Poll tax shall forever be Thatcher’s legacy

Inevitably the death of a political figure prompts much retrospective analysis, especially as to their legacy. The most succinct analysis that seems to be heard of the Thatcher years is that she implemented necessary reforms, and then some, causing much pain to those less well off. The infamous poll tax, a tax imposed per resident to replace council rates, was the worst of these. Like the Goods and Service Tax here, it was the very worst kind of tax- a regressive one, which highlights one of my fundamental issues with conservatism- measures implemented under the banner of ‘equality’ which really harm those worst off the most. By shifting from a much fairer progressive tax to a flat tax, she clearly demonstrated the nasty contempt that certain sections of conservatism seem to have for those less well off.


5 thoughts on “Poll tax shall forever be Thatcher’s legacy

  1. Cadman Kelly

    Bro, I am disappointed. You forgot everything good thing Thatcher did (Falklands, restoring the balance of power between government and unions, the ending of the miners’ strike, etc.), but I’ll set that aside.

    Was the poll tax a good idea? Conjecture, either way. It wasn’t well implemented, certainly. Was it going to be unpopular? Yes.
    Was it a hard decision, one that needed to be made? Yes.

    Think what would have become of Britain without Thatcher: if the public had voted in another doormat like Wilson. So, Britain sans Thatcher:

    – Argentine-controlled Falklands
    – Argentina still under the Junta (losing the Falklands War was the straw that broke the camel’s back)
    – Irrelevant, Third-World Britain
    – Unions holding the UK to ransom
    – 29.5 million working days were lost, before the full force of Thatcher hit, driving it down to 2 million. Imagine how high it would be without Thatcher.
    – Moreover, more jobs were lost BEFORE Thatcher than DURING Thatcher.

    THAT is Thatcher’s legacy. A bunch of hard, unpopular decisions that had to be made, and turned out to be the right ones. The poll tax should be forgotten as an aberration- we should remember the good choices that were made.

    1. ramblingsofapoliticsstudent Post author

      What you have said is to some extent valid; hence, I quite deliberately chose to limit my comment to the poll tax on which I felt that I had gleaned sufficient knowledge to comment. On other issues, such as the Falklands, I feel she did what was appropriate and ought to be applauded for protecting British sovereignty. On the wider issue of the reforms she implemented, doubtless, Britain needed to be modernised, but as the Hawke/Keating government showed here, it could have been done in a more sensitive fashion with equal success.

    2. Cadman Kelly

      I forgot: She defeated the IRA as well, so there’s that. Of course, Gerry Adams and his stooges were sore about that, Thatcher raping their country like that, and turning it into a stable republic and helping the economy to grow in turn (which fell through because of America falling through), and mindlessly infiltrating the brave fighting terrorists of the IRA, good GOD, how could she be so vicious!?! Saving Ireland from self-destruction like that… tut tut.

      But hey, rose tinted vision- Thatcher was a Conservative and an enemy of the miners and the proletariat- QED she was worse than Stalin and on par with Hitler. Preventing a HUGE sectarian conflict right next door was obviously the wrong thing to do- they should have sat on their hands like Labour did.

      1. ramblingsofapoliticsstudent Post author

        On the question of Ireland, I think it is overly simplistic to state that Thatcher solved the problem; it was only really the Good Friday agreement brokered by Tony Blair in 1998 that brought a permanent end to the issue. Some of the worst years of the Troubles came after Thatcher’s prime ministership (over 100 people died in 1991, and 1993 saw atrocities such as the Shankill Road bombing and the Greysteel massacre). Whilst her hard line did have some benefits, it also hardened the resolve of republicans, to some extent rendering her attitude counter productive.

  2. Cadman Kelly

    I don’t doubt she didn’t end it officially, not for a second, but the British Army become so entrenched in the IRA during Thatcher’s time they were ready to vote themselves out of existence- which they pretty much did, with the results being CIRA and RIRA. Without that, the IRA might have (and that’s in the sense of ‘probably would have’) dodged the blow that eventually made them collapse.


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