Those of you of sufficiently advanced years or whom have a penchant for classic comedy may know of the 1960s satirical series ‘Beyond the fringe’ that starred Peter Cook, Jonathon Miller Alan Bennet and Dudley Moore. In one memorable sketch Peter Cook and Johnathon Miller spoofed the British in World War Two. The skit contained these (now famous) lines:
Peter Cook: “I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war. Get up in a crate, Perkins, pop over to Bremen, take a shufti, don’t come back. Goodbye, Perkins. God, I wish I was going too.”
Parodies beget parodies – albeit sometimes unintentionally, and today – with their ‘war’ going so badly the anti HS2 protesters at Jones’ Hill wood provided their very own ‘futile gesture’!
This morning a handful of them attempted to block a road by the tried, tested (and serially failed) method of a ‘lock-on’. In this case an old oil drum containing concrete that a couple of protesters fastened their arms into. Some even boasted about the barrel used as it had been recovered from a previous camp and nicknamed ‘big boy’. The ‘cunning plan’ being this device would supposedly take ages to break into so they’d cause maximum disruption by preventing HS2 workers getting to work. Only a futile gesture it was…
The protesters and their ‘lock-on’ were in place before contractors arrived for work but they didn’t stop anyone getting there, they merely caused a traffic jam as vehicles were left nearby. The police soon arrived en-masse and shortly after midday the ‘lock-on’ had been cut up and rendered unusable and the pair of protesters taken away, presumably to be charged under S241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 for trying to prevent people going about their lawful employment. So, that’ll be two more of the tiny number of protesters left having their wings clipped by bail conditions then! It’s a kamikaze tactic that doesn’t stop a thing, but it gives the protesters something to stick on social media where they’ll get lots of ‘thoughts and prayers’ from useless keyboard warriors – as if that will stop HS2!
Here’s the Facebook post from serially failed Green Party candidate Mark Keir who’s one of the tiny number of regular protesters at Jones’ Hill wood.
At this stage I don’t know if other arrests were made, but the fact there’s only a handful of protesters taking part tells you all you need to know. Meanwhile, what was happening inside Jones’ Hill wood? It was business as usual for HS2 ecologists, contractors and security staff – as this screen-shot of another of Keir’s video posts demonstrates!
It was also business as usual at all the other 300+ worksites on the HS2 route too as this was the only protest. Elsewhere there were a few people grumbling as they filmed work going on, but that’s hardly stopping HS2, is it?
I wonder how many more of these futile gestures the protesters can afford to mount before they run out of volunteers? The more the merrier in some ways as it has the effect of stripping the camps and making them easier to evict when the time comes – which will be soon for the remaining few camps. It’s soo tempting to resort to another WW2 parody about ‘for you, the war is over’ – but I’ll resist the temptation – honest!
Of course, the protesters like to claim that they have almost universal local support for their stupid stunts. The reality is rather different. Some residents don’t take very kindly to having these waste of time protests blocking roads – as this illustrates…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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