A busy day, and I've been beaten to all the main stories. Scotland wakes from its drunken stupor tomorrow and things start getting back to normal. About time too. The Endless Holiday is all very nice if you're on a wage but not when you're self-employed.
Here, both January 1st and 2nd are holidays, as are Christmas day and Boxing day. This year, both sets fell on Saturday and Sunday so the holidays carry forward to the following Monday and Tuesday. Tomorrow, finally, it ends.
I've been spring cleaning. I know it's not spring yet but if I'm going to get this office into any semblance of tidiness I have to do it while business is quiet. Once work fires up again the paper piles will re-establish and it would be nice if the previous paper piles weren't here any more.
Anyway, as others have comprehensively raged at most things today, I'll settle for a link-heavy summary.
The VAT business hit today. I checked on that Kindle and it's only £2 more than when I ordered it, but that's £2 in my pocket. In fact, I'll take a £2 coin out and wave it at a picture of Ozzy the Chancellor. You didn't get this one, you hideous little oik. I hope you were £2 short for a round while you enjoyed a holiday on your 'you lot are all in it together' break.
Then again, while the Cleggeron Clones are buying rounds, we are to be 'persuaded' not to any more. It doesn't apply in Smoky-drinky, which gives us another reason to abandon pubs.
Back to that VAT. Snowolf notes that this won't raise a lot of extra cash because it's just going to repay the EU for that 15% VAT level. So until that's paid, the treasury gets nothing. When it's repaid, they think they'll be raking it in but as Guido shows, even when the money gets to stay at the treasury, it's still less than we hand over to Herbie Remploy-Van and the Collective.
My spending this year will be more minimal than usual. So minimal that Aberdonians will be asking me for lessons. Most of my lab equipment is already second hand, recovered from junk or borrowed. I fix things rather than throw them away. I never replace anything that isn't broken. Nothing gets upgraded just for fun.
My one VAT-vice is gadgets. That's controllable and will be clamped down on hard. Tobacco? Man with a Van isn't VAT-registered and I have seeds that would get me jailed in Bhutan. Booze? I won't risk a still because getting it wrong is deadly, and getting it right is only marginally less deadly, but beer and wine are no problem. 2011 is the Year of the Demijohn. And the freezer.
Another interesting note on VAT comes from Guthrum. 20% brings us in line with the EU. So the chances of it coming down again are about the same as the Large Hadron Collider producing a spontaneous hamburger.
That VAT will crank up petrol prices too. Why would I care? I don't have a car and my petrol mower has been replaced by a cheap electric one now that I only have a little lawn left. I care because all the stuff I buy is delivered, either to here or to the shops I visit. I also use buses and trains. Higher fuel costs mean higher transport costs for me and for the stuff I buy, even for the letters I post. It's not just a case of increased costs in the shops. It's also a case of increased cost of getting it here.
There's a post about money that is still nagging at me but it's complex. I think the base message it's trying to tell me is this - that humans now exist for the purposes of moving money around. I know people who choose their house decor based on what they could get for the house if they sold it, rather than what they like. Okay, if you plan to sell, paint the whole thing some neutral magnolia but why live with that for years? This room is powder-blue. The living room is terracotta. The kitchen is white, but that's because of my job. I need to see when there's dirt in there.
I keep hearing 'we must save the economy' as if it's some mystical being we are put on this Earth to serve. Why must we save it? It seems to me it causes nothing but problems so let's kill it and grow a new one. This time we'll grow one that knows its place and doesn't think we work for it. But that's a long and complex rant that's still festering in a dark corner of my mind. When it shows its teeth, it'll be ready.
On a different tack, the Moonbat thinks he owns my house. Yours too. Fine. He can pay the bills. I'll have them forwarded to him. Since it's actually his house, he owes me a hell of a lot of back-mortgage-payments too.
The sensible thing would be to leave the country, I know, but where would I go? Switzerland?
I'm wondering if 2011 is going to be the year Mr. Brown Stuff meets Mr. Spinny Thing.
If it isn't, I'll be surprised.