Bill Bragg is nothing without the courage in his convictions. The anti-folk pioneer and vigorous political activist has taken a stance against banks spending taxpayer money on bank bonuses in the only way he knows how: he’s refusing to become a taxpayer.
The particular bank in question is the Royal Bank of Scotland, which via bailouts is over 80% owned by taxpayers. With an estimated 1.5 billion pounds going to executive bonuses, Billy Bragg has launched a Facebook campaign petitioning RBC chancellor Alistair Darling, to limit bonuses to 25,000 pounds for the increasingly nationalized bank. Bragg announced that he will be withholding his taxes on the U.K.’s January 31st deadline until the change is made.
While Bragg’s finances are most likely not as bountiful as, say, the finances that caused Willy Nelson to owe the IRS $24 million, Bragg does have the resources—and the soapbox—to make this a national issue, in the U.K. if nowhere else. Bragg’s Facebook group currently has over 1700 members, and no, they are not giving $1 each to Bragg to cover his legal fees.
It’s doubtful that RBS will budge on this matter, but should Bragg be prosecuted in any way, it will no doubt be excellent tabloid fodder in the U.K. This is certainly a story to watch.