More than 200 people took part in a lively debate led by much-respected BBC journalist and Solihull School alumni Michael Buerk, which the veteran broadcaster hailed as the ‘best ever’ hosted by the school. The fifth annual staging of the Big Debate sees experts and students face off on the lectern in a bid to make the most compelling argument on a topical issue.
This year’s motion was ‘this house believes we have created a snowflake generation,’ in reference to the phrase coined by author and activist Claire Fox.
Claire attended as a guest of the leading independent school to partner 17-year-old Oliver Rooney in making the proposition, while the opposition was formed of 18-year-old Lorenzo Sinclair and acting Assistant Head Daniele Harford.
The proposition argued the ‘snowflake generation’ doesn’t tolerate disagreement, which is leading to the breakdown of freedom of speech, while the opposition countered by saying this generation simply won’t accept bias and social norms which marginalise certain groups, citing cases such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter in support of their case.
At the end of the evening, the audience voted for the most convincing argument and the opposition were declared the winners.
“This was the biggest and most successful debate we have had at school, with incredibly passionate speakers and interesting questions,” said David EJJ Lloyd, headmaster of Solihull School. “Michael Buerk said this was the best debate we have ever had, which is high praise indeed. It’s heartening to see our students develop their critical thinking and engaging with current affairs in such a constructive way.”
Michael, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, attended Solihull between 1955 and 1965 and is the patron of its Debating Society. The former presenter of the BBC’s Nine O’Clock News currently hosts BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze.