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'paddlers for justice'

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:00 am
by Jay Oram
With all the talk about rivers access already in govn't and the fact that it is not seen as a bill that needs to be read and just keeps being moved to the back of the queue would a 'fathers for justice' type stunt work?

Like in every city, London, Manchester, Liverpool and so on we have a small group of paddlers paddle in fountains and set up kayaking/canoeing is not a crime posters around, just to get some media attention. The major rivers could be paddled as well - the Thames and all the others.

Just a thought, and if it could be done before the next reading in October then the better effect it would have.

Stupid idea or something that could be done?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:13 am
by phil_grice
I'd definately be up for some kind of publicity stunt in Manchester. I think we need to be careful that anything we do isn't obstructive or going to get us on the wrong side of the general public.

We need to raise awareness of the access issue (most people who were previously unaware of the problems seem to be on our side) but we also need to make sure we don't play into the hands of the negative stereotype pushed by some in the angling fraternity that all paddlers as irresponsible and don't care about other river users.

The game fair protest publicised on here seemed to work very well.

Anyone in Manchester fancy sitting in a boat in the Piccadilly gardens fountains?!

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:15 am
by Rick Foster
That sounds like a job for the river crew! i hear there very fond of fountains!

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:16 am
by quicky
Anyone in Manchester fancy sitting in a boat in the Piccadilly gardens fountains?!
...and without permission from the police and Council that would be classed as irresponsible.

You have to be really careful otherwise someone will always find a way to portray us in a bad light.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:19 am
by StoneWeasel
Plymouth is a city practically designed for this with little waterways, pods and fountains all over the place (most of which are fine after a bit of rain in a g-force 5.9).

People would need to be careful not to damage anything or cause any major dramas but I would be up for helping a bit of silly publicity.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:21 am
by Jay Oram
But would wider coverage be better than a few anglers saying we are irresponsible and looking on it as bad - like they already do?

The wider coverage in the news and more people hearing abut it would gain us support right?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:22 am
by StoneWeasel
quicky wrote:
Anyone in Manchester fancy sitting in a boat in the Piccadilly gardens fountains?!
...and without permission from the police and Council that would be classed as irresponsible.

You have to be really careful otherwise someone will always find a way to portray us in a bad light.
As long as no damage was caused and no major functions were held up I do not see what would be so irresponsible about it. It does not endanger anyone, it does not cause any civil chaos, it is quiet and, as long as the paddlers are polite, civil.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:23 am
by Jay Oram
Silly publicity also works well at getting the access situation more out in the open.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:25 am
by quicky
As long as no damage was caused and no major functions were held up I do not see what would be so irresponsible about it. It does not endanger anyone, it does not cause any civil chaos, it is quiet and, as long as the paddlers are polite, civil.

For a quick example:

The police cannot prohibit an assembly, and you do not need to give
notice (except to assembly around Parliament). The police can impose
conditions, but only if they reasonably believe that the conditions are
necessary to prevent “serious public disorder, serious damage to property
or serious disruption to the life of the community”. The conditions may
only be as to the place of assembly, the maximum duration
and the maximum number of people.

_________

If you get them on your side straight away by saying what you want to do then there is no problem
______________________________

Friend of the Earth Advice:

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/how_tos/c ... st_law.pdf

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:28 am
by phil_grice
...and without permission from the police and Council that would be classed as irresponsible.
I do agree with this and would want to know where we stood with the law. However, I would be a bit annoyed if they wanted to stop us from sitting in the Piccadilly Gardens fountains as they're literally full of people splashing about in the summer.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:33 am
by StoneWeasel
quicky wrote:
As long as no damage was caused and no major functions were held up I do not see what would be so irresponsible about it. It does not endanger anyone, it does not cause any civil chaos, it is quiet and, as long as the paddlers are polite, civil.

For a quick example:

The police cannot prohibit an assembly, and you do not need to give
notice (except to assembly around Parliament). The police can impose
conditions, but only if they reasonably believe that the conditions are
necessary to prevent “serious public disorder, serious damage to property
or serious disruption to the life of the community”. The conditions may
only be as to the place of assembly, the maximum duration
and the maximum number of people.

_________

If you get them on your side straight away by saying what you want to do then there is no problem
______________________________

Friend of the Earth Advice:

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/how_tos/c ... st_law.pdf
Quicky that would be great if we were planning on organise a mass group of paddlers in any one place if not essential but would possibly be a little excessive for small groups silly antics, besides which the police may have reservations about granting us permission to go paddling in fountains, city water features etc.

I somehow doubt that the FFJ chap who dressed as batman applied for permission to do so beforehand.

Formal methods of campaigning are great but I doubt some silliness alongside would hurt.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:36 am
by quicky
Formal methods of campaigning are great but I doubt some silliness alongside would hurt.
Ype but sillyness without permission can be used as a weapon against us..... The old how dare they brigade.....

Sillyness with the police knowing about it is good as if they have allowed it then you have a tool to use to say we have permission to be here.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:37 am
by StoneWeasel
phil_grice wrote:
...and without permission from the police and Council that would be classed as irresponsible.
I do agree with this and would want to know where we stood with the law. However, I would be a bit annoyed if they wanted to stop us from sitting in the Piccadilly Gardens fountains as they're literally full of people splashing about in the summer.
The police do not need to be amazingly impressed as long is there is nothing they can arrest you for then it is all good publicity. If the Police create a fuss moving you on which draws a crowd for you to explain why you were doing it, all the better. Besides if you get moved on go through town with all your kit on looking for water, ask people if they have seen any water you can paddle in, if they ask why explain about the river access situation.

I do not see why people look on this negatively, people are desperate for something to happen in the access campaign but every time someone suggests rocking the boat a bit they are chastised for it.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:40 am
by StoneWeasel
quicky wrote:
Formal methods of campaigning are great but I doubt some silliness alongside would hurt.
Ype but sillyness without permission can be used as a weapon against us..... The old how dare they brigade.....
How much of an effective weapon could it be do you think? I think any land owner / fisher person trying to kick up stink over someone paddling in a fountain could end up looking very silly indeed.

People tried to declare the initial (sensible) FFJ campaigns irresponsible but as they were not really very irresponsible this was rather ignored and the people trying to slate them for it ended up looking foolish.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:41 am
by Tom_Laws
Be aware of the current pollitical climate, and you hopefully won't end up in a fetching orange jump suit.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:43 am
by SJ
I don't like to be negative but we do need to consider the downside of Manchester as a location for such a demonstration.

Generally, the access situation in Manchester is pretty good. We have to pay for access to lakes/reservoirs and (strictly speaking) we need a BCU licence for the canals but the fees don't put access out of the reach of most paddlers.

I've never had a problem paddling the Mersey, the Goyt or the Irwell.

We can't use the ship canal but this is for good practical reasons and I'm not sure that I'd want to be on it anyway. Has anyone ever tried to get permission to paddle it?

I'd feel a bit silly sitting in Picadilly Gardens moaning about a lack of water forcing me to paddle a fountain when the Rochdale canal is only a short stroll away!

My feeling is that the best protest events are done where there is a real problem at or near the site of the event. There should be a body of water that cries out to be paddled but to which access is refused for no very good reason.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:45 am
by StoneWeasel
SJ wrote:I don't like to be negative but we do need to consider the downside of Manchester as a location for such a demonstration.

Generally, the access situation in Manchester is pretty good. We have to pay for access to lakes/reservoirs and (strictly speaking) we need a BCU licence for the canals but the fees don't put access out of the reach of most paddlers.

I've never had a problem paddling the Mersey, the Goyt or the Irwell.

We can't use the ship canal but this is for good practical reasons and I'm not sure that I'd want to be on it anyway. Has anyone ever tried to get permission to paddle it?

I'd feel a bit silly sitting in Picadilly Gardens moaning about a lack of water forcing me to paddle a fountain when the Rochdale canal is only a short stroll away!

My feeling is that the best protest events are done where there is a real problem at or near the site of the event. There should be a body of water that cries out to be paddled but to which access is refused for no very good reason.
No No No, you have it all wrong, one small group doing one thing in Manchester once would not make any difference. Lots of paddlers at lots of times in lots of places paddling in town, now that would get noticed!

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:48 am
by Jay Oram
The only reason i suggested the centre of towns is because of the possible medai attention, I know that if i paddled in a fountain in London with some banners i would get attention and just though other towns would - I don't know all the city's layouts well so it would be up to the local paddlers to find the spot which would create some publicity.

And if everyone did it on the same day across the uk and media knew about it, it would grab the attention of people around.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:58 am
by phil_grice
Access to Manchester rivers is pretty good but this is about UK river access. Awareness of the access situation shouldn't be restricted to the vicinity concerned.

In my opinion the more people that know about it the better, regardless of where they are.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:00 pm
by NPearce
I like the idea and am sure a few people would be interested in Coventry.

To make it more effective it would need to be well co-ordinated, otherwise it could be seen as a group of students messing about.

Protests at on the same day at the same time in different citys, makes for better newsworthyness and broadens the issue from local to national news and may also swing a council decision if it is a national 'event'.

Identical banners and well written literature to hand out to the general public, The WCA has some great stuff already, ideally the same leaflet would be distributed across the country to make it easy to identify with a single cause etc.

Nathan[/list]

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:01 pm
by SJ
My point was that I cannot think of anywhere in Manchester where there is a body of water that cries out to be paddled but to which access is refused for no very good reason. Throughout Manchester there is somewhere nearby where one can paddle. I think that this makes Manchester a poor location for a protest.

My assertion is that we need sites that have both an access problem (to give something visible to protest about) and plenty of people (no point in protesting to a herd of cows).

Are there towns/cities where there is water suitable for paddling but access is refused?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:09 pm
by StoneWeasel
SJ wrote:My point was that I cannot think of anywhere in Manchester where there is a body of water that cries out to be paddled but to which access is refused for no very good reason. Throughout Manchester there is somewhere nearby where one can paddle. I think that this makes Manchester a poor location for a protest.

My assertion is that we need sites that have both an access problem (to give something visible to protest about) and plenty of people (no point in protesting to a herd of cows).

Are there towns/cities where there is water suitable for paddling but access is refused?
Manchester may have relatively good access but what it also has is a large population of people who are unaware of the national problem and is therefore a good place to protest along with everywhere else.

Denzil

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:15 pm
by SJ
phil_grice wrote:Access to Manchester rivers is pretty good but this is about UK river access. Awareness of the access situation shouldn't be restricted to the vicinity concerned.

In my opinion the more people that know about it the better, regardless of where they are.
I agree that there should be something done in Manchester to raise the profile of the problem access to rivers in England and Wales. (I understand that other parts of the UK don't have the same problems.) I am simply against any "stunts" that involve sitting around on dry land in boats or similar - they can be deflated too easily by a "why don't you paddle on that water just over there?" to which there is no comeback.

This sort of stunt is suitable to a venue where we can come back with the line "because the landowner refuses permission for no good reason".

In Manchester I would rather see a stall set up in the city centre (maybe with a couple of boats on stands for illustration but no more) that shows the problem. Perhaps some handing out of leaflets. Perhaps we could focus on the contrast between the waters that we are allowed to paddle and those that we are not? Definitely have a mass paddle up the canal and then all meet up for lunch in Picadilly Gardens in our paddling kit to hand out leaflets (leaving a few people to guard the boats at the canal).

I'm not against protest and I'm not against stunts. I just want to be sure that the overall campaign is not undermined by a single action that doesn't come off.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:19 pm
by little tim
SJ wrote:I am simply against any "stunts" that involve sitting around on dry land in boats or similar - they can be deflated too easily by a "why don't you paddle on that water just over there?" to which there is no comeback.
Of course there is.
"Yes, there I can, but that is a surprisingly uncommon occurrence. Did you know ...." etc

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:20 pm
by Jay Oram
I will organise it but i will need a person from each city and a place where it is going to take place. These people will need to recruit people from the local areas and handle all the organising at their end.

I can get together the resources like the leaflet and the banners and make it available and easy to get to. I will draw up a "protest plan" like a city plan but for protests and send it to the person in charge, it will have to have parts changed to make it specific to the area though.

Then once it has enough people I can announce a time and date that would fit in with everyones calendar.

Jay

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:21 pm
by phil_grice
In Manchester I would rather see a stall set up in the city centre (maybe with a couple of boats on stands for illustration but no more) that shows the problem. Perhaps some handing out of leaflets. Perhaps we could focus on the contrast between the waters that we are allowed to paddle and those that we are not? Definitely have a mass paddle up the canal and then all meet up for lunch in Picadilly Gardens in our paddling kit to hand out leaflets (leaving a few people to guard the boats at the canal).
I'm liking this idea! There are loads of canal boats around at the moment so we could increase awareness amongst them as well. I live right on the canal near Piccadilly station, just around the corner from the gardens etc. so we could paddle up there and leave boats locked up.

I'd be up for spending an Saturday afternoon in market street manning a stall and handing out fliers etc.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:23 pm
by little tim
I think before you do any of that you should speak to the BCU about it. You never know, they might support you!

Then I would speak to others who have done similar events and see if they have any suggestions.

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:27 pm
by Jay Oram
Thanks little tim will do - :-)

Jay

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:30 pm
by SJ
At the risk of getting too excited by the idea of a protest (without stunts!) in Manchester, we could split the event across two locations. There could be one stand set up on Canal Street, where we could leave boats on the Rochdale canal. The second stand could be carried from there to Picadilly Gardens.

We would need to scout out the route for practicalities. I seem to recall that portaging some of the locks on the Rochdale canal used to be a bit unpleasant. Parking for a large turnout of paddlers might be a bit of a challenge to organise - ought to be a paddle to/from the event rather than turning up with boats on cars.

Time of day and which day of the week needs to be carefully considered, although earlier posters have suggested that this should be a national effort of co-ordinated events. (My feeling is that a Saturday lunchtime would work best in the case of Manchester.)

Date? Needs to be good weather, so mid August might be a good time. Does this really give long enough to plan a national effort of co-ordinated events?

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:34 pm
by Jay Oram
And would it be better if it was closer to the next reading of the access bill?

Anyone have access to the leaflets from WCA access petitions?

Jay