Bede’s EU Referendum Debates Invigorate and Inform
On Tuesday 20th April, Bede’s Politics and Economics society held an EU referendum debate in the Recital Room, with the event forming the corner stone of Bede’s very own EU referendum.
The debate was incredibly successful and entertaining, with almost 100 students and teachers attending. Everyone was astounded by not only the quality of ideas and debate, but the passion in which all of the speakers talked with.
With Mr Lewis posing as David Dimbleby for the evening, both the Remain and Leave campaigns were asked four questions. After a one minute opening statement the floor was opened to debate.
The first question, ‘How will the outcome of the vote affect Britain’s influence on the world stage?’ focused on the potential impact of Brexit on Britain’s influence on international bodies such as NATO and the WTO. From the off, it was clear to see that there was no lack of passion from both sides.
As many would have guessed, the issue of immigration was raised early in the debate with the second question ‘Will Britain be economically weaker or stronger as a result of leaving the EU?’ Furthermore, both sides argued the issue of trade furiously supporting their claims with relative evidence. However, there was a refreshing sense that political allegiances were being put aside.
Given the recent Parisian and Belgian terror attacks, the significance of the third question ‘Will Britain be a safer and more secure place to live after the referendum?’ was clear. Issues debated were our position in security organisations as well as the safety of our borders.
It was clear to see that the final question ‘Should all laws be made by national parliaments?’ was heavily anticipated. The leave campaigners, James Wrigglesworth and Talisker Cornford, relished the opportunity to highlight the importance of regaining total sovereignty, and the potential impact of this on future generations.
Then, the audience were given the opportunity to launch questions at all four debaters. I think it’s fair to say that the Out campaigners were somewhat bombarded. The most testing of questions coming from Henry Raev, who challenged Talisker and James to find a reason why his little cousin in Bulgaria doesn’t deserve funding from the UK and the EU.
Additionally, several questions were made by the foreign students within the school about what their position could be in the future as they are from countries within the EU with poorer education provision, as well as questions concerning employment, immigration and national security.
After the debate the audience were asked the question, ‘Who do you think won the debate?’ Despite James and Talisker debating with composure, passion and some very well rationed arguments, Ollie and Chris, Bede’s latest political power couple emerged victorious, potentially with their experience and, dare I say it, political nous edging them through.
After the success of Tuesday’s debate, there is a real sense of excitement about the whole school vote on Friday, and many look forward to seeing the outcome.