New society ‘Liberate the Debate’ held two successful events last week following the controversy surrounding a previous talk in which Bill Etheridge MEP gave a speech on Stanmer park’s grounds, rather than on campus. LtD “aims to promote freedom of speech through debating amongst members.” They meet weekly and members can discuss “any topic that they feel comfortable with, whether current affairs, ideology or even more ‘petty’ concerns.”
They have a growing membership and forty-five to fifty-five members attend their weekly meetings. Members also congregate at East Slope bar after meetings and get discounts as part of the society. Founding member, Peter Anson tells The Badger: “Indeed, it is spectacular to see the variety in political opinions available and it is common that I am the devil’s advocate (though in many a case I do believe my advocation).”
On the evening of Wednesday November 15, the society hosted Air Commodore Johnny Stringer, commander of RAF strikes in Iraq and Syria, in partnership with IR Soc. He is the first of many confirmed speakers including Conservative MP Chris Philp of South Croydon, Tim Hames, director of British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng of Spelthorne, Paddy Walker on autonomous weapons, Labour MP Peter Kyle of Hove, Lord Robert Hayward and Alexander Hugg of OSCE.
Stringer held a talk in the Fulton building and the event lasted for around two hours. During the event, the floor was opened to the audience so they could take part in a Q&A. For anyone who missed the event, LtD has uploaded a recording to Soundcloud which can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/user-184285848.
Stringer spoke about the changing role of air warfare, and how it has had to adapt to the last decade of conflict in the Middle East. Most notably, he has been in command of Royal Air Force strikes in Iraq and Syria against Daesh for the last year, and has finished his most recent deployment in Qatar. He has extensive experience in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies. He also co-authored a book about precision air strikes.
Earlier in the day, LtD held a fundraiser and promotional event for their society. Members of Liberate the Debate were dressed either as political leaders or as a stereotype of certain voters. The idea was to see who was the “most popular loser” by how wet they were. For 50p, students could throw one water balloon at their least favourite candidate (or LtD member). Students willing to splash out £1 were allowed 3 water balloons. LtD said the fundraiser was in aid of “giving the society greater autonomy and funding to support potential events in the future.”
Photo by Alp Kadagan
Written by Peter Anson
Edited by Jessica Hubbard