Today, Sunday 12th February, Richard Barnes the Conservative Deputy Mayor of London is meeting anti HS2 campaigners at Perivale Community Centre at 4pm. Please go along and find out his views about HS2.
Last week UKIP Mayoral candidate Lawrence Webb spoke to Lizzy Williams, founder member of Stop HS2 about HS2 and the effects on ordinary Londoners.
Peter, My vision is very clear. I reside nowhere near the route. HS2 is going to be a waste of money, it is not necessary, it will not solve our capacity problems or help our environmental targets. I am against this on behalf of the children in our society who will end up paying for it, both economically and environmentally. We will have to agree to disagree on the subject of HS2.
P.S. Yes communities adapt to changes to their surroundings, just as some animals do in their natural habitats, but it doesn’t mean they are happy or that the changes are always beneficial to them. Some changes, natural and manmade, result in species dying out. Animals have no say in the matter, whereas humans have knowledge, choices and conscience to help them make survival choices.
I’m sure I could find many of our human species who are bitterly unhappy and suffering deplorable existences as a result of bad environmental choices made during urban development, while the people who are responsible for the bad choices continue to live lavish existences elsewhere on the non-existent profits.
My vision is similarly clear
I live in reasonably close proximity to where trains will run after phase 1 opens, 600m East of my house, and about 3000m West of my house (assuming my educated guesswork on the phase 2 route is accurate)
HS2 is NOT a waste of money, in just the same way as HS1 and the Channel Tunnel wasn’t a waste of money. Construction of HS2 WILL solve the long term rail capacity issues for my Region (NW.England) and other UK Regions and it WILL in the longer term also contribute to delivering a profound modal shift away from both short haul air and private car to railborne equivalents in the long distance intercity market. I support the construction of HS2 as a means of directly connecting my Region to the burgeoning pan-European High Speed Rail network
Peter Davidson says:
February 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm
‘I support the construction of HS2 as a means of directly connecting my Region to the burgeoning pan-European High Speed Rail network’
—-as long as I’m not subsidising it
You have a distorted view of this process. The scale and nature of the infrastructure in question means that only govts. (or institutions wielding sovereign power) are equipped to drive them through. The timescales alone (50 years or so) deter private finance. HS1 has already delivered a positive return (£17.6bn in measurable economic gains + £2.1bn in cash for the sale of renewable leasehold, against an investment [not a subsidy] of £5.8bn)
That original £5.8bn investment came from UK taxpayers (as in all of us across the UK) – so even if we use your warped interpretation of the process involved I’ve already subsidised those residing in London and the South East – now it’s my turn (along with several other million residing in the Regions connected by HS2)
I think it’s a bit of a leap to say 95% of Londoners are voting Yes and only 5% No to HS2 on your reasoning. Most Londoners are more likely to be supporting or rejecting their candidates for a multitude of reasons concerning the way their city is run. You seem to be employing the same tactics as those you condemn.
I did qualify my statement with the phrase “so in broad democratic terms”
Of course you can’t just claim that 95% of people are in favour and 5% are implacably opposed – there will be many shades of opinion in between.
However your response misses the point, as do most who are hostile to HS2 to very obvious reasons very close to home, about how the democratic political process works in the UK
‘Democracy’, according to Collins English Dictionary’s first definition, is “government by the people or their elected representative”.
My ‘elected representative’ doesn’t want this HS2 project any more than I do, and is doing all they can to oppose it.
As ‘the people’ comes before ‘the elected representative’ in the dictionary’s definition, then ‘the people’ need to let all ‘elected representatives’ know their views.
‘The people’ who have reason to know about HS2 did just that in response to the HS2 Consultation, but their ‘elected representatives’ have not responded appropriately to their concerns. They have forced their own wishes over the wishes of the majority of those who responded, without stating factually or convincingly why they are proceeding regardless of numerous valid concerns.
The second dictionary definition for ‘representative’ is ‘a person who represents and tries to sell the products or services of a firm, esp. a travelling salesman’.
So our democracy could be – government by elected travelling salesmen!
All we can do now is tell all our Reps why we believe their product isn’t the one we want to spend our money on, why it isn’t the great product that we want, and let them know what better products are on the market.
Democracy in action! I wrote to my MP and told them why HS2 isn’t wanted and why I don’t believe it will do what we need it to do, because I don’t want everyone in the UK to be paying dearly for something that doesn’t match up to its brochure.
I’m an active member (for the last fifteen years or so) of the UK’s leading Democratic Renewal Campaign Group. I do not belong to any political party. Whilst apolitical in outlook I remain well versed in the dysfunctional nature of UK’s democratic political process and to some extent beyond, through the UK’s tortuous engagement with the “European project”.
Therefore the supreme irony of witnessing a sudden renaissance of interest, amongst a previously ambivalent audience, in the (dys)function of the democratic political process, is certainly not lost on me. The constant stream of claims, advanced in these columns, arguing that government HS2 policy is “undemocratic” reveals the depth of ignorance in these complex isssues, pervading individuals and groups hostile to the proposed line.
Anti-HS2 campaigners need to wake up and smell the coffee – for decades the relatively affluent and secure lifestyle afforded by London’s proximity shielded Chiltern residents from the harsh reality of long term economic decline unfolding in other Regions more prone to the vagaries of globalised commercial markets – now that they find one of the policies aimed at galvanising a sluggish UK economy disturbing their tranquility, feigned incredulity and fury at this apparently undemocratic conclusion is likely to receive an unsympathetic hearing in more impoverished UK Regions.
If’ anti-HS2 activists, suddenly interested in the democratic political process, are looking for a single improvement, they’d be well served by adding their voices to groups campaigning to change the UK’s arcane voting system, which effectively entrenches the hegemonic oosition enjoyed by incumbent mainstream parties whilst simultaneously frustrating meaningful challenge from new entrants on to the democratic political landscape, which includes organised anti-HS2 groups.
“for decades the relatively affluent and secure lifestyle afforded by London’s proximity shielded Chiltern residents from the harsh reality of long term economic decline unfolding in other Regions more prone to the vagaries of globalised commercial markets” I find your view of people who live in the Chilterns very flawed.. A lot of people (including myself) have moved there from other parts of the UK (I came from the North West), so we are not in some ‘affluent’ bubble but are well aware of what is happening in the wider context in the UK. I very strongly oppose HS2 as do others I know who live in the North West.
..The constant stream of claims, advanced in these columns, arguing that government HS2 policy is “undemocratic” reveals the depth of ignorance in these complex isssues, pervading individuals and groups hostile to the proposed line. ..
Do you apply the same logic to the supporters? I note you are still beating the same “soft south NIMBY” drum – as if they are the only ones against HS2. You are perfectly well aware that there are campaigners from the beginning to the end of the line. Try to be a little more “apolitical” on this forum as your bias will find you out, viz ” for decades the relatively affluent and secure lifestyle afforded by London’s proximity shielded Chiltern residents from the harsh reality of long term economic decline “.
Finally, are you seriously suggesting that all those against hs2 did not express their opinion in last year’s electoral referendum??? I would suggest to you that a goodly proportion voted for change.
And just for the record, because its bound to be mentioned … high speed rail is identified in all manifestos, NOT hs2 per se. And we already have the defined version of high speed rail – just not a system that can cope with it effectively.
Peter, HS2 is indeed an extremely complex issue, as are the problems of government. The knowledge of these issues in relation to HS2 varies from person to person, depending on how concerned they are about the project, and what parts of the project concern them most – as is demonstrated by the wide views aired on this website. Some may not see the whole picture, while others have a very good view of it.
Whatever views are held, HS2 in its approved form is a mighty risk, with its success stacked against it on many counts. It depends on what statistics you look at and which crystal ball you look into.
The reason for HS2 was to manage congestion issues on all modes of transport in the UK. It is also meant to support the Climate Change Policy to reduce carbon emissions.
Ask the nation:
Hands up who thinks it will …
Hands up who thinks it won’t …
The outcome will all be down to the cost of fuel and power – both of which are difficult to provide and getting more so. An extremely complex issue in itself – but its worth looking into.
Will HS2 create jobs? Creativity is complex too.
Take away the jobs of policemen, soldiers, librarians, doctors, politicians, hospital administrators, specialist teachers, along with many other employees essential to the running of the country, and restrict business opportunities through limiting loans and demanding high taxes from business people in all parts of the country, in order to save the country money to reduce its national debt.
Then give other people jobs building a new railway line and set up new jobs in areas of decline by spending a limitless amount (starting with £33 billion) of the country’s money.
Sorry, but I’m a bit lost on this one.
There are alternatives to HS2 if it is work opportunities you are looking for. But with HS2 we will certainly ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, when all those coffee shops appear.
(Analogy: We’ll realise the error of the decision to build HS2, after it is built).
I admire my countryside surroundings very much – and treasure them. But many people on this website see far more than the ‘not in my back yard issue’ and also care about the declining social situation that everyone faces wherever they are in the UK.
We are all in this together – it’s knowing what we are in that’s worrying. It’s all very complex.
You have to appreciate that you (in common with the vast majority involved in the anti-HS2 campaign) hold a very distorted perspective – you don’t want the new line coming through your neighborhood so you will look for any reason you can find to argue against its construction. With each passing month, those arguments will become more and more convoluted (different aspects are being continually thrown into an already incredibly complex equation). However the single goal of your arguments remains steadfast; removing the threat posed (to your immediate environment) by the new line.
In short, you are viewing the entire debate through a prism that influences your opinion forming process – for the vast majority of the UK public; even those residing in your constituency but relatively distant from the line, the issue of HS2 simply doesn’t show up on their radarscope – one might cynically summarise this sentiment as “out of sight, out of mind!” – harsh perhaps but an entirely pragmatic reaction.
So your exhortations count for little outside the bubble of unreality promoted by the anti-HS2 campaign. HS2 will proceed because there is strong political will supporting the project. HS2 also enjoys cross-party consensus so the tried and truste tactic of driving a wedge between the main political protaganists is a non-starter – the result of the next election and which particular party leader gets to wave to the crowds in Downing Street sometime in May 2015 will have have no effect on its progress.
You claim that “We’ll realise the error of the decision to build HS2, after it is built” – I’d counter by asserting that after HS2 is built, interest in the issues surrounding its construction will be a distant memory and everyone (even those in the areas close by) will adapt, in just the same way as communities affected by other major transport infrastructure projects have in the past.
Just watched the video
I love the way Mr. Webb closes the interview, without breaking his delivery, allowing Europhobic anti-EU paranoia to kick in and boldy asserting “this is clealy something that is EU driven”
How about some evidence Mr. Webb to back up this wild claim? At which point of course the old “Trans-European Transport Networks” or “TEN-T” chestnut is rolled out.
There are six candidates standing in the London Mayoral contest. Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Caddick currently (according to opinion polls) garner 95% of support from the London electorate. All three of their parties endorse HS2 as official policy – they may have concerns/misgivings about specific elements of current strategy but they are essentially obliged to broadly support HS2.
Two candidates (not just one as Mr.Webb erroneously claims in the closing credits of this video) oppose HS2; Jenny Jones of the Green Party and Mr. Webb representing UKIP. According to current polls they can boast the support of less than 5% of London’s electorate, so in broad democratic terms, 95% are voting YES to HS2 and let’s say 5% are voting NO
On a more serious note…I think that the questions over democracy here boil down to holding a pointless consultation.
Generally speaking, “No-one” living near the proposed route is going to want it ruining the countryside, leaving them stuck with unsaleable properties and the mess of construction. Those who do not live along the proposed route “could not care less” and probably breathed a huge sigh of relief when learning where it was going to be constructed. So it is likely that of the 55000 consultation responses a majority were from people living in areas along the proposed route. This is unsurprising. However, what is surprising in a democracy is the fact that the thoughts of those answering the questionnaire have by and large been ignored…….so much for democracy!