A couple of unrelated stories in the news today:
‘Star chamber’ gathers, with knives ready - Financial Times
George Osborne this week starts the final phase of Whitehall’s biggest public spending purge in a generation, as he convenes the “star chamber” to begin signing off cuts of between 25-40 per cent for most departments.
... Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, may operate below the political radar most of the time, but the Treasury has marked her out as one of the stars of the public spending review, writes Jim Pickard.
Ms Spelman is ... likely to cut grants to British Waterways, telling the body to generate more income from its canal-side property estate.
I said these were two unrelated stories. Here's the second one:
Vandals and fly-tippers spoil the canal - BBC Lancashire
Vandals have caused mayhem at the L&L Canal on the outskirts of Blackburn. It doesn't sound too hopeful that the stretch will be cleaned up any time soon.
... British Waterways has very limited funds and resources to tidy up the mess caused by vandals and fly-tipping.
This seems an ideal opportunity for two things:
1: Whitehall should make canal cleanups the official responsibility of local authorities (removing not just the budget but the responsibility from British Waterways).
2: The good citizens of Blackburn (as opposed to their yob neighbours) should start organising their own cleanups. They shouldn't wait for permission from BW. They should just ignore any finger-wagging and form-filling demands, jump into the mud and start forking the damn stuff out.
It's the before-after story in 2006 of a group of irritated Massachusetts residents who cleaned up their dirty, smelly canal and just ignored officials who told them not to.