As the final curtain is about to fall on the pantomime that was the HS2 ‘rebellion’ tunnel fun at Euston, another pantomime has opened at Calvert in Buckinghamshire, where a rag-bag of Nimbys and activists have congregated at Poors Piece wood. But first let’s recap and chart each act in the pantomime.
The theatre curtain rose back in January when police and bailiffs moved in to clear the garden at the front of Euston station which had become a refuge for various Exinction Rebellion/Hs2Rebellion ‘activists’ and a cadre of homeless people who found shelter and security in numbers. As a PR stunt the anti HS2 protesters had dug tunnels under the gardens and 9 of them did white rabbit impressions just as soon as the eviction started. Whilst the rest of the rabble were quickly cleared from tents and trees the troglodytes in the tunnels refused to come out at first, but then departed in dribs and drabs over the days. The most famous occupant of the tunnels was ‘Swampy’, an old road protester from the 1990s who was down there with his young son. What most of the media who covered the story neglected to mention was that ‘Swampy’ was a serial failure who never managed to stop anything, but hey – at least he got publicity!
On Monday another serial failure (Larch Maxey) gave up after being cornered by bailiffs. Today (day 30) three more of the tunnellers (including ‘Swampy’ and son) gave up and came out of their own accord. According to Hs2 Rebellion the final (anonymous) troglodyte will give up tomorrow after 31 days, bringing the whole farce to an end. Why a farce? Because they never stopped anything! The big joke about the camp in Euston Gardens is that it’s not cost HS2 a single day in construction time because the gardens are nowhere near an active HS2 construction site! It was pure theatre, nothing more. The theatrics have continued with the protesters claiming the event as some kind of victory – although how having 9 protesters holed up in a tunnel where they can’t stop any work is a ‘victory’ is a mystery…
Several of the protesters evicted from Euston gardens later turned up at the abandoned Harvil Rd ‘protest’ camp in Uxbridge, only to be evicted again within days as that camp was cleared and demolished without them putting up a struggle.
All the remaining ‘protest’ camps are feeling the pinch at the moment as HS2 Ltd are ramping up construction and clearance work along the phase 1 route. At the recent National Rail Recovery Conference Hs2’s Chief Executive announced that the company now has 300 separate worksites in operation. Yet the protesters number less than a few dozen hard-core – which is why the same few faces keep popping up time and time again.
This has been true at the latest eviction at Poors Piece this week where another semi-abandoned camp (which had less then half a dozen regular occupants) had an influx of refugees from Euston and Harvil Rd in a desperate attempt to bolster numbers to attract some more publicity, because let’s be honest – they stand no chance of stopping the eviction, far less actually stopping HS2! The same farcical scenes have played out this week when all the protesters bravado and bluster soon came to nothing as tree-houses quickly fell to the bailiffs, police and HS2 workers who promptly moved in to begin clearing up the mess.
In a lovely touch of irony, some of the protesters from the nearby Wendover camp who turned up at Poors Piece for a day were disconsolate on their return to base as they found Hs2 had been busy clearing woodland uninterrupted whilst they’d been away!
The result of the Poors Piece eviction is beyond doubt and I’d be surprised if it lasted more than another couple of days, despite all the bluster and rhetoric from the protesters and a couple of local Nimbys who bolster the protest but who clearly have nothing better to do. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that these events are more about egos and publicity than being any serious attempt to stop Hs2. This protest is one of the first of the social media age and it’s becoming obvious that a cross-section of those involved are using the protests to boost their social media status as an ego-trip although a minority are more circumspect and use false names or identities.
In fact, the whole StopHs2 ‘campaign’ has changed direction in the past year. The original (Nimby based) groups like the High Speed 2 Action Alliance (who folded in 2016) and StopHs2 (aka the Joe Rukin show) have faded into the background. Now, the running is being made by a rag-bag of Extinction Rebellion devotees, self-publicists, some old road and fracking protesters and hippies – and a smattering of Nimbys. The real aim of the protests now seems to be to raise support for Extinction Rebellion (and make a few bob).
When Extinction Rebellion first appeared on the scene I was broadly sympathetic. I thought that by raising the profile of environmental issues and the desperate need to tackle climate-change, they might actually do some good. Then I watched in bemused amazement as they started to increasingly dumb things, like attacking public transport. That made me start to examine who they really were and it made me realise that they were just another hard-left (anti capitalist) group who used environmental issues and animal rights to further their political agenda – just like the far right in the shape of Britain First and the BNP have done (as well as the vote Leave campaign).
What a lot of this is really about is two things. Recruiting young people through manipulation and indoctrination – and also using social media tools to raise funds.
I’ve blogged about this before when I highlighted the split between some of the people allied to Extinction Rebellion and the ‘old school’ more anarchic protesters who don’t like XR’s command and control tactics – and stranglehold on the money! Over the past couple of years through various Crowdfund appeals and other donations pages six-figure sums have been raised to fund legal cases or to ‘support’ the protest camps (or even individual protesters!). There’s only one problem. No-one has a clue where the money really goes and no-one ever publishes any accounts! The money just disappears and no-one is held responsible for it. There are several example of this. Here’s one.
Over £42,000 raised. Where’s it gone? No-one knows. There’s no updates and there’s no accounts. There’s not even anyone named as being in charge. This is just one of many such fundraisers that go to prove the old adage that “a fool and their money are easily parted”.
Another example is ‘celebrity’ environmentalist Chris Packham, who ran a crowdfunder to raise money for his vanity legal cases against HS2. They were doomed to failure from the start but the money rolled in. Was all the money spent? Who knows. What happened to any surplus? Dunno – as it’s now a year on and Packham (to my knowledge) has never published any accounts or updates explaining what happened to the money. I wonder if the taxman knows either?
The more I dig into the anti HS2 ‘campaign’ the more it starts to look like a scam. Because, let’s face it – it doesn’t have a hope in hell of actually stopping HS2! How can this tiny bunch of protesters halt the largest construction project in Europe when they can’t even stop themselves being evicted? There’s so few of them now they’re doing little more than fire-fighting, stripping bare the remaining camps of people to try and put up a show at the latest one to be evicted.
Mind you, the Poors Piece eviction is showing another (unpleasant) side to these supposed ‘peaceful’ protesters…
Many of those drafted in to ‘defend’ the camp are young people from middle-class backgrounds who would normally be at college if it wasn’t for Covid. They’re a particularly foul-mouthed group who think nothing of hurling vitriolic personal abuse at anyone involved in the eviction – be it HS2 workers, bailiffs, police or the other emergency services. I’m going to take the gloves off now and say that hearing a bunch of self-entitled kids who’ve probably never done a days work in their lives telling anyone and everyone that they know everyone’s job better than them is a nauseating sight. Many of them throw an absolute strop when an adult has the temerity to say ‘no’ to them, but then that does rather reveal something about their backgrounds. Here’s a fine example.
There’s plenty more examples of this behaviour on the various videos the protesters stick on their Facebook pages. You can find some of them here. “Peaceful” people my arse! The level of delusion and disinformation coming from these people is weapons-grade. It seems the one thing Extinction Rebellion and the other anti HS2 groups are good at is indoctrination, because the nonsense they get people to spout (and believe) is incredible. Here’s an example from the person who was the founder of StopHS2. This appeared yesterday…
That so many of the protesters are (or were) college kids is a fatal weakness of the anti HS2 campaign – and especially now that the Government has mapped a way out of lockdown and return to normal with schools and colleges reopening! Many of these mouthy youths are going to find there’s other more pressing activities that will be taking up their time…
The more digging one does into these protests and the people behind them the more it becomes obvious that this is not really about HS2. It’s not even about the environment – or Climate Change – because if it was they’d be following the science and protesting about the new roads building programme. HS2 is being used by Extinction Rebellion as a tool to increase their influence and raise money – and a lot of fools are parting with it…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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Those tunnels have done a good job at keeping Larch out of the way.
I’m sure he’s been obsessed with that area even before the camp was established, he’s been loitering around the area between Hampstead Rd and Euston since he got the boot from Crackley, so I wonder where he’ll turn up next.
Prison, hopefully. Though of course, that’ll give XR and chums the martyr they crave.
Another clear and balanced review of the situation. The money question is clearly something more people including the media should be pursuing
Maybe you’d like to try listening to us for once instead of wanking off over your trains? Then you’d be able to report something accurate for once.
Paul Bigland said:
Why would anyone ‘listen’ to you when you have nothing intelligent or worthwhile to say? Still, thanks for popping in to illustrate why the ‘campaign’ against HS2 was always going to fail. An anonymous email account? How brave…