The Cambridge University Debating Society dates from 1815 - 198 years to the day before The Skill Mill employed its first group of young people in Newcastle.
There have been some notable speakers over the decades including US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan; Professor Steven Hawking; The Dalai Lama; Actors Clint Eastwood, Robert de Niro and Pamela Anderson; British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and….Boris Johnson.
This year the VIP guests were the young people from The Skill Mill, invited by The Union to take part in a debating workshop and observe an emergency debate and the full debate “This House Believes that the Free Market is the Enemy of Freedom and Democracy” with speakers including Kate Smurthwaite, Femi Oluwole, James Hardy for the motion and Eamonn Butler, Lord Peter Lilley and Tracey Blackwell who spoke against it.
The topic for our debate workshop and the emergency debate was ‘This House Believes the Monarchy is Bad for Britain” a subject being debated up and down the country right now. Passionate speeches were made for both sides by The Skill Mill staff and youngsters (whether they believed it or not) who had 20 minutes to prepare their arguments with no prior warning of the topic. This was a debate where abstaining was not an option – yes it sounds terrifying for anyone but these young people rose to the challenge and gave a fantastic account of themselves. Demonstrating the confidence and self-esteem that they have gained during their time with The Skill Mill.
The lads spent the journey home talking endlessly about the arguments presented to them, the role of the monarch and the free market in today’s society. An aspiration raising event if ever there was one.
Thank you to especially to Holly Sheridan and Emily McDonagh and all the Cambridge University Student Union for running the workshop and looking after us.
The ayes to the right have it. The ayes have it.