I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the anti Hs2 campaign now the dust has settled on the 2015 elections. Well, that’s if you ignore the way the Labour party seems intent on committing political suicide anyways…
Since the election the anti Hs2 mob have retreated into cyberspace as there’s bugger all going on for them in the real world. They’ve no events planned, gatherings organised or demonstrations in the offing. The ‘action’ group network is just as bad. Many of them have already thrown in the towel or exist in name only.
Of the three main groups (Hs2aa, Stophs2 and AGAHST) only two have survived. I won’t even count the 51M consortium of councils as they and their ‘alternative’ were rendered irrelevant as soon as the Hs2 Hybrid Bill was passed with such a stonking majority.
AGAHST gave up the ghost some time ago. They’re little more than a defunct website and their supposed Campaigns Director, Deanne DuKhan hasn’t been heard of for quite some time. Have a browse of their website to see what I mean.
Stophs2 are hanging on by the skin of their teeth although they’ve nothing to show for that fact. They’ve no events of any sort organised & their only presence is producing the occasional compendium of what they call ‘recent new items’. It’s essentially a cobbled together list of anything vaguely critical of Hs2 that’s appeared anywhere. Apart from that, Joe Rukin & Penny Gaines tweet occasionally but it’s clear they’re doing little more than going through the motions. Their website is also informative, but only because it shows how little is going on.
The third member of the triumvirate, Hs2aa, are just as moribund. Having pretty much exhausted the pointless legal action avenue & made no impact giving ‘evidence’ at the Hybrid Bill petitions, they’re largely irrelevant. Despite losing every legal action they’ve brought they still haven’t learned & have one final case which will be heard by the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in December. Expect this to go the way of all the others…
The antis inability to organise anything in the real world has left them increasingly reliant on social media. Their problem is – they’re getting nowhere there either! Here’s today’s ‘scores on the doors’ to show just how shallow their social media penetration is;
The usual caveats apply. ‘Followers’ aren’t always supporters. Many are only there to keep an eye on what they’re saying. What’s interesting is to see how little growth there is in their number of followers. Equally interesting is to see the ‘quality’ of many of their followers. Here’s a few of StopHs2’s most recent:
Quite how foreign twitter accounts (either real or fake) will help Stophs2 actually stop Hs2 is a mystery but that’s always been one of the weaknesses of their social media campaign, the headline numbers are pretty meaningless.
Here’s another good example. Peter Jones from Camden is one of the mainstays of the anti Hs2 Twitter campaign. He probably tweets more than most of them & optimistically tweets as @HS2DeadDuck. Admittedly, he’s a complete embarrassment to their campaign but they don’t seem to mind as they’re desperate. Here’s some of his most recent ‘followers’
With an army like this, how can they possibly lose?
The anti Hs2 campaigners are starting from a tiny social media base, even on Facebook – which has the biggest penetration amongst the UK population. When you consider the size of the UK electorate is over 46 million people, these numbers are appalling! Talk about failing to get your message across! Their Twitter campaign has descended into farce. Most sensible folk have deserted it, leaving it in the hands of a few nutters who tweet laughable nonsense. It seems to be more about a few odd egos rather than a serious attempt to stop Hs2. One only has to look at the (often abusive) tripe posted under the #hs2 hashtag to see how bad they’ve got. Here’s some examples from Peter Jones (again);
The stophs2 Facebook page is well worth a visit – purely so that you can see how the few regulars who post on it are hopelessly confused & totally bewildered. They simply can’t understand why Hs2 hasn’t been stopped so they spend most of their time ranting about politicians of all parties & dreaming up daft ideas! Here’s a few examples;
To compound their woes the national media seems to have lost interest in them too. A few years ago you could guarantee certain newspapers would fall over themselves to publish knocking copy & stories antis had managed to persuade tame journalists like Andrew Gilligan to run. Now, they struggle.
So, what’s left for their campaign. Oblivion really…
Another event that will hasten the end of many of the ‘action’ groups (& probably StopHs2 also) will take place in September & October. This is when the Hs2 Hybrid Bil Committee are dealing with over a thousand carbon copy petitions. I’ve blogged about it before here.
All the evidence demonstrates that no-one’s bothered by them anymore. The general election result showed that they have no political clout & the one party that paid them any heed (UKIP) had a disastrous result. By the time of the next election in 2020 Hs2 will have been under construction for nearly 4 years, so who’s going to try & stop Hs2 then? Even UKIP probably aren’t THAT stupid..