You have to laugh. What passes for an anti Hs2 campaign nowadays is the Joe Rukin & Penny Gaines show formerly known as Stophs2. Penny lives in Bournemouth and Joe’s in Kenilworth so it’s easy to see why it’s not exactly a tight campaign. In truth, it’s a campaign in name only. Stophs2’s collapsed. They’ve gone from campaigning to moaning. They’ve no presence in the real world – they’re reduced to social media – and they’ve been pretty crap at that. They’ve a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but lately they’ve abandoned them all apart from the occasional retweet.
Finally, Stophs2 ‘Campaign Manager’ (shurely shome mishtake. Ed) has broken his radio silence to post this on their website.
At least one MP was ‘paying attention’? His moan is that only 1 MP, Sir Kevin Barron (whose Rother valley constituency is on the Phase 2 route to Leeds) changed his mind to vote against Hs2.
OK, let’s dissect this nonsense. As usual, Rukin spins like a top but even he can’t disguise the fact that since the Hs2 phase 1 hybrid bill passed they’ve only ‘turned’ one MP. What Rukin fails to mention is that this one ‘win’ is more than cancelled out by the 7 MPs who voted against the Hs2 phase 1 bill but who voted FOR the phase 2 a bill. They were;
Steve Baker (High Wycombe)
Bob Blackman (Harrow Est)
Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
Chris Chope (Christchurch)
Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
Chris Pincher (Tamworth)
John Redwood (Wokingham)
Not exactly a victory, is it? Their campaign’s collapsed and seven of the tiny number of MPs who used to support them have changed sides. Let’s crunch the full numbers – when the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill stormed through 2nd reading it did so by 452 votes to 41, giving the project a majority of 411. Of the 41 MPs who opposed, 7 stood down or retired as MPs in 2015. Another two stood down before the 2017 election and another two lost their seats, so that’s 11 of the 41 gone. Now another 7 have changed their vote – which throws Rukin and StopHs2’s campaigning ‘skills’ into perspective. In the years since the Phase 1 bill passed they’ve lost, not gained political support & Barron’s change of heart is a pyrrhic victory at best. When you look through the spin and analyse the numbers, you have to ask – what the point of Stophs2 anymore?