Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Welcome to cloud cuckoo land (1)

Hello, and welcome to cloud cuckoo land. 

I was one of those boaters with the mistaken belief that with the demise of British Waterways there would be a new and progressive future for the inland waterways. One full of promise. The waterways were to be unshackled from the whims of whatever flavour of government happened to be in power. A new future built upon putting the bad old days of British Waterways where they belonged in the past. That together we would collectively enter a bright new world. One where the inland waterways would metamorphose into something much better and that the waterways would eventually prosper and blossom.

Now lets come back down to Earth.  

However, I was still old and cynical enough, that I never thought it would be an over night exchange from quango to charitable ethos. Especially when the old BW management team were parachuted into the fledgling trust. For the management, it was a lifeline from the dole queue as the quango was about to be consigned to the bonfire by the government. For me the transfer of the old guard was an unmitigated disaster. I remember having serious misgivings, but foolishly I also tried to put those misgivings behind me.  Later, I had hoped that with the departure of Robin Evans and the arrival of Richard Parry as the new CEO of the Canal and River Trust, a positive and progressive change was finally on the horizon.

But the same old problems and issues continued to manifest themselves.  The maintenance backlog and the deliberate obfuscation over the detail of just what was being spent. Plus the acknowledgement of just what was actually needed to maintain the steady state.  Only when it came to a written statement, which was prepared for the courts did the trust actually admit (albeit unintentionally) that there was a requirement for £130 million a year spend on maintenance to maintain the steady state.  CaRT is no longer a directly funded quango it is now allegedly a charitable Trust. One that operates in the third sector. However, the question still remains unanswered, how is CaRT going to bridge the ever growing funding gap? 

Charitable Trust?  Don't make me laugh!

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