I wrote this post in December, but it’s being discussed in the news at the moment, so I’m putting it back out there as my view and I completely agree with Nick Clegg:-
David Cameron is planning to introduce tax breaks to married couples. So does that mean that although my marriage broke down because my husband had an affair, when he remarries, I will lose the tax break and he and his new wife would keep it. Is it fair to reward couples for simply tying the knot?
Why are the Conservative party so obsessed with the nuclear family and marriage anyway? Is it not patronising to assume that couples cannot make their own mind up about whether staying in the marriage is in their children’s best interests or not? Obviously committed stable relationships are important but surely not simply “marriage” for marriage sake?
I think the politicians have misjudged the general mood of the nation by choosing to over-focus on marriage. Also, given that marriage is about to acquire minority status anyway with only 52% of men and 50% of women being married (OK so where are the other 48% of men hiding?) – the lowest since records began in 1862, it makes almost half of us feel completely inadequate to constantly be reminded that we’re not married.
Do people really want to be given money for getting married anyway? It’s going to cost a lot – up to £5 billion according to one report. Wouldn’t it be better spent on childcare so we can all work more effectively? Or to provide free mediation services where needed, or more nurseries, or more flexible working hours or a greater equality of pay between the sexes or a number of other things that would relieve the pressure on working parents and give them more of a chance to enjoy staying together.
Family is family. That is it. In all it’s glorious shapes and sizes. Some of us might be a little bit broken or dysfunctional as far as the perfect example of family is concerned but we don’t need the state to pay us to get married or stay together. It’s an insult. Pay us to go on holiday instead – then we’d be more inclined to stay together anyway.