What a difference a year makes! The summer of 2020 was full of stories of the rag-bag of Anarchists, professional-protesters, Extinction Rebellion supporters and a few local Nimbys who’d rallied to the “HS2Rebellion” banner. So-called ‘protection’ camps were set up in or by woodland and battles ensued with HS2 Ltd staff and security as the protesters boasted of how they were going to stop HS2 ‘in its tracks’. They made grandiose claims about the levels of support they had, none of which ever materialised as most were ‘keyboard warriors’ who’d send ‘love and rage’ (one of their favourite slogans) over the internet as they watched yet another interminable livestream from the protests.
Move on a year and the picture’s very different. Having suffered failure after failure, a series of camp evictions and arrests of most of the hard-core of the protesters, their campaign’s collapsed. Now the surviving ‘protection camps’ are little more than squats, where people are holed-up but doing nothing of any consequence to affect work on HS2, much less stop it. Right now, many of the handful of folk from the remaining camps are pratting around with Extinction Rebellion in Central London, which means they’re nowhere near HS2! Here’s a look at the supposed camp network, taken from HS2Rebellion’s website today. I’ve marked the true situation with the camps on each one.
As you can see, the ‘high profile’ camps like Euston, Harvil Rd and Crackley were cleared some time ago. The only one remaining in London’s the squat at Wormwood Scrubs. This scruffy encampment partly burned down a couple of days ago, prompting the local Council to finally lose patience with the few squatters remaining (who’ve never stopped any HS2 work at the site) and serve them with a 24-hour eviction notice yesterday! The irony? No-one was at the camp at the time as the handful of occupants weren’t trying to stop HS2, they were too busy pratting around with their chums from XR in Central London.
The Wendover camp on the A413 hangs on for now. It too has been served with eviction papers and will be cleared anytime soon. Whether the occupants try and ‘put up a fight’ or go meekly is open to question but the final result isn’t. They’ve been a small thorn in the side of the project (and annoyance to the local population, who got fed up of the thefts and begging) so no-one will be sad to see them go.
Jones’ Hill woods was the last ‘hurrah’ of their campaign. Activists like the serially failed Mark Keir bluffed, blustered and lied about how they were stopping HS2 through strength of numbers and court cases, but Keir’s always written metaphorical cheques he couldn’t cash. The court cases failed and the few protesters on the ground never stood any serious hope of stopping work. Now the woods are deserted as the work HS2 needed to do felling some trees is almost complete. Like most of the original Harvil Rd protesters Keir himself has disappeared, despite having a court case against him from earlier protests dismissed.
The ‘New Poors Piece’ camp is also deserted. It was always an odd one as it’s not on the route of HS2 but on the edge of the E-W Rail line, it’s just that HS2 Ltd are carrying out the work their on behalf of the EW project. So, in fact, the protesters were protesting about the very thing they claimed to support – new E-W railways! Hypocritical, much? The camp was only set up because the land was owned by a sympathetic farmer! Like many of their other locations, the protesters have left the woods in a mess. Abandoned towers choke the trees and the place looks more like a dump than a woods. The hypocrisy of these faux ‘environmentalists was always weapons-grade.
Lazily, HS2Rebellion show ‘Camp Isla’ as active. Situated on private land, the owners had the camp evicted in May! They went without a struggle and most have now disappeared.
The last on the list is Bluebell Woods, which is located in HS2 phase 2a to Crewe. As usual, the protesters have spent all their time building structures out of pallets and other tat. Not that they’ve got much else to do other than get splinters in their backsides – the main HS2 Civils work isn’t due to start in this area until 2024!
Threats of other camps on Phase 2a remain just that, threats. Mainly because there’s so few of the original activists left. Most have drifted off to other causes or gone back into mainstream education or society. Of course, there’s still many court cases pending which will cramp the ‘style’ of the remaining ‘hard core’ of protesters (most of whom are linked to Extinction Rebellion) but they’re powerless to do anything. Plus, the money tap’s been turned off. People who used to donate to keep the camps alive have finally got fed up of seeing their money wasted. Now, you mostly see ‘activists’ begging for personal funding via Crowdfunders or other means (so that you can’t see how much is actually donated). Here’s good illustration of what I’m talking about. Here’s ‘peaceful’ protester Ross Monaghan throwing in the towel and begging for money at the same time.
Ironically, Ross, who was convicted of two charges of assault and four charges of criminal damage last month was hilariously boasting about putting the ‘final nail’ in HS2’s coffin earlier in the month (whilst begging for money). Now it seems the nail that was driven was into his protest career! Some ‘building’ campaign…
Here’s an example of how the money’s started to dry up. This is a funding page for the soon to be evicted (and laughably named) ‘active’ resistance camp at Wendover. It never got near its target and there’s been one donation of just £5 in a month. Social media is littered with pages like this.
Now the bird-nesting season’s coming to an end and the few remaining trees that HS2 need to remove on Phase 1 will be felled. With no-one around to stop the work it won’t take long. A few locals might still film the work to ‘bare-witness’ as the protesters like to call it, but all their bluster about all the ‘wildlife crimes’ HS2 has allegedly committed hasn’t resulted in a single prosecution – never mind a conviction. It’s funny, despite the amount of camera-phone footage filmed by the protesters they never ever managed to catch any evidence for any of their claims that would actually stand up in court. I suspect all these grandiose but baseless claims are one of the reasons support has dropped away.
I’m sure the posturing around the protests will drag on for a while yet, but already Hs2rebellion seem to be losing interest. With nothing to report, their ‘news’ letter has gone fortnightly. Even then, it’s pretty thin gruel. Like Hs2aa and Stophs2 before them they’re reduced to being a recycling service, punting any critical article about HS2 they can to try and keep flagging interest going.
Stop Hs2 is dead.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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