1904 days ago
Emma Lawlor is a 27 year old lardbucket from Wolverhampton who has five kids by two absentee and unsupportive fathers and has never worked in her life. She trousers £19,000 tax free in benefits a year , plus free housing one assumes, and that allows her to spend £100 a month on takeaways and £20 a month on cigarettes. and now she wants more...
2021 days ago
I was on the phone to the Mrs who had some good news to relay when I heard the unmistakable voice of my neighbour Charon outside. Then he banged on the door saying "Tom, Tom." I had no choice. He knew I was there. I could not hide. I opened the door.
When I say neighbour it is not as if he is just round the corner. As the crow flies his place is about another mile up the mountain. By road it is a two mile trek and Charon had walked over and was there on my doorstep topless and sweating.
It is not that I dont like him, it is just that he insists on speaking English to me. His English is better than my Greek but not a lot better. And so we have long exchanges of words which really cant be described as conversations. Sometimes I get out my Greek English dictionary and try speaking Greek words. However we go about it it is painful.
The one bond we used to have was the common language of cigarettes.
2500 days ago
I have no pictures of Charon. That is because he always pops up by surprise. If you arrange to meet he is never there. He just turns up and then disappears.
His house is the nearest one to the Greek Hovel. The long and winding road from Kambos does not end at the hovel but turns back on itself and up the next hill. I really had no idea where it headed but one day curiosity got the better of me and I turned my bike around and headed on up. After about a mile and a half you arrive at a ramshackle but clearly inhabited set of buildings, the house of Charon. He is one hill higher up than me. The next range of hills behind him leads straight into the mountains.
Charon is not his real name. It is Nikko but since half the village is called Nikko I stick with the name I gave him when we first met. The poor man was returning from a walk into the village to buy cigarettes. It was a blazing hot day and not being the fittest fellow on this planet he was dripping with sweat. His greying hair is longer than mine and with the sweat pouring off him my mind sprang to Virgil’s description of the ferryman to the underworld. Nikko’s rather long face always looks a little sad even when he is smiling.
There is only one thing worse that trying to chat to someone who speaks only Greek when you speak only English. And that is trying to chat to someone who speaks just enough English to think that he can communicate but in fact cannot. And thus
2767 days ago
The procrastination has to stop. I promised myself that I would quit smoking by 40. It has been a new year’s resolution ever since. But as if 40 minutes ago when I finished my last Marlboro Light, I have started with an e-cigarette. Inhaling water vapour with a touch of nicotine has to be better news than the toxic mix I have been taking in for most of my adult life so here goes.
I am not exactly sure how many drags you are meant to take each time you pick it up but let’s see how it goes. At least I can now “smoke” inside without getting dirty looks from the cats and worse from the Mrs.
(twitchy) fingers crossed.
2842 days ago
White Dee is a character from the Channel 4 shows “Benefits Street”. Until 2007 she worked for Birmingham City Council but was then sacked for stealing £13,000. Has she repaid that dosh or gone to prison? Of course not, this is Britain in 2014.
Today she rakes in £200 a week in benefits tax free and is unable to work because she is “too depressed”. Of that £200 she reckons that £120 goes on junk food for her and her family and then there are the 20 cigarettes a day. I expect they are bought “under the counter” but that will still be another £35.
She cheerfully admits that there are folks out there working really hard to clear £100 a week but White Dee is too “depressed” to join them. Heck £200 a week tax free is the equivalent of £12-13,000 a year working and so why the hell should she work. I do not blame her for choosing a life of being a scrounging parasite, I blame our welfare system for not forcing her to work. That would make her depressed.
Instead she is apparently planning to trouser £60,000 appearing on celebrity Big Brother or to run for parliament as an MP (she supports Labour natch). At least as an MP she would feel at home with the other state fund parasites and thieves at Westminster.
And so I invite you to look at this lazy lardball below and as you think about getting up early tomorrow morning to go to work, think about how she is living off your taxes. Post a suitable caption in the comment section below by next Friday:
For what it is worth my entry is:
“Another victim of the austerity programme of the wicked Tories contemplates how she is being made to suffer."
2849 days ago
A few days ago I praised Nigel Farage for contemplating what most politicians do not dare – an acceptance that prohibition does not work, the legalisation of drugs. I am now hauled up with the question of taxation as a form of quasi-prohibition. I refer of course to cigarettes.
My local tobacconist in London offers me a choice of regular Marlboro Lights at £8.50 or what he terms “under the counter” Marlboro Lights from Vietnam at £5. I much prefer the Vietnamese Heath Warnings, although I am sure that the smoker depicted is Gollum and I much prefer paying £5 rather than £8.50 and so I buy “Under the Counter”.
It is estimated by the Government that 10% of fags sold in the UK are “under the counter.” I rather suspect that the real number is far higher. Why is this? Because when I pay £8.50 for a legit pack of fags £6.50 goes to the Government in tax. That leaves c£1.40 for the manufacturer and 60p for the newsagent. The “alternative arrangement sees the manufacturer get his £1.40 with the criminal smuggler and the retailer sharing the remaining £3.60. The retailer is far better off and as long as he is not caught had probably trebled his profit margin and the criminal smuggler coins it in. You will have noticed that the big loser is the Government whose take falls from £6.50 to nil.
The point is that so great are the rewards
2882 days ago
The Scots it would appear have negotiated the deal of the Century with England for post-independence financial Armageddon. They get the freedom. The English get to pick up the tab.
The Scots would be able to set their own budgets, their own tax rates and spend as much as they want yet the English taxpayer c/o the Britsh ( or post independence English) Treasury has agreed to underwrite its debt. This is sheer insanity.
87% of Scots take from the State (in terms of services, welfare, etc.) more than they give. And thus Scotland has found itself with an electorate which things that austerity means deep fried mars bars all round on the State being cut back to only 6 days a week. Or only giving free cigarettes to Primary School Children only on alternate days.
Given that you have more chance of finding a heterosexual non child molester presenting a Top of the Pops edition from 1977 than you have of finding a Tory voter in Scotland, its three political parties that matter ( Labour, The Nationalist loons and the Lib Dems) are all committed to more spending and more tax but the ultimate funder is always seen as the great Money Tree.
Scottish economic policy and the prevailing ethos of a land that once gave us Adam Smith is akin only to Greece. Edinburgh is the Athens of the North.
And so post-independence
3101 days ago
My partner is in London and so for a laugh we are staying in a hotel just off Brick Lane in Spitalfields. Needing some of my poison of choice I wandered to a small store opposite the hotel last night and asked for 20 Marlboro Light. £8.50 I was told. Sure.
A pack of 20 cigarettes costs anywhere between £8 and £9.50 if you are mad enough to use WH Smith on Network Rail.
As I fumbled for a tenner the chap said, want a cheaper pack? £5. Yup, I slurred, having had a few drinks with my partner and colourful James earlier. And so from under the counter I was offered 20 Marlboro Light from Russia as you can see in the picture below.
When I pay £8.50 normally, around £7.65 goes to the UK Government. The rest is shares between Marlboro, its distribution company and the retailer. Under this revised arrangement Marlboro probably still gets 50p. The Russian taxman gets another 50p ( or perhaps nothing) and the criminal gangs who import this stuff ( I read today that this is how many of St Gerry's former comrads in the IRA are now employed) and retailer share between £4 and £4.50. The UK taxman gets nothing.
The huge profits you can make from flogging illegal fags means that crime DOES pay. The greed of the UK Government which knows that smokers fund not only the costs of treating them on the NHS but far more besides but are an easy target as one is supposedly "taxing for a moral purpose" means that it has created an opportunity for crime. Punitive taxation like prohibition is not only regressive taxation but also a real crime generator.
So what should I do? Should I go to the police and tip them off? I do not agree with crime and suppose I should. But crime is inevitable as things stand. I guess I shall buy one more back before I do anything.