Week 28: Villain – Arctic Monkeys

by Jackie_South on July 13, 2014

AM_VillainOur regular panel has decided to award the Arctic Monkeys our Villain of the Week trophy for tax dodging

It is with some considerable sadness that we are bestowing our Villain of the Week award on the Arctic Monkeys.  Both Ray and I have posted songs from them in the past in our Songs To Learn And Sing contributions. They are arguably the greatest band the UK has produced this millennium.

Still, in the words of Ralph Fiennes from In Bruges, “You’ve got to stick to your principles”, no matter how painful the consequences.

On Thursday, the very day that up to a million public sector workers went on strike to protest the impact of austerity on both their livelihoods and the services that they deliver, it was revealed that the four current members of the band were complicit in ensuring that HM Treasury does not have the money to pay the tab. Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley, Matt Helders and, sadly yes, Alex Turner each paid between £38,000 and £84,000 to the Liberty tax-dodging scheme to shelter between £557,000 and £1.1 million from the tax man.

They were not on their own: Liberty had 1,600 clients to dodge a total of £1.2 billion, including the less surprising Gary Barlow and Sir Michael Caine. Others caught out included Katie Melua (who had previously claimed pride in paying almost half her income in tax), George Michael (who had said he was happy to pay his tax to a Labour government – his involvement in Liberty pre-dated May 2010) and convicted rapist Loan shark Paul Nicholson.

But it is the Arctic Monkeys who have let us down most. So far, they have resolutely refused to say anything about it (both Melua and previous culprit Jimmy Carr have at least had the good grace to apologise). A band that was steeped in its working class Sheffield roots seems to have made one more step away from where they came from to wallow in their own greed. I’d argue it was a Faustian pact: whilst last year’s AM got good reviews, they have not produced anything post-fame that measures up to their debut.

Indeed my message to the Arctic Monkeys would be to quote a certain band:

‘Cause all you people are vampires
And all your stories are stale
And though you pretend to stand by us
I know you’re certain we’ll fail

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