It was going so well, and then they poisoned us. No, not tequila, and no, not Yakka, but food poisoning. Yes hombres, food poisoning. The blog is being written as Dan writhes in pain, grandpa Mooney chunders in the loo, and weird Malcolm compulsively plays chess to distract from his oddly rumbling stomach. The pain is worth it, for the past two days have been, to put it lightly, fucking dank. So much so that the blog has been neglected- sorry about that, but seriously, if you’re compulsively following this, please please find something else to do.

Let’s rewind to “Day 3”. None of us really care about that. Dan says that Debating is a stupid hobby, and Malcolm has decided to dedicate his life to lacrosse, so we won’t be seeing much of them any more. Both teams finish on -3, the motions were weird, Mexico was fun. Yes, Sam broke as a judge, but only by slipping MDG a substantial sum so he could claim DJ Discourse are both worlds breaking judges.

The key chat here is in what happened in the run up to discovering these results. Yes, it was New Years Eve, and yes, we got completely fucked. Spicy banter began shortly after boarding the bus back to the hotel, where, once again, Duncan showed his true inclusivity colours. Apparently as equity officer Duncan says “I only deal with sexual assault, not actual assault”. Malcolm immediately brandished his Men’s Rights activist membership card, and Duncan’s reputation took an immediate battering.

Once returned, after that traumatic conversation, pres began in earnest with all of Scotland. This was Dans “Caucus”, involving multiple cans, and a room that looked something like a bomb site the next morning. Pres involved serially savage drinking games, with most sass being provided by none other then Mooney. Accusations are not to be published here, but let’s say most of us now have no dignity at all. Great success was had as everyone was suitably trashed on arriving to the “Open Bar” social, from where things took a quickly downward spiral. None of us remember this much beyond stealing a massive bottle of vodka from said bar, and having the worlds largest tequila shots courtesy of Tomas of GUU fame. There was also dinner, on which more later. Result was Sam has no memory of New Years, Duncan looked traumatised, and sock wrestling began in earnest.

What is that, you ask. This is a highly technical game in which participants strip off their shirts, roll up their trousers, take off a sock, and fight each other to take off one another’s socks. Noone remembers this much (theme?), but we were treated to a spectacular insight into Duncan’s body. Ask him to strip off next time you see him, and you won’t be disappointed. Duncan quickly passed out, and chat eventually wound down to the point where Dan and Malcolm needed to go to bed. Herein lay a problem- none of us could find where their shirts were, and Dan had no idea where his key was. Consequence was Dan and Malcolm stripping off in a lift, speaking with reception with few clothes on, and generally looking like massive fuck wits.

A night well spent, and a hangover well deserved. New Years Day was spent wandering the actually quite nice streets of Mexico City, curiously involving Dan. Dans appearance was curious, of course, because he was supposed to be in the heights of the hotel scheming with the illuminati (Worlds Council). Instead, after 2 hours of chat about fuck all, Dan went for a toilet break. Said break lasted 7 hours, involved generous helpings of tacos, a rap battle, and some nice photos. That’s YOUR representative guys, about as representative as Councils in St Andrews.

Day turned to night, and water turned to “wine”. No, Jesus had not returned, but Yakka night had. Memories of this, in the case of Dan and Ruth, are non existent, and sketchy for the rest of us. Let’s say combining 300 people with 270 litres of vodka in a room with nothing more than a stereo system would end well. Highlights included the presence of vuvuzelas, which Dan Sam and Andrew from GUU successfully turned into “trick shots” and the rendition of God Save the Queen. Pride of place, however, goes to the nice man who conducted the “Safety Briefing” (lol), using a vuvuzela as a funnel to dispense an entire cup of Yakka down Sam.

Results were cataclysmic. Nothing memorable happened today other than Sam doing some of that judging shit. This is because dinner on New Years Eve gave us all food poisoning, and now we are sad. Literally the whole tournament has it- Indonesia, some Oxford people, all of SSDC, Sams Octo chair. The results are unpleasant, but we will prevail. Indeed, it’s actually grimly funny, or maybe we’re all just a bit strange. Finals day looms, and so does much booze.

Wish us a speedy recovery, and god speed our booze consumption.

Hasty luego hombres

Mucho grande Humberto xxx

P.s. Ruth “on a mission” Batten update. Mystery bruises. That is all.


Mucho amor xx


Hola hombres

Day 2 of worlds happened. Far less spicy banter from today than previous, as apparently St Andrews take discourse seriously. Motions became more mixed, and things started to run late, but in general the tournament is very well organised and seems to be running well.

Scores on the doors from the second day of debating are:
St Andrews A- -2, 4th, 3rd, 2nd
St Andrews B- -1, 2nd, 3rd, 1st

** These scores are subject to significant caveats
Essentially, Dan and Malcolm have been repeatedly dicked over by bad judges, bad calls, bad wings. This is a curse that seems to afflict Dan at most internationals, and Mexico is no different. This gradually escalated during the day- 4th was apparently fair, 3rd was questionable, significant ire for the 2nd. The R6 chair got rolled by his wings, despite being evidently competent and correct I’m told. Such was his level of salt that he gave the call as he would have wanted to, stating “that’s how it actually happened, but come and find the wings if you want”. Just feel that spice.

Duncan and Ruth seem fairly content. Sam winged some good rooms R4 and 6, and chaired again in R5, so things seem to be going well. All now hinges on the 3rd day, the dreaded closed rounds, where judging becomes entirely arbitrary, backtabbing becomes the activity in fashion, and nerves are quickly drowned by the oceans of booze at break night.

Chat was limited today. Duncan has also continued to shatter his inclusivity brand, this time by wading into the thorny issue of financial inequality. Apparently rich people are “worth more” (not in a financial sense) than the poor, for unexplained reasons, therefore being entirely asserted. Seriously, you can’t look at this guy the same way in training again.

While Dan was still sleeping off his “very real” altitude sickness, the rest of St Andrews had drinks with GUU. This yielded the interesting discovery that when presented with the dress code “festive cocktail” for break night, Duncan literally thought this meant dressing up as a festive cocktail. This sweet innocence nearly caused Noemie to die from laughter (seriously), and Duncan much embarrassment.

All eyes are now on the break. Dan as esteemed SSDC president is running a “caucus” during pres, which will definitely be productive for sure, definitely. What a hero. Wish us luck for the rest of the day, and we shall drink St Andrews proud tonight.

Happy new year pals



Ps. Ruth “on a mission” Batten update- love is poison and Mooney is a snake. Say no more.

Buenos Dias Jeffe

Things have actually started in Mexico now, so there’s some actual real stuff to talk about on the blog. Jet lag remains a thing, but chat levels are steadily increasing in quality. Remarkably everything has run very smoothly, which is nice, and everything is very well organised, which is nice.

Firstly, the results of a spicy day of debating. I can’t remember the motions but scores on the doors are:
St Andrews A- +1 – 1st 2nd 2nd
St Andrews B- -1 – 1st 3rd 3rd

Dan and Malcolm hit some pretty dank teams including Cambridge B and Durham A so seem to be fairly pleased, while Ruth and Duncan are in a nice fun place for day 2. So all is good there. Sam has somehow managed to chair 3 rooms, and hasn’t had any catastrophic fallings out with wings, which seems to be the objective. As Dan says “God, the judge pool must be fucking shit”, but I’ll take it anyway.

That’s discourse over with. Chat continued as ever, as the long pauses between rounds become a useful means of getting to know one another better (not in a particularly good way). Highlights of this include the fact that Ruth is actually part of Momentum, therefore wishing the total collapse of the UK economy and generally being in alliance with the devil. Duncan, previously known for his love of all things inclusive, has claimed that disabled people “have it easy” because they get great much better access to things. You’ll never be able to look at him in the same way again in training now, will you*.

Dan continues to claim he is ill, self diagnosing with altitude sickness. Malcolm has managed to disprove this theory with some “parental consultation”- turns out you can only get it over 8000 metres, and therefore Dan is a massive idiot. The 20 hour flight has also had a severe effect on Sam, who has decided that joining the mile high club is his number one ambition- whatever floats your boat really.

We also discovered the joys of Mexican Aldi, which is fun. Ruth bought some particularly minging chocolate, while Malcolm bought enough apples to last most people a week, but for him, about a day. He is a major food addict (“self identifying as an obese person”)- did you know he lifts? Food continues to be odd but quite nice. Breakfast this morning consisted of what Sam called “Doritos” (authentic nachos) in a weird sauce with beans. Tastes nicer than it sounds, and crisps for breakfast is quite fun really.

Anyway, off to do some more of that discourse stuff now. Wish us luck for the rest of the rounds, and take pity on whoever gets the misfortune of being judged by Sam.

Adios hombres

Humberto xx

P.s Ruth “on a mission” Batten update. Found some guy in the eggs aisle of Mexican Aldi. What happened next, who knows.

Mi encanta St Andrews woo

*Duncan would like to clarify that this was a joke, has been egregiously taken out of context, and that Sam is a massive twat

Hi boss
We have arrived. Jet lag is a thing. Dan is dead. Duncan is a snake. Malcolm is Malcolm. St Andrews are here. Get psyched kids.

The beginning of worlds began in typically inauspicious fashion. We sat in a room for a day, pretended to do a practice round, and in Dans case, lay in bed. Mexico City, it turns out, is quite big. The journey from the airport was, to quote Sam Maybee, completely shit. Taking two buses after a 20 hour journey was distinctly unpleasant, but at the very least the hotel is nice. Yes the lifts are slow, and yes, it’s three to a room, but first world problems, no?

The burdens of jet lag mean that our chat has been distinctly sub par for the first day. Highlights include discovering Duncan’s kink, as you do. He claims that his private time is only enjoyable in the presence of the well known Japanese dish, Okonomiyaki. Take from that what you will, but we always knew he was a bit strange.

Duncan has also become a “big deal” in debating, by going to precouncil, because Dan couldn’t be bothered (fair enough) (Sam says I couldn’t be bothered, I say I have Spanish flu, whatever). Some random guy later found Duncan to tell him how great he was- the ego swelled exponentially. Duncan has also begun referring to Councils as “we”- Madeline Schultz watch out.

The conclusion of this is that Duncan is a total snake. Everyone else is still friends though, mostly. We had some excellent Tacos, in true Mexican fashion, while Duncan Crowe and Mooney chatted about the Cambridge 2013 final (as you do). Skipping the opening ceremony was a wise move, as other Scottish hombres took over an hour and a half to get there and sit in a freezing hall. Tacos take all, and tacos are always the greatest choice.

We’re now sat eating breakfast, which is a weird combination of eggs and beans- nicer than it sounds. Malcolm is plotting his weird Canadian example cases, and Duncan and Ruth are fine tuning their inclusivity narratives. Sam is trying to remember what a debate looks like, and what being a judge actually means. The practice round conducted on a bed was literally no help in this, but no comment as to why.

Discourse begins shortly. In the words of Gillis, get keen.

Adios amigos

Mucho amor x

Ps. Ruth “on a mission” Batten update. Found some guy in an Uber over the road. Take from that what you will.

Pedro xoxo

There was a twenty-minute break between the end of the ESL final and the start of the Open final, and I had an important job to do: I had to keep an eye on Bethany’s phone while it was charging.

I felt myself getting nervous, probably the most nervous I’ve been for a debate I wasn’t participating in.

Two minutes before we had to head in, I saw Bethany coming back over, and felt like I should say something.

“Ready to kick ass?”


So she did.


King and Queen in the North

Glasgow A are your European champions, something I would describe as “unbelievable” were it not so entirely believable – they are that good. The day went something like this.

St Andrews only assembled as the motion for the semi-final being drawn, in various states of tiredness and intoxication. I think that all six of us managed to leave the social at separate times in separate ways, which is rather impressive. Anyway, the semi motion was THR the mass deregulation of the financial sector, the economics motion we had all been waiting for.

Owen and Bethany were in OO, leading them to essentially defend neoliberal economics – certain St Andrews debaters and alumni would have approved – in what was a far fierier debate than we expected. Meanwhile, downstairs at Euros Council, Scotland was having yet another moment of victory, as the Scottish Euros bid for 2018 was ratified, ensuring that we’ll be hosting this whole mad thing next year. Nish, Steph, Olivia and Duncan deserve a huge amount of credit for turning this from casual chat about an idea into a real event that will actually happen. Credit also has to go to the entire team they’ve assembled from all over Europe to make it happen: I’m confident it’ll be the best Euros yet.

Once council and the semi were over, I had just enough time to use the swimming pool (because this Euros is at a hotel with a swimming pool) before getting all dressed up to head to the finals venue. Duncan shamed us all by wearing a full kilt, while Wesley, having been unaware that Euros ended with a black-tie event until two weeks ago, turned up in a jacket and jeans. We were shaming him for his informality until he reminded us that, coming from Texas, this was effectively his national dress.


this is what peak performance looks like

On the buses into the city, we had our final Wesley of the Day:

Oh my God that is amazing! What a wonderful invention of the human race.” – Wesley, after trying a Fruit Pastille for the first time.

As a bonus, and given it was Finals Day, here’s a Mooney of the Day, which I vaguely remember happening:

I went to try and get food and I came back with a CAship, a partner for an Open, and a beer.” – Mooney, 45 minutes after winning Euros.

Anyway, we were advertised that there were to be “activities” greeting us at the Finals venue, but unsure what those might be. As it turns out, they were a variety of inexplicable and weird things to amuse us, from a man making models of cephalopods on a 3D printer, to a guitar/straight saxophone duo, and most oddly, a woman selling shoes, whose presumable customer demographic was people who showed up at an international debating final having forgotten their shoes.

The auditorium itself was decorated in to be some kind of enchanted debating forest, with fake grass and everything.


The evening was compered by an Australian stand-up comedian, and if you want to find out what that was like, I would ask the next Euros attendee you see in person to tell you about it – in a sense, you really had to be there.

What I will say here is that any of us who have stood up for a PM speech with only three-and-a-half minutes of material have some approximation of what dying on stage might be like, and a group of impatient debaters who just want to hear a final motion may not be the most receptive crowd. However, if various heckles are funnier than your jokes, perhaps stand-up comedy may not be your calling in life.

Eventually, both finals were held, on the following motions:

ESL Final: THB that Western European states at high risk for terror attacks should implement ‘state of emergency’ laws.

Open Final: TH as the Kremlin would commemorate the 1917 Russian Revolution as a tragedy rather than a triumph for the nation.

Both finals were magnificent, with all teams putting on performances worthy of the occasion not only in terms of persuasiveness, but in rhetoric, oratory, and even humour. They were two of the most entertaining finals I’ve watched, and all speakers should be commended.

The CA team should be commended too, not just for those motions, but for every motion that was set. It is easy to underestimate how hard it must be to set motions that are original, well-balanced, accessible and equitable, but all of the ones I judges and watched fulfilled that criteria. More than that, though, the issues we discussed often felt important; it is easy to joke about the general importance of debating, but getting hundreds of European students together and forcing them to discover the most contentious issues in the world from multiple perspectives can only be a good thing, especially in the times that we live in.

The team who were putting together the Moscow Open, at the end of their tournament announcement, said that they were especially grateful to be free to host a debating tournament, and that they would endeavour to prevent it ever being shut down. Estonia, which freed itself from Soviet rule without a shot being fired, knows that all to well – it is incumbent upon us to remember it.

Congratulations are due to the OrgComm for putting together an extremely well-run tournament, with everything running to time, all venues from venues to socials being more than up to standard, and all volunteers being friendly, helpful, and at times worryingly efficient. They have given us a lot to live up to.

I am a tiny part of the European debating ecosystem – coming to these tournaments tends to remind you of just how big this curious pastime can be – and yet it is easy to feel like European debating has never been stronger. The ESL final, which featured four teams from four different countries, as well as, in Tel Aviv B, a team that spoke in the Open Final as well, was testament to this, as was the achievement of Floris Holstege, who not only topped the ESL speaker tab, but finished 9th on the overall speaker tab, an amazing achievement. (Although, as a former CA of the St Andrews Open, I suppose he was always destined for great things.)

There is still work that needs to be done, of course, as the CA team reminded us in their thank you speeches: from improving representation of women and gender minorities, improving access for students with disabilities, and improving access to training and competitions from students from under-represent institutions, circuits, and regions. However, I do not doubt the energy, passion and drive of this entire community to try and come up with solutions to those problems, nor the ability of us to change attitudes, listen to those affected and come up with effective solutions.

I am also proud of the work that has been done within Scotland on all of these issues – as Nish reminded me when we were taking contingent photos, it is far from an accident that the photos of men and women of the Scottish contingent were nearly the same size – and the energy and interest displayed at our caucus suggests we are more than up to the task.

Because this group of people is a community, in a way that is hard to describe to outsiders. It struck me, when we were introducing ourselves while celebrating, that we were describing ourselves not just as merely representing our institutions, but as “from Strathclyde”, “from Aberdeen” or “from St. Andrews”.  The SSDC makes us all us feel Scottish – it gives us somewhere that we belong, and can carry with us wherever debating takes us.

Owen and Bethany represent the best of that. I can say without hesitation that speaking against them, judging with them, and occasionally getting to judge them has made me a far better debater, and counting them as friends has been a pleasure. Their generosity to spare time training and supporting other debaters, whether through giving judge feedback at competitions or even just asking how their rooms have been, has been a credit to them. Their individual and collective brilliance has been apparent to anyone who has met or debated against them over the years, and they are worthy champions. We have been lucky to have them.

I have felt slightly odd throughout this Euros, knowing that it is certainly the last event that I will represent the University of St Andrews at, and quite possibly the last major debating competition I take part in as a participant. Yet the relative youth of our contingent was an encouragement: In Sam, Ruth, Duncan, Wesley and Kimon, not to mention everyone who couldn’t be here, the UDS has a very bright future.

I am so grateful to this hobby and all it’s given me: I’ve been to more than twenty competitions in five countries, made dozens of friends and spoken on hundreds of motions. The UDS has taken me to places I thought I never could or would reach, and taught me things that I will carry with me for the years to come. I will always be a St Andrews debater, and will always cherish the spectacular memories it has given to me. To paraphrase the last ten seconds of a speech that ended up winning Euros:

The finest friends, the finest people, the finest times, the finest (and oldest) institution.


Though I may not be there, you have all of my support in Mexico, Edinburgh, Cape Town, Athens and beyond.


Richard Hunter (alumnus)



After much consideration, I am now in a position to share with you my experiences as a fresher going to his first euros. But first, TALLINN EUDC DAY FIVE.

The day started off with the SSDC gathering in a hotel events room to support GUU A facing off Oxford B, TCD Hist A, and Cambridge B in a highly technical economics motion from OO, THR the mass deregulation of the financial sector. We hadn’t even had breakfast!

Later, we put on our fancy clothes and hopped on the buses to the fancy finals venue, where we waited around for some time, then experienced peak cringe thanks to our Australian stand-up comedian host cracking jokes about Russia, ESL, and the equity policy, and then watched the heated ESL final on state of emergency laws, followed by even more cringe and our –did I mention– Australian host getting heckled by rowdy Irish debaters. Thankfully for GUU A, they didn’t have to endure this, because they were prepping for the open final.

The motion read TH as the Kremlin would commemorate the 1917 Russian Revolution as a tragedy rather than a triumph for the nation, and Bethany and Owen made Scotland proud by winning the final with their amazing speeches. We chanted, cheered, sang Flower of Scotland, and hugged each other as the tournament was coming to a wonderful end for the whole of Scottish debating. The celebrations were held in a terrace at the hotel by the swimming pool.

What I will mostly remember from this experience of spending this week in Tallinn, is how close together the SSDC really is. We’d already seen each other many times in domestic competitions –even I, a timid fresher who doesn’t easily socialise with people he doesn’t know that well– but nothing had brought us together like euros. Walking through the streets of Tallinn, or playing drinking games in a hotel conference room, we bonded, and when people from other SSDC contingents asked me how Wesley and I were doing, I knew I was part of a community, a natural progression from my first debate at Bogwall, where Owen Mooney was chairing. When he and Bethany won, I was elated not just because they’re from a Scottish university, but because they have been part of my whole first year in university debating, and have welcomed me in the SSDC, regardless of my debating abilities or institution.

At this point, I have to give special thanks to Ruth, Duncan, Wesley, Sam, and Richard, for being an inextricable part of my first euros. I hope there are many great things to come in my next three years of debating with the UDS.


— athens 2019

That 2am pizza still hasn’t arrived.

Sorry this is late, but (SPOILERS) we were busy celebrating.

Friday started with a headache and an SSDC brunch, which was (accidentally and loudly) proposed by St Andrews at 3am on break night. Most of us came and dissected the events of break night. Apparently, Duncan was there.


We then headed to support GUU A and Edinburgh A in an intense Scotland vs Ireland quarter final:

This house, as women’s rights groups in India, would adopt violent female goddesses as prominent symbols.

Reasons why this was great:
1. feminism motions
2. theology motions
3. two Scottish teams to cheer for
4. Bethany’s speeches encourage me to live my best life

We had pizza for dinner. It came on time. It did not contain shredded carrot or a dil sauce. That’s all we needed.

We then had a lively pre-social conference with Scotland, where both St Andrews teams drew their partners, proving that debating doesn’t necessarily transfer into other skills. Wesley of the day is just his drawing of Kimon, because with that, we can truly examine how he sees the world.


The quarters call was announced at the social, and St Andrews are immensely proud of GUU A who got through, and we hope (know) they’ll go on to smash semis like they’ve smashed the rest of this competition.

We are also so proud of Edinburgh A who did amazingly well all week, breaking 4th to quarters and consistently inspiring the younger SSDC debaters. I owe Nish a Birmingham snobs night out, all are welcome to join.


Song Of The Day:



the female fresher™