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But that’s exactly what Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, has done. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Dunstone said of the levy: "It is like a poll tax, a fixed figure for everyone. I don't really know if the government can justify it to the electorate."

We can see the point he’s making. And it’s good one. Historically, flat-fee taxes have been among the least popular around. Just ask John of Gaunt, whose attempts to raise readies for a war against France led directly to the Peasants’ Revolt.

More recently, of course, there was Mrs Thatcher’s foray into poll tax-style legislation. That ended in mass civil disobedience, too, and inexorably led to her being shunted from government.

We’re not sure that anything that extreme will happen with the broadband tax – it’s nothing like as punitive as the so-called community charge, for a start. But we are sure that an under-fire Gordon Brown is going to have to be quite careful about how he sells it to an already-disenfranchised populace.

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