I was going to blog about my awesome new piece of kit. You know how every now and again you but something that makes you think “Why on earth didn’t I get this years ago?”, well, that’s just happened to me. Having gleaned a vast quantity of damsons from the abandoned orchard of a fallen down house on our boundary, we have a lot of fruit processing to do. I’m addicted to plum jam so that’s what I’ll be doing. I began destoning on Friday but rapidly lost the will to live, although I produced a good panful. I tried stewing some that I had just cut open as I’d read that the stones would rise to the surface and could be easily removed that way. Do they heck. So I nipped into Boussac to run some errands and invest, finally, in a plum destoner.

Here it is. It is simple, sleek and very effective. It isn’t Chinese. It’s German. It works very well by cutting into the plum and pushing the stone out of the bottom. You do lose a tiny chunk of plum flesh too but lots less than when destoning by hand. I can’t recommend the Westmark Steinex Pflaumenentsteiner (plum destoner) enough.

As I said, I was going to blog about this, but then a worrying headline caught my eye. The autoentrepreneur scheme is under serious threat from my dear friend Président Hollande. It’s not going to be removed completely but the cotisations autoentrepreneurs pay will be brought in line with those that other entrepreneurs pay who are registered as PMEs etc. Which is effectively destroying the autoentrepreneur scheme since the idea of paying cotisations only on what you earn is the whole point of it. Previously, as we found out to our expense, new self-employed persons have to pay charges based on some hypothetical and unrealistic level of earnings. In our first year as a business, we paid over €4000 in charges on a little over €6000 of earnings. Insane and believe me, it’s not easy to live on €2000. The minimum social charges level per the RSI is €1583. As an AE, you’d be having to earn around €13000 as a commercant to pay this level of cotisations, or over €7000 as a service provider. The majority of AEs earn less than this. It is ridiculous to get rid of a sensible, logical system and replace it with one that is complicated and onerous in the extreme. And why is it being done? To screw more money out of the people who have the least in order to pay for the 6000 totally unnecessary new civil servants that this government is introducing. As a socialist, I’d have expected Mr H to be somewhat more sympathetic to the self-employed who are getting off their backsides and doing things for themselves, creating income rather than sponging off the state.

There’s a very good article here about this threat to the AE scheme. However, whilst this author plans to move to Bulgaria to get away from the grasping French government, a lot of us can’t do this, so we’ll have to stay and see what happens. It’s not too late to fight the proposals. The FEDAE is already acting with meetings on Monday with relevant ministers. In the  meantime, any AEs out there should sign this petition and then join the FEDAE to give them more support on our joint behalf.

The autoentrepreneur scheme was a dazzling breakthrough in a country of overcomplicated and unnecessary bureaucracy. Don’t lets allow it fall by the wayside.