Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And this is why you should Just Say No

As you may have noted, I am working from the position that the wrongness of voting Conservative is completely self-evident. However, I do admit that just because I cannot think of any plausible reason for doing so (except for being a reactionary, selfish person) does not mean that there *aren’t* any, nor does it excuse me from having to justify my own position. So – here is one reason why voting Conservative is a bad thing.

It involves the Conservative proposal of cutting benefits to single parent families. Watching Cameron talk to ol’Marr on the BBC, he made the comment that single parents receive more money than cohabiting couples with children (although let’s not pretend that he wasn’t *itching* to say “married” couples) and how this didn’t make any sense. Why should one person get more money than two people? Who are, after all, one person + one person. And then his brain melted out of his ears and he started twitching in a strangely compelling manner.

Okay, so the last bit didn’t happen. Outside of my head. That still leaves poor old David confused as to exactly why we should continue to give more money to single parent families. Let’s give him a hand here:

• Single parent families live off of *one* wage – or, if the parent is unable to work, one set of benefits. With cohabiting couples, the earning potential is presumably double (I’m going to keep this simple for the moment so we don’t go off on a tangent)

Aha, my Conservative opponent might say, but in two parent families, you might only have one person working. With only one person working, you have more family to support than the single parent. (We may have a sneaking suspicion that they are being rather reactionary here and there is a whiff which suggests that mothers ought to be staying at home with the children anyway, unless they are single mothers in which case they ought to be kicked out onto the streets and left to starve, the lazy bitches. However we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.)

Then we have the key Conservative argument, which they get triumphantly twitchy when putting forward: paying single people more means that couples will *split up* in order to get twice as much benefit. And let’s face it – they’re not talking about the middle classes, who are decent, wage-earning folk. No, they’re talking about poor people. Because we all know they can’t be trusted – the slippery, conniving individuals that they are. So, by enabling them, we are contributing to the *break-down of society* (cue big cymbal clashes etc and flashes of doom).

It’s not over yet though – we have an extreme example of our own. Which is actually not all that extreme.

• By cutting benefits to single parents, you are effectively taking away the only escape route that many women have from unhealthy and/or abusive relationships. It is a well-known fact that manipulative partners often keep their partners financially dependent on them as a means of control. If a person cannot afford to leave a relationship and provide for their families, they won’t leave.

It seems that, for the Conservatives, it is more important that people are in relationships – any relationships - than that they provide a stable environment for raising children in.

But that’s okay – the extra money that comes in from couple benefit can go towards therapy for Johnny after he gets PTSD from watching daddy beat the shit out of mummy.

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