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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 12. June 28, 1939



It was noticeable that no judge was present at the debate last Friday, when the motion, "That Russia is the Spearhead of Modern Civilisation" was argued.

This omission was most reprehensible. Whoever heard of a debate without a judge? So "Salient" has secured a judge—none other than Colonel Bull, D.S.O., O.B.E.. etc., etc., and proudly presents his comments on the debate, and his placing of the speakers.

Colonel Bull will doubtless be known to students of this College as the gentleman who makes the weird explosive noises from the rear of the gym. during debates; but he is widely known outside University circles as a leading light in the N.Z. Defence and Freedom leagues, the Welfare league, and the S.P.C.A.

"I Mean to Say—"

"What, me?" expostulated the Colonel when "Salent" approached him; "why, damme, old chap, what do I know about it? I mean to say—well, damn it all, I was only up here for a few years a long time ago—in the days when you had the good taste to have an O.T.C. However, If you want me to judge the beastly debate, I will.

In the first place, the subject. My dear fellow, don't you know that one just doesn't mention Russia? I mean—it's a thing like—like babies—it isn't done to talk about them. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard you young people actually talking about [unclear: Russia]. And I really believe that some of those cads who spoke actually thought there was something in the place—how any decent, self-respecting Englishman can get up on a platform and defend a country where there's no freedom—no liberty—no free speech—where the people are slaves—and where there's nothing but er—bombs, and Bolsheviks and—er—Russians—well, my God, sir, it's a bit thick. Freedom's the most valuable thing we've got—It's what's built the Empire—here, read this pamphlet of Professor Algie's. Show it to those young adolescent cubs—might make them think a bit.

"Scotney—ought to be hounded out of the country like all these damned radicals—don't know what's good for 'em—he didn't talk about Russia for a long time, which was a good thing. He quoted Lord Londonderry's book, too—and I couldn't follow much more of his speech—except something about Fascism and Communism. Well, damn it. I mean—everyone knows that they're both the same. He was stopped by the bell—I voted against his continuing to speak. The blighter!

Hound and Horn

"Stacey—tried very hard to understand him, because he was on the right side of the platform, but it was rather difficult. All economics and things like that. Must have been good, though, because he spoke against Scotney. And then young McDonald—started talking about women and was stopped by the bell. That's the way to treat the cads!

"But the ones I liked were O'Connor, Renouf, Witheford, and Mitchell. Now there are a bunch of fine speakers! Mitchell proved—proved by reason—and I'm all for reason, in moderation—that the Russian people today were ignorant, uncultured, cruel and barbarous. He proved it—but it really doesn't need proving, does it?—I mean, they must be utter cads—because—well, they're Russians, aren't they? And Witheford—I admired him tremendously. Scum comes to the top—good point, that. And his oratory was almost as good as O'Connor's. Now that was a speech—all that about starving the peasants—world revolution—pernicious propaganda undermining our constitution. Funny, though—I always thought Trotsky was all for this world revolution idea, and that was why he was kicked out. Must have been wrong, though. And Renouf, too, on religion—damned good point, that, I'm all for the Church—I mean, where would the Empire be without God? In the soup, sir—in the soup!

Placing of speakers? O'Connor first. Best rhetoric I've heard since 1914. Witheford next—I didn't put him first, because you know what he said about scum, eh? And Mitchell third. Definitely Pukka sahib.

"I haven't placed any more except Scotney. He's last. The cad—serves him damn well right.