Soapbox Speakers

Archive for May, 2019|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 26th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 27, 2019 at 10:39 am

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. “
Mary Oliver

1. The meeting began in an unorthodox manner, even for Speakers’ Corner. Mirko explained to us his latest invention: anti-gravity shoes.

I am not making this up. Nor was he kidding us. Mirko fully believes in his ideas.

HIs idea is to attach magnets to the footpaths, and magnets to the soles of our shoes. The magnets would repel each other and make it easier for us to lift our feet. “One stride could be ten metres” he told us, eyes bright.

His plan was flawless, except for the bit where he said the magnets in the footpath would be positive, and our shoe magnets would be negative. Uncle Pete charitably pointed out that if that were the case, we would stick to the footpath. Ex-electrician Mirko would have none of that. He rejected the idea that for his plan to work we would have to use magnets with the same polarity.

Honestly, I really am not making this up.

It is fair to say that Mirko did not receive the support he expected. As a result he was a right royal pest to Mr B for most of the day.

2. Peter the Younger stood on the Ladder of Knowledge to say a few words about global warming, as did John August. But John left in a hurry after a remark about “old farts”.

3. Your scribe can’t tell you what Steve Maxwell, Helmut or Ray talked about, but late in the day we had a passer-by get up and speak. His name is Sashin and he spoke about the necessity for veganism. Try his colourful website.

Sashin’s talk prompted Mark the Grinner to offer us vegan recipes. He also offered recipes for left-handed people and rangas (people with red hair). As cannibalism is still against the law, no one took up his offer.

4. Mark the Grinner and Uncle Pete were busy being pests. They entertained everyone except the speakers with their witty remarks. Here are just some of the discussions they interrupted:
The Just World Theory. Do you blame the other person for their plight because you feel powerless to help them?

The  Tyranny of the Should. Get rid of the ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’ and ‘musts’ in your life and become relaxed and easygoing.

– The Newstart Allowance. “It’s more than enough”, said Mr B, “especially with the added rental allowance of $122.40.” Thankfully he didn’t go so far to say that people on Newstart are living in luxury.
The figures on this link don’t include the $122.40 per fortnight rental assistance.

– Can the laws of physics, created 13.8 billion years ago in the Big Bang, be applied to the universe of light that existed before then (according to Helmut)? Indeed, were the laws created in the Big Bang at all?  Could they have existed before then?

– Did Scott Morrison’s love of the Game of Thrones help him win over the disinterested swinging voter and help the coalition win the election?
There’s no coal in ‘coalition’. Oh, wait, there is.

– Why can’t a cricketer choose to take three runs instead of four, if she hits a boundary? The one answer put forth was unsatisfactory.

– Do people with wacky ideas have them because they have neglected to think deeply about the implications of their belief?

– “What is the biggest problem facing the world?” asked someone. Mr B replied: “Overpopulation.” Mr B then got stuck into us, and three grannies then got stuck into Mr B.

– The history of hecklers. (See last Thursday’s post for a full description)

– Are there any wealthy people not struggling financially?

– Why do new smokers, before they are properly addicted, not see that cigarettes could be becoming a problem for them, and stop while they still can?
From the Postsecret website:

5. This week’s Unusual Critter is the Croatia Marten. It has not yet found the time to look at our Facebook page but promises to do so.




The history of hecklers

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 23, 2019 at 9:21 am

There are many articles about the history of soapbox orators, but none about the hecklers. This article addresses that omission.

1. Julius Caesar  46 to 44BC
Julius was a character. His main topics were politics and the military. However, he had stiff competition from two other soapbox speakers: Brutus and Mark Antony. You can find examples of their speeches on Youtube.
  Unfortunately, Caesar’s hecklers were a disagreeable lot, and one day things got out of hand. He was stabbed and taken to hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.

2. Jesus Christ  circa 27 to 35AD.
Jesus stood on a hill and talked about religion (a popular topic). Some historians say he had about twelve people in his audience, which suggests his oratory skills were no better than Helmut’s. Other historians claim he had hundreds of people in his audience, which suggests his oratory skills were entertaining, but lacked sufficient depth to attract more than twelve regulars.
  His hecklers were brutal, and he didn’t last long as a soapbox speaker. However, he was the most successful; his ideas are still discussed today.

3. Adolf Hitler 1930s to 1945
Adolf was a controversial soapbox speaker who stood on a balcony to talk to his ardent followers. He had a remarkable ability to inspire audience participation: for reasons unclear he would intermittently get his followers to raise their right arm. However, Adolf broke the unwritten law of soapboxing by using a microphone and amplification, and drowned out his hecklers’ objections. For that reason none of his hecklers rose to prominence.
Unfortunately there was a war going on at the time and his distracted hecklers were losing interest in what he had to say. With his popularity waning, in April 1945 Adolf took his own life.

4. Benito Mussolini. 1930s to 1945
‘The Iron Prefect’ was an Italian fellow who, like Hitler, enjoyed addressing his followers from a balcony. His adept use of body language, vocal variety and improvisation made him one of the world’s best soapbox speakers. However, he made Hitler’s mistake of using a microphone and amplifier, but his hecklers were less accommodating. One shot him dead. That concluded Mussolini’s soapboxing days.

5. Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma was an Indian soapbox speaker whose favourite topic was civil rights. But he was a man of contradictions: his speeches pleased the Indian segment of the community and alienated the English, yet there is no suggestion he was racist. He would often undertake long fasts, yet there is no firm proof he had an eating disorder. He lived modestly and honestly, and advocated non-violence, yet spent plenty of time in jail. A heckler became fed up with Mahatma’s inconsistency and shot him dead.

In conclusion, we can see that hecklers are a disagreeable and murderous lot. It is not an understatement to say our current orators are brave and noble fellows, for they have chosen to put their lives on the line for the edification of their followers. For that we thank them.


  1. ^ Jeffrey M. Shaw; Timothy J. Demy (2017). War and Religion: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-61069-517-6.
  2. ^ “Gandhi”. Archived 14 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ “The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi”. Gandhiserve foundation (Berlin). Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. ^ McGregor, Ronald Stuart (1993). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 799. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: (mahā- (S. “great, mighty, large, …, eminent”) + ātmā (S. “1.soul, spirit; the self, the individual; the mind, the heart; 2. the ultimate being.”): “high-souled, of noble nature; a noble or venerable man.”
  5. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) p. 172: “… Kasturba would accompany Gandhi on his departure from Cape Town for England in July 1914 en route to India. … In different South African towns (Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and the Natal cities of Durban and Verulam), the struggle’s martyrs were honoured and the Gandhi’s bade farewell. Addresses in Durban and Verulam referred to Gandhi as a ‘Mahatma’, ‘great soul’. He was seen as a great soul because he had taken up the poor’s cause. The whites too said good things about Gandhi, who predicted a future for the Empire if it respected justice.” (p. 172).
  6. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal. An Autobiography. Bodley Head.
  7. ^ Jump up to:
    a b McAllister, Pam (1982). Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence. New Society Publishers. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-86571-017-7. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “With love, Yours, Bapu (You closed with the term of endearment used by your close friends, the term you used with all the movement leaders, roughly meaning ‘Papa’.” Another letter written in 1940 shows similar tenderness and caring.
  8. ^ Eck, Diana L. (2003). Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras. Beacon Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8070-7301-8. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “… his niece Manu, who, like others called this immortal Gandhi ‘Bapu,’ meaning not ‘father,’ but the familiar, ‘daddy’.” (p. 210)
  9. ^ Jump up to:
    a b “Gandhi not formally conferred ‘Father of the Nation’ title: Govt” Archived 6 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 11 July 2012.
  10. ^ Jump up to:
    a b “Constitution doesn’t permit ‘Father of the Nation’ title: Government” Archived 7 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Times of India, 26 October 2012.
  11. ^ Maeleine Slade, Mirabehn. Gleanings Gathered at Bapu’s Feet. Ahmedabad: Navjivan publications. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Archived from
  13. ^ Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Archived from the original
  14. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c Brown (1991), p. 380:
  15. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Cush, Denise; Robinson, Catherine; York, Michael (2008). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Taylor & Francis. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-7007-1267-0. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “The apotheosis of this contrast is the assassination of Gandhi in 1948 by a militant Nathuram Godse, on the basis of his ‘weak’ accommodationist approach towards the new state of Pakistan.” (p. 544)
  16. ^ Todd, Anne M. (2012) Mohandas Gandhi, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 1-4381-0662-9, p. 8: The name Gandhi means “grocer”, although Mohandas’s father and grandfather were politicians not grocers.
  17. ^ Renard, John (1999). Responses to One Hundred and One Questions on Hinduism By John Renard. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-8091-3845-6.
  18. ^ Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autobiography chapter 1 (Dover edition, p. 1).
  19. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015 pp. 19–21
  20. ^ Misra, Amalendu (2004). Identity and Religion: Foundations of anti-Islamism in India. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7619-3227-7.
  21. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006). Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People, and an Empire By Gandhi. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-14-310411-7.
  22. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d e f Tendulkar, D. G. (1951). Mahatma; life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
  23. ^ Malhotra, S.L (2001). Lawyer to Mahatma: Life, Work and Transformation of M. K. Gandhi. p. 5. ISBN 978-81-7629-293-1.
  24. ^ Guha 2015, p. 21
  25. ^ Guha 2015, p. 512
  26. ^ Guha 2015, p. 22
  27. ^ Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich (2002). The Ways and Power of Love: types, factors, and techniques of moral transformation. Templeton Foundation Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-890151-86-7.
  28. ^ Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber & Rudolph, Lloyd I. (1983). Gandhi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma. University of Chicago Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-226-73136-0.
  29. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) pp. 2, 8, 269
  30. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Arvind Sharma (2013). Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography. Yale University Press. pp. 11–14. ISBN 978-0-300-18738-0.
  31. ^ Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber & Rudolph, Lloyd I. (1983). Gandhi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma. University of Chicago Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-226-73136-0.
  32. ^ Gerard Toffin (2012). John Zavos; et al. (eds.). Public Hinduisms. SAGE Publications. pp. 249–257. ISBN 978-81-321-1696-7.
  33. ^ Guha 2015, p. 23
  34. ^ Guha 2015, pp. 24–25
  35. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  36. ^ Louis Fischer (1982). Gandhi, his life and message for the world. Penguin. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-451-62142-9.
  37. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  38. ^ Sankar Ghose (1991). Mahatma Gandhi. Allied Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-7023-205-6.
  39. ^ Ramachandra Guha (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  40. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Mohanty, Rekha (2011). “From Satya to Sadbhavna” (PDF). Orissa Review (January 2011): 45–49. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  41. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Gandhi (1940). Chapter “At the High School”; Archived 30 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ Gandhi (1940). Chapter “Playing the Husband”; Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  43. ^ Ramachandra Guha (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  44. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, p. 29
  45. ^ Guha 2015, p. 30
  46. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, p. 32
  47. ^ Gandhi (1940). Chapter “Preparation for England”. Archived 2 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  49. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, pp. 33-34
  50. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) pp. 20–21.
  51. ^ M K Gandhi (1940), The Story of My Experiments with Truth Archived 17 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Autobiography, Wikisource
  52. ^ Thomas Weber (2004). Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor. Cambridge University Press. pp. 19–25. ISBN 978-1-139-45657-9.
  53. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Brown (1991).
  54. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Herman (2008), pp. 82–83
  55. Badian in Griffin (ed.) p.16
  56. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 30
  57. ^ Ward, Heichelheim, & Yeo p. 194
  58. ^ Blackburn, B and Holford-Strevens, L. (1999 corrected 2003). The Oxford Companion to the Year. Oxford University Press. p. 671. ISBN 978-0-19-214231-3
  59. ^ Keppie, Lawrence (1998). “The approach of civil war”. The making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8061-3014-9.
  60. ^ Suetonius (121). “De vita Caesarum” [The Twelve Caesars]. University of Chicago. p. 107. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. “More than sixty joined the conspiracy against [Caesar], led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus.”
  61. ^ Plutarch. “Life of Caesar”. University of Chicago. p. 595. “… at this juncture Decimus Brutus, surnamed Albinus, who was so trusted by Caesar that he was entered in his will as his second heir, but was partner in the conspiracy of the other Brutus and Cassius, fearing that if Caesar should elude that day, their undertaking would become known, ridiculed the seers and chided Caesar for laying himself open to malicious charges on the part of the senators …”[dead link]
  62. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 68.
  63. ^ Froude, James Anthony (1879). Life of Caesar. Project Gutenberg e-text. p. 67. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. See also: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Julius 6; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.41; Virgil, Aeneid
  64. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:28–30
  65. ^ Dionysius, iii. 29.
  66. ^ Tacitus, Annales, xi. 24.
  67. ^ Niebuhr, vol. i. note 1240, vol. ii. note 421.
  68. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.7. The misconception that Julius Caesar himself was born by Caesarian section dates back at least to the 10th century (Suda kappa 1199). Julius wasn’t the first to bear the name, and in his time the procedure was only performed on dead women, while Caesar’s mother Aurelia lived long after he was born.
  69. ^ Historia Augusta: Aelius 2.
  70. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 32.
  71. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1, Marius 6; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54; Inscriptiones Italiae, 13.3.51–52
  72. ^ Plutarch, Marius 6
  73. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Plutarch, Caesar 1; Suetonius, Julius 1
  74. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54
  75. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.22; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.9
  76. ^ “Julius Caesar”. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
  77. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.41
  78. ^ Canfora, p. 3
  79. ^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities: Flamen
  80. ^ Suetonius, Julius 2–3; Plutarch, Caesar 2–3; Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.20
  81. ^ Suetonius, Julius 46
  82. ^ Again, according to Suetonius’s chronology (Julius 4). Plutarch (Caesar 1.8–2) says this happened earlier, on his return from Nicomedes’s court. Velleius Paterculus (Roman History 2:41.3–42) says merely that it happened when he was a young man.
  83. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 1–2
  84. ^ “Plutarch • Life of Caesar”.
  85. ^ Thorne, James (2003). Julius Caesar: Conqueror and Dictator. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 15.
  86. ^ Freeman, 39
  87. ^ Freeman, 40
  88. ^ Goldsworthy, 77–78
  89. ^ Freeman, 51
  90. ^ Freeman, 52
  91. ^ Goldsworthy, 100
  92. ^ Goldsworthy, 101
  93. ^ Suetonius, Julius 5–8; Plutarch, Caesar 5; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43
  94. ^ Mouritsen, Henrik, Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 97. ISBN 0-521-79100-6 For context, see Plutarch, Julius Caesar, 5.4.
  95. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7; Suetonius, Julius 13
  96. ^ Sallust, Catiline War 49
  97. ^ Kennedy, E.C. (1958). Caesar de Bello Gallico. Cambridge Elementary Classics. III. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 10. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  98. ^ Hammond, Mason (1966). City-state and World State in Greek and Roman Political Theory Until Augustus. Biblo & Tannen. p. 114. ISBN 9780819601766. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  • Meier writes that Jesus’ birth year is c. 7 or 6 BC.[1] Rahner states that the consensus among scholars is c. 4 BC.[2] Sanders also favors c. 4 BC and refers to the general consensus.[3] Finegan uses the study of early Christian traditions to support c. 3 or 2 BC.[4]
  • ^ Most scholars estimate AD 30 or 33 as the year of Jesus’ crucifixion.[6]
  • ^ James Dunn writes that the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus “command almost universal assent” and “rank so high on the ‘almost impossible to doubt or deny’ scale of historical facts” that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[7] Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him.[8]
  • ^ Greek: Ἰησοῦς, romanizedIesous; Hebrew: ישוע, romanizedYēšū́aʿ; Arabic: عيسى, romanizedIssa
  • ^ The New Testament records a variety of names and titles accorded to Jesus.
  • ^ Jump up to:
    a b In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman wrote, “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees”.[16] Richard A. Burridge states: “There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more”.[17] Robert M. Price does not believe that Jesus existed, but agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars.[18] James D. G. Dunn calls the theories of Jesus’ non-existence “a thoroughly dead thesis”.[19] Michael Grant (a classicist) wrote in 1977, “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary”.[20] Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted.[21]
  • ^ Ehrman writes: “The notion that the Gospel accounts are not completely accurate but still important for the religious truths they try to convey is widely shared in the scholarly world, even though it’s not so widely known or believed outside of it.”[23]
  1. See Benito and Mussolini in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di pronuncia italiana online
  2. ^ Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509514-2.
  3. ^ “Historic Figures: Benito Mussolini (1883–1945)”. BBC – History –
  4. ^ “Mussolini founds the Fascist party – Mar 23, 1919”.
  5. ^ Anthony James Gregor (1979). Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520037991.
  6. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi (1997). Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy. U of California Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0520926158.
  7. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d e Gregor 1979, p. 191.
  8. ^ Haugen, pp. 9, 71
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 122–27.
  11. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 122–23.
  12. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Moseley 2004.
  13. ^ Viganò, Marino (2001), “Un’analisi accurata della presunta fuga in Svizzera”, Nuova Storia Contemporanea (in Italian), 3
  14. ^ “1945: Italian partisans kill Mussolini”. BBC News. 28 April 1945. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  15. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Charles F. Delzel, ed. (1970). Mediterranean Fascism 1919–1945. Harper Rowe. p. 3.
  16. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c “Benito Mussolini”. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008.
  17. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Tonge, M.E.; Henry, Stephen; Collins, Gráinne (2004). “Chapter 2”. Living history 2: Italy under Fascism (New ed.). Dublin: EDCO. ISBN 978-1-84536-028-3.
  18. ^ “Alessandro Mussolini 1854”. 8 January 2008.
  19. ^ De Felice, Renzo (1965). Mussolini. Il Rivoluzionario (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi. p. 11.
  20. ^ Gregor 1979, p. 29.
  21. ^ Gregor 1979, p. 31.
  22. ^ Mediterranean Fascism by Charles F. Delzel p. 96
  23. ^ Mauro Cerutti: Benito Mussolini in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 19th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 20, 2019 at 11:53 am

“The best cure for sea sickness is to sit on the lee side of a church.”

1. It was the morning after the Federal Election but the election wasn’t mentioned at Speakers’ Corner. Why? Because Speakers’ Corner is the place for discussions you don’t get elsewhere, and discussions about the election were everywhere else.

That is why Speakers’ Corner is head and shoulders above every other media outlet on the planet.

. . .

Your poor scribe just had a coughing fit. I’m alright now, thank you.

2. It was perfect weather and all four speakers: Steve, Helmut, Mr B, and even Ray, had steady crowds all day.

And, all day, ultra-pest Mirko earnestly tried to inform everyone about the importance of the past, present and future. Mr B was patient with him but this scribe chooses to be less diplomatic. Mirko: Your past must have been a nightmare, you haven’t been in the present for twenty years, and you have no future except for Friday night’s banana custard. Let it rest, for goodness sake.

3. Uncle Pete was keen to learn more about the process of natural selection, and Helmut was keen to learn the Ist Law of Thermodynamics. It’s heartening to know that men that old still have enquiring minds. They are an inspiration to the rest of us.

4. Mr B has changed his mind. For years he has been saying schools should teach their students life skills, and he has received plenty of opposition. “Where would we find the time to teach these skills?!” cried the outraged teachers in the audience. Unlike Mr B, your thoughtful scribe thinks they make a good point. After all, how could they teach a student how to change a flat tyre AND the year in which the Battle of Hastings was fought?

Yes, Mr B points out that he also wants history banned from the curriculum. He argues it would not only enrich each student’s life, it would also free up time so that life skills could be taught. But that change won’t happen any time soon, we both suspect.

Anyway, today he recanted a little, saying that kids can learn some life skills from Youtube. The Battle of Hastings is safe.

The Battle of Hastings. A copy of this print is just $10.66, plus postage.

5. Other subjects discussed:
Alice and the Dark Forest

– What were the unfortunate circumstances of Mr B’s loss of virginity? (Yes, folks, he has lost it. Though not recently.)

– Who leads you? It’s certainly not Scott Morrison.

– Which school subjects are the most important? Is maths one of them?

6. This week’s Unusual Critter is the amblypygi, found worldwide in tropical areas. Although it’s harmless, you probably wouldn’t want to sleep with hundreds of them. The one pictured is a regular contributor to our Facebook page.




Ready to vote?

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 17, 2019 at 10:39 am

“If voting could change the system it would be illegal.”

When you vote tomorrow keep in mind these 16 parties:





















Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 12th March

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 13, 2019 at 3:10 pm

“You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.” 
Mary Oliver.

1. Tim Brunero’s sixteen politicians were interesting and spoke well.  Your diligent scribe filmed them all. However, when editing the videos I aimed to get rid of the rhetoric and the anecdotes, and focus on the policies. But the video still ended up being more than 35 minutes long. That’s 33 minutes too long for this day and age. So, then I figured I’d include just the fun bits. But that would have been doing the politicians a disservice – they had put a lot of work into their presentations and it would not be fair of me to trivialise their efforts for your amusement.

Result: No video. And I have wasted far too much time on the thing to now write a review of what happend on the day.

I learned a few things though. Here are three tips for any politician giving a speech:
1. Don’t waste your time (or our time) complaining about the situation. We already know there is a problem.

2.  Instead, spend the time telling us:
a) your policies. What will you specifically recommend once you’re in parliament? (Giving us platitudes like “We will protect the environment” doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard.)
b) how will you fund your policies?

3. Have a website with your policies on each issue clearly outlined. Anticipate at least twenty possible objections or questions about each policy, and address them.

P.S. Extra tip: in future, when you “go out and talk to the people”, talk to the smart ones. Pooled ignorance creates neither knowledge nor wisdom.

Who dropped a name tag?

2. There has been disatisfaction with Tim’s Speakers’ Corner 2.0.

The complaints:
1. The amplification means that the power now rests too much with the speaker. In the old days the hecklers had a chance to speak. For the speaker to be able to drown out hecklers and ignore awkward questions is a big step backwards.

2. The publicity has assisted Tim but not the rest of us mainstayers. On Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live program Tim gave the impression to some listeners that since the 1970’s Speakers’ Corner’s has been defunct, and that he was bringing it back.

3. Members of the audience felt uncomfortable knowing that their comments would be recorded and live streamed. They were concerned that what they said might adversely affect their reputation, so they were forced to remain silent.

4. The amplification would drown out other speakers wanting to speak across the way.

5. This new method overwhelms a tradition going back more than 140 years. Some things should never change.

The praise.
1. The amplification means that the power now rests with the speaker. In the old days the hecklers had a chance to respond. For a speaker to be able to drown out hecklers and ignore awkward questions is a big step forward.

2. We have been getting publicity. On Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live program Tim reminded people of Speakers’ Corner and this website suddenly got fifty new visitors and 150 views.

3. Members of the audience were grateful for the opportunity to express their comments, knowing that their livestreamed comments would reach a wider audience.

4. The amplification would draw crowds and make it easier for the audience to hear the speaker.

5. This new method brings a crusty, 140 year old tradition into the 21st century. The world is changing and we need to adapt.

Tick which is applicable:
If you like Tim’s innovation, be pleased, because there are two more to come.
If you like Tim’s innvation, be disappointed, because there are only two more to come.

If you don’t like Tim’s innovation, be pleased, because there are only two more to come.
If you don’t like Tim’s innovation, be disappointed, because there are two more to come.

Thanks to Victor Zammit for this photo of John Webster and his throng.


Phillip Adams on Late Night Live

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 9, 2019 at 11:54 pm

The ABC’s Phillip Adams has interviewed Tim Brunero, who has organised this coming Sunday’s event in which politicians from the minor parties will be presenting their policies. Tim spoke well and his knowledge of Speakers’ Corner is extensive. It’s an interesting interview and if you’d like to hear it click right here.

And remember, Steve Maxwell and Mr B will be appearing from 12.30pm to 2pm to present their own policies. That’s to make sure you will hear something sensible.

Some of the parties that will be represented from 2pm will be ‘The Shooters and Fishers Party’, ‘The Science Party’, ‘The Pirate Party’, ‘The Flux Party’, ‘The Hemp Party’, Clive Palmer’s ‘United Australia Party’ with sitting senator Brian Burston, and other parties you haven’t heard of.

Some of their policies are as eccentric as Mr B’s. Yes, hard to believe! But here is a sample:
– build a new city called ‘Turing’ with a minimum height restriction for residential buildings
– beef up renewable power by 800% and have everything in Australia run on renewable power
– invest in all science that will get rid of aging
– smart phone app that allows the people to vote for policies in parliament
– bring back national service
– eradicate foreign aid
– new expressway through the Blue Mountains
– support for nuclear power
– support for euthanasia
– tax-free threshold raised to $70,000
– religions should pay tax

Listen to it live streamed on Facebook or see you Sunday!

Here are some of the speakers:








News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 5th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 6, 2019 at 10:46 am

“True friends stab you in the front.”
Oscar Wilde.

1. The rain tricked your scribe. It was raining when I was about to leave and the ABC’s rain map suggested it would keep raining, so plans to attend Speakers’ Corner were abandoned. But the rain map was wrong and the day unaccountably brightened. (Another good reason to halve the ABC’s funding.) Presumably, the regulars were smarter about picking the weather and turned up to enjoy the day without your scribe.

Steve, Helmut, Ray, Mirko and Mr B may well have been at their dazzling best, and I missed it.

2. A challenge is issued!  This coming Sunday, organiser Tim Brunero will have politicians from the minor parties giving us their policies. They will have access to a microphone and the event will be live streamed on Facebook from 2pm until 5pm. Come along to listen, and ask a question!

However, the regular grasshoppers will still need their weekly dose of wisdom, so Steve and Mr B will be speaking from 12.30pm until 2pm.

Mr B will be presenting the policies he believes Australia needs, and he challenges Tim’s politicians to point out the flaws in his policies. (Of course, it’s a trick. There are no flaws in his policies.)

Steve Maxwell has issued a similar challenge. By 2pm the politicians will be in disarray, but wiser.

Steve is a member of the Greens, and Mr B has provided me with a small sample of his policies:
– A super upgrade of animal welfare.
– No free trade. No Trans Pacific Partnership.
– Repeal all Unfair Dismissal laws.
– No assisted killing.
– No pill testing, no decriminalisation of drugs.
– Reinstate penalty rates.
– The Keiser Sose principle for Defence.
– No religion to be taught in schools.
– Restore our environment & increase habitats.
– Double the Medicare levy.
– Royal Commision into the justice system & significant law reform.
– Prison reform
– Innovations in science
– 12 special projects that no politician seems courageous enough to implement, including the development of an infallible lie detector & a Journal for Negative Results.
– And learn how he is going to fund those projects!


3. In our Unusual Critter Series we present to you the alien-like, almost indestructible, tardigrade. It likes our Facebook page but refuses to leave a comment.

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