Failure in British Government: The Politics of the Poll Tax

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Oxford University Press, 1994 - Great Britain - 342 pages
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Reviled by the public and disowned by most of its authors, the poll tax is the most celebrated disaster in post-war British politics. This book tells for the first time the full and gripping story of the policy that toppled the century's longest-serving Prime Minister and brought grandmothers onto the streets in protest. Margaret Thatcher, Nigel Lawson, Michael Heseltine, and virtually the entire cast of 1980s British politics feature as the tale unfolds. Drawing on unique access to the often conflicting accounts of many of the leading players, the authors paint an extraordinary picture of the journey of the poll tax from conception to demise. The book is much more than a fascinating account of a remarkable piece of British political history. The authors assess the light the whole affair casts on the workings of British government, and draw conclusions that are just as compelling as the events they describe. Looking at each of the main political institutions in turn, they show how the poll tax saga undermines the conventional wisdom about the workings of British government.

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Prologue 13771984 II
Gestation 19841985
Birth 19851986

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About the author (1994)

David Butler is Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. Andrew Ddonis is Industry Correspondent for the Financial Times. Tony Travers is Director of Research, Greater London Group, London School of Economics.

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