Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher will mainly be remembered for the Poll Tax. It must have exasperated her advisers to patiently explain that every political and financial expert opposed it when asked for advice.

One objection was that it was unfair but she did not waste a moment with that. So long as she told us it was fair and called it a community charge not a poll tax all would be well.

The other problem was that it was unworkable. This would make any sane person pause but the lady was not for turning.

Common sense would tell you that you cannot tax people who have no money but she had her answer. Non-payers were imprisoned. At the height of the campaign against the poll tax there were 15 million non-payers. They were people of principle who would not pay and people in poverty who could not pay. The most arrogant megalomaniac would pause before imprisoning 15 million people. It was the sheer logistics which defeated her.

She was not for turning but her own party turned her out and the poll tax was a major factor in her ignominious defeat.

Of course the bankers will be drinking a glass in her beloved memory. However we should spare a thought for the miners' wives and the Argentine widows. For them the passing of the Iron Lady must be a cause of deep emotion.

Derek McMillan

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