Victor finds it the best joke ever!

Published: Saturday, 09 March 2024

I AM am referring to the statement issued at the Keep Canals Alive meeting at Westminster.

Where is was stated, regarding Canal & River Trust—'with a more resilient network providing sustainable transport routes into towns and cities', Oh God! On a network that in September alone had 33 stoppages, [Correction: There were 38 stoppages in September and 30 stoppages in August—Editor.] Where of course, no freight could move.

And most of the canals have the bottom so near the top, even shallow draghted narrowboats like ours, have problems. And one of the first things Canal & River Trust did was to pull out of transport on the canals.

'A more resilient network providing sustainable transport routes into towns and cities'? What a joke indeed. It will never happen under this lot!

Something different

Yes, my friends, something different this week, I'm giving my page over to so many ot you boaters who have your own thoughts about that particular meeting.

From Keith Gudgin

This weeks Brag Rag (Boater's Update) is out and what a brag it is!

Lots about numbers—big numbers like saving the NHS 1.1 billion pounds, over nine million people living within 15 minutes of a canal, contributing 1.5 billion pounds to UK economy, supporting 80,000 jobs, providing 42 billion pounds worth of flood protection by maintaining canals and reservoirs...etc, etc.

From Peter Foster:

I read the report from C&RT 'Canals change lives' and really didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

My first thought was—How have the figures been arrived at? Improving health outcomes and tackling inequalities; saving the NHS £1.1 billion every year? Yeah, right!

And further protecting homes and businesses from flooding by maintaining embankments and reservoirs, totalling approx. £42 billion of flood protection value?

The minimal maintenance to the canals which causes so many closures; the cancelling of so much of the winter maintenance—how does this work with Caring for internationally renowned working heritage, used by more boats than at the height of the Industrial Revolution?

This whole report seems to me to be nothing but claptrap!

From T. Lang:

About that meeting with the MP's where it is stated—'The trust has gone from strength to strength in maintaining the vital waterway system'.

Which world is the Defra Minister for Water and Rural Growth, who told this to the guests at the meeting, living in? Certainly not our world, that's for sure, where during the season one waterway or another was closed virtually every day. Then some taking months to repair by the obviously inadequate contractors.

Meaning that during the height of the season many were closed at the same time, so depleting the choice boaters had for cruising.

From strength to strength?  I don't think soanother one who believed what he was told.

From Helen Cripps:

I just wonder what 'flood protection, water transfer opportunities, a supply of green energy, nature recovery and improved biodiversity' was all about?

Nothing to do with keeping the infrastructure in good repair. But perhaps it impressed the audience. Yet that is the problem, of so much money spent on too many other things, as the only income is from water transferred by the Llangollen Canal to Hurleston Reservoir.

From Gerry Varley:

It is many years since I wrote, though I have kept up with the happenings on the cut, but your including a report of the meeting of interested parties in Westminster certainly prompted some comment.

I will keep it simple—Canal & River Trust boasts of 1,600 employees, 11 directors and six advisory groups, most of whom have little or nothing to do with boating.  I realise these are people's jobs, but a cull would certainly be in order to save the canals.

From Nick Travis

There were lots of excessive figures given at that meeting, but I would suggest that lots of salt would be necessary!

I refer you to Allan Richards report, backed by the Freedom of Information Act where the actual correct figure of 60% was substituted by CRT as 40%. Please include the page Mr. Editor. Here it is.

From Victor

Thank you all for your comments, which I am most happy to include.

But how about the opposite side of the coin to 'Better by Water' and all that 'Wellness'?  When The UK Drowning Prevention Strategy publishes that an average of 400 drown every year, many of course in the UK's canals, rivers and reservoirs, under the trust's jurisdiction?

Where's the Better by Water and all that 'wellness' there? Not forgetting the grieving people left behind, especially when it is a child?  A very young child...

Victor Swift—and others.