By Floris Holstege
Travelling to Middelburg can be a tiring and stressful experience (especially when trains may or may not run on time), but it’s all worth it for the start of the academic debating season in the Netherlands, the Roosevelt Open. Organised in the far south-west corner of the Netherlands, the Roosevelt Open promised to be a high standard tournament. In my opinion it definitely lived up to the expectations. The CA’s were Bionda Merckens, Ben Dory, and Gavin illsley. The Roosevelt Open is held in the British Parliamentary format and consists of five inrounds with seven minutes speeches. After those rounds a Novice Final (for new speakers), a Semi Final and a Final would take place.
After the registration on Friday, the first two rounds were held. The motion for the first round read: this house would prioritize dealing with the consequences of climate change rather than preventing it. The second motion read: this house would set the burden of proof in criminal trials to “balance of probabilities” rather than “beyond reasonable doubt”. Both motions resulted in interesting and lively debates, although some novice teams struggled with the definition in the second motion. Those struggles, including the long trip, where all long forgotten after the nice social in the lively city centre of Middelburg.
Fresh as a daisy we started the third round on Saturday after a truly delicious breakfast. The motion for this round read: this house regrets that companies such as Facebook and Apple have offered to pay for elective egg freezing for their employees. After this original and challenging motion the fourth motion read: this house believes that companies like H&M and Primark should hire half as many factory workers in the developing world but pay them twice as much. Some considered this a very opp biased motion, but that didn’t ruin the fun for most teams. After lunch the fifth round read: this house believes that people who go bankrupt should have their finances managed by the state for five years. This debate turned out to be quite messy in some rooms, since the status quo heavily differed between certain countries. Some teams (mainly the one your reporter was part of) didn’t even have a clue what the status quo in their own country was. After that everyone had a break before the novice final and the semi-finals.
The teams that broke to the novice final were:
1. On 10 points: WSDC Squirrel Society Justice League* (David Metz and Floris Holstege)
2. On 10 points: Emma and Jeroen (Emma van der Horst and Jeroen Wijnen)
3. On 7 points: Victor and Jeanice (Jeanice Koorndijk and Victor Schippers)
4. On 6 points: UCU B (Kerrewin van Blanken and Rixt Heerschop)
5. On 5 points: Cicero Novice (Robbert van Dijk en Jos Buijvoets)
Novice Final: this house would only allow those who pass a political awareness exam to vote.
The teams that broke to the semi-finals were:
1. On 13 points: In F1, your problem is not with foxes (Joe Mayes and Kit Mercer)
2. On 12 points: #Glitterbas (Bas Tönissen and Rebecca Irvine)
3. On 12 points: Fifth times the Charm (Alex Klein and Arielle Dundas)
4. On 11 points: Gigi’s charity project (Daan Welling and Gigi Gil)
5. On 11 points: Leiden O’Grishkova (Nastia Grishkova and Conor O’Brien)
6. On 11 points: Erasmus B (Michael Tai and Sophie Vengerov)
7. On 10 points: Danique A (Andrea Bos and Thomas Beerthuis)
8. On 10 points: WSDC Squirrel Society Justice League* (Floris Holstege and David Metz)
Semi Final: this house would impose the death penalty for pretty crime, if we knew that it would be 100% effective in deterring pretty crime and would never be used.
The teams that emerged to the final were: In F1, your problem is not with foxes, #Glitterbas, Leiden O’Grishkova, and Fifth times the Charm. The motion for the final read: this house believes that the EU should abandon its aim to establish “ever closer union”.
The final was held at the wonderful location of the Baptist church of Middelburg. After every spectator was served tea and coffee, the exhilarating final began. Ultimately, after what was considered a very good debate, the team from Opening Government (Kit Mercer and Joe Mayes) emerged as the winners of the Roosevelt Open. The team that won the novice final was UCU B, from the position of Closing Opposition. Kit Mercer from In F1, your problem is not with foxes was announced as the best speaker and David Metz from WSDC Squirrel Society Justice League was crowned as best novice speaker. The full tab can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6KFWgFmasehaktJNWFLcTMzRXc/view
Overall, the Roosevelt Open was an exciting and very well organized tournament, which means that in the end every participant can be considered a winner. Thanks to the CA’s and the Orgcomm for their fantastic efforts.
* Floris and David qualify as novices and therefore by rights should compete in the novice final. Due to their high ranking they are qualified to compete in the semi-finals.