Austerity is a Lie. Welcome to Tory Britain.

Austerity is a Lie roadsign

Austerity is a Lie. It’s a political opinion, not a fact. It’s an ideal that says it’s better to cut the State than to to grow it; offering jobs to people and empowering them to earn and pay taxes.

Austerity is a frame of mind that brainwashed conservatives would have everyone else believe is the only way that the 27th wealthiest county – a country with a GDP per capita of £34,686 – can only survive by making huge cuts to health and public services across the country.

Austerity is an excuse for to sell the public assets and vital contracts to friends and family of the richest MP’s and influential people in the country.

Meanwhile, the poorest in society are left with less disposable income, the number of homeless rises to record levels and crime rises to its highest level in a decade.


Welcome to Tory Britain.


Quickly, private rents increase to the highest levels on record as a lack of new social housing in provisioned creating exponential competition for two and three bedroom properties. More people are forced into self employment due to a lack of public sector jobs and contracts, yet risk causing a borrowing crises. Even pro-Tory newspapers call for more public money to fund social housing.

Instead of boosting more PAYE and permanent jobs in the public sector, allowing people to earn and save, the government forces people into the “gig economy” and supports companies who prefer zero hours contracts, provided little job security or guaranteed income. At the same time, it attempts to push through laws which remove workers rights (which eventually fail and cause a massive u-turn in policy to protect votes).


Welcome to Tory Britain.


As the austerity lie is forced on the population, teachers are attacked and told they must work even harder for less money and lower pensions, resulting in fewer teachers to cope with more pupils.

Woodlands are sold off to the highest bidder. Developers are allowed to build with less constraints.

In a bid to secure her future, Teresa May loses her majority with a £140million bill to the taxpayer whilst striking an expensive deal with the right-wing DUP.


Welcome to Tory Britain.

My Example of a Household Recycling Setup

My recycling setup

An example of a household recycling setup, mine takes a bit of space but is great for separating the different types of waste which my council collects. My local auhotiry collects all types of waste including food, cardboard/paper, plastic, glass, tin, garden and non-recyclable waste.

My recycling setup
My recycling setup has separate bin for plastic, cardboard, food, garden and food waste.


I place the clear recycling sacks into two smaller labelled bins with separate bins for glass and tin, to keep it all separate. The food waste bin sits next to it. I’m going to find a better method for stacking them in the future.

A small investments in separate bins helps to keep items in their own recycling bins.


I purchased this bin store online which is a great way of keeping the wheelie bits out of site, and helps to keep maggots out of the bin.

Corn: the hidden Allergen in your Food and Drink (and Where to Find it)

When I wrote last year on how a maize allergy almost killed my wife, it was just the beginning of her journey. Since then she (we) have had to check every single item of food and drink that she has consumed and have often been shocked how often the cheap bulking agent corn is used by manufacturers. Eating out is often impossible or restricts here to a basic chicken breast and salad meal, and a buffet or fast food is an absolute impossibility.

For those who don’t know, corn is a common name for maize. It’s used mainly as a bulking agent or thickener in food and drinks and has recently become widely favoured as a cheaper alternative to wheat and barley due to its low cost.


Corn ‘hidden’ in foods

As time as gone on, we’ve discovered just how common corn is, and it seems that the more food that comes from the USA to the UK, the more prevalent stuffing foods with maize has become. From Haribo sweets to lager, corn is so prevalent that eating is often a minefield.


Corn is often used to make fried foods crisper

Corn (in particular cornflour) is being used more frequently in kitchens to help make fried food more crispy. Sweet potato chips, for example, are often tossed in cornflour being being fried. This makes eating out very difficult for people who suffer from a corn allergy.

In addition, companies such a McDonald’s and KFC use corn products in some of their food but sadly don’t make this information available publicly on their website (making it impossible for someone who has a maize allergy to even thing about tucking in to a greasy bucket).


Corn is now featured in some food oils

As pressure is placed on food manufacturers to look for ‘healthier’ plant-based fats, corn is increasingly being added to frying oil. This means that it’s almost impossible to eat anything cooked in oil unless you can be 100% certain of the ingrediatns of the oil. If it doesn’t say, stay away!


Cornflour is the most common thickener for sauces and soups

Check the ingredients of a sauce or soup and there’s a high probability that it will contain cornflour, use to thicken the product and bulk it up.

Even foods labelled as ‘breaded’ can contain corn

During the summer my wife and I rushed home from the shops to get ready for one of our favourite activities, watching Formula One. She quickly made herself a ham and tomato sandwich and we sat down to watch the race. A couple of minutes later my wife suddenly jumped up and ran to the kitchen because she’d forgotten to check the ingrediatns of the ham. Sure enough, the breaded ham contained corn in the ingredients. Panicking, she got her epipen ready and downed some prescription antihistamines. She only had one small mouthful of the ham but even that was enough to give her mild effects. Thankfully she didn’t go into full anaphylaxis on this occasion but it was a close shave.


Corn starch

Corn starch is the starch extracted from corn, obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. You’ll find this used where a thickener is required, usually in soups and sauces. It’s also the same stuff that children use to make ‘Oobleck’ (a non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid that does not follow Newton’s Law of Viscosity).


Modified Maize Starch

Modified Maize Starch is similar to corn startch, however, it has been chemically treated. It’s used as a thickener, but also a stabilizer or emulsifier.


Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is made from the starch of corn (maize) and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides depending on the grade. It’s used in as a thickener, sweetener and to keep some foods fresher for longer. Find it in processed foods, sweets, soft drinks and even fruit drinks.


Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum is a thickener and binder which can be produced using different ingredient, but which has been produced more recently using corn. Anyone with a corn allergy should try to avoid Xanthan Gum (although some people with corn allergies find they can tolerate it in small amounts).


Quality foods are often safest

Generally (but not always), quality food items tend to be the safest foods for those with a corn allergy to eat. This is because they higher quality the food, the less change there is that it’s been bulked up with corn starch or corn products.


Corn is even used in lager

Some lagers have maize in them, which some brewers use to adjust the flavour of the beer, meaning that those people allergic to corn need to steer clear of any lager unless the ingredients are explicitly listed.


Allergy -v- Intolerance

One of the biggest drivers for the turn towards using corn is that millions of people claim to have a gluten allergy, which has resulted in manufacturers and restaurants turning to corn as a gluten free alternative. The reality is that many of those people who claim to have a gluten allergy have never had this confirmed by a professional. It’s actually more likely that they have an intolerance, rather than an allergy. This means that the real number of people suffering a gluten allergy is actually lower than numbers would suggest.

Sadly, this means that corn is becoming more prevalent in foodstuffs which is slowly reducing the number of products Corn Allergy sufferers can eat.


Corn should be a recognised top allergen

Currently there are 14 regulated allergins on the Food Standards Authority list. It’s time corn was added to this list before someone is killed. The current 14 allergens are:

  • eggs
  • milk
  • fish
  • crustaceans (for example crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, prawn)
  • molluscs (for example mussels, oysters, squid)
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts (namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts)
  • sesame seeds
  • cereals containing gluten (namely wheat (such as spelt, Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains).
  • soya
  • celery and celeriac
  • mustard
  • lupin
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentration of more than ten parts per million)


Remember this when avoiding corn:

If it doesn’t say, stay away!

How to Keep Maggots Out Of a Bin

How to Keep Maggots Out Of a Bin photo

Responsible people recycle, others never will. So if you’re into recycling how do you keep maggots out of a bin? It’s a problem that people across the world often have to deal with but it’s very easy to combat as long as you follow some basic rules.


What are Maggots?

Maggot is the common name of the larva of various flies including the housefly. The fly lays eggs which hatch into maggots and then for pupae and hatch into flies. It can take just a few days for the process to complete in warm conditions where there is a good source of food but may take around 4 weeks in colder weather.


Why are Maggots Attracted to Bins?

A fly will chose a site to lay its eggs where there is a good supply of food for the larva to grow, which is usually rotting leftovers (particularly meat) and faeces. It’s therefore no surprise that bins are a breading ground for maggots. They are often warm and sheltered, which all helps the maggots to grow quickly and exponentially.  Rotting food placed in a bin is an excellent course of food for maggots, as are dirty nappies and soiled tissue. Discarded animal fats such as lard and butter are also attractive to flies.


How Can I Keep Maggots Out Of a Bin?

The only way to be certain to keep maggots out of a bin is to remove any sources of food (including excrement). You can try the following:

  • tie any waste bags very tightly – consider using tie draw black bags which can help seal bags more easily
  • wrap food in clingfilm to seal it from flies so that they can’t get to the food to lay eggs
  • never leave any food uncovered (including pet food)
  • freeze food waste until the day you put your rubbish out for collection; flies aren’t attracted to frozen food
  • wrap nappies in nappy bags tightly so that the nappy is sealed from the environment
  • if your Local Authority supports it, use a separate food waste caddy with a lockable lid to prevent flies accessing the food waste
  • if you’re using a good caddy, use biodegradable food waste bags available in shops or newspaper to carefully wrap the waste in
  • consider a garden composter for some types of food waste such as peeling and eggshells
  • rinse any items to be recycled such as yoghurt pots and tins
  • don’t store any of your bins in direct sunlight as the warm environment accelerates the process of maggots growing (you can buy bin stores in many places)
  • consider adding bin freshening devices or spraying natural oils to the area as flies will be put off by the fresh smell
  • sprinkle salt around the tops of bins – flies don’t like it


How do I get Rid of Maggots for good?

Once maggots have arrived the larva has already been laid so it’s vital to ensure that you remove any larva which may still be present:

  • pouring boiling water over the area will kill larva and any maggots
  • some people have had good results using large amounts of salt, which quickly absorbs water from the maggots and kills them
  • clean all bins regularly with a bleach solution or Jeyes Outdoor Disinfectant
  • find a local company that offers a bin cleaning service (many towns and cities have a local company who will do this for a few pound per week)


I’ve tried all the above but I still have maggots!

If you’ve followed all the advice above but you still have maggots, you need to look more closely at what you’re throwing away. Even the smallest amount of discarded food can attract maggots. Are you sure that you’re not throwing something away which contains food, perhaps kitchen towel with food on it or small items of food still in packets? Are you throwing lard, oils or butter in the bin? How about milk or cheese which has turned bad? If you’re still struggling to keep maggots out of a bin you’re very likely missing something which is encouraging flies to lay eggs in the bin, so you’ll need to look more carefully at what you’re doing wrong.

You should also make sure that you thoroughly clean all bins after an infestation.

My recycling setup
My recycling setup has separate bin for plastic, cardboard, food, garden and food waste.


The FiA should do More to Recruit Women into Formula One

Tatiana Calderon

As an avid Formula One fan I’m always disappointing by the lack of women in the sport, in particular women in senior roles. Whilst the F1 paddock is dominated by men, women are (generally) left to ‘stand around and look pretty’ and very few are given jobs which seem them involved in the day-to-day running of F1 teams.

Even Claire Williams – the deputy Team Principle of the Williams F1 Team – has said that her father wasn’t keen on her taking a job in the motorsport. In an interview in 2013, Williams said that women need to be more “ballsy” if they want to progress in the sport and that people still expected she would get pregnant and disappear from the camera. In 2017, the boss of Sauber Monisha Kaltenborn, was forced to leave the team after a reshuffle of management.


Female drivers have tried but failed

Having watched many different types of motorsport it’s fair to say women don’t generally make it to the higher ranks, or certainly no where near as much as men. The most recent person to make it to test and F1 car during a race weekend was Williams test driver Susie Wolff but she retired from the sport soon afterwards. Many said that she was only supported within the sport because of her husband, Toto Wolff, boss of the Mercedes GP team.

Another lost talent was María de Villota who died in 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest caused by the life changing injuries she received when she crashed an F1 car during testing at Duxford Aerodrome.


F1 isn’t just about being strong

Historically, critics of women in F1 have said that the sport is too physically demanding for women to participate. The upper body strength such as the demands on the neck and upper back. However, recent changes to the regulations have meant that less strength is required to control an F1 car.


The pinnacle of motorsport needs to take a lead in encouraging women engineers and managers

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, with race technology eventually making it into road cars (such as energy recovery). Teams require constant development, with engineers being responsible for designing and building many aspect of the modern technology. The UK lacks the valuable input that women can add to design and construction with schools struggling to encvourage young women into science, maths and engineering. Formula One has the ability to make an impact on this.


Could Tatiana Calderon be the next hope for women in F1?

Colombian racing driver Tatiana Calderon is the latest women to be recruiting into F1. Her role will see her as text driver for Swizz team, Sauber. However, she is unlikely to ever get a race seat with her currently record which has seen her best career position as 6th in the Spanish Formula 3 series in 2016.


How to Descale a Delonghi Magnifica Coffee Machine

To Descale a Delonghi Magnifica Coffee Machine you’ll need to follow these instructions:

  1. Place the de-scaler into the water container
  2. Top up with 1 litre of plain water
  3. Press and hold the flashing light button below the strength dial for 5 seconds
  4. Place a large plastic contained under the milk/cappuccino mode
  5. Turn the steam tap – the machine will now go through it’s cycle
  6. Once the water refill light is flashing, remove the water contain, rinse it, fill to the maximum line and place back into the machine. It will now rinse.

The PowerHit Disposable Charger is criminal

In a world where many of us are trying to do our best to save vital resources, the PowerHit Disposable Charger appears in Tesco superstores around the UK and it should be illegal in my opinion.

This small device is sold for around £3 and claims to provide Android or iPhone device “up to 2 hours” of additional charge. But it’s a totally wasteful and unethical product.


What’s inside the PowerHit Disposable Charger?

As many people do, I’ve turned to Youtube for some answers. Thankfully, a chap from Scotland called ‘Big Clive’ has the answers. For those of you who don’t already follow Clive, he takes apart many different electronic devices and analysis/test them for quality (if you’re the type of person who likes to take things apart you really need to subscribe to his channel).

Inside the PowerHit Disposable Charger is a 4.2v lithium cell battery which the manufacturer claims can provide 600mAh of charge. As Clive points out, this cell may be reused hundreds of times if the device it’s fitted with the capacity to be recharged. As well as the battery there is a basic circuit board encased in some cheap plastic packaging.

Once used, both the cell, circuitry and the packaging become landfill. Such as waste. And yes, I know it’s not supposed to go in the bin, but some people are that dumb.


Where’s the regulation?

At a time when solar energy is becoming so much cheaper to buy, the fact that these types of single-use devices even exists is shameful, not to mention the fact that this has probably travelled halfway around the World from China on a boat to get to the UK in the first place.

It should be illegal for this type of device to be sold in the UK and supermarket’s like Tesco should be taking the ethical steps not to stock them.


Why is the Powerhit Disposable Charger even a thing?

You can buy a rechargeable powerbank at Poundland for (yep you’ve guess it) – £1. Not only is it almost two and a half times more useful in terms of charge, it’s also reusable.

I can imagine the sort of person who would benefit from this would be someone who was stuck somewhere with a flat phone and in desperate need of phone charge. Almost an emergency.

I suspect the real customers of these will be festival goers…you know, the kind of person who claims to be a liberal who wants to support the planet, but then who happily leaves their cheap tent in a muddy field at the end of the weekend to some poor mug to pick up and throw in the bin.

Anyway, here is Clive’s video.


Commercial Register Canada – latest Scam to hit Canadian Businesses

Commercial Register Canada letter

The scammers at Direct Publisher are at it again, this time with the Commercial Register Canada scam which attempts to dupe small business owners out of $1414. This is starting to gather pace and I have seen a noticeable increase in the amount of people contacting me regarding the scam.

I’ve written in the past how the Commercial Register Scam has been used to extort money from UK business owners, and now the same company have widened their net to Canada.


How the Commercial Register Canada scam works

The scam is designed to dupe genuine business owners into thinking they are legally obliged to complete a form. The letter will arrive looking official, asking the business owner to update the details of their company and return the letter.

What many people don’t realize is that the reverse of the letter has a number of terms and conditions on it, and by signing the letter, the business owner then agrees to the terms of the ‘contract’. Part of this ‘contract’ is that the owner agrees to pay $1,479 CAD to advertise on the scammers website.

I was contacted by Canadian business owner Cathleen Fillmore who said that she began to complete the form but quickly realized that it wasn’t genuine when the scammers omitted her business registry number.

“My form says Commercial Register Canada which is name of the Canadian government and it says to update my business information. When I began to fill it out, they didn’t seem to know my business registry #! So then I began to read the fine print. What a scam….”  – Cathleen Fillmore

I was also contacted by Donna, another Canadian business owner, who confirmed that the letter was marked ‘Commercial Registration Canada’ and the return address was to Direct Publisher in France. She says that DP are getting very clever and this document actually looked legit.


What to do if you receive a Commercial Register Canada letter

The most important thing is not to return the letter.

If you have returned the letter, don’t enter into any correspondence with Direct Publisher. They will threaten to sue you. They will send you letter from supposed law firms (none of which will be genuine). They’ve never taken anyone to court as they know that their contract is unfair.

You certainly shouldn’t pay anything.


How to Replace and Iveco Daily Battery in 6 steps

Photo of an Iveco Daily

When it comes to knowing how to Replace and Iveco Daily Battery, you’re probably wondering where to start. Where is the battery? And how to you remove it?

The battery is hidden away behind a panel on the passenger side of the vehicle and looks difficult to get so, but with a little patience, it’s actually very easy to get to.


How Replace and Iveco Daily Battery

Step one: locate the battery cover at the passenger step and remove the cover to reveal the battery

Step two: remove the 5 torque screws from the step trim surround

Step three: carefully push the wheel arch trim aside to remove the step trim surround – you now have access to the battery

Step four: loosen the 10mm nut on the negative battery terminal

Step five: loosen the 10mm nut on the positive terminal (look closely under the black electric cover as it’s hidden underneath

Step six: undo the 10mm bolt holding the battery clamp in place. Remove the battery and fit the new battery in reverse order

Remember to never allow positive and negative wires to touch and never allow metal tools to short across the battery terminals.


I’ve connected the battery but the locks aren’t working and it won’t start

Iveco’s have an annoying habit of losing their coding when a battery goes flat for a prolonged period. The only way to resolve this problem is to have the vehicle taken to a main dealer and the keys re-programmed to the vehicle.


Watch a video on How Replace and Iveco Daily Battery

I made a video to help you see how the battery is removed. It’s really straight forward if you take your time.