tpuc.org, the British Constitution Group and the attack on Council Tax

A number of my Facebook friends have recently been putting up links to posts on refusal to pay council tax, YouTube videos showing attempts to arrest judges for treason, and the like. However, there are grounds to be deeply suspicious of the organisations behind these activities, and I remain unconvinced that their cause is a progressive one.

The organisations

The organisations are tpuc.org, The British Constitution Group and Lawful Rebellion. They all have a similar focus: an emphasis on ancient rights under Magna Carta, British sovereignty and conspiracy theories about Zionism, the Bildeberg Group and the New World Order. A whois search shows that the domains are registered to different people, but they link to each other, and there is a certain similarity in visual style. A tenuous connection, maybe, but it seems to me that a connection is there.

Footer of the Lawful Rebellion site

Footer of the Lawful Rebellion site

I can see why their message is attractive to people. At a time of attacks on our standards of living, our jobs and public services, these groups are calling lively protests and sticking it to the man. What’s more, their style is different from the mainstream protest groups. There is a certain new-age-iness and “positivity” about it.

However, these groups have uncomfortable bed-fellows. At a time of rising international resistance to authoritarian governments, austerity, unemployment and cuts, they place an emphasis on Britishness. This tends to lead away from internationalism, and bind them to (elements of) our own ruling class. What’s more, Liverpool antifascists in Liverpool reported the involvment of the BNP in British Constitution Group activities. It seems likely that, similarly to the EDL, these groups have been set up as a kind of united front of the right, aiming to draw in people from autonomist tendencies / the unorganised left.

Is their cause progressive?

One of the campaigns being run from tpuc.org is a challenge to the lawfulness of council tax. For instance, they claim that Wirral Council has admitted to an anonymous person referred to as “Jim” that Council Tax is unlawful. The scanned letters they have posted up, in fact contain no such admission. Assuming they are genuine, all they show is that, in one case, Wirral Council declined to contest a legal challenge.

I admit that I have not taken the time to properly assess the large number of legal assertions contained on the sites of these groups, and that I do not have the legal background to properly assess them, without months or years of study. I also do believe that Council Tax needs to be replaced by a fairer system. However, let’s assume they have proved their case, and Council Tax is unlawful. What would be the implications?

As I see it, if we were all free to refuse to pay our council tax, and all did so, it would mean less funding for councils at a time of cuts by central government. This would mean further cuts to our public services. More libraries would close. Bins would go un-emptied. Social care services for older and disabled people would be cut back further. This would not, of course, affect millionaires in their mansions and gated communities. It would only mean a lower standard of living for people on average incomes and below. It is a campaign that runs in the opposite direction to the attempts by UK Uncut and related groups to raise the issues of tax-avoidance by the rich.

It seems to me that the political standpoint of these groups, while new to the UK, is a familiar one in the US, where conservative libertarian groups such as the Tea Party Movement organise to push for tax breaks for the rich, and  to oppose immigration, socialised healthcare decent welfare benefits, and many other hallmarks of a civilised society. It is a devil-take-the-hindmost political philosophy, where the freedom you enjoy depends on your wealth or ability to impose your will on others. It is something to be opposed.

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5 Responses to “tpuc.org, the British Constitution Group and the attack on Council Tax”

  1. Colt Python Says:

    Big government proponents, whether identifying themselves as ‘right’ or ‘left’ have no place at these events. The overall principles these groups adhere to is that coercion and theft by government is morally wrong. True anti-fascists will unite and engage in mass activism with those seeking liberty and dismantlement of Big Brother.

  2. Colt Python Says:

    “As I see it, if we were all free to refuse to pay our council tax, and all did so, it would mean less funding for councils at a time of cuts by central government. This would mean further cuts to our public services. More libraries would close. Bins would go un-emptied. Social care services for older and disabled people would be cut back further. ”

    Then pay it. Obviously lot’s of people agree with you and can pay into it as well.

    Putting a gun to someone’s head by using the justice system and demanding that they pay for things that they don’t even use… is wrong.

    People are being harassed by the state for not handing over money for libraries and bin collection…. Think about it. How can that be justified?

  3. robhogg Says:

    It can be justified as a social good, that there are some things that should be provided because they benefit society in general. Making paying for such things (libraries, healthcare, etc.) optional means that they are only available to those with the money to pay for them. In a society with massive inequalities of wealth, that is unjust. There’s an even stronger (public health) arguments for making payment towards things like bin collections compulsory.

  4. Colt Python Says:

    Sacrificing your natural liberty as a sentient being to be free and not forced to give up the fruits of your labour … for free book rentals and bin collection? I’m not convinced.

    As long as I do not cause harm or loss to anyone, I’m free and can’t justifiably be locked in a cage or harassed by the state.

  5. robhogg Says:

    And if the free bin collections are abolished, and I choose to leave a stinking, festering pile of ordure to gather in my back yard, how free are my neighbours? And if I have to work 80 hours per week in order to pay medical or care bills, how free am I? And if I am a banker, who lost my company millions, yet I’m free to award myself an enormous bonus, why should I give anything back to the society that allowed me to make my wealth?

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