'Freedom to Freelance' tells the story of the fight against IR35, the creation of first online trade association and the ground-breaking use of the internet to run the campaign.
The events are chronicled by Philip Ross who was one of the founder members of the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) and its first Director of External Affairs. As such he is uniquely positioned to tell the story from the inside - with the highs and the lows, the successes and failures, the conflicts and the characters.
Throughout the book, he draws parallels with other revolutions throughout history, from its brave and bold beginnings to the final stages when the revolution turned on the revolutionaries.
In the early stages, contractors banded together against a common enemy, IR35. This story dates from 1999, when discussion forums were in their infancy and technology as a means of communication was the domain of geeks and IT experts - the very people who the Government had targeted with IR35. Many of these contractors were at the cutting edge of technology and their communication method of choice was the internet. Their campaign and mode of operation were pushing back the barriers for the innovative use of technology on an almost daily basis.
Philip tells the story of the birth of the Professional Contractors Group, (the PCG), Britain’s first online trade association, which battled the Inland Revenue over IR35 and then the Home Office over the issue of Work Permits. It would win over the House of Lords who controversially reject the IR35 proposals, it would organise the first ever 'flash mob' to lobby Parliament and then be the first to present an e-petition, the group would pressure the BBC’s flagship political programme Newsnight into transmitting an apology on air for getting its facts wrong, they would take the Government all the way to the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and grow their organisation from zero to thousands in a matter of weeks.
Philip explores the online revolution and the figures who had the vision to lead it and pursue it. As is often the case with revolutions, the group turned on itself - and those leading figures were ultimately replaced by more establishment characters and attempts were made at rewriting history.
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