Friday, 22 January 2010

You Can't Incentivise Love

Admittedly there is always stiff competition, but a strong contender for 'idiotic policy of the month' has got to be the Tory plan for tax breaks for married couples.

Now clearly this is actually just an attempt to get a few 'family values' headlines and appease the social reactionary right - it can't be anything else, because it is so patently and transparently not going to have any positive real world effect. It will reduce tax income somewhat (brilliant plan in a financial crisis, that), and it might lead to a few more people who don't care about each other getting married for convenience - but that is about it.

And the reason is - you can't incentivise love. You can't reduce a committed and caring relationship, or family values, or community, or anything else that matters in this world, to a financial transaction. Nor should the state be judging what love is between consenting adults, or when it is acceptable and when it is not. How is it possibly right to extend tax breaks to married heterosexual couples, but not to LGBT people, or those in a long term relationship who do not feel that they want to marry? In Cameronland, is it really the case that there are no unhappy, problematic and destructive marriages....and no healthy, committed and positive relationships outside of the bonds of wedlock?

I'm glad to see that, in this at least, there is still a difference between the Conservatives and the other two largest parties. To their credit, Labour and the Lib Dems have both come out against these ridiculous plans, which would penalise anyone who chooses to relate to their partner in a way other than heterosexual marriage. I am deadset against any such policy, and will campaign against it in any way I can.

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