Chapter Version 1.1 [19MAR2013]
This Chapter is a continuation of my previous one, which outlined the idea of ‘exposing solutions’, in order to complement an Internet-full of ‘problem exposures’.
Can I tell you a story? It is the truth.
Do you remember the Poll Tax, in the early 1990s? Do you remember what happened to it (and to its instigator, Margaret Thatcher)?
Well, I’ll refresh your memory by reminding you (if, of course, you needed reminding!) that the Poll Tax cost about £19 billion to introduce in 1989 (in Scotland, and then a year later in the rest of the UK). It lasted all of four years (amid massive rioting) until 1993, when it was replaced by its close cousin, the Council Tax.
Yes, the Poll Tax caused massive upheaval. And yes, it sparked a series of riots nationwide, but its actual demise was for other reasons.
The first reason was that it was the most stupid idea ever conceived. But, that wasn’t enough to defeat it by itself. Psychopathic Magistrates, all over the country, were only too happy fling their weight around, by jailing people who simply couldn’t, or (as in my own case) wouldn’t, pay it.
And that started to fill up the jails. To fill them up at such a rate that the ‘system’ struggled to cope. In those heady days it was estimated that it cost £2,500 PER WEEK to keep EACH SINGLE PRISONER. (Anyone who has ever been inside a prison, and looked around, will understand why it will cost so much). (This was a fact that the psychopathic Magistrates completely ignored). I leave the Reader to do the arithmetic necessary to create a similar estimate for 2013 … or perhaps a Freedom of Information Request would be in order?
Now, bear that in mind. The 28 days I spent ‘at Her Majesty’s pleasure’ cost £10,000. And I didn’t pay it. And I didn’t pay the £525 Poll Tax demand either.
So, how’s that for ‘economics’?
I was one of about 2,000 people who accepted a jail term rather than pay up. Depending on whereabouts they were in the country, people got up to NINE MONTHS. A gentleman, in Sunderland, called Norman Laws, refused to pay on the basis that “He’d fought for this country in WWII, and he hadn’t fought for a Poll Tax”. At 69 years old, they jailed him for 3 months. The following year, at age 70, he was still refusing, and was jailed for 6 months. The following year (1993), at age 71, they jailed him for 9 months.
Now, let’s just add up the bill for Norman, shall we? First of all, zero payment coming in from Norman. Whereas 3 + 6 + 9 months = 18 months, or one and a half years, in total. By my arithmetic, based on 52 weeks in a year, that’s 52 + 26 = 78 weeks. At £2,500 per week, that’s a total cost of £195,000 ... JUST FOR NORMAN ALONE!
I repeat, how’s that for ‘economics’?
Well, obviously it isn’t ‘economics’, is it?
I don’t know what the average sentence was, but let’s say it was nearer 3 months. My arithmetic puts that at a grand total COST = £65,000,000. Sixty-five MILLION.
Not economics, by any stretch. Those calculations completely ignore the costs of ‘processing’ from beginning to end, by the Council, by the Magistrates Courts, by the Police, etc. You are entirely welcome to roll in cost factors for all that (you can include policing of the riots as well), but the point is THE DEMISE OF THE POLL TAX WAS DUE TO ‘HITTING THEM WHERE IT HURTS MOST’ i.e. ‘in the pocket’!
So, the conclusion we can draw from this is (surely): Non-compliance by even just a tiny number of people ... who have sufficient resolve ... can hit them hard enough in the pocket ... so as to render ANYTHING they do not a viable proposition.
Yes, it may take people with sufficient resolve to accept jail time. But, having experienced that myself, I’m here to say it really isn’t so bad at all. Especially if, as a CIVIL prisoner, you realise you are doing it on the basis of ‘conscience’. And, I can assure you, both the Prison Staff, and the other inmates, will sort-of respect that (especially the Prison Staff).
Now, I’m NOT encouraging anyone to do anything to land themselves in jail. It may be quite possible, with a sufficient increase in numbers, and exposure of these ‘hidden costs’ (which no-one else seems to consider), that no-one actually goes to jail. That would certainly be, and is always, the basis of any plan I come up with.
What I’m trying to do is to point out that Dedicated Non-Compliance works. And it works far better than any other method I’ve ever seen, such as petitions, letter-writing complains, demonstrations, etc. (And please bear in mind that I’ve been involved in all of these actions, at various times in my life).
Now, that was a bit of history. And, as I said at the start of this article, the Poll Tax eventually ‘morphed’ into today’s Council Tax. (By the way, if you look at the Council Tax Legislation, and consider the speed at which Michael Heseltine invoked the changeover, you might very easily come to the conclusion that they took the Poll Tax legislation, and simply did a “Find/Replace” on the words “Community Charge”).
I’m running a bit ahead of myself when I say “ALL Taxation, of any kind” is unlawful. (Yes, it’s “legal”, but it isn’t “lawful”), because I have yet to explain that aspect. Nevertheless there are many people in the UK who understand that statement, and its implications. And they are out there fighting, in various ways, to kill the Council Tax.
The original method of killing the Poll Tax i.e. ‘hitting the system in the pocket’, is more difficult these days. The reason is that ‘the system’ has learned that ‘jailing people’ killed the Poll Tax. Consequently, in the case of Council Tax, it is far more reluctant to go that far (even though that penalty is still in the legislation).
But it doesn’t work. They know that. So they have gone for more ‘creative’ methods, such as creating bankruptcies – even though such bankruptcies, along with their other ‘creative methods’, ARE NOT ACTUALLY ALLOWED by legislation. (But we are dealing with a ‘system’ that is so endemically corrupt, little things like that can readily be swept under the carpet).
It is a plain fact that, if ‘the system’ was honest, non-deceptive, non-fraudulent, and ‘played by the book’, it couldn’t do very much at all. Thus it needs to be dishonest and endemically corrupt, in order to actually BE ‘the system’.
Nevertheless, the ‘benefit’ is that – threats and intimidations aside – the chances of actually ending up behind bars has dramatically reduced, since the 1990s. It is now more of a rarity, tending to be reserved for ‘prominent figures’. The problem with that is (as far as ‘the system’ is concerned) it turns ‘prominent figures’ into ‘martyrs’.
Thus Dedicated Non-Compliance can still be very effective, if approached from the point of knowledge and understanding of what you would face, and how to deal with it effectively.
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