Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways (2)

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways

Governments of all colours have from time to time come up with various bits of stupid legislation, that has eventually created the pit for their own downfall. 
  • For Thatcher is was the Poll Tax. 
  • For Major it was Family Values. 
  • For Cameron it was Big Society. 
  • For the Railways it was the wrong kind of Snow. 
  • For the Canal and River Trust its the wrong kind of Trustee.

There has been chapter and verse written over the last decade and longer, highlighting the distrust that many hold for the way that the waterways are being managed. What has become plain to see with the 20:20 vision provided by a decade or more of hindsight. Is that the quango charged to manage the waterways, was ill equipped with the right kind of personnel for the job. I'm not talking about the skill set of the general staff. The finger of responsibility has to be pointed much higher up the command structure.

Charitable Status

As a charitable trust, it seems strange that CaRT has deliberately taken on a stance that has put it even more at odds with its clientèle both on and off the bankside. CaRT needs the public and its direct paying customers to provide the money for the future. Rather than create a trust membership where people with a genuine interest in the canals can feel some ownership. The trust chose to ignore the advice given by the government minister and his adviser's and chose to go another route. The trust made the strange choice to only have a vague collection of 'friends'!

So how were this loose collection of waterways friends to be recruited. At a time when local authorities were clamping down on 'charity muggers' confronting people in the high streets. The trust chose to go that same confrontational route. Investing a significant portion of money into high street chugging. Friends were there few and the chuggers organisation soon went out of business. The fast dwindling resources like a leaking lock were drained further.  The trust seems to see its few friends as some sort of 'loss leader' for the future.

So where is the responsibility element?
Where was the oversight by the trustees?

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