Saturday, 2 February 2013

Wake up and smell the coffee!

Even when measured by dint of CaRT's own actions. Even CaRT supports the notion that the canals are never going to be self sufficient. Its going to require a serious alternative to the charitable begging bowl. Britain’s finances faces a squeeze of biblical proportions. Long years of austerity will consume much of our finances there will be little by way of surplus for charitable donations.  I believe that at some time in the future the trust will have to wind back to where it was previously. To a time prior to the fire sale of the quangos and will need to be taken over by the Environment Agency. (but more about that in tomorrows post)

As schools close and hospital waiting lists grow ever longer the public does not have the stomach to support CaRT. Because the public's priorities lie elsewhere. Public spending cannot be sustained to the level it is being cut without undermining our future prosperity. The future of CaRT lies in the prosperity of the public. The classic chicken and egg scenario Hard-pressed public services and the welfare state must be protected at all costs even if it means CaRT has to go to the wall. For too long it has been accepted that government support would always be available. The inland waterways have now been hived off as a cut price venture. But in a few years from now I believe that type of operation will change once again. The driver next time will be the UK's "water footprint." That's the title of tomorrows posting.

This government already has a track record of breaking pledges in their manifesto. You can't place any confidence that the government will continue to support spending based on little more than vague assertions of its benefit to the public. That my friend is no longer good enough. Amid a barrage of bureaucracy and mind-boggling expenditure cuts. There is already an unwillingness to honour goals that were never truly embraced. From trade to transport, fishing to finance, investment to immigration, the decision that the government makes will touch many parts of everyday life.

Britain is in the midst of a fierce battle over government spending. Debt is mounting rapidly, but cuts face a wall of opposition, with dire warnings that they will ravage our society. The quango mentality from the days of BW of an easy financial ride has been removed forever. Accountability and capability of the executive will be tested on a much more frequent basis. The first test is the level of public disenchantment with CaRT principally from the people who own boats. 

I may sound like a doom and gloom merchant,. I have said it before and I say it again. The reality is that I want the trust to succeed. So where is the charismatic leadership. Where are the ideas for a new future that people can bind with. Where is the enthusiasm and inclusiveness that CaRT should be generating. Its all walled up inside a silo mentality. A silo fed by the level of disenchantment with the executive.

CaRT needs a new executive that comes without the baggage of the past. The formation of CaRT should have been contained within a honeymoon period. Instead it was born just in time for its own wake. CaRT needs a new executive that is prepared to be open honest and transparent at all levels. It requires a management that is thinking about the future of the inland waterways and not the size of their pension pot. The first change should be to get rid of the hair brained idea of CaRT not having a membership. Forget all about the three quid friends. We need a membership that can question and demand action. A membership that can suggest and encourage ideas. Then we will all begin to feel a shared ownership and have a will to work for the common good. The inland waterway users need a feel good factor.


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