Feed the bankers!

EPA PHOTO /ITAR-TASS POOL/jt/amda

In happier times

Feed the bankers!


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Is there anything more symbolic of the moral black hole we’ve fallen into than dragging Band Aid out of the dustbin of history? That a bunch tax dodgers get together to raise funds for impoverished Africans is just sickening.

Bono has $600 million, helped by moving U2’s tax arrangements to the Netherlands, and he’s not alone amongst the performers. The rest of Ireland went through savage austerity, but not Bono. He made poverty history.

They told us so after the Gleneagles G20. We can probably assume that nobody told the actual poor, who continue their short lives, unaware that the struggle is over.

You see, Bono and Bob are very close to the G20 and you could be forgiven for thinking they were part of the team. They are huge fans of not paying tax, but demanding that those who earn less that they pay in full.

“Tax competitiveness has taken our country out of poverty,” Bono told the Irish Times, “It has been a successful policy.” For him, sure.

Bob’s approach, no doubt approved by the G20 was explained at a summit to a Times journalist. After Bob was arguing for more aid to come from taxes, he was asked about if he paid his taxes, “My time? Is that not a tax?”

Should anyone less deified than Bob try to pay their tax bill by sitting in their local Tax office waiting room, well it may not work out as planned.

One thing is certain; the recording won’t make anything like the sum the assembled performers have shipped out of the UK to avoid tax. 

A cynic could wonder about this sudden urge to reunite – this time for Ebola, which many organisations have been involved in fighting for most of the year, including the UK Disasters Emergency Committee, who have already raised €25 million, the EU who have committed over €1 billion and large amounts of supplies.

There are problems, logistic ones and in co-ordination. Several nations have sent trained medics and medical staff to help and train local staff.

Of course it’s good that people offer financial help to those in trouble, and even more so when it is to strangers, culturally and geographically far away. It’s empathy on a spontaneous, social scale.

But it’s the poor helping the poor. Over the decades, repeated surveys have shown that those in the poorest, working class areas give more than those in the comfortable parts of our towns and cities. Injecting a bunch of rich and famous tax tourists in the middle of this helps nobody but the tax-efficient duo’s image.

When asked about his Tax after the re-recording by Sky News, Bob said, and I quote, “Bollocks.” He repeated the word till the interview was cut off.

One wonders if the Commission President thought of issuing a statement along the same lines after the Luxembourg Leaks and who could blame him if he was momentarily tempted. Thankfully Juncker has a more solid grounding in ethics and a belief that tax needs to be reformed drastically as the current arrangements have led to a fiscal starvation and a loss of political power by democratically elected politicians.

In the meantime, I’m offering to do a sponsored read of Bob’s collaborator, Midge Ure’s autobiography. It’s a winning mixture of comical boasting and incandescent bitterness towards the smelly one.

In the meantime, let’s congratulate Band Aid on three decades of success and let’s hope for three more!

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