Photographer's Note

London’s Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, is often thought of as just a place that tourists go to listen to ‘cranks’ raving on about why the world is about to come to an end or to expose a high level Government cover-up of Tony Blair’s secret love affair with George Bush.

But those who speak at Speakers' Corner take it much more seriously. There is a website devoted to Speakers’ Corner which claims that it “has had a more powerful influence than any university in the world, because here there are no entry requirements, no rules of intellectual formality and above all, no class restrictions".

The website goes on: “Tourists or visitors to such official places of learning as Cambridge or Oxford University are not allowed to attend any lecture they like, come and go when they choose, or take part in debate and discussion. It is precisely these characteristics that mark out Speakers' Corner as a strange and exciting place, a place where mankind meets itself in a generally pleasurable atmosphere. There are many tens of thousands of people who come to Speaker's Corner once or twice a year, many thousands who come 5-10 times a year, and hundreds who come virtually through hell or high water. When you consider that there is nothing to buy here, no music, just human interaction without the mediation of machines and without any protection from the weather, you begin to get a small glimpse of the significance of this place. Speakers' Corner may be seen as a dynamic refection of mass psychology, in that you have here people from every walk of life, every class, and almost every country, who engage in discussion of the issues, altering and forming opinions. Speakers' Corner is a microcosm of the entire planet".

The man in my photograph is espousing the virtues of world federalism. The World Federalist Movement also has a website (with a logo that looks like that of the United Nations!) which says it is an international citizen's movement working for justice, peace, and sustainable prosperity. It says: “We call for an end to the rule of force, through a world governed by law, based on strengthened and democratized world institutions. World federalists support the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and call for the division of international authority among separate agencies.” Heavy stuff and high ideals!

PP: Cropped and USM.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2003-12-07
  • Categories: Daily Life
  • Camera: Nikon E5000
  • Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2006-03-04 12:10
Viewed: 8369
Points: 18
  • None
Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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