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The Hexham Debates - Janet Fenton

Hexham is probably known, if at all, to Scots as an interesting wee place from which to explore the old Roman wall. The Hexham Debates started in 2007, initially as a response to Parliament's plans to replace Trident, and initiated by Trident Ploughshares' Caroline Westgate through her local Quaker Meeting in Hexham. 

Bruce Kent was one of the first 'debaters' and the events were very popular and went from strength to strength for more than a decade. One reason they proved so popular is that they were/are designed not to be adversarial. They explore topical issues in a non-confrontational context. The debates were inspired by the Putney Debates of 1647 which aimed to explore how England might be following the Civil War, with an invited speaker making a longer than usual presentation of their views and then an open but respectful discussion or 'probing' of the ideas presented and one important aim is to demonstrate ways in which a government's legitimacy depends on the consent of its citizens, and our responsibilities as citizens in that context.

The debates have been well attended, albeit mostly by Northumbrians. Obviously, they are not happening live due to Covid-19, which gives a great opportunity in the form of an invitation. Rather than taking place at St Mary's Church Hall, the Hexham debates will now happen live online via Zoom on Saturdays from 11:00am - 12:30pm. The same exciting speakers, the same lively discussion! The March debate was on Extinction Rebellion and the next one in April is on Refugees.

You can find out more about the Hexham Debates and how to get involved via the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/hexhamdebates/

https://hexhamdebates.wordpress.com/

We are all doing our best during these turbulent times and by getting involved in digital campaigning we can keep our spirits high and our message clear.

 

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