On Sunday 9 February, the University of Reading Debate Society hosted their first National debating competition ‘No-Notes open’.
They had previously attended other competitions but this time decided to follow suit and host their own event, which took place in the Palmer building on campus.
Twenty-four teams competed in the event and included teams from Liverpool, Cambridge, UCL, Hull, Warwick, and many more. There were four teams from the University of Reading that competed.
The speaking style of the competition was Parliamentary Style, much like that seen on television, and as the name of the event suggests, the teams were not allowed any notes to help them with their 5-minute speeches. In this competition, two teams of two acted for the opposition and proposition to either put forward or oppose the particular motions.
The day consisted of 4 rounds and a final and the motions were: Round 1 – “This House Would Prevent men from running for elected office for a period of two terms”, Round 2 – “This House Would ban any and all participation in faith healing”, Round 3 – “This House Would Allow and Enforce Prenuptial Agreements that Punish Infidelity” and Round 4 – This House, as the Conservative party, would condemn the portrayal of Romanians and Bulgarians in the tabloids”.
After these rounds the teams that had made the final were Cambridge University and Warwick University for the opposition, and UCL and the University of London for the proposition. In the final, the Motion consisted of a slide with some background information: a rogue dictatorship has launched a nuclear attack on an unaffiliated nation. You are unsure as to whether the dictatorship possesses any further nuclear weapons and the motion was: “This House Believes that NATO Should Launch a Retaliatory Nuclear Strike.”
The final got very heated, with arguments regarding mass civilian deaths, and setting a global example that force will be met with force and it was extremely interesting to watch, with a great turn out of spectators. Overall, Warwick took the title of Champions and were deserved winners.
The event has been in the works since before summer 2013 and was a great success on the day. The society meets weekly to debate on topical issues, which enables students to develop and practice skills of critical thinking, public speaking, and reasoned analysis and criticism.
Natasha Scanes, President of the University of Reading Debate Society, said: “I was so pleased with their reliability and teamwork, and overall was extremely happy with how the day went – especially with Yana, who did an absolutely amazing job pulling off such a successful event. The committee would also like to thank Josh Cave, Student Engagement Officer for RUSU, for his help and support along the way with the organisation of such a large-scale event.” Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the society should contact Readingdebate@hotmail.co.uk