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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1926


For the second year in succession, we have had the joy of a call from British Varsity touring debaters. Last year's visit by three Oxonians was followed this Easter by a somewhat more ambitious event, when New Zealand was invaded by a troupe of representative students from the leading English and Scottish universities. Members of the team were christened A. H. E. Molson, T. P. McDonald, Paul Reed and R. N. May, and they hailed respectively from Oxford, Edinburgh, London and Birmingham.

The quick succession of these two visits must not lead the unwary to conclude that these have been firmly established as regular annual functions, much as we may desire such to be the case. It was indeed with some hesitation that Y.U.C. accepted responsibility (principally financial) for the 1926 proposal. Happily, however, the destinies of the Debating Society last year were controlled by some daring and reckless spirits, and the necessary guarantees were forthcoming. As things turned out, Wellington supported the venture with some enthusiasm, and for our part, the tour was altogether successful.

Before passing on to notice the particular debates, we might permit ourselves the luxury of a couple of general reflections. First, and frankly, we opine that the standard of debating was not superior to that commonly reached in local fortnightly debates. Unquestionably, there were points in which the visitors excelled, as in their diction, or in their facility for adapting jokes to the needs of the moment; but, essentially, we adhere to the view that the content and quality of the debates did not conspicuously surpass the V.U.C. standard. Lest this remark be construed as an undeserved insult to our departed guests, we hasten to add that either or both of the debates attained a level some hundreds per cent, above the level of debating in, say, the New Zealand House of Representatives; this surely must restore the self-respect of the Varsity debaters. In any case, the value of an Empire tour of this nature does not hang upon the skill displayed in slaying opposing arguments during the hour or two for which debates are in progress. In all sincerity, we welcome the visitors as representatives of fellow-students at the other end of the world, and we deeply regret that considerations of distance bar them from calling on us more frequently—not to mention the pain with which we confess that we are likewise, for the present at any rate, unable to return their visit.