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Not this Prime Minister. (As if!) It was Baldwin in 1927. He wrote to the press, with others, saying “So long as it remains in private hands, there is an obvious danger that the setting of Stonehenge may be ruined” and promising that “the land purchased will be placed under the guardianship of the National Trust”. The appeal was successful, and true to that promise 1,444 acres of land surrounding the stones were transferred to the National Trust.

That should have been that. If you protect the setting and archaeology by placing it into the guardianship of a body that boasts “forever, for everyone” you’re entitled to expect that’s what will happen. And so it did, until recently, but now the Trust is supporting the short tunnel and the massive new damage it will bring and that volte-face has been described by the current Government as “pivotal” to the scheme going ahead.

The Trust has yet to explain exactly why it has moved beyond “protecting” to “destroying to improve”. It was given no mandate for that in 1927 nor by its Founders nor by UNESCO. Its only mandate came from its own 2017 AGM, doubly besmirched by the Chairman using the proxy votes to achieve it and by hundreds of Members claiming they were disenfranchised by mysteriously not getting their ballot papers or getting an adequate warning of the vote

So the Trust can cite no convincing mandate, only it’s own judgement of what’s best for Stonehenge. Yes, everyone gets that, but the question remains, by what authority or philosophical rationale does it claim the right to make that judgement? All anyone has heard about that is an echoing, guilty silence!

 

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