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About Ruffian

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  1. At least Charlotte Ross realises that with a household income of at least £88,000 (a figure I can only drool at), she's better off than 95% of Londoners and probably 99% of Brits generally. If someone is able to earn such a large sum, and yet still feels "not well off" due to financial incompetence/incontinence, I don't think anyone is going to break out the violins any time soon - after all, half of London households have to get by on around a quarter of the figure she quoted. I think part of the problem is that a "talent" for earning such high wages tends to come with a huge sense of entitl
  2. Hmm. £25k is a well above average salary for the North East and shouldn't equal "poverty" unless you're living beyond your means, servicing big debts or whatever. True, you can't buy a house right now (who can?) but you should be able to rent somewhere decent. Do you really want a mega salary job so you can impress high-maintenance women with very expensive tastes? I'm a failed medical student myself (quit med school in 1999) and I have to admit one of the reasons I chose to do Medicine at uni was to impress the birds. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do in life (what 17-year-old does?)
  3. Most of England's grammar schools were converted to comprehensives in the 1960s, so I don't think you can blame Blair for that, loathsome though he may be! It's comprehensive schools that have been abolished by the Blair regime, and replaced with "academies" and "community colleges".
  4. Must vary from HA to HA then. I only really have knowledge of Sunderland, Newcastle, North Tyneside. Here, the best social housing simply doesn't get let out to problem types - whether this policy is "official" or not I have no idea. It may be different in other parts of the country where there is a shortage of social housing generally. I do know a few "problem" tenants - some of them are members of my own family - and they've never been allowed to live on anything other than the worst estates. Also, some social housing is reserved for certain classes of tenant, e.g. pensioners, and I think
  5. Just because people have access to training and qualifications doesn't necessarily mean there's a suitable job or career path at the end of it. Give everyone in the country a PhD, and some of them are still going to have to clean toilets (or maybe the toilets will clean themselves too?) Maybe in the mythical "knowledge economy" we could all aspire to well-paid, highly skilled jobs, but currently most of the growth in jobs is at the low-wage, low-skill end of the spectrum.
  6. Interesting news, but why do people assume social housing automatically means crack dens, "chavs", and the like? As I understand it, problem tenants don't get to live in the "good" social housing, i.e. new build - they tend to get allocated the worst housing on the worst estates. No point giving them a nice house or flat if they're just going to trash it, may as well just give them a house that's already trashed. Of course, it's still a world away from the "exclusive, executive, luxury" experience promised to foolish buyers.
  7. The problem isn't that every Brit wants to be a manager, it's that only the management roles tend to pay a living wage. What's the point of working when the wage is so low you're better off staying on your meagre benefits? Wave £100k, or even £25k under most people's noses (I think something like 70% of workers in this country earn less than 18k?) and they'd be chasing it like a rat up a drainpipe. Miserable and workshy on £100k? Give me a break! Maybe you'd be workshy if you thought you were worth twice that, but most people would bite your hand off for even a quarter of that salary. I saw a
  8. A simpler way of putting it is: too many graduates, not enough jobs. That covers all three of the above points (some degrees are effectively worthless; even having the right degree is no guarantee of finding a job; a degree has become so devalued that graduates start out on the bottom rung as if they were 16-year-old school leavers). Brown and Hesketh (2004) argued that despite all the bull about the so-called "knowledge economy", relatively few jobs in this country actually require a graduate-level education, and the majority of new jobs being created are unskilled ones paying low salaries.
  9. Really? I took it as read that margins on electronic goods were already squeezed to the bone. Silly (and tangential) question: how do you establish these "trade credentials" before you've actually started the business in the first place? Is it just a question of making stuff up and bulls*itting, etc. until you've established yourself properly?
  10. Seems that there are two main groups who consider emigration: a: people (mainly older people) who intend to sell a house over here, buy a much bigger house abroad - for cash - and effectively retire there, doing an undemanding low-wage job if they do any job at all. b: people (mainly younger people) who don't own (and can't afford) a house here, who intend to move abroad with virtually no net assets, and build a new life there absolutely from scratch. Case a: is probably a no-brainer (I would do the same if I was fortunate enough to be in that position), but case b: carries a strong whiff o
  11. My thoughts exactly - think of this from the point of view of the giver. I'm not going to set up a direct debit so some shiny-suited "management" berk (who probably wouldn't get out of bed for my salary) can drive a nice car and send his kids to private school. If that's what "charity" is about, I'll spend it all on a more deserving cause, i.e. me and mine. I obviously need the money more than the charity does. Most people still think of charity as a bunch of old ladies rattling tins and making jam sponges. If these big salaries were more widely publicised, they would be horrified and would a
  12. Next isn't particularly cheap any more, not compared to the likes of Matalan and Primark anyway. I suppose the half-price sale gives people the chance to pick up Next gear for Matalan prices.
  13. Not sure about Baghdad (!) but the prices quoted sound fairly typical for North East England. In cities like Sunderland you can still find two-bed properties in non-feral areas for around £90K-£100K (up from probably £40K-£50K a few years ago). However, average household income in the North East is less than £20k (source:BACS consumer payments survey 2006) so you're still talking 5x multiples.
  14. "only" 50K? According to BACS Consumer Payments Survey (see here), the average household income in 2006 was £28620 in the South East (the highest earning region), as against £19130 in the North East (the lowest earning region). £50K is a lot of money by these standards. We're talking about average people here - normal people earning normal wages - not elite people in top-flight city jobs.
  15. So you pay forty quid for a sandwich, and carry an Oyster card... I suppose you live in London then? In most of Britain, you can forget about paying for transport with a card - bus drivers are reluctant to even give you change from a fiver, let alone process a non-cash transaction. Expecting them to change over to posh electronic smart cards is pushing the limits of believability slightly. Heck, where I live, the Tyne and Wear Metro's ancient ticket machines struggle to accept any coins less than 20 years old, never mind such decadent items as paper banknotes and plastic credit cards and
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