Tuesday, 12 January 2010

What is Dave Throwing Out with Baby's Bath Water?

Rachel Sylvester in The Times today draws an interesting analogy out of the child rearing reading material of the political leaders. Considering all three have young families and have said something about families in the last week, there is some logic in her thinking.

But after pointing out that Gordon Brown can't decide which school of thought to follow "tough love" or "tender loving care" it leads to the interesting contrast between the other two main party leaders. Of course we all know what Nick Clegg's view are after the weekend interview in The Sunday Times, indeed all the 'broadsheet' papers have been running with the theme since.

Of course what Nick has objected to is the rigidity of the ideas of Gina Ford's approach. As Rachel Sylvester puts it "the age-old clash between liberalism and conservatism has been reinterpreted for the Mumsnet age". Indeed looking at some of Dave's policies you can see the Gina Ford "Ikea manual" approach.
  • You will get married for the sake of the children
  • We'll even give you a tax break
  • At the age of 65 you will give us £8,000 to insure you get 'free' personal care
  • We'll add to word 'Public' into the Department of Health so you remember we care, oh about you (changing the logos and letterheads will cut the deficit)
  • At 65 we'll raise the personal allowance for (the 40% wealthiest) pensioners
  • When you start saving we'll abolish the basic tax rate on savings, giving up to £5 p.a. who those earning less than £30,000
  • When you die we'll help out with your inheritance tax, increasing the threshold to £1m, giving an extra £200,000 to the children of people like George and me.
Yeah Dave certainly sets out a lot of milestones to look forward to, if you are wealthy enough to benefit. As for family you'll benefit as long as you are married (he recently added civil partnered) , heaven forbid you get a tax hike upon being widowed, divorced, fleeing a violent husband or wife, of your partner undergoes gender reassignment (forcing a divorce even if you remain together). Of course if your partner is killed in the line of duty fighting our wars, we'll keep you're kids alright, but only they will benefit from no tuition fees.

There are all of these promises of tax breaks, while at the same time David is promising to cut the deficit quicker than anyone else. So what else gives. You may not know, if you are a naughty little person you may be put away on the naughty step (you single parent you), or locked away in the cupboard.

Of course following the regimented top to bottom approach of family, of tax breaks etc means that something other than baby is going to end up being thrown out with the bath water. Surely the Tories cannot keep up all their commitments and race to cut the deficit all at the same time.

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