business, politics, property, society

Beat Business Energy Bills with an Open Window and Natural Light

Why have UK businesses become so energy dependent that their entire existence can be held to ransom by recent price-hikes.  Of course, energy is required for most industrial processes including refrigeration and food preparation.  But why this obsession with artificial lighting and air-conditioning?

 I have worked in offices all my adult life.  I have never asked to sit behind tinted glass in artificial lighting and freezing air conditioning.  It has been imposed on me. I’m sure that it hasn’t always been like that.  I would much rather enjoy natural light and the ability to open a window if I feel stuffy.  It means that I won’t have to take a pullover to work because of the air-conditioning, when the temperature is a sunny 100° outside.  Think about the energy cost of creating this unnecessary artificially controlled environment?  Think about the climate.  It’s the same with shops.  Why do shops always have to have the lights blazing to prove that they are open?

A couple of weeks back, I visited my local pet shop to pick up some cat litter.  They had recently moved premises and had not yet had the electricity connected.  But the natural light coming in through the window was good enough for me to find my cat litter and complete my purchase.

Three months ago, there was a power cut at my local Tesco supermarket.  Again, there was enough natural light for me to complete my shopping.  It was just as I could not get it through the till.  Today I went to the local Internet cafe at the end of our road to print out some documents.  I was pleased to see the staff sitting in natural light and only using electricity to power their computers and printer.  At least they are saving some money. 

Going forward, the construction of commercial buildings has to change, with windows that open and which maximize the amount of natural light coming in during daylight hours.  Also, a change of mindset.  Is that so difficult?

Law, politics, Uncategorized, women

Prince Andrew’s Jury Trial

Whilst I welcome the opportunity which Prince Andrew has to a jury trial in relation to the allegations against him, I regret the fact that civil litigants in the UK are denied that same right. When I began my legal career back in the early 1970s around 3% of civil high court trials took place with the jury, mainly, but not exclusively where the allegations were ones of defamation. Now that has all gone. The reason why judges and politicians dislike the jury system is that it introduces the human concept of right and wrong into what would otherwise be the dry application of abstract law to a set of facts. In other words, it gives citizens too much power in the judicial system. The landmark case which abolished juries in civil cases was the Court of Appeal decision in Ward v James 1966. However Ward v James was primarily concerned only with personal injury claims in which there was little factual dispute. Only whether there was liability and, if so, how much damages should be awarded. But Denning also said, “Let it not be supposed that this court is in any way opposed to trial by jury. It has been the bulwark of our liberties for too long for any of us to seek to alter it. Whenever a man is on trial for a serious crime, or when in a civil case a man’s integrity is at stake or where one or other party must be lying, then a trial by jury has no equal”.

Brexit, London, march, peoples vote, politics, protest, remainer, Uncategorized

PEOPLE’S VOTE MARCH

I’ve just come back from the Peoples Vote March against Britain leaving the European Union. Almost 700,000 people attended the march – which walked from Hyde Park to Parliament Square. Even the sun came out to support us.

Being there just felt so right. Whatever happens I’ll have no regrets about that. It was a privilege to stand up and be counted.

Brexit? What’s that all about? Even the name sounds stupid!

business, housing, Law, politics, property, real estate

Why are first time buyers priced out of the UK housing market?

It’s because the market has become distorted. It’s not just about too many buyers chasing too few properties. It’s not about interest rates. It’s because first time buyers are not just competing against other first time buyers but also the buy-to-let market.   So why the distortion?

It’s because councils no longer own sufficient stock to meet their social housing responsibilities. Too much of it has been sold under right-to-buy and more than 40% is now owned by private landlords. So councils have to rent-back properties on their own estates to meet their statutory housing responsibilities and pay those inflated costs through the housing benefits system. It is that state-subsidised demand which has pushed private-sector rents and property prices through the roof. Everybody loses: the taxpayer; first time buyers; private renters. Everybody that is, except the private landlord. V. Charles Ward, Author, ‘Housing Regeneration: a Plan for Implementation’