The trouble with the council tax is the sound your buzzer makes. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

The trouble with the council tax is that the top decile of the income distribution pay 2%, while…

No. The trouble with the council tax is the sound your buzzer makes.

The brilliant thing about council tax reform is that it is perfectly positioned, it can’t be attacked, we’ll win the election…

No. The trouble with the council tax is the sound your buzzer makes.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. It could be a friend, or your family – but it could be the man from Scott and Co, the bailiff. You opened the door to him before and he stuck his foot in the gap when you tried to close it. You opened the door to him before and the thought of doing so again fills you with dread, so although maybe it’s your mum, or maybe it’s a friend, and although you need them now more than ever, you stay still, as still as you can, quiet as you can, shaking, t-shirt drenched in sweat, waiting for the buzzing to stop, the footsteps to recede.

It’s moments like that where you start thinking: I’m a child not a man, a coward, hiding from a doorbell; I’m a burden on this world, this world would be better without me and my cowardice and my shame and my sweat. Dangerous thoughts, for someone in your condition.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. As you try to breathe quietly you remember, you shouldn’t even be paying council tax, but you missed one appointment and the buroo sanctioned you and the housing benefit say you have to prove you have no income. “If you have no income, how are you living?” “Overdraft.” She looks shocked at that, but what can she do about it? Rules are rules.

So bills start coming with fantasy figures in them: £100, £200, £1000. Money you can’t even imagine having spare. Soon, you stop answering the door.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. In this moment there’s only the fear and the sweat. There’s no party, no movement, no nation. No left or right. No ballot boxes. Just Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

The pundits, the politicians and the strategists talk about the electoral maths, the newspaper headlines.

You don’t hear them. You’re just a coward, too ashamed and scared to answer the door to your own home. All you can hear is the buzzer. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.

The trouble with the council tax is the sound your buzzer makes.

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