The Hist’s first debate of the year took place on Wednesday 21 September on the motion “This House Would Get High”. As with typical GMB debates, the event featured both student and guest speakers.
The late start, which came about as the result of a guest failing to show, was soon forgotten as Record Secretary Meg Beare delivered an excellently funny set of minutes. This set the tone for the rest of the debate, which was full of anecdotes that have come about as a result of the consumption of mind-altering substances – most memorably the time that one speaker sneezed into a joint, thereby emptying it of its contents – as well as the all-important Phil-bashing that is to be expected from a Hist opening event.
Deputy Bríd Smith giver her chair speech
The event was not without serious argument and engagement though, with the issues of current drug regulations, the importance of life’s “natural highs”, and the ethical question of funding criminal gangs through drug consumption all appearing as key issues of contention throughout the evening.
Oscar Tuohy opened the debate for the proposition side with a well-received speech, in which he argued that life is hard, and that we should allow ourselves more enjoyment by altering our minds when the opportunity presents itself. However, as many of the opposition speakers later responded, this nice idea becomes a lot less clear cut when we acknowledges that in the consumption of these drugs, we become complicit in the criminal activities that they fund.
Oscar Tuohy addressing the chamber
By far the strongest argument for the proposition side was the failure of current drug regulations, with guest speaker Olaf Tyaransen most eloquently impressing on the house the importance of the issue, saying: “Most drugs aren’t prohibited because they’re dangerous, but they’re very dangerous because they’re illegal.” He argued for the consumption of drugs in protest at these laws, though opposition speaker Rory O’Sullivan expressed his doubt that the best way to protest drug laws is to “get high and eat wafers”.
Rory O’Sullivan opposing the motion
In short, it was an entertaining, enjoyable debate, with humour and intellect coming from both student and guest speakers. It was followed by a rave-themed reception in the conversation rooms, complete with alcohol-filled syringes and lines of sugar for snorting.