The British Empire was a Force for Good: An Intelligence Squared Debate


Written By: Intelligence Squared Limited

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Length:1 hour and 46 min.

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Audiobook Summary: The British Empire was a Force for Good : Lawrence James, author of Rise and Fall of the British Empire and more; Niall Ferguson, writer and presenter of Empire for Channel 4 and Professor of Political and Financial History at Oxford University; and Andrew Roberts, biographer of Neville Chamberlain's and Winston Churchill's foreign secretary, the Earl of Halifax, spoke for the motion. Dr. Richard Drayton, Cambridge University lecturer in Imperial and extra-European History; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Senior Researcher at the Foreign Policy Centre; and David Washbrook, Reader in Modern South Asian History at Oxford University, spoke against the motion. The debate, held on June 1, 2004, was chaired by Richard Lindley, a veteran television reporter and presenter who has worked for both BBC and ITV current affairs, as well as for the news, at ITN. Intelligence Squared is London's leading forum for live debate, holding regular debates on the crucial issues of the day and inviting the leading intellectual and political lights on the given subject to participate in them. The format of the debates is modeled on the one employed at the Oxford and Cambridge university Unions: a challenging, sharply defined motion; a team of speakers to propose the motion and a like number to oppose it; and a moderator to keep the speakers and the audience in order and force everyone to stick to the issues. After the main speeches and before summation, contributions are asked from the floor: audience participation is a key feature of the occasion, providing a rare opportunity for the public to voice their opinions and to challenge those of the speakers. A vote is taken before the debate begins and then again at the end so as to give a measure, often a very dramatic one, of the extent to which the audience has been swayed by the oratory and arguments of the speakers in the course of the evening.