When Penny went on holiday and left me in charge of the website for a fortnight (yes, it’s goodbye to punctual regularity for the time being), I told her that the first article would probably be about fundraising. Because there isn’t much in the coffers, there never was, and now the consultation is over a lot of the things we absolutely have to do cost big chunks of money.
One of those is having a presence at party conferences, and whilst Conservative Conference was bought and paid for a week or so ago, we still didn’t know if we’d have the money for Labour. When it came to the choice of Lib-Dem or Labour, Labour won out partially due to being half the cost. The Lib-Dems had seemed more appealing when there was a chance there would be a motion calling for a public inquiry going to the conference, but for some reason that was not accepted.
So the problem yesterday was that Labour had one stall left in the bargain basement third sector section and 5pm was the deadline for the guide to go to print. Oddly enough, it wasn’t just Penny who went on holiday the moment the consultation closed (the slacker actually left with seven hours still to go!), so a few of us spent a while ringing round and found out no-one actually had the answer to the question “Do we actually have the money to pay for this?”
So no choice, email everyone asking what their local action group had pledged and pray for an answer within an hour. It didn’t take five minutes though for a donor (or more hopefully an underwriter) to come forward. I’m sure proponents of HS2 will just show rich we luddite nimbies are, that this sort of thing can happen, that someone has £1,500 just lying around to spend at the drop of a hat. Well that’s the savings of a pensioner who said; “I worked my bollocks off for that pension and I shouldn’t have to be spending it on this, but it’s absolutely essential that we go. They have to know what HS2 actually means.” Of course as of yet we have just covered the cost of the stall, we may have to sleep in the bus station.
I’m sure the people who say this is about lawns would love to seize on the fact that the person in question is from a village in Buckinghamshire, but this is most definitely not the Chilterns and the person in question clearly doesn’t even own a lawnmower. Back in September 2010, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond had been due to meet campaigners in Twyford, but for some reason this was deemed inappropriate and moved the meeting to Buckingham at the last minute. Maybe it was that he’d seen Twyford and didn’t want to be seen there. Twyford, like Water Orton in Warwickshire, is one of those unlucky places that keeps getting stuff dumped on it, quite literally. Twyford not only boasts a sewage works, but is home to the landfill site taking the rubbish from Ruislip and the surrounding areas of North London. There are no plans to cease operations at the site, in fact the plan was for them to get an incinerator too, but HS2 seem to want to build on top of the railway line the rubbish comes in on. This minor problem hasn’t really been answered, so the one thing we know is the plans for around Twyford (and therefore the costs associated around there) are wrong if the existing line is to stay open.
Twyford sums up the way a lot of people feel about HS2, that it’s just one bad thing on top of another. In their case it’s something physical, but the more general feeling on the street is; they’ve cut this, they’ve cut that, we haven’t got the money for anything, all because of the financial mess the banks got us in and now we’re building something without a care of the cost, that’s mainly for use by the same sort of people who go us into this mess, it’ll clearly fall flat on it’s face, it’s terrible for the environment and muggins is paying for it? One thing on top of another.
That’s why sadly we need your money to help fight this, there are a lot of things coming up which are all going to cost money. Don’t look at this as a donation, look at it as a true investment in the future of the country! If that fails, stopping HS2 will completely eradicate the need to tax you, not only for building the thing, but for paying off the loans and the ongoing subsidy it will need to keep the thing going and the fares ‘affordable’ when the passenger forecasts turn out to be pure science fiction. That’s why we have to tell more people exactly what HS2 means, and that’s the bit that costs money.
You can send cheques to Stop HS2, 129 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1HY. Or pay directly to Lloyds TSB, 30-94-93 account number 34934760. There is a paypal site here http://stophs2.org/news/388-send-money (but we’d prefer you use the bank account if possible as paypal take a commission).
I think that tomorrow the article might be a direct debit form!