Monday, 8 August 2022
The campaign of non-payment is an extremely high risk strategy, and I am neither encouraging anyone to join it, nor seeking to dissuade anyone from doing so. I am saying only that something like this has worked in the past.
Many others tried, but the only organisation that ever succeeded in getting rid of Margaret Thatcher was the Conservative Party. If it loved her in life as much as it loves in her death, then it had a very, very, very strange way of showing it.
In her memoirs, the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax makes it clear that she was under no delusion that she had been removed because of "Europe". That was the cover story, but "Europe" had not been the reason why scores of Conservative MPs had been on course to lose their seats.
The content, rather than the tone, of that policy did not change under her successor. By contrast, the Poll Tax was abolished completely, with a reversion to the previous system of domestic rates in all but name. The Conservatives then unexpectedly won the General Election of 1992, at which Thatcher retired from the House of Commons.
She made absolutely no bones about the fact that the campaign against the Poll Tax had been organised by the Militant Tendency, and that is perfectly true. When she said that her defenestration and the Poll Tax's consequent abolition had been a capitulation to Militant, then she was wholly correct.
The question is what level of cooperation there was, entirely bypassing the Labour front bench and the Opposition Whips' Office, between Militant on one side and Conservative MPs on the other. Dave Nellist was always hugely popular across the House. Think on.
And while thinking on, consider that had it been left to the Labour Party, then the Poll Tax would still be there. This might be the only possible route to bringing our utilities and other essential amenities back into our own public ownership rather than that of other people's states, which overcharge here in order to keep prices low at home.