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Stocki my friend I think you’ve oversimplified this and if you’ll indulge me I’d like to explain why I feel this. Think of the various emotional and logical factors that have come together that have led up to this.

- Someone of the level of personal net wealth of Bono is always going to be under pressure when preaching to others about how they should live or what they should do with their money

- As soon as you tell others how to live, how you live yourself becomes others business; that’s just the way it works, and they way it should work

- He lives in a luxury that many of us can only dream of or imagine

- Core to the social responsibility of all Christians, particularly those in public profile is that they render onto Caesar that what is his; tax is the closest thing we’ve got to tithes in 21st Century Western culture. Capitalism only works when the richest are taxed disproportionately higher than the rest

- The key question is not therefore “who in Ireland has paid more taxes than U2” but rather “who in Ireland has paid proportionally more taxes than U2” and I bet you the answer is “most of the workforce”

- In terms of the car advert, what is the difference between letting people know you gave $25m to charity, and letting people know that you turned down $25m on principle; seems to me that both paint oneself in a pretty positive light

This is nothing to do with charitable giving (which I acknowledge comes under left hand / right hand stuff), but rather this is to do with moral national responsibility. Therefore, U2 could clear all of this up with a simple statement, but rather choose to remain silent.

So Stocki I am happy to go along with you when you say these guys have contributed an indescribably enormous amount to the cause of the poor globally.

However I can’t go as far as to say that they have no case to answer here or are morally pure on the issue; or consistent with what they preach in other areas.

Yours in Friday afternoon rambling mode


Kevin Hargaden

Is this not a basic citizenry question? The first responsibility is to pay tax in the nation you are resident. Whatever about contributing to the exchequer in Ireland, they are not resident in Holland.

I understand Bono's claim that Holland actually does contribute to developmental projects in line with their budgetary aspirations. U2's tax money is spent proportionately more effectively in Holland. But we are in ethically dodgy ground if we are trying to justify utilising huge resources (and the lawyers involved in such a move alone are not available to you or I!) for the sake of getting the best "deal" out of paying tax.

The protest is grandstanding. The whinging is ungracious. But the initial 2006 decision, I feel, still smacks of hypocrisy.

Iain *

"Though publishing royalties were tax free for a time"

This is a somewhat disingenuous statement. That "for a time" was until 2006, which means for 30 of U2's 35 years of existence they were getting publishing royalties tax free and I'd imagine that amounts to quite a considerable amount of money.

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