Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Married Couples Allowance: what it tells you about how Conservatives think

I have had cause to comment on the Conservative fixation with marriage before, and seldom been impressed with their outpourings on the subject. They are passionate about families though, indeed some senior Conservatives have, in the past, been so keen on families that they have maintained two simultaneously.

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
However, whilst the debate about whether or not married couples should be given additional financial support goes on, it does give you an idea about how modern Conservatives categorise people into the deserving and the non-deserving. And so, ‘Liberal Bureaucracy’ proudly presents;

“Where you fit in: your personal guide to whether Conservatives think that bribing you is the right thing to do”

Married couples without children

Congratulations, you are at the top of our social ladder. We’ll provide you with some extra spending money, even though you don’t have any children to spend it on. Why not use it for a weekend break in Paris or Milan (but not Brussels, ghastly place…). After all, you’re worth it!

Married couples with children

Yes, you get money too. Of course, it barely registers in terms of the costs of bringing up a child, but if you live in Barnet, it will allow you to borrow books for their education.

Single heterosexuals

Alright, there’s no money for you, but you can aspire to it in the future. Just find a nice boy or girl, depending on your gender, a registrar or recognised religious figure (Jedi or devil-worshippers need not apply, you dreadful people!), exchange rings and you too can get the money.

Lesbians and gay men

You can’t have the money. We’ll tolerate civil partnerships because we need your votes, but you aren’t going to be allowed to marry and that’s final. You made your lifestyle choice and you accept the consequences. Of course, you could always marry and live the rest of your life as a lie. After all, lying is not a sin, getting caught is…

Single parents who have been divorced or bereaved

Well yes, we do sympathise to some extent, especially if your partner died. However, you still don’t get any of the money. You could always find someone else, or you could have stayed in that abusive relationship. After all, you might not have needed help with the bills had you stayed together. But don’t worry, we’ll patronise you by providing charitable support for you, sufficient to live on. And there’s always someone worse off than you…

Single mothers

Look, didn’t someone tell you to keep your legs together? Frankly, we don’t really see why we should encourage you to have children at all, but we can’t see how to avoid giving you just enough to keep body and soul together (at least what we think you need). You will be grateful. In return, we will stigmatise you as a symptom of our broken society, and pander to the Daily Mail when they attack you.


Richard Gadsden said...

What about us bis? We always get left out!

Mark Valladares said...

Hmmm... hadn't thought about that alternative. However, I would probably slide you between 'single heterosexuals' and 'lesbians and gay men'...

To be honest, from a Conservative perspective, you just complicate things. Why don't you make up your minds?

LJH said...

Thought at first: "Hmmm - he hasn't included long-term cohabiting couples, why not?"

Then realised that's actually perfectly accurate because such couples simply Do Not Exist in Toryworld: "Fingers in ears, la la la"

Mark Valladares said...


I fear that you're right there. And yet, if the key aim is to produce a stable environment in which children can be raised, long-term cohabiting couples represent a moral ideal, in that they are presumably together because they want to be, not because a legal framework keeps them so.

Perhaps we need to link financial support to children, rather than to marriage.