A few days ago, StopHs2 campaign manager Joe Rukin was frantically circulating this email to the scattered remnants of the Stop Hs2 campaign.
“An urgent message from Joe Rukin:
You will hopefully have seen the news since the weekend about the possibility of the Tories going soft on HS2 in some way in their manifesto, whether that is a pause, cancellation or review.
The first thing I want to make absolutely clear is that this is completely true.
In fact the situation is rather better than reported, as whilst Messrs Gillan & Bridgen along with other MPs went to see George Freeman about a list of issues including HS2, it turned out the team writing the manifesto had already picked up HS2 as an something they might change their minds on. I cannot stress enough that this is totally serious. Whilst it may have been dismissed by 3 Andys; Jones, Street & Percy, they aren’t the ones writing the manifesto. Personally I would doubt they would go as far as saying there would be a cancellation/pause/review in the manifesto, more likely they’d go for no mention at all which would them give the space for any of those three options. Then again, as they’ve already been willing to hint at tax rises, what do I know?
I covered this in todays article https://t.co/XgUiEIpMLN but have decided to leave it a bit more speculative in public, as whilst there is now work to do in terms of trying to influence this decision, I’d rather try and not let on that this is really up for grabs in public for as long as possible.
So that leaves a fortnight to try and influence the Tory manifesto, and indeed the Labour one. We’ve had a conference call today to get things going with other campaign groups and there will be meetings with Labour next week, but as Deanne has mentioned before, it continues to be ASLEF & TSSA which are heavily behind Momentum that are the problem with Labour.
For now please go to Conservative Home and fill in the survey below. When it comes to the rankings, please vote “Continuing with HS2” as zero, and try not to give anything else either a top or bottom score, as you’ll effectively be voting against yourself:
Attached are some of the banners we used at the last election. We may still have some physical ones left.
I cannot stress strongly enough that it really is game on, but in reality it’s not six weeks we have at this point in time, it’s two. More will follow in the next few days. Any ideas welcome!
Campaign Manager, Stop HS2.”
There was only one problem. Like most stuff that emanates from Rukin, it was complete bullshit – although it did fool one of two desperate antis. Hs2aa, who gave up campaigning against Hs2 last year (they abandoned social media in June and their website’s not been updated since November) were forced out of retirement to cobble a page of ridiculous claims for their website (see link). Even AGAHST, an organisation that hasn’t been heard of for years made an appearance in the form of it’s one time Campaign Director, Deanne Dukhan.
It was all a complete waste of time, as most antis realised. Rukin had tried to sell this pup via the StopHs2 Facebook page on April 23rd, when MP’s Gillan and Bridgen had managed to flog their dead horse to a couple of the national newspapers (see my previous blog here). The problem was the claim was met more with derision than expectation. You can see their replies here but I’ve added a selection for your delectation.
And my absolute favourite, which sums up the scepticism and derision this claim met with, is this one!
It was only going to be a matter of time before Rukin’s house of cards came crashing down around his ears. That happened today when Teresa May gave an interview to the Yorkshire Post under the headline “THERESA MAY has slapped down Conservative backbenchers in the South with a commitment to deliver the HS2 rail line to Yorkshire”. So, there’s no room for any dissembling there! She went on to say –
May’s statement was soon picked up by the nationals, with the Guardian running it here.
So there you have it. As I predicted, you won’t be seeing any mention of cancelling Hs2 in the Tory manifesto. Rukin, who’s lied through his teeth so often, has ended up looking a complete fool yet again. His stock was never high with other anti Hs2 campaigners anyway (Hs2aa Director Hilary Wharf was overheard being particularly scathing about Rukin’s relationship with the truth a few years ago). Now it must be at rock-bottom.
I wonder how long it’ll take before any of this is mentioned on the StopHs2 website, or will this load of bollocks written by Joe disappear first? I’m not going to be holding my breath…