2nd year IR and Politics student
With the European Union referendum on the horizon and many students feeling unsure about what they thought the Keele Debate and Discussion Society thought it would be an ideal topic for a big panel debate. The panelists we secured for the 7 March 2016 were a mixture of academics, campaigners and politicians. For the ‘remain’ side Paul Farrell MP for Newcastle under Lyme and Keele senior lecturer Dr Helen Parr. Speaking for leave we had Sir Gerald Howarth MP for Aldershot and Marc Glendening, a campaigner for Democracy Movement and researcher for Policy Exchange.
The debate we very well attended, we sold just under 200 tickets to students, lecturers and local people who were all interested in getting more informed and having their questions answered.
The evening started with panelists making opening statements before we ran through our list of discussion areas. Topics ranged from immigration to economics and trade. Once each topic was opened with a question, attendees were given the chance to ask about specific issues or points of discussion. Paul Farrell, a chair of several all-party groups which liaise with national parliaments on European nations, drew on a wealth of experience and knowledge; he argued that while The European Union is imperfect it could and should be reformed. Dr Helen Parr, a researcher in comparative politics among other things, argued that the European Union had a positive impact on the world and the UK. Sir Gerald Howarth took an opposite view, claiming that the UK was capable of going it alone and was a strong and proud nation. Marc Glendening chastised the EU for being undemocratic and unrepresentative.
The debate closed with both sides making short closing statements and emphasising the importance of voting regardless of where you stand.
Whichever way this referendum goes this will have a huge impact of everyone’s lives. Make sure you register to vote in time by going to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Tom Snape is a 2nd year IR and Politics student in SPIRE. Tom is a member of the Keele Debate and Discussion Society, and acted as the chair for the Keele EU Referendum Debate. He is also a Keele Parish Councilor, a Keele SU Non-Portfolio Officer, Chair of Keele Labour, President of the Keele Model UN Society, and the Chair of KeeleVotes. The Keele Debate and Discussion Society is a student society open to all Keele students which seeks to provide a platform to engage in debate and discussion on a variety of issues.