At the start of this month we gave an interview to the BBC. Their researcher – who is actually from Wessex – was tasked with writing a piece on movements for regional independence in England. You can read the result here.
Now, when a journalist is handed a brief that already contains all the answers, and just wants a few quotes to fit, giving interviews is something of a lottery. You can say what you like, stress what you like, but words will be omitted to change the sense and other stuff will go in over which you have no control. Journalism isn’t exactly a very forensic profession. If you think it qualifies as a profession in the first place.
So even if you make clear, as we always do, that we aren’t seeking independence from England, that is how we are made to be. Even if the answer to the question of where Wessex is on the map is to define its scope and point to its eight shires, the article reverts to the stereotype and it becomes Greater Dorset. Wessex is more colourful than ‘The South West’ and ‘The South East’. That’s our view, long-established and with good cause. It isn’t more colourful than England and we wouldn’t claim that it is (only that it’s the finest part of England, in our unbiased opinion).
Three cheers then for Tim Berners-Lee!!! For liberating the truth from journalists and allowing the oppressed to type it for themselves.