Who needs marches on Washington or protests in the street nowadays when we have Facebook groups? Sure, it’s one thing to rally for a Smiths (or RATM) single to top the charts, but now 52-year-old English singer/songwriter Billy Bragg has taken to the social networking behemoth for a protest over giant bonuses paid out to employees of bailed out banks in the UK.
“I understand that the Treasury had little choice but to use taxpayers’ money to safeguard savings and stabilise and restore confidence in the financial system,” Bragg writes on his new Facebook group NOBonus4RBS. “What I don’t understand is why, now that we taxpayers are the majority shareholders of these banks, we seem totally powerless to curb their excessive bonus culture?”
Bragg is aiming his protest specifically at the Royal Bank of Scotland, citing that their estimated £1.5 billion in planned bonuses will be taken from UK tax dollars that are due at the end of the month. In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling (which he provides as a downloadable .pdf to be used as a form letter by others), Bragg demands that the government limit bonuses to £25,000 or he “shall be withholding [his] tax payment on 31st January.”
In a shout-out to the “Anarchy Christmas Miracle” I alluded to above, Bragg notes: “If nothing else, we may discover if people in this country care more about banker’s bonuses than they do about who will be the Xmas No1.”
Read his full statement and Facebook page here.