Own goal?

Is this the way to win a debate? Or did Gabriel Latner score an own goal?

The blogoshere is full of the Canadian Jewish student who put one over, the difficult not to use swear words when describing, Lauren Booth. Or would have had he actually delivered the brilliant speech he had written. It’s definitely worth reading.

On one hand I’m a little envious of the ploy. When I was in high school I played tennis fairly well; held a place on the soccer team until I reached my peak about age 14 and should never have been allowed on a cricket pitch but I was a very strong competitive debater.  It’s a sport even though it pretends to prepare you for life, or at least parliamentary life. Actually it prepares you to argue convincingly on any topic, even if you argued equally convincingly on the opposite side of the topic the day before. Tricks, such as redefining the topic to your favour, and sledging† are quite acceptable.

On the other hand I am completely envious of 19 yr old Cambridge student, Gabriel Latner ease with words.  Having tricked his way on to the affirmative side in the Cambridge University Union debate on the motion that “Israel is a rogue state” on October 21st he would have redefined the topic in such a way as to make ‘rogueness’ a positive, desirable thing and delivered a powerful pro Israel message.

So what happened?

According to reports Latner turned to Booth and said, “I am going to nail you to the fucking wall up there.” Booth, may not be a competitive debater but she is no shrinking violet either, immediately complained and Latner was escorted off the premises and told him he was banned for life for disrupting a Union event and verbally abusing a guest on the Society’s premises.

The President of the Cambridge Union, is quoted as saying, “His decision to verbally abuse one of our female guests using sexual language has done enormous levels of harm to the reputation of our Union, as well as crossing all boundaries of basic human decency“.

“I should remind our members that our speakers participate for free because of our reputation, and that anybody personally connected to Lauren Booth will now almost certainly avoid us like the plague. This includes, amongst many others, Cherie Booth and Tony Blair.

Was James Counsell brought up in a bubble?

I would have given him the coveted Five Minutes for Israel red clown nose but I couldn’t find an online photo. Nailed to the wall was not used as sexual language.  No doubt Latner, as a law student, will refer to numerous Internet definitions, Said of a bug finally eliminated after protracted, and even heroic, effort [like a trophy].‡

As to the ‘F’ word. Inappropriate yes. Crossing all boundaries of basic human decency? If Latner had pulled out a pistol and shot Lauren Booth in the heart the language would still be exaggerated.

So now the extended Booth/Blair family will snub the Cambridge Union? L.O.L. Apart from the apparently strained relations between the Lauren Booth and the Blairs can anyone seriously think an insulting remark will deter Cherie or Tony if they want to be there? Right back in the bubble!

Gabriel Latner should have apologised. He is a debater AND a law student, so no one expected the apology to be sincere. Apologised and gave a brilliant speech that would have nailed Booth and the Israel haters to the wall.

Correction: It has been brought to our attention that apparently Mr. Latner was ejected and banned after giving his speech – and nailing Lauren Booth to the wall. He will be appealing the ban on several grounds. Stay tuned.


† Sledging – psyching out your opponent before a sporting contest. May be an Australianism.
‡ To my surprise there is a sexual practise known as ‘nailing to the wall’ (look it up, yourselves!). Perhaps Mr. Counsell does venture out of his bubble, occasionally?

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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