Time - 14:00
Week - Third
Day - Wednesday
Group Organiser(s) - John Milbourn
Venue - Members' Homes
Vacancies - 9

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 16th October 2019 we debated the motion Public figures are entitled to a private life. The proposer argued that there is a basic human right to privacy enshrined in the Human Rights Act and it is necessary to protect family and private life from the press, which has an important role of legitimate investigation, but not to the point of intrusion or of publishing incorrect facts. Moreover the press has shown itself capable of unfeeling cruelty towards individuals in a desire to knock them off pedestals all for the sake of commercial gain. The opposer said that the right to privacy does conflict with freedom of expression and the issue is where is the pendulum lies between the two conflicts as regards public figures. He argued that privacy has to be interpreted in the social environment of today, which is significantly different from when privacy laws were made, given that younger citizens share information (thought private by previous generations) through social media and are used to following intimate details of famous people. So it is no longer likely that public figures can safely share information with a restricted circle of people: once no longer kept to themselves, information about public figures is passed on widely by the social media generation. The pendulum is jammed firmly into freedom of information and public figures are no longer entitled to a private life. An interesting discussion followed in which the mood was firmly for preservation of the right to privacy: the motion was carried.

Our debating programme is as follows:

20th November 2019

Make do and mend is the best policy for a sustainable future


15th January 2020

Brexit will be good for the UK


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