Spin machine goes into overdrive over pointless HS2 project.

Spin machine goes into overdrive over pointless HS2 project.

Using discredited arguments the Government has today (Monday 28th January 2013) unveiled it’s plans for the second phase of the highly controversial HS2 proposal.

The Government’s rationale for the second phase of HS2 has flip-flopped again in the hope that no-one notices they are using arguments that H2 Ltd have already ditched.

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said:

“The Government talks about jobs, and regenerating the north, but in reality, high speed rail projects elsewhere have sucked jobs to the capital cities, away from the regions.  HS2 focuses on long distance journeys, when the main passenger growth is in regional and local areas.

“Stop HS2 is firmly of the opinion that the whole HS2 project is fundamentally flawed. It should be cancelled as soon as possible, so that we can concentrate on developing the transport infrastructure that will bring more benefits to more people than a fast train for fat cats.”

Again and again with HS2, we’ve heard talk of “connectivity”, but what it really means is connectivity with London.  HS2 is a London-centric proposal that seems focused on extending the London commuter belt beyond Birmingham, when we need to create an engine for growth in the North, providing access to jobs for people who want to live and work in the North.

“Proponents of HS2 don’t seem to realise that people can already live anywhere in the UK and telecommute to anywhere else in the world, and before HS2 is due to open, this will be even easier.  It’s yet another example of outmoded thinking that ignores digital technologies, which will be the real wealth and job creator in the 21st century.”

Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop Hs2 said

“There will not just be more upset because of HS2, but there will be abject misery. People find that their homes have been devalued and countryside woodland and wildlife havens are to be destroyed for no good reason other that lining the pockets of the construction industry. If the Government had come up with a plan which was needed or was in the national interests, there wouldn’t be so much opposition, but what they will find is that masses more people will be saying Stop HS2 because there is no business case, no environmental case and no need whatsoever for this fast train for fat cats. “

Ahead of the government announcing more details on the HS2 project, Dr Richard Wellings, Head of Transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The extension of High Speed 2 to the North of England is very bad news for taxpayers and the wider economy. The project’s £34 billion-plus bill – over £1,000 per household – will destroy jobs and force businesses to close across the UK, including in the North. Many areas along the route may also be affected by planning blight.

“The government is deluded if it thinks HS2 will regenerate the North. The region’s long-term economic problems will not be solved by faster rail links to London. Towns such as Doncaster already enjoy fast links, but remain among the poorest places in the country. Indeed, HS2 will be used as an excuse to waste billions more on flawed regeneration schemes in northern cities, at further expense to taxpayers.

“High Speed 2 is being driven forward by politics, not economics. It is a loss-making scheme with a very weak business case based on a series of flawed assumptions. If the government wishes to boost the economy through infrastructure investment, it should allow private investment in profitable projects such as Heathrow expansion and road schemes with very high rates of return.”

Keri Brennan of Ruislip Against HS2 said, on the dropping of the Heathrow spur,

“Will people who support HS2 in the mistaken belief that HS2 will reduce domestic flights now realise HS2 is not about that. Nor is it about the environment, reducing carbon or true connectivity. Maybe it’s about airport expansion after all. 

“As for the Heathrow Link and for our community, it is still not certain if this is a permanent reprieve or a temporary one till 2015.  

“Another major point of interest for Londoners today is the route through the city of Manchester is almost all in tunnel – meanwhile many Londoners still face HS2 ploughing through their gardens, schools, closing roads and so on, time for a fair deal for all!”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, added

Before the government spends £33 billion on a rail project, they need to make sure that the evidence is there to back it up.  What the Department for Transport was forced to admit in the judicial reviews is that long distance peak hour trains from Euston are half full.  The evidence that HS2 is needed is simply not there, yet the government is desparate to gamble £33 billion on a fast train for fat cats, when former Transport Minister, Philip Hammond told the Transport Select Committee that a factory worker from Manchester might never use HS2.

“The basic principles for the first phase of HS2 were wrong. Tweaks in the second phase do not change this and cannot make up for the environmental damage and destruction from HS2 between London and Birmingham.”

“Stop HS2 will continue looking at the new proposals very closely over the next few days.”

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin added

“HS2 has been spun as being good for growth, but only last week 32 academics from the Transport Planning Society said that was wrong. The Department for Transport will say it will be good for jobs and the north-south divide, but HS2 doesn’t create jobs, it simply moves them around and out of the handful created on Stage 1, 75% are set to be in London. All HS2 will do is suck more economic activity to London.”

“HS2 is the wrong investment at the wrong time. The country is supposedly bust, we are seeing cuts in services all over the place, but the Government wants to spend money on a train line which will only benefit the richest in society and line the pockets of construction lobbyists with vested interests. There are more holes in HS2 than a Swiss cheese, which is why the Government faced five legal challenges. To announce the route for Stage 2 before the rulings on those judicial reviews is simply irresponsible.”

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53 comments to “Spin machine goes into overdrive over pointless HS2 project.”
  1. I was shocked (naively) that Cameron’s first stated reason for building this white elephant was that other countries were building high speed rail. What has this to do with justifying building it in a country where distances are much shorter and we already have a good train service. London to York is under two hours, while Berlin to Dresden – much the same distance – takes more than two on the fastest train and three and a quarter on most others.

  2. As the Labour party are also backing HS2 i think that all against should make certain that the government knows how we feel and send a message to our mp’s and the Leaders.

  3. Why copy the others with hs2 we should think 21st century with cars doing 200 plus to the gal planes not polluting the air yet we are saying 19 th cent trains are the answer to our problems we use computers to look ahead we should have a leader looking ahead for new ideas if hs2 is the best he can do he needs to go .and he and his pals will if he carries on with this venture

  4. I would love to know WHO is behind this, pulling the strings?
    Anyone, with an ounce of common sense can see this is project pointless.
    So, assuming that politicians arent as stupid as they appear, there must be some reason why they are blindly pursuing this daft scheme.

    • It’s an EU project. Back in 1978, when I was in the sixth form at school and ready to vote in or out of the Common Market, a well-informed geography teacher told us about the European master plan to create a transport corridor from Marseilles, up the Rhone valley, through Paris and Amsterdam to London and through the Midlands up to Manchester. Our government can do nothing about it.

      • Yes, Jean – you’re obviously correct – this plan must be part of an overall Brussels inspired plot to have us all whizzing about Europe on pointless journeys – why didn’t I see it coming – glad we have visionaries like yourself – why don’t you stand as a candidate to challenge your incumbent MP at the 2015 general election – your foresight is so plain to see that your opponent doesn’t stand a chance!

        • Padav/PD your post was unworthy of you and more spiteful than informative. Shame on you. We rather expect this from another blogger, but had hoped for something better from you. The pro lobby can no longer moan about the moderator banning their comments. If it had been me I would most assuredly not allowed it to see the light of day.

        • Peter why are you so damned rude all the time?
          You have nothing but sneering contempt for anyone who takes a view contrary to yours.
          There is no need for it.

          • “They are as venemous as the poison of a serpent:even like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears.”(Psalm 58,v.4) Perhaps @P.D. would now like to withdraw his suggestion that I “guessed” the outcome for the Golden Triangle?I never accused Mr Osborne of influencing the choice of route through his constituency ,but I notice he did sell his £900,000 house last year after studying an earlier planned route.

    • The transport sector is behind it and lobbying. You should see the amount they spend on smart cards that are out of date before they are released. Millions and millions of wasted funds.

      The only sense this makes is political. Which is the only area which required its own variation of “correctness”.

  5. The fame and glory claimed by almost every local council, borough, development agency and vested interest defies belief. Their excitement knows no bounds and if all of their claims of “benefits to our local community” came to pass, then we’d all be looking forward to a golden future of endless employment and unprecedented growth.

    Do they ALL think we are naive simpletons who have no grounding in reality or the ways of those that just see profit and excess at the expense of others. This is NO golden solution to anything other than an ego trip and a bandwagon dream of a select few.

    It will of course die a death and the doubters will be blamed – but haven’t we always? When do the people of this country have a say on WHAT WE REALLY NEED FIXING?

  6. Cameron is deluded. He is talking about Britain getting on a “high speed rail revolution”. We are so late that the Chinese and Japanese are developing the next generation of railways today. Japan is currently extending the Yamanashi test facility from an 18km track to a 42km track and expects to complete this extension this year.
    Before HS2 is built, it will be out of date.
    This project is nothing more than dishing out taxpayers money to the friends of government to build more of the technology that already exists. There is nothing is these proposals about preparing the UK or its infrastructure for the 21st Century.

  7. ‘David Cameron said that the £32.7 billion project, which will create at least 100,000 jobs, would help to boost Britain’s stagnant economy’

    Where is the evidence for this spin?

  8. Dont vote for these money wasters and spin merchants who tell you it is good for the economy. We are in an economic crisis but we are wasting money on HS2 that the vast majority of people can’t afford to use and vast majority of the country cannot get on these trains. I for one shall not vote again as it is clear that those you place your trust in are just economical with the truth and dont listen to the majority of this country and what it really needs – jobs, investment in health, care of the elderly and vulnerable. They are just there to drape themselves in smug glory and when it all goes pear shape – they grovel and said we made a mistake but please can we rely on your vote. On your bike the lot of them.

  9. Listening to 5 live, R4 and Breakfast this morning, the questions to Osbourne were hardly in depth or probing ref cost, capacity and route, also it was noted that the BBC coverage of the HS2 judicial review was very light to non existent.

    The BBC does not seem to be giving a broad spread to the argument, but lets face it the BBC would benefit from HS2 by getting all their guests quickly from where they are in London to where the BBC has built its northern white elephant ie Salford Media centre.

    • You are correct Mike. I remember Justine Greening getting a very easy ride on Question Time about a year ago when she was perfectly set to be duffed up and by her body language she was expecting it.

  10. I am genuinely disappointed and disgusted that a beautiful part of the english countryside will forever be lost just so that MP’s can get to their appointments a bit faster. People in Great Missenden and other locations will not be using the train line, it will be completely out of their way to use it, taking just as long to get to such a “wonderful” place as Birmingham or Manchester. I am all for industry and all for moving forward and growth but this is not the way to do it. We cannot shit all over our past and all over nature, so that a few more idiots can live hundreds of miles away from their jobs.

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