Having blown all their money (and that of a lot of taxpayers) on futile attempts to stop Hs2 in the courts the High Speed 2 Action Alliance (Hs2aa) is doing very little nowadays. However, it has produced a card to help support the ineffective ‘no votes for you with hs2’ campaign. It’s their usual mixture of spin & lies in the form of 5 loaded ‘questions’ that are supposedly meant to put MPs ‘on the spot’.
I’ve dissected each for the benefit of those MPs who might not know how to deal with these loaded questions.
1). 452 MPs have already answered this by passing the Hs2 Hybrid Bill with a massive majority! Contrast that thumping total to the 41 MPs who voted against the bill. As Hs2 remains the policy of all the major political parties & all those likely to form the next Government I don’t think this one will bother any MPs.
2). “Hs2’s absurdly high speed, faster than any other train operating in Europe” – claims Hs2aa. Like most of their other claims it’s load of deceitful rubbish. Hs2 is designed to allow trains to run at 400kph in the future when the technology allows. In the meantime, they’re expected to run at 360kph. In fact, that technology already exists and started running in Italy last week. TRENITALIA launched its new flagship high-speed train on April 25 -the Frecciarossa 1000. Also known as the Zefiro 300, this Bombardier built train has a design speed of 400kph;
Here’s the technical details of the train;
Here’s an article on the launch of the Italian service;
At the moment the Frecciarossa 1000 will be limited to speeds of 300kph. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s exactly what Hs2 have in mind. It’s worth remembering that Hs2 won’t be up & running until 2026 & who knows what speeds the next generation of high-speed trains will be capable of by then. So Hs2’s planned speed of 400kph is an eminently sensible choice that future-proofs the line – and Hs2aa are being dishonest with their claims (again).
3). ‘Adequate’ compensation. Ignoring the irony of Hs2aa (a group that’s lost dozens of court cases) talking about a lost court case, let’s remember one thing. That court case wasn’t about the amount of compensation, it was about the methodology of the compensation scheme. For some people, no level of compensation will ever be enough. In truth, the Hs2 compensation scheme is more generous than previous ones. No-one would want to see people compensated unfairly, but what all this is about is a cynical attempt to load more costs onto the Hs2 bill to make it seem unaffordable.
4). Cuts – yet another cynical ploy. We’re the 6th richest nation on the planet. The cost of Hs2 is spread over 18yrs at less than 0.17% of GDP (or around £2.5bn pa at the height of the projects spending). The idea that scrapping Hs2 will stop cuts elsewhere is nonsense. Where to cut is a political decision more than a financial one – and the different parties have different ideas on how & when to do it.
5). Hs2 ‘cuts £8.3bn of existing rail services’ This is Hs2aa’s biggest & boldest lie. I’m copying my original exposure of this to save you having to look for it.
“It is true that in the Economic Case analysis (table 9 on page 78) is a figure of £8.265 billion, labelled “classic line savings”. So what’s that all about? Well first, it refers to the full network in Phase 2, not Phase 1. Then, it’s a Present Value, that is, 60 year’s worth of annual sums all rolled into one. So the annual figure relevant to Phase 1 will be a lot – and I mean a lot – smaller.”
The cuts lie has also been nailed by the plans that have published to EXTEND rail services after Hs2 is built. As usual HS2aa ignore such inconvenient evidence as it shows them up for what they are, nothing but a deceitful bunch incapable of telling the truth.
So, next time somebody waves around Hs2aa’s ‘5 questions’ card, feel free to link to this.