Sunday, 26 February 2017
It is important that Michael Heseltine cites his opposition to the Poll Tax as the precedent for his impending rebellion against Brexit.
The Poll Tax had put the Conservatives anything up to 20 points behind a Labour Party the Leader of which had offered that levy nothing more than formal Opposition.
The mass campaign of demonstration and non-payment had been organised by Neil Kinnock's archenemies, the Militant Tendency, which to this day crows that it brought down Margaret Thatcher.
In her autobiography, she bitterly endorsed that view, calling the abandonment of the Poll Tax the biggest surrender that the British State had ever made to the Far Left.
The Poll Tax was replaced with the nearest thing to the rates that Heseltine and John Major dared to introduce while hoping to retain any semblance of dignity.
Meanwhile, actual policy on Europe, rather than a single outburst in the heat of a single parliamentary moment, remained unchanged.
Thatcher then, out of office, adopted a Eurosceptical view. But it bore no resemblance to anything that she had ever done in practice as Prime Minister.
That had just been the excuse.
In truth, it had been about the Poll Tax, about domestic policy, about the money in people's monthly pay packets.
What will be Theresa May's Poll Tax? As an excuse, Brexit is ready and waiting.