A gripping evening at the Orwell Prize Launch Debate

A disturber can be quite annoying when an official debate is on.
However, the reception of a similar unexpected situation can lead the observer to deeper reflections upon the debate itself.

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
Jean Seaton, the Director of the event, has mediated the discussion between two politicians present during the evening: Alan Johnson – member of the Labour Party, who has been Home secretary in 2009 and, before it, Health Secretary and Education Secretary during Blair and Brown governments – and David Davis MP – member of the Conservative Party and currently elected Member of Parliament.

The talk has focused on the social issues currently close to the electorate.
At the beginning, the questions have tried to make clear the guests’ backgrounds, their education and their motivations, in order to highlight the root of their political stances.
Both of them emphasised the university period as a “a time when consciences changed”, as David Davis said, with special reference to the people’s opinions after the Second World War.

Afterwards, the debate has headed towards the more sensitive social issues: the Education reforms, the actual government regulations towards the country’s problems, and possible support or opposition of the Labour party.

At this point, a man started making questions about the conducts of politicians.
David Davis answered at first, but later the dispute seemed endless.
Jean Seaton has tried to postpone the man’s objections, as also the rest of the room showed signs of disapproval for a similar rude interruption of the talk.
There is a time for the questions and a time for the objections.

After a while, the previous quiet situation has been re-established. However, as the debate went on, the interrupter wanted to speak aloud again, before, as he said, leaving. He accused politicians and talked about secret affairs which the government do not reveal.

As the man didn’t seem to stop talking, the participants stood up trying to lead him outside. The audience has dealt with the problem for about ten minutes, before the man decided to leave without further action by the police.

The talk, subsequently, went on smoothly and the debate was opened up to peaceful interventions from the people.
Not everyone, obviously, agreed with the statements of the guests. However, the discordance has been shown in more measured ways.

“What I have most wanted to do is to make political writing into an art”, said George Orwell.
In a period when the British country discusses about its membership to the EU, during the election year, and when social issues such as the immigration laws occupy large spaces in the newspapers, however, harsh disagreement leads nowhere.

What a foreign student can learn from this event is: firstly, what kind of social issues are the main concerns for the country, and, secondly, how the respectful dialogue is the proper tool to deal with the problems, even when we are sensitive to the case.
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti