Convention – overview

This article is about the 2011 Stop HS2 Convention. For details on the 2013 Stop HS2 Convention, click here.

The HS2 convention had over 500 people attending – well we lost count at 500, but a lot more delegate packs were picked up.  There were 24 different sessions, some with more then one speaker.  It was on the front page of the BBC news website for a while, showing just how much interest there is in the convention and the issues it highlights.

The main presentation hall was full for Christian Wolmar’s talk – he has written his impressions of the convention on his website.  “Most importantly, there were not anti-rail people. I sold and signed dozens of my books at the conference, and several people had their picture taken with me to send to friends. That’s a crucial point, and fits in with my view. To oppose HS2 is not to be anti-rail, as many people have suggested on this site.”

(We’ll bring you a longer review of Christian’s speech later.)

After a short break, the convention split into over 20 seminar sessions.  These ranged from detailed looks at the business case and the environmental case, to discussions on enageing the media and local councils, to practical sessions on fundraising and use of the internet.


The speakers ranged from Prof John Whitelegg, of the Green party, Geoffery Robinson, Labour MP for Coventry North West, Pat Seaman, of Unite, and Mike Natress, UKIP MEP, as well as active members of local action groups and other prganisations.

The wide range of views represented by the speakers and delegates shows objecters come from the whole range of the political spectrum.

We hope to get notes from the speakers, including their powerpoints where used.   Inevitably this can only be a flavour of the day: some presenters did not use slides, and others used very few.  If any of the audience members are willing to write up notes they made, we’d love to put on the website for the benefit of people who couldn’t get to that session.

The final session had speeches by both Prof John Whitelegg and Mike Natress.  John Whitelegg gave reasons why this is not an enviromentally friendly railway.  Mike Natress explained that the desire for a new High Speed Railway line came from Westminster: it is not a policy set by Europe.

Thank you to Lizzy for organising the convention, the speakers, the helpers who worked tirelessly in the background, and of course all the people who attended the convention. You all made this a success.

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