For the umpteenth time the concrete cows of Milton Keynes have been “amusingly repainted” – or vandalised if you prefer. On the one hand many people (including the local MP) have praised what has been done and on the other, repairs will cost £2,000 and the police are treating it as criminal damage.

So what’s the answer? If it’s good enough is it no longer vandalism? And if it’s in a good cause and no damage is done is brandalism OK?

We tend towards the “never OK” camp on the grounds that if you erode respect for monuments in general you increase the likelihood that someone will pick up a paintbrush where it REALLY matters. Surely guardians of places like The Long Man of Wilmington who recently allowed this can see that? What happens in Sussex won’t necessarily stay in Sussex.

The Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire in 2005.  (Image Credit: Jane Tomlinson, Heritage Action)