Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 7
Joynt Scroll — Debating Contest
The annual Inter-University debating contest for the Joynt Scroll was held in the Training College Hall at Wellington, on August 3rd.
At 3 p.m. the first contact was begun between Canterbury University College and Canterbury Agricultural College, the motion being "That a [unclear: declining] birth-rate is to be deplored". Despite fact that the audience consisted only of the judges, officials, [unclear: pressy] and four [unclear: enthusiastic] young ladies a condition which made speaking very difficult - a high standard was set, both matter and in manner and in manner.
In the evening, the attendance was large and appreciative. Interjections, if seldom pertinent, were frequent and witty.
The first motion "That party government has failed", was defended by Massey Agricultural College while, Victoria University College took the negative. Mr. D. M. Smith, the opening speaker, managed to introduce humour without seeming to force it. Exhorting his [unclear: audience] to purge their minds of any taint of party feeling, he proceeded, after defining his terms, to denigrate the party system.This was not difficult. Allowing the necessity for discussion, he endeavoured to show that party government was not the way to safeguard it. Loyalty to party is placed above personal conviction; the party's policy must be accepted in all details so that a particular legislation may be passed with the approval only of a minority. "Votes of individuals in the party", he declared, "count for nothing. The party system becomes collective dictatorship".
Mr. Sheehan began defending a rather diffcult position by explaining that the bigotry bigotry deplored by his opponents was not due to party. Britain, he pointed out, has been a model for other democratic nations and our noble British Empire itself and the period of the Pax Britannicus (gender!! ) were at their zenith when party government was strongest. "Massey College"; he declared, "is spreading defeatism in our midst". Mr. Sheehan admits that democracy is limited at present. After producing some examples from history of effective criticism by opposition parties, he made the striking statement" that democracy and representation are mutually dependents". No proof was offered for this astounding claim. Mr. Sheehan finally declared that with the party system we can procure all necessary political changes peacefully. We wish we could share this optimism.
Mr. R.D. Bamford after a somewhat unimpressive beginning, warmed to his subject and argued effectively, and with, vigour. Democracy, he thinks, will come out on top not because of party government, but in spite of it. The negative look not only at England but at the whole world, and at the present time. Democracy, can be used as a blind for anti-democratic policies as in the case of Germany. Here party organisations were responsible for numerous devices for influencing voters. The classic example is the Reichstag fire. The [unclear: Fascists] in Italy were first a political party. The efficiency, of to talitarian states was commended. Though discussion is necessary, there is no advantage to be gained from inter-factional hatred. The slowness of action in democracies is due to party ties. (An interjector subtly amended this to "Old school ties"). Mr. Bamford finally clinched his arguments by demonstrating that in times of peril parties are submerged in a coalition. In our country, this certainly shows the failure, of party government, though not necessarily the efficiency of coalition.page break
Mr. Bowyer then continued Mr. sheehan's arguments. He stressed the opportunities for criticism, claiming that the cabinet depends for its existence on the majority off opinion. It was Mr. Bowyer who was responsible for the remarkable statement that "party government alone stops the government from becoming a mob". Is Germany's government a mob? or Italy's? or Russia's? Anyway now that parliament is broadcast. The fate of Mr, Menzies in Australia, whose party carried some unpopular legislation, was cited.
In summing up, Mr. Sheehan pointed out that minorities should not be suppressed, as under fascism, as they ware important to the state, (What about Communists?) He also pointed out that Adam Hamilton had really quite an important part to play in the government (we'd suspected that). Replying to the charge that the man was subject to the rule of the party, he asked who formed the rule of the party, rule of party.
Mr. D. Smith protested that Massey do not advocate totalitarianism but rather a co-operative government. The opposition should not be looked on as a necessary evil, but, as a co-operating factor in government. "History show", concluded Mr. Smith, "that member may not disagree with a party and remain of that party".
Mr. H. L. Gibson, representing Otago University, opened the motion that "the U.S.A. should take a permanent place in European politics". In a speech remarkable for sincerity and vigour, Mr, Gibson displayed a degree of patriotism which must have been the envy of many a reprobate Victorian.
Beginning with the assertion that we are fighting a war to destroy a system incompatible with our ideals, that U.S.A. is largely responsible for this war because of her desertion of the League of Nations and refusal to apply economic sanctions to Italy, he proceeded to claim that public opinion deems it insecure to maintain isolation. U.S.A. is fighting for the same ideals as Britain, and if Britain is defeated, U.S.A. will be dragged into the cess-pool with the rest of the world. Her neutrality is becoming less strict, owing to the lifting of the arms embargo. Whereas Europe is a cess-pool of conflicting ideologies, America is a last haven of freedom (Oh! Steinbeck!) Mr. Gibson's argument's must stand or fall on the validity of calling England's fight a just one.
Mr. Smith of Auckland commended the sincerity of the first speaker, but mentioned that it was entirely beside the point. We English, he said, suffer under several delusions: that our nation is the best nation; that we know what we're doing; nobody else does; that other nations want war, we don't; that this war is a righteous war, that the possession of certain territory is essential to the well-being of a certain state. These delusions lie [unclear: beneata] all Mr. Gibson's arguments. In Mr. Smith's opinion, the only terms on which U.S.A should enter European politics was Federal Union. Nations should not set their neighbours' houses in order before their own.
Mr. Smith was a more deliberate and phlegmatic speaker than his predecessor, and this method of delivery afforded a pleasing variety.
Otago's second speaker, Mr. Dick, dealt with the economic side of the question. His object was to show that contrary to the beliefs of his opponent, America can enter European politics.
Miss Morrell, Auckland, considered that Mr. Gibson's attitude was well summed up in the sentence "England expects every American to do his duty".
Mr. Smith in summing up brought in an effective topical reference to the umbrella which was demented to Auckland University page break College spire. Of similar use would be a cementation of Europe with U.S.A. In his attractive blunt way he asked, "If Europe wants raw materials, why doesn't she behave?"
In reply, Mr. Gibson mentioned the cosmopolitan nature of America's populace, pointing out that here is a basis on which to work for an international outlook. In reply to Miss Morrell's aphorism, he countered that every American knows that today "Every Englishman is doing America's duty". Both nations stood for the same principles which many European nations had jettisoned.
Dr. Beeby in delivering the decision of the judges said that they were unanimous in essential points. They judged partly by the effect on the audience, parity by the adaptation of the speakers to their audience, Mr. P. J. Sheehan was adjudged the best individual speaker, Mr. Gibson and Mr. K. W. Orchiston being second and third respectively. Victoria University College was judged the best team, Otago University second and Canterbury College third.
The judge also commented on the individual speakers. Mr. Sheehan was selected particularly on account of his appropriate gestures, good use of pauses and effective voice modulation, The outstanding feature of Mr. Gibson's speech was his sincerity. Mr. Orchiston was commended for his fighting spirit and vigorous delivery.
Items were rendered by Misses Vesta Emanuel and Loretta Cunningham. Both artistes were ably accompanied by Miss Joan Wo Herman.
An enjoyable evening was completed by a tasty supper followed by a dance.
* * * * * * *
An ostrich, feeling lonely, went off into the desert in search of company, All he met were eleven ostriches, with their heads in the sand. "Just my luck", he sighed, "nobody about".
Subaltern, to camp cook: "Ah - and what have we in the shape of cucumbers?"
How long is a piece of string?
* * * * * * *
But because one, does not want to follow Western thought into this dilemma, one none the less recognises the value of its achievements. One would not have the world discount them and retrogress in terror to a primitive state. It is simply that one recoils from the Western intellectual's idea that, having got himself on to this peak overhanging an abyss, he should want to drag all other people... on pain of being dubbed inferior if they refuse...up after him into the same precarious position.
That, in a sentence, is my case against Western values.
Be a good boy, now. If you are naughty, look out... for the white man will get you!
Mother's Saying in New Hebrides
££££££Spike, the Victoria University College Annual Review, publication dote 1st October, Watch for it.£££££££££££