There is an old saying…

… that “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” First coined by an author called Maurice Switzer, not Mark Twain or Franz Kafka. However, according to my loyal team of word jugglers and Thesauri hunting Igors this saying has roots that go back to the Old Testament (Proverbs 15:2 & Solomon 17:28).

Sunday was a very strange day which had Mrs S and I wondering aloud why we actually bother sometimes.

First we went to have lunch with an old family friend to find that enough marbles have rattled out to God knows where to the point that our lunch out didn’t happen. Despite having confirmed our time of arrival over the phone the night before, old family friend had forgotten all about us and buggered off to lunch with someone else without a bye, leave or thank you. So we slipped off and purchased a coffee and cookie type of snack without her. Mrs S was visibly upset as she has known old family friend since she was ten and we have always considered friend as part of our extended family. Yet the person we met today was showing definite signs of cognitive decline, forgetting names, relationships and other things we’ve had in common for years. For my own part I was halfway expecting this, and had steeled myself mentally for the encounter. Many people forget things, but they don’t often repeat themselves four times in a twenty minute conversation. Not unless they’re trying to sell you something.

After that we dropped by at sister in law’s place where the aforementioned proverb was well and truly put through the axiom tester. Brother in law was in full remainer rant mode over BREXIT wanting the overthrow of parliament and the abandonment of democracy. When I politely enquired about what he would put in the place of the UK’s Parliament, he said he didn’t care. If he couldn’t have his way to stay in the slave-state of the European Union, the baby had to be thrown out with the bathwater and fuck the consequences. This is an allegedly educated man with no job and a Bachelor’s degree. Old thickie me, who has two jobs and no degree, begs to differ. I think the benefits of the undemocratic EU superstate have been massively oversold and it’s on the way out. Notwithstanding, we made our excuses and left.

We’re back at home now and Mrs S is soothing her ruffled feathers with a large glass of red and a couple of episodes of CSI, season twelve on Amazon Prime. For my part, having heard his irrational remainer arguments, I need a bloody good shower and need to scrub my skin clean from the inside.

Trying to look on the bright side, a few more seedlings have broken surface in our deck garden and will be providing us with fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables throughout Summer and well into Autumn, before we head on over to jolly old Londinium to see what all the fuss is about.

Oh well, the working week beckons and I need a serious drink.

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Reading skills

As I check through this web sites spam bin, I’m often amazed all the bone headed ignorance of some people. Particularly the semi literate lumpheads who keep sending me breathless garbage about ‘increasing’ traffic to this site. Come on you dickless dilettantes, where are your reading skills? It clearly states on the ‘contact’ page that I don’t want your services, no matter how much ‘good value’ you think they are. So Why bother? That’s like pushing a button marked ‘self destruct’ and not expecting things to go ‘foom’. Or more probably the silent fart of my sometimes too-efficient anti-spam at work.

Regarding messages and conversations. As I have stated before, I’m quite happy to communicate with people who contact me for a social chat or so I can give them a shout out or share information, I don’t much care about anything else. I’m a busy man and don’t care about useless bullshit companies that want to sell me something to ‘improve my web site’. I like this site the way it is. Those who come to read my scatological ravings may do so, or not. That is their choice. About fifty a day at present, which I’m quite content with. More than a hundred or so at once tend to stress this delicate ickle site to the point where I can’t upload. Which is annoying. To be honest if that’s happening I tend to back off with posting until the level of visitors drops and I get control back.

This site is a hobby, not a commercial venture. There is no monetisation, no paypal, patreon, subscribestar or other online begging bowl. It’s written under a pseudonym for good reason and I do not break cover lightly. As it states in the header picture, this is a toxic thought dump, one whose only cost is my time I give freely and expect little or nothing for. Mainly because I understand how ridiculous most of the world is and how foolish it is for me to try and change it. However, and this is the bit ‘H’, I reserve the right to be scathing, sarcastic, ironic and patronising towards those who would bumble around causing me additional issues to the one’s mere everyday life chucks under my wheels.

So I neither want nor need you, oh thou sellers of online promotional ‘services’. Indeed, I wish the useless mouths that work for SEO companies and their fake promotional crap would simply fuck off and die in some musty disconnected server at the back of an abandoned data centre, somewhere so offline that even the wayback machine has forgotten them. That would be nice.

/rantmode

Right. I have duties to perform. Ones that are mine and mine alone to deal with.

TTFN

Regards

Bill

WTF?!?

Well I never. The bunch of pantywaisters we call a government over here in the not so frozen north have issued a travel advisory for the UK. Canadians should be careful when over there because of the ‘threat of violence’ from pro Brexiteers. Against whom, might one enquire? Canadians? I don’t think so. They might laugh at us for having an embarrassing Prime Minister who is wetter than a Haddocks breakfast, but violence? Not unless a Canadian gets so passive-aggressive that the only way to shut them up is with a divine right. Or a moderately well struck left. Apparently us Brits are now seen as only second to Venezuela as a risk factor. See screenshot below.

I’ve long known that there are parts of various cities in jolly old blighty where one watches one’s P & Q’s carefully after the sun has gone down. Back in the day I might even have qualified as one of those ‘risk factors’. We could be a rowdy bunch, but normally pretty well-natured. Tourists were safe from our petty predations. However there are, shall we say, ‘heavily ethnic’ areas in London that anyone should avoid. Elder Sibling once spent a while living and working in such a suburb, and told hair raising tales of some of the knife fights that he saw outside of some of the local hostelries. That was in the seventies. My working experience of the smoke was in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Hells bells, my youngest stepdaughter lives and works in central London and she and her mates haven’t reported anything serious. On the whole I’d say Canadians are pretty safe if they mind their own business and manners.

Look my Canadian friends, you’re no more at risk of violence in the UK this year than last. My advice is to stand back, see the sights, take your pictures, spend your money, you’ll be fine. Leave your politics at home and just be a tourist.

In the meantime, our radishes and Grapefruit plants are potted out, the Lemon plants (Too small for trees, too big for seedlings) are doing fine. My herbs are sprouting and our tickets to and accommodation in London are paid for.

Update: as for the ‘threat of violence’ by pro-Brexiteers’? It’s hype, bullshit and complete bollocks. The demonstrators who flooded central London were mostly good humoured and easy going. How do i know this? Because there were only five arrests (Not sure what the offences were) and no real reports of violent disorder. Far less than a typical much smaller event by radical lefties. The Pro-Brexit protesters are less likely to riot because they consider themselves patriots, and see what they are doing as something positive. They’re marching for democracy because they are not the real threat. The real threat to democracy is the treason and political cowardice of remainer MP’s.

Looking for signs of growth

Have potted out the three of my Grapefruit plant seeds that have successfully germinated. They have now taken up station on my office windowsill where I will trust to the magic of sunlight and moisture to bring forth life. My two avocado nuts have put rootlets into the water, however, I won’t be doing anything with them for at least another month. Not until either plant has put out at least two serious leaves and roots of over an inch (oh all right, twenty five point four millimetres) long. Outside my radish and beetroot seeds have already pushed tiny green leaves above the soil, and the first signs of life are showing in the herb tray. Which isn’t bad. Elsewhere the soils surface seems as lifeless as the moon, but I take it as an article of faith that something is stirring. The next week will tell.

This sets the current tenor of my day. Work has slacked off and I’m left pottering about our deck garden, watching stuff germinate, which doesn’t take up much of the day but is an essential task nonetheless. Watched pots don’t boil but on the other hand, the secret of life, as in comedy, is timing. There is a time to act and a time to wait. All things in their season. Mrs S on the other hand, is taking this hiatus as an opportunity to educate herself about stocks and shares and we’re both paying much closer attention to our investment affairs.

On that topic, my investment portfolio isn’t looking so great, but I did better than break even in 2018, so I won’t complain. Canadian financial services didn’t do so well, nor did some of the energy companies I hold stock in. On the other hand, some of my other share picks have more than offset the losses, so I’m doing okay. Not great, but okay. My head is above water in that respect. Did get offered a share buyout, but the price was far too low to contemplate selling as the share value of that particular holding is pretty depressed at the moment. It’s a time to stand pat, not panic and sell up. Well that’s my financial opinion and I’m sticking to it. These are uncertain times and the wind might blow either way. So, hunker down and keep working seems to be the order of the day. The one bright spot is that my investment tax allowance from last year has allowed me to invest much more tax free this year, so, swings and roundabouts. I’m growing my retirement fund that way.

Of late I’ve been doing some reading about the two polar opposites, Tom Paine and Edmund Burke, the contemporary founding fathers of the modern left and right, so it is said. From what I can see, there is value on both sides of the coin, even though both men’s arguments suffer from a diametrically opposing flaw. For Paine it is his willingness to throw the baby out with the bathwater and for Burke, a too great sentimentality about the effects of ‘wise’ rulers and established power structures. For my own part I like to take a position somewhere between, where some change is good but too much strips people of their humanity, especially when the revolutionaries completely overthrow an established order. The best institutions develop organically, having developed over the years and never forgetting their cock-ups, with a view to never repeating the same mistakes. To analogise, these things are like trees, they do not benefit from simply being left alone to grow as they will, a good pruning is needed now and again, but cutting the whole thing down does nothing but leave a stump which benefits no-one.

This is what passes for wisdom, at least in my mind. Is it right or is it wrong? Only time and events will bear me out.

If the tinfoil hat fits…

…goes the adapted saying – wear it  In other words, if it looks like a duck and quacks, it’s likely of the genus anatidae. So it is with the mainstream media. Be it the Trump – Russia collusion hysteria, or all the fuss over BREXIT and the Christchurch shooter. Nowhere have I ever seen so much conspiracy theory hogwash portrayed as fact by so-called ‘reputable’ news outlets. North of the border here in the not so frozen north it’s worse. The news media, apart from the National Post, who are kind of milquetoast Conservatives, is almost overwhelmingly pro Justine Trudeau.

Privately, the public at large are less than convinced. Hence this screenshot of a very accurate flowchart someone drew about the SNC-Lavallin affair, where the Trudeau Liberals literally changed the law to keep some of their mates out of clink.
Quite apropos, n’est-ce pas? As they say in Quebec. Well, it made me smile.

Don’t panic

Got an email today asking about what it’s like to be an expat here in BC. The author was worried about a possible breakdown of law and order following BREXIT. They were asking about immigration and leaving the UK. So I replied, giving a few observations on life on this side of the world. Not all of them positive.

I’d like to give you a few thoughts on migration; it’s a long drawn out process, not to be undertaken lightly. Mrs S and I made our leap of faith only because of a wedding day promise. She grew up over here and was brought back to the UK by her family, much against her wishes. On the day we married, I gave my solemn word to her that we would go. “Though Hell itself should bar the way.” I said. Even so, it was a good few years before we actually bought the tickets and made the jump. Even though we already had friends and family over here.

Has it been worth it? Well overwhelmingly yes and with a modicum of no. Would I go back? Hell, no. Although if Trudeau’s Liberals, or worse, the NDP, look like getting voted in again I shall be shifting some investments into the US and UK, just to make sure they can’t be got at easily. So it’s not a bed of roses over here, but fortune favours the observant.

The thing is about BREXIT is that most companies have been making plans from the day the ‘Leave’ vote happened. Distributors have been setting up back channels and workarounds, other companies shifting their financial focus away from Europe and more into the larger world and the lucrative US markets. As some delivery companies like Fedex and UPS have been reassuring their customers that they won’t notice anything happening.

One of the upsides is that the price of food is likely to fall as the wider world will be allowed to bring their goods in directly without the external EU tariffs. Like Australian beef or New Zealand Lamb? Other goods will fall in price, which can only be good for the end consumer. Now I’m just about old enough to remember the food price hikes that happened when the UK entered the EU. BREXIT will be putting the already weak Euro under pressure, so the value of the pound will rise. This will put pressure on manufacturers and exporters, but as the pound will buy more raw materials overseas that effect should be somewhat mitigated. So the French will refuse Welsh Lamb? They always did.

Back in the 60’s there was a good deal of talk about how opening up Europe was such a wonderful export opportunity for Britain’s car industry and similar. Seen Longbridge, one time home of UK car manufacturing, recently? Tell the Welsh steel workers that. Tell the fishermen who saw their catches dwindle because of the Common Fisheries policy, or the damage the Common Agricultural policy did.

After the UK joined, I watched the decline first hand. After Maastricht and Lisbon, things only got worse. Only the big corporates really wanted Britain in the EU because that increased their influence and disadvantaged smaller companies, all in the name of ‘harmonisation’. The Greek chorus of a bought and paid for media ushered the UK into European bondage, controlling who and how UK businesses could trade internationally. This isn’t some form of tin foil hattery. That’s exactly what happened. The migrant crisis was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So I’d like to point out that BREXIT won’t all be plain sailing. But at the same time it won’t be all doom and gloom. Unexpected benefits are coming for the UK. The benefits of truly global trade. Providing the Government doesn’t get in the way and cock everything up.

If I have a single piece of advice to anyone in the UK it is this; hunker down, weather whatever storm will happen. Take some minor precautions like planting thorn bushes underneath your windows. I hear Berberis is good if you’re worried about break-ins and sundry lawlessness in the wake of the UK’s leaving. It’s a bloody sight easier (and cheaper) than emigration.

Update: Two more weeks have been added to the ‘No deal’ deadline. Two more weeks of pointless panicmongering. It still won’t be enough for May to force through her much derided deal.

New growth

Spring arrived somewhat suddenly this year. Normally we simply ease very slowly out of BC’s habitual drizzle, but on the 18th temperatures went from night time temperatures of almost double digit sub zero to a more usual five Celsius. This came as a pleasant surprise as it meant Mrs S and I could take tea on the deck without being chilled to the bone. It’s been a long Winter here and I’m glad to see the warmer weather at last. Oh green, how I have missed thee.

Our modest deck garden improves. Latest acquisition were some dwarf Narcissi and Mrs S said she fancied some Pansies. Well, each to their own. Just to keep the meme theme going I added some Sweet William seeds to their pot after planting out a few corms and rhizomes with a few Delphinium and Lupin seeds, which should cheer things up in a couple of weeks time.

One thing I was delighted by and let’s face it, what with Theresa May cocking up BREXIT and Justine Trudeau cocking up Canada’s economy (Whatever happened to “The budget will balance itself”- yeah, right) we all need something to put a positive spin on the day; my two Avocado seeds have begun to sprout. Only tiny pinpricks of green, but definite signs of life. My previous attempts just sat there and rotted, however this time we have green, which is good. Then there’s the success story of my Grapefruit seeds. Five out of six are definitely developing roots and will be ready for potting out next week or the first full week of April. As for my Lemon Tree plants, six are doing well, having taken up residence in the sunniest part of the kitchen and the four I left outdoors over Winter aren’t actually dead. The root systems are still good, even if the above ground portions are looking kind of sorry for themselves. Like my Indonesian Lime, I was about to consign them to the recycle bin when I noticed that the root systems still looked good. I may need considerably bigger pots.

Then there’s the burgeoning vegetable trays. I bought a batch of seeds yesterday and have planted a few out to see how they do. It’s an eclectic mix of Kale, Broccoli, Spring Onions, Beetroot and Radishes. I’ve also added some tomato plants seeds, which I hope will do better now that I’m planting them earlier and deeper. Decided to try out some strawberry plants as well, so in they’ve gone. Results will be posted as new growth occurs.

Despite the poor political news and the virulent attacks on freedom of expression online, I’m feeling decidedly optimistic.

Looking forward

Am I optimistic? Well probably yes and then possibly, definitively no. We have in laws visiting us in April, however, this means both of my wife’s sisters will be descending upon our doorstep for two weeks. For a delicate sensitive soul such as myself, this is not a favourable scenario. So I have offered to make myself scarce for a few days to allow for a little sisterly rebonding. All they’ll want to do is shop and gossip and my small talk is next best thing to non-existent. Ergo, I would be a constant brooding presence, resented by all. Better to make like a banana and split. Yes, I’m a coward. Next!

A downtown Victoria hotel room beckons for a few days while all three are together. The current plan is for me to take a couple of books and perhaps enjoy the rooftop bar at the Sticky Wicket. Mrs S has kindly offered to pay for my accommodation as recompense for my exile. I might even treat myself to tea at the Empress. They do an excellent Kenya blend there.

Current reading is Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France and The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson. I like Dr Ferguson’s writings, he has a fluid, eminently readable style and is frequently bang on the money, as it were.

On a broader front I’m hoping that the EU rejects the UK parliaments’ request for a BREXIT ‘extension’ and the UK can simply slip it’s moorings to sail away and let the whole shoddy faux-empire collapse. Let’s face it, the Italians don’t want it. France is too busy with the Gilets Jaunes protests and the Germans don’t want to have to carry the economic can for the entire bloated bureaucracy. Could it be ‘game over’ for the EU? Maybe more sensible minds will come to the fore and propose winding back the idea of the EU to a simple free trade zone, although that is rather unlikely. Even if they do, the French farmers and fishermen won’t like that. They’re too prone to riot if they don’t get their way.

Am still rather looking forward to sending all my UK email contacts a “Happy freedom day” email on the 30th March. Depending upon the EU’s final response, BREXIT may still happen on time despite the remainer MP’s frantic treasonous backpedalling.

Good luck everyone. Nil Desperandum.

What did they expect?

Busy gardening at the moment, the really cold weather has shifted to the Midwest and Spring has poked a cautious head around the corner here in Victoria BC. My remaining six large Lemon Tree plants have been taken outside to soak up some sunshine and we’re putting out some colourful blooms to provide us with a little visual cheer when the working week is too full of WTF! moments. Which happens a lot. Especially when our line managers come at us with a “We’ve got a little job. Can you help us out?” which happened last week.

Anyway, it’s been a nice day today. The heating has been switched off and our windows are all open to blow all the Winter miasma out of the house. Outdoor temperatures have just crept over the sixty eight Fahrenheit marker so it’s quite warm out on our deck. The fresh air is invigorating.

Looking at the news in the FT I saw the news about the New Zealand shooting and was filled with a profound sense of Deja Vu. It won’t be the last. Plenty of people are pissed off with the way Islamic migration and terrorism is often glossed over, then when a sick individual from the native population shoots up a place of worship, a certain section of the media use it as a stick to beat all ‘white’ people with. According to a bunch of academics and similar pantywaisters all us north Europeans very bad and ‘white supremacy’ (Whatever that is, I never got a membership) must end.

Well I’m not guilty of the shootings, nor are any of my neighbours or the population of New Zealand, or Australia, the USA or the UK. Donald Trump and Chelsea Clinton are not to blame. It’s the whole identitarian race-baiting industry once known as journalism. That’s where the finger should be pointed. A distinct class within their ranks has repeatedly berated the Anglosphere for asking pointed questions about mass immigration. Those are the witches we need to burn. The sowers of discord. Tim Pool has it.

To be charitable, these media types may have only been selling puritanical rage-bait to boost their terrible circulation figures, but when similar rage-bait is used by politicians to create a protected class of individual who get a free pass, well, the outcome is hardly surprising. You can only spit on people so many times before someone goes completely postal. This is true across all ethnicities, all religions and all cultures. So what did these rage-baiter media whores and their sponsors expect? Seriously people. Their IQ tests must have come back negative. As for farsightedness and statesmanship, one can only guess at where that went to. If it ever existed at all.

The whole business has taken on the air of farce. The NZ authorities have blamed and banned a commenting platform called ‘Dissenter’, when the whole thing was livestreamed via Facebook for heavens sake! Is Facebook now banned in NZ? No? Why not? Something stinks here. It may simply be incompetence on the part of the NZ powers that be, but I suspect pressure has been brought to bear and Facebook because they rolled over and played loveable puppy for the powers that be, whilst Dissenter did not.

We’ve heard of other, similar plots thwarted over the last five or so years, but successful ones, like Anders Breivik and the Christchurch shooter are thankfully rare and are a reaction rather than the root cause. In this case the root cause is the reckless mass-importing of an alien and diametrically opposed culture into a well-established society. The funny thing is, if we’d wanted to really help these people as has been mooted, it would have been far more simple and low cost to get aid to them ‘in country’ where they felt comfortable. Not to import the poor sods wholesale into places which they don’t understand and even have contempt for the cultural norms.

Despite what some people say, we humans are not all the same. Men are not women, trans people are neither and you can take the local Yokel out of his hovel, but you’ll never take the hovel out of the local Yokel. At least not for at least three generations. That’s how long it takes to integrate into a non-native population. That’s discounting the throwbacks every generation throws up. Why, because they ‘identify’ as whatever. Only takes one generation of weak or heavy handed parenting.

A quick shout out

Anyone remember Cass Brown of Cancergiggles fame? The guy who wrote this? Oh, and an entertaining little tome entitled ‘Mountains are easy‘.

We Shouldn’t be here

According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s probably shouldn’t have survived.

Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just plimsolls and fluorescent ‘clackers’ on our wheels and hardly any brakes. We popped wheelies, fell off and lost skin in the process.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the front passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle – tasted the same.

We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.

We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends – we went outside and found them.

We played football and cricket, and sometimes that ball could really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learned not to do the same thing again.

We had fights, punching each other hard, getting black and blue – we learned to get over it.

We walked miles to friend’s homes.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, rarely were eyes poked out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

Cass, who died just after Christmas 2006, was an inspiration to a lot of people. Especially some of us veterans. You might even call him a godfather of blogging. Anyone else remember the man? Blog-City, the platform he wrote on (So much for the Internet being ‘Forever’) is now defunct, but some of his wit and wisdom may be found using the Wayback machine or similar.

Lucky for me….

…I never signed up for one of those fancy tax shelter loan remuneration schemes when I was a contractor. Turns out that HMRC in the UK has begun a draconian enforcement of a law passed in 2017 which allows them to charge for taxes they say are owed as far back as twenty years ago. Even if the arrangements were considered legal up until 2017. The UK tax grubbers want their pound of flesh and they want it now. According to the FT HMRC even sent out letters telling fifty thousand people that they should go into debt to pay the back taxes (a.k.a. ‘The loan charge’) being demanded.

Although I’m not affected, this news has made me very angry. Chasing debts for a legal exemption up to twenty years old? During a time when these schemes were not legally proscribed? Who keeps tax records for twenty years outside of the corporate sphere? Judas Fucking Priest! The backdated legislation behind this is heartless, dishonest and unnecessarily draconian. Not to mention that those affected are Doctors, Nurses, IT Contractors and even Social Workers. Back dated and estimated tax bills of up to a hundred thousand pounds have been sent out to the affected. Bills they have to pay or go to jail for tax evasion. Even if they weren’t evading tax at the time, merely using a legal loophole. If found guilty of tax evasion, or bankruptcy, all these people will be, in the case of Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers, disbarred from their professions and forced to take jobs far below their competence to make even a modest living.

One suicide has been recorded so far. There will be more as people are asset stripped, their houses sold to pay the bills and pension funds drained. Thus creating yet more poor people who need to subsist off the public purse.

Let me explain my anger; back in the day when I was an independent contractor I paid my taxes (Income and corporation thank you). Employers and employees NI contributions too. Until IR35 came into force and I reluctantly rolled up what had been a very enjoyable way of life before going back to being a wage slave. Which I hated. Because there’s nothing quite like running your own life to your own timetable. You may end up working fifty to sixty plus hour weeks, but at least you know who you are working for. All your profits go to you. And I’ll tell you this, I loved being my own boss, even if it meant working four extra hours at the end of each week to see my finances and tax affairs were in apple pie order.

When you work for yourself there’s a sense of freedom you can’t get anywhere else, even when you’re working twice as hard as you would if you were an ordinary employee. The lack of office politics was also refreshing. There’s a pride in being an independent too. You might have had to work a crap contract occasionally, but at the end of the day it was a lot easier to quit and find new work than if you just had a job as a full time wage slave. Losing that feeling was the worst. HR had no hold over my life outside of what I did for a company. For example, they couldn’t fire me for having a wrong opinion or looking the wrong way at someone outside of work. Or even being falsely accused of doing so. Or the hundred other excuses HR can screw with your life outside of work. In short, I loved, and still do love being my own boss. Even when times are hard there’s nothing quite like it. And there are always hard times to endure. Self employed or not.

The only real problem I had with being my own boss was the petty jealousy of the employed. The whiny crab-bucket bitches who saw what you got paid but never understood that you often paid more tax than they did. You organised your own taxes, paid accountants and book-keepers, paid extra health and professional liability insurance, the rent on office space and all the hundreds of details the self employed individual or company director deals (Or employs people to deal) with as a matter of routine.

Despite this, some wage slaves are unhappy at not being free and hate the merest thought of anyone else being happy or even moderately prosperous. I see these small minded curtain-twitchers, who decry any form of legal tax avoidance as ‘tax dodging’ or ‘not paying your fair share’, as those who would cheer at an execution without realising that their feet are also on the steps of the scaffold. None of us knows when it is our time to be strung up by the tax man, we can only take precautions, knowing that our date with the tax inspector is only a twist of fate away. There will be no sympathy, because in the tax authorities eyes, none are virtuous. Now HMRC can go back over your affairs for the last twenty years? Clucking bell. This is a truly dangerous precedent.

The main issue is that UK tax law is now so complicated, with so many exemptions and even contradictions that it is hard, even for accountants and other financial professionals, to know what is ‘legal’ and what is not.

New Labour (Blair & Brown) started this tax snatching trend and Blue Labour (Cameron & May) continued it, slicing the economic pie ever smaller instead of encouraging the production of more for everyone. All I can offer is my heartfelt sympathy to their victims. There by the grace of God go we all.

Planning for Lahn-dahn

The crocuses and snowdrops have surfaced from under the snow and we’re currently travel planning for an Autumn sojourn in dear old Lahn dahn as some of the locals call it. No, that’s not a place in Vietnam or Thailand but the estuarine pronunciation of London, capital and Metrollops of the dear old dis-united kingdom. We’ve sorted out where we’ll be staying in Earls Court and looking at places to eat and drink while we’re sauntering around the various museums and cultural icons. Top of my list are the National Science and Natural History Museums. Mrs S will be bimbling around the V & A and suchlike while I have a thorough geek-fest in Kensington. We plan to take in a couple of shows while we’re there too.

It will be interesting to visit a post-BREXIT Britain. I’m almost tempted to send all my UK contacts a ‘How does it feel to be free?’ greeting when the UK finally wrests itself loose from the choking tendrils of the EU. Hopefully in the next month. Thinking about it I haven’t been into Harrods or Selfridges Food Hall in a Donkey’s age. Which I’m quite looking forward to. It’s not so much the range of produce as the cornucopia of smells of a properly kept Fish and Game counter that tease the old olefactories. To a country raised boy like me it’s almost like going home. Even if where I once called home is over a hundred miles away. Now it’s several thousand and over ten years, but we are where we are and there’s an end of matters.

There’s also another small matter of yet another fence to mend. This time it’s the other party which will have to come to me, or at least down to the Smoke. I’m not spending good money hiring cars and booking hotels visiting someone who may not appreciate any olive branch I hold out. However, I’m jumping the gun a little. Best to hold my tongue and extend the hand of reconciliation. Even if none of the parties involved can be bothered to cross the pond to visit me. I know they can afford it.

However, I do so enjoy the old country in controlled small doses. It also pains me to see what it is becoming. Likewise Canada, increasingly divided and all in the name of ‘diversity’. Misguided ‘Hate speech’ laws creating privileged minorities. Police investigating non-crimes, all the while prioritising ‘thought crime’ like rogue tweets and off colour facebook posts over real crime, like burglary, criminal damage and assaults. Prediction; this will come back to bite the rule setters and enforcers. Very hard indeed. They depend on the public trust to operate successfully, and the current value of that trust is so far below zero it resembles the state of the Great lakes, which when I checked this morning had over seventy four percent ice cover. I’ll also say this; Laws which dictate thought rather than deed pave the descent into a really dangerous form of totalitarianism.

To wax poetic; boils like prejudice and hatred only heal after they have been properly examined, lanced, drained and debrided, if you’ll forgive the medical simile. To extend the metaphor, such poison is always best treated with free and honest debate. Shutting people up only lets matters fester until the only certain cure is high amputation. Which is a tactic tried by many totalitarian regimes, always failing at the cost of many innocent lives and eventually the ruling regime. It also destroys trust in the Police who are supposedly protectors, not persecutors of the general public. It is not their job to check someone’s thinking. Or is that just me being horribly naive?

Notwithstanding, say you think that Justin Trudeau is metaphorically a Weasel, Socialism is a murderous doctrine or that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with western democracy. Regardless of whether anyone finds those statements ‘offensive’ they should be considered and examined to see if they are true. Which they are. Even the most cursory reading of the facts will highlight the realities. If the law of the land is changed to suppress such opinions, what happens when these views become mainstream once more? Will the laws put in place to protect those opposed to such views be, like any captured weapon, be turned against their erstwhile abusers?

This is the danger of criminalising opinion. Opinion is mere fashion. It changes, and the mob it is meant to drive changes with it. The mob can turn in a heartbeat. When it does, you don’t want to be in it’s way.

Idle thought for my single US visitor; I think Bernie Sanders bears a strong resemblance to a deceased British far left politician from the 1970’s and 80’s, Michael Foot. See what you think. Well, it amused me.