A 'clearing-house' for properties and responsibilities

Published: Friday, 05 June 2020

I'VE said it before, but I'll say it again—narrowboatworld has been invaluable of late, writes Andrew Bailes.

Especially considering the apparent absence of those organisations and other publications that might be challenging CaRT during these extraordinary times.

Merits further investigation

I'm writing now having read with interest Keith Gudgin's speculations about CaRT's real reasons for not closing the towpaths, which certainly merits further investigation, and Ralph Freeman's thoughts on the vanishing rainfall across the country.

It seems clear that CaRT is functioning as a 'clearing-house' for properties and responsibilities previously held by central governmenthence the possibility of shifting responsibility for towpath maintenance to local government.  This prospect sits uncomfortably alongside other 'decentralisations' such as that of social care with all the terrible consequences thereof: a handing over of the blame for failure but not the funds required to run or to fix the problems caused by years of underfunding.

Changes in our weather

The changes in our weather, which are now pretty much inarguable, suggest grim prospects for a 'rump' CaRT which would be responsible for the management of the one resource they cannot apparently shift off the books: the water.  It is plain that managing irregular rainfall, floods and droughts will become much more important in the years to come.

I can only assume that a future government will eventually, have to take this responsibility back onto themselves. The 'papering over the cracks' exposed in Allan Richards' excellent, if frightening expose of the mismanagement of Todbrook Reservoir and the consequent half-arsed cover-up make clear the dangers of leaving this responsibility in 'charitable' hands.

So, if the towpaths go to local government, water management to central government, whence the boaters then?