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Rescue, the British Archaeological Trust, a body that is neither lapdog nor mouthpiece, has written to all the political parties with some questions that a lapdog or mouthpiece wouldn’t embarrass them with. Good. This one about Stonehenge will elicit some tricky wording no doubt (maybe even some classics of the politicians’ art if we’re lucky):

“Does your party support the short bored tunnel as proposed by the present Government which, if implemented, would contravene Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention? Do you have any objection to investigating the full range of options, including the long bored tunnel as proposed by the Stonehenge Alliance and supported by RESCUE and other heritage organisations?”

tricky

Oh dear, so what’s a poor political spokesperson to do?

Say they DO support the short tunnel as it won’t contravene the World Heritage Convention?
No, can’t do that because it does!

Say they DON’T object to investigating other options?
No, can’t do that as two of the parties have already ruled the other options out!

Say they DO object to investigating other options
..and thus go down in history as part of a here-today and gone-tomorrow vote-chasing gang who signed off on damaging a World Heritage Site for electoral advantage?

Well yes, that’ll be it, though not in such brutally honest terms. In fact we can anticipate some sidesteppy or reassuring responses, something like …. “We support the short tunnel providing any adverse impacts can be minimised”. Any bets? That has to be how it’ll be as it involves supporting the short tunnel in a “safe” way and thus gaining loads of votes with no risk of being accused of supporting destruction and no absolute proof that talk of minimising the harm is nonsense. Which it certainly is,  for the landscape there is so full of archaeology that the damage caused by gouging a dual carriageway-sized trench through it to create access to the tunnel will be so massive that it will still be massive after it has been minimised! If you hear anyone saying otherwise (and you probably won’t, only subtly implying it) they’ll be politicians. Or lapdogs. Or mouthpieces.

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