Remember how we reported in January that Republicans in Utah, USA, were hell bent on reversing President Obama’s protection of the Bears Ears National Monument? They wanted to give a different slant to “sacrosanct”: they were happy to protect the area subject to an important proviso: it could still be damaged as and when they  considered it necessary. In other words, not sacrosanct at all.

Familiar? Think of all the times English Heritage, Historic England and The National Trust have said The Stonehenge World Heritage Site ought to be damaged because they think it’s necessary (or to be more accurate, because the Government wills it). The three of them have just written an awful joint letter to The Guardian saying: “rather than an act of desecration, the current tunnel proposal presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do justice to some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments and landscape.” (Keep that phrase in mind: “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do justice to some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments and landscape.”)

The question arises, what about the concept of the World Heritage landscape being sacrosanct? Can that be ignored merely because they think it’s a good idea? To put their behaviour in context, look who is now talking like them: President Trump says he is cancelling the US Antiquities Act and is going to open up America’s Monuments to ‘Tremendously Positive Things’ For “tremendously positive things” read “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do justice to some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments and landscape.” EH, HE and NT can spin till they’re blue in the face but they’re riding roughshod over “sacrosanct” and taking the same stance as Donald Trump. As his critics say: he is “using never-tested and dubious legal authority to try to reverse national monument designations”. And so are they, but ours is a world heritage monument.