Categorized | alan's blog

Back to normality…

Back to normality…

Now that the real dark cloud over the UK has blown away, I suppose we ought to focus on the important stuff, like the election.

I was quite lucky with the flights, since I was already driving rather than flying. Not quite as lucky as one friend, who’s been stuck in the Seychelles for an extra week (and he’s out of contract so had nothing to rush back for either). The problem I have now is the way the election seems to be heading.

Thanks to a bravura – or was it merely unchallenged – performance by Nick Clegg, the polls are all up on the air again. I realise this is probably more of an X-Factor thing than any kind of considered response to his policies, but it does bring back the haunting fear of a hung Parliament. After all, I know more than a few people who vote for party leaders regardless (hence the years of St Bliar) so it is possible that’s what we’ll get.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a lot wrong in Whitehall at the moment, and a good kicking is probably needed – but not this time around, please…

Consider the plight of us poor downtrodden freelance workers. The Tories have in effect promised to do something positive about the dreaded IR35. I hope that means repeal, but even if it doesn’t, we ought to get something we can at least understand and deal with; not something you can say about IR35. However, if they aren’t the guys in charge on May 7th, but some mixed-up partnership or even, forbid the thought, a Labour majority government, then we can forget about any chance of repeal, or even a rethink. That might be a selfish view but hey, I’m a freelance, I look after me.

OK, so the Lib Dems also said they would repeal IR35. That EDM calling for repeal was led by Lorley Burt, and she has recently placed another one on the table on the same subject, just as a reminder. Problem is, her party is also promising to raise taxes on the “better off” in order to pay for various other programmes, like windmill making. Net result, I suspect, will be not to my advantage.

Also, just to add to the confusion, we seem to be seeing stories that are effectively supporting IR35 saying interestingly stupid things like “it underpins other important legislation”. Does it? First time I’ve noticed, to be honest, after ten years of fighting it. Of course there is quite an industry relying on IR35 being there, so perhaps these musings are not entirely unbiased. Who knows…

Still two more weeks and we might find out. Or perhaps we already do: I’m writing this on Thursday, by the time it gets published the latest leadership “debate” will have happened. Perhaps Mr Clegg has already shot himself in the foot, or been outed by the other two. But then if I could predict things like that, I wouldn’t need to work for a living.

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Image: Screen Test 3 by kfisto

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