Thursday, 1 October 2009

Speakers Corner - Media Clash

New media versus old

Pro (freedom of speech) versus con (tokenism)

Age before beauty - extract from unpublished novel "Not In My Name"

"Speaker’s Corner. Scrubby and frayed. Underfoot and downtrodden, be it bird’s or worm eye point of view. It had been possessed of an eloquent history once. Arrogated by the common people as a right to meet and swap ideas. Imposed upon a Constabulary who chose not to resist, (did they recite the twin catechism of ‘Overtime’ and ‘overstretched resources’ even back then ?). Touchstone for Chartists, Suffragettes and Hunger Marchers alike. But now it is an outmoded anachronism, just like analogue clocks that never quite count you down. This is a million miles from the public discourse of the Athenian Ecclesia. More stopping off point for tourists and sabbath magnet for every denomination of delusional nutter, to get his or her personal bugbear off their tea chest. Paranoiac individuals pontificating on intricate, many-handed conspiracies, be it extra-terrestrial, terroristic, spook secret agencies, religious or Masonic. Windblown solitary beings, whose weatherbeaten minds have been undergoing a slow process of pulverulence, (haven’t we all ?), until they pitch up here.

Even the old roll up Lefties seem to have given up the ghost and eschew doing wheezing battle with their hellbent competitors. How apposite really, since Hyde Park is supposed to be the Capital’s respiring lungs. Yet observe its trees, all grizzled and coated in centuries of the City’s agglomerated, unwashed dereliction. The Park as tubercular London’s cuspidor. Enervated by a weak constitution. A consumptive democracy. What need of further vapours? Those king for a day vagrants, becrutched stump orators up on their soapboxes, fighting over crumbs of comfort tossed as for the pigeons. In the scrum, unwittingly they place their foot on democracy’s windpipe and choke it to death. But the old lush had long since passed out.

When I was younger, I fancied I’d also climb up a makeshift podium here and pour forth. Set the world to rights with dazzlingly original solutions. Never did quite pluck up sufficient courage to speak in public though. No head for step-laddered heights. Wary of laddering my sheer tights. Besides now, there are all sorts of ways to air your views, hone one’s arguments, without having to expose yourself to public glare. When the weather is too inclement to stretch my legs of a lunchtime, then I search out the cut and thrust of debate on the internet. The Roman Forum and the ampitheatre rolled into one."

The new kid on the block:

VOTE NOW by posting your comments on either.

No comments: