For some time now the Canal and River Trust has earned the occasional, less than honourable mention in 'Private Eye' magazine. Now the usual fare for Private Eye are the fiddling Politicians and the Corporate Tax Dodgers who with a nod and a wink of the government are bilking the country of billions in unpaid taxes. Even before he took up office Richard Parry managed to get a mention in the Eye's despatches after being appointed as the replacement for 'Reliant Robin'.
Well, the new CaRT boss must have arrived on day one at the crash and burn scene that is the inner sanctum of ivory towers. On looking around, he must be stunned by the depth and breadth of crazy CaRT projects. It seems such a pity that a charity with such a multitude of innovative ideas on what to waste money on. No one has come up with the idea of disposing of the 'friends' lucre on preventative maintenance.
Private Eye is the favourite read of government ministers and whitehall mandarins. First to find out what's happening and secondly to see if they have been rumbled yet. So CaRT continue to get more and more frequent less than honorable mentions. Plus public notoriety that money can't buy. Just like the sports pages, most eye readers turn to 'In The Back' a regular section made famous by the late Paul Foot. Which tradition has been carried on by Ian Hislop of 'Have I Got News For You' fame. Ian Hislop has been puncturing egos in Private Eye and on Have I Got News For You for more than a quarter of a century.
It was predicted (leak) in the eye some time ago that DEFRA and the EA waterways would be under some scrutiny by the minister and his team. Lo and behold, or shock horror depending on your viewpoint. In a carefully timed 'news release' intended to coincide with CaRT's birthday celebrations. Defra certainly put the kibosh on the celebrations when it announced the 'postponement' of the transfer of parts of the Environment Agency river navigations to the Canal and River Trust.
Not least of the observations made by the eye, is CaRT's new attitude towards boaters and other waterways charities. Hopefully this situation will improve with the leadership of Richard Parry, it's to be hoped so!