Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay?

Some mornings I have to work really hard to keep my blood-pressure level, and this morning a number of factors were conspiring to push it through the roof.

For starters, there was an offensive photograph on Facebook (I’m not going to show it) which had the ‘n’ word in it and clearly implied that black people are thieves.  A straight up-and-down contravention of the rules, surely?  I reported it in the expectation that they would ban the thing straight away – turns out they’re not going to.  So now I’m contacting all my friends to ask them to seek a ban too.  Then there was the 41-year-old man given a suspended sentence for having sex with a 13-year-old girl: a girl whom the judge described as ‘predatory’.  The words ‘reality check’ were already surfacing in my mind as I heard that apparently the girl ‘looked older’.  For God’s sake!  If you’re a 41-year-old man you should be dating women in their 30’s – or at the youngest, in their 20’s.  If you think it’s appropriate to have sex with a girl who possibly looks 16 then you most definitely need a reality check.  How is that OK?

But what got me going the most this morning was the topic of zero-hours contracts and some prat in the Times writing to say that as a freelance journalist he also has a ‘zero-hours contract’ because he only gets paid as and when they need him to write.  Now, I would like to ask this guy the following questions:

1.  Is this job your only source of income?

2.  Do you only get paid the minimum wage?

3.  Do you have to sit down at your desk at a particular time set by your employer and work a set number of hours dictated by them?

4.  Do you have to take work when it’s offered or lose that employment?

5.  – and, most importantly, was this job forced on you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those questions then OK, you can compare your work to a zero-hours contract.  But if, as I suspect, you can’t, then it’s you who needs the reality check.  Zero hours contracts are not freelancing – they’re an imposition on employees which means they are often not available to take paid work as they are at the beck and call of the employer; they have no control over their working lives and, worst of all, they have to sign off the dole.

Sorry I can’t find the article but it was quoted on ‘Today’ at around 8-ish.

On the other hand, what I have is not so much a zero-hours as a zero-pay contract.  I work a 40-hour week most weeks and I only get paid – if at all – for a tiny fraction of them.  So what keeps me going?  Basically, three things:

1.  My work gives me enormous satisfaction

2.  I will make a living at it one day soon

and most importantly,

3.  I chose this line of work.

So finally…

Yes, it’s a bit of a rant this morning – and the last thing that got my blood pressure climbing was the continual use of the word ‘so’ when people answer questions.  The interviewer will ask a penetrating question on Today and the guest will say:

‘So we put in place certain measures…’


‘So the government is working hard to contain this…’


‘So the recent guidelines are having a good effect…’

The use of the word ‘so’ in that context suggests a follow-on; a continuation of a train of thought which was merely interrupted by the question and is not a response to it.  It’s rude, frankly.

So stop it!

And don’t even get me started on Nigel Farage defending his MP for calling Africa ‘Bongo-bongo Land’.  The man is a buffoon.–Leaked-recording-UKIP-MEPs-racist-outburst.html

Perhaps I should join a complaints choir:

Still haven’t heard from Arriva about the bloody buses…

So Kirk out


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