HS2 Questions

Examining the issues around the proposed High Speed 2 route

One year on: a personal story

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A year ago I was a regular kind of businessman. Well, OK, apart from trying to set up a call centre in Palestine. And some fun stuff in Africa. But living in a nice semi on the edge of Coventry, cycling to work, running the village church congregation and a stalwart of the local wine club. I knew nothing about politics and my only brush with TV was a few minutes on Songs of Praise.

Then on 11 March 2010 I discovered the Government had hatched a cunning plan to run 250mph trains through my garden. After a couple of hours of getting over this shock I made a moral decision: I would not oppose HS2 if it was in the national interest.

Instead I buried myself in the business case and was shocked to discover that it didn’t stack up. The forecasts were way out of line with other industry forecasts, most of the benefits come from the erroneous assumption that time on trains is completely unproductive, and there’s a better alternative.

Since then I have been actively involved in the campaign: head to head live debates with Lords, ministers and pressure groups on national radio and TV; speaking at Chamber of Commerce, council and public meetings around the country; wandering around with a four man white elephant that my daughter built[1]; chairing the national federation of groups opposed to HS2; and even writing blogs. What a different a year makes.

My one request to Philip Hammond: please cancel HS2 before the end of May. That’s when the next stage of the Palestine call centre will need my attention. It’s been an interesting experience but enough of this madness. I want my life back.

[1] She’s now made an anti smoking eagle, clearly launching art into the campaigning world. http://on.fb.me/g5cPTr at 2:42:00


Written by hs2questions

March 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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