Thursday, January 21, 2010

Family values have the Tories in a twist.

Steve Richards, in today's Independent, raises the dichotomy at the heart of Cameron's plan to give tax breaks to married couples:

What is interesting is their faith in government to condition people's behaviour. Most of the time Cameron is one of those putting the case for government doing less. Encouraging couples to marry or stay married is the ultimate form of micro management, turning government into the equivalent of a national couples' counselling bureau.
Cameron is, of course, playing to what he imagines to be his base. But, if I think of any relatives of mine to whom this sort of stuff used to be an issue, they are mostly dead.

I don't care if couples are married or simply living together and I can't think of anyone else who does.

But Cameron undercuts his own argument, that the government should interfere less in people's lives, when he suggests that the government favours people marrying.

And can anyone argue that marriage is always the best option?
The teenager who gets a girl pregnant on a Glasgow housing estate is not going to hang around for the marriage tax allowance. In some cases it is not clear that hanging around would be desirable.
It strikes me as another ridiculous Conservative attempt to look back at the fifties as a halcyon time, when everyone knew their place and marriage represented the cornerstone of society.

You can call this Conservative policy many things, but you can't call it coherent. One can't argue that the government should stay out of people's lives, whilst simultaneously making the argument that it is better for married couples to stay together (whether happy or not).

Click here for full article.

No comments: