Archive for the ‘My two-penneth’ Category

So Google “do evil” according to self anointed head of the tax inquisition Margaret Hodge MP. They did after all pay only £2.3m corporation tax on a £3.2bn turnover in the UK. Seems a bit dodgy I think we can all agree.

Two things here, I’ll start with the hypocrisy first, and there is an MPs expense list sized shitload of it.

Hodge is a shareholder in steel company Stemcor. Her family company (which include trusts and holding in the name of her children in order to avoid inheritance tax) latest accounts show that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of £2.1bn in 2011. Less than 1/100 of 1%. There are of course spluttered excuses that the company pays all the tax it owes under law and that she has no direct control (since she put it in trusts and her sprogs names to avoid even more tax)

If you really want to choke on your conrflakes you can see her excuses trotted out here. (Students of body language, enjoy!)

or here

After all she is on record as saying “The tax you owe is a duty. It’s an obligation.”.

So here’s my second point.

They both obey the law. Maybe not the moral one we’d all like to see followed, but I suspect they have an army of highly paid accountants ensuring they follow the letter of the law. Like MPs who scammed the system, like public sector chiefs who pack remuneration boards with cronies, technically they have done nothing wrong.

And who drafted the laws? Who decided on one of the most complicated tax codes in the world? MPs. Especially those that seem to have an interest in the countries taxation system. MPs like the Queen of hypocrisy Hodge.

So before she drags more companies in to try and embarrass them into voluntarily filling up the exchequer, Companies that employ people who actually pay income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel tax, council tax, inheritance tax & capital gains tax to name just a few (and so unlike her and the rest of her scumbag colleagues) Maybe Hodge ought to have a long hard look at herself and her holdings in tax avoiding Stemcor.

After all if it’s so bad, then why isn’t there a law against it, or if it is why isn’t it enforced?

BBC radio 4 is dangerous. This morning I think I nearly burst a blood vessel listening to the piece on universal credit. If you think I make this stuff up check the iPlayer for about 0720 on the Today program..

Anyway, to the point. Universal credit pilot schemes were the hot topic this morning. They had duly wheeled in some of those about to be effected. Of particular note was the “disabled” lorry driver. His name escapes me, let’s call him Jim for the minute.

So, Jim was a driver for many years and then struck down by some form of illness (he did not specify) that prevents him doing any work. Not just driving but anything. Nope, can’t write, can’t read, can’t lift a sheet of paper or press keys on a keyboard. None of it.

The interviewer put it to him that the new scheme (whether it functions that way or not) was intended to ensure that if he worked, however little that he would be better off. Nope, couldn’t possibly. If he worked he would lose. No matter what the interviewer said he was adamant and refused to accept that you could possibly be better off. So no point is there?

Then the real blood boiler. He was told that all your benefits would be rolled up and paid in one payment to the claimant. a recipe for chaos, death, destruction, homelessness and destitution apparently. People can’t be expected to have to remember to pay bills or rent! Nope the state should do all that for them. They should be able to live effectively as pampered pets because it’s all just so stressful and doesn’t help Jim ‘s illness, which is incurable you know? But of course Jim still needs a big house so his kids can come stay (divorced, quel surprise?) This man cannot be responsible enough to take money given to him for free and move it from one place to another. He cannot be trusted to be treated like an adult to have to fill out a direct debit form, or sign a cheque, or simply go to the post office and make a fucking payment with the money that is given to him for nothing. Jim is angry that someone expects him to be trustworthy enough to pay the rent with money he is given to maintain the house his kids come to, but he thinks it his human right to be trusted in sole charge of children. Jim lost his right to be treated like an adult long ago.

Do I appear bereft of sympathy and the milk of human kindness? That’s because I am. Jim serves no purpose, he refuses to make an iota of effort to help himself. He wallows in his illness and victimhood. To be utterly honest I wish he’d hurry up and die. Given the choice of having the wages I spent years getting training and experience to be able to earn, the money I drag my arse out of bed for every working day and spend the bulk of my week away from the people I’d rather spend it with, the money taken from me by threat of force, that money; given the choice, I’d rather it went to people I care about, rather than a lazy waster who cannot even manage to take that money given to him for free and be bothered to pay a bill that benefits him with it.

Jim wants to be treated like cattle. To be housed, fed and entertained. All without any effort on his part. So treat him like one. Cattle do not get a say in how the farm is run. They are simply herded from the field to the abattoir. The American revolutionaries used the slogan “No taxation without representation”. If the equation is taxation=representation, then the opposite is also true. If you do not pay tax you should not get a say in how it is spent.

Just once, I’d love the interviewer to ask “what have you done to help yourself?”… Mind you, they’d probably ask for a helper to answer for them. too much like hard work.

Great article on the BBC mentioning charities that are up in arms about new TV show “in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer”
Apparently they reckon it is dangerous to tell people that prayer has cured their diabetes & cancer.

I may surprise you here. Brilliant. We need more of this. Get them on BBC1 at 7 o’clock on saturday nights. Think of the possibilities that will benefit society!

First, anyone foolish enough to believe this rubbish will of course die. If they are going to put faith healing by a conman on a TV over advice by a doctor, hospitals and science then lets get them out of the gene pool before they pollute it any further.

Next, it helps the NHS! In this time of austerity the NHS is desperately overcrowded and underfunded. Lets encourage the fairy tale followers to not clutter up wards and surgeries, but to rely on Bishop Simon Iheanacho laying on of holy oil, exorcisms and battling the “snakes in the body” and leave the hospitals to the rest of us.

300th post. Who’d have thought it would last this long eh?

I think I deserve an introspective piece as a result. A bit of self indulgent navel gazing.

There’s a piece in the Indy regarding the destruction of historically significant artifacts by religious extremists. Most recently the libraries containing ancient manuscripts in Timbuktu by Malian Islamisists, but they are just following a long and proud tradition of destroying knowledge. The Taliban were famously responsible for blowing up giant statues of Buddha, but if we go back further even Henry VIII had a good go at erasing monastic seats of knowledge.

As a person of a more scientific than religious slant it occurs to me that as a species we are just following scientific principles.

Physics and the laws of thermodynamics state that all systems tend towards an entropy maximum, where entropy represents disorder in a system. It takes work to resist entropy.

It appears that humans are hell bent on reversing the gains we have made and dragging ourselves back to an archaic level of ignorance, a maximum level of chaos and disorder. The technology we congratulate ourselves for inventing merely acting as a catalyst in a chemical reaction speeding the process of change within the system. From the AK wielding shouty nutters of sand blown disaster zones to the creationist hobbled science classes that are supposed to educate our children we are losing ground on every front.

Ultimately one of the possible end states of the universe is called the heat death of the universe. A flat uniform sea of entropy, not of any specific level, but a minimum of activity in a bland featureless void.

Perhaps we hurtle headlong into the heat death of civilisation. Sped along by hyperbole and hypocrisy, riding the back of the silicon age. Our ability to advance gradually slowing to a retreat into a moribund state of ignorance and intolerance. Forever to stagnate until nature finally takes pity and through famine, disease or the sun going nova finally puts us out of our misery.

Hopefully we can do it with the minimum of fuss and leave the cockroaches to their turn in peace.

So it’s all kicked off. Dodgy Dave says he want’s to stay in but you can have a say, Red Ed reckons we can produce more turnips with our euro partners and it’s all so confusing if we allow a vote. Stroppy Nigel is laughing away like someone who’s farted in a lift and legged it, and to be honest does anyone really care about Nick?

What next?

The commentators and political class seem to assume referendum = out vote. Not convinced my self. But I stick to certain principles (see I do have some)

First up, no-one born after 1957 has ever been allowed to have a say on European membership. The last vote in 1975 was for an economic community. Not a political federalisation. That is wrong.

A referendum may give short term instability, but in the long term…
An out vote takes away an excuse for all our woes. We can at least have more control over the UK.
An in vote gives the government an actual mandate for negotiating and taking a fuller part in the EU.

Not having a referendum will ensure the matter continues to be endlessly talked about, questioned and the feeling of undemocratic imposition by faceless bureaucrats continues.

In short referendum good whatever the outcome. So lets get it over and done with.

Not to fall into the national stereotype or anything at this time of national crisis (well, minor snowfall I’ll grant you), but I quite like weather stuff. I find it interesting, just as well really as I have worked as a weatherman. (An awesome one naturally)

So in a break from the traditional moaning, I though I would share some stuff on the net that may interest you

First up. Weather charts. Not the stuff you get on the TV but proper ones, The UK Met Office charts are best, but curiously the best place to see them is not on their site! MetBrief has a full set, regularly updated.

If you fancy watching an animation of the current precipitation then the last couple of hours of radar imagery can be viewed here

Mucking about on the water? Then the inshore waters FX (forecast!) is here

Fantastic satellite imagery is available via Dundee Uni receiving station (needs free registration) – hint: you want the latest images from the Meteosat SEVIRI Also worth looking at the gallery of spectacular images

Want to know what it’s going to do and when? Probably the most accurate FX are the terminal airfield forecasts (TAFs) for aviation. You can look up your local one here and then once you’ve confused yourself, figure out the codes here

Some good detailed forecasts can be found at the Met Office and BBC as expected, but another good source is here at the weather underground

Or maybe we should bring back the Live TV version…

Whatever you end up doing, have fun and stay safe!

Snow 70
So the weather forecasters predict…the horror!.. a couple of inches of snow. Cue panic buying, torrents of news articles, even the predictable complaints about government funding or the lack thereof to snow related activities.

It’s snow. It happens in winter. Despite the outpourings of anguish over “how will we cope?” I distinctly remember it happening before.

It does amply illustrate how we have become so detached from the world about us that an inch or two of snow can cause such panic. We scream like toddlers if something does not happen the way we want it to. We cram our homes full of iPods, giant flat screen TVs and the latest yearly offering from the DFS january sale and yet people cannot spend a couple of quid on a bag of flour, some yeast, and some candles just in case, and then time to learn how to fend for themselves.

Perhaps it is this fear of quiet that drives it. The creeping question of what to do when there is no-one to entertain you at the flick of a switch. That you might have to actually engage conscious thought.

I hope we have not gone too far yet. I love snow. I love the bright white happy monochromed world that greets you as you wake up before the sunrises and realise work will be a mere intermission today as you spend every spare second acting like child. Not the screaming brat who demands his TV program but the one who throws snowballs, makes a snowman and sees just how far his 4×4 will get up the hills before he chickens out…

Don’t listen to the news, snow is nothing to fear. It’s healthy for routine to get a kick up it’s stuffy arse occasionally. Enjoy it while you can!

Ring in the new!

Ring in the new!

Happy New Year! Wishing all my readers a prosperous and peaceful new year.

As a new circuit of the blazing fusion reactor begins and we hurtle through the infinite Stygian void I will share some wisdom for you to ponder.

I think I have cracked the secret for world peace and harmony.

It is a three fold answer to global brotherhood, a trinity of universal humanity. What is this elusive trinity you wonder?

Aircon, beer and bacon sandwiches.

Before you scoff and shake your head in derision. Seriously consider. Name any trouble spot in the world, go on any one. Now tell me, is it in a hot place? is the local drink of preference something other than beer? and are they prohibited bacon sandwiches?

I bet the answer to at least one of those questions is yes.

So there you have it. World peace, achievable and in our time. Our Creedo shall be

Avoid the heat for it makes man angry and shouty, slake his thirst with the golden liquid of the hop, and fill his hunger with the sauce laden sandwich of the pig. Then you shall have peace and brotherhood.

Particular beer, bacon type and sauce I leave entirely to your taste. I’m off to do my bit for world peace, so crank up the grill, spank the bottom of that sauce bottle and drink up those brews.

Here comes 2013… Do your bit!

So out with the old and in with 2013!

How was 2012 for you? A year filled with Olympics, corruption, continued revolution. Hopefully for you dear discerning reader it was a good one. I hope you and those you care about prospered and had fun.

So what of 2013? will like Harold Camping and all the fans of the Mayan Calendar will everyone’s predictions come to nought?

My guess is this special blue marble will pinball from one calamity to the next as usual, but to join in with the spirit of the thing here’s some predictions of my own…

Politics.
We will find out MPs have found new and interesting ways to pocket even more of our money (easy one up first!), and that councils have joined in by squirrelling away cash into reserves during a recession whilst trying to raise taxes.

Sport.
Footballers will continue to be overpaid ponces whose tax avoidance schemes require super computers to understand yet are curiously ignored. England will do well at rugby again!

Environment
Buggered. It will be sacrificed on the altar of “energy security”. Humans will continue to over-populate and infest the planet without any visible self control.

Military
UK Forces reduced to a home guard as the army and navy are stripped of all meaningful capability in order to justify the RAF

Science
The one ray of light. We will invent stuff. Computers will get faster, the internet will become even more all pervasive as it’s tendrils slide into every crevice. To fill them with pictures of humourous cats. There will be claims of cheap and safe energy that are always 5-10 years away.

Entertainment
Films will continue to disappoint with rehashes and reruns. Music generally a miasma of the bland, No Sherlock until 2014.

Religion
Will still fail to provide proof. Will continue to be filled with hate, secrecy and despicable acts. Religion will still scream for preferential treatment and act like a spoilt child every time it is challenged or pointed out just how ridiculous it actually is.

So there you have it. On the whole a bit bleak really, not much to look forward to I admit. To sum it all up. More of the same.

Hopefully we are wrong and there will be something magnificent, like the Ayatollah discovering atheism, or Aliens rocking up and picking the Falklands as their first point of contact. We can but hope.

Anyway, off like many others to spend a pleasant evening with friends killing brain cells and disturbing the peace with airborne explosions… have a great evening and here’s to a fun 2013!

The Daily Fail has a campaign to keep the kiddies safe from all the porn and paedos that lurk on the internet…

As everyone knows when a child goes online a light flashes at paedo central and they are bombarded by grooming requests every 5 secs*. As a result only a massive censoring campaign will stop a legion of Jimmy Savilles literally leaping through the computer screen the moment your back is turned**

To this end they’ve managed to scare a statement out of the PM, a man so full of concern for kids he lets his go free range in his local pub.

Let me reiterate the key points: with our new system, every parent will be prompted to protect their child online. If they don’t make choices, protection will be automatically on. No other Government has taken such radical steps before. And once all this is in place, Britain will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world – bar none.

To get all this underway, I have appointed Claire Perry MP to be my adviser on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood.
Claire is a passionate campaigner for internet safety and mother of three. Her job will be to see this through, to get internet companies on board, to do what it takes to protect children and young people online.

So, basically companies should be forced to filter the internet by default.

Here’s an outrageous idea. How about parents should be responsible for their kids?

Would you let your child talk to strangers on the street without keeping an eye on them? Then why do parents abdicate responsibility for kids online? Would you let them talk to strange people on the phone in the bedroom late at night without supervision? then why let them skype or chat with them?

Of course it makes no odds. Kids know far more about computers than their parents anyway. Any teenager worth his salt can circumvent copy protection that Record companies spend billions on producing, you think a net filter designed to be simple enough for parents to use and set to off the moment it interferes with watching strictly-come-x-pap-idol online will be a problem? Who do they think sets up most of the computer gear in houses?

*like most Daily Fail facts this is bullshit
**Possibly. If you believe newspapers.

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