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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 4 March 30, 1938

Madame Chairman — Ladies and Gentlemen

Madame Chairman

Ladies and Gentlemen

Time was (1937 to be exact) when debaters railed bitterly against the apathy of their audiences. They could certainly make no such accusation last Friday night when a large and boisterous crowd gathered (allegedly) to learn whether or not the "British Government's foreign policy is pro—Fascist. It was a night out for the hecklers, and few were the speakers who could boast that they held the undivided attention of their audience for more than a few moments at a time. Indeed, there were Intervals when the atmosphere was more suited to a wrestling match than the serious discussion of a political subject. At the close of the evening both Mr. Aimers and Mr. Scotney voiced the opinion that the debate had very definitely suffered in consequence of this. Mr. Tahiwi disagreed and brought strong arguments forward to prove the value of interjections at Varsity debates Few at V.U.C. would disagree with this but it would seem that a very clear distinction should be drawn between "interjections" and a running commentary audible only to the surrounding few.

Pros and Cons.

As to the debate itself the heavy majority who voted for the motion proved that the weight of argument lay with the affirmative Messrs. Perry and Simpson for the motion [unclear: argued] that the British Government, as the mouthpiece of a capitalistic-imperialistic state, must by its very nature do all in its power to oppose the spread of Socialism. In so doing it inevitably allied itself with Fascist powers either by granting them actual assistant by turning an official blind eye on their activities. Mr Edgley for the opposition, claimed that Great Britain pursued an independence policy in favor of peace and democracy Miss Millar, in a speech which won her fourth place, carried the argument further and said that Britain's foreign policy was as it had always been, purely a policy self-interest, enlightened I or otherwise, This too seemed to be the line taken by subsequent negative speakers. Only Mr. Wah (who come to us with a fine Southern reputation as a University debater) took any very idealistic view of the British Government's activities in the international field. Affirmative speakers from the floor pounced on the "self-interest" argument and proved as Mr. Tahiwi put it that such a policy, inevitably led to parleying with Fascist aggressor states.

As usual, some of the speakers found it by no means easy to keep strictly to the point at issue, and at times the line taken was ingenious rather than clear. There was, for instance. Mr. Ongley's Semitic argument-or was it anti-Semitic? Actual speaking (when it could be heard!) was good, and the several new speakers who spoke reached a promisingly high standard. The judge. Mr. Luxford. S.M. placed Messrs. Tahiwi and Myers first equal, with Mr. Wah in third place.