The vast majority of this blog post is written as we’re all on a massive high from the last round. Ryan and Dan won and are looking increasingly like a team to be seriously reckoned with in this tournament. Gillis and Beckie also won, meaning that they no longer can end up on minus double digits which was an important mission of theirs. Steph had the honour of being on the panel of the top room in the competition, and describes the experience as ‘orgasmic’. Tyler’s also happy because, well, when was the last time you saw Tyler sad?

Rd 1: THW allow states to use mercenary forces in combat roles in active military operations

Rd 2: THW prohibit the private ownership of art deemed to be culturally or historically significant

Rd 3: THBT all states should collectively aggregate and evenly distribute all profit from mineral wealth globally on a per capita basis

Rd 4: THBT governments with racially diverse populations should never record the ethnic or racial background of their residents

Rd 5: THB the US should withdraw from East Asia and cede regional hegemony to China

Rd 6: THB that states should adopt sunset clauses that legally force them to review and either re-authorize or revise their constitutions every generation

St Andrews A [Dryan]: +1 (1st, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st)

Today was all right. Dan and I are still friends. Except that we’ve realized that our partnership is perfectly analogous to that of a Jedi and a Sith. Dan’s the Sith and I’m the Jedi, if that’s in any way unclear. Between rounds, Dan sits on the edge of his seat tapping his feet aggressively with EDM blasting in his earphones, while I stare off serenely into the distance actively trying to calm myself down and plan how I’m going to calm Dan down when the next motion is announced.  Altogether, not that bad. Ryan out. x

The results say it all. Dan out. X

(Humblebrag –ed.)

St Andrews B [Billis]: -2 (2nd, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st)

Gillis and Beckie have been fighting through numerous problems to get to a position where they’re still in a respectable position going into the closed rounds, including but not limited to: Gillis’s comically small bladder that gets worse when he’s nervous (today he visited the loo 8 times, including during two prep times, once during the draw, and once during the debate), Beckie’s inability to see in the dark (which made walking to rooms much harder), inexplicable judge calls, inexplicable incompetence, misreading the motion for round 3 and completely missing the debate, and having to extend off one of their debate crushes who was so attractive that they became a distraction. Overall, they have hit several of their part goals: they have only sporadically been shit, they haven’t fourthed more than once, and they have usually made a new friend per round. Here’s to hoping they stay chirpy through day three.


Tyler here: judging has been overall quite enjoyable. Rooms have been at worst a bit below average and at best quite good. Chairing was unexpected, probably undeserved, but I’ll take what I can get. Effectively forced feedback seems to be a functioning, useful system.

As for things you care to read about, while I was chairing I “deeply offended” a trainee, who decided it would be a good idea to walk in silently after all of the other judges, sit in the very front of the room, and look at the floor. I naturally assumed, as he was sitting in the front near a team, that he was an observer, and discounted him from gender pronouns etc. When it came time to adjudicate, I kindly asked him to leave the room as, again, I thought he was an observer. It is at this point that he says “That’s fine, I will, but I just want you to know that you have offended me twice so far and as a trainee I feel that this has been a very bad experience”. I immediately apologized, explained the situation, and he stormed out right after adjudication.

I also had the absolute pleasure of judging a room where, in a motion about PMCs, a team decided that this meant that you would be hiring the Kurdish rebels to fight for you. They won.

In other news:

The tab masters have included a new way to redistribute judges to reflect geographical diversity. Commendable as that process is (the two teams have had plenty of new faces judging them), it still had some problems. One is that it occasionally shows trainee judges as chairs, which takes a while to sort out. Those growing pains is one of the reasons why St Andrews had dinner at 11.30 pm yesterday night.

The DCA giving announcements is increasingly appearing and behaving like a really tired high school teacher. “Guys, please listen up. Guys! Listen! The draw is delayed, it will hopefully be here in 30 minutes. Please register at the back if you haven’t already. Guys, please! Quiet! No, I’m not gonna scroll through the list again! Now go reg! I’m gonna count to ten, and then I cut you. 10… 9… 8…” As none of us saw him for a while, we thought he might have given up and left the country. But as most teachers, he seems to try to power through another day.

Beckie has brought a colouring book for relaxation between rounds. The problem? The colouring has become so prestigious that it mainly seems to wind them up. For example, it was decided after much debate that the octopus tentacles should be made a bit more colourful, and include light blue as well as purple (even though it somewhat doesn’t match with the pink sea). The complete result will be posted later on.

The bathroom light in Steph’s and Beckie’s room is apparently behaving like a strobe light. We’re all slightly traumatized and wonder what Crail’s Lane has done to us.

Most of the announcements made by people throughout the day, apart from one. After announcing when and where the African caucus would take place, a man randomly started a sing-along to Stay With Me by Sam Smith. We’re all still slightly unsure about why.

A few pictures of our hours of waiting follows below. Wish us luck for tomorrow!


It’s been called Lads in Greece. It’s been called The Ultimate Banter Trip. It’s been called several other things, although most of those things have been variations of the words Lads and Banter. Either way, the St Andrews contingent for Worlds have arrived in Thessaloniki. St Andrews A will consist of Dan (or as the registration office here calls him, RobertsDan) and Ryan, while Gillis and Beckie make up St Andrews B. Steph (aka RossStephanie) and Tyler will be our two judges. Today and yesterday have been filled with travelling, hours of queuing, introductory briefings and eating a number of kebabs. The real fun will begin tomorrow, but for now here are some of the stories so far:

Beckie was much less chirpy than usually during her travel. The reason is that Dan and Steph, after their near-death experience Ryanair flight from Edinburgh to Stansted, both had dead phones and went to a Wetherspoons where they spent more than two hours drinking with Glasgow, leaving Beckie by herself without no-one to talk to. Beckie has since tried to regain that social time lost by rarely shutting up since.

Dan, Ryan, Gillis and Tyler have all been put in a quadruple room (which they asked for) in Hotel Vergina (pronounce that as you want) (And since Steph and Beckie have the misfortune of sharing an institution with them have also been put in the bad hotel. Their room has solid beds, white stains in the carpet and cigarette burns in the sheets). Contrary to what Beckie says, the room is genuinely quite comfortable and is complete with a mini-fridge and a balcony with a somewhat sturdy railing (which overlooks a two story pit). Two potential improvements could be made, however. Firstly, the elevator takes three people at a stretch, and in an effort to save time we have started taking the stairs up and down to our room on the seventh floor. Secondly, one of the guys may or may not have spent about 15 minutes attempting to flush his waste down the toilet.

Ryan has met several of his old Canadian debate friends from his time at Western. During the introductory drinks, many of them had the pleasant habit of pouring shots of Ouzo into Ryan’s drink. The further into the night we got, the more enthusiastic Ryan’s greetings of his old friends became. Then, we all went for (yet another) kebab in the place which Gillis, Tyler and Ryan found after being stalked by a squadron of cats (there were 3 of them and they were worried about them calling their friends so they would be outnumbered).

Ryan also got a top tip for how to cross a road from his local taxi driver. “Be fearless, and they won’t run over you”. We’re fairly sure we will look like gladiators running towards a battle by the end of the week.

We hope to get back to you soon, unless the cats get to us first. Take care!

Kebab day 1

St Andrews + Friends, pre-kebab


Dinner day 2

St Andrews + Friends, post-kebab


None of us have unfortunately had the time to sit down and write a longer post, but there are a few stories and quotes that we can’t let you miss out on…

Day 3:

  • After a nervewrecking day full of rounds with close adjudication, many of us decided to relax and stay for drinks at the break night social. Dan did this more enthusiastically than the rest of us, and was also one of the first to jump in the swimming pool that was part of the club area. Many drinks and equally many swimming races later, Dan decides to go home. He wanders half naked into the lobby of the wrong hotel (all participants are split between two hotels about 10 mins walk from each other) and despite having three people from the hotel staff tell him that he doesn’t live there, keeps insisting that he’s right. After being escorted out and aimlessly wandering around for a while and trying to get into the lecture theatre of the university at 2:30 am, he accidentally stumbles upon his actual hotel, eventually remembers his room number, and crashes into bed. Don’t drink and swim, kids.
  • Having becoming more comfortable with her audience, the convenor’s announcements slowly but surely became more and more sassy until they reached peak Beckie. Example: “you guys are great and all, but you behave like children! Stop leaving litter behind you! Would you do this to your mother?!?” The amount of litter diminished significantly after that.

Day 4

  • after a few very stressful days, many from the St Andrews contingent decided to buy a public transport ticket and head into town. The problem: some of us forgot to validate those tickets. Not to worry, we thought. Surely this won’t be so harmful. Oh, how wrong we were. We got off at the next station, got caught by a few shady-looking ticket controllers, and were asked to pay €103 each as a result of our transgression. After some discussion, they decided to give us a “tourist discount” and just have us pay €50 each, or else they’d call the police. At that point we became increasingly sure these guys were trying a scam. An awkward fake phone call later, the ‘controllers’ let us go with a sulky “don’t do that again”. Ever since that, we’ve been *very* careful to validate anything and everything.
Do not forget. Don't.

Do not forget. Don’t.

•Alex Don really cares about this debate thing. He went to bed at eight thirty pm last night after discovering they’d broken to semis. Note that this is before Ru Mac. He may be learning how to adult, and we’re so proud.

Quote of the day:

“I’ll say one thing for totalitarian despotism – nice buildings!”

Say what you will you will about the Habsburg empire, they sure knew how to appreciate white marble.

We’re now awaiting the Open final. With a bit of luck Ralex will be in it. Wish us luck!

Day 2

I agree with Gillis that this competition is amazingly organized, as someone who has been to multiple international competitions I keep telling the newer members of the UDS that “back in my day… “. Here is some examples: “back in my day if you wanted an air conditioned hotel room, you had to beg to hotel to give you the remote for it. And even then they wouldn’t give it to you”. “Back in my day,  the debating rooms were so hot that some judges didn’t want to bother taking notes”. None of that so far so we are all happy.

Everything is running on time, there is free red bull everywhere because they are a sponsor and what a great sponsor for a debating competition. It’s been extremely relaxing compared to other tournaments because there are not long waiting times in a cramped announcement hall where debaters wind each other up by going on and on an on about how their chair got rolled. (*cough* Dan *cough).

So to get the debating thing out of the day, here are the motions for today:

R4: “THW ban any treatment, service or ritual from claiming a physical healing effect until it is tested and proven more effective than a placebo by a national regulator”

R5: “TH believes that the EU should lift its arms embargo on China”- such an exciting debate.

R6: “TH would only allow the media and the campaigning organisations to depict or publish information about the deceased in a tragedy with the explicit permission of the family.”- I think this is a great debate and very deep as well.

St Andrews A: 3rd, 1st, 3rd (+2)

St Andrews B: 4th, 3rd, 1st (-2)

St Andrews C: 1st, 2nd, 4th ( 0)

This post coming to you by the judges so:

Charlotte has been in great rooms with great judges today. She winged the top room and a room on +1 and +2. She is really enjoying learning from very experienced and highly valued chairs. She said and I quote : “Being in that top room totally justified me coming to Euros”. We are very proud of her. I (Penny) have been chairing and have not seen as many good rooms (to put it mildly). Gillis has been with great chairs too and so has George. We are doing great and we think we are under-appreciated. Judges of the world unite!!

Alex and Ruairidh have been great as always, I don’t really have much to add to that. Except maybe that the degree to which Ruairidh is chill is freaking us out. Maybe he has figured out the “meaning to life, universe and everything” and he is holding back on us. “Wax on , Wax off”, etc . ( insert your own motivational/zen movie reference here). Alyssa and Dan managed to beat a team who are one of the favorites to win the competition and in an IR round too, apparently Dan had written an essay on the topic so he knew what he was talking about (as well as them being great debaters) . We were all kinda buzzing with excitement from that one. St Andrews B were unfortunate in that their chair got rolled in R5 and they got a third instead of a first but they managed to push through the anger and bounce back. A very polite and Canadian form of anger.

After debating:

Some of us decided that given our limited time in Vienna we wanted to skip the social and go see the town. So me, Charlotte, Alyssa , Sarah, Maddie and George all headed to the underground. Charlotte and Alyssa wanted us to go to McDonald’s but were met with eye rolls and utterances of “Are you kidding me?!”.  We put a ban on any sort of Euros related debate chat and went to the historic part of town and walked around, we had nice Viennese food and deserts and nice conversation.WE had an epic session of “Shag, marry, kill”, the results of which we will take to our graves. What happens on Vienna underground, stays in Vienna underground. And you can see a picture of George having an 1/8th of a beer in a tiny pint here. You can also see the lovely photo of us that I find cute.


P.S: Sorry this entry isn’t as funny but anecdotes usually come from disasters and everything has been great so far. Also, we probably won’t have an update on day 3 till after the break because everyone will be super stressed because, in case you didn’t know, no one is getting their results.

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The only criticism your humble correspondent can think of for the org comm is that the tournament so far has been run so efficiently we haven’t had the time to blog, so we’re a bit after schedule with the entries. Either way, here’s our experiences from day two:


Rd 1: THW pay all elected politicians the median wage in their country

Rd 2: THB that when multi-national corporations conduct any business in Western states, these nations should enforce their environmental standards at all stages of production

Rd 3: THB that Western states should not use private military contractors in combat

Ralex: +3 (1st, 1st, 1st)

Alex described this as “a pretty solid day”. That says it all.

Smaddie: Straights (1st, 3rd, 2nd)

In a manner that just shows how incredibly polite and genuinely kind Sarah and Maddie are, their idea for how to improve on their (very impressive) first day of international debating was to get a little more angry, instead of just being humble and nice. The rest of us hope they will never change.

Alan: +1 (3rd, 1st, 1st)

When I (Gillis) met Dan and Alyssa during lunch after round one, Dan told me how their chair had been rolled. Then Smaddie joined us at the table. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. Then Ben Adams swung by. Then Dan told him how their chair had been rolled. Then we bumped into GUU. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. Then we went to mingle with a few Edinburgh debaters. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. It was a long lunch.

Now, we’re all happy that Alan recovered in a remarkable fashion (especially given that they’ve only done one debate together before Euros) and we’re hoping they don’t get rolled any more, or else we’ll never hear the end of it.


Penny has been chairing all rounds so far, whereas Charlotte, Gillis and George have all been winging very good chairs. The debates for all four have been of varying quality, but no-one has done anything crazy and everyone seems generally pleased with their performance.

In other news…

– During the equity briefing, the officers told us to only make relevant and plausible generalisations about people (i.e. poor people will spend less money on caviar compared to rich people). Someone from the audience asked, and was fully serious, if saying that poor people were lazy “because there’s stats to prove it” would be an equity breach. The awkward silence was deafening. The equity officer suggested that would probably be an inadvisable claim.

– Just like in the UK, German Coca-Cola wants you to “Share a Coke with [insert name]”. Unlike in the UK, one of the people Coca-Cola suggests you share with is Unterhosen-Cowboy”. No, that’s not a name. It literally means Underwear Cowboy. All of us feel like keeping our Cokes to ourselves.



– The social of the night was in the aforementioned theme park. Whereas most debaters ended up in the first best beer garden, the UDS decided to make the most of the opportunities and had an epic bumper car competition against each other. Who said debating was dull?

Moving on to the Quote of the Day…

“Guess what I got! A free condom!”

– George Alexander.

Let me explain. Alex, Dan and George decided to have a lad-off in the theme park. They all bought 5 shots to an air rifle and tried to be as close to the target as possible. George was remarkably accurate, making the guy (who also trains MMA) the UDS version of an action hero. As a ‘reward’ he got a price. It was a condom. With a cute ribbon on it. We still haven’t stopped laughing.


Thanks for all encouraging messages and comments!

Lads in action

Lads in action

So it begins. After a grueling trial process, months of preparation and hours of flight delays, the entire St Andrews delegation has arrived in Vienna. This year’s contingent might very well be the largest in recent memory: Ruairidh and Alex (henceforth known as Ralex), Sarah and Maddie (Smaddie) and Alyssa and Dan (Alan – NOT Dalyssa) will make up the three competing teams, whereas Gillis and George will be judging. Moreover, both Charlotte and Penny have acquired judge spots as well, so we’re ten people in total who are connected to St Andrews. Additionally, the other Scottish debating societies have turned up in large numbers as well, so there are familiar faces left, right and center. 

Vienna has so far been as well-run as one could hope for – the hotels are literally next doors  to the debating venue, the runners and volunteers have been both numerous and helpful, and we were treated to introductory sparkling wine. While that’s of course nice for the debaters here, it leaves us relatively low on stories. Regardless, here are a few anecdotes from our first hours:

* Sarah seems to have perfected the art of long-distance flying: she was moved from economy to business class, accepted a couple of complimentary samosas, and slept most of the way here.

* Gillis had a less pleasant journey. Having barely made his connection from Berlin to Vienna, he was looking forward to having to relax on the connecting train. Instead, he was squeezed in between tens of Korean teens wearing impeccable dinner jackets, who turned out to be a university choir touring the world. It all feels very stereotypically Austrian.

* Alex filled out the registration form last out of all of us, and were widely expected to be forced to share a room with a stranger as a form of punishment. Instead, he got the large room completely by himself. Some people are just born lucky.

* Our hotels are situated near a theme park that we quickly renamed “Dodgy Disneyland”. Entry is free of charge and contains the lovely carousel called Tai-Fun, that has more lights on it that one would think would fit on such a small space, travels in dangerously high speed and for some reason is filled with drawings of… just about anything, as long as it is exotic. We call it the Rollercoaster of Equity Violations.

Taifun, in all its dubious glory

Taifun, in all its dubious glory

Lastly, we’re more than aware that nothing can quite replace the Raghav of the Day. However, we’ll be trying to replace it by doing quotes of the day in general. Quote of the Day for Day 1 *drumroll* is…

“Soo… Do you have paper?”

– Dan Roberts, having duly ignored the three (3) info emails that wrote in capital letters to bring paper unless you’re genuinely unintelligent, shows the kind of preparation that makes him the future poster boy of the UDS,

 Auf widersehen! 

Charlotte's room with a view

View from the hotel room, if you weren’t jealous at us already

Sydney A have been crowned World Champions, all the awards have been handed out, all the beers have been drunk (we mean that quite literally – the bar ran out of beer yesterday) and all the farewells have been said. WUDC 2015 is officially over. From here on out, the St Andrews contingent will do different things: Ru is on his way back to Scotland, Penny is travelling to Turkey tonight, Raghav is off to stay with a friend in Kuala Lumpur and Gillis will be flying to the island of Langkawi for some recuperation, as some would put it (Google the place at your leisure). Before that, here is our last blog post:

All St Andrews debaters treated out rounds the same way that students treat the beginning of summer break; we celebrated the end of exams in rounds with a huge party, and then proceeded to do as little as possible, which meant that we didn’t blog. Ru, Penny and Gillis went to watch the majority of out rounds, while Raghav rarely was seen leaving the hotel room at all, opting instead to call room service so often they were almost at a first-name basis by the end of the week. Naturally, the St Andreans became huge Glasgow Groupies in support of Owen and Chris, who unfortunately got knocked out in the octo finals. Durham A got eliminated in the quarters, making them the most successful SSDC team. Another noteworthy thing is that Belgrade A made the semifinals as the first ESL team ever, which made them somewhat of a crowd favourite in the out rounds. In case anyone is interested in studying the tab or watching any particular rounds, they are readily available online and most easily accessed through the ‘Malaysia Worlds’ Facebook page.

Here are some other things that happened during the last few days:

  • Ru and Gillis came back to the hotel roughly an hour before the yakka night was scheduled to begin, and decided to take a quick nap. Almost three hours later they woke up realising that no alarms had gone off and that they had missed the obligatory security announcement (!) that everyone needed to listen to in order to be allowed to drink.
  • Probably because of the security announcements, it seems like no one got hospitalised from the yakka. The organisers see this as a great success.
  • One of the taxi drivers seemed to not have a car horn, which became problematic when two pedestrians were in the way. The driver tried to solve this by shouting “toot toot” from inside the car, which wasn’t very effective. Luckily, the pedestrians moved in the very last second.
  • Gillis decided to take advantage of the cheaper prices in Malaysia, and bought himself a pair of Beats by Dre headphones for roughly £6 when in Chinatown (online retail price £100). Fake? What do you mean they’re fake?
  • Gillis plans to go and buy Ray-bans for £15 tomorrow.
  • Gillis claims that he is smart enough to know that these things are fake.
  • It turns out Raghav, a 4th-year who became an academic father last year, decided to re-adopt this year. His justification is that his parents did this, and he wanted to “take revenge”. The rest of us are unclear about why becoming an absent father for other people helps this in any way.


Raghav is, to our knowledge, not an actual father. If he was, he shows just the right characteristics to be both a great father and a great employee/future boss. Give this man a job!

  • The topic for the public speaking final was “Everything good comes in moderation”. This final was hosted by an anti-terrorism organisation This combination meant that the equity team felt the need to have a separate meeting with the speakers, to make sure their speeches didn’t go completely haywire.
  • Duncan Miyagi reached the Masters final, where he was in OG proposing the motion “This house prefers a world without sexual desires”. Unfortunately, his prop case which went along the lines of “If we didn’t have sexual desires, more people would be comfortable sitting at home eating cake without societal pressures telling them to do otherwise” held no weight against an Opp extension that began his speech with “Let them eat cake – and f**k”. You’ll always be a winner in our minds, Duncan❤. Importantly, Masters rounds are more about entertainment than competition and Duncan definitely got the most laughs.

It is slightly bittersweet, but all good things must come to an end. Here is the last Raghav of the Day from Malaysia:

“The bed is no longer parabolic. It has more of a linear tilt.”

Raghav, explaining why his bed is uncomfortable even after he called room service who came to fix it.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us before and during Worlds. A special thank you to Alex and Ru Macintosh for working with us tirelessly to get us as ready as we could be. Moreover, I (Gillis) would like to especially thank Penny for all her patience and guidance in helping me become a much better debater than I was when I went to trials. I’d also like to thank Ru and Raghav for what has genuinely been a very enjoyable week.

Until next time,

Ru, Raghav, Gillis and Penny

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