We are now, apparently, in the Year of the Water Rabbit. I myself was born in the Year of the Fire Monkey .
On this day a year ago
Quite. What matters is that the people have a health regime that actually works, and which is actually available to people. The NHS is increasingly in a state where it really does not work properly.
That is not going to happen, for several reasons, but mainly because “Jack Monroe” now has only one substantial and regular source of income, i.e. the 635 utter mugs donating to her regularly on Patreon, and thus bringing in tens of thousands of pounds each month.
The propaganda is constant now, now that we are in the period 2022-2055. Look at the idea that people will be paid to turn off heating or electricity. It’s mad. The whole point of having gas or electricity is so as to be able to keep warm, use appliances etc.
…people giving a rentier-parasite maybe half their take-home pay in return for being allowed to occupy some cramped urban hutch. Sick society.
I have been, in the past (pre-2009) self-employed (as a barrister in England), employed offshore (i.e. not having to pay UK income tax), and at other times employed in the UK, paying UK income tax.
The worst of the three possibilities is when someone is employed in the UK, and having to pay UK income tax, especially when having also to pay out to rent a house or apartment, and/or commute, a fortiori when having to lay out money for a long commute by rail, perhaps even —as at times in my own case— for a long-distance First Class season ticket.
Once someone has paid income tax, he or she has those unavoidable chunks taken out: rent, travel costs, costs of suitable clothing, other costs such as lunch money etc. The last may seem small, and not everyone will have to pay for restaurants or whatever, but even a Pret or the like might add up to £5, or more, per working day, say £1,000-£2,000 a year.
No wonder many, especially on modest earnings, decide (if they can) to opt out, throwing themselves on the admittedly rather strained mercies of the State by applying for small State cash benefits, but also having most if not all of their housing costs paid, having Council Tax paid, and not having to pay out for long distance or other travel, nor for formal clothing, for lunches, and for other incidental costs. Also, of course, not having to pay income tax.
For many employed people, once those chunks are taken out of gross pay, there is not a lot left, especially when one considers that those on the lowest income levels do not pay for basic NHS dental work, or prescriptions.
Poor levels of pay in the UK are a disgrace, and poor-paying employers are having their profits underpinned via Universal Credit etc paid to employed but underpaid employees. It’s quite wrong.
In the case of a “poor” pensioner, just retired from, say, a modest or low-level job, that person will be entitled to, from April 2023, about £200 per week State Pension and Pension Guarantee Credit, Housing Benefit (if applicable), Council Tax Benefit, free medical and basic dental, various extras such as Cold Weather Payments, special one-off Treasury giveaways, free bus travel etc; the upshot being that that person might well be far better off (albeit on a low level) than he/she was the year before he/she reached State Pension age.
For younger people, the best option (especially if not paying out for rent) is to get off-grid as far as possible: do work that pays in cash or in kind, or start a small business that pays (eg car repair), use (if you can afford the capital outlay at the start) renewable heat and power via solar, pico-hydro and the like, and keep outgoings small. You do not need the often-useless “advice” of such as “Jack Monroe” to do that. Commonsense does most of the heavy lifting. Cheese rather than smoked salmon, water rather than wine.
True, that kind of “off-grid” lifestyle will not get you a Rolls-Royce, or a Mercedes SUV, or holidays in Barbados; you may have to settle for a £1,000 clapped-out estate-car, and no overseas holidays, but in return you have freedom, and that is worth rubies.
Incidentally, I am not exactly describing myself. For one thing, I am now already 66, and so beyond official “working age” anyway, but in the past have experienced almost every kind of working and non-working scenario.
So much depends on one’s own exact circumstances. For example, take the stringent rationing of the Second World War, as it was in the UK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_the_United_Kingdom. Not everyone was equal.
Those best-off in WW2 Britain were probably not only those with money (who could pay for quite good dinners and lunches in the better hotels) but also and especially those in country houses, who might have had the money and space to stock up on tinned food (as Dennis Wheatley —https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Wheatley—had advised in his pre-war newspaper column).
Such people would have had enough land on which to grow fruits and vegetables for themselves, and might well have the possibility to shoot game birds, rabbits, hares, even deer, and also fish for trout, salmon etc. They could also easily raise chickens for eggs, despite the paucity of chickenfeed, while the rest of the population was rationed to 1 egg per week.
Anyone in a country house would quite likely also have a wine cellar, which, if replete with Claret, Burgundy or Champagne —and adapting Sam in Casablanca— “sure takes the sting out of being occupied ” [or rationed].
Today, the same applies, pretty much. Had I a country house today, I would certainly be stocking up on tinned food (which in many cases is OK almost indefinately from the safety point of view, though only at peak quality for 5 years or less). I should also be reserving at least an acre per person for vegetables etc, and would be planting, or maintaining any existing, fruit and nut trees and bushes.
I should also be filling my equally-hypothetical wine cellar. Basic or bland food tastes a lot better with a bottle of Chateau Margaux washing it down…
When my wife and I did have (a lease of) a country house (on the Cornwall/Devon border, about 20 years ago), there existed a large number of plum and apple trees, producing a quantity of fruit quite impressive, bearing in mind that they had not been maintained, pruned etc for decades.
With war again now looming on the horizon, together with social collapse, I would, were it possible, relocate back to the South West of the UK and also, were it possible, buy a country house (and follow my own advice above).
…and note my blog of yesterday’s date.
The floor is too low. I think that it should be somewhere around £10M. As to the percentage, probably 1%.
Early evening music
Late tweets seen