Bath Novice IV

Bath Novices SelfieLast weekend, a group of 14 intrepid young debaters undertook a journey to bring the WDS spirit to Bath. We left after session on Friday and hastily grabbed taxis to go to the gates of hell (sorry Coventry station) in order to make our way to nicer climes. Despite temporarily losing Cristiana and Cassandra, we all had a great time on the train down, discussing what would be in store for the weekend ahead and getting to know each other a lot better. Whilst learning to pronounce each other’s name, we managed to prepare the newer debaters on how exactly inter-university competitions work. Trying to come up with creative team names (a proud Warwick tradition) was interesting- and we eventually settled on a batch of ‘War’ puns. In the end, the teams were:

Warwick of the Roses (Dan and Chloe)
Cold Warwick (Petrus and Ionut)
Warwick on Terror (Antonin and Simon)
Warwick on Drugs (Ozlem and Felix)
The Great Warwick (Cristiana and Cassandra)

After we arrived in Bath, we made our way to a pub to have a few drinks with a few teams from other universities. After this, we made our way to our ‘crash’, which was a house of one of the Bath debaters, and where we would be staying for Friday and Saturday night. Although a bit cramped, it was a real laugh and is sort of like camping, just with toilets and without rain.

Having woken up, we got the bus to Bath University, which is nearly as pretty as the city, and rejoined some of the other debaters who crashed at different houses in the lecture theatre which would serve as the competition base. Soon after, the debating begun with a really good workshop, where even experienced debaters learned a lot. Soon after, the actual debating was about to begin… (cue muttering)…

In a rush of rustling bags and paper, the first motion was announced. The youthful debaters dashed towards their rooms, murmuring incomplete wiles to each other. The judges looked about the empty room, askance, as never before had such enthusiasm been seen; Maxine’s motion had clearly set hearts alight- should male and female sport be given equal coverage? After an hour of intense debating, the gavels fell, the calls were made and their honourable chairpeople had delivered their judgements.

Armed with their (excellent) feedback, debaters returned to base- some contemplative, others… not. Before we knew it, the next stage was due and another high quality workshop was followed by another roll of the tab and another motion. Equally boisterously, debaters left, and then returned. Again, there was good news and bad. However, what was clear was that everyone had enjoyed another debate and had improved a lot since the first one.

After this, we broke for lunch and we were able to explore the delights of the Bath University campus (which was way prettier than Warwick in basically every way). Having finished our respective culinary delights, we retreated to base and dispersed once more for another motion. By this time it was clear that Chloe and Dan were on for a break- big time- as well as an outside chance for Ionut and Petrus. As Warwick Judges aren’t really allowed to judge Warwick speakers, we were frustratingly excluded from watching our debaters first hand, but we heard excellent reports.

After a wonderful workshop from Maxine on rebuttal, we were about to announce a motion for the fourth and final time. After a tense final round, we all congregated in a cafeteria for pizza. However this time there was another crucial difference- closed adjudication. No one knew how they had done, and who had broken to the final. Sick of the tension …and cheese… everyone returned to the lecture theatre for the announcement.

Agony and ecstasy. Dan and Chloe had won all four of their rounds to break 1st, but alas our other hopefuls had lost out and came 5th – denied only by a single team point (the equivalent of getting one place higher in one round). The final followed, and for the first time we were able to marvel at the quality of our speakers, but after a ferocious debate sadly it was not to be and Exeter performed the greatest smash-and-grab since the great train robbery.

As tradition dictates, we left campus and made our way towards central Bath, to sample some local beer, wine and chips; and we all had a merry time reminiscing about our day. Eventually, fatigue kicked in and we stayed at our crash for a second and final time to gather what sleep we could before making our way back Warwickwards.

A quality weekend. Thank you to all debaters: old and new, Warwick and erm… non-Warwick, tabbers, CA’s, and organisers. The inaugural Bath Novice IV expedition was a success.

First Public Debate Announced!

Our public debates branch has announced our first public debate for 2014-15!

Join us on Thursday October 9th at 7pm in MS.01 for the Warwick Debating Unions first event of the year on the motion ‘This House Believes That China will be the dominant world power in the 21st Century‘.

China’s growth in the last 20 years has been rapid and had significant consequences for the world we live in. Can it and will it be sustained? And the million dollar question- will China become the dominant global power of this Century? We have a panel of experts to debate the economic, political and geopolitical dimensions of this question.

To stay updated, join the Facebook event, and like the WDU’s Facebook page.


Our speakers:


Dr. Miwa Hirono, University of Nottingham
Dr. Hirono is a RCUK Research Fellow at the School of Politics and International Relations, and Research Fellow at the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Civilizing Missions: International Christian Agencies in China and has taught at the University of Cambridge, the Australian National University and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Thomas Koenig, European Council of Foreign Relations
Mr. Koenig is the China Programme Co-Ordinator at the European Council of Foreign Relations. He has worked at the German Embassy in Beijing and the Global Public Policy Institute. His research interests are EU-China relations and East Asian Security relations and implications to China’s Foreign Policy. Mr. Koenig is an alumnus of Yale University and SOAS.



Sir John Boyd, Asia House
Sir John Boyd is the Chairman of Asia House and the Joseph Needham Research Institute in Cambridge. He was British Ambassador to Japan from 1992-1996 and had a distinguished career in the British Diplomatic Service for over 30 years serving in Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and at the United Nations. He has also served as Master of Churchill College, Cambridge and was Chairman of the British Museum.

Jonathan Fenby CBE, Trusted Sources
Mr. Fenby is an author, journalist and analyst. He is a Founder and Managing Director of Trusted Sources, a market analysis firm with offices in London and China. He is also the author of Tiger Head, Snake Tails, Dealing with the Dragon, Modern China: The Rise and Fall of Great Power, 1850 to Present and Will China Dominate the 21st Century amongst others. He has also worked for The Economist, The Guardian, The Observer, Reuters South China Morning Post and Sunday Business.



2014-2015 Sponsorship

We are very pleased to announce that the following organisations will be sponsoring Warwick Debating Society for the 2014 – 2015 academic year.



Continuing our partnership from last year, Clifford Chance will be sponsoring our training workshops. Our Wednesday and Friday sessions are at the core of our Society, and Clifford Chance’s contributions are ensuring that we can continue to provide our members with excellent lectures, practice debates, and detailed feedback.

Norton Rose Fulbright, the global law firm, is sponsoring the Warwick Intervarsity 2015.

Norton Rose Fulbright have agreed to sponsor our Intervarsity competition, the Warwick IV 2015! The competition will have their name incorporated to its title, and corporate representatives will also in attendance. In addition, the global law firm will be visiting the Society at some point in term 1 to deliver an exclusive session to our members.


Through our new partnership with the education charity, we will be hosting an education-themed show debate in Terms 1, and another public debate in Term 2. With this new partnership, we hope to generate more discussion around important issues surrounding education issues.

jones-day-logoJones Day will also be supporting Warwick Debating Society.

Breaking All Over the Place: Liverpool IV, Exeter Open, and Durham Schools

The weekend of 22 March was quite a successful one for Warwick (again), with breaks spread over three different competitions.

At the Liverpool IV Grand Final

At the Liverpool IV, for which Roberto was co-Chief Adjudicator, Ed and Maxine broke 2nd to the Grand Final, eventually losing the final on a 4-1 split decision. Ed was ranked 6th on tab and Maxine 8th. Furthermore, Lamia and Sian judged the Novice Final, with Sian being the Chair.

At Exeter Open, James, who was also the Chief Adjudicator, judged the Grand Final.

At the Liverpool IV Grand Final

At Durham Schools, Nick judged the Quarter-Final.

This brings this year’s tally up to 19 speaking breaks and 46 judge breaks. In comparison to last year, we’ve already got 1.5 times more judge breaks, and almost as many speaking breaks (20 compared to the current 19), and we’ve still got most of the Easter Holidays and Term 3 left!

UCL IV 2014

On Saturday, March 15, Warwick had yet another successful weekend. The last weekend of term saw Warwick Friend (Eliot and Ed) break 3rd to the semi-finals of the UCL IV. Moreover, we had three judge breaks to Mateen, George and Sarah. Sarah was the 18th member of WDS to break as a judge this year, and our total judge break count rose to 42 – 12 more judge breaks compared to last year’s 30, and we’ve still got an entire term and two holidays to go through!

Eliot opens the debate in the UCL IV Grand Final.
Eliot opens the debate in the UCL IV Grand Final.

Facing former WDS President Gareth with his partner from King’s, as well as Birmingham and LSE on a motion about anarcho-populism, the Warwick and Warwick-ish teams both broke to the Grand Final. The motion was about permitting gangs in favelas to operate without being persecuted, assuming they provided their communities with basic goods and services, like education, healthcare, and sanitation.

Commiserations should go out to Cost of Nuclear Warwick (Duncan and Toby), who missed out on just 11 speaker points, ranking 12/56 on the team tab.

The tab can be found here.

The Inaugural WDS Alumni Ball


The Inaugural WDS Alumni Ball took place on March 8, 2014 at the Episode Hotel in Leamington Spa. Over 60 current and former alumni of the Society spent an excellent evening together, making new friends and catching up with old ones.

Many thanks to our photographer, Alessandro Melgaço, for giving up his evening to document this special event for us.

You can find pictures from the Ball on our Facebook page’s album.

If you are an alumnus or alumna of the society, you may also want to check out the recently created Alumni section of our website.


International Women’s Week 2014: WDS Public Debate

WDS took part in this year’s International Women’s Week at Warwick 2014 by hosting a public debate on the motion that This House Believes That Feminists Should Support Sexually Assertive Female Music Acts.

IWW 2014 Public Debate Cover Poster

The format of the debate was Extended Mace; there were 2 speeches delivered from each side, with a floor debate occurring before the final two speeches, allowing anybody from the audience to express their views on the motion.

Each team comprised of 3 female student debaters from the Society. They are all successful members of the Society, having reached multiple finals and semi-finals as either speakers or judges of competitions across the UK. The debate was chaired by Louise Forsyth, our outgoing public debates Chair.

Aparna Chandrasekar, Engineering (2nd year)
Sarah McConaghy, European Law (4th year)
Sian Bedford, Mathematics (alumna ’13)

Maxine Muirhead, PPE (1st year)
Holly Moorhouse, Classics (3rd year)
Lamia Loukil, English & History (3rd year)

The motion was carried, with 28 voting in favour, 17 voting against, and 8 abstaining from voting.

We would like to thank all our speakers and chair for taking part, as well as the International Women’s Week team who invited us to host the event. More importantly, however, we would like to thank all those who attended, and hope they found the debate as interesting and engaging as we all did! You can find photographs from the event on our Facebook page.

Nottingham Open & GUU Ancients

The weekend of March 1 was a good one for WDS. With a total of four breaks, carried out by 3 current members and 2 alumni over two different competitions, this was one of our best weekends of Term.

Our former President, Ed, opening the case for the Opposition side in the Grand Final.
Our former President, Ed, opening the case for the Opposition side in the Grand Final.

Nottingham Open: 3 teams broke, with two reaching the final and the third getting knocked out in the semi-finals by the eventual champions on a split decision.

Ed Mancey – broke 1st with Jordan Anderson (KCL) and reached the Grand Final.
Richard Hopps – broke 2nd with Eleanor Angwin (Imperial), also reached the Grand Final.
Aparna Chandrasekar and Elena Karvounis – broke 6th, narrowly missed out on the Grand Final.

Further to this, Ed was the 3rd best speaker of the competition, and Richard 6th.

Elena extending the Government case in the semi-finals
Our former Competitions Convenor, Elena, extending the Government case in the semi-final.
Our Union Chair, Aparna, delivering the final speech of side Proposition at the semi-final.
Our newly elected WDU Chair, Aparna, summarising the Government case in the semi-final.











Glasgow University Union (GUU) Ancients: James Wood and his partner, Joe Dyer (Strathclyde), broke 5th and reached the final of the oldest competition in the world, Ancients.

Further to this, James was ranked joint 10th best speaker.

NAMDA Novice Cup 2013

Fresh off successes at Pres Cup and SOAS, the Warwick fleet (there were 20 of us) set sail for Hull, and the NAMDA Novice cup.

However stormy seas, some of us missed the first train, holding Maxine, Jamie, Ella, Angela, Erik and Ed back. Google said that there were no other trains that night as Hull is very far away.


The gang were considering spending the night in Leeds or Sheffield. Then the breakthrough came. Angela found an alternative route to Birmingham that gave us 5 minutes to make our connection.

A train carriage full of Warwick and Nottingham debaters. Not bad.

After some good hustle, the connection was not only made, but they beat the other group (Holly, Emilia, Hugh, Rachel, Nils, George, Amanda, Shahab, Trisha, Asher, Joe, Killian and Eliot) to the train. United, and later joined by Nottingham, everyone made their way to Hull.

To make the 4 hour journey go a little faster Tom from Nottingham taught us a Chinese card game called Big 2. It was a lot of fun.


Once in Hull, the Warwickers were glad to discover that they were in the land of £1.50 pints, with Eliot and Nick giving some useful life lessons on downing pints. We left the social after the bar-staff, reversing a worrying trend of “going home early” and “sleeping” to “be prepared and ready for tomorrow”.

Onto Saturday, and after a night on a cold hard wooden floor (get used to it freshers) , and the usual “odd” discussions “The bake off is just Game of Thrones with eclaires”-Ella, everybody was excited for a day of debating, with an excellent array of team names

Warwick Limbo

Warwick Purgatory

Warwick Fire and Brimstone

Warwick 9 Circles

Warwick Inferno




Warwick Hull.

The debating went well, with fun motions on tax, healthcare and porn, and all the Warwick teams did well. In particular commiserations to Shahab and Trisha who missed the break on speaker points, and congratulations to Nils who gave an 81 in round 2, the best speech of the tournament. According to storied judge Chris Woods “if he spent more time doing what he did for the first 3 minutes, and less time engaging with the novice debate around him, it would have been an 85.”

Congratulations are also in order for the 7 (n+1) Warwick judges who broke Rachel, Maxine, Ed, Eliot, Holly, George and Nick. Eliot and Ed got to chair a semi-final and final respectively.

The final panel was 6/7ths Warwick (we all felt bad for Matt from Lancaster for having to be the adult in the discussion) and the rest of the Warwick contingent chose to drink every time the word “rights” was mentioned in the final. The debate was about banning meat. Rights were discussed a lot. This angered Emilia enough that she smashed her wine glass (or it fell of f the table.)

Although the traditional boat race didn’t happen, the NAMDA novice social was as great as usual. Lots of fishbowls were drunk, lots of cheesy dance moves were pulled. Hull has a fantastic nightlife if your definition of fantastic is cheap and cheesy.


And finally everybody made their way home, their debating urges satisfied until at least Wednesday. There was a crying baby on the train, instantly awakening everyone’s hangovers (or at least Erik’s). Many Thanks go to TJ and Bender for running a great competition, Rhi for being great crash and everyone at Hull for creating such a welcoming competition and atmosphere. Next up, Durham IV.

PS Eliot thinks it is important that people know Ed did a mini-chunder that was induced by hiccups. It was only a hiccup worth. It might as well have been a big spit.

SOAS IV 2013 – The Return of the Blog

an unhappy nick eats a poor choice of sandwich
Nick annoyed at the others’ disapproval of the sandwich. 

There are certain key dates in the British cultural and sporting calendar- the last week of June and the start of Wimbledon, the second saturday of September and the last night of the proms, the 3rd weekend in October and the start of the English IV calendar- the SOAS IV.

On Friday night, after some ‘unorthodox’ driving by Tito, George, James, Tito, and Ed made their way to Highgate to join Nick for the first crash of the year (kindly provided by former members Elena, Nas and Maria). Here James and Tito were initiated into a great Warwick tradition- Would you rather. James, a noted vegetarian train enthusiast, would not eat a bacon sandwich to secure funding for HS2, and would rather live in Leeds with a winless Leeds Rhinos than move to London to secure the Rhinos a stream of Super League Championships.

After a decent nights sleep, and with Gareth and Steven in-tow, the crew negotiated a rail replacement bus service to make their way to SOAS on time.  In fact, they were early enough to grab breakfast. James, Ed, George and Tito were all sensible enough to get a proper breakfast.

A good breakfast choice
A good breakfast choice

Nick however made a poor choice, a cheese sandwich


Nick’s sandwich was so forgetful that he managed to leave early without paying for it. The first Greek default of the debating year.

With full stomachs the analysis flowed well. Going into the closed rounds Warwick All Aboard The Freedom Train were on +1 and Warwick Labour Friends of Objectivism on straights. Nick was a chair judge for both closed rounds, and both Steven and Gareth were doing typically well.

Happy with their respective days of debating, everybody went off to their crash (Ed was nursing a half pint went everyone else wanted to go home so crashed a bit further out in east london) where merriment was had and the Warwickers slept with the vision of a bright tomorrow.

Then disaster struck. A combination of poor planning and SOAS threatening to run on time (something rarer than a certain Greek male paying for his sandwich) meant that Ed was running late. With panic in his voice he picked up the call from James

“Ed where are you they are about to run tab”
“Somewhere in central London on the Hammersmith and City line, are they really going to run the tab?”
“yes really”
yes, they have done the announcements and the laptop is in the room”


after a mad dash from the station Ed got there …




in plenty of time. SOAS always runs late.

Both Warwick teams performed well in their break rooms, and it came to the announcing of the break.

Breaking 6th, Warwick Labour something. Cue mad screams. Tito and Bainbridge had only gone and done it, a terrific result, smashing the Warwick SOAS curse. Nick broke as a judge, and both Steven (speaking for BPP with Ben Dory) and Gareth (speaking for KCL with Cerys Bradley) broke as speakers.

And so we move onto the quarter final, Steven was drawn in CG, opposite Warwick in CO. It was the old master, the training officer for most of George’s debating career, versus the young apprentice and his new teacher. Who would be victorious.

Both would, two teams go through from each quarter, and the (practically) all Warwick bottom half beat out Nottingham and Sheffield into a place in the Semis. Gareth also made it through his quarter.

Moving onto the semis, Warwick were in CG with Steven in OO, TCD in OG and GUU in CO. Could all the Warwick speakers make it through again? Gareth did his job in the other semi, however for George and Tito this was one step to far, with an opp sweep putting through BPP and GUU. It was a very close call, and Tito and George should be very proud for doing so well.

After some unmarked bottles of clear liquid, which tasted like gin, were handed out by the org team, the Warwickers made their way home. A closed section of the M1, a crash on the M1, a flood in London and a closed A45 all conspired against them. However there was one piece of good news.

The motion for the final was on military ethics, the specialist subject of both Steven and Gareth, surely one of them would bring home the bacon. And as the Warwickers were queuing on the M1 they received the news: The Ramesh Express cannot be stopped, Steve had won the SOAS IV for Warwick (technically BPP).

Congratulations to Steve and Ben for winning, and for everyone involved with SOAS debating for running such a great competition, next up NAMDA novice.