HS2 Ltd lead spokesman labels opponents “Farcical, Abusive, Luddites.”

Ben Ruse, the lead spokesman at HS2 Ltd has taken to twitter to launch an extraordinary attack on opponents of the scheme, labelling arguments against the scheme as “Luddite nonsense” and saying in a tweet to the former photographer for the Yes to HS2 campaign Paul Bigland, who has previously been suspended by twitter, that Stop HS2 campaigners are becoming Increasingly farcical, increasingly abusive and increasingly panicked.”

Tweets from the new HS2 Ltd lead spokesman

Tweets from the new HS2 Ltd lead spokesman

 

So abrasive and dismissive was his tone, that many people thought the twitter profile was a parody account, but it was confirmed by HS2 Ltd this morning that the account genuinely belonged to their lead spokesman, and condoned his comments stating in a tweet “Ben Ruse uses different channels to discuss project during working hours – Twitter is one.”

 

 

HS2 Ltd confirm Ruse tweets on company time

HS2 Ltd confirm Ruse tweets on company time

Ruse has claimed that he wants to deal in facts, yet has repeatedly claimed that HS2 alternatives would be environmentally damaging despite the fact Tim Mould QC representing the DfT at the Supreme Court this week admitted: “It is unarguable that high speed rail is environmentally damaging. It has never been disputed that upgrading existing lines is far less damaging environmentally. It has always been our position that an upgrade of existing lines would be environmentally superior.”

Unimpressed after this had been pointed out to him, Ruse defended an ‘exemplary record’ of high speed rail in the UK and effects on wildlife, by making comparisons to HS1, although the ‘Kent Principles’ which allowed this with HS1 have been completely abandoned with HS2, which will impact 350 wildlife sites. Ruse has also consistently repeated that it is a ‘fact’ that HS2 would be worth £15bn per year to the economy, despite the fact the KPMG report which suggested this has been roundly criticised by economics commentators and that the report itself contained a massive disclaimer:

Tweets from the new HS2 Ltd lead spokesman

Tweets from the new HS2 Ltd lead spokesman

“In preparing this report, KPMG LLP have relied upon and assumed, without independent verification, the accuracy and completeness of the information upon which the report is based, including that available from public sources and that provided by third parties. The projections set out in the analysis have been prepared for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a forecast. Whilst KPMG LLP has undertaken the analysis in good faith, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made in respect of the accuracy, completeness or appropriateness of its assumptions, calculations or results. No reliance may be placed upon the analysis by any party, except where specifically referred to in an agreed KPMG LLP letter of engagement. All users are accordingly advised to undertake their own analysis and due diligence before making any decision or entering into any commitment based on the information in this report.”

 

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:

“The fact that the new head spokesman of HS2 Ltd has labelled Stop HS2 campaigners as ‘farcical, abusive, luddites.’, or that he thinks if he uses the word ‘fact’ it makes anything he says a fact no matter how specious it is, in his very first day in the job is no real surprise and neither is the fact HS2 Ltd have condoned his actions. He has even contradicted the testimony the DfT gave to the supreme court to try and make up an environmental case for HS2. This has been par for the course with HS2, in that proponents will make up anything they can to support their case, and attempt to demonise anyone with a contrary view. The only change is that this has not been the official stance of HS2 Ltd to allow Government employees to be paid to belittle the public on works time until now. A week ago Ruse tweeted that the next chapter in the campaign had started, and now we know what he meant.”

Ruse heralds 'the next chapter in the campaign'

Ruse heralds ‘the next chapter in the campaign’

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said:

“It’s perfectly reasonable for employees of HS2 Ltd to have personal twitter accounts.  However, it’s not reasonable for the lead spokesperson for HS2 to tweet about HS2, without acknowledging that in his profile.  It’s not reasonable for a senior employee of HS2 Ltd to use their personal twitter account to send tweets which are abusive or dismissive to people who object to HS2.  You have to question whether they are just showing poor judgement, or whether it is a deliberate policy from HS2.”

STOP PRESS - Twitter response to this article from Ben Ruse

STOP PRESS – Twitter response to this article from Ben Ruse

“Given that Ben Ruse hardly ever used his twitter account until yesterday, and then suddenly starts tweeting aggressively at campaigners, the evidence suggests that’s his got the nod from his boss at HS2 Ltd to treat anti-HS2 campaigners like this.  That’s not the attitude you’d expect from a government owned company.”

“Unfortunately, we have seen very similar actions by other organisations who support HS2.  It shows that they realise the arguments have run out of steam and are resorting to underhand methods to get the project through.”

Independent Great Missenden Councillor Seb Berry said:

“The contemptuous social media comments from the HS2 spokesman tell us much about the government’s new PR “strategy.” They also show how far the government has come from the Prime Minister’s pre-election promise to remove publicly funded quangos from overt political debate.  Dismissing all opponents as “farcical” and “luddites” just prior to deposit of hybrid bill hardly makes  proper engagement with HS2 Ltd any easier. People living along the route deserve far better than this. Ministers and HS2 Ltd should be reining in their over-excitable cheer-leader before he does any further damage.”

Keri Brennan of the Hillingdon Stop HS2 group said:

“We have raised concerns about HS2 Ltd staff all the way to Chief Executive level regarding social media and it seems that their rights override the basic consideration of respect and fairness which the victims of HS2 deserve. Therefore their support for him and lack of concern for who he colludes with is no surprise. One of our main concerns is how these kinds of twitter trolls are finding out official information before stakeholders and the general public.”

,
7 comments to “HS2 Ltd lead spokesman labels opponents “Farcical, Abusive, Luddites.””
  1. The sooner labour come out against hs2 the better off we all will be so we can get rid of the clowns trying to justify this all full idea and save the nation millions of pounds we can not afford .

  2. Ben Ruse says “UK does big projects well and always delivers”. Is he thinking of the the NHS IT project maybe? You remember that? It got 100% canned and governments contractors are busy suing govt for their commercial and business incompetence. Or perhaps the Olympics, where Ben has forgotten that the original guestimate was rubbed out once commercial sponsorship failed to arrive, and we ‘successfully’ delivered it for what it ended up costing us once the tax paye stumped up loads more money. As for Crossrail…. I’ve yet to travel on it, and there’s still a huge hole at Tottenham Ct Rd, so saying ‘on time in budget’ means absolutely nothing.
    That Ben’s own posts are vaguely incoherent and quite disjointed are I’m sure are commensurate with his overall ability and professionalism. He is clearly wildly out of touch with real business in the UK: I no longer commute from London to Birmingham for meetings, instead my company uses NetMeeting – another real-world example that Ben – and Paul Bigland – seem utterly oblivious to. Have you ever worked in the real world, where your salary (and job) is directly linked to results… or have you suckled solely from your govt stipends?

  3. and there’s me thinking that Government and HS2 were going to roll over following this summers silly season media stories about HS2…………some of which to be honest were farcical.

    Question for Stop HS2 – given that Labour has long track record (pardon the pun) of saying one thing about railways to garner votes and then doing another once in power (see Wilson’s pledge to reverse Beeching and Tony Blairs publicly owned and accountable railway) is Ed Balls posturing more than just that?

    • The farcical summer story was the kpmg report which was pulled apart within 5 minutes but I bet the govt use it in their revised business case

  4. Silence twittering on HS2. It serves no practical purpose. It will not reach the Supreme Court Judges who did not receive the technical guidance required for their assessments. It simply identifies source locations of groups of similar interests and ideas for the focus groups. You are simple providing the agenda for the PR teams. Concentrate on the substantsive issues and bring together the examples where genuine community concerns are. You are being misdirected to the feeds others require from you but you want changes from DFT HS2 and the HMG. The social media is not a tool to assist you out argue the promoters.

    Twitter less and let those who want to twitter do so for no response. Bletchley rules are needed. Use Buzz media to put forward the facts and the challenges please.

  5. Ben Ruse ‘lead spokesperson for HS2 ltd has behaved in a manner unbecoming and unprofessional.
    His position should be reviewed. He is not making personal statements whilst using professional time.
    HIs actions and comments cannot be conveniently divided into personal and professional if there is a huge ethical dilemma between private and professional stance. As an examplar can we accept a ‘privately’ but publicly outspoken racist profesionally working for the equality commission? The direct responsibility for his actions are to be laid at his management in HS2 ltd and the Government Ministers responsible for its governance.
    Furthermore he is seemingly disseminating false information that directly contradicts legal evidence to the highest court in the land. Either he was unaware of the facts of the case or he has been deliberate in his acts. If the former is his then position as lead spokesperson requires review.

    This is concerning for 2 reasons.
    1) His organizational managers at the at ‘arms length’ ‘independent; but wholly cabinet determined HS2 ltd have both seemingly supported and seeming applauded his actions. Is it part of a deliberate disseminative campaign? certainly it offsets the appalling green and environmental account that HS2 ltd necessarily had to present to the Supreme Court.
    It is but conjecture (given the lack of transparency at HS2 ltd) but the temporal linkage has proved convenient if it was not an expedient, deliberate ploy.
    2) It would be important to know whether the three Ministers now responsible for HS2 were aware, are now aware and by their silence and lack of apology could appear in tacit collusion with such low tactics, lack of comment suggests an approval of the dissemination of material which must be considered false (and deliberately so). Their silence contaminates them.
    Perhaps some MP may ask them directly in the House or in writing……

    HS2 is in no HS1 and does not adhere to any of the guiding environmental principles.

    It appears that much has made of plebgate and its ramifications and intrigues. “pleb” is to my mind is a relatively mild perjorative in comparison to ‘farcical abusive (sic) luddites” (environmentally and fiscally concerned members of the public congruent in sentiment with over 50 percent of the population according to polls)….
    Can the public trust the police (was a much vaunted political statement yesterday)?
    The boot is now on the other foot in this case. Can the public trust HS2 ltd and their Coalition masters/strategists?

  6. Ben Ruse ‘lead spokesperson for HS2 ltd has behaved in a manner unbecoming and unprofessional.
    His position should be reviewed. He is not making personal statements whilst using professional time.
    HIs actions and comments cannot be conveniently divided into personal and professional if their is a huge ethical dilemma. As an examplar we accept a racist profesionally working for the equality commission? The direct responsibility for his actions are to be laid at his management in HS2 ltd and the Government Ministers responsible for its governance.
    Furthermore he is seemingly disseminating false information that directly contradicts legal evidence to the highest court in the land. Either he was unaware of the facts of the case or he has been deliberate. If the former then his position as lead spokesperson requires review.

    This is concerning for 2 reasons.
    1) His organizational managers at the at ‘arms length’ ‘independent; but wholly cabinet determined HS2 ltd have both seemingly supported and seeming applauded his actions. Is it part of a deliberate disseminative campaign to offset the appalling green and environmental account that was necessary to present to the Supreme Court?
    It is but conjecture (given the lack of transparency at HS2 ltd) but the temporal linkage has proved convenient if it was not an expedient, deliberate ploy.
    2) It would be important to know whether the three Ministers now responsible for HS2 were aware, are now aware and by their silence and lack of apology could appear tacit collusion with such low tactics and suggest an approval of the dissemination of material which must be considered false (and deliberately so). Their silence contaminates them.
    Perhaps some MP may ask them directly in the House or in writing……

    HS2 is in no HS1 and does not adhere to any of the guiding environmental principles.

    It appears that much has made of plebgate and its ramifications and intrigues. “pleb” is to my mind a relatively mild in comparison to ‘farcical abusive (sic) luddites” (environmentally and fiscally concerned members of the public congruent in sentiment with over 50 of the population according to polls)….
    Can the public trust the police (was a much vaunted political statement yesterday)?
    The boot is now on the other foot in this case. Can the public trust HS2 ltd and their Coalition masters/strategists?

Comments are closed.

2010-2019 © STOP HS2 – The national campaign against High Speed Rail 2