Old Cambridge Union Debate Motions, 1995-2014
Back in 2014 I was in the Cambridge Union for an extended period of time during the holidays. In order to avoid my actual job of organising debates, I spent some time going through old motions. One of the great things about old societies like the Union is that they rarely throw anything away, and so there were still a large number of extremely heavy leather-bound books containing the details of past debates.
I compiled a spreadsheet containing every debate from 2014 back to 1995 before it got to the point where I could no longer ignore my work. The spreadsheet includes the motion for the debate, who spoke on the Proposition and Opposition, how many people were in attendance (in a few instances far more than the 500 allowed in the building by fire safety regulations), and how they voted.
This morning I noticed that someone in a debating group I moderate asked how motions had changed over time. Some people managed to dig up motions from as far back as the 19th century (which I now wish I'd done back when I had the chance). Whilst I'm unable to go that far, I thought it might be nice to share the 428 motions that I archived.
Some (dis)favourites of mine:
15th June 1995: THBT Girls Seldom Make Passes at Guys Who Wear Glasses, including Peter Stringfellow and Sir Tim Rice
13th February 1996: TH has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government's Treatment of Women, including current Prime Minister Theresa May
5th March 1998: THBT Feminism is Corrupting the Family, including Germaine Greer
7th May 1998: THBT Staying in is the new Coming Out, including Peter Tatchell
14th November 2002: THBT Gay Rights are Family Wrongs, including Peter Hitchens
If you go through them all, you'll likely notice a theme: anything to do with sex, relationships, LGBT issues or feminism has a tendency to get exponentially more cringeworthy as you go backwards in time.