Autumn Term, 1926.
The Annual General Meeting, at which 42 members were present, was held on September 21st. S.B. Smith was elected Chairman; L.W. Day, Vice-chairman; Jennings and Wright, Secretaries; and Mr. Whitt and Payling, Committee-men.
The first debate, the sixtieth meeting of the Society, was held on October lst, and was attended by 51 members. Holdsworth, proposing "that strikes should be made illegal," declared that strikes have no moral justification, and in-evitably bring wide spread financial distress, discontent, and, in any case, a mere temporary victory. He urged that industrial disputes should be settled by arbitration. The opposition, led by Jennings, claimed the right of labourers, in face of unbearable conditions, to withdraw their labour, and doubted the possibility of obtaining a neutral arbiter. The industrial system exercises a virtual tyranny, against which men have a right to rebel. In opposition to this, it was argued that individual members of society are not free to do exactly as they wish since their actions have such far-reaching effects. The motion was lost by one vote.
The meeting on October 15th was attended by 45 members. Day proposed "that the spirit of nationality has hindered human progress," claiming that much material progress, and all intellectual progress have taken place irrespective of nationality. The opposition, led by Super, claimed that unification of states, a great encouragement to the national spirit, is a wonderful stimulus to expansion and progress, and declared that the vaulting ambition of Germany was an example, not of the evils of the national spirit, but of the evils arising when that spirit is deliberately baulked. Against this were urged that progress, for example, in the sciences has been international; that the national spirit is detrimental to art and morals; and that it raises false barriers across the world. The motion was carried by six votes.
On October 29th, a mock trial was held and attended by the President, Mr. Whitt, and a large part of the School. Hemmed in by an expectant crowd, the court proceeded, as solemnly as possible in a confined space, to decide whether or not Mr. Timothy Nemo (Fleetwood) was guilty of the theft of Miss Fall's (Tingey's) necklace. Most of the time was occu-pied in cross-questioning witnesses, a process which produced some amusing replies on the part of harassed witnesses. Smith, Payling; and Rolfe acted well in the parts of Miss Fall's employer, his wife, and a witness, while special mention should be made of Widdowson's admirable impersonation of a slightly inebriated landlady. In Wellings we had an excellent, scrupulously careful, and rather imperious judge, and an ardent upholder of the terrible majesty of the Law. It was by the efforts of these actors that a rather thin plot, the fault of insufficient preparation. was saved from monotony. The jury, twelve good and faithful men, one of whom (F. Bird) was a quaker, returned a verdict of "not guilty."
On November 12th, S. B. Smith proposed to a meeting of 32 members "that professionalism in sport is undesirable," claiming that, with the one exception of golf, professionals in any game are a drawback. He declared that the professional has great difficulty in maintaining a keen' sporting interest, and quoted hockey as a game which showed the good effect of the absence of professionals. Against this it was argued that professionals by perfecting their play can educate amateurs, and that the prospect of entering professional sport is a distinct spur to young players. It was denied that to play for money was wrong. The general opinion was that professional sport degenerates into a mere spectacle, and the true spirit of sport is lost; that while professionalism may increase skill, it ceases to exert the character moulding influence of true sport. The motion was carried by 19 votes.
In the meeting of December 10th, impromptu speeches were made. A list of humorous subjects having been drawn up, the names of speakers were drawn from a hat. Holds-worth improved upon the occasion of speaking on " Ties" to advocate School ties as excellent Christmas presents, "The Old Building," "The New Building," "Them There Com-bustion Stoves," and "Those Literary People" provoked much mirth. Wright, unfortunate in having to speak on "The Secretaries," was howled down in the midst of an account of his woes. The Society was in laughter most, of the evening, and the Chairman had the utmost difficulty in maintaining even a semblance of order,
The debates of the term reached a high standard. There was a good and regular attendance, and although there was a lack of outstanding speakers, the discussions were always interesting and at times heated. We were pleased to see so many of the younger members of the School taking part in the debates.
E.A.F. Wright (VI. Sc.) W.O. Jennings (VI. Sc.)