A debate which I recently attended fuelled my decision to re start blogging.
The debate was headed by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who despite being under house arrest managed to make an appearance at the Frontline Club debate yesterday.
The debate with the motion “This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place” was run jointly by the New Statesman and The Frontline Club and held in Kensington Town Hall.
Unsurprisingly Assange proposed the motion along with Mehdi Hasan the senior politics editor of the New Statesman, and Clayton Swisher Al Jazeera correspondent. The opposition was headed by former international security expert Bob Ayers, political writer and commentator Douglas Murray, and former diplomat David Richmond.
The 900 strong crowd included many of Assange’s supporters including Jemima Khan who has just finished her stint as the guest-editor of the New Statesman. The crowd were mainly in favour of Assange and from the outset the opposition did not have much chance of winning.
Those for the motion outnumbered the opposition as moderator Jason Cowley called upon two notorious whisleblowers, former MI5 Intelligence officer Annie Machon and HSBO whisleblower Paul Moore to say a few words for the motion.
Hasan’s seven rousing minutes on the stand was received with appreciative support from the crowd. Murray had the last few minutes for the opposition. Rather than presenting his sides views, his seven minutes were a direct attack on Assange and WikiLeaks.
Unsurprisingly the motion was almost unanimously won by those supporting Assange and whistleblowing. The WikiLeaks head was unfortunately unable to mingle with the crowd following the debate as he had to comply with his bail conditions and return to Norfolk.