A handbag?

There’s a plan to honour Maggie with a statue in Parliament Square. And why not? The Iron Lady was responsible for so much that needed to be done in the ’80s. Even the Poll Tax, her downfall, was well-intentioned. Is there a fairer, less discriminatory way to tax a population? Scargill and his ilk were bankrupting British industry. And Argentina needed a good slap, even when the Americas couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to agree.

Her daughter, Carol wants her image to carry her iconic handbag, but this new work omits it. It certainly epitomises Maggie’s approach to Europe.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

15 thoughts on “A handbag?”

  1. Can you imagine what a certain pink eared furry one would have thought of this plan? He hated Thatcher with or without handbag.

  2. What a pity Maggie is now just an amalgam of half-truths. She was the woman of her time, in every sense.

  3. Ah well! Some of us have rather less than happy memories of Maggie. Although, I admit mine are probably not as ferocious as the ‘pink eared furry one’. I thought Maggie’s policies sound, and voted for her. But when I realised just how she was going to implement those policies – I gave up voting. And I suspect that the ‘furry one’ has more problem with the implementation of her policies than the policies per se.

    As to her Poll Tax, Janus – as the expert on the 14th C Poll Taxes (which in case anyone doesn’t remember was the supposed cause of the Peasant’s Revolt – now, rightly, seen more as a revolt by an emerging middle class) I offered to do a Time Watch slot on the subject. I was asked what I would say. I wanted to point out that Thatcher’s PT was based on the same false premises as the PT of 1381, which, because of the way it was assessed, was actually the most ‘unfair’ of all three poll taxes (1377, 1379 & 1381) and led to the virtual abandonment of any form of per capita tax thereafter – until Maggie.

    I was told that my views were not ‘politically acceptable’ and they asked someone else to do the ‘slot’ – a guy I knew very well – my data allowed him to analyse the main protagonists of the 1381 Revolt. I make no apologies for the fact that I chuckled (very loudly and very smugly!) at the ensuing riots. I think it will be a long time before any one tries that sort of taxation again.

    Nonetheless, whatever my views on Maggie – her statue should include ‘the handbag’.

  4. As you have guessed, your historical knowledge far exceeds mine but in principle, isn’t the idea that every adult should contribute to local gubmint costs a fair one, just like NICs at national level?

  5. Janus – The principle that every adult should pay to fund various ‘gubmints’ is indeed a worthy ideal. As I said, it is the manner in which it is assessed that is the problem.

    Maggie always said she had no time for history … pity she could have learnt a lot!

    Just one example. In 1371, the Commons, in its efforts to spread the burden of taxation more widely (most especially onto tenants-at-will, labourers, servants and the like who had benefitted from a much reduced population after the various outbreaks of plague after 1349) imposed a tax of 22s 3d on every parish in England. The idea was to raise a specific sum of money.

    Sounded great – especially to those landowners (in the Commons) who were facing larger tax burdens because new tenants were refusing to cough up to the traditional taxes imposed on villages, towns, etc as well as lots of wealthy merchants and artisans who did not pay towards the traditional levies in towns, boroughs and cities.

    But there was a slight problem! No one actually knew how many parishes there were There were, in fact, far fewer parishes than was thought… and within short order the tax had to be increased to 116s 0d per parish to ensure that the sum levied was what was required.

    I leave you to consider how fair it was that a parish with, say, 23 families, should pay the same as a York parish, with some 150 families.

    As I understand it, the calculations as to how much every adult should pay to meet the sums required under Maggie’s PT was also seriously underestimated…

    … and there was no effort to make sure that those who were clearly more able to pay more did so.

  6. Thanks, Boa. In a kinda optimistic mood, I wonder whether the gubmint shouldn’t take the trouble to come up with a fair version. The benefits, revenue-wise, would seem to justify the effort.

  7. Janus. “The Devil is in the Detail”.

    Part of the problem is that Councils, and the like, need to raise specific amount. So, like the 1371 Parish Tax, the 1381 Poll Tax and Maggie’s Tax, all of which needed to raise a specific sum, the imposing authorities needed to know just who would be liable to pay – and how much each individual should ‘fairly’ pay to meet the required target.

    People’s situations change… and, unless there is a full-scale evaluation every year those who are ‘exempt’ in one year will be ‘exempt’ for some time thereafter and more and more people will claim immunity – thus increasing the burden on those still liable for whatever ‘tax’ it is.

    The cost of assessing every single individual, every time a tax / rate is imposed would be so great as to not make it financially worth while.

  8. Yes, but doesn’t the Revenue and Customs outfit do just that every year for all working folk? Self-employed people’s incomes change all the time, others lose their jobs or get hired but magically 🙂 they are all taxed ‘properly’. With modern IT capacity I do think it’s possible to add a poll tax.

  9. Oh! Come on Janus! Do you really think that everyone is honest about their income? I’m sure you are, as I am… but far too much of what the tax authorities have to work on is ‘self-assessment’…

  10. I thought the Poll Tax was OK simply because it was less than the rates. I would get rid of rates/Council Tax because it’seems just as unfair as the Poll Tax was perceived to be, the value of someone’s house doesn’t reflect their ability to pay.

  11. I rather like Lady Thatcher. Her intentions were good and she was a radical at a time when Britain needed just that. Like many radicals, however, her execution of even many essentially good policies could be brutal and at times she went too far. That is why there are opposition parties — to limit the damage any single political movement can inflict on the country. That, incidentally, is also why party factionalism can be a very good thing. Britain in 2017 is in a far better position than it was in 1977.A truly radical PM isn’t necessary, just a sensible one.

  12. Boa, of course there are cheats already. Some get caught, many probably don’t. So a poll tax would not be less fair than the status quo, and have the advantage of not being based on property, as Jazz says. Why should renters not be taxed for their use of services? Roads, refuse collection, police, emergency services, etc? Obviously the idea is unpopular but I don’t see why.

  13. Jazz – not in MK where my daughter lived!

    I have absolutely no problem with every single adult paying towards the services that Councils provide. But I do have a problem with a straight per capita tax.Other factors should be taken into account, such as income, etc. That Maggie T, in a big house in Dulwich, was paying the same amount as a lowly office worker living in a bed-sit in Brixton does not seem one bit equitable.

    I couldn’t agree more that the value of one’s property does not reflect the ability of people’s ability to pay. As would seem pretty obvious (well to me and probably to thee), many people (especially the elderly who have lived in their homes for years) may be asset rich, but cash poor. And since Local Councils and Governments don’t accept payments like 10 bricks and 3 roof-slates – it is quite ridiculous to expect people pay real money according to the ‘value’ of their homes.

    Janus – the idea is unpopular and you really don’t know why? Might I suggest that it is because the number of non-house-owners (renters, adults living at home, students, etc, etc) is far greater than the number of people who own (well their mortgage company does!) their own property. The notion that the ‘rich’ should subside the ‘poor’ (1381 Poll Tax directive!) has morphed into the notion that the ‘rich’ includes anyone and everyone who has made the effort to provide for themselves should subsidise those who don’t bother.

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