One of the many laughable claims from the anti Hs2 campaign is that there’s millions of people who will ditch all other political considerations & priorities to vote for any party that opposes Hs2. Antis try & pretend they have an army of supporters up & down the country who are ready to cause a political earthquake because of Hs2. Like their other claims, this one’s another load of hot air.
UKIP, being the cynical vote chasers they are have ditched their 2010 manifesto pledge to but not one but THREE high speed lines & come out in opposition to Hs2, hoping to hoover up all these votes that are supposedly waiting to be had. The problem is, they don’t exist. UKIP have been lied to by the anti campaign that doesn’t command anything like the level of support they claim & certainly doesn’t have a massive vote bank to hand to UKIP.
Evidence of this is all around us.
Firstly, let’s look at people’s main concerns. Here’s a recent Guardian poll that asked voters what issues most concern them:
And where’s Hs2 on that list? Nowhere. It doesn’t even rate a mention. People have other prorities. The only people who really care enough to change their vote are some of the people who are directly affected because they live on the route of Hs2. But, many of these people aren’t that die-hard either.
Another good example is the supposed anti Hs2 ‘heartlands’ of Warwickshire & the Chilterns/Bucks.
In 2013 UKIP were confidently expecting they’d gain a massive amount of new Councillors as people voted for them to show their opposition to Hs2. So, how many seats did they win in Warwickshire? Not a single one! The biggest gains were made by Labour – a party that actively supports Hs2. In other areas (such as the North-West) UKIP didn’t even bother campaigning on Hs2, preferring local issues instead.
And in Bucks & the Chilterns?
UKIP did gain seats there. But it was clear that the ‘Hs2 effect’ was confined to the areas the route will actually pass through.
Interestingly enough, the picture for UKIP in the Chilterns has got worse, not better since 2013. In December 2014 there were elections for two Councillors in the Aylesbury Vale district (another supposed anti ‘stronghold). Both were won by, the supposedly unelectable Liberal Democrats!
To add to UKIPs woes, both their rebadged former Tory MPs voted FOR Hs2 & one, Mark Reckless put Farage in the firing line by restating his support for Hs2 as a UKIP MP.
Farage was forced into admitting that Hs2 is not a ‘big ticket issue’ for the party.
2015 has got off to an even worse start as a Chilterns UKIP Cllr has defected to the Tories.
This has exposed the fact that neither UKIP or the Tories are really that worried by the anti Hs2 campaign. It’s been clear for some time that anti’s have been writing political cheques they can’t cash by promising levels of support they don’t have. It seems that fact has finally dawned on UKIP too. The antis also seem to have quietly dropped their ineffective ‘no votes for you with Hs2’ as it scared no-one & didn’t persuade a single MP to change sides.
The forthcoming general election has the potential to be a disaster for the anti Hs2 campaign who’ve firmly nailed their flag to the UKIP mast. The party’s been battered in the media & the polls as their extremist tendencies, fruitloop membership & infighting has attracted negative attention, the idea that it will be in any position to deliver on its promise to ‘StopHs2’ looks more & more ridiculous as time goes on.