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Katie James
Upper Sixth
Worcester House

Watson’s v Hallward’s Debate

Watson’s v Hallward’s Debate

The final Sixth Form debate of the Lent term was held last Friday afternoon in the Redgrave Theatre. A powerful Watson’s team proposed the motion, ‘this House believes nuclear power is the only real answer to our energy problems’, while a strong Hallward’s team opposed it. Given the current situation in Japan, it was a highly topical debate which saw superb arguments being raised by both teams. A preliminary vote was taken by this week’s chairperson, Worcester’s keen debater and present Head of School, Lucinda Pigott, which provided a hazy result which came down on neither side. It was interesting how this had changed by the end of the debate.

First to speak for Watson’s House was Nick Schweitzer who highlighted the agreed definitions clearly, setting out the main crux of Watson’s argument. He informed the audience of how nuclear power is made and gave some very interesting facts throughout his informative speech. Nick dealt well with points of information from Hallward’s, answered in a very polite manner, one which is not all that often seen in such debates. Hallwards’ first speaker Agnes Woolley spoke with great diction and, like Nick, retained the audience’s attention well. Her speech and indeed Hallwards’ main arguments focussed very intelligently on the detail in the motion, emphasising the word ‘only’, and suggesting that nuclear energy was one of many, and not the only solution to the energy problems. Agnes also dealt very well with the points of information which were fired at her from both Foxall-Smith brothers in the opposing team.

Rob Foxall-Smith was second to speak for Watson, addressing the opposing House with ‘my most scientifically challenged opposition’. He provided us with another very informative speech from Watson’s House, who had clearly done their research and gave numerous reasons as to why nuclear power is not as dangerous as the press may make it out to be. Rob then added to the benefits of nuclear energy already posed by Nick, and went on to highlight the many dangers of other forms of renewable energy such as wind turbines. Lauren then took to the stage for Hallward’s House and reiterated the dangers of relying upon one source of energy. She made an interesting point about nuclear power stations being so technically complicated, that it may be inevitable that they’d be faulty at some point, leading to huge catastrophes such as Chernobyl.

Questions from the floor ranged from those with a geographical basis to those scientifically challenging. Ellie Griffiths concluded Hallwards’ arguments with a very sound summation. She answered the questions from the floor articulately, not spending too long on each point, but addressing all questions relevant. Mike Foxall-Smith spoke finally for Watson’s, agreeing with Ellie on some points from the floor, and like his opposite speaker, delivering his speech in a concise manner. He went through all his opponents’ speeches rebutting certain points, before referring back to the motion directly and re-emphasising all of Watson’s key arguments.

Lucy then took a secondary vote, which was not carried, suggesting that Hallward’s had managed to persuade a greater proportion of the audience than Watson’s. Although this is not always reflected in Mr Hasthorpe’s final decision, in this debate, Hallward’s were indeed declared the winners, for their overall arguments, and patience. Given that I know very little about nuclear energy, I took away lots from this debate; all speakers were very well informed and highly skilled debaters … a very entertaining and engaging debate overall, well done to both Houses.

6 April 2011

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