Ordinary people support Stop HS2 – letter in the Financial Times

Stop HS2's letter in FT on 1st July

Stop HS2's letter in FT on 1st July

Text of Stop HS2’s letter in the Financial Times on Friday 1st July:

Ordinary people support Stop HS2

From Ms Penny Gaines.

Sir, Your article “Tory donors in funding threat over HS2” on June 28 states: “The pro campaign has raised about £120,000 from supporters, including rail companies and construction groups, one senior figure told the Financial Times. The anti campaign, by contrast, is thought to have secured more than £1m of backing, some of it from wealthy Tories.”

Stop HS2, the national campaign organisation against High Speed 2, is run on a shoestring. Our income and expenditure for the entire of last year is less than £15,000; our supporters come from all political parties and all income levels.

In contrast, it was reported in the press in April that David Begg was asking for £10,000 donations from backers of the Campaign for High Speed Rail. If all they have raised is £120,000 they must be disappointed that no more than 12 people responded to that call for funding, in spite of the presence of Philip Hammond at some of their events.

However, the Campaign for HSR is not looking for cash to build the proposed high-speed rail line itself. That will be from HS2 Ltd, the company set up, owned and funded by the government. A Freedom of Information request (FOI10/047) last year showed the government intended to spend £93m on HS2 in 2011-12 and more than £1bn to 2015.

It is clear, when it comes to funding the proposed high-speed rail line, the pro-HS2 side has far more money available to it than those opposed to it. But, with more than 40,000 signatures on our online petition from Norfolk to Northumberland and the Isle of Wight to Scotland, we have the support of far more ordinary people then Prof Begg’s organisation.

Penny Gaines,

Chair, Stop HS2

Stop Hs2 has achieved a lot with a small amount of funding over the last year: we organised the national convention at Stoneleigh, Lizzy Williams walked the entire proposed route of HS2 last year, we held a Parliamentary Lobby Day at Westminster, gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the Eddington report – our evidence led to the current Transport Select Committee inquiry into High speed Rail. This website has over 400 articles, and leaflets that you can download and print.

We’ve supported local Stop HS2 action groups with the shadow road shows, with demonstrations, the beacons at the start of the consultation, and in numerous other ways.

So far everything we have done has been by volunteers, but to build on our success to date, we need funding. If you support our work, please donate some money to us. Cheques to Stop HS2 can be sent to Stop HS2, 131 Warwick Rd, Kenilworth CV8 1HY or you can pay directly into the bank account Lloyds-TSB, Sort Code 30-94-93, Account no, 34934760 or you can donate via Paypal (please note paypal take a commission, so if you can donate another way, please do).

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18 comments to “Ordinary people support Stop HS2 – letter in the Financial Times”
  1. is penny of stop hs2 – an organisation determined to propogate myths about the project – an ordinary person in the street or an interested party ?

    and as for joe rukins piece it is really off the wall it sounds like a rant or a tirade to me. in fact it sounds quite like what he is accusing hs2 supporters of.

    it is quite clever (or maybe disingenous) of penny to show stophs2 in some kind of little person versus the state or david and goliath as this will raise some empathy.

    but hs2 critics have been using colourful and wild language throughout this debate so you cant be surprised that if you sling mud it sometimes comes back. lets remind ourselves of some examples. how’s about concrete bombs, armageddon, destruction of wide swathes of wembley sized pieces of countryside and the whole non vegetation non issue. and anyone like myself who openly supports hs2 is accused of being in somebodys pay.

    finally however let me say that i believe debate should be open and honest and that we should not resort to campaigns based on mud slinging and name calling no matter which side of the line you sit on.

    however it cannot be denied that some of the more vocal anti hs2 voices are from wealthy people with some power and influence who have threatened to withdraw support for the tories . but by no means everyone against hs2 falls into this category. similarly not everyone supporting hs2 works for the railway or of necessity has a vested interest. lets remember this

  2. yes I do live in the Lichfield area and in a old crossing cottage on the WCML, so i dont care about the noise that waht double galzing is for. The where here before me, so i cant say anything about noise or untill you the track is my back yard. i bet you dont live anywhere that close to the route. As i said before you at stophs2 is not in my back yard. I agree with hs2 and it will be in my back yard!!!

    • MartinH, is see that you are very quite now about wher you live, have i said something about not in my back yard which was too close to the truth.

      • Morris please change the record. The debate is about HS2 NOT about somebody’s address, and certainly not a playground point scoring about “I bet I live closer to the line than you do and I don’t mind, so nah”. Please give us all a break. Its like groundhog day.

        • i dont think, it only about 2m from my garden wall. i live in a old level crossing cottage. but this person keeps on saying the Stophs2 is not in my back yard but will not aswer the question. does he have somthime to hide like most of you.

  3. With reference to the press release “STOP HS2 CAMPAIGNERS DISGUSTED AT CONSTANT ILL-INFORMED SLURS FROM PRO-HS2 ‘MERCENARIES’” and the letter to the FT about ‘ordinary’ people, it is amusing to see people who are very fond of the slogan “a fast train for fat cats” howling in outrage about a campaign depicting opponents of HS2 as mansion owners in bowler hats.

    StopHS2 may not represent the ‘economically privileged’ but what about AGHAST, 51M, HS2AA, TPA et al? Perhaps the real function of StopHS2 is to put up a dense smoke screen behind which the fatter cats can operate.

    Don’t whine if people start playing you at your own game – who threw the first cat?

    • Isle of Lewis actually Hammond did ,he that didnt want the 3rd airport in his constituancy.He did it over and over again instead of answering the questions that he obviously didnt want us to know the answers to.He should have realised that he should have done his homework and been up front and open like Cameron said his party would be.

      • @elaine – I think you are missing the point: “a fast train for fat cats” is a nice anti-HS2 sound-bite which has been used dozens of times. You cannot really complain if it is eventually picked up and turned into “mansion owners in bowler hats” and thrown back.

  4. These HS2 supporters don’t sound like very nice people, calling people names like Nimby, Luddite, and Toff, seems like bulling to me.
    Of course the pro campaign is better funded, they have government backing, and quite frankly, it’s a cheek for them to ask for donations.

    The definition of a Luddite: One who opposes technical or technological change.
    So Prof. Begg, Hammond et al fit that description very well for opposing Maglev in favour of an older technology.
    In my mind they are the Luddites.

  5. In an attempt to get this campaign back on track; let me make my position clear.
    It is my firm belief that the Consultation Response form was just a sop to those immediately affected by the plan, only paying lip service to their apprehension, just a case of “we hear what you say”… Cameron has basically said so.
    It is my opinion that we must achieve the 100,000 Petition to get recognition in the House but in the light of the lack of knowledge of the Alliance I await an answer from The Speaker.
    In the meantime we must press on.
    I think all of us using this site assumed it was the mouthpiece for STOP HS2 but clearly it isn’t. Is there a main site Penny, is there anyone coordinating what we are trying to do? Or are all 70 odd groups all left to do our own thing?
    We are coming into the summer holiday season and family days out NOW is the time to act, come autumn enthusiasm will have waned and momentum lost.
    This is a very emotive issue that should be well in the forefront of public attention when all around us we see examples of reductions in Government spending.
    None more so than the Charities seeing huge cut backs in grants and because of rising prices more and more people using their shops.
    In a highly-charged political intervention, Charity Commission chief Dame Suzi Leather claimed that cutting funds to charities would ‘pull the rug’ from under David Cameron’s plans for the ‘Big Society’. And cost charities billions of pounds
    Those charity shops are a breeding ground for leaflets explaining the Government expenditure, Ideal windows to promote our campaign and ample opportunities for signing the Petition
    My problem is I have neither the facilities nor the contacts to approach these organisations on my own and it would be a shame if this once only chance was again ignored.
    So, I have suggested MPs, Unions, large outdoor public gatherings and large organisations like WI, Are you going to give us a lead here Penny? Or leave us to our own devices?
    There is a list of over 100 email addresses of the local groups, are you able and would you circulate this to them all? In the hope that I can get some help in furthering our objectives ? I can be contacted at the temp address:-

  6. do that not say something if the rail groups are for HS2 and you can only raise 15k. That most of the Uk is for the new rail line. Would you have not raised more, if more poeople belived in stophs2, I guess not as most agree with it

    • Oh dear Morris. You’ve gone a bit far with this one. Of course “rail groups” are for it.

      Rail operators, like Deutsche Bahn, stand to make big money out of it.

      Train builders, like Siemens (because thanks to this Government bottling a real issue Bombardier probably won’t be about) or the Chinese, stand to make money out of it.

      Do you spot the connection ?

      Train magazines and enthusiasts are bound to get really turned on by something fast and sexy.

      You’ve got no basis for saying ” most agree with it “. Most people who don’t stand to directly benefit or suffer have scarcely heard about HS2. When I have explained the pros and cons they usually think there is a better way to spend this money and also meet potential demand needs.

      By the way do you live on the line of WCML or HS2 ?

      • Martin – re your point about Bombadier ( which is a Canadian Company )


        The reality is that Siemens simply presented a better option – both Bombadier and Siemens operate in a global market, and this is simple commercial fact. Of course the effect of whats happened with Thameslink is actually neutral as far as jobs go……..

        I would also point out that the majority of redundancies announced are in fact ” contract temp labour ” , which by its very nature is deemed as a flexible workforce.

      • MartinH – yes i do live on the WCMl and therefore possably on the HS2 route, if you read my older post you would have seen that,so i know what i talking about. and in my village i can only se 1 anti poster, out about 1000 house. again you have no basis for the most do, yet again all i can say is not in my back yard. which is this case i know what i am talking about, unlike you.

        • Morris, now you’ve got me confused. I didn’t think the proposed Route 3 ran along the WCML.

            • OK, you must live in the Balsall Common / Berkswell area ( in which case you might benefit from Birmingham Interchange unlike most people on the route ) or possibly up in the Lichfield area.

              Just trying to establish whether your fervent support for HS2 could have been fear of one of the alternatives to these plans — more traffic on the WCML going past your Back Yard.

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