Saturday, June 19, 2010

Coalition's cuts are final betrayal of Stonehenge

Cancelling what was already an inadequate plan for the site's rehabilitation just adds insult to injury to this wonder of the world

In a world of specialisms you can fool all of the people some of the time because every case has its own detailed context. We know we don't know all the pros and cons. But the sad story of Stonehenge is one I have followed for the last few years, so this week's ugly betrayal of our greatest national monument is something I know is wrong. The coalition's first cultural cuts include the cancellation of plans for a £25m visitor centre at Stonehenge: a callous and unjustified assault on a wonder of the world.

These cuts are presented as the hacking away of Labour excess, the pragmatic cure for the last lot's fiscal foolery. However, there was nothing excessive, careless or even generous about this plan for Stonehenge. It was in fact a parsimonious, limited, and barely adequate solution to what has long been recognised as the disgracefully shabby presentation of this world-famous site.

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