Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 4 March 29, 1939
Hit. and Nev
Hit. and Nev.
The Gym. on Friday night was packed by an audience obviously wait-to be exhorted, antagonised and stirred on the very topical questions of Chamberlain and world peace; but, despite the excellent audience, there was a very definite tameness in discussion during the first half of the evening.
Familiar arguments were aired on both sides, which was natural enough in a debate limited principally to Munich and its consequences. Members or the affirmative differed only in the shades of black and brown with which they painted the Premier. You could take your choice of him as a catspaw, a strategist manoeuvering the two great powers of Fascism and Socialism into a position in which they could be played off against each other; or a man who, primarily an economist, would fight mighty fast if England's oil interests were threatened.
Is this Peace?
Mr. Aimers suggested supporting the League and collective security. Mr. Saker and a second and rather nervous Mr. MacDonald, were very earnestly in favour of disarmament.
"To maintain peace we allow Hitler to override Europe." remarked Mr. Perry, in his sensible and well formulated speech, "but is this peace?" One by one the European victims of a policy of appeasement were enumerated and a growing urgency noted among speakers for something to be done to stop further aggression. It was interesting to note that even among a body strongly in favour of pacifism, there is a growing doubt as to Its genuine efficacy. Though no one actually faced the question of whether England would fight if Herr Hitler proved adamant, all asserting that the was simply in need of a good frightening the note of dissatisfaction with half-way measures was strongly apparent.
The Only Possible?
Leading the opposition, Mr. Braybrooke's lucid argument endeavoured to show that constant retreat from aggressor nations was Britain's only possible policy, since, as a result of earlier foreign policies, she was totally unprepared for war. Chamberlain, he said, was unable to make a show of force, because he had nothing to back it with. Mr. McGavin thought that until the injustices suffered by the German people during the war have been relieved we cannot say "No" to Hitler—though one is tempted to question whether the point at which redress is complete is to be determined by the Fuhrer himself. Mr. Murphy, an easy and promising speaker, supported the current policy of compromise, pointing out that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by postponing a war which. If we tread delicately, may never eventuate.
However, the sympathies or the meeting were obviously with the affirmative, though the negative was treated with a most unusual courtesy, and the motion was carried. Professor Lipson. in his Judging, placed first Mr. Meek, who had perpetrated a well-mannered and subtly humorous attack on Mr. Chamberlain with an excellent climax. In which the Premier was delicately anathematised, all in the very nicest way. Second was Mr. Aimers, commended as a forcible speaker of great sincerity, and third Mr. Scotney Also commended were Messrs. Perry Braybrooke, Edgley and McCulloch. There were no female speakers.