* Posts by barfle

13 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Nov 2012

So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?


European companies will stay in Europe, whether the UK does or not.

One of the key risks here is that should the UK leave Europe, European businesses headquartered in the UK will be faced with a decision to either carry on operating a complex network of suppliers and customers in Europe from a non-EU country (with all the costs associated with dealing with so many countries on an individual basis), or moving to Europe and carrying on as they are, with just a remote sales operation in the UK. From the point of view of such companies, even assuming some continuing alignment of legal frameworks, running a European operation from a non-EU UK would seem like an expensive pain in the arse.

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife


Service status page is useless - VM in permanent denial

That the service goes tits up periodically is certainly frustrating, but what annoys the heck out of me is how useless the service status page is. Even when the entire service goes completely offline for half a day it's still reporting "Good Service". Of course it goes further, stuff breaks from time to time locally whether it be a shot amplifier or a weather related problem, but I don't think I've ever in seven years seen a fault reported when it's broken for big chunks of Oxford, not even when it flooded and the internet was hosed for three days in some areas. This is either lazy or outright dishonesty.

Maybe a more useful statistic would be to publish a live chart of the call volumes and wait times, that way customers can make their own decisions as to whether it's likely broken or not.

MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas


Re: Why is nobody talking about accountants?

Tolleys vat law -summary- costs 400 quid per year and is an inch and a half thick. I didn't note the paper thickness, but I should point out that this is the -summary- and its only vat. I would imagine there are more words in uk tax law alone than in Britannica. Probably by a factor of three or four. Just guessing.


Re: Why is nobody talking about accountants?

Because the international laws to which you refer were written in the days before the internet, with the agreement of a wide group of international economies. These days you couldn't get more than three countries in Europe to agree on anything. This has nothing to do with accountancy firms and everything to do with politics.

If you have ever worked with an accountancy firm you'll know they milk you on churn. It doesn't matter what laws are written, as long as they don't give you a chance to get used to them. The accountancy firms don't charge you on profit, and they will charge you the same even if you run losses. So the only incentive they have is to push for more red tape (even better for them if it has zero tax consequences at all). If a politician wrote a tax law it would be a train wreck bogged down in legal muck for decades.


Does anyone still care about domains not ending in .com? Even the .com itself seems superfluous these days.


Re: Sort your own mess out first..

Not immoral, just daft. If you have to subsidise someone to invest in an area you will be subsidising them for the next 50 years. Better to improve the bus service from there to some place that pays its own way.


Re: Panorama...

@brenda mcviking

Quite possibly the most intelligent thing I've read on the internet in years. Kudos!

We may, or may not, argue for years over our preferred levels of taxation, but taxing cash at the precise point it is still a communal benefit for many (ct, ni) is stupid. Tax it at the exits: at the point it could buy a Ferrari, not at the point it could recruit someone out of welfare. And if it isn't used, it just builds up a huge tax bonus for the revenue in future (as a cynical aside there is some merit in holding state wealth in ways that politicians are not at immediate at liberty to spend).

And for anyone assuming that Amazon is doing so well solely on account of tax avoidance would do well to compare prices. Ct is around 20-25% in the higher tax parts of the EU. Amazon's prices are often half that of their British competitors, their service is better and delivery faster. Even taking tax out of the equation they would still be enormously cheaper. On that basis it is extremely hard to argue that the consumer is not benefitting disproportionately, but it is also clear that tax is a surprisingly small part of the equation.

Biz users, hard-up punters: Nobody loves Windows 8



Microsoft still owns the business desktop and the multitude of application interdependencies pretty much guarantee this for a long time to come. However the desktop investment is static if not slowly declining, and what should (probably does) terrify Microsoft is that in every area our customers' spend is growing - mobile, Cloud, virtualisation, search, advertising - we've not had anyone ask about Microsoft products in years.

IRO desktop, we've been here before with Vista and Millenium being two notable disasters. But if Windows 7 turned out rubbish we'd still be promoting XP, and if they were both rubbish we'd still (probably) be promoting Windows 98. Windows 8 is never going to fly and while we do not yet know what Windows 9 will bring, we do know that regardless of official policy Microsoft will support Windows 7 for as long as most of the business establishment is using it.

IRO mobile and search, I really feel sorry for Microsoft on this one. Finally after years of producing third rate trash in these markets they finally produce an excellent OS and decent search engine - and nobody seems to care. Surface has proved that producing their own kit is no guarantee of success. Just a crummy situation for them to be in I guess - huge investment is just barely keeping them in this game, but doesn't seem to be making it in any way profitable.

IRO Cloud, the only way they will ever get real traction with new businesses is if they make the base OS (minus the GUI) free and charge only for the GUI which is still the best available (IMHO). That's just the bitter reality - entrepreneurs starting out usually have (slightly) more time than cash, and therefore just simply won't consider paying for something they can get for free and without the added hassle of licensing management. Existing businesses that succeed in moving Windows business applications to cloud are also likely to find themselves moving to Linux for their new applications as well. A free Windows Server "Express" is probably only a matter of time, but the longer they wait the less relevant Windows will be in future.

Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes


Re: Lots of small companies much better than a few big

That's just it, they will go. And then the only taxes you'll have left will be import duties and sales taxes, and the jobs will have been created overseas.


Re: I run a company

The article was speaking in relative terms. What it was pointing out was that if you didn't pay CT in your profits, sooner or later you'd pay personal rates on it. And if you held it until you died, then you'd cop inheritance tax which is even worse. However it was also point out that if you were allowed to keep a bit more of your profit you could decide to spend it on employees instead, whereas as it stands the government will relieve you of your job creation capacity and spend it on something else instead.


In the UK, a good chunk of the personal tax bill is already paid by the employer. Years ago politicians worked out that this was a sweet way to ensure that the average employee has no clue the government has already taken its shovel to your paycheck, even before you see the headline number on your slip (from which further tax is taken out).


Reduce company tax, and the wealthy will pay a lot more.

This was the best post I read all year. The only problem with it is that the average voter reading the article had reinforced their understanding that companies are proxies for rich people and that screwing rich people is good. Even if you want to "tax the rich 'til their pips squeak" (I do not), this is the absolute worst way to achieve it and ends up screwing the employees as much as the wider economy.

When you tax companies more the most direct consequence (after the outright loss of business is taken into account) you just reduce cash available for jobs, reduce capital investment, reduce company tax take, reduce national insurance tax take, reduce VAT take, and reduce the overall size of the economy.

What needs to be carried in the media is that if you reduce company tax (ideally to zero) you increase the amount wealthy individuals will pay in personal taxes without materially affecting the typical tax paid by low earners. If the average voter actually understood this Labour would be all in favour of it, and not least because increased pay would mean there would be fewer low earners.

If you instead reduce company tax, you increase the cash available for jobs, increase capital investment and average pay therefore income tax as well. You obviously also reduce company tax take but that money then reappears in greater quantity via income, national insurance, capital gains and VAT take. And the economy gets bigger to boot.

Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'



>> I hate Starosta coffee places where you have to piss around translating faux-italian names just to order a simple coffee. What's wrong with "small, medium, large" or, if they must, "regular, large, extra"?

Would concur except that to avoid confusion Starbucks would have to call them "Large, Bucket and Fishtank".