We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Britain’s ‘grey army’ mobilises for action

David Carr got the general gist of news today in his post on Goodfellas government and their audacity to charge your for wanting to do things as well as for not wanting to do them anymore because the government made them too expensive. Apart from drafting regulations in the style ‘damned if you do, damn if you don’t’, the anal bureaucratic busybodies have been, well, busy putting the local council taxes up.

The council tax is the amount local governments are allowed to raise on top of the ‘grants’ (i.e. taxpayers money) they receive from the central government. The modern and fair NuLabour government has for the last five years increased the council tax by between 3 and 4 percent above the rate of inflation. It has also ‘redistributed wealth’ away from the South of England to the North, where most Labour supporters reside. The South may be richer than the North but its local governments are no less greedy and are making up the ‘shortfall’ by increasing taxed by about 15 percent.

This is leaving many pensioners on the verge of poverty and they are getting angry. Tony Fowle does not look much like a revolutionary, more like the kind of grandfather that he actually is: a retired finance manager with a love of steam railways, an ex-National Serviceman who proudly wears his RAF tie. Yet this week he is organising a march in Bornemouth where the Labour Party’s annual conference is taking place:

If the Government doesn’t listen, there’s going to be a mass rebellion. In 1994 my council tax bill was £507.50. Now it’s £1,166.30. I’ve had enough. Every pensioner has had enough. Yes, I might withhold payment. Yes, I’m prepared to go to court. I’m fighting for those applying for benefits because they can’t afford these council tax hikes. I am a law-abiding citizen. I have never disobeyed anybody in my life. It is really upsetting me that these kind of actions are needed now.

Leaving aside our views on government taxation and its distribution, local or otherwise, this is portentous. The British are not a protesting people and the fact that large number of pensioners across the country are willing to engage in civil disobedience is verging on absurd. Imagine your favourite auntie dragging herself away from her tea doilies in order to march in protest to the government…

Nevertheless, this is the generation that remembers the times when collective effort meant something and I just hope they will mobilise with the same determination they had some 50 years ago.

2 comments to Britain’s ‘grey army’ mobilises for action

  • Hmm. This reminds me of the description of Morton’s Fork, which goes something like “You are doing [this thing] so here’s the tax on it, or since you’re not doing [this thing] you can certainly afford the tax!”

  • Sandy P.

    mid-1980s, D-IL and head of the money committee Dan Rostenkowski, dared to suggest a senior program be cut.

    They protested him, he got into his car and one ended up on the hood (jumped on, wasn’t hit).

    Much excitement ensued.

    Forget not paying taxes protest at a meeting. all those grey-haired seniors against the big bad government.

    If you can find 1 million to protest against the war, this should be no problem.