Thursday, January 21, 2010

A letter to the Evening Standard and its evolution

So, what did I write, and what was actually published? The additions are in red.

Matthew D'Ancona makes a beguiling case for David Cameron and his "irreducible" faith in views on marriage. However, like marriage, it helps if you behave consistently, and I am not It is no surprised that he glosses over the fact that Mr Cameron was Norman Lamont's advisor when the decision was taken to first reduce the value of the Married Couple's Allowance in 1993. He didn't have such It clearly wasn't a deep-rooted belief then in the institution at that point.

Marriages last because both partners want to stay together, and it is hard to see how, in the midst of a recession, any government can justify spending money in an attempt to bribe unhappy people to stay
put together. That £20 per week equates to an allowance of more than £5000 a year, and is unaffordable, as George Osborne acknowledges. Instead, Conservatives would be better off reforming the tax and benefits system to ensure that scarce funds are distributed according to need, not relationship status.

For example, he could support raising the personal allowance to £10,000 per year, so that it helps widows, the divorced and working single parents and not just people who behave in a manner he approves of. Unfortunately for him, that’s Liberal Democrat, not Conservative, policy.

I'm sorry that the last paragraph, promoting a policy that is uniquely Liberal Democrat, was left out, and I'm slightly embarrassed that I was described as a councillor (Parish Councillors only tend to use the honorific when acting on council business), but it is at least a contribution.

The whole affair does raise another question, but I'll look at that separately.

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