Campaigners say £280,000 contract to promote the scheme in primary schools near proposed route is Orwellian
The company behind the HS2 rail project has been accused of using Orwellian propaganda tactics after it awarded a £280,000 contract to promote the high-speed rail project to children at primary schools on the proposed route. HS2 Ltd has contracted London-based Hopscotch Consulting to develop an education programme aimed at young children. Primary schools near the route have received an email from Hopscotch inviting them to “come aboard Zoom Rail, HS2’s Primary School Engagement Programme”.
Engaging with children in planning and regeneration issues has a long history. Various events were held in the Camborne-Redruth area when regeneration projects were being proposed which involved young people.
On the surface this appears to be a good idea, engaging with those for whom the changes will have a significant impact and ostensibly allowing them a say in their future. However, it is a flawed process. Those involved are not eligible to vote and are barred from other decision-making actions on the grounds that they lack the experience or knowledge to give their consent.
Whereas adults may well have the experience and capacity to analyse and critique proposals (though without some background knowledge that is difficult), children do not. They are more likely to be influenced by the organisers at ‘consultation’ events and that of course is the idea!.
So yes HS2 is engaged in propaganda!