MG & MO speeches:
The second constructive speech for both teams is where the arguments really develop and the clash occurs. Both speakers must develop their partner’s arguments and patch up the holes that the other team has battered in them. While you are listening to the opening speaker for the other team, try to think beyond the obvious responses that your partner will (probably) make. Think about arguments on a deeper level, whether it be by challenging the logical links or the underlying philosophies. Your partner has done the carpet bombing, now it’s time for you to launch the smart missiles to where they can do the most damage.
Member of Government:
- Respond to the LO’s independent points first. Either dismantle their arguments logically (show why they're not true), or play down their significance by contrasting them with more compelling arguments from your side of the case. Better yet, do both!
- Deal with the LO’s responses to your PM’s arguments. Extend and elaborate as necessary.
- Never concede the superiority of an opposition argument. If you're convinced that they're right on one point, don't try to make a token refutation; attempting to discredit something which is obviously true just destroys your credibility. The way to handle such a situation is to grant it some validity but to compare it to government concerns that far outweigh it.
- If the LO dropped an argument, point it out, restate the argument (preferably in a new way) and explain why it is important. The last part is extremely important! Claiming that an argument was missed is nice, but if the judge thinks it is a stupid or inconsequential argument, it won't make too much difference.
- Make sure you spend enough time on your case, instead of rebutting the LO’s independent points for 7 minutes.
- Really good cases will have enough strong points that you can save one for the MG. A new point here can make the case much stronger, as well as screwing with the MO's head. Be careful, though - don't seem like you're unfairly reinterpreting the case.
To be an effective MG, you must listen carefully to the LO's speech - particularly his or her independent points - and figure out what general approach they are going to take to attacking your case. A good opp team will be developing their own philosophy, and if you don't preemptively undermine it in your MG speech the opposition will have 12+ minutes to cement their view in the mind of the judge. Be careful: it's very easy to concentrate on individual arguments, one at a time, without thinking about how they're all connected. They may have misunderstood your intent, or they may be (more likely) intentionally shifting your arguments to a different context; either way, if you're not careful, it can be deadly. Make sure you debate your case on your grounds.
Member of Opposition:
- Defend your LO’s independent points before going case-side. It’s your job to flesh out the arguments that your partner has made—explain the logic, add examples etc. If the MG missed or conceded an LO point, go after it!
- Try not to MO-dump (make a lot of new arguments never stated by the LO). If you have new arguments to bring up, link them to the responses that your partner has already made.
- Try to swing the debate in your favor by interpreting the case on YOUR grounds not the government’s, i.e. focus more on the harms of their policy. However, make sure you spend adequate time covering case-side, mopping up any points your partner may have missed.
As the last speaker in the round, the MO will have had a (comparatively) vast amount of prep time. Take advantage of every one of those 23+ minutes to analyze the government's case and figure out what the real problems are. The LO should leave you a broad framework and philosophy from which to challenge the case, now it's your job to expand and deepen this analysis. You should be doing more than reiterating the LO. It's your job to weigh the arguments on each point and show why your view is superior. Clarify the opposition philosophy. Finally, make sure to watch out for any trickery in the MG: new points, case shifts, or the setup for a collapsing case. If you address these in your speech, it'll make things a lot easier for the LOR.
A good reply speech can swing a round, against all odds, so its importance cannot be overstated. A reply speaker is supposed to summarize the main areas of debate that have occurred in the round. Think of 3 questions the judge should be asking him/herself when trying to decide who deserves to win the round. Those questions are your points of crystallization. Although it should seem evident what these areas of clash are, a good reply speaker should try to frame the debate in the best way possible for his/her team. Tell the judge explicitly why you should win! If you don't give the judge a way to weigh arguments, he or she will have to come up with one, and it's likely to not be what you want or even what you expect. It’s all about structure and summarizing (I’ll explain in class what this means). Lastly, remember that new arguments are not allowed but new examples are always welcome!
Leader of the Opposition Rebuttal:
- Don't repeat points your partner just made!
- Start with a broad summary of the two different philosophies, and show why yours is stronger.
- Spend the final 3 minutes summarizing, weighing, and impacting your crystallization points. Try to predict what the PM will focus on in their speech, and preempt their arguments.
Prime Minister’s Rebuttal:
- You had the first word and now you have the last, so don’t waste it!
- You can take a minute or so to rebut new analysis that came up in the MO’s speech. I prefer to incorporate this in my points of crystallization but sometimes it might be better to lead off with that. Be flexible.
- Bring the debate back to your terms—remind the judge about your policy and the problem it’s meant to solve.