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The Socratic Club - 31st October



In light of the G20 and forthcoming COP26 meetings we began the Junior Socratic club session with each speaker presenting a topic on the spot. This ranged from climate change, to Joe Biden and his visit to the Vatican, to jobs and working pay following the budget. It was a wonderful display of current affairs knowledge from the group.


Junior Socratic Club


In topical form we began by looking at the the recent autumn budget - with a focus on tax and at what point people should begin to contribute to the tax system.

The Motion, ‘This House would pay tax when one can afford to live without help/benefits'.


Vote 1 – Y: 67%; N: 33%

Vote 2 – Y: 100%; N: 0%


Arguments ranged from a lack of efficiency to tax with one hand, but then hand back benefits and support with another; to care and compassion; to the impact of poverty on society; and the risks of driving people further into the direction of loan sharks and a cycle of crime if they did not have the resources needed to live. Whilst others in the group thought it hugely important that people understood the true value of money and in a football club analogy, felt it was critical that everyone should have a sense of society by contributing to it, however, small that amount might be.


The group was presented with a set of slides to analyse and to see just how taxation is broken down by spending departments in the country.

It was an impassioned debate and some of the most effective speakers/arguments plucked at the heart strings of the group, resulting in the motion being carried unanimously in the second telling.


Our second debate, focussed on Prince Charles's recent report into changing diet in order to help with climate change; and the wider movement to eat less meat.

The Motion, 'This House would change our weekly diet to help with climate change?'


Vote 1 – Y: 100%; N: 0%

Vote 2 – Y: 100%; N: 0%


Whilst it was questioned as to the impact such small changes would make and the limitations of such actions, if leading emissions producing countries such as China, the USA, Russia and India continued without change, it was thought, that small steps like these can become something of a movement, and might drive wider Government change. With such a compelling argument and particularly that of leading by example, the motion was carried unanimously on both the first and second votes.


Senior Socratic Club


As with the Junior group, our focus was on the recent budget and also on the role of Rishi Sunak. Again we turned to the question of at what point tax should be levied on workers.

The Motion, 'This House would only pay tax when one can afford to live without help/benefits?'


Vote 1 – Y: 75%; N: 25%

Vote 2 – Y: 75%; N: 25%


Interesting additional arguments were made to those of the Junior Group, from a desire to have the largest franchise possible of contributors to an economy and GDP; to the harsh and tragic reality of the unintended consequences of poverty; to a sense of being part of society - a patriotic feel when everyone contributes at whatever the level; to encouraging work; to a feel that those who used most from the tax system should at least pay something.

Again the motion carried with a substantive majority, but throughout there was a consistent voice in support of taxation at even the lowest level, so that everyone felt part of the system.


We then turned to another important topic of current affairs and that of Taiwan.

The Motion, 'This House thinks the West should support Taiwan's independence if China declared War (on Taiwan)?'


Vote 1 – Y: 75%; N: 25%

Vote 2 – Y: 75%; N: 25%


This was a high-powered debate that ranged from the practical realities of any conflict, to the desire to support democracies and the rule of law; to the power of independent thought and free speech; and to the danger of proxy wars. The question of the oppressor; and the failure to act and at what point the West would intervene if they did not act in such a circumstance was also a most compelling argument. If not now, then when?

Further, worrying conclusions were drawn from the thought of what would allies of the West think/do in the region, if Taiwan was not supported.


Throughout the sessions we were delighted that on several occasions speakers changed their viewpoint, based on 'active listening' and hearing another argument put forward that impressed them/or had merits they had not previously recognised.


As ever quality of debate was exceptional and the ability to reference wider current affairs all the more impressive. We much look forward to the next debates on Sunday 14 November. Please note that as it will be Remembrance Sunday, we will begin the Junior Socratic club session just after 11 and the 2mins silence, at 11.03am.

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