No good deed goes unpunished… Sunday, Dec 5 2010 

An email from a colleague about doing something more worthwhile than the usual meaningless card exchange at Christmas.

Hi OMU colleagues
As you may recall over the past couple of years I have put forward the idea that rather than sending a multiplicity of Seasonal cards to one another that I could collect donations from the ‘savings’ made and purchase what are sometimes known as a ‘Gift for Life’ ( eg a goat, cow, school/ healthcare equipment etc)

I am happy to do this again for those who might wish to take part. I am sure you are aware there are various charities that offer these gifts and they are becoming increasing popular. If you have suggestions on what you might like to buy it would be appreciated.

I was also thinking of providing a single ‘master’ card which could be signed by all those wishing to join in.

If you would like to join in with this idea, please can you link up with me, ideally before 17th December

Thank you for your time and consideration of the idea.

Now this is very noble, and should be given respect – no matter what the financial situation in the UK, my colleagues and I still live in a ‘first world country’ and like many people here, will be over-indulging this Christmas, and we should think of those around the world who struggle to survive. Unfortunately my colleagues have a somewhat evil sense of humour…


Hi Rodney,
How much will a goat cost?


Its not the cost of the goat mark its the cost of the postage that concerns me!


We could send it bit by bit.
Makes it easier to wrap too!!


Bloody Knackered. Monday, Sep 21 2009 

Actually not too bad, considering I’v just played competetive sport for the first time in years. A game of 4 a side footie in the gym at lunchtime for about 45 minutes.  The problem isn’t so much aches and pains, but my lungs had no capacity, and I got short of breath early on. That, and I was crap.

If any one knows a way to improve lung capacity then let me know!

Must. Cut. Down. Coffee. Tuesday, Dec 23 2008 

Or I will spend all my time a walking zombie.  Couldn’t get to sleep until well past 2am, woke up at least once, and finally got up at 5:45am.  If you get caffine withdrawl headaches at weekends then that looks like a fairly big hint that I may be drinking too much at work (plus I’m getting some odd dreams- put it this way: I think Mrs Hussar got some ‘unwelcome attention’ at 3 in the morning if being elbowed awake one night is any indication).

Not been here Saturday, May 19 2007 

Been at the Union conference, which is why even less posts than usual.  Mostly a quiet week both in and out the conference hall.  The left of the Union are currently in majority on both the Group (Revenue and Customs) and National commitees, so not the bun fight of the old days (mid 90’s) when delegates and EC fell out regularly (Quote from Clive Brooke, then Gen Sec of the old IRSF “I don’t care how you vote, I’m going to ignore it”).  Instead lots of worries of how to oppose the 100,000 job cuts the government are trying to force, despite the evidence that public services are falling to pieces due to lack of investment and staff.

Quite outside, as well.  When we were the ‘Inland Revenue Staff Federation’ everyone worked for the same department, and Conference was small enough to have the social scene fairly compact, and in smaller towns (such as Inverness).  Now, Brighton is about the only place with the facilities to hold us, and we are spread out.  Plus of course, we are all aging and just can not do that ‘stay up all night’ stuff anymore.  Highlight of the week was Blond Bombshell’s story of how his ex-wife’s lesbian lover ruined his chance to meet Joan Collins- one of the funniest stories I have heard in a long-time.  It was also revealed by Fading Star, and Scary Female Activist how our equality monitoring forms had revealed that attendees included 6 wiccans, 2 witches and 4 Jedi, leading to musings if the Force could be used to influnce conference votes “This isn’t the motion you’re looking for”.

Job Cuts lead to Tax Evasion Friday, May 11 2007 

A news item today on AOL that Barclays is to cut 1,000 jobs.  1,000 job losses is newsworthy.  H.M. Revenue and Customs is aiming to cut 25,000 by 2011.

That’s 25,000 less people chasing smugglers,  stopping tax evasion and collecting money for the Treasury to spend.

 The PCS union estimates the ‘Tax Gap’ – tax that should be paid but isn’t – is £25 Billion pounds- roughly 6% of the Government’s budget.  The actual figure may be higher.  So what is the Whitehall response?  Try to save £300 million (approx 8% of HMRC budget) by cutting jobs and centralisation.  The trouble is figures are being published- many of them the Revenue’s own, that seem to show a fall in revenue of £200m minimumAND THAT’S JUST WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT. What can not be predicted is how many more will start taking advantage of the loop-holes as they realise the chance of getting caught is dropping.

 Apparently we will have to work ‘smarter’ in an age of less staff.  Well, just to stay still it will take a 33% performance increase.  If we are capable of that, would it not be better to gather more tax, which will outweigh the savings not made?

Why I’m Striking tomorrow Monday, Apr 30 2007 

The UK civil service is on strike tomorrow.  I’m sure there are lots who will complain and sneer at all the stupid cliches.  I’m sure there will be a number of people who say why should Civil Servants have a better deal than the public.  Others will say we don’t need civil servants.  To those I would say

1) Why should you have a worse deal than me?  The way to solve inequality is not to reduce the condition of those higher up, but to raise those at the bottom.  Employers rarely do this except under duress.  They don’t care about you, only how you can make profit for them.  If you work for one of the large PLC’s look at the reports of the Boards Salaries, and the pay raises they vote themselves.  Then look at yours.  Then ask who would the business miss most if one of you didn’t go into work- The person providing the service, or the man wheeling and dealing cutting to the bone and damn the customers.

 2) Civil servants do many important jobs.  Unfortunately, politicians only concentrate on the so called ‘front line’ services- Doctors, teachers, nurses, firefighters etc.  Where do you think all the support comes from.  People want a)nobody employed on behind the scenes work- the paperwork, and b) Drs etc not to do the paperwork. Some one has to do it. (continues after the break)