The Tories failed to introduce a Poll Tax but it looks that the SNP are determined to introduce a Poll Tax on steroids into Scotland. Alex Salmond and the SNP Scottish government seem set on a course which will introduce a system of taxation on Scotland which is a "per head" taxation system based on a flat 3p in the pound.
The Scottish Local Income "Poll tax" that the SNP is seeking to introduce will differ from a more traditional Poll tax only in probably having a built in pre-tax allowance based on the UK personal allowances and in not being levied as a set amount but rather as a percentage of taxable income. In other words a Poll Tax by another name.
The SNP have however been skillful and deserve credit for the way they have managed this agenda and the SNP Poll tax on steroids proposals have so far failed to cause the excitement that the Tories Poll Tax proposals did. Perhaps in some ways the Tories have buttered everyone up for a change like this.
Even if the public do not understand the Poll Tax nature of the proposed Scottish Local Income Tax and react against it there are still some major hurdles to be overcome before such a tax becomes a reality.
Labour and the Tories are opposed to the Local Income Tax proposals while the Lib Dems are perhaps best described as lukewarm. An even larger barrier may be that the UK government has made clear that it will not release a very significant sum of money tied up in Council Tax benefits to help fund the new system. The UK government argues that as Council Tax would cease there would in effect be no such thing as Council Tax benefit and therefore the Scottish Government would lose the right to get such monies.
Then of course there is the administration of a Local Income Tax. It is clear that Local Authorities would be in no position to do this without a massive increase in bureaucracy. The only organisation in a position to collect the tax would be HMCR - and again the problem arises as to whether there is any incentive for the UK government to use a UK organisation to assist the SNP in delivering a policy which it opposes.
For Alex Salmond this may be win win though. If he delivers the Local Income Tax proposals then the Scottish Government will have been seen to have extended it's authority very significantly and to have developed the basis for a distinctly Scottish taxation system.
If the proposals fail then Salmond will of course blame the unionist parties and in particular the UK government and accuse them of thwarting the will of the Scottish Electorate.