Thursday, 21 June 2012

Laughing all the way to the bank?

Yesterday, wax-faced hypocrite David "smug mug" Cameron jumped on the latest speedy bandwagon of moral outrage when he berated puerile punster Jimmy Carr for immorality over his use of a tax avoidance scheme. Maybe you agree with our constantly chummy PM, if you'll spare me a few moments of your time, I'll tell you why he, and possibly you, are wrong.

If you were buying a house and paid £249,999 for it rather than £250,000 and you paid that £1 less in order to avoid paying 3% tax instead of 1%, would you be acting immorally or wisely? Be honest now, it's not a tough one, is it? But wait, there's more...

If you were buying a house, and the government announced a stamp duty holiday for three months, and you deliberately altered your purchase date to fall just one day into the stamp duty holiday, thereby avoiding all tax on the purchase would you expect the ire and indignation of the PM that presumably ok'd the stamp duty holiday in the first place? Of course not, don't be so stupid.

If a company director receives shares as well as salary, is he immoral for not receiving as much remuneration as possible through PAYE? Really?? You're joking, right?

Have you ever avoided buying petrol from a petrol station because you knew it was cheaper down the road?  Well if you have you are a dirty stinking immoral tax dodger and to hell with you, says Mr. C in his usual mocking tone.

The thing is there is evasion of tax, which is not only immoral but actually a crime, and there's avoidance of tax which is not only sensible, BUT TOTALLY LEGAL. WE ALL DO IT ALL THE TIME. For Cameron to then say "There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement - that sort of tax management is fine" just reveals how arbitrary his "moral line" is.

I'll tell you what is immoral - being the head of a government which has done nothing to clear up the mess and inequality caused by a broken and abused tax system, and then decrying anyone that uses that broken tax system to their advantage. Feisty anonymous blogger fleetstreetfox makes the case for a consumption tax, and while I don't fully agree (what about the pensioners, and how do you allocate allowances etc) she's right in that we should scrap the entire system and start again.  

Oh yes, and Gary Barlow uses the same scheme as Jimmy Carr, but Cameron didn't pick on him did he? 


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Why I drink

"I was dreaming when I wrote this/Forgive me if it goes astray" - Prince, 1999

Hello, my name is Barry Grogan, and I'm NOT an alcoholic. But I do like a drink. A lot. And this is why:- Growing up in the 70s I learnt young that if you wanted to have a good time, to let your hair down and to let rip, you had to get pissed. I didn't just learn this lesson at birthdays and Christmas, I learnt it from every TV sitcom and episode of the Sweeney. So it was that I couldn't wait to get some of that life affirming brew for myself. First time I got truly bladdered was a long summer night in Preston Park, me and a couple of mates, 15 years old, with a wicked cocktail of illicitly stolen booze. Turned out, for a few hours anyway, that booze was everything it had promised to be. All turned to rat-shit later of course as I stared legless into the starry abyss, clinging to the earth so I wouldn't fall off, fighting the urge to puke. Anyway, from that point I was hooked.

But that's not why I drink.

There's a lot of crap talked about booze - I couldn't put it better than Lee Jones - truth is, the moralistic high ground on alcohol has been hijacked by those who dislike the idea of people enjoying anything, let alone getting tanked up. It's another example of the white liberal middle classes disgust at what they perceive as the baser instincts of the great unwashed. Fuck 'em, booze is a health drink, ok?

But that's not why I drink.

I'm a fraud. You wouldn't believe what I do for a living, and while I have what you might call a low moral threshold, even I baulk at some of crap I come out with. Ok - lets just say I'm a salesman, and a bloody good one at that, but every day I have to simper and crawl to a bunch of leftie bedwetters so far up their own arses they're inside out. Let's just say every second of my working day is a living bullshit-fest.

But that's not why I drink.

Recently I saw the walls were closing in. Woke up one day and saw clearly my best years were behind me. Wanted to make a difference, to say my piece. That's why I've started to write this blog. I'm a reasonable man - I care about people. I've held back too long - I've had enough of biting my tongue. Got too tense at home - wont bore you with the details but lets just say I've got more time to think now. She did me a favour, in a way.

But that's not why I drink.

This job I do - I can thank my wife for that. She's obsessed - its the modern disease, this health obsession. Anyway - she didn't like me drinking, hated it. Full of facts and figures. Got to the point where she almost had me convinced, nearly gave it up. To me, the drink became a symbol of my masculinity - a masculinity which was slowly evaporating. She told me - it's the drink or me...

And that's why I drink.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Gay marriage - then I'm getting a divorce

Surrounded as I am with gays, their lives hold no fascination or horror for me. The gay bars and clubs of Brighton enrich the city and no-one is forcing you in the front door, and if you want to pop in the back door that again is fine with me.

I am the modern tolerant man. I use that word with its traditional meaning: “to put up with” - not to approve, nor take part, but to allow others to live their lives as they choose.

But the tolerance must go both ways. This is my country, I was here first. If you think its a good place to live too, then by all means visit and if you're going to stay then make a contribution and obey the rules. This is what marriage is to me. We invented it.

Marriage is an straight institution. How do I know? Simple. If you need to prefix an established term with another word then you are certainly corrupting the original word’s meaning. For example: vegetarian burger. Burgers are meat, and just sticking “veggie” in front of it does not change its meaning - you are just hijacking the word. They didn’t get away with it on soya “milk”, they were forced to call it “soya alternative to dairy” - hmm, sounds nice.

Gay is to marriage like vegetarian is to burger and intelligent is to design. I would have no objection to “gay alternative to marriage”. Did vegans give up and die just because they couldn't call it milk? No, sadly.

I’m not alone with this point of view although many in the Tory party are afraid to talk about it, and much to my surprise I'm in agreement with most religious leaders including the wako-catholicos. But what do these people do aside from whinge? This government has repeatedly stated it supports “marriage” but that is no different from supporting punctuality by making the clocks run slow.

But I am married. And what I entered into I don't want redefined after the event. I signed a contract and I expect it to be honored. If its definition changes I can't see how I can still be married? If gay “marriage” lead to more unmarried people then what is the point?

The only way the government is going to change its proposals is to see marriage numbers drop. If gay “marriage” is adopted then I'm getting a straight divorce while I can. This is the only logical step to take - to not follow our conscience on this would show a massive deficit of sincerity concerning our objections. Unless you are willing to make a sacrifice for your way of life then is it worth even fighting for? If you are not already married then please vow to never enter into marriage until this government listens to reason.

For this reason I hope you will join with me to pledge:

“We the undersigned pledge to divorce, or never enter into a marriage if gay marriage legislation is enacted by the UK government.”

Sign the petition now.