Welcome to the first of a series of columns by No to HS2 campaigner Anthea Hartley, aka Humbug!
This week has been a week of ironies for the STOP HS2 campaign.
It started with our trip to Westminster as a handful of campaigners who went to make our presence felt at a “YES to HS2” publicity photo-shoot at the Houses of Parliament - to which the “YES” lobby had travelled on a customised (very posh), open top double-decker bus!
We, on the other hand, had made our way to London (clutching our 7ft high placards) using our trusty, fast, clean and efficient Chiltern Line and the London Underground tube! Ironic or what!
Following Manchester’s “YES” publicity slogans provocatively (desperately?) accusing Southerners of being bowler hatted “Toffs” and caring more about our lawns than jobs, I was surprised to find that all the “YES to HS2” representatives were smartly turned out in shirts, ties and suits - looking every bit the “Toffs” themselves - but no bowler hats!
By contrast we, very much the poor relations, were clad in jeans and our STOP HS2 T-shirts (very unbecoming to the mature woman’s figure that has seen better days - but worth the sacrifice under the circumstances). Furthermore, our homemade placards had that “grass roots” quality that the Posh Bus lacked - as pointed out by the BBC Radio 4 presenter who was, ever so conveniently, close to hand.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the Posh Bus’s posh passengers. It was clear that most of these HS2 supporters had a vested interest in the project: politicians wanting to hold on to their seats in pro-HS2 constituencies, important people from the railway industry and union representatives.
Of course THEY all want HS2 to go ahead - jobs for the boys and hang the rest of the country.
But isn’t that what HS2 is all about - a high speed train for the wealthy few, funded by the rest of the country’s unsuspecting tax payers?