A Speakers‘ Corner for the Eye of York

York Election Ticket for the 1807 election

Tillman Jacobi

It is a good occasion to revive true public debate in times of many global concerns and uncertainties, or controversial political, economical and social developments. This kind of debate becomes most real and catching, when it is delivered in person – not online.

London’s Speakers‘ Corner has, for centuries, been a mighty institution and symbol for free speech, for public engagement, a sense of the local and global commmunity, and for true democracy.
So, York needs a Speaker’s Corner, too.

What better place to hold York’s Speakers‘ Corner than the Eye of York which – due to its symbolic signifiance as a place of royal and judical authority and as a place where Yorkshire MPs were elected – is a site were people have gathered to protest and be heard.

The York Against the War protest, 15th March 2003

The rules are simple: it is a self-regulating platform for spontaneous or prepared opinion, information and reflection, which will serve all listeners and participants in many ways. The speakers keep full personal and legal responsibility and so stay away from offence, profanity or unlawful statements. Speakers will share and stimulate thoughts, which can simply entertain, as well as start and drive development and improvement – right from the ground up.

The topics at a Speaker’s Corner can be as diverse as society itself and may include history, politics, art and music, health, spirituality, literature or comedy. A Speaker’s Corner in York is likely to reach and involve thousands of visitors and local citizens over time, pupils, students, workers, politicians, pensioners – and everybody else. A Speaker’s Corner is fully inclusive and provides absolute equality in listening and speaking, for everyone.

The power of the free word has always, through the ages, managed to overcome boundaries and obstacles, and it is an ideal time and opportunity now to light a fresh torch in York, to bring this fire out again into the real world.

We are running an event to explore bringing a Speakers’ Corner to life in the Eye of York on 23rd January, 6.30-8.30. Book your place here.

Leave a comment