The Instigator
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7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

It's time the British Government repealed the 1807 Slave Trade Abolition Act.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,349 times Debate No: 5716
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




This archaic Act of Parliament is now over two hundred years old and no longer reflects the reality on the ground in modern Britain. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that privateers should be allowed to send ships over to Africa to round up the natives, transport them back to the UK and force them to work in miserable conditions for no pay; that would be very wrong indeed.

Instead, what I propose is a scheme that would make real improvements to the lives of the tens of thousands of financially and socially disadvantaged people who currently sleep rough on Britain's streets and who have to beg passers-by for money to survive. By providing homeless people with secure accommodation and decent meals in return for an honest day's work, these unfortunate individuals can restore their sense of self worth and begin to look forward to a brighter future.

Licensed companies should be allowed to tour the streets, round up all the vagabonds, tramps and other vagrants and transport them back to holding centres to be sorted and processed before being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Not only would this scheme be of enormous benefit to the homeless people and their masters, but also make Britain a more attractive and less intimidating place for tourists and business people to visit.

Naturally, these forced-labour traders will have to invest some time and money in their stock before selling them on. New arrivals in the holding centres will have to be stripped, hosed down and given a clean uniform to wear before being fed and watered. Some may also require medical attention or have to be treated for drug or alcohol abuse.

Once the inmates' health and fitness have been restored to a reasonable level and they have been made to look presentable, they could be offered for sale at adapted cattle markets around the country.

Potential purchasers could include prosperous families seeking domestic help, farmers looking for agricultural workers and factory-owners requiring affordable labour in order to compete with companies from China, India and the Philippines.

Britain is falling behind the very many countries around the world that take advantage of the competitive edge that slavery gives them (1) and it's high time we started to catch up. In order to do this, however, the British Government must first repeal the 1807 Slave Trade Abolition Act and I hereby commend this long overdue proposal to the House.

Thank you.



Firstly thank you to my opponent for this intriguing topic of discussion. As what he is proposing is the essential "capture" of free men and women and enslaving them and not the voluntary working agreement or even indentured servitude of past I have to disagree with his position.

In any society that proposes to be "democratic" the first precept is freedom. John Locke put it best when he stated "All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." His concept of a people who are not governed by those given divine right is one of the founding principles of my nation (though not fully recognized until much later) and what allows men to pursue success or failure as is their right. The idea that another person could somehow govern another in a "well cultured" and "humane" manner is ideological and against basic human nature. There will be no doubt there will be those who treat the slave in a just and fair manner however others will mistreat and abuse the power of control as with any position of power or governance.

Since only the wealthiest of the society will be the ones controlling the very poor I find it a skew into the negative direction of further devisiveness and perfect platform for tyranny to take root. By only the very rich controlling more power than they already do this will create positive feedback loop developing more poor and there by more slaves. Do not underestimate the greed of man for even the most benevolent fall to temptation and can rationalize wrong as right. I have personal experience with this in a corporate environment. The further up the ladder one gets and more power s/he attains the black and white notion of right and wrong becomes blurred into shades of grey and since the wealthy are the ones in control who would be the ones to stop them from further abuse of power.

Furthermore in cases of history it is true that some of the greatest societies have been built on the backs of slaves of the empires who rulled them but those societies were eventually consumed with greed and destroyed by the vast divide in wealth from rich to poor. Every slave owning empire had a revolt against the shackles of slavery. You refer to them as inmates and have not set any time that they could leave on thier own will so I assume you mean that this 'sentence' is to be indefinite. Are they to have children born into slavery thus creating a permanent resupply? If this is the case does this not violate the precept that we are ALL born free? Define "improvements to life" as I am unclear on what or who sets what is a good life. I would say that if the system you propose is on a strictly voluntary sense I would agree that it could be an improvement for both parties and would not lead to violence or resistance as both parties enter of thier own accord and people of ALL backgrounds would have access to free help so long as they are able to supply the basic needs of life (shelter, warmth, food and water). I have proposed this argument when dealing with the illegal immigrant situation in the past as it would reduce many of the problems that occur when people live as criminals.

You have a unique situation in Brittain as it is an island that has little room for expansion and frontier for the vagrants to live outside of the shackles of society but even here in Florida where we have VAST untapped land and resources that could make for a sufficient living as a hunter gatherer or land based society we have bums that occupy our streets. What I propose in return is a training facitlity that either cleans them up and presents them to "adult adoptoption" facilities or teaches them basic survival needs and presents them with the opportunity to live in governmentally controlled land that is abundant with the neccessary resources for survival. All men who lack the control of thier own destiny, even if it is only a percieved control, will resist and become violent it is a basic psychological principle. The resistance may be squashed with sufficient "enforcement" but if people have to be forced to submit this would violate your first statement that thier lives have "improved."
Debate Round No. 1


I offer my thanks to my opponent for his considered objections to my proposal, but before I respond, I should like to relate the following true story.

Not so long ago, I spent a couple of years living in Aberdeen, a city located on the northeast coast of Scotland. The winters there are very harsh, with biting winds blowing in straight off the North Sea and with heavy snowstorms that block all but the major roads to traffic. One particularly dark and bitterly cold day, I read an article in the evening newspaper about a young Polish girl who had come to the "granite city" to find work. However, having been unsuccessful, and having no recourse to public funds, she was forced to live on the icy granite streets. It transpired that the previous night, the poor girl's body had given up the unequal struggle with the penetrating cold and her frozen corpse had been found that morning reposing in the foetal position in a shop doorway on Union Street.

Now, what do you think John Locke's words would have meant to that miserable young woman on the night she froze to death? Would she have taken any comfort from the knowledge that she was dying "equal and independent" with her fellow man? Or would she perhaps have taken more comfort from a bowl of hot stew and a nice, warm bed?

You see, this 17th century English philosopher's words are, superficially, noble and worthy, but we should remember he was born into an extremely privileged family and received the very best education money could buy, so had no personal experience of the abject poverty that the wretched masses had to endure in those days. To the majority of his contemporaries, his words would have been hollow and meaningless – the only thing most people were concerned with at the time was where their next meal was coming from.

Things have moved on a bit now and we now have a social security benefits system, but some people, for various reasons, still slip through the net and find themselves living on the streets.

I refer now to my opponent's accurate analysis of laissez-faire societies such as Britain and the US where he rightly points to the disparity between rich and poor (it is even worse in Britain where over 50% of the wealth is owned by less than 5% of the population). However, I cannot agree with his apocalyptic prediction of civil unrest if my plan were to be implemented.

Whilst it is true that some slaves would end up in the homes of aristocrats and corporate fat cats, the less desirable ones, the ones with serious mental health problems or the physically infirm, would have to be sold off cheap. Perhaps farmers could buy sub-prime examples to use as live scarecrows? Or country landowners could pad-out physically fit, but mentally ill specimens and use them as surrogate quarry for the hounds to chase now that foxhunting is banned? The list of applications is endless but one thing is for sure, all this cheap labour will help the country compete more effectively in a low-wage global economy.

My opponent then asked me to define "improvements to life". By this I mean the access to shelter, warmth, food and water, which my opponent referred to in the same paragraph in which he wrote that any such arrangement between master and slave should be entered into by mutual agreement.

The trouble with this is, most homeless people are incapable of making sound decisions for themselves, either as a result of addiction or mental illness, which is why it is morally-permissible to employ snatch-squads to remove them from the streets for their own good.

Now, before I close, I would like to address the interesting alternative proposals my opponent suggested for the bums in Florida. Actually I have a lot of family living in the Tampa Bay area so I visit Florida quite regularly. I have to say that I haven't seen many vagrants there. Perhaps my opponent is confusing them with British tourists?

Anyway, he has two schemes. If I understand his ideas correctly, the first proposal is "adult adoption" whereby vagabonds are spruced up a bit and families are offered them keep them as human pets. I'm not sure this would work though. Vagabonds are not usually very cute and cuddly and who would want to come home to find a filthy tramp lying on the couch in a pool of his own urine, slurping your best scotch straight out of the bottle?

His second proposal is to release them into the wild. This has more chance of success, at least in Florida where there is plenty of space. I only wonder if there will be conflicts with the Seminole Native American tribes on their neighbouring reservations? Perhaps they would violently resist these newcomers, just as they did when the first colonists arrived?

So, in the round, we can see that my proposal is an eminently sensible one and bound to be a huge success. Its only impediment is the 1807 Slave Trade Abolition Act, which the British Government should repeal without any undue delay.

Thank you.


I thank you for the good bit of humor this morning, your imagery toward the end made pleasant what was a tragedy in the beginning.

The story of the girl in Aberdeen was very touching. To think of such a condition I could not imagine, but I do have to ask one simple question: in all of this story did any one stop and offer a hand and say "Come find warmth and shelter I will feed you and in return you can do chores and help me in my home?" Was there also no church that would accept her in, or a nunnery which she could join? You see, the options are out there for survival and though tragic as her story is, there have been those in much more perilous conditions who where able to survive and I do not believe that because a few are unsuccessful at survival we should go around snatching up everyone we see who is scruffy on the street and force them into slavery.

You speak of the majority of vagrants being unfit mentally or unable to make a decision based on addiction and with that I would wholly agree, however who do you propose would want a mentally ill person running about in their homes. If they are unfit for work to begin with, and usually that is the reason why they end up on the street, then how productive would they really be in advancing society forward. If they are truly so far gone as you say that they do not think enough to able to enter into a contract with another to survive or improve their lives than are you truly "improving" their lives?

I have given much thought to the possibility of leaving the slavery of society and actually being able to do for my self and live off the land if hell where to break loose and another depression where to happen, would then I be rounded up and forced into slavery simply for a life choice of where I want to live? I am of sound enough mind to either choose to survive in the open as we did for over hundred thousand years before civilization or choose to survive in a society where one is defined by wealth and his status. I feel that while it is a problem dealing with them in your city and suitable areas should be allocated where they will not find access to easy drugs (unless they cultivate pot) or the booze and let nature take its course. Obviously some will not be able to make it and some will, eliminating bad seeds from the gene pool.

I still have not heard any description of exactly who qualify as a slave. I take it to assume you mean ALL of them. What are the requirements for those who actually have a family that are living with them on the streets? Are they to be split up as was the case here in American history.

I have the feeling by your tone you do not actually believe in this argument but do so for contention which I commend you for, but please understand that coming from a country where slavery was ended over 140 years ago the scars still run deep to this day though I wish would could get past it. Slavery was a horrible blight on our nation and I believe what you propose is a slippery slope that does and has created a hatred of ones captures especially if unwilling to go quietly. I do not know how you would propose that we break them and domesticate them but I imagine it involves corporal punishment. And as for the foxhunts using humans I don't see how hunting them improves their lives at ALL.

As for your argument regarding the Seminoles they are busy managing thier Hard Rock Cafe & Casinos world wide and are for the most part no longer living deep in the swamps on the run from the government even though their as never been a peace treaty declared. Our state just bought back 1.6million acres of US Sugar land and now are proposing how to use it and convert it back to the way it was or at least be able to properly return the drainage back to the everglades. We have much unused land in this country and what I propose as a compromise to your idea is that in return for their efforts in community projects and certain amount of time laboring for the state you earn a chunk of land.
Debate Round No. 2


The story of the girl in Aberdeen is tragic because it's not unusual for homeless people to perish on the streets. The only reason it made the news was because she was young and a girl. Unfortunately, every other doorway on Union Street has a vagrant sleeping rough in it, society becomes hard-hearted; the public can't take them all in every night. Something else needs to take the homeless away from their miserable existence and since the government and charities can't or won't help, that just leaves the licensed slave traders.

From his response, tt seems my opponent is contemplating going feral and living of the fat of the land. Since I assume he proposes to do this in the lush tropical savannas and flatwoods of sunny Florida I doubt he would be at risk from British people-traffickers, who will concentrate their efforts on rescuing the homeless from the inner-city streets in the UK. Good luck to him, if decides to go ahead with it, by the way. With a few tools and weapons it should be easily possible to survive – wild fruits such as prickly-pears and paw-paws abound (and he can always go scrumping in Tropicana's orange groves as well) and he could hunt swamp rabbits, wild hogs, raccoons, alligators and ducks for meat. I suggest, however, he doesn't acquire a taste for manatee, though, as this may land him in trouble with the authorities!

In answer to my opponent's question regarding families: as far as I know, there are no families living on the streets of Britain because the local authorities have a statutory obligation to house them, no matter what their circumstances are or how much it costs. For example, it was revealed last week that one particular single mother from Afghanistan receives �170,000 ($340,000) a year in rent and benefit payments from the local council.

Regarding my opponent's question regarding unwilling captives. I'm sure he has seen wild horses being broken in, well; similar tactics will be employed to help unco-operative homeless people see how futile resistance would be.

With reference to the Red Indians, it was a great disappointment to me when I first visited Florida to discover that the Seminoles were no longer living in wigwams, dancing around totem poles, chucking tomahawks about and generally whooping a lot, and had instead turned their attentions to fast food outlets and gambling emporia. Still, most of the traditional double-decker buses and red telephone boxes have disappeared from London's streets in a similar way. What a shame. Still, life moves on, I suppose.

Anyway, if my opponent decides not to become the Wild Man of the Everglades, perhaps he would like to help me start a licensed slave-trading company instead?

How about:

Land of Lackies Ltd. - "Your first choice for serfs, coolies and slaves".

What do you think?


Seminoles never had wigwams or totem poles they lived in Chickees and actually did aquire a taste for manatee since the are warmblooded mammal taste a lot like cow from what I hear. The word "Seminole" is in fact a creek word for runaway and thier tribes were comprised of a high number of runaway slaves from the South. ( Definition # 3

Your point of stating that the slave captures be licensed businesses suggests that it would not be a government capture squad but somehow a profitable business which i would suspect would lead to all sorts of shiftiness and manipulation of who could be captured. Possibly someone is just walking down the street and much like a dog catcher gets netted. Perhaps this guy is just some old hippie that came over from Amsterdam for some fish and chips and to take a walk down Abbey Road and recreate a Beatles moment, then BAM netted up like a fish. A little bit of legal wrangling later and a lost passport and docs and guess what - vagrant! As absurd as it may seem this is not entirely too far from the truth. South America has a problem with girls being traded into the sex slave trade and transported far from home with no docs and could not even leave because they were in unfamiliar territory.

I am not saying that the homeless are not a problem and it is true that in this "tropical savana" as he calls it (which was described by Andrew Jackson's soldier as "absolute hell" and that if the Seminoles wanted let them have it_ it may fair better than say the winters of London, I doubt he has ever been to the Glades in August or seen what Hurricane force winds can do especially while living through them, however when you open the door for corporations who exist to continue to exist and do so through profit, to not expect a serious problem arrise when you start running low on supply and need to fill demand. Since I am unfamiliar with laws elsewhere i can only speak from personal experience here that we DO have children and moms as well as dads on the streets and many of those still coherent.

According to World Socialist Web ( ) there are some 380,000 homless throughout Britain and that number is pretty astounding. Considering that Britain is a fairly dense population already at 60,943,912 or roughly working out to be 654 people per square mile or 254 per square kilometer ( compared to here where even though we have the 4th highest population per state at 18,251,243 we still are only at 278 people per square mile or approx 108 people per square kilometer. ( Our homeless popluation was approx 83,400 throughout our state or approx 1.25 per square mile compared with Britain at approx 4.1 per square mile. Having a little over 3 times that of here I would ask that shouldn't Britain be looking at the cause rather than treating a symptom?

I may be confused as to whether than purpose of my opponents debate is to "improve" thier condition or whether or not he is looking at profiting by exploiting the poor and would ask that serious thought be given to whether or not it may be in the best interest for his country to instead begin conquering up lands again and utilizing the homeless there or possibly chemical castration for half the youths to curb further population growth. I propose a lottery system be devised as it would seem only the fairest means to decide that. And by starting a war you could take care of this over population problem by having many youths die in glorious combat! If I was president I would sell you our share of the war in Iraq for only a small profit but just think of all the population control that England could benefit from.

I will give serious thought to your offer of a share of this new business venture and would very much consider the opportunity to create a franchise here. I will discuss it with my non wigwam living friends at the Casino this weekend while drinking a guiness and contributing a $1.00 each spin at the slots. If interested we have many unused lands and could harvest many a good crop of homeless, but only on the condition they have thier frontal lobes removed first, cant have the mentally ill trying to have sex with a manatee you know.
Debate Round No. 3
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Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
My first debate finished, exciting to see the votes the first time!!
Posted by constitutionfirst 8 years ago
I forgot to add in there our dog size mosquitos and furious amounts of ticks! And yes I have tried some of our wild game and it can be tasty if prepared right! Softshell turtle is a specialty.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
I can't remember, PoeJoe, anyway, I have taken it off.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
Just out of curiosity, Brian, what is your "age and/or rank criteria"?
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