Friday, 3 February 2017

Truth, Interpretation and Cliché

SWT is intending to erect several display boards around entrances to Blacka. They have had to apply to the Peak Park planners for the go ahead and will surely get permission. Nevertheless the public are allowed to comment before 21st February if they have reservations; if anyone does object I would expect SWT to get one of their friends to comment in support. That's standard practice in large organisations these days, driven as they are by corner playground management. See counter petition re state visit of Trump and another counter petition on driven grouse shooting. It's all part of the battle against public opinion now being fought by well-backed vested interests.

I'm surprised they still call these structures Interpretation Boards. After all interpretation is no different to spin and we know that SWT will use the boards for propaganda. The fact that they will further interpret this as education just extends the argument and resolves nothing.  Funds devoted to publicity and self promotion by SWT has been mentioned here before. Those employed to market their brand will hardly be expected to be balanced.

But there's more to this than post-truth and alternative facts. Many people are irritated that no natural site is allowed these days to speak for itself without someone plonking one of these self justifying intrusions alongside it. Can't we get away from this relentless urge for managers to tell us what is worth valuing and what is not and why they themselves are so important, when all we want to do is make up our own minds from our own observations? Conservation cliches don't get any better for being encased in some fancy packaging.

Another issue here is maintenance. We've seen many times that SWT just don't take the care they should in keeping this place looking good and natural. Their own interventions are frequently left unfinished and things that should be done take months or years to put right and in some cases never are. This kind of introduced structure is a easy target for vandalism. How long will it take. I would not dream of suggesting that somebody might coat an interpretatioin board with stuff their cows fail to dispose of properly. One wouldn't wish to put ideas in anyones's mind. But we should perhaps remember that it took the best part of a year before SWT noticed that other offensive intrusion - their barbed wire fence - had been cut.

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