Why do people work in US firms in London when they could come to Dubai?

My experience was miserable. Utterly soul destroying miserable.

This time of year when sun was completely blotted out by grey cloud. The rain. The constant rain.

And the miserable hours. Everyone I worked with was actually reasonably nice. I didn't ever work with arseh1oles. Everyone, outside business services, were genuinely intelligent and friendly people.

But I'd never leave the office. I didn't take a holiday once for over 10 months. I was working every weekend - just something, even it was just replying to a few emails, I'd have to get my laptop out, dig out documents. A simple question would take 15-30 minutes to answer. And it was the strain of that time of my weekend just gone.

I'd be in the supermarket, and need to urgently reply to something, so I'd come back home and reply in 10 minutes, and then have to go back to the supermarket to do my groceries.

I'd leave anything between 8-2am every night but for Fridays. I had grey hairs from the stress (which I confirm have now gone btw - lack of stress and eating well).

I can't deal with commuting and lived either within walking distance or 20 minutes public transport of the office. And everywhere in that range is miserable to live in.

EVERYONE was doing it for the money. NO ONE WAS THAT RICH. The average 6-8 PQE had saved 250-350k in their entire lifespan of working mostly in US firms, although money wasn't quite what it is now despite COL going up. Associates live in grim dreary 1-2 bed flats, fight through the rain to go to their 12-14 hour a day jobs.

Sitting in a chair. Never moving. My average steps a day were under 5k.

Then I came to Dubai. I make ridiculous amounts compared to US lawyers back in London. I work half the hours. My apartment is I think over 2000-2500 square feet. I'm in work in 10 minutes. No public transport. Crammed into a tin can with sweaty miserable khunts. 

I'd get so angry at the littlest things in the morning - if someone looked at me the wrong way, pushed into me, whilst I was running late and had 20 emails to respond to. I fantasised about murdering people on the buses and tube. No more of that.

I spend my weekends on boats with unlimited food and alcohol. Beach clubs. Gyms. I'm nearly in the best shape of my life. I come back to London in the summer for nearly 3 months, and as soon as I get there, I see the necessary people, before flying out to mainland Europe - usually somewhere in Spain or Italy.

I can never come back to London in PP, and I am told this by ex colleagues. And when I talk to them about their lives, it's just a stream of misery. I say, why don't you come out to Dubai? "What...and give up all this?" they say.

I work in a US firm in London. My experience is absolutely nothing like the one you describe. I previously worked at a different US firm. Also nothing like you describe.

Sorry your experience was so shit. Experiences in Dubai are also variable.

Reducing everything to the category “US firm in London” as if it were entirely homogenous is daft.

Reading Biggie's previous diatribes about London/Dubai, my mind would invariably be filled with the image of a lonely middle-aged man in a small, sparse flat, his sobs echoing around the empty rooms as he masturbates in front of a mirror. Despite my jests, I always felt a little sad.

But now I know it's actually a 2000+ square foot flat, I feel slightly less sad.

Sounds like a you problem to be honest. Iv been working at US firms for about 5 years. The average associate bills about 2,100-2,500 hours per year but i have never had any of the issues you describe above. Yes it's a lifestyle and can be demanding but I get 10k+ a day. I probably do one full Sunday per month and the rest of the weekend are a few emails only which I can when I'm out and about. I agree a lot of the senior associates have about 300-400k saved but that buys them a nice detached house on the coast while renting a party pad in the city. It's work hard play hard. I love the UK weather and Dubai would be too hot/soulless. You just had a bad experience / couldn't cope with London mate

i think lets-lurk must be the side of Biggie's split personality that never left for Dubai and is totally bossing London

Where are these nice detached coastal homes for £300-400k?

How many steps do you now do a day in Dubai Dawgster?

By US firm, I don't mean some transatlantic merger, and I don't want to exaggerate but I struggle to see how anyone else materially differs from the above, everyone it seemed did those hours.

It wasn't THAT bad. I would come into work at 9.45-10am most days. There are plenty of people in the city who come into work at 8-8.30. But I would rarely leave before 9. 10 was fairly average. Fridays usually 6-7. Plenty of 12-2am finishes, even if it meant coming back home to work on the sofa.

I wouldn't work every weekend. A few hours on a Saturday every month. But almost every weekend, I'd have silly emails to reply to. Some thoughts from a partner. A client query. Which was disruptive for the reasons above.

My billables weren't anything special either bar for a couple of unusually unpleasant years. I did 8 hours billable a day, anything above 2k was a waste of time as you don't get any credit for it. Some days would be 5-6 hours or even lower - rare days - but you'd make up for that with the 10-15 billable days. BD and further firm interests is what you actually need to do as a senior associate, every hour you spend billing takes away from building your brand etc so you end up doing maybe 2400 with 2k actually billable. You also can't just whack down hours as you're so expensive and recovery will go to sh1t. 

Most people weren't even getting 2k hours recovered. A lot of people didn't always hit bonus, and turnover generally was 2-3 years.

I don't know any associates who had 2 homes except for foreigners who had places in their third world origin states.

The point is you churn as an associate, and the pre tax salary looks good, post tax it's a lot less impressive, but still great compared to everyone else. But you work for it. And money in the UK is only really made if you can tolerate a job year after year after year - the savings from 1-2 years as a US associate aren't much better than anywhere else, it needs to be sustainable.

And even if you get through the hamster wheel, you're still not saving that much, you're not "rich", you're just maybe 100k up in savings from someone at a lesser firm who worked a lot less. 

Real money is made as partner, but virtually no one ever makes it to a US 1 mill a year equity anymore. And once you decide to step down to become partner at Dentons or DLA, you're making less than you did as a senior associate, much less - well over 100k. And then you have to go through all the bullsh1t of getting equity, and then when you do, you're bottom of the ladder fighting more khunts.

I sidestepped all this noise and took a work/life balance earning multiple times the cash

By contrast, here I'm in at 8.30-9, and leave by 6-7ish. Weekends are free, and I reply if I want to. My responsiveness is just not the same as in London. Everyone we deal with has lower expectations. 

Yeah, I typically do 9-6 as well and only rarely do anything on a  weekend. Not a transatlantic firm. You’ve had a shocker. Clearly still mentally scarred. Sad to see.

I wouldn't like Dubai. It's too hot and its human rights record and treatment of women isn't right. However some will like it. I prefer our changing seasons here in London.

I am mentally scarred, but there's no way you are doing a 9-6 and if you genuine, you are an outlandish exception. Doing 8 hours billable in that means you are basically perfectly utilised with no inefficiencies during that period which is intriguing. 

It's not too hot. I am always in A/C. There are no changing seasons in the UK - it raining, wet and damp, to muggy and grey to cloudy skies and loads of rain, to grey and spitting at you, to overcast and 30 degrees celsius and humid all of sudden for 5 minutes, before more rain.

You do have a point that one would probably save 2-3x times more in Dubai than in London.

However, the simple idea that it’s 40 degrees outside gives me anxiety even as I sit now in my cool flat in London. I love fresh air and it’s great for mental health, always sleep with windows open. The thought that it’s so hot outside that you can’t open a window for 5 months straight is depressing. It’s an oven everywhere, 24/7, and you only have stuffy ac air. I’d suffocate.

But if you can tough it out, kudos to you - I agree it’s one of the best places in the World to make money and to advance one’s career as a common law lawyer.

I have a balcony, without identifying, which looks kinda like this:

Many apartments have balconies, and you can get gardens, and obviously you can leave it open and come outside

It's only really too hot for maybe 5 months of the year, and for 3 months of that at least you're out of the country. As I have said before, everyone stores their annual leave for the summer months, and there are 11 odd bank holidays which fall in these months too. There are working hour restrictions for the month of Ramadan too so you're doing very little - some may have on a WFH / remote working arrangement for a little bit depending on your relationship with the partner / firm. I am off personally for most of the summer flying in and out from time to time. Work is much slower.

You can also just leave for weekends very easily. I have done weekends back in the UK or in Thailand sometimes.

Biggie, your frankness about your time in London is quite interesting. 

I quite like Dubai - have a few mates who went over there for various stints and can see the appeal. I have a pretty comfy life in London, and a family, so wouldn’t move but can definitely see the appeal particularly if one was free and single

And of course like all truly content people you spend an hour a day trying to convince complete strangers, most of whom think you are a pathological liar, how happy you are.

You just need a gameplan. If you're smart, you can do 5 years at a US law firm and leave as a senior associate with a cheap mortgage on a property by the coast and a bunch of cash savings. You can then get a less stressful job at a smaller firm and the salary from that will pay for your rental in London. The difference versus silver circle friends is massive and well worth it in my opinion. The deal flow at US firms is such that you get so much hands on high pressure experience that when you're tired of that you can go almost anywhere - step down, in-house, to a fund, bank etc etc if you like. 2,000 hours a year is normal and perfectly manageable. Most meals, snacks, drinks and socials etc are always paid for by the firm so although the work is tough it's a relatively easy life. 

The problem is people who don't have a plan and splurge their super salary on fast car, massive mortgages and material goods and  don't save for their exit plan. Those people become stuck and depressed as they have no escape from the golden handcuffs. 

there are lots of depressed associates at US law firms who work to make money just for the sake of it. They then spend to make themselves feel better and give a bad impression out to everyone else that they have no life at the US firm blah blah. 

But biggie you have repeatedly said you are a equity partner doing property litigation…

No one has a big mortgage because you can get sacked off at any time 

The cheap mortgage is overplayed, it doesn’t make that much difference and when you do move again, your new salary will be the input, and you won’t want to stay in your 2 bed flat in Hackney for that long

I have a tenant in mine btw which completely takes care of my mortgage and more 

meanwhile Dubai property is cheaper than London so rent and purchasing is still overall much better

Where is your wife?

Where are your sons and daughters?

I have a rotating network of girlfriends who I could settle down with at will. I chose not to. 

I can’t tell you how unappealing the wives of my Facebook friends look. And everything revolves around their kids, including all their life problems.

if I decide to have kids, I have nannies and maids here. Childcare in the UK is ludicrously expensive. I never have to do a school run, I never have to change a nappy, I never have to get up in the middle of the night, I don’t have to think about feeding them. This all appeals to me.

I think there is also a misunderstanding of those who haven’t been to Dubai…at some bars there are two sets of people: supermodels and 65 year old bald old men with no inbetween.

beautiful women from all over the world come to Dubai to make it

I will have kids for sure, unlikely on the marriage thing

i have no problem dating dumber as long as intelligent in other ways

i dated someone more intelligent than me once. I thought wow, great. She will be reasonable at least, the reasoning faculties which have allowed her a first class degree etc. must carry over. Nope. She ended up being super demanding and unreasonable and used her intellect to manipulate me into doing everything she wanted to do, paying for everything and setting one level of responsibilities for me and another for her.

Biggie, what actually is your goal in continuously posting these threads? I don’t think you are wrong by the way. If anything your threads are becoming more reasonable and more persuasive about the merits of Dubai and the weaknesses of London and litigation. But just why are you doing it? You’ve made your points now at least 95% as well as you ever will. It isn’t worth continuing with this just to hone them further. You seem like an intelligent person with unique and interesting views who can make good contributions to this forum, but not by repeating this over and over.

fook me this tedious character jumped the shark months ago.

It’s the USP of ROF. Take a weak joke and hammer the actual fvck out of it.

When the horse has decomposed to almost liquid form continuing to flog it is fùcking tragic.

I quite enjoy Biggie's threads. Please keep them up.

The problems with Dubai are numerous. But to summarise:


  • soulless city with a fake, constructed 'history'.
  • the difficulty of living in such a moral-free vacuum. 
  • the worship of Mammon at the expense of all else.
  • the lack of organic culture, and the Dubai weird psychological need to lift and copy other nation's developments and cultures - whether that be stealing simple concepts and logos, or more substantial things. Highly insecure and needy behaviour.
  • There is no getting round the fact that most westerners living in Dubai are awful. Also alarming how many of them very quickly dream up crap excuses for Dubai's human rights abuses in order to justify their lifestyles.


While I appreciate London isn't for everyone and had a guffaw at the idea that OP "couldn't hack London" as said above, it's a better place than Dubai on almost every metric. I don't even put Dubai's commuting above London, as in order to commute in Dubai you have to drive on a soulless motorway surrounded by soulless architecture and souped up [email protected] SUVs and Teslas. Give me the tube or a stroll through Victorian/Georgian streets over that.

^ Literally none of those are real problems. The 40 degree heat is, however. 

They are problems if you have a personality.


They aren't problems if you are an amoral droid.

(1) I do this to death. This is a persona, an element of my personality. But also I spent years being drained in London, and it has mentally affected me. It's like escaping North Korea after decades of abuse and propaganda. 

(2) Most people really do think of Dubai along the lines of Lord Heh. They think soulless, fake, nothing to do, boring, etc. They are wrong. 

(3) This is a lawyer's forum and, as such, more appropriate discussion than the typical threads as to whether transexuals are ruining society, whether masks are a violation of human rights and what type of fannypack someone should take on holiday to Cornwall.


Just to clarify, I've spent time in Dubai, sister in law has lived there for a decade, other family members lived there before the skyscrapers and while they were all going up. My position is about as informed you can be without actually having lived there.


I've seen the young gauche English expat scene in Dubai - the crap nights out and all the rest of it. The only good thing was smoking inside but now I've given up even that wouldn't appeal.


I've also seen the middle age nouveau scene at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club - will never go back.


Just saying I'm not sitting here casting stones at somewhere I've no clue about.

Most criticism about Dubai comes from people who have spent a day there or have never visited, you have never lived there + are spouting common misinformation.

Ultimately yours is that it is immoral, soulless and lacks culture. No point on engaging you on this. You don't have to agree with Chinese politics to buy an iphone. I've given more money to poor immigrants than i imagine the average Londoner has - I give 100 dirham tips to car washers and security guards all the time for example. 

You can't judge Dubai for what it isn't. What it is in my context is a tax free Disneyland for expats where you can earn multiples of what you earn in London and work less hours and enjoy more holiday. I wouldn't suggest coming to Dubai if you're earning 50k a year, I suggest it in the special context of city law drones who work long hours for cash. Most people earn 30-60k a year and just will never understand why someone does 14 hours a day in a MC or US firm or a bank or a management consulting firm, or anything else.

In that context, I live in a huge luxurious apartment, my commute is effortless in a taxi, and I enjoy uncrowded top tier gyms in a truly 24 hour city. I have probably brought forward my retirement date early by 10 years. Compare and contrast to my existence in London above.

I don't recognise any of your criticism. I enjoy scuba diving, swimming, relaxing in beach clubs, working out, sprinting, long runs, I like hiking in the mountains, and sand boarding in the desert. I like shark spotting. There is more to life than a mall, but it's a pleasant middle class odd weekend walking around, buying something nice, and having a nice coffee.

A fair complaint is the weather, but between October and April, it's not too hot, and nice to relax and sunbathe. In the summer months when it gets too hot, as I've mentioned, work slows, and most people leave the city for their holidays. To that end, as mentioned, there's a lot less work than in London.

Ironically I spend more time relaxing / chilling / exploring in London than I did when I lived and worked there full-time. Because I was working. Weekends were spent comatosed and recovering. Holidays spent as far away as I could get.

A  minor thing which most people on here don't see eye to eye with me on: very easy to date a supermodel looking girl here if you're a tiny bit OK looking and have a professional services job. And just because they  like your wallet doesn't mean they are a bad person or a bad partner, or indeed different from any other girl - they often come from a poor country and want to make it in life.

Tax free Disneyland - you said it, not me.

This is sad.  

You cannot compare London and Dubai.  

You w*anker.

Is all I can say (having lived for a while in the middle east and in London and happy to say still UK but not London).  There is a way...

Can I just say also, I'm fully aware of how shallow relationships are in Dubai, as I've been listening for years to my sister in law talk about her latest meaningless relationship. Many of the locals also like one or two western women in their stable. It has always struck me as a popular hideaway for commitmentphobes - appreciate London is also more in that direction compared to, say, UK provincial cities where people settle down younger, but Dubai takes the biscuit. But then you'd expect that in a city with a higher than normal number of narcissists.

Could someone please change the record? This one keeps getting stuck. 

I genuinely think the biggie character is an autistic teenager who has googled some stuff about law, and is trapped in a neural cul de sac of "clearly being a lawyer in Dubai is the best cost/benefit outcome for the kind of man I wish I was, I will make everyone see this"

Whoever is posting this stuff is not normal, and I don't mean that pejoratively 

The bigster is a recruiter, surely.

One that wears no socks with their shoes.

If so, he’s doing a terrible job. He reinforces every bad stereotype about the place. I can’t imagine anybody reading rof and thinking, “Shit, I really want to be like this Biggie character!”

I dunno about that, I'm talking to a chinny right now about a job over there. 10 years of no tax in a low standards jurisdiction will do me fine to retirement.

To be fair biggie seems to have more knowledge of the market than that. If you compare him to the Kirkland trolls on legal cheek.

Think he's kosher.

They are winding me up because they hate me, particularly linda.

Yes, there are negatives about Dubai. Some relationships can be transitory, people do come and go because they're expats. it depends on the person. But most people leave London too eventually and all relationships can be meaningless and transitory. Lots of people settle down and get married in both cities.

Don't think they hate you biggie- although could be wrong. You don't really get involved in the brexit or trans or Team Sane stuff which is the most rancourous rof stuff.

You're in your own litigation and dubai bubble. 

@TDawg - 

I've noticed this in quite a few of your posts now. You use the word 'less' when you should use 'fewer'. 

Perhaps it's due to the fact that you're typing carelessly on your phone while you're on the merry-go-round of gym / beach club / closing a zillion dollar PE deal / smashing another supermodel. But something tells me you don't actually appreciate the difference.

And where I come from, that is the mark of a proper cretin (and quite possibly an ill-educated recruitment agent based in Dubai pretending to work in law). 

No, I don't - there isn't an observable grammatical rule on less vs fewer, despite what you think. It's a ridiculous thing to make a post about.

What I like about Biggie are the subtle, yet clear and definite, signs of nihilistic philosophy that appears to be the pillar underpinning the celebration of Dubai's glitzy lifestyle. 

I like Biggie's posts. Of course there's a % of bombast and bullsh#t, but the author seems self-aware enough that I'm sure it's deliberate.

On to the substantive question, as background (a) I did the Dubai marathon a few years ago, as an excuse to recce the place for a future move; and (ii) I am seriously considering a move to Dubai in the next 18 months. I'm therefore not hostile to the idea at all.

Having discussed this with friends and colleagues: most people's articulated reasons for not considering a move themselves are access to friends, family, and English schools. Married people have to consider their partner's career, and those with children are focused both on access to both sets of grandparents, and schools/other English children. I'm not taking a view on the merits of that position, merely relaying it. One friend in A&O's litigation team did in fact move to Dubai for several years to follow her boyfriend, now husband, who was working over there, but she persuaded him to move back to London and they now have a child, so I suspect that the same reasons re. family etc. drove that decision.

My reason for not making a move any earlier is that I was warned at the Magic Circle firm at which I trained, by a very kind experienced retired former partner then working as a consultant (and therefore with no need to drink pro-London Kool-Aid) that he would recommend several places: Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Cayman, BVI, etc. but that as an English-qualified lawyer, moving overseas as an NQ - even if possible, which was unlikely as we're useless on qualification - would be an indelible mark on one's CV saying "Unemployable in London". He specifically warned that KSA/Riyadh taints you with that stigma if you do it too early. Of course, the longer people delay, the harder moving is perceived (whatever the reality).

If you want less generous reasons why people don't move: inertia and cowardice. It's less risk to stay at the same firm, or move a few hundred metres/km within London than it is to take a risk. That's human nature though, and I don't mean it as a criticism of anyone. Be grateful, though: that's less competition for the rest of us!

PS You've mentioned, ahem, the transactional nature of romantic relationships over there. To what extent are you concerned about STIs?!

Not everyone wants or needs to move to Dubai. Justify it to yourself all you want. Which you seem to be doing repeatedly at the moment.

Responding briefly:

I agree. Most people don't move because they don't really understand the opportunity, are too scared in any event, and then they're also coupled up.

Moving back to London is possible and have seen many people do it well. e.g. someone moved over at NQ to an MC firm for litigation, moved back at 5PQE (sick grandparents), to a US firm, and then a top boutique. Just keep your toes in English litigation. Seen many people move back to good firms and IH.

Partners of the past have experience which doesn't necessarily translate to the present. 

Like anything, you have to go into it realising what Dubai is and what it is not. In some respects, you're probably more likely to meet a partner not off a dating app in Dubai than in London - you're putting yourself out there as an expat, you're going to brunches and gatherings, and meeting new people.

I also have never had an STI in my life.

I can't see myself moving back full time to London. And it is a great city to visit. I was out of Dubai for about 3 months this summer, and spent a good deal of time there. I don't feel I lose touch with it. I do sometimes just take a weekend or a long weekend to fly back for a birthday or something. It's a very painfree night flight.


I'm not saying that the predominant reason, I'm saying that inertia and cowardice are reasons why many people stick with what they know. I have friends in the civil service and working for other poor-quality employers, all in their late-30's or early 40's, who greatly regret not jumping ship many years ago. By their own admission, they didn't do so because each year it was always easier to just keep plodding - inertia - and not to take any risks - cowardice.

As I said above, that's simply human nature, and I don't mean it as a criticism of anyone. Not was I suggesting that it's the predominant reason for people not moving to Dubai. Please don't misrepresent what I wrote and then attack a strawman.

@TopDawg, I think another factor is the sunk cost fallacy and (I can't remember the technical name) but the phenomenon where the worse an initiation experience is, the more attached people are to the thing they have been initiated into.

To elaborate on that:

  • London is shit and City law is shit.
  • It takes time, effort and money to get a career in City law.
  • People don't like the cognitive dissonance of having worked so hard to achieve something that makes them so miserable so they fabricate all sorts of spurious justifications e.g.:
    • I can't leave London: all the museums (I never visit are here)
    • the quality of the work is the best (as if that mattered even if it were true)
    • everywhere else lacks the prestige (as if that mattered even if it were true and were worth being paid half as much)
  • Throw in the sunk cost fallacy and you pretty much explain why legions of lawyers stick it out only to slowly peel off o go in-house / quit entirely at 4-6 PQE.

Scubai Dubai Doo where are you?

Earning tax free dollah?

What Asi said. And TD. To behonest he’s annoying but largely correct.

So many lawyers stuck feeling miserable in the MC or SC or mid market. 

Getting US money for a bit with an exit plan is a pretty sensible route.

Getting US money for a bit with an exit plan is a pretty sensible route.

Why thank you ;)  

Start at my US shop in the new year.  If it's shit at least I will be paid twice as much for the privilege.  Would be leaving half a mil at least on the table were I to stay at current shop assuming I last 5 more years. 

Being stuck under pressure at around the 100-120K level (where the tax is worst) in the London mid market is not a great place to be.

Being in any sort of bottleneck/crowd is rarely a good place. And thats what it is. So its the point where senior management/the taxman/capitalism really gouges people. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. Desperate professionals trying to meet targets and mortgage payments. Well paid(ish) but no real options.

I say ‘capitalism’ - it is actually now a form of ‘income socialism’. At 100K your marginal rate is now around 70% and - unless you have Bomad behind you (which tbh many do) - that is grotesque.

Its going to get worse I reckon as inflation will drive up other costs and the costs of low skill labour, whilst skilled labour costs stay the same.

Seriously tho asi - put plenty aside. Making it last can be tough.

Would alwo suggest using the income level to get plenty of mortgage at a low fixed rate. 

Sorry ‘no real options’ is wildly wrong. No real power or wealth. At that level though people do have quite a few optikns if they want to take them.

UK take home pay will get worse after April 2022, anyone earning over £150,000 will be taxed at 48.25% = 45% Income Tax + 3.25% NI.  With rising inflation, much less in your pocket in real terms.

UK take home pay will get worse after April 2022, anyone earning over £150,000 will be taxed at 48.25% = 45% Income Tax + 3.25% NI.  With rising inflation, much less in your pocket in real terms.

It's infuriating especially given how much they piss up the wall on stupid shit.  It's as if they want all the most productive people to fook off to places like the BVI or Dubai.

claphamladUK take home pay will get worse after April 2022, anyone earning over £150,000 will be taxed at 48.25% = 45% Income Tax + 3.25% NI.  With rising inflation, much less in your pocket in real terms.

It's worse than that:

  1. With the increase to national insurance announced in September 2021, from April 2022 additional rate band City jobs will incur 45% income tax + 3.25% personal NI contributions, plus employers will pay 13.75% NI before salaries are even paid. This equates to a de facto upper marginal rate of 54% overall; and
  2. Income tax will rise yet further from 2022 for four years through the stealthy route of freezing the personal allowance and higher-rate threshold. That will create 1.3M new taxpayers and 1M more on the higher rate.

AsimovIt's infuriating especially given how much they piss up the wall on stupid shit.  It's as if they want all the most productive people to fook off to places like the BVI or Dubai.

Correct. Alternatives, showing the maximum rates of income tax, include Cayman Islands 0%, Dubai 0%, BVI 8%, Hong Kong 15%, Singapore 17%, Channel Islands 20%, and Australia 30%. They all offer an improved quality of life, lower taxes, better weather and lower crime.

The root cause is an unsustainable redistributive welfare state. The UK’s population is demanding to live beyond their means, subsidised by the minority’s taxes. The top 16% already pay 67% of all income tax and overall the top 1% pay almost 30% of income tax. Increasing rates further doesn’t work, as people will leave or choose to work less (e.g. 90% of GPs are part-time, keeping their salary <£100k, source: j.mp/GPs_PT). Targeting the bottom 50% of the population who don’t pay income tax, i.e. who are living off other people’s work, is politically unviable. The welfare state is a Ponzi scheme: in a Ponzi scheme, new participants are attracted by the promise of great future returns, while their contribution – rather than being invested to generate those returns – is given to earlier participants. Eventually the scheme bursts and later participants suffer. The money is used to pay unwarranted returns to earlier participants. The welfare state penalises younger generations (compulsory participants) to sustain triple-locked pensions and expensive NHS care (unwarranted returns) to older generations who failed save money themselves. Voting incentives preclude politicians (the organisers) from admitting that the system is unsustainable and will be unable to pay similar benefits to younger generations (the crash). It’s getting worse: pensioners are (i) living longer; but with (ii) expensive, (but avoidable) chronic illnesses due to greed (fat people), laziness (people who don’t exercise) and stupidity (smokers).

The most obvious part of that unsustainable dysfunctional welfare state is the NHS. Economists use the idea of revealed preferences. Don’t focus on what people say (“I really want to lose weight”), but what they do (eat the cake). The Tories’ revealed preference is clear: it does want to lower the tax burden, just one might want to be able to fit into one’s old gym kit. But somehow it never quite happens. The biggest revealed preference is what governments spend money on. Austrian sociologist Rudolf Goldscheid noted, “The budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” By that yardstick, Britain is becoming a health service with an economy attached. By 2024-25, health will be 44% of public service spending, compared with 27% in 2000. Every time there has been spare cash since the Tories came to power, the NHS got the lion’s share. Starmer says he’s a different type of Labour leader, but his reaction was pure Corbyn: claiming you could get all the money from “the rich” then failing to offer any kind of alternative. (From www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-conservatives-are-still-the-party-of-low-taxes-but-only-in-their-own-minds-c7xkdpg23).

All of this is underpinned by a broken British industrial model. London funds the UK: outside of the City, the country has an underperforming manufacturing and overblown and vulnerable service sector, with a low-productivity, low-wage economy, hugely reliant on house price inflation as a wealth creation model. There are no credible plans or options to address these issues. Poor human capital, dysfunctional politics and poor infrastructure (crowded roads and expensive trains in the south; an underfunded mess in the north) make it extremely hard to do rectify this. There are parallels with East Germany.

Finally, there's constantly increasing crime, particularly violent crime. In 1921 there was one crime recorded for every 370 inhabitants of England and Wales; 80 years later, it was one for every ten. There has been a 12-fold increase since 1941 and an even greater increase in crimes of violence. www.city-journal.org/html/frivolity-evil-12835.html.

In summary, higher rate taxpayers – who fund the UK – have far better options. However, as discussed above, those who are shackled to the UK by partners' careers, children's education, and access to grandparents, are like tethered goats waiting to be slaughtered each April by HMRC. Consequently, none of this is going to change. 

Have lovely weekend, everyone! :)

Let’s be honest.

Life in Dubai must be incredibly tedious and dull if Biggie is reduced to posting his streams of repetitive guffage hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year.

If, as he asserts, his life is full of so much gym work and Asian persuasion, he would have no time to be Roffer’s most prolix poster.

Donny/Madders seems to have thrived out there. But he doesn't go on endlessly about gym, cycling, gaffs, Asian prossies, night clubs etc.

Maybe you could have a chat with him. Might help you grow up a little.


Mountain, that is an absolute belter of a post. The comparison of the North with East German is very interesting. I am going to be chewing that over all weekend I suspect. 

And I bloody love Darymple. That piece is a great read. 

Wot MH said. Can any amount of money compensate for having to act with people as tedious as Biggie if he's representative of the average FILTD type?

Mountain's eloquent post should be framed.

Been saying this for 10-15 years to anyone who would listen.

I like Asimov and Worf's musings, with which I agree, too.


Biggie, you are a voice in the wilderness.

Never stop posting.

But no more pictures of your appalling cottage cheese dinners, ok?

You have a balcony. Whoopidoo. I work at a small regional law firm and I have a half-acre garden in the English countryside and I know where I’d rather be. I’d hate to live somewhere with no seasons. Just now the leaves are turning, misty mornings give way to gentle sunshine on the autumn colours.

“It's only really too hot for maybe 5 months of the year.” So nearly half the year then.

Dubai must be ace if gone midnight you've nowt better to do than rof.

Asimov15 Oct 21 18:50

Reply | 


"Mountain, that is an absolute belter of a post."

I mean, it really isn't.  It's a load of pseudo-libertarian verbiage, meaningless platitudes, and bald assertions stated as fact.

"The comparison of the North with East Germany is very interesting."

Really?  How, exactly?  

"I am going to be chewing that over all weekend I suspect."

What an exciting life you must lead.

This thread is full to the brim with complete dickheads.

Please try not to rude or immature, RR: it lowers the tone, and diminishes your credibility. To perform better, at least try to attempt to make logical, evidenced arguments. Ad hominem attacks on people simply because their arguments make you feel unhappy - and you lack the facts to rebut them - simply reflects poorly on you. Many thanks.

On the East Germany point, it wasn’t an offhand comment. I lived in Germany for several years while growing up and I discussed this with friends ages ago, so I've just dug up comments and links we discussed at the time.

I have far more trust in the German government's capabilities than I do any British government. I think that German economic superiority is also fairly uncontroversial. British decline is also a long-term post-1945 theme that has only accelerated in recent years, most obviously with Brexit. In that context, the example of German reunification is perhaps useful, with East Germany as an analogy for left-behind areas of the UK.

How realistic is the idea of reviving left-behind areas (note: how *realistic*, not how *desirable*)? East Germany has similar issues, and despite over €2 trillion being spent over 30 years, it is still a different world to West Germany.

See specifically these analyses. I have added emphases to the first one, to draw attention to the most pertinent parts. It is a précis of a far longer essay, and I recommend that full essay, too. The price is useful because, axiomatically, it summarises the case:

'The British state is only as strong as the people entrusted with its care, and it is the deteriorating quality of our elites — a theme running through Anderson’s essay — that is perhaps the most dispiriting aspect of all. It is not, unfortunately, an exaggeration to observe that both main parties are dangerously incompetent, and that the also-rans are, if anything, even worse. The conservative journalist Henry Hill’s recent call for a British “Meiji Restoration,” a reassertion of the power of the central state in a programme of national renewal, “conducted with an eye to tradition and the power and sovereignty of the nation” surely falls at this hurdle: the idea may be good, we are forced to answer, but have you seen who’d carry it out? [...] every attempt at reform, by trying to solve Britain’s structural problems at home through leaping headlong into the wider world, whether Europe, a subordinate role in the American empire or globalised finance, has only patched up the surface cracks and allowed the underlying rot to advance further. From 1945 onwards, British politics has been consumed by “futile attempts at retrieving national greatness, in which the very term ‘decline’ was a lure inviting the notion that ‘revival’ was possible”. [...] The current government, entirely devoid of any meaningful political thought, would do well to read Anderson’s essay. He presents a narrative stripped of all illusions, in which, as in Marx’s famous quote, the British reader “is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind”. There is a strange unreality to British political life, with the relentless outward focus on the wider world so detached from our material conditions that it has become a kind of tragic delusion.' Marxist historian Perry Anderson’s 72-page dissection of Britain’s decline in the September/October 2020 issue of the New Left Review https://bit.ly/UKprognosis (lest it be suggested that I am approaching issues from a right-wing, or as someone suggested above, “libertarian” perspective, I’m doing my best to take the facts as I find them, including from hard left Marxists, if their evidence and arguments are sound. I commend that approach to the naysayers and the lazy who don’t want to be shaken from their comfortable assumptions.)

'25 years of financial support flowing from the former West into East Germany has cost just under €2 trillion.' German reunification bill hits €2,000,000,000,000, The Local, 5 May 2014, https://www.thelocal.de/20140505/bill-for-german-reunification-runs-to-…

'Almost 60 per cent of residents in eastern Germany regard themselves as second-class citizens and more than half say German reunification was not a success, according to a poll that captures the sense of frustration and bitterness in the region 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.' Many east Germans see themselves as second-class citizens, Financial Times, 25 September 2019, https://www.ft.com/content/6fe23e32-df90-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc

Précis not price, above. The perils of dictating text on an iPhone. Edit facility please, Jamie!


Only thing I didn’t mention is that buying buy to lets as an expat is annoying and you get higher rates through specialist brokers, but it’s no faff in actually executing it

id probably ensure you have a property in the U.K. before moving over

This thread is bizarre but mountain’s post is ridiculous. The UK may have an underperforming manufacturing sector but leads the world in many areas of R&D and innovation. Eg google deep mind.

we need more of this and less of the City Parasites.

Do some bloody work you tosser. Create some wealth. Manual Labour even.

Build a wall. 

cook someone a meal…

He’s right, h there City is over 10% of the UK’s economy 

all of the other stuff is noise

housing market and QOL is fvcked

‘All the other stuff is noise’.

How do you think you flew to Dubai you stupid twot?

who designed the plane?

Emrites. They have a fleet of Airbus (HQ Netherlands), and Boeing (US)

You should email them and tell them that what they’re doing is ‘noise’ and you’re happy to walk to Dubai.

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