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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The definition of marriage

David Cameron's explanation of the Conservative Party's policy on tax breaks for married people is rapidly assuming the coherence and clarity of Charles Kennedy's exposition on local income tax at the last General Election. The difference is that the local income tax policy stacks up despite its poor championing whereas the Tories are standing in a large hole and digging furiously.

We are now being told that an incoming Tory Government cannot introduce this tax change straight away and that they do not yet know how the policy would be implemented. That is fine. It is a difficult economic situation after all and these things can be quite hard sums for anybody with a lesser intellect than Vince Cable.

However, where our credulity is stretched most is in asking us to believe that the policy is aimed at sending a message to voters, not at changing their financial circumstances. It is no longer a bribe to enter a hetersexual marriage but a recognition that this is the Tory Party's preferred form of union. The Tories, we are told want to create “a ‘we’ society rather than a ‘me’ society,” promoting stable families and social responsibility.

What is worse is that because the cost is estimated at £3.2 billion then the tax break is to be restricted to couples with children under three years old. Thus you have to have children to qualify.

Those who cannot have or do not want children, whose relationship has broken up and are left struggling as a single parent or just prefer to engage in a stable relationship with a member of the same sex are to be excluded. This is a tax with more exemptions than inclusions. It is discriminatory and it is selective. It is the worst kind of social engineering, an attempt to impose a social norm with scant rewards, no vision and no understanding of 21st Century society.

Maybe one of the reasons Cameron is now trying to park it is because he understands that it will alienate large sections of the electorate. His problem is that his party will not let him jettison it altogether because he is not in control of his own destiny.
Now come on, its only 'social engineering' (Boo Hiss) when evil lefties do something. When Conservatives do something its 'good old fashioned common sense.'
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