Note: the article that follows is a work of satire, and therefore should not be taken as factual
Since its founding in 1826, the Oxford Union has been a staunch defender of free speech and debate. Over the years it has been willing to debate many controversial motions, such as whether this country would fight for king and country, and has hosted such controversial speakers as Richard Nixon and Marine Le Pen. Last week, the Oxford Union has once against shown itself a true home of debate and free speech by once again maneuvering to ensure that there would be no debate on a motion proposed by Mr. Peter Jones, Hertford College and member of the Union’s Secretary’s Committee. The motion would have banned the popular practice of paying voters with beer on their way out of the voting booth.
“We are all for debate and free speech, but only if it suits our purposes and doesn’t contravene one of the 731 rules, of which 241 are contradictory”
“The Union has never deviated from its firm commitment to free speech” said Union President Alfonzo Montefiore, Christ Church. “It is in the spirit of this commitment to free speech that we have once against ensured that Mr. Jones’ motion is not debated. After all, we are all for debate and free speech, but only if it suits our purposes and doesn’t contravene one of the 731 rules, of which 241 are contradictory, which are needed to propose a motion”.
The motion, which would say that bribery, which is not currently permitted in Union elections, would be extended to the act of buying alcohol for voters and telling them that it is a reward for voting the right way, has met serious opposition by many established members of the Union. “All that Mr. Jones’ motion would do would be to drive the practice of bribery with beer underground. People will still entice potential voters with a bit of booze if it were banned; at least this way it will be above ground,” said President-elect of the Union, Nicholas Farkas, Magdalen College.
The motion is opposed by both of the candidates for President this term, Mr. Alasdair Webster, New College, and Mr. Henry Sawyer, Corpus Christi College, as well by numerous present and past officers and members of Standing and Secretary’s Committee.
When pressed for comment about the motion and claims that not debating it was proof of the Union’s commitment to free speech, Mr. Jones said “That is complete bollocks. I mean, not debating is the opposite of free speech, right? Or have I gone mad? And bribery is bad—like, we want out elections to be won on merit, and not by whoever has the most money and the largest tabs, right?”
As of press, the President of the Union, Mr. Montefiore, remains committed to debating the motion, saying that it has been scheduled to be debated as soon as fifth week of Trinity Term, 2131.