Barry Kade | 31.03.2010 08:13 | Birmingham
Celebration of this anniversary - in Trafalgar Sq today - and online on the Barrykade blog!
See a four part documentary on the battle of Trafalgar Square online here:
To mark this anniversary, Adrian Johnson, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, will be in Trafalfar Square, London, where he will perform live performance of his new poem ‘Still no Poll Tax here’ – at 11.30am at the foot of Nelson’s column.
Adrian says that the poem was written as a tribute to the protesters who brought about ithe abolition of the Poll Tax. He added: “Twenty years ago, the wall fell in Berlin, Chinese students stood up in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, Mandela walked free and the Stone Roses rocked the dance floors in the UK. But it’s easy to forget that history was also being made closer to home … I was hugely inspired by the action taken by normal, everyday people across the UK to resist the Poll Tax which encouraged others to do the same”.
Still, no poll tax, eh?
by Adrian Johnson – Birmingham poet laureate, 2010
Watt Tyler lost his head for it
a prime minister lost her job for it
thousands went to court against it
Trafalgar Square heaved with life and love and protest to stop it
civil courts got right shirty, filled with anger, ideas and spirit
for what’s right and fair and will power – to just not pay it
bailiff’s got over time, short shrift and rarely could collect it
MP’s sniffed the air and mumbled – far too late – ‘Now we’ve done it.”
Leaflets, banners and street protest said what they could do with it
friendships made and courage raised, together we could fix it,
stuff it, beat it, sod it
that flagship idea that spawned a mutinous flotilla
got scuttled by anger and laughter – stood together
mother, son and daughter
they knew what was right, wanted something better
Twenty years later, you’d hardly believe it
those passionate millions that stood against it
wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t’ave’ad paid it
the tax that came in just one size for the duke in his mansion
and dustman in his terrace
that shook us into action and life – and though overlooked by history
we can remember…
now and then, our story
remember ,the laughter, friendship and life
standing up for something better
and still, no poll tax, here.
c. Adrian Johnson