Coffee House

What does Ed Balls have against marriage?

14 March 2014

11:07 AM

14 March 2014

11:07 AM

Ed Balls has announced today that he’d scrap even the tiny tax break that George Osborne is planning to offer next year, thus drawing another dividing line with the Tories. Cameron’s proposed tax relief is not about promoting marriage, or favouring any lifestyle over another. He wants to make the government more marriage-neutral. That means eroding the bias against marriage, which is one of the most pernicious poverty traps in the British today.

When I was writing for the News of the World, I was contacted by a reader who said that he loved his family, but had concluded they’d be (financially) a lot better off without him. He sent the calculations, and they were all correct. His decision to marry the mother of his children had left them significantly worse-off than they would be if she was a single mother (ie, married to the state) with her housing costs paid, on top of other benefits. It was a heartbreaking case, and an example of the damage that wrong-headed government policy can unwittingly inflict on family life for the low-paid. This is what the Labour never quite grasped: a marriage tax break is not about bribing anyone down the aisle. It’s about going a bit easier on lower-income couples who want to bring up their children inside a marriage.

In decades of welfare advances, nothing has replicated the power of the family. It’s the first, best and cheapest source of health, wealth and education. Balls may calculate that marriage is more popular with the rich than the poor, so a marriage tax break may be a sop to the middle classes. But part of the reason is that, for those on the breadline, the system is stacked against married couples. It incentivises mothers to pretend that they’re single. The below graph shows one inequality that very few care about: the inequality of access to two parents:-

[Alt-Text]


To look at the above graph is to understand a bit more about why Britain is one of the least equal countries in the world. The advantages of a two-parent family tend to be conferred on the better-off. The welfare state has, for far to many low-paid families, robbed marriage of its economic function. And, in effect, applied a heavy tax on those who do get hitched.

David Cameron is more pro-marriage than George Osborne, who is more metropolitan in his outlook and worried about moralising. The family agenda (of which pro-marriage tax reform is a small part) is deeply unfashionable. It’s true that, in today’s Britain, a 15-year-old boy is more likely to have a mobile phone in his pocket than a father in the house. But should we worry? Tony Blair argued in 1995 that “a strong society cannot be morally neutral about the family” but that was then: don’t expect to see any Labour frontbencher repeat that line soon.

But there are signs that the pro-family changes that he has made are having an effect. Some figures came out yesterday which show that 250,000 more children were living with both their birth parents in 2012 compared with 2011. The increase is most pronounced amongst children in low income households.

And this is on just a few initiatives: the Troubled Families Programme, the Separated Families Initiative and £30 million sent to relationship support for couples who choose it. Free parenting classes are being piloted in Middlesbrough, Derbyshire and Camden, with an estimated 50,000 parents using the service. Labour may sniff at all this, but there is a demand for support amongst low-income parents who need the help. Letting married couples keep a little more of the money they earn is also help – help that Ed Balls doesn’t want to give.

Dividing lines are being drawn all the time: on Europe earlier this week, and now on social justice. Labour may turn up its nose at marriage – but the Conservatives are there offering help, to those who want to take it. Balls has drawn a dividing line over social justice, and Cameron can be proud to be on the right side of it.

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Show comments
  • derekemery

    Worldwide the rich are getting richer see http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/01/23/the-85-richest-people-in-the-world-have-as-much-wealth-as-the-3-5-billion-poorest/
    A poll in six countries found the majority of people think laws are skewed to favour the rich
    Its also reported that nearly all new wealth created since the financial crisis has gone to the rich so the trend continues.
    As some stage any pretence of democracy must be gone.

  • Kitty MLB

    Labour are anti- marriage, anti- family anti- democracy anti-
    England, they are against every value that is the cornerstone of a fair society.
    Balls should be ignored, he will burst eventually.

  • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

    A sop to the ‘middle classes’? Assuming there ARE any, once Labour has finished savaging what’s left of the Britain I knew.

  • Conway

    Labour dislike the family. They prefer, as admitted above, that people be wedded to the State and skew benefits accordingly.

  • aron lipshitz

    The Labour Party, like the Lib-Dems and increasingly the Tories is dominated by militant homosexualists and man-hating women both of whom have a strong interest in destroying the traditional family. Politicians with normal tastes have found it expedient to go along with the conspiracy or else have their lives destroyed. Both Miliband and Nick Clegg have announced that they believe Britain is ready for a homosexual Prime Minister–it is not clear if they are putting themselves forward.

  • David Norman

    Fewer married parents = more ‘households’ = more houses needed. The simple explanation for one of this country’s biggest problems.

  • The BBC Sucks BBCs

    Labour want the state to be the family & have everyone dependent on the state, everyone dependent on them, I think there should be a large, transferable married couples child tax allowance, so families with children can keep more of the money they earn.

  • Fergus Pickering

    What does he have against marriage? Experience perhaps.

  • Jupiter

    His wife refuses to take his name, maybe that is turning him against marriage.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      I don’t think I’d want to be ‘Mrs Balls’, either. For one thing, it sounds ridiculous. For another, he’s a socialist. But then, I wouldn’t have married him….

  • George Laird

    Dear All

    As a general point, what do married men have against marriage, one is tempted to say their wife……. almost immediately.

    Which is why there is a roaring pub trade!

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

    • Kitty MLB

      Dear George, from beloved Scotland.
      Have eschewed this place but could not resist.
      ‘One is tempted to say their wife’… ‘ which is why there is a roaring pub trade’
      Poor pampered husband disconsolately pushes grimy beer mat around
      whilst muttering imprecations against wife and world.
      Unleashing bibulous Waugh and Amis like broadsheets against the politically
      correct who run this benighted country. Its a dogs life I know, for men,
      unlike that for women and cats :)

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      Moron. Is this a Scotch speciality, or what?

      • Kitty MLB

        George the lovely chap from Scotland,
        has humour within his soul, adores his wife,
        and is one of the very few people in Scotland
        who can see right through Alex Salmond and
        his hot air balloon of self esteem as well
        as not liking fragrant Nicola.
        A whimsical Scot, who does not support the
        SNP, can have a harmless dig at the wife
        and does’nt take politics and life too
        seriously should be preserved.

        • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

          Well Kitty, he sure has a lovely defender in you.

          • Kitty MLB

            Its quite unique for a Scots to be humorous ( so I am told)
            and I have a soft spot for painted faced Celtic warriors like Ally.
            And for one that clearly is Conservative and not SNP
            well that’s even more rare. Although I am quite surprised
            he chose not to mention that he didn’t know me from Adam
            ( or Eve, I suppose) He clearly is clearly quite an unusual
            chap from Scotland and it was Friday :)

      • George Laird

        Dear Swanky

        It seems that on a Friday, you have no feel for comedy!

        How you address that problem I will leave up to you, however, given there is a ‘roaring pub trade’, you can seek advice there!

        Yours sincerely

        George Laird
        The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

        ps thank you Kitty

  • Magnolia

    “The family agenda (of which pro-marriage tax reform is a small part) is deeply unfashionable, which is why Cameron has struggled to get this past his Chancellor.”

    I’m not sure that fashions are not changing at present.
    Marriage is tied up with feminism.
    Women were liberated from large families and the kitchen sink to go out to work for a living and pay tax. End result, kids farmed, rocketing house prices, exhausted parents. Women now need to be liberated from the state control of parenthood and the state controlled ‘funny money’ which parks wealth in housing.
    Someone has to bring the children up because they don’t manage it alone.
    Someone has to run the household because it doesn’t do it itself.
    Someone has to earn the income for the family to survive on because otherwise they are a burden on everyone else or they starve.
    These are separate roles and everyone suffers if parents try to do it all.
    It may soon be deeply unfashionable to expect both parents of young children to work. Why else would we all be cooking and sewing again?
    Politicians that continue to penalise the single income family will lose votes.

  • Wessex Man

    Who cares? he’s history anyhow!

  • the viceroy’s gin

    “Some figures came out yesterday which show that 250,000 more children were living with both their birth parents in 2012 compared with 2011. The increase is most pronounced amongst children in low income households.”

    .

    So the marketeering Camerluvvies issue a press release, and you instantly scuttle off to your blog and plaster it up, lad? You’re such a help.

    The above numbers are bogus, lad. They are fantastical. I doubt you’d bother clicking through your buddies’ press release to the actual survey report, but if you did, and you actually understood statistical survey, you’d realize this survey is bogus. It even tells us it’s bogus. It was put together to provide the press release that you scuttled off and plastered into your blogpost.

    I did get a chuckle reading through that “report”, though. Here it is, so you can look at it (for the first time?): https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/288807/sj-indicator-2014.pdf

    It’s amusing, first of all, that a numpty like you would use ANY year-over-year data such as this as support for something or another, least of all social policy. I’d take the time to explain that to you, but I fear it’d be a waste of my time and yours.

    But getting back to the “report”, we find several amusements. First, the “Notes applying to all tables” listed on page 5 of 8 of the report would put the lie to the conclusions you’ve made in your blogpost. You’re leading cheers for a 2% “improvement”, which might in reality be a decline, as we know statistically.

    Better amusement was this whopper, noted underneath Table 1:

    “1. The percentage of all children living and not living with both birth parents in 2011-12 each have a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.7%. “

    Does anybody seriously believe these political hacks have slapdashed together a survey with a 0.7% confidence level at each of its studied groupings, across the entire United Kingdom? Seriously? It seems as if these hacks deliberately wrote this bald-faced lie into this, just to see how stupid people really must be.

    Best amusement though, came in the ” Table notes (all): “ on page 7 of 8:

    ” 3. Percentages have been weighted in accordance with the survey guidance issued. “

    No further comment needed here, lad. Your takeaway assignment is to find the “survey guidance issued”, and use it to educate yourself, if that’s possible.

    Look, we get it that you’re a Camerluvvie apparatchik, and must do your paid bit, but not everybody reading your blogposts will be a poorly educated innumerate as you. Fudging numbers merely exposes you as a charlatan. There may be a story to tell, but it isn’t to be told by political hacks fantasizing numbers. Next time you receive one of these Camerluvvie press releases, based upon an “ad hoc statistical analysis” as the department admits this is, it’d be best if you took it with a grain of salt, and pitched it aside. It is scandalous the way you Speccie kids play with numbers and statistics illegitimately, lad.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      You’d be more persuasive if you were more of the viceroy and less of the gin.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …actually, I doubt much would persuade you true believers.

  • A Chap

    More should be done to support marriage. Family failure costs the UK £46bn a year…

  • StephanieJCW

    “I was contacted by a reader who said that he loved his family, but had concluded they’d be (financially) a lot better off without him. He sent the calculations, and they were all correct. His decision to marry the mother of his children had left them significantly worse-off than they would be if she was a single mother (ie, married to the state) with her housing costs paid, on top of other benefits”

    You reader was not right. Unless he hadn’t married and lied about being in a relationship. Benefits assess you as man and wife.

    This whole “incentivises women to pretend they’re single” is also fact free. If that was true, then they would just pretend, claim the benefits and still live with their partner / near to their partner and the children would still have a stable upbringing, with two unmarried parents. The reality is people don’t get together or separate for cash.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      Huh. You’ve obviously never heard of a sham marriage — and this is the lady that’s all for the damaging pre-nup!

  • http://www.matt-tomlinson.co.uk Matt Tomlinson

    In many ways offering optional per-household taxation and benefits would be very helpful for many people in stable relationships (married or not), particularly where one partner doesn’t work or has a lower income and so tax allowance could be shared, additional tax allowances for children, disabled or elderly adults in the house and childcare could then be provided, taking people out of the benefits system and into a ‘normal’ tax system. It’s how things work in most of Europe. However, the real reason that it’s a non-starter is that there is no way that HMRC’s systems could cope with this, and I don’t think any politician will have the balls to say that.

  • StephanieJCW

    He’s right.

    Why on earth are we giving people tax breaks just for shacking up. If you want to marry, do it – but why do you need some form of tax break for your relationship?

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

      Because marriage benefits society as no other institutionalized relationship does or can. Marriage, for the past two millennia at least, has been the foundation of civilization. That’s why.

  • Daniel Maris

    Tony Benn’s socialism was what one might call the “socialism of spouting off”. I can’t think of any particular enactment that he is associated with. I don’t think he did a very good deal with the oil companies. His dalliance with workers’ co-operatives was a disaster as he funded co-ops in already failing businesses rather than successful ones. He supported the suicidally undemocratic miners’ strike.

    His patrician air, his sense of entitlement to be heard without responding to an opponent’s points were irritating.

    [Put here since there seems to be nowhere else…]

  • John Smith

    Family failure, alongside poor state education, has been toxic for poor children.
    One would hope Cameron & Gove understand that. .

  • tribalterror

    Its a fundamental principal for socialists that the only marriage that one should have is to the state

    • Makroon

      Fraser Nelson says “that is why Britain is one of the least equal countries in the world …” My, oh my ! What a tragically sheltered life Mr Nelson must have led. Drivel worthy of Cleggy on a bad day.

      • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

        From where I stand in America it’s looking more and more like a country of officious procks, bullying and bossing the beleaguered citizens who are underrepresented by their MPs and virtually powerless to change anything…. Which is why I sincerely doubt I’ll ever come back, despite my love of the Weald.

        • Kitty MLB

          That is what being within the iron fist of a repressive
          controlling and undemocratic Labour government does, the left
          dominate far too much of society and unfortunately we are
          still living with their consequences and inadequate MP’s.
          Which is why the Conservatives must win the next election
          Balls must not be given the matches back.
          Yet, forgive me for saying but we are more fair then the US
          if that were not the case then Dianne Abbott would be leader
          of the Labour party.

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh No, not Cleggy, he who suffocates with his own sense of superiority . his goal in life is
        ‘Stopping the Tories’. I am always expected him to go further
        with the pupil premium for disadvantaged two year olds and
        we should have one for disadvantaged married people and maybe
        disadvantaged parents…Shall not give him ideas though.
        Oh, I do wish Balls would just burst, evaporate and take his whole
        wretched party with him.

  • 2trueblue

    “Nothing has replicated the power of the family” that is why people like Balls do not like it. It enables the persons in the unit to work together for the unit and strife to improve their situation. Liebore spent 13yrs. stealing people aspirations, growing their client state, downgrading education, and generally doing vast damage to our society.
    Balls likes control and for someone who could not remember which house was his main residence he is not someone whose opinion I value. United people are stronger that is why a family unit is preferable. The system is there to take care of those who need help and at all time should be encouraged to strive to better themselves and be independent. That should always be the aim.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The family with hearth and home is the cornerstone of English society and has been for centuries. Then along come these Marxist scum and decide they know better.

      • telemachus

        No
        And this gets down to the stupidity of the thread
        Balls has self evidently powered the most celebrated political marriage in years
        We will hear much more from Ed and Yvette

        • Colonel Mustard

          Yes
          The only stupidity in this thread is you.

  • saffrin

    How can UKIP lose with proven a*sholes like ED Balls being the alternative.

    • HookesLaw

      Because they are full of even bigger a*sholes themselves.

      • saffrin

        Says the man that thinks Cameron is a winner.
        The Tories are the NuLibDem. Third party in British politics.

    • Tony_E

      Because while the principle objective is sound, they are not a full political offer yet. They might become that, but they are not yet attracting the level of talent into the higher end of the party that is required to build proper structures that will have the ability to look like a potential party of government.

      To the average man on the street, UKIP is still the Nigel Farage party, and maybe Paul Nuttall gets some exposure. They should do well in the Euro Elections, where the policy angle is narrow and the opportunity to protest over that narrow policy without personal cost. The real test will be the next GE, and I suspect that they don’t have a weight of geographical support in any one place that will supply then a parliamentary seat.

      • saffrin

        “They are not yet attracting the level of talent into the higher end of the party that is required to build proper structures that will have the ability to look like a potential party of government.”

        Is that so, then how do you explain Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband, Cameron, Clegg, Harman, Ed Balls etc,etc?
        I see no talent there.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          That’s the real point. LibLabCon are useless. UKIP exists and will prosper in proportion to their uselessness. As that grows, so will UKIP.

        • Tony_E

          But they were skilled in insinuating themselves into the public discourse, and their ideas into the classrooms and studios. It’s an unpleasant skill, but a skill all the same. A skill tat Conservatives totally failed to address when they held power in the 80s.

          Like their mentor Saul Alinsky, I might hate their ends but I appreciate their effectiveness.

  • Beli

    He’s a Marxist. Marxists hate the Family. Try reading Marx. It’s not difficult.

    I’ve done it and I’m just the Fat Bloke down the Pub.

    • telemachus

      No
      He trends toward Socialism with a charismatic bent
      He does decry all Osbornes efforts to favour the rich and middle class exclusively

      • Colonel Mustard

        Socialism, Marxism, Communism. All to a common purpose now and makes no difference. An evil creed which you incessantly promote, revealing your “caring” “reasonable” socialism to be nothing more than the advocacy of a rather nasty form of Stalinism.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          How do you live with the fact that even the ghost of free market Manchester Capitalism now rests in peace and that the Tory Quangocracy and international corporatism of Soros-esk quality now dicates policy? You love it now live with it.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            That post is so mind-numbingly stupid it belongs in a museum somewhere. How do you do it, lad?

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              He does it by being mind numbingly stupid.

      • HookesLaw

        Since we have two former Tory chancellors who are today pointing out how more people are being drawn into the 40p tax bracket it is a blatant lie to say that Osborne is favouring the rich and middle c;lass.
        This govt inherited a broken tax system from Labour were the rich were easily avoiding paying any tax at all.
        I grow tired of your ignorance and bigotry. The reason the middle class are in fact being squeezed it the broken economy and massive deficit inherited from Labour.

        • telemachus

          The tax system inherited was beginning to show fairness
          Then Osborne gave a 5% tax break to the rich while withdrawing benefits from the poor and sick

          • HookesLaw

            Pathetic. A 40p tax level was more than sufficient for labour for 13 years. Your lies are boring and odious. Brown alone had 10 years to increase the tax from 40 to 50 – but he did not.

            • telemachus

              Fiscal prudence in the light of Lehman

              • HookesLaw

                More twisting of the truth. It was UK banks regulated by Brown who took out a mass of bad debts which crippled them. Nothing to do with Lehman.
                You are preposterously thick and ignorant.

                • telemachus

                  Excuse Me
                  Read any tract on the causation of the 2007/8 crash and you will get back to US subprime

                • Tony_E

                  Yes, and no British bank was ever forced by the Americans to buy these derivative products, these repackaged loans.

                  They bought them because they looked like a quick buck. Had the B of E been regulating the city as it was in the 80’s and 90’s, I think the behaviour would have been somewhat different.

                • telemachus

                  I repeat
                  Packaged products from US banks
                  Have you heard of securitisation

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Most of the structures which defaulted did so out of London under the failed banking regulatory system of ED Balls. You talk about securitisation as if you had the first clue about what it is beyond a quick reference to Wikipedia.

                • balance_and_reason

                  Actually sub prime did not cause the failure of banks such as Northern rock, Coop, RBS, HBOS etc….it was a catalyst (i.e. stress conditions ) which then exposed those banks (not Lloyds, HSBC, and many other building societies) as being ludicrously over borrowed. That was a direct failure of FSA/BofE oversight and certainly caused in part by Brown (paranoid of giving too much power to B of E so split the responsibility)…result insufficiently qualified and experienced supervision. Lloyds was then screwed into saving HBOS…a well managed conservative bank screwed possibly to prevent a death spiral in the banking system ( best interpretation).

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Brown, overspending, bribing and conniving fiddling the books, like PFI.

                  Brown, Brown, Brown, the Chancellor who promised no more boom and bust then proceeded to bust the country on behalf of the Communist Party that got him elected.

                • saffrin

                  It doesn’t matter. labour were in the driving seat. Brown was too engrossed in wasting the £billions in taxes banks pay into the treasury each year he didn’t care about the risks.

                  And let’s face it, as none of it was his own money and he was still getting paid his wages, his Parliamentary expenses claims to cover him on just about everything, a gold plated pension and a future book on why he did it why would he?

                • balance_and_reason

                  correct; Clinton made lending access to sub prime part of the qualification to obtain licensing; Result socialist tinkering leads to market failure…took a while.

                • saffrin

                  Just part of Labour’s habitual denials.

              • balance_and_reason

                Lehman has just been completed; Lehman UK paid all its debts by the close, i.e. it was solvent……

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  He doesn’t do inconvenient things like facts. He is a stooge for Labour.

            • Mynydd

              You seem to forget that Mr Blair/Brown had a growing economy therefore a 50% was not required until the global banking crisis require an increase in taxation to help cut the deficit. Mr Cameron/Osborne have failed to balance the books during the life of this parliament therefore the 50% rate should have remained until the deficit is down to a manageable level.
              It was Mr Blair/Brown who reduced the basic rate to 20% something that Mrs Thatcher/Major failed to do during their 18 years in power, in fact she had a higher rate of 60%.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Except that raising the marginal rate of tax to 50% actually caused a decline in revenues from the better off. It had nothing to do with clearing the deficit it was just a typically dishonest political trick by Gordon Brown to discomfit the Tories. Brown was happy with a 40% tax rate until 6 weeks before the swine was hurled from office by a disgusted British public. The cut to 45% has actually seen a rise in revenues from the top 1% of earners who now contribute 30% of all income tax collected compared to 25% when the %)5 rqte wqs in force (see ONs). Sorry but we have no need of your trolling on behalf of Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

                • Mynydd

                  How do you justify Mrs Thatcher’s 60%

                • balance_and_reason

                  You guys really are liars…Mrs Thatcher inherited the carcass of a country from the last Labour car crash. That included sky high tax rates, which were gradually brought down by years of reasonable management ; in the teeth of constant lie’s, propaganda, and dissembling from the usual rabble on the left…problem for you, it worked in the end so you had to have a Tony Blair to get back in….result…another Labour car crash….amazing how history repeats itself. Lucky for you the punters have short memories.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Geoffrey Howe reduced the marginal Tax rate to 60% from the 83% it had been under Labour. A reduction of 23%. Unsurprisingly the amount of tax collected increased. The amount collected increased again when Lawson reduced the rate to 40%. 40% was the rate deemed acceptable for 98% of the 13 year life of the last Labour Government before its penchant for dishonesty took over as usual. So once again you have proved yourself an hapless idiot and a stooge for Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Geoffrey Howe reduced the marginal rate from 83% to 60% a reduction of 23% and revenues increased as avoidance fell. Lawson then reduced the rate to 40% and surprise, surprise revenues increased again. 40% was acceptable for 98% of the 13 year duration of the last Labour Government and revenues fell when they cynically increased it to 50% just check the ONS statistics. Revenues have now increased after the cut to 45%. You really are the perfect idiot besides being a stooge and Troll for Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

      • saffrin

        Do you actually believe the drivel you post?

        • telemachus

          It is only seen as drivel by those who want to decry the right to champion the disadvantaged

          • Colonel Mustard

            No, it is just drivel. You lot just champion yourselves on the backs of the disadvantaged. Exploiting them to endow yourselves with false moral superiority so that you can intimidate any dissent.

            More often than not the disadvantaged will suffer under socialist regimes as the record of your MPs and councils in the north demonstrates. You suffocate aspiration and hope. You are a toxic virus sapping the goodness from this country.

          • saffrin

            NuLabour create disadvantage.

            • telemachus

              Excuse me again
              Thru the 10 years of the greatest leap in prosperity in a century the poor and disadvantaged say a marked improvement in their lot

              • Colonel Mustard

                Busting the country and dumbing down a generation to the point of illiteracy, then saddling them with a heap of debt, a deluge of bad law and the prospect of the United Kingdom breaking up.

                • Mynydd

                  I have said many times, and will continue to do so, because, the truth will out, no matter how you spin it. Mr Cameron/Osborne’s heap of debt will be greater in 5 years, than what Mr Blair/Brown, (during their 13 years in power), added to Mrs Thatcher/Major heap of debt.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Of course it will. Because the New Labour legacy was so destructive. Spin doesn’t come into it. You can say it as many times as you like and no doubt will. You people never admit responsibility, never admit error or fault and never apologise.

                  And why my comments? Plenty of other comments here you could bray at. Another lefty troll stalker.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And a totally ignorant one at that.

                • telemachus

                  Because son your comments are the most patronising and vindictive
                  You son are also obsessed by you own importance
                  Remember High Sheriff’s are now an irrelevance in (my) England but possibly not in little england
                  Leave my team alone

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes you keep repeating the same rubbish in the hope it will be considered fact through constant repetition. It remains rubbish. Debt has increased because we had a 7.4% contraction of the economy accompanying a £160 billion structural deficit thanks to the spendthrift Gordon Brown. Cuts sufficient to bring down that deficit would be deemed intolerable by the public and so additional borrowing had to be undertaken to pay for our bloated public services. Much of that additional borrowing you never stop crowing about is in the form of quantitative easing whereby we issue debt to ourselves and electronically print money to pay for it. No doubt it will all be converted to zero coupon bonds at some point and left in a drawer to rot. Meanwhile, we now h while we contemplate the detrimental effect it has had on pensions etc. Meanwhile, we now havethe fastest growing economy in the West, record employment and a slow reduction in Brown’s structural deficit. I point all this out for the benefit of any sensible reader who might read your rubbish and needs to hear the truth rather than rubbish from a Labour Stooge and Troll like yourself

                • balance_and_reason

                  Agreed but caused by the clowns who left office prior to them taking the reins.

              • saffrin

                He squandered a massive landslide from an electorate hungry for change, poured billions of public pounds into private pockets and accelerated the growing gap between rich and poor.

                – Mr Crow on Tony Blair

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                The prosperity defined by Wrecker Scum Brown’s £160 Billion structural deficit and a 7.4% contraction of the economy which are the reasons so many less well off people are suffering today. And spare us the lies about Lehman etc because that is what they are, lies.

        • Colonel Mustard

          No, it is just an orchestrated online campaign to disrupt blogs that represent any kind of counter argument to Labour. telemachus is a compulsive obsessive little creep who thinks it is his “duty” to run up and down threads desperately posting that drivel in response to any dissenting comment. It is the blog equivalent of heckling.

          • david croft

            Telemachus, son of Ulysses and Penelope obviously a disadvantaged childhood. Father, always messing about in boats and seeking cheap thrills away from home for long periods, no male role model. In spite of a good mother one can see the devastating effect of a dysfunctional home. This is the clear cause of his wanting to be noticed by continually spouting his misanthropic rubbish. Could be tried for sociopathic behaviour but would be declared of unsound mind and unfit to plead.

        • In2minds

          Balls bent, what do you think?

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        I think of him every morning when I sit on the toilet and reach for the paper.

  • telemachus

    As a quick answer to your headline question, might I surmise ‘Mrs Balls’?
    *
    Thanks Rhoda
    But the pertinent question is
    What does Speccie have against Ed Balls

    • saffrin

      The man is a fat, ugly, slimy, untrustworthy, creep, stupid enough not to see a £100 Billion plus deficit as evidence of overspending.
      So far out of touch with reality was Balls pre-2010 General Election, Balls claimed over £3 million on office refurbishment in the belief he’d actually be staying in it.
      Mad.

      • telemachus

        Gove thanked him
        *
        If you read his policies you will see that unlike Osborne they are fair for all
        They do not just favour the rich and upper middle class

        • Colonel Mustard

          Tripe as usual. Labour brought us devolution which means English students are penalised and Scottish students are not. Brown, the monster, abolished the 10p tax that this creep is now trying to reintroduce, ignoring the Coalition’s laudable efforts to lift the lowest paid out of paying tax altogether.

          Watch this fat creep weasel those allowances down by using the 10p smokescreen, the cnut.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    As a quick answer to your headline question, might I surmise ‘Mrs Balls’?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Wait, there must be something racist or misogynist or something else PC evil about that crack. Give me a minute here…

  • Colonel Mustard

    He described the arrangement as “perverse” on the BBC propaganda broadcast yesterday evening. But it was unclear whether he was referring to the allowance or marriage per se. Seems an odd word to describe both. I’d use it to describe the views of people like him who have destroyed our country. Loony lefties who have somehow managed to shove their way into the centre ground and impose their extreme agenda as “mainstream”.

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      The tax break on offer is ‘perverse’, it’s pants politics. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that. It means nothing. It’s fatuous tinkering.

      Either believe in what you say and then act in accordance with those beliefs (i.e legislate income splitting) or be gone.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Don’t tell me what I know, less what “everyone” knows. And don’t wedge meaning into my comment that is not there.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          Do you believe the sacrament of marriage needs financial support, yes or no. Then act in accordance with your beliefs. The current proposals do none of that, so they must be a ‘lefty’ tokenism.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I don’t make the tax law. Try reading my comment instead of inventing your own version of it. You think ‘perverse’ is appropriate. I don’t. Tough.

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              You have just declared yourself (perhaps inadvertently) an advocate of leftist tokenist politics. Fair deuce.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Only in your crazed and feverish mind. My comment was referring to the use of the word ‘perverse’ and the ambiguity of whether he meant it to mean marriage or the allowance. And that regardless of which I would use it rather to describe his politics. I can disagree with the allowance (a legacy of women earning less) without describing it as ‘perverse’.

                Stop being such a t*t.

    • Makroon

      Colonel, Balls hasn’t even got going yet.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Good article Mr N but are you sure you believe this bit… ‘This is what the Labour never quite grasped: a marriage tax break is not about bribing anyone down the aisle’.
    Do you not think that they grasp this only too well but don’t care as every marriage potentially takes away a voter or two who learn independence and less reliance on the State.

    • telemachus

      Exactly Hexham geezer
      Labour are against Social Engineering whether Osborne generated or Gove generated
      This is a combination of social engineering and middle class tax advantaging
      It comes in the same bracket as Osborne’s 5% pay rise for the rich

      • saffrin

        Labour are against Social Engineering?
        Is that so, then how do you explain gays adopting?

        • telemachus

          Legitimate aspirations of a still persecuted group
          *
          A child fares better with a couple of loving Gays that in an abusive marriage

          • Colonel Mustard

            The only people persecuted in this country now are those with right wing or traditionally conservative views.

            You persecute this website.

          • saffrin

            Pandering to poedophile groups more like.

            • telemachus

              Dacre did that one to protect Cameron from taunts about Rock from us

              • Colonel Mustard

                No smoke without fire. Dacre’s revelations were not plucked from thin air but from Labour’s closet of skeletons.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “Labour are against Social Engineering”

        Hee-hee. It is part of their DNA. It runs through them like the name through a stick of rock. Their complete ethos is social engineering using coercion, bad law, intimidation, the manipulation of language, lying, propaganda, subversion, dissembling, infiltration and a hundred other dishonest and conniving methods. They think they know best how society should be run – controlled – like you and they think everyone should conform to that.

        • telemachus

          Yes they do know how society should be run
          For the benefit of the many not the few
          But by legitimate policies not Govian or Osbornian Social Engineering

          • Colonel Mustard

            So now you admit that Labour are NOT against social engineering as you first stated above and it does come down to always thinking you know best.

            We know all about the intentions. It is the sad consequences of the BS proven so many times in history and across the globe (Venezuela) that should concern us.

            You are all fatheads. And letting any of you anywhere near any power of decision is always disastrous.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            “Govian and Osbornian Social Engineering” is no different than any other of LibLabCon’s. It’s all destructive, which is its goal, apparently.

      • Fergus Pickering

        But he reduced the rate from 50% to 45%.

  • Count Dooku

    Ed Balls is absolutely right on this (vomit). The state should take a neutral position on taxation and shouldn’t reward lifestyle choices of anyone.

    Imagine if Cameron proposed a tax break for transsexuals because they faced employment discrimination. This is the equivalent.

    • Tony_E

      Then the state should make funding through the welfare state for couples who stay together much more favourable – but it won’t and rarely has. It ruthlessly penalises those who try to do what they promised to do – get married and stay married.

      • Count Dooku

        I’d rather we didn’t subsidise anyone. Single or married. Cut taxes for everyone instead.

        • HookesLaw

          Its to all our benefit to encourage procreation. At the very least to help pay our pensions. Its to our benefit to encourage children to be properly brought up in a stable and caring environment and be less and less dependent on the State. Its in our interests and so we should be happy for the government to promote what is in our interest.

          The more people the State employs to monitor single and broken families and to repair the damage created by a broken society the more it needs to spend add the more in needs to tax.

          • StephanieJCW

            “Its to all our benefit to encourage procreation.”

            Nonsense. People don’t procreate because of cash incentives. They do it cos they want kids.

            And we don’t need children for our pension system. Move to a private system of pensions, instead of a state ponzi scheme.

        • Tony_E

          I’m with you on that, but there is not hope of any political party ever getting to that point.

          Also, we have extreme societal damage incurred by governments of all colours due to the terrible mismanagement of social and economic policy since the 1940s. Before withdrawing all funding for families you would have to take probably 2-3 generations to slowly unwind the welfare trap and the dead weight of the growing underclass who contribute nothing to society at all.

    • HookesLaw

      Since there is no such suggestion nor likely to be and the juxtaposition of strange and extreme circumstances only exists in your barmy mind your point is facile.

  • http://www.biologymad.com/ HD2

    Family care is better and cheaper than State-funded care.
    But State-funded care means employees pay tax.

    Hence everything pouring out of socialist’s mouths – they seek merely to raise more tax revenue and so have more to squander.

    The suffering this inflicts on countless millions is of no consequence to them.

    • Tony_E

      The main fault in the family is that it is independent of the state and might therefore teach it’s children things that the state doesn’t agree with.

      Not very sound for the continuance of the revolution

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …comrade little boy Gove will help take care of that, if given time.

        • Tony_E

          My comment was flippant, but based in a real truth about the Gramscian march through the institutions of state of the left. Gove is trying hard I’m sure, but a real undoing of this would require a government on its first day of power, sacking about a third of the state, disconnecting political campaigning from the funding of charities, disestablishing the church of England, and closing down the BBC amongst other things.

          I’m certain that will never happen

          • the viceroy’s gin

            My post may not have been clear. Comrade Gove is a Gramscian. He’s part of the problem. He’s carrying out the great Marcusean/Fabian/Gramscian project, to make all wards of the state, slowly, using institutions of government, and central government control of schooling is the most important of their tools for this.

            • David davis

              GramsciaNazis do exactly that, but I don’t think he’s one of the b*****s.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You know, I respectfully disagree. He bears all the hallmarks of it. He’s a progressive-neocon, has a pure nanny-state temperament, and is the smartest person in any room he’s ever walked into. I think some are intoxicated because he’s taken a few shots at the much-hated teachers’ unions, but ignore that he’s merely swapping one power wielding illegitimacy for another. .

          • David davis

            You must also shut-down the Oxford PPE course in the first hour of power also. And its vile spawn in other universities, not to mention the “unis”. In one of the latter, you can read for an “honours degree” in Waste Management Studies with Dance.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You can include the child care welfare statism pouring out of the above socialist Speccie teenager’s mouth, the other day.

      • telemachus

        You forgot “lad”

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …no, and I haven’t forgotten you’re an idiot, either.

    • Alexsandr

      state employees don’t effectively pay tax. its just a money go-round.

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