Browsing in the supermarket today, I came across this headline in the paper:
Cameron tries to woo voters with marriage proposal
I like the way they've made it sound as creepy as it should.
The Tories have talked about this before but no real threats ever seemed to materialise. But now it's assured: if they get in, we will be 'rewarded' for our personal contribution to 'mending broken Britain'. Well thanks very much Mr Cameron! How pathetically grateful I shall feel.
I don't know why but the thought that politicians should be sticking their fingers into my relationships makes me shudder. As does the thought that I would be, in any way, helping them reach some sort of target.
Now you should know that I am not a Conservative voter. But then, I would feel the same should any party suggest this - and feel very uncomfortable that this proclamation comes from the party likely to be in power very soon.
How wrong to reward someone for making such a personal decision. Will there be tax breaks for civil partners too? And what about the disincentives for single people? How about a tax break for those people who manage to free themselves and their children from the shackles of a loveless abusive marriage (because sometimes, that's the answer too). That is certainly going to help 'broken Britain'.
How about a tax on wife-beaters? Or husband-beaters for that matter? Come on - if we're going to tax people according to how we'd like to think society should work, let's go the whole hog. Maybe rewards for having more children? (Oh dear, someone's already thought of that.) Marriage isn't always the answer.
Who is being rewarded here? Is it the man or the woman? The rich or the poor? It is a crude benefit, apparently to be slapped out across the board to some who need it, and some who most definitely don't.
I wonder if I could opt out of this. I live in a Tory borough and since it turned blue, the amount of dog mess on the streets has tripled and last winter, all the grit salt bins disappeared. Maybe some funds could go back to the council for making daily life a little nicer for everyone.
In reality, any tax incentive would probably amount to £5 a year. But that is £5 I don't really need. So give it to someone else. Perhaps we could build more homeless shelters, or increase spending on education, or give it to the people on the bottom rung of life who actually need it, regardless of whether they are married, single, childless or with 17 kids. Spend it on traveller campsites; on looking after asylum seekers, on hospital counsellors or anything else that will make the Daily Mail incandescent with rage, all of which I like and think a good idea.
But I don't want it.