The Cambridge Union have announced their term card for Lent. One debate, on whether judges make better law than politicians, will see two former Supreme Court Justices, David Neuberger and Jonathan Sumption go head-to-head, while former Home Secretary Amber Rudd will be in conversation Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s Director of Communications, on 9th March.
Union President, Freddie Fisk, has explained that, ‘as in Easter 2020, all our events this term will be online and open to all: you don’t need Union membership to attend, ask questions, or get involved.’
Rory Stewart, who ran for the Conservative leadership in 2019, but resigned from the party following Boris Johnson’s election, will speak to the Union, as will former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber. The Union have also confirmed that an event with Theresa May will take place in Easter term, while comedian David Baddiel will speak this term.
On 17th March, former US National Security Advisor M. R. McMaster will be in conversation with Professor Brendan Simms, fellow of Peterhouse and author of a recent biography of Adolf Hitler.
The Union have also planned a number of interesting debates for this term. In a debate concerning whether the kingdom is no longer united, current Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West will be on opposite sides of the floor to former Lib Dem Deputy Leader Simon Hughes. This debate, which also includes Leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford, and Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Scotland, Ian Murray, will take place on 25th February.
A debate on 4th February will discuss whether ‘liberalism has failed us’. Arguing against the motion will be philosopher A.C. Grayling, while speaking in proposition will be one of Theresa May’s former joint Chiefs of Staff, Nick Timothy. Timothy – responsible for the vacuous slogan ‘Brexit means Brexit’ – and the other of May’s Chiefs of Staff, Fiona Hill, were dubbed ‘The Terrible Twins’ while in government because of their controlling and often abusive behaviour.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, science journalist Laura Spinney, and physician Phil Whitaker will be arguing in opposition to the motion ‘The House Believes Lockdown was a Mistake’, against former Brexit Party MEP Richard Tice, 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady, and journalist Toby Young, on 28th January.
A debate to be held on the 4th March will consider whether silence is complicity. Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University Kehinde Andrews will be proposing the motion, while Sunder Katwala, former General Secretary of the Fabian Society, will be speaking in opposition.
In most of these debates, students will be able to participate, as decided by auditions held every Monday. The Union will circulate sign-ups for these auditions on Facebook and by email.
Freddie Fisk, Union President for Lent Term, has stated, ‘It’s a difficult time for everyone and our number one aim is to offer something uplifting, which anyone can access from home.’
‘When this was trialled last Easter, tens of thousands of viewers watched our live events and this boosted the quality of engagement for everyone involved. This Lent, we’d like to recreate a similarly lively spirit and hopefully go further with plans to invite audience members onto the virtual stage to probe our speakers.’
‘Free exchange of ideas (as well as a bit of light entertainment!) is the basis of what the Union does, and we are determined to deliver this whenever and wherever,’ Fisk continued.