Thus far, you have received a Wesley of the Day; now, I shall bestow upon you a day of Wesley. Prepare yourself appropriately.


The day began when I headed to the hotel’s crowded breakfast. Finding a table near my Scottish compatriots, I rested my OJ at a chair and went to get vegetarian quiche, but upon returning I witnessed the legendary blotted jacket of Owen Mooney hanging over my chair. I promptly relocated myself. The hotel’s brilliant and the tournament transportation’s effective, but we’ll get back to that.


For ~40% of teams, the last day of in-rounds before the break’s the most stressful. For those without a shot, it’s the least. It doesn’t help that revealing the results of closed rounds is “an offense on par with Game of Thrones spoilers.”  I, for one, was flying.


We won’t know our day 3 results until the tab’s published, but I’ll record the motions and our thoughts:


R7: THBT Western institutions should neither cooperate with, nor use the data produced by, non-Western medical institutions that do not meet western standards on human clinical trials.

R8: THBT LGBT groups should actively seek to include Side B Christians.

R9: THS the creation and use of lethal autonomous robots (fully autonomous military weapons that can select and engage targets without human intervention).


Kimon and I began with a complex ethics case from OG at 9 in the morning, a situation I find ethically indefensible. Of all the in-rounds, my highlight was defending Mosul from the genocidal robocops of round 9. Special thanks to Dan and Gillis, who taught us how to frame that. It’s Duncan’s new favourite motion.


Kimon declined to comment.


Some time was taken before the last round to advertise for upcoming tournaments. While I generally look forward to most of them, I was particularly delighted by SSDC and NAMDA’s choral rendition of “One Round More,” a masterpiece in its own right.


Our buses back were delayed just enough for us to get soaked. It was so bad that I could hear the lightning and see the thunder. The clouds moved away from us, but seemed continually threatening. According to Ruth, “the rain may be leaving, but not the peril.”


Trips to showers and shops concluded at the SSDC meeting, which was the most nationalist conference I’ve ever attended. Saltires, toasts, and Nish’s voice made me feel welcome in my new family, but having Sean Cosgrove give me an honorary Scottish citizenship made the night. Coming to Scotland was the best decision of my life; and coming to Estonia’s pretty high up there too.


While I defend my break night alcohol consumption as a “phenomenological investigation of the life of the debater,” I cannot speak for the decisions of others. Owen Mooney gave me a piggy-back ride aimed at reaching a pink balloon on the ceiling, or Ruth waiting an hour from 2 AM for a pizza that never arrived. She’s still waiting.


No breaks for St Andrews (EDIT: Apart from Duncan and Penny, our spectacular alumni judges!) but a hearty cheer was heard for every Scottish advancement; no one was louder.


Ruth’s Day In A Song:




In some ways the gang has had what can only be described as a relatively uneventful day yesterday. We all attended breakfast on time, all made it to the venue on time and round one started close enough to its scheduled start time. I guess that means that this post will have to be filled with the little weird things that make the St Andrews 2017 EUDC continent the cutest contingent yet!

First of all there was the wasp on Sam and Ruth’s bus to the venue bus this morning. Whilst Ruth seemed to be hiding her nerves well up until this point, the wasp unleashed panic. Ruth described the experience as “a solid 52” and “more terrifying than meeting Oxford A.”

Secondly, Wesley continues to bring joy to all by seemingly being able to make friends with anyone. Highlights that failed to take the coveted Wesley of the day spot include him dancing to just about every song possible during the draw and continuing to be “a wholesome meme.”

Finally, whilst St Andrews A headed straight back to the hotel after debating to get some rest and a quick swim, the remainder of the contingent headed out to walk around the city centre. Highlights of this portion of the day include getting what Richard describes as a medieval Greggs in Tallinn old town (basically an elk pastry that ended up looking like a Greggs bake), stumbling across a Scottish themed pub and getting a drink with previous St Andrews grads attending as IAs. This became particularly cute when we realised that thanks to Penny graduating twice, and the presence of both Duncan (Crowe) and Steph we had representatives of the St Andrews graduating classes of 2013 through 2020.

The particulars of the day’s debating are as follows:

R4: THBT states should significantly fund female-only tech companies

R5: TH, as Israel, supports the Jewish People’s Intelligence Services Doctrine

R6: THS universities treating students as customers (eg by allocating significant resources to improving students lifestyles, and granting students influence over university decisions and the content and delivery of course curricula)

Teams and Judges:

Runcan (3rd, 1st, 4th) –
Ruth and Duncan have had a solid day, taking an impressive 1st and an unfortunate 4th. Ruth describes the day as “messy in all the right ways, depending on how you define messy and how you define right.” Read into that what you will. Duncan said not to talk to him about university feedback policy.

Wesmon (4th, 4th, 1st) –
After a rocky start this morning, Wesley and Kimon have continued to keep spirits high and ended on a well deserved first. We are sure they will continue to do well tomorrow! Wesley described the day as “nuanced in its perplexing complexity.” Kimon declined to comment.

Richard has continued to judge some good rooms, but ultimately is sad that the tournament is running to time as this means he can’t play football manager between rounds. It should also probably be noted that today he decided to argue with a chair against another wing, instead of just arguing against the chair.

Sam has also continued to judge some good rooms and is appreciating not only the tournament running to time, but also the remarkably clear signs that lead to the debate rooms in the university and the beauty that is Estonian Uber.

The Day In a Song, According To Ruth:

In reference to Runcan’s final round

The Wesley of the Day:
“I took a wrong turn and ended in fairy land, there is a castle.”

Tonight is break night so the blog might be slightly delayed. Until then, we will leave you with this exceedingly cute contingent photo, just in case you still aren’t convinced we are the cutest contingent yet.


Kind Regards,
Samantha Baker
Adjudicator, University of Belgrade

tallinnWhile sitting in the back two rows of the announcement hall waiting for briefings to start – yes, St Andrews, along with the rest of the SSDC, are the cool kids – Penny, who has far more experience of these things than me, said that the quality of the blog increases whenever something goes disastrously wrong, so I suppose I should be hoping that I don’t have anything to write about at all. In a somewhat related note, all of us managed to get to Tallinn with our luggage and none of us ended up going to the hospital to get stitches, which shouldn’t be as remarkable an achievement as it seems.

The hotel is on the beach, which is pleasant, and is definitely a piece of Soviet Brutalist architecture, which I suppose will grow on us. It also contains a few things which seem innocuous but will nevertheless probably act as traps for debaters in their weaker moments, ranging from a kids soft-play area (probably) to an expensive minibar (almost certainly) and even a casino (there will be at least one person).

The OrgComm have provided us with excellent food and facilities, and have taken to shouting at us through megaphones whenever they need to get anywhere or do anything, a tactic that, while startling at first, is proving reasonably effective at getting us to stop adopting the standard debating habit of wandering around like a herd of cats. The volunteers, especially, are almost excessively efficient, providing full table service at mealtimes at astonishing speed. We have taken to reminding the freshers that it really isn’t always like this.

Eventually some debating happened, and it went like this.


R1: THBT the United States should ban extremist groups (e.g. the KKK, Nazi groups)

R2: THBT the WTO should allow developing countries to impose policies aimed at protecting domestic industries, even at the expense of harming international trade.

R3: THR the rise of ‘Sharing Culture’. (‘Sharing Culture is a culture which encourages the frequent posting of both mundane and intimate details of one’s life on social media platforms, and the commenting and liking of others’ activities)


Runcan (1st, 2nd, 3rd)

Ruth had taken to referring to the partnership as “St Andrews A for effort”, a self-deprecating nickname that stopped being applicable round about the time they took a first ahead of a Cambridge team in Round One. Duncan referred to the day simply as “uncomparative”, but ending on straights seems to be the cause for quiet optimism.

Wesmon (3rd, 2nd, 3rd)

Wesley has seemingly been on some kind of personal quest for improvement at debating, leading to him starting a sentence with “So, at Botswana Worlds…” as if that is an entirely normal in conversation and receiving judge feedback on Round One for the entire lunch break. Regardless, Wesley described his day as “banterific.”

Kimon declined to comment.

On the judging front, Sam is modestly proud of going through an entire day without relentlessly splitting with chairs or rolling a Chief Adjudicator, putting her solidly above average on the traditional St Andrews judging scale.

Richard has found the Estonian equivalent of Tennent’s, but found out Estonian TV isn’t showing the Liverpool match. He was sad.

The Day In A Song, According To Ruth

The final recurring feature of the blog will be what I’m going to call the “Wesley Of The Day”, where I can record for posterity a moment, story or quote that Wesley has done or said that has been particularly Wesleyish, hopefully leading to us developing a collection of the most Wesley things that have ever been Wesleyed. Anyway, here is your first instalment:

Is there a version of Tinder just for debaters? Because if so let me know.”



— fringe guy

Tallinn EUDC 2017

Hello! As we wait at the dawn of another year’s European Universities Debating Championships, we’re excited to maintain that peculiarly St Andrean tradition of documenting our adventures here on this blog. Before any of that, though, we can introduce our contingent:

St Andrews A – Ruth Batten and Duncan Bowyer (or, as they shall now be known, “Runcan”)

St Andrews B – Wesley Garner and Kimon Sourlas-Kotzaminis (henceforth “Wesmon”)

Judges – Sam Baker and Richard Hunter

We also have a variety of brilliant alumni who will be serving as Independent Adjudicators, who we will happily claim when they all break as judges.

See you in Estonia!


— fringe guy


It’s all done now, we are sitting in an airport with weird signs ready to go home. This blog post is written in an attempt to give closure and not end with a blog post about food from George. As such it is mostly a series of random commentary about the final days of Worlds.

There is one particular sign next to us that rather bizarely seems to be attempting to console us with the claim that “There is an 87% chance that your next destination is sunnier than the Netherlands.”The sentiment is indeed appreciated even if the destination is London for now.


Meditation center.jpg

Penny is thinking about writing a David Foster Wallace style commentary about debating and taking the joke about The Hunger Games to its conclusion. During the tournament Worlds was repeatedly compared to The Hunger Games. And by repeatedly, we mean that before each round there was a slide that said ‘may the odds be forever in your favor’ etc etc. Who is president Snow? Who are we being oppressed by? Are we meant to be stopping Worlds, a humiliating ritual that makes kids fight each other but instead we enjoy it? Are we all president Snow by participating in the affair?

Best part of final days was two things. One, the incorporation of music into the announcements. Finalist teams even got to choose their own song to enter the stage with. Oxford A’s choice of the Imperial March was particularly fun. Then they announced the winners and top ten speakers to very good music as well such as “We are the champions” and “Final Countdown”.

Second, the keynote speaker who was a supreme court judge. He was excellent. None of the usual hyperbole about the importance of debating. He told us we speak too fast, we have too many unimportant ideas in our speeches and frankly he would rather not have debaters in his courtroom. At the end he said and I quote “As my son is involved in the organization I thought to myself, it would have been good to have a similar event organized 40 years ago when I was young but then I remember we were busy throwing stones at the policemen”. Translation? go do more important things with your youth than sitting in lecture theaters. He did tell us were smart though which is nice of him.

This blog will probably not be updated till Euros (bar a massive catastrophe) in the summer but thanks for reading.

-Xoxo George and Penny

So today there were out rounds in which only the great Stuart Conlin, i.e. the only successful one, carried the flag for St Andrews. The rest of us had a relatively relaxed day watching the excellent GUU A. Due to the lack of emotionally charged melodrama that usually provides the material for this blog it has fallen to me, The Other (non-breaking) judge with the foot that hurts to find something to write about (the final diagnosis decided by me is that I pulled something in my foot, but who knows). I sit here during the build up to a social nursing a glass of mediocre Chilean Cabernet Sauvingon watching one member of the contingent lightly bullying another for not going to the correct private school (#justStAndrewsThings). I feel that this is a time to reflect on the experiences of the past couple of days, debating in general, and possibly, I will touch on the modest broader themes of life, the universe and everything.

So today has been a fairly standard day at an international competition, with many interesting things happening to the members of this contingent, some of which may make it into this blog, and others, which may for one reason or another, be censored, redacted, thought to be not funny, or thought too embarrassing to be mentioned, and therefore will have to be discovered by readers by word of mouth or alternatively, Facebook messaging. I however, will focus on what happened to me, because, I am the most  important actor in this blog.

This is my second international competition, I attended the Vienna Euros in 2015, and while Vienna was lovely as the weather was more cooperative back in those heady pre-Brexit days, at Worlds you get a completely free day with which you can explore, travel and most importantly, have a lie-in, a luxury which you are not afforded at Euros. I, and my wonderful roommate Penny, used this opportunity to visit the perpetually interesting city of Amsterdam. You may have read in the last blog how other members of our delegation also visited Amsterdam, however there is a distinction to be made between arriving on a train, eating some food, walking round the red-light district, and then returning to the train station  to go back to the Hague, and actually visiting what is one of the most enchanting of European capitals, experiencing, and taking in, its spirit and culture (That is to say that Penny and I went a bit earlier in order to visit a museum and eat some Pancakes so feel like we did ‘more’ Amsterdam). As a competitive debater, I really want to point out that we beat them at touristing. That being said a bacon, syrup and sugar pancake is not to be sniffed at… at all. In addition, the Rembrandts, Vemeers, and assorted historical artifacts that are the cream of the  Rijksmuseum are treasures that was a privilege to experience. Also in Amsterdam was this great cheese shop, from which I got a bread roll with green pesto, rocket, aged Gouda and beef carpaccio which I think made my week. The food at the competition has been… well…go back and read other posts. In terms of recommendations to anyone with free time in the Netherlands,  (though it was not in Amsterdam, but The Hague, where this competition is based, and where I also had a little time to go a wondering) Vermeer’s ‘The girl with the Peal earring’ was mesmerizing for me.

I’m afraid I might not satisfy our readers desire for debating gossip or whatever, just know that debating is still happening, this competition has been well run and enjoyable. I now have to go and watch the new Sherlock

– xoxo Tipsy George



They thought they could keep me down. They were wrong.

They thought they could belittle judging, say stuff like “Stuart’s still here” to imply I wasn’t doing anything. They thought it was all about them.

But now I have become more powerful than they ever imagined.

I have brought peace and justice to my new empire.


Grab a drink, sit by the fire and let me tell you about the cataclysm that was Break Night.

Buses for Break Night/New Year’s Celebration left at 10.30 from the strange purgatory-like Holiday park in which we now live. There was a long queue for buses back to the park from the debates and we didn’t arrive back until around 9, leaving ourselves 1.5 hours to get changed, pre drink and get back on the buses. This was a challenge that some may have entered into a little too enthusiastically – alcohol wasn’t allowed onto the bus, which forced Sam Maybee to quickly down his Heineken in front of dozens of cheering onlookers.

The interesting thing about Sam is that if you put 8 beers in him in one hour he becomes very chatty and says a lot of things to many people he probably shouldn’t. Let me cut a long story short – Sam told an unidentified Durham debater on the bus to the party that I had a crush on her. In a totally related incident, I broke Sam’s glasses. He is now blind. He has not taken this well.


Meanwhile, everyone else was partaking in alcohol consumption in the venue in the lead up to New Year and the Break. Gillis was telling everyone how great they were; he received feedback from a judge about one of the closed rounds which he cannot remember. George was telling everyone he hadn’t been this drunk in years; some amorous debaters rubbing against him cured him of this. Penny was throwing around the black coins you had to buy your drinks with like it was the end of the world. Duncan was doing Duncan things. Sam was blindly feeling his way around the walls.

New Year came and went, as did the break. Unfortunately no St Andrews teams made it through: this was disappointment all took with their usual class and fortitude. Glasgow broke 12th though, which is insane, so good for them. The finals to come will be immense.

We drank into the small hours of 2017, puzzled by the indoor smoking area, the nonsensical coinage system and the extortionate prices (7.50 euros for a spirit mixer), drowning the memory of 2016 as best we could. The first morning wake up of 2017 was one of sore heads and dry mouths.

In a ridiculous decision, Sam, Gillis and I decided to go to Amsterdam today. We tried to go early; we got there at 4pm. We explored the Red Light district, ate some food, were nearly killed by a tram and met up with Penny and George. It was a good day.


Oh, and Dan and Beckie are here too.

Your friend,

“Officially one of the world’s best judges” Stuart Conlin