Moreton student, Harriet Lang, took part in The National Final of the "Winston Churchill Public Speaking Cup" this weekend. This prestigious event was organised by the English Speaking Union and took place at Dartmouth House in London on Saturday.
The final saw the 8 best speakers from the regional heats each delivering a 6 minute talk (plus 4 minutes of Q&A) on the following quote by Sir Winston Churchill:
"The world, nature, human beings, do not move like machines. The edges are never clear-cut, but always frayed. Nature never draws a line without smudging it."
The standard was extraordinarily high and it was a pleasure to be able to listen to a group of such talented and well-informed young people. Harriet, like many of the speakers, gave the quote context by pointing out that it was actually a criticism of Prime Minister Asquith's inflexible approach to politics and his failure to make even the most prudent of compromises. She explored some of the technological developments of the last century and observed that, since Asquith's time, machines are indeed becoming more like men and also that men are becoming more like machines. This blurring of boundaries, both political and technological, was something that Churchill understood well and she suggested that there may be lessons for some of today's more hard-nosed politicians. Finally, she concluded that a world without smudges, one where technology has removed all imperfections, would actually be a pretty dull place. If we were to become 'hybrid robots' we might still claim to be alive but could we actually claim to be human?
Harriet gave an extremely confident and assured performance for which she was awarded a runner up trophy by Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, Head of Collections and Chief Curator at the Science Museum.