I’m still here!

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Finally, I’ve found a few minutes to blog. I’m sitting on a train from Leeds to Derby to meet up with a fellow ACoRP judge (Paul Cook of the Royal Horticultural Society) before we go looking at stations that are entered in the ‘It’s Your Station’ section of the community rail awards.

It’s been a hectic month, which is why I’ve not had any time to blog. The only writing I’ve been doing has been for a living. There’s one article on the 3 peaks by rail event in this weeks RAIL magazine and another on a Welsh railway line is in preparation. I’ve also been busy getting pictures from around the country for ACoRP’s ‘Scenic rail Britain’ website (which you can find here). All this has meant most of my time has been taken up by travelling, picture editing or writing – not that I’m complaining! I’ve had a wonderful time visiting some great places. Here’s a sample, the beautiful Borders railway in Scotland.

DG275804. 158869. Stow. 3.7.17

The next couple of weeks will be taken up by the awards judging. We’ve stations all over the England to visit, so it’s quite time-consuming. After that I should be able to spend more time at home – but then, I’ve said that before. In this job, you never know what’s going to come up next!

A busy week for Hs2.

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I’m on a train to London, so I’ve got some time to finally catch up with a bit of blogging. As anyone who’s been following the news will have seen it’s been a busy week for Hs2. Firstly, £6.6bn of Civils contracts were awarded. Balfour Beatty’s joint venture with French firm Vinci won two contracts worth £2.5bn. They’ll design and build the Long Itchington Wood Green tunnel to the Delta Junction/Birmingham Spur plus the section from the Delta Junction to the west coast main line near Lichfield in Staffordshire. Vinci has previously been involved in the high-speed Tours-Bordeaux rail project in France.

Contracts worth nearly 2bn to build Euston Tunnels and Approaches and the Northolt tunnel were won by a joint venture between Sweden-based Skanska, Austria’s Strabag and UK firm Costain, which has worked on Crossrail and the Channel tunnel.

Two more packages, worth a combined total of £1.34bn for the North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley and Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel went to a Carillion / Eiffage / Kier joint venture. Carillion have been in the news, recently, so this attracted media attention.

Other companies to have won HS2 work are the joint venture between French construction group Bouygues and UK firms Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick. They claimed a £965m contract for the Colne Viaduct and Chiltern tunnels package.

A story planted in the press the day before as a spoiler, claiming Hs2 would cost £111bn caused a predictable furore from the usual suspects, so it’s worth bearing in mind that in the tender, the estimated range for these contracts was from £7.1-11.8bn. Of course, what will happen now is a year of detailed design work before the contract target cost is set.

Later in the day the Government announced that the phase 2a Hybrid Bill had been deposited in Parliament. This bill will begin its passage through the Houses, with the intention of Royal Assent in 2019, allowing construction to beginning 2020.

It’s worth remembering that – despite the claims from antis that Hs2 is ‘late’, this section has been brought forward several years, from 2033 to 2027!

The Phase 2b Hybrid Bill is expected to be with Parliament in 2019, with Royal Assent being granted in 2022. To this end, Monday afternoon saw Transport Minister Chris Grayling announced his decision on the final route choice (link). Unsurprisingly, it confirmed that Meadowhall had been dropped in favour of a more Easterly route and that Sheffield would be served by a loop, with trains running through Chesterfield. The change appears to be for several reasons. The Hs2 design panel had already expressed concerns over the viability of Meadhowhall on space, cost and technical difficulty. What appears to have tipped the balance was the growing influence of Transport for the North (TfN) who have developed ambitious plans to ensure the North’s major cities (including Sheffield) would be within 30m journey time of Manchester Airport. The route change will allow greater integration and connectivity with the future Northern Powerhouse rail (aka HS3). Of course, the fact the change will save an estimated £1bn will have made the idea attractive too!

A minor change to the route in Leicestershire around Measham has seen a third option adopted with a minor deviation off the 2013 route. This should render MAPA, the local StopHs2 ‘action’ group redundant, although to be honest, they were doing very little post-consultation anyway!

The reaction from those opposed to Hs2 showed just how ineffective they are nowadays. Hs2aa haven’t made a sound. In fact, if you look at their website, you wouldn’t know anything’s happened since April! StopHs2 trotted out Joe Rukin to do the usual round of splenetic ‘rent a quote’ interviews, but it’s all rather pointless. What’s been very telling is how few of Stophs2 followers are engaged with them nowadays. Despite having several thousand ‘followers’ on social media, only a handful are passing on the message though retweets and shares. Here’s an example…

stophs2. 20 jul 17

Predictably, Twitter was full of people jumping on the bandwagon to offer their opinions about Hs2 for a couple of days. These ranged from the ignorant to the batshit crazy, along with Hyperloop supporters and the folk to whom the NHS is everything. None of it will make the slightest bit of difference of course as they’re simply individuals sounding off about something, they’re not a campaign. As for an ‘organised’ Stophs2 campaign, that’s essentially history. Stophs2 is two people, the most prominent of which is Joe Rukin. Local sources tell me that Joe’s been looking for a (real) job for some time now. Chair Penny Gaines lives in the SouthWest nowadays and does very little. When Joe goes – that’s it…

All this activity means that Hs2 will be featuring in the news a lot from now on several fronts. There’s the construction of phase 1, the Parliamentary process of phase 2a and the consultations and environmental assessments of phase 2b.

Talking of phase 2b. The pictures not looking too rosy for those trying to Stophs2 on that section of the route. With the collapse of the national groups they’re on their own and (in typical Yorkshire style) they seem to spend as much time arguing between themselves as they do trying to stop Hs2! The supposed merger between the Trowell and Erewash groups appears to have hit the rocks as people backpedal. The announcement of the final route will see others breathe a sigh of relief and step away, leaving them even thinner on the ground. Hopefully, the residents who’re genuinely affected by Hs2 will ditch the rabble rousers and political opportunists and start trying to get what they can out of Hs2 Ltd in the form of mitigation and compensation for their communities. Whilst their MPs support building Hs2, there’s no doubt they also want to get the best for the communities they serve. I wish them well in doing it.

Hs2 antis have been Mogged!

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It’s been hilarious to watch the remaining Hs2 antis fawning over Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. today. How did he become their latest poster boy? Well, Hs2 antis have been swooning over him since he appeared on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ last night. When questioned about public sector pay and where the money for increases could come from he said “HS2 would not be my priority for spending”

Antis immediately took to Twitter to praise him, suggesting that he would scrap Hs2.  Poor Penny Gaines from StopHs2 must have been in a paroxysm of delight. She watches the programme religiously, ready to tweet at any critical mention of HS2. She’s had thin gruel for some time now, so she was off like a rocket! Here’s some of the comments.

gaines

densonread. 7.7.17

So, is Mogg a hardline anti Hs2 campaigner? No. He’s a backbench Tory who’ll say anything as he knows he’s never going to be in any position of influence or have to carry through what he says. He can just make stuff up to suit whatever his audience is at the time. What none of them bothered to do was check his voting record on Hs2, because if they did, they’d find he voted FOR not against building HS2 as this piece from the Evening Standard points out.

Mogg’s words are carefully chosen, but meaningless. It would not be ‘his priority’? Well, as it’s not his decision, who gives a stuff about his ‘priorities’? They no more matter than the ordinary man in the street. It’s not as if there’s going to be another vote on Hs2 phase 1 anyway, it’s a done deal and it’s being built. His constituency is NE Somerset, nowhere near Hs2. So the idea that a man who has a record for voting with his party 94% of the time is suddenly going to rebel when it comes to Phase 2 of Hs2 is about as likely as me winning the lottery.

Poor Hs2 antis, they’re desperate for any good news, but yet again, they’ve been had.

 

 

A post-election look at the anti Hs2 ‘campaign’…

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Sorry for the lack of blogging recently folks. I’ve been so busy with my travels and catching up on work stuff I’ve had little time for writing. Still, here’s one I’ve been hoping to write for some time – a look at the anti Hs2 campaign after the election.

To be honest, antis had an even worse election campaign than I thought they would. Mind you – so did the Conservatives! Apart from the non-story that Joe Rukin put around, claiming the Tories were going add cancelling Hs2 to their manifesto nothing was really heard about the anti Hs2 campaign. Apparently, Hs2aa raised their arse off their sofa long enough to find a few bob down the back of it and pay for an ad in The Spectator, and – well, that was it. Stop Hs2 did little better. It’s evident that Joe Rukin and Penny Gaines are just going through the motions now. The Stop Hs2 website and Facebook page had nothing of relevance added and their tweets were sporadic. There was no attempt to actually lead a campaign. Instead it drifted, rudderless. But then, what is there to lead anymore? If you look at their Facebook page it has a measly 7,488 followers but the number of people who ‘like’ a post have never got above 200 throughout the whole election campaign. The number who share or comment is even poorer than that. Here’s a screen- grab of one of the more popular. This was posted on the 21st June. The screen-grab was taken today (27th).

sths2

Twitter was no better. Stophs2 have a lousy 5,369 followers. So, how many retweeted this same comment?

sths2 tweet

A miserable 21! In an election campaign!

This is a great illustration of what I’ve always said. Social media is a double-edged sword. It exposes your weaknesses as well as strengths.

In past elections they’ve also run a ‘no votes for you with Hs2’ campaign, but it’s always been an abject failure – as the results on election night show. This year was no different.

The phase 1 campaign is a dead man walking. I’ve blogged about it plenty of times in the past so I’m not going over old ground, but what was interesting this time was to see how quickly the Phase 2 campaign groups have collapsed.

Remember that the Leeds branch of Hs2 has (supposedly) the most ‘active’ anti groups on it. A number of new ones were formed due to route changes in Leicestershire, Notts and Yorkshire. So, lets have a look at some case studies.

MAPA is a group that was formed in February this year. Here’s their website. As you can see if you can be bothered to browse it. There’s not a lot going on. The residents of the villages they claim to represent total some 8,700 souls. Their minutes claim 110 turned up to their first meeting, which is 1.26% of all residents. Not exactly a groundswell then! Things haven’t got any better. Despite their commitment to publish regular minutes of meetings, nothing has appeared since January. Instead, this was sent out by the group in mid May…

MAPA The only sign of life is the barrage of pointless tweets from one of the group, Stephen Leary (who I’ve blogged about before here). I can’t help wondering how long this groups can survive. It’s already moribund and if the local area consultation shows that more residents support the route change than oppose it, they’re toast.

Meanwhile, in Nottinghamshire, we have the Erewash ‘Action’ Group. Here’s their website and Facebook pages. Here’s their ridiculously ambitious aims (copied from their website).

Erewash. objectives

Stop Hs2 within 2 years and hold elected representatives to account? My! So, how’s that going then? Badly.

The local MP is Conservative Maggie Throup, who won the seat from Labour in 2015 with a 3,584 majority. Maggie is a supporter of Hs2 and she’s clearly no pushover as the Erewash antis have found out! Their agressive style and regular lack of honesty hasn’t gone down well with the MP who’s confronted them a number of times. Most recently here in response to this bit of bombast from the Erewash antis. Now, take note of this bit;

“In recent weeks, the STOP HS2 Erewash Campaign has gained huge momentum with an influx of new volunteers and supporters, as well as significant press coverage and public interest. The campaign is operated and staffed by concerned local residents, business owners and activists, who all feel strongly that HS2 should be stopped in its entirety.”

So, how did holding Maggie to ‘account’ go?

At the 2017 election she increased her majority from 3,584 to 4,534 on a swing of 0.84% from Labour! Oh dear…

Erewash antis went very quiet after their meeting with Maggie as it was clear it hadn’t gone their way (see their Facebook page for details). Well, quiet until today, when this was slipped out on Facebook:

erewash. 26.6.17

So much for stopping Hs2 in 2 years by a campaign that had “gained huge momentum with an influx of new volunteers and supporters”. They’re very coy about the merger, but it’s actually with the nearby group from Trowell (who aren’t so coy!)

Trowell hs2Trowell are another tiny group with a similar problem. They’ve no political clout either! The idea this creates a ‘unified nation campaign’ is the stuff of fantasy! Their MP is the feisty anti Brexit MP Anna Soubry (another Hs2 supporter). How a merged campaign across the constituency boundaries is supposed to Stop Hs2 is anyone’s guess, but then that’s the problem with these campaigns. They’re so out of their depth there’s only going to be one result. If they’d any sense they’d be working with their MPs to gain the greatest benefits for their areas from Hs2 instead of trying to throw around weight they don’t have, pretending they can Stop hs2.

So, that’s a snapshot of the state of play with StopHs2 after the election. It’s obviously on its last legs. Interestingly, the announcement in the Queens speech that the phase 2b Hybrid Bill will be put before Parliament hasn’t raised as much as a glimmer from any Staffs antis – although that’s hardly surprising. There’s not been a credible Hs2 ‘action’ groups in Staffs for years as they tended to be run by either ‘eccentrics’ or as a front for UKIP. Which brings me neatly onto the other fall-out from the election campaign.

Remember when UKIP said they’d Stop Hs2?

Farage Hs2

Instead, voters stopped UKIP! Now there’s only one party left in Parliament that still opposes Hs2. The Greens – and they’ve still only got 1 MP….

On the road again (pt 432)

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I’ve added a lot more old Sri Lanka pix to my Zenfolio website. This will be the last one for a while as I’m not going to have any opportunity for time-consuming slide scanning over the next few months.

Later today I head to Birmingham for tomorrow’s National Rail Conference, after which I hot-foot it to Crewe to join the teams from the rail industry competing in the 3-peaks charity event for the Railway Children. I was approached to help so offered my services as the official photographer for the event. We’re travelling by special train between the three peaks in what promises to be an eventful (if mostly sleep free) event. The train will be everyone’s home for the length of the event. I’ll try and add a few comments and maybe some pictures as we go. After travelling back from Fort William on Saturday I end up at Preston before heading home to a comfortable bed!

After that it’s time to take up my role as a judge for the ACoRP awards. This means I’ll be travelling the length & breadth of the UK over the next couple of months. So, who knows where you might bump into me…

 

Decision day.

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I have to say, I’ve never known a general election like this. So many people are expressing their confusion and angst over who to vote for. Comment after comment on Facebook is from friends who are clearly torn over which box to put their cross in. “A pox on both your houses” seems to be a common sentiment as the choice between Labour and Tories is seen by many as being between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I went to the dentists this morning. Whilst I was having my teeth checked the hygenist and her assistant started discussing the election. The young assistant admitted she probably wouldn’t vote as she didn’t know who to vote for and didn’t really understand the issues. The hygenist mentioned that she had a Labour MP whom she liked, but may back the Tories as (although she didn’t like Brexit) she wanted it to be sorted out.

I was asked for my opinion, so I pointed out the emptiness in May’s rhetoric and her suicidal willingness to countenance a hard Brexit. I wasn’t much kinder about Labour, but I did mention they may make less of a mess of Brexit. The conversation wasn’t untypical of ones I’ve had elsewhere.

Frankly, it’s terrifying that on such a crucial issue as Brexit, the main parties have colluded in keeping voters in the dark about the reality of what we’re facing. It’s clear to me that many more enlightened and educated voters are seeing this, hence their quandry over who to vote for. Equally terrifying is the way the right-wing press are pushing for the Tories and a hard Brexit. It really does feel like the country is rushing headlong over a cliff, egged on by the billionaires and others who will benefit.

Could the election yet throw up a surprise? I believe it might, although I’m pessimistic. I’ve never known so many people willing to ditch old allegiences (including myself). I suspect we’re going to see voter mobility and tactical voting on an unprecedented scale, but I’ve no idea where it will take us.

It’s going to be a long night…

Election thoughts…

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I’ve resisted the temptation to blog about the general election on a regular basis, mainly because it’s such a depressing event. The ‘choice’ is between two parties, neither of whom I’d trust to run the UK. Despite my past loyalties I can’t work up any enthusiasm for a Labour party led by Corbyn and his team and I really don’t see why he’s held in such adulation by his followers. As for toxic Teresa May and her mob…

The old political adage that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them could have been written especially for this particular election. Despite being 21 points ahead in the polls when she called it, May’s had an awful election campaign as it’s exposed her weaknesses. As Alistair Campbell (Tony Blair’s former Press Secretary) has said, why would you try and build a cult of personality around someone who doesn’t possess one? She’s trotted out a string of meaningless soundbites and platitudes throughout the campaign. ‘Strong and stable’ my arse! Looking at her Cabinet and their performances is equally depressing. Boris Johnson, the blonde buffoon, representing the UK on the world stage? Have we really sunk that low?

What I find incomprehensible is the way many voters in the country are indulging in an almost masochistic delight in ruining the country, politically, economically and internationally. To hear people call for as ‘hard’ a Brexit as possible is complete madness. What on earth are they thinking? It’s the same now with May’s calls to scrap human rights laws. People are actively supporting a political party that will make their lives harder. For what? What on earth do they think they’ll gain from this?

Let’s be under no illusions, Brexit is the elephant in the room here and neither Labour nor the Tories are being honest about it with voters. It’s all very well Labour saying all their policies are costed. So what’s the cost of Brexit (especially a hard Brexit) then? No-one will say.  No-one is admitting what the damage Brexit will do to the UKs economy and how that will impact on anyone’s spending plans.

I’ve said before that I fear for my country. Those fears remain. I see this country slipping away into authoritarianism, prejudice and ignorance – with the full (or tacit) support of many voters. The parallels with 1930s Germany are too real to ignore, yet many people are doing exactly that.

Whichever political party wins on Friday, the clear loser is going to be the United Kingdom, and its people.

77 years ago yesterday…

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Yesterday I visited Glossop station in Derbyshire for a rather unusual event organised by the station friends group. A ceremony was held to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the events of 2nd June 1940, when 600 wartime evacuees from the seaside town of Lowestoft arrived in this small town by train. Several of the original evacuees, plus family and friends attended, whilst some local schoolchildren (suitably attired as evacuees) recreated their arrival. As a rather poignant link, one of the schoolchildren was carrying the very same suitcase that was carried by one of the evacuees all those years ago. The groups held a ceremony to unveil a plaque and display which includes evacuee’s recollections and a poem. Here’s a selection of pictures from the event.

DG271370

Neil Williams from the friends of Glossop station talks about the event whilst some of the  Lowestoft evacuees listen.

 

DG271453. Some of the original Lowestoft evacuees with local children. Glossop. 2.6.17.JPG

Children from a local school who played the part of evacuees with the original evacuees. The young girl on the left is carrying one of the suitcases used 77 years ago that day.

DG271489. Some of the original Lowestoft evacuees unveil a commemorative plaque. Glossop. 2.6.17

Some of the evacuees unveil a plaque on the station to commemorate the events of the 2nd June 1940, 77 years to the day.

 

Where did last month go?

1st June already? Shit, where did May go? – and I don’t mean the Prime Minister as that’s another blog entirely!

Apologies for my complete absence last month. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say or comment on it’s just that last month turned into a busy time that left me little opportunity to really compose my thoughts. I was full of good intentions to write some stuff whilst I’ve been on my travels but other stuff got in the way. Those of you who visit my photography website will be aware that I’ve been busy scanning and uploading hundreds of old slides. I’ve been concentrating on the ones I took just before I went digital, the problem there is that most of them were never catalogued properly, so they sat in photo albums unlabelled. It’s been the devil’s own job to try and caption and collate them as I had to dredge through old notebook but I’m getting there – finally! The rest are already entered on a database so they’ll be easier to do.

Besides the slides I’ve been busy with various press events and other jobs, including a trip on the first Eurostar e320 to Brussels as well as social events and my fiance’s birthday. We had a fantastic long-weekend in Cumbria which included walking up Scafell on the hottest day of the year so far. Here’s a sample of the views from the top.

DG270989. Angle Tarn seen from the top of Scafell. Wasdale. Cumbia. England. 26.5.17

You can find the rest here.

 Now the country finds itself a week away from what’s probably the strangest election in my lifetime. I’ll be honest here – I have absolutely no idea what the result will be. Despite having said she wouldn’t, Teresa May finally called it – only to see it blow up in her face. She’s seen a 21 point lead shrink into single figures, despite her opponent being the most unpopular Labour leader for decades. The Tories appear to have made a crucial error in basing their campaign as being all about Teresa’s personality and appeal. Their problem is – she has neither! The election’s been one of the most lacklustre and negative I can remember. If I hear her parrot vacuous phrases like ‘strong and stable’ once more…

The irony is, she called the election but then she ran away! She’s refused to sully her hands in a debate with anyone else and positively avoided any meaningful contact with voters. When interviewed she trots out trite, meaningless phrases that the media really shouldn’t be letting her get away with. If Labour had a decent leader with broad appeal they’d walk this election. Sadly, they haven’t although I’ve got to admit that Jeremy Corbyn has come across better in this campaign. Like many, I’ll be staying up to watch the results come in when the polls close. My prediction is that the Tories will win but what their majority will be is anyone’s guess. This election’s like no other and the effect tactical voting plus the collapse of UKIP will have is unpredictable.

What I can’t understand is the way Brexit is the elephant in the room that no-one mentions. Brexit makes a mockery of fine phrases about having ‘costed’ policies when none of the parties are being honest about what Brexit (especially the hard Brexit the Tories look to favour) will cost the UK economy. It’s madness, but that’s the way the UK seems to work nowadays. It’s like an economic version of the ‘phoney war’.

There’s deluded, then there’s Joe Rukin…

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A few days ago, StopHs2 campaign manager Joe Rukin was frantically circulating this email to the scattered remnants of the Stop Hs2 campaign.

“An urgent message from Joe Rukin:
You will hopefully have seen the news since the weekend about the possibility of the Tories going soft on HS2 in some way in their manifesto, whether that is a pause, cancellation or review.

The first thing I want to make absolutely clear is that this is completely true.

In fact the situation is rather better than reported, as whilst Messrs Gillan & Bridgen along with other MPs went to see George Freeman about a list of issues including HS2, it turned out the team writing the manifesto had already picked up HS2 as an something they might change their minds on. I cannot stress enough that this is totally serious. Whilst it may have been dismissed by 3 Andys; Jones, Street & Percy, they aren’t the ones writing the manifesto. Personally I would doubt they would go as far as saying there would be a cancellation/pause/review in the manifesto, more likely they’d go for no mention at all which would them give the space for any of those three options. Then again, as they’ve already been willing to hint at tax rises, what do I know?

I covered this in todays article https://t.co/XgUiEIpMLN but have decided to leave it a bit more speculative in public, as whilst there is now work to do in terms of trying to influence this decision, I’d rather try and not let on that this is really up for grabs in public for as long as possible.

So that leaves a fortnight to try and influence the Tory manifesto, and indeed the Labour one. We’ve had a conference call today to get things going with other campaign groups and there will be meetings with Labour next week, but as Deanne has mentioned before, it continues to be ASLEF & TSSA which are heavily behind Momentum that are the problem with Labour.

For now please go to Conservative Home and fill in the survey below. When it comes to the rankings, please vote “Continuing with HS2” as zero, and try not to give anything else either a top or bottom score, as you’ll effectively be voting against yourself:

http://www.conservativehome.com/…/what-should-be-in-the-con…

Attached are some of the banners we used at the last election. We may still have some physical ones left.

I cannot stress strongly enough that it really is game on, but in reality it’s not six weeks we have at this point in time, it’s two. More will follow in the next few days. Any ideas welcome!

Joe Rukin,
Campaign Manager, Stop HS2.”

There was only one problem. Like most stuff that emanates from Rukin, it was complete bullshit – although it did fool one of two desperate antis. Hs2aa, who gave up campaigning against Hs2 last year (they abandoned social media in June and their website’s not been updated since November) were forced out of retirement to cobble a page of ridiculous claims for their website (see link). Even AGAHST, an organisation that hasn’t been heard of for years made an appearance in the form of it’s one time Campaign Director, Deanne Dukhan.

It was all a complete waste of time, as most antis realised. Rukin had tried to sell this pup via the StopHs2 Facebook page on April 23rd, when MP’s Gillan and Bridgen had managed to flog their dead horse to a couple of the national newspapers (see my previous blog here). The problem was the claim was met more with derision than expectation. You can see their replies here but I’ve added a selection for your delectation.

g1

g2

And my absolute favourite, which sums up the scepticism and derision this claim met with, is this one!

g3

It was only going to be a matter of time before Rukin’s house of cards came crashing down around his ears. That happened today when Teresa May gave an interview to the Yorkshire Post under the headline “THERESA MAY has slapped down Conservative backbenchers in the South with a commitment to deliver the HS2 rail line to Yorkshire”. So, there’s no room for any dissembling there! She went on to say –

may

May’s statement was soon picked up by the nationals, with the Guardian running it here.

So there you have it. As I predicted, you won’t be seeing any mention of cancelling Hs2 in the Tory manifesto. Rukin, who’s lied through his teeth so often, has ended up looking a complete fool yet again. His stock was never high with other anti Hs2 campaigners anyway (Hs2aa Director Hilary Wharf was overheard being particularly scathing about Rukin’s relationship with the truth a few years ago). Now it must be at rock-bottom.

I wonder how long it’ll take before any of this is mentioned on the StopHs2 website, or will this load of bollocks written by Joe disappear first? I’m not going to be holding my breath…