Monday, 14 February 2011

Only three certainties in life

I've had my daily, weekly, monthly and indeed annual battles with the tax man since I was old enough to be earning a wage. As I've got older and my finances more complicated, those battles have got bigger and nastier. Of course ultimately they always have the winning hand, as they proved once by failing to cash a cheque that I'd sent them a month previously, only to take me to court for failing to pay, win, and then cash the cheque the same day. Yep, that's the sort of people they are.

I wouldn't mind so much if it was for the advertising they insist on spending our money on telling us how wonderful and easy going and helpful they are. One day I will complain to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Today, however, they proved themselves utterly, utterly stupid. As The Boy is nearly sixteen, it's time for him to get a national insurance number. So I got a letter, asking me to check they had his name right. It wasn't. In fact it wasn't even close. Not even the right surname. Yes I can allow a mistake, even if all the official records of the lad have been accurate since the day he was born. Although it did remind me of one of my favourite films...terry Gilliam's Brazil:

But that's not what's got me going. To return the form with the corrected form, they give you an envelope. An envelope which is just about a quarter of an inch to narrow and a quarter of an inch to short to put the form in. So effectively you have to screw the form up to send it back. The rest of the world can buy the right size envelopes, why can't HMRC?

In the meantime, I think we're a long way from settling the Egyptian question...after all the military command is part of the traditional ruling elite. I'm still betting on bloodshed. The UK and the US have been making a pigs ear of the situation, leaving the door wide open for the Iranians, the Chinese and the Russians. Probably in that order. Bravo.