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amateursurgeon

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About amateursurgeon

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  1. Great, but the London property market stopped being driven by homebuyers ages ago. It's mainly investment and foreign money now, so those ratios aren't really relevant.
  2. I've just seen a property which I quite like, that come back onto the market. The story the EA gave me is that the buyers got into the buying process then decided they wanted to live elsewhere. I know that they had a survey done... but the EA was a bit vague about what was in it ("just a new updating and stuff like that"). Is there anything specific I should ask for that they're obliged to tell me? I'd be very interested to know what the surveyor thought it was worth, and what the problems (if any) were.
  3. It's ridiculous to compare Canada and Aus to here - average population density in those countries is 8 people per square mile, over here it is over 650 people. Even after you factor in the large amount of uninhabitable tundra / desert they have, they still have a lot more room for building houses. Glad to see property prices falling, but the chances of the average 20 something on 15K on owning a house are always going to be slim. The only way it will happen for most of em is through inheritance. It's a shame that most of them are still deluded by the fantasy that the Tories put out in the 1980s. The house price crash in Wales is cool though - at this rate we'll be able to use the deposit we've saved up to get a London house to buy a house outright in cash in Wales and move over there. :-)
  4. I think they should make it mandatory that if you live on benefits and have more than one child, continuing to receive benefits is conditional on you having a contraceptive implant. Somehow, I don't think this will make it into govt policy. Re this scheme, they would have been much better sponsoring people who are influential in the teen's peer group to do the advocacy and education, the same way nike and coca cola do. Anything which invovles the govt telling teens what to do is bound to have the opposite effect.
  5. Has anyone noticed that the worse the market gets, the bigger Kirsty gets? She's clearly eating the economy! If we don't do something, we'll all be living in cardbord boxes, as Kirsty reaches Vanessa Feltz proportions.
  6. So what, people can just install TOR and become anonymous again. Until they ban that, then coders will come up with something else. We've been here before - anyone remember the Clipper Chip? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_Chip
  7. Shame you didn't hide for another 3 years. After 12 years it's statute barred, and they can whistle for it.
  8. The last thing you want in a fast food franchise is over-qualified professionals on your workforce. Fast food restaurants are effectively machines, and they need people who don't think too much and do as they're told quickly and efficiently without thinking too much or questioning, to be the moving parts.
  9. Somebody should tattoo that on his forehead.
  10. I dunno why anyone would buy property in London long term - it's going to be underwater in 100 years anyway Then Birmingham will become the capital of England. And everybody will leave in disgust.
  11. Speaking as someone who ended up in just shy of 3 figures of unsecured debt as the result of some rather expensive "lessons" in how not to run a business (and my life, for that matter)... 1.) The bad news is that if you miss any payments at all, your credit rating will be damaged. If you miss more than 4-5 payments with most creditors, they will default you. In credit rating terms, this is terrible, as bad as a CCJ. You won't get so much as a mobile phone contract for a few years. TBH this isn't really a big deal. You should use this as an opportunity to kick the borrowing habit, so you won't need any more credit cards. If you need something like a mobile phone desperately, I'm sure you can probably persuade your other half to take it on. 2.) The good news is that unless you have a property, there is absolutely F all they can do about how much you owe them. They know this, and if you get into any sort of repayment plan with them, they are very unlikely to take legal action. And even if they do, so what? Yes, in theory they could bankrupt you, but that will cost them 3k which they probably won't recover, so it doesn't make sense to do if you don't have assets. 3.) The whole thing is just a game. Don't get too hung up about it. Work out what the total worst case scenario is, suss out how you're going to handle it, then look for ways to improve the outcome. Don't play by their rules, be totally ruthless with them, and remember, you have the upper hand. You're the one that's holding on to "their" money, after all. 4.) You can't trust banks or debt purchase companies one iota. Don't give them information, and be very careful about speaking to them on the phone. Some depts are helpful, but quite a few are just on commission as to how much money they can get out of you by shouting and threatening. 5.) Check out consumer action group forums. There is a some great advice there. If you're of a mind to, you probably wont have to pay all of it back. 6.) CCCS can be helpful to give you some breathing space, as the credit companies tend to accept proposals that they have vetted. However, they have their own agenda (they are funded by the creditors, effectively as a another form of recovery department), so bear that in mind, and make sure you come up with a plan that suits you, not them. 7.) Use setbacks like this as an opportunity to reassess your life and decide what you really want out of it. Then JFDI! If you have the right mindset, times like this are real opportunities to change course and achieve some great things. After, all when things have just gone tits up, you have nothing to lose, so you might as well take some risks. Hope that helps. Feel free to ignore point 7.) as it's just my personal philosophy and most of my employed friends (+wife) thought I was off my rocker at the time. But I'd much rather have a few blowups and setbacks than get to the age of 50 and wonder where my life has gone. And it seems to be serving me pretty well at the moment. Being broke and under duress can be quite a good thing; most successful people I know seem to have had either a financial or a health crisis at some point in their lives, after which point they really knuckled down, stopped listening to the little doubting voices in their head that stop them doing what they really wanted to do, and get on with it! AS
  12. I think that anybody with more than 2 children should have to have a contraceptive implant if they want to keep getting benefits. Of course, it would cause complete uproar amongst both religious people and liberals, but still, if I was a dictator, that's what I'd enforce. I'm quite surprised China hasn't done it already actually.
  13. I went into USC to look at their sale before xmas. They were selling some jeans with a £90 discount... ...from £260 to £170. I resisted the amazing bargain. I quite like going around shopping centres now and again - I very rarely buy much, but it's interesting to see what shops are there and people watch. Now I notice a lot of the shops that are closing down are ones I've wondered into and thought "Who buys this stuff?" (The pier, officers' club, USC). Clearly now people have stopped shopping (cf - running up credit card debt) as a leisure activity, and actually only started buying stuff they need, a lot of these frivolous shops are going down the pan.
  14. It's also not limited to one university. The student is now the customer. They are not allowed to fail; too many failing students could lead to a staff member losing their job. The whole thing's a scam, but a predictable one. You only need to read "Freakonomics" to realise that the current debacle is the inevitable result of the combination of the RAE and financing changes. Setting a target of getting 50% of students to have a degree doesn't make 50% of the population more capable, it just makes degrees less valuable.
  15. My other half is an academic at one of the "top" universities. What has happened to higher education as a whole is a scandal. Here are a few highlights from the past 2 years: -Departments merged prior to RAE to inflate scores, then the staff laid off immediately afterwards -Students paying 3K a year for education and then being told there is no budget for them to do a project (it's all been spent on marketing) -Large numbers of poor quality students being bumped up a grade to make the uni's numbers look better -Staff rewriting students' projects for them to get better grades, because if the students fail the staff will get into trouble. -Staff being told to give viva exams in subjects they know nothing about, just to make sure the students get an easy ride. -Teaching-only staff deliberately left off the register to inflate RAE scores -Students who don't make the grade for medicine conned into attending and paying for medical science & engineering courses on the promise that this will give them a clear run into medical school later on. It doesn't. -Internal focus on research being cut in favour of teaching, which makes them more money. Until it's RAE time, then the scores are fudged by bringing in 'superstars' temporarily. Previously highly technical courses are being dumbed down to match the lower standard a-levels, and staff are being instructed to spoon feed students everything, to avoid the university getting sued by students later on when they fail. It's becoming more like school than university, with very little independant thinking required. This is already starting to have an effect further down the line, as in this field it's getting impossible to find capable post-docs. Also, foreign students are getting harder to attract, because the reputation of this and other UK unis has started to slip oversees. Job adverts in India which used to specify "London, Oxford or Cambridge degree required" now specify "Bangalore or Dhaka degree required". Our education system is being ruined, and I won't paying for our kids to university. This is virtually all due to the funding changes and focus on league tables.
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