Alex Salmond v Poll Tax 173


Alex Salmond is right to move to block attempts by Labour councils to use the new voter registrations for the referendum to catch people for twenty five year old Poll Tax default. The truth is the Labour Party is motivated not by a desire to collect the tax, but by an intention to chase the newly enfranchised back off the voters register. The Poll Tax is universally acknowledged as unjustifiably inequitable and punitive on the poor – that is why it was abolished. The very idea of digging out these ancient debts is disgusting.

The Guardian report by Labour Party hack Severin Carrell states that

David O’Neill, president of the Scottish councils’ umbrella organisation, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), was furious, branding it “the oddest decision ever to come out of the Scottish government”.

Carrell fais to mention that O’Neill is a senior Labour Party politician. The referendum showed Labour and Tory to be united in Scotland. Seeing the Labour Party now determined to pursue poor people for Thatcher’s tax should drive home the lesson.

The Scottish National Party at Westminster voted unanimously against the current bombing of Iraq – which will cost the money to be saved by freezing desperately needed benefits for a year. Alex Salmond is not perfect, but again and again he shows himself the most senior politician in Britain who has some genuine beliefs founded in humanity, and acts upon them.


173 thoughts on “Alex Salmond v Poll Tax

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    Wasn’t the Poll Tax payable to the regional councils? I ask, because (eg) when the regions were reconfigured as unitary authorities in 1996, Glasgow and Argyll and Bute became detached from the former Strathclyde, and the distribution of the recovered loot between them would be contentious at best. Also, Heseltine conceded when the PT was abolished that it had been ‘uncollectable’. How is it going to be any more collectable now? Are individual data relating to the inadequate rebates hastily conceded to low-earners even still available? Since several rejigs of the DSS? I think the Labour councillors are about to repeat the mistake the Tories made. And may find resistance to paying, not only the PT, but the community charge, if they are permitted to proceed.

    Salmond’s got it right.

  • TonyF12

    Hear, Hear, Craig,

    Can we have Alex as P.M. down south, please? He also talks more sense about the NHS and Trident than anyone in the Westminster cabinet.

  • Craig P

    I remember at the time that Labour in Scotland were keen to be disassociated from the poll tax non-payment campaign, the real answer according to them was not to break the law, but vote Labour who would change the law once in power. However the tax was so unpopular and unenforceable it was abolished well before Labour got into office.

    Although they advocated payment at the time, for Labour councils now to chase up these long-abandoned, Tory-associated debts is astonishing. It is as if they are doing their damndest to destroy support for their own party.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Thanks Craig, the thought that Labour are trying to collect a Tory tax is laughable.It shows just how much they have lost it.But then as we saw at their conference they’ve dropped red in favour of T Mobile Magenta and not one of them on camera knew the words to “the red flag”.
    If Miliband was hoping Scotland to put him in # 10 ,I fear he will be disappointed.

  • fred

    Don’t councils just hand unpaid council tax over to private companies for collection?

    The Highland Council uses a firm called Scott and co, I would think it is more than likely them who search the electoral rolls for people who owe money.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    ‘After U.S. Sanctions & Wars Tore Iraq Apart, Can American-Led Strikes Be Expected to Save It?’
    No. How do you feel about nonpayers of an unfair and long-scrapped tax being pursued 20 years later?

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Scott & Co are the dirty deeds done cheap people Fred.Someone pays their wages or % of the bounty.

  • fred

    “Scott & Co are the dirty deeds done cheap people Fred.Someone pays their wages or % of the bounty.”

    I know what they are and what they do. They probably have databases of outstanding debts which they cross reference with the electoral roll as a matter of process, that is how they make their money.

    I can’t believe the elected representatives on the council have any influence at all over them or indeed over the council’s own finance department. I know people who have been chased for historic community charge debts, some for debts they didn’t even owe, they are ruthless, always have been, this is an example of what they do.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    ‘I can’t believe the elected representatives on the council have any influence at all over them or indeed over the council’s own finance department’

    No they are totally innocent of their actions,. off course, thats public service alright, no accountability for their actions.
    I can’t believe night follows day, still, after all these years.

  • Phil

    Do scumbag bailiffs only check the electoral role? I doubt that. They use other dbs available (eg credit check).

    I have never heard of anyone being chased for poll tax non-payment. No ones chased me. Is this just a Scotland thing?

    This sounds like bollocks politics and fear mongering. It never was going to happen.

  • craig Post author

    Fred,

    David O’Neill is an elected Labour politician, arguing for the Councils’ (plural) right to pursue these old debts. This is not an independent initiative by a debt collection agency.

    You appear pathologically incapable of admitting that Alex Salmond is ever right about anything – where you can’t defend the opposite position, you go into denial and pretend that what Salmond is opposing does not exist.

  • craig Post author

    Phil,

    So David O’Neill does not really exist? It is not invented. Read the Guardian report. The Labour councils are actually doing this. The Guardian does not of course identify either the councils or )’Neill as Labour.

  • pete

    The Poll Tax was repressive, iniquitous and unfair, it is utterly wrong that the Labour Party should have any part in trying to resurrect the collection of these outstanding debts. It seems to me to be behaviour not morally dissimilar to the hedge funds who bought up some of default debts of Argentina and are now suing them in the American courts. A legal right is not a moral right.

  • Phil

    Craig
    “So David O’Neill does not really exist?”

    I have no idea and made no such claim. I said it was bollox politics and never was going to happen.

    There are several aspects of this that are nonsense. The idea that bailiffs rely on the electoral role being one. But mainly, have you heard of anyone being pursued for non payment of poll tax recently? Say this century? Or in the last 20 years? I haven’t. I would be very surprised if it is happening down here and I had never heard of it. I would also be surprised because no one has come after me. That’s why I asked if this 20 year on pursuit of poll tax defaulters had only been happening in Scotland. I look forward to someone coming up with some cases.

    This stinks of bollox political posturing from bollox politicians and not based on anything that is or was ever going to happen. Even if it is in the Guardian.

  • Phil

    OK so I read the article.

    “Scottish councils seized nearly £400,000 in unpaid poll tax charges last year.”

    If that is true then obviously I am wrong. It would be good to have that confirmed from another source.

  • fred

    “David O’Neill is an elected Labour politician, arguing for the Councils’ (plural) right to pursue these old debts. This is not an independent initiative by a debt collection agency.

    You appear pathologically incapable of admitting that Alex Salmond is ever right about anything – where you can’t defend the opposite position, you go into denial and pretend that what Salmond is opposing does not exist.”

    Your article seems to support my argument, £400,000 pounds collected by councils for poll tax arrears last year. Councils have always been ruthless in collecting unpaid debts. Nothing has changed, the Councils just carried on business as normal.

    If an opposition MSP has opposed SNP proposals to make changes well yet again that is what opposition MSPs are there for, that is their job. If you think everyone in the world should automatically agree with everything Salmond does and says then just declare him King as no doubt he and you would like. Forget democracy.

    There were a lot of people objected to poll tax, a lot of people went out on the streets and protested, me included but at the end of the day the tax was there to pay for our services, pay for our children’s schools, pay for road and street lighting and some might say even those who didn’t agree with the finer points still had a duty to contribute. Some might say it was so long ago it doesn’t matter now, others might say that’s what Rolf Harris said. There is an alternative viewpoint and people have a right to put that viewpoint.

  • nigel

    The ONLY meaningful resources which Scotland MUST gain control over are, control over the oil and whisky taps.

    Anything else is meaningless and is only swapping around the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    I can tell you now, that London will NOT devolve one iota of her power over these vast resources. Therefore, this whole commission thingy is one vast waste of time-Its ONLY purpose is to kick the whole subject into the long grass, never to be seen again!

    Therefore, if the Scots are to progress at all, then they must be prepared to think outside the Westminster box

  • craig Post author

    Nigel

    Agreed absolutely it is essential all revenues are included (although income tax, VAT and corporation tax are also very significant, you exaggerate to make your case).

  • Gary

    I have been a debt collector for several large organisations including HMRC. The age of a debt is no barrier to collection as long as you have been pursuing it, if you do not pursue it for a continuous period of six years then you may not continue to do so. There ARE exceptions to this and, it may be, that because this is a ‘tax’ it is one of those exceptions. If I were a debt collector for any of these councils I would definitely be checking through the records of newly registered voters and seeing if I could match them up with old debts with a view to pursuing collection. The one thing I WOULDN’T do is tell anyone about it. I wouldn’t want to give them the opportunity to disappear again without having either paid or having legal action taken. To state the bloody obvious this information was not released by a debt collector to whom publicity is anathema, but released by councillors supporting the union with the aim of disenfranchising the electorate and discouraging others. NB only a tiny number of cases of this age will exist and an even smaller number will be collectible. Pure black propaganda and anti democratic propaganda at that.

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    fred 3 Oct, 2014 – 12:55 pm

    “If an opposition MSP has opposed SNP proposals to make changes well yet again that is what opposition MSPs are there for, that is their job.”

    David O’Neill isn’t an MSP, he’s a councillor, and the job of an opposition MSP isn’t to oppose changes.

  • fred

    “David O’Neill isn’t an MSP, he’s a councillor, and the job of an opposition MSP isn’t to oppose changes.”

    Then his job is to represent the councils, no different, he is there to protect the councils interests and the councils interests is to get every penny they can.

  • nevermind, there's a future, still

    Thanks for that Gary, very helpful to know the mechanics of what is and is not possible/allowed.

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