On Thursday 7th December the University of Nottingham Labour Society held, for the last time in 2023, Pint and Policy – an informal political discussion with drinks at the Sir John Borlase Warren pub.
The first motion for discussion was ‘Joe Biden has been a successful President.’ The motion was opened by a speaker in support of Biden, highlighting the potential future impact of the Inflation Reduction Act and the United States’ Covid recovery under his leadership.
Biden was mistaken in the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan which resulted in the 2021 Taliban offensive
The second speaker began with the opinion that Biden has been the most successful president since Lyndon B. Johnson, focusing on the increased respect for the US compared with during Trump’s presidency, as well as his climate and social policies.
The next speaker criticised Biden’s foreign policy, which became a focal point for much of the discussion. They began by praising US support for Ukraine in response to the 2022 invasion but stated that Biden was mistaken in the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan which resulted in the 2021 Taliban offensive, causing severe damage to US-European relations.
This was countered by the argument that Biden cannot be held responsible for the policy of previous presidents, and that it was Trump’s administration who negotiated the withdrawal.
The discussion around Afghanistan was closed off with the point that the US was such a major presence in the country that Biden should have acted differently.
The final two speakers on the motion both argued against it, saying that Biden should have engaged in court packing, such as expanding the supreme court, and that the thing he may be most remembered for is that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade happened during his presidency, a decision that the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called “a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality.”
After 38 minutes of debate the motion was passed.
The second motion for discussion was ‘We should move Parliament out of London.’
The first point made was that moving Parliament out of London would be a superficial solution to address regional inequality. This view was countered by saying that having parliament in a more central location might lead to underrepresented voices being better acknowledged.
Any issues with parliament cannot be fixed by a relocation
The next speaker suggested that more important than moving Parliament is to increase English devolution. This view was echoed by other members, who made the case that most politics should happen on a local level, and that since parliament can only be in one place then devolution is more favourable.
Further critics of the motion went on to state that any issues with parliament cannot be fixed by a relocation, saying that since there are far fewer MPs coming from a lower economic background then parliament would continue to inadequately represent the whole of the UK wherever it was located.
After nearly the full allocated discussion time the motion ended up being opposed.
The final motion of the evening was ‘Santa would vote Labour.’
Santa’s priority is to spread joy and happiness
The discussion mainly centred around what Santa’s values are and to what extent they line up with the Labour party’s. The first point made in favour of the motion was that Santa gives presents without receiving anything in return, which suggests he would be in favour of democratic socialist policies such as welfare.
This point was followed by debate over whether Santa is a symbol of socialism or capitalism, conflicting aspects of his image, such as Coca Cola rebranding him as being red, with his giving nature.
The discussion ended with the point that Santa’s priority is to spread joy and happiness, and that he transcends party politics, and therefore would not support any political party.
The motion ended up being passed seven in favour to four against.
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