5 December 2014

Blair days: Roads and Marbles (1)

I have not been an admirer of Tony Blair since he took to dragging us into American wars in the Middle East. But I certainly was in 1997, when, immediately after his election, he declared that
(1) a road, planned to be built through an extraordinarily beautiful piece of the South Downs, cutting off Lancing College from the outlying parts of its estate, would not now be built; and
(2) the so-called 'Elgin Marbles' would not be 'given back' to Greece.

Gracious me, I thought, this is the Prime Minister for me!!

(1) Now, that dreadful Mr Clegg, the one who boasted about having committed fornication with 'about thirty' women, has announced the resurrection of the scheme.
     (a) Such proposals cost a great deal for protesters, NIMBYs if you like, to resist. It seems most unfair that when plans are rejected, they should then be brought back, to be fought over again, only 17 years later.
     (b) When such plans are rejected, they keep reappearing ... until eventually they get through. But once the road is built, you won't find then that there is a Planning Enquiry every 17 years about whether to retain the road or to dig it up and restore the site to the status quo antea. Deficit of equity? It amounts to "Heads I win; Tails I'll try again in a decade's time; and once I win, it will be for good". In a rather graver area: we had all that in the Church of England in the repeated votes about the Ordination of Women; which (of course) kept coming back onto the table for yet another vote ... until the Right Answer was secured.

(2) Marbles: this subject is in my mind because the Clooneys have been retained by the Greek Government for a New Push to get the Marbles 'back'.UPDATE: I wrote this post, and numbers (2) and (3) in this series, on December 1. I had ABSOLUTELY no idea that, this morning, it would be announced that one of the Elgin Marbles is being lent to the Hermitage in S Petersburg as part of its 250 year Anniversary, which it is celebrating with an Exhibition on the artistic aspects of the Enlightenment. That is exactly what I have written about in my Part (2).

The Hermitage is a remarkably generous Museum which, in the past, has sent some superb loan exhibitions to London. I thoroughly applaud this gesture by the BM towards the Hermitage and the people of Russia ... not least, at this time of international ill-will and Russophobia. No 'sanctions', happily, in this sphere!

More on this later.

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