Socialist Worker

Papers show Tories thought poll tax ‘proceeding smoothly’

Issue No. 2535

Smooth implementation of the Poll Tax

Smooth implementation of the Poll Tax (Pic: James Bourne/Wikimedia commons)


Margaret Thatcher was threatened with a fine for failing to register herself for the hated poll tax which triggered her downfall.

The tax triggered non-payment and riots led to her leaving Downing Street in tears after being dumped as Tory leader in 1990.

Early the previous year, local authorities in England and Wales began issuing poll tax registration forms.

Documents released from the National Archive reveal that the Cabinet Office complained it was “most inappropriate” to issue a single form “asking a number of essentially personal questions” about Downing street.

Westminister council then threatened Thatcher with a fine to get the information.

Meanwhile ministers believed implementation of the poll tax in Scotland was “proceeding smoothly” .

Scottish secretary Malcolm Rifkind told the cabinet in April 1989 that the number of people who would refuse to pay would be “relatively small” north of the border.

Thatcher was even more bewildered by the protests against the tax. In March 1990 she told chancellor John Major she had always assumed the public would blame councils for rises.

On 31 March 1990 Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Peter Imbert told the prime minister some of his officers “came close to being murdered”. But it was Thacher who went. War criminal Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, said “It was worse than a death in the family.”


Thatcher agreed to a shoot to kill policy against anti-nuclear protesters.

Details of an October 1989 anti-nuclear break-in at HM Naval Base Clyde, at Faslane, are disclosed in a secret report.

They “utterly horrified” the prime minister.

Armed guards at the base were subsequently told they could “as a last resort, open fire” if they feared sabotage.

The Faslane Five were tried for trying to board submarine. The case collapsed when Dumbarton sheriff court ruled that there was no case to answer.


Spooks bought phone and smokes

A Birmingham man who gave cash to a Brussels bombing suspect claims he was recruited by MI5 and then “thrown to the wolves”.

Zakaria Boufassil said he held several meetings with the British spooks , who paid him £3,000 for information and bought him gifts, including cigarettes, a mobile phone and clothes.

Boufassil and Mohammed Ali Ahmed were jailed last month for handing over £3,000 to Mohamed Abrini.

Abrini was spotted on CCTV at Brussels airport just before the bombings in March last year.

Boufassil said the MI5 officers approached him after Abrini was arrested in April. Six weeks after sharing what he knew with MI5 about his meeting with Abrini, Boufassil was arrested by West Midlands police on his return from a holiday in Morocco. He claims to have paid for it with the money from MI5.

Boufassil tried to tell the jury about his alleged recruitment by MI5 but it was ruled out by the judge.


The US Air Force 134th Fighter Squadron carried out strikes against Islamic State from Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates on 25 December.

According to the airforce “The jet had a full load of eight GPS?guided Small Diameter Bombs. Many pilots wore a traditional red ‘Santa’ hat while flying on Christmas Day.”


A senior policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher claimed that cannabis use was so prevalent by black people that they gave the drug to babies.

Carolyn Sinclair, who later led a government unit responsible for promoting racial equality, said that the drug was “part of life” for black people in 1989.


FA told ‘we aren’t all brainless Barbie dolls’

the Football Association wants to get more girls into football.

This is a worthwhile and, you would have thought, simple enough task.

But a document on its website included suggestions that girls should be offered “colourful, nice smelling” bibs and pink whistles.

It suggests that teams should, “Advertise in places where girls go i.e. coffee shops or on the back of toilet doors.”

Girls at Lumley Primary School in County Durham wrote to the FA rightly taking issue with the tips.

They wrote, “We aren’t brainless Barbie dolls.

“We don’t all like the same colour—pink”.

Another added, “We don’t need pink whistles and we don’t have big mouths, so why do we need a big mouth water bottle.”


Knighted for contributions

A boss who has given nearly £1 million to the Tories headed this year’s New Year honours list.

Sir David Ord (above) has given more than £930,000 to the party since 2013.

Other Tory donors receiving honours this year include party treasurer Dominic Johnson, who lent the Cameron family his west London townhouse rent free when the former prime minister left office.

M&C Saatchi founding director Jeremy Sinclair, credited as the brains behind the famous Tory campaign poster showing Tony Blair with “demon eyes”, got a CBE.


Tory brings relief for game

Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger voiced his dismay at having to miss out on the shooting this winter.

The MP, who is a descendant of Queen Victoria, had to hand in his weapons after forgetting to renew his firearms licence.

Liddell-Grainger accused Avon and Somerset police of “utter incompetence” after being told it will take no less than 16 weeks to issue a new one.

Not to leap to plods’ defence but the incompetence is surely Liddell-Grainger’s.


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