Archive for November 2012

On women bishops

On Tuesday the Church of England (CofE) did, as we know, reject the idea of promoting women to its middle management layer (despite having had several as Chairman of the Board) because, although the majority voted in favour, the necessary threshold wasn’t quite reached.

Ordinarily I couldn’t care less about the membership and management structures of clubs of which I am not a member – with the exception of the odd midnight mass I parted company with the CofE over two decades ago – but, with 26 members sitting in the upper chamber of parliament and thus able to influence legislation, the CofE is hardly your normal private members club.

Given then that I and everyone else in the country is in some way affected by their actions, I have, as the Americans say, some skin in the game. I do therefore wonder why this branch of the state is allowed to maintain such a mindset when the state forbids other public organisations from doing so?

If however the CofE disestablishes itself from its parasitical host body then I will happily defend their right to be as 16th Century in their attitude to women as they please.

Some common sense on Corporation Tax?

It seems that there are some encouraging signs of common sense amongst UK politicians on the subject of Corporation Tax:

David Cameron will be challenged to grant Northern Ireland special status on lower corporation tax during his visit to the province on Tuesday.


Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government has been arguing for a low corporation tax similar to the regime in the Irish Republic where it is 12.5% and regarded as a key factor in attracting foreign direct investment. The UK’s corporation tax rate is currently 24%.

The Stormont executive claims the province is a special case in the UK because it shares a land border with a state which has such a low corporation tax system against which the north cannot compete.

Ok, it’s only Northern Ireland and they acting out of self-interest but at least they are prepared to take a reasonable position on the subject. Not that I expect that the present or (likely immediate) future occupants of Downing Street listen though.

Isn’t it a bit late?

I am no fan of Sally Bercow, considering her to be someone who has done little in life but engage in shameless self-promotion, but her latest ‘gaffe’ has left me more bemused with the law than with her.

Bercow, already on a list of those who wrongly named or linked former senior Tory Lord McAlpine to child abuse claims, sent a message on Monday night to her 60,000 followers on Twitter asking what happened to the teacher, Jeremy Forrest, 30, and reportedly naming the girl.


In the initial stages of dealing with his case, the court made a section 39 order under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, banning identification of the girl.

My question, for any lawyers who might be reading, is, given that her name was plastered all over the media for the 10 days or so after she eloped with Forrest, why bother with secrecy now? It’s not as if we don’t know who she is…

Pass the bottle

According to the clowns at fake charity Alcohol Concern, today marks that start of Alcohol Awareness Week.

As a responsible drinker, I consider it my duty to be very much aware of how much alcohol I have available to me at any one moment – as well as where the nearest licensed premises is. Currently at home I have:

  • 28 beers
  • 5 bottles of red wine
  • 2 70cl bottles of vodka
  • 1 35cl bottle of Jack Daniel’s
  • 1 bottle of Cava
  • 2 0.2cl bottles of Rotkäppchen*

I think that is enough to get me through the next week.

This is what they mean by being alcohol aware, isn’t it?

* I have no idea how, why, when or where these came into my possession. I suspect alcohol was involved.

Is the HMRC boss a fool?

Last week the CEO of HMRC appeared in front of the Public Accounts Committee and, if The Telegraph is quoting her correctly, suggested that companies could be forced into paying more tax by consumers changing their behaviour.

Whilst I have no doubt that companies will react to changes in customer behaviour (it’s either that or die), do the vast majority really care about the tax arrangements of the company they are buying goods and services from?

It might well be a good thing if the public did so but Lin Homer’s belief that it should be used to shame companies into paying more tax is, I think, misguided and shows a shocking lack of basic knowledge by the person in charge of gathering taxpayers money.

I missed this story at the time but @PrincessOfVP brought it to my attention by inviting me to read her blog post on the subject of Death and Taxes. I left the following comment on her blog but felt that what passes for my readership would appreciate it as well.

Whilst, like yourself, I’m not an accountant or economist my considered opinion is that Lin Homer is a fool.

The CEO of HMRC should be well aware that companies are legal constructs and do not pay tax. As Allister Heath put it in the Telegraph on Wednesday:

Your car doesn’t pay road tax, your house does not pay council tax and your television doesn’t pay the licence fee. You do. Obvious, right?

This is what is known as Tax Incidence and this knowledge has been with us for several centuries. In general terms it means that burden of the tax ultimately falls on those who have to pay it.

For companies (who have to deal with Corporation Tax and Employer’s NI) tax incidence tells us that these taxes will fall on three groups: their employees in the form of lower wages; their shareholders via lower returns (dividends) and consumers by higher prices. The exact breakdown varies by company, economy etc but each group will bear a percentage of the burden.

In avoiding as much tax as possible companies are reducing the amount in indirect taxes that those groups pay and, given that the biggest investors in listed companies tend to be pension funds, helping fund the retirements of many millions.

If we boycotted these companies and thus reduced their revenues they would be likely to reduce their headcount which means fewer people in employment, less money collected in payroll taxes and a reduction in investor returns.

Which is why I think Lin Homer is a fool.

Obviously, if you think I’m wrong, you are welcome to tell me so in the comments. :)

Calling a spade a spade

It seems that someone at The Telegraph has the same opinion of Kier Starmer and his authoritarian ways as I do. I wonder if he’ll claim to be grossly offended by this?

The original image is in use on this article and (at least until they take it rename it) can be found here.

h/t @iamDarragh

It takes two three to tango

The Prat: Linney House

His “What on Earth were his parents thinking forename” aside, Linney came to the attention of the world over the weekend for posting a picture of himself on Facebook burning a poppy. Assuming that he obtained this poppy by legal means then he is perfectly entitled to dispose of it in any manner he so desires so long as he doesn’t cause harm to other people during the process. People, especially veterans or those involved with veterans’ groups, may find this distasteful and offensive but that does not mean it should be illegal.

The Fall-guys: Kent Police

Acting on a complaint received, officers from this force arrested Linney. Why they felt the need to do this rather than tell the complainant to stop wasting their time, I haven’t the foggiest. No doubt speculation on the subject will throw up the usual ‘answers’ of diversity, targets, political correctness, the need to be seen to be doing something etc etc but regardless of the reason they have hardly covered themselves in glory in this matter.

The Informant(s): @tinacasuals

If it hadn’t been for this person (or perhaps persons given the reoccurring use of the third person in tweets sent by this account) then Linney’s stupidity may have remained his personal shame. Ok, his and anyone who could see his Facebook profile – which would appear to everyone. A lesson in privacy settings for young Linney, me thinks.

It is ‘Tina’ and her like who are the problems here. Gleefully reporting people whose actions they disapprove of to the apparatus of the State – and cheered on by the useful idiots who agree with them but wouldn’t act as informants themselves – each and every one of these willing collaborators assists the State in its ongoing assault on the freedoms and liberties previously enjoyed by the population.

Somewhere the spirit of Erich Mielke is smiling at his posthumous victory.

At the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

In the last 12 months the following have died in the service of their country:

  • Drummond-Baxter, Edward
  • Kunwar, Siddhanta
  • Day, Channing
  • O’Connor, David
  • Manley, Carl
  • Townley, James
  • Eric Kups, Jonathan
  • Thursby, Gareth
  • Wroe, Thomas
  • Groom, Duane
  • Davidson, Lee
  • Whittle, Karl
  • Shadrake, Jamie
  • Smith, Matthew
  • Chesterman, Andrew
  • Tuisovurua, Apete
  • Thomas, Perran
  • Roderick, Craig
  • Guy, Alex
  • Ashworth, James
  • Stone, Gregg
  • Thacker, Michael John
  • Healey, Stephen
  • McCarthy, Brent
  • Davies, Lee
  • Roberts, Andrew
  • Silibaravi, Ratu
  • Roland, Michael
  • Ray, Connor
  • Stanley, Jack
  • Taylor, Luke
  • Foley, Michael
  • Bowers, Rupert
  • Coupe, Nigel
  • Frampton, Anthony
  • Hartley, Jake
  • Kershaw, Christopher
  • Wade, Daniel
  • Wilford, Daniel
  • Tomlin, Ryan
  • Gurung, Gajbahadur
  • Sartorius-Jones, Ian
  • Limbu, Sachin
  • King, John
  • Downing, Anthony
  • Jennings, Tom
  • Bond, Elijah
  • Steel, Sheldon
  • Lake, Thomas
  • Boyce, David
  • Scanlon, Richard
  • Eustace, Peter
List of British military deaths in Afghanistan since 2011-11-11 courtesy of the BBC

National Minimum Wage v’s Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is back in the news with Millipede Sr and UNISON boss Dave Prentis calling in yesterday’s Observer for it be raised to match the ‘Living Wage’ (LW) rate of £7.20 (or £8.30 in London) an hour.

As Tim Worstall pointed out once again yesterday, this could be achieved just as easily as not taxing anyone doing a full-time job at NMW rate for those over 21 (currently £6.19/hour).

The figures (courtesy of Listen to Taxman) for someone doing a 37.5 hour week in the 2012/13 tax year are as follows:

Gross Pay (£) 12,070.50 14,040.00
Income Tax (£) 793.10 1,187.00
National Insurance (£) 537.42 773.76
Nett Pay (£) 10,739.98 12,079.24

As can be seen the difference between gross income at NMW and nett income at LW is all of £8.74 (less then a half a penny an hour) and this figure will no doubt be even lower in the 2013/14 tax year once the 0% Income Tax (IT) band rises to £9,205.

Raising this threshold, as well as those for National Insurance (NI), to £12,070.50 would hand every employee on the NMW an automatic pay rise of £1,330.52 without costing their employers a penny. Sure, it would cost the treasury the same amount (more once employer’s NI is taken into account) but I suspect that that can be offset against the reduction in tax-credits.

Upping the NMW to match the LW however would mean that the treasury steals an extra £901.23 (£393.10 in Income Tax, £236.34 in employee’s National Insurance and £271.79 in employer’s National Insurance) per employee.

As someone who would rather the government had less revenue to waste, the former strikes me as the more sensible approach.

It also means that private sector employment in those areas of the country where the median wage is less than the UK median (generally everywhere outside of the big cities and their suburbs) should not continue to suffer at the expense of public sector employment.

It would, of course, make more sense if (whilst we have them) the NMW and LW wage as well as public sector salaries were set on a more local basis given that the cost of living varies across the country. We already have this working in London in the form of the ‘London Weighting’* so why not for those outside of the suburbs?

UPDATE: Millipede Jr has said he’d like to see the LW set at £7.45. Using the same methodology as above the figures come out as:

  • Gross – £14,527.50
  • IT – £1,284.50
  • NI – £832.26
  • Nett – £12,410.74

The difference between the nett figure here and the gross at NMW is £340.24 – or approximately 17.5p per hour.

* Somewhat of a misnomer I feel as it was (when my mum was based there) being paid to those working for local government in Basildon. Basildon, for those fortunate enough to have never heard of it, is a 1960s new town outside of the M25 and about 30 miles from the eastern edge of the City.