David Cameron’s policy advisor – Oliver Letwin – explicitly suggested that Scotland be used as a testing ground for the introduction of the poll tax, papers released under the 30-year rule have revealed.

The Cabinet Office minister emerges in official papers publicly released today (December 30) as the man who single-handedly kept the idea of the poll tax alive in the mid 1980s despite attempts by two senior ministers to strangle it at birth, according to The Guardian (and many other news sources).

“’If you are not willing to move to a pure residence charge in England and Wales immediately, you should not introduce a mixture of taxes but should rather use the Scots as a trail-blazer for the real thing,’ Letwin told Thatcher in a memo written in November 1985. Letwin, whose parents knew Thatcher, had got his job on the recommendation of the cabinet minister Sir Keith Joseph.”

This is interesting. Letwin got his job via the Old School Tie/Old Boy Network (in Thatcher’s case… no, it would still be the Old Boy Network), and his sponsor was Keith Joseph, one of the architects of Thatcherism, the strain of neoliberal ideology that had as its main aim the removal of any security – job, life, or health – for working class people, along with the crushing of the trade unions who had crusaded for that security (see previous articles on this site).

He then decided to use that position to lay into Scotland, and now he’s David Cameron’s policy advisor. Let’s hope any Scottish readers are paying close attention; do you really want to do anything that may lead to this monster getting back into Whitehall?

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, reacting to the revelations, said: “Oliver Letwin was a key architect of the poll tax – so enthusiastic about it he pressed Margaret Thatcher to push ahead with its introduction. Over the years he has called for further privatisation of the NHS and for public expenditure at 35 per cent of GDP. Today he is David Cameron’s policy chief at the heart of his Government. It seems that the Tory Party never changes.

“With a tax cut for millionaires and a secret plot for another VAT increase if they get in again, you just can’t trust the Tories on tax.”​

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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