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Culture Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, recently told Parliament: “We are committed to working with UNESCO and its advisory bodies to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site is taken into consideration in any forthcoming road scheme”

In addition, archaeologists have discovered a significant site at Blick Mead which they fear will be damaged if construction work raises the water table but in a joint statement, Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust said: “We are confident that its importance will be taken into consideration as the various options for the Government’s road scheme are developed.”

Coincidence? Or use of the same hymn sheet? Who knows? What is known is that building a “short” tunnel will involve removing millions of cubic feet from the surface layers of a specific piece of archaeologically significant acreage about which Britain has solemnly promised the rest of the world “protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations”. Consequently, contemplating a plan to cause it massive new damage was always going to necessitate resorting to Orwellian “newspeak”, a language designed for just such tricky occasions. In particular it requires what Orwell termed blackwhite – “a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.” (The National Trust, in particular springs to mind).

If anyone can show that “taken into consideration” doesn’t mean “damaged or destroyed in contravention of our promises to the world” let them promptly do so, using nothing but plain English, in their next press release.

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