The Bowden Society provides rich extension opportunities for Dean Close’s Academic Scholars and highfliers. The Society meets regularly to discuss challenging topics and this term held its inaugural debate, with two motions debated over an accompaniment of wine and cheese.
The first was’This house proposes that Brexit is the best thing for Britain’. The proposition opened with a passionate socialist battle-cry from Head of English, Mrs Ledlie, claiming that the ‘Byzantine mess’ of the EU excluded too many; Hugo Till followed, usingcase studies to offer a mixture of moral arguments – the EU’s treatment of Greece and its ‘neo-colonialism’ in Kenya – and the failure of its economic agenda; Gabbie Sills concluded with a forceful, rhetoricallyable,and tightly organised summation. The opposition opened with Mrs Feltham offering a clear, factual explanation of how the EU actually works and aiming to overturn various misconceptions about its operation; Tom Foster put forward some economic arguments and engaged with Mrs Ledlie’s opening statement; Grace Starling concluded with thoughtful reflections on the points made. The floor vote was close with the proposition narrowly edging it. The adjudicators (myself and Mr Salisbury) felt that for cohesive teamwork and impressive individual performances, the proposition were the winners.
The second motion was ‘This house proposes that it is not possible to be a Conservative and a Christian’. Mr Slade opened for the proposition with an extremelyfunny and engaging economic retelling of the Parable of the Feeding of the 5000 (Jesus did not decide to profit from the situation of demand far exceeding supply), ending with a passionate appeal that ‘people matter’; Jason Richards argued that Conservatism maintains social order, whilst Jesus Christ was essentially about social unrest, and talked about the importance of universal brotherhood. Mrs Montgomery opened for the opposition, explaining that the opposition only needed to prove the statement possible, rather than desirable, and also noting that Christianity and Conservatism are both broad churches. Louis Morford then spoke, arguing that faith is more important, asthe Bible can be used and interpreted in all sorts of ways,and that personal acts of faith do not necessarily encroach on politics. One of the resulting questions from the floor was ‘Would J.C. vote J.C.?’ The vote was tied 18-18; the adjudicators felt that the range of arguments presented by the opposition were impressive, naming them the winners of this seconddebate.