Report of the meeting held on 8 December 2016, by Doug Weale

A vital agenda once each year, gives members the opportunity for debate: the meeting on December 8th, Chaired by John Beale, was based on a 19th century custom of the city of London coffee houses: debate began from newspaper items read out by readers to fellow customers. Emulating this format, in the traditional role of “The Opener” Bernie Morgan, with a speech superbly constructed from recent ongoing press items of special interest, offered a wide choice of subject.

The debate was immediately under way: The Turner Prize having just been awarded to an artist of repute, among five contenders of whom had submitted their work of such variety as to be controversial, and certainly inviting  debate. Other subjects ranging from the American election to local matters.

In his evaluation Steve  Pamphilon  complimented members on putting into good use, the qualities specified in our Manual as we practise the art defined by the Association to which we belong: speaking with purpose was prominent .

As always impromptu speaking occupied the second half. Ben Harris offered well known quotations relating to the sporting world, responded to by members in turn; always challenging, always providing an enjoyable exercise in quick thinking.

In the customary general summary of the meeting, Doug Weale drew attention to the educational value of debate, offering opportunity to voice opinion and speak with purpose on a specific subject; the meeting had been both successful and enjoyable.

The new year begins with meetings on January 12th and 26th and on the second and fourth Thursdays onwards; in a drive to increase membership, visitors are welcome to all meetings to sit and listen without obligation. Visit