Hate HS2? Dead against it? Happier in a 4-wheel drive?
Then our easy guide to how HS2 can be fought is for you!
You don’t need logic, facts or any flexibility of mind. Indeed, they don’t help us fight the cause. So throw aside all this baggage, and concentrate on the core message. Just say no!
The devil is in the detail …
… so it is said. In fact, some of the details don’t help us much. So ignore them — or change them.
For example: attract a large, grumbling audience instantly by saying that HS2 won’t help commuters. Actually, the promoters of HS2 keep claiming that it will, spouting some such nonsense along the lines of ‘HS2 will release capacity on existing routes, particularly the WCML, for more commuter trains’.
Well, we say pooh! to that. Is there anything in what they say? Maybe. In fact, probably. Oh damn it, almost certainly.
But it’s not our job to make that point. So don’t! Just stick to the message. It sounds convincing to people who don’t know the whole story, and we want to make sure that’s most people! Ignorance is strength!
Statistics are good …
… when you know how to use them.
For example: some intercity departures from Euston in the evening peak are only just over half full. We conclude: the West Coast Main Line is only operating at 50 per cent of capacity. Job done! (Some commuter trains are loaded to 150 per cent or more, but that really isn’t the point. At least, not a point we are going to make.)
Pick on a general statement — twist it a little — and pour scorn on it!
Let’s take a practical example. The transport secretary says “we spent £9 billion upgrading the WCML north of Rugby, and it still can’t cope”.
Well, really! By carefully asking the wrong people, we got the DfT to say that they don’t know the details of West Coast expenditure. (Network Rail does, but we won’t ask them.) And we suspect that not ALL that £9 billion was spent north of Rugby. We reckon that a few million was spent further south.
(Yes, yes, yes. It is true that the transport secretary’s point, taken as a general statement, was probably about right. But don’t worry about that!)
The advantage of cherry-picking the details
… is that we can choose all the best cherries for ourselves.
Try this one: Dutch High Speed rail has been a disaster. There are compensation claims galore! Yippeeeee! High Speed Rail is donkey dung!
(Actually, it was the trains which had the problems, not the line, but hey — that doesn’t matter. We said the devil is in the detail, didn’t we?)
Don’t worry about reality
We say that HS2 will mop up all the railway funding …
… well, it might. (Network Rail will be investing a measly £12 billion in enhancements like electrification between now and 2019, but they might not have done! It could have all gone terribly wrong! It could have been peanuts! So concentrate on those nuts!)
Stay beside the point! Twist those statistics! A misquoted fact is a helpful fact!
FUTURE CAMPAIGNS IN PREPARATION
‘Toddlers will perish when a High Speed train passes within 50 miles of them!’
‘Electric railways are the tools of Satan!’
‘Earth will plunge into the sun unless HS2 is scrapped!’
(All suggestions gratefully considered.)
Silly posters bashing HS2
Nasty car stickers, ditto
A specially-compiled collection of the wise sayings of the anti-HS2 movement (not yet ready)
Pictures of elderly actors living in the Chilterns weeping over, er, something green
PS: Cash your compensation cheque quickly — there’s more where that came from, so keep howling!