A matter of life and death in first junior lecture

A matter of life and death in first junior lecture

A speaker from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament provoked lively discussion when she gave the first talk of the year in QE’s junior lecture programme.

CND Campaigns Officer Sara Medi Jones delivered her lecture on the continued importance of the demand for nuclear disarmament and the nature of organising and informing against nuclear proliferation.

Her audience of boys from Years 7–10 then asked a wide array of questions, with some challenging the visitor’s stance and others wanting to know more about the finer details of military policy.

Teacher Nisha Mayer (Head of Academic Enrichment), who organised the special assembly, said: “Sara was a thoroughly engaging and impressively knowledgeable speaker; she got our 2017–18 junior lecture programme off to a very good start.

“These lectures are an important aspect of School life, giving boys the opportunity to hear from experts in their particular fields, to learn and be inspired, while also challenging them on their views and enabling them to develop and practise their critical-thinking skills.”

Sara focused on the moral arguments around the indiscriminate nature of a nuclear bomb, which inevitably kills innocent civilians; she looked at the economic cost, pointing out that the Government chooses to fund Trident at the expense of other areas; and she challenged the notion of deterrence, highlighting the fact that since the nuclear arms race began after the Second World War, countries without nuclear weapons had never been attacked.

In their questions and comments, some of the boys made quite a robust defence of the UK retaining nuclear weapons, raising matters of deterrence, current international instability (with, for example, North Korea becoming capable of deploying longer-range nuclear missiles) and the unpredictability of the future.