Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oxford Union

It seems the OU is generating a fair amount of controversy - BNP and free speech aside. Maybe I should be attending more of their events...

For what it's worth, I think it's wrong to say the OU has such an impact on how British parliament runs. In fact, they refer to the style of debating as 'British Parliamentary', carrying on as they do because it's how parliament runs and for many the Union is training for a later career in politics.

As for whether this is the best way to decide policy, no, probably not; but the Union isn't actually a policy-making body (at least, not at national level). Debating is an intellectual skill and those who take part in competitions are assigned both a motion and a position (proposition or opposition) over which they have no control. Their task is to construct an argument based on limited research and to engage with and refute their opponents.

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