Under Starters Orders
Its less than a week since the nomination process opened for the four boater voted places on the C&RT Council, but already the names of potential candidates are coming in thick and fast.
I have been keeping my ear to the ground and understand that the Canal World Discussion Forum (CWDF) will offer at least one, probably two candidates. Then there is the National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) with their candidate and as expected, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) are putting up their preferred candidates.
There is a lot noise in the system about these elections so I guess that shows that there is a good level of interest in the success of the C&RT, and that the apathetic malaise which seems to enshroud mainstream politics will not be reflected on the waterways.
Its the IWA's approach which caught my eye. They have decided to field no less than four high profile candidates for the four positions available - no coincidence I suspect! Now don't get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for the IWA, especially the work of the Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) about whom I could enthuse till the dogs come home. I am sure that as the largest Inland Waterways organisation they should and will have a seat at this table but to seek to wade in and take all four seats themselves feels both arrogant and presumptive. I have no issues with their nominees - they are four very worthy gents with vast waterways experience. Indeed, I have had personal contact with three of them and they hold my respect, but the IWA attracts just one segment of boaters and in my opinion their approach appears, how shall we put it? a tad imperialistic?. My issue is therefore one of principle, not personality.
This point is picked up in a recent NarrowboatWorld item.
Lets hope that the IWA's spread of candidates divides the vote and this is enough to let others in with a chance. Every vote counts so make sure you exercise your democratic right when voting starts on the 8th February.
But in the meantime, if you fancy a bit of a side bet, Sarah of nb Chertsey has opened a book on the number of names which will appear on the ballot paper. If we leave it to the IWA to clean up all the seats on the C&RT Council this competition could be the most exciting aspect of this election!