The Great Debate 2020: speeches

Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?

Published: 20th November 2020

Many things have been different this year – especially things that involve people coming together physically in one setting. That was certainly the case for our Great Debate competition. Fortunately, all of the regional heats had taken place across the UK before the first lockdown came into effect last spring, however that meant the final that was scheduled for the end of March could not go ahead.

For the following few months, we waited to see if the situation would get considerably better and if things might return to a type of normal where 100 + people could meet together in a public place. Sadly, that hasn’t really happened but we have been quite determined to give those finalists of the Great Debate 2020 their chance to once more present their talk and compete to see who is best able to answer the question:

‘Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?'.

Therefore, collected here are the talks delivered by the finalists but in their own homes or schools. 

The final took place on Wednesday 25 November live on zoom with all those who have submitted their talks present and those shortlisted were asked to answer questions from the judges. You can see the results of the 2020 final here. If you are interested in finding out more contact 

The Great Debate encourages schools and students to get involved in public speaking. It is a debating competition for students in the UK & Ireland aged between 16 and 18. Students have 5 minutes to produce a speech on the set question.