Debate Club began the year in the traditional way with the final of last term’s debating competition. James Sweeney and Jonah Rodgus had battled their way to the top by winning debates on ‘voluntourism’, tax avoidance and three-parent babies; whilst their opponents, Khalid Ibrahim and Shereef Adewale, had triumphed arguing for staying in the EU, maintaining our drugs laws and lowering the voting age to 16. The subject of the final debate was ‘Offence is not a valid reason for censorship’ and the arguments were complex and compelling. Mr Boyns, one of the judges, said “I found it very difficult to separate the two sides in what was a high quality debate. I was particularly impressed by the ability of the teams to respond to questions that they had very little time to prepare for,” while Ms Warburg commented that both sides were strongly persuasive with calm reasoning and well-structured arguments. In the final judgement, Jonah and James, who spoke for the motion, were awarded the title of Loreto champions – although the audience voted narrowly to defeat the motion.
The new lower sixth have already made their mark on Debate Club, with over 100 attending the first debate. They are signing up in healthy numbers to speak in this term’s debates, on topics as varied as vegetarianism, capital punishment and Trident missiles. Although some have debated before at school, many are speaking in front of a large audience for the first time – we wish them luck and hope they find it an inspiring and enjoyable experience.
Loreto Debaters have been enjoying listening to some excellent debates at ‘Discuss’. In early September the topic was ‘This is the age of political easy answers’, featuring MPs Douglas Carswell and Tristram Hunt. Later that month students took part in a debate on economics, discussing whether ‘the market will save us’, an experience that certainly inspired student Daniel Johnston, who was moved to comment: “The trip was fantastic, it gave me an opportunity to watch professionals debate and I learnt skills which I will use in my own debating.” Reflecting on the same event William Huynh felt that: “It was very eye-opening…I enjoyed it very much,” whilst Economics student Aron Rajasingham found “….the discussion about the markets was very intriguing to me…” Hamss Dawood enjoyed being “able to witness first- hand the frankly evasive and complex nature of intense political debate; it allowed me to feel involved, something that many outreach programmes have failed to do.”