Category Archives: Rant

12 Months of Thumb Twiddling – Pachyder What

Well the 31st October has been and gone for another year. For most and me, normally, it means costumes, parties and sweets.

Age-Related Universal Benefits Can’t Continue

Now this has been going around in my head since I watched Dispatches on Channel 4 last Monday (18/3/13), the subject was on “rich” pensioners and the universal benefits system for people in retirement. Benefits for pensioners currently make up a little under half the UK’s benefit system of £220bn, which is larger than our intake from income tax, £155bn.

The program listed all the age-related benefits pensioners enjoy.

  1. State Pension
  2. Winter Fuel Payment
  3. Cold Weather Payment
  4. £10 Christmas Bonus
  5. TV license for over 75 year old
  6. Higher Personal Tax Allowance
  7. Exemption from National Insurance contributions
  8. Free NHS Dental treatment
  9. Free NHS Prescriptions
  10. Free NHS Eye Test every two years
  11. Voucher towards the costs of glasses/contact lenses
  12. Contribution to travel costs for NHS appointments
  13. Free NHS wigs

I think it is important to point out that I fully support a universal state pension and exemptions from national insurance, however surely this is where it should stop for any universal benefit system for retirees. All otherbenefits should be means tested and only provided to those who cannot afford it or need the extra income to improve the quality of their lives, and I mean actually using the winter fuel allowance for a gas bill and not on a case of red wine to ‘warm your soul’.

The widely offered opinion from many retirees or people nearing retirement is that they have paid taxes all their lives and deserve all they get in retirement, especially if the money goes instead towards funding the benefit hungry lifestyles of the youth. Now, I have no problem with people believing if they paid taxes in during a full working life then they should expect the state to help fund their retirement. The problem is not the grievance with any move that would take universal retirement benefits and reallocate them within the benefits system to people who are seen as work shy. My problem is the lack of forward thinking as to who will in the long run pick up the bill.

The economy is already is a pretty shocking state and we simply can’t afford the growth in retirement benefits that the “baby boomer” generation will bring. If, like me, you are in your twenties with, in all likelihood, 50 years of working ahead of you the levels of taxes we will pay in our lifetime will be incomparable to those currently in retirement or nearing it. Without a drastic change to the current system it will not be the work shy who benefit, it will be the hard working who forfeit more income in taxes to cover this retirement income.

The power held by the “grey” voter is unprecedented. Any government who even murmurs of addressing this problem is threaten with losing the seat of power, and this is where the system fails. The government should not be addressing this as removing universal benefits but a spreading the load away from the next generation. The message should be,

‘Does Malcolm, who has worked hard and paid taxes all his life and is more than comfortable in retirement, want his son or daughter, who is also working hard and paying taxes, to have anything near the quality of life he has/had? If so he needs to sacrifice those benefits that are not directly needed, and accept a means tested system for all but the standard state pension. His son or daughter will already have a lower quality of life if he or she earns the same amount as Malcolm in his life, without addressing universal benefits it will be even worse.’

The problem with the “benefits generation” who move straight in to the system at 18 and show no desire to move off it is a far greater problem than redressing the universal benefits for those in retirement. Bringing it into the argument only muddies the waters.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not having a go at a generation who have worked so hard to build the UK economy to be a world leader in many sectors. There are huge problems with my generation and our attitude to saving for retirement. To put it simply, if you are over 25 and don’t have a pension you need a slap, if you have opted out of a work placed scheme you need two slaps and if you opt out of NEST you need not continue, please bury your head and forgo you right to retire. But without redressing the age-related universal benefits the cost will spiral as the number of pensioners increase and it will be the younger generations and those to come who will be paying off an exponential bill.

A Game in the Gutter

The tagline “a beautiful game” has finally become obsolete. During the past year there has been multiple cases where the on-field language used by those involved in the game has resulted in the game being brought into disrepute.

When was the last time the game wasn’t in disrepute?

The latest in the long line of accusations is that a match official used racially derogatory language towards a footballer. This seemingly can be sorted very quickly, the referee is miced up and three other officials have a live in-ear feed of what he is saying. It is a case of interviewing the other officials and finding the truth.

However, this is undoubtedly, again, going to fall into another us vs. them case. The fact that the microphone feeds of all four officials is not recording is beyond belief. It would allow for much greater accountability to the Referees’ organisation (PGMO) when reviewing matches, and would be able to used as evidence against players who are reprimanded for foul or abusive language, and in this case as evidence of the official’s language.

In rugby union the referee’s mic is broadcasted at the ground, and on television. This has not only reduced the amount of foul language from players but resulted in a greater understanding of the refereeing process. Why this step has not been taken by football is a question many have asked. But association football is a sport which, after a fourth official used a pitchside television to see an incident missed by the referee and then relayed the details to referee, removed the television instead of making this common place. The game? The World Cup Final. The foul? Zidane’s head butt.

Technology will never be embraced by the powers in football. They believe it creates disparity between the professional game and the accessible kick about in the park. The difference lies in the millions of pounds that are associated with one and not the other, not technology. Gone are the days of football being an accessible world for its fans, adding technology will make no difference.

I have two possible remedies. Firstly, I suggest the FA follow the example of rugby union and broadcast, or at least record the officials’ mic transmissions. If FIFA, suggest this is not within the rules, ignore them. Realistically they will never bring sanctions against the Premier League and its global viewing, and if the sanctions are against the national team, it would only remove the chances of another underwhelming performance at an international tournament. Failing that, my second suggestion is to cellotape everyone’s mouth shut.


Oi Internet, hang your head in shame

Now the Olympics is over we can get back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and the important world changing events. So what is the big news on the first day after the Olympics? Global economies teetering on the edge of implosion? The US vice presidential candidate who thinks birth control should be criminalised? The continued atrocities in the Middle East? Well what is trending on twitter?????

Miley Cyrus has had a haircut, and that news has been the number one trending subject for the vast majority of the day.

Right world; take a look in the mirror, that’s right you should be embarrassed.

What were you saying only last week about how nice it was to have real heroes in the papers and not superficial “celebrities” who have no talent or debateable talent.

Now, I’ll let you off today, maybe it was the withdrawal, but it’s time to clean up your act. In a few weeks we will have the Paralympics to concentrate on and show off some more true heroes but until then let’s not have any more crap about haircuts, the Kardashians, Katie Price, Kirsten Stewart, Justin Bieber or which ‘star’ of Big Brother is currently showing her tits while eating a ice lolly.

Oi Daily Fail, I hold your sidebar of shame accountable for this. With no live feed from the Olympics to encourage procrastination, people have clearly flocked back to the drivel you post.

What a Shit Week

Well this week has been testing to say the least. The administrative staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have surpassed any previously high level of incompetence to reach the summit of Mount Totally Fucking Shit.

Spectacularly Spexy

Quick quick, come here I have a secret to tell you.

Opticians are a rip off.

No really they are.

I now fall into the crew of spectacular spec wearers. So having had my eye test for £5 instead of £25, I set about finding some glasses and using the internet as my slutty slave I found the frames I desired.

Look here they are:


Off I trotted to David Clulow to makes sure I looked spexy, and as you would expect of course I did. Now here is the reveal. The nice chap in said opticians priced up my lens and the frames and came to a nice round total of £320 = YOU WHAT???

This wasn’t going to happen. I return home to trawl the internet for cheaper glasses, when I happened upon Not only did they stock the frames I wanted, but lens were free. I was on cloud nine, and endeavoured to get two pairs for a total price of £178. After a couple of clicks and a bit of gobbledegook I had saved £142 and got a second pair, in your face Dave. But in all seriousness get with it opticians, you will go the same way as Music stores/Woolworths/the high street.

Oh dear Mr Clulow and your pal Trevor Specsaver seem to be on the way out.

Ps they might be Gay Fan rather than Ray Ban

Here is the black pair on my face, my niece Sophie seems to like them too. 


My England Squad


This is how the England squad should look, in my not so humble opinion

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Rob Green (West Ham), John Ruddy (Norwich)

Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Micah Richards (Man City), Phil Jones (Man United), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Joleon Lescott (Man City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton)

Midfielders: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Man United), James Milner (Man City)

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Welbeck (Man United), Peter Crouch (Stoke City), Grant Holt (Norwich City)

Standby players: Scott Carson (Bursaspor), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Gareth Barry (Man City), Joe Cole (Lille), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)

John Terry has been charged with using racist language, and until the conclusion of that trail should not be picked for England. The court case was only moved by the request of Chelsea FC, which he would have sanctioned at some level.

%d bloggers like this: