Make HS2 a major election issue

Last week the founder and Chair of Ruislip against HS2, Lottie Jones, spoke to the Hillingdon is Here about what to say to prospective Parliamentary candidates in the run up to the General Election.

Emphasising that Stop HS2 is a non-politically aligned group, Lottie said to us:

“To raise HS2 when the candidates are coming around canvassing, is vitally important.

“HS2 should absolutely be at the forefront of the election campaign for everyone. Whether you are in a part of the country affected by HS2 or not, it absolutely does affect you.

“Every taxpayer will be contributing to the cost of at least £50bn.

“If the government needs to find £8bn to shore up the NHS and we’re spending £50bn on a deeply unpopular train line (that only 2% of the population will ever use) then it’s utter madness for them to squander our resources in persuing the project.”

“If you ask anybody what the most important way to spend £50 billion would be in the next 10 years, I don’t think anyone would say a railway.”

Whilst welcoming any support from MP hopefuls, she cautioned against reading too much into it.

“I think it’s great if any of the candidates from any of the parties turn up on your doorstep and say ‘I am totally against HS2’.

“But unless they can convince the party that they belong to to be against it – and scrap it, it actually doesn’t mean anything.”

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5 comments to “Make HS2 a major election issue”
  1. Hi penny
    Thanks for posting our story.
    Glad it was of interest.

    Please could you change your piece to say an article from hillingdonishere.Co. UK

    We are an independent site with no connection to hillingdon times.

    Many thanks – James – editor of hillingdon is here

  2. We’ve been through this before haven’t we Penny?

    Firstly, it’s a racing certainty that HS2 will NOT be mentioned by many voters as a deciding factor in constituencies not directly impacted by the new line.

    Yes, in a limited number of local contests where the planned pathway directly passes it may be an issue for some but still not a massive factor.

    Secondly the remark from Lottie Jones highlights a particular feature of UK political discourse and it is the relative influence exerted by organised political parties. I’ve talked about this before and YOU chided me for being off-message

    “But unless they can convince the party that they belong to to be against it – and scrap it, it actually doesn’t mean anything.”

    The single quickest way to radically change things in the UK is to change the voting system – Single Transferable Vote (STV) in Multi-Member constituencies takes influence away from party managers and puts it in the hands of the only person that should matter in any election – THE VOTER! Go and ask elected TDs in Ireland (which uses STV) and they’ll bemoan the role of STV in obliging them to spend far too much time on local constituency matters and not enough on the important National Policy issues – does this vital difference not sound important with regard to HS2?

    • I think that is why Lottie is suggesting it should be raised wherever possible.

      As it happens I think there are plenty of voters, even away from the route, who would be irritated to think that £ 50 bn is going to be channelled into this project when :

      1 ) It would cost £ 78 bn to bring our schools up to a reasonable physical standard ,

      2 ) We have continuing severe cuts to the armed forces whilst bizarrely Fallon is moaning at allies for doing the same and now shouting that Russia is a threat to the Baltic states ,

      3 ) Our social care system is in absolute crisis , and

      4 ) Our mental care services are nothing short of a disgrace ( and that is not criticising the people who work in them ).

      The proof of that is the opinion polls which consistently shows a strong majority against HS2.

      I’m detecting a definite drop in the number of press releases coming out of the HS2 camp in the run up to the election. Cameron and his ministers would prefer not to debate the subject in public so it’s on the back burner for now. Just a shame Miliband is so scared of upsetting the powerful Northern city barons and doesn’t have the wit to realise this could be a powerful tool in a close election.

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