Time - 14:00
Week - Third
Day - Wednesday
Group Organiser(s) - John Milbourn
Venue - Members' Homes
Vacancies - 6

The purpose of this Group is to stimulate members to think about interesting issues and to have fun debating the arguments with others in a safe environment.

The group is run along the lines of a traditional debating society. Every few months we choose motions for future meetings. One person is nominated to propose each motion and one to oppose it. (If numbers permit, seconders might also be nominated). This allows time for them to research the subject of the motion. A third person is also nominated to preside as 'Speaker' to control the debate. After opening arguments that are subject to strict time limits, the debate is opened to speakers from the 'floor' and at the conclusion of the debate a vote is taken.

The Group intends to offer a stimulating and challenging experience where members may even find themselves marshalling arguments for motions with which they disagree!

On 17h July 2019 we debated the motion Voting should be compulsory. The proposer described that voting is compulsory in 27 Western democracies. She argued that voting is a civic duty and that large turnouts create more legitimate governments with genuinely approved mandates and tend to produce more centrist governments. No money needs spending on persuading citizens to vote which improves manifestos. The duty to vote trumps the argument that compulsion is not consistent with freedom.

 The Opposer argued that compulsion is indeed not democratic and infringes liberty. Voting is a civic right not a civic duty. Forcing votes under threat of penalties does not itself improve the quality of voting outcomes: that would require education. Citizens who are happy with the status quo may not vote and thereby indicate their satisfaction. Voluntary voting forces politicians to set manifestos that reflect the views of potential voters. Compulsion is not necessary and is not democratic.

 The motion was discussed in depth and the motion was defeated.


Our debating programme is as follows:

18th September 2019

A “United States of Europe” is unworkable

18th October 2019

Citizens of the UK are entitled to do what they like with their own body

20th November 2019

Brexit will be good for the UK


Please make contact via the link above.