Is Russell Brand a tosser or what?

In response to Our Jo’s open letter:

so I can’t claim any personal moral high ground, but a chance to make a film that highlights how £80bn of austerity cuts were made, punishing society’s most vulnerable during the same period that bankers awarded themselves £81bn in bonuses was irresistible.

One would hope that someone, somewhere, has explained to Russell that bank bonuses are subject to taxation. In fact, to 45% income tax, 2 % employees’ national insurance and the employer pays a further 13.8% employers’ national insurance.

That is, those £81 billion in bonuses led to some £50 billion or so being paid in tax.

If the money had remained within the company, simply as profit, the tax bill would have been more like £20 billion.

So, the payment of bankers’ bonuses led to £30 billion of cuts that did not happen because more tax was raised.

Yes, I think we can say that Russell Brand is a tosser. You did not, of course, read that here first.

39 thoughts on “Is Russell Brand a tosser or what?”

  1. Be interesting to what his source for those stats is. Over how many years? All UK banks or bankers? I doubt to be honest, probably a lot actually outside this country (most of Barclays for example are their US based employees). Guy is still a weapons grade tosser obviously.

  2. But for Brand to realise this he would have to actually think things through. Banks = Bad is much easier for that idiot and his moronic sycophants to understand.

  3. Someone, somewhere really should accept his duty to strike a blow for freedom of information, and leak details of Brand’s tax avoidance manoeuvres.

  4. An alternative view is that if the taxpayer owns 80% of RBS, then paying all the bonuses out as dividends instead would have given a load more cash to the taxpayer.

    Thinking it through: if £81bn were paid in bonuses, then the cost to RBS would be £92bn including secondary NI. Keeping that as profits to distribute would give CT of say £22bn, leaving distributable reserves of £70bn of which the taxpayer would get £56bn. Total to the taxpayer £78bn, rather than the £50bn of tax and NI from paying bonuses.

    We’d also have gotten £56bn back directly from the shares, thus making a substantial profit over the amount of the bail-out – while still keeping 80% of the company.

    Of course the company would be worth a lot less, what with having had all the senior staff resign en masse, but hey ho 🙂

  5. 99.99% of the staff of RBS have wealth and an income far, far below this cock-end who decided nevertheless to disrupt their legal business and make a public cock of himself.

    Narcissism doesn’t even begin to cover it. Nor does hypocrite.

  6. @Pellinor I don’t think Brand is saying that RBS paid out £80B in bonuses, but all banks. So Tim’s assessment works.

    Admittedly, trying to work out what Brand is saying is not a great use of anyone’s time.

  7. Ah but in arguing logically about the tax HMG gets from bonuses you are wasting your time. Why?

    “Because they won’t be paying that tax because they will avoid it”

    How? They’re employees.

    “clever schemes drawn up by accountants us ordinary folk can’t afford”

    Do you have any evidence of this?

    “We all know it goes on, the rich don’t pay any tax”

    But the highest 1% of earners earn around 11% of the income and pay 21% of all income tax

    “yeh but that’s just what they declare, they should pay more”

    Have you any proof of this?

    “everyone knows it goes on”

    and on and on and on.

    You can’t win the argument.

  8. Ah, OK. The perils of reading quickly 🙂

    You’d still get more cash in taxpayers’ hands by having RBS pay dividends than bonuses, though. So my assessment works, so long as you replace my numbers with the right ones.

  9. I’m sorry, perhaps I’m being thick, but where is the connection between State spending and bankers’ bonuses?

    Does Russell really believe that instead of him getting a couple of mill for a film, the producers should donate it to the poor of Los Angeles?

    I’m sure he doesn’t see a connection there, so we can safely say it’s the same dish of cold sick served up by The Big Dick, along the lines of “Nah nah na nah na, I don’t like it and if you don’t change it I’ll stamp my foot!”

  10. I don’t know why you’re all bothering so much about the details of the letter. RB certainly doesn’t. It’s all just emotive guff.

    His repeated bleating about the disabled perfectly illustrates this.

  11. The entire reply manages to achieve the not inconsiderable feat of being even more illogical and filled with canards than a Murphy blogpost – the paragraphs about the disabled and his ‘fireman mate’ being particularly egregious red herrings….

  12. But the purpose of his reply isn’t to address any of the points made by SQ2. It’s to reassure his disciples that their beliefs still hold so he has to maintain his usual surge of effluent.

    If he had said “well, that’s a fair point” or “ooh, hadn’t thought of that” then his disciples might get doubts. And doubting disciples don’t pay the bills.

  13. I suppose it is too much too hope for Brand’s own bank to ring him up and have the following conversation:

    Good morning Mr Brand. Seeing as you have tarred us with the same brush as being evil capitalists and a detriment to society, the Board has taken the decision to close all your accounts and we’ll be putting a cheque in the post. Oh and we’ve added you to the customer black list. Your best bet is to go into one of those pawn shops that cashes cheques and see if they can help. Wanker.

  14. @Henry Crun.

    Or, the bank could tell him that instead of giving him a cheque, they will use the money to pay an additional sum of corporation tax that isn’t due, thus ensuring they will qualify for the fair tax mark.

  15. Brand has been quite clever again, though, just as he was with the Parklife episode. He realized that both the Parklife thing and Sq2’s letter went down very well with the public, so rather than rage against them and make himself seem like more of a prat, he decided to come across as nice about these things, and tried to turn them to his advantage.

    (The fact that in both cases he took a few days to do that makes me suspect that he was angry and upset to start with, and needed a few days to cool down. Possibly people around him also advised him to calm down before making a response.)

  16. Because of a combo of not enough time and not enoguh technical knowledge I can’t do it, but could someone with more of both do a proper line by line fisk of Brand and post it somewhere?

  17. Face it, we are living in a Randian/Orwellian distopia, and it isn’t going to get any better any time soon. In fact its going to have to go completely to rat shit before something possibly better (and only possibly) can crawl out of the ashes.

    And on that cheery note, a very Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 to all!

  18. @Widdershins

    ”Narcissism doesn’t even begin to cover it. Nor does hypocrite.”

    ‘Cunt’ covers most of it…

    You win the thread 🙂

  19. A few months ago, in response to the usual question of why he didn’t give his personal (enormous wealth) directly to the poor, Brand said that, “while it would be a ‘sweet’ gesture it wouldn’t solve anything.”

    Well…, that’s a bit of a lie, isn’t it? Someone I know has just come back from India. There, in a major city were children living in cardboard and plastic by the road, eating food from bins and playing in filth. Let’s say Brand gave his entire fortune away, directly to these people, didn’t bother with a charity, just got someone to find the most needy and desperate and give them enough for a home and school, would that not solve anything?

    I think he could probably permanently transform the lives of about 1000 desperately poor Indians, without any pain to himself. Yet he doesn’t. Instead he says that people who have the same – or more than him – but earned it doing different kind of work should pay.

    Imagine the PR success it would be.

    Yet, like most rich lefties, he doesn’t do it.

    You might almost get the impression they didn’t actually give a shit about poor people.

  20. I’m actually quite sympathetic to the idea of not bailing out banks, and locking up bankers who commit crimes rather than just throwing a fine at an organisation.

    The problem is that the whole angle is about burning more money on the pyre of the state. There’s no talk about the people who screwed up Connecting for Health, or spent £100m at the BBC on a digital production system that got canned.

  21. In addition the the foregoing good points Brand makes the huge error of confusing the cuts which are a difference in spending between two dates. and bonuses expressed as a total.

    To have any logic at all he should compare spending cuts with bonus cuts.

    But he didn’t because that would not make his point which was “ooooooooo look those two sets of digits are similar”.

    He could have made just as much sense by pointing to car number plates with a silly grin on his face.

  22. The Stigler, the problem was that in 2008 all the busted banks were Scottish or Northern English. That is, in Labour-voting areas.

    There’s no way that the one-eyed Scottish cunt was going to let any of them go to the wall.

  23. @ The Stigler
    I’m also quite keen on locking up bankers who commit crimes. The difficulty over LIBOR manipulation is that it wasn’t actually a crime. LIBOR was invented because people had stopped trusting any government-set benchmark after the Harold Will Soon era and the government did not pass any laws about it. If a banker had manipulated it to boost his/her profits and hence bonus then then he/she could have been charged with obtaining money under false pretences but you can’t arrest and jail somebody for something that isn’t illegal, however immoral.

  24. Given that politicians and the public simultaneously berate the banks for reckless lending AND not lending money to businesses (risky) it is possible to have some sympathy for them.

    Not much though.

  25. @John77

    If a banker had manipulated it to boost his/her profits and hence bonus…

    I thought that’s what they did in fact do. Or have I misremembered / misunderstood what went on?

    AFAIK, They (banks, collectively) deliberately understated the costs of interbank borrowing, which in turn directly affects LIBOR (and others). This violates American law as it affects derivatives, and Barclays et al got huge fines for it.

  26. Andrew C:
    “Ah but in arguing logically about the tax HMG gets from bonuses you are wasting your time. Why?”

    Just had that exact argument with a leftie lawyer friend on FB.

    Me: Russell Brand doesn’t seem to realise bankers pay tax.

    Him: They don’t.

    Me: Of course they pay tax on it, they’re employees on PAYE.

    Him: Bitch please. As if their bonuses aren’t squirrelled away as deferred dividends payable to some offshore investment vehicle.

    Me: So any evidence or just “As if….” ? Does that argument go down well in the courtroom too bud?

  27. Justin said: “AFAIK, They (banks, collectively) deliberately understated the costs of interbank borrowing, which in turn directly affects LIBOR (and others).”

    When interbank lending came to a halt I was surprised to learn just how flimsy a metric LIBOR is. It’s not the cost of lending between banks. It is a bank’s own estimate of the rate at which it thinks it could borrow money.

    It may well have been a useful metric when it first started but over time it seemed to have built up an unwarranted weight about it.

    There is a long article by Donald MacKenzie about it here.

  28. I suppose the problem with LIBOR is the Offer bit. What would you pay means nothing, what you do is all that matters, Revealed preferences and all that.

  29. “As if their bonuses aren’t squirrelled away as deferred dividends payable to some offshore investment vehicle.”

    Sigh. That would, of course, be taxable – under the disguised remuneration rules, if nothing else.

    I really wish people would realise that, for all their faults, HMRC are reasonably well up to speed with obvious tax planning like this. If you can think it up in a few seconds, it will almost certainly fail.

    Of course my main objection is that clients come up with whizzy ideas in a couple of seconds, but it takes ages to persuade them that actually HMRC is ahead of them. Ages of non-chargeable annoying-the-client-by-squashing-his-dreams time 🙁

  30. @ Justin
    The accusation is that a few (less than 1 in 1000) had filed false data to benefit someone else.
    But that is not a crime
    We may think that itought it ought to be a crime but until Parliament passes a law it isn’t.
    LIBOR is the *London Inter-Bank Offered Rate” yes London
    USA laws would not apply even if they existed

  31. Pingback: British Blogging | Longrider

  32. Of course my main objection is that clients come up with whizzy ideas in a couple of seconds, but it takes ages to persuade them that actually HMRC is ahead of them. Ages of non-chargeable annoying-the-client-by-squashing-his-dreams time 🙁

    This. I live and work around tax exiles, and a few of them start with the assumption that HMRC are completely stupid and were started up last week. You hear remarks like “Oh, I’ll buy X and just say that it’s for company use if they ever pick me up on it…” as if HMRC will sit and listen to throwaway explanations of why a tax return has been falsified. I point out that it’s more likely they’ll present you with a colossal bill and then the onus will be on *you* to prove it should be lower. Not something I’d want to go through.

    An uncle of mine in the 80s used to have all sorts of tax wheezes, putting money through a hobby farm, for example. All those loopholes were closed years ago, as you say, if an ordinary bloke can think it up on a whim then it was tried in the 80s and HMRC have been onto it since the 90s. I’ve found the only way to reliably avoid paying tax is to get your employer to pay it on your behalf and/or live in places where tax isn’t paid. For my part, I’ll be part of the French tax system before too long – such is the price for living in France, but I’ve had enough of living in shiteholes.

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