Sunday, May 26, 2024
HomeKathy GyngellKathy Gyngell: The State’s free-riding families lay bare feminist myths

Kathy Gyngell: The State’s free-riding families lay bare feminist myths


If the politically correct, would-be conservative, feminist Dr Victoria Bateman can’t sort out her ideology from her argument, then I wonder whether she should be teaching British Economic History at Cambridge.

Bateman is the feminist thinking man’s answer to Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project. She believes that economics is in need of a sexual revolution.

Her major contribution to that revolution, apart from several pro-feminist posts on CapX, has been to be to draw attention to herself by posing nude for a portrait. One she commissioned herself, of herself, on the presumption that – she claimed – it would help question attitudes towards the female body.


Her latest effort in this revolutionary cause is to alert the world to the real and present danger posed by The Conservative Woman, which has tickled us pink. Laura Perrins, TCW’s esteemed co-editor, has already put Dr Bateman firmly back in her box.

I wouldn’t be giving her views any more oxygen but for CapX’s perplexing desire to breathe life into her flawed feminist economics and the threat we (TCW) pose to the supposed ‘gains’ achieved for women by feminism.

Laura is right and Victoria is wrong. Choice is not the achievement of feminism. It remains the prerogative of class and success – whatever your sex. Thanks to feminism’s anti-marriage stance, it is increasingly the prerogative of an ever-smaller upper middle class who marry because they can still afford it and because their class culture still, just, dictates that they should.

The mass of women has always worked – last century and this century. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. What has changed over the last 40 years is that women lower down the social scale have traded marriage and family stability for an illusory independence – as single mothers, and on the State. Hence the brouhaha over George Osborne’s proposed tax credit cuts.

This is the triumph of feminism that must be protected at all costs – independence traded by a feminist elite for the rest of their sex – by the likes of Dr Bateman and other members of the Harriet Harman School of Feminist Social Economics.

I am surprised that the honorary feminist, childcare-promoting George Osborne did not see it coming before he announced his tax credit cuts. Let’s face it, they would have constituted a slash and burn through single parent family life – indiscriminately taking down the full time, but low paid working men with families in the conflagration.

It would have given single parents a hard choice. Either work full time to support yourself and your children or forget it – no more luxury of working 15 hours a week, free childcare and tax credit top-ups to an income of £25,000 if you have three children. Like male full time workers, they would have to wait for the minimum wage to catch up or for taxes to come down to make ends meet.

George has been hoist on his own petard. To carry through his reform, he needed the intellectual honesty to challenge the feminist myth of lone families’ (yes they are mainly mother-led) economic and social viability – the myth that leaves the responsible man paying for children of women other than his wife – through his taxes (though he and his wife cannot responsibly afford this luxury of having children themselves).

This is a debate some might have hoped to hear from a Conservative Government. Sadly, predictably, what they witnessed was the spectacle of virtue signalling Conservative MPs in ecstasies of delight at George’s climb-down, while vying in their protestations of understanding how ordinary people live; demonstrating why there is no need at all for a Labour Opposition when they themselves are so effective in the role.

As the Telegraph, Daily Mail and ConservativeHome have all pointed out, this was the political party committed to weaning people off dependency, to making families stronger and the State concomitantly smaller – the one objective TCW shares with poor, deluded Dr Bateman.

Deluded because she can’t have it both ways. As an economist, she should understand the part played by money in people’s decision-making. Women today have children on their own, not because they are an unplanned mistake, but because they can. Courtesy of State support, they don’t need the help of the father. In turn, the State has stopped giving men any financial incentive to play the responsible role of fatherhood.

It is an expensive and destructive way to support family life.

There are no sanctions for social irresponsibility. But then that – no doubt – is where Victoria and I would come apart. I imagine, as a feminist, she believes it is a woman’s right to have a baby on her own. I don’t.

Of course, I am not saying pregnancies to single mothers should be aborted. There always will be unplanned pregnancies.

The critical issue is how a society deals with this. It is one thing to treat such pregnancies with compassion: encouraging first family and community support for mother and baby, and the State as the final port of call.

It is another thing, a vastly different and immoral thing, to set up a system that positively encourages single motherhood by 1) equating it morally with in-wedlock births and 2) offering very generous financial handouts.

That is what we have done. It is neither right nor equitable when you consider how many young couples today are, for financial reasons, delaying childbirth to beyond the point of no return.

Frankly, we have botched it. We have swung from the ‘Cathy Come Home’ scenario of the 1950s – brutally taking away children from their unwed mothers to positive celebration of single motherhood as an ideal vision of the modern family along with the uncelebrated rise of very neglected children that social services’ ideology forbids removing from parents however abusive or careless.

If George Osborne is finally to bite the bullet of the tax credits behemoth before the end of this Parliament, this is the first uncomfortable truth he has to face.

The second is the fundamental flaw of the tax credits system and of its replacement, Universal Credit. Despite UC’s merit of trying to wean people off benefits and into work it still fails to incentivise responsible behaviour as far as family choices are concerned. It still conflates different categories of people, needs and problems into the same tax and benefits (credits) churn.

Why, but for the hidden hand of feminism, would you want to conflate the working with the non-working and those working fewer hours with  those working longer hours? Why conflate and indeed equate the  lone, non-working mother with the  low paid, but full time working father?

I will cause outrage when I say: why would any system want to conflate those who chose to live responsibly with those who chose to live irresponsibly?

The answer of course is feminism and its myths, its influence over policy and those ‘gains’ for women that we at The Conservative Woman threaten.

Well, we at The Conservative Woman are rather more concerned about the impact on children of the warped support the State has given and continues to give to ‘families’ who were never economically viable in the first place in the pretence that they are. We are concerned about the social and economic marginalisation of men (particularly those of lower socio-economic status) and, no, we do not believe the answer is for men to become women and doing the childcare while women try to become men

Frankly, face it Victoria – this brand of feminism will never lead to strong families independent of the State.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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