Thrown to the wolves

Published: Wednesday, 06 January 2021

SO AGAIN, CaRT are throwing, not only the continuous cruisers, but the general public to the wolves during the latest national lockdown, writes John Coxon.

By keeping the towpaths open to appease not only their Whitehall paymasters but also the tens of thousands of runners, walkers and cyclists.

Remaining safe?

CaRT states: "We’re following the government’s advice and taking the appropriate action so that everyone who visits, or lives on or around, our canals and river navigations is able to enjoy their time by or on the canal whilst remaining safe."

What drivel? How can those who live on or visit the canals remain safe when CaRT are encouraging tens of thousands of total strangers to walk, cycle and run past or even mix with boaters and each other. So in effect, 'taking appropriate action' in CaRT-speak actually means 'doing nothing' does it?

Can't get away

Those of us who live on the canals can't get away from the hoards of these potential disease carriers!  Going shopping, getting in a bucket of coal, taking my exercise etc. means that I am compelled to encounter all these strangers at far less than two metres distance!  Today, the 5th January, there must have been over a 100 people pass my boat.  The schools and workplaces are closed so it's 'lets go down to the canal for a walk or cycle or run'. The first runner went thumping by at half past five this morning!

What would people say if a local council started letting strangers walk, run or cycle through house holders' gardens?  They would be furious, and rightly so!  So why then, when continuous cruisers question a similar policy is it just dismissed out of hand?

Visitor attraction

CaRT like to spout on about the canals being a massive 'visitor attraction' attracting upwards of 440 million visitors a year but as soon as it suits them they drop the phrase like a hot brick to appease all and sundry.  The government state that visitor attractions are off limits to all, including exercise takers.  If CaRT continue to use the phrase then they would have to ban the public from using them during the lockdown as per the new rules.

There is a massive amount of material in the news media about those that flout the rules to suit their own agenda and as a consequence spreading this disease including it's various mutations among the populous.  It appears here that CaRT are one very large organisation doing just that?  Making payments of grants out of the public purse to an organisation that seems to delight in putting that same public in danger doesn't seem right to me.  Perhaps it's about time the authorities looked into their policies, methodology and motives?

Don't seem to understand

CaRT statements like "Enjoy your local canal but please follow the advice around social distancing at all times, keeping your distance from both other people and moored boats where people may be living aboard." are, as far as I can see, encouraging people to flout the rules . Runners, walkers or cyclists are not intending to, nor actually turning back just because they encounter a moored boat or a stranger they can't pass at more than two metres.  CaRT really don't seem to understand human nature do they?

As for keeping to the required social distance, the government has stated that 'mixing, even out of doors, with one other person from outside your household is not allowed'.  This puts CaRT's advice very much in contradiction to this rule does it not?  It is impossible not to mix with people outside your own household and/or keep to the required two metre social distance if you are using the towpaths.

In breach of the new laws

Therefore, as I see it, anyone using the towpaths other than boaters who live aboard and essential workers and emergency services personnel are in breach of the new laws laid-down on the 4th January by the Prime Minister . CaRT now need to follow the government's new rules and close the towpaths immediately and stop issuing lame statements designed to circumnavigate the law and as a consequence place people in danger.

CaRT say: "Our plea to everyone thinking of visiting our canals and river navigations is to act always with consideration and respect for other users."  All we boaters are saying is when are CaRT going to 'act always with consideration and respect for other users'?