Taxing unconventional people

Absolutely shocked, swerving across the M6, I find myself agreeing with Freddie “far-right” Forsythe and Ken Clark when they lecture Labour minister Angela Utter Fucking Twitface Eagle – on Radio 4’s Any Questions – about the government’s new tax rules. For her part, Twitface is so breathtakingly supercillious, snotty and arguably downright dishonest in response, she deserves everything she gets.

There’s no question they’re robbing from the poor to give to the upper-middle. But I think there’s another group of people who’ll lose out from the killing of the 10p base rate, who haven’t been mentioned or had any publicity so far: this tax change penalises people who choose unconventional non-mainstream career / life paths, eschewing profit-motive for moderate comforts and “small success”.

Exactly the kind of thrifty, low-key, untrendy, Presbyterian types you’d imagine Gordo might’ve been looking out for.

For example, on Any Answers (yeah sorry, I know I should’ve switched off what is usually a proto-fascist ignoramous talkshop but I was trying to recover my driving skills), two separate callers, both losing out, described unconventional lives: one bloke makes a moderate living in a high-end, low volume craft industry (for some reason I imagined he was a carpenter making chairs, no idea why) and the other has a bit of land and tries to live self-sufficiently, only generating a small cash income for stuff that *needs* to be bought. Both of them are getting slammed by the new taxation.

And that made me think: what about artists, craftspeople, sole traders? Often these are people who have a moderate fiscal income, although they’d tend not to think of themselves as ‘poor’, simply because their needs and aims are simpler and less grubbily corporatised. Outsiders. Mobile communities. A tax increase for the different. It’s a pity Dimbleby Jnr didn’t make a connection between the two callers, because it’s worth exploring this idea of “small profit” ideals being victimised by legislation.

I’ll lose out myself of course, because in real terms I only make small profit as a pop musician and a high proportion of my income falls into that lower tax bracket. Now I’m totally pro paying taxes (and I hate the avoiders and moaners) but this takes the rank piss. I might as well go and find a coke-addled 40k City type and give him £200.

Funnily enough, Rifa stands to gain from the changes because she brings home a lot more than me. How we laughed.

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15 responses to “Taxing unconventional people

  1. Of course, the other thing is the answer to these changes from the government are always ‘Tax credits! We have tax credits’ which of course, are only available to those living ‘traditional’ lifestyles, which makes the whole thing even worse.
    And maybe I’m too young but I don’t ever remember the Tories taking from the poor and giving to the better-off as *blatantly*. At least they had the common decency to know they were being aresholes and pretend that they weren’t.

  2. I have no comment on the tax thing, as nothing I say will make it better.

    My comment is about you claiming yourself as a pop musician. I like that. I don’t know how to explain why other than the fact you are not claiming to be any more than you are – you know? So many musicians fall into the the trap of trying to define what they do in terms that make them sound cooler than they really are (you and I both know that a lot of musicians are anything but cool). Your music probably wouldn’t ever be classed as pop, and many others in your position might try and say “i am a rock singer/songwriting revolutionary” or some shit, but who wants pigeon holes and genres anyway?

    GO POP BOY! GO POP BOY! SHAKE YER BOOTIE! PLAY SOME POP SONGS!

  3. Either that or I secretly wish I was in Girls Aloud.

  4. by the way, I’m already feeling bad about calling Angela Eagle rude names when she’s so positive on animal rights. That was my honest reaction at the time though.

  5. I’d give my left nut to be in Girl’s Aloud. I look killer in a mini skirt.

  6. it always amuses me when the ill educated comment on these matters. Stick to you 3 chord pop and stay away from the politics.

  7. Brilliant. :o)

    Well, thank-you for your inciteful rebuttal Helen, your precise deconstruction of my thoughts leaves me humbled. Appreciate ya stopping by,

    Ladies and gentlemen: the best “New” Labour can offer.

  8. I have to make a comment now!!!! Helen, you have one WICKED sense of humour. It’s a joke, right?! In any case, I’m going to add my opinion (‘cos I’m like that), no one should EVER stay away from politics… that’s when the bad shit happens. Even Evan, who claims he takes no interest in politics, has to admit that we should all at least discuss the decisions that are made on our behalf by those in ‘power’ (like, in relation to carbon emission, for instance) and NOONE should ever be excluded from such discussion (fight, fight, fight, lol)

  9. The funny thing is, that’s the only defence helen can offer as there *is* no defense. Watching PMQs today it was embarassing seeing the Tories attack Brown for it given they’d have done the same and worse and we all know it. But that was Brown’s answer. There was never any justification for doing it.
    Meanwhile they harp on about tax credits (which nicely, aren’t available to people age 18-24) and todays announcement suggests they’ll be extending them furthur. The problem of course, is that they:

    a) Extend them to everybody, after which point the whole thing cancel’s itself out. So the only possible reason for doing so would be because they’re relying on people either forgetting or being unable to fill out the horribly complicated forms.

    b) Don’t extend them to everyone, thus screwing a bunch of people who then end up bearing the brunt for everyone else. I expect the system will still discriminate against the under 25s, as it looks better. The media are currently talking about pensioners and the 30-something cleaners etc. It’s a lot easier to ignore aspiring writers, musicians and artists in thier early 20s, or those pursuing a career in TV or the media where freelance work is irregular with no security. No-one likes those people, so it’s fine to let them miss out.

  10. Errr…Mrs D – I do agree these things should be discussed, but my problem is that I don’t trust politicians to do what is in my best interest. i believe (and this is an opinion) that for every one person who gets into politics to do good, there is 100 who are only interested in themselves. Because, like everyone, at some point the career takes over, and instead of worrying about the greater good, you simply worry about yourself. We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors on our behalf, and until we do I would rather abstain from getting involved.

    Plus, with all due respect to Helen, when someone comes along using words like “ill educated” and a condescending tone to make their point without actually producing any kind of argument, I instantly think they’re a bellend. It’s like all politicians think they know better than the average person, which is mistake number 1 to my mind. If Helen’s comments are representative of New Labour, then New Labour dont care what we think. And who the hell is she or anyone else to say that Chris’ thoughts, or mine, or Dean’s or anyone else’s aren’t relevant. It is that attitude that makes me not care, because they don’t care about us.

  11. Evan – what can I say? I totally agree with you on that one.

  12. I don’t mind politicians thinking they know better than we do, as long as they actually do! Witness the whole recent Obama/elitism thing that sprung up. I actually expect my politicians to be smarter and more informed on the issues than I am. But there’s no need for blind trust – as my Maths teacher used to say: show your working.

    But it seems that the real reason behind the abolition of the 10p rate is that it was a bad idea to start with back in 1999. But for Brown to come out and say that, to go “hey, we figured we’d try this in 1999, I thought it’d work out, it hasn’t so we’re going to have to revert, sorry, I screwed up” is just anathema to him as it means acknowledging making a mistake. Which politicians will just not do. So instead it’s just “hey, we’re doing this. why? don’t worry your pretty little heads about that”.

  13. I couldn’t give a full reply as I was typing from my blackberry and it takes too long to type a full response. I have to pay 40% tax on my salary so I consider any reduction to be reasonable.

    I fail to see the arguments about musicians etc. I work at least 9 hours a day in my job (finance). That is far more than these people work. If you can’t make enough money from music then get a part-time job (or full time job) to boost your income. You really can’t complain about paying marginally higher tax when you have made a deliberate decision to choose a job that you know pays less.

  14. Ah fuck off Marc (“Helen”), you gave up the right to debate here when you called me (and people who comment on my blog) ‘ill educated’ without offering any cogent arguments or points yourself. As far as I’m concerned, you’re an incoherent money-eyed fuckwit, plain and simple.

    If you think 9 hours a day on your arse shuffling other peoples’ assets around in Slough is harder work (or more rewarding/relevent/important to the world for that matter) than being a working musician, or artist, or craftsperson, or small trader, you really need to get out more.

    I wasn’t complaining on my own behalf. You know damn well thousands of people have good mainstream full-time jobs and work really hard, just don’t earn as much as you (or are junior and haven’t got to your level yet) – and they don’t deserve to have tax taken from them and given to richer people like yourself.

    Although I mentioned that I might (I stress might) lose out a bit, I’ll be fine. I love my job. I mentioned it only in ironic comparison to my other half who earns a lot more but gained from the tax changes. I know what I give to people when I perform from my heart – and I know what I get back from them, it’s wonderful. Enjoy your slightly bigger TV and car, I’m sure they enrichen your soul!

    By the way, in future when you attempt to anonymously flame a blog, try not to be so fucking dumb that you give out an IP address with all your personal details, right down to a phone number. It’s strategically ruinous as well as embarrassing.

  15. Blimey Charlie, now that’s a response Chris – good on ya. Helen sounds like ideal material for a song, preferably one that ends with her choking on a Blackberry?

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