Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tuesday trifles…

At moment running off a CD! Slow – but not a real problem! Yesterday checked-out Linux DSL on Ed’s emulator – (DSL= Damned Small Linux) all you need and only 50 meg! Then we tried another OS – Tiny Core – and that was 10 meg. I mean – ten meg for an O.S. I’m looking into a few ‘options’ re: pc. Don’t like lappo’s.
But I have to wotch that I don’t get press-ganged into joining that govern-mental ‘work for benefits’ scheme they’ve tried to get going – as either: a) an employer… or b) one on the bloody scheme!!
More interestingly we had a day, on Sunday, when it only rained for four hours. For the other two hours of comparative daylight I ventured the back-yard for things totally entrepreneurial. I mean by this potato-growing.
Last year a good crop was had and this year a larger-plot is envisaged. This necessitates the moving of two conifers – one of which has been moved.(The smaller. The bigger awaits) This work was done on Sunday. Since, it has rained more or less non-stop (par here) and work has ground to a halt. Being only February though there’s plenty of time to get the spud-patch ready for a seasons food-bill quantitive-easing.
In this northern tundra few foodstuffs survive the weather and pests, so growings are limited to spuds, peas, rhubarb and a few weedlike fruit bushes, like gooseberries. But these, basic as they are, provide the main things that geriatism needs – strong emetics for personal use – with an opposite effect for the wallet.

Monday moans?

Linux is struggling with a failed hard-drive but still manages to get online! A replacement machine is on the cards – but a £500 or more job just isn’t needed.
The pc might look a bit iffy but normally, with a Linux OS it goes well – all that’s needed is word-processing and a reasonable ‘net connection. It wouldn’t even look at a Windows OS! 🙂
It’s been a revelation looking into Linux – the ARCH system is awesome – the fastest I’ve ever seen a pc download! (literally instant!) But it has taken Ed quite a while to compile and install the coding manually. (After self-building an awesome PC that is – all bought from suppliers online!) (That’s wot you do with ARCH) (Ed’s pc is mainly configured for music applications)
I’m on Linux Mint 12 which is installed off a downloaded disk and far easier for the non-pc buff to negotiate. Once installed, with additional downloads, it’s an easier system than Windows to use – and only 3GiB to 4Gib of space used – hence it’s fast. I tried lubuntu before that and that, on the ‘net, is faster still! (Lubuntu = Light Ubuntu). Mint is perhaps just a shade more user-friendly but that’s all.

Thursday thoughts?

On a nice, bright, pre-Spring morning the laffs abound!
Attempts to coerce ‘benefit’ claimants into doing something remotely productive (stack shelves initially) are the problem.
To get a few ‘NEETS’ into a first job this might sound fine. Sadly those targeted for these placements (which, as I read it, are extremely lucrative for ’employers’) include all ‘benefits’ claimants such as ‘NEETS’ and even those disabled.
As an ex-employer, forced by edict or verbal command, to implement a ‘Minimum-Wage’ I could never condone any other means of determining a person’s pay – whatever the age or merits of that person. End of story.
‘Benefits’ are not something ‘given’ by a government. Benefit Payments come from money taken as taxation, as a type of insurance, against anyone finding themselves ill, unemployed or otherwise unable to earn a living. End of story.
If the pen-pushers that collect and distribute this huge amount of money prefer to pay £50,000,000.00p of it per day elsewhere, (which I certainly did not ‘sign-up’ for!) and end-up in dire deficit, then it is their frigging problem, not mine as a tax-payer!
The absolute farce of all this is that a company, on the face of things trying to get folk into employment, is now being investigated by The Fraud Squad!
Now, a simple, surefire solution to all of these problems is to remove the Minimum Wage for Job-Seekers in both The Private and the public sectors. (Yes, if The Private Sector can have highly-productive shelf-stackers on pennies, then the dubiously productive public sector could save us an absolute fortune by hiring cheap ‘co-ordinators’!)
This would have no adverse effect on folk genuinely and voluntarily entering into low-paid work just to get a feel for it and would steer employers toward the unemployment register when seeking staff. There is a fairly simple (although it could be far simpler!) provision, provided for by tax-payers, called Tax Credits, that could ‘make-up’ a low-wage to something at least sensible. This method also ensures that all firms, not just the big tax-collection agencies, can benefit from easily-affordable, temporary? part-time? casual? workers.
Result? Possibly a drop in unemployment costs. A slight improvement to the high-streets…and for a few folk totally lost without a job, a credible, ethical way of getting back into one.

Wednesday wealth?

A wet morning here as ‘wealth’ in some form seems to dominate the ‘news’.
Depending on which rag you read folk govern-mental have scraped-by in January with less of a borrow than expected. Massive taxation didn’t cover the cost of collecting it but borrowing needed to cover that deficit was: £2.5 billion (BBC), £7.5 billion (ITV) and a chunky £10 billion if you go with the Mail – less than expected!
Which simply proves that no one involved can remotely use an abacus. Keep trying guys – things happen by friggin’ accident sometimes! But don’t take-on a Match-Box Tray or Market-Stall just yet! (Heaven forbid!)
And, a heavily funded bunch of Think-Tankers suggest doing-away with bus-passes and heating-allowance for Pensioners. They say it will ‘save’ £3billion a year.
Fine. But that £3billion a year has first been ‘put-in’ by the pensioners over many years of punitive taxation. Present-day workers are ‘putting their investment in’ for when they retire and qualify to get back that investment as, perhaps, a bus-pass and/or help with heating costs.
So, it follows then that a cut in these ‘benefits’ (which they’re not – they are an investment return!) must also mean an immediate cut in present-day taxation as a result.
Now, let’s tot-up the cash paid-in and funding taken-out by Think-Tankers and see what we get – a profit, or a loss? No prizes folks…
Remember, one pound taken as any form of tax in say nineteen sixty would be fifty or more today…

Tuesday trifles…

It’s quite murky out there this morning with foggy mist obscuring the view.
I shouldn’t really even bother but that nice Mr. Duncan-Smith misguidedly advises that, ‘Stacking shelves is better than dreaming of TV stardom.’
A million codicils spring easily to mind.
But the most funda-mental error there is the assumption that there will be a shelf, somewhere, to stack! (Folk will always, always dream chuck – if they didn’t there’d be nothing! Especially from a TV and Parliament point of view!)
Similarly, some boffin in (of all places) New Zealand, which is, just, on the planet, says that folk should be banned from smoking in Beer Gardens.
Again, depending on whether you smoke or not, a perfectly fair comment. Assuming, of course, that there is a Beer Garden somewhere!
So before all the dreaming and misguided scheming, the basics should be targeted – by Mr. Duncan – Smith asking himself, ‘How can I ensure that there are shelves to stack and Beer Gardens – somewhere?’
The answer is simply to make them viable for entrepreneurial dreamers. Then you attack the real problem and not just its result (Unemployment!)
Then, when folk providing viable shelves are happy and shelf-stacking becomes gainful rather than slave employment, by all means suggest that unemployed folk, of all ages, give it a go.
As for funded boffins, well, New Zealand is nice. They could all go there – make it the smoking-room of the Earth. Boy would it attract some tourists!
And, for the Stardom Dreamers, don’t ever give up! But the work is hard, far harder than stacking shelves.
Mr. Duncan-Smith, funded Boffins and I are all, nowadays, paid from the same pot. But our ‘credentials’ to make comment differ enormously.
For me to get my weekly ‘spends’ out of the pot now, I first had to put them in! Just like many, many others in the country that would, instead, love to profitably provide or stack a shelf or two! And, perhaps, have a smoke with a pint after a hard days graft. Sadly, of late, pleasures that can only be recalled in a dream.

Monday moan?

You can’t really buy a British car. Unless you want one that costs more than your house. The general, run-of-the-mill family taxi-cum-shopping-trolley will, in the main, be imported or of foreign make.
You can’t really buy a British TV or computer.
Or a bicycle – the main bits are imported.
Or a kettle or iron. Or a wind-turbine.
Even our food is increasingly imported.
All this importing isn’t totally bad – it does create many jobs in transport and distribution. And of course we export to those we import from.
We export…erm…well, off-hand I can’t think of anything but we do do it – but perhaps it’s just in a small way – and much of what we do export will have been imported for assembly here anyway…I think??
So it will come as no surprise to learn that in future, energy, from some kind of nuclear facilities, will be imported from France.
This must mean that: a) We don’t know how to do it. b) We can’t do it anyway. c) We can’t afford to do it. Or d) We simply can’t be arsed.
Given, at the moment, the price of energy, it seems strange then that its making must be, compared to other business, small-cheese if no one can be arsed to do it.
Or is there some other factor that’s unseen in the equation? A factor perhaps that prevents us buying a British car, TV or kettle as well?
Of course there is and, today, it was revealed (Mail) that a quarter of small British businesses are on the verge of collapse. (The reasons all boil-down to cash-flow and un-asked-for paperwork) These real businesses employ at least 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 people. (A simple solution to this problem – not a quick-fix – was explained here yesterday.)
The two most important commodities in our country are food and water. It is to be hoped that food importing and distribution isn’t among the quarter at risk.
As for water – the south is in a drought situation. There is a meeting over it today. Piping it from the north – massively expensive – has been seriously suggested but obviously the hardware will take time – and loads of cash. If someone can be arsed…and, to be honest, they can’t – it’s just not viable. (not to even think of the bullshit from armies of jobsworths that would go with it!)
But hey, no worries, we can always import!
Now, for me, sat up here in one of the wetter Greater Manchester districts, importing water (rain for gawd’s sake!) will be the laff of a lifetime!
And here, quite suggestively, the term: ‘shower’, can refer to a group of, possibly inept, people,(although still highly-paid!) rather than a little light rain…

Sunday stuff.

Bright sunshine this morning but there’s ice on the pond as folk at A4E get a visit from folk of The Fraud Squad.
The National Institutes for Ageing reckon that starving yourself, as you age, improves one’s life-span.
So the Old Age Pension pittance may be a life-saver then. It’s good to know, but even gooder to have a choice!
Eric Pickles has given councils the right to pray at meetings. Thanks Mr. Pickles, but it won’t balance the books!
Apparently even Customs & Excise have ‘managers’ claiming tax-relief as ‘companies’.
Fine. But each year such work should be advertised, tendered for, by any company, and then awarded to the best tender.
A similar, business-like approach – informing ‘customers’ of ‘price’ before-hand – might work with all public servants. Even mp’s.
Without price (real company) competition between those tendering, posts offered are just jobs on a payroll and should be paid/taxed as PAYE work. (Unless laws are changed for all.)
N.B.**’A Private Business’, that is a (usually small at first) business set-up and funded by a ‘Boss’, for his own income needs, is, at present, taxed on Total Profit. The result? Emptying high-streets and massive unemployment queues everywhere. (Forget red-tape for a minute!)
Surely that wealth and job creating Boss should only be taxed on the cash he actually takes from his business for his personal living expenses – as with any other ’employee’? This gives the truly Entrepreneurial scope for (real) ‘growth’, a subject, at the moment, giving politicians so much trouble. (They dunno what it is!) Even Mary P. was at a loss!**
Massive ‘companies’ like Tesco are not ‘Private’ in the true sense. They are public-funded (shareholders) and may be taxed on Total Profit.
Those folk that deem such companies as ‘cheap’ (regarding Price of sales) confuse Price with Cost, as every small ‘shop’ closed as a result of them adds to their actual Cost in unemployment (the taxes required to fund it!)
Compared to the more ‘Personal Service’ in a small shop, employment in large stores and supermarkets is minimal – and as auto-check-outs begin to take over even this will be cut severely – the real Cost of these conglomerates – as dole payments, passed ‘invisibly’ to the tax-payer, while products for sale seem invitingly cheap.
Actually, the new Express near us is bloody expensive!

Saturday smiles?

As the normal everyday crises of no jobs, jobs-worths and jobs for the boys drag on to keep us all well skint the old chestnut of ‘drought’ rears-up yet again. Despite worries (worries? who’s worried?) that London and the southern half of England is in danger of sinking below sea-levels (it already is in parts) cries of drought, talk of water-meters and ‘major investment’ (more taxation excuses) abound.
But while others bleat about Olympic Games and Ultra-High-Speed Rail-Links – ie money to bloodywell burn, water – rain – and ‘investments’ into it just don’t wash. Oil, gas and electric are piped or cabled all over the country so water should be no problem.
And if it is, whose fault is that?
(It’s just-on 9.45 and absolutely pee-ing down!)
If you’ve got 100 pound coins they’re worth, at the moment, a full-tank of gas for the family shopping-trolley – weighed-in, far less!
A worker I know well works at home on piece-work – that’s: paid by units done using a high-powered electrical machine. (A far cry from A4E believe me!)
In order to earn more cash for a specific purpose this worker increased production by several dozen ‘done’ units. This, the worker estimated, would give an extra £25 per week net (after deductions) income.
Sadly, estimating such things as taxation & NI is a route to penury! The actual net increase in pay last week was £3.50 approx! So much for being ‘productive’! Meanwhile I await the resulting electric bill!

Friday fun!

We’re under one big cloud here at the moment, with drizzly rain all around. But there are laffs about too if you look. Tesco’s tried advertising for workers on JSA – that’s less than (govern-mentally approved!) minimum-wage (or is it friggin’well more than minimum-wage? It’s hard to know for sure these days! 🙂 ) (“It was a mistake! It was a mistake!”) Obviously that couldn’t go on – within six months Tesco would have sacked everyone and took-on fifty thousand JSA workers! So much for minimal-wage! But, what folk forget is that our taxes are taken in order to fund us if we are out of work, and even a youngster might pay for a TV licence, or a can of lager, or Road Tax for a car or vat on anything. So they are contributing to the pot. Take away this benefit and you should, at the same time, lower taxation accordingly.
**What JSA workers (and Tesco workers!) should do is set themselves up as ‘A Business’ and then offer themselves as ‘Self-Employed’ staff at a suitable, viable rate per hour. (Check with a few NHS ‘Managers’ and quango bosses for some really enlightening hourly pay-rate ideas! 🙂 and ways around IR35 ) A car, for work in this instance, may be partly a business-expense and tax-deductible.**
Merv at Threadneedle Street blathers-on about nasty, nasty banks not lending wads of cash to businesses. The very last thing a business needs chuck is a bank loan! What they do need is customers with a bit of disposable income – a rarity with today’s tax-rates!
On Tuesday I mentioned that it cost ten-bob a week to get to work at one time – long past! Today Littlejohn, in the Mail, has a pic of a ten-bob-note. (as well as a canny blog!) Those were the days Rich!
Also in the mail the question: “How can I make my wooden sash-windows warmer?” is posed.
Burn them. (Then fit UPVC tight-ass!)

Wednesday woes?

A quick read around the papers online brings a few smiles this sunny morning in the peasant north.
There is a piece about electric cars – like those pictured. Not only, (imo) would they be totally useless in average northern England weather but fueling them – by means of some peasant’s shovel and a minefull of coal to turn electricity turbines – is worse, environ-mentally, than using diesel in a bloody bus! Not to mention the ongoing, never-ending, manufacturing costs of ‘disposable’ cars.
So it comes as no surprise then to learn that the language, on Top Gear, is back-street garage!
Wot d’you expect when car show presenters are faced with cars like these?
And talking of trees (that’s ‘of’ them, not to them) had I said, to family and friends, that I was going to Rent Trees, as a business here in the practical north, I’d have been sectioned! Yet some canny business is doing just that at some MP’s office buildings. It’s lucrative too…not that many could give a fig.
Merv’s down the cellars at Threadneedle Street churning a few quid on the old Heidelberg for us. It plays havoc with your pension though, and Moody’s have adjusted our credit-rating accordingly.
At the beeb, as they sack themselves, take pay-off’s, then carry-on in the same old ‘money-no-object’ jobs, everywhere else is doomed under the Tory cost-cutting axe. But borrowing is hardly lower so no real cuts yet.
Meanwhile, outside the sun shines brightly and they still make Bentleys – and BMW have knocked-out a ‘Rolls-Royce’ doppelgänger.
So despite the language on Top Gear (the poor dears – electric cars indeed!) all is not yet lost.
For with cars like Rolls-Royce and Bentley cost-effective conservation is in-built for with these motors, since their inception, a driver only ever need buy just one and, if every Rolls and Bentley ever made were on the road,(many still are!) they’d never cause any traffic-jam.