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CaRT Bashing or Time for Action?


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4 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

I suspect the name alone presents an image that most inland boaties find off putting. Well Association is OK, as it is shared with IWA, NABO and NBTA, but the other two...

 

As I suggested - I'm sure you are correct.

 

The other side of the coin is the image / perception of 'Canal boaters' as being water pikeys (and before any derogatory comments I have been an Inland boater on & off for 30+ years)

This is not helped by some having a vast aray of old wheelbarrows, bags of coal, piles of logs etc on the roof. (It is always the 'bad ones' that are remembered)

 

There are several sub-cultures even within 'canal boaters' and the shiney boat brigade being derided by the flakey-paint and rusty wheelbarrow brigade, then there are the 'real boaters' and the 'hobby boaters', and the Tuppeerware boaters and the sewer tube boaters.

 

Much is said in jest, but it can come across that there are real divides, so what chance do we have of presenting a unified face to authority.

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2 minutes ago, sueb said:

I found people would rather spout on forums or facebook than join an organisation. How many of the posters on here belong to an organisation? Boaters are too disorganised to achieve anything.

If I may suggest, it is the diverse reasons that many take to the canals that is the key problem of getting 'everyone' represented by a single organisation.

For each person, typically "this organisation doesn't represent me and what I want".

 

The two extremes

Some will say  "I want less control, less officialdom, more freedoms,", others will say "more control and enforcement, the rules are simple, punish those who break them"

 

There are only about 80,000 boat on the inland waterways (30,000 of which are on C&RT waters) 80,000 is not a particularly 'strong voice' - More than that go on anti-lock-down C19 rallies.

Surely it would make sense to use the resources  of the 300,000 - 500,000 non-canal boaters, 'merge' and work together.

 

I Dunno - maybe there are too many individuals.

 

As I've said several times, I no longer 'have a dog in the fight', I've left the Inland system and gone coastal.

Inland -  Too much hassle and expense, ever increasing maintenance failings and getting worse.

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8 minutes ago, sueb said:

I found people would rather spout on forums or facebook than join an organisation. How many of the posters on here belong to an organisation? Boaters are too disorganised to achieve anything.

 

17 minutes ago, sueb said:

I found people would rather spout on forums or facebook than join an organisation. How many of the posters on here belong to an organisation? Boaters are too disorganised to achieve anything.

Apathy

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1 hour ago, sueb said:

I found people would rather spout on forums or facebook than join an organisation. How many of the posters on here belong to an organisation? Boaters are too disorganised to achieve anything.

Me, more than one. IWA, NABO, AWCC

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14 minutes ago, haggis said:

Or relatively happy with the way things are, warts and all? Let's face it, we are talking about the maintenance of structures in excess of 200 years old and the country is not awash with money at the moment, nor is it likely to be in the foreseeable future.

I for one am just glad that we have canals to boat on.

 

Haggis

As I said some years ago, I am sure the waterways will see me out. My concern is what I am leaving my children.

 

Edited to add - I am sure that DEFRA, BW and transition trustees were all aware of the age of our waterways. Eight years on this would seem a poor excuse for our current situation.

 

Edited by Allan(nb Albert)
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On 23/10/2020 at 21:59, ditchcrawler said:

Me, more than one. IWA, NABO, AWCC

Has any of those ever made CaRT change course? Seem pretty tame compared to NBTA
IWA? seems more concerned about continuous cruisers and seems to be losing members 
NABO? lists their top achievement as writing a column in Towpath Talk and wants to be CaRt's friend
AWCC? more concerned with mutually sharing boat club facilities & insurance

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On 23/10/2020 at 12:08, ditchcrawler said:

Some interesting reading on that site at the moment and not to much fact, One boat at a time through Harecastle Tunnel in one posting and in another someone insisting they go first if there is a group of boats, I hope he doesn't turn up behind me.

If he does turn up behind you it is quite simple you tell him of course he can go first all he has to do is wait here until we have all gone through and the return traffic has gone through then he will automatically be at the front of the queue.

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On 23/10/2020 at 19:17, Alan de Enfield said:

I have never understood why an already existing organisation that has contacts in Government and the EU policy makers is by Rotal Assent, and, already represents ALL branches of boating (including Canals, and runs canal based training courses) is frowned upon by the inland waterway users - maybe it is the name.

 

Royal Yachting Association.

 

https://www.rya.org.uk/courses-training/courses/inland-waterways/Pages/hub.aspx

 

They have done more to stand up against European governments re Red Diesel than any canal organisation.

Point of order - the RYA do not run canal based training courses. They simply franchise them so individual trainers can use the RYA moniker. From the feedback i got from my courses I got the impression that  quality control by the RYA was sadly lacking. I know from experience they were only interested in taking money for a "training course" that allowed one to offer RYA courses. They had no intention of accrediting prior learning & experience and only seemed to want money.

 

In my view the RYA only represent the RYA and other boat clubs with Royal in the title and seek extract money rather than offer decent services.

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10 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Point of order - the RYA do not run canal based training courses. They simply franchise them so individual trainers can use the RYA moniker. From the feedback i got from my courses I got the impression that  quality control by the RYA was sadly lacking. I know from experience they were only interested in taking money for a "training course" that allowed one to offer RYA courses. They had no intention of accrediting prior learning & experience and only seemed to want money.

 

In my view the RYA only represent the RYA and other boat clubs with Royal in the title and seek extract money rather than offer decent services.

Maybe different people have different experiences of the Training courses, my experiences are of the VHF course and various 'Skippers' courses, Day Skipper, Offshore, etc.

They seem to be well run and I guess that coming under the overall 'banner' of the RYA (should) means some consistency in learning.

 

Like any 'franchise' there will inevitably be some differences - just look at the BSS examiners !!!

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Jon Horsfall, head of customer service support at the Canal & River Trust, comments:

“The Trust’s core purpose is maintaining the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers we look after and making the experience of using them as good as we can.  Boaters play a central role in helping to fund the work with around 10% of our income coming from boat licences. ................."

 

Of course you are.

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5 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

Point of order - the RYA do not run canal based training courses. They simply franchise them so individual trainers can use the RYA moniker. From the feedback i got from my courses I got the impression that  quality control by the RYA was sadly lacking. I know from experience they were only interested in taking money for a "training course" that allowed one to offer RYA courses. They had no intention of accrediting prior learning & experience and only seemed to want money.

 

In my view the RYA only represent the RYA and other boat clubs with Royal in the title and seek extract money rather than offer decent services.

Pretty much the same system as for non canal courses!

In order to become an instructor, one has to attend and pass an Instructor course, which seems fair enough. (People do fail that course.) Every instructor has to be associated with a Training establishment, which is inspected annually. Admittedly, the inspection doesn't usually involve sitting in on an actual training session, although it can do.

 

In Scotland, the RYA has to some extent taken on the role fulfilled by the Scottish Inland Waterways Association, prior to its being wound up.

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On 23/10/2020 at 13:22, Jen-in-Wellies said:

CaRT bashing is easy and fun. Action sounds like hard work. 

Rent strikes can work. A lot of students are doing it now after being lured to Uni by being told everything will be normal, then effectively locked up. Takes a significant proportion of those affected to actually do it to be effective, otherwise the few will be victimised, split up and defeated. I suspect boaters are too diverse a group to make it work and as easy to herd as cats. What would be a clear, simple demand, or set of demands to rally round? More Maintenance, Fewer Silly Signs?

Jen

Strikes can also backfire. Cough, miners, cough. As a miner might say.

 

I'd rather get the liberal press on side. Block a canal with boats, harms boaters, but also brings attention to whatever the issue it is.

 

What is the issue? I think it's about governance. The Canal and River Trust take taxes without representation; but democractic water management systems do exist (see: The Netherlands). Yes yes, there are elected people but they seem powerless. In some parts of the world, the organisation itself is elected or deselected.

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It is easy to criticize and often makes us feel better.  But if you want to win an argument you have to have facts not just opinions.

 

So my question is simple,  are there any records or anyone keep track of what is going on and show with hard facts that the canals are worse under CRT? Not just saying this is broke, this isn't getting done, but documented facts showing the problems?  Something that shows is was better before and worse now? When you can show or rather prove the issues, that is when you can get change. Without it you just sounds like yet another disgruntled boater not happy about something.

 

I am not taking sides, don't own a narrow boat yet but it is very much our plan to spend a few years cruising the canals and see your country once we retire.  I have an interest in what happens and want to see them taken care of so when I get there we can enjoy them. 

Edited by Kudzucraft
typo
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2 hours ago, Thomas C King said:

Strikes can also backfire. Cough, miners, cough. As a miner might say.

 

I'd rather get the liberal press on side. Block a canal with boats, harms boaters, but also brings attention to whatever the issue it is.

 

What is the issue? I think it's about governance. The Canal and River Trust take taxes without representation; but democractic water management systems do exist (see: The Netherlands). Yes yes, there are elected people but they seem powerless. In some parts of the world, the organisation itself is elected or deselected.

Can you cite an example? Employee owned businesses, eg John Lewis, have elected reps but the top management is appointed in a conventional manner. The danger of electing executives is that an appeal to popular opinion is no test of competence at the job itself (some interviews fail on similar grounds, but much less frequently) Just look at many parts of the US public structure where officials are often elected. Competence levels can plummet.

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

Can you cite an example? Employee owned businesses, eg John Lewis, have elected reps but the top management is appointed in a conventional manner. The danger of electing executives is that an appeal to popular opinion is no test of competence at the job itself (some interviews fail on similar grounds, but much less frequently) Just look at many parts of the US public structure where officials are often elected. Competence levels can plummet.

Yes, as I said before, water boards in the Netherlands. There are different types, but one common type is mostly governed by democratically elected members. The members generally belong to different factions/parties. Water management in The Netherlands is considered competent, and as a democracy it goes back hundreds of years.

 

There are downsides. There is an unsurpising lack of democratic engagement when voting on e.g., who is in charge of water, despite its importance. I also agree that it can go the other way; your counter examples seem to me to be those where people are voting on something far outside of their knowledge. Moreover, due to social influence and partisanship, the "wisdom of the crowd" just does not exist in these contexts.

 

Unlike the above, people living on the waterways seem unsuprisingly rather knowledgable and engaged with their governance (I say seem, this is highly biased and anecdotal); that seems incongruent with the level of disenfranchisement.

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2 hours ago, Kudzucraft said:

It is easy to criticize and often makes us feel better.  But if you want to win an argument you have to have facts not just opinions.

 

So my question is simple,  are there any records or anyone keep track of what is going on and show with hard facts that the canals are worse under CRT? Not just saying this is broke, this isn't getting done, but documented facts showing the problems?  Something that shows is was better before and worse now? When you can show or rather prove the issues, that is when you can get change. Without it you just sounds like yet another disgruntled boater not happy about something.

 

I am not taking sides, don't own a narrow boat yet but it is very much our plan to spend a few years cruising the canals and see your country once we retire.  I have an interest in what happens and want to see them taken care of so when I get there we can enjoy them. 

This is always a difficult area as we are heavily reliant on CRT for the information. CRT do set themselves targets but tend to move the goalposts for the next year or abandon the Key Performance Indicator if they fail.

The grant agreement with Defra requires them to publish some figures by July 1 each year but even then they may change the way they are presented or calculated.
 

I could give examples related to visitor numbers and days lost to closures if anyone is really interested.

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3 hours ago, Thomas C King said:

Yes, as I said before, water boards in the Netherlands. There are different types, but one common type is mostly governed by democratically elected members. The members generally belong to different factions/parties. Water management in The Netherlands is considered competent, and as a democracy it goes back hundreds of years.

 

There are downsides. There is an unsurpising lack of democratic engagement when voting on e.g., who is in charge of water, despite its importance. I also agree that it can go the other way; your counter examples seem to me to be those where people are voting on something far outside of their knowledge. Moreover, due to social influence and partisanship, the "wisdom of the crowd" just does not exist in these contexts.

 

Unlike the above, people living on the waterways seem unsuprisingly rather knowledgable and engaged with their governance (I say seem, this is highly biased and anecdotal); that seems incongruent with the level of disenfranchisement.

Yes, but your original seemed be about the management not the governance. I was well aware of elected governance, even employee elected governance, and I cited an example. In fact most governance boards, especially if public companies, are elected,  albeit by the shareholders. But I know of none where the managers are employee elected.  You can have the pleasure of educating me.

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12 hours ago, Mike Todd said:

Yes, but your original seemed be about the management not the governance. I was well aware of elected governance, even employee elected governance, and I cited an example. In fact most governance boards, especially if public companies, are elected,  albeit by the shareholders. But I know of none where the managers are employee elected.  You can have the pleasure of educating me.

If I were to look at CaRT, the 'democratic' governance is very indirect, and spineless. You are correct, many organisations have elected governance but not management. But the management is more strongly decided, in some, by the elected governance. That's the change I would want to see.

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Are the Board not aware that their employees push the bounds of legality, making up rules, thinking they can override an act of Parliament. 

I am Chair of a charity board, all the trustees would be appalled if the staff acted in the way CRT staff do. 

Are there any of the board on here? What do you have to say about the commonly discussed issues? 

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