Sixth Form Debating Society: Britain and the European Union
“This house believes that Britain should leave the European Union”
- Proposition: Lucy Brain and Ellie Mackin (BSG)
- Opposition: Will Smith and Lydia Guscott (BS)
For this week’s instalment of the debating society, Bournemouth School for Girls opened their borders to welcome a topical discussion regarding British membership of the European Union.
Lucy Brain initiated the debate by attacking the Union for what she saw as its centralised government and unaccountability. She argued that Britain is the most out-voted member state on the European Council, has its own laws overturned by the European Court and has witnessed a surge of parliamentary sovereignty concessions to those ‘unelected’ in Brussels. In response to David Cameron’s renegotiation, Brain remarked ‘a thoroughly reformed EU would be fantastic, but that is not what we have got.’
In support of the proposed motion, Ellie Mackin then moved onto immigration and the ongoing migration crisis, declaring that these added credibility to the assertion that the UK lacks border control whilst a member of the EU. Condemning the deal with Turkey, she argued that the country ‘bombs its own people, shuts down critical newspapers and borders Syria, Iraq and Iran.’ She argued that the accession of Turkey to the EU, which she described as inevitable, would undermine democracy, destabilise the continent and increase the influence of those not committed to the principles of ‘liberal western’ nations.
The opposition were keen to stress the perceived dangers and risks of voting to leave, implying that after having left the political union there would be a possibility of a large increase in unemployment, populist politicians gaining more control, and British international trade decreasing severely. They also asserted that the EU is a democratic institution, pointing out that Britain elects MEPs to the European Parliament, and that elections of senior officials are still conducted through voting by the members. They also stated that Turkish accession is a necessary step in ‘European collaboration’.
Both opposition speakers placed great importance on Britain’s trade relationship with Europe. In an original and somewhat unconventional move, Will Smith summoned five volunteers to display placards in front of the gathering, each with a different job title written on it, before concluding that investment bankers, steel workers and farmers would all be worse off outside of the European Union. Lydia Guscott, meanwhile, cited the recent intervention of president Obama who announced that Britain would ‘be at the back of the queue’ for a trade deal with the United States.
Finally, the discussion evolved into the customary audience interrogation, when both opposition and proposition speakers replied to questions on trade, refugees, the nature of the respective campaigns and the extent to which the EU is turning into the ‘first non-imperial empire’, with the questioning supplemented by an unexpected ‘Frozen’ analogy from the enquiring regular Rose Anderson.
The motion “This house believes that Britain should leave the European Union” was eventually defeated by 70 votes to 27.
Featured image courtesy Amio Cajander (C) Released under CC BY SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/