Testimonial

An account of the abuse of people living on boats on the waterways by the Canal and River Trust, previously British Waterways.   Then a Public Authority, now part Public Body, part Charity.   In receipt of public funds and public donations.  The account is based around the story of me and my boat Pearl, a converted Thomas Clayton tar boat built 1935.  It's not about me it's about them and their deliberate persecution of people, particularly 'vulnerable' people, who live on boats, and those who collude with them for their own selfish interests, and those authorities that allow them to get away with it.     

You don't have to live on a boat to find it alarming.    

April 2015 More on the 'Separate State' of CRT and those who support it and benefit from it.

There is a Freedom of Information request, still in progress, asking about the seizure of boats and the recovery of boats seized and their obligations, duty of care etc. should they cause damage to the boat. For instance by causing it to sink. 

In their new terms and conditions they say they don't accept responsibliity for any damage caused to a boat that is seized. In law, as stated in a response to this request, where such damage occurs there is a claim for negligence.

Once again, I repeat, 'They make it up as they go along and are a law unto themselves'.

I'll publish the FOI request in a separate article. (It's also on 'What do They Know' website).

There is discussion about the judgment in my case but none about the serious abuses leading to that judgment and about their behaviour in pursuing people with harassment, threats, wrongly issued enforcement notices and the creation of misleading and false records.

Nobody, involved in the cosy chats with CRT management want to discuss that. They would lose their 'seat at the table' and access to biscuits, and possibly, cakes. There is agreement as to what they can discuss and what they can't. They can't challenge the concept, unlawful, of 'continuous cruising', only the detail. CRT have stated, and I was told years ago, that they only talk to boating organisations. That's the reason.

Here's a bit of an overview, with some additions, of what they do - which concerns me but doesn't seem to bother a lot of people who aren't directly affected by CRT's abuses, or even benefit from them. Maybe they talk about it on Facebook. I don't know I don't use it. Facebook appears to me like talking to your mates down the pub, and 'showing off, to people who aren't really your mates anyway. No-one outside your little group can read it so what's the point? Why are there no decent websites attacking this tyrannical organisation?

They don't respond to challenges, refuse to answer questions, force, or provoke, court action by their refusal to listen to anything but a court judgment, (I was said to have provoked court action - wrong - they provoked the court action by refusing to answer my questions and saying I would have to take them to court).

I challenged that unreasonable refusal and told them to take me to court as I, obviously, can't afford to take them to court, then I could get legal aid (not any more) and use public money, as they do, to challenge their abuses, which they perpetrate in defiance of considerable protest, while refusing to discuss the unlawful means they employ.

They use public money, licence payers money and charitable donations to perpetrate the abuse and defend the abuse. I can only challenge their abuse through court action which requires that I, also, be funded with public money. Is that what I want? No. I wanted answers to my questions. And I still do. They still abuse people unlawfully and still refuse to answer questions and they still get away with it.

My challenge was against their unlawful rules and the enforcement' based on those rules. The main argument was the absurdity of the requirement to be on a continuous, never-ending, journey around the canal system. Clearly unreasonable and impossible to comply with and intended as a 'punishment' i.e. to force people off the canals or into a marina mooring that, I repeat endlessly, is unsuitable, unlawful and nothing to do with 'living on a boat'.

That has since been declared unlawful and it has been admitted that it was unlawful. So I was right. This happened while my case was still in progress.

I maintained that the rules were unlawful- correct - and the enforcement based on those rules was, therefore, criminal, which it, obviously, was.

This claim of criminal enforcement obviously correct but not considered by the court. Not submitted as part of my defence for 'procedural' reasons I suppose as the claim against me is a civil claim in a civil court. I wanted it to go into the court alongwith the rest of my complaint as it was part of my complaint about the unlawful rules that the harassment based on unlawful, and knowingly unlawful, rules was clearly, itself, unlawful, and had been used against people as a threat and with dire consequences for individuals who may have left the waterways, been forced into marinas or subjected to legal action and its consequences.

Unfortunately, my idea of a legal challenge is different from the actual procedure which limits the extent of my argument. Particularly when use is made of a procedure - Part 8 - preventing me from offering a defence. The trial itself was still under Part 8 procedure. We are not legally trained. That is not a condition of obtaining a boat licence but has almost become a requirement as the lawfulness of CRT behaviour has become the main subject of conversation on the 'towpath' and beyond and we/you are all under threat.

If you want a 'quiet life' away from interference and intrusion by empowered 'fishwives' and their android 'enforcers' do not go on to the waterways. If you want an argument and a just cause to fight look no further. It will, of course, 'do your head in' but at least the 'enemy' is clearly defined so provides a good target that represents the wider abuses that will 'do your head in' anyway. Too late for me.

There are inconsistencies in my case between what I understood was happening and what was actually happening that I will never get to the bottom of. I was misled to 'keep me quiet' while the agreements were made between the opposing legal teams as to what went into the court.

We have what we have. A Judgment based on what was submitted to the Court with very limited input from myself and false allegations and lies from the other side - and procedural abuses.    Agreeing with me in the important elements of the rules and with an undertaking from CRT to negotiate a way for me to stay on the water. They were in breach of the undertaking - which has the force of a court order.

How did they do that? The undertaking was not written on the court order but on the judgment. The police were given the court order and, laughingly - they were clearly in on the 'joke' - said there was nothing about an undertaking on the court order.

It was a set up.  CRT/Shoosmiths had not responded to my last email offering to pay a mooring where I was, and the licence, until I knew what was happening with my mother. (She was in hospital with serious problems due to drugs she had been given. This is all, obviously, backed up by hospital and care home records should anyone doubt it.) I would have been arrested if I resisted and, no doubt, accused of assault or similar. Being of 'no fixed address' - even moreso as they were taking my boat - I would have been 'locked up'. Then what would happen to my mother who had come out of hospital the day before, my cat, and my laptops and paperwork?

That is the reality of the situation. An example of what happens if you challenge them and support others who are being abused. People think it won't happen to them. They're right. Because they won't challenge them and they won't stand up for others. It's easy you just 'turn a blind eye' and 'pass by on the other side'. That's the difference between me and the smug commentators in their self interested, selfish bubble and in their 'pub cliques' and facebook/forum hate sessions (against 'troublemakers' like me). I can't be like them and they can't be like me.

CRT, and others, with 'managers' with no relevant experience or knowledge or professional ability and with authority they shouldn't have - most of the 'public sector/'services' - get away with it for that reason. They can't be effectively challenged and challengers are branded as 'troublemakers' and all the usual labels. Most people's experience of that world is as a victim - suffering abuse and being unable to get redress through their 'road to nowhere' complaint procedures.

So, the actions of BW and CRT, which drove many people from the canals and caused much distress and solved no 'problem', were criminal. They are guilty of criminal abuse. But, still, boating organisations etc. discuss the detail of the rules - the unlawful concept of Continuous Cruising - how far a boat should move etc. to be 'compliant, and ignore the illegality of the rules themselves and the 'enforcement' - mostly threats and harassment - which is far more serious 'non compliance'.

The organisations agree not to challenge the rules of continuous cruising, a misinterpretation of the law, but only the detail.

Similarly, all the 'boating press' agree not to 'say bad things' about BW/CRT. (They have been threatened with loss of advertising).

The courts, if a case gets that far, give much, and undue, consideration to the question of 'opening the floodgates'.

Another FOI request, still in progress, has had a response that certain information relating to my case cannot be disclosed as it is 'not in the public interest'. The consideration of 'not opening the floodgates' is, I believe, where the question of 'not in the public interest, lies. The courts will not make a definitive decision against the rules of boat movement of people with 'no fixed address'. People of 'no fixed address' are regarded by the 'authorities' as 'travellers' or 'new age travellers'. They got 'new age travellers' off the roads by telling them to go onto the canals. They 'shifted' the problem, and it obviously was a problem. The 1995 Act was mostly about the problem of 'travellers/subculturals on the canals around London. It was applied nationally and was accompanied by a 'purge' against 'travellers' throughout other authorities such as the DWP, DSS and local councils. Trialled in different areas causing 'travellers' to move to different areas to get benefits.

The 'purge' on 'travellers' affected other people who were leading an itinerant, or semi itinerant life, as well. They were a 'mob' and behaved as a mob. Nobody wants to be invaded by an aggressive, unruly, inconsiderate mob which has no good reason to exist.

The resulting strictures against them on boats encompassed all people living on boats with no home mooring. Lots of people, because a home mooring was neither necessary nor available to people living on the boat all the time and moving in a sensible way according to their wishes - not according to ridiculous instructions dreamed up by BW in collusion with boat clubs.

Our simple and reasonable lives were being increasingly interfered with and became increasingly difficult and unpleasant because of the deliberate promotion of the idea that the identifying factor of the 'problem boater' was not having a home mooring. We all were regarded as 'travellers'. Then European Law declared us to be 'travellers'. We are not and don't wish to be referred to as such. It is now obvious that people spouting their ill considered views of forums etc. are applying all the traveller, or other 'negative' stereotypes, to all people who don't have a home mooring when most of those people are retired or living on the waterways as individuals and not as part of some artificially created subculture - and not as a 'mob'.

The new 'Terms and Conditions' have again been 'dreamed up' in relation to the situation in London but applied nationally. The North West, Cheshire area, will apply them draconially to continue their plan to drive all 'liveaboards' out of Cheshire. So, unbelievably, the nonsense continues. Sally Ash has gone so now we have Denise Yelland and Debbie Lumb, previously of the North West/Cheshire area. They have a 'strategy', since 2012, called 'Golden Threads', aimed at driving the remaining 'boats with no home mooring' , and insufficiently used home moorings, off the waterways using even more invasive surveillance and use of 'volunteers'. Gives the boat club members something to do during the week and in the winter. The 'attack' on Tony Dunkley was a part of the Golden Threads campaign.

Who are the people unaffected by the persecution campaigns? The boat clubs of course. Who do CRT ask for advice and instruction? Boat clubs - the AWCC - Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs. Who make up most of the membership of boating organisations?   Boat club members - on instructions from the 'Commodore'. (Actually, many boat clubs are called 'Cruising Yacht Clubs' which tells you something. What have 'cruising yachts' and 'Commodores' got to do with the canals?).

Who has 'branches' of the like-minded all over the waterways so forming a convenient network to be used by BW/CRT for 'surveillance' and 'denunciation'? Who 'polices' the waterways with regard to the movements of boaters and the 'denunciation' of those they 'don't like the look of'? Boat clubs. Who are most of the boat watching, number taking, spying 'volunteers'? Boat clubs. Who clamours for more draconian 'enforcement/harassment? Whose stated intent is to make everyone pay for a mooring even though they don't have one? The AWCC (and also the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators - and the editor of Narrowboatworld).

Does it matter how much you move?  No, your 'offence' is that you don't pay for a mooring and, therefore, are not making a sufficient 'contribution'. The rules relating to movement - as unreasonable as they can get away with -  are a 'punishment' to make your life difficult and to give some satisfaction to the boat/cruising yacht clubs who think they own the canals and, thanks to Sally Ash and Denise Yelland are allowed an undue influence on the policy and rules applied to boaters other than themselves.

The world of the waterways has become a separate state, a dictatorship within a state that allows it to operate above and outside the law. And many people within that state within a state endorse the authority of the state because they perceive it as being in their 'expedient' interest. Get rid of that group of people and we will be better off. And we will act together in self interested groups, i.e. clubs, to help you, the authority, to achieve that end.

Lots more to say about that but this is getting a bit long.

I can't do 'page breaks' as they turn the page into white print on a black background, with red headers, and makes what I write look like the 'work of the devil'.