Thursday, 16 December 2010

Happy Christmas.... Now Pay Up.

You know it's coming. The dates are correct and the Government doesn't like to be kept waiting. Only this year the dates have been changed to make you pay the Corporation Tax by the 1 January. That's right, the miserable shithouses at the Inland Revenue make us poor schlubs pay large bills just when Christmas time has ended, and at a time of year that is traditionally quiet for us freelancers in the already crumbling industry of freelance news camera operators.

Christ on a bike.......!!

Don't worry though, i'm a sensible sort who squirrels away his hard earned money for such days as these. I resisted blowing it all on a new flat screen HD, 1080i super duper tellybox, so i could watch the news now filmed by wobbly VJ's. No. I diligently put some aside to pay the pinstriped suits of Her Majesties Inland Revenue, (God bless 'em) for i would not like the banks to go under, MP's to be deprived of a good Port at Westminster, or the public sector to go without.

I know that my Taxes need to be paid, it's just a shame that some of the larger corporations that trade on these shores are not so forthcoming. I'm sure that my couple of grand will find it's way to fixing a pothole in the road, renovating the school bike shed or paying for the biscuits and coffee at the next state visit of some overbearing autocrat from a country i wouldn't want to visit, unless there was a coup.

My piss poor contribution to the wellness of this great nation may not amount to a large hill of beans, but i pay my way and i do my bit. Should the man from the revenue be reading, or even the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, Mr George Osborne, (Hey, you never know) please get to grips with the Billionaires and large corporations who actively avoid paying their dues by having an office or a wife in Monaco, thereby missing out on a chance for their money to be used in the filling of a rather large national pothole.

I thank you.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Rule Britannia... No money returned.

It's not every day that you get to witness another small part of your country's military decline. But that is what i did yesterday as i filmed the homecoming of HMS Ark Royal, the only ship capable of carrying and launching fixed wing aircraft from the UK's once mighty fleet. In a short sighted and swift decision the UK Government decided to scrap our only aircraft carrier due to our nations straightened circumstances. Basically we can no longer afford it.

As the ship slipped quietly into Portsmouth Naval Base for the last time, it seemed fitting that she was shrouded in fog and sea mist, lest the rest of the world see what, in my opinion, is a very short sighted error, which in today's world of small wars, localised conflict and occasional disasters, may come to haunt our current governments decision.

As i filmed for Channel 4 News and the ITV Networks, i couldn't help feel a sense of sorrow for those aboard such a great warship that could have served for many more years to come. I myself served aboard HMS Ark Royal during my time in the Army and have great memories and photo's of my time serving alongside the Royal Navy. So the day had a double meaning for me personally.

Me aboard HMS Ark Royal. 1991. (Rear row, centre)

I know, good looking, rugged chap wasn't i ...? Those were the days though, single and travelling the world, meeting interesting new people and places... and nicking their country. Ah, back when the British had an empire and Britannia ruled the waves.

But those days are long gone, along with my hairline, and sleek muscled, toned body. Still, at least our government hasn't decommissioned me.... Yet.

So here is the film that Channel 4 fashioned from my days labour. A fine effort, even if i do say so myself, but i can't help thinking that i may have been a witness to just a little less of Great Britain than when i woke up that morning.

Rule Britannia... and God save the Queen in full chorus.