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The great unbalanced HS2 debate, part two

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Part one

Organisers of the HS2 to be or not to be debate, 23 Jan 2014, Birmingham

Birmingham City University’s great public HS2 debate ran for about 100 minutes yesterday evening, but how many members of ‘the public’ were present, was impossible to ascertain. Certainly, images from Twitter showed a good level of attendance, but the audience seemed to have been drawn from organisations like Birmingham City University, Centro, ‘professional’ bodies (RIBA, etc), and sponsors. How the panel and audience were picked, is not clear. The IEA’s Dr Richard Wellings, Stop HS2, and the Beleben blog were among those not invited.

HS2 Ltd local representative, Donovan Bailey, put in a brief appearance but said nothing of substance

HS2 Ltd local representative, Donovan Bailey, put in a brief appearance but said nothing of substance

There was a (poor audio) live webcast of the session, and the organisers invited people to tweet in questions, but in the event, no contributions from Twitter or e-mail were put to the panel.

HS2 Ltd’s Head of Environment and Development, Peter Miller, apparently did not attend, but AGAHST’s Jerry Marshall was added to the panel. CPRE’s Shaun Spiers was seated between Mr Marshall and Mr Stokes, giving the misleading impression that he was an opponent of HS2.

'Chair' Evan Davis was under the impression that Shaun Spiers was opposed to HS2

Mr Davis’ idiosyncratic views about infrastructure investment and the ‘Chilterns white elephant’ were evident in how he chaired the debate. He shut down Pete Waterman at his most interesting; going ‘off topic’ about the need to build more roads.

Centro's Toby Rackliff tweeted approval of Evan Davis' anti-mitigation standpoint

Centro’s Toby Rackliff tweeted approval of Evan Davis’ anti-mitigation standpoint

Nevertheless, the debate still offered up plenty of ‘unfacts’, non sequiturs, wishful thinking, and irrelevant nonsense. In the unfacts stakes, Mr Waterman is hard to beat.

[Pete Waterman]

“…Can we deny how successful Japan’s high speed network was from 1962 onwards? It took a country after the war and turned it into the [inaudible] biggest powerhouse… Why? Because you can get from Tokyo to Osako [sic] – 400 miles – in less than 1 hour and 30 minutes.”

Did Japan’s post war economy take off before, or after, 1962 (or 1964, when the Tokyo – Osaka New Tokaido railway actually opened)?

Could you get from Tokyo to Osaka by rail in less than 1 hour and 30 minutes in 1964?

Can you do the trip in less than 90 minutes, in 2014?

The audience vote at the Birmingham #HS2b debate, 23 Jan 2014

Quelle surprise: the audience vote ‘yes’ at the Birmingham #HS2b debate, 23 Jan 2014

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Written by beleben

January 24, 2014 at 12:22 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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  1. […] beleben Part one Birmingham City University’s great public HS2 debate ran for about 100 minutes yesterday evening, but how many members of ‘the public’ were present, was impossible to ascertain. Certainly, images from Twitter showed a good level of attendance, but the audience seemed to have been drawn from organisations like Birmingham City University, Centro, ‘professional’… beleben […]


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