Category Archives: equality

You’re NICked…

First of all let me declare an interest : I spent the best part of the last 20 years of my working life as a self employed contractor in the IT industry. I’m also a chartered accountant so I was particularly interested in what the Chancellor had to say yesterday about National Insurance contributions.

There’s been a lot of nonsense spouted by various self employed people over yesterday’s announcement, not least of all by one particular blogger – whose blog I’m banned from accessing – that I read this morning (working well, that ban, isn’t it?) who simply doesn’t seem to understand the situation at all, frankly. However, in the interests of fairness, you can read his slant on all this here even if I’m not allowed to! (sic.)

What the Chancellor has done is to abolish Class 2 NICs and incorporate that saving into the Class 4 NIC. The Class 4 NIC has then been increased by 1% this year and a further 1% next year.

The bleat from the people who don’t like this seems to revolve around around their employment rights. The self employed have no employment rights, so the argument is irrelevant. The government provide the NHS and a state pension in return for NI. Here’s an important point : The State Pension has been changed so that self employed people now have the same pension rights as employees. They also have the same access to the NHS, so why should they pay less?

Even after these changes, the self employed still pay a lower NI contribution that employees whilst getting the same access to the NHS and the same pension rights. Employees pay 12% compared to the current Class 4 rate of 9%. Over £43,000 p.a. everyone pays 2%.

The net effect of the changes is that self employed people earning under £28,000 per annum will pay less NI. From £28,000 to £43,000 they will pay the same. Over £43,000 they will pay more.

This seems fair to me. Maternity rights, sick pay and paid holidays are not the responsibility of the government. When I worked as a self employed contractor, I earned more than I would have done as an employee. This was precisely because I had to earn enough to cover unpaid holidays, sickness, gaps between contracts and the like.

There is a class of people in this country and others who believe that things should be given to them as a right and that they shouldn’t have to contribute in order to get them. My fellow blogger’s rant calling the government ‘thieving scum’ and the taxman a ‘blood sucking leech’ shows a fundamentally bad attitude and is typical of the ‘something for nothing’ mentality. I won’t bother to argue the case with him because that would be like trying to teach a pig to sing.

The case for this change is clear. It’s about fairness. If you want the same rights, then you should pay the same contributions towards them. And, at the end of the day, nobody forces you to become self employed. It’s a choice for you as it was for me and I fail to see why there should be a financial incentive funded by employed people for you to do so…

The Entente Cordiale

In a break from moaning about the negative campaigning in the EU referendum, let’s turn to the more friendly side of Europe – the Euro 2016 football tournament. It’s time to be patriotic and turn out to support our national team! It’s a feelgood factor. What could we possibly find there to be negative about?

Well, actually quite a lot. For a start the BBC kicked it off earlier in the week (no pun intended) when it announced that the knight costumes worn by England football fans could be offensive to Muslims.

For more than two decades, England supporters have dressed as knights for matches, sporting fake chain-mail and St George’s cross tabards, but ahead of Euro 2016 the BBC’s iWonder website published an article entitled: ‘Is it wrong to dress as a crusader for an England match?’ After all, crusaders were the perpetrators of violent attacks across Europe and the Middle East on Muslims, Jews and pagans.

It went on to say that the St George’s cross can be associated with ‘far-right nationalism’. So basically it’s alright to dress up as a daffodil if your Welsh, or for Scots to paint their faces blue and white, or the Irish to dress in green – but if the English do it, then it’s not patriotic it’s fascist racism. What a load of bollocks!

So as Euro 2016 gets under way, it’s good to see the English cementing the entente cordial with their French hosts – in this case literally by tearing up paving stones and throwing them at them. Down in Marseilles they’ve been having pitch battles with the French, showing that good old fashioned EU peacekeeping role by kicking the shit out of Russians and displaying religious tolerance by chanting ‘ISIS where are you?’ in the Islamic quarter. Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it?

Now where’s that flag of St George…?

Equality is fine, but…

…only when equality actually means equality.

Sandi Toksvig was spouting off on the appalling BBC One Show the other night about her new political party, the Women’s Equality Party. She was banging on about how women are still paid on average less than men and how it’s all wrong and her new political party is going to campaign to put it all right.

Well the thing is, Sandi, that it’s the law that men and women doing the same job get the same pay. The reason that the average earnings of women are lower than men is because they’re not doing the same jobs.

Then she banged on about the number of women MPs being much lower than the men. Well, that Sandi is because they didn’t run or didn’t want get elected. Labour tried to buy the female vote with all female selection short lists, completely ignoring the fact that by doing so, they were denying equality to men. Worked well, didn’t it? Two wrongs don’t make a right, you know!

As I said, I’m all for treating men and women equally. When they open doors for me and stand up on buses to give a male pensioner their seat then I’ll be truly impressed and admit that real equality has finally arrived.

In the meantime, let’s just accept that everyone is different and no two people are equal – regardless of their sex.

And I’d also like to point out that the party’s title including the word “Women’s” rather discriminates against men. I think the irony of that might well be lost on Miss Toksvig…

Government job creation

When I heard about Equalities Minister, Job Swinson, writing to retailers and manufacturers of toys urging them to avoid branding toys as ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’ I thought to myself “What the fuck are they pissing my money up the wall on now !?!?”

But then I realized what it was all about : Jo Swinson is a Lib Dem. The coalition agreement says we have to have a certain number of them in the government regardless of their capabilities and whether or not they fulfil any useful purpose. After all, there not a lot of them to spread around and, thankfully, after next May there will be even less – if any.

What exactly do we need an Equalities Minister for? It’s a good question. We have laws on sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, discrimination against disabled people, discrimination against gays and lesbians, and just about everything else as far as I can see. It’s all done ad nauseum, so what is Ms Swinson actually for?

The answer is, of course is that she’s filling a chair somewhere nice and quiet and out of the way where she can’t do too much damage.

I have no problem with equality. I have a huge problem with positive discrimination because there’s no such thing. Positive to one party has, by definition to be negative to the other. Equality is good but at the same time probably a state of nirvana that cannot be achieved. But I digress.

And as far as kiddies toys are concerned, well kids will be kids. I have two grandchildren, one of each. They play with each others toys all the time. This is a healthy thing. And as far as gender branding toys is concerned, if a girl wants a dolly it’s because Mummy looks after baby and she associates with mummy. If a boy wants a gun, it’s because he sees men playing soldiers and waving guns about. Girls tend to be nurturing and boys tend to be aggressive. It’s a hormonal thing, isn’t it?

Let’s face it, some professions are male dominated and some are female dominated. It’s just the way things are. Over time, I believe that career choices will become less gender oriented – but it will be through education and not through some Limp Dump job creation scheme paid for by our taxes.

Roll on next May…

Females Bishops? Shurely not…

Great debate in the CofE General Synod this week about whether women should be allowed to be Bishops. You’ll remember they voted against this a couple of years back so the Church is applying the same rules as the Fourth Reich apply to referenda – if you don’t get the result you want then wait a bit and ask again. Keep doing this until you get the irreversible result you want…

What’s all the fuss about?

Conservative evangelicals interpret the Bible as saying that women should not hold authority over men in the Church and that “headship” is a male role. Meanwhile traditionalist Anglo-Catholics point to the fact that Jesus’s disciples were all men and say that a 2,000-year line of male-only ‘apostolic succession’ would be broken by women bishops and scupper any hopes of eventual reunification with the Roman Catholic Church. Personally I think that any move which prevents the the CofE merging with the Catholics has to be a good thing, but that’s just me!

I was amazed to hear a vicar pontificating about the issues on BBC Breakfast last Monday. He was quick to point out that God created man in his own image, that Adam was created before Eve, that all the disciples were men, and that the Bible says that women should be submissive, obedient and silent. He might like to debate that last one with Mrs D.

So the Synod suggested a fudge. We appoint women as bishops and if the clergy under them won’t accept that, then we’ll let them report to someone else instead. If this was the real world instead of the CofE, your employer would simply tell you that if you didn’t want to work under the manager they appointed then you should fuck off and work somewhere else. But then this isn’t the real world. It’s the religious world.

This is a world in which deluded, superstitious people worship an invisible sky fairy and are arrogant enough to believe that the creator of all things made men in his own image. All I can say is that if humans are the superior or only intelligent life form in the universe, then it’s time for another big bang.

And as regards female bishops, who really gives a toss?