Monday, March 31, 2008

Royal Marines 1, Yobs 0

The son of a neighbour of my parents is a Royal Marine. A short while ago he and another Royal Marine who was just back from the Middle East went to a local pub for a quiet pint. Another patron told them that somehow they had drawn the ire of a group of yobs in another corner of the pub and that the two of them would be attacked when they left. When the two of them left, the yobs were waiting for them. Big mistake: the two RMs switched into combat mode and sent the pack of them running: "I'm a Royal Marine, I'm just back from ****, and I'm going to rip your throats out." (I imagine the language was rather more colourful). And then they just walked home.

That's class. Well done, sirs!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Osborne: I got a reply

It wasn't quite a standard form reply, so my email was read.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Bother" said Q

I'm supposed to be in Birmingham for the launch of Windows Server 2008. But the thieving bastards at the railway station wanted £107 for the ticket. So bollocks to that. And I wasn't going to try Birmingham City Centre at rush hour.

At least I got a good long walk out of it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well done Hamilton!

It was a blinder of a race this morning. Hamilton did very well to win it, though all the interesting stuff happenned behind him. It looks like it's going to be a most interesting season.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So I wrote to George Osborne...

I'm writing to you in your capacity as Shadow Chancellor.

I saw your response to the budget and while your points on inheritance tax, fuel, and drink were well made, I cannot help but feel that all parties have somewhat lost the plot on taxation. You're too busy papering over the cracks to see the gaping hole. Taxation only works if people are earning money, and all too many taxes get in the way of that.

The more people earn, the more the government can tax them. This was amply shown by Reagan and Thatcher. The current taxation regime stops people earning.

Consider the fuel duty: a few years ago I was spending what would be today £2000 per year on commuting, and over 75% of that was duty. To add insult to injury, that £2000 is after tax, so I'd have to earn over £3000 just to afford the petrol. Cut fuel duty and you improve the flexibility and profitability of the workforce.

Consider the minimum wage: people earning the minimum wage pay tax. But if it's the minimum wage, isn't that a contradiction? And they still have to pay hugely to get to work. So raise the tax-free allowance enormously to £8000, which is about the minimum wage for a 40-week working year.

Benefits: benefits cost money. It costs more than £1 to dispense £1 in benefits. There's a huge, baroquely complex, infrastructure, not to mention fraud. Why not raise the tax-free allowance to the minimum wage so more people don't have to be paid benefits?

Children and family: it is no secret that Britain faces a demographic time-bomb. Children are currently very expensive for people not on benefits. And caring for older relatives is also expensive. I have a suggestion to cope with this: give everyone, from birth to death, the full tax-free allowance, and let this allowance be transferrable to those family members within the bounds of consanguinuity or civil partnership. This will help the mother stay at home to look after the children, and allow granny to come and stay to help or be helped.

Inheritance tax: this was introduced to break up the great estates. An estate of £1M, great though that may seem, is not a great estate. Please raise that figure to £10M or even more.

I hope you find some of these ideas of interest.

Monday, March 10, 2008

United Guilds Service: I got to sit in the Quire

An excellent service, and I got to sit in the Quire - that's the bit between the choir and the altar. I was almost directly opposite the Lord Mayor himself and had an excellent view of all the pomp and pageantry.

But the bench was ever so hard!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Windows Home Server

Why is the bloody backup failing at 35% every time? This has also been bugging me all week.