December 02, 2012

Taking Stock

I do this regularly, but this is the first time I have done it here.

It makes sense, sometimes, to have a look at where you came from, where you are now, and where you are headed. The last bit is the hardest.

I was born in 1962. By 1966 my family was in South Africa. I later learnt that this was the worst time (to be black) in S.A but I was a child and had no clue at the time. It was normal to me that white kids went to this school and black kids went to that school. During our 11 years in Africa I went to 13 different schools. Most of those were segregated by sex as well as race. My dad was a pipe fitter and worked in construction. Every time a site was completed, we moved on. New town for all, new school for us kids, and a new site for dad. We averaged about 9 months in any city or town. For most of my school life I was the newbie.

Regrets? None.

I got to see a bit of the world and it gave me a taste for more. We returned to the UK in 1977 where I did my last year at school, started an apprenticeship (as an Industrial Sewing Machine mechanic) but quit two years in to go into the caring profession. I worked for a year in a home for disabled servicemen and applied for a job as a Registered Mental Nurse. I surprised myself by getting the highest marks out of 40 entrants that year. I also applied to join the army at the same time and promised myself that I would take the first firm offer. The army "won" by four days. Either way, (I rationalised my decision), I was going to be working with nutters. I was right.

My 7 years in the army were a blast. I had more laughs than any man has a right to, and I made some fantastic friends. Many of whom I am still in contact with today via various forums.

When I left the army I spent 6 months installing mobile phones into cars. Although I wasn't too good at this, I did see that my then employer was doing a shit job. I used my final salary cheque (around £2000) to launch my own firm with 2 or 3 friends. By the end of year 3 I had made a million. The downside was that I was reinvesting every penny back into the business. I worked 14-18 hours a day and took only enough salary to pay our bills. Being self-employed is not as glamorous as some people may think.

Then, a mini-recession in 1989 caused me to shut down the business and declare bankruptcy. I went out of business owing £28K but I was owed around £65K by debtors. I raised six high court actions and won every single one of them. Despite the wins, I did not receive a single penny. By this time I had moved my family to Scotland where personal bankruptcy lasts three years. Every month I kicked in several hundred pounds to pay off my debts. Those that owed me money paid me fuck all.

I started working offshore (when I had been discharged from my bankruptcy) and the money flowed in. I missed my kids growing up as I was away in some weird part of the world for the next 11 years. In 2000 I tried my hand at sales and business development and I was (am) surprisingly good at it. I am one of very, very few people who will go anywhere in the world to do this job, but particularly Africa, where a lot of guys just don't want to go. This (usually) means 3rd world nations where security can be compromised at the drop of a hat. I like to think I have a modicum of common sense and this, combined with my military experience, has kept me out of trouble for the last 20 years. I have had a couple of close shaves and once evaded kidnap by just 30 seconds in Warri, Nigeria. The poor fucker that got snatched was held captive for 94 days and has never returned to West Africa.

As a satellite technician I was very happy. Satellite systems do not have an ego, they do not have politics, and they do not have personalities. They either work, or they don't, and I had a knack for making the unworking ones work. People are nowhere near as simple, but I do okay. I am a sociable man and like to blend in to whatever society I arrive in. I read the local papers, and I study the local politics. I surprise the hell out of Nigerians, Ghanaians, Cameroonians, the Congolese, Namibians, Tanzanians and South Africans with my local knowledge. It doesn't take long to get up to speed. I also try to learn a bit of each local language. I find it helps.

Next year (on 2nd January) I will start work for a new company. Unlike my present employer, they have decided that 40 years of African experience makes me the expert. They have given me carte blanche to do what I have to do to make them a success on the continent. It will mean that I can add to my growing list of countries visited (80 so far) and they will benefit from giving me a long leash. I have discovered that I bring home more bacon if I am left to do it my way.

All of the above is to bring you (eventually) to my point: the more freedom a person has, the better they will perform. I have seen this to be true countless times. Allow people to take responsibility and they will, more often than not, rise to the occasion.

But, having worked very hard, at great personal sacrifice, I spend more and more time being angry. Mostly at successive governments who care not one jot for me. Not as long as I keep giving them growing chunks of my salary.


Click to embiggen.

73% of my earnings are stolen from me every year. Does that seem fair to anyone? (Apart from fucking lefties, that is).

I have clawed my way up only to "voluntarily" hand over nearly two thirds of my sweat equity to an inept shower of arseholes 600 miles south of me. They waste my money (and yours) with unimagined skill. And what do we do about it? Nothing, mostly.

We presume that they have the right to help themselves. They do not.

Over the last five or six years I have said no. I have asked them to prove that I owe them any damned money and guess what? They cannot answer. They can only take what I want to give. If I say no, they write me a few snotty letters but they go away, empty-handed, eventually.

If they did not take 73% of my money I would be able to provide for all of my family's needs, and I would even be able to give money to certain charities. (Ones I knew weren't pissing the money away on themselves). Instead, as I race towards retirement (I know it's 15 years away but time sort of speeds up) I already know that having paid into the national pension scheme for over 32 years, I am unlikely to get what I need to feed, house and clothe me and my wife in our dotage. Had more of my salary been retained by me I would have been able to save much more for the rainy days to come.

So if you come here and read that I am moaning about money given by the government to Rwandan warlords, or for Indian space programmes, or to Brazilian diversity clinics, you will understand why.

BUT, I have my health. I have two wonderful sons and one wonderful wife. I have a great home, and I have no debts, apart from my mortgage. I wanted to write that I earn a decent wage, but most of it goes to wasteful politicians. I take nothing from the state. Which is why I resent "donating" such a huge amount to them. I noticed, over the years, that when I have £XXX coming in, to keep everyone happy, I make sure that we spend just under £XXX. It is a simple concept. I wonder, almost hourly, why the government doesn't get that. I also wonder if we all tried to keep more of our money, they would have less to waste. They would learn, the hard way, that if £XXX is all they have, then £XXX is all they can spend.

I want them to leave me alone. I am responsible for me and mine. If I make a mistake, I do not go running to the state to find out who is to blame, I look in a mirror. I eat, drink and smoke whatever I want. If I get ill, so be it. I have chipped in enough to be hospitalised and cared for for 20 years. But I don't. Despite their advice, I keep remarkably well. Like I said, I rely on them for nothing, even though I have paid for it dozens of times over.

I don't want to be watched by 5 million CCTV's. I don't want them reading my emails. I don't want them listening to, and transcribing, all of my phone calls. I certainly do not want to be spied on by drones, and that, my friends, is an all-too-real probability. Keep an eye on your airspace.

I don't want to be a European Citizen. I don't want any of my money funding such tomfoolery. I do not want to be subject to law conjured up by idiots in Brussels and Strasbourg, Christ knows, our lot in the HoC shit out enough legislation for 25 countries. Every year.

In summary, my life, and the lives of those I love, is in pretty good shape. Not because of the state, but despite them.

But our lives could be so much better.

And, since we only get the one life, isn't it worth being an awkward fucker while striving for that better life?



Rifty said...

You must understand that governments take your money because they know better than you do how to spend it. The money given to Rwanda is not a freebie. It is given to them so that they can spend it on orders for struggling industries in the UK.

Yes, they are usually businesses where their friends are non-exec directors or consultants, or those that have debentures at Ascot, Wimbledon or Twickenham, but that is just part of the joyful merry-go-round of business.

I am sure you will have found that one has to give officials in S Africa 500 "good reasons" to process your paperwork or invoice. This is no different here in UK.

The tax officials in UK are just enforcing the law as written by parliament. When they demand 500 quid from 5 years ago because the P11D you submitted disagreed with the P11D submitted by your employer, who is now bust and his papers untraceable, rest assured that the same treatment is applied to all taxpayers, without favour. No one in UK is ever going to let off a company from paying 6 billion in tax and interest just because they took you to lunch and got you pissed.

Pay your tax like a good citizen, and be happy that they will use it to erect lots of lamp posts for you to exercise your viewpoint when the time comes.

Autonomous Mind said...


Autonomous Mind said...

My comment above was in response to the post, not the comments.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is...thank the hell you are back blogging.

Your words of wisdom were sorely missed during that dry patch when you threatened to give up earlier this year.

I liked this post a lot because it painted a a pciture of the person behind this blog.

Thanks CR...your post made my Sunday a little bit easier.


(A regular poster at MF)

Captain Ranty said...


An excellent comment.

I really must grow up and cave in.

But I don't want to.....


Captain Ranty said...

Thanks AM.

Praise indeed.


Anonymous said...

Thank You.

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks Salti.

I just get jaundiced from time to time.


Fridge said...

I was talking to my wife earlier ..

looks like we will be paying £500,000 in tax this year.
Mostly VAT.

Far beyond what our earning will be...

Not rich,not millionaires ..just did well this year.
Well enough to pay £500,000 tax

Anonymous said...

CR...You don't think we get jaundiced as well?

I'd just much rather hear my own jaundice portrayed in much more eloquent and amusing terms than I could possibly do justice to.

Thanks again for regularly providing me with the alternative view. All the best with the new job next year!

Captain Ranty said...


In my world you wouldn't be paying that £500K. VAT is a stupid tax. Some say it is the least worst tax, but I disagree.


Captain Ranty said...


I know, I know.

But I was going around in circles here. Repeating myself all the time. Repeating myself all the time. get the message.

Thanks for your good wishes. There are some very good people at the new place, I look forward to joining them.

Stay angry,


Giolla Decair said...

Glad to see you back blogging Captain. A small thing that might bring you a glimmer of cheer, this minimum pricing kerfuffle seems to have touched a nerve with people, they may be remembering how to say no, just a little bit. Over 1,000 signed up to the anti-dry january face book event, in just 11 days with just word of mouth. It's a public event so comments can be read without doing the whole facebook thing, some of the comments are quite heartening.

William said...

Stock take...
Born in the first year of the sixties decade.
State educated to 16 in the town I was born.
Worked for the defence industry for 18 years.
Left to replace my employer with another employer... myself.
Persuaded by my accountant to actually employ myself as a limited company in the early noughties.
Closed the business down in 2010.
Living on 'own means' since then.

Stuff I have discovered.
I am not my name.
There are no countries.
There is no government.
There are no companies.
Money isn't real.
Contracts are everything.
Consent is always required.
Voting is pointless.
Children sign their name.
There is no such thing as 'justice'
The birth certificate isn't mine and it cannot be used as a means of identification
David Icke is an enigma
Every politician lies, every last one of them without exception.
Those who work for the state need their heads examined.
Those who pay union dues need their heads examined.
Income tax is a temporary tax.
Anyone handing over 40% of their income in income tax needs their head examined.
Anyone handing over 50% of their income in income tax is insane.

All of the above has been learned in the past few years through reading this pipe fitters son's blog. Ithangyou sir.

A few things I have learned for myself during my awakening.
A signature is worth an absolute fortune
Withdrawing consent is easy
Credit agreements are not worth the paper they are written on
Having a CCJ on the credit file is the best fraud protection there is
Banks lie, constantly.
Giro slips are promissory notes... cashed ahead of cheques
Utility companies will not accept promissory notes as payment... you can have some real fun with this one!
I do not need a bank account
I can live extremely well under the 'income tax threshold'
My car will run perfectly well on veg oil
The DVLA have ZERO interest in who or what actually owns a vehicle.
The registered keeper is responsible for paying the DVLA's charges nothing more.
The council need a name to pin their council tax charges on. They get these names when people sign on the electoral roll... wise up.
Legally there is no such thing as a legal occupier so burn or otherwise destroy letters so addressed.
Stay off twatter and Farcebook.
Do not store anything in the Google cloud
Do not log in to Google for a 'better browsing experience
Fluoride is a poison. Coconut oil and baking soda is a perfectly safe and most excellent toothpaste.
I do not need a GP.
Cocozone is the best cut/burn/graze/spot/blemish/blister treatment I have found. It's dear but it lasts for donkey's years.
Oregano Oil is natures strongest antiseptic.
Cancer cures exist.
You really do have the 'right to remain silent' so use it!

To end two fundamentals I have discovered
Change always, always appears from the 'wrong direction'.
and best of all
NO is the most powerful word in the English language.

Anonymous said...

'62 eh? I popped out in '47, worked in menial tasks all my life - jack of all etc. but mostly a driver. Stable background in as much as lived in one place all my childhood (N. London council house). Paid taxes too. No pension plans, only state - £120 pw, of which council (government) claw back chunks through reduced housing allowance; reduced council tax benefits, and as state pension is seen as 'income' by HMRC - probably reduced tax credits that my wife receives as she is still working full time. We still live in rented accommodation, but get by mostly by being frugal and careful with money - no debts.

Note: If you pay NI stamp, the limit for doing so to ensure pension requirements has dropped from 43yrs down to IIRC 33. Don't give them any more than you need to. I’d love to tell them stuff their council tax, but in all honesty haven’t got the bottle – though I do give them grief. Be an awkward fucker, but look after family and friends (at least the ones you get on with and can trust!).

Government know how to spend your money? (well it ain’t theirs) Yes they certainly do – and not on you.

Ian Tomlinson’s death (bless him) woke me up somewhat late in life to the injustices controlling us, and I’ve been encouraged ever since by all that I’ve read through blogs like this. Keep it up. When will the masses rise up? Possibly never. We are born of generations of surfs. But knowledge is power, and the more it’s shared the more fearful do those enslaving us become.

Watch your health, you can lose it so quickly. My hips have suddenly become seriously debilitating. Reality shock.

Citizen? Subject? No thanks. I stand as myself.

Charity? With our income, it starts and ends in the home. Though I’m quick to help physically on a one to one basis.

Why did I write this? Sometimes it’s just good to share a thought.

Tom said...

Can I say “We is Spartacus?” have a gander at a snippet of the abuse we have been subjected to over roughly the same timescale as Abbey Forwarding referred to by AM's post - by The Environment Agency – who have been trying to bankrupt us and have succeeded with other folk. The EA are doubly offensive as they claim they are not civil servants… *when* it suits their purposes.

A taster here and more in the pipeline.

Bureaucratic bandits seems an appropriate term

Anonymous said...

They'll come after your estate when you're gone. Make plans. Fuck 'em over when you're dead as well as alive. Do you think,for a nano-second, that the estates of Cameron, Blair, Mandleson, Sugar, Branson etc etc will yeild a penny in IHT?
Paris Claims

Oldrightie said...

Fascinating how few welfare claimants and immigrant beneficiaries never complain their income is stolen from the labour of others.

James Higham said...

Absolutely, Cap'n. goog luck with it all and never, ever stop being an awkward sod! Promise us!

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks folks.

Terrific comments, as always.

I am not alone, it would appear.


Anonymous said...

Hi Capt.,

I went on Danny Alexander MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasurys website

Pressed the butoon on left
“Make a Donation”

and paid 9 [nine] pence into his account using PayPal.

I urge everyone to send tuppence to Danny.

NewsboyCap said...


Can't fault a word you and william and the other commenter's say.

If I may suggest, everyone read Lysander Spooners thoughts on Govt. The Law and Justice,voting and taxation, and the rights of the Individual.
Yes he was an American, yes he lived 150 years ago, but his thoughts resonate down the ages as if it was today.

Anonymous said...

A seriously good post CR. I wish you success and happiness in all your endeavours. You are a really decent bloke and although I don't know you I am proud to know you.


Dan said...

Basically what I reckon we're seeing right now is the last few gasps of a dying system. Fiat money is the poison; combine this with giving politicians the sole responsibility for administering the financial system and you have a recipe for a disaster.

Politicians, you see, are only any good at being politicians (yeah, stating the stark bleeding obvious here, but bear with me). Politicians exist to do great works, make great decisions and to spend money extravagantly to woo voters. Unfortunately 99% of the time nowadays we don't actually need politicians; the bulk of the time what we actually need are barely sentient bureaucrats. 99% of the administration of the country is dry as dust, boring as infinity.

Politicians aren't good at boring; indeed boring is the very antithesis to politics. Thus it is that politicians seem to go out of their way to make interesting that which ought to be flat, boring and uneventful. Running a country and a financial system should be boring and utterly uneventful, and really ought to be mostly machine-run. Non-sentient machines don't get bored, and don't ask for wages or pensions.

Instead what we're seeing is a never-ending series of manufactured events and catastrophes, which require more and more money to fix, which politicians have to get from somewhere. They've sold much of our gold, flogged off the nation's infrastructure and try now to tax everything that moves and are hitting the Laffer Curve bigtime now, so the only way politicians can increase the tax-take is to hit the one class of voters who have no voice at all: future ones.

This is the folly of permitting politicians control of a monetary system: they borrow hugely then create more money to induce inflation and inflate away these debts. This then robs everyone who holds fiat money as the interest rates fail to meet inflation. Right now buying gold and silver is the best policy as fiat currency is dying on its feet.

BulloPill said...

Thank you for a brilliant post, which has coincided with the arrival of a letter from the Dept Work & Pensions informing me that my state pension age has been changed from 65 to 66. Having paid into what's so obviously a gigantic Ponzi swindle, I suppose nobody should be surprised that the swindle's administrators are running short of payers in and so have to do something to ration the goings out.

I have worked all my life with the exception of a few weeks when made redundant from a company forced into liquidation by bank greed. It seems to me that the more I put into this stinking system, the less I'll ever get out. Grrrrr.

I can't be the only mid-50's person who is feeling cheated and so very angry. It won't be long before there's an almighty kick aimed at "The Establishment" by so many disenfranchised and disenchanted people.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you Captain, keep it up please.
John Gibson

Giolla Decair said...

Dan, hope you don't mind but I reposted your comment over on Anonymong as it's really rather excellent.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Rifty said...

It is given to them so that they can spend it on orders for struggling industries in the UK.

2 December 2012 21:57 XX

Doies not always work as planned though, dooes it?

All the billions we (the German tax payers) have given to Greece, and what do they do?

Buy Abrahms MBTs, and F-16s!!