Time for change?

Editor John Sadler comments

As I was thinking about writing this editorial the news broke of a general election in six weeks time. I suppose you can pretty much ignore what legislation may have been on the books until the result is declared. Parliament will be dissolved and much will be promised before our votes are cast.

I will still be keeping an eye on Parliamentary proceedings that may affect boaters but between now and the next issue it’s unlikely that any new legislation will be even thought of let alone written. Most campaigns that were successful in generating a debate will need to be restarted.

We will be setting out on our summer cruise before July 4th and reliant on a postal vote. The Post Office operates a scheme called ‘Poste Restante’, a service for travellers who don’t have a permanent
address in a location but still wish to receive mail. Not all Post Offices will accept mail. In the past we have found a PO counter that partakes in the scheme within walking distance of a mooring then requested letters to be dispatched. We have no idea where we will be, as all of our ideas so far have been affected by emergency closures or urgent temporary maintenance.

Where does the election hiatus leave the Fund Britain’s Waterways campaign? Since we ultimately need to get the ear of politicians there may be some benefit in highlighting the issues to the general public. All parties will be keen on supporting issues in the public arena for the next six weeks, at least.

Well done to the NBTA for getting a Radio 4 interview slot. However I feel the end result was to alienate factions of our diverse community. Some continuous cruisers (CCRS) pushing the idea that they are subsidising those of us with a home mooring does nothing to aid the campaign for fairness. As a small group the CCRS need the support of the larger boating community which, on balance I believe, favours a general increase in licence and mooring fees rather than targeting sub groups. I live on the canal, partly in a house and partly on a small narrowboat, my end of garden mooring fee goes straight to CRT. Consequently they make considerably more from my 10% increase in mooring fees compared to increasing marina mooring fees, of which CRT only get a percentage. Such is life. Am I poorer as a result of the changes? Certainly, as my income is fixed. It will probably mean that my boating days are reduced. I appreciate that I will not be homeless but I didn’t buy a house on a canal only to watch others enjoying the travelling life.

We are one community however we choose to take to the water. I would urge anyone giving interviews to be very careful in their use of language, reporters have no allegiance to any group they just need a story and most don’t let truth get in the way.

Enjoy the warmer weather and cruising our wonderful network.