Thursday, 22 March 2012

Wecome to Victorian Britain

In a spectacular move even Jo Moore (of 'good day to bury bad news' fame) would be proud of, the government we didn't vote for got the NHS bill passed through the day before a controversial budget through, neatly deflecting prolonged flak - well, for a while, until any of us or our family are ill. Then we'll remember. Then we'll remember all too well.

In less important circles, I've reach the point where there's too much bloggable stuff to know where to start, and no camera card reader to hand, which doesn't help...

The title? expect workhouses and ricketts back any day now. Just wait...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

And the winners are...

... well, it's not independent boaters, that's for sure.

Results here (and candidate info still here).

So, we have 2 1/2 IWA people and one RBOA, I think it's fair to say?

A cynic would suggest it's a neat stitchup by someone in an upper floor office; by denying the IWA and RBOA seats on the council by default (list of 'nominated respresentatives' also here - WRG seems to be the only big directly canal association allowed to play), the IWA get an even bigger voice on the council, RBOA get their say (and so they should) and 'private boaters' get eff all. Diddly squat. As we expected, then.

I should make it clear I have nothing against the IWA, RBOA or anyone else. It's this travesty of 'representation'. Perhaps it was never going to work. It'll be like the NHS, about to be ripped apart by people with accounts at Harley St. In a couple of years, when we look back at when we didn't have to pay for a broken arm to be treated - or our licences weren't doubled overnight, say - they'll tell us we chose this, that we were complicit.

Actually, I'm far angrier about what they're doing to the NHS - that affects far, far more people in a much more important way. But it's all the same. We're f*cked.

Edit: see also Peter Underwood's post on the results suggesting all four represent the IWA. What's the point? I genuinely don't understand why they did this.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Elections & stuff

I met a CRT council candidate the other night, by accident, in a pub. Not one of the ones I already know/know of in some way. He won't get desparately far in politics as we went straight into his pet hates without working out what I might think, but would on the same token be ideally suited as a taxi driver.

He's not part of any of the main groups, but I'm sure represents plenty out there, if fact I did suggest he join a well kown canal forum to hoover up some support...

I'm glad (because it goes without saying) there will be boater representation on the council, but I'm hardly convinced it'll do much good, especially the way the IWA are playing the game - insulted not to have a chair at the table already (reasonable, along with other bodies) they want all the places reserved for us boaters? I wish I understood that tactic. If someone's name is familiar they'll probably get voted in; most won't have a hope in hell. But back to our nameless independent...

I see the canals as somewhere to live and let live; he, like many, wants them to conform to what he wants, and only what he wants. If someone is on a mooring before him he immediately assumes they are overstaying. If he pays one and a half grand for a winter mooring, he thinks everyone else should too. He denies that east London boaters have a 'community' or should even be allowed one. And he wants to stick to 'the rules'.

I'm all for rules - when they're of cooperation, not pointless coercion. Red lights on roads means that others can safely cross elsewhere - a point sadly lost on many of my cycling conpatriots. Driving into box junctions in heavy traffic when you can't leave genuinely makes things worse, which is why you're not supposed to do it.

But rules that make less sense, in context? If boats 'overstay' in winter, who are they harming? If it's only the egos of those who resent others having something they have paid dearly for, then I'm all for it.

Incidentally, a BW lockie (trying to top up the lobng pound into Paddington by running water through Cowley lock) tells me that the western entrance to Brownings Pool at Little Venice will by physically blocked off after a certain date, and only those 'paid up' will get through. Must read the terms of my license again... if they theink they will 'clear' east London's canals - in much the same way that cities all over the world remove their 'undesireables' before a big sports event - they're making trouble for themselves. Leave them be, seriously, just leave them be.

There's plenty of room for us all, all opinions, all boats, all faces. Our current government may be trying to take us back to feudal elitism, but it doesn't have to be like that everywhere.