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..                                                                                    [Private Eye 2018]

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The short tunnel scheme is opposed by UNESCO. Ministers have been told that the petition against it is closing in on 150,000 signatures from people in 147 countries. It is a World Heritage landscape, protected by an international treaty signed by Britain, so it is surely not a place where Britain should be building a too-short tunnel for cost reasons and telling the world the resultant construction of a mile of new dual carriageways across it is for “enhancement” purposes. Britain is not a banana republic – surely?

There’s still time, just, to make your voice count: https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/petition/


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As the decision on whether to drive a mile of new dual carriageways through the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape approaches, we thought it appropriate to publish our photograph of a much tinier excavation at Silbury Hill back in 2009.

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How much tinier? About three thousand times tinier.

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Plus, here’s a message from the Stonehenge Alliance:

Dear Friends and supporters,

In 3 days’ time Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, will decide the fate of Stonehenge World Heritage Site.  Let’s show him how much people care about their world heritage whilst there’s time. Here is a message for you to send on social media or forward to friends:

FEW days left to #SaveStonehenge World Heritage Site!  Don’t let the Transport Secretary destroy our greatest link to our ancient past.  Building an Expressway across Britain’s world-famous prehistoric landscape is not the answer to a traffic jam.  SIGN https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/petition/


 

English Heritage has just said: “We’ll be live streaming the winter solstice sunrise from Stonehenge for free this December. Following advice from the emergency services and in the interests of public health, we’ve taken the decision not to hold the usual gathering at the stones. We look forward to welcoming everyone again next year.”
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Very sensible. To which they could add:“Plus, if we get our way and a tunnel is built we’ve decided to live stream the view of Stonehenge continuously on the wall of the tunnel for free as we think that is only fair when the actual view will be hidden from millions of travellers forever”.
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No prizes for guessing that won’t happen! (If it was going to, they’d have announced it.) Hiding the view of “the most famous and sophisticated stone circle in the world” from millions of people forever has always been an integral part of this wicked plan.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that hiding the stones from millions of people unless they pay a fortune isn’t in the interest of the public. Yet that’s what English Heritage is calling for, despite dressing it up as being for the public’s benefit. It begs a legitimate question: are there ANY public rights English Heritage is keen to preserve? Well yes, remember these genuine press stories, years ago …

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We’re not anti-Druid. They’re welcome to celebrate at the stones. But they aren’t millions of people. In fact, according to them, there is often only a dozen of them there, together with tens of thousands of others who aren’t Druids.

Wouldn’t it be better if English Heritage was as protective of the rights of millions of national and international travellers as it is of the rights of Druids? It is not its role to ensure free access for a few thousand people at Solstice while removing the right to a free view from millions forever.

Yet that’s precisely what is happening!

 

Arthur’s Oven was said to be “the best and most entire old building in Britain” but in 1743 it was demolished by Sir Michael Bruce.

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Arthur’s Oven, the former Roman Antiquity near Falkirk, demolished in 1743.

William Stukeley responded: “From the bottom of my heart [I ]detest so abominable a stonekiller as that impious wretch, that demolisher of temples, Sir Michael Bruce. May his name be as odious to posterity as Herostratus’s [Stukeley’s name for Tom Robinson of Avebury]; and may he be condemned to lye 10,000 years in the sorry mildam, where he buryed those sacred stones, and still thirst on, Tantalus-like.”

And then, warming to his subject: “The demolition of Arthur’s Oon [Oven] is a most grievous thing to think on. I would propose, in order to make his name execrable to all posterity, that he should have an iron collar put about his neck like a yoke ; at each extremity a stone of Arthur’s Oven to be suspended by the lewis in thc hole of them: thus accoutred, let him wander on the banks of Styx,- perpetually agitated by angry demons with ox-goads; Sir Michael Bruce wrote on his back, in large letters of burning phosphorus.”

It’s a shame Stukeley’s recommended punishment isn’t applicable to those who would damage the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape. English Heritage et al loudly acknowledge that he pioneered the scholarly investigation of Stonehenge (and they recently noted the 254th anniversary of his death) so they can hardly claim his views on wanton destruction are irrelevant. Yet that’s exactly what they are supporting: wanton destruction (painted, by them alone, as “enhancement”).

Yet, the bottom line is THIS: it’s not theirs to destroy. Or enhance. (There’s still time to write to your MP!)

This would be FOREVER!

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Tom Holland, President of the Stonehenge Alliance, has made many powerful statements about the proposed short tunnel scheme which stand in stark contrast to the visual fibs (8 so far) and “yowling moggy” fictions (39 so far) which the Government-pleasing corporate supporters of the scheme have inflicted on the stakeholding national and international public.

In particular, he says the scheme “constitutes the most grotesque act of desecration ever contemplated by a British government, the driving of a great gash of concrete and tarmac through our most significant, our most sacred prehistoric landscape.”

But what does he mean? Is it mere hyperbole? Don’t august bodies like English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust constantly say it will enhance the World Heritage Site? (As to the latter point, that’s easily disposed of: let no-one be fooled, they are supporting a Government road scheme, not a conservation or enhancement project, and if the road scheme wasn’t planned there’s no way they’d be calling for it. Ask them.

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  • So their stated motivation is false, and reeks of hypocrisy.
  • Plus, their stated goal is patently ridiculous: a large section of the world heritage prehistoric landscape – 10.75 acres of it, five and a half football pitches, four million cubic feet of the archaeological levels, a third of the volume of Silbury Hill – will be bulldozed to a depth that will destroy every speck of ancient archaeology. And this will “ENHANCE” the World Heritage Site?!
  • And finally, their stated mitigation is false. They’ll “record everything for posterity”? No, they won’t. Techniques since the 1950s have developed out of all recognition, imagine how they’ll be in the future and how much more could have been found? Furthermore, Highway England has ADMITTED that in defiance of normal professional standards for research projects at Stonehenge (100% sieving of topsoil) they will only sieve a sample of between 4 and 14% because “100% sieving would take too long and prove too expensive!“.

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So, it would indeed be “The most grotesque act of desecration ever contemplated by a British government”!  And not mere vandalism but utter destruction, a loss just as absolute, permanent and unforgivable as the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan – which was also unilaterally claimed to be an “enhancement” by the intellectually arrogant perpetrators.

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There’s still time to sign the Stonehenge Alliance petition. Please do so here

Someone has sent us these words written in the 1980s about the Chysaucester prehistoric site by the late Craig Weatherhill:

Also part of this settlement is the ruin of a fogou, of which only the inner end and two roof slabs now survive.  Once again, English Heritage distinguished itself in the treatment of this rare monument after it was found that one of the roof slabs had become unstable.  Rather than effect a relatively simple repair, the organisation decided to fill the monument in, a move they initially denied when challenged.  After doing what they told the public on radio they had no intention of doing, the author – in his then capacity as the local authority’s Conservation Officer – had the opportunity of challenging English Heritage’s then Chairman, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, face to face about the matter.  Montagu’s astonishing reply, which seemed to illustrate his organisation’s attitude to Cornish sites and monuments, has never been forgotten:  “It’s not as if it’s Stonehenge, is it?.

Food for thought. These days the issue IS Stonehenge and English Heritage is effectively campaigning to do to a massive mile-long swathe of the protected Stonehenge World Heritage Landscape what it did in the 1980s to a small but significant fogou at a Cornish site: destroy it.

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The Chysauster Fogou when we visited in 2018. A lot more of it remained than will remain of a huge swathe of the Stonehenge landscape if English Heritage gets its way!

These pictures are unlike anything you’ll see English Heritage, Historic England, or The National Trust publishing at Stonehenge and they aren’t like anything Highways England will be featuring in their forthcoming propaganda video. They show work near the HS2 South Portal approaching the Chiltern tunnel.

Why is that reality being shared and the Stonehenge one isn’t? Probably because the Chiltern tunnel approach roads don’t smash through a mile of iconic prehistoric landscape!

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These are the sort of Stonehenge pictures the Government won’t be submitting to UNESCO (or indeed allowing the BBC to show to the world, if it can help it.) It’s one thing to imply it will all be careful keyhole surgery in which little will be destroyed and quite another to take one look at the reality!

Who would YOU believe, Dear Reader? Michael Gove or one of the blokes driving those diggers?

The fact Highways England, a roads provider, acts like a roads advocate (and often like a used car salesman) is hardly news. But this account from a pro-scheme campaigner revealing what they’re up to is remarkable:
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“This company (Motiv Productions) will be filming in our High Street and around the area commencing Monday coming, on behalf of Highways England. They’re going to “do me first” and will talk to ordinary folks going about their business walking, cycling, riding, or just taking in the general workings of our busy village. The film when complete, will be presented to the Government to assist with their decision on November 13th.”
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Like many places nationwide, the village in question is affected by traffic with its ‘London Road’ a clue to this being an issue of historical significance. The traffic will continue to increase locally no matter what happens to the A303, the tunnel won’t see pavements introduced where absent, nor reduce the speed of everyone rushing about their daily lives. Yet the World Heritage Site would be grievously damaged. The choice really is a no-brainer.
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Highways England has latched on to the people thinking parochially, sending them personal messages and telling the public the star advantage of their wretched scheme is traffic reduction in local villages. But paying for a propaganda film to “assist” the Government’s decision?  that, the decision is imminent, it must be for propaganda to be aimed at the public if the tunnel is approved. So it’s to prepare for a scenario that may well not arise. In other words, they’re spaffing money up the wall. Our money. To persuade us our world heritage should be destroyed.
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Update.
We have now received this message:
“Just to correct my post of 10th October on Facebook/Stonehengetrafficactiongroup The last sentence was not entirely accurate. I understand that the video will not be used ahead of the Secretary of States decision on November 13th. Thank you, Janice Hassett,”
So it seems we were perfectly correct to say the film can’t be to aid the Government’s decision and it is indeed a propaganda film aimed at the general public.

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