Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Clear dividing lines redefined?

When David Cameron offered to the electorate clear dividing lines between his party and a Labour Party led by Gordon Brown there were two key statements that suggested a Conservative government would not interfere in the lives of the people. Instead Cameron's "government [would be one] that actually wants to trust people and work with people rather than tell them what to do". Perhaps this would have offered clear blue water between the Labour approach, but is this still the approach the Conservatives believe to be tenable?

Iain Duncan-Smith's proposals, outlined in The Sunday Telegraph and detailed on the Poverty Debate website, which allows comments, uses similar language: "This report sets out to show how we need to help strengthen the welfare society. By that I mean the families and communities working together to give their children a real start in life, with a decent education and clear standards to guide them." But is not incentivising marriage government offering a loaded choice and not trusting people and workign with them but calling for compliance with a carrot rather than a stick. So is that the clear divide? Or is an element of inconsistency creeping in here? Shoudl the debate be broadened to the extent to which a vision of society should be prescriptive and on whose values? And the really interesting question, are those who have entered into civil partnerships eligible for the tax break?

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