SO, NOW we are told by CaRT that boaters are to be charged different amounts for their licences depending upon the use they make of the waterways. Writes John Coxon.
We are told by them that this is what boaters themselves have requested in one of their sham surveys!
Only 25% response
Yes, sham survey. Of the 33,000 licence holders asked only 8,479 replies were made. Around a 25% response. So CaRT are now basing their policies on the opinion of less than one in four licence holders as they say there are 35,000 plus of them.
If this was a ballot by a trade union to hold a strike it would not be allowed as a response from at least 50% of eligible voters is required by law before any action can be taken.
Why only 8,479 out of 33,000? Well, I think it's because the other 24,521 weren't duped into wasting their time and effort in filling it in when it was obvious what the conclusion was going to be from the wording of the questions. If you remember I stated this when the survey was first muted. See: https://narrowboatworld.com/14387
The result is hardly surprising considering that 76% of responses were from boaters with a home mooring as against 23% from continuous cruisers. This was inevitable as there are far more boats licenced with home moorings (80%) than there are continuous cruisers (20%) so the whole survey was extremely biased before the questions were even asked, making it a total sham survey in my mind as a disparity of this magnitude is never going to return a fair unbiased result is it?
Lumbered with a surcharge
So now that we continuous cruisers are to be lumbered with a surcharge on our licence I for one will expect to be given priority at all locks, moveable bridges, water-points, services and moorings etc. After all I am entitled to get premium treatment when I am charged a premium rate am I not?
If you choose to moor in a marina you're not paying a premium by being charged a mooring fee. You're as free to make that choice as I am not to! I pay everything I'm asked to pay. I cruise because I don't want the very restrictive and dictatorial atmosphere of a marina with it's very limiting freedoms to purchase things like fuel or other necessities cheaper from those outside in a lot of cases!
You get electric hook-up, a water tap next to your boat, security from the public plus many more benefits not available to continuous cruisers.
But, you think that just because we spend all our time on the waterway we should pay more for the little we do get. If you think it's so good why are you in a marina and not out on the cut with us?
Living environment destroyed
Our, that is, the real continuous cruisers, whole living environment is being destroyed by CaRT's policies. The dangerous vegetation that is left at the waters edge to stop us mooring or even walking safely along the towpath, the running of the daily gauntlet with speeding cyclists and now electric bikes and scooters, the daily stoppages preventing us getting to services for water and to clear our rubbish and empty our toilets! The disappearing rubbish bins etc!
Now, it appears, we are deemed worthy to be charged a premium for this mess!
I hope all you boaters with home moorings will not expect to come out onto the system for a few weeks every year and be given equal treatment by us continuous cruisers any more? After all, we've just spent all winter looking after the system and keeping it open for you by reporting any problems we've come across and this is the way you repay us? Well, as far as I'm concerned now, you can report your own problems in future. I shall no longer report problems that do not affect me greatly? Why should I help you when you treat us like this?
Contributed to the surcharge
Also, if the bargee protesters want to moan about having to pay more then they can comfort themselves by realising they have also contributed greatly to this surcharge being levied and they've only themselves to blame for it.
They buy a boat, get a continuous cruiser licence, moor in one small area for months or even years, at a time and then demand that CaRT leave them alone and also provide them with extra facilities for free.
They don't want to pay their way properly by getting an official mooring! They don't want to obey the law or rules! They just want to freeload off the rest of society! The worst part is that they expect the rest of us to support them!
Well I for one do not support these groups. They are not continuous cruisers in any form what-so-ever. They flout the law. They flout the rules. They expect facilities to be provided just for them for free? They can't even see that by doing these things they are making things worse for all of us?
They tried to fraudulently claim multiple energy support payments and made a total mess of it due to the immature way they went about it They demand that CaRT ignore the fact that they are openly flouting the mooring time limit laws. They demand extra free facilities be provided. Why can they not see that their tactics are counter productive and detrimental to all of us.
I'm fed up being associated with them! Every time they incompetently try some new ruse we all get penalised! A considerable number of us continuous cruisers are quite happy cruising the network and obeying the laws and rules as laid down, not only to the letter but in the spirit as well. Why should we be penalised along with these law breakers?
Penalised by CaRT just for being a continuous cruiser is the only way to see this now! They are running out of ways to fleece the boaters and have no idea how to increase their income. I hope they are not expecting us to make up the shortfall in their reduced government grant? If they penalise us too much the result will be many more unlicenced boats?
One major outcome with this latest pricing policy as I see it, is to divide the boating community even more when what is really needed is more unity among boaters? If we don't start standing together and fight some of these policies then we'll lose the waterways altogether.
With Victor commenting: 'This time we made the choice to ask other boaters of their thoughts of the state of the waterways...Many thought the canals were being closed...that within three years with vegetation being given free rein to save cash, many of the country canal towpaths will be impassible...not a single boater in favour of how the waterways are faring'.
Says it all does it not? If this is the case then more than ever we need to show a united front!