Posts by marshlander

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    Once upon a time I had a part-time job driving for a taxi company. One of the other drivers kept a baseball bat in the front, although I'm not sure if that can explained away as easily as de-icer or WD-40! It didn't prove to be much good, though, when he went to pick up a fare at a pub outside town and left the keys in the ignition while he went inside to find the customer.

    The controller made sure to press the speak button on the radio when Jock phoned in to confess. Hearing one side of that conversation didn't leave much to the imagination.

    The Canal and River Trust are selling off land they own to developers. New tenants or apartment owners are given rights of access to the waterway. Scruffy liveaboards are not part of this idyll. Clearance ensues.

    I go into more detail in the thread I started to avoid cluttering this one, but the waterway where I am moored is not owned by CRT. The Middle Level Commissioners claim a hundred miles of navigable waterway which makes it the fourth largest waterway in the country after CRT, Environment Agency and the Broads Authority. The MLC has paid to get a law pushed through Parliament as a Private Bill, entitling them to demand that we register our boats and begin paying them a licence fee. We get nothing extra for our money. It is basically a demand for money from us in the form of a new tax. We managed to get the status of people who live primarily on their boats recognised as a special case and having the same rights to privacy as anyone living in bricks and mortar. The MLC are reintroducing the means to get us to allow admittance to anyone with the right i.d. to inspect our homes through a backdoor in the new byelaws they are trying to get through DEFRA at the moment. The language they have used throughout their campaign has been to clear the less-shiny boats, "river rats" and ne'er-do-wells off the system. Clearances by another name.

    I empathise Derek, I am in a similar situation. I am on a quest against local authorities and wider authorities to stop the proposed amendments to the 1994 Act... but where is everyone? The best part is the changes are unlikely to affect me, where are all the people who will be affected? Beaten into submission?

    I wish you strength for your quest. I am with you in spirit x

    Thank you MillieMercedes . It has been interesting being so close to seeing how laws are made, but the whole process is like wading through quicksand. I would rather not have had to do this, but like they say ... someone has to.

    The process gives the impression of being democratic, but the odds are so heavily stacked in favour of the ones with money, power and the time to keep coming back as part of their job.

    Best wishes to you for strength and courage in your quest too. x

    Seems very unfair, sounds like a return to the feudal system & peasants v gentry is still alive & kicking....🙁 Good luck with your fight my friend....

    Thanks, Bigbear67 . "feudal" is exactly the word I would use too. It is extraordinary how few people are willing to stand up against these people. The qualification to be a Middle Level Commissioner is to own more than 250 acres of land in this area. If that isn't feudal ...!

    They also feel their situation is unfair. They pay a lot of money into their organisation, The Middle Level Commissioners, to keep their land free from flooding, but in times of low rainfall they pay again for a licence to pump the water that drains from their farms back out of the waterways to irrigate their crops. For years they have watched boaters use the waterways with the same freedom that was was granted when the fens were drained in the seventeenth century. The difference is that the landowners make a lot of money from having the richest soil in the country. Non-commercial boat owners lost a way of life and most of us live on our boats because we cannot afford bricks and mortar.

    It's an interesting one, for sure.

    I was going to make a similar point. I love being the bandit from my childhood games. I have so many delightful designs, but I cannot wear all my bandanas at once. Using some as a face covering is a fantasy come true. They also hide my rosacea-pocked and glowing face from public attention as well as making facial recognition technology that much more awkward to use. Leaving my phone at home and pretty home-made face masks - the way forward :whistle:

    I just thought a few words to bring you up to date with this fight, which goes on in some form.

    The Middle Level Commissioners may have got their 2018 Middle Level Act through Parliament (at massive expense), but they are not complying with the agreements and undertakings that were included as a result of our dissent. The proposed Byelaws are with DEFRA awaiting approval and are being used to try to reintroduce some of the powers the Commissioners lost when the Bill became the 2018 Act, including the right to enter and seize our homes. They misled Parliament over the level of fees for the annual licences they will be charging and have no plan in place for what they will be doing to earn that new tax. The right of liveaboard boaters to the same degree of privacy as home-owners has quietly been put to one side and we have not been consulted as to who will represent our interests among the Commissioners. Some of the proposals in the byelaws show what little understanding they have for the reality of boat life, specially regarding those of us who live alone.

    I'm afraid I have very little trust in them and they, in turn, seem to have very little accountability. My concerns are being "triaged through" DEFRA and I have detailed letters of concern lodged with the Speaker of the Lords and the ex-Lord Chief Justice who chaired the last Committee I spoke at. It was he who quoted, "No taxation without representation."

    Of course, as predicted, people on the water here are finally beginning to get a bit irritated now that the bills are certain to include an annual licence fee. Where were they when they could have made some difference as the Bill was going through? They all left it to a postie, a care worker, a self-employed artist, a musician, a bar worker and a van driver to face up to a QC, three solicitors, past and present chief executives, an accountant and a number of "expert witnesses". We did have a seasoned waterways campaigner on our side too, but the big boys played dirty by getting him excluded from speaking at the last committee. They had "standing orders" and legal knowledge at their fingertips and excluded him on a technicality, a very mean-spirited action indeed.

    Sadly, one of our little band of dissenters died the day before yesterday.

    Thanks for the information, zendaze. I'll give them a look when my feet touch the ground. I've been busy writing up evidence for letters to the House of Lords and DEFRA concerning our local feudal overlords who have failed to comply with their side of the bargain on laws they have spent a fortune sponsoring into place!


    Fifty-seven must be that sort of age. That was when I was facing homelessness and was in a position to have to decide either a van of a narrowboat. The narrowboat won, but I have a small van too.

    Now, eight years later, I still love living on my boat and I'm happy to talk about it at length, so be careful.

    I order anything I need from a supermarket online and go and collect it from their vehicle in the open air car park. Distancing measures are in place. The system is barely holding together, though, and I have to remember to order stuff three weeks in advance in order to get a slot to collect my shopping! I buy fresh produce from a farm shop and my seeds, nuts and pulses from a whole food chain store in the same town. Three shops, one trip out every two or three weeks. The small whole food store seems most on top of the masks, distancing and cleaning regime.

    The supermarket still imposes limits on the number of items I can buy and something I want is invariably out of stock. I specifically request the picker not to substitute stuff, but today, for some reason they did. What they substituted contained milk, which I can no longer tolerate, and was packed in plastic tubs, which I refuse to buy.

    As I walked through town to the whole food shop there weren't many others about, but I was still the only person wearing a mask. I waited for people to pass before I walked through a narrow archway, but when I slipped through, others pushed past me. I don't get it at all. It's unlikely that I am covid+ because I rarely speak to anyone in real life, but I take care to minimise the risk to others in case I am. What does everyone else know that I don't?

    Given this experience I think a return to lockdown is inevitable. The winter prospects look quite bleak. Two weeks ago the county education officer informed governors at a nearby special school that the town was "this close" to a local lockdown like they have in Leicester.

    Strangely, or maybe not, if I see someone wearing a mask it is usually a woman. If I see a couple out together the weirdest thing is to see the woman wearing a mask and the man not. How does that work? Is the virus on holiday until the 24th only to pick up where it left off when people are required to wear masks?

    I went to an all boys' school and I would like to have done something useful such as woodwork or metalwork like many of my friends did or even cookery (it wasn't offered, so no chance!). However, some of us had to study Latin instead. I'm not suggesting Latin hasn't been useful occasionally, but I suspect woodwork and/or metalwork might have been useful more often.

    Incidentally, its funny how things work out. Music often came top of a poll of the least useful subjects at school before the National Curriculum embedded a strong practical component in the subject. I was excluded from taking music when it came to exam subject options. The music teacher and I didn't see eye to eye on a number of issues and he made it clear I would neither be welcome nor accepted if I applied.

    Having made my working life in music I am reminded of my professional dancer daughter who was told by the careers teacher at her school to "forget about all this dancing nonsense and think about a job with more prospect of work". She was even more determined than I was and has been working for over twenty years.

    Roman writers tended to emphasize the nobility of the “first people” who, as the Roman historian Tacitus noted, lived “for a time without a single vicious impulse, without shame or guilt, and, consequently, without punishment and restraints. Rewards were not needed when everything right was pursued on its own merits.”

    What used to be referred to as "history" we now often have to recognise as simply "story".

    In that instance Tacitus might might have begun his history with, "Once upon a time ...".

    one mans option of their union is as unique as the union itself. Your aware I’m speaking from experience of the NUM only.

    NUM, where a man could down tools over any issue and the workforce was expected out in support. The union by definition would steer proceedings. A day down was worth more to the cause, than a quick resolution from the management and turning coal.
    Since the miners strike 1984/5 unions have lost theIr power, although not their purpose. Having had the opportunity to join two further unions 1990 onwards, which I declined membership.
    So if your referring to me drinking kool-aid. Can you elaborate?

    If I had thought about it I could have extrapolated that you may have been referring to your experience in the mining industry. Until you raised the point I didn't know whether or not you have experienced other organisations than the NUM. I wasn't referring to you specifically. My comment was spurred by a general feeling that seemed to be surfacing in this discussion that unions do not support the people they represent and I wanted to challenge that. Maybe I was being over-sensitive and if so I apologise for any offence I have caused. However, partly through laziness, I didn't go back to check and name specific people. As with many other things I've written in the past it's a case of "if the cap fits, wear it". If I need to be specific in singling out individuals we are not going to have much chance of a discussion. I'm not going to be up for rational discussion if I'm busy licking my wounds. I'm not going to confront you directly on this or any other point because I don't know your life and experience well enough to comment in this medium and I'm certainly not going to pass judgement on specific people. Discussions like these are better had in real time and I would love to do that one day round a fire.

    As for referring to Kool-Aid it was a reference to people who swallow without question what they are told.…aid-mean-31d84449c8e953c6

    The Daily Express is notorious for its inaccurate annual predictions of weather-geddon of one sort or another and it is, to the best of my understanding, no fan of the trade union movement. The main burden of my argument is that unions are not the enemy of the people. They have done and continue to do a lot of good for the people they represent. Then again, my own experience is mainly in the arts and education sectors. My brother has lived and worked in the USA for decades. He has worked for management in the food-processing industry in HR and sees himself as a union-crushing crusader. He tells me that trade unions in the USA are run by the mafia and that he himself has had to sit at the table with members of the Mob to thrash out some agreement or other. We don't have much to do with each other and I have no idea how much truth there is in what he says.

    Like you mention with the NUM, Ford was another company that was notorious in the 1960s and 1970s for industrial unrest that regularly made the news and undoubtedly there have been others. I am guessing that where unions have been big enough to support full-time staff the dynamic has tended to be towards ideological rather than purely pragmatic solutions. On both sides I see at least part of the problem being a gradual detachment from the real lives of the people who do the work that keeps everyone else associated with an organisation in clover.

    When I left school I went to work for a small family firm of builders in London as a driver/labourer. We had a decorator who kept trying to stir up the the other tradesmen to action on one made-up pretext or other and he waved a union rulebook around often. He struck me as a rebel without a cause, but he was quite smart and wasted in that role. Had he got his way he would have lost us all our jobs. His understanding of trade-unionism and collective bargaining was very shaky despite his forceful personality. This was definitely not a "Ragged Trousered Philathropists" - type building operation.

    I suppose anything worthy can be subverted.

    Er, sorry ... coronavirus?

    I don't think my partner and I are very far apart. I suppose I am a bit further left and a bit further south than he is on the scale, but I doubt we'll need to argue. I always understood politics to be the art of compromise. To be able to do that we need to be able to listen to the arguments and work out whether there are points where our arguments can meet. Having said that though, we are facing some big issues where compromise is becoming increasingly less an option. Since the age of twelve I've been an activist of one sort or another. I don't suppose that's going to change much in the time I have left.

    I'm a bit taken aback by the anti-union rhetoric that some have shared on here. It seems some have swallowed the kool-aid served up with Daily Express tokens. Although it is many decades since I was a bona fide teacher I was active in one of the teacher unions. By far the biggest workload was in supporting teachers who had come under fire from management for an often trumped-up misdemeanour resulting from a conflict of personality. Fair employment practice came about after years of prolonged campaigning and struggle and a good union rep was worth their weight in gold in seeing that agreed procedures were followed. Too many members of management and school governing bodies were too quick to condemn and would try all sorts of tricks to undermine the agreed procedure. Our union also had a hardship fund and I was grateful for that on one occasion when my employer without notice docked three weeks' wages at a stroke when I had to take time off when one of my kids was born.

    Unions came about for a reason. Employers can easily pick off individuals. In a hierarchical structure workers need informed and recognised representation.

    If you have those sorts of skills and you are good enough at what you do you should be able to find work. Where possible I try to go to local independent tradespeople as a first resort if I need some work done that I cannot do myself. If that doesn't work out I look for independent people from the "tribe" as it were. Here's where it falls down.

    If I am engaging someone to do something, they need to be reliable, good at what they say they can do and worth their money. After all, they are usually strangers to me. I think there are probably checks and balances at work here. A traveller won't have a permanent workshop to maintain nor the sorts of overheads associated with bricks and mortar. But neither will they probably have the savings associated with access to accounts with their usual merchants and their travel costs will probably be higher. I get that. What I don't get is the number of people to whom I have tried to give work who seem unable to respond to messages or give reliable estimates of how long it will be before they can undertake the job I want done. It's not that I am completely incapable, but I don't have the confidence to take on some jobs by myself and would be more comfortable paying someone who knows what they are doing to finish the job safely.

    As an example, I followed up some of the interesting posts by someone on a boating forum who seemed to have some inspired and well-informed ideas, new approaches, satisfied customers and who posted lots of photographs of finished projects in his specialism. I got in touch by instant message and the response was not quick, except to say that yes, he could do the job I wanted done in a couple of days and even had a friend he could stay with near my home mooring. However, he would never give me a date as to when he could do the job. I've been messaging him for at least a couple of years now - I am quite patient. Eventually, back in January, I saw him online and took a chance to use the audio message function to call him. We had a long conversation. We talked about the job and we put the world to rights. He followed up with a message to say mine would be the next job he undertook after the present one which he estimated would take another couple of weeks. I have heard nothing since. He has, however, started posting again saying that he has restarted work and has a long list of jobs in his diary. Mine wasn't listed except as one of a category of similar installations for multiple clients. It seems I've been pushed down the list. In the meantime I have had to make some alternative temporary arrangements so I don't die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately that is with a local trader who doesn't have marine experience and who also will not get back to me. It is very frustrating. I make a point of keeping in touch with my own clients and find it hard to understand why other self-employed people don't see it as a priority.

    Yes, the world since January is very different, but part of gaining customer confidence is keeping in touch with clients, surely? I do know many people treat tradespeople contemptibly and cancel at very short notice. I am not one of those people. If I have made an agreement I stick to it, even to my own detriment. I know I have lost tens of thousands of pounds over the years because of this, but I value being fair to other people and keeping my word very highly.

    I don't know if this resonates with you, but if you could establish an online presence and prove that you are reliable I would like to think that work may come to you.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary I still believe in being the change I want to see.

    Oh, and good luck!!!!

    I don't recognise any of the above from my childhood. I can remember times when my dad got angry, but a raised voice was enough to reduce me to tears. My parents never fought in front of us, because mum generally wouldn't take the bait. I do know that things he said or did managed to upset her though. I can only remember seeing my dad a handful of times before my sixth birthday. He was working three jobs every day. His own mother had walked out on the family and he and his siblings were taken into care because his own dad couldn't cope. He was determined to get his brothers and sisters out and make a home for them. He walked out of school on his fourteenth birthday and got a job at the local cinema. From that point on he took work where he could get it and saved until he could afford to rent a place and convince Barnado's to let him have his family back. It took him years, but he did it. He was terrified his own family would be taken from him if he didn't earn enough. This is why he was always working and I never saw him. It affected our relationship badly, but after I went to live with him about twenty years ago I had the chance to discuss it all in detail and finally understood how much he regretted being so fearful that he missed watching his own kids grow up.

    The messages from our government have been badly presented, confusing and horribly misleading. People need to hear a consistent message and be helped to see the reasons why. Lying has been so normal for so long that I no longer know whom to believe. In the absence of clear guidance, people will make their own decisions. When people in and around government think they don't need to heed the advice the rest of us are expected to follow we naturally question their judgement ... were they wrong? Are we stupid? If it's okay for them it can't be that bad, can it ...?!!!

    I don't know if Johnson or any of his mates in government have the intellectual capacity to think things through or the imagination to understand why people aren't listening, or whether there really is some darker plan at work. They brought these pressures on themselves with decades of drip-feeding us poison. However, Prepper, I would urge some caution in what we wish for. Once a government gives itself power to control something there always seems a good reason never to relinquish that power. The evidence seems to be piling up that many of this government's responses in this unprecedented situation have been ideological rather than empirical.

    We've missed a lot of opportunities. Particularly following Cameron's decision to call the referendum on European membership, the people of this country have been set at each other's throats. I don't think I've ever witnessed the like. The wearing of masks for the good of others, not to mention reasons of courtesy, is just one area of life that has been politicised to such an extent I fear you may be right that the immediate future does not look good.

    Look after yourselves, everyone.