ ·c~mputer 'whizz kids'. Young people or, as the Labour government did in a more responsible attitude among
should begin to develop their technical the late 1990s, by asking the eduf.~gedto students.
and industrial skills as soon as they share in the burden and contribute Possible rnorion:
are able, to improve their prospects of to~ards their education. Hence university
This House would keep the bedroom out of
employment in this technological age. tuition fees were introduced. the classroom.
This is better and more e.asily'~oIle_~!.l.th_e_
workplace than in school: Related topics:
Possible motion: Censorship by the State
[4] School resources are stretched as it This House would be allowed to leave school Population Control
is, and became massively more so when at 14. Co-education
the school-leaving age was raised to 16 in Contraception for Under-age Girls
the first place. T~Jg~<::~~~would_f~~_u2 Related topics:
valuablefunding and staff for those who Eighteen-year-old MPs
nee~~_~c!.\\'~_~Ju~the~2chq'.lling. Voting Age (Reduction of) Sport, Commercialisation of

Sex Education Pros Cons

[1] The commercialisation of sport [1] Far from harming sports, commer-
Pros Cons directly harms the sports themselves. cialisation aids them. With new money
The team loyalties that were once a major come better facilities and better training
[1] Many social problems associated r1] Yes, awareness of the need for saft' factor in many sports have been replaced for sportsmen and women, allowing them
with sex - in particular sexually trans- sex is important but teachers are not the by modern transfers, by which sportsmen to perform at their very best and fulfil
mitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted right people to raise it. Clearly the cur- and women move from one team to their potential. I3etter competitors make
pregnancies - are due to ignorance about rent strategy for sex education is not another in pursuit of a higher salary. for better events; therefore increasing
safe sex. In this age when AIDS poses working if so many pupils are still care- Often they abuse the system by not investment in sport can only be a good
such a medical threat and only individual less. Safe sex (i.e. the use of condoms) is competing for significant stretches of thing for the sports themselves. Although
responsibility with condoms can prevent seen as unfashionable, and its espousal time owing to 'injuries,' confident in there are occasional abuses, the spirit of
it, a full discussion IS essential. Sex edu- bv teachers will only confirm that view. the knowledge that they are nevertheless sport - and the desire to win on the field
cation must form a significant part of I; is better to promote it through stvle being paid seven-figure sums. Some as well as in the bank-balance - is as
the curriculum. magazmes, television programmes and absurd events are staged for purely com- vibrant as ever. Indeed, nUJor sports
other sources that will emphasise ho« mercial purposes, especially in boxing, bodies such as the Football Association
[2] There is also a need to understand acceptable it is. where aged fighters are brought out have chosen to resist reforms that would
sex and its role in society, whether in a of retirement and mismatched against damage the sport in pursuit of greater
stable relationship or outside it: to ensure [21 Again, school is not an arena in younger opponents. Other sports are profits.
it is treated responsibly and with respect. which teenagers take such things sen- under pressure to alter their rules to make
Too much distress is caused by sexual ously. Any discussion of sex in a classrootu them more 'watchablc'. These monetarv [21 Less high-profile sports have never
encounters where the two partners have is likely to lead to ridicule, especially in Considerations undermine the ethos ;f been highly funded. It may be true that
diHerent expectations. The media glamor- co-educational cl.rssc-; Respect tor sex SPOrt. increased investment in popular sport
rse meaningless sex and yet arc appalled can only be encouraged on a one-to-our
has not been accompanied by more direct
by the rise in casual sex and date rape basis, probably in the family by older [2] The sheer cost of high-profile investment throughout the sporting

sports IS squeezing out less well-known world, yet even amateurs engaged in point: in the two years after being
does provide a route out of the ghetto
ones. The potential commercial returns minority pursuits have gained indirectly released from prison for rape, he made
for many poor children. Sportsmen and
from sponsoring the likes of the Premier from better training facilities, equipment some $142m. Despite biting off an oppo-
women can become powerful symbols
Division, or Rugby Super League, and and stadia. That the so-called 'amateur nent's ear on live television, his ability
for the victory of talent over background,
the massive amount of money involved, ideal' is disappearing from high-profile to bring in revenue suggests that vested
and of racial and social integration.
starve other sporting activities of invest- sport is simply the dispelling of a hypo- interests will not allow his career to
Many people bemoan the commercial-
ment. Those that remain amateur ~ in critical illusion - for many years, those end. Moreover, the pursuit of sports-star
isation of American sports, yet the fact
which it is truly the talent of the com- at the top have enjoyed highly paid yet salaries tempts many children to abandon
that seven of the top ten earners in Sport
petitor rather than the price of his or low-commitment jobs provided for them their education, despite the fact that only
in the US are black (1998) provides
her training that is being tested - are by sporting clubs. a handful can succeed. These are not the
a set of role models for disadvantaged
particularly hard hit. role models our society needs.
children to look up to. Although some do
[3] The extra money in sport is in
behave inexcusably, the vast majority are
[3] Commercialised sport is also bad fact good for the sports fan. Obviously,
successful, respectable and even admirable
for the viewer. As covering major events the more highly trained athletes result Possible motions:
people. Compared with the alternatives,
has become more expensive, rights to do in a more exciting spectacle. Also, major This House believes that there is too much
they are some of the finest role models
so have been bought by subscription- sporting fixtures have become national money in sport. we can have.
only and pay-per-view channels; public events. For those dedicated enough to This House applauds the Olympic ideal.
broadcasting can compete only with the attend in person, expensive new stadia
aid of state intervention, which is heavily provide room for more fans in more Related topics:
opposed by sporting bodies greedy for comfort and safety than ever before; for Capitalism v. Socialism
more cash, leaving fans out of pocket. others, well thought-out comprehensive Broadcasting (Ending Public Control of)
Coverage is in danger of becoming ever coverage is provided on television and Contact Sports (Abolition of)
more revenue-led - football in particular radio. Even though rights are increasingly School SPOrt (Compulsory)
is under pressure to become a game of bought up by satellite and cable channels.
four quarters to allow more advertising. deregulation of the broadcasting market
As sports clubs become money-making means that ever more people have access Tuition Fees for University StUdents
machines, their ability to hire the best to these. Finally, events of national sig-
players and the best coaches makes team nificance - for example the Wimbledon J oh n M' , fi"'
. aJor s government roze unrversirv student maintenance grants (for accom-
sport increasingly predictable, as with the finals, the Cup final, the Olympic Games
modatlOn, food, living expenses) and partially replaced them with 'student loans'
NBA in America. - have, since 1l)l)O, been protected bv
to supplement the grant. These loans were to be repaid after graduation when the
parliament from becoming 'pay-per- ex-student's income reached a certain level. Tony Blair's government scrapped the
[4] Sportsmen and women simply do VIew'.
mamtenance grant completely and replaced it with a loan for the whole amount
not deserve the inflated salaries they earn. required for maintenance over three years. In addition they have introduced tuition
For basketball players such as Michael [4] Modern sportsmen and women fees for univ ity t d " .. II ib .
erst s u ents - mitia ya contn ution of £1,000 a year for each student.
Jordan to earn some $80m in a year is deserve the money they arc paid. Their
Students have never before had to make contributions to their university tuition
obscene when teachers and nurses are activities entertain millions worldwide. costs m Britain. The system is much the same as with maintenance loans. Those who
paid barely enough to make a living. yet their professional lives arc often short. cannot afford the tuition fees can pay them after graduation when their income
R.ecognition should be given to those reaches a certain level.
[51 Modern sport sets a bad example. who have given their all in pursuit of a
Commercial interest in the investment sporting ideal, and who arc often heroes Pros
made in major sporting tigures ensures to many members of the public.
that even the most horrific behaviour [11 There IS always only a finite
[1 J As developed countries become
goes excused. Mike Tyson is a case in [51 Although it may be a cliche, sport amount of money available that can be
more technologically advanced and

spent on education by the government. It richer, there is a need for a fuller educa- be a bad thing if fewer people applied poor backgrounds might have risen much
is right that the focus should be on tion for young people, and there arc the to university. Not everyone is suited to more rapidly.
schooling for children from the ages to resources to pay for it. If there was the an academic degree, and it is questionable
5 to 16 - this is the core period of edu- political will, university education could whether so many people (currently [4] If tuition fees had not been intro-
cation to which everybody is entitled. still be free - even if that might involve around 35 per cent) should be encour- duced, even more young people might
Higher education is not part of the core raising taxes by 1 per cent or 2 per cent. aged to go to university. Politicians often have continued to apply to univcrsitv.
education which the state must provide We should campaign for free university boast of the increasing numbers of people Also, the figures so far arc only fen 'a
free of charge for all. University educa- education for all as part of the education going to university but this, in [let, couple of years. In the long term Wl'
tion, like nursery education, is a bonus, a the state provides to each citizen as a means that standards drop, resources are will almost certainly see a levelling otf of
privilege rather than a right. It is there- right. stretched to breaking point and many university applications because of this
fore acceptable to raise money for higher young people find themselves spending policy, so in the long run our young
education by charging fees. [2] This is a falsely individualistic three more years studying for little long- people will be less well educated and the
argument. Individuals do not exist in a term gain when they could have been nation will suffer.
[21 It is right to follow the principle vacuum - we arc all part of one organic working. Introducing tuition fees will
that the consumer pays. It is the students society. Just as students arc dependent on teach people to value a university educa- [5J It is patronising and elitist to say
themselves who benefit most directly the work of others (e.g. parents, teachers. tion as a privilege rather than a right - if that some people who go to university
from their university education - earning cleaners) for their educational oppor- this means a drop in numbers and" a are not really up to it. It IS up to the
as much as 50 per cent more, on average, tunities, so society is dependent on raising of standards, that is no bad thing. students and the universities to decide
than a non-graduate in later life. It is well-educated graduates (e.g. academics, It is false to say that universities currently whether these people have the ability
therefore they themselves who should scientists, economists, bankers, doctors) decide who can get in - they are forced to do a degree. Employers continue to
pay for their university fees. to prosper and flourish. Society at large by the way in which the government prefer graduates over non-graduates
benefits from the skills and wealth finances them to admit as many students and so in the interest of equality, free
[3] The important consideration IS generation of graduates and so society at as possible if they want to survive - they university education should be available
equality of access and opportunity - a large (i.e. the state) should pay. There are funded per student. for all. University education is a right, not
system that discriminated against the should be no tuition fees for university a privilege.
poor would be elitist and unacceptable. students.
Such equality is guaranteed by the fact Possible motions:
that those who cannot afford fees will not [3] Charging tuition fees will discrirn- This House would charge university tuition
have to pay them until they are earning inate against the poor and perpetuate fees.
enough to pay them back. This system elitism in the university system. Those This House believes that the consumer should
has worked well for maintenance loans, from poorer backgrounds will be partic- pay.
without discouraging poorer students ularly unwilling to take on further debt This House believes in a 'graduate tax'.
from applying, and should work well for in order to gain a university education. so
tuition fees too. those young people who happen to han' Related topics:
rich parents will, on average, get a better Capitalism v. Socialism
[41 In fact, in the first two years of this education. We do not (and cannot) kno» Ideology v. Pragmatism
system, there has been an increase, not a how many people were deterred trout Privatisation
decrease, in the number of young people going to university by the introduction 01 Welfare State
applying to universities. Charging tuition student loans in place of maintenanCL' Graduate Ten
fees is not a disincentive when the above grants. It is mere assertion to say du t Oxbridge (Abolition of)
because numbers did not drop no poorer Private Schools
allowances arc made.
students were deterred. If grants had not
15 J In any case, it would not necessarily been scrapped, numbers of students tron]

Law and Crime


Capital Punishment

Around 90 countries retain the death penalty (including China, Islamic countrio-, and
37 states of the US). Like the debates on Prison v. Rchabilitation, Mandatory Prison
Sentences and Zero Tolerance, this debate calls into question what the purpose of
punishment should be - is it purely for retribution or should there be an element
of rehabilitation of the offender tool


[1 J In any country - democracy or

[1] If killing is a crime and immoral in
dictatorship - one of the roles of the state
the eyes of society, then for the state to
is to punish criminals. In the case of ser-
kill its citizens is equally barbaric. Two
ial murderers, terrorists, 'cop killers', etc.,
wrongs do not make a right, and it is
they should be punished by death. Our
never right to put someone to death no
human rights are given to us as part of a
matter what the crime. The death penalty
contract - which says that we can do any-
is a 'cruel and unusual punishment', espe-
thing we want as long as it does not hurt
cially in view of the psychological torture
anyone else - and so if we take away
inflicted on those on Death Row who
the life of another person, then surely we
know that they are going to be executed
forfeit the right to our own life.
but do not know when.

[2] Use of the death penalty deters

[2] If the death penalty is such a deter-
criminals from murdering. Numerous
rent, then why is the murder rate so
studies in the US (e.g. Utah from 1976
high in the US where it is emploved in
to 1988) showed a noticeable drop in
many states? There has been virtually
murder rates in the months directly fol-
no change in the overall rate since 1976
lowing any execution. One study con-
when the death penalty was reinstated,
cluded that each execution prevents, on
despite an enormous increase in the
average, eighteen further murders. Since
number of executions. Also, death pcnalrv
capital punishment was abolished in the
states often have a higher murder rate
UK in 1965 (for all crimes except
than their neighbouring non-death
treason) the murder rate has doubled.
penalty states. A distinction also needs
to be made between local short-term
[3] Executing murderers prevents them
deterrents (immediately after executions
from killing again. In Britain over seventy-
in particular places) and long-term deter-
five murders have been committed by
rents that have an eflect on national
released killers since the abolition of
crime rates, for which there is less
capital punishment. Serial killers - those evidence.
who are so 'evil' or hardened as to be
incapable of reform - can be rcmoved
permanently trom society.
IJI Execution may remove some killers
from society, hut in return it brutalises

[41 The other possibility of removing society and invests killing with state-sanc- cent of convicted defendants argue for
killers from society - life imprisonment tioned acceptability. Not only is capital parole - if they have the chance of parole,
life rather than the death penalty. The
without parole - imposes an immense punishment not a deterrent but it can they have an incentive towards good
appropriate punishment for murder IS behaviour.
financial burden on the public purse. A even increase the murder rate; California's execution, not life imprisonment.
study by TIME magazine estimated the rate showed its biggest increases from
[7] Life imprisonment can be a Worse
cost of keeping a prisoner for fifty years 1952 to 1967 when executions occurred
punishment than execution, and therefore
in the US at about $4 million, more than every two months on average. Possible motions:
a more appropriate one and also a better
twice the cost of a death penalty case. If This House would bring back the rope. deterrent. The prisoners who argue for
the prisoner has to be kept in a maximum [4] We cannot kill prisoners because This House supports the death penalty for life imprisonment have not begun to
security cell, this figure would be over $2 it is too expensive to imprison them, or murder.
experience a lengthy stay in prison yet;
million more. we would start executing burglars to pay This House believes that life without parole is many later argue to be allowed to die. If
for tax cuts. More money must be found too good for a murderer.
we want to punish killers, then execution
[5] The death penalty is only given for prisons if the funding is currently
is too lenient.
when the facts are certain and the jury insufficient; law and order should be a Related topics:
has no doubt whatsoever, and only car- priority in any government's budget. It Ends v. Means
ried out when every right to appeal has is also arguable whether life without Legislation v. Individual Freedom
been exhausted. There have admittedly parole is cheaper than death penalty Bill of Rights
been some cases of wrongful conviction cases, which can cost $1.5 million or Mandatory Prison Sentences
leading to execution in the UK (notably more because of the lengthy and complex Prison v. Rehabilitation
Timothy Evans and, probably, James appeals procedure. Zero Tolerance
Hanratty) but, although it may seem
harsh, this is negligible when compared [5] A single mistaken execution of an
with the number of murders prevented innocent person, among no matter how Child Curfews
by the death penalty. The discrimination many thousands of cases, is utterly unjus-
between various degrees of homicide tifiable and is enough to destroy our trust
or manslaughter allows the jury plenty in the death penalty and in any judicial Pros
of opportunity for clemency, and insane system that uses it. Second, rehabilitation
murderers are never executed. is part of the purpose of punishment, and [1] There is a worrying increase in [1] The sort of children who would
who is to say that any guilty criminal anti-social and criminal behaviour murder, or even those who would get
[6J If there is no death penalty then cannot be reformed? Any prisoner must among young children. There have been involved in gangs, drugs and car theft, will
there IS no incentive for pnsoners be given every chance to come to terms extremely horrific cases of crimes perpe- not take the slightest bit of notice of a
sentenced to life without parole not to with the wrongdoing and perhaps be trated by children under the age of curfew. The sort of children who behave
commit crimes while in prison - to kill rehabilitated into society - a chance that 13, such as the Jonesboro school massacre in these criminal and anti-social ways
warders, other prisoners, or to try to execution denies. in Arkansas, US, and the Jamie Bulger are well past taking notice of bedtimes.
escape and kill again. Nothing they can killing in England. We need to take action Youth crime is a radical and alarming
do can result in further punishment. [6J There arc several ways of dealin~ to stem this tide of young offending. problem that calls for a more radical solu-
with misbehaving prisoners: revoking of Children pick up anti-social and criminal tion. The age of criminal responsibility
[7] The death penalty is a harsh but tair privileges if their disorder is minor, and behaviour and habits from older children should be lowered to 8, and sentences for
punishment and an effective deterrent. solitary confinement in a maxnmun with whom they associate. Much of this young otfenders should be more severe,
That criminals tear the death penalty security cellif they are violent. There will crime (car theft, drugs, vandalism, gang and imposed after a single 'final warning'
more than life without parole is shown always' be psychopaths who need to be fights) takes place at night, and child cur- rather than children receiving several
by the tact that, when it comes to the confined in this way. Those who are not fews will give the police an additional 'cautions' before any punishment IS
punishment phase of their trials, 99.9 per should not be sentenced to lite without weapon with which to fight young dished out.

offending. We propose that children [2] Most young offenders learn violent legislate against fatty foods or lack of
as well as from each other. That is whv
under the age of, say, 10 or 12 be not behaviour, lack of respect for property, exercise, both of which have serious health bare-knuckle boxing is banned and seat~
allowed out without their parent or indiscipline and dishonesty from their implications. The individual's freedom is belts are compulsory in sorne countri-,
guardian after 11pm. This measure would parents. Others learn it from their peers. paramount unless serious harm is done by (e.g. Britain). These are ways in which
serve as a deterrent to some and simply and the need to impress these peers and a particular act. Taking soft drugs does not personal freedom is overridden by legis-
function as an enforcement tool in more be included by them outweighs any harm anybody else and has only minimal lation designed to protect personal sal;:ty.
difficult cases. worthy parental entreaties. In the first negative effects on the person taking them Soft drugs are harmful: cannabis sllloke (as
case the parent would not care whether a - it is a 'victimless crime'. As such, it well as the tobacco with which it is often
[21 Parents would also have a respon- curfew was enforced and in the second should not be a crime at all.
mixed) is carcinogenic, and prolonged
sibility to enforce the curfew. Any policy case they would be powerless to see that
cannabis smoking has been shown to
to combat youth crime must include an it was. So introducing a curfew would [2] Individuals should be left to choose cause brain damage and significant loss of
important role for parents who must be an empty and futile gesture. their own lifestyle and priorities. If motivation and short-term memory
be made to take responsibility for their that includes using drugs for pleasure and Amphetamines interfere with the ne;-
children. They, along with their child, will relaxation then that is a perfectly valid vous system in a potentially damaging
be liable to punishment if the curfew is Possible motions: decision.
way. Drug-takers alsolput others at risk by
broken. This will serve as an incentive to This House would impose a curfew all
taking mind-altering substances that can
better and more responsible parenting. children under 10. [31 The law is currently inconsistent. lead to unpredictable and dangerous
This House blames the parents. Cannabis and speed have comparable behaviour.
physical and mental effects to those of
Related topics: alcohol and tobacco, which are legal
Legislation v. Individual Freedom drugs. If anything, alcohol and tobacco [2J The government should provide
School Sport (Compulsory) have more seriously damaging effects. moral leadership as well as legislating
School Uniform Tobacco-related diseases kill millions to protect the health of the individual and
School-leaving Age (Lowering of) each year, and alcohol is responsible for the safety of others. The drug-using
Zero Tolerance deaths on the road, civil disorder and lifestyle is a shallow, hedonistic, apathetic,
domestic violence on a huge scale. inward-looking, uncreative form of
Cannabis and speed make people 'spaced escapism. Governments should legislate
Drugs, Legalisation of out' or hyperactive respectively for and speak out against drugs to discourage
short periods in social situations and are young people from this lifestyle and
In Britain, illegal drugs are classed as 'Class A' or 'Class 13'. Class A, or '~lard:- drugs relatively harmless. If alcohol and tobacco encourage them to engage in healthier
include cocaine, crack, acid (LSD), ecstasy (E) and heroin. Class 13, or soft. drugs are legal then soft drugs should be too. and more creative pastimes.
include cannabis and amphetamines such as 'speed'. The most balanced debate on tillS
subject is the legalisation of sofi drugs, and the arguments below are designed tor suc'!J [4J Speed and cannabis are widely 13] The effects of soft drugs may he
a debate. It would be possible to take a more extreme line and argue for the legahs,l- used, not just by stereotypical 'drug 'comparable' with those of alcohol and
tion of all drugs, hard as well as soft. The Proposition in that case would rely.he:1 Vlh users', but by a large minority of middle tobacco but there are important differ-
on the defence of the individual's freedom to do whatever he likes to himself. class and professional people. The current ences. Cannabis and speed arc mind-
law makes criminals of many otherwise altering in a vvay that alcohol and t obucco
'respectable' citizens. The ~overnment arc not. In any case, the fact that harmful
Pros Cons should listen to society.
and dangerous substances (tobacco and
alcohol) arc already, regrettably, socially
11] The role of legislation is to protect III It is right that governments should [5] Soft drugs are not physically addic- entrenched is not a good reason to allow
society from harm, but not to protect legislate in a way that overrides person;]1 tive, and even if they were tha~ would two more such substances to become
people from themselves. We do not fr~ed011l to protect people trom 11ICII/.,'"1I',,.' not be a reason for them to be illegal more widely used and socially acceptable.

_ caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are [4] Our aim is to minimise drug usc, Handguns, Ownership of
physically addictive and still legal. And smce it is a destructive, dangerous and
being psychologically addictive is even anti-social activity. Legalising soft drugs The ownership of handguns is still upheld as a basic right of the private individual in
less of a reason to ban something. Many will inevitably mean that there is an the United States. In the UK, the private ownership of handguns was banned in 19':17
things, such as shopping, sex, jogging increase in drug use. Therefore we should partly in response to the Dunblane tragedy of 1996, when Thomas Hamilton, armed
or gambling may be psychologically not legalise soft drugs, even if an alarm- WIth handguns, massacred a roomful of infant schoolchildren and their teacher' .
addictive, and many people are innately ing number of people already use them. small Scottish school. in a
susceptible to psychological addiction. We
cannot ban all things that a minority [5] It is hard to draw an exact line
might come to depend upon - we should between physical and psychological Pros Cons
instead provide counselling for addicts. addiction - they are two sides of the same
coin. We should be concerned about any [1J Ownership of handguns must be [1J Ownership of handguns IS not
[6] Legalising soft drugs, and allowing addictive substance. Recent research allowed because the right to keep and a basic right. First, it is only m the
them to be sold in licensed premises, per- has demonstrated that cannabis is highly bear arms is a basic human right. That American Bill of Rights, not III the
haps like the' coffee houses' in Amsterdam addictive - in the US in particular, many is why it is incorporated as the second UN Universal Declaration of Human
that sell cannabis, will separate them from self-help groups for cannabis addicts have amendment to the US constitution Rights (1948Vor the European Conven-
the criminal underworld associated with recently been formed, with rapidly grow- (1791) as part of the 'Bill of Rights'. tion on Human Rights. Second, rights
drug dealing. The 'slippery slope' would ing membership. Whether we call that Banning handguns is a violation of this are not immutable and timeless but must
then no longer exist. People could pur- addiction 'psychological' or 'physical' is basic individual right. be open to criticism and change over his-
chase soft drugs without having to corne immaterial. While it would be impractical torical time. Even in the US where the
into contact with dealers who might to ban many psychologically addictive [2J In the modern world, with gun right to bear arms has historically existed,
cut their drugs with harder drugs or try things (like coffee or shopping), in the crime on the increase, especially in the it must be reconsidered in the light of the
to get them onto harder drugs in other case of soft drugs they are already banned United States, and increasingly in Europe, escalation of gun-related crime. Allowing
ways. (In any case, only a tiny minority of and there is no reason to reverse that a handgun is an essential weapon of self- ownership of handguns will inevitably
cannabis users ever go on to use harder situation. defence for the law-abiding citizen. increase the number of people who use
drugs.) Finally, the government could However strong our distaste for violence, and misuse firearms. Banning handguns
use the sale of soft drugs as a source of [61 Soft drugs are dangerous because we must be practical and seek to protect will reduce the number of deaths from
revenue through excise duty, as is already they start people down the 'slippery life. Until the government and police firearms-related incidents, accidents and
done with alcohol and tobacco. slope' to using ever-harder drugs. The succeed in cutting down the possession crimes. For that reason the old 'right to
same dealer will try to push harder drugs and use of firearms by criminals, it is bear arms' must be abolished.
onto his clients who use soft drugs, bv unreasonable to expect citizens to remain
Possible rrrorioris: cutting cannabis or speed with cocaine or defenceless. If handguns are banned, [2] Violence IS always wrong, no
This House would legalise all drugs. heroin or offering free samples to get criminals will know that they can hold matter what the circumstances. In cases
This House would legalise soft drugs. them hooked. Legalisation of soft drugs any law-abiding citizen to ransom in the of mugging or even racial oppression.
This House believes in the right of the would, ironically, provide a whole new street or in their own home by using a non-violent resistance and protest is the
individual to choose which drugs to use. market for hard drug pushers, who would firearm without fear of effective self- only morally acceptable response. Self-
be able to undercut the pnces of dutv- defence. Handgun ownership must be defence is, of course, important, but
Related topics: inflated market goods. allowed unless we want to give criminals handguns are not the answer. When an
Legislation v. Individual Freedom the upper hand. assailant or intruder is armed with a gun.
Prohibition of Alcohol pulling a gun oneself is merely dangerous
Zero Tolerance [31 Tragedies involving the use ofhand- and inflammatory, greatly increasing the
Smoking (Banning of) guns by criminals and by psychopaths chance that one or both parties will be
and other unbalanced individuals will, injured or killed. Allowing the ownership

sadly, always occur. Such people will not of handguns (rather than teaching have a say in who it is that gets the power
selected not by national election bur are
be deterred by legislation any more than unarn1e d forms of .self-defence) WIll and influence. Appointed judges gain
appointed by well-informed peers in the
they are by reason, humanity or engender a mentality of vigilantism, power through unaccountable processes
relevant institutions. Similarly, judges
conscience. The lIlCI. ·d ·
ence 0 f such encouraged further by rhetoric about of networking and politicking and are
should be appointed by fellow-experts
tragedies will not be affected by banning 'criminals getting the upper hand'. It is not answerable to anybody.
in the legal profession on the grounds
handguns. the job of the police, not of private CItI-
of their understanding of the law and
zcns, to be armed and capable of tackling [21 It is idealistic and naive to believe ability to analyse a case expertly, fairly
armed criminals. that anyone is ever genuinely politically and lucidly. The general public cannot be
Possible motions: neutral. Every judge will have some poli- expected to be able to discrinnnate
This House believes in the right to bear arms. [3] Tragedies such as the massacres at tical leaning or other and some particular between two candidates except on largely
This House demands the right to own a Hungerford in England, Dunblane 1:1 biases. It is better that these political and irrelevant matters of presentation and
handgun. Scotland and Jonesboro in Arkansas, US, juridical leanings be known and voted on politics. Electing judges may be demo-
This House believes that banning handguns are the indirect result of the ownership than that they be concealed through the cratic but it is anti-meritocratic.
gives criminals the upper hand. of handguns. One of the young boys system of appointment.
responsible for the shootings at the school
12J Judges should be apolitical tlgures.
Related topics: in Jonesboro, in 1998, had been trained in [3J If judges are appointed, then the One of the great features of the British
Legislation v. Individual Freedom using firearms by his family from a very government of the day will be able to constitution is its independent judiciary
Armaments (Limitation of Conventional) early age. If that had not been allowed, appoint judges who are sympathetic with which is answerable to parliament (the
he would not have even been able to usc their legislative programme and policies. legislature) but is apolitical. Interpretation
a gun and the tragedy would most likely If judges are elected, on the other hand, of the law is not a political matter and
not have occurred. Banning handguns they will often be tigures who are critical when sitting in court judges should not
will not eliminate such tragedies alto- of the government of the day, just as be seeking to fulfil the mandate of any
gether, but will significantly reduce their happens in mid-term local government one political lobby, just to apply the law
incidence. There will simply be fewer elections, which almost always favour the flirly and neutrally.
guns in circulation and fewer people opposition parties over the governing
capable of using them. party.
[3] Judges are appointed in Britain bv
the Lord Chancellor, on the advice of J
[4J It is right that the law should be panel of experts (judges) and laypersons,
Judges, Election of open to indirect influence over time not by the government itself. The excep-
by public opinion, rather than being tions arc 'Law Lords' who are nominally
Most judges in the US are current 1y e1ccte,i (but not Supreme Court judges). In the entrusted entirely to an often out-of- appointed by the prime mini-tor, but are
UK no judge is elected. touch, elitist, establishment-appointed in tact selected on the advice of eXISting
judiciary. Electing judges with known Law Lords, not on political grounds. It
views on crime and pumshment (e.g. tor would, in any case, be Just as objection-
Pros Cons or against the death penalty, in favour able to have judges selected because they
of retribution or rehabilitation, tough or were allied with an opposition party that
[11 Being a judge is a crucially impor- 11] Just because a post is important lenient on drugs and prostitution, etc.) was popular mid-term, as it would to
tant job - implementing fairly and firmly and influential does not mean its holder~. mea lIS that the judicial process IS democ- have them appointed by the govcrnmcnr
the laws of the land. The incumbent must must be democratically elected. CE()s () ratised, and tigures can be elected in order on political criteria, if that were the case.
be answerable to and removable by the international corporations, SecretarIeS democratically to shape the way that law
people. The job also brings with it power, General of the UN, university proft:ss or s is interpreted, implemented and evolved. 141 FIrSt, we should seck, ill J civilised
prestige and influence, and as wirh MPs and Nobel prize-winners, are all power-
society, to minimise the rule of 'lynch
or prime ministers the people should fiil and influential people who 'Ire'
law'. The democratic and judici.rl

processes are set up specifically to remove ness, analysis or fairness. They, unlike legal seen to be reasonable to the l'lY ne-
, t erson
Possible motions: important judicial decisions from emotive experts, will be swayed by prejudice and and are not the preserve of a legal elite.
This House believes that judges should be public pressure and prejudice. Elected preconception (e.g. judging defendants
elected. judges will pander to public opinion by their appearances). It is not in the [2] The jury system forces lawyers and
This House calls for a democratically answer- (e.g. turning down appeals against death interest of justice to have such people judges to make the law lucid and com-
able judiciary. penalty sentences) seeking votes rather decide the fate of those accused of seri- prehensible. Without a jury, barristers and
than justice. Second, public opinion ous crimes whose futures, or even their judges would have no obligation to make
Related topics: already has enough influence on the lives, hang in the balance. Particularly in a comprehensible case, and the court-
House of Lords (Abolition of) judicial process. The Horne Secretary (a the case of fraud trials which last months room would become an alienating and
Monarchy v. Presidency politician) sets the 'tariff' of those given or years and are full of complex legal incomprehensible preserve of legalistic
Mandatory Retirement Age life sentences (at, say 20,25 or 30 years or, technicalities, juries cannot be expected jargon in which defendants were left
Jury System (Reform of) occasionally - as in the case of the moors to follow the case or know how to reach not understanding the accusations made
murderer, Myra Hindley - for life). The a verdict. Juries should be replaced by against them and the process by which
Home Secretary also makes the ultimate panels of lawyers (as already happens they were acquitted or convicted. While
decision, on the advice of the parole with appeal court judges who always sit they are, indeed, untrained in legal
board, about who is released on parole. in panels) or magistrates, the latter being matters, jurors bring an open mind and
Thus important judicial decisions are a compromise between the totally un- cornman-sense judgement to bear that
politicised and subject to lobbying by the tutored lay person and the professional expert panels would lack. Expert panels
public and the popular press. Home lawyer. Other alternatives, particularly for would tend to become 'case-hardened'
Secretaries will often try to be seen to be civil cases, include a panel of three judges, and cynical, disbelieving often-heard
harsh to garner public political support. or a single judge assisted by two 'qualified defences simply because they were fre-
The Lord Chancellor is also a political lay judges' - for example, professional quently encountered, not judging them
figure, and legislation 1S introduced bankers in cases regarding banking fraud, on their merits.
through the House of Commons, the or insurers in cases of insurance fraud.
chamber of elected representatives. This Industrial tribunals, for example, are [3] There is already the appeals process
is sufficient democratic representation of decided by a panel composed of a lawyer to deal with cases where judges have
public opinion. and two lay people, one with experi- misdirected the jury. And expert panels
ence representing employers and one would be inclined towards the opposite
with experience in the union movement, danger - trusting too much to their own
Jury System, Reform of representing employees. ability at legal interpretation and tending.
arrogantly, to ignore the judge's direction
[3J In effect, most jurors, especially if as inferior to their own analysis.
Pros Cons they have not understood or followed the
case closely, will be swayed by the sum- [4] Expert panels might be less open
11] In the modern world, there is no [1] In Britain judges are appointed by ming up of the judge. A panel of lawyers to emotive appeals, but barristers would
longer any need for protection against the Lord Chancellor (himself a political or magistrates would have their own soon learn to manipulate them in differ-
unscrupulous or politically biased judges. appointment made by the prime minister understanding of the case to balance that ent ways - perhaps artificially multiplying
Therefore we do not need a jury, which of the day) and in the US Judges are of the judge. So replacing jurors with an precedents and jargon to appeal to the
used to provide this safeguard. elected. In other words judges are already expert panel will in fact provide a more panel's own inflated admiration for legal-
political figures and it is still appropriate efficient check on the influence a single ism over plain facts and emotions.
[2] Jurors are unreliable lay people, to have a jury to guard against their Judge can bring to bear on the outcome
uninformed about the law and with no potential prejudices. The jury system of a case.
training, and no proven skills of attentive- ensures that judicial decisions must be

[4] Expert panels are less likely than in dangerous drinking. Strict rules in
lead to safer drinking habits. The relaxed
jurors to be swayed by the emotive Possible motions: parts ofAustralia, enforcing a 6pm closing
attitudes of continental Europe have not
rhetoric of barristers, and more likely to This House would reform the jury system. time, caused substantial problems and had
led to lower rates of alcoholism, or few<:r
be able to weigh up objectively the true This House would not trust a JUry. to be relaxed; similarly, the rush before
deaths from alcohol. While overly strict
legal merits of a case. last orders is familiar in Britain. Were time legislation may be harmful, as was the
Related topics: pressure to be removed, people would case in Australia, the current British laws
Judges (Election of) drink more slowly. This is healthier, and strike the right balance, especially with
also lowers consumption - while the the introduction of the twenty mmutes
combined effect of several rapid drinks is 'drinking-up time.'
Licensing Laws, Relaxation of felt only some time later, slow drinkers
have time to absorb the alcohol from [4] The Scottish example may be
ki party recornmen ded I'll 1998 that Britain should adopt 24- each drink into their bloodstream before misleading; the laws that were ent()J'ced
A government wor 111g c • t ics It remains to be seen
' . . 1Y European coun F . starting the next, and are more likely to
hour licensing laws common 111 mal r d if so how successful they will be. Small there before reform were overly strict.
know when to stop.
whether these proposals WIll become law an '1' h. occurred with the Euro '9h
> Although a wider distribution of closing
ex eriments in relaxing resmcuons semporan y ave, times might make the introduction of
football .
champions hins
IpS :an d the Millennium celebratIons. [4/ Current opening times can lead to drunk patrons onto the streets less visible,
violence as drinkers are ejected onto the it would not necessarily lower the risk
streets at closing time; flexible closing that they might commit a crime. It might
Pros Cons times would circumvent this problem. also create further problems by funnelling
The Scottish experience of wider open- patrons towards establishments with later
11] Britain's licensing, laws, and i~ [1] Even if the reasons that created the ing times and curfews has been a success and later closing times, eventually bring-
particular the opening times for public current laws are outdated, this IS 111 Itselt in this respect, as well as reducing levels ing all the most serious drinkers together
houses, are some of the most eccel:tnc In no reason to replace them if they work. of alcoholism. in one place.
the world. They are the result of legIS- Especially with recent modifications to
lation passed during the First World War allow ali-day drinking, the BntIsh, law, [5J British cities often have nightlife [5] There is substantially more to J
to ensure the sobriety of nuuutions are by no means harsh, and there IS no restricted to the young. In contrast, the nation's social - and drinking - habits
workers, part of the puritanical attitude of great public demand for them to be centres of European cities are often alive than its licensing laws. Pubs, and pub
those in power regarding the dangers changed. with people of all ages and social groups opening times. are a unique part of
of drink among the working classes. As well into the night. This is in part the British life; relaxing the law would not
conditions and attitudes have changed, so 121 The loosening of restrictions 011 result of more relaxed licensing laws: as so substantially change our cities.
the basis for these laws has disappeared. Sunday trading has substantial SUppOI I many social activities involve drink, they
from retailers am:i consume., .rs alike . 1 hl' stop when drink can no longer be served.
[2J A move towards more relaxed loosening of licensing laws has no such A more continental attitude would be Possible motions:
licensing . not an ISO.
laws IS '. lated
., change
' . . , ' alrcadv
clear man d ate. Licensees ' . work . ,I desirable from a social point of view. This House would drink all night,
but part of a wider shift in British legis- full day, from the morning until past nlld- might help to make cities safer at night, This House believes that Britain's IicellSlng
lation. Other needless regulatIOn - such night; . there is little pressure t'rom, t IIe'Ill and would boost tourism.
laws ate outdated and draconian.
to extend ope nmg , .
times.'W'th I no llllllLl-
as the restrictions placed upon Sunday
trading - IS gradually being removed to tions upon the right to drink at horne .11
Related topics:
any hour, there IS . aIso I'Itt I,e prc. 'ssure
.. tro 111
allow retailers and consumers a greater Legislation v. Individual Freedom
degree of choice; the same should apply drinkers. Sunday Entcrt.unmenr and Shoppi