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The rules of the debate

Though called a debate, this was not debate in the commonly understood sense of the term.

By Jay Elwes  

At around 11:45 am a debate was called in the main conference hall by Keith Vaz, who was chairing proceedings. At his announcement a great number of enthused delegates rose to their feet in the hope of being chosen to speak. He asked them in pained tones to sit back down again and refrain from waving umbrellas and parrots. Parrots?

“You remember my rules from yesterday,” said Vaz, “no parrots.” A hint of menace entered into the usually mellifluous voice.

Though called a debate, this was not debate in the commonly understood sense of the term. A series of speakers took…

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