The Institute for Economic Affairs right-of-centre think-tank makes the case for privatising British Waterways…  “You cannot talk long about canals before somebody tells you there are more miles of canal in Birmingham than in Venice. Yet look at them. There are some chic bits but most that I have seen are pretty derelict and scruffy. Some have been filled in. Others are little more than DIY rubbish tips. The unused stretches of canal are termed “remainders”. These could be cherished and dredged and turned into delightful byways.”  True. Residential byways, managed by residents. Because we might have ‘more canals than Venice’, but we don’t currently seem (I searched BW’s database) to have a single long-term residential mooring available to rent on any of them. “Whatever the delights of the more remote and heroic canals, it is surely the city centre sites that represent an asset whose value has been barely tested.”  He’s right. You only have to look down on the ribbon of canals as you come in on the train, along the Wolverhampton – Birmingham stretch of the West Coast mainline. There’s a posh little nook in Brindley Place / Gas St. basin for live-aboard narrowboats, if you can afford it, but 100 miles of Birmingham Canal Navigation moorings going empty. I know many of those canals well, having cycled them between Birmingham / Wolverhampton / Walsall. We need to think beyond having a few twee ‘caravan park’ -like upmarket residential basins geared toward older/retired boaters. Fence/gate out the yobs from a few choice miles of Birmingham / Black Country canalside within cycling distance of the city centres, provide simple residential moorings with basic electricity and water, and then rent ’em out by the year to young professionals. Doubtless the local Councils would attempt to meddle, but they should be told where to go.