Sunday, 24 February 2013

4:49 Sunday Morning

..and I've woken up , or rather been woken by an annoying tickly , chesty cough, In an Alan Bennett-esque piece of situationanist observation I'm sure I made myself a LemSip , well Boots own brand equivalent last night , but can't finsd any trace of it, and I'm still wondering whether I imagined it!!

Anyway it's one of those times where it's too early to get up and too late to go back to sleep. There's a thick carpet of snow outside and though it started to melt , it's now freezing , so not driving weather and the roads are very, very quite.

Was listening to an album of protest songs last nightfron the 40's and 50's from the likes of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and many others about the oppression of the average man by a combination of banking and government. It's funny how banks and governments should be there to serve us , but in fact just exploit us. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I am keeping head above water , but lots of people arent so lucky, with fuel and food prices rocketing and wages either staying static or jobs just going and then people expected to take minimum wage jobs.

In yesterdays paper there wasreported a push by the Tory right to curb union power by not allowing strike action unless 50% of the members turn out. Be interesting to apply similar criteria to bills but through Parliament . Nothing gets passed unless 50% of MPs turned up. Can you imagine a company functioning with it's members have such a blatant disregard for their work and responsibilities?

Also yesterday the UK's triple AAA credit rating was downgraded to AA by the banks , who , don't forget put the whole world in this mess AND were bailed out by the governments of the world. George Osborne said that was justification for continuing austerity measures (ie tagetting people on benefits and the pensions of those on minimum wage). Yesterday the Inland Revenue was trumpetting the success of it's anti tax avoidance measures , apparently a Liverpool hairdresser and a Northumbrian Pipe Fitter were the top ones recovering about £20K. Letters of congratulation were probably sent to Amazon , Starbucks and Google. I am not getting at those companies for legally avoiding tax , I'm accusing our governments (and this goes back a long way) for facilitating this: Check this article on tax avoidance (which remember is legal and encouraged and facilitated by goverments all over the world)  and here are some telling figures:
  • 1% - Income tax rate reportedly available to members of the legal K2 tax scheme used by Jimmy Carr.  Source: The Independent
  • 98 – Number of FTSE 100 companies operating out of tax havens. Source: ActionAid
  • £25bn – Estimated annual cost of tax avoidance, according to 2008 research. £13billion of this is lost to individuals and £12billion to the 700 largest corporations. Source: Tax Research UK and the TUC
  • 10% - Average rate of tax paid by top earners, according to a confidential HMRC study seen by George Osborne. Source: The Telegraph
Plus a few telling figures from  1227 QI Facts:
  • In 2005, the 54 billionaires in Britain paide less that £15 million in income tax between them. £9 million of that was paid by James Dyson. To put it in perspective it's like me and you paying less than 10p a month on our earnings.
  • In 2011 only 9 of the 62 owners of apartments in One Hyde Park, London (the world's most expensive block of flats) paid any council tax.
  • Over 600,000 companies are registered in the British Virgin Islands (populaton < 29K)
  • In 2009 Exxon posted $19 billion profits and received a $156 million federal tax rebate from the US Government

So you can see goverments and big business are still in cahoots , taking profits for themselves and leaving us to pick up the tab. Anyway it's time to go back to bed now...