Last Friday saw the first Senior Debating event of the academic year, with a range of pupils in action, both familiar and new. The standard was very high, particularly when one considered the cheese and wine on offer.
In the first motion ‘This House proposes that capitalism is the greatest barrier to human progress in the 21st century’, Mr Slade and Jimmy Gleeson argued the case for the proposition eloquently, focusing on the ills that a capitalist philosophy can inflict on the general population and society as a whole. Opposing the motion were Evan Little and Mr Wilkes, who cited some of the potential benefits of capitalism, parodied ‘The Life of Brian’, and suggested some alternative candidates (such as religious zeal and the limits of our own evolution) as bigger potential barriers. The opposition narrowly won the floor vote and adjudication, but the audience were given much to think about.
In the second motion, an all-pupil team of Max Thomas, Pollyanna Harris and Johnny Coniam proposed that ‘This House believes that compulsory worship should not exist in schools’. Their arguments were rigorous, nuanced and wide ranging, making a very strong case for the dangers of forced collective worship. Opposing the motion, Mrs Montgomery, Alice Deasy and Max Chatterji made very well laid-out counter arguments regarding the many positive benefits of communal worship for believers, non-believers and the undecided. This debate generated a great deal of impassioned questioning and comment from the floor and challenged all the debaters to think on their feet in response to some occasionally forthright grilling. In the end, the proposition just claimed both the floor vote and the adjudication.
Director of Sixth Form Studies, Matt Wilkes, said, “As with all these things, there is no definitively right answer, and that is why they are such fun to debate and generate so much interest. It was a fantastic opportunity for both the participants and the audience to broaden their thinking and engage in what can be controversial issues. A huge thank you to Mr Hole for his excellent and considered adjudication. We look forward to another evening of cheese and wine (and perhaps some more debating) next term.”