Student Naomi Sleator organised a debate 'Has Britain become more democratic since the EU Referendum' with an impressive selection of notable panellists including Lord Balfe (Remain), Julian Huppert (Remain), Professor Alan Sked (Leave) and Steven Edginton (Leave).
Naomi said “I am interested in Brexit as there has been so much controversy on the subject. It seems as though everyone has an opinion of it, and cannot agree with the other side. I decided I wanted to have a balanced debate consisting of two people in favour of Remain and two in favour of Leave.”
The debate took place at the College on 12th July and Naomi organised it for her Extended Project Qualification. All Hills Road students take the Extended Project as part of their course and they are able to choose a project that interests them. It involves working independently to produce either a dissertation, investigation or report, an artefact or design, a performance (solo or in a group), or a group charity event. Over 100 students and staff attended the debate.
Naomi said “I decided to try and take Brexit from a different angle, from the point of democracy. In my debate I hoped that this question could be something that a Brexiteer and Remainer come to the same conclusion on.”
Some of the questions that students asked the panel to debate included:
‘Have existing political parties let voters down, and should new parties be formed to better express their views?’
‘Who should have the upper hand for a sound democracy? Parliament or the people? And should there be any role at all for unelected peers?’
‘Would a second referendum be good for British democracy?’
‘Should we implement a mandatory retirement age for politicians to step down so that younger voices can be heard?’
‘Should Theresa May resign?’
There was a lively discussion from the panellists in answer to these questions and the audience of students and staff listened with interest as each of the panellists debated their points.
“We discussed the huge numbers that turned out to vote, the people vs the parliament, whether it is fair to inflict Brexit despite the 3.8% difference in vote, whether a second referendum might be necessary if people didn't completely understand what they were voting for first time.”
A huge thank you to the panellists who gave up their time to come along to the College to take part in this debate.
Naomi is also studying A level English Language & Literature, History and Spanish. She says “The reason I picked this subject is that I enjoy debate and argument. I would like to go on to study English or law at university.”