Friday, March 29, 2013
EU Debate at Strathclyde University
We lost. Oh well, thats student politics and the one thing 7 of the speakers seems to agree on was that UKIP is dreadful.
On the pro-EU side:
1st, Jade Holdin is a coming LibDem woman and was full of assertions that because the EU has a policy on poverty it must be reducing poverty, ditto unemployment, crime, catastrophic warming rtc and must thus be beneficial. Obviously no evidence of achieving the beneficial effects was presented. We also got the old "we can't have a say on running the EU from the outside", though why we should then need to was unanswered.
The most amusing moment of the night was during questions when she produced a printout of UKIP arguments against the EU, proclaiming she had written disproofs them all and then refused to say what they were.
Not quite grasping the concept of debare.
2nd, Joe Brown is a competent speaker capable of dramatic gestures and confidence who has been successful on the uni's debate team. He declared he was going to rebut "19 lies" told by sceptics, all of which came down to assertion and opinion. He told us that if we quit it would be so damaging to the EU that they would hate us and, in spite, cut off all trade with us. This does not suggest it is a union of friends but also seems improbable considering that they export more to us than they import.
In questions he took on my challenge to any of them to dispute that the EU economy had fallen dramatically as a proportion of world output by saying I was wrong to claim it had fallen in absolute terms (I hadn't and it hasn't until recently) and that it was inevitable that China would grow & we thus decline as a proportion since they are starting poorer. Why starting poorer inevitably means faster growth was not explained and is contrary to the historic record.
4th, John McKee, another technically good student debater explained that only as part of a massive 500 million person group can we negotiate good trading deals. Poor Singapore, mired in endless poverty because it is too small to trade.
3rd, Christopher Stephens, who has now been chosen for the SNP EU election list was perhaps the most interesting. There were claims the Scotland within the EU would get a much better deal than the UK does.
However where our minds met was in question time where he said that the real division between supporters and opponents of the EU is on the divide between those who want less and those who want more regulation. If that is the divide I know which side I am on.
He quite openly wants much more than even the current EU provides, taking time off to complain about how the Tory cuts have meant a reduction in Glasgow council inspectors. His day job is a Glasgow council inspector.
That reminded me of a previous debate where the Green party leader explained that the reason his party had changed into EU supporters was because it was only through ever increasing EU regulation that our the "continuous economic expansion " we were (back then) suffering from could be ended. I don't think Christopher wants a nation of more regulators and consequently fewer producers for "environmental" reasons but simply for its own sake, but the confluence of primary interest is interesting.
We were never going to win but an informative experience nonetheless.