Unelected Labour peer calls for grassroots campaign to be silenced

Like Ellie here, Adonis wants Stop HS2 campaigners to be 'caged'.

Like Ellie here, Adonis wants Stop HS2 campaigners to be 'caged'.

Unelected Labour peer, Lord Adonis wants to silence grassroots Stop HS2 campaigners at Labour Party Conference

Campaigners were shocked when Tony Blairs former spin doctor, Andrew Adonis, told astonished delegates at a fringe meeting discussing engagement and inclusivity that the Stop HS2 campaign should not be allowed a stand at the Labour party conference.

Speaking at the Fabian Society fringe meeting, ‘Labour’s policy review,: the shape of things to come’, Adonis said.

“I was horrified that the anti HS2 lot were allowed a stand in the exhibition centre and in a good spot”

Stop HS2 chair, Penny Gaines, said

‘The unelected peer and then transport Secretary announced HS2 in March 2010, a month before the next general election needed to be called – an election he did not have to fight.

‘We are at the Labour Party Conference to tell ordinary Labour supporters the many problems with HS2, some of which stem from the attitudes of senior HS2 staff appointed by Adonis  when he set up the government funded HS2 quango.
‘Lord Adonis is clearly worried that his hastily put together vanity project – which will cost the country £33billion – is likely to hit the buffers due to the tireless campaigning from the grassroots.
Fran Heron lives in social housing in Camden said;’He calls himself Baron of Camden Town, but his vanity project will wreck communities in Camden, like the Regent’s Park estate.’

Deanne Dukann, AGAHST, who was at the meeting said

‘The  Labour Party is using the conference to promote their new policy formulation mechanisms which they say will include an emphasis on community engagement and be a model of participative democracy, but apparently not everyone in the policy team is on board with that. or perhaps it only applies to policies other than HS2′

Joe Rukin campaign coordinator for Stop Hs2 said;

“It seems participation and engagement is OK, but only if you agree with what Lord Adonis says. He set up up Hs2 Ltd and his attitude still permeates everything they do. All of their supposed attempts at engagement have been pure window dressing with no intention of listening to anything, no matter how well thought out and researched, which is critical of his pet project. If HS2 was such a great idea, he wouldn’t be worried about us.”

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14 comments on “Unelected Labour peer calls for grassroots campaign to be silenced
  1. Peter Davidson From the election debates etc that i watched I recal very little being aid about HS2 so it was not what people voted for.
    Today at last we see the caliber of people that we are expected to put our trust in to run the country in an open and fair way.As you seem to be quick to show your maths prowess perhaps you ought to be applying for the several vacances.though with your bias perhaps you would do the same.

  2. Hi Peter,
    We all know as do you that how people voted in the last election is absolutely no mandate for (or against) HS2 – even if there was a mainstream party you could vote for that was against the proposals it would still be the case that selections would mostly have been made at best on the balance of policies (economy, Trident, education, NHS, etc). Given that the only real way you could have opposed HS2 was not to vote does that mean that all of the no-shows were against?

    Also this is nothing to do with the point made in the article, which is highlighting that public engagement in politics often seems to be more lip service than reality and that politicians are only interested in hearing what they want to hear.

  3. He is an arrogant, ignorant prat! He represents no one but himself but wants to deny an organisation that speaks for thousand of people the right to express their view of what he has lumbered us with. He is a disgrace.

  4. “Adonis is one of the most complex figures in classical times. He has had multiple roles, and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose…”

  5. Still hanging on to the Blairite “I’m right, no other opinions will be tollerated” attitude I see. The mans a dinosaur, opposition arguements to any project like HS2 must be listened to and debated properly, not just dismissed out of hand.

  6. They say we have a democracy but it seems that only certain people believe that they are the only ones who should speak .

    • @Elaine

      How many times does this need repeating before the penny drops?

      At the 2010 General Election, all voters had a choice. The 3 National mainstream parties all included a clear commitment to carry through a High Speed Rail policy, central to their transport strategies. The route of HS2 was already in the public domain at that point and there were political alternatives available to voters who did not agree with this policy outlook

      88% of voters backed those 3 National mainstream parties

      Not sure about your mathematical prowess @Elaine but 88% constitutes an overwhelming democratic majority – end of discussion. Move on to the 2015 General Election when you will have another chance to put your case to the electorate?

      • At first glance it would appear that you are suggesting that because 88% of the electorate voted for a mainstream party that automatically means that they agreed with everything in the relevant manifestos.

        It would also appear that you are suggesting that once an election is over there should be no further discussion, debate, argument, challenge, opposition or protest. Or does that only apply to HS2?
        That would point to any “consultation process” being unnecessary because the government and their quango friends are always right (see today’s withdrawal of the rail franchise process).
        It is certain that not all of the 88% voting for a mainstream party will have agreed with every item in the party manifesto.

        As you state, the route for HS2 was known before the last general election and I can imagine the relief with which that announcement was met by a large number of people around the UK when they realised that it was not going to be built near them. So I would suggest that a large number of people could not care less about HS2 as long as it is nowhere near them and certainly did not make their voting choice based upon any political commitments to HSR.

        You state that political alternatives were available, that is true they were, but as we all know a vote for a non-mainstream party is almost certainly a wasted vote unless something dramatic happens. Indeed 88% of the electorate clearly believe that a vote for anything other than a mainstream political party is a wasted vote.
        What it does not mean is that all of the 88% voted for the shambolic approach that the DfT is demonstrating in the HS2 and rail franchise farragoes.

        • At first glance it would appear that you are suggesting that because 88% of the electorate voted for a mainstream party that automatically means that they agreed with everything in the relevant manifestos.

          Well you’d be wrong in jumping to that conclusion (and so would @Andrew Gibbs above in his clumsy attempt to draw black and white analogies in respect of voter engagement). That not how political discourse functions in Western liberalised democracies.

          It would also appear that you are suggesting that once an election is over there should be no further discussion, debate, argument, challenge, opposition or protest. Or does that only apply to HS2?

          Another flawed analysis. I’m arguing that 88% support (it’s probably more than that figure) for parties including a clear commitment to High Speed Rail provides a compelling argument that the UK electorate accepts a requirement for investment in this form of transport medium. Voters have a choice at the ballot box – I agree that my definition of “choice” in this respect is constrained by the voting system (which is why I have consistently argued that how we count votes in Westminster elections is germane to HS2 debate – Penny Gaines, site moderator, thinks otherwise) so they could, if they were really were concerned about the ramifications of this specific aspect of transport policy, vote accordingly) – and here’s the rub for anti-HS2 campaigners, which is the fact that, despite your best efforts, the UK electorate is, outside the narrow corridor in close proximity to the approved route, not bothered one iota about HS2.

          So this analysis means HS2 campaigners can hold as many rallies, events, fund gathering jumble sales, indulge in as much lobbying, as they like and it isn’t going to have any meaningful impact on public opinion – despite bogus attempts using public opinion polls asking leading questions to provide distorted results

          It is certain that not all of the 88% voting for a mainstream party will have agreed with every item in the party manifesto

          See my responses elsewhere. The relationship between voter engagement on specific issues and how they actually vote is complex. In Parliamentary democracies we vote for individual parties who put forward a basket of policies in advance of the election. A vote for any particular party does not necessarily mean that the individual voter agrees with every single policy but it to claim that they do not agree with one specific policy, en masse, is flawed to say the least.

          Fact is I can point to the 88% electorate endorsement and draw a solid link between that voting bloc and endorsement of broad policy – virtually all political policies, with the exception of Greens and UKIP support/supported High Speed Rail at the last election. The recent round of Party conferences has also reinforced their continued commitment to this policy, despite anti-HS2 campaigner’s best efforts to erode this cross-party consensus.

          As you state, the route for HS2 was known before the last general election and I can imagine the relief with which that announcement was met by a large number of people around the UK when they realised that it was not going to be built near them. So I would suggest that a large number of people could not care less about HS2 as long as it is nowhere near them and certainly did not make their voting choice based upon any political commitments to HSR.

          Would it be churlish of me to suggest that, had the route for HS2 been nowhere near the Chilterns, the vast majority (99%+) of individuals currently populating the ranks of STOPHS2, HS2AA, AGHAST et al, would have been similarly disinterested – out of sight, out of mind!

          You state that political alternatives were available, that is true they were, but as we all know a vote for a non-mainstream party is almost certainly a wasted vote unless something dramatic happens. Indeed 88% of the electorate clearly believe that a vote for anything other than a mainstream political party is a wasted vote.

          Which brings us neatly back to the same point I have repeatedly attempted to make in these columns – that the UK’s arcane, morally and functionally bankrupt voting method DOES have a direct bearing on HS2 debate

          What it does not mean is that all of the 88% voted for the shambolic approach that the DfT is demonstrating in the HS2 and rail franchise farragoes

          I didn’t make that claim – did I?

          • Hi Peter,
            Your original post is trying to make the link between how people voted and how much they support HS2 using phrases such as democratic majority. This link does not exist. Your majority of votes simply reflects that all three major political parties were in favour of the project, which immediately means that as far as a voter is concerned the topic disappears (even if they cared about it at all). Clearly for ‘anti-HS2’ campaigners there is a problem in all of this, but it is that all three major parties support HS2 and certainly not that 88% of voters support HS2. In other words I agree with your comment above: “A vote for any particular party does not necessarily mean that the individual voter agrees with every single policy but it to claim that they do not agree with one specific policy, en masse, is flawed to say the least” as this also applies the other way around – to claim that they agree with one specific policy, en masse, is equally flawed.
            It is also true that if the route of HS2 did not go near me I would be both disinterested and also slightly supportive of the concept of High Speed Rail – ignorance is bliss. However there would have simply been a different set of people who bothered to look into the details, who found the proposals are deeply flawed, and ultimately who would have launched a judicial review which it would appear in the modern world is the only way to get anything looked at in a clear and open fashion. Meanwhile money is being spent that will make the WCML franchise debacle look like small change – I wonder how the voting public will perceive high speed rail next time around?

      • On a point of order, there were all sorts of routes in the public domain at the last election so it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest that 88 % of the public are behind route 3 , and furthermore the route of the Y extension still isn’t in the public domain.

      • Might I suggest that the support for HS2 (or should that be HSR) by HM’s Opposition means that the HS2 proposals are not receiving proper scrutiny by the political process. This position seems unlikely to change when the hybrid bill is under consideration.
        I’m old school. I believe that the Opposition is there to question, and yes to oppose, Government proposals. Only if this happens can the democratic process work in the service of this Country’s citizens.

  7. It’s almost as if he is calling us plebs and expects us to pay our taxes and shut up
    Why do I have to listen to him?

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