Archive for May, 2010

This is not an error

May 18, 2010

If you’ve received this via an RSS feed – which admittedly wouldn’t have had much traffic from here recently – don’t worry it’s not an error. I’ve decided to write another post up for my blog. I wish I could say this is ‘by popular demand …’ but that would be a bit of a lie. I did have to have a think about how to start the blog again. Should I simply post again, ignoring the rather obvious (in fact just over a year) gap between posts, or should this be addressed? The reasons I could come up with were:

1. Nothing significant has happened in a year? Err, ok, there has probably been some stuff I could have written up.

2. I’ve been so busy I just didn’t have the time? Again, that’s probably not really true.

3. I’m just too lazy to write (or call The Aged Parents on a frequent basis). I think this one has the ring of truth to it …

Anyway, with a General Election having just been held in the UK (the first election I haven’t exercised my right to vote in since turning 18) I figured I could write a few words. It wasn’t through complete apathy I didn’t vote though. The Aged Parents very helpfully directed me to a link to register as an overseas voter … if you’re based in Northern Ireland. Fortunately, it hadn’t escaped their attention that I hadn’t actually lived there for about 10 (ok, closer to 14) years, and they pointed out that I could probably go from there and register for my postal vote.

I sent off, what I thought was a postal vote application form, about the start of April – which would have been pushing it close to the deadline. Absolute silence followed for three weeks until I received an email from someone at Wokingham Borough Council. Apparently, I’m not registered as a voter at the property I own there (we’ll be coming back to the joys of ownership later), and that if I’m resident overseas for 6 months or more I need to register as an overseas voter. I think that has to go down as a fail on my part.

However, apparently postal votes can be sent out as little as four days before an election and must be returned before the election for them to be valid. Bearing in mind the post takes about a week to reach Hong Kong from the UK, and the same time for the return trip, with hindsight I was never going to get a valid vote this time around. It might be cynical to suggest that I might well get an opportunity to vote (by proxy) later this year thanks to the outcome resulting in a hung parliament and a coalition between the Tories and the weirdy-beardy LibDems (except they seem to have stitched up some 55% rule to dissolve parliament).

Normally, I’ve been sitting quite smugly here in Hong Kong not having to worry about the policies being enacted back in the UK … until this morning, when I woke up to read that the Tories (of all damn parties) are suggesting raising capital gains tax to 40% (or even as much as 50%). Well, thanks a lot LibDems! It’s reported the CGT rise is required to pay for the LibDem policy of no income tax on the first £10,000. Hit by this tax are investments such as stocks/shares and ‘buy to let properties’. It only dawned on me after about 5 minutes of reading it. It was definitely an ‘oh crap’ moment, as I have a nasty suspicion that my flat in Wokingham is now going to fall into this lovely CGT trap. It has occurred to me that I didn’t vote for this … but then no-one did, as it wasn’t on anyone’s manifesto.

In all of this, I’m reminded that the advice a friend gave me at the time of my move here about my flat: ‘Sell it’. On reflection, that was without doubt the best advice I’ve not followed. As Homer Simpson would undoubtedly say ‘D’Oh!’

Apologies for the unamusing UK-centric nature of this post, I’ll try to return to normal service (unamusing HK-centric) next time. And that should also be somewhat sooner than the gap between this and the previous post.