Some conspiracy theories just never seem to go away despite all the evidence to the contrary - Steve Cardownie
Apparently one of the rumours doing the rounds is that number plate recognition cameras were to be installed so that motorists could be charged for leaving their neighbourhoods causing the city’s transport and environment convener, Councillor Scott Arthur, to exclaim that “conspiracy theories like this are laughable.”
This got me to thinking about the conspiracy theories that never seem to go away despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. One of the more outlandish (pun intended) is that the moon landing back in July 1969 was actually faked. This theory was so popular that by the 1970s, 30 per cent of Americans believed this to be so and a survey undertaken four years ago revealed that 10 per cent of Americans still thought that it was a hoax.
Another challenges the accepted view of the shape of Planet Earth. The 2017 Flat Earth International Conference featured a speaker who claimed that the world is really a flat soundstage under a dome. Another belief of many “Flat Earthers” is that the planet is a flat disc with an ice wall around it.
Back in the good old USA it was reported that nearly 12 million Americans believe that the world is run by “reptillians” – bloodthirsty humanoids that can change their appearance. According to one prominent theorist these “reptillians” posed the biggest threat facing society today.
Of course, they are just theories, most of which have no evidence to support them, often connecting unrelated facts to create an impression of plausibility. Some are designed to promote a particular political point of view and pour scorn on the accepted narrative.
From JFK’s assassination and 9/11 to Covid-19 and climate change, conspiracy theorists are hard at work and there appears to be a significant number of people who are prepared to believe them.
However, the conspiracy theory surrounding 20-Minute Neighbourhoods is not confined to Edinburgh and has even been aired in the House of Commons with one MP going so far as to call the policy “an international socialist concept that will cost us our personal freedom”.
Town planning academics who have published research have said that this is nonsense and refute the nonsensical accusation from some quarters that the neighbourhoods are no more than an attempt to control the population by preventing citizens from straying from their homes.
They maintain that the reality is that the neighbourhoods do not seek to prevent residents from moving about but that they will provide high quality facilities nearby so that people do not have to travel further afield to get the services they need. This does not mean “that people will be trapped where you live”.
Town planners maintain that the reality is that having most services a short walk from the house is already closer than people might think and that what matters most is the quality of those services. No more, no less!