Two Slices Of Great British Summer: The Imperial IV and The SOAS Open

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By Vienna’s International Society

August 5, 2012
Not that we wouldn’t hold up the Olympic spirit. Just as long as debating isn’t Olympic, we rather go there for other reasons.

Is this about the Olympics? Sure not. Maybe about this is about the weather? No, otherwise we wouldn’t use the word “great”. So maybe this article is about debating again? Yep. A couple of DKWien athletes headed to London for the Imperial IV and the SOAS Open. They had a look on how Londoners prep for Euros with the author putting special focus on the local pizza service.

Imperial Pizza, 7-8 July 2012. Signing up for the Imperial IV felt like ordering a good, large pizza. 5 rounds, semis and good teams sounded so delicious. Of course nobody orders a pizza for the quality of the food; similarly no one goes to a British IV because of subsistence and OrgCom. However, a large pizza stills the hunger, like a good tournament satisfies the desire for immediate debating. Accordingly the immediate urge for some exhausting competitive debates was the reason why Andreas, Anna, Melanie and Stefan were keen to take the way up to pricy London.

“Order Imperial Pizza”, they said.
“They are fat and they are cheesy”, they said.
Imperial IV left more time for sightseeing than we had hoped for.
“What was the weather, like?” “Well, we got what we had ordered at last”
DK goes London again. This time even the weather was better.
The Viennese contingent jumping down a wall after taking the official team pic.

Debate back where it belongs. Fun at the speaker’s corner, London

The problem with the Imperial IV though, was that we did not quite get what we had ordered. To be sure, the teams were better than we are and we wouldn’t complain about the motions set by Danique van Koppenhagen and Fred Cowell. Still it wasn’t really like we were getting the full pizza delivered. It was like as if the Pizza boy only gave us a half one and secretly kept the rest of it for watching Wimbledon the next day. With the second day of a two day competition cancelled, only 4 instead of 5 rounds and the semi left out, the Imperial IV just did not fill a DK debater’s stomach to a sufficient degree. Seriously, had we known that before, we might have spent our money on something that has more nutritional value. Also, even though there was a glimpse of the competitive taste some British IVs have, we lacked this enthusiastic debating spirit that adds that special flavour to a good tournament. Arguably it’s not a sign of taking the whole thing seriously when the cancellation is not announced before the penultimate round and without a well-reasoned explanation. Was the pizza boy assuming we weren’t hungry to eat the other half (or debate a second day) anyway? Well, if so, be told we never finish early*. In conclusion the DK Squad would not order again at Imperial Pizza service.

Two weeks later we checked out the Pizza at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). To be honest, we did not get any more than at the Imperial IV in terms of quantity. Pre-Olympic London is a pricy place, so there were 4 rounds and a final in the budget again. Nonetheless two significant differences would make us choose SOAS Pizza over Imperial Pizza if we were to decide.

Firstly nobody told us that we would get more than we actually received. SOAS Open was set as a one day competition with the SOAS Invitational the day after. This seems fair, as the debaters who sign up for the SOAS Open know it will be a 4 rounds tournament and a final only. Those eager to debate a second day could easily join the Invitational and actually get 7 preliminary rounds of debating in one weekend spiced up by two finals. DKWien sent a full scale contingent to the SOAS Open: Andreas & Sonja, Christoph & Agnieszka and Melanie & Stefan. Whereas most of them took advantage of the one day competition’s compatibility with the need to be back at work early on Monday, or doing more sightseeing, Agnieszka and Andreas ordered the Invitational topping. They said it was tasty. Indeed the different choices on the menu enhanced the SOAS experience.

Secondly it seems that the SOAS pizza was of somewhat better quality than the Imperial one. A large core of very decent adjudicators and a stack of A teams on the tab were valuable ingredients that benefitted the tournament. One could argue that the motions were slightly overcomplicated in some regards but overall the CA team around Jack Watson did not do a too bad job either. As the tournament was the final preparation for the EUROS in Belgrade, the spices added probably lead to a more delicious composition. The SOAS Open delivered maybe not the cheapest and not that kind that fills you up until you don’t want to eat anymore. However, the large DK Squad enjoyed the quality that is set to prevent a bad stomach shortly before EUROS.

General Data

The Imperial IV, 7 July 2012, Imperial College London; 4 (announced 5) rounds, BPS, 7 minute speeches; CAs Fred Cowell & Danique von Koppenhagen (announced Manos Moschopolous & Nial Jeffery)

The SOAS Open, 21 July 2012, SOAS, East London; 4 rounds, BPS, 7 minute speeches; CA: Jack Watson, DCAs Amanda Morgan and Gareth Williams.
SOAS Invitational (open to all teams) 22 July 2012, SOAS, East London; 3 rounds, BPS, 7 minute speeches; CA: Catherine Murphy.


The motions of the Imperial IV and the SOAS Open

Round 1 Imperial IV THW allow companies to pay a higher salary to employees who contractually agree not to have children.

Round 2 Imperial IV THW not imprison people when racist remarks cause offense on social media forums.

Round 3 Imperial IV: THW prosecute toppled dictators for crimes against humanity in the ICC rather than in a national court or tribunal.


Round 1 SOAS Open THW ban religious schools.

Round 2 SOAS Open THBT Western countries should commit to cancel all debts owed by any authoritarian country upon its transition to democracy.

Round 3 SOAS Open THW put Jeremy Deller’s piece (of a bombed car) on the plinth ( on Trafalgar Square)

Round 4  SOAS Open TH supports a fiscal union for the eurozone

Final SOAS Open TH regrets the bombing of Japan in Worldwar II


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