Now in its 18th year, the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate is Scotland’s biggest debating tournament. Run by the Law Society of Scotland, this year’s competition welcomed 128 teams in the opening heats and after two further challenging rounds, just four schools pitted their wits against one another in the grand final in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament .
The motion in this year’s final proposed that, “This house would deny smokers free access to healthcare” and the finalists responded with such agility and flair that the judges had a difficult time wading through the talent to identify the victors.
Needless to say, an enormous amount of planning and preparation goes into ensuring that the event lives up to the success of previous years.
In the short series which follows, three bloggers share their personal experiences and interactions with the tournament – all very different and all make great reading.
The Debate – planning, prep and pressure to get it right
Lyndsey Thomson is the Society's careers and outreach coordinator. Lyndsey works on a number of education and training initiatives and having recently taken on the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, she tells us about the planning and preparation that goes on behind the scenes in the months running up to the event.
The Debate – what the judges want
Victoria Lane is a senior solicitor at Brodies LLP and a part-time tutor at Edinburgh University. Victoria's debating experience kicked off in the Donald Dewar Debating tournament when she was still at school and continued throughout her university career. A judge in this year's tournament, Victoria blogs about how debaters can give themselves the edge over the competition.
The Debate – three perspectives, one set of eyes
Sarah Sutton is our digital communications specialist, but in her former role as media communications executive, Sarah looked after the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament. She has also sat on the judging panel on a number of occasions and in this year’s final, she relished the opportunity to savour the debate from the spectators' gallery. Sarah blogs about her experiences of the competition from three different perspectives.
If you enjoyed our mini-series, visit the Law Society of Scotland website to read more about the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament and watch a video of some of the key moments from a previous year's competition.