David Cameron is cock-a-hoop about the family. He told us yesterday: “For me, nothing matters more than family. It’s at the centre of my life and the heart of my politics.” We believe you on this one Dave. No worries there. You find time to do the school run even though you are, you know, Prime Minister, and supposed to be running the entire country.
You are Prime Minister with access to the nuclear codes. And Putin is knocking on the door, and the Islamic State is knocking on the other. Still there is always time for chillaxing and the school run, even though you have a wife at home and a nanny. My husband is not PM but I would not dream of asking him to do the school run, as he has clients to represent and he and I would not want them short-changed. But that is just me.
Anyway, Dave was hanging out the bunting yesterday, as I said, for “the family.” Ironic how this comes at the end of his term as PM. No, it is not ironic; this is a common error people make. It is predictable. The PM is waving a flag at social conservatives, we are told. You might want to buy a bigger flag.
When talking about the family Dave it is important to define what the family should be, ideally, based on. All the evidence says that the best outcomes for children are those who are brought up in marital family. So socially conservative families do not support marriage merely because we get a kick out of being party poopers on all other relationships – it is because marriage has substantially better outcomes for children.
Dave does mention marriage in his speech – 11 times. He defends the very, very, very, late introduction of the marriage tax allowance. It is amazing, however, that in this section he manages to mention “gay marriage” more than anything else. This is to balance him out in the eyes of the hip and modern. We do support marriage (the swivel-eyed loons have made us do this) but it is gay marriage that we really like. You see, I am still modern!
Dave also tells us he going to help those children without families, “to help more children in care find a loving a family through adoption.” This does not make you a social conservative, Dave. This makes you a person with a heartbeat. Who does not want to help children in care find loving families through adoption? Asking why there are so many children in care in the first place, over 68,000, might be a good idea also? And I suspect the collapse in the marital family is part, although not all, of the problem.
Dave is big on “relationship support”. Now, we are going to have “relationship support in antenatal classes” and health visitors will offer “relationship advice”. Dear God, please save us from the marital advice offered by health visitors. I had a taste of this already after my first child.
My daughter was only a few weeks old, and I was as a new mother quite tired focusing on her needs, and the night feeds, and making sure I did not drop her. So it was with some surprise that I was told by the heath visitor that “I should make an effort for my husband, and that no man wants to come home to someone wearing track-suit bottoms”. I should always wear some lipstick when he gets in the door. Really, this was the advice offered.
Is Dave really telling us that health visitors who frequently give out rubbish advice on co-sleeping, and controlled crying (you do not want to respond to every cry, it will only spoil them) are now qualified to give marriage and relationship advice to people they do not know? Is this his great plan to save marriage and the family? Is he telling us that those who are trained to give women advice on pain relief during childbirth and the joys of the contractions are now going to slip in a bit of post-baby sex advice? Is this man serious? Can someone please take his mike away.
Finally, the “family impact policy”, where every domestic policy will be tested for its impact on families, will either not be worth the paper it is written on (is it a statutory requirement?) or will be a lawyers’ bonanza. This could justify every red cent being poured into the childcare industry. It could well prevent many cuts to welfare payments. I am not too sure Dave realises what he is signing the taxpayer up to.