Tuesday 28 October 2014

A Poll Tax for the Inland Waterways (1)

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.

Ill fated Investments

Stories of tens of millions of pounds squandered on ill-fated 'investments' in canal side pubs. The ill fated 'Titanic' that was the Gloucester Docks development. Such issues and the resultant dire consequences called into question again and again the whole ethos about the way that the waterways were being managed. We all knew that the waterways were deteriorating. seemingly so that money could be used for investments. It can only be imagined where we might be today. If only the millions of pounds that were lost, on pubs and Gloucester Docks had been ploughed back into the maintenance budget.

With the creation of the trust, which could be argued was not a well researched and thought through change. In reality, when based on the knowledge of its success with investments in the past. This was going to be little more than another money wasting quango on steroids. But it should be remembered that BW at that time was intended to be thrown onto the conflagration that was the governments bonfire of the quangos. It could also be speculated what might have happened if 'British Waterways' had been transferred into the Environment Agency. We could have been much better off in the long run. But speculation based upon what if, will only create a great deal of inward looking angst and certainly not deliver any tangible worth.

There will be those who say - that was in the bad old days of British Waterways. To a point I agree with them. Things in the past should remain in the past. But there is one old thing to remember. Foresight for the future is based upon learning lessons from the past. We should be able to learn from our mistakes and move on.

Has anything changed for the better, well to be frank - its a resounding NO! Especially when it comes to loosing money. The trust has carried on upholding the traditional British Waterways proliferate line of wasting even more money. Proof if proof be needed came when the Trust hit the national headlines with the 'Knostrop Wharf' and 'Goole Docks' fiasco. Once more millions of pounds have been wasted that could have gone into the maintenance budget. I'm at a loss to understand the logic behind the way that the trust conducts business. How can the same old management consistently get it wrong, time and again. With what seems unerring accuracy and complete ease. 

Where was the responsibility element and where exactly was the oversight. One more upholding the traditional British Waterways line. It was clothed in denial, obfuscation and economy with the truth.

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

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