Plebs and Peasants

Despite the Poll Tax

In September 2012, Mr. Mitchell, Chief Whip said to a policeman:

“Best you learn your fucking place…you don’t run this fucking government…You’re fucking plebs”.

Wobbling off on his bicycle he called over his shoulder.

“you haven’t heard the last of this”

From official Downing Street police log.

In June 1381, King Richard II retorted to villagers:

“You wretches are detestable both on land and on sea. You seek equality with the lords, but you are unworthy to live. Give this message to your fellows: rustics you are, and rustics you will always be. You will remain in bondage, not as before, but incomparably harsher. For as long as we live we will strive to suppress you, and your misery will be an example to posterity”

As described by one contemporary chronicle.

Nothing has changed in seven centuries.

Interested in what happened in 1381 and its consequences nowadays? Check out our documentary Despite the Poll Tax:

If questioned at all in the media most of the discourse about the inequities of poll tax concentrated on its economic injustices. Despite the Poll Tax however dug deeper into the largely ignored social and civil liberties implications of a colonial tax system whose earlier versions were considered unacceptable in the middle ages, leading to the Peasants Revolt of 1381 and were the original basis of the Pass Laws of apartheid South Africa.


Click Despite TV for more blogs
See our Despite TV project pages for more information and videos.
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