BOWBRICK AND YANG SEIZE VICTORY AT OXFORD UNION

Poking around, but mainly through Steve’s Del.icio.us, I found this story from 10 years ago (Friday 25 October 1996, 13:41 GMT to be precise). The good old days, eh?

Yahoo and Webmania join forces to slay the opposition

Steve Bowbrick, managing director of Webmania, proposed the motion at the Oxford Union this week, that “This House believes that the Internet heralds the rise of a global community” and won his case.

Supporting bowbrick was Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, and Sam Greenland, Treasurer of the Union. Opposing the motion was Tim Kirkhope, Parlimentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, Paul Ross, broadcaster and writer, and Malcolm Hutty of Internet Vision.

Arguments from the opposition centred on the alienating and isolating effect of computers and the internet, encouraging a lack of physical contact, attacking the idealism of those supporting the motion that the internet is akin to the coming down of the Berlin Wall. Bowbrick and his supporters successfully demonstrated that the internet is, in fact, a tool for connecting people and can only increase the richness and plurality of communities.

Bowbrick commented: “It is great compliment to be asked to speak at the Oxford Union. I see it as a indication of the seriousness with which the internet is beginning to be taken. The internet is moving away from the perception of being a toy and taking its rightful place as serious commercial tool for the wider business community.”

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