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.


Alan Fincher said...

You can always try a vote for an independent you have met, Simon, (assuming you have not voted already!). I'm one of the candidates, and have a fairly even mix of live-aboards and non live-aboards amongst my sponsors and supporters. I believe we need Council members able to represent all, not just subsets of the boating community. You may be right that the association candidates will use the muscle of those association member lists to make life very hard for the rest of us, but at least we have provided you with some independent alternatives, and I urge everybody to make sure they at least cast a vote to register the candidates that they prefer.

Alan Fincher said...


I'm having further thoughts!

Obviously you don't wish to name this candidate publicly. I have still to finalise my voting order myself, and having seen at least one candidate with a credible election statement, but who showed very different colours elsewhere, I'm keen not to state a preference for anyone else like that!

If you are prepared to email me this candidates name on, I promise it will go no further, but I'll then ensure they get no preference vote from me!

Best wishes,

Simon said...

I've no need to name names; we make up our own minds who to vote for, after all, anyway you're running a much more visible campaign than he is...

People will always represent their own group and interests, and only a very rare few have ever managed to successfully defend the rights of others they're not part of. I'm all for individual interests to be represented, but for the IWA to stake claim to all four seats is as ridiculous as London boaters attempting a similar move. There's space everyone, if only people would realise this.

I just hope any of it makes a difference, and the canals remain for all, not just an elite. I suspect I hope in vain.

Anonymous said...

I voted but I'm being hypocritical, I know! I feel dirty ;-)
What's being sold to us as an opportunity to have some representation (by any particular candidate we like) is, I think, just a way of co-opting as wide a boating demographic as possible into what will be The Trusts' decisions. By saying 'well, we have an independent member on the team, or, we have a representative of the London Boaters with us,etc' they can happily steamroll through anything they like, with the veneer of widespread concensus. Scrabbling for the priviledge of having a tiny voice in our own futures and way of living seems wrong to me.
I want independence and personal responsability within community. Co-operation, support and solidarity. Skillshare, maintenance of our boats and our canals, teaching and learning. Inclusivity, links with schools, universities, retirees. With people, not with corporations that don't give a damn about boaters and canals beyond how much they can squeeze out as profit. Don't suppose any of that will be on the CRT agenda...(sigh))

Too late to withdraw my vote?