Debating Society: ‘This House Supports the Sun’s Publication of the Photos of Prince Harry’

Friday 14 November 2012

This was the first Debating Society meeting of the half, in the new Friday night slot. The evening kicked off with a ten minute impromptu debate. Five volunteers from the audience stepped up, with the task of telling us why we should vote for them as President of the United States of America. The arguments were diverse and sometimes bizarre; policies ranged from compulsory exercise classes, to worldwide expansion, to no tax for the top 1%. The audience clapometer yielded a hung vote, but victory was narrowly snatched by the candidate proposing that, as President, he would reduce America’s power.

Having thoroughly warmed up, we moved on to the formal debate, on the motion: ‘This House Supports the Sun’s Publication of the Photos of Prince Harry.’ Jamie Jackson (SAL) opened the debate with a serious and deeply logical speech establishing that Prince Harry’s role as a royal is inseparable from his private life. Richard Ingilby (WFM) responded comprehensively, highlighting Harry’s right to personal privacy and affirming that the pictures were not newsworthy. However, George Clay (TEJN) roused the room with his attack on the Royal Family’s unaccountability in a modern democracy. ‘Ultimately we are on the side of free speech,’ he told the room. This all left Ranulf Outhwaite (JDN) to close the debate, noting the double standards of the press, especially that they would never publish a similar picture of other public figures, such as the Queen. Points from the floor ranged from reflections on when it justifiable to violate an individual’s privacy to complaints about the speakers’ excessive banging of the table.

The vote at the end showed an overwhelming victory for the opposition. All in all, it was a sophisticated and developed debate – a great way to start the year.