Guardian 'clarifies' its 'social cleansing' article

After publishing an article headlined with the rather emotive phrase ‘social cleansing’, the Guardian today issues a ‘clarification’.

On the surface this looks like responsible journalism but I still think it leaves the story one-sided. The Guardian should have pointed out that – right or wrong – there are rules about over-staying at a mooring just like there are if one stays to long in a car park. If you over stay, you pay. A good example is the long established mooring at Paddington Basin in London – free for 7 days, £25 a day thereafter. That overstay charge has the effect of ensuring that other visitors can use the popular moorings. The same principle has been working for years on the Thames.

Anyway, here is the Guardian’s ‘clarification’:

“A story examining proposals to change how long houseboat residents can stay on a particular stretch of the river Lea in east London before paying increased charges carried a subheading that wrongly said “British Waterways to raise fees from £600 to £7,000”. The fees are not due to increase. But the old rules that let owners with a £600 a year “continuous cruising” licence move just a short distance every 14 days without extra charge would go. The new rules would split the length of the river into six zones; every 14 days owners would have to move zones to avoid daily charges that could increase to £7,000 the cost of staying very close to one part of the river (In shadow of Olympics, houseboaters fear they are being ‘socially cleansed’, 10 March, page 3)”.

3 comments to Guardian ‘clarifies’ its ‘social cleansing’ article

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  • Think the Guardian had BWs objective spot on in the first place – even if they got confused about the actual rules. Suspect all the people making a fuss over this article are those with little tolerance of anyone who does not conform to what they believe to be 'the rules' and make disparaging comments about any live-aboard boater or continuous cruiser. If you start seeing references to 'bridge hoppers' and similar turns of phrase you just know they are coming from the well-heeled middle class boaters who want to see everyone herded into marinas so they can speed their shiny boats along at a rate of knots and not have the embarrassment of being shouted at to slow down.

    • Will Chapman

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion Peter, including someone like me who isn’t broke nor well-heeled and certainly doesn’t want everyone herded into marinas.

      There are over 30,000 boaters on BW waterways and around the same on the Thames and the rules apply to everyone. Rules to which we agree to abide when we apply for a licence.

      I don’t agree with all the rules and I have spent most of my time over the past 5 years campaigning to change those I think are unfair; you have the same right and if you manage to have the rules changed, I will abide by them. That is what this consultation is about.

      I have no interest in whether your boat is shiny or otherwise, but until you manage to get the rules changed, I fail to see what is fair about someone overstaying a mooring and preventing the vast majority of those 60,000+ other boaters from enjoying that same amenity.

      So, I guess we will just have to beg to differ and perhaps meet one day on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, remember that a shiny boat is only skin deep and by no means reflects the real person within.

      Cheers

      Will

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