Instigator / Pro

The UK is greater than France.


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Three days
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One week
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~ 145 / 5,000

There is 1 rule, you must agree on this definition of Great: "markedly superior in character or quality "

The definition is intentionally broad

Round 1
WW=World wide.

Just want to start with many facts that prove the UK is greater than France.

The British economy is larger by nominal GDP.

Britain's wealth per person is larger.

The UK is the 8th freest nation WW, but France is 32nd.

The UK is more influential than France.

The UK is the strongest nation by soft power WW.

The UK has a lower homicide rate.

The UK may rank slightly lower than France when observing the raw numbers of military might, but this doesn't account for how skilled these forces are. Britain has the best trained special forces WW.

Also, Britain holds more manpower fit for service, although there are many factors that dictate military might, I find this very important. 

The UK exports many times more oil than France. We've seen what oil shortages can do in times of war with the Germans in WW2 for example.

Staying on the topic of military, Britain has a more powerful navy, couldn't they blockade France? Even though both nations during wartime would demolish each other completely, this would still potentially help.

The British hold many times more oil reserves. This proves how in times of war, the British with their larger economy and larger quantities of oil would allow them to win a war of attrition with France. However, if there truly was a war between the two, both nations would be completely destroyed, there would be no winner. Not to mention how out of fashion war is. None of the 44 largest economies have warred with each other since WW2.

The British have a dollar which is quite a bit stronger than the French dollar, this would make the cost of importing goods much cheaper, this would help the UK in a trade war, allowing them to purchase recourses and consumer goods to keep their nation sustainable.

France and the UK have parity in many areas, but in some areas France crushes the UK:

Geography -
France is 264% larger than the UK. The UK has land access to only Ireland and has only an Atlantic coast. France has land access to 6 major European countries and has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, the latter known as the French Riviera. (Pics ) This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas and contains some of the best beaches and resorts in Europe. The UK has nothing like this. When it comes to mountains, France has the French alps mountain range (Pics ) near the Italian border, containing Mont Blanc, which at 15,782 ft is the highest mountain in Western Europe. The highest point in the UK is 4,411 ft, not even one third as high. France has 10+ rivers which are longer than the UK's longest river, with several being more than 2 times as long.

Political system -
The UK's political system is undemocratic. First, there is the monarch who can veto acts of parliament, terminate legislative sessions, appoint and dismiss ministers, regulate the civil service, declare war, make peace, command the military, and negotiate and ratify treaties, alliances, and international agreements. Second, the upper house of the UK's legislature is the unelected "House of Lords".
The French political system is democratic. The French parliament is elected and the government is chosen by the parliament.

Electricity sector -
~75% of France's electricity is nuclear, more than any other country. That, combined with France's renewables, means that ~10% of France's electricity comes from fossil fuels. France's electricity production in 2017 was 523 Twh. Roughly half of the UK's electricity comes from fossil fuels. The UK's electricity production in 2017 was 323 Twh.

Agriculture -
"France has a usable agricultural area of nearly 74 million acres (30 million hectares), more than three-fifths of which is used for arable farming (requiring plowing or tillage), followed by permanent grassland (about one-third) and permanent crops such as vines and orchards (about one-twentieth)."
"The agricultural area used is 23.07 million acres (9.34 million hectares), about 70% of the land area of the United Kingdom. 36% of the agricultural land is croppable (arable), or 25% of the total land area. Most of the rest is grassland, rough grazing, or woodland." 

Tourism -
With 89 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, France is the most visited country worldwide and has been for years. UK tourist arrivals in 2018 were 36 million, which isn't even half as much.

Round 2
I'll address many points my opponent makes.

Tourism- Yes France attracts a lot of tourists, but how great is this? The French get 10% of it's GDP from tourism, but this is very fragile, after the terror attacks that took place in France, tourism plummeted. My source states. Paris has had some problems with tourism as well, "The TripAdvisor website found foreigners voted it the rudest city in Europe, and other researchers have reported that visitors thought it had the least friendly locals, the most unpleasant taxi drivers and the most." aggressive waiters."

Land access- You talk about land access, but being isolated protects Britain  and it's citizens from invasion. Again, look back to WW2 when the French were sitting right next to a power that killed more than half a million French citizens

Geography- French farming isn't very effective, France's farming industry isn't very modern. You talk about Mount Blanc, but "Mountainous terrain is tough to farm, costly to traverse, and often inhospitable to live in", so it's not so great to be more mountainous, in some ways it's actually bad.

Bad Democracy- Technically you're correct about the queen holding power on paper, but in reality, "the last time royal assent was refused in the UK was in 1708, when Queen Anne vetoed the Scottish Militia Bill", my source claims. So, this power isn't backed by anything. Also, "The monarch of the United Kingdom is, as are most contemporary monarchies, a historical artefact, with little (if any) political power, their role is largely ceremonial", my source claims.

Also, France was determined to be a flawed democracy, ranking 27th for how democratic they're society is, but Britain is 14th.

Energy- Nuclear plants are very expensive and dangerous. Also, France's monopoly energy company "Electricité de France" which provides energy to 88% of homes, reported they would have to shut down 18 of their 58 reactors. Here is my source. This source also claims many reactors had poor parts, imagine the damage a nuclear reactor breaking down would do to it's millions of people, Chernobyl after all of these years still isn't safe

Closing-The points my opponent brings up aren't as important in the grand scheme of things, wealth, freedom, and influence are what make America and other great nations revered, many points my opponent mentions have other factors that make them disadvantages, or ineffective/inefficient. 

I hope my opponent has found this debate to be productive and thought provoking as I have.

I will respond to Pro's round 2 arguments in round 3. Now I respond to Pro's round 1 arguments.
The areas cited by Pro carry little weight because these things are where France and the UK are roughly equivalent.
UK: 2.936 trillion USD France: 2.845 trillion USD - Merely 3% difference.
Wealth per capita:
UK: ~210,000 USD France: ~207,000 USD - Merely 1% difference
Pro's data comes from the "world freedom index" which is but one of many freedom indices. On other freedom indices France is ranked higher than the UK (e.g. )
The UK and France are similarly influential. Both are members of NATO, the EU, nuclear weapons states and both are permanent UN security council members. Both have populations of ~67 million. France has greater cultural influence than the UK -
Soft power:
France's soft power is similar to the UK's. France is even higher ranked in some lists. See -
Pro's source's ranking is based on "ranking through a yearly poll." This isn't an objective measurement. A more objective measurement provides the UK with an education score of 1500 and France with 1491. This is not a substantial difference.
Homicide rate:
UK: 1.20 France: 1.30 - This is not a substantial difference. The list goes from 0.00 to 61.80
France's lack of oil reserves and exports is countered by its hydroelectric power. This is an everlasting natural resource and France produces 63 Twh of hydropower annually. France exports 42 Twh (net exports) of electricity annually, making it the world's largest exporter of electricity.
Both the French and British navies are comparable.
UK // France
Sailors 33,280 // 36,331
Submarines 10 // 9
Aircraft carriers 1 // 1
Amphibious assault ships 2 // 3
Destroyers 6 // 10
Frigates 13 // 11
Patrol boats 18 // 17
Survey vessels 4 // 5
Value of currency:
The relative strength of currencies has no impact on greatness. It is GDP and net wealth that matters. 1 Swiss Franc = 109 Japanese Yen, but Japan's economy and wealth are far more substantial than Switzerland's.

Round 3
Economy- You mention how small the difference in wealth is, but that's annual measurements, a 3% difference, and 1% difference over the course of many years will add up. I did forget to look at GDP PPP, arguably a better measure of wealth than nominal GDP, Britain is still wealthier there.
Dollar strength- You state "The relative strength of currencies has no impact on greatness." So being able to purchase consumer goods more efficiently for your populous, which will help you in a trade war doesn't contribute to greatness.

Freedom-The measurements of your source are questionable, your source weights drug freedom the same as religious freedom. This puts nations like South Africa ahead of nations like Iceland, or nations like Russia and Columbia ahead of Japan. Do you truly believe that Iceland is less free than South Africa? Your source doesn't even look at freedom, but moral freedom instead.
Your source defines drug freedom like this. Drugs indicators: "How free is the production, trade and consumption of substances deemed harmful."

Education- Well my opponent concedes this point, but argues the difference is small, with Britain being 19th, and France being 23rd. But lets not forget academic accomplishments.

Academic accomplishments- The average British person is smarter than the average French person by IQ. Also, despite having a similar population, Britain holds more than 200% more Nobel prize winners. Also, Britain is the 5th most innovative nation, while France is the 16th.

Influence- Your source about cultural influence doesn't account for certain things that are very important. For example, English has been made the second most popular language as a result of Britain's greatness. Lets not forget that English is also spoken from every corner of the earth, while number 1 ranked Chinese isn't.

Energy- You consistently point to renewable energy, well the French do produce more renewable energy, but Britain is clearly doing well in the energy department as a whole. I say this because Britain exports more renewable energy than France. France puts too much emphasis on nuclear energy as well, it's too expensive and too dangerous for reasons listed in round 2.

Military- I think both me and my opponent agree a war between the two nations would result in no winner.

Sadly I'm low on characters, I'd like to thank Death23 for accepting and debating, my second favourite debate so far on this website.

I won't respond to Pro's round 3 because Pro can't respond to mine.
Tourism - Pro says the tourism advantage is unimportant, fragile and that Parisians are rude. Pro's statistic - 10% of GDP - suggests that tourism is important. The fragility claim is false. A 3 million drop is only a 4% reduction, and the tourists came back by 2017. That is resilience. Rudeness isn't relevant.
Land access -
Prior invasions don't matter. France's neighbors are allies except Switzerland. These allies protect France. The water protecting is hardly better than having powerful allies as neighbors.
Geography -
"France is the EU’s leading agricultural nation, accounting for more than one-fifth of the total value of output, and alone is responsible for more than one-third of the EU’s production of oilseeds, cereals, and wine. France also is a major world exporter of agricultural commodities, and approximately one-eighth of the total value of the country’s visible exports is related to agriculture and associated food and drink products." The value of mountains isn't farming. Pro dropped my points about size and the French Riviera.
Bad democracy -
Pro's source is a forum thread. My source is The Guardian. "[T]he royals are playing an active role in the democratic process". "[T]he power has been used to torpedo proposed legislation". For example, "the Queen completely vetoed the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999". "[M]inisters and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles" There is a monarch who has and used the powers I mentioned. It is repugnant. Pro has dropped my point about the House of Lords.
Energy -
Pro's source is GreenPeace. Nuclear has the lowest mortality rate per Twh; the lowest production cost; ) and doesn't contribute to climate change. Pro's claim that "Electricité de France [...] reported they would have to shut down 18 of their 58 reactors" is false. What happened was temporary outages at 18 plants. The article is 3 years old, and current figures from the IAEA indicate an improved situation. Pro's reference to Chernobyl isn't convincing. It was an isolated incident, and the reactor didn't have a containment structure, as western reactors do, which would have greatly mitigated the damages.
Pro argues that the points I brought up aren't that important. This claim is baseless.
The UK and France have parity in many areas, but France crushes the UK in several areas. This is sufficient to show that France is greater than the UK.