Roger Taylor and Billy Bragg — The War and the Economy

Roger Taylor on War from The Rock Radio.Com

Roger Taylor, drummer for Queen

“Roger Taylor is currently promoting a new solo single called ‘The Unblinking Eye (Everything Is Broken),’ a protest song. The Queen drummer said: ‘What happened to the protest song? Music is now so polished, shiny and predictable, we have forgotten to try and “say something with it”. We are fighting a pointless actively negative war which is killing our young soldiers and which we simply cannot afford. This war promotes and prolongs terrorism. This is our Vietnam. Unwinnable. Pointless. I’m pissed off – you should be too.'”

Join my campaign to cap RBS bonuses

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the financial reform we need to ensure we are never again forced to bail out the big banks

It has been just over a week since I declared that I would be withholding my tax payment due on 31 January in protest at Alistair Darling‘s refusal to limit the bonuses of investment bankers at the majority public-owned Royal Bank of Scotland. When Darling bailed RBS out to the tune of £117bn, he negotiated a veto on any bonuses above £25,000. At a time when we are being constantly told by both government and opposition that we must be prepared for huge cuts in public spending, many feel strongly that the chancellor should use his powers to force restraint on RBS.

I am aware of the strength of this feeling because I have been bombarded with messages of support since forming a Facebook group to promote the campaign. More than 24,000 people have signed up and I’ve received emails of encouragement from the traditional supporters of the left as well as retired squadron leaders, men of the cloth and employees of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the latter worried that their own jobs are threatened by the coming cuts.

However, the power of internet campaigning is limited, particularly if you are hoping to change the behaviour of an institution or individual. A petition – even a digital one – will only get you so far. Even if we get a million supporters on our Facebook group, the calculation of those in power will be that we are nothing more than armchair activists whose engagement with this protest is limited to the furious tapping of a computer keyboard.

The challenge is how to make this protest open to everyone, not only those who intend to withhold their tax, not only to those who have access to a computer, not just to the usual suspects but to those whose small businesses have been rocked by the banking collapse.

Yesterday, I launched a new protest website, www.nobonus4rbs.co.uk, and informed supporters of this campaign that I will be going to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, this Sunday to make the case for limiting the RBS bonuses and inviting them to join me.

As has been stated many times in comments on our Facebook site, the RBS bonuses are just the tip of the iceberg of the financial reform we need to ensure we are never again forced to bail out banks too big to fail.

However, the existence of the RBS bonus veto does give us an opportunity to send a clear message to those who, in the coming months, will be trying to create a new global financial system.

If enough of us come together this weekend that we are able to convince Alistair Darling to use the veto, we will have sent a powerful message to those bankers who are threatening to leave if their demands are not met: the people of Britain are no longer willing to be held to ransom by you if you are not prepared to roll your sleeves up and stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we dig ourselves out of this massive hole that you have created, then pack your bags and be gone.

• Readers are cordially invited to join Billy Bragg and hear the case for capping RBS bonuses at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, on Sunday 31 January at 1pm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: