No, seriously! That wasn’t a typo…
The Stophs2 campaign is going from farce to worse and yesterday has been an outstanding example. The ‘intellectual’ wing of the campaign collapsed several years ago when the folk involved in the ‘High Speed 2 Action Alliance’ (who were essentially a bunch of Chiltern Nimbys) gave up the ghost in 2016. The anti Hs2 ‘flame’ then passed to the sole surviving group known as Stophs2 who were always the ‘Mickey Mouse’ end of the campaign, as yesterday has proved in spades!
Stophs2 have been struggling to stay relevant for a long time now as their Chair, Penny Gaines has buggered off to Bournemouth whilst their Campaign Manager, Joe Rukin remains in Kenilworth. They get wheeled out as rent-a-quotes to various sections of the media who still have them in their contacts lists, but that has no reflection on their actual influence, which is zero. They weren’t even part of the HS2 phase 2a petitioning process.
But you can always rely on Joe Rukin to come up with a Cupid Stunt. Sorry, I meant to say a cunning plan! His latest brainwave was to dress up as a tree in the Uxbridge constituency of Prime Minister Boris Johnson along with some Extinction Rebellion protesters. Quite what Rukin was thinking this would achieve is unfathomable, but I’ll explore that more later. First, here’s a screenshot from the StopHs2 Facebook page that shows you this farce.
If you’re on Facebook and want to view this complete car-crash in all it’s glory, feel free! Here’s another snippet from their FB page.
Interestingly, some StopHs2 supporters were less than impressed by the spectacle, as the comments on Facebook show.
There’s also this little revelation that makes it clear the stophs2 grassroots really aren’t all that keen on getting involved in direct action. A stopHs2 sticker in the back of their 4×4 is one thing, joining a protest is another!
Despite the latter claim it’s clear that Rukin was in Uxbridge with Extinction Rebellion who were presumably hoping to entice people to vote for the Green party with this cringeworthy spectacle. Now, let’s get real for a moment and look at some facts.
In the 2016 EU referendum Uxbridge voted 57.19% to leave the EU. Boris Johnson held Uxbridge at the 2017 election with a 5034 majority.
The Green Party’s candidate, Mark Keir, who has been involved in various anti HS2 stunts, is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer or obvious Parliamentary material who would be seen as attractive to ordinary voters (see this blog). He came last in 2017 and saw the green vote fall by 1.3% to 1.9%. The only person within spitting distance of Johnson was the Labour candidate, who increased their vote by a sizeable 13.6%. This year Labour have put up a different candidate but Keir is yet again standing for the Green party. So, who is StopHs2 backing? Keir! The one man who is guaranteed not to win and whom voting for will help keep Labour out and Boris Johnson in!
The StopHs2 campaign has been a tragi-comedy for some time. Informed sources tell me that Joe Rukin has been looking for a proper job for some time. Perhaps with his experience in ‘story-telling’ and dressing up, he should consider getting himself an Equity card, after all, he’s clearly got a talent for Pantomime and that season’s fast approaching!