Monday, 19 November 2012

Exercising some deamons

According to the BBC (here) some people in this country have taken to dismissing the notion of going to the Doctor when ill, and decided that what they really need is an exorcist. As you do.

So apparently thousands of years of medical advancement, and countless proven treatments for multitudes of conditions, hasn't managed to break through the notion that waving some incense about, and muttering phrases from long dead languages probably isn't going to cut the proverbial mustard.

Except of course that it has. Completely. In-fact the notion of exorcism requires such a fundamentally flawed belief system that you would have to have made a conscious decision not to be educated, not to learn things, and to never, under any circumstances, attempt to figure out the terrifying voodoo behind the concept of cause and effect, for it to make sense.

At this point, you're probably expecting me to pen some quip about fools and money being parted, or sit there tearing into the business practices of a bunch of charlatans who have managed to convince people that they know special magic words that will make it all better.

I'm not going to though. Not even a little bit. Partly because it's too easy, and party because if you're reading this, and, well, you have enough education to be able to read this, I don't think I need to. After all, it doesn't take a lot of time at school to realise that there's a very clear difference between knowing things because we can asses and measure them, and "knowing" things because someone, somewhere, might have once said something, that might not have been mistranslated numerous times over thousands of years, that might be true despite a total absence of evidence, and assuming that it still remains valid in a world where we know about, well, stuff.

Because that's what the point is. If you've forgone education and rationality enough to ignore all evidence, science, teaching, and common sense, to come to the conclusion that what's wrong with you isn't a recognisable medical condition, but the fact that you're possessed by the ghost of grandma's dog from the 70s, then I'm genuinely VERY happy for you to visit an exorcist.

After all, why waste everyone else's money? £60 of your cash an hour to keep you out of the NHS, out of Doctors surgeries, and, on a long enough time scale, ultimately away from anyone else who can breathe, is a good thing. It's the cycling of the intellectual world. To do otherwise is just an exercise in standing in the way of natural selection. We don't need you. You're holding back the species, and the rest of us have better thing to do.

Idiots die out because they bring it on themselves, nonsense belief systems die out because over time the weight of evidence to point out that they're nonsense becomes over powering, and there are only so many ways in which you can 'modernise' them before you start to realise that the only similarity of what you believe in now compared to what you used to believe in is the spelling.

Incidentally, this is pretty much how I feel about homeopathy as well. The chief difference being that, for reasons I don't even want to contemplate, we apparently consider that particular variant of making shit up to be good enough to merit public funding. Which is even more worrying, as if we can use the excuse of patient choice as an excuse to fund something that's backed up by precisely nothing, then we're really not far off funding exorcisms either.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Let's talk about Tax baby...

Let's talk about us and them, let's talk about all the good things, and the bad things that may be, let's talk about tax.

Shall we? We might as well. I mean everyone and their dog in this country is currently devoting an exceptional amount of time to extracting their toys from their prams on this one. So come along, let's talk about tax.

Fucking Starbucks! How much money do you make? Seriously? I didn't even know numbers went that high! And how little of it are you taxed on? And you Apple, I don't care how shiny you've managed to make your product, or how much I'm over come with lust of a horny Sex Panther just to set eyes on your latest shiny shiny thing, pay some damn tax! As for you Jimmy Carr, oh how dare you not pay much tax via an entirely lawful system. You utter utter bastard.

That sounds about right doesn't it? All of these people screwing over us poor worker bees who have to pay our taxes like good little boys and girls. Look how hard done by we are. Look at our worried little angry heads. LOOK AT US!

Except for the fact that that's complete crap. Because literally none of us are paying any attention to the reality of what we're doing.

No, we don't all earn Jimmy Carr's salary, or make Hyper Global Mega Corp levels of profit. But every, single, one, of us, is at it in the best way we know how.

Lets see shall we?

Do you have an ISA? Interesting. So, how guilty do you feel about that £5640 a year in tax free savings?

Were you a Student? Did you have a part time job? A part time job where you're taxed NOTHING at all on your salary?

Did you buy a house over the past couple of years? Your first house? That's interesting. Did you take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday? Interesting. I know I did. That's approximately £3500.00 I didn't pay in tax. At all. And I don't even have to in the future either. And you can't have it. Ever. I like to think it's come straight out of the big pot of cash that was ear marked for providing puppies that would cuddle up to poor children keeping them warm at night.

How about the army of contractors out there? I know bloody tonnes of them! These are the people who have no option but to set themselves up as their own businesses as part of the process of getting work. You all know that they can claim the tax back on their travel to work every day right? That's an average of between £1250 - £2000 a year in London, and there's that £1300 per year food allowance, that, yup, they can claim tax back on too! And I'm not even mentioning anyone else who's self employed writing various things off as business costs. Or maybe they just have separate PCs, Cars etc that they use for non-business reasons, so that's probably fine.

Pensions, we all need them right? And if you work for, well, most businesses really, you can pay into yours via a salary sacrifice system. What's that then? Well, it takes the money out of your PRE-tax pay, to maximise your input, while reducing the amount of tax paid on the rest of your pay.

But I'm sure none of you have any of these things do you.

Because then you'd have to think about how committed to this premise you really are.

Then you'd have to ask yourselves are you actually angry that some people have gotten lucrative tax systems, or are you angry that yours isn't as lucrative? You made your decisions in life, you decided on your career path, you decided on the effort you made, you decided on if you wanted to sacrifice A for B. So don't you dare sit there and complain about it when people more successful than you have more money than you.

Tax, is doesn't have to be taxing.

Update - 08-11

So, apparently nobody gets the point here at all, and thinks that this is entirely literal in it's comparison between Joe Average and Starbucks. Apparently you think, that I think that a company making billions is actually being measured against someone making thousands. So, in an effort to spell this out just a little bit more allow me to explain.

What I'm getting at is very simple. Every single person is avoiding paying tax as much as is humanly possible for them. Christ, even on our death beds we're being creative with our estates to ensure that we avoid paying as much inheritance tax as is possible. In short this is a national past time that we are all doing to the best of our ability. We might not be as good at is as the Greeks are, but believe me, we're damn well trying.

The simple fact of the matter is what everyone is actually annoyed about is that other people are avoiding paying more tax than they themselves are avoiding, and given half a chance they'd all be doing it too. Because, quite clearly, we all think tax avoidance is fine, just so long as we can only do as much as your knowledge of the system allows. Heaven forbid we should pay someone with more knowledge to do a better job of it. Just imagine what the world would be like if people were paid to do work based on their ability? Fucking mental!

So, finally, why, when we've collectively engineered a society that tries to avoid paying tax in anyway possible, are we surprised when that's EXACTLY what happens?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

EU Prison Posturing

The EU want us to give prisoners the right to vote. Because, and this is truly something magical as far as logic goes, we, as a nation, are infringing on the rights of people who broke the law, and were locked up for it, and what we should do, is sit them down and ask them how they think the country should be run.

Yeah, that'll go well. I can't think of a more qualified group of people to help set out the way the country should be run.

I tell you what, lets take the notion, and crack on with applying it, and move onto reforming the rest of the legal system:

Break into someone's home and steal their stuff, don't worry about prison, we'll just give you some money so that you have the right to buy nice things too.

Committing casual fraud? Don't worry, we'll just change the nature of reality so the world will bend itself around how you think it should work.

Do you see how this logic works?

I'll make this very simple, if people take from society, just like with people in the real world, you don't, ever, give them something in return.

It comes from this whole crazy concept of mutual respect. Pull up a chair, I'll run this one by you, lets see if it makes sense. You, as a functioning respectable member of society get a right to say how it is run, as does everyone else. You helped build it, you help make decisions for it. With me so far? Good. If you do something to, oh I don't know, break the laws of said society, you get something that's called "punished". Now being "punished", isn't nice. Which, largely, is the point. While being "punished" you lose many of these rights you had as a decent respectable member of society. Why? I hear you cry. Simple. Because of the one over riding rule across all existence. If you act like a cunt, you're gonna get fucked. It's what you deserve.