Union debates the Union

Union debates the Union

The Elizabethan Union’s 49th Annual Dinner Debate boldly plunged into the current national news agenda, with OEs and current pupils debating the motion: This House believes that Scotland should be independent.

Nisha Mayer, teacher in charge of debating, reports that the highly topical subject matter duly inspired both passion and wit from current boys and visiting OEs alike at the debate.

The debate began with the traditional toast to the Queen and to ‘The Pious Memory of Queen Elizabeth I’. The toast to the ‘Visitors’ (the OEs) was proposed by Captain of School Adam Hilsenrath, while Matthew Rose (OE 2002-2009) responded with the toast to the Elizabethan Union.

The motion was proposed by Year 12 boys Ashwin Sharma and Jason Thomas; it was opposed, successfully, by Harry Peto (OE 2005-2012) and Krishan Shah (OE 2005-2012). The chairman was Reuben Chacko.

Mrs Mayer said: “In the original vote taken by Reuben, about 80% of the audience either opposed the motion or abstained. After the debate, where Ashwin Sharma and Jason Thomas argued very convincingly and passionately for the motion, the swing to them was considerable, with almost a third of the audience voting to pass the motion. So, although the motion did not carry, a lot of hearts and minds were won by our Year 12 debaters.

“The opposition – our returning OEs – also put forward some very intelligent and wonderfully entertaining material. Harry and Krishan showed the same spark they had when they were debaters in the Elizabethan Union a few years ago.

“The floor debate, too, was very engaging, with Ethan Lam amusingly suggesting that the prospect of independence could be compared to a divorce and Daniel Soyade bravely taking apart the heartfelt speech of his Year Head, Liam Hargadon, in favour of the motion.”

The meal was eaten this year in the new Dining Hall. The diners enjoyed a starter of fresh & sunblush tomatoes and Mozarella pearls with basil oil and mixed salad leaves, followed by chicken chasseur or mushroom stroganoff, with a dessert of strawberry gateau or chocolate & raspberry tart.