Wednesday, 22 November 2017

What to say?

I'm not writing here half as often as I used to. I made a very conscious decision to be less involved in the politics a while ago At the risk of sounding a bit bitter and twisted, one gets worn out by the battering of broken promises and obfuscation from CRT.

On the other hand CRT seem to be acting a bit more cautiously about making changes on the boating front during the last year or so. Don't take that the wrong way! It's not that they are doing better; they are just messing up less often. Not sure if that counts as progress or not? Cos the problem is still that even when they do get round to doing things, on whole it doesn't seem to be done any more effectively than it ever was.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Quiet before the storm 2017

Still here but not had a lot to say. Given the failure to communicate, anyone would think I was undertaking a licence consultation!

Like many I await the next stage of CRT's boat licence consultation exercise with a mixture of suspicion and resignation. It seems not even CRT's Navigation Advisory Committee are sure what is coming! (See answer to q3 in this FOI request). As indicated in the last post no-one seems quite sure what is wrong or why CRT are doing this exercise. NBTA has written an excoriating critique of the process so far which makes for good sport! And no-one really believes that CRT are going to spend all that time and effort for a "revenue neutral" review when they are struggling for funds.

True to form CRT have also imposed a major change to licence structure, while the consultation is going on; They have introduced a new licence for private renting boats with a particularly tight restriction on having a residential mooring, all apparently with no consultation. Again true to form they have had a reasonable idea and then executed it with all the subtlety of a Donald Trump tweet!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

CRT's admits that its (latest!) Boat Licencing Consultation is based on hearsay

Many of us have said over the years that it is BW, and now CRT, policy to create problems where none exist.

I was therefore particularly struck by a Facebook thread from a boater with a long term mooring who was uncertain about the terms and conditions on which they could take their boat out cruising and was worried about getting ticketed by a patrol officer or even getting a restricted licence. Other postings in that thread quickly clarified things but it says a lot about how confused matters are getting when this sort of thing comes up, when a boating customer is so baffled by the bullshit that they are afraid to take their boat out.

I suppose someone in CRT thinks this is a good thing; Those bloody boaters, taking their boat out on the canal and sailing them up and down! Such a nuisance!

Anyway just to confuse thing a little more, as most people are aware, CRT are undertaking yet another licencing review and one has the feeling that this also fits into the 'lets look like we are doing something' modus operandi.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Lost in their own Bulshxxx

Just a short observation on the stupidity of CRT's PR and a sort of related follow on to some of what I said in the last post. I was just looking at one of their press releases reproduced on Facebook. It was clearly a full cut and paste from the original. What's funny about that?

The Press release was from Fran Read, who's CRT's National Press Officer. If you read the footers on the message you find the following: In particular I like the bit at the end (which I've highlighted in red) which suggest that CRT's National Press Officer is not necessarily trusted to speak on behalf of CRT!

Fran Read
National Press Officer
M 07796 610 427
Canal & River Trust, Toll House, Delamere Terrace, London, W2 6ND
Twitter: @CRTComms
This email and its attachments are intended solely for the use of the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient of this email and its attachments, you must take no action based upon them; please delete without copying or forwarding and inform the sender that you received them in error. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Canal & River Trust.

I'd also love to know what the Data Commissioner's Office would make of the preceding warnings to an unintended recipient: Do CRT regularly send stuff to the wrong recipients?

PS : How do you know if you are not the intended recipient if they have sent it to you in the first place?

This is better than made up!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

CRT still means Can't Really Trust'em?

Happy 2017 everyone.

Not been here for some time and that sort of reflects my general plan over the last year or two to stand back from Waterways politics a bit. On the NABO front I am now proud to be no more than another paid-up member.

I guess if you read this, you already get it, but the fact is most waterways reps are volunteers, doing stuff in their own time and often at their own expense too. The truth is you get little thanks and often lots of hostility when you try to get involved, especially from the armchair trolls and the like. Eventually the 'why do I bother' voice wins out?

Well it's not just that. The forum trolls and the like generally get called out. A much more serious problem  is that in my experience CRT are too often no less incompetent, just as evasive, argumentative and down right difficult to deal with as the old BW, and I think for many of us that is what eventually wears you down.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Canal and River Trust continue running pixx-up in brewery.

Same old shxte down the mooring; repairs by the complaints process.

How may complaints does it take for CRT to acknowledge that their contractors are defrauding them? And yes I don't mind using the word fraud when CRT have admitted in writing to me that that their contractors have been making claims for payment for work that never happened.

So thanks to my persistence in insisting that I am not mad, mistaken or paranoid and that in fact the contractors have not done the work they are supposed to for many months, finally CRT checked their own records properly. It took several attempt to get CRT to check thoroughly (and as is too often the case, its seems I am more familiar with their administrative procedures than recently joined staff are!)

Hence after many months we've proved to CRT that the pest control works they have been paying contractors to do all year have not been happening. The fact that they have been pulled up twice in the past by the Ombudsman for letting the service lapse adds to the injury. But I should not be surprised that CRT have forgotten.

I suspect they will find something similar if they decide to look back at the grounds maintenance contract as a whole. It 's amazing how the contractor suddenly turned up and did the work only after we complained!

CRT did get the main entrance gate repainted this summer - only three year late, which is quite good by their standards.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Phoney Peace?

Haven't been here for a while partly because of a bereavement of a very close friend and therefore having more important things to do.

The towpath tom toms I hear are a little distant and that's what I deteremined should happen a few years ago because one gets fed up with dealing with CRT directly. In any event during the summer months people are out boating and CRT managers are taking holidays. For many years I have observed that there is an annual cycle in CRT and BW politics and I predict various things will kick off again in the Autumn.

I do say phony peace because as far as I know bubbling under are various Court cases. Non-one is reporting very much  but I understand there are some hearings coming up in the autumn, in particular Leigh Raenscroft's case which from what I have seen of the papers has potential to be very significant. The particulars of claim I have seen suggest that the case is potentially going to put many aspects of the s8 process to the test if the Court allows that.

s8 course is of course the legislation which CRT rely on to require owners to remove their boats from CRT waters or face seizure and it seems Leigh's case if heard in detail is going to go to the heart of when and the extent that can be applied.

Let's just say for me at least it has echoes of what happened with Nigel Moore.

So hope everyone is enjoying the Summer and back here with more substance before long!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Rumours of common sense being applied to Canal and River Trust mooring policy may have been premature

I was clearly being far too optimistic when I suggested an outbreak of common sense at CRT when it came to visitor moorings policy. As usual, although the intentions were doubtless genuine, the execution was....

CRT attempted another consultation on restricting visitor mooring times in the South East region earlier this year, but a few days after they started, they admitted that they had provided incorrect data for one of the sites so they withdrew that part of the consultation. In their own words:

"...the current mooring stay time information for Batchworth provided in the visitor mooring report to the sub group in November, and subsequently transferred into the consultation was incorrect. This error was highlighted to me today, so I have taken action to withdrawal the Batchworth proposal from the consultation information on the web page replacing it with a correction and apology..."

After that false start Mark Tizzard of NABO pointed out a slightly more serious flaw in the methodology when it came to the data used to justify the consultation as a whole:

It would appear that the volunteers who did the boat logging were not asked to record whether there was any available mooring space so it is not clear whether over the suggested period there was a consistent shortage of available mooring space or not.

So basically the consultation was not based on any evidence of the lack of availability of space, because CRT did not get its  foot soldiers to check for that

(I suppose trying to introduce restrictions with the wrong evidence is a step forward from trying to do it with no evidence whatsoever?)