What Is Speakers Corner – Paul Williams
Channel: Tom Facchine
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It's a place you shouldn't go to is to be avoided at all costs don't go there. tourists don't go there. Some of us have been there, and we're still trapped. And years later, well, what is it it's?
Well, legally, it's a space, a public space in a park in London called Hyde Park, which is in central London. And it has a very long history goes back 1000 years or more, that particular area of the park, which is called Speaker's Corner now
used to be the place of execution, I think from the 1200s, up to the 1700s. So people will be taken there from London, because London at that time was much further to the east because London has grown and grown and grown over the centuries. So they will be taken there and be hung drawn and quartered, or hung or whatever. And lots of people were excellent, not just murderers, and a highway robber, however, and but Catholic priests, and others who were and many martyrs Catholic priests were martyred, simply being Catholics during the Elizabethan era, who were killed there. And it was in a remote part out of the country at that time, this was for so many centuries, it was a place of
But in the 19th century, it became a public park. And we didn't kill people anymore. There, we did it in a prison somewhere else.
at one point, there was a lot of protests. The trade unionists were demanding their rights is the 1830s or something. And they rallied in the park, and they were attacked by the police. And you weren't really allowed to protest and molested. And Parliament passed a law saying that this area would, in fact, be set aside for public gatherings and public free speech. So they could actually meet there legally, in the future. And this was a legal right, so Speaker's Corner is actually there because of a law which states that they people can go there and exercise their rights to free speech, without any molestation from the police. I say, Eddie, I mean, if you were to call for the
open killing of people, you're not I mean, if you were to do something stupid like that, you're not going to be tolerated, because that's a crime. But if you were to,
there are people that have famous people have been there, like Karl Marx went there, for example, and Lenin went there, and
George Orwell went there, and many other famous people have been there throughout history, just to be protected by law to speak their mind.
And that continues today, obviously, is called Speaker's Corner now, and in the last few years has been quite dominated by religious debates between Christians and Muslims. And in a certain sense, for me, that's a shame because
some of the debates are quite sterile and quite harsh. And there are other things in life that the Speaker's Corner should be about politics, for example, or even eccentric English things. You know, like, there's a Flat Earth Society used to go there. These are apparently normal people who argue the earth is flat, I kid you not. I've spoken to them and and you talk to them, they're there, you know that they appear to be normal, and they have arguments, but that's very eccentric. And that's great. You know that that belongs in Speaker's Corner as well as Christian missionaries, and Muslims and atheists and so on. So I like to see a more diverse
group of people going there. But it can be very toxic. It can be very nasty. Occasionally, it can be violent. I mean, the police obviously you're there as well.
And it can be quite a negative experience, actually. And that's why
you have to be careful and it's not always a good place to go.