The Neave Society has seen many evolutions and changes this year – from having everyone online at the start, to being back in person for our final debate of the year.
Despite this tumultuous year, the Neave Society has continued to host its bi-weekly debates as it always has done. It has been fascinating to hear from students from a variety of years and subjects, who consistently provide fresh perspectives and lively discussions no matter the topic.
We kicked off the year with the traditional ‘no confidence in the government’ debate, which this year revolved (as you might expect) mainly around coronavirus and the policy response. Michaelmas saw us consider topics as varied as drug legalisation and education, making for a wonderful term of discussions.
Our highlight from Hilary term was the debate on space exploration which asked whether private individuals or governments should be able to own space (when the time comes). Along with questions of fairness and government power came concerns about the likelihood of territorial wars in space, which – though slightly fantastical – provided for some very interesting discussion.
At the start of this term, fitted with a new President and Treasurer, we were unfortunately limited to online discussions – despite this, they were engaged in with gusto. Our first debate was on whether porn should be legal. After a fascinating discussion on bodily sanctity as well as the reality of sex work, the house voted in favour of pornography being legal. We followed this up with another online debate, this time on the benefits and drawbacks of national service. We spent much of this debate mulling over the different forms which national service could take – from military to educational. We concluded that this house would not introduce compulsory national service, primarily based on concerns about the power of government to control the lives of its citizens.
Finally, towards the end of term we had our first in-person debate in quite some time (we have been online since the end of Hilary term 2020). In this debate we considered the proposition that wealth should not be divided equally after divorce. We ended up voting in favour of the motion, after considering how varied and diverse marriages are. This debate was held around the beautiful Tolkien Table, although we hope next term to be able to move back into the JCR for a full term of in-person debates.
Poppy Jagger (2019)
Neave Society President 2020-21