Search

‘Man the barricades, Camden - it’s war!’ - Stanley Johnson and co rally star-studded audience against HS2

14:51 24 January 2014

Stanley Johnson delivering Churchillian speech against HS2 at Cecil Sharp House yesterday evening. Picture: Polly Hancock

Stanley Johnson delivering Churchillian speech against HS2 at Cecil Sharp House yesterday evening. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Hundreds of Camden residents joined shoulder-to-shoulder with the borough’s rich and famous to shout out about the “decade of disruption” that could be heading their way as part of the HS2 rail link project.

In what could be the largest public meeting ever held on HS2, the crowd of at least 500 were given rousing speeches by an influential panel of politicians, campaigners and transport officials.

Among those listening in the audience at Cecil Sharp House, in Primrose Hill, was director Tom Hooper, actor Sir Jonathan Miller and presenter Dermot O’Leary.

Some of those attending heard for the first time the extent of the impact that Camden residents could suffer.

This includes the demolition of 226 homes, massive disruptions to traffic and a rise in air and noise pollution.

Mr Johnson, father of Boris Johnson and whose house near Regent’s Park lies close to the proposed route for HS2, delivered a Churchillian speech calling on residents to start the “fight for Camden”.

“This is like war,” he said.

“We need the people of Camden to man the barricades.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in this borough need to rise up and say to themselves, ‘Camden will fight and Camden will be right!’

“If we don’t fight for Camden, then who else will?”

Launching a stinging attack on Lord Andrew Adonis, who pioneered the HS2 project while Transport Secretary during the last Labour Government, he demanded HS2 proponents apologise.

“Calling Baron Adonis, ‘Baron Adonis of Camden’, is like calling Air Marshall Bomber Harris, ‘Harris of Berlin’,” he said.

“Labour and Lib Dem peers should be lining up to apologise for invading your personal space, and if anyone is groping Camden it’s Lord Adonis.”

Martin Sheppard, from the Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance, revealed Lord Adonis, along with current Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and a host of other HS2 proponents, had turned down his invitations to the evening’s meeting.

Two empty chairs reserved for the pair took prime spot at the front of the stage.

“You’d have thought if HS2 was such a wonderful idea those responsible for it would be proud to promote and defend it,” he said.

“I also invited Ben Ruse, the public spokesman for HS2. Even he refused.

“I cannot think of a more useless function than to be a non-speaking public spokesman, but HS2 has one.”

The panel - with major support from most of the audience - passed a resolution that called on HS2 officials to rethink their current proposals.

Assuming the £43billion link goes ahead, they called for the overground section of the rail link passing through Camden to be scrapped or built in a tunnel.

They also called for full compensation to be paid to all those affected and for expansion to Euston Station to be redrawn to mitigate the impact on surrounding homes.

The audience were also told major demonstrations against the project were “in the pipeline”.

Leader of Camden Council Sarah Hayward added for the call for residents to start fighting the London to Birmingham link.

“In all the time I’ve been a councillor and in all the time I’ve been leader I haven’t been to one that’s been even half as well attended as this,” she said.

“The council is doing a huge amount of work on HS2 and the vast majority at our - or your - expense.

“We need to mobilise everyone to campaign against it.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Gospel Oak School pupils Daniel Greene,10, and Paris Pereira, 10, with classmates dressed as superheroes. Picture: Polly Hancock

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a group of schoolchildren, who became mini superheroes for the day to raise money for Children in Need.

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Memories of 1914-1918 a show devised and performed by Lee Montague and friends in support of Keats Library Michael Palin pictured with Lee Montague and Robert Powell

Tales of local life during the First World War helped to light up a star-studded Remembrance event.

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite pose with Lauderdale House staff members after filming in Waterlow Park

Stars of a TV detective series took time out of filming in Highgate to help a historic house’s fundraising campaign.

Friday, November 21, 2014
Thieves attempted to steal a cash point machine from Highgate Post Office in Archway Road in the early hours of this morning.

Thieves attempted to steal a cash point machine from a post office in Highgate in the early hours of this morning.

Most read news

The final GP in the UAE may not have been a thriller, but it did kind of sum up the season for a lot of drivers.

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition