Last Wednesday evening, the University of Nottingham’s Labour Society beat their Conservative rivals in a parliamentary style debate in Monica Partridge. The motion was ‘This house believes that the government should be prioritising solving the cost-of-living crisis over achieving net-zero’. Labour challenged this statement, whilst the Conservatives defended it.
Upon entering, Labour supporters were told to sit on the left, and Conservatives to the right by the Debating Union who ran the event. They explained that both sides had 3 debaters who all had 5 minutes each to persuade the audience of their argument. In the middle 3 minutes a debater could be challenged. Following this, the floor would be opened for questions.
“I don’t see how little Britain being a global leader on green initiatives is going to convince anyone else to join us in that fight.” [Conservatives]
The Conservatives argued that whilst net-zero is a ‘noble endeavour’, people living in poverty in the UK need immediate relief. Using the example of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, they proposed that green initiatives could worsen peoples’ financial burdens. Moreover, they stated that there would be no point in the UK ‘sacrificing’ her economy by pursuing greener energy when other countries, such as China and Brazil, will not. ‘I don’t see how little Britain being a global leader on green initiatives is going to convince anyone else to join us in that fight.’
“There’s always going to be a crisis… we have to prioritise it right now or we never will.” [Labour]
Meanwhile, Labour declared that the government pursuing net-zero would help end the cost-of-living crisis. Poignantly calling the climate crisis ‘the living crisis’, Labour maintained that if ‘we decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, energy prices will go down.’ Furthermore, they advocated for the Labour party’s plan of a GB energy. When asked why the government cannot fix the cost-of-living crisis quickly and then pursue net-zero. Labour responded with ‘There’s always going to be a crisis… we have to prioritise it right now or we never will.’
A poll on the Debating Union’s Instagram story decided that Labour won, with them taking 57% of the votes. A Conservative society spokesperson was asked if the Labour majority in the room contributed to their win and they answered, ‘I think so’, calling it ‘a room with pre-conceptions.’ Labour refuted this. ‘We are all at an academic institution. We’re trained to think critically and analytically on topics. And therefore, the merits of the debate won as opposed to any pre-biases.’
The debate ended on a positive note with everyone going to Mooch for a drink.
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