You may have read that the Canal & River Trust are establishing a Council which represents the various groups with an interest in our Inland Waterways. Most of the members are co-opted on, but four seats have been reserved for representatives of the boating community, elected by single transferable vote.
The Council performs an essential role as the guardian of the long term values and spirit of the Trust. The Council will have an important role in helping to shape policy, raising and debating issues, providing guidance and providing a sounding board for the trustees, who determine the policy and strategy of the Trust.
Now here is the thing. Having given the matter much thought I have decided to stand for election as a boater representative. You will be aware of my passion for our waterways, but there are some aspects to Captain Ahab that are not immediately apparent from my blog, aspects which are very relevant to my desire to serve in this way.
When I am not boating, or thinking about boating, I have a busy career overseeing the operational integrity of the European arm of a multinational company. This role involves taking a commercial approach to big decisions, weighing the risks of the various options, all within the confines of a big bureaucracy. What is more, I spend much of my time wrestling with the application of various rules and regulations coming out the government. Quite often my role seems to be stating what I see as the blindingly obvious - the fact that the emperor has no clothes, if you like. There seem to be a lot of similarities between my professional life and the role expected of a C&RT Council member
Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be able to apply my thirty years of commercial experience to my forty year passion for our inland waterways. Having grown up holidaying on the dirty ditch canals and rivers of the 1960s, I have watched them regenerate into the splendid resource that they are today, bringing joy to millions. We hold this unique network in trust for future generations and the migration to the new Trust represents a pivotal moment in it's history. It is therefore essential that we get it right first time and avoid costly mistakes.
With your support I would like to play my part in ensuring the successful development of our inland waterways resource. With love, care and lots of good management I hope to see Jeff cruising an improved and extended network in another 40 years time.
So what next? Well, the elections will take place in February / March 2012 but in the meantime it would be great if you could lend my candidacy your endorsement. The boating community is a large and diverse population and I don't stand with any body, group or organisation behind me. I won't seek to represent any specific boating sub group, but rather the boating community in general.
I guess you could say that if I am to gain enough votes, I will need to attract the "floating boater" (aargh - what a terrible pun!). But seriously, we boaters are a geographically spread bunch and communication is a challenge. If you feel you could lend me your support, can I ask you to make my candidacy known within your own boating circles please?
I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous about standing, so I want to say a special thank you to those of you that have kindly agreed to nominate me. Your demonstration of support and words of encouragement are much appreciated.