Sunday, 9 January 2011

What a hypocite!

Happy New Year to everyone. I was sitting here thinking about saying hello again after a silent period and wondering what there was to say at the moment when Victor's latest column in Narrowboatworld hit my buttons.

Due to work commitments I couldn't get to the BW AGM this year and it may have been a good thing having just read the report of Tony Hales' comments:

To the knockers who can only find ill to say or blog, I say you not only diminish the achievements of my colleagues, but you also diminish the achievements of so many dedicated partners, including so many passionate campaigners and contributors from the boating world. 

All I can say is , if you really said this, you are at best completely ignorant of what your directors are doing Mr Hales!  At worst you are a bare faced hypocrite.

As NABO members and others recipients of our latest newsletter will know , we have despite many months of restraint and many attempts to have the discussion in private, lost our patience with BW over our legal complaint about boat licence conditions.

BW have refused to continue the discussion we started and have refused to reply to our most recent correspondence. If highlighting the fact that BW won't even discuss issues that a National User group raises under the formal complaints process is diminishing your colleagues' achievements then guess waht? I for one am going to keep questioning what exactly these so called "achievements" of some of your colleagues are!

At the 2009 AGM in response to one of my questions, John Edmonds made the very good point to BW about what are they going to do to try to engage with critics like me? Seems to me that question has fallen on deaf ears. What in fact it seems what the senior echelons of BW have decided to do, is what they have done for many years: attempt to deny and undermine valid criticism and generally refuse to engage with anyone who takes a different view to them. Mr Hales comments make his position clear. He doesn't seem to think you can be a passionate campaigner and contributor if you also criticise BW. You can only be our friend if you ignore all our faults.

And as Victor asked, how can Tony Hales keep a straight face about the 'achievements' of his colleagues when BW is running at what most, even BW tacitly, admit is approximately a £30 million annual deficit, and only balancing the books solvent by selling off its assets while the market is down?

Don't complain about people having a go at you, Tony, when the organisation you are Chairman of is, on current form, sinking into oblivion. You and your senior collegues have driven BW onto the rocks and now you want to be congratulated for trying to rescue a wreck of your own making?

The real sadness to me is that BW seem to have so far fooled the new Waterways Minister into thinking they are great and that the Third Sector flim-flam is of itself going to make it all alright. I hope that in 2011 somehow we can get Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon can see beyond the BW spin and realise that a change of management at the top of BW is a pre-requisite for any real hope of our waterways finding a stable future.

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