Wednesday, 18 June 2014

One Party State

Everyone knows that the age profile of boaters on the inland waterways is top loaded with people who fall into the 'older' end of the age range. Having thought long and hard about such issues myself. You can understand my pleasant surprise to find that one of the elected independent members of council had also been thinking about the same issues. Ivor Caplan has written an article which is published in Aprils Boaters Update. I had a few ideas of my own on bringing younger people into boating that I would have been more than happy to share.

Now we all know that the 'elected' representatives have been perceived by many to be playing their cards close to their collective chests to the point where they are apparently keeping a low profile. Evidenced in the main by their lack of regular public engagement with the boating fraternity. I had put this down to their being shy and retiring and not being internet savvy or acquainted with various on-line forums and magazines. 

However, it should be remembered that the representatives had placed themselves in the running for the job. I thought it would be a similar set-up to parliament. Where our elected representatives have regular surgeries and a series of public meetings. So I wrote to the Trust. I would have been very interested in attending any such event in my area where the age demographic and other issues were being addressed by our representatives.

Quote "I was interested to read the article in Aprils Boaters Update penned by Ivor Caplan. The article was a request for information on how to bring younger people into boating. I was intrigued by the comment. "I know from speaking with many boaters, particularly those involved with organisations such as boat clubs, societies and trusts, how important they see this issue and I would appreciate receiving any comments." I have searched the trusts website and I am unable to find a list of visits planned by our representatives either in the past or in the future at clubs, societies, trusts and other organisations. Can you supply a list of previous and future planned visits (venue, time and date) made by the various boater representatives. - Ann Farrell, Chris Bailey, Clive Henderson, Ivor Caplan and Vaughan Welch."

You can imagine my bewilderment to get the following reply from The Trusts Customer Service Co-Ordinator Sarina Young.

Quote "Having considered your request, I am writing to let you know that we do not consider the information you have requested to be subject to the limited application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to Canal & River Trust."

Now, call me old and cynical but to his great credit, Richard Parry is holding a series of regular meetings with the inland waterways 'electorate'. I know from conversations that he finds the meetings to be valuable. If only to give an opportunity to meet with him to those who make up the trusts 'waterways constituency' and to encourage a frank exchange of ideas. Richard has also put his cards on the table and has stated that he wants to adopt a more open and transparent regime within the Trust. However, if the response is typical of the trusts new regime of
openness and transparency, it leaves much to be desired.
Imagine now what would happen if our MP's were to fail to publish their constituency surgery times and dates. So this begs the question - just who are the constituents that are being represented by our elected representatives. Are the elected representatives looking out for our interests without fear or favour. We know that some of the elected representatives actually hold senior roles in other organisations. One might be forgiven for feeling that we may have thought that we were electing MP's for the inland waterways and got ourselves saddled with the equivalent of a 'One Party State'
set of  local councillors.

So I think its now time to start organising for the next election. I wonder who will be the 'Nigel Farage' of the Inland Waterways Independence Party. Someone who can collect the votes of those who currently feel disenfranchised by the current crop of representatives.

1 comment:

  1. Ivor Caplan: A bloke on a mission while wearing a party hat...


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