• Great Debaters Competition 2017

    Confronting bias

    Challenging taboos

    Changing minds

  • Saturday 25th November

    10.00 am - 6.30 pm

    Goodenough College

    Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AB

    Morning debates: 11.00 - 12.35


    LEAP - confronting conflict

    This House Supports the abolition of Stop and Search to reduce racial inequalities in the criminal justice system

    Model Westminster

    This House believes that compulsory voting should be introduced for under 25s in future UK General Elections


    London Futurists

    This House would invest public funds to accelerate a cure for ageing


    Global Net 21

    This House Believes meat-eaters are destroying the planet

    Afternoon debates: 14.10 - 15.45


    Conscience - taxes for peace

    This House Believes punishment of conscientious objectors is a war crime

    British Pregnancy Advice Service

    This House Supports abortion on request

    Institute of Economic Affairs

    This House Supports taxing sugary
    drinks to improve public health

    The Transhumanist Party

    This House Believes the death of
    privacy should be celebrated

    Grand Final: 16.45 - 18.15

    To be announced on the day

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  • About the competition

    Where do you go if you want to have an open and honest conversation about abortion, privacy, racial inequality, or any number of sensitive taboo subjects that are normally too difficult to talk about at work or even at home because of how other people might react?


    Who do you trust to tell you what you need to know when the people trying to win your support care more about advancing their agenda than helping you to make a decision?


    How do you know you are making a decision based on evidence and not on unconscious biases you never knew you had, but that skilled speakers are trained to exploit?


    The Great Debaters Club is the only year-round debating society and training programme for adults in the country and exists to provide an answer to each of these three questions.


    This November, we are partnering with a group of charities who strive to change the way we talk about some of the most topical social taboos in Britain today, so we can provide a safe space for debate and make once difficult conversations easy, enjoyable, and effective.

  • How it will work

    Trained speakers with no agendas

    The speakers in each debate will be members of the Great Debaters Club, who have already been through our training programme. More importantly, each team has been assigned the motion they will be debating and the position they will be taking on it, which means their job will to be make the best possible case they can for the position they've been given, rather than just imposing their own personal opinions on you.


    How debate motions are set

    Each debate motion has been set by a charity that campaigns to change social attitudes towards the taboo being debated - e.g. the motion of the abortion debate has been set by the British Pregnancy Advice Service. Each motion represents a proposal for a new policy or idea that the charity wants people to talk about. Our speakers must then make the case in favour and against the motion to you the audience to help you work out where you stand.


    Opportunities for audience participation

    Each debate will be open to the public and decided by an audience vote, with a poll taken both before and after the debate to see how many minds the speakers were able to change with their arguments. The bulk of each debate will also be given over to audience members for them to cross-examine the speakers with questions and comments of their own.


    Simultaneous debates and a Grand Final

    The only way to fit nine debates into a single day is to run some of the simultaneously in different rooms. The first four motions will be debated in the morning, the second four in the afternoon, and the Grand Final, which will remain a secret until the day itself, will be the last debate of the day. Check the schedule at the top of this site to see which motions are being debated when and then decide which ones you most want to attend.

  • What we hope to achieve

    First and foremost, we aim to prove it is possible to hold constructive debates on questions that have in the past led to heated conflicts, simply by doing them differently.


    Second, we aim to advance the development of our members by providing them with this unique opportunity to test their debating skills in a live yet supportive environment.


    Third, we aim to help our audiences gain clarity over where they stand on issues that typically divide public opinion and provide them with a set of frameworks for comparing different viewpoints.


    Finally, we aim to help our partners learn more about what types of messages and arguments are most likely to resonate with their audiences when finding a way to talk about these sensitive issues. We also aim to offer them a platform to talk about their work and attract new supporters and volunteers.

  • Tickets

    FREE for members of the Great Debaters Club