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Nick Clegg is Right and the Moralising Tories repel me

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 2 July 2013

Go back to bed and take an aspirin, I fear that I find myself agreeing 100% with Nick Clegg who for once shows himself as a true liberal. Meanwhile the Tory party nauseates me. The issue is tax breaks for married couples.

Call Me Dave has already pledged to hand out £150 a year in tax breaks to folks who opt to get married. But some of his more reactionary colleagues in Westminster (step forward Tim Loughton MP and Peter Bone) want the number to be £2,000. The Tory party is split on how much should be handed out to one section of society who have made a lifestyle choice of which they approve but they wish to use money paid for by every sort of taxpayer to fund those who follow this moral path.

Clegg may support Secret Courts, gagging the press and various other appallingly illiberal measures but on this one he is bang on the money. Government should never seek to use money taken from all sections of society to bribe people to follow one lifestyle course of which they approve purely on moral grounds.

If I suggested that there should be tax breaks for those men who frequented gay bathhouses to have sex with complete strangers you would think me mad. Gay men do not generally lumber the state with children who are expensive to support and are less likely to engage of acts of mindless hooliganism and anti-social drink fuelled behaviour than straight men. So let’s give the poofs big tax breaks to encourage more people to go to gay bathhouses.

If course I am not serious but that proposal is just the same as what Call Me Dave plans it is just a different moral code being supported and Government should never be in the business of driving a particular moral agenda in terms of individual lifestyle on society.

There is a crying need for tax breaks/cuts for one element of society and that is low paid workers. That is a need based not on morality but on economics – the need to make work much, much more attractive than welfare. I really need an aspirin now as the party leader who has got this one the most right was again Nick Clegg who said (from memory) in 2010 that no-one earning under £15,000 should pay tax. Clegg is heading the right way. The number should be £25,000 – the average wage.

And that could be funded by slashing benefits, notably capping housing benefits so that those opting to live on welfare could not “afford” to live in nice houses in the South East but might think about working as the threat of relocation to Rotherham loomed. By slashing benefits not only would the bill per scrounger fall but also a lot of scroungers would decide that taking one of the millions of low paid jobs ( which would now be tax free) which only Eastern Europeans take right now, was a good call. So the total numbers on welfare would also fall.

I am not sure that Clegg got the second part of the equation but he is absolutely correct about who needs tax breaks. And the moralising Tory party is absolutely wrong ( and nauseating in equal measures). If it wishes to campaign on a moral agenda, to get Back to Basics go ahead…because it all worked out so well last time didn’t it.

Will Back to Basics and the moral pro the sanctimony of marriage agenda work out for you Dave? Why not ask Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks for their views on this matter?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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