Category Archives: me generation

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…

Fat cats and fat bastards…

There’s nothing I like more than election time – and thanks to the pathetic ‘coalition agreement’ I’m getting a bumper run in this time around with months of fun to be had…

I loved this week’s offerings. Milipede getting tough on fat cat rich bastards who are legally avoiding paying taxes whilst Camoron appeals to the core Tory vote by getting tough on benefits for fat bastards that refuse to stop eating.

Milipede seems to have missed the old saying that people who live in glass houses should avoid chucking bricks and mortar about as it seems the the millionaire socialist (an oxymoron shurely?) has a few questions of his own to answer about his own tax arrangement in relation to some of his house sales and the capital gains tax that should or should not have been paid on same.

Meanwhile Call Me Dave is anxious to sound good whilst at the same time quick to get his aides to point out that this is only a discussion that needs to be had rather than an actual commitment even though few people would disagree that if you are refusing treatment for a treatable condition that prevents you working then it seems quite just and reasonable to take your benefits away.

Whilst I was away, I was also interested to catch part of the Sky News farce where the party leaders where interviewed by 16 years olds in the interests of encouraging young people to take an interest in politics and future of the nation. Interestingly I noticed that Nigel Farage wisely refused to join in demonstrating that despite the bashing he is getting from the “can’t kick the ball so let’s kick the player” brigade, he has more common sense than the rest of them put together.

As for the young people themselves and the questions they were asking – well, I am dismayed. If 16 year olds are ever given the vote and this is a representative cross section then this country is well and truly fucked…

Escape for the Incontinent

After a few weeks on a boat with a load of, shall we say, people of a more mature disposition I was interested in a recent revelation that recently retired people spend the initial years of their retirements – errr- spending!

After decades of working every single day, the long-awaited arrival of retirement can understandably mean a chance to relax and enjoy the finer things in life.
It’s time to take that cruise you had promised yourself, enjoy more regular trips to the theatre, perhaps even buy a new iPad.


Well, I do agree with the first part of that statement because having worked my arse off to earn the money, I can understand that it’s time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labours. However, the latter part does suggest to me that perhaps the reference to an iPad may indicate that this particular piece of research may just have been undertaken by someone a little younger than retirement age. After all, it’s taken me ten years to persuade Mrs D to get a mobile phone and even now she’s got a label on the back telling her how to make a phone call on it…

But I digress. The report goes on to say how the average pensioner spends £33,000 on luxuries during the first five years of their retirement. This apparently fuels an ‘over-spend’ of about £1,300 a year in that period, as they shell out more than they are earning from their pension. Surely this is a gross generalisation? Doesn’t it rather depend on the size of the pension. I’m sure Fred Goodwin never had this problem.

And apparently we wastrel old codgers end up in poverty and debt in our final years because of this gross profligacy. Well, actually, I’ve always thought that it was a good thing to die broke, in debt and preferably owing money to the tax man.

Which brings me to the subject of this piece. I love property shows on the telly – especially those where some silly old bugger decides to change his entire life by chucking up his life in the UK to go abroad and live somewhere where he’s never been and where he is convinced that he can buy a beautiful home in the sun for peanuts.

I watched on the other week where the guy decided he could buy a four bedroomed villa with sea views, a pool and a couple of acres of land on the Dubrovnik riviera for £200k. The happens all the time. Everybody wants a million quid house for a hundred thou. Priceless stuff…

And what do they do if and when they get there? They’re convinced that by going abroad they will leave all their problems behind – but what they actually get is different problems and less idea how to deal with them.

They complain about the foreigners, the food and the language. They sit around the pool all day collecting skin cancers and drinking themselves to death. And then, when they get ill, they fly back home so the NHS can fix them up for free.

There’s nothing wrong with spending the kids’ inheritance. It’s your money. But FFS get a grip and don’t leave your brain at Heathrow.

And that’s why I call it ‘Escape for the Incontinent’…

The true spirit of the New Capitalism

If there is one thing I really love, it is a story about initiative and true entrepreneurial spirit – and this is a cracker!

Over in the States, there is a software developer called Bob who is a truly enterprising bloke. Bob was paid a six figure salary to write code. Apparently, he was very good at it. His employers were full of praise for the quality and quantity of his work. He was the best programmer they had.

Except he wasn’t – because being the enterprising chap that he is, he was outsourcing his work to a software house in China and paying them about a fifth of his salary to do the work for him.

Here’s what an audit revealed about Bob’s average working day :

09:00 Arrive at the office and surf Reddit for a hour or so
10:00 Watch cat videos
11:30 Lunch break
13:00 eBay!
14:00 Facebook and Linkedin updates
16:30 Daily progress update email for management
17:00 Bugger off home

According to his employers, “His work was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.” They gave him the chop anyway – which is a shame because Bob showed true initiative and original thinking – a sort of antidote for real life Dilberts everywhere.

Personally, I would have put him in charge of outsourcing, and sacked the people above him who, if they had been doing their jobs properly, would have outsourced the work to China in the first place!

Striking doctors caption competition…

Now I know that a lot of doctors are on strike today, so instead of treating patients I thought I should give them something else to do.

So, if you are a doctor, then why not put a caption to the above picture? After all, it’s a chance for you to get your message across to the public about how hard done by you are and how we’re all in it together – except you of course.

And, in the interests of fairness, all you non-doctors out there : what do you think the doctor is saying?

Here’s a few suggestions…

“Hey! It says here that not only am I getting paid to go on strike, but I’m going to get a £68,000 indexed linked pension as well!!

“Medicine is a great profession now we’ve found a way to avoid all those sick people and still get paid!”

“Well, that’s one way of getting my BMA subs back…”

“Nurse! Come quickly – I think my bank balance is dying!”

Perhaps I’m being a little hard on them?

But then again…