Halloween and October 29th meeting

As the meeting was close to Halloween our Social Secretary decided the night should be fancy dress leading classic outfits such as zombies, vampires and witches to less traditional ones such as suicidal artists, Consumerism and Jackie Onassis. In the end a vote was taken on who won by a very fair voting system and Jackie Onassis, brains and all, walked away the victor.

Private Members Motions 

This House Believes that James is being discriminated against in POI’s

The main basis for James case was that during last weeks debate Saara would not take his POI’s but as soon as Karolien stood up she had hers taken. As well as this James was beginning to get frustrated and felt he should just shout them out as they were such good POI’s that would have won him the debate This led to a flurry of POI’s being given most being harshly discriminated against apart from a complementary POI from Andrew stating that James must terrify people as thats mainly why you don’t take someone’s POI. James ended his speech with the realization that he just likes to hear his own voice.

Ollie spoke in opposition to the Motion: He states in the Spirit of the Speaker development we should look for a way to emancipate James POI’s however since in debating this is a natural thing to feel this way you kind of can’t. Ollie explains how if everyones POI’s were taken then anarchy would ensue as you’d have no time to do your  speeches in and it would ruin the structure of the debate. Ollie did note his admiration for James enthusiasm.

Andrew spoke in opposition to the Motion: Andrew sates that debating in its truest form is meant to frustrate you, if you notice that a debater is not taking your POI’s likely is he’s trying to annoy you do he can win more easily. Debating is a competition Andrew states similar to football, you may hate and berate the ref for a call but you know he’s right

This was called to a vote where even James forgot to vote for himself and the motion failed

This House Believes that Liberal feminism provides more progress and influence than Radical feminism 

Karolien begins her case by defining the two groups stating that Liberal feminism defines women and man as people not opposing sides but people and that defining someone in that manner is counterproductive. She also states that Radical Feminism that society is intrinsically misogynistic, that it gives women the same chance as a cat in a swimming contest with a fish. she sates that the reason that Liberal is better is due to the opportunities it affords women allowing them to gain more ground in the traditional system and therefore change it from the inside.

Daniel spoke in opposition to the motion: Daniel stated that due to the fact that Radical Feminism is more idealistic and more vocal it reaches a larger audience and have a greater effect on society. he then talked about his love for rich people and how women can become rich by staying true to their values and Liberalism Feminism sacrifices it values to much.

Ollie spoke in opposition to the motion: Ollie starts by stating that you need institutional change before any state of societal change could occur and that this can’t happen from within the system as Liberal Feminists state. He then went onto discuss the inherent problems that can befoul women in the army and the workplace from sexual assault to generally being disregarded, so in this sense women both have to put their lives and their beliefs on the line.

James spoke for the motion: James states in these circumstances women are doing this by choice and surely thats the point of feminism to give women the choice to do as they please. he also states that radical feminism brings a bad image on the rst and harms the cause with their radical behavior.

Benedict spoke against the motion: Benedict states that throughout history groups find emancipation through more radical behavior, he also reiterates that you should stick to your principles else you may end up with a final point that is not your goal.

The Motion passes

The Main debate was This House Believes that the feminist movement should support a ban(in all media) and the sale of Robin Thickie’s Blurred Lines

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Minutes Meeting 22 October 2013

Omar proposed that motion that This House Believes That Capitalism Has Failed. He argued that as an ideology, it has not been benefiting people and that its founding ideas have become subverted. Andrew spoke against the motion, arguing (somehow?) that we are more important that nature. Also the state is inefficient. Karolien spoke against the motion, arguing that capitalism has the duty to create wealth without guidelines, and that it is the role of states to set the rules of the game. She pointed out that capitalism has created an enormous amount of wealth throughout history. As such, states rather than capitalism have failed us. Saara spoke in favour of the motion, detailing the problems with insecurity and with big companies, and talking with great passion about the situation in Southern America. James argued against the motion, saying that capitalism has faltered, not failed. David spoke in favour, arguing virulently against Thatcher and the capitalist principle of the survival of the fittest. After a vote and a re-vote to be sure, the motion failed by a very narrow margin.

Saara then proposed that This House Would Ban Solitary Confinement. She characterized it as an aggravated punishment; talked about mental health risks; and said that ethnic minorities are systematically discriminated against as they are put in solitary confinement to ‘protect’ them from racist. Chris spoke against, detailing that solitary confinement can be helpful. After a much less enthusiastic vote, this motion too failed.

The House then sat down in three different rooms to examine the motion that This House Would Allow the Option of Euthanasia for All Prisoners Serving Life Sentences. This was inspired by a case in Belgium in which a convicted murderer asked for euthanasia.

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Thursdays debate are starting again!

Dear all,

Tomorrow the 17th of October our Thursday debates are starting again! C43, 7pm. It’s just a main debate, no private members’ time, no speakers’ dev. We expect all competition/experiences debaters to speak and invite all novices to come along, watch, judge, and possibly speak.

This is in addition to the normal Tuesday debates, not a replacement. Tuesdays are the days that you really should come, when we have the trainings, the socials, the announcements, the fun.

Also, congratulations to James Hullah for being the new novice representative.


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AGM & Elections

The Annual General Meeting and Elections were held on Tuesday, in room C4 of the Hugh Owen Building.


Both constitutional amendments were passed. The sponsorship director has become the Fundraising Officer, and the Public Relations Officer and Public Events Officer have been merged to form the Publicity & Events Officer.


The following people were elected to the committee:

  • Auditor: Karolien Michiels
  • Vice-Auditor and External Convenor: Saaramaria Kuittinen
  • Internal Convenor of Debates: Andrew Gordon
  • Treasurer: Sofi Newsham
  • Secretary: Christian Denman
  • Fundraising Officer: Katie Saint
  • Publicity & Events Officer: Tom Trevarthen
  • Social Secretary: Harry Hirsch-Bennion
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Aberystwyth’s Annual Debating Tournament a Success


Aberystwyth’s Annual debating tournament, the “Baillie Gifford Aber Open”, was held this weekend in the Old College.

Around one-hundred participants and adjudicators from universities across the UK attended the tournament to compete in four rounds of competitive debating: a record attendance. Debating was performed in the “British Parliamentary” style – in which four teams of two speakers each compete against one another.

Proceedings were opened by the Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor April McMahon. It is, to the knowledge of the Debating Union, the first time in its one-hundred year history that the Vice Chancellor of the University has attended such an event – an occasion which was marked by the recognition of Professor McMahon as an Honorary Life Member.

The tournament has become known for its focus on setting debates about unusual subjects, fictional scenarios, and thought experiments. The motions for debate are set by the Chief Adjudicators: Imogen Parkes (University of Bristol), and Steven Rajavinothan (University of Warwick).

The victors of the grand final, held in the restaurant on Constitution Hill, were Megan Stodel and Toby Almy representing the University of Bristol. The Best Speaker award went to Amanda Moorghen from the University of Birmingham.

Former member Cal Paterson was also recognised as an Honorary Life Member for his outstanding contributions to the society.

The tournament is sponsored by Baillie Gifford, independent global investment managers, of Edinburgh.

Tournament Information


  1. On Feb 1st 1970 Betrand Russell produced definitive and categorical proof for the non-existence of God.

    He was found dead the next day.He had been assassinated on the orders of Pope Paul VI, and his proof was destroyed, although copies remain, in the hands of the Catholic Church. Since then a violent and covert conspiracy has acted to cover up knowledge of his proof and assassinationTHIS HOUSE, as Pope Francis I, would reveal the conspiracy
  2. The Chief Adjudication Teams of debating competitions are currently chosen by the host institution.THIS HOUSE WOULD Require CA Teams to be democratically elected
  3. THIS HOUSE SUPPORTS The creation of “petty karma gods’ which punish mean (but not criminal) actions
  4. THIS HOUSE WOULD NOT Use nudity in women’s rights protests
  5. (Final) The president of Burkina Faso is abducted by aliens, who mistake him for the representative of humanity. He is given a choice of providing the human race with three hundred years of utopia (no disease, war, poverty, etc.), at the price of eternal slavery following that utopia. Humans would not know that the aliens provided the utopia, and the memory of the President would be wiped.

    THIS HOUSE WOULD accept the offer

Tab: Aber Open 2013 – Tab

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Proposed Constitutional Amendments

The AGM and elections will be held next Tuesday. Two constitutional amendments will be proposed.

The first Amendment is to replace the Public Relations Officer, and the notional position of the Public Events Officer, with a single position: the Publicity and Events Officer.

The second Amendment is to change the current Sponsorship Director, to a Fundraising Officer. The Fundraising Officer would be responsible for securing funding throughout the year, rather than simply raising sponsorship at the start of the year. This Amendment has two versions (2a and 2b) – 2a is the version that will be voted on if Amendment 1 fails, 2b is the version that will be voted on if Amendment 1 passes. The only difference between these two amendments is the wording of the committee position (Public Relations) which may or may not change.

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Aberystwyth breaks 1st at UCL 2013

Aberystwyth A (Tito Sarrionandia & Ollie Newlan) attended the UCL IV 2013 last weekend, and broke to the semi-finals of the competition with a perfect score of 12 team points. They progressed to the finals, but were defeated there by the team from Cambridge (Lapsed Pacifists). Tito also topped the speaker tab.

Tab for the UCL IV.

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Meeting Held: 19th March 2013

The Union met on Tuesday 19th March. Private Members’ Bills, and a formal debate were heard.

Readers are reminded that members do not necessarily speak for their true political positions: The Union values the ability to make arguments that one does not personally hold as their own opinion.

Private Members’ Bills

THIS HOUSE WOULD Boycott the May ball

  • The motion is proposed by Ryan Myles, who points out that the union are offering cheaper “early bird” tickets to students who participate in a treasure hunt. He notes that disabled students are unable to partake in the hunt, and also that students with anxiety or mental health issues might be unwilling to speak to strangers.
  • The motion is supported by Sam Vincent, who tells us that the May Ball is not worth attending. Poor venues, sub-par food, and lack of good acts – combined with clothing difficulties and cost, means there is no utility to attending. In response to a POI, he rambles incoherently about societal pressure and consumerism.
  • The motion is opposed by Chris Lascelles, who tells the house that pointless fun is still fun. He asks whether the government has a Freudian personal past experience to prejudice them against the concept of a ball.
  • The motion is opposed by Zach Virgo, who says that the “early bird ticket” is a privilege  and that disabled students are not disadvantaged compared to last year. He also suggests that it is likely that disabled students would be given the tickets if they asked.

The motion fails by popular vote.

THIS HOUSE WOULD Ban football teams from major European tournaments for the racist behaviour of fans

  • The motion is proposed by Andrew Gordon. He points to Italian football in particular, pointing out the racial abuse of Tottenham Hotspur players. He asks the house to consider teams and fans as a cohesive unit for which the club has a responsibility. He tells the house that racists can hide in the anonymity of crowds, and that teams rely on the attendance of fans.
  • The motion is opposed by Zach Virgo. He urges the house to take an individualistic view of fan bases, and to consider the damaging effects on football.
  • The motion is supported by Tito Sarrionandia, who points out that the existence of football is non-essential, whereas the non-existence of racism is essential. He asks the house to use the full power of the military state to crush dissent around racism in football.
  • The motion is opposed by Katy Abrams, who points out that racist fans will move between clubs, leading to the eventual banning of all clubs. She suggests that this is a bad thing, because people enjoy football.

The motion fails by popular vote.

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Meeting Held: Tuesday 12th March

The Union met on Tuesday 12th March. An Election, Private Members’ Bills, and a formal debate were heard.

Readers are reminded that members do not necessarily speak for their true political positions: The Union values the ability to make arguments that one does not personally hold as their own opinion.

Private Members’ Bills

THIS HOUSE WOULD Mourn the death of the Auditor

  • The motion is proposed by Ryan Myles, who suggests that the members wear black clothing, possibly including underwear. All motions following the death will be dedicated to the deceased. Occasion is rare, and the lives of all have been touched by the Auditor. 
  • Dr. Michael Keary opposes the motion, pointing out that the principles must only be created if they stand in most circumstances. Possible that the ethical principles of the auditor are in conflict with the concept of mourning: such as the current Auditor, who is dedicated to the notion that other-motivated actions (such as mourning) are immoral, he rejects duty. Tito is dedicated to evil, so we must do things for destructive and amusing purposes: such as desecrating his corpse.
  • Andrew Gordon supports the motion, telling the house that Tito is too dangerous to be kept alive, as he is about to be surrounded by children who he can indoctrinate. Assuming he is not a robot, we should mourn him, so that his spirit is aggravated, rather than bowing down to his preferences.

The motion passes by popular vote.

THIS HOUSE WOULD Teach swearing as part of GCSE English

  • The motion is proposed by Chris Denman, noting that we can teach creative and constructive swearing. Thoughtless swearing is boring. Chris questions whether or not we should seek to avoid being offended, preferring a socially acceptable form of anger release.
  • The motion is opposed by Tallis Ward, pointing out that swearing is intended as a shock, and the shock is lost when it is normalised.
  • The motion is opposed by Zach Virgo. Zach tells the house that swearing is built up regionally and culturally as a rebellion against social norms, and that imaginative swearing is already the standard used to measure swearing quality.

The motion fails by popular vote.

THIS HOUSE BELIEVES THAT Public sector employers should not allow workers to do union work during their employers time.

  • The motion is proposed by Daniel Blackburn, pointing out that paying somebody to do union work might legitimise their efforts, yet cheapens the rationale for union existence, making them not wholly independent from the employers. He tells the house that he left the rest of his arguments on a piece of paper at home.
  • The motion is opposed by Andrew Gordon, who claims the motion will increase the divide between workers and unions, and weakens unions when they are at their weakest. The status quo shows respect for the wishes and legitimacy of the union

The motion fails by popular vote.

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Harry Hirsch-Bennion Elected to Committee

Harry Hirsch-Bennion, a first year undergraduate from the department of Psychology, has been elected as the interim Social Secretary.


  • Harry Hirsch-Bennion
  • Tallis Ward
  • Simon Sardeson-Coe (Rejected own nomination)
Elected as Interim Social Secretary

Elected as Interim Social Secretary

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The Union

The Aberystwyth Debating Union was founded in 1872, and meets weekly to foster the use of debate as a means of exploring ideas.

Qui tacet, consentire videtur.

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