"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Monday 13 December 2010

This Island Race

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.


  1. Yep. everything seems to be changing drastically. The country is grinding it's gears. Lets hop the world calm downs and we get through these troubled financial times.

    You are right, Elizanne, the RNLI is brilliant and the coast guard services amazing. My wife comes from TENBY in South Wales. We see the work the RNLI is doing there. Also we spent our past Easter holiday in St Ives and saw them at work there too.They do a fantastic job everywhere along our coastline. I hope it will continue. As an island nation we are very privileged to have such an organisation.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Tony.

    You will know now that, according to the Press Agency:
    "Currently there are 18 stations in addition to a small centre on the Thames in London which will not be affected by the proposed changes.

    Under proposals outlined by shipping minister Mike Penning, there will be just three 24-hour operational centres – at Aberdeen, in the Southampton/Portsmouth area and at Dover.

    In addition, there will be five sub-centres open during daylight hours – at Swansea, at Falmouth in Cornwall, at Humber in Yorkshire and at either Belfast or Liverpool and at either Stornoway or Shetland in the Scottish islands.

    Mr Penning said the Aberdeen and Southampton/Portsmouth centres would be "maritime operations centres capable of managing maritime incidents wherever and whenever they occur and with improved information systems, together with a 24-hour centre at Dover looking over the busy Channel traffic separation scheme".

    The sub-centres would be "fully integrated into the national network around the coast and operating during daylight hours".

    Translated into example areas, where I live [on the mouth of the Thames Estuary] our nearest Coastguard stations at the moment are to close:
    Great Yarmouth and Walton-on-the-Naze http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12011165

    It will be leaving the Welsh coastline with no coastguard station between Swansea and Liverpool.

    Your feelings can be made felt here:

  3. I am not sure what my reaction to this other than I am opposed. I think I am more incredulous than angered. That the emergency services should be privatised puts this government's agenda beyond satire.

    Still, if profits lag I can think of a few people I could throw off Southend Pier to boost business ....

  4. LOL Julian. I hadn't thought of that.....

  5. Latest update:
    Petition regarding Coastgaurd Station Cuts: