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04 May 2017

Cooney Edges Wright in Election Debate Thriller

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. The two giants of debating – George Wright and Sean Cooney – went head to head in a bout of words, ideas and insults earlier today, in front of a 120-strong audience.  Here is our roundup.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t want to read this excessively bloated round up and are only here for the results, please scroll to the bottom 

Round 1 – Education

The Debate started with a tumultuous and rowdy crowd packed into the Lecture Theatre, with impressive attendance from both BS and BSG. The Communist tablecloth was laid out, with Party representative ties being worn by both candidates. The stage was set for an illustrious fight. Arroh, sitting mightily as the Chair of the debate, kicked things off by raising issues in our healthcare system.

Sean started off and, despite fumbling on his words at the beginning of the debate, made no effort to break in easy, instantly attacking the Conservative Party’s record on education. He began by saying “We have experienced the biggest drop in living standards since the 1800s” and pointed metaphorical fingers at the opposition. Cooney stated proudly that “we must seize the opportunity while we have the chance” to reverse Conservative cuts and pressures put on the education system, and blamed the Conservative Party for leaving an entire generation disillusioned thanks to austerity measures. George (sporting a new suit specially purchased for the Debate) retorted by stating that he would radically abolish the comprehensive system, and overhaul it with a tier based education system; which would promote social mobility, he says. However, he stated he believed that the 11+ entrance exam should remain in place, leaving some doubts in the audience over how this would encourage mobility. He later clarified in an audience question that he believes that anyone should be able to move between the education tiers at any time based on their level of academic success – ensuring teachers are able to help people within specific groups to the best of their ability. Sean hit back by claiming that there is “no evidence to suggest that grammar schools promote social mobility”  and pointed out figures on pupil premium to back up his point – just 3% of pupils within the Bournemouth Grammar Schools claim pupil premium welfare, whereas in the wider area the figure is 25%. George raised some statistics on pupil success at Grammars – such as how BSG achieves an E-Bacc pass rate of 79%, while neighbouring school Glenmore achieves just 4% – but failed to provide any clear strategy as to how he would implement his reformed education system.

Editor’s Verdict:

WAKEHAM: Sean Cooney 10, George Wright 8

STRIDE: Sean Cooney 10, George Wright 9

Round 2 – Health

The Health debate was kicked off this time by George Wright – and brought out more of the strong emotions and insults between the candidates. Wright began by stating that “The NHS is riddled with inefficiency and excessive bureaucracy” and put forth a load of proposals which the crowd pondered carefully, such as abolishing NHS Car Parking Charges, and implementing a £5 deposit for GP appointments to ensure that doctors’ time is not wasted and raise funds which can be put back into the NHS. The Crowd attacked him for this policy, however, stating that a £5 deposit would not fund this pledges in real term funding increases for the NHS. George accepted this, diverting the audience by stating that Brexit would mean £10 billion less expenditure in the European Union per year which he would use to invest in the NHS – which was responded to by many murmurs from the crowd. Sean also attacked him from the left, stating that in the last year of Labour Government (2010), the NHS had a £1.6 billion surplus at the end of  the year – and now it was £1.85 billion in deficit in 2016. He shouted to the audience “Funding must at the very least meet demand” which was met by loud support from the audience, and claimed that the Government is under-funding our vital public services day after day.

George, however, recovered and pointed out “Tony Blair undertook more privatisation of the NHS than Theresa May or David Cameron combined”,  and responded to a question from the audience about mental health issues by stating there is a “disequilibrium between physical and mental health”, offering a hand out to C0oney in bel
ief that both parties would agree. However, Sean stated that while he did agree with George on the  issue, it was Conservative Government cuts to local authority funding that were putting pressures and strain on the budgets of mental health care. He followed up by stating that the A&E Crisis is 900% worse than it was in
2010, when the Conservative Party entered power – something that has been discovered to be factually correct by the Bournemouthian – and bravely stated that “Labour founded our NHS”. However, George went on to rebuke any salvation provided by this, saying “Its the socialist government destroys healthcare and not the Conservatives” – ending this round with a high note of applause.

Editor’s Verdict:

WAKEHAM: George Wright 10, Sean Cooney 9

STRIDE: Sean Cooney 10, George Wright 9

Round 3 – Economy

The final round of the debate left people itching to find something to separate these two great candidates. Wright opened by stating that he believes that only the Conservative Party can deliver a “high growth, low tax economy”,  promising that the Conservative Party would slash taxes and increase employment through decreased corporation tax – which he claimed would generate jobs and improve national productivity. He followed by saying that he believes that no longer should Britain be forced to fight in far away wars and should only intervene using military force if it is in the nation’s defence – stating that Labour supports the illusion that “countries can be bombed into a democracy”. He pledged to up defence spending by 20% to ensure that soldiers will “no longer be unequipped” – but this raised criticism from some sections of the audience, with James Wakefield stating that increased military funding would simply be wasted if the military was never to be used, and suggested the money could be spent better somewhere else. George replied to the question with a flat “No”, which amused the audience greatly.

Sean began his response by arguing that “the UK is one of the least economically mobile countries in the world”, and that the Conservatives had led to this country becoming a “country divided by inequality”. While George claimed that Labour left the economy in such a poor state after it left office – like every Labour government in history before it – Cooney pointed out that the defecit actually dropped between 1997 and 2003, while Labour was in power before the “War on Terror”. However, this only invited more criticism of Labour’s attitude to foreign affairs in its time in Government from Wright. Sean stated that it was now the time for “resolution and betterment”, and a string of savage burns by Cooney pushed Wright back into the losing seat. However, George recovered his stride, stating that Labour would simply “borrow money we don’t need and spend money we don’t have”. He came under fire for his economic policies by the audience – lowering tax, yet hoping to increase expenditure – and educated the audience on the “one bit of economics he knew”, demonstrating the Laffer Curve, much to the excitement  of the audience. Sean then went on to “teach you [George] one more thing about economics” and cited studies which suggest that lowering corporation tax has no influence on whether companies decide to invest in the UK. He began to talk about the impacts of austerity of the Conservative Government, quoting how a policeman, a public serviceman, was forced to use a food bank. George began his retort by saying “you can pick and choose as many out-of-context statements as you like to create faux outrage-” before Cooney made a rare slip of debating ettiquette, by disturbing him and shouting wildly “Its not faux outrage!” – prompting a wild reaction from the audience.

Editor’s Verdict:

WAKEHAM: George Wright 10, Sean Cooney 9

STRIDE: Sean Cooney 10, George Wright 9


The Results

The Editor’s Scores:

WAKEHAM: Wright 28, Cooney 28

STRIDE: Wright 27, Cooney 30

Overall: Wright 55, Cooney 58

The Bournemouthian deduces a narrow victory for Sean Cooney.

The Vote:

Of a nice round total of 100 votes:

Sean Cooney: 44 votes / 44%

George Wright: 39  votes / 39%

Blank Votes: 13 votes / 13%

Anyone but Aaroh: 1 vote / 1%

George Wright votes disqualified for having genitalia based profanities drawn in the Cooney box: 3 votes / 3%

As predicted by the Bournemouthian Editors, Sean Cooney defeats George Wright with 44% percent of the vote; 5 votes greater than George Wright.

What a thriller.

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