Billy Bragg being a berk

I was listening to Radio 2 and who should crop up but Labour supporter (well not anymore it seems) Billy Bragg. What was he bemoaning this time. Well apparently he is disgusted about bonuses being paid to bankers that have had state aid and because he doesn’t agree with this he is not going to pay the tax he owes HMRC.

You know what – he may have a point about bonuses in the public sector. I might point out that when I worked for Royal Mail I got a bonus – the year Royal Mail lost millions of pounds – so I wonder if he would object to that, or indeed, the pay package of the CEO of Royal Mail who gets a seven figures package even when they are shutting thousand of post offices. That of course is off topic.

What Billy has to accept is that you can’t pick and choose everything that your taxes are spent on. I don’t like council tax. What do I get – a fortnightly bin collected and a street light. I don’t have kids, I don’t get my street gritted, I don’t use the local library – so should I decide I don’t want to pay for things.

Then of course the list of things that I don’t want to pay for that this current Government seems intent on wasting my money. Should I not pay my tax? No of course not.

But you see Billy tripped himself up in the little debate he had. He questioned whether bankers were worth more than nurses. I don’t know – I don’t know what an investment banker does enough to comment Billy – but you see if you don’t pay your tax – then who is to say it wasn’t being spent paying for that nurse or that hospital equipment? You see you tax isn’t assigned to something specific. So sorry Billy – just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you are right and just not to pay what you owe. You say big bonuses are not moral. Neither is it moral for you not to cough up.

Put that in your red wedge!

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25 Responses to Billy Bragg being a berk

  1. Pingback: First Class posts on Monday | Letters From A Tory

  2. HDB111 says:

    I looked up Berk in my dictionary and guess whose photo was there, our lovable Billy then I looked up music and one of the definitions was anything but Billy

  3. Richard says:

    Very good points, and the same argument you use in your final paragraph can be applied to those who refuse to pay the part of their taxes they believe is being used to fund the Iraq War.

    I'm sure Billy Bragg would be against those at the top of Royal Mail being paid bonuses while post offices are being closed though, although I'm not aware of him campaigning against it. Maybe he has.

  4. john p reid says:

    billy bragg resigned form labour in 1989 about it going multilateral and supporting the first iraq war, he;'s supported lib dem in the last 3elections, hes hardly labour no more, 12 years more like

    • editor says:

      Though I seem to remember that e was more than happy to attend an SMF Labour Party reception when I was attending in a work capacity. He clearly didnt dislike them that much.

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  6. That's News says:

    Billy Bragg has always been like this. A sort of cardboard cut-out revolutionary.

  7. Dungeekin says:

    BIlly Bragg poking his pointy proboscis into political matters again?

    We know a song about that.


  8. Lisa Ansell says:

    Bill Bragg may be a tosser. I have long thought he was. And noone has the right to decide which part of their taxes they pay. Except perhaps er….bankers.
    There are major differences between bankers bonuses, and er postmen. Firstly, postmen dont get bonuses. They get forced to do unpaid overtime delivering junk mail, have had their pensions stolen, and face year on year pay freezes..
    The bonuses paid to bankers came out of a bail out larger than our entire national expenditure-and the payment of obscene bonuses out of a loan given to encourage lending, and stability is outrageous. Especially given that the bankers being paid the largest bonuses out of the public pot, were the ones who directly caused the mess that necessitated the largest state aid package ever given, and that unlike postmen or nurses(neither of who would ever see a bonus) they do not work for the state, and are not accountable to the taxpayer.
    As I understood it, this was a concern of David Camerons as well, not just Bill Bragg. Or should we be discounting David Camerons on the record comments about bankers bonuses as well?

    • editor says:

      Oh dear Lisa – read what was written. I didt say I was postmen – I said I worked for Royal Mail – who do pay bonuses.

      You mention "Junk Mail" – without which most postmen would have no job whatsover given it accounts for the majority of mail sent.

      And again – did I express an opinion on the merits of bankers bonuses? The point I was making was how foolhardy it is to say you are not paying the tax you owe as you don't agree with a certain aspect of Government policy.

  9. Lisa Ansell says:

    Oh and given the actions of the bankers, when news of the tax on bonuses was announced, they are the ones who appear to believe they can choose what taxes to pay. Or does getting your accountant to figure out how to pay the absolute least tax, while taking as much as you can, not count?

  10. Nils Boray says:

    Good piece. BB should cough up. I'm solid Labiur but antics like this won't win any votes for us. Billy Brag is forever linked with Labour after Red Wedge , which captured the hearts of some, but turned many , like myself, away.

  11. Lisa Ansell says:

    Sorry, was confused. Given that I pick up my friends kids, while they deliver junk mail at the end of their rounds, which they are legally obliged to deliver, at a rate of a percentage of a less than a penny per item. The delivery of this junk can take up to two hours following rounds, which is essentially unpaid overtime.

    And your comparison of the bankers bonuses, to postmen and public sector workers pay, as justification for them, actually does say a great deal about your opinion of bankers bonuses.

    I don't particularly like Mr.Bragg, but given the powerless that the British people feel about the issue of bankers bonuses, a powerless that your party leader claims to understand, I find it difficult to understand the reason for this article.

    From where I am sitting, as a voter, it seems odd that you attack Billy Bragg for taking exception to something which the Tory party are currently claiming to be outraged by, and that you combine it with justification of bankers bonuses, and comparisons to postal workers and public sector employees.

    • editor says:

      Again Lisa – you are still confused. I am attacking him for not paying taxes a seperate issue to the bankers bonuses issue. It is just Billy Bragg has chosen to link the two.

      Would it be fair for me o say he condones the Iraq War – as he didn't stop paying his tax for that? No of course not- because as I've said, you don't get to chose ever item your tax pounds are spent on.

      Your could say you taxes are spent given the CEO of Royal Mail who already gets a 7 figure salary a bonus. Are you going to stop paying tax because you don't like it?

  12. Lisa Ansell says:

    It just seems rather odd to me, that a past it singer, with no affiliation to any political party, objecting to more than our entire annual national expenditure being given to banks raises your ire. Especially when so much of the nations revenue is lost, through the richest few percent, actively evading tax, using loopholes, and offshore banking.

    • editor says:

      Lots of things raise my ire – but illogical arguments such as the one put forward by Mr Bragg would be one of them.

      My god even Kevin Maguire of the Mirror thinks he should pay and we are hardly at the same end of the political spectrum!

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  14. Lisa Ansell says:

    I find the bonuses offered to failing companies, whether they be banks, or Royal Mail- to be outrageous, I can see why that would raise anger in any taxpayer in the UK. What I fail to see is how a childish attack on a singer achieves anything but making you look like someone who is missing the wider issue.
    I don't believe you shoudl be able to withhold tax, because you disagree with something. I didn't refuse to pay tax over the Iraq war. I can however, see why people are angry that they may start campaigns-however misguided they may be.
    I think that given that the level of tax avoidance, that goes on in this country- that should certainly be a subject for any UK citizen to feel strongly about. I can just think of many better examples of this than Billy Braggs futile expression of outrage.
    If he wants to withhold his taxes, I am sure that the Inland Revenue will deal with him. Its a shame they can't deal with the large scale plunder of our economy by people either Royal Mail chiefs, or banks.

    If tax avoidance is a concern of the tory heartlands, perhaps Mr. Cameron and his colleagues will do something about it.

    • editor says:

      You may think its a childish attack – I think its worth highlighting an argument made on national radio from someone who says they are doing it on moral ground (ie he sees big bonuses as immoral) that in actualy fact his actions could be seen as equally immoral and selfish.

      And of course – my blog, my rules – I can write what I want.

      If tax avoidance is of concern – why hasnt the current Government in power for 13 years done anything? The are IN power after all.

  15. Lisa Ansell says:

    I saw Kevin Macguire agreeing with you(which amused me, as much as it amused you), and I told him that I thought he was wrong too. God bless the internet.

  16. Lisa Ansell says:

    There is a damn good question. Not only have they done nothing- but they have continued the degregulation set up under Margaret Thatcher, and have done her proud. Gordon Brown has deregulated the financial sector, beyond anything Thatcher could have dreamed of. The fact that they handed over all this money, without a single worthwhile condition, is just the icing on the cake.
    I am just struggling to see which of the policies of deregulation, Cameron or Osborne didn't argue for at the time.

    I am not a Labour voter. Am not a Tory voter. Just a person aware that there is an election this year, and a person who will b expected to cast a vote.

    (BTW Yes, your blog, your rules- but you do allow comments- so I am assuming you want opinions- and my opinion is that Billy Bragg is irrelevant. His campaign, like many others, is just an expression of the impotence, the british electorate feel, in the face of this plunder of the economy.)

    • editor says:

      Your comments are warmly welcomed. I of course will write about what I want to – and you of course can criticise, call it rubbish, or even agree (you never know) to your hearts content.

      I think its worth highlighting what Bragg had to say – as sometimes people think that with tax – it will go on health and education – and hey thats's sometimes used as a justifcation to increase tax The point is, and I think it is important, that with tax you don't get to chose what it goes on. What happens is you elect a Government on a raft of policies and trust them to get on with it.

      Then if you don't like what they are doing you get a chance to vote them out. And you are right to question the views of the Conservatives – which i would have thought will be set out in their manifesto when published.

  17. scott taylor says:

    first of all berk is short for the cockney rhyming slang for berkshire hunt you get me drift!!! and well done cameron and osborne we are in a complete mess due to your strategies of cutting too much too quickly like to see how your boys would of coped with the conundrum brown was faced. free market capitalism has failed the majority of our people constant need for growth when sustainability was needed. UP THE WORKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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