Coming up next week….

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A debate, a charity gala, and a TV show. Debater and public speakers will be spoiled for choice in the next 8 days. Here’s a summary of what’s going on.

The Debate: This House is pleased by the rise of UKIP

Monday, 03 June – 7 pm – Old Bank of England, 194 Fleet St, EC4A 2LT

This Monday, our friends the Sylvans Debating Society return for their monthly debate (held on the first Monday of every month) the focus of which will be the recent success of anti-EU party, the UK Independence Part.

The debate will be a mano a mano contest between two of their distinguished members with audience members invited to offer their own opinions from the floor after the opening speeches.

Always a warm and welcoming environment for both the seasoned debater and the novice, we highly recommend you give this one a try

(admission free with voluntary contribution of £1 optional)

The TV Show: Live audience members needed for the Wright Stuff

Friday 07 June – 8.30 am – 12 pm – Whiteley’s shopping centre, Bayswater

Our budding friendship with morning show, the Wright Stuff, on Channel 5, continues to blossom as we have been invited back for a third time to fill up their studio with live audience members.

Come along and you will definitely get your face on the box (there’s only space for 20 people) and you might well be interviewed on live television also if you have something to say about the topic of debate, which is  selected on the day.

(Contact Tony Koutsoumbos at central.debating@gmail.com to register for the show)

The Charity Gala: 5×5 powerpoint presentation event

Tuesday 11 June – 7 pm – Ascham Room, Bloomsbury House

The 5×5 is brought to you by our good friends, the College of Public Speaking. The challenge: Present 5 powerpoint slides in five minutes on te theme of education. Designed to parody the ‘death by powerpoint’ culture and demonstrate what a well prepared presentation really looks like, the Gala will feature the finest line-up of public speakers in the Capital – don’t miss it!

(Entrance fee is £5 which will be donated to the Yes Group’s Basket Brigade to help disadvantaged families at Christmas)

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Terrorism Debate – Thursday 30 May – Central London Debating Society

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*Owing to an accidental double booking by our original venue, this debate will no be held in the Old Cock Tavern by the Central London Debating Society

DATE: Thursday 30 May
TIME: 7.30 PM
VENUE: Ye Old Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1AA
MOTION: This House Would make it easier to ban extremist groups in the UK

Background:

The 
horrific murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week stunned the country and prompted a new debate on the nature of violent extremism in Britain and how to tackle it. Home Secretary, Theresa May, has vowed to ‘get tough’ on UK extremists, warning that there may be thousands of people vulnerable to radicalisation, while former cabinet minister, Hazel Blears claimed that the government’s strategy for detecting and countering extremism early on had been weakened by spending cuts. 

Mrs May has suggested that the government needs new powers to ban organisations that it suspects of harbouring extremists and ban offensive websites by placing restrictions on Internet Service Providers too.

Is the government right to launch a new crackdown or are they overreacting? Will the high profile response to Drummer Rigby’s murder make the country safer or reward budding extremists with the attention they crave and inspire copycat attacks? Does this crime even constitute a terror attack or is it simply an isolated, albeit tragic, incident?

You decide.

Speaking in this debate:

Each debate is contested by two teams of two speakers – one in favour of the motion and the other against. We rely on you to volunteer to speak in any debate that interests you, while our over-arching aim is to hear from people who have little or no previous experience of debating and wish to improve the public speaking skills because this club is for you.

However, everyone will get a chance to speak as the bulk of the debate is made up of an interactive Q&A session where audience members put their questions and comments to the panel who then respond. Of course, there is no obligation to speak at all if you would rather just watch and enjoy the debate.

If you would like to speak in this debate, please send us a quick message to central.debating@gmail.com and let us know which side you would like to take.

Further reading:

Admission to this event is free – maximum capacity: 50

Public Debate: Faith Schools And Diversity. Do They Help or Hinder?

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DATE: Monday 20 May
TIME: 7 pm
VENUE: Large Common Room, William Goodenough House, WC1N 2AB
ADMISSION: FREE (pre-registration required)

The debate around faith schools is a very real one for many people, but especially humanists and those of faith. The Central London Debating Society is therefore delighted to be joining forces once more with public engagement forum, Global Net 21, to offer a platform to you, our members, to share your thoughts on this sensitive topic.

A panel of four speakers, selected from the respective memberships of both clubs, will debate the motion, two arguing that faith schools help diversity, and two arguing that they hinder it. The floor will the be opened to you to put your questions and comments to the speakers, before casting your vote at the end.

Please send us a quick message to central.debating@gmail.com if you would like to attend. Admission is free and you are welcome to bring a friend too, but places are limited, so please do let us know as soon as possible.

Background:

Professor AC.Grayling, a leading academic and atheist who led Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament, has outraged the Catholic Church with his comments on the contribution he believes faith schooling makes to bigotry.

Speaking at a meeting in Holyrood for a group of secularists and humanists, the academic said of religious-based education: “The argument against faith-based schools can be summed up in two words – Northern Ireland. Or perhaps one word – Glasgow.”

However, high-performing Catholic schools are now to be given considerable influence over the running and performance of struggling secular schools under plans being drawn up by the Church and government. The plan follows a similar ambition outlined more than a year ago by the Church of England, which also wanted to offer partnerships and advice to non-Church schools.

In 2008, an exhaustive report by the Runnymede Trust, a race equality think tank, concluded that faith schools should play a central role in the education system, but selection on the basis of faith should be abolished.   

Do faith schools have a continued and valuable contribution to make to the British education system or do they only serve to sew the seeds of sectarian rivalry and undermine tolerance of those who do not share their values?

You decide.

Next debate: This House Would pay UK companies not to use overseas sweatshops

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DATE: Thursday 02 May
TIME: 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
VENUE: Old Cock Tavern, EC4Y 1AA

This House Would pay UK companies not to use overseas sweatshops

Admission:

Free and no pre-registration required. Come along and feel free to bring a friend.

Background:

The death of an estimated 360 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, following the destruction of several garment factories, housed in an eight story building that collapsed last week, has once again shone the spotlight on the conditions workers in the developing world are subjected to every day and the companies who profit from their labour.

UK Companies Primark and Matalan are among the companies claimed to buy from the suppliers housed in the collapsed building, while numerous companies trading in the UK have ties to other suppliers with questionable track records across the developing world.

The traditional reaction to such events is to call for a boycott of any company that uses these suppliers. However, in Bangladesh alone, the industry has created jobs for over four million people, many of them women, which raises the question of whether a boycott would help or hinder their quality of life further.

So, we ask, what if the government were to pay UK companies.to outsource the production of their goods to more ethical suppliers without passing the extra costs on to British consumers? Do western countries have any responsibility to workers in other countries outside of their jurisdiction? How would such a policy even work?

You decide

Speaking in this debate:

Each debate is contested by two teams of two speakers – one in favour of the motion and the other against. We rely on you to volunteer to speak in any debate that interests you, while our over-arching aim is to hear from people who have little or no previous experience of debating and wish to improve the public speaking skills because this club is for you.

However, everyone will get a chance to speak as the bulk of the debate is made up of an interactive Q&A session where audience members put their questions and comments to the panel who then respond. Of course, there is no obligation to speak at all if you would rather just watch and enjoy the debate.

If you would like to speak in this debate, please send us a quick message to central.debating@gmail.com and let us know which side you would like to take.

Further reading:

1) Is boycott the answer (Ethical Fashion Blog)

2) T-Shirt tax campaign for Bangladesh Victims (Guardian)

3) In praise of sweatshops (Spectator)

4) The impact of globalisation on working women (Women and the Economy)

5) Tolerating sweatshops (Penn Political Review)

6) International Labour Organisation identifies 5 worst countries to work in (UN)

7) Ethical Trading Initiative (Ethical Consumer)

Debates in London this week….

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ImageNorth London Debating Society

Tomorrow we make an emotional return to the Harcourt Arms, to launch our newest debate club. We are admittedly stretching the definition of North London here, but we love this pub so much having spent two years here before the Central London Debating Society relocated to Fleet Street, that we couldn’t resist. Just think of it as being further north than any of our other debate clubs. We will open this debate with a  round-table discussion on the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the question of how we decide who is entitled to help from the welfare state and how much.

The North London Debating Society meets on Monday 08 April at 7.30 pm in the Harcourt Arms, 32 Harcourt Street, London, W1H 4X

ImageSouth London Debating Society

Following on from the tremendous success of last week’s inaugural event, we will move into to full debate mode this Wednesday and return to our conventional 2 v 2 format for a real debate, continuing with our theme of the bedroom tax. Please let us know if you would like to speak and still join us even if you’d just rather watch.

The South London Debating Society meets on Wednesday 10 April at 7.30 pm in the Tea House Theatre, 139 Vauxhall Walk, SE11 5HL

Admission to all public debates is free as is membership of each of our branches.

Next debate – This House Would scrap the bedroom Tax – Thursday 4th April

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This Thursday, the Central London Debating Society meets to debate the motion: “This House Would scrap the bedroom tax”

Background:

As of 1st April a raft of previously announced changes to the welfare system are taking effect. One of the most controversial changes is a change to housing benefit which has been dubbed the “bedroom tax” by its critics. Rather than a tax it is a cut in housing benefit applied to any individual or family who is deemed to be living in a house that has more rooms than they need. Those with one spare bedroom will lose 14% of their housing benefit, while those with two or more spare bedrooms will lose 25%.

The government has defended its plan on the grounds of fairness. They say it is unfair to allow people who are out of work to live in large houses at the taxpayer’s expense while some working individuals and families are struggling to get onto the property ladder. Critics say that the government is forcing the most disadvantaged people in society to move out of the communities they chose to live in. They also point to the technical difficulties in deciding when a room counts as spare, especially in cases involving carers for the disabled. So should the bedroom tax changes be kept or should they be scrapped?

You decide.

This debate will be held in the Old Cock Tavern on 22 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1AA, at 7.30 pm. See here for more details on how to take part and how often we meet.

Record breaking debut for South London

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The South London Debating Society enjoyed a tremendous debut on Wednesday night with over 16 people turning out for our very first meeting, smashing the opening night records of the East (9) and Central (7) London Debating Societies.

We met some amazing new people, while welcoming back many existing members who had just been waiting for a South London branch to open. The Tea House Theatre, who welcomed us with open arms – and lots of cake – made everyone feel right at home for our first debate on the limits of free speech.

We kept it to a round table discussion for opening night with two tables producing two very different perspectives. Typical of debaters (or anyone with an opinion of their own I suppose), the consensus swung from blaming the press for harassing individuals to their deaths, on one table, to arguing that the placement of limits on anyone’s free speech is a gross abuse of power by the government, on the other.

We can’t wait to see you all again for our next meeting on Wednesday April 10th in the Tea House Theatre at 7.30 pm.

South London Debating Society launches next Wednesday

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We are proud to unveil the South London Debating Society in partnership with the Tea House Theatre, where we will be launching our brand new debate club. We can’t wait to start working with the bar’s owner (Harry) who told us that hosting a debate club was the fulfillment of a long-held ambition of his.  

The first debate will be more of a floor discussion about the limits of free speech as we seek to provide a space for new members to all get to know each other before plowing ahead with our usual debate format in forthcoming weeks.

So, if you live in south London, if you want to be part of new and exciting debate club, or if you just have nothing better to do next Wednesday night, come join us for the launch of the South London Debating Society.

The South London Debating Society meets on Wednesday 27th March in the Tea House Theatre on Vauxhall Walk at 7.30 pm

CLDS on Channel 5 this morning!

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A great start to the day for the Central London Debating Society. Anyone watching ‘The Wright Stuff’ on Channel 5 will know why. This morning’s audience was entirely formed from CLDS members who took time off work (or out of sleeping at least) to come join us for a great debate

We listened, whooped, clapped, and cheered as Matthew Wright and his panel took on the explosive subject of press freedom, asking if it still exists in Britain, before moving on to stay at home mums, dating at school, and e-cigarettes. We were particularly pleased to see two of our more vocal members get a chance to have their say as they were interviewed live n air.

Thank you to the Wright Stuff for inviting us on the show and for the big shoutout during the programme 😀

CLDS and Debating Europe sign community partnership agreement

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It is with great pleasure that I today announce our newest and most prestigious partnership yet, with the innovative online platform, Debating Europe. A community partner, we have entered into a reciprocal promotion agreement, with scope for further future co-operation, with the group, whose existing partners include The European Parliament and Microsoft Europe.

We hope this will be the beginning of a fruitful relationship that will allow us to include communities across the continent in the ongoing debates and discussions that will shape the futures of millions, but are normally restricted to parliaments and smoke filled rooms. 

Debating Europe joins the London Debating Hub and the Frontline Club as official partners of the Central London Debating Society and we look forward to building even more partnerships as the year progresses. 

Please contact CLDS founder Tony Koutsoumbos on central.debating@gmail.com if you would like to discuss a partnership with the Central London Debating Society.