Monday, 22 September 2008

My Mother-in-law warned me...

... and today's Telegraph reminds me, that the government has no end to its ideas on how to make money at the cost of both of our cultural heritage and richness, and potentially with long-term detrimental risks. Jim White has written about Dave, a lock-keeper on the Thames, who's 26 years experience is about to put to one side in the pursuit of 'realising market value'.

It's seems ironic that I read this whilst my in-laws are on their own narrow-boat for the week (we having all departed Northumberland on Saturday - they for another week of rest, and we, back into the fray).

What some 'wise man' somewhere in our civil service has decided to do, is eject Dave from his cottage, which is - intelligently, practically, and very obviously - sited right by the lock, so that it can be rented out at market value. Now, tell me I'm wrong, but (a) lock-keepers are best placed at locks; (b) if you've ever navigated any of our nation's canals you'll know the very precious nature of water levels and their management; and (c) whenever something is sold or rented off, it is never re-obtained in the future. Put simply, a major chapter in the story of our nation's development is being slowly reduced to a pastime for the retired.

Well, I could go on with many other points my mother-in-law has made about canals that make me realise that our MPs / civil servants / planners / developers... have a lot to learn. But suffice to say, that after disagreeing with her two weeks ago, and spending last week's holiday trying to persuade her that developers are indeed normal people, I'm now back to passing on her wisdom. A good place to be I think.

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