(of timekeeping)
Day 1 coming to you in 3 main points like all great speeches: 1) results 2) St Andrews B stories 3) general news from WUDC. Skip as necessary.
(About the last blog:, I (Penny) admit I don’t really know how leap years work, it’s because Iranians have a different calender…er,moving on)
St Andrews A= -1 (2nd, 2nd, 3rd)
St Andrews B= -3 (2nd, 4th, 3rd)
St Andrews C= +1 ( 1st, 2nd, 2nd)
Warning; the following is mostly whinging, rationalization, existential crisis etc. if you want to hear about general news and photos, scroll to the bottom where it will say general news. There might even be some nice pictures. Your correspondent isn’t feeling very chipper currently. I have got a serving of pasta (surprisingly good, turns out the whole loads of cheese equals goodness holds true even if you don’t have any salt and pepper or the correct vegetables to cook with) a glass of wine (ok, fine, it’s a bottle) in front of me, a very bad day behind me and I’m ready to do some serious cathartic writing. We will see if it makes me feel better at the bottoms of the page.
So…. on my really really really bad day… (can you tell I’m making an effort not to swear in case sponsors read the blog?). Right, so , the main trouble I have is that me and Gillis have been really consistent this term, we haven’t been marvelous or anything. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but I wasn’t expecting the first day to go as badly as it has. We have been able to always maintain a straights or minus one. Round 1, we have GUU A who are a very strong team and the judge correctly gave us a second. Really generic feedback though, the judge literally said ‘we bought their analysis’ ‘you didn’t have responses to some of their stuff’. I’m still a bit puzzled as to what he really thought but correct call nonetheless. Round 2, we get put in a room with Tel Aviv A and Stanford A. Tel Aviv won it in the face, everyone after the round accepted that BUT we also agreed on who took a fourth and it wasn’t us, we thought that we had came 2nd or 3rd (both of which would have been very legitimate). After taking the 4th, the judge then compared the 1st and 2nd to each other the 3rd and fourth to each other and nothing else. The judge also gave credit from OG to CG and made them win over us. THAT IS NOT HOW THAT WORKS. WE WERE IN NO MOOD. We went in saying, well, it’s fine, we will take a first next round and it will be fine. And I thought we did but well, we took one of the most unreasonable calls ever. ( Look, I’m old, I have had bad calls before. This one was just brutal) Which is really a shame because Gillis loved the motion because it was about sports and he gave me some nice examples and we had a solid OG case. All I want is a judge I recognize and trust tomorrow. I don’t want be caught in the ultimate spiral of worlds where you get bad calls and then you end up on -3 and then they give you bad judges because you are -3 and you can never really escape EVER. I’m currently feeling really needy, I might have gone up to friends and asked for hugs. We are going to be particularly on edge tomorrow wish us luck.
Gillis was unavailable for comment.
Generic news:
– We got up really today and we were actually the first ones on the buses AND to reg. See pictures below.
– The weather was very dark when we left, when we got on the buses, when we got off the buses and basically till 9. It’s really depressing. The fog continues and frankly it’s a surprise no one has been murdered yet.
– On food. Well, everyone is pretty sad about food honestly. People are complaining about breakfasts but I think that’s the only good part of our day when they gave us loads of toast and there is no queue. Lunch, it’s busy, soggy sandwiches and there is nowhere to sit with your friends. Dinner, similarly grim. Obviously, your correspondent made her own food (Saving the others in her house from hunger and despair -George) but I am reliably informed that it was like ‘warmed up chunder’ and Beckie says ‘I felt uncomfortable eating it’.
-The volunteers and Org Com and adj core have all been very nice and we are very grateful, no offense to them.
– Floris from Leiden single handedly slayed Tel Aviv, noting in a debate about inequality in sport that “I will always support Leiden regardless of how badly they do, particularly when they keep getting beaten by the same team”, staring straight in the face of a chair from you guessed it, Tel Aviv. Shrinking in chair followed that slay.
– Duncan has shown his true colours by demonstrating he’s actually a bit of a knob. Sam now feels much more comfortable with this team arrangement now that he realises Duncan is a kindred spirit. Duncan is giving Dan a taste of his own medicine on the whole arrogance thing.
– Stuart is still in the Hague and apparently judging things. If they are debating related is not clear. He might just be judging us all.
-George tied his shoelaces too tight and his feet hurt now.
P.S: I feel better.
                                                                                                                           – XOXO Gossip Penny

The mood of St Andrews B represented in this picture


It’s dark and foggy. Really dark and Really foggy



We have arrived! to a very gloomy moody holiday park …look, this is mostly going to be a narration of us hanging about and funny stories, no real content here.

The teams that you are going to be following over the next couple of days (maybe more days if we are optimistic?) are as follows:

St Andrews A: Dan and Beckie (#notDryan)

St Andrews B: Penny and Gillis. (#Pennis)

St Andrews C: Duncan and Sam (#Samcan)

Judges: George and Stuart

We all arrived yesterday on 27th. Due to this being a leap year, we had an extra day on the 28th to walk about and explore. I was excited to go to Amsterdam in the morning but turns out people wanted to run practice rounds and I thought it would be a bad start to leave Gillis to ironman the debates. But before that me and Bethany from GUU went to find the beach at the end of the holiday park, it was gloomy, cold and covered in fog, imagine a Scandinavian crime drama or a murder in the moors type horror film. If we were characters in a novel the weather would be a reflection of our mood; kind of anxious but the calm before a storm. Picture below.

We did a debate round in a house much nicer than the ones allocated to St Andrews. GUU’s house has a sauna and you can actually walk in the rooms they have rather than just move very slowly. The institutional envy/rivalry continues. After the debate we walked a relatively long way to get to a bus to get us in the center of town. Then we headed to the biggest city center attraction…Primark, where half of our group of 12 needed one thing or another. According to Sam: ‘When me and Dan were in the queue he looked at the kid in front of us and the kid started crying.’

Then we headed to a restaurant where they informed us you can only really order half of the menu because their gas isn’t working so we could only order pizzas which for debaters isn’t a big deal. Overall though it was worth skipping the opening ceremony.

On our way back we went to the supermarket to stock up on essentials…meaning alcohol. Sam, Gillis and Stuart found a crate of 24 Heineken beer for 10 Euros which they thought was a pretty good deal and meant they were willing to carry it all the way back to the accommodation. They ended up paying 15 Euros for it but more importantly by the time we got to the bus stop and were about to get the bus back they realized they had been defrauded because the crate was missing 6 beers and they didn’t notice because of the cardboard cover on the crate. It remains a mystery whether the shop is at fault, the company or as Sam’s theory goes ‘some boys must have stolen the beers and put the cardboard cover back on’. We had a good laugh about it but I guess you had to be there.

Everyone is going to bed super early tonight because we have to get up at 6:30. I should go to bed too. Sorry if the above is a little boring but again, nothing has really happened yet. I (and hopefully others if I can convince them) will keep you updated on this blog about our trials and tribulations, results, funny stuff and gossip.

– xoxo Gossip Penny

P.S: If you don’t like my style, you should whinge at other people to also write the blog. I am personally a big fan of Gillis. I think he is funny. I will try and get him to write tomorrow’s blog.



Gillis and Sam are not happy about the ‘stolen beers’


The beach/what you can see because of the fog


UDS+ GUU+ one Edinburgh person in the center of The Hague






(Penny spontaneously wrote her own account, which I’m going to claim as a success for the enthusiasm of St Andreans to document Euros on this blog. Blogging! Discourse! Yay!)


Scotland won Euros.


Not in a competitive sense, obviously, with PEP A and Tel Aviv A taking the Open and ESL finals, respectively. However, we were awarded an extremely valuable prize: the opportunity to host Euros in Edinburgh in August 2018.


Huge amounts of credit have to go our own Steph and Duncan, who were involved in the bid from the start and whose passion, vision, and determination to see the process through were crucial in gathering the necessary support. We can’t help but be proud of them, and look forward to a Euros with a St Andrean presence on both the OrgComm and CA team. They, along with Nish, our SSDC President (or, alternatively, “King of Scotland”) and Olivia, who is probably now an honorary Scot, did a fantastic job, both this week, and in the months and months of organisation that went before, and we are certain they are going to host the best Euros ever.



It would be remiss to note that this was a split decision, with a completely tied vote only being settled by the casting vote of the Council President. This is, in and of itself, a measure of the strength of the other two bids, and we are all certain that Riga and Hull would have been great hosts. SSDC is however, certain, that we will give the European debating community one of the most fun weeks of their lives.


(Side-Note: Dan has already decided that he’s going to win Scottish Euros. Beckie suggested that Mooney should do a Masters at St Andrews in Great Ideas. The hype train has left the station.)


Speaking of fun, the last two days of Euros were centred around it, with two massive socials within walking distance of the hotel, including the black-tie Championship Dinner in Warsaw’s Palace of Culture. I can’t even pretend to give a list of all that happened- especially because there’s only so much a vodka-drowned brain can remember – but here are some of the highlights:


– For some reason, the UDS was in a mood to make analogies on Thursday night. The best (and most long-running) was a lengthy session of drawing parallels between European debating circuits and professional football leagues. Most of it is a little too contentious to record, but Richard will bore you with it if you ask him. Suffice to say that the SSDC is the Bundesliga, St Andrews is Borussia Dortmund, and Duncan is Pep Guardiola.


– Penny, having arrived from a day of sightseeing and avoid debating altogether, was determined to enjoy herself, meeting as many people as possible. St Andrews’ corner of conversation where she would stop to ask where people were, borrow our phones to use Messenger, and generally discuss strategy. We therefore decided that Penny was driving a Formula One car, and we were her pit crew.


– Ryan is a Meringue.


– At one point during the social, Harish sat down a few feet behind Richard while he was getting a drink. He wondered out loud whether he should grab one of the legs of his chair and tip him on to his back, just so he could say he rolled another CA.


– Stuart also ended up disappearing, and claimed he ended up having an impromptu sleepover with Edinburgh in which they stayed up to 5am watching Parks and Recreation. Whilst this was true, we thought that it was funnier to imagine that he was busy using his rugged Scottish charm to secure some extra votes for the Euros bid.


– The hangovers were, as expected, dreadful. By the time we emerged for breakfast, we had heard the good news, and ended up having a rather odd conversation with Steph, who, after four cups of coffee, was trying to internalise the fact that she now has less than two years to co-convene the larges student event in Europe.


– Ryan Howson has gotten to the stage that he can correct people on UDS history that happened when he was still in Canada, and they were in St Andrews. We’ll miss him.


– The finals venue was the University of Warsaw Library, which, though beautiful, was filled with extremely uncomfortable temporary wooden chairs. We were not wholly enthusiastic about this. Luckily, we were sat just in front of the Irish contingent, who supplied an excellent atmosphere.


– In case anyone was wondering, it seems like “signal” or “signalling” will be the hot new term in the debating vocabulary. We should probably all start using it now, before it becomes overdone.


– If you watch just one speech from the tournament, make it Dee Courtney’s opposition extension from the Open Final. After CAing our IV, Dee has become a firm friend of the UDS, but, regardless of our own personal allegiances, her speech in the final was a masterclass of both well-analysed argumentation and clear, persuasive rhetoric, all delivered under the most severe pressure. It may not have proved a debate-winning speech, but it was still a magnificent one.


– (It is worth noting that TCD Hist A’s run to the final means that Penny and Beckie, whose Round 9 was effectively an out-round in the sense that only the top two teams broke, were directly put out by a team that came damn close to winning Euros. The Tab, as always, does not tell the whole truth.)


– There is, however, unanimous agreement that Penny topped the socials tab.


– We had an EUDC St Andrews group chat where we could co-ordinate when and where we were meeting up. Often, we would ask where Stuart was, even when he was actually in the room with one of us. This resulted in this piece of existential sadness:



– For pre-drinks, Beckie had asked for someone to nip to the shop to get her a bottle of wine. A 14 zloty bottle of white was selected, which turned out to be fizzy. Apparently it tasted “quite like Lambrini.” You can take the girl out of Essex…


– The SSDC walked to the final dinner singing Flower of Scotland through the Warsaw underground. We certainly know how to make an entrance.


– Meanwhile, Mooney, Doug, Cameron and Richard were back in the lobby with Strathclyde, wondering why we weren’t meeting in the hotel lobby like people said, and questioning whether people who can’t negotiate lifts should be allowed to host Euros.


– The “Championship Dinner” consisted of small amounts of finger food and a free vodka bar. You may be surprised to learn that we may not remember a lot of it.



– Whilst getting our group photos, the St Andrews contingent decided to sing the Gaudeamus. Whilst this seemed entirely appropriate, it may have confirmed our reputation somewhat.


– We also managed to turn “S-S-D-C” into a chant. Hopefully this becomes as popular as shouting “TEL AV-IV” at every opportunity.


– Stuart apparently tried to catch a fox with his bare hands outside the venue. No one can quite remember how or why, least of all him.


There is more than that – other people probably have other things they remember, and will happily tell you about it back in St Andrews. It is safe to say, however, that we had an unbelievable time.


With regards to the tournament as a whole, I think it is fair to say that the OrgComm did a fantastic job. All of the venues were fantastic, from the announcement hall to the out-rounds venue to anywhere that hosted a social. It was my first international, and I had been warned with horror stories about long and confusing delays, inedible food, and extremely dodgy accommodation – those fears were completely unfounded, as the tournament ran mostly on-time and occasionally even ahead of schedule, with the all of the food and accommodation details being perfect. We have felt welcomed in Poland, and I, for one, can’t wait to go back.


There were three things that struck me on the last day, and none of them involved debate, particularly:


1) During the ESL final, halfway through the Prime Minister’s speech, the speaker from Tel Aviv B realised that he had not started his timer correctly. Instinctively, almost without thinking, one of the Leiden speakers on the opposition bench passed him the phone with which he had been timing the speech. It was a small thing, just a little moment between a couple of debaters, and it probably would have happened in any room in the competition. But the fact that it happened in a massive final, potentially the biggest debate of anyone involved’s debating careers, shows the honesty, friendliness, and spirit of generosity that is present throughout European debating.

2) Before the Open final, we listened to a Polish Academic, whom I did not catch the name of, talking on behalf of the hosting institutions about what a pleasure it was to host Euros. As well as sending up a few debate clichés (noting that she had to have three points in her speech, for example) she also spoke about how important it was for this to happen in Poland, where a dictatorship had been overthrown not by violence, but through debate and discourse. I joke, perhaps too often, that we do debating because we all love discourse. But, occasionally, it is welcome to be reminded that talking through issues, and the way we talk about them, is important and has the potential to change the world.

3) As we were pre-drinking, Nish, as SSDC President, addressed us all as a group. He thanked us all for helping with the Euros bid, and looked forward to bringing that same spirit to Edinburgh in two years’ time. More than that, though, he talked about how Scottish debating was a community, a place where all of us, regardless of the fact we come from all over the world, attend different universities, and possess any number of different identities, can feel at home. It was hard not to look around, at old friends and new friends, graduates and freshers (and Duncan, who is, in debating terms, basically immortal at this point), and feel at home, even in a random hotel room in a foreign country. We were at home because we were part of Scottish Debating – a place which we have all contributed to and benefited from. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.


I loved Warsaw. And I love Scottish Debating.


I’ll see you, hopefully, in the Netherlands in December.


-fringe guy


We had spent the majority of the week being told that during the final social there would be an ‘unlimited vodka bar’. We had also spent the majority of the week speculating about what unlimited truly means. Does it mean unlimited? Or does it mean ‘hurry up or the supplies won’t last’? But the social was at 9 pm and we had a whole day to get through before that so…

– First order of business on Friday was the annual Euros council which discussed many important things BUT most importantly for this blog. WE WON THE RIGHT TO HOST EUROS IN 2018. The vote was incredibly close with Riga and Edinburgh bids getting an equal number of votes and the tie being broken by the president of the council. We couldn’t be happier for Steph given she along with Nish spent so much time and effort on this bid. Our alumni, Duncan Crowe, will be one of the CAs and there is no one who deserves it more. We have faith that they will put on a stellar EUDC. This news came right as people went for breakfast and there were many many excited hugs and high-fives. We look forward to being able to take a bus that costs 10 pounds to Euros!

-We went to see the ESL and the Open finals in the Warsaw University Library which went generally very well, I imagine these debates will be online so I shall keep my commentary brief. The ESL final motion was about former Soviet states being able to hold referendums to join Russia. (I’m paraphrasing because I’m lazy) It created much enthusiasm among the crowd. The Final was about releasing meta-data gathered by big corporations. Errrr…enough said. There was much confusion about what meta data is and does, the debaters that did do computer science or relevant subjects said that the debate made them want to cry. The rest of us weren’t that thrilled either but hey, the people in the debate were amazing. The finals venue was pretty cool for a library, it had a very beautiful garden built on top of it and debaters strolled around between the ESL and Open final.

-We went back to the hotel to change into black tie and we all gathered in Steph’s room for some socialising before the social. There was much singing and laughing and general good cheer. We headed to the social singing Flower of Scotland and the Proclaimers’ 500 miles which made the rest of debaters annoyed and the polish people confused but for this one night, we were too happy and we didn’t care at all.

-The social was at the Palace of Culture and it was an amazing venue. The vodka bar turned out to be truly unlimited. They started by giving us glasses of juice and shots of vodka and we mixed it ourselves. After about an hour, they stopped giving you a mixer unless you were willing to stand in the large queue and ask for it, so most people just took the shots of vodka that were readily available. The food was very good but it came in tiny canape sized bites for a while (till about 10:30) and only after most people had given up did it turn out that there was also noodles  and risotto  (11:30). On the upside, it mean that you could have drunk food at about 2 am because there were still plenty of food left.

-There are loads of funny stories that aren’t appropriate for this blog but come ask any of us at Freshers week and we would happily tell you all the gossip.

On a final note:

St Andrews did great this year, we broke a team and a judge. But on top of that the thing that makes me so proud of us is that we were truly there for each other and supported each other. We had fun competing and even when the competition was stressing us all out, we managed to keep a cool head and not fall apart. We as a delegation were a team and I can’t wait for future delegations to experience this warm fuzzy feeling. Bring on Dutch Worlds!




This blog post has three substantive points (well, in debating tradition, it’s more like two and a half), but first some pieces of extraneous rebuttal to the previous posts:

– Here is an adorable picture of Stumeron, sharing a chair:


– It took until mid-afternoon for us to remember it, but last night Richard attempted to prove that it is possible to ceilidh dance (specifically, perform a Gay Gordon’s) to most popular music. The partner he chose for this demonstration was Doug, the GUU Convenor. It was felt that you ought to know this.

– The street we walked along to get to last night’s social apparently contains some sort of Polish Hollywood Walk of Fame, with stars embedded in the ground. The names on these stars included Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Penelope Cruz, and Nicholas Cage. The rest of the text was in Polish, so we have no idea what links those people, or what they have to do with Warsaw. We suspect, given our lack of proficiency in the Polish language, this mystery will go unsolved.

Part One: Scottish Debating

The problem with having a team breaking to partial-double-quarters is that it means you have to get up very, very early, which isn’t good if you’ve been up very very late. In the case of Ryan, this meant being awake at 7:00am, when Richard was still a little drunk. That didn’t stop them from analysing the room that Dryan were going to face in their round, and as Ryan left to go downstairs, Richard suggested that they could end up extending off Tel Aviv A, especially if it was one of their stronger subjects, like Economics.

The motion therefore read: THS BRICS countries creating alternatives to the current international economic institutions (e.g, The World Bank, IMF, WTO) and, sure enough, Dryan were in CG, with Tel Aviv in OG, with an opp bench consisting of Sciences Po A and Leiden A.

They put in an extremely good performance in what was a tough room, showing off what we’ve come to expect from them as a team. Dan even managed to get a laugh from the audience, despite the rather dry subject matter. However, after a unanimous decision, it was decided that the two teams that would go through were Tel Aviv and Leiden in the long diagonal, with Dryan being edged out. There were no hard feelings from any of us – Leiden definitely effectively rebutted from CO, and well deserved their spot in the Quarters.

The other Scottish teams (who thankfully all avoided hitting each other) had different experiences. Edinburgh A, who were also in CG, weren’t nearly as delighted with an Economics motion, and, immediately after the debate, were extremely pessimistic about their chances of moving on. Whilst they didn’t advance, they were nevertheless informed by Duncan, who was judging, that they had been much closer to taking a spot in the quarters than they realised, and that they had nothing to worry about.

Glasgow A, by contrast, stormed into the final from OO, defeating TCD Hist B and Central European A. In doing so, they became the standard bearers for Scotland (literally, as Mooney did the quarter with a saltire in his back pocket) with everyone rallying behind them in their quarter. Which, as it turned out, was the veritable ‘Room of Death’, containing PEP A, Cambridge A, and Oxford C. GUU drew CG, meaning they were extending off MDG and across the short diagonal from Cambridge, with Oxford in CO.

The Motion was “THW require the economic policies of political parties to be approved by an independent panel of experts before being used in campaigns.”

As well as making two fantastic speeches, Bethany and Owen attacked the debate with impressively high amounts of sass, with Bethany at one point asking a speaker making a POI “if he was going to actually be clear this time.” At the debates’ conclusion, most of us were extremely optimistic about their chances, believing they had acquitted themselves very well in a truly excellent room.

However, it was not to be: PEP and Oxford C were to be the victors, leaving Glasgow just on the outside looking in.

The performances of all the SSDC teams in out-rounds more than vindicated their position as breaking teams, and everyone can go home with their heads held high. Scottish Debating is in a great place, and we can be proud to be a part of it.

Part Two: General Debating

Before anything else, I need to recount the sad story of Ljubljana A, possibly the most unfortunate debating team I have ever come across. At the break social, they were announced as the final ESL breaking team, and we were all happy for them – as a team from a lesser-known circuit, a break would be a big deal for them. Unfortunately, it soon emerged that a miscommunication had resulted in Leiden B’s language status had been incorrectly entered in the tab, so they had not been counted as an ESL team. They therefore broke, bumping Ljubljana down to 17th place. Not only did they have the frustration of just missing the break, but they were given the illusion of breaking, only to have it snatched away. Our hearts go out to them.

The motions were as follows:

ESL Quarter: THBT Western States should fund the spread of atheism in Iraq through the provision of health care, education, and welfare.

This motion saw seven of eight opposition teams progress, with three judging splits out of four, which indicates that there were very good Gov teams that couldn’t progress due to not having as good points on the Proposition side, something which seemed like it occurred in the room we watched. The CA team have done a generally good job of motions in this tournament, but this one was definitely problematic.

ESL Semi: THR the safe space’s movement’s attempts to significantly limit speech on university campuses.

Who knew that St Andrews’ Cubs final would share a motion with a Euros out-round?

Open Semi: Recently there have been a high number of acid attacks against women, either due to personal feuds or for their non-conformity to Islamic values. Iranian courts that are governed by Sharia Law ruled that victims have the right to choose to blind their attackers by putting acid in their eye(s). THS Iran’s extension of the ‘eye for an eye’ principle to the victims of acid attacks.

Before you ask, Penny had spent the day sightseeing, and was unable to watch this motion happen. As soon as we started talking about it, she produced a characterisation of Iran no-one had considered, and analysis that would have won the debate in the face from CO.

One semi on this motion will almost certainly be one of those rooms that is talked about for years. The motion certainly has potential for people to be offensive and, unfortunately, that was realised in a controversial manner. We can’t go into much detail about the exact content, but the judges spent an hour and forty minutes adjudicating, and both spots being split for, including a three-way split for the final position. TCD Hist A and Oxford B eventually emerged, and will meet PEP A and Oxford A in the final.

If you’re interested in any of these out-rounds, they should all be on YouTube by now, if you search EUDC Warsaw 2016. There is also a selection of in-rounds, so you can watch Stumeron in Round 2 or Richard’s roll of the chair in Round 4, should you so desire.

Part Three: Out-Rounds Banter

– A major feature of Day Four was Dan getting what can most accurately be described as “a major case of the shits”. This resulted in him having to leave the out-rounds venue for most of the afternoon, and making what he claims to be 22 visits to the bathroom in one day. We are sympathetic to him, but we also find the whole thing fairly hilarious. He did make it to the social, and got drunk off two drinks, due to not having anything in his stomach.

– Steph: “I can’t wait until you fuck off back to Canada”
Ryan: “You do have all my stuff. You could burn it if you wanted to.”
Steph: (laughs menacingly)

– Richard missed the bus to the venue in the morning, and had to share a taxi with Erin and Nicola. When they arrived, they, along with some Irish debaters, had to work out which building it was. While doing so, they walked down a pavement where a workman was digging something up with a small digger. He was not worried about swinging his scoop in the direction of debaters.

– Cameron, meanwhile, chose to walk to the venue. This resulted in him walking through a Polish housing estate, an experience he describe as both intimidating and very communist.

– In case you needed evidence that debating has taken a toll on all of us, the task of using a plug adapter to charge his phone was too confusing for Ryan by the afternoon.

– This is already getting long (this is, metaphorically, 7:15) so chat about Thursday’s social and the rest of Friday will be saved for tomorrow. Safe to say, there was a lot of it.

– fringe guy

(Editorial note: The following was written in two parts, one while sitting in a stairwell at 2am after the break night social, and one while queasy on the morning after. I’ll let you decide how that affects how you read it.)


Sorry, that bears repeating:

Dryan broke to the open partial-octos at EUDC, and Stephanie Ross made the Judge Break.

We were all extremely ecstatic at this good news. So much so, in fact, that we screamed out in joy for about twenty seconds, and then piled into a massive group hug in front of the stage, accompanied by celebratory brandishing of the Saltire and several deep and meaningful hugs. Dryan had, according to their judge, convincingly won Round 9 in the face to qualify for the break, vindicating all of their training and obsession, and making sure the defending champions had a presence in the break once again. Dan was witnessed walking around in the aftermath, looking like he’d just done MDMA. Discourse is a hell of drug.

This was not only a serious victory for St Andrews, who had been pessimistic of their chances going into the announcement, but also a serious victory for SSDC, with our friends in Glasgow A and Edinburgh A also breaking, along with the SSDC team from Durham A (yes, we’re claiming them) who broke top of the entire team tab.

With regards to judging, Steph should be applauded for breaking as a judge. Despite laughing off her own chances when it was suggested she had done well half an hour before the announcement, her consistently excellent feedback, along with her sheer class as a judge, made sure that she will be on panels for the out-rounds.

Moving on from those amazing, astounding successes, we should give a brief recap on everything that happened on Day Three:

The Tuesday social was in an extremely scenic courtyard, which everyone felt the need to take pictures of as soon as they walked in. Despite GUU’s scepticism about Day Two socials, everyone from St Andrews decided to attend, on the assumption that we would have one drink, mingle in support of the Scottish Euros bid, and then quietly skulk off to recover before day three.

It was, however, discovered, that beer at this social was the equivalent of £1.65. Stuart, Richard and Beth (who, as Steph’s roommate, has been adopted as an honorary St Andrean) decided to avail of this, and have several beers instead of just one. The three-way partnership known as “Stubechard” had been born, and they were to prove some of the most committed to alcoholic consumption of the entire contingent.

On the way to the social, we began to become aware of a change. Beckie was getting extremely competitive, fretting about perceived unjust calls, and sacrificing opportunities to attend socials in favour of conserving herself so she could maintain her debating performance. Penny, on the other hand, was relatively chilled (one might even say chirpy) about the team’s performance, expressing a quiet confidence, and was more than happy to take advantage of socials when they were offered. We were honestly worried that the two of them had swapped bodies or something.

Wednesday saw the competition announcements be given in the break before Round 8. While the author may be biased in saying that Belfast gave a particularly compelling presentation, there were a few moments that stood out. Firstly, the Red Sea Open gave an announcement that promised not only an all-star CA team, but free alcohol at socials and designated time for competitors to visit either the pool or the beach. Beckie and Richard both turned round to see if Cameron, as IV Secretary, had heard and contemplated this, but he didn’t respond.

Then, the Moscow Open was promoted, in a similar way to the promotion of the other societies, until the speaker ended their pitch, which had concentrated on the sheer fun of the competition, by saying: “Remember, if you decide not to come to Russia, Russia will decide to come to you.” We were too busy laughing to catch he reaction from the team from Kiev.

After that, we had presentations from the three bids wishing to host Euros in 2018, in the gap between Round 8 and Round 9. The Scottish bid went first, and, it is fair to say, absolutely smashed it out of the park, giving what a debating judge might describe as a well-analysed, comparative, and extremely realistic conception of why Scotland is the best venue for Euros. Within the SSDC contingent, there is a growing amount of optimism that we will, in fact, come back from Warsaw and be able to take a future Euros home with us.

The debating was like this:

Round Seven: A ‘sanctuary city’, e.g. San Francisco, does not allow police or city employees (e.g. educators, social workers) to inquire about an individual’s immigration status. These cities do not co-operate with federal government’s controls on illegal immigrants. THS ‘sanctuary cities’ within the United States

We have been treated to themed music being played as rounds are announced throughout the tournament, and for some reason this motion was soundtracked by I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, otherwise known as the Scottish national anthem. I’m not sure how it was relevant, but it definitely had the effect of getting the SSDC hyped.

THBT Latin American states should provide extensive material support for a military coup against the Venezuelan government.

You have no idea how grateful we were, after seven rounds of narrative change and social policy, to finally get to invade somewhere.

THBT the European Union should fund satirical publications in its member states that target far-right-political parties.

We are still working out what exactly the results are, but we know for sure that Dryan needed to win their Round 9 to break, which means they were -2 for their Round 7 and 8 combined. It was a wobble that had them feeling a little despondent, and a little uncertain, but drawing CO for Round 9 and knowing they would be in if they won meant they always had a chance.

Benny, were on a similar track, knowing they were in challenging rooms, but not exactly certain from backtabbing what the scores had been. When Round Nine was drawn, and they saw they were CG and their short diagonal was against Dee and Michael from TCD Hist A, they knew their task was going to be tough but that a win would definitely see them break. Unfortunately, it looks like they took a fourth in what was a motion where the consensus was that it was better to be on Opposition. Debating at the very top end is tough, and break rounds at International tournaments exponentially moreso, and it seems they got the short end of the stick this time around.

Stumeron had two firsts and a fourth on Day Three, something that can be described as a very small submarine. Their scorecard therefore consists of seven rounds out of nine where they either came first or fourth. They are relatively alright about this, but their strange aversion to ever coming second in a room is an odd phenomenon.

Extension of the Day:

The CO in the room Richard judged in Round Seven stood up and opened his speech by saying “Right, now it’s time to make the Opp case great again.”

The CG in the room Richard judged in Round Eight, on the other hand, took the burden that if anyone is suffering from poverty, crime, and instability, other countries always have a moral duty to invade. You can’t say they were low-impact.

At time of writing, Dryan’s octo is yet to be called, but, regardless of how it ends up, for Thursday’s social Steph has given us the task of being “fun Scotland” in order to help the Euros bid. We’re taking this as a challenge.

– fringe guy

The main discovery at the social last night was that spirit mixers in Poland are, if you order a double, approximately 70% spirit and 30% mixer. Optimism for how break night is going to go is running high.


We had also been treated to a scenic tour of the roundabout outside the hotel courtesy of Steph, because we hadn’t checked which way we were going before we left. This was after being persuaded by Mooney that the Scottish contingent should all walk back from the venue, which turned into a 40-minute expedition.


The morning was thankfully a lot less shambolic, to the extent that Dryan didn’t bother waiting to check that we were all on the same train while getting the Metro, and got the one ahead of the rest of us. Apparently the whole “nearly getting cut” thing has made them slightly more paranoid than we thought.


The Org Comm continues to do a good job throughout, including providing us with what can be described as high-class airline food for every meal. It is warm, vaguely textureless, and comes in exactly the same plastic trays you get on an aeroplane, yet is tasty and filling enough to sustain hungry debaters, despite the only other sources of food in the building being some dodgy but extremely cheap vending machines and a very understaffed café. Anyway, down to business:


Round Four Motion: THS strong government intervention to prevent gentrification.


“I would really love to see people with Masters in urban planning debate this motion” – Ryan Howson


Round Five Motion: THBT the Israeli Philarmonic Orchestra should regularly perform the works of Richard Wagner.


(Richard, Dan and Cameron debated this motion at the 2015 UCD Open. It hasn’t gotten better with age.)


Round Six Motion: TH regrets the commercialisation of football.


The first thought when this was announced was of anger from Richard that he didn’t make it through trials just to debate this one motion. The second was of Gillis, who, somewhere in a boat in the middle of the North Sea, was missing out on the motion he would enjoy most in the world. Nevertheless, every single St Andrews team won their room, proving not only their working-class credentials, but also that football motions are actually perfect in every way and shouldn’t be complained about ever again.


Dryan: 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st , 4th, 1st (+1)


Dryan had another successful day, despite having to talk about Israeli social justice in a room which featured Tel Aviv A in OG and an Israeli judge on the panel. After surviving that with a third, they proceeded to boss the football, thanks largely to Ryan’s ability to talk about the benefits of free-market economics from OO.


Benny: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 1st, 1st (straights)


Benny felt fairly shite after Round Four. There was some angry colouring-in. But, after two straight firsts, including a barnstorming working-class hero performance from Beckie from CG in Round 6, they are in a triumphant mood. Having got back to straights and with momentum on their side, and still waiting for IR or feminism, they are heading straight for positive rooms and the break.


Stumeron: 3rd, 1st, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 1st (-4)


Apart from noting their consistency in getting a 3rd, 1st, and 4th for the second day in a row, Stumeron would just like you all to remember the good times.




The main judging event of the day was that Richard rolled one of the CAs. He isn’t exactly sure how it happened, given that the only disagreement he was certain on was the top-half clash, and he was willing to be persuaded on the other clashes, but the CA in the chair’s initial call of an prop sweep turned into an opp sweep thanks to the determined efforts of the other wing judge, who was left to do the explanation and feedback by himself. It was a close debate, and Richard insists that he would have been persuaded on the clashes if he’d been given more than 15 minutes, but the consensus opinion seemed to be that he’d fucked it. If you were a conspiracy theorist, you might suggest that his choice to wear his Northern Irish football shirt this morning was an ominous foreshadowing of the roll. Nevertheless, he ended up in a room with Manchester A, UCL A, and Leiden B in Round 6, so the punishment wasn’t permanent.


For Steph, it has been a reasonably uneventful day on the judging front having seen a number of good rooms and has spent all of her free time at various national caucuses.


Beth (honorary St Andrews judge) meanwhile was ignored by teams trying to get feedback in favour of a male trainee.


Extension of the Day:


Coincidentally, this comes from the room Richard was judging after he rolled the CA, in which the CO talked about how Wagner being played by the Israeli Philarmonic Orchestra would be fuel for neofascists within Israel. This wasn’t really contested by anyone else, on the grounds that Israeli neofascists, however many there are, might not be have their opinions changed by 19th Century classical music. Unsurprisingly, it did not prove to be a debate-winning point.


(Honourable Mention: The CG in Round Six that argued that commercialisation caused football rivalries to be more violent. No-one pointed out that violent rivalries, like, for example, Celtic and Rangers, might have other reasons for hatred.)


Tomorrow is closed rounds and Break Night, so blog posting might be less regular, given the stress, ecstatic joy/horrible disappointment, and cheap Polish alcohol involved (free vodka bar, get keen!). Nevertheless, we’ll try to keep you updated on all of the shenanigans.


– fringe guy