This week’s blog is named after a Coldplay song. Quite a good one, actually. The first few opening chords remind me of Starsailor – In the Crossfire, so sometimes when my mp3 player shuffles to it, a few minutes are necessary to guess which song it actually is before I start singing along!
Anyway! The reason for the title ‘Politik’ is because this week I went along to the second Leicester University Debating Alliance’s (LUDA to its friends) second forum.
LUDA is a collaboration between the Student Law Society, The United Nations Youth and Student Association (UNYSA) and Amnesty International; however many other societies also participate, such as the Public Speaking society.
Throughout the year, LUDA host various forums of topical debate, where members from different societies may go and have their voices heard – usually in the structure of one speaker and two researchers. Each speaker is allowed 5-10 minutes to talk upon their stance on the topic (past topics have been World AIDS day, Darfur, holocaust deniers, Palestinian statehood…) and then the floor is open to questions and debate from the audience.
This forum, on the 28th November 2011, was on the UK’s Membership of the European Union. For a second year core module, students learn about EU law and so this debate was a great opportunity to put what we’d learned in lectures into practice and see the arguements both for and against continued membership – something which really put the topic into a real-world context.
The panel, as above from left to right, consisted of a representitive from the ELSA (European Law Student’s Association), the head of the UN Society and a member from the Law Society. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Professor Robin White, who is the module convener and expert in EU law and also the Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, Mr Roger Helmer MEP – a recognised euro-skeptic.
The stances being contested were whether the UK should:
a) stay within the EU
b) re-negotiate its EU membership
c) leave the EU
with members standing for each ground. It proved very heated debate, with all three camps making very concise and persuading arguements!
(You can just see me in this photo, the redhead in the back wearing green)
The audience asked a lot of questions, with the speeches clearly providing sufficient ammunition for debate – we actually ran slightly over on time!
The night was concluded by an overall vote for the audience’s opinion on the topic – following Professor White’s emphatic and wholly convincing arguement for the UK remaining in the EU, the audience definitely seemed to follow suit, with a landmark vote for continued membership by those attending.
LUDA does great work for anyone interested in the fields of Law, Politics, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Business, Economics, History, et cetera, but it is also open to anyone who is interested in what is going on in the world around them. They provide both open debates but also an annual competition for anyone keen to get their point across and voices heard.
Debate can further the skills of anyone, as it stretches and sharpens your ability to reason, debate, argue, research, select and present information in a concise and persuasive manner – which is key for almost every competitive profession. Therefore having LUDA available to students, alongside the great work of the Model UN society is a very valuable asset for any student at the University of Leicester.
A great thanks to LUDA who provided with me with the pictures for this blog and for hosting the event overall. For any prospective and current students of Leicester University, I would definitely advise you to join up to LUDA as soon as possible, so that you have the opportunities open to you for stimulating and interesting evenings such as the one I took part in this week. A definite must-do at Leicester.