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Thursday, 17 October 2013
Bolton School boys have defeated local rivals to progress to the Regional Finals of the prestigious Debating Matters competition.
The finals will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday 5 March 2014 between winning schools from around the North West and North of Wales.
Kristian Smith, Jonathan Bond, Joel Dalton and Ashfaq Emritte debated extremely well to go through in a unanimous decision by the judges, drawing some very flattering comments from them about the extent of their knowledge of their topics, and confident, sharp performances.
The first and second rounds were held consecutively at Blackburn College on 7th October, requiring two teams from each school. Kristian Smith and Jonathan Bond were the first to speak in opposition of a motion to ban extreme views from being given a public platform. It would not be enough simply to argue the intrinsic values of freedom of speech, they needed to set up the clear distinction between articulating controversial opinions and carrying out violent, abusive acts. Their winning argument – that banning extreme views plays into the hands of their exponents by implicitly validating them, whereas granting a public platform allows them to be publically challenged and dismantled – proved too compelling for the judges, one of whom commented that Kristian would be snapped up by any political party who sent scouts to these debates! Having successfully pitted his own brand of socialism against the chairman of the Darwen Conservatives on the judging panel, Bolton School cruised through into the second round.
No one was more delighted about this than Joel Dalton and Ashfaq Emritte, who would not have had a chance to propose their motion of embracing smart drugs had we not been successful in the first round. The pair spoke brilliantly; the ‘good cop, bad cop’ combination of Ashfaq’s confident humour and Joel’s razor sharp scientific logic backed up by a formidable knowledge in the fields of biochemistry and neuropsychology left their opponents floundering. A unanimous decision from the judges saw Bolton School Boys’ Division win the evening outright, putting us through to the Regional, and one step away from the National Finals.
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