Thursday, 3 June 2010


Nicely warm here and I've been in the garden for most of the evening. I had to fix a rotted part of the back fence. It's vertical boards on two horizontal runners, fixed to posts. All wood and about 15 years old. One of the runners had rotted. I fixed another one beneath it and screwed the boards to the new bit, with long screws through into the posts. I think the whole fence will need to be replaced in the next five years but that temporary fix should hold it for now. That's the trouble with buying a fairly new house. Every garden thing made of wood needs to be replaced at the same time because it's all the same age.

I should replace the shed but it's patched up for now. Spare-money generation this year is for a greenhouse. It has to be spare-money because I don't have a salary, I have a business and income can be very variable. I might bank six grand in one month then bank nothing for two months. So I can't just splurge the six grand because I don't know if there'll be any more next month. Plus I have to set aside the tax demand money.

Here's how I run the money side. One, never go into debt for a job because you can never be certain of getting paid. Two, no work below cost. I can't run loss-leaders. I'm not a supermarket, I can't make profit on pennies per item and use loss-leaders to get customers in. They'd only come for the cheap stuff ( like I do, in Tesco and Morrison's, because they have different loss leaders).

There's income, and part of that has to be set aside for tax and NI. More is set aside for definite costs such as running the lab and my house. I also have to keep a float for emergencies (the shed is not an emergency. An exploded gas boiler would be an emergency) and I have to have media and consumable budgets for future jobs.

The thing is, I don't generally work harder than I really have to. Why thrash myself for more money? I'd only end up paying ever-higher rates of tax. I need - really need - about £10-12 thousand after tax and work expenditure each year. That covers all bills and allows me to buy good whisky while still eating well. Not caviar and T-bone but better than own-brand stuff. Most years I earn well above that but having experienced real pennilessness, I do tend to be cautious these days. I like to have a reserve and it's untouchable. No dipping into the reserve for non-essentials, and a greenhouse is not essential. It will come from spare money set aside specifically for a greenhouse and that will be over and above money set aside for bills, business and taxes.

ID cards are not essential. For the purposes of identifying myself, should it be necessary, I have a driving licence and a passport. Both have my face on them. I had to update the driving licence last year and it now has a picture that resembles the bandaged-head image from Monty Python but without the bandage. It doesn't look like the face on the passport. It looks much more pissed off.

If I had never moved house I would still have my original driving licence with no photo and the whole lot written again in Welsh. And I would not have to pay every ten years to renew it. That goes a long way to explaining the expression in the photo. When they started these licences they never mentioned that they'd be back every ten years for more money.

That would also have been true of ID cards. Move house or age ten years and it'll cost you. It'll cost you even more if you don't update it. Forget to update your driving licence and your ID card while moving house and you have a lot of expense coming your way.

We have driving licences with photos on them. Even those of us who don't drive still have the licence because one day, we might want to use it. ID cards provided us with nothing more than the driving licence. The sole beneficiaries were the government who used the new card to collect ever more detailed information on each and every one of us. The purpose? There wasn't one. It was intimidation for control, that's all. The government never needed the information associated with those cards. they were a pointless expense and they did not come out of spare money because the government has none.

All the money the government has comes from taxes. It generates none by its own endeavors, it is simply a parasitic organism on the working man's back. Like Admin.

We, all of us who pay taxes, are paying the government to do a job. Several jobs - running the infrastructure of the country and looking after those who can't work, for example. The government are effectively a self-employed group who do a specific set of jobs for money. The difference between them and me is that I cannot demand your money. I can't simply come round and threaten to imprison you if you don't pay me to do something I want to do, but you might not want me to do. I have to convince you that it's worth your while paying me to do this work for you.

The government takes tax money by demanding it with menaces. Socialists pretend it's not like that but really, the government might as well be headed by the Kray twins. Refuse to pay the protection money and see what happens.

Government isn't like me. They don't need to set aside a reserve. They don't need to consider value for money. They don't need to check incomings against outgoings and make sure everything is running the right way. If they run short of cash, they send The Boys out to demand more. If they feel like buying a greenhouse, they order the biggest and best and if they don't have the money, another call to The Boys soon sorts that out. I don't have that option because I'm one of those that The Boys extort money from.

So it is good to see the new administration scrapping ID cards as a waste of money. They could, like the last lot, simply spend it anyway and demand we pay for it afterwards, but they didn't. They junked it, along with the database of 'We know where you live' threats. Bravo.

You'd think everyone would be pleased. Even those who shelled out thirty drinking vouchers each for a card that isn't really as worthless as is claimed. It still has their faces on it, it's still an official ID card, it's just that there won't be any more of them. Airlines could still accept it if they so chose. So could anyone else. The best part is, if you have one, you won't now be fined a thousand pounds for forgetting to update it with your new fingerprints and DNA every time you change them. Good news all round, surely?

Not quite. Captain Ranty found one who has wasted her money on an ID card and who believes the waste should continue. Wasting money is a Good Thing, she believes, and she's prepared to waste enormous amounts of public funds in order to get her thirty quid back. What a top-class waster. She could waste for England at the Waster Olympics and win gold, if they hadn't wasted the money for the medals on ID cards for contestants. Still she'd get the top medal, a lid cut from a tuna tin with 'Waster #1' written on it with a marker pen. Feel your body swell with pride. Or maybe rage. Perhaps it's just too much tuna, who can say?

If you spend money on something and then find, later, that you don't really need it (let's be fair here, is there anyone on the planet who hasn't done that? I have, more than once), the sensible approach is to not spend money on the same thing again. The non-sensible approach is to waste even more trying to get your original money back.

Next time, if you have thirty quid to spend, get a really good malt whisky instead of an ID card. Sure, it's no use as ID, nobody will know who you are.

But if you drink it all at one sitting, neither will you. So everyone is equal on that score and everyone is happy.

See? There's always an easy solution. Booze has never been cheaper than bottled water (Tesco own-brand water today, 17p for two litres. Tesco own-brand beer, much the same thing but in a can, couldn't bring myself to look at it but a 500 ml can would have to cost 4-5p to be cheaper than the water). Booze is, however, much cheaper than ID cards.

And in the long run, it damages far fewer people.


TheFatBigot said...

I'm sure a lot of people who played the credit card and re-mortgage game knew it was foolish but just couldn't resist the temptation of lots of holidays, a thin telly at £2,000 and a fridge with two doors at £1,500 (each of which cost a third one year later).

In reality they had £400 to spend on a holiday, £300 for a telly and £200 for a fridge - not that the telly and fridge needed replacing. Now they have paid more in interest than the amount they actually had spare to spend on these things.

We can only wait and see whether the lesson has been learned and people will now only spend what they can afford and will use credit only when it is absolutely necessary to do so. It'll cut a chunk off GDP but that chunk should never have been there in the first place, so it's not really recessionary it is just a re-balancing exercise to get us back on a sane path.

Dioclese said...

I also worked for myself for 25 years and it's good to see someone who actually sets aside money for taxes. A lot of the twats I used to work alongside used to reckon thay could pay the tax out of next month's income - and then, of course, there wasn't any.

Re ID cards : It was academic really. All the real experts I used to work with who actually knew something about goverment IT projects agreed with me that it was never going to work anyway. The magistrates court system I walked away from in 1999 because the spec was never going to be practical still isn't working in 2010.

I can see that point of a photo on a driving licence though because it stops some other stupid bastard taking your test for you so you can go out on the road and kill people. Sadly it always seems to be other people that get killed, so God lets us down once again...

Unknown said...

Since I work for myself as well, I always make sure that money is set aside for any tax payments which are necessary.

Anyone not doing so is an idiot!

opinions powered by