Guest Posts

Just For The Record, I Love Doctor Who (by Simon Watkins)

Guest Post by Simon Watkins

Earlier, in my conclusion to our Chalk & Cheese review, I said ‘just for the record, I love Doctor Who, I think it’s a wonderful programme – I am a fully fledged bonafide fan. Looking at some of the social networking activity over the last week, you’d think that being a fan was only about being positive about a show. That fans must only say nice things, or according to some, they’re not proper fans. To those less than enlightened individuals I say firstly “sod off!”. And follow this up with; “You don’t get to define what a fan is.”’ It got me thinking…


An opinion on whether an episode of a TV show was any good, or whether it entertained me, is involuntarily anyway.

It says a lot about the state of the things, if people are expected to force themselves to like an episode against their will. Doctor Who is a pretty eclectic show that can’t possibly be all things to all men every week. It can be wonderful one week, then the next it can serve us up rubbish like this, or to quote a famous video blogger; ‘when it’s good it is fantastic, but when it’s bad it’s absolutely terrible’.

doctor-who-600x362Nobody should need to deny this, and it’s important to be true to each of our own honest opinions. I happen to hate the direction Moffat is currently taking the show, that’s if the last 4 episodes is any indication, and to mindlessly and unconditionally heap praise on garbage like The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, due to some form of Good Fan duty, is not being a good evangelist for the show – quite the opposite. The entire furore over this episode by the usual weirdos who have been patrolling Facebook and Twitter this last week, slagging off fans for having the audacity to dislike an episode of Doctor Who, smacks of “I demand you agree with me” and nothing good can ever come from embarking down that road. What’s even driving this? Are they in denial themselves anyway? Are they just not well-adjusted enough to tolerate another viewpoint?

I honestly don’t know the answer, but I will say that if you honestly enjoyed these last two episodes, I might not agree with your view, but I’m actually happy for you. And am certainly not going to start demanding you agree with my position, or question your abilities of discernment. But if you didn’t like it, I repeat, don’t be bullied into pretending otherwise.

A Living Wage For Everyone

Guest Post by Rob Clarke


I had an idea about reform and I wanted to share that with you, I hope you’re reading it now. The idea is about how we all get paid and more importantly how we should all get paid. This headline idea is that everyone, whether they are working or not should be entitled to a living wage. This is not the slightly higher minimum wage re-brand that was introduced earlier this year. It’s a proper living wage. A wage for everyone working or not. Paid to you by the government.

Take a step back for a moment and look at our current method the general populous get’s it’s money and if you’re in employment it works a bit like this in simple terms:

Your employer pays you a bit of money and also pays the government a bit of money. You get the net result of what your contract says you’re paid, less that bit which is paid to the government to keep the system running.

If you’re not working, the simple view is:

You inform the government that you are not (able to be) working and the money you get comes from the government coffers instead of your employers.

I want to change this, rationalise this and pay everyone a standard living wage. Calculate this as a headline figure based on a 40 hour week, which can be advertised and scrutinised. You see, employers already pay money to the government, the shift here is that more money gets paid to them from businesses and the state is then able to pay it back to you through a living wage credit.

Okay, you’re with me so far and that’s great but by now I’m sure you’re already picking holes in this idea. Stick with me… Not everyone is paid the same about of money.

That’s right. Employers already accept a cost to their businesses by giving you a job. They take the work you do and give you money in return. The type of job you do and the skills required to do that job, tend to mean that you get more money or lots more for doing it.  As an employer, there’s that tax contribution to be paid to the government on top of the reward you get in your pocket for your hard work.

I’m talking about changing the split between what the business pays you and what it pays the government. Any money that your job rewards (over and above the living wage), would be paid direct to you from your employer. The employer would then pay two components to the government. A living wage reimbursement and a tax charge for your supplementary salary.

Every period you would receive two lumps of money in your hand. One from the state (the living credit) and one from your employer (your employment credit).

What about those who don’t have / can’t have a job?

This grand reform enables everyone to receive the living wage. Whether you are working or can’t work. The living wage must be pegged at level that provides a good standard of living for everyone. It should then be paid to everyone because basic decency dictates that everyone is entitled to a good standard of living.

What about the sick?

This living wage will need to be topped up for those in special need, that goes without saying. The reform would keep benefits for the most needy in society.

People still get benefits then?

Some will, yes. Of course they will, but living wage will replace much of the bill that we get hit over the head with at the dispatch box during the budget speech. Benefits/Allowances and the costs they rack up in administering them will be swallowed up by the living wage bill and it’s administration.

What about the lazy?

What about them and why are you using such a negative phrase? Oh, you mean those who are happy to sit back and live on the living wage, not go out to work? That’s what the living wage is for. If you can’t live on it then it’s not fit for purpose.

There will be many reasons why people choose not to go to work. Raising a family is one and that certainly isn’t being lazy. The living wage should be for everyone, to allow you make the choice to work or not to work. This is an overly simplistic idea, from a simple man on the street. I’m no economist but I welcome any discussion on this idea.

The biggest paradigm shift of this idea is the concept that you get paid enough money to keep you and your family happy without having to go out and work for it. People will still work, they will choose to do so rather than be forced to.

If you’ve reached this far, thank you take the time to read my ramble. I hope it made sense or gave you pause for thought.