Language matters

It has long been a concern to us that BW and latterly, CRT, use the terms ‘continuous cruising’ and ‘continuous mooring’ to attempt to subvert the intentions of Section 17 of the 1995 Waterways Act. We have long campaigned for them to obey this law and to show, publicly, that they obey and respect the wishes of Parliament.

The use of the term ‘continuous cruising’ to mean ‘bona fide for navigation’ is not only inaccurate; the dictionary definition of ‘continuous’ is ‘forming an unbroken whole; without interruption : the whole performance is enacted in one continuous movement‘ we feel it pejorative in intent and showing no little contempt for a provision in the 1995 Act that BW have vehemently opposed since 1990 and before, when they asked Parliament for a clause requiring all boats to have a ‘home mooring’.

To us this conjures up an image of fleets of flying dutchman ghost ships moving night and day, without cease.

And now we have ‘continuous mooring’ with its implication of not moving at all. We all know that there are boats which never move, boats without mooring even, we also know that there are very very few boats who behave in such fashion, most boats move around even if, contentiously, within a small area.

Such slapdash use of language is an invidious form of oppression. Haig Bosmajian, UW professor of speech communication says in his book The Language of Oppression ‘While names, words, and language can be, and are, used to inspire us, to motivate us to humane acts, to liberate us, they can also be used to dehumanize human beings and to “justify” their suppression’.

Robin Evans recent refusal to condemn the use of the term ‘continuous moorer’ show that he, and CRT, are well aware of the power of such language. It is no coincidence that the use of such terms contains strong indications of CRT’s intention to continue subverting the intentions of Parliament and the safeguards enshrined within law.

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