George Osborne’s decision to extend childcare was almost as depressingly predictable as its long-term consequences are deeply malign for society.
Depressingly predictable, because it is entirely in line with how the political class acts and behaves. Dominated by arrogant, selfish careerists with pitifully narrow life experiences, they lack any kind of organic understanding of the people or society they purport to serve, and instead see the rest us in purely mechanical terms, as atomised units of production and desire.
In much the same way as marketing men divide us into categories such as “ABC1”, “C2” and so forth, so the political class categorise us as men or women, gay or straight, ethnic minority or white, and so on.
Nowhere is such a crude and demeaning approach more damaging than in family policy, which is considered purely in terms of what politicians think of as the “female” vote. More “females” vote than “males” and – this is absolutely crucial from the political class point of view – are more likely to belong to that magical category called the “floating voter”, the capture of which is the Holy Grail of any political class career. Moreover, as most senior politicians are men, they feel intensely vulnerable to charges of sexism, and are easily intimidated by the shrewd and savvy feminist sisterhood in the media who, particularly as a general election approaches, can always be guaranteed to launch co-ordinated campaigns in line with their agenda. As Kathy Gygnell has pointed out, senior women politicians are no better, as they themselves are usually careerists who are unrepresentative of most women and usually take the feminist line.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the “game” is played. When a cohort of influential feminist journalists started clamouring for cheaper childcare a few weeks ago it was as predictable as the sun rising, as was the political response in terms of future policy.
It is not surprising that an approach based on dividing us up into crude marketing categories ends up being divisive in practice. My fellow bloggers at The Conservative Woman have already pointed out its fundamental unfairness towards both children and towards women who want to look after them, but what we must also consider is its effect upon men. As men and women are designed by nature to be interdependent, not independent of each other, a mature understanding of family policy should always consider both how to put the children’s needs first and secondly to balance the rights and aspirations of both sexes. This family policy signally fails to do.
Male sexuality is based, on the whole, on protection and provision for the female and her offspring. Expressing these instincts is both the main way men show their love for women and how they mature. Government-funded childcare erodes this fundamental role and places it in the hands of the State. What is going on is nothing less than the nationalisation of masculinity. In the long term, the consequences to this are exceptionally destructive, but from the political class point of view are inconsequential because they play out on a time scale far longer than the electoral one. However, over the decades we all pay the price, as men become progressively alienated from a society in which they see no role and women start to see men not as fathers but as optional extras. Thus the feminist nirvana of a matriarchal society within which men are marginalised becomes ever closer to being realised.
A proper family policy would, of course, be both gender neutral and support commitment rather than coercing one sex out to work and making the other feel superfluous. The best thing any family policy could do would therefore be to strongly support marriage, but don’t hold your breath on that one: again, its benefits are far too long term for the five year political life-cycle. Until conservatively minded women and men start to say enough is enough and vote accordingly, things will continue on their dismal trajectory.