Can the pro HS2 lot sing a different song please?
How do some people get soooooooo……. excited about HS2? I’ve been to a forum this morning organised by Touch FM, our local radio station with a number of esteemed guests from various walks of life, 3 in favour of HS2 and 2 not in favour. It made for very interesting listening.
As always I was there, front row, middle seat…..right in amongst the action and impossible to ignore! Seb did a very good of chairing the debate and trying to prevent any scuffles breaking out and also trying to limit how long the guests rambled on about their favourite subjects. Not an easy job, I applaud him in spite of his rejection a week ago!!
The usual, age old subjects came up with the same age old answers that we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years about cost/benefit ratios, environmental impact, do we really need it (apparently we are worse than doomed without it!!!!) etc….etc….
As the assembled experts went on and on about all of the above I did what I always do and waited for someone to mention how the people directly affected along the line were being treated by HS2 and the Government. Extremely appallingly is the actual answer to that one and I’ve ranted on enough in the past about it so I won’t bore you all to tears yet again on the subject.
The bright, shiny HS2…….
However, I did find myself becoming increasingly irritated as figures of £32b, £50b, £80b were bandied around meaninglessly by the assembled crowd. I couldn’t help myself, I got the microphone and as always asked the guests where the people who’s lives had been devastated by HS2 came into the equation and did they actually come into the equation at all? My view is that if a project is funded insufficiently so as to be able to compensate those affected appropriately, then the project isn’t financially viable. And apparently, within the billions being proposed as the budget for the scheme, there isn’t enough to make sure that real people are not going to be out of pocket.
The compensation being offered is, to put it mildly, a joke! However, the powers that be can apparently throw you out of your home and leave you in debt with no place to live and that’s all quite legal! Interesting……?
So, what did I get out of this morning and what did I put in? I got all of the old arguments that have been bandied about for the last 4 years with really no change at all and hopefully, what I put in was to try to get everyone to appreciate that there actually real human beings at the middle of all this who have had their lives put on hold and in many cases, completely turned upside down. At some point someone has to make a real stand for the individuals that the Government don’t want to be reminded of as we make them feel uncomfortable.
Errrrr…..well…..prepare to feel uncomfortable. I’m coming’ at ya!!