Campaigners against HS2, the proposed high speed rail network have hit back against groups lobbying for HS2 branding them as luddites, nimbies and toffs. Recently Professor David Begg branded campaigners as the ‘economically privileged’ and stated that a campaign depicting opponents of HS2 as mansion owners in bowler hats was ‘a good campaign’ and that the campaign against HS2 was ‘extremely well funded’.
Stop HS2 founder Joe Rukin said;
“As a single father hardly surviving on income support I find the idea that I am ‘economically privileged’ coming from a man who charges between 4 and 7 grand just for speaking utterly disgusting. That man only has to open his mouth twice to earn more than I do in a year. Stop HS2 has spent only around £15,000 in over a year of operation, which equates to about what just two speaking engagements could net that man. Professor Begg is simply a propagandist mercenary who in line with the whole case for HS2 hopes that people won’t inspect the facts behind the spin.”
“The advocates of HS2 never expected the level of opposition they have received because they never realised that the likes of me could read and understand the documents. Like most people, I thought the words ‘high speed rail’ sounded like a good idea, but then I read the documents and quickly realised there is no business case, no environmental case and there is clearly no money to pay for it. To attack opponents of HS2 as being privileged is the worst type of reverse spin you could ever hope for. Every transport study since the year dot says that those who do the longest inter-city commutes are those who earn the most and the Government’s own Sustainable Development Commission stated that HS2 would require putting in a massive ongoing subsidy to something which only benefits the richest in society. On top of that, the Independent report produced for the Transport Select Committee by Oxera has just backed up everything we have been saying for the last 16 months about the lack of economic benefits.”
“Within weeks of launching asking for funding, the ‘Yes’ campaign have got enough money from big business for paid staff and an open-top bus. After a year of operation, we can stretch to banners, t-shirts and leaflets. We’ve just managed to secure a rent-free office, simply because Warwickshire County Council were going to demolish it as part of the programme to build a train station in Kenilworth. As you might expect, that project, one which would actually be of benefit to the environment and local people, didn’t get funding so rather than leave the building derelict, the Council have taken the Governments ‘Big Society’ programme to heart and kindly let us use it.”
“The building is a mess and will be got into shape by an army of volunteers and everything that goes into the building will get there as a result of begging. Just last week I was building a concrete step so I could weld the fire escape we got from ebay into position. The reality of our campaign is a world away from the ‘bowler hat’ black propaganda which would make Goebbels proud that the ‘Yes’ campaign are punting. It’s also a world away from the plush offices they surely sit in while they dream up ways of ignoring the facts about HS2 by demonising the opposition to this fast train for fat cats trying to conduct a debate from the gutter.”
Notes to Editors:
1. For more contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
2. Photos showing the progress of the Stop HS2 HQ can be found at; https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.246768085340343.80001.163618540321965
3. Details of David Begg’s speaking fees can be found at; http://www.cityspeakersinternational.co.uk/speakers/speaker_david_begg.php
4. BBC article regarding Prof Begg’s comments can be found at; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13943014.
5. The public consultation on HS2 runs until 29th July. For more details, visit www.stophs2.org.
6. People can sign the petition against HS2 at; http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/stop-hs2/sign.html.