A 17 metre JCB 540-170 telehandler was used today as part of a protest in Boris Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge, on the outskirts of London.
The protestors included those opposed to the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail line, the construction of which will be highly disruptive for the town, and the building of the third runway at London Heathrow Airport which is close by. The machine was parked illegally in a prominent position in front of Uxbridge underground station.
Local issues such as HS2 and the third runway at Heathrow are very contentious in what is now the marginal constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Boris Johnson saw his majority reduced from 10,693 in 2015, when he was ‘parachuted’ into the seat, to just 5,034 at the last General Election in 2017. There is a chance, that given the strength of local feelings, that he may lose the seat in the election- unlikely but possible.
Campaigners from Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion used the decorated JCB telehandler to highlight their opposition to the Heathrow and HS2 projects and in particular Boris Johnson’s promise in May 2015 when he said: “I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway.”
Green Party representatives and the Labour candidate for the constituency, Ali Reza Milani, joined the protesters to support their concerns about “The Climate Emergency”. The event attracted national media interest and puts more pressure on the Prime Minister who is seeking to retain his seat whilst also trying to win a workable Conservative majority in the next Parliament.
The local traffic wardens were clearly not impressed by the demonstration and had already issued a parking ticket. With JCB having given high profile backing to Boris Johnson in the recent past, one wonders if the choice of a JCB was a deliberate one, or simply accidental?