Spinning the canal

Even when doing little more than regurgitating a press release, the Adver cannot resist applying a positive gloss in support of the proposals to re-introduce a canal to Swindon.

Canal would give town a big boost

THE plan to build a canal through the centre of Swindon has been given the thumbs up by a business expert. Paul Briggs, chief executive of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group, has said that a canal could provide a big boost to the town. He welcomed the project as a key element in transforming Swindon’s town centre into a leisure and visitor attraction, disposing of its dreary reputation.

Only one of those sentences is true: that Mr Briggs of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said that the canal could provide a big boost to the town. Could. Not ‘would’ only ‘could’. The article then goes on to reproduce almost the entirety of the chamber’s press release, leaving out only the first paragraph. I’ll repeat that paragraph here, as it makes clear what Mr Briggs was supporting.

The Swindon Chamber of Commerce has welcomed proposals to debate the redevelopment of Swindon’s town centre through the creation of a focal waterway. The plans hope to attract people to Swindon by transforming the town centre into a leisure and visitor attraction, disposing of what some believe to be a dreary reputation.

That’s only a ‘thumbs up’ to debating the plans. It is a long way short of supporting the plans themselves. As the rest of the press release made clear, whilst he is clearly not an opponent of the plans*, there are many questions still to be answered.

* Anyone who thinks the impact of the canal could match that of the coming of the railway 100 years ago obviously has their rose-tinted spectacles on: the canal has already been and gone once, with limited impact; the impression left on Swindon by the GWR remains unavoidable.