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stargazer

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About stargazer

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  1. How about more details Nick? Tax the rich - what do you consider rich? What sort of tax do you suggest? How temporary? I've got a better idea. Lets invent something that the rest of the world needs and can't live without. Then we'll build it in the UK, creating lots of jobs, sell it abroud and generate huge tax revenues from it. Or perhaps a better idea - why not collect the taxes that are already owed?
  2. We just fall into the £400 to £600 range, a mild winter and we're in the £200 to £400 band. 3 bed detached. Gas central heating & fire, gas for cooking. House is well insulated plus we're very careful with the heating. Probably 75% of gas consumption in Dec, Jan & Feb.
  3. On balance I would suggest 1% of the house value each year if you're willing & able to do some stuff yourself, for example the garden maintenance, painting & decorating, minor plumbing jobs. Of course that can start to seriously cut into your free time. If you pay a professional to do everything than 2% is probably more realistic long term. The problem is this is just an average. In practice it varies each year from next-to-nothing to £££££, for example if you need a new C.H. boiler. Some things you can plan for and schedule, such as a bathroom or kitchen refit, but others need more immediate attention - again the C.H. Boiler or major roof repairs. so you need to be prepared for such disasters. New builds - you can get away with doing nothing (except the garden!) for perhaps 5 years, but then everything seems to need doing at once - decorating, tired carpets, white-goods (depending on quality)
  4. I don't know about the future looking good but it certainly looks interesting. It' all very well for the SNP to talk about independence and whip people up into a frenzy but there are very real practical issues that will need to be addressed and proposals put on the table. For example would an independent Scotland want to be part of the EU? Is it assumed that because the U.K. is in the EU than Scotland would automatically continue to be a member, where does the SNP stand on this and what do the people think. Would other member states automatically accept Scotland? Other countries have had to wait years to be admitted. Then there's the issue of currency. Would a Scottish Pound come into existance, free to float on world markets. Or perhaps the Euro would be a good choice!!! Or perhaps Pounds Stirling would be retained, at least for a few years.
  5. I think it will become a referendum on the performance of the SNP majority government. If, after 3 or 4 years they've done good in the eyes of the people of Scotland then a vote for independence might well result in a "yes". However, if they make major mistakes and become unpopular then it will probably be "no". As I understand it Mr Salmond has promised such a vote within the next 5 years, probably towards the end of this parliament. Any honeymoon period will be well & truly over by then. One thing's for sure, if he fails to hold the promised referendum then he's going to look like a right c0ck.
  6. How about a country being able to create or modify its own laws as it sees fit, resonsible only to its own people, not dictated by organisations beyond that country. A country with its own currency, able to set it's own interest rates and exchange rates and set taxes. Control who can and can't come into the country. Control of its own armed forces. Control of your own infrastructure. Co-operation between states is fine, indeed a good thing, but there has to be a limit. It seems that things start out as a good idea then the politicians get hold of it and push it further and further until it changes into something completely different. For example take the EU, the original idea was for a free trade organisation and that worked for a while, then people started pushing for monetary union and eventually that arrived and now we're seeing real financial problems in the Euro Zone. Even with this there are those that are pushing for a greater political union. Perhaps true indepenence is when a country is free to walk away from something it's not happy with. The opposite being a country that is so dependent on external organisations that it has to agree to things simply to maintain existing links so it can function.
  7. Your concept of independence appears to be very different from mine!
  8. But if a default really is so painless why haven't the Greek government done it by now? There must be something stopping them.
  9. Leaving aside the banter - lighthearted or otherwise, if Scotland was to go for full independance can you imagine the practical issues involved. Think of all the government data systems that are running in the UK. Lets see, to name but a few: Inland Revenue National Insurance State Pensions Health Service Immigartion & Border Control Vehicle Licencing Social Security Criminal Records Passports Electoral Roll Land Registry Ordenance Survey Air Traffic Control Each of these will have several very large data systems which have evolved over decades and in many cases I suspect are creaking as engineers try to maintain and modify them to keep up with changes in legislation and goverment programs. It's not as simple as taking a snapshot of each system and then running a parallel system, would there be sufficient people with the knowledge & skills to maintain two sets? Then there's the cost of these systems. Just because Scotland has about 8% of the population does not mean that these cost of these will only be 8%, it doesn't work like that with computer systems. To maintain these for a population of that size (say 1/12th of the UK) could easily cost as much as 50% as the original systems.
  10. Pretty much ties up with what I heard talking to the owner of out local garage a few weeks back. Small setup. Himself running the garage and doing the trickier jobs plus a couple of guys working under him and a secretary/receptionist. Don't know what it was that triggered it but he was cursing and fuming about all the red tape he had to comply with, high business rates blah blah blah.... blaming most of it on the local council. He seemed to hate everyone and everything that was linked to the council. Perhaps it was just the wrong time of the month.
  11. Are any employers in Sheffield compaining that they can't recruit people to work for the minimum wage?
  12. Not at all. Whether these allowances are justified or not is a separate issue. After reading the case for and against my personnal opinion is that under certain circumstances the allowances are not unreasonable. What I do find difficult to accept is that some might be making false claims, basically abusing the system in the fine tradition that we have come to expect from our MPs.
  13. Isn't this what's being reported in the Telepgraph? There are suspicions that personnel have been claiming the allowance for boarding but not spending it on boarding fees.
  14. Obviously two distinct issues here. The first, should the tax payer be funding private education for some people who are serving the country and if so to what level of funding. The second issue, which seems to have been overlooked, is it OK to claim this allowance and "trouser it" instead of spending it on what it was intended for. Does anyone think this is acceptable?
  15. It's a long and distant memory now but I recall that members of the armed forces have a deduction from pay for food and accommodation but I can't remember if that was before or after tax, however it was subsidised. The accomodation ranged from very poor to very good for both block accommodation and married quarters, luck of the draw I guess. Food was always very good. Work clothes were provided but I think officers did have to buy quite expensive "fancy" stuff. No cost of commuting of course if you lived on base. All things considered young lads were probably better off than their civi counterparts, perhaps upto the age of 25 or 30. Also at 19 or 20 years old if you married you could expect (not guaranteed but not usually denied) to move into a furnished married quarter at a subsidised rent. The downside being the unbelievable amount of "bitching" by the wives!!! Then there was the dreaded "march out" when you moved, the quarter was inspected at the foensic level and any minor damage, dirt or grime cost money. On the down side you could be posted as short notice, not a big problem if you're single but the novelty soon wore off for the other half if married. For the bloke no problem, straight into the new job, for the wife a real pain, having to give up any job she might have plus having to fit in at the new place (more bitching) often miles from anywhere. It takes a strong marriage to surive life in the forces. Then as you got older the differential with civilians eroded. The biggest pitfall being the failure to either buy a house to return to after demob or at least have substantail savings - very easy to p155 it all away in a culture of drinking with the lads.
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