Sixth Form Debating Society: European borders and the migrant crisis
This house believes that the closure of European borders is the safest solution to the migrant crisis.
On Friday 18th March, Mr Bonds chaired the latest debate between the two grammar schools in the lecture theatre. Bournemouth School proposed the motion, represented by Mikolaj Urbanski (N-2) and George Wright (D-2).
Commencing hostilities, Urbanski opened by declaring that “closing European borders is a matter of survival”. A divisive start, for a highly divisive issue. In what the Chair described as “an eloquent case”, he condemned what he believed to be “misguided altruism”. Urbanski, declaring himself an immigrant, recognised the risk of being branded a hypocrite, and was therefore careful to emphasise that, while closing the borders, he would not advocate the complete abolition of movement between nations, with immigration through proper and official means still possible. Outlining the effects of open borders on European citizens, he said “I don’t believe in gambling with people’s lives”.
With a standard to match, BSG’s opening speaker, Jack Searle, explained a perceived failure of the imposition of borders in the Balkans, describing the policy as “proven to be ineffectual”. Enlightening the house with many statistics on refugees, Searle declared that the Mediterranean “can’t become a mass grave of refugees”. The need to help refugees was highlighted, with Searle emphasising the desperate nature of the journeys taken. The Chair summarised the nature of the speech as “compelling and well-researched”.
Seconding for Bournemouth School came the several-times-winner of house speech competitions and aspiring politician, George Wright. He was swift in making his opinion known, proclaiming: “The EU is doing nothing”. Condemning the current lack of European border, he declared, while wildly gesticulating, “we must bring back our borders!” He had little regard for the “vacuous rhetoric” of a “misinformed opposition”.
Seconding for BSG, Ellie Mackin pointed out the moral issues surrounding the debate. On migrants, she declared that “turning them away is honestly disgusting”, while highlighting the sheer scale of deaths, of men, women and children in their plight to Europe. Mackin proclaimed “We have a moral duty to keep these people safe” as she justified the opposition’s main argument.
Following comments and questions from the floor, and final closing statements from each side, the motion was put to a vote.
This house believes that the closure of European borders is the safest solution to the migrant crisis
was defeated 44-19.
Main photograph: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed – http://szegedma.hu/hir/szeged/2015/08/migransok-szazai-ozonlenek-roszkerol-szegedre.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42990919