Review: Joutes Oratoires

The 2017 version of the Joutes Oratoires took place last week, and a very fine display of French debating it was. 

Jonny Venn (C3 U6) and Brice Luthi (BH U6) represented the College in this heat of the national competition. Having written and rehearsed their speeches in the weeks leading up to the event, they held their nerve on the day to defeat Cheltenham College in Round 1, citing the success of Alan Sugar as an example of why ’the importance of academic success is overstated’.

They were narrowly outmanoeuvred in round 2 by Portsmouth Grammar, whose defence of their position on compulsory voting was that little bit more refined and detailed. In a splendidly fiery 3rd-round match-up with Abingdon, they defended the motion “Les Jeux Olympiques ne servent plus à rien”. This was a great sight – two passionate speeches and a full-blooded (but respectful) argument, delivered in coherent and stylish French for the whole 12 minutes. Abingdon took the debate by a point, and the title by two.

This event brings out the best in the participants, and it was a highly impressive exhibition of linguistic and intellectual excellence.

Chapeau! to all concerned.

Tom Kiggell

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