The meeting was advised of the death of Frank Lane, a leading light and ardent supporter of the Debating Society for many years. Funeral details can be obtained from Lorry Greenall.
For the September debate: Jake Clapham proposed that "America will Never Change its Gun Laws" because, despite escalating public opinion about shooting atrocities, no counter organisation comes close to the influence and power of the NRA lobby. He considered that this lack of ability to sustain any public will for change reinforced the inherent practical complications in modifying the second amendment of the American Constitution.
However Opposer Jon Salisbury while agreeing that this put significant obstacles in the way, felt that changing times, events and experience influenced America enough to make previous alterations in the Constitution. He further believed that nations did not have immutable characteristics and were constantly evolving and this would result in transforming gun laws when a Democratic government was in power which also had a majority in both Congress and the Supreme Court.
Following lively input from the floor the motion was narrowly defeated by 4 votes to 5 with 3 abstentions.
The meeting closed with a short discussion about the impecunities of royal and other weddings.
For the August debate Mary Lane proposed that "Zero hours contracts should be Illegal" because the majority of these workers earn less than the average wage and are at great risk of exploitation. She considered the contracts to be a national disgrace, a serious threat to the principle of fairness in the workplace and a retrograde step to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness owed to every individual person.
However opposer Ray White argued that these arrangements were necessary as the country's economy has changed and there are no jobs for life anymore. Furthermore he considered the notion of zero hours had always existed in casual work and it's flexibility made it attractive. Examples where workforces had chosen not to switch to fixed contracts when provided with the opportunity were cited.
Following contributions from the floor, the motion was won by 10 votes to 2 with 0 abstentions.
The AGM preceded the debate and all appropriate officers were appointed.
Under the chairmanship of Derek Cheek , the July question time panel of Helen Rees and Ray White addressed a diversity of questions about: Brexit, the World Cup, a Plastic Free Society, Jeremy Corbyn as PM and Transgender Toilets. With many varied contributions from the floor it proved to be a thought provoking evening.
At this month's debate: Mary Lane proposed that "We Live in the Worst of Times" as despite now knowing how to safeguard against the predicaments of war, poverty disease and ignorance they all continue on a larger scale than ever before. She cited over-population, the arms trade, toxic destruction of the planet and a marked lack of appropriate education as issues which still lead to widespread suffering for the human race Opposing the motion, Ray White acknowledged that the world was not yet perfect but felt it had improved throughout history because of the great progress made in many areas including knowledge, medicine and human rights. He argued that as a result we now live longer with more freedom and better prosperity and this should be both recognised and enjoyed.
Both speakers were thanked for leading an excellent debate which had prompted a variety of thought provoking responses from the floor. The motion was lost by 6 votes to 2 with 8 abstentions.
For this month's debate: John Ratford proposed that "Global Warming is Man-made" because research clearly demonstrates that human activity has produced a significant warming trend in the earth's climate in industrial times but especially since the 1970s. He felt that this was quite distinct from associated natural factors and that we needed to act on this evidence as the only people disputing it usually had a vested interest to the contrary.
However opposer Derek Cheek disagreed, citing other studies which had established that variations in the earth's axial tilt and precession of its orbit resulted in a naturally occurring cyclical pattern. He considered that this could be clearly seen in historical weather patterns and seasonal changes over thousands of years which had nothing to do with human actions and it was scaremongering to say otherwise.
Following lively input from the floor the motion was won by 7 votes to 3 with 6 abstentions
Under the chairmanship of Derek Cheek , the April question time panel of Lorry Greenall, Chris Lane and Bill Violen addressed a variety of questions about: the need for a second Brexit Referendum, Gender Pay, Universal basic pay schemes and whether the quality of TV comedy had improved since the fifties. With many lively and thoughtful contributions from the floor it proved to be an interesting and laughter filled evening.
At this month's debate Helen Rees proposed that "Race is an artificial Concept" since categorising people's racial grouping within a set of characteristics has no scientific basis. She argued that recent DNA research demonstrated that all humans descended from only a few African women and felt that racial classification had only been promoted by Europeans in the last few hundred years to justify their exploitation of newly discovered worlds.
Opposing the motion, Chris Lane asserted that the premise of race is a fundamental truth which can be easily explained by physicality, geography and sociology. Furthermore he considered that racist conclusions drawn about ethnicity are the real artificial concepts because they are formed by basic tribalism with its inherent violence, cruelty and greed.
Both speakers were thanked for leading an excellent thought provoking debate with many comments from the floor. The motion was lost by 5 votes to 7 with 3 abstentions.
For this month's debate Tony Oswick proposed that "Libraries are an Unaffordable Luxury" because they are outmoded, low profile facilities unable to realistically compete for the scarce monies available. He argued that demand for publically funded services had decreased with the advent of technology and that volunteers could administer residual resources in alternative ways. However Opposer Jon Salisbury disagreed considering libraries to be beacons of civilisation with an important role to play. He contended that they had been introduced in an era of extreme poverty and had subsequently greatly impacted on both literacy and reading skills. He felt that if we could look to the future with optimism we could afford libraries.
Following a variety of comments from the floor a vote was taken but the motion was lost.
Fourteen people attended to hearJake Clapton propose that "Prisons should not be privatised". Philip Donegan opposed and lost the motion.