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When major news stories break Twitter can be a very strange place. It can educate, amuse and frustrate all at the same time. It can also make you seriously wonder about the sanity of some of your fellow citizens – the one’s who never let the fact they know absolutely nothing about a subject and clearly have a tenuous grip on reality stop them sharing their ‘wisdom’.

The collapse of Carillion and the fact it had some contracts to build Hs2 is a classic example. If you believed some of the nonsense, Carillion was solely responsible for building the line which is now going to collapse as a result of them folding. Needless to say, those opposed to Hs2 have leapt on the story, grasping every straw they can find to claim that either this is the ‘end’ for Hs2, or that the Government should now cancel the scheme as a consequence. Here’s a superb example of the bat-shit crazy!

Lance-watkins. 16.1.18.PNG

Meanwhile, Joe Rukin of StopHs2 returned from semi-retirement (he’s not written anything since 22 Nov) to pen this on their website;

“Today, crisis-hit Carillion has gone into liquidation, less than six months after it was awarded the contract to design and build all the tunnels on Phase 1 of HS2.”

Carillion were designing and building all of the Hs2 tunnels? Really?

No. It’s Rukin lying through his teeth again. In fact, Carillion weren’t involved in any bored tunnels. Here’s are the details of the 3 construction contracts (that were divided into 7 lots) which were let to different Joint Ventures (JVs). The information comes from the official Government website.

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Carillion were part of the CEK Joint venture, along with Eiffage Genie Civil and Kier Infrastructure and Overseas. They won lots C2 and C3 – neither of which involve boring tunnels. All the tunnelling sections were won by other JVs. The other members of the CEK JV have stated that they have contingency plans in place to deal with the collapse of Carillion, so it’s very likely they’ll continue without them whilst looking for a replacement.

Of course, none of this will stop the ill-informed frothing as people sound off, but eventually the penny will start to drop with some as it becomes obvious that Hs2 is continuing. One very public sign of this is all the work at Euston. The gardens at the front of the station closed yesterday. This led to a futile protest by three demonstrators who were quickly removed from the site before the fencing went up.

The other protest site further up the line at Harvil Rd isn’t exactly a hotbed of activity either. The protesters tweeted out this picture the other day. Four people corralled behind fencing, outnumbered by the people protecting them is more Watership Down than Twyford Down!

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So, has the public furore over Carillion and the anti Hs2 protesters attempts to grab media attention by chaining a Vicar to a Euston tree helped their cause? Not in the slightest. Their petition on the Government website continues to underwhelm. By close of play yesterday it had garnered a grand total of 24,136 signatures since September 2017. The only problem is that to be in with a chance it needed 66,200 plus! The maths are inescapable. On average it needs over 1150 signatures per day until March 21st. Yesterday it managed 188. Today it has 10. Its average is dropping daily and currently stands just over the 200 mark. It’s toast.

Meanwhile, away from the doomed Stop Hs2 protests, I’m sure that some awkward questions will be asked about the failure of Carillion and the behaviour in the company’s boardroom. Once such question would be how is it that so many hedge funds had short positions on the companies shares, yet this wasn’t sounding alarm bells with others?

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