So the government spending review is imminent, and one of the chief Tory targets in this review are the quangos. Quasi non-governmental organisations (as they are rarely referred to) look after everything from teaching school kids how to cycle bikes safely (Cycling England) to looking after Britain's canal system (British Waterways). The Tories hate quangos because they see them as big government interfering in the lives of people, although the "non-governmental" part of the title clearly escapes them.
A spokesman for British Waterways was adamant that while British Waterways might be axed the canals and their management would be protected for all eternity for the british people to enjoy. However, there are contradictory messages emanating from the Tory camp.
In a statement, the Tory transport minister, Lord Tottermouth Fotheringill claimed that actually as well as British Waterways being abolished so too would the canals in their current form. Lord Fotheringill argues that full use is not being made of the canals with current usage statistics signifying massive waste in the system. Instead he is proposing to drain and clean the canals to use them as a new, below-eye-level, dry-transport system. Lord Fortheringill claimed that "Such a system will be an invaluable way of transporting poorer members of our society around the country. It is an efficient, low-cost, and importantly low-visibility solution", adding that "If everyone was being honest they would admit that they do not want to have to look at or smell poor people as they move from place to place, regardless of whether they are making their way to work in the mines or if it is part of their annual migratory patterns". Appealing to fairness, Lord Fotheringill pleaded "Isn't it right that poor people should be able to travel freely around the country in the same way as their betters? My goal is to remove the social barriers built into our current, arcane transport network".
Downing Street later responded to these statements saying that these are only policies that are under consideration and it is wrong to read too much into the transport minister's statements.