Saturday, May 31, 2008

Overtly opposing oppression...

Continuing the demon tax theme: fighting tax oppression is something many people today would sympathise with but how many, in a demonstration of defiance, would get their tits out and parade themselves through the streets? need to answer that as I suspect many would and some do...but without the opposing high taxes bit!!

Apart from World Tobacco Day (see previous post) 31st May is also Godiva Day - Godiva was a well endowed (rich!) Anglo Saxon landowner and noblewoman who rode naked through the streets of the English city Coventry opposing an oppressive toll imposed by her husband -apparently: some are of the opinion that the Lady Godiva episode didn't happen; Octavia Randolph does and has written a full and convincing history HERE.

It occured in the 11th Century before the Norman Invasion - Godiva is the Latinised version of the Old English Godgifu/Godgyfu (God's/good gift). Of course the tale has been heavily elebaorated on over the years because - as Octavia points out - Coventry, at that time, was a village of less than 70 families and more interestingly Godiva owned it!

"But by far the most vital fact ignored in these retellings is that Godgyfu possessed the village of Coventry outright. She need not ask Leofric [The Earl of Mercia and her husband] or anyone else to suspend or repeal any tax or toll upon it, as she controlled the collection of these herself. The sole exception was the heregeld, an onerous levy instituted by Cnut to pay for the king's personal body-guard. Until revoked by Edward the Confessor in 1051, it was a national tax, required of all. Godgyfu would not have been able to suspend it - but she certainly could have paid it from her own purse."

Quite so. The only possibility left i.e. the only thing that the tenants would have had to pay outside of Godiva's control was a national, oppressive tax called the Heregeld, paid to the then king Cnut...that's Cnut, OK? It makes interesting reading as Octavia goes on to explain why the "tale became sentimentalized and ever-more erotically charged". As a slight out-of-character change I have decided not to post gratuitous pictures of some lovely lady's breasts - apologies to those adversely and emotionally affected by this.

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Paul said...

Taxation is an issue you'd would think would divide people purely on political grounds - reading the 5Live News Board you'd certainly get that impression - my professional experience is that it isn't always the case - although in 95% of instances it is.

Those at the lower end of the social scale pay far more in direct taxes than those at the upper end and yet it is those with the money who can organise their affairs so that the impact of taxation is generally lessened.

Span Ows said...

You'd know far more about that tham me Paul but I always thought that the low earners shouldn't pay as much as they do because they end up paying the same indirect taxes as the better-off so are 'doubly whammied.'

Your first paragraph re 95% reminds me of the Geoffrey (Gerard?) the Gorilla sketch on Not The Nine O'clock News....the talking gorilla is being interviewed and jokingly says "I bet you think all my income goes on bananas and cleaning up after myself hahaha"...pause...."well about 90% of the money does go on those things"...apologies: loses a lot in translation (which I beleive is something else the gorilla says)