Those people opposed to HS2 are having a sorry time of it right now. With their numbers depleted by evictions, arrests, bail conditions and injunctions, along with their collapse on the political front, they don’t have much to crow about. That that they let that stop them of course! HS2Rebellion still pump out the sort of ridiculous propaganda about ‘winning’ that would make ‘Comical Ali’ blush.
Of course, the reality is rather different. Whilst HS2 Ltd have noted in the board minutes that the protests escalated over the summer and have cost many millions of pounds of public money (enough to fund a new school) the delays they’ve caused are not significant. And now – the summer’s over…
How farcical the protests are was highlighted today. Remember that phase 1 of the HS2 railway that’s being built at the moment stretches over 140 miles from London to Birmingham – and a bit beyond. That’s a huge number of worksites and construction compounds, as well as areas of utility diversions, vegetation clearances, road widening schemes and the odd new motorway bridge! Arrayed against this are five ‘protection’ camps and a rag-bag of a few dozen protesters who come and go.
Today, the only protest involved 2 young women climbing aboard a wood-chipper that was being delivered on a low-loader to the HS2 site at Grims Ditch near Wendover. They boarded it on a public highway just before it entered a compound which is securely fenced so no no work on the site was stopped. In fact, two other protesters had been arrested earlier in the week for trying to prevent the fencing being built. They failed.
The dozen or so people ‘supporting’ the young girls by filming the escapade and livestreaming it to social media were very soon heavily outnumbered by the local constabulary and HS2 security. By 2.30pm today the police had safely removed the women, arrested them and taken them away to be charged – probably under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 – and the wood chipper was delivered to the site unharmed.
So, what did the women achieve? Nothing, apart from getting arrested! The chipper might as well have been delayed in traffic! No work was stopped. Now the women will have bail conditions imposed which will prevent them from being involved again. They may even be banned from the country, depending on where they come from. It’s a kamikaze tactic and a complete waste of time, but that’s the anti HS2 campaign on the ground for you. It seems to be focused on phyrric victories that can be filmed for social media, but no-ones watching!
Here’s a screen-grab of the video filmed by serially failed Green Party candidate Mark Keir (who’s injuncted, banned from the protest at Harvil Rd/Denham and now facing a £3000 fine for ignoring the injunction!)
This was 90 minutes of tedium and daft polemics on the voice-over, although it did show what was happening. But wait – how big an audience did it draw? The eye symbol at the top gives it away. Just 38 people watched. That’s less than the combined total of police and Hs2 security staff attending!
This sort of stunt will stop Hs2? To quote a famous tennis player. ‘You cannot be serious’!
I’ve a favour to ask…
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A watcher said:
It was a complete debacle especially as the chipper was only to be there to be used the following day, so it really did achieve nothing at all except for enlarging the security bill for the day! As for the 2 elderly ladies on top of the lorry they were indeed arrested for what turned out to be no good reason at all…