Tuesday, 22 June 2010

To stick it to George Osborne, only eat pre-slaughtered horses and unshelled nuts


Guest post by Chris Stokel-Walker



I don’t mean to alarm you, but I’m going to show you how to overthrow the government. Forget the fact that the Greeks can’t afford to do, well, anything anymore and that the Spaniards are hoping that closing their eyes, putting their fingers in their ears and shouting “lalalalala” very loudly is going to make the recession go away. We don’t need an austerity Budget, and we don’t need a higher rate of VAT. That’s for wussies. So here’s my simple plan on how to make back at least some of the VAT rise by shopping smarter.



There are different brackets of tax for VAT. HM Revenue & Customs oversee what food items go in which tax bracket; there are three, but in practice only two are usually used: zero-rated, which means that you pay 0% VAT, and standard rated, which means you pay the full rate of VAT (until this morning, 17.5%).



There are some strange anomalies in the food VAT system. Were I to buy a live horse (as my girlfriend would want me to – though presumably not to kill and eat later) I would have to pay the standard rate of VAT. If, though, a friendly farmer has already saved me the bother of killing it (I’m really really sorry – you know I would only buy live horses to give to you), then I can have a whole dead horse – or horse cutlets – vacpacked and sold to me as exotic meat, VAT-free. Why? Live horses aren’t considered a recognised food species. Dead horses, presumably, are.



All the normal kinds of meat and fish that you find on supermarket shelves and butchers’ counters are zero-rated, as are fruit and vegetables: they’re a staple of the Great British Diet. Fruit juice, though, is taxed. Which means that my penchant for a glass of orange juice many many times a day is costing me more money than it would if I were to squeeze the juice from the orange with my bare hands in the style of a Neolithic man.



Monkey nuts (peanuts in their shells) fall under the zero rate; the second you remove the horrible outer shell, they become KP nuts (or some other equally popular brand) and you have to pay VAT. It’s not even the roasting or salting that makes the difference – it’s the shell. Honest.



MSG=VAT. Bad news for those of you wanting to start up a Chinese restaurant. Though you can try and make some money back from the Treasury by selling prawn crackers made from tapioca, rather than prawn crackers made from cereal. Here was me thinking that prawn crackers were made from prawns.



The dead horse thing really takes the biscuit. Biscuit? Don’t mind if I do. Oh wait, some of them are zero-rated and some are standard-rated? Well, I’ll have to be more discerning in my biscuit choices (we’re British – how can we be more discerning about biscuits?!). If you have a particular fancy for chocolate digestives, stop. However – and I really like this – ‘chocolate chip biscuits where the chips are either included in the dough or pressed into the surface before baking’ are zero-rated and therefore you can eat them to surfeit. HM Revenue & Customs also obviously missed biscuitgate of a few years back when a judge ruled that Jaffa cakes aren’t a biscuit (you wally) because here they are, zero-rated under section 3.4.2 of the guidelines.



If you pop into your local bakery from today, eye up those gingerbread men with caution. If their little toes have been dipped in chocolate (because gingerbread men’s feet would get blisters if they had to walk without shoes), then the government has ruled them to be too extravagant. They’re parading around in their chocolate boots, while your average Tom, Dick or Harry Gingerbread has to make do with a pittance. ‘Gingerbread men decorated with chocolate’ come under the standard rate of VAT, ‘unless this amounts to no more than a couple of dots for eyes’. Bakers of Britain: let your gingerbread men and women run naked, free like pre-Lapsarian Adam and Eve! We’ll have no fancy winklepickers, thank you: this is austerity Britain.



If you’re thinking of buying your child an ice-cream when you’re out at the park this weekend, don’t. You’ll be taxed. Instead forgo the ice-cream and ask instead for the cone. That’s zero-rated, and presumably delicious and dry.


Millionaire’s Shortbread is zero-rated while plebian chocolate-covered shortbread is taxed at the full rate. I don’t think I need to explain why that one is funny. The 70s were grim (apparently – I wouldn’t know). So what better way to relive the 3-day working week than to feast on rum babas, delightfully, deliciously zero-rated for your pleasure? Kitsch is in this summer, I’ve heard: and God knows that with all the rest of the squeezes, cuts and rises we’re not going to be able to afford the latest fashionable clothes to keep up with the Joneses that way.


Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance writer who won the 2008 Channel 4/4 Laughs Window of Opportunity in June 2008. To view Chris' portfolio, visit www.stokel-walker.co.uk

36 comments:

microdave said...

Bugger - I prefer Chocolate Digestives to Choc Chip ones....

I suppose I had better get some bars of cooking chocolate to coat my plain gingerbread persons (can't call them men - that would be sexist).

Unbelievable.....

bofl said...

just shows what a nightmare the tax system is........all of these rules probably needed dozens of people and departments to make them up and administer them........

the government needs to get out of the spending business..........

but they are sheep too-except they actually think they know something...

5 billion years to get to this-impressive-

(er,not)

Uncle Marvo said...

I was going to congratulate you on how the standard of your writing had improved dramatically. But then I found out ...

Broxted said...

The easiest way of reducing the deficit would be to cut Scotland free and stop filling their poncing buckets with cash. Subsidy junkies all of them including the Welsh and Northern Irish. They can join the sweaty socks also. English tax payers money for English benefits claimants I say.This should be BNP policy, I will suggest it to my good friend Nick Griffin. He went to Cambridge you know and his father flew a Spitfire and shot down the Red Barron..... I think.

Broxted said...

I hear what you are saying Chris, but how on earth am I ever going to sneak a horse into my single attic room at Mrs O'Grady's lodging house? It's hard enough getting the odd gay Lithuanian past the old bat.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but if you live in Cambridgeshire, tell the Council what you think of "equality and diversity" in their survey:

hxxp://tiny.cc/ffaCambs

(make the obvious substition at the start)

I'd have thought if cuts needed to made, this kind of shite ought to be the first to go, but alas, they never cease to disappoint me.

There Is No Mega Hollywood Book and Film Deal said...

How about just eating Swans and Ducks along with river fish and road kill, and stealing vegetables from snooty upper class ras clarts allotments?

Anonymous said...

Well I suppose it was silly to expect any better from a jerk like Osborne:

Taxes up - check
Welfare largely untouched - check
Byzantine complication of tax system maintained - check
NHS untouched - check
Deficit barely touched - check

Reminds me of another chancellor...now what was his name...it began with a B I think...

Chris Stokel-Walker said...

Uncle Marvo, glad to see you liked it. If you want more then just visit the blog and click on the subscribe button. Can always do with more readers!

Broxted: the horse needs to be dead. So I guess you need to contact your local butcher.

Anonymous said...

Here is a prime example of what is wrong with the tax system.

D.G.Haslam said...

As a retied gay cop who likes child porn why are there no breaks for me?

caesars wife said...

CW admits the budget was somthing of a nightmare , and opted for a general VAT rise which many will take as fairer in that you can trim your own budget by making do . Given that low earners and p/t timers are now a big feature of legacy , his attention to that sector was welcome , as all too easily the burden of long recovery will be felt by them .
I will be surprised if increased premiums will sort out the future burden that these pensions are going to have . my main gripe being that some high salried public sector workers get financially impossible pensions ie far more out than they ever could put in , which dear old tax payer has to fund , and it seems a bit much they get two bites of the cherry .
The problem still remains that p/t work does not make comming off benefits attractive , so real jobs should be be where we need to go.
I have been a critic of Osbourne in part because on a few occasions he barely laid a glove on labour and choose to be coy and vague giving the likes of Bryne and Darling a few too many easy shots in trying to keep an indifferent, Harriet seemed to go a little mad in her response and it is infuriating to see Labour doing "it was nae me" routine intrying to not to get tarred with we bust the economy for a third time .It isnt the same old tory budget , it was quite different and Harriet was wrong to try that as she doesnt articulate or acknowledge 1978 problems ,which were about productivity or lack of it compared to germany and japan.

In some ways i might excuse Labours deliberate lack of spending review and dodgey growth forcasts but if he learnt one thing it is that you need accurate data gathering and interpretation which I commend him for doing in the first place , if he can fill the job he will need to gain comptence , i dont understand finance that well , but getting back to the treasury dealing with finace and not spin , x factor political budgets will at least bring some credibility to a dept that has become a byword for the dark arts and unreliability for business not part of labours client state . In that I have some hope .

Quite a bit of work has gone behind the scenes such as restoring BOEs powers , banking levy much better than transaction tax as it gives the banks a freer hand .
But even so that doesnt excuse Labours management which I hope will come to be understood in time as one of the biggests decptions ever commited .

Tony Blair may well be able to get gaza aid flowing but he didnt sort out the ecnomic case either despite the ruin surfing his self made wave to stasi socialism with Alan Johnski , Jack Strawski , ed Ballski and Harriet Ratilover to name but a few .

CW was most amused at Harriets cooing to the Hon member for Burmondesy , apart from identifying hughes as socialist (which is fine so long as they dont get power or draw pay at the tax payers expense) , t rather shows that Cameron may have done the liberals a favour in actually freeing them .

Deputy PMQs was full of loathing and best entertainment yet. However CW gives MR Gove full marks for giving ed Balls a lesson in schools and the valient Mark Harper as well as the culture and media team

As for horse meat , quite tasty , french have no problem with it , but your guest writer seems to know very little about slaughter of large animals , and if you love your horses (as many do ) if you have to slaughter , you certainly appreciate a man that knows his job , ive seen where a little boredom has crept in on the job in mass slaughter plants and I wouldnt want an amature anywhere near anyhorse I had to slaughter .
If you use chemicals to kill your horse it cant even go for pet food , hence hound packs used to be quite efficent methods for cleaning up , imagine the co2 from burning while labour made you feel guilty for having the light on .
CW is one person who misses the small abatoirs and the men who did a half decent job and who knew there farmer, in a profession that most people are very sniffy about indeed .

JD said...

Pre-slaughtered? I wouldn't eat it alive.......

Broxted said...

Can I nominate K.McEgan for cunt of the day for his off topic comments OH?

Anonymous said...

The author needs to get out more.

Fuck me. Loser.

If extra VAT is hurting the pikeys and chavs. Good.

Fuck 'em.

Joe Public said...

That Cambs CC survey (Anon 13:56) just has to be completed.

J MacFarlane said...

I wish D Haslam of Bedford was gay like me and not a straight guy. I would love to let him stick his big cock down my throat and slap me about.....Oooh matron.

Mossad said...

FYI those who are fed up of the above can contact Ron at 38 Flint Way Bedford (01234-312-767). Or call Jessie Surnam-Haslam.

Johnny Cadillac CIA said...

McEgan why are you such a stupid cunt? Is it because you are the offspring of two equally stupid cunts or did you spend too much time playing Ice Hockey without a helmet?

RantinRab said...

Treat the kids to Jaffa Cakes. They are zero rated but all other chocolate biscuits are full rate VAT.

Plain biccies are also zero rated.

Don't buy a takeaway, all are vattable. Buy your takeaway treats from the supermarket and heat it yourself. No VAT.

Got small feet? Buy your trainers from the kiddie section, not the Adult section.

linde said...

You are very funny OH. We are Brits. We don't eat horses here. Although Im not sure what goes into a doner kebab.

Anyway, the best way to avoid VAT is to eat at IndoPak restos. The cunts don't pay any tax, and their illegal alien employees don't pay NI or PAYE either.

But horsemeat? We are a long way from Belgium here.

Chris Stokel-Walker said...

Anonymous said... The author needs to get out more. Fuck me. Loser. If extra VAT is hurting the pikeys and chavs. Good. Fuck 'em. 22 June 2010 19:36

There's a reason why the spiel about me winning a comedy award was added when I agreed that OH could use this as a guest post, you know.

linde said... You are very funny OH. We are Brits. We don't eat horses here. Although Im not sure what goes into a doner kebab.

OH didn't write this, but ok. Thanks.

the beast ofclerkenwell said...

Get a pig, it will eat anything then shoot it in the head with a shotgun when it looks tasty
Its humane
Hang it upside down and slice the throat for the blood and you can make black puddings, the entrails are ideal for sausages, smoke it and it will last forever as will a ham

Electro-Kevin said...

I drove past a dead deer last week - freshly killed. I was saddened.

Only a rich man can afford to look at dead animals this way.

I think my attitude is about to change on the veritable larder of roadkill in this vicinity.

Partyboy Dennis said...

We need far more of D.G Haslams cogent insight here. Nah, he is just another EDL cunt;)

JamesW said...

Electro-Kevin
Back in the 80s, my dad came across a freshly killed deer. Loaded it into his mini-van; then him and his mother butchered it. One boggle-eyed deer head in the bins, and venison for weeks.

Catflap said...

My Grandma told me a tale from when she was a young woman.
Her neighbours had a 'domestic' row.
The wife beat the drunken husband with a leg of lamb and at some point the leg ended up being thrown through a window,landing on the street.
The wife retrieved the leg of lamb,picked out the glass and cooked it.
The following day she said to my Grandma,
"You know,that was the most tender bit of lamb I've ever had"

Anonymous said...

Even better; why not buy all your meat and foodtuffs from private farmers who are not 'in the system'. You pay them cash, no one knows there has been a transaction and you save yourself 20%.

These farmers are all over the place, trading foodstuffs and selling them in semi-secret networks. I just found out about them myself.

I refuse to finance the last 13 years of collectivist nonsense. I will do all of my business abroad and all of my buying in the black market until the rest of Britain and its insane government comes to its senses as the secret food networks have.

Punisher said...

All I wish is that Old Holborn and his little group of zoophilic followers would refrain from having sexual intercourse with animals I might later, one day, end up eating as food. The thought that such a filthy old fucker's sperm might have sprayed the innards of a sow which produced the pork chop on my plate isn't very appealing.

J MacFarlane said...

Punisher you are a very weird person.

Anarcho-Scot. said...

I enjoy reading most of OH's articles but I had no idea how idiotic the rest of his readership seem to be. Just sound like inbred, south English haters.....

Gallimaufry said...

"standard rated, which means you pay the full rate of VAT (until this morning, 17.5%)" Is it 4 January 2011 already?
Apparently, the legal reasoning why Jaffa cakes are cakes is because biscuits go soft when they are stale whereas cakes go hard.

Broxted said...

J MacFarlane said...
Punisher you are a very weird person.

23 June 2010 16:52

Coming from you K McEgan aka the Punisher, that is really funny. Usually it is other people who question your sanity. Have you been out without you straw hat on luv?

Bar Fly said...

Anarcho-Scot.
Who else but wastrels, benefit junkies, the retired and other ne'er do wells has the time to skulk in Holby's Public House?

Broxted said...

George Osborne Saint or Terrorist?

When nulabour fed the poor they called them saints, when I asked Gordon Brown why they were poor he called me a faux communist. Looking at the rather bland Foreign Office site for Thailand it said to beware of the terrorist threat. I pride myself on a knowledge of the region garnered from gaining an GCSE in geography from e-Bay
Has anyone been there since the problems with the government? I am after going there to help the poor orphans and children caught up in the thriving child sex industry and study Ladyboys. I once argued that the fear of something was as bad as the thing itself.
Simon Cowell, Liberator or terrorist? One could ask the same regarding those tricky Muslims. All a matter of perspective or just the beer talking? I will leave you to decide.

caesars wife said...

Vince proclaimed that the argument for cuts was indeed gaining momentum , which suggests there has been a revist to to trying to avoid the bottom of the trough so to speak for the sake of jobs .

If the conservatives were expecting growth of 5-8% this year and for the next 4 , you could simply just allow a pay freeze to absorb the slack and perhaps even sort public sector pensions out .

So why is everyone a bit touchy on it ??? What the public sector is trying to say is they are disgusted with the banks and that the banks should pay , what the public sector is in denial about is about how much total it is costing and the more submerged problem of future public sector pension liabilities . The big state is now faced with its own ecnomic conondrum as it is bound with ecnomic growth just as the private sector is .
The simplist way would be to reduce salaries together with pension liabilities , that way more jobs can be held , but as Liam Bryne pointed out in his salient letter , "we have run out of money" and more importantly run out of growth that would make the problem easier.

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