Tuesday 29 January 2013

The long haired short toothed approach.

When the waterways were within the remit of British Waterways, most people were well aware of the gathering storm clouds and gloom towards the end of BW's tenure. Due in the main to a piss poor performance from a dire choice of investments. Divesting some of the family jewels, but most of all the deliberate underfunding of repairs and maintenance.

After donning the new clothes (after the bonfire of quangos) the old British Waterways team became the wonderful sounding but quickly tarnishing Canal and Rivers Trust. In the run up to the change, it was a bit like looking forward to the excitement in the aftermath of the governments quango bonfire night. In this case however, bonfire night arrived under a cloud and it was cold and wet. The much looked forward to display of fireworks proved to be a box full of damp squibs. Back to the deliberate underfunding of repairs and maintenance. 

There has been much wringing of hands and epic levels of frustration over the first few months. To mark the arrival of an almost stillborn trust. If you wanted to send the inland waterways into a spiral of despair, you could not have made a better choice than reusing the old boardroom fixtures and fittings from the BW fire sale. 

So lets list some of the achievements so far:
Salem going.
Evans going.

Ok lets now move on to the cock-ups so far:
Some of the high watermarks in cock-up, included poetry on lock gates. With various figures of cost being bandied around. Yet, the bottom line was that the "long haired" poetry would somehow reflect the history of the canals. However the real history of the canals is locked up in its infrastructure. The old canal builders and proprietors were dour pragmatic folk looking for a profit. They would be no more likely to carve poetry on a lock beam than they would to give their employees a day off with pay.

This was followed up by the "short toothed" muesli eaters. If ever there was proof in the pudding of the poor performance of muesli. It came with the constipation that caused the bay of pigs "boat of trees" fiasco. Once more another incredulous idea of staggering and epic proportions. Fill a rusty boat with trees and bugger the costs. In the belief that it will bring visitors to the towpath in droves. With combined funding by CaRT and the Arts Council England of £50,000, with the Arts Council contributing £9,000. However, in a last of the summer wine type farce. The first problem encountered was met by exclamations of "whoops" because the boat and trees can't get under the nearby bridges. So we returned once more to quango night and promptly burn the evidence.

This was followed by the launch of a fund "to repair a breach of the Trent & Mersey Canal" To a fanfare and much chest thumping. The long haired short toothed gang launched an appeal to raise 1.5 million pounds. A few well wishers initially threw money into the funding black hole. The rest were quite reticent to add to the coffers. The fanfare and much chest thumping was soon muted. Then arrived the deafening silence. By November the appeal had almost reached £15,000 which has rapidly risen in the last two months to get to a very handy £18,000 which is less than 1% of what is needed to cover the costs.

Curmudgeon CommentThe appeal is due to run until Easter 2013. Which will fall this year on an appropriate 1st of April. Now as I write it is the 25th of January 2013. That gives 66 days to raise the rest at a rate of £22,454.54 per day. So to save the red faces of the the long haired short toothed gang, can you please dig deep into your pocket. Just had a thought - I wonder how much the the long haired short toothed gang have donated into the pot?


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