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The East London Debating Society opened its doors for the first time last night to begin a new era for CLDS as we chart our expansion the rest of London.

Turnout for our first meeting was a healthy nine people (the first meeting of the Central London Debating Society in 2009 attracted just seven and it has over 1000 members now) and we enjoyed a round-table discussion about the causes of apathy in society and the best ideas for promoting greater participation in public life, from quotas for women and minority MPs to compulsory voting.

A straw poll at the end of the discussion of what topics we should debate next time around, when we have enough people to hold a full panel debate, provided some insightful suggestions, including: the gentrification of east London, what it means to belong to a community, and a desire for broader moral questions.

The next meeting will be held in the George Tavern on Commercial Road on Tuesday 19th March. Please join us and let us know what you would like to hear debated (or speak on yourself) by leaving a comment.

We owe a big thank you to the George for hosting us as well, entirely free of charge and in keeping with our commitment to promoting free speech wherever we go.