It’s the party conference season once more, which means StopHs2’s inflatable elephant is dug out of storage, checked for punctures and wheeled out for utterly pointless ‘demonstrations’ of Stophs2 impotence outside the events.
Gone are StopHs2’s ‘glory’ days when they could afford a stand inside the conferences and find enough volunteers to staff it. In those days you’d get Penny Gaines tweeting that everyone they talked to was solidly against Hs2 and that *really* every MP (Labour or Tory) privately opposed the project.
It was all tosh of course. Now the money and supporters have dried up, Hs2’s being built and it’s all rather pointless really.
A final effort to save the campaign from oblivion was launched a couple of weeks ago by one of the surviving ‘action’ groups on phase 1 of the route. Not that you’d notice as it’s been yet another in a long-line of damp squibs. The meeting in Balsall Common in Warwickshire. Here’s a couple of excerpts from the email that did the rounds
” We hope to attract members from both the South and the North to this meeting. We recognise that most action groups on Phase1 have faded away and this meeting is called by Richard Lloyd of Berkswell and Archie Taylor of Burton Green. We will offer coffee and biscuits but refreshments are available at next door Tesco’s.
We have a glimmer of a chance to stop the whole project as costs escalate and Brexit approaches while those on Phase 2 are perhaps in a stronger position”
“Glimmer”? Talk about optimistic! The email goes on…
“But we also have to plan for the future. Are any of the Northern Groups planning to lobby the Labour Conference at Liverpool, a week later, on the 23rd? If they are, perhaps, a few of us can help with the pamphlets. As a Labour member, I intend to write to all Labour MPs in the first week of September but articles don’t always get to the MP. But if we can give out leaflets at Liverpool, we can certainly play the northern card with the east to west alternative. If we do have volunteers to leaflet, I might go up to the Conference myself.
Perhaps the Conservative Conference at Birmingham on September 30th is more significant and accessible. Again it would be great if we can get people along. Similarly we can work on leaflets before our meeting.
I would appreciate if you can come to our meeting, or you are ready to go to Liverpool to contact me. I hope people will make this meeting. It will be great to see people from the past. It is going to be very difficult to stop it but we have a chance if we join together. I will give more details about the meeting at a later date”
So, the ‘new’ plan is to re-run the same old tactics, only this time with less money, less people and less interest! Here’s the agenda for the meeting;
Note that the other national groups AGAHST and Hs2aa didn’t bother turning up. That’s because they exist in name only. Their written ‘updates’ will probably have been as blank as the Governments benefits of Brexit! AGAHST folded years ago and Hs2aa haven’t been heard from since the summer of 2016!
I haven’t seen a copy of any conclusions from the meeting or list of how many attended, but I not that it’s had no media coverage or mention on the surviving groups Facebook pages or websites other than on from a Groups on the Leeds route which described it as a ‘good’ meeting and err, that’s it!
So, what’s been the result of the relaunch. Well, yesterday a couple of people did make it up to Liverpool with the inflatable elephant and duly set it up outside. How many of them were there? It’s impossible to tell as the only picture Stophs2 tweeted out doesn’t contain a soul!
By this morning the tweet had amassed a grand total of 29 retweets and 39 likes from their 6175 Twitter followers, which tells you all you need to know really…
There is one video, which is an ‘interview’ of a very scruffy and dishevelled looking Joe Rukin, spouting his usual polemical bluster, but no-one else is in sight!
Contrast this pathetic performance with what was going on inside the Labour conference. Firstly, this tweet from train builder Bombardier showing some of their young apprentices meeting the Shadow Chancellor.
Or this, from Siemens. Shame about the quality of the picture, but you get the gist,
To say that Rukin and Co have been outclassed and outgunned is an understatement! If this is a campaign that’s been relaunched, then it slipped straight off the stocks and did a submarine impression! I don’t expect any better at the Conservative conference. If I have the time I might even pop along so that we can get some proper pictures to gauge their support by.
Meanwhile, one last word about Liverpool. This is a proper demonstration Joe – oh, and look, that’s your very lonely elephant in the background!