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.


Misssy M said...

Really- it IS utter bollocks. I mean call me an old romantic but isn't "Marry me , I love you" going to win hands down over "Marry me, there's 20 quid a week in it for you, if you do"?

Thay are utterly laughable.

rivergirlie said...

mind you, i wouldn't say no to a little bit more gin money

Apotheosis said...

Though I agree that it is not only bonkers, but dangerous as well (for all and more of the reasons you described), I am curious as to if there would actually be people that would stay in a crappy marriage just for a bit more money.
Then again, this happens all the time without gov intervention, doesn't it?

Political Umpire said...

You have it in one. This is the old fallacy about causation - result X must have been caused by factor Y. A child did well at school. The child's parents were married. Therefore the child did well because the parents were married; makes as much sense as stating Edmund Hillary climbed Everest first. Edmund Hillary was a beekeeper from New Zealand. Therefore, beekeepers from NZ do better at climbing mountains than [George Mallory's occupation].

Of course, Allison Pearson would have it another way ...

trousers said...

I like it when you get into stuff like this - because your anger/frustration etc come across but all your points are spot on and not merely invective.

"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?"

Maybe, but such things are not allowed now that politics is a career not a vocation.

Janejill said...

And I wonder who would get this extra money?? You only have to watch the performances in the House to realise that you are seeing British males (mostly) at their infantile worst.

Stray said...

Good lord! Well ranted Ms M! Heaven forbid that we should expect people to stay in long term relationships because they are emotionally satisfying ... as Missy M said, if you're not offering me £50 a month to marry you I won't be interested! Are they going to pay those in civil partnerships as well, just to keep it equal?

I see a fabulous flaw in the plan (apart from the sheer obvious hideousness of it). If the government gave money to people in legally recognised relationships then those people would have extra cash to go out, and market forces would do their thing and going-out would become more expensive, and single people would be priced out of the going-out market, and thus unable to meet people who they might marry one day ... or even find a partner for a casual shag ... and thus no children will be born except to those who find love over the internet ... creating a future generation of baby-bloggers who are plugged in enough to know that politicians are now politically bankrupt wannabees (how long til we start phone-voting them in on ITV on a saturday night?) and there will be a great revolution (with a catchy URL of course, and a song, with a limited edition release on iTunes).

Yeah. Man.

Good to see you back on form. I missed your exasperated tone :)


Ms Melancholy said...

Heymissy m,yes, I think they are rather missing the point of why people get married in the first place aren't they?

Hi there rivergirlie, I guess gin always used to be the sole antidote to a miserable marriage, back in the good old days. Back to mother's ruin, do you think? PS - did you give me a link to your book? I can't remember which post it was on......could you send it again???

Hi again apotheosis, me too - curious that is.

Hey there PUmpy, lovely! There is a term for this kind of arse logic isn't there? Does anyone remember what it is?

Hi trousers, yes, I agree totally that rampant careerism is to blame. And the abandonment of consensus politics. And a gross misunderstanding of pluralism and post modernism in the political system. And the appalling way we educate our young people these days. And...and...and...oh don't get me started.

Hey janejill, good point. Men I suspect.

Hi again lovely Stray, of course there shouldn't be equality for civil partnerships. What do you think this is? A civilised society? This is about making stable homes for children, and everybody knows that gay couples shouldn't be allowed near the parenting game. Heterosexuals make such fantastic parents, after all. I do love your idea of ITV holding the next election by phone vote. Will all the candidates have to sing or skate on ice? Or go into a BB house? Keep it under your hat though. IDS might be listening. He seems to have far too much time on his hands these days.

anticant said...

I knew a guy who was raised by his lesbian Mum and her partner. They sensibly made sure that when he went abroad on holiday as a teenager, his pockets were well stuffed with condoms - he was eagerly heterosexual.

A male gay couple I knew brought up the daughter of one of them. She was very proud of having two caring Daddies, to whom she was devoted. But, she said [aged about seven], "I don't tell everyone at school. They're too stupid to understand."

So hand-outs for Civil Partnerships, please!

l-q-s said...

I wonder if it's because politicians feel they have to reassure 'the masses' rather than actually dealing with them? I mean, there's so much uncertainty in so many areas of life, perhaps they feel that they have to lay it out as you would to a child: if you behave, and do as I tell you, you can have a biscuit.

I suppose, from a realistic point of view, politicians who appear...undecided on anything (which could be because they're trying to find a balance between the three 'usual' camps) normally are savaged by their peers. And peer pressue, as we all know, is a dangerous thing. Hence, we all have little clones running around who all say the same and look the same. Thinking for yourself and challenging long held views is a sure way to be pushed out of the warmth of the communal camp fire/old boys club. The alarming thing to me is that most of the women seem to be so eager to join the ranks of the grey suits as well....

IngeniousRose said...

Your psychology training is definately right. It is the love of at least one parent that is best for the child and that does not necessarily mean marriage. As a single parent with a happy stable child I can say that the marriage does not necessarily mean a happy life and a happy child. Sometimes quite the opposite.

That's so pants said...

Hi Ms M

The Tories want to give more money to the people who don't need it. It's what they do.



Who-me? said...

Being single, why shouldn't I qualify for a hand-out? I've always paid my taxes and my mortgage from my own pay packet so what makes me less deserving than married people? Surely that's discrimination in it's own right?

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