As the construction of the new HS2 picks up more and more speed with new contracts announced almost every week (a detailed blog on these is coming shortly), the tiny bunch of anti HS2 protesters lurch from one disasterous defeat to another as their numbers continue to dwindle due to a combination of arrests, injunctions and the fact the schools and colleges have gone back. Oh, and the weather! The ‘fair-weather’ anarchists like to pose and posture to their friends on social media in the sunshine – but muddy fields, cold mornings and heavy rain really aren’t their thing.
Nowhere has this become more obvious than the ongoing (but soon to end) eviction at Jones’ Hill wood in Aylesbury Vale. The protesters had been left alone in the woods for several months as they weren’t in anyone’s way. Lulled into a false sense of security they built several tree houses and boasted how they would ‘hold’ the wood against HS2 as the wood was the inspiration for a Roald Dahl story, “Fantastic Mr Fox”. There was only one problem. None of it had any basis in fact!
The Roald Dahl museum – who are the real authorities on the man – say the wood that inspired the story is another one that’s nowhere near HS2!
The protesters boasts were about ‘holding’ the woods were just as baseless. Within 48 hours of moving in the bailiffs had evicted the majority of the tree houses and established that the claim of protesters in tunnels was just another empty boast.
Worse was to come, the protesters reinforcements failed to arrive, despite the media coverage the evictions received. There was one, Daniel Hooper, better known as ‘swampy’, who gained minor celebrity status during the roads protests of the 1990s. There’s only one problem. He failed then – and he’s failed now…
Meanwhile, another small protest camp containing just four people on the Rugby Rd near Cubbington was evicted with alacrity, whittling down the protesters eight camps down to six. As usual, HS2 Rebellion made all the usual ridiculous accusations about violence towards the protesters – all of whom were seen to be in rude health shortly after when they forgot they’d meant to have been beaten up. Funny, that!
This number will fall even further in the next few months – although some of the camps (like Crackley) are already redundant as the work they were trying to stop has already happened! Other camps will linger on as they’re on private land and not obstructing building HS2 in the slightest.
As the protests have failed to actually stop anything the protesters have little left to do but spread massive misinformation about the alleged ‘destruction’ HS2’s doing to wildlife reserves like Calvert. Sadly for them, this keeps getting exposed for what it is – complete bollocks. Here’s an example. Someone flew their drone over the work at Calvert Jubilee reserve a few days ago and stuck the resulting video on Youtube. .
It’s painfully obvious to anyone with an open mind that the reserve is hardly touched, with work concentrated on clearing vegetation on the route of the old railways, including the former Great Central.
As we’re now into autumn and the wildlife nesting season’s behind us HS2 is ramping up the speed of the vegetation clearance work that it needs to do before major construction starts. This means there’s a huge number of active sites and a tiny bunch of protesters to go round. ‘High profile’ events like the eviction of Jones’ Hill Woods drag them in as they waste their time trying to stop the inevitable – meaning work at other sites is undisturbed. It’s farcical to listen to the claims some of them make on social media about ‘winning’ but this is the post-truth era and first major infrastructure project that’s been conducted in the new media age. I’m sure there’ll be a fascinating thesis for a student in all this next year!
In my next blog I’ll compile a list of the HS2 contracts that have been awarded since my last update. They total hundreds of millions of pounds, creating thousands of UK jobs from Somerset to Teesside.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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