World champions debate Scottish independence

Published: 18 November 2011

The Glasgow University Union (GUU) is hosting a debate on Scottish independence on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the World debating championships.

The Glasgow University Union (GUU) hosted a debate on Scottish independence on 19th November to mark the 30th anniversary of the World debating championships.

The debate, sponsored by the Herald and STV who broadcast the event online, was watched by an audience of over 700 people in the union’s debating chamber.

STV News: GUU debate celebrates 30 years of world class debating

All of the speakers were former world champions, pitted against one another in what was been billed as a ‘battle of the champions’.

In proposition of the motion that this House believes in an independent Scotland, was journalist, John Nicolson, Frank McKirgan, lawyer, Manus Blessing and Scotland on Sunday journalist, Duncan Hamilton.

In opposition, is Director of McKinsey and Company’s UK Offices, Kevin Sneader,  Vice President of P&G, Austin Lally, Gordon Peterson and Managing Director at Bain Capital, Robin Marshall.

Individual closing speeches were given by the University of Glasgow’s Head of the College of Art, Professor Murray Pittock and Clark McGinn, former Convener of Debates at the University of Glasgow and founder of the World Debating Competition.

The University has an unrivalled record in international championships. It has won the ‘Worlds’ championship a record five times, and also holds a record eighteen titles for the John Smith Memorial Mace.

Chris Sibbald, President of the Glasgow University Union said “Glasgow University Union is delighted to be marking the 30th anniversary of Worlds with this prestigious event; whilst also recognising GUU’s sustained success in the international arena. I look forward to hearing the arguments on both sides about this topical and important issue. Given the high calibre of the speakers, it will make for a great occasion.”

Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow said “The University of Glasgow is extremely proud of its debating history and success throughout the years.  This event is a great opportunity to celebrate these achievements and to hear exceptionally gifted speakers debate an issue of great importance to the future of Scotland.” 

 To watch extended coverage of the debate, go to


For more information contact Cara MacDowall in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3535; 07875 203387 or email

First published: 18 November 2011