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Looking back at the final

First of all, let me once again congratulate both Gort and Sandford Park for a brilliant Concern Debates National Final.

Answering your queries

Over the past week, we have received a number of queries about the chief adjudicator’s remarks when he announced the result of the debate. He mentioned that “it was very brave of Concern to propose such a motion, because if it was defeated the organisation could risk embarrassment.”

Unfortunately, this may have given the impression that Concern somehow “rigged” the result, and that there was no way on earth the opposition would be allowed to carry the day. It has also been claimed that the adjudicating panel took it upon themselves to spare Concern’s blushes by opting for the proposition.

Neither could be further from the truth.

In talking to the adjudicators after the final, we’re absolutely satisfied that the issue of “embarrassing” Concern was not in any way a factor in the overall result.

Education forum

The Concern Debates are about raising awareness of development issues. They are principally an education forum, where students are invited to engage in topics related to the developing world. As well as getting to grips with the content of a given debate, students also have to develop the skill of presenting and defending their side of the motion. The marking sheet reflects this balance between content and overall debating skill.

The Concern Debates are not a policy or communications forum for Concern. A motion that is carried or defeated does not determine how Concern will approach a given issue. The outcome of the National Final is treated like any of the other motions we proposed this year: is the UN a white elephant? Is child labour a necessity of life? Is GM food the solution to world hunger?

Concern has a position on each of these motions but whether “our” side was carried or defeated in a given debate is immaterial to the organisation. The debates are about the students.