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St Philip's School - 5th March

Another great session with our St Philip's Debating & Interview Club. Our skill focus this week looked at Rebuttal and how to respond to the arguments of an opposing team with active listening, evidence and POIs. 

With the budget just around the corner, our warm up question asked:

'If you were either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be your top priority and why?'

The group gave a fascinating selection including:

Halving inflation



Helping with the Environment and Climate Change

Growing business / the wider economy

Safety, Security and Defense

& Transport/Infrastructure. 

Our newsround was extremely impressive including reference to: the conflict in Gaza, the War in Ukraine and Knife crime and Security more generally. 

With the budget in mind our motion of the day looked at one of the proposed plans of the Treasury, to tax business class flights further, in order to free up funds to spend on other things or provide a tax cut. The motion asked:

'Should Business Class Flights be Taxed more?'   

At both tellings a substantive majority rejected the motion. 

It was argued the priority should be helping business grow and thereby generating more for the wider economy. Others felt that 'private jets' should be targeted, rather than commercial airlines. On the proposition side, many felt that business can afford it, and crucially this could potentially help the environment as business class flights carry a high carbon footprint. 

It was an impressive debate with some very promising rebuttal, POIs and active listening. 

For our second debate we turned to the motion: 'Should Zoos be banned?'

Here voting ran roughly 50/50. Those in favour of the ban felt that a Zoo space was unnatural for animals, and welfare was a huge problem. There was also a dislike that Zoos exploit animals for profit. 

On the opposition, it was felt that research and scientists more generally benefited from Zoos and in turn wild animals benefited too from our understanding/and wider awareness. Education was very important along with the opportunity for rehabilitation. In addition, it was argued that many people cannot afford to see these remarkable animals in the wild, so a Zoo is a cost effective way of providing education (the proposition countered this with the example of documentaries). Finally, it was argued that conservation particularly of endangered species saw a vital role for Zoos.  

In our forthcoming sessions we will also explore the role of safaris.

Well done all!

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