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← Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Cartomancer

Bravo Professor Grayling, at last somebody is able to point out the obvious lessons of history that desperately need to be learned. We are still living with the unpleasant aftertaste of Victorian and 1950s moral prudery, and it will not be until we wash it away entirely that our society can enjoy a sensible, grown-up attitude to all matters sexual.

As for David Cameron's odious little tax break for married people, I've always been a staunch despiser of the measure. It is nothing less than discrimination against single people, pure and simple. Professor Grayling is right in pointing out that if the intention behind the measure really were to give more money to children who need it then that could actually have been achieved by increasing statutory child benefits. As it is the proposal merely rewards those who have already been lucky enough achieve the state of marriage.

If anything it is SINGLE people who deserve tax breaks. Married people, who generally cohabit and share many of the burdens of life with one another, tend to have significantly lower household expenditures per person than those who are unable to find someone they love to marry them. I find it rather offensive, to be honest, that those who, by sheerest dint of blind chance, have managed to get into a loving relationship are rewarded, while we who have not are cruelly snubbed.

Furthermore, does David Cameron really believe that people will be encouraged to marry and stay together only if they are bribed with £30 a month? It doesn't exactly say much for someone's opinion of an institution if they believe that people must be bribed in order to partake in it. If he really believed that marriage was important then he would actually put a financial DISincentive in place, so then it would only be engaged in by people who thought it was worthwhile in and of itself, by people who took it seriously.

And speaking of people who take marriage seriously, there are large numbers of them in this country today who are maritally disenfranchised and cannot get legally married even though they desperately want to. Instead they must put up with the patronizing apartheid sop of civil partnerships. I have heard no plans from David Cameron to grant the same basic human right of marriage to same-sex couples yet (and, given his voting record on equality issues for gay people, I do not expect to). In fact the only major political party who would do so are the Liberal Democrats.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 22:04:00 UTC | #442891