The London Mayoral election is this Thursday and I’m yet to decide who I will be voting for.
This week I’ve been reading all the manifestos so I can make an educated choice. I think I know who will get my second preference vote (the one that ‘matters’) – but I’m keen to explore all options for my first preference.
The manifestos are rather glossy and fairly accessible, so if you’re unsure who to vote for it’s worth giving them a read. Sadiq Khan (Labour), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Caroline Pidgeon (London Liberal Democrats) and Sian Berry (Green Party) are the four key contenders but there are a range of other personalities and parties on the ballot too.
One party that caught my eye was the Women’s Equality Party. They obviously have a clear ideology and I was interested to see how that applied to more conventional policy topics like housing and transport. It was an interesting read – here are five things I learnt:
Founded in 2015, the Women’s Equality Party has over 45,000 members and registered supporters
45 years after the Equal Pay Act the gender pay gap still exists
5,500 rapes were recorded in London last year
28,000 women in London work full-time but still provide 20 hours of unpaid care every week
Enabling women to work the hours and jobs they want would add an estimated £70 billion to London’s economy
Sophie Walker from the Women’s Equality Party is not going to be the next London Mayor, but I hope throwing her hat into the ring has captured the attention of Sadiq / Zac so London in 2020 is a safer and more equal place for women.
The Electoral Commission recently confirmed that close to one million people have dropped off the electoral roll since 2014.
If you’re not on the electoral roll, you can’t vote. And if you can’t vote, you’re losing your democratic right to help decide who runs this country.
Three reasons why you should register to vote
You pretty much can’t buy a property if you haven’t registered to vote. Good luck getting a mortgage without being on the electoral roll.
Can’t afford a property in London, or anywhere else for that matter? Vote for the party you think are most likely to ensure you have a safe and secure home in the future, whether that’s one that will build new homes or one that has plans for longer tenancies.
If you don’t vote it suggests we’re an apathetic and lazy nation. Don’t want to vote for any politician because you hate them all? No worries – spoil your vote instead. Show you’re not lazy, you just don’t think anyone on the voting card is worthy of a seat.
It only take five minutes to register to vote. If you want to vote in the 2015 election, you need to register to vote before Monday 20 April. Register to vote here.
I was taking a stroll through Hampstead recently when I came across this street sign for Frognal Way, one of the most expensive streets in the UK. I’d never noticed ‘unadopted’ text on a sign before and I was rather intrigued.
Apparently an unadopted street is a street that is not maintained by the local Highway Authority at public expense. This official description is taken from the new snazzy gov.uk website:
‘Unadopted’ roads are those roads not maintained by a highway authority as defined by Highways Act 1980. The description of such roads covers a wide range of circumstances.
For most unadopted residential roads the duty to maintain it falls to the frontagers, ie the owners of the property fronting that road, which may include those where the side, or length, of their property fronts the unadopted road. Those buying property on an unadopted street should be made aware of the situation regarding their property and their related liability for the road. Under Highways Act 1980, local highway authorities may adopt streets that they are not currently responsible for maintaining, but this is purely a matter for local decision.
Mystery solved, although I’d love to hear from someone who lives on an unadopted road about their responsibilities for it.
I don’t pretend that this blog is anything other than pretty pictures and talk of food, but with the attention of the world once again focused on England I thought I’d share something to do with the Royal baby and life in England that I read today in the Guardian.
Emily Harle at Left Foot Forward writes a powerful piece projecting the futures of the other 2,000 babies born on 22 July 2013. While the media will scrutinise the new prince, these children will be monitored by the NHS and social services, but not all will be protected, she writes.
226 children of the 2,000 will live in overcrowded, temporary or run down housing and eleven will be homeless.
A shocking 540 children will live in poverty, with 290 of this group experiencing poverty despite having one parent that works.
We should maintain and improve—not cut—the services that children need, from help during their early years right through to careers advice and youth services. It is these services that will help to determine the paths of each of the 2,000 children born in the UK on 22 July 2013.
If this is true, I’m not sure where England will be by the time that little baby boy takes to the throne.
It’s sadly been a while since my last post. Not sure why, but time has clearly run away with itself and I’ve been too busy living life to write about it!
Which, in a way, is a shame because the whole purpose of this blog is to write about what I get up to in London to remember all the things I’ve done (and to encourage others to try the good bits too). I’ll try and catch up soon, as I have been to some interesting places recently. I’ve even been South of the river. Twice.
For now though cast your eyes over this awesome bit of Mom dancing by Michelle Obama. Like everyone else who has blogged about this I bloody love Michelle Obama. There would be a picture of her under awesome in my pictorial dictionary.
And Brits – share with your mum for Mother’s Day. She will love it. Just don’t try and get her to recreate it…
Each day WordPress and their Freshly Pressed function brings at least one gem to the table. Last Sunday I noticed a post called ‘What choices do I have‘ which I found suitably intriguing.
I’m interested in consumerism and find the internet to be a great source of inspiration, and the blog in question is just another of those posts that remind me to think once again about my lifestyle choices. There are so many more things about my life that I could change, and posts like this provide a nudge and encourage me to take another step.
This blog post led me to Slavery Footprint, a site that evaluates your life choices and suggests the number of slaves that essentially work for you. There are lots of interesting stats dotted throughout and the site is beautifully made. At the very least, taking the short quiz will highlight habits that you probably wish you didn’t have, and it might spur you on to start making the changes you need to make in order to be the person you want to be.
I have been working in the property sector for a year and a half and, much to my surprise, I find it fascinating. Lots of column inches in the papers are dedicated to housing issues (many property supplements have been culled, but property and housing issues feature in the news more) and it is a topic everybody has an opinion about.
I read about ‘Generation Rent’ everyday yet I wonder how many people my age have even the faintest idea about mortgages, finance or housing. Without experience working in the industry I know I would not have the knowledge I have today. I am pleased that I now understand the market, policy and legislation, and that I can also identify a fake stat delivered in a reassuring manner.
As Minister of State for Housing Grant Shapps has delivered a fair share of porkies, and while he never lies outright (spin and inappropriate use of statistics is frowned upon) he does, perhaps, arguably, maybe MISUSE statistics in the standard come-to-be-expected politician way.
Instead of ranting and raving I am going to step down from my soapbox and direct you to a blog from the policy department at Shelter, explaining how to spot a housing lie.
Politics aside, everybody should be able to understand the numbers and form their own conclusions. So go take a read, and I promise I will be back blogging about frivolous matters tomorrow.