Yep, it’s that time of month again, as February morphs into March I’ve manfully ploughed my way through hours of rubbish to ignore the hyperventilating and crunch the actual numbers. There’s been more mush than usual in February as Hs2 antis were cock a hoop at the fact Hs2 would be featured in Channel 4’s Dispatches. Once again, they hyped it as the ‘smoking gun’ that would finally kill off Hs2! How many times have we heard that now? Allied to Dispatches were efforts by the same small group of right-wing Journo’s associated with the residents of 55 Tufton St to spin as many negative articles as they could in the media. We were (un)reliably informed that Teresa May’s Cabinet couldn’t wait to kill off Hs2 and that it was only a matter of time now. How many times have we heard that one too? Needless to say, February came and went – and so did Liam Halligans lazy and badly researched Dispatches programme (filleted here). Despite all the froth, Hs2’s still here. Informed sources who’ve been talking to members of the Tory party have told me this was always a non-story, that it was posturing by individuals who privately admit there’s no chance of Hs2 being killed off at this late hour. To say that the Cabinet are rather more concerned about an issue beginning with B would be an understatement.
So, what’s all this hoo-ha done for StopHs2 on social media? The answer is – very little. Here’s their Twitter statistics over 2019.
As you can see, they’ve gained 2.5% more Twitter followers this month. 166 in total. The irony of this is that’s more than the total number of people who’ve retweeted any of their nonsense. The largest amount of retweets they’ve had all month has been 122, which is just 1.8% of all their followers! Not exactly Twitterstorm material, is it? Their average is a paltry 23.1, which is a miserable 0.3%! When you consider 6,6 million people live in the 63 constituencies Hs2 passes through, 6650 followers is pathetic. It’s 0.10%! Whichever way you cut these numbers, they’re tiny – and this is after 9 years!
Wading through StopHs2s twitter timeline one thing becomes obvious. How mind-numbingly banal most of the stuff is. StopHs2 spend most of their time tweeting links to stories in newspapers or from other media outlets. In fact, anything they can find that’s critical of Hs2, or the railways. What they don’t do is Tweet news of their ‘campaign’ because there isn’t any! Rukin wasn’t even interviewed for Dispatches, he spends most of this time throwing around childish insults on Twitter. The only instance of anything resembling a grassroots event happened yesterday when a few hundred people turned up to protest at an Hs2 event in Calvert Green (Bucks) and that’s it. This isn’t the stuff of a campaign going anywhere other then into the history books as a grand failure. A quick look through StopHs2’s followers list soon shows the problem. Many of their followers gave up years ago, like this pair.
This problem hasn’t escaped the attention of some of the Right-Wing backers of their campaign as an increasing number of pro Brexit Trolls and bots have been reprogrammed over the past month to include anti Hs2 tweets – as I’ve blogged about here.
Right, now let’s have a look at Facebook.
For some reason Facebook stats on the number of followers isn’t available right now. As you can see, activity’s increased since January thanks to Dispatches, but the numbers (bearing in mind the 6.6m living on the route) are appalling. There’s something else too. Of the 49 posts made by StopHs2 all but the last two were nothing more than links to media articles. There were no notices of forthcoming events from ‘action’ groups like meetings etc. Nothing that would reflect a campaign that’s actually going anywhere. Like Twitter, it’s always the same handful of names posting comments, many of which are either completely bonkers or pure bluster, like these…
I expect stophs2 March social media stats to be on the slide again now all the ‘excitement’ has died down. Both Panorama and Dispatches have flopped and the penny’s going to drop sometime that Hs2 is continuing. In the meantime, their little band gets ever smaller as more people settle, sell up and move away from the route. Meanwhile, work continues along phase 1 in preparation for the notice to proceed with the main civils work and Phase 2a continues its journey through Parliament. No-one’s stopped Hs2…
I’ve a favour to ask.
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