Last Saturday, Chancellor George Osbourne ruled out the inclusion of transferable marriage tax allowance, which would have seen married couples £150 better off, in next month’s Budget.
This sparked accusations from traditional Tories that Osbourne was ‘kowtowing’ to Lib Dem pressure. Amongst those fighting for the allowance is Work and Pensions Secretary, Duncan-Smith, who said: ‘It’s about the Government recognising that stable two-parent families are vital for the creation of a strong society.’ His view has been supported by many others based on evidence which suggests that children from cohabiting or lone parent households are more likely to turn to drink, drugs and crime than those whose parents are married.
Marriage v Cohabitation
I am gravely concerned with regards to the intelligence of those running our country. To favour marriage over cohabitation on the basis of stability is idiotic. Surely nobody is stupid enough to believe that marriage increases the love between a couple? It simply increases the feeling of obligation. Thus a relationship in either circumstance is just as likely to break down as the other.
Whilst the success rate of marriage may seem greater statistically, the claustrophobia created by remaining in a relationship out of marital-obligation is perceptibly unhealthier than conceding to an amicable separation. Not only this, but the former is likely to affect any children involved on a much deeper level: even if they don’t turn to the aforementioned degenerate behaviours, it is probable that they will adopt warped expectations of marriage, leading to further destructive relationships.
In response to Duncan-Smith’s drivel: marriage does not necessitate stability, nor does stability necessitate marriage.
‘Vote for Change?’
Marriage tax allowance was abolished in April 2000 in the recognition that it had become an outdated and discriminatory policy (ironically, the money generated was reinvested in child tax credit increases.) As Clegg put it (just hear him out- he does have a point): ‘We shouldn’t take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950’s model, and try and preserve it in aspic.’ To return to marriage tax allowance would be regression, not change.
So ‘Kowtow’ to your heart’s content, Osbourne.
Not only does his hesitation prevent a ridiculous policy from being enforced, it is also exposes the cracks within the Tory party which are elongating under the pressure of the coalition, making a 2015 election victory less and less likely.
This is somewhat reminiscent of the Bevanites v Gaitskellites internal conflict suffered by Labour prior to their 1951 election defeat. From Clause IV to marriage tax allowance; the H-Bomb to wind farms; Europe to, um, Europe. The marriage between the Tories and Lib Dems is looking somewhat unstable, wouldn’t you say?