By Srdjan Miletic
As I write this day three has finished and the social is winding down. Today’s motions were as follows:
Round 4: This House Believes That EU members should nationalize oil and gas resources to surrender total ownership and control to an EU-run energy agency.
Round 5: This House Believes That the states of former Yugoslavia should not commemorate the events of the Yugoslav wars.
Round 6: This House Would introduce blind voting.
Round 4 was somewhat unusual in that it gave two seemingly unlined burdens to prop. While it may seem like an unbalanced motion with numerous strong Opp lines available my opinion is that Prop can do fairly well with the standard anti-market arguments (i.e: natural monopolies, political vs market incentives, etc…) followed comparative on the EU’s incentives vs the corrupt/short-term incentives of national governments provided that the motion is propped as an actor motion arguing why individual states should do this. This is because propping from the perspective of the EU gives Opp a wealth of material to work with on state backlash.
In round 5 the inevitable regional motion surfaced, giving those with knowledge of the political situation in the Balkans a slight edge. Interestingly not many people seemed to realize that the engravings on either side of main lecture hall were in fact memorials to former students who died in the war of independence.
Round 6 was interesting. What blind voting essentially means is that instead of voting for Parties or candidates voters instead go through a list of policies, rank their preferences and then their vote is assigned to a party with matching policies. There are a number of factors which make this motion opp-heavy. Firstly there are numerous practical issues for prop to contend with, ranging from parties dramatically shifting policies to appeal to the majority to problems with parties simply changing their policies after elections to issues with granularity and how many policies can be adequately addressed in a single document without loosing meaning (think how different a question about intervention and about pulling out of Iraq are). Beyond this the fact that blind voting makes it impossible to hold a party to account for past actions (think the invasion of IRAQ) or failures to implement policy makes it difficult to argue that it increases accountability by virtue of leading to more informed voting. Ultimately the largest issue is that blind voting, if effective, essentially leads to the abolition of political parties and the installation of what is essentially direct democracy, something that is reasonably difficult to argue for. Nevertheless as always my own interpretation may well be inaccurate and the Gov/Opp win ratios should indicate how biased the motion was.
Finally outside the debates close to everyone I meet seems to be enjoying themselves. The food is delicious and affordable, the accommodation brilliant, the people friendly and the tournament actually runs to schedule which is impressive given the number of rooms. All in all I’ve had a great time and the same is likely true of everyone else. Best of luck to teams hoping to break tomorrow and see you all on the circuit.