Oct 17 2011 By Keri Brennan
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WHEN we heard that there was going to be a backbenchers’ debate in Parliament last Thursday, a couple of us decided that we would go up to Westminster with our Stop HS2 placards and T-shirts and show support to the MPs with the integrity and sense to understand the flaws in the case for HS2.
As we spread the word more local residents offered to come along, so we thought we had better check with the Met Police. They said it was fine, and we could have more than 100 people in a designated area right outside the Houses of Parliament.
When we got to Westminster we met protesters from Uxbridge, Ruislip (north and south), Ickenham, Harrow, Northolt, Perivale, Harefield and Denham.
Also there were people from the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Westminster, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Kenilworth and numerous other places.
Protesters ranged from one-year-olds to teenagers to OAPs, from all over the route and beyond. There were farmers, villagers and people who live in social housing and urban areas – all of us facing inadequate compensation and mitigation and being totally disenfranchised by the blind, cross-party support for this project and the absolute denial of the right to a public enquiry.
Many of the protesters went in to watch the debate and were shocked at the lack of knowledge and understanding of the detail by the MPs who support this £33billion project.
All of the protesters share one thing in common: they are totally unconvinced that HS2 is the answer to any problems this country faces, but are absolutely sure it will be the cause of many.
The moments that stood out to me the most were the protester in his wheelchair with a sign that simply said: “They are taking my home and they won’t even answer my letters.”
Also the Chinese news TV channel which had come to find us because they cannot believe the UK is planning to build a high speed rail link for such short distances when there are already such good services.
And the moment when protesters inside the Houses of Parliament cheered John McDonnell MP’s comments about blight during the debate – and promptly got told off!
If you want to avoid years of disruption, blight and uncertainty, come along next time!