[Ben Reeve Lewis has been looking at some political books …...]
I was in WH Smith this week and noticed a flurry of political books, all going for £4.99 on issues in advance of the general election.
- Polly Toynbee and David Walker’s “Cameron’s Coup: How the Tories took Britain to the brink” – right up my street but why read something that tells you what you already agree with?
- “None of the above” by Rick Edwards – a treatise warning against people like me, the kind of person who is rapidly forming the opinion that whoever you vote for, its always the government who gets in.
- And Owen Jones’s “The establishment and how they get away with it” – again a ‘reach-for book’ for people with my leanings but I remain to be convinced of Mr Jones, who the book’s jacket describes as “Our generation’s George Orwell”, which is I think stretching it a bit.
- Also what assailed me in ‘Smiths’ Lewisham was an old book by Peter Hitchens currently being re-marketed about Winston Churchill and the loss of British greatness, which seems to merge two parts Farrage with one part Al Murray. A typical Peter Hitchens publication then.
A loathsome viewpoint that catapults me straight into the arms of Rick Edwards again.
I’ll probably do what an ex girlfriend of mine did, debate the whys and wherefores for months, argue with close friends and come the day, simply forget to vote.
And to housing
I’ve always been suspicious of Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen’s artificial regency nonsense, not to mention his increasing use of beard dye and leaning towards an unhealthy dose of Schadenfreude.
So I was pleased to read that all this flouncy crap got in the way of him selling his £1.6 million Cotswold home and instead he had to resort to a bit of Anne Maurice style ‘House Doctor’ beige in order to sell it.
A clear indication that he is the Clarkson of home decorating.
HIgh Density City Villages
While Lawrence is busy ‘beiging it up’, the real people in London are faced with a possible future of ‘High density city villages’ in order to meet demand in the capital.
The article doesn’t exactly define what ‘High density city villages’ actually are, but points to the real statistics that 8,000 social homes have been lost with no explanation given.
I confess to getting a bit worried about Inside Housing journalism lately.
Its getting sloppy. Ideas and developments are being reported which leave the reader with more questions than answers, relying on links to fill in the full picture, so reading it for illumination leaves the reader having to develop the mind-set of a research fellow just to understand what is going on.
I’m sure its all terrible but who knows?
I used to reference Inside Housing as a source of information but lately its becoming a signpost to better writing. Maybe the effects of keeping advertisers happy, where the amount of articles is more important than the quality of the writing.
With the notable exception of the excellent Jules Birch, who should be a must read for everyone in housing.
Buy to let rabbits
The mighty Goshawk of HMRC have for some time been concentrating on the quivering rabbit of buy to let landlords as an easy target, £20 million in tax on rental income having been recovered as of the 31st January 2015.
Ian Leigh of Jeffreys Henry LLP commenting apocryphally:
“These figures should come as a warning to anyone with undisclosed rental income. With increased data gathering actives, it is less likely a case of if and more likely when HMRC catches up with you.”
Whilst I applaud HMRC in their efforts I also know that there are bigger villains out there who get away Scot free for the want of resources. BTL Landlords are an easy target while the real criminals walk.
The young couple trying to get by with a pension investment get screwed while Starbucks and Amazon stroll off into a gilded sunset. Back to Polly Toynbee’s “Cameron’s Coup”. Go figure.
Bye, bye Sam
I’m sad to the see the back of the blog “What Sam saw today” run by the ever enthusiastic Samantha Collett.
I had the pleasure on a couple of occasions to meet Sam and despite me being a housing enforcement officer and Sam a property developer, a bit like Celtic playing Rangers, I can report that she is an excellent human being.
Dunno what you have in hand Sam but good luck with it.
Ben on the Telly
Channel 5 filming continues in my world as we hack around the rogue landlord affairs of my borough, the saddos, maddos and wierdos of SE13 and beyond and this Friday, 27th March for London viewers watch BBC1 at 7:30 pm you will see me strutting my stuff in ‘Rogues, renters and rooms’ or whatever its called.
I filmed it in December but did the finale on the London Eye playing Monopoly with the other subjects of the documentary about three weeks ago.
As is the case with TV you never know how you are going to come across in the final programme, buffoon or wise expert.
We shall see.
What made me smile this week
Two things. First my fantastic new discovery, the completely bizarre Sister Rosetta Tharpe doing ‘Didn’t it rain’ Looking exactly like my Mother in Law with an electric guitar. Imagine her blowing everyone away on X Factor.
Secondly, I got a letter from my letting agent saying the landlord wants to raise the rent on our 1 bed flat by £75 per month, making it a whacking £1,325. I offered £40, they said £65. I stuck on £40. They said letter from landlord said minimum £62.50.
Sensing a rat I contacted landlord directly, said I felt we were getting shafted by a greedy agent. Landlord agreed on £40.
Note to tenants……………..You CAN negotiate!
See ya next week.