Oppose Sarah Teather’s Bill on Retaliatory Evictions

Graham Evans MP

Graham Evans MP

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to my MP today, Graham Evans, which I post here for prosperity. If I get one, I’ll post a reply too:


 

Dear Mr Evans,

This Friday, 28th November, MPs will debate the second reading of Sarah Teather’s Private Members’ Bill on so-called ‘retaliatory evictions’.

I am writing to ask you to oppose this bill.

As a local landlord who has recently moved to Sandymoor in Runcorn (we moved to put our child into the excellent new Sandymoor Free School, in fact you met her when you visited) we have started investing in Runcorn to improve the very dilapidated private housing stock in the area.

We have for example already converted a derelict and empty property, providing 4 high quality all en-suite bedsits, all of which are rented to DSS tenants (bucking the general trend amongst private landlords) who were, or were at risk of being, homeless.

We have worked closely with the council, inviting them in to inspect and advise of the refurbishment and were granted a HMO license at the first time of asking, without quibble or condition.  We’ve worked closely with homeless shelters and Halton council’s homelessness officer and have tenant on the council’s Bond Guarantee Scheme.

I provide these details to hopefully demonstrate that we are the kind of quality landlords that you would want to encourage.  Which is why I’m writing to ask you to oppose Sarah Teather’s Private Members’ Bill.   Our main issues are:

  • There are no reliable figures to show that retaliatory evictions are a big problem that needs new legislation. Generally, landlords don’t evict good tenants for no reason.
  • Changes are not needed as retaliatory evictions are already illegal under consumer protection regulations.
  • The Bill will be ineffective. It is supposed to help good tenants and punish bad landlords, but instead bad tenants will use the law to avoid eviction, withhold rent and to continue with anti-social behaviour, while criminal landlords will continue to ignore the law anyway.
  • The Bill assumes a landlord is guilty of carrying out a retaliatory eviction by suspending the section 21 notice when a tenant complaint is received. In other countries, like Australia and USA it is up to the tenant to prove that an eviction is retaliatory.
  • Local authorities do not have the staff to carry out the extra inspection work the Bill requires.
  • Landlords will be more selective about who they let to, reducing availability of accommodation to groups seen as ‘high risk’.
  • The Bill will undermine confidence of landlords and drive out investment in the private rented sector.

What with the already crazy introduction of section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, which attempts to turn landlords into border guards and passport experts by checking potential tenants “right to rent”, the amount of extra red tape that’s been laid at landlords’ feet this year is already very onerous.

Sarah Teather’s bill would take away one of the few legislative tools that landlords have to ensure the smooth operation of their portfolio, and would become a charter for abuse by rogue tenants, determined to steal rent from landlords, most of which are not experts, have only a few properties, and earn less than £20,000pa:

http://thepropertyhub.net/hub/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/big-property-investor-survey-by-the-property-hub.png

Please oppose this inequitable, unfair and obtuse bill and encourage your fellow MPs to do likewise.

Kind regards,

Colin McNulty


 

Here’s the image from that link above:

Landlord's and Property Investor's Survey

If you know anyone who’s a landlord, I suggest you ask them to send a similar letter to their MP.

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The Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease…

The Cure for Alzheimers Disease

Can Alzheimer’s be cured?

Alzheimer’s disease is undoubtedly a complicated issue, but the research is out there if you care to look. For example, I saw an article by UCLA today showing that they had reversed Alzheimer’s without any pharmaceuticals. That’s astonishing, how do you do that?

Here’s the article: http://abc7news.com/336963/ and here’s the pertinent bit:

They avoided simple carbs, gluten and processed foods. They increased their fish intake, took yoga and meditated. They were instructed to take melatonin, get adequate sleep, incorporate vitamin B-12, vitamin D-3 and fish oil. Within six months, nine [out of 10] patients saw a noticeable improvement in memory.

Oh, dropping simple carbs, gluten & processed foods, and adding fish oil and a few vitamins. So you mean an anti-inflammation diet just like the Zone Diet, which has been publishing the beneficial affects of diet on Alzheimer’s for years.

http://zonediet.com/nutritional-news/archived/alzheimer’s

What’s sad is that this is news when the treatment has been known for years: sort out that crappy western diet that your brain never evolved to work on.

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Fake Honey – Are You Serious?!?

Fake Honey


In another one of those “How have I lived this long and not known about his before?” moments, I discovered this week that there is such a thing as FAKE HONEY!

Not only has a recent study shown that 75% of US “honey” actually contains no pollen, but imported honey (most of the honey in shops) can be faked by just adding dye to corn syrup.

If you’re lucky, it’s been cut with some real honey, if “pollenless honey” can in fact be called honey that is. They filter the pollen out so you can’t trace its origin and can import it via 3rd party countries, which is an issue as Chinese honey has been banned in the UK and US for contamination due to antibiotics.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, people will it seems fake anything to make a quick buck. I’ve seen or read about fake electronics chips, fake safety equipment (e.g. electrical RCDs, or plastic hard hats), and even fake eggs… yes really!

Fortunately I can get locally produced honey directly from a local farm, which is excellent.

My only decision now, is what to do with the 2 unopened shop bought jars of honey that are in the cupboard…?

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The Fat Tide Has Turned – Fat Is Good For You!

The War on Fat is OVer

Ok I’m calling it: The War on Fat is over. And guess what? Fat won!

There’s been lots of strange coincidences this week, firstly I did some research for someone who basically didn’t believe me or my bookshelf of books that fat wasn’t bad. So I provided 3 scientific studies doing real science (not Daily Mail articles trying to sell papers) that demonstrate that fat is not the big meanie poo poo head everyone thinks it is. See below for those links and quotes.

Then National Geographic publish the article Is Fat Our Friend? in which the author acknowledges that we’ve got it all wrong, but still can’t quite bring herself to call it.

The 23rd June edition of Time Magazine has an article called Ending The War on Fat, which sadly isn’t wholely online unless you subscribe.

And today I’m sent a link from South Africa about Tim Noakes, a celebrated fitness guru who turned his back on his carb-loading fuelled fitness regime and now promotes a high-fat diet, becoming South Africa’s best selling author in the process, much to the chagrin of his former peers.

The fact is, fat is not the great evil you’ve been told. To my knowledge, it’s never been proven that saturated fat on its own increases the risk of dying from heart disease. Sure it’s been shown that some people who eat a lot of saturated fat, have an increased risk of cardio issues, but these people also eat a lot of processed carbs and refined sugars in the “Do you want fries with that?” and “Do you want to super size your coke?” vein.

It’s never been shown that cholesterol causes heart disease either. Yes they’re correlated, but there’s no evidence that cholesterol in the blood is the cause. Take this study that concludes:

The concept that LDL is “bad cholesterol” is a simplistic and scientifically untenable hypothesis… Independent-thinking practitioners must look at the readily available evidence for themselves, instead of relying on the continual stream of anticholesterol propaganda emanating from “health authorities.” By doing so, they will quickly realize that the LDL hypothesis is aggressively promoted for reasons other than public health.

I contend that what causes heart disease, also causes cholesterol: inflammation resulting from excess carbs. In fact cholesterol is the sticking plaster your body uses to patch up the damaged arteries. Cholesterol is trying to save you! (And don’t get me started on calories.)

Now for those studies that back up that dietary fat is not correlated with weight gain:

From the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat

> “fat and prevalence of obesity have not been positively correlated”
> “fat consumption within the range of 18% to 40% of energy appears to have little if any effect on body fatness”
> “Diets high in fat do not appear to be the primary cause of the high prevalence of excess body fat in our society, and reductions in fat will not be a solution.”

From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary fat intake and subsequent weight change in adults: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohorts

> ”We analyzed data from 89,432 men and women”
> “no significant association was observed between fat intake (amount or type) and weight change”
> “These findings do not support the use of low-fat diets to prevent weight gain.”

From the New England Journal of Medicine: Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet

> “The mean weight loss was 2.9 kg for the low-fat group, 4.4 kg for the Mediterranean-diet group, and 4.7 kg for the low-carbohydrate [Atkins] group”
> “In this 2-year dietary-intervention study, we found that the Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets are effective alternatives to the low-fat diet for weight loss”

But don’t take my word for it, or the word of Time Magazine, or National Geographic, or any of those pesky “scientists”. I am a huge proponent of self experimentation. Try it for yourself. After years on a high saturated fat diet, I decided to get myself bloods done to see if it was really true that a high fat diet causes cholesterol. Here’s what happened:

My Results After 4 Years on a High Fat Diet

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Hey, where did my comment go?

Hey, where did my comment go? post image

There’s a saying in the IT world: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” or perhaps that’s just the advice my Dad gave me.

Either way, I failed to follow that advice and things have gone wrong. An innocuous little tweak has ended up with over half of the posts on this site disappearing.

Oddly (or typically if you work in IT) reversing the very small change I made does not seem to solve the problem, which is a major pain.

Not to worry, I do at least take regular backups of this site, so it should just be a matter of restoring from the backup immediately prior to the change I’d made. Unfortunately, nothing in IT is ever that simple. I kept getting WordPress backup import restore errors like this:

> Duplicate entry ’15878′ for key ‘PRIMARY’

For some reason the backups I took duplicated many of the comment records, actually in the .sql.gz backup file. I have no idea why this happened, but I had to manually remove the duplicates by deleting one of the offending duplicate INSERT sql statements. Here’s an example of an offending line (email address changed):

INSERT INTO `wp_comments` VALUES (15878, 192, ‘Eric’, ‘eric@eric.com’, ‘Eric’s comment was here’, 0, ’1′, ‘Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:10.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/10.0.2′, ”, 0, 0, ‘N’, ’0′);

The really annoying thing was that there’s no way to tell which comments were duplicated without just trying to do the import. This was the process I had to follow, on the database’s Import tab in phpMyAdmin from the cPanel:

- Select the .sql.gz backup file for import
- Click GO
- Wait for it to upload and start the import
- Check the error for the primary key number it was moaning about.
- Unzip the .gz file to get the .sql
- Edit the .sql file and search for the offending primary key number
- Delete one of the duplicates
- Save the .sql file
- Find the .sql file in Windows Explorer and zip it up, ensuring it’s .gzip format
- Repeat the import process

That’s it, for each duplicate, of which there were over 10!

Anyway, the long point of this post is that if you posted a comment on this bloc between 22nd May and 23rd June, it’s probably gone. I’m very sorry about that, as I do appreciate and read every comment that’s posted. Please re-post it.

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Scottish Independence Pros and Cons and Facts

Scottish Independence Pros and Cons

Scottish Independence Poll and Referendum

I’ve just read this Sky News article on what Scotland may gain or lose by declaring independence.

In this day and age of unity and bringing cultures together in harmony and common purpose, we can’t even keep our little island united. Scottish independence would be a disaster for all involved.

Assuming that Scotland does get the lions share of North Sea oil (and that’s a bit IF if my book), what are you going to do when it runs out? Look at the Middle Eastern countries like Dubai, who have realised this and are ploughing hundreds of £Billions in to building a tourist infrastructure in the hope people will flock there when the oil money runs out and they’re just left with a hot desert.

Can you really see the entire Scottish economy, public services, police, army, NHS, benefits, education, roads etc etc being maintained purely by taxation on salmon and whisky exports and a few golf tourists?

And things this article doesn’t cover is all the debt that Scotland will gain, e.g. the public sector pensions deficit and their share of the UK national debt, and their share of liabilities for the bank bailouts, e.g. the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Scotland may do ok on oil revenues for 50 years say, but it’ll be another bankrupt Greece in your children’s lifetimes. Voting for independence is an utterly selfish move that will doom generations to poverty.

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“I put my family first” – Do you really?  I didn’t. post image

Reading this might change your parenting. I had a similar epiphany about 5 years ago.

http://johntomsett.com/2014/01/10/this-much-i-know-about-why-putting-your-family-first-matters/

I ended up working away from home Mon-Fri every week for 3 years straight and my relationship with Jadzia suffered badly. I recall vividly coming home one day, laden down with briefcase and suitcase and brollie and overcoat etc, struggling to get in the door, and seeing my 7 year old Jadzia walk into the hallway to see who was making the noise.

Instead of the anticipated shout of “Daddy!” and her running to hug me, the blank look of indifference on her face as she turned and walked back into the living room left me stunned and has haunted me ever since. I resolved on that day to fix that.

5 years on, I earn about half what I could have if I just chased the money, but I work from home 5 weeks out of 6. I cook my daughter breakfast and eat it with her every day, during which we watch and laugh at crazy videos on the net together, or solve puzzles posted in the Engineering magazine I get, or as it is at the moment make paper aeroplanes from a kit I got for Christmas. And we talk about her life and her friendships and occasionally even boys (oh the horror)!

I’m here waiting every day she comes home from school to hear about her day. I sit and eat tea with her every day. And as happened yesterday, I’m on hand to rush to school and take her to the hospital when she falls and hurts herself, of course administering much needed daddy cuddles along the way. :)

My relationship with my daughter means the world to me, and now is the most important time. It’s alarming to realise but by 12 I’ve already had two thirds of her time at home. All too soon she’ll be off living her life, at Uni or working away or moving in with *shudder* a boy(!), and carving her own niche in this world.

I hope that her poor old Dad will get a look in occasionally, but I accept that it will always be less than I’d want. The time I spend with her now is the most important, as she grows into a woman, and it will set the tone for our relationship for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t miss it for the world… and I won’t miss it for work.

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Book Review: Instinctive Fitness by Oliver Selway

Instinctive Fitness Book by Oliver Selway

It’s a weird thing when someone asks you if they can send you a free copy of their book. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, as they say, and I anticipated getting hassled for a testimonial, good Amazon review, etc.

So when Oliver Selway asked if he could send me a complimentary copy of his book Instinctive Fitness, I said no!

Some months later he asked me again however. And as I like reading health / fitness / diet type books, when I get the time, and he hadn’t been pushy about it, I said yes this time. And so it was that a few days later a nice shiny copy of Instinctive Fitness arrived in the post, with a nice hand written letter from Oliver (nice touch, marketeers take note!).

Summing up this book is easy; If I were to write a book, it would be Instinctive Fitness. This book is not about fitness, Instinctive Fitness s about how to optimise your life by being healthy and happy, by getting your body to behave and react in a natural and instinctive way.

To be honest, I could have saved myself £hundreds if I’d just bought this book 6 years ago, as it pretty much summarises and replaces my entire shelf of books on health and fitness.

If you’ve never scratched the surface of mainstream medical and dietary advice and not yet realised that most of what you think is fact (like low fat, high carb diets are healthy, or calorie restriction is the only way to lose weight, or long sessions of cardo are great for burning fat) is really bollox, then this book will leave you dumbfounded.

Or if, like a growing minority, you’re waking up to the fact that sadly (and maybe unwittingly) you’ve been lied to by the media, food companies, dieticians, fitness trainers, and even Doctors, for the last few decades that a calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie (it’s not by the way), then this book will reinforce and probably expand on what you already know to be true.

Do I agree with every last word? No, not quite, but 95% is pretty damn close to perfect in my book. Pun INtended. :) (Here’s where Oliver picks up the phone to bend my ear!)

In summary, I like this book, a lot. If I were to give any book to a complete newbie, I’d give them Instinctive Fitness. And by newbie I mean someone who is just starting their journey of self education into the real causes of why they’re over weight and feel unfit. Come to think about it, there’s a few people I know that could benefit from getting this book this Christmas.

You can buy it today from Amazon here.

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Dolly Char Cleaning Agency Problems & Complaint

We recently engaged the Dolly Char cleaning agency to supply a cleaner once a fortnight for a few hours to help round the house, specifically with Marie from the Warrington franchise.

Sadly the whole experience has been poor, resulting in 2 different cleaners in 3 months, cleaners not turning up and calling in sick the morning of the clean, changing the cleaning dates as the couldn’t make the agreed dates, arriving late, leaving early, and finally damaging to our stainless steel cooker hob and hood due to using a scouring sponge!

This last incident of damage is the last straw as Dolly Char’s response was to wash their hands of the whole affair and palm the issue off to an insurance company, a Graham Edwards of the Green Insurance Group. Who immediately said that they weren’t going to pay out as it could not be “proved” that the cleaner caused the damage, and besides, there’s a £100 excess on the policy anyway. The claims they made that their cleaners are “fully insured” then is rather a stretch.

We’ve subsequently discovered that the Dolly Char supplied cleaner who caused the damage, a blond pony tailed scouser called Louise, had previously been sacked by one of our friends on the estate for causing damage in her property too.

A careful read of the Dolly Char terms and conditions reveals that Dolly Char absolve themselves of any liability for the cleaners they supply, in fact claiming that you are engaging the cleaner on a direct contract basis and they are merely introducers, so you bear all the responsibility.

In summary I will never use Dolly Char again and would not recommend them either.

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Beware CrossFit’s Publicity Waiver: Especially for Kids

If you have a kid that you think will ever participate in a CrossFit event, you need to read this:

I’ve just signed the nipper up for another charity Teen Gauntlet event, but as last time, I’m very unhappy with the publicity release. I raised this issue back in May and am disappointed that they haven’t decided to make any changes for kids.

In case you (like most of the population) find a 427 word sentence difficult to read, the first sentence of the safety release basically says: CrossFit can use your kid’s photos, images, likeness, voice, and *personal data* (and much more) even using a fake name with your kid’s face. This is for any purpose, including merchandise, marketing and sales.

They can do this not just in your country, or the US, but anywhere in the Universe. Yes it does really say: “throughout the universe”. They don’t have to ask your consent, or even tell you they’re doing it.

You give them this right, on behalf of your child, irrevocably (once signed, you can never change your mind), for life, in fact beyond your life and your kids life; it’s a “perpetual” right.

And of course you give up any rights to any compensation. See here if you want to read the source (brace yourself for extreme legalese!)

The question is then, are you happy that your kid’s face or name being used on CrossFit t-shirts, mugs, skipping ropes etc, or on posters or TV adverts even, in any country, with any of their personal data attached, at any time during their life, without your or their knowledge or say so?

What if your kid grows up to be a rock star, or politician, or sportsman/woman, or renown business person, and CrossFit own complete rights to, well, everything about them? This could destroy their political career, or prevent them getting a lucrative job, or stop them getting a sponsorship deal. If you were Nike, would you sponsor an athlete that some other company had complete rights to?

Imagine if Tiger Woods’ Dad had signed such a document when he was 12 years old and CrossFit had “perpetual and unrestricted rights” across the “universe” to his image, to be used “with and without my knowledge” for commercial exploitation including “marketing, goods, products, services, courses and seminars”? Do you think he’d have got hardly any of the sponsorship deals that he has?

I believe all criticism should be constructive, so here’s a simple solution: if they would just limit the publicity release to apply for 12 months from the date of the event, then that would be completely reasonable, but as it stands, when it comes to kids taking part in CrossFit events, this publicity release is unjust, unethical and just plain wrong.

The purpose of this post is to raise awareness of the issue, in the hope that if more people bring it up, a new publicity release for minors (say those under 21), will be brought in for CrossFit events.

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