No apologies for mis-quoting Winston Churchill in the blog title.
Personally I have never been able to come to terms with the fact that as an island our lifeboat service is run mainly by charitable donations: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution [clicking on this blog title should take you straight to their website] As the website states:
The RNLI is an independent charity, funded by voluntary donations. We could not save lives at sea without the public’s support.
Now it seems that David Cameron's coalition government feels that this Island Race does not need so many coastguard stations, according to this report in the Telegraph of the 11th of December:
The number of coastguard stations in Britain is planned to fall from 19 to eight while the search-and-rescue service, whose helicopter pilots currently include Prince William – is to be sold off to a foreign consortium.
I just hope that the foreign consortioum who will be running the search-and-rescue service do not operate a 'profit only' policy similar to that of our local bus service when privatised. Otherwise only 'routes expected to bring in a profit' will be allowed to be 'serviced'. Other 'routes' will be left out in the cold [and wet] as were some of the villages around here.
Perhaps I understand Cameron's agenda here. Does he want his much vaunted 'Big Society' to take over? After all if the RNLI is so volunteer led, is he thinking that there could be a way that it could be expected to step up and cover the missing coastguard stations? As so many air ambulances are already funded by charities is that his future plan for search-and-rescue services? After all there will be unemployed coastguard staff to go out and rattle collecting tins and they can volunteer to run some of the stations - as long of course as that does not interfere with their job seekers allowance.
If I sound really annoyed about this issue, well I am. Amongst my many family lines I have ancestors who were Essex fishermen and boat builders. The sort of men who went out in the fleet of little ships to Dunkirk [see my blog http://rephidimstreet.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html] For most of my life I have lived very close by the Thames Estuary. These cuts - like so many others - are spiteful and potentially will affect so many working people - their livelihood and their lives. Think again Mr Cameron et al.
Update: To sign the petition regarding saving the Coastguard stations please go to: http://www.petitiononline.com/ukcghq/petition.html
The photograph above is of the spot where some of my ancestors built boats hundreds of years ago.