THE COMMUNITY CHARGE HOW WILL IT WORK FOR YOU? by Jane Burn

Proletarian Poetry

wattylerIn 1381 Wat Tyler led the peasant revolt against Richard II’s poll tax (Richard was a uppity fifteen year old at the time). The Black Death of thirty-five years prior had wiped out more than a third of the population, leading to a shortage of labour, thus increasing the power of the peasantry. The lords and landowners wanted to raise more money, in particular as the war with France was proving very costly. The peasants wanted a wage rise, the aristocracy wanted a poll tax. Things got a bit out of hand when Tyler’s lot marched on London from Kent, riots ensued, the King gave in, but was weak to implement promises, and Tyler had his neck slashed.

poll tax londonThatcher tried to do a Richard II in the late days of her reign. The Community Charge, aka the Poll Tax, was the introduction of a per head tax, which negatively…

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