Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Drivelling Nonsense From The Conservative Party...

Whatever happened to Ian Duncan Smith? Since his whimpering demise from the top job IDS has apparently been heading up The Social Justice Policy Group, a think tank charged with meeting the challenge of social exclusion via policy recommendations to the Conservative party. He has clearly been a busy, busy man because today saw the publication of Breakthrough Britain, a 691 page report rehashing the same old family values toss outlining some truly groundbreaking ideas for tackling Britain's social problems.

My particular favourite is that the government should incentivise marriage through the tax system. Apparently this would work wonders, because there is considerable evidence that children of separated parents do less well at school and are more likely to become involved in petty crime.

My psychology training has led me to believe that children require a stable, loving relationship with at least one parent in order to develop a secure sense of self. Add to that a healthy mix of respect, security and boundaried parenting and you are unlikely to produce a granny basher or drug dealer. But apparently not. My training has it all wrong. All you require is for your parents to be married, and to stay married, and what better way to do that than offer incentives in people's pay packets? God knows, I would definitely stay in a miserable and unloving marriage if the government were willing to pay me fifty quid a month to do it. Well worth it, don't you think? And so good for the children. "I know you are deeply traumatised by the misery of our family life, darling, but don't worry, I am putting the fifty quid away in your post office savings account and it will pay for your therapy when you leave home."

Do you think we will ever again see a government that can actually do joined up thinking? Are there any politicians left who know how to have an intelligent, serious and insightful debate into why we have some of the most serious social problems in Europe and a generation of young people who believe that social exclusion is the norm? Does IDS really, really believe that incentivising marriage will go anywhere towards addressing the deep rooted problems of people living on the margins of society?

I think Betsy has been putting something in his tea. If not, perhaps she ought to.