Secure tenants beware

I have heard that Tower Hamlets Homes is planning a ‘consultation’ on Secure Tenancies. As far as I know, the legislature about secure tenancies is determined by central government. Government sets the rules about bedroom tax and tenancy transfer rights.

But the fact that Councillor Danny Hassell has now been moved to become Council Cabinet member for Housing, means there is trouble ahead.

Danny Hassell was the hard man who emotionlessly moved school closures when he was in charge of education. He is going to do the same thing with council housing in that new post.

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Time is money

Again I am surprised to see that there is no time-efficient crime reporting system in place.

If everybody who heard about crime stoppers actually would ring them, their line would be unavailable for months. But, as it happens, people only get referred to this one anonymous crime reporting site.

Currently phone waiting times for the 101 system in London are around 1 hour.

With the best intentions, who has time to wait for that?

On the point of crime reporting. It even takes quite a bit of time to fill in the online forms for councils and/or police online reporting.

Looking at the reality of the situation, if you work as a delivery courier in London for example, you may see concerning things 10 times per day. But you cannot possibly want to get involved in 10 investigations, want to spent 10 hours waiting on phones to get through, spend 20 minutes reporting each incident online on the Met Police website.

It is impossible to report fast and anonymous.

In Tower Hamlets we have just put up a quick to use form to just upload pictures, very basic info like time, date, place, short description. You do not have to give any personal details but can if you want.

I think crime reporting has to keep up with the times and actually enable people to quickly upload a pic that you might have on your camera to a webpage, without having to worry about getting detectives knocking on your door day and night to enquire about your involvement, when there is none because you happen to be working in London.

Also there are many spam and phishing messages in circulation. At one point I got so many and reported them to the government phishing email, that they blocked me as spam.

If you have a system, you need to be able to maintain it to actually make it work.

So why can criminals purchase endless amounts of sims and use them for burner phones to send out phishing messages and calls just to throw away the sim after a day and replace it with another one.

If police were to investigate each burner sim, used for spam or fraud phone calls, they would be looking into Britain’s bins for the rest of their days.

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Political solutions

Councils really love it,

you collect signatures for petitions, you present the petition in council chamber and they can either allow or deny the request. Often enough they deny it, but, they still love it that you came to try because it is democracy in action.

Apparently it is extremely time-consuming to collect signatures for petitions on the whim of it being disallowed most of the time.

Many problems can be solved much easier and quicker if people go along the complaints route.

In Tower Hamlets you can complain three times about a problem within six months, if nothing has improved after that time you use Community Trigger. That shows up in the statistics as a failure for the council to solve a problem. They really hate that and actually have to improve things to resolve problems.

Whilst with the petitions and representations, they just do not have to do anything but deny it.

Another great route is complaining to the Ombudsman.

Many problems I get presented with have to do with Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). In some council areas they have listened to people and removed road blockages but in others they just don’t. It’s made a political issue and powerful politicians try to push the issue. In Tower Hamlets that has led to this: “Let’s vote Lutfur Rahman again, he is the only politician to remove them, whilst Labour wants to keep them there”.

Taken from Facebook, local traders protest on road closures

Then people wonder why Lutfur Rahman again gets elected. Labour always uses the same political ploy, they enable more radical left-wingers to get into positions, whether it’s George Galloway or Lutfur Rahman because that is what they want to happen.

I have seen messages from London Fire Brigade and been told that the Met Police have officially requested the removal of road blockages for LTNs with no effect. That should be unlawful but unfortunately it is not unlawful for councils to not listen to concerns from emergency services.

Also it is wicked and cruel to first of all tell traders to open shops and then close the roads so that people cannot drive to them, this includes deliveries and pick-ups for orders.

Personally I do not think that particular politicians can resolve technical problems because technical problems should not have to rely on particular politicians, they should be there regardless of political leadership.

Just look at the issue of Fire safety in Tower Blocks. There are many Facebook groups and local politicians, even the new MP for Poplar and Limehouse, who is currently in court for alleged housing benefit fraud, says, that we need a political solution to solve the problem of paying for removing cladding.

But in the meantime, until the cladding is removed, there are alarm based solutions.

Yet, non of the politicians involved in the debate ever mentions this once.

Alarm based solutions enable the flat owners to install a smart alarm that is connected to other alarm owners via an App called Safeland. If one alarm goes off, all other alarm owners connected get alarmed as well. That saves people from patrolling blocks day and night.

It costs a little bit for the alarm and a yearly small subscription fee to Safeland but it is peace of mind. Yet media like TV channels have spent a lot of time portraying people as having to patrol their blocks and never mentioned the alarm based solutions people can instal.

So why do politicians and so many Facebook groups not mention this to their readers?

I think you can abuse the public by steering every problem into a political solution without mentioning the sheer brilliant technical ones.

Airlines on the forefront of freedom fighting

I am really glad that Ryanair take up the fight for a freedom to travel. As much as I do not fly nor have a car, I defend the right of everybody to move freely.

As the BBC reports, a conglomerate of travel industry owners are taking the government to court over restrictions and the government’s method to determine who is save and who isn’t.

They rightly question whether there is a secret political agenda, which that implies in my mind, in the government’s ideas.

Just as Boris Johnson tried to close down parliament, now he tries to stop travel.

Just as I am equally concerned about focussing on cycling, which the Labour Party now pushes. Closing down roads stops vulnerable residents from getting deliveries of food for example .In some areas, delivery firms refuse to attend because they cannot get to the addressee.

It’s all good to say that people should walk and cycle more but what if you can’t? If health conditions stop you from cycling or walking, what are you supposed to do.

There are quite a lot of articles online, which actually find that the Green movement has been founded by the Nazis. The idea to isolate yourself away from the world, stopping free travel and communications stems from that ideology.

Even as I do not own a car, I definitely rely on car transport, for deliveries and travel if I want it.

Being stopped from commuting, if you do not use a cycle is taking people’s rights away.

Remember what brought Ken Livingstone down where the bendy buses and I reckon once the LTN schemes are installed, that is what will bring Sadiq’s reign to an end.

I can only see what Khan does to Neighbourhood Safety in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. He has created a totally secretive system, which does not give any notification to residents on how it works.

Committees are established, which do not even circulate minutes of meetings.

The Police and Crime Commissioner in London should not be the same person as the Mayor of London, this should be politically independent, instead Khan aims to politically control policing and safer Neighbourhoods.

We are told not to take part in anti LTN demos as that would be political, but isn’t it political to stop deliveries, free travel to keep locals dependent and remove their ability to get food?

What this shows is that both Labour and the Conservatives now try to restricts freedoms, which is a bad sign and may point to conflict, which always removes people’s freedom to move.

The lost card world

The only thing I support about Labour is their trial to introduce a basic income in Wales. I really think a basic income would solve a lot of secondary problems of the rich and the poor world we have right now.

For example a lost card world has emerged.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What this means is that if people hang around long enough outside of train stations or bus stations, they can bet to find a lost travel card somewhere, if not more than one.

What happens then is that a person advertises this lost card on social media. Yesterday I came across a travelcard of a child being advertised on Facebook as lost.

Facebook told me they don’t mind this happening. Even though it breaches the privacy laws to publish the details of a minor without the parents’ consent, Facebook doesn’t mind.

Now not even TFL minds that their travel cards are advertised on Facebook, in the hope of -reuniting the card with the owner.

Even relatives of school staff are involved in this. I have not yet heard back from the school in question whether they mind that their staff and family are involved of advertising children’s lost travel card on Facebook.

Complications would arise if there is a common name on the card. So if two Peter Joneses lost their cards and the first one picks it up but it actually belongs to the second one, someone gets a lost travel card until the original owner reports it as lost to TFL, that is when it gets cancelled. There is quite a big movement on advertising lost travel cards on a Facebook group, that so far has attracted in excess of 25 k followers. TFL only cancels cards if the original owner tells them, not if they get to know the card is advertised as lost on Facebook. TFL in fact doesn’t mind that some persons advertise their lost cards on Facebook.

When it comes to bank cards the situation drastically changes. I have seen quite a few ‘lost’ bank cards advertised on Facebook. To be collected by the real owner in a local shop for example or the advertiser asks to contact him/her.

What I find especially worrying about bank cards is that the ‘finder’ has no way of ascertaining whether the card loser was the actual owner of the bank card or is indeed entitled to have it. It may be a stolen card or borrowed card or something similarly sinister.

In the case of lost travel cards the advertisers claim that poor people could not afford to replace the cards, as if they magically know that the loser is a poor person. But in the case of bank cards, such arguments do not hold water, as bank cards are replaced free of charge.

Then there are the lost keys advertised on Facebook. Quite amazing. I can imagine that if you are homeless a bunch of keys to a flat would be attractive to you, if it is advertised on Facebook. How indeed would the finder know how to sort out ownership of the keys.

People used to hand in lost items at police stations or in case of travel cards at TFL but now they put it on social media instead and I wonder what else happens.

Obviously only the loser of an items would know the item. For example on the day of my driving test I was so nervous that I lost my key in the local post office. Upon returning there the staff could remember the keys being lost and me and returned the keys to me. However had the keys been advertised on social media, quite a few people would have come forward to claim them. Or my daughter lost her travel card in a bus, the bus driver still had it on the return journey and could remember us and so returned it to me. But had this card been advertised on social media, it would have been different. There are quite a few people with that name on the card.

What is really important is that there is a degree of privacy between the card issuer and the card holder and the bond between the two is being interrupted by third persons who take on the role of re-distributing those cards to anyone who claims them thereby circumventing the genuine owner of the cards.

Those third parties, publish the names of card holders publicly without being challenged of doing so.

The blame game

I keep on hearing that Lutfur Rahman is the bad boy, it is all his fault and the great and good Labour Party has nothing to do with his wrong-doing.

WRONG

Lutfur Rahman’s reign happened during a period of Labour administration in Tower Hamlets and whatever happened is as much Labour’s fault as it is Rahman’s fault.

I remember the extremely bad quality of the home improvements we got. They didn’t even give us matching window locks to save money. Our toilet had to be replaced after a few months as it broke due to bad quality.

Whatever happened in the admin of Lutfur Rahman also is equally the fault of the ruling Labour Party. People have decided to allow Mayoral elections for Tower Hamlets and Labour simply cannot wash their hands of elected candidates by blaming them and pretending it has nothing to do with them.

This LTN scheme for Tower Hamlets has produced extremely bad results for more traffic in residential streets.

traffic is sent around Wellington Row, a once peaceful residential area. Such plans are in place for other neighbourhoods too. This is what a Liveable Street looks like now. Lutfur Rahman has promised to return traffic to normal and that is what makes him popular with voters.

prevent the wrong person election

It seems almost comical that in Tower Hamlets, they are running a referendum to prevent Lutfur Rahman from being re-elected as Mayor.

It’s like getting rid of democracy because people could vote for the wrong person.

But, that is not what democracy is about. Democracy is about making elections possible and not to prevent them. If we would devise electoral practises to get the correct person into place, we would almost already have fascism.

Hello Tower Hamlets. If people don’t like the Mayor, they can remove him. But you can’t stop a Mayor from getting elected. That is not what democracy is about.

Lutfur Rahman was removed before and any Mayor will be removed again, if they turn out to be unsuitable. People have to learn the difference between a good and a bad Mayor, they cannot learn if you do not allow them to have a Mayor because the Mayor is not sticking to t he rules.

What is at stake is the principle. Should there be a Mayor, which can be elected by the general public, regardless of his status as councillor or should be have a Leader of the Council, selected by Councillors from elected Councillors only, not allowing the people to choose from any candidate standing.

Lock-down’s not working for me

I have had the worst start to the New Year.

I reside in a building that is plagued by bad plumbing problems. As soon as it rains above the normal, which is just a little bit, my drains block either my sink or my bath.

It takes the landlord then around a week or more to unblock it.

My kitchen waste gets through the same waste pipe as my bathroom waste and as the bathroom pipe has been blocked by upcoming silt, I am totally unable now to

  • use my washing machine or diswasher if I had one
  • have a shower/bath
  • use my kitchen sink

as all my waste water from kitchen and bath, come out in my bath tub.

The idea of lockdown is that you spend time at home and do not use public bath and shower facilities. Unfortunately for me, I can’t use my personal facilities either. I have been getting a lot of excuses.

Just wondering how is it furthering public health if people can’t wash properly at home?

My landlord says they do not have the necessary staff available to deal with repairs in good time.

bank’s negativity

My online banking has asked me to allow them sending me messages about account movements.

But, yea but no but, they only sent me the outgoings. The balances they predict only contain negative messages. E.g. your balance is nearing zero. Yet, where is them calculating in my predicted income.

Fact is my online banking messaging system does not include income scheduled.

Of course every proper capitalist does not have a guaranteed income. Every income is the best one can hope for in a positive outcome.

Just reminds me when I deal with the current Chest Hospital development situation.

Crest Nicholson had dire financial problems in 2009 alongside other developers like Barratt. That just brings home that those, being part of the private finance initiative, need to make money to survive. They cannot rely on a backhander from government reserves, they need to built their own reserves.

Chest Hospital remains boarded up, but since the planning permission has finallyl been granted, perhaps something is going to happen sooner rather than later.

So it makes me smirk at best when those complaining about profiteering from private developers say that they (the developers) want to make a profit.

But the council house building has also hit rock bottom.

So what do we do? Do not build any new houses because there is no money for councils to built them? Do we just let areas rot away and leave humans to sleep in tents in the streets?

Private house developers do build homes for those earning lots of money but if we do not allow them to build homes and refuse their homes because we only want council houses then we just do not get homes.

Well, that depends on the government that is currently in place and this creates the political and financial climate.

My stance has always been, allow a private developer to built on the former Chest Hospital site rather than just let the site rot away, allow rats to become cosy in the old buildings and help protesters feel happy about having prevented a perfectly sensible housing development.

Who wants to live next door to rotting buildings and smelly old hospital amenities?

Some protesters even came up with the issue of light. They argued that the Chest Hospital development would take away the light on neighbourhing houses. Yet, they completely forgot that we have in excess of 150 mature trees in only one estate next to the site and those trees take away considerable amounts of light from residents already there. So where is the argument?

It’s really a spot of bother if Resident’s Associations want to prevent others from moving into their area. How can they ever develop a positive relationship in the community with the push away attitude?

It’s always easy for those already in a home to say to others they are not entitled to have one.

Yes, the protests may have improved the quality of dwelling offered by Crest Nicholson but that has only pushed up the price to those who already have lots of dosh.

Whilst in the meantime the poor people have to put up with being put into former commercial offices, which have been converted to bad quality homes, the Chest Hospital protesters are only concerned about the quality of housing offered to those with lots of money.

A skills-based win

Apparently my business skills and economics, business based set of qualifications, gained in various specialist schools both in Germany and Britain and my great ability to do accounting, are probably responsible for my most recent win of a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.

I have run my own business for 10 years. I had been a company director.

They were just finding for me because they obviously looked at the accounts of the local social landlord e.g. council and from the accounts they could determine what had and had not taken place.

There is always room for basic logic to be successful in many walks of life.

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