Bono ‘Twat’ t-shirt by publicgriefjunkie
I really dislike Bono. Not for the usual reasons - he’s not cool, he’s not sexy, he’s not funny, etc - no, it’s none of those. Well, it’s a little of those… No, this excellent article from today’s Independent newspaper by James Bloodworth, should go some way towards explaining why I, and a fairly large chunk of the population of Ireland, hate this guy:
Another type among the super-rich, however – some would say the dominant type – is the wealthy individual who very publically gives generously with one hand while ruthlessly seeking to minimise what they pay in tax with the other. The moralising hypocrite, you might call this lot.
Perhaps the most well-known figure in this mould is Bono, the lead singer of U2. As well as being the frontman of one of the world’s biggest rock bands, Bono fancies himself as something of an anti-poverty activist, and can often be heard urging people to give generously to a number of causes. Bono has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times for his charity work.
In 2006, however, on the back of the massive Live 8 concert the year before – which U2 played a large part in organising and which was supposed to “make poverty history” – Bono’s band moved part of their tax liability from Ireland to the Netherlands. The move came after Ireland scrapped tax breaks that allowed musicians and artists to avoid paying taxes on royalties. When asked about the decision, U2’s lead guitarist David Evans, aka “The Edge”, said that of course the band were trying to be tax-efficient, because “who doesn’t want to be tax-efficient?”
The answer, at a guess, would be those who spend a great deal of time moralising about the world’s poor. Away from the self-congratulatory press conferences where Bono smugly demanded we send our money to the dispossessed, U2 were simultaneously cutting the feet from under their own government’s ability to help the world’s most desperate people– the same people Bono was proclaiming such grave concern for.
This makes for a great read - it’s not all about Bono, mind you, some of it’s about Princess Di - and you can read it all here.
Thanks to Helén Thomas!
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
’U Pay Your Tax 2’