Lord Coe has launched a withering attack on British Waterways' handling of the lock-gate replacement on Yorkshire's Bingley Canal. Despite the event only occurring every 25 years, Coe claims organisers have 'failed to exploit' visitors to the 'thrice in a lifetime' spectacle, where the water is drained away to allow essential maintenance.
For centuries, man has longed to look at the filth in the bottom of canals, eager to point out rusting bicycles, dying fish or bags of cat skeletons to their children. But instead of spending millions on a hideously complex and flawed ticket system, civil engineers for the event allowed the public to 'just rock up', and gawp into the stinking channel for free.
"It was chaos", claimed Coe. "I had to wait nearly 5 minutes while they pushed the riff-raff from the towpath into the depths of the unique attraction, so my chauffeur could drive up and down in the Bentley, unencumbered. But despite the opportunity to charge people who managed to clamber out anywhere up to £125 to cower in the other bank's ‘viewing hedge’, British Waterways seemed more interested in getting on with the job.”
“The corporate sponsor I'd invited was appalled at the anarchy: some women had blatantly brought babies with them and yet there was no-one checking they had tickets", exclaimed Coe. "They could have optimised the event by confiscating them, or charging extra to store them in a box. If you give them an inch, babies spoil these things for everyone.”
“What's more, there seemed to be a general lack of will to over-complicate the whole thing. The opening ceremony was particularly weak: just a bloke in a hi-viz jacket stood on top of the lock with a handle, while he argued with a skip hire company on his mobile."
Lord Coe was horrified at the lack of arbitrary, half-baked rules and regulations. "I saw one oaf eating some chips with a spork", complained Coe. "Sporks are camping equipment, which makes him a terrorist. But did I see a single policeman attempt to wrestle him to the ground, or tazer him in the neck? No. He wasn't even drinking the official cola."
A spokesman for British Waterways apologised to Coe for any misunderstanding, but explained that the event wasn’t really intended to make a profit. “I’m sorry he was disappointed by the lack of official merchandise, although I did offer to give him my tea mug, filled with commemorative dirty old fishing weights”, explained Brian Smith. “I don’t know what he's on about when he criticises our ‘unimaginative’ slogan. The only sign I remember putting up said ‘Canal Closed’.”