Beware …

Baroness Vere, this week: “As my noble friend will be aware, this scheme is also with the Planning Inspectorate and I therefore cannot comment on it in great detail. However, she will know that the decision was delayed owing to an archaeological find and therefore further consultation will take place with all the relevant stakeholders within the particular field. This will enable all relevant matters to be considered and, as she rightly said, a balanced position to be reached. We expect a position to be reached by 13 November.”

1.) No, there can be NO balanced position! Either they’ll bulldoze the landscape or they won’t! So why use the term? It hints there’s an intention to use that phrase if and when there’s a press release announcing the go-ahead. “A balanced position has been arrived at”. Far better than “We’re going to do it, despite the damage and UNESCO’s opposition”.

2.) No, the decision was NOT delayed only because of an archaeological find! As Scheme supporters will have told them, the Durrington Pits are too far from the new road to be directly affected. However, they do raise serious questions about the impacts of the road scheme on the WHS. At the same time, the pits are being conveniently used to cover the fact there are massive financial and technical difficulties yet to be resolved. So, telling the public you’re consulting is a useful delaying tactic, and if the scheme finally does go ahead the Government can say the final issue has been resolved by full agreement.

The Press Release will then be complete: “A balanced position has been arrived at” and “following consultation, all parties are now in agreement that the Durrington Pits will not be harmed”… and the public will be given the impression all is well! Once again, Machiavelli seems to be writing the ministerial scripts!