As we slowly descend through autumn towards winter the anti HS2 campaign follows a similar trajectory from failure into farce. All the protesters bluster that bloomed in the Spring as they set up new ‘protection’ camps has blown away like dandelion seeds. The name ‘protection’ camp was always an oxymoron as they never protected anything. From a peak of eight camps they’ve gradually been whittled down to five, some of which are now redundant, whilst others are just refuges for the remaining rag-bag of protesters as many have already buggered off home.
I wrote about their early financial shenanigans and internecine warfare in this blog. That warfare has continued as HS2Rebellion never did account for the £36,000 plus that was raised through crowdfunding. Instead, they came over all pained and ignored the calls to be open and accountable. But (to their credit) some activists in the camps wouldn’t let the matter drop.
This week was meant to be HS2rebellion’s ‘big push’, both on social media and outside Parliament, as this daft poster explains.
Anyone on social media like Twitter could be forgiven for missing their ‘online action’ as it was as big a flop as when The Hs2 Action Alliance (remember them?) once tried to organise a ‘Twitterstorm’. A handful of teenagers Tweeting stuff they don’t understand and who react badly to being challenged does not an ‘action’ make.
Worse was to come outside Parliament an online yesterday. Their ‘big event’ attracted just a few dozen people, many of whom were the same old faces, Middle-Class Nimbys from the Chilterns who’ve nothing better to do and a few self-styled ‘eco-warriors’ who think posting overly long rambles where they just make stuff up on social media actually changes anything.
Then the excrement hit the air-conditioning live on the HS2 rebellion ‘livestream’ when one of their controllers got into a public spat with a camp protester.
Asking where the £35k plus went is classed as a “ridiculous conspiracy theory” apparently, because the person blocked was no other than Hayley-Marie Pitwell (see my other blog for the lowdown) – as she explains herself…
It seems HS2Rebellion and many of the protesters are breaking out into bit of good, old-fashioned class warfare! The ‘posh boys’ (and girls) who make up much of the hierarchy of groups like Extinction Rebellion and HS2Rebellion do seem to have a knack of alienating some of the troops like Hayley-Marie! Now, I may disagree profoundly with her on HS2 as well as her world view, but I have to admire her persistence in following the money on a matter of principle.
As you can imagine, battle-lines were soon drawn as supporters of either side rallied around. If you so desire, grab some popcorn and browse the HS2 rebellion and associated Facebook pages to watch the fun. It’s better than many TV soap operas!
Whilst the farce unfolded on social media and outside Parliament you may be forgiven for asking the question “whilst they’re parading around outside Parliament, who’s actually trying to stop HS2”? It’s a question some of their activists were asking too. Here’s several rather revealing examples. Firstly, this one about the hopeless and hapless Denham ‘protection’ camp which is rapidly becoming redundant as the National Grid crack on with preparations for installing their new High-Voltage pylons.
It’s very true. All that’s coming out of Denham nowadays is a stream of videos showing what the protesters have utterly failed to stop. It’s akin to the old TV game show where the presenter used to tease losers with “here’s what you could’ve won!”
Meanwhile, over at Crackley camp, a lone protester managed to get atop a digger for a bit and sent this, which rather neatly encapsulates the futility of what they’re doing.
No ‘ground support’ means that she was on her own. What did she achieve (apart from getting arrested and having bail conditions imposed?). Nothing. More was to follow…
Does this sound like the ‘growing’ campaign HS2Rebellion like to bluster about? This was rather revealing too as reality is finally starting to sink in to some people
I suspect ‘holiday’ is a euphemism for people sodding off back home as many won’t return. Looking at some of the early photos the protesters used to post of their gatherings in the spring/summer is a bit like looking at old photographs of soldiers from WW1 where the dead, wounded or missing in action are labelled, only in this case it’s injuncted, arrested or gone home! With this rate of attrition and with the onset of winter I can’t see the protests achieving anything other than becoming more and more of a farce, especially as HS2Rebellions rhetoric and daft lies becomes more and more out of step with reality. The cognitive dissonance is strong there. You might compare their PR tactics to those of Goebbels, the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it. In truth, they’re more Comical Ali than Goebbels!
Remember when Joe Rukin and StopHs2 were a thing? Until Extinction Rebellion came along, they *were* the anti HS2 campaign. Now they’ve all but disappeared. Joe Rukin’s phone still rings on the odd occasion a friendly media outlet need a quote, but that’s it. Their website tells the sorry tale. Compared to the heady days when there could be several posts a day and dozens a week there’s been one since early September, and that’s a very brief one to tell people where the remaining protest camps are!
Politically, the anti Hs2 campaign (and I use that word loosely) is finished. All that remains is a dwindling rag-bag of protesters who’re spending more and more time on infighting. How anyone thought this bunch could stop the largest construction project in Europe (spread over 140 route miles) is a mystery and an exercise in just one thing. Hubris.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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Looking at their page they idolise the Newbury bypass protests of 1996 which had 30 camps over nine miles in a pre-social media world. Immensely impressive, but it still failed and the road was built.
These guys have 5 camps over 150 miles, many not even on the route. The writing is literally on the wall and their cognitive dissonance is immense, to the point that I strongly believe those in charge are using it as a personal project to feed their egos.
It’s disgusting they are allowed to give local people genuinely impacted by HS2’s construction such false hope.
Paul Bigland said:
Indeed. The parallels with Newbury are interesting as the same failed tactics (tree-climbing and concrete ‘lock-ons) are still being used by the protesters, despite the fact they failed then – and they’re failing now. They haven’t learned a thing.
HS2 Rebellion claims “this is the first time I’ve blocked anyone”, well that’s an outright lie as I was blocked a month or so back and I suspect others have been blocked as well.