March 13, 2005

Heritage is History

Many of the great historic sites of England are under the care of English Heritage. In fact, English Heritage is so steeped in history, its website will not work with the Firefox browser. But I digress...

Over 400 properties, from Stonehenge to Whitby Abbey to Lindisfarne Priory, from Tintagel Castle to Dover Castle to Kenilworth Castle are protected and managed by this quango. Now the Cuture Secretary Tessa Jowell is threatening to dismantle English Heritage. It seems EH has been involved in a number for rows with the Government. And that's how this Government operates. Rock their boat and they will sink your ship. (When the House of Lords last week dared to fulfil its role as a revising chamber and amended terrorism legislation, there were renewed calls for its complete abolition.) One of EH's unpardonable sins was trying to stop John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, from demolishing thousands of Victorian homes in northern England.

According to Government plans to be published next week, the EH properties would be given to the National Trust. The properties would no longer belong to the British people. Despite it's misleading name, the NT is a private charity and receives no Government funding whatsoever. It is already the largest landowner in Britain with 612,000 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. (Scottish properties are under the control of Historic Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Executive.)

It makes sense that this Government wants rid of history. They have dismantled all the historic institutions. Tessa Jowell has criticised heritage organisations as being "too middle class". She believes they put too much emphasis on stately homes. The sad thing is that most of the hovels of the peasants in the Middle Ages just aren't here to preserve. That is, no doubt, the fault of the rich.

Posted by david at March 13, 2005 02:33 PM | TrackBack
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