I can’t imagine it’s going to be the sound of party poppers & champagne corks we’ll be hearing from the anti Hs2 campaign offices today, because (let’s face it) they’ve had a bloody awful year and next year will only be worse. 2016 will see the end of their campaign as the phase 1 Hybrid Bill will complete its journey through Parliament and gain Royal Assent. After that, they have nowhere left to turn. All the major political parties remain solidly behind the project and by the time of the next general election in 2020 Hs2 will have been under construction for nearly 3 years.
The signs that the anti Hs2 campaign was collapsing have been evident for some time. They failed to bog down progress of the Hybrid Bill, then were dealt a huge blow by the result of the General Election – which laid bare the fact their political clout was negligible. In the latter part of the year Bucks Country Council Leader Martin Tett made it clear the anti Hs2 51M alliance of local council’s was redundant. Not that 51m will be missed. Their website hadn’t been updated since June 2011 and they only managed 16 Tweets through the whole of 2015!
This left just two main groups opposing Hs2 – Kenilworth based StopHs2 and the Highspeed 2 Action Alliance (Hs2aa) in the Chilterns. Many of the smaller ‘action’ groups that came under the Hs2aa banner had already faded away. Now it seems its HS2aa’s turn. Nothing has been seen or heard from them since December 7th – which suggests their legal case at the UN which was heard just before Xmas hasn’t gone well…
Having retreated to be almost a purely social media based campaign, things aren’t going well there either. Here’s the final “scores on the doors” for 2015. They show a campaign that’s not only stalled but has actually gone into reverse again in some cases.
I won’t bore you with the usual caveats as I’m sure you know them off by heart now. The only person who is doing well is AGAHST’s former Comm’s person Deanne Dukhan. The irony is, she’s done it by not tweeting about Hs2!
The only question now seems to be how long the remaining anti hs2 groups can hang on into 2016. Will StopHs2’s financier (Warks businessman Joe Elliott) finally pull the plug? After all, once the Parliamentary process is finished, what’s the point of the StopHs2 campaign?