I sat to the right of my teammates, Celine and Naphta, this was the only way however that I could be described as being on the right as we were there, on the day of the Iron Lady’s funeral, that we would have been much better off if Thatcher had never been PM.
The event was the final of the College debating competition, our arguments for the next hour had been determined by the flip of a coin and not our personal political convictions.
The popularity of the competition was obvious from the size of the baying crowd, a mix of students and lecturers waiting to see who would draw first blood in a battle in which our intention was an ambitious one, to un-seat the team led by the reigning champion, a colleague who in two years of competitive debating had 7 wins, 1 draw and no losses to his name. To say I was nervous would be a huge understatement, but this was mixed with a huge amount of pride for the debating competition is my baby, an event I started 18 months ago to sharpen students oratory skills that has grown into an arena where those skills are tested to their limits.
Every student who is ballsy enough to enter this arena deserves our admiration for having a go, and every performance has been impressive – neither my team nor our competitors had enjoyed an easy ride to the finals, any complacency was quickly checked and our sucesses thus far were due in large part to our ability to quickly learn from our mistakes and the strengths of those we competed against. I have not witnessed skills development at this pace before, every member of the the team I stood with in the final, myself included, had learned so much and was desperate to show it off.
Praise should also go to the floor, the thought provoking interventions from the audience are a vital ingredient of any enjoyable debate.
All four student competitors deserve to be extremely proud of their performances, the closeness of the competition demonstrated by the fact that in the post-match analysis 3 colleagues and I were completely divided over who performed best.
We had gained so much in the learning experience getting to the final, the thoughtful individual feedback from our experienced judge the icing on the cake. The fact that my team emerged triumphant pleases me immensely, but it is the footnote.