As the anti Hs2 campaign sees any sign of success slipping further & further away their campaign has become increasingly desperate. This has meant that their lies have got bigger, bolder & more stupid…
On Wednesday, Professor Andrew McNaughton gave evidence to the High Speed Rail Committee on the capacity that would be released on the WCML after Hs2 opens. In a breathtaking example of lying through his teeth, StopHs2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin has twisted McNaughton’s evidence to allege that “HS2 Ltd admit they will scrap all current long distance trains to Euston”
Here’s the press release Rukin has cobbled together: http://stophs2.org/news/13115-13115
And here’s the evidence that McNaugton gave to the Committee: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/oral-evidence/110215_Uncorrected_Afternoon.pdf
The relevant pages are 41 to 49.
Rukin asserts that “McNaughton has finally admitted that towns and cities in the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and The North West could lose direct services to London” Really? Where? What McNaughton actually said was this;
“We take off the main line most of the long distance non-stop services, because the purpose of HS2 is to serve cities on the long-distance network”
McNaughton went on to say “The effect for stations on the existing line is that, instead of seeing long -distance trains pass them by, albeit quite regularly, there is the opportunity to introduce new trains that serve those stations”
McNaughton also explained what the Transport Minister wanted “Now, the Secretary of State has set out some principles for how the West Coast Main Line ought to be reused and we worked within those, in doing this illustration They’re things like, broadly, where people have a train service to London, after HS2 comes in, there ought to be broadly a comparable-type service but, balanced against that, the opportunity to improve commuting to the places that most need improved commuting”
So, how can Rukin possibly justify his claim? Clearly, he can’t. It’s an obvious & very stupid lie, especially as McNaughton gave his evidence to a Parliamentary Committee where his words were recorded & transcribed. Rukin’s relying on gullible & lazy journo’s not to check their facts. After all, only the really stupid or geographically challenged will believe Hs2 Ltd will “scrap all current long distance trains to Euston” when, err – Hs2 will run into, oh yes – Euston….
Rukin repeats his lies by quoting himself (in his own press release, how’s that for ego!) “We have always said this means for dozens of towns and cities across England, Scotland and Wales ‘losing the trains you currently have”
So where’s this little revelation confirmed by McNaughton’s presentation? Nowhere. In fact, it’s completely contradicted by these words; “We’ve effectively stripped the long-distance non-stopping services off the West Coast Main Line fast lines and into that now virtually empty railway started to show the types of services that could operate, particularly to pick up the commuter growth areas, which are part of the Government’s central strategy, out at Milton Keynes, Northampton, Rugby and so forth. “
So, McNaughton actually gave evidence that new services & extra trains would run, not less.
There’s also the small matter that Hs2Ltd can’t “scrap all current long distance trains to Euston” as that’s not their decision to make as Rukin well knows. What services run after Hs2 opens will be decided by the Office of Rail Regulation, the Secretary of State for Transport & the Dft in conjunction with stakeholders (something else McNaughton made clear).
Rukin has a long & colourful history of telling porkies but this one could really blow up in his face. He’s lied about the facts presented to a Parliamentary Committee that he’s given evidence to himself. So, what does that say about his integrity, the worth of his words & the weight of his evidence? Somehow, I don’t think the High Speed Rail Committee will be impressed. They’ve shown they don’t tolerate fools gladly.
UPDATE: 14th February.
If Rukin & StopHs2 think this is going to blow over they’re in for a real disappointment. The High Speed Rail Committee have announced they will publish the slides that went with Prof McNaughton’s evidence next week. Rukin penned his lies without seeing them. Once they’re available & I’ve had a chance to look at them, I’ll be blogging again. StopHs2 are in for a very uncomfortable time. As Shakespeare’s saying goes, ‘the truth will out’…