Death by a Thousand Cuts

Published: Thursday, 23 August 2018

THESE days I tend to sit quietly, watch and say nothing, writes Orph Mable.

That said, I do still use my brain and was thinking a bit about ‘what if’. We see the many stoppages, breakages, sinkings and poor maintenance problems that have appeared on our waterways during the past 18 months or so.

Off-load resposibility

I got to consider the cries that we heard in the distant past about ‘Cruise it or Lose it’. Those older ones amongst us may even remember the canal closures in the days of the British Waterways Board. So I thought of the scenario where CaRT, forever trying to off-load responsibility for navigation whilst employing high priced help with fancy titles and how they could offload this responsibility.

If we were to consider the effect if statisticians were brought in (and we know how good CaRT is with numbers) to make an assessment of which canals were being underutilised and could be closed. If we were to look at usage of, say, the Rochdale or Huddersfield and ignore the ‘forced stoppages’ which, like other related issues, could be ‘left out’ of the calculations, then these canals are ‘under-utilised and should be closed as a ‘drain on resources’. (You can hear the argument now!)

Could skew the figures

Any of the major breaches or stoppages this past 12 months could really skew the figures in favour of CaRT promoting this line of thought. So are we about to see ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’?

Although this is written with tongue in cheek, I would not be surprised if something like it was to happen over the next couple of years.

[Orph Mable is the owner of Oxley Marine on the Staffs & Worcs Canal and a  highly regarded former columnist for narrowboatworld.]