Questions? Questions? What’s yours?

190204 SCREENGRAB 5

Until February 14, Green Party members in London are exercised by a whole bunch of question marks.

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

They’re picking their candidates for the Greater London Assembly, this massive city’s government. And they’re taking their task extremely seriously.

Together with 21 excellent candidates I am up for selection, but only 11 of us will get through the door.

So Green London members are putting their peers through their paces. And they want answers. If you have any thorny questions, send them my way!

Here’s a selection we have received in the last few days, together with my replies.

Continue reading

I Was Victim To A Section 21 ‘No Fault’ Eviction – Here’s How I Got My Own Back

In a flash I was made to feel like a star on a ‘rogue tenant’ TV show, but I’ve never been one for rolling over

190130 estate agent window

It was a proper Christmas, no culinary catastrophes, the family gathered round the table for a feast, no-one’s voice raised above 70 decibels. Bliss. The real tree looked and smelled of Norwegian wood, there were rows of candles, a box full of economy crackers with truly groan-tastic jokes. All just like a real homey Christmas should be.

Then, a few days before New Year’s Eve 2017 and still amid the warm festive glow, a hand-written window envelope fluttered on to the doormat. A late Christmas card? Nah, they don’t come in window envelopes. Probably some neighbourhood thing. I left the letter on the hall table and went shopping. An hour later, warming up with a coffee, I opened the handwritten envelope:

Dear Ms De Keyser,

RE: Notice Seeking Possession – Tenanted Property…

I read on, fully expecting this to be one of those standard communications landlords need to send once a year to comply with the contract. Only when I got to the end of the letter did I realise that this was nothing of the sort:

“Our client has instructed us to commence court proceedings should you fail to vacate the property [within two months of this letter].”

Yours sincerely

Landlord Action

Well, I nearly choked on my croissant. What?! Was I actually being evicted? I had, in a flash, become the star in one of those shocking stories you see on those ‘rogue tenant’ shows on telly. Continue reading

It’s almost over, but which -anuary got your vote?

190125 veges 1So how’s your January coming along? It’s nearly over. Did you opt for Veganuary, or were you more inclined towards Dry January? My own local pub ingeniously featured an entire month of rolling (literally) events, which they called Ginuary.

Personally, I don’t go for any of them, they’re all far too intrusive for my busily lethargic lifestyle. I just carry on living by numbers. Happy days.

But I have had to endure the endless bleatings of everyone around me, beating themselves up over the small glass of red wine, consumed in the broom cupboard, one desperate evening. Or the hapless customer, who ordered an ordinary Greggs sausage roll, accidentally on purpose, forgoing the culinary delight of Greggs runaway bestseller Vegan Sausage Roll. Continue reading

Grown-up politics: Kirsten de Keyser, candidate for Green London Assembly list

180905 KDK CAMPAIGN CU CROPIn 2020, London will go to the polls to elect a new Mayor and members of the London Assembly. The London Green Party are now in the process of selecting their candidates for those elections. Bright Green is offering every candidate seeking selection an opportunity to tell our readers why they should be selected. One of these candidates is Kirsten de Keyser, who has the following to say:

Reading through all the Green candidates’ pitches for the 2020 GLA elections, it struck me that they all sound strikingly similar; protect the environment, build more houses, stop knife crime, clean up the air we breathe.

All totally laudable, of course, but few political parties would disagree with any of that, including Labour, Tory, LibDem, UKIP and those of no discernible persuasion. It’s called logic. As the late Labour MP Jo Cox so memorably quoted in her maiden speech to the House of Commons: “We have more in common than that which divides us”.

So I decided that it would be a waste of both my writing time and your reading time to repeat this exercise. Instead, I turned to what it is that actually divides us. What sets us apart from the rest? Why are we members of the Green Party? Continue reading

The Future isn’t orange! Camden bin-bag scheme axed

It is difficult to describe the euphoric feeling of elation and relief that overwhelmed me, as I thumbed through the latest edition of the Camden New Journal.

I always enjoy taking the Camden pulse via the pages of the CNJ, but here was something truly special; news that Camden Council was throwing in the towel – wrapped in an orange bin-bag, no doubt, and banishing the orange scourge that has blighted our borough for the past 18 months.

Back in 2017, despair and a degree of panic was starting to grip me, when regular, unsolicited deliveries of bulky packs of orange plastic rubbish sacks kept thudding onto the door mat.

Where did they come from? What was I supposed to do with them? I studied the instructions, emblazoned on each bag: “Household rubbish” – “NO RECYCLABLES” – “NO FOOD WASTE” – “NO BROKEN GLASS” – “NO HOT ASHES”.

But WHAT then?! Continue reading

Plastic Cup Final

Ok, so I’m not a natural cheerleader for faux continental coffee shops offering dizzyingly priced cuppas with names like Toffee Nut Latte Cream Frappucino, but credit where credit’s due.

On our troubled and challenged planet, anyone who does anything to lessen the climate carnage deserves a mention for showing willing, at least.

181231 GAIL'S K TWNSo this week’s High-Five goes to Gail’s Bakery for switching their disposable cups to fully biodegradable ones.

Of course, the environmentally conscious among us should all be bringing our own reusable drinks container but, by the time we’ve crammed our ready supply of canvas bags, reusable nappies, the water bottle and the packed lunch into our ecological rucksack, our reusable-made-from-recycled-materials-coffee-cup doesn’t always make it. Continue reading

Peak Stuff Christmas

Tis The Season To Be Jolly! Well, you could be fooled. Walk along your local High Street, amid a sea of faces with worried scowls, and shop keepers, who look distinctly depressed. That’s those, whose businesses haven’t already shut up shop and are now particularly un-festive, darkened by rain blackened sheets of warped plywood.

It seems that shopping is so-last-year, no one’s in the mood. Have we finally reached ‘peak-stuff’? If so, good! It’s time for us all to get with the programme and stop using shopping as a form of leisure and entertainment.

Of course, local shops are not going to like that one little bit, but change happens and we all need to change with it. In these Internet times, High Street shops need to keep prices low and costs lower. This means that local Councils need to start charging business rates according to how much profit a business makes, not according to some ‘pick-a-number’ arbitrary scale. Likewise, cash rich landlords must be limited, by law if necessary, to keep commercial rent rises in line with inflation, not choking retailers to death.  Continue reading