Debating – King’s College London Schools’ Competition
A tough competition, where TBSHS was the only English state school represented
King’s College London Schools’ Competition
Wrapped up against the cold weather, two pairs of Year 12 students were up bright and early to represent TBSHS over four rounds of debate in our second competition of the season. In the first round Henry Davis & Emily Precious were drawn to speak second in favour of “This House Would ban all advertising of consumer goods and services”. Making her interschool debut, Emily pointed out a contradiction between the views of the two leading Opposition speakers, before extending earlier arguments about redressing the balance between smaller firms and multinational conglomerates, She then brought in an entirely new point about data privacy and the sale of personal information gleaned from adverts. In a well-constructed summary speech, Henry rightly drew attention to this line of reasoning as well as focussing on the purpose of adverts, arguing that even without them competition between products exists. His speech rounded off a very pleasing team performance, where they both raised plenty of Points of Information. They earned a well-deserved second place behind a team from Wellington College, but ahead of Haberdasher’s Askes. As Opening Opposition, Luca Ollandini & Alex Banhidai, seasoned campaigners but teaming up for the first time, were also placed second.
The second motion of the day “This House Prefers a world where all works of fiction are published anonymously” was one that we have seen in several previous competitions. However, Alex & Luca, in their own words, “made a real mess of” opening the case for the motion against what was admittedly a very strong Opposition, made up of two teams from St Paul’s Girls School. They were not surprised to be awarded fourth place. Meanwhile Henry & Emily also faced a pair from SPGS, finishing second behind them.
After a break for lunch, speakers had to debate the tricky motion “This House Regrets the ‘femme fatale’ trope”. Opening the debate, Henry argued persuasively that the stereotype was a bad role model for girls, as it suggests that using their sexuality is the only way that women can achieve and wield power. He was well supported by Emily, who started by pointing out that the Opposition argument about the ‘damsel in distress’ trope being worse did not prevent the femme fatale being regrettable. She went on to explain that men are subconsciously affected by all stereotypes of women, to the detriment of personal relationships. Victory in this room was awarded to yet another team from SPGS, with Emily & Henry pleasantly surprised to maintain their run of second places. In marked contrast, Luca & Alex, closing against the motion, felt that they had made a good case based on the rise of feminism but were placed a distant fourth, with speaker scores so low that the verdict was truly mystifying.
The final debate, “This House Opposes left-wing media using mockery to cover the far Right” proved an interesting challenge for Alex & Luca, whose political leanings do not match. Luca was able to introduce a lot of material not covered by the first two speakers for the motion, in particular the fact that extremists thrive on the oxygen of publicity and the danger of treating all right-wingers the same. In his well-judged summary speech, Alex focussed on the dangers of isolating the centre in politics and argued that, in order to guarantee the safety of society, some loss of freedom of speech was justifiable. Their efforts gained them a close second place, ahead of two teams of international students. Emily & Henry’s successes had propelled them into a high-quality room where, opening the case against the motion, they had to be content with fourth place. Nevertheless, they finished in a very satisfying 20th place out of 44 teams, with Henry 25th equal in the individual standings and Emily 6th equal out of 24 novice speakers. Despite having no luck all day, Alex & Luca were placed 33rd.
Retired teacher Tony Fraser commented, “This was a tough competition, where I believe that TBSHS was the only English state school represented and neither of our pairs debate together regularly. However, they all demonstrated excellent teamwork, a willingness to engage with opponents’ arguments, a wide range of knowledge and the ability to put it to good use. On a freezing day, they maintained a positive attitude throughout and I was pleased with what they achieved”