We all have moments when we really need to get something off our chest.
And we all have different ways of expressing what is on our mind.
Some write letters to the editor of their local newspaper, others like to get a bit chopsy with their local councillor, there are those who subject their nearest and dearest to regular weekly rants and quite a few of us blog.
There is a long and rich tradition in this country of providing people with a platform to express their opinion on whatever issue they choose, as well as share information and ideas.
For some blogging has become an increasingly useful platform. But one of the oldest platforms is about to make a welcome return to Lichfield – a Speakers’ Corner.
An exhibition of the preparations opens at the Wedge Gallery, on the South Staffordshire College campus at The Friary, next month ahead of a planned launch event in May. The local organising committee has also set up a website to keep local people informed.
During the last century open air public meetings were central to our political and social life and played an instrumental part in some historic moments – such as electoral reform.
Over the last 20-30 years our politicians and decision-making institutions have increasingly been seen as remote and out of touch with popular opinion. The idea behind a revived Speakers’ Corner is to once more provide the public with a platform they have lost access to over the years – a case of going back to the future.
Communities and individuals are being encouraged to take a much greater part in political debate and have their say on everything from national Government policies to much more localised issues.
We are all guilty, at times, of becoming a little complacent about features of our society that others in so many different countries are involved in a daily fight to secure.
We have freedom of speech, we have a democracy. We must stop taking such privileges for granted.
If the resurrection of Speakers’ Corner plays a part in breaking this complacency then it deserves universal support.
We’ll be keeping a very interested eye on developments in Lichfield.
And, of course, we’ll be expressing opinions, sharing information and promoting ideas.
- Lichfield’s Speakers’ Corner – Work in Progress takes place between April 20 and May 1 at the Wedge Gallery & Project Space (10am-4pm Mon-Fri; 10am-12pm Sat).