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.
Norton Canes on test - The December Canal Boat contains my boat test on the latest offering from Norton Canes Boat Services.
3 days ago