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After 8 days of walking from Lichfield to Wigan @hs2rebellion’s ‘Truth Trail’ ended like a damp squib in Wigan this afternoon – as it was always going to. Despite getting some support from local Extinction Rebellion groups it was painfully obvious this was a tiny band of people talking to themselves. Most days the march only had a couple of dozen people on it – and the vast majority of them were the usual suspects.

A smattering of Nimbys from the HS2 Phase 1 route in Buckinghamshire, plus many faces stripped from the deserted ‘protection’ camps in the same area. They were sometimes joined by a few local Nimbys, but therein lies their problem. The old StopHs2 ‘action’ group network has collapsed, not that it was ever very strong on the Lichfield – Manchester leg of HS2 anyway. There were never more than half a dozen (all rural) groups and none in any of the towns and cities on the route like Stafford, Crewe, Wigan or Manchester. Most people gave up years ago and have moved on, metaphorically or literally – especially as the phase 2a Hybrid Bill became law and the early stages of constructing the line as far as Crewe have begun.

There’s also another problem. There’s no political appetite to stop HS2 in the North-West. Exactly the opposite. A few local MPs sometimes make noises about HS2 but no-one pretends they can stop it. Instead, the project enjoys huge support at all levels, from Parliament, the city regions elected Mayors and regional authorities. Why they chose to end up in Wigan rather than Manchester is another mystery. I doubt any of them have ever been near the place before and certainly won’t know anything about the town or its people. Still, I’m sure the posh Southern accents of the Buckinghamshire Nimbys will have carried great weight in ‘Wiggin’!

So this ‘travesty of the truth trail’ was always doomed to failure. Even the media ignored it apart from a couple of local news websites. After all, where’s the news? “A few southern Nimbys, anarchists and hippies march to the North to tell it what’s good for it” is hardly a good story, is it? The well-known Crewe based political blogger Tim Fenton (aka @zelo_street) had this to say on Twitter.

Here’s illustrations of today’s fiasco taken from the HS2rebellion Facebook page.

This is serially failed Green party Candidate for Uxbridge and former resident of Jones’ Hill Woods (where he failed to stop HS2 yet again) Mark Kier addressing the tiny crowd of Extinction Rebellion members and marchers in Wigan. Yep, the only speaker they had actually lives in West London! I’m sure the good folk of Wigan must have been impressed. Well, maybe if any of them had turned out that is…

Here’s a look at the ‘crowd’ he was addressing.

If you want to hear just how deluded and mixed-up the messaging from these people are (and you’re on Facebook) you can hear the speeches on this link. The levels of naivety and denial of political reality is weapons-grade. This is worthy of the Flat-Earth Society!

Not exactly what you’d call a cross-section of the local community either, is it? This is really just a bunch of XR supporters talking to themselves. Despite the big billing they gave this event, the almost non-existant support it gained from ordinary people says everything – as does the lack of money it’s raised. They set up a crowdfunder with the target of £3000. It’s not even managed to get half of that. Clearly, real Northerners are more careful with their brass!

If this was meant to ‘reinvigorate’ the anti HS2 campaign in the North, then someone really didn’t do their homework! Meanwhile, in the Chilterns the second of 10 HS2 tunnel boring machines started drilling this week…

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