"This is sending a signal that we understanding the value of commitment", said David Willetts. Apparently they don't value good grammar.
Being single, you would expect me to be outraged and therefore, predictably, I am. So you win. But apart from the fact that the maximum value to any couple would be £150 and as good as useless - thereby meaning there is nothing to be jealous about - it is the pointlessly insulting hypocrisy that riles me the most.
They mean to aim it at families of course and this is why they are using the terms 'married couples' and 'families' interchangeably. And who could possibly argue against the fact that the children from homes where feckless parents fail marry or even stick around deserve to be left out? It's only right and just. For the sins of the fathers (or mothers for that matter) and all that. It is the perfect solution to 'Broken Britain' and righteous judgements are the only way forward.
Being married and staying married is not nothing. It is admirable enough and can obviously contribute to the happiness and stability of a person's or their child's life. Many people work hard to make this so. But to marginalise everyone else is foolish. Some people don't agree with marriage but are otherwise good people. Some people haven't been fortunate enough to find someone to tie the knot with but are otherwise valuable. And some people just weren't lucky enough to keep a failing marriage together despite their efforts. Much as many successfully married people may not like to admit it, this is a tax break for the lucky in our society. So business as usual for the Conservatives then.
There are many societal reasons why marriage and commitment are failing and people throughout the nation are suffering whether they are part of the cause of the problem or not. This measure doesn't address the issue, it sticks two fingers up to it. Mind you, if they do scrap the 10% cider tax, we'll all be able to drown our sorrows in our characteristic devil-may-care fashion. Slumped in doorways, we can shout at passing marrieds, "Got any spare 150 quids?"
My final reason for groaning at the sight of their latest agenda is the knowledge that, whether they get into power or not, the paper's have been given all the justification they need to pry into the private lives of Conservative party members. Given their track record in solid, family values and fidelity I literally cannot wait to see the sleazy love rat stories splashed (appropriate term) across the headlines. I wonder if they will consider revoking their rights to the marriage tax break? The answer is no, they will all be above the earnings threshold anyway.