Entering into the heat of debate

Mary Gatenby U6 writes: It is sometimes said that ‘debate is masculine, conversation is feminine’ [Alcott], but last term’s debating season has certainly proved this saying false. Coming up against our Winchester College rivals in the first round of the ESU Mace debating competition, our head to head show down left St Swithun’s in the lead, winning the motion ‘This House would make fining proportional to the wealth of the offender’. As a result, we beat King Edward VI and Bournemouth Girls’ Grammar to progress, with the college, into the second round.  Unfortunately, this success was short lived, with our team managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, in the second round at Marlborough College. It was on good terms, however, that the two teams parted after seven years of debating rivalry. 

We also attended the Oxford Union British Parliamentary style debate, where teams were given ten minutes to prepare for each motion, including ‘This House would give the secret services license to kill dictators, war lords and dangerous fugitives’ and ‘This House would mandate that parental leave be shared equally between partners’. It was a successful competition, with both teams showing their ability to argue their way out of tight corners, for ‘those who cannot understand how to put their thought on ice should not enter into the heat of debate’ [Nietzsche].

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