Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Celebrity Role Models

Joan Burton, Irish Labour's finance spokesman, said:
"Having listened to Bono on the necessity for the Irish Government to give more money to Ireland Aid, of which I approve, I am surprised that U2 are not prepared to contribute to the Exchequer on a fair basis along with the bulk of Irish taxpayers.

"I share Bono's desire to see more resources devoted to Ireland Aid but it is more difficult to make a case for it if everyone is not willing to be part of the social contract that stipulates that everybody should pay their fair share in what is a low-tax country."

Ireland Aid is the channel by which the Irish government helps developing countries.

I am not opposed to people taking advantage of legitimate tax strategies and ordinarily I wouldn't comment on a rock star's financial planning, but Bono is a special case.

Bono has used his celebrity status to gain audiences with presidents, popes and prime ministers. He has hectored world leaders to fund his pet projects. He has sought to make the average citizen's support of his favoured programmes compulsory (through taxation). He has enjoyed the praise of many committed humanitarians. He has posed as a moral icon. And, in my opinion, he has revealed himself a hypocrite.

Based in Dublin, U2 have long benefited from the artists' tax exemption introduced by Charles Haughey, the late prime minister. It is reported that the band's move has been made in response to a £170,000 cap on the tax-free incomes introduced in the last Irish budget.

My ire is really directed at celebrity culture, and not at any one of Bono's pet programmes. As social entrepreneurs, we need to focus more on business models, and less on celebrity role models.

End of rant.

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Anonymous Sansfaim said...

Could recent events spell the end of the ubiquitous celebrity endorsement?

First we have Sir Bob Geldorf having to cancel a tour due to lack of interest.

Then we have "Saint" Bono finding out that if you live in a glass case, people can see all sides of you.

Hopefully, Bono has not changed the eradication of world poverty from a worthy cause to a cause celebre by his actions.

We call those who want to build, Nuclear Power Stations, prisons, refugee centres etc. anywhere, but not near where they live, NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard)

Perhaps those celebrities who wish to eradicate poverty, save the world etc. but Don’t Use My Money Yet, should be known as DUMMYs

10:00 am  

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