Billy Bragg’s not paying his tax

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The BBC and many others report:

The singer and activist Billy Bragg has threatened not to pay his taxes in protest against the bonuses being paid out by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

He is calling on the government to intervene and limit the proposed £1.5bn that the bank, which is 84%-owned by the taxpayer, wants to pay in bonuses.

Mr Bragg said he felt frustrated and powerless to stop the bonus culture.

"We have a short window of opportunity between now and 31 January, but the two main political parties don't seem to be interested," Mr Bragg told the BBC.

"This is a frustration borne out of a sense of powerlessness in the face of the bonus culture. I don't know what else to do," he said.

I understand that frustration. And what Billy Bragg is doing is great gesture politics. But as I'll say on air on London’s LBC radio in a few minutes, it’s not ultimately good politics.

I do think the ballot box is the way to present this message.

I do think lobbying parliament and meeting MPs is the way to go forward.

I do not approve of ‘tax strikes’ — the result could harm the poorest in our society. And it could harm the well being of public servants.

So now the gesture has been made I suggest tax is paid. And then use every democratic means possible to pursue the issue. Which should indeed mean limited bonuses, full nationalisation of RBS so it can be used as the proper basis for full banking reform  and an end to the abuse that modern banking represents.

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