He may not have convinced the Hutton enquiry, and the BBC will not be using his services any time soon, but the Maily Telegraph is more than happy to employ Andrew Gilligan as its “London Editor”. In between his attempts to demonise Ken Livingstone and Lutfur Rahman, he tries to put the boot into High Speed Rail travel, too.
So his latest post, “High-speed rail: Birmingham says no” should be no surprise, and neither should the dubious quality of its content. Gilligan’s headline comes from a survey in the Birmingham Post, where two thirds of the total responses were against HS2. However, that total includes the whole of the West Midlands: those who responded from Birmingham showed a 5 to 2 majority in favour of the project.
So Birmingham does not actually “say no”. And Gilligan’s assertion that the projected time saving for HS2 on a Birmingham to London trip is only 23 minutes – rather than 35 – is true for only one train every weekday, and in one direction only. The 35 minute figure is correct in over 98% of cases.
And one commentator is unconvinced by the Birmingham Post survey, saying that “it doesn’t appear to have been a representative opinion poll, so it really is only a straw in the wind”.Who might that commentator be? Step forward Andrew Gilligan – writing in the same post! Wouldn’t have been another of those transcription errors, perchance?
Also, it is interesting that 62% of those responding live within 5 miles of the line of route, and 70% of those against HS2 are also within 5 miles...with 74% of all respondees living outside of Birmingham. It is no suprise therefore that a majority who responded are against HS2...! For those in favour, there is a more even geographic spread.
This cannot be a representative view of what everyone in Britain thinks, as I think only people with an interest in Birmingham and/or HS2 would have known about this survey (e.g. action groups?).
We need to wait for results of DfT's consultation to get a definitive view of what everyone thinks.
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