You are currently browsing the daily archive for 13/01/2017.

Mike Pitts has just written [our emphasis in red]:

“There is going to be a consultation this spring to consider options for the A303 road tunnel past (not under) Stonehenge. Will the press report this in a balanced, understanding way, or will it focus Brexit-style on the loud voices obsessed with stopping a tunnel regardless of any proper consideration of the current situation and potential outcomes? And… whoops, this one has already happened. As I write, the Guardian has exactly theses words in a headline and subhead, quoting Dan Snow and Tom Holland. These are good men both, a forceful TV presenter of military history (Snow) and a masterful writer on classical history and presenter of Radio 4’s Making History (Holland). But, pace the Guardian, neither is an expert on Stonehenge archaeology or the Stonehenge tunnel. Nobody beyond involved engineers can be a tunnel expert – we still have a great deal of detail to learn. I’m not sure what Michael Gove had in mind in his infamous dismissal of “experts”, but tabloid-style use of the word like this does nothing for public understanding or respect for specialists. You do not become an expert by making the most noise (as I’m sure Snow and Holland would agree).”

He’s right, the press shouldn’t say Messrs Snow and Holland are tunnel experts as they aren’t and never claimed they were but he has missed the fundamental point: they don’t need to be. The problem isn’t the tunnel but the huge new approach roads which will have to be constructed. You don’t have to be a tunnel expert or a Stonehenge expert to know that would cause enormous damage to the World Heritage landscape, something which is being loudly ignored in the press and on websites by the powerful pro-tunnel lobby.

(Incidentally, the phrase “loud voices obsessed with stopping a tunnel” follows his previous statement that the Stonehenge Alliance acts like“the archaeological wing of Donald Trump’s social media campaign”. Fortunately they seem to have opted not to retaliate in kind or to be diverted from voicing their democratic opinion in a dignified manner. Good for them!).




January 2017

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