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bigcol

Protesters to block GU link

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Just deem each boat in the middle of the cut whose crew refuse to move on to be "a relevant craft for the purpose of section 8 (Removal of vessels)", or use section 19 if the boat has no-one aboard...

 

S.19 of the ’95 Act would not be applicable, nor helpful, in the projected case. S.19 provides for the ability of the authority to move the vessel away from obstruction of proposed remedial works, if the boater has not complied with a standard notice giving 28 days within which to move the boat [temporarily] themselves. It specifically also, precludes failure to comply with such a notice from resulting in the sanction of the s.8 clause of the 1983 Act.

 

As Peter X has, however, correctly noted, subsection 18(3) is relevant, in that it alone and by itself gives power to remove obstructing vessels without notice, by reason of the specific deeming of the obstructing vessel to be a “relevant craft for the purpose of section 8 . . .” specifically, in terms of on-the-spot moving without any need for notice, subsection s.8(5) of the 1983 Act.

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Oops! I must apologise for partly muddying the waters with my last post. Re-reading the law which I re-quoted (s18(3) of the 1985 Waterways Act), I realise that the section 19 of the 1958 Act referred to by it is Scottish law which of course doesn't apply in Milton Keynes. Also I now believe this is not problem, because:

 

Subsection 3 would apply whether the boat was still occupied or abandoned, or even just wandering about aimlessly in such a way as to obstruct other boats, because the stated aim of the protest is to block the waterway, and the wording of s18(1) appears to cover any vessel attempting to contribute to that aim, whatever the technique. I would interpret the words "so as to" as signifying that an intention to block the waterway is what matters. A novice boater who is trying to navigate along the canal but obstructing other boats due to incompetence would not breach this law.

 

So come Saturday, section 8 of the 1995 Act comes into play as described by Nigel Moore, and we may look forward to the spectacle of CRT boarding parties in action against every participating boat. I hope the hire companies and anyone else affected will be pressing the CRT to take a hard line to keep the GU open for navigation. Keeping canals open is after all the central purpose of CRT?

 

To any boat owner planning to take part, I would put this question: Are you prepared to have your boat impounded and become cannon fodder for someone's left-wing political agenda? I doubt that the so-called "Peoples' Assembly Against Austerity" cares about you, in fact they'll want your boat to be impounded so that they can try to turn you into a martyr for their cause.

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Oops! I must apologise for partly muddying the waters with my last post. Re-reading the law . . .

 

To avoid muddying the waters Peter X, it would be helpful to get the enumeration correct!!

 

Referring to 1985 & 1958 Acts is unhelpful, and s.8 of your 3rd paragraph surely refers to the 1983 Act?

 

Also, continuing the pedantic theme, it is highly important to understand that "moving on" a boat does not require the boarding of it – which action is specifically authorised solely by the essential qualifier of urgent perceived safety considerations. In the absence of immediate threat to safety, any boarding of craft unauthorised by the Master of that craft within the relevant waterways by CaRT employees remains a criminal action. Boats can be moved on without any necessity to board them.

 

Additionally, taking action under s.8 of the 1983 Act in pursuance of the relevant craft’s vulnerability due to s.18 of the 1995 Act, does not necessarily validate impoundment – it arguably entitles only movement away from causing the obstruction.

 

All of which said, the core message of your post is perfectly correct.

 

Those more informative linked articles are much appreciated RLWP. They give a clearer picture of the motivation and purpose behind the proposed action – especially the latter article.

 

I should just comment on that latter article, that however emotionally compelling it might be to certain persuasions, in factual, historical terms it is deeply flawed and inaccurate.

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Sorry Nigel, you're quite right that I should have taken care to get the details right, and your post #78 does clear a lot of things up.

 

It does leave the question of what happens on Saturday if CRT find it impractical to clear the blockade without boarding boats, for example if they're towing a boat whose crew are doing their best not to be towed? Just as protestors on land chain themselves to things and lie down in the way, we may anticipate some similar tactics here and some farcical game of cat and mouse as the CRT work out a way to get the canal open again without exceeding their powers. Sadly by the time that pantomime is over some boaters' plans for Saturday will probably have been ruined.

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I doubt CRT will get into any such confrontation. I suspect they will ask the boats to move a few times, then record their numbers and take proceedings afterwards. Too many possibilities for egg on face the other way

 

Richard

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I doubt CRT will get into any such confrontation. I suspect they will ask the boats to move a few times, then record their numbers and take proceedings afterwards. Too many possibilities for egg on face the other way

 

Richard

 

 

Giving Citizen Anita de Klerk Smith something else to write about......"Boaters thrown off canal because licences revoked for no reason at all"

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Giving Citizen Anita de Klerk Smith something else to write about......"Boaters thrown off canal because licences revoked for no reason at all"

 

But there would be no revoking of licences. RWLP is hopefully correct that CaRT would avoid physical intervention on the day – such incidents always tend to descend into farce as Peter X suggests, and that would fuel the fire of publicity to no useful purpose.

 

Let obstructors of the canal [it’s only going to be brief after all] rouse the ire of other boaters all by themselves.

 

The proceedings taken afterwards would [properly anyway] be simple actions in the County Court for a finding that there was obstruction, with the commensurate fine.

  • Greenie 2

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But there would be no revoking of licences. RWLP is<snip>

 

You've anagrammed me!

 

Just refer to me as Richard, it's my name after all

 

Richard

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Let obstructors of the canal [it’s only going to be brief after all] rouse the ire of other boaters all by themselves.

 

 

As per usual, Nick Brown will be looking for confrontation rather than working with people to achieve a better way of doing things.

 

I wonder what will happen when the march reaches CRT offices....knock.... ring bell..... knock....some scrote graffitis CND logo amd free the Delph 9 on wall, peer through windows, knock again then a headline stating "CRT ignore vulnerable and infirm boaters protests" .

Edited by matty40s

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Sorry! Tapped in haste.

Nigel, it happens frequently, and I don't mind it too much. What the consequences of disarranging my deceased grandfathers will be I'm not sure

 

Anyway, call me Richard

 

Richard

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As per usual, Nick Brown will be looking for confrontation rather than working with people to achieve a better way of doing things.

 

In this instance it seems more a case of NBTA participation in someone else’s program, using the opportunity to present the results of their petition. As a way of taking advantage of wider publicity than would otherwise be possible, it is a good move, though I would echo Neil2’s #14 “I'm all for a bit of direct action myself, but if they want the support of the wider boating community blocking the canal isn't a very constructive way of doing it.”

 

An unfortunate aspect for me is the surely dated “class war” presentation by the planner - “The People’s Flotilla believes that the ruling elite need to be overthrown in support of an egalitarian and socialist society,” she told a delighted audience, “with the eradication of a classist society without discrimination. We believe that narrow boats offer an alternative and imaginative approach to direct action by proposing to block the canal system to further the cause of the fight against austerity in an attempt to destroy the attack on the working class.”

 

So far as I can tell, the governance of the waterways lies in the hands of people from all classes – and I couldn’t care less myself, what strata of society bears the responsibility for their origin, it is how they administer their offices that is of concern.

 

I also do not understand what political “austerity” measures have to do with the boater cause. A further unfortunate viewpoint is this -

We believe no volunteering is good,” she argues with real passion. “If there is a job, then it should be a paid job.”

 

If the waterways had been left to the paid workers [at ground-level and managerial-level] back in 60’s and 70’s, we would have half the navigable waterways we currently enjoy – so much of them were brought back to life only through the physical work undertaken by volunteers in the teeth of determined opposition from BW.

 

Remembering that background, it is all the more inappropriate to classify the “People’s Flotilla” mutiny, with its cry for no volunteers, as “similar to the IWA of old.”

 

Regarding confrontation, I know how unpopular the NBTA have made themselves in many quarters, but it should be noted, for example, that the can of worms uncovered by the recent Judicial Review hearing need never have happened had Mr Parry agreed to comprehensive alternate dispute resolution. The authority’s press-release of 3 October 2013 quoted Mr Parry as saying:

 

It is regrettable that Mr Brown’s pursuit of his agenda through the courts means that we have to divert resources that would otherwise be used to care for the fabric of the 200-year old canals and river navigations and enhance public benefit.”

 

And yet – this was published within hours of a personal meeting with the NBTA, at which Mr Parry had rebuffed all suggestions re: working on revisions to the Guidance without needing to pursue it through the courts.

 

When non-litigious debate and offers to work together are so firmly rejected in favour of professional litigation, it is little wonder that confrontation develops somewhat more aggressively than could be desired.

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The People’s Flotilla believes that the ruling elite need to be overthrown in support of an egalitarian and socialist society,” she told a delighted audience, “with the eradication of a classist society without discrimination. We believe that narrow boats offer an alternative and imaginative approach to direct action by proposing to block the canal system to further the cause of the fight against austerity in an attempt to destroy the attack on the working class.”

 

This is what leftward leaning realists call "pseudo-socialist bollocks" that sounds great in the Student Union bar but does not work in real life.

 

I'm not sure what blocking the canal will achieve exactly, apart from liveaboards mooring up and waiting until the protestors have had their fun and holidaymakers losing a day of their hard earned holiday, regardless of class.

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......and working class boaters losing a days travel when moving boats......

 

Capitalist lackey - come the glorious day....

 

Richard

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It’s curious how this canal has deliberate blockages in its history – I have been reminded of the notorious Dimes cases of the mid-19thC, which eventually led to the [allegedly] early demise of the then Lord Chancellor.

 

Dimes became Lord of the Manor of Rickmansworth, and reclaimed the land over which the Grand Junction Canal was routed. He was perfectly within his rights of course, because the cheapskate company had only purchased the copyhold interest of his tenant, who had died soon after.

 

Where Dimes got legalities slightly askew, was in disregarding the conferred public right of navigation. It didn’t matter who owned the bed of the canal, the public were entitled under statute to use it. Disregarding that, Dime slung a chain across the canal to block passage when the GJCC didn’t play ball respecting a pay-out.

 

It ended up in court, where Dimes’ right of ownership was affirmed, but an injunction was granted against his continuing to block the canal. He was noted for walking up and down his length abusing boaters as trespassers, and eventually he blocked it again, with the inevitable court case resulting in his imprisonment for contempt of court.

 

While in prison, Dimes somehow discovered that Lord Cottenham, the Lord Chancellor who had presided over the hearing condemning him to prison, was a shareholder in the GJCC, and promptly brought an action against him, with the intent of declaring the judgment invalid.

 

His point was upheld, although the judges claimed that Cottenham was so wealthy he wouldn’t even have remembered he even owned the shares at the time of the trial! It didn’t help Dimes, because there were at least 5 other judges on the panel who had been unanimous in supporting Cottenham in the judgment, but the very public uproar and temporary standing down is supposed to have severely undermined the Lord Chancellor’s health, and he died not long afterwards.

 

Dimes himself got a bit tired of it all too, and ended up selling the freehold to the canal company after all. It took about 14 years of litigation if I recall correctly [but I’m not sure on the figure without checking it up].

 

I’d be curious to know of any similar instances on other canals.

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That's fascinating, Nigel. Beware the law of unexpected consequences

 

Richard

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Shortly after we arrived in Belgium, in 1975, we were caught up in a Belgian Boatman's Strike in Bruges.

It started with the canal being physically blockaded, but after some days there was an agreement to remove the blockades although nobody dared to move. There were stories of physical damage in other places to some who had tried.

We would quite likely have been OK, being a Pleasure Boat, but as an unconverted barge it did get mistaken for a working boat. We didn't actually see any boats move during the strike, pleasure or otherwise.

I can't remember all the issues they were striking for, but one that they won was for no commercial navigation on Sundays. The canals remained open, and we did subsequently sometimes move on Sundays but tended to get scowls from working boat people rather than friendly waves on those days. Whether that was because they thought we shouldn't be moving, or because they wished they were able to, I just don't know.

The local shopkeepers and others in Bruges, via one of the churches, organised daily food parcels for those caught up in the strike.

Our plan had been to head off to the Champagne region to earn a few francs picking grapes, but as that was no longer possible we set off there by push bike, as far as I remember it was a three day trek, sleeping in barns etc. We were very relieved, at the end of the harvest, that the vineyard proprietors we worked for volunteered to pay our train fares back to Bruges, as by that time the days were noticeably shorter and the weather uninviting.

 

Tim

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Maybe they will get lost around the MK infamous roundabouts.

 

(Alledgedly this is an example)

 

miltonkeynesrounabouts.jpg

I would have said Swindon.

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first against the wall !!!!!

One of my close friends at Uni in the same politics lectures as me always said "among the first to be strung up from a lamp post" rather than "first up against the wall". I remember him fondly and even if he was probably one of the most rabid members of Militant in Bristol.

 

anyhow, getting back on topic, anyone bother today to go and see what was happening/disrupt the party/join the protest/whatever? From the photos on the MKnews website it certainly didn't look like more than 20 peeps, in fact probably less. Nothing like the old Save Our Waterways protest days when we got hundreds of people and a large number of boats for the very temporary blockade at Marsworth. Ricky was big too (thanks Clive and Sue and all) and lots of other places organised by lots of other people. We only moved boats at Marsworth into position for the blockade for long enough to give the press a good picture (same when we did Bulbourne) so didn't cause problems for anyone who needed to move. We all had a great time, boat banter then to the pub with live music. Happy days.

 

Debbi

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smiley_offtopic.gif Sorry for this off topic information request Debbifiggy When you were involved with "Save our Canals" did you come across a David Babsky who lived on an old Humber keel? The reason I ask is that the faded sign save our canals was painted on the side of Sabina H when I bought her and I had heard that she was involved. I am trying to find any information concerning her before she came into my hands......thanks John

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