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Funny how you never hear real news on the StopHs2 website – especially when it relates to yet another of their failures! Just as there was total radio silence about ‘Campaign Manager’ Joe Rukin’s embarrassing (and expensive) legal fiasco last October, there’s been no public announcement that the man’s finally admitted what the rest of us have known for years – he’s been wasting his time!

This fact has finally dawned on Rukin, who sent an email around to the groups supporters at the end of March – after yet another legal failure when his latest application for a Judicial Review was dismissed. Here’s part of what Rukin has said.

True to the end, Rukin’s not been honest with people. The truth is that he’s been looking for a proper job for several years now and the real reason he’s stayed is because he didn’t get one. Rukin’s retirement means that the only person left is Bournemouth based Penny Gaines, so effectively, it’s game over. I mean, seriously – ‘StopHs2’? based in Bournemouth? As a campaign group StopHS2 have been irrelevant for several years as they never managed to secure what they needed to stop HS2 – political support. The writing’s been on the wall since 2014 when the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill passed with such whopping majorities (both in the Commons and Lords). Cross-party support for HS2’s never wavered (despite some of the nonsense claimed by people like Rukin) and without the political numbers adding up in their favour – they were toast. The demise of StopHs2 puts the final nail in the coffin that already contains the remains of ‘AGAHST’ (Action Groups Against HS2), the High Speed 2 Action Alliance’ (HS2aa) and dozens of local ‘action’ groups up and down the HS2 routes.

Now, the only thing left is the dwindling number of protesters allied to Extinction Rebellion, Hs2Rebellion and the local Nimbys who support them. It’s only a matter of time before the bell tolls for them too. Despite their bombast and bluster they’ve not stopped a thing. Now they’re reduced to boasting of ‘delaying’ pockets of work on HS2 (conveniently ignoring the fact what’s caused the most delays to the project has been the Government shilly-shallying with reviews). The protesters ‘protection camp’ network has been shrinking ever since last summer, with many camps now being redundant as there’s nothing left to ‘protect’! Meanwhile, site clearances and construction on Phase 1 have ramped up massively, completely overwhelming the puddle of protesters. Now, Phase 2 has been given the go-ahead and a contract to create new woods and wetlands as part of early environmental works on the route between the West Midlands and Crewe was signed on April 1st.

The days of the final ‘protection camps’ that have any relevance to the route are numbered and we can expect to see their demise happen soon. No doubt there will still be isolated protests here and there and some people will be left in pointless camps on private land, out of harm’s way, but they’ll be posturing, nothing more.

The campaign to stop Hs2 never stood a chance. Now it’s spluttering to an ignominious end…

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