Split Or Twist

Posted: 10.07.07 in Blogging

Have you ever known a Tory politician to be divorced from his or her spouse? To be honest, I really can’t think of any obvious examples. Indeed, that is true of a lot of politicians across the main political parties. So who better to advise us on families that are falling apart?

The Conservatives have reiterated their intentions with regard to mend social problems with money by announcing their ideas for family tax reforms, citing "the biggest shake-up of the welfare system since the 1940s". As every politician knows (or soon will), throwing money at a lame horse won’t make it run. It’s as if the Tories don’t realise that marriages break down for reasons other than money. And by enticing couples to stay together with the promise of money, they are perhaps taking risks in causing other problems.

The BBC article suggests that the tax would be around £20 a week for a couple, with the intention for it to be easier for one parent to stay at home while the other one works. This seems rather like taking us back to the 1940s: there are far fewer housewives and househusbands now, and by far more professional couples with children.

In amongst these proposals there seems a harsh punishment for single parents. As soon as your children reach eleven, you are expected to start working thirty hours a week. If their married contemporaries can work as much as they like for their combined salary plus £20 a week, plus any other tax credits that they can receive (though their very existence is in danger should the Tories get in), it is going to be tough on them.

And after all that, what does it solve? Well perhaps we will have fewer single parents (because, let’s face it, after that further slap in the face from the Conservatives, the Tories only really leave one "easy way out"). We will probably also have more unstable households with endless rows and emotionally damaged children, leading to further social problems. But at least their parents are better able to afford the counselling.

I apologise for the cynicism and the dark nature of my opinions, but I really don’t understand where the Tories are coming from. If the British people were so fickle to vote the Conservatives in on the basis of these proposals, then there must be a lot more very happy families in Britain than I ever imagined.

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