I thought it was time to update my look at the state of the anti Hs2 campaign now the conference season’s over & it’s effectively the end of the campaigning year. I’ll kick off with the monthly social media ‘scores on the doors’, which are as follows.
The standards caveat applies. Not all followers are supporters, some are simply there to keep an eye out on what’s going on. Also, whilst percentages are interesting they should be read in conjunction with the actual numbers. After all, a 50% increase on sweet bugger all isn’t much to celebrate.
I have nearly 9 months data to draw on now which paints a distinctly desperate picture. The figures show that anti hs2 campaigners best efforts to attract attention have failed. There’s been no discernible bounce from the conference season with only a handful of new followers being attracted on Twitter – and even less on Facebook.
The person who’s done the best is the former Communications Director of the defunct group AGAHST, Deanne Dukhan. The irony is, she’s done this by dropping tweeting about Hs2! Despite the fact AGAHST has folded & she’s now irrelevant I’m keeping her in to provide an useful comparison.
The antis twitter campaign is continuing to implode. Neither of the two remaining ‘national’ groups are doing anything newsworthy so the volume of tweets has decreased. They’re reduced to being a retweeting service or moaning about Hs2 and railways in general. we’re seeing bugger all from the local ‘action’ groups for the same reason – nothing’s going on. What we are seeing more of is the lunatic fringe of the campaign although how a few folk ranting on Twitter is meant to convince anyone in the political arena to cancel hs2 is a mystery.
Their Facebook campaign is even more dire. It’s well worth viewing the Stophs2 Facebook page as it offers a window on the soul of their campaign. Their problem is, it’s a bit like taking a tour of Bedlam! What you’ll see is a rag-bag of Ukippers and (presumably) Daily Mail & Express readers convinced the UK is going to hell in a hand cart because no-one is listening to them. If anything, it shows why the anti Hs2 campaign was bound to fail. Here’s a few examples;
Now, does anyone think this sounds like a coherent and credible campaign? Of course not. What it does illustrate is that using social media is a double-edged sword. As well as helping a campaign it can also expose its weaknesses to the world…
Hs2aa’s Facebook page is even more dire. It contains little other than links to tweets from other people and comments by the same serial ranters! As a campaigning tool it’s both useless and an embarrassment. To add to Hs2aa’s woes their website is (accidentally or deliberately) compromised by a virus that means anyone with suitable software is warned off visiting.
Meanwhile, what’s happening in the real world away from social media. For the anti Hs2 campaign the answer is – not a lot. Their campaign’s completely lost momentum. Hs2aa have yet another legal appeal to be heard in December, beyond that – there’s nothing. Stophs2’s calendar is completely bare. Joe Rukin has a solitary appearance booked in front of the Hs2 Petitioning Committee. After that he’s free to keep writing job applications.
Contrast all this with Hs2 Ltd’s increasingly busy diary filled with consultations, suppliers events, tenders etc – and the almost weekly uttering of support from Government Ministers & members of the opposition, plus events like this weeks National Rail Conference.
As we head into the festive season it’s clear there’s going to be little Christmas cheer for the anti hs2 campaign. They’re staring into the abyss now. I’m willing to predict that 2016 will see one (if not both) of their national groups fold when they can no longer fool themselves that they can stop Hs2.