There was a full house at the Oxford Union on 26th February for the Thames Valley Philanthropy Fellowship debate.
Audience members, including philanthropists and fundholders, came from far and wide to hear Martyn Lewis CBE and others debate the question of whether charity creates dependency. The initial motion posited: “This house believes that charity does create dependency and maintains inequalities in our society”. After a fierce debate and systematic voting (green for the ayes red for the noes), the motion was quashed, with 50 votes endorsing the statement, beaten by 100 votes dissenting. The house concluded that charity does not create dependency, but rather holds an important role within society in reducing inequality.
The Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. It has been established for 189 years, aiming to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe. The forms of debate are similar to that in the House of Commons, with all remarks addressed to the President or Chairman, and Members referred to as “honourable”, standing on each side of the house to oppose each other. The despatch boxes were originally from the Commons and were a gift from Winston Churchill.
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