« Iain Duncan Smith's social justice report is published tomorrow | Main | Today's cannabis is a lot stronger than in Cameron's day... »


According to footnote 94 (NB Private Eye) on page 110 of the document, "In this document references to marriage are to be taken as including civil partnerships", so presumably the tax break also applies to civil partnerships.

I wonder how many of those social conservatives supporting the marriage tax break realise it.

IDS and his team deserve a lot of praise for the work they have done for the Party. After the way IDS was treated by both MP's and the party he could have sulked and walked away from it all - instead he conducts extensive research and produces a first class piece of work which attempts to deal with many of the problems in our society. Lets hope Cameron has the bottle to accept some of these proposals and puts to one side some of the wishy washy nonsense he has been coming up with lately.

Drug rehab over imprisonment is a good step.

According to footnote 94 (NB Private Eye) on page 110 of the document, "In this document references to marriage are to be taken as including civil partnerships", so presumably the tax break also applies to civil partnerships.

Likewise, I was pleased to see that. Our policy responses to this excellent document need to acknowledge the inherent good we all do for society when we choose to take responsibility for one another, as well as the inherent benefits of strong commitment in taking care of children.

I would doubt there is any significant statistical evidence about civil partnerships at this stage. We are looking at the breakdown of families and its effect on children, not something in practice related to civil partnerships, so this debate can safely ignore them.

Drug rehab was a huge part of the last manifesto - didn't we pledge 40,000 more places? I havent had chance to read the report in depth. Are we committed to something similar?

I've not had a chance to read it either Jonathan, but I would hope so. As long as there is a distinction made between criminals who happen to be drug users and drug users who resort to crime.

The first group deserve prison if their offences necessitate it. The second group, who might not commit crimes if they were free from drug dependence, should be the only people for whom the option of rehab rather than prison is offered.

Volume 2 on Economic Dependency and ‘Worklessness’ (stupid term) is just the same rehashed punishment of the unemployed.

Where are the policies to stop British people losing their jobs by being replaced by cheap overseas staff?

What about policies to enforce the age discrimination laws?

Not everyone that is without work lack skills, although possibility not up to date or recently used. How about a scheme for refresh, certification and working experience for those who are already skilled?

What about a scheme to help those that have had their lives destroyed by the policies of the nuLieBore government? Some, like me, although very highly skilled are unlikely to ever work again because of the secondary effects of government policy on financial status, or physical and mental health.

As I keep saying, get tough on the employers not on the unemployed.

Firstly, the work of the Social Justice Group is commendable and seems to provide a sound basis for a coherent policy.

In the recent thread on increasing alcohol taxes many posters pointed that there were many other measures that can be adopted that would help reduce alcohol abuse.

I agree and am encouraged that in the two related reports submitted to the Social Justice Group many of the points discussed in the previous threads were addressed in these submissions. They do indeed take a fairly rounded view to the problem.

However, in discussing alcohol abuse, the final report and recommendations seems to gloss over many of the other recommendations made in the two supporting reports.

Why this is, is unexplained but it is clear that most of them relate to the behaviour and practices of the drinks, entertainment, and retailing industry.

It is creditable that IDS recognises the State, the individual and the Charity sector's responsibilities.

However, disregarding the Drink's, Marketing & Entertainments industries responsibilities (which these reports suggest they tend to abuse) seems to me to significantly dilute the possible benefits of the recommendations that are being proposed to reduce alcohol abuse.

I have only scanned the report and maybe I am wrong in my conclusion but if David Cameron is to be consistent and is serious about Social Responsibility then it must apply as equally to Chief Executives, Owners, Boards Of Directors and shareholders of the relevant companies/ establishments as it does the individual.

There is much in this which will create the sense of clear blue water being placed between us and the Socialists, although just how deep and oceanic the water is will have to be teased out a bit. There is much here that traditional Tories and Tories who drifted off in 97, 01 and 05 to the LibDems and elsewhere will feel comfortable with, so in that sense IDS has done well.

I have one quibble though: it is fervently to be wished that politicians would write in language that is clear and accessible to us all. Far too much of this report is written is language which only incorrigible policy wonks will understand or be able to digest. What, by the Lord Harry, is 'front-loaded child benefit' or 'third sector delivery of services'? I am an international lawyer who speaks fluent french and good spanish, yet I found much of the language in this report deeply intimidating.

One wonders if anyone up there realises that this sort of thing is one reason why ordinary voters (as opposed to policy wonks, professional politicians, civil servants and activists) feel so detached from the political elite which so often seems to be talking down at us.

When selling a spade, one likes to be able to call it a spade rather than be forced to describe it as a 'rectangular, flat-bladed metal implement with a wooden handle designed for the purpose of moving soil, debris and rubbish from one place to another'. Or am I just being unduly curmudgeonly?

'Front loaded child benefit' means increasing the amount of money given in the first few years of a childs life as opposed to paying the same amount between 0-16. It's a very good idea in my opinion.
I do agree with you about the language Huntsman, most official documents of all types appear to be loaded with unnecessary jargon these days. I blame the government!

How long has it taken politicans to realise kids are better off if Mum and Dad are married.

I mean, come on, it's hardly rocket science is it!

Some good stuff in here -
Abstinence based drug rehab is currently poorly funded but proven to be very effective. I have toured such establishments and heard from drug addicts first hand on this.
Credit Unions - good news - we must make these mainstream as they are a brilliant concept. We must also tackle doorstep lenders. In the same vein the better support of debt advice services is vital. We must get into schools with this stuff and get youngsters accessing cerdit unions early.
Marriage - this is common sense and not a comment on those who found, through no fault of their own, that they are left as single parents. Helping families has to be the watch word here and it is not the only measure but its vital to a package. Once we get the balance of measures right we cannot half heartedly support marriage or it will all be a waste of time as a key policy.
Community - I want to see much more about this. I need to read the document in full but I am looking for the party to invent ways in which those who contribute to society are rewarded eg by lower council tax because they are saving us all money by making communities work.


Surely if the Tories are now prepared to say potentially unpopular things with their 'supporting marriage over cohabiting couples' principle, they should go on to say something similarly unpopular, but nonetheless true: children are better off when raised by a man and a woman, not two women or two men. This seems such an obvious point, uncontroversial for the last 2000 years - why haven't the Tories got the guts to say it?

I’ve a question – take a young couple presently, he is 23 she is 18, courting for six months she was on the pill, knew all about contraception, she’d take care of the birth control. She is now pregnant. She was unemployed for six months and got a job £6 per hour for 37.5 hours per week (£225 pw, £11700 pa) when she discovered she was eight weeks pregnant, she is sixteen weeks now and has just told her employer as she needs ante-natal appointment time off fully paid, she wants to go back part-time (22.5 hours £7020) when the baby is nine months. As a single parent what is she entitled to in housing benefit, tax credits, working tax credits, sure start child care etc?

If the boyfriend, earning £16500 per annum, offered to marry her and suggested they should try to get a flat together would it financially be a disaster for her and by how much? Would they as a couple still be eligible for free sure start childcare, housing benefits etc?

If she stays living at home with mum will her having a baby bring in housing benefit? Would her mother's income be taken into account?

Because Mark, while there is substantial evidence to suggest that two parents are better than one, there isn't much to suggest how same sex couples compare to this. To 'presume'they are going to be worse without research behind it is crude and unhelpful.

“‘Pioneer Schools' free of LEA control and based on the US charter schools model and with funding voucherised"

Excellent. This deserves an announcement on its own.

Cameron must accept this recommendation.

extension of the right-to-buy

The problem is that this reduces the pool of social housing available to rent.

It is my strong opinion that if property prices remain at or above present levels (and any significent fall would probably be a disaster in itself) a significant proportion of the population must again become used to renting.

Forget the 'Property Owning Democracy'. The 'owner' in this particular democracy is invariably the bank.

The reason there's no substantial statistics on same sex vs heterosexual parents, Afleitch, is precisely because it has been taken for granted for so long that a homosexual relationship is intrinsically unable to offer the gender complementarity that a heterosexual couple provide. A homosexual couple cannot, in any case, naturally conceive a child - surely there is a message here about what a 'normal' family truly means. And, finally, there certainly is evidence to suggest that homosexual relationships are on average less stable and long-lasting. I just genuinely do not understand how 'modern society' is so blind to basic truths about what a 'family' is that have been accepted for centuries. Aren't the Tories meant to be the party that takes tradition seriously?

This a very commendable piece of work from IDS and his group, very thought provoking with many workable options.

It saddens me that on the day the Tories are announcing plans to mend Britain's broken social morasse I find out that the Labour Party in South Tyneside are planning to close children's homes, these people need to be exposed!


I wasn't aware that there was any party policy on the question of whether it is better being raised by homosexual or heterosexual parents. Indeed, why would we want to have a policy or position on that?

I wasn't aware that there was any party policy on the question of whether it is better being raised by homosexual or heterosexual parents. Indeed, why would we want to have a policy or position on that?

Maybe because many of us have a strong view on the matter, Andrew.

As a matter of interest what do you suppose 'Conservative Policy' (had there been one) might have been for, say, the three centuries up to the advent of David Cameron?

Come to think of it, why do think it was never previously considered necessary to have such a policy?

Actually TT, Michael Howard as leader supported the Civil Partnerships bill when Cameron was just a glint in the strategists eye.

Accepting the need for Civil Partnerships for gay couples, many of whom had been together for years and decades and the property and pensions protection that brings was a mature and sensible move by the country and the party. Supporting gay civil partnerships amongst the gay community is to be welcomed.

Accepting the Civil Partnerships bill does not necessarily imply that one thinks that it is a good idea for children to be raised by two homosexuals.

Personally, I was initially fairly relaxed about Labour bringing in this legislation although I'm bound to say that the subsequent 'gay wedding' charades set my teeth on edge.

I imagine most Conservatives would now accept Civil Partnerships as a fact of life. I think it is very unlikely that a majority would support child-rearing by homosexuals.

If we are to embrace Civil Partnerships, Afleitch, then why not 'three person relationships', which, presumably, can also be committed and 'loving'. Do you not see the problem here - once we abandon the idea of the proper foundation of family life as a man and a woman in marriage, then a whole host of deviant relationships can become justifiable.

And thank you, Traditional Tory - glad for your support on this one!

Traditional Tory@19:16

I don't suppose there was any policy in the past because there was no policy relevance.

I can't see what legitimate point there is supposed to be here. Is it something to do with not opposing adoption by homosexuals qua couples? But the issue there is only whether homosexuals can be good parents (which in my view they surely can) rather than whether it would, other things being equal (e.g. wealth, level of love shown, etc.), it would be better to be raised by a man and a woman rather than two men. Otherwise, for example, we would oppose adoption by single people - which we never have (as far as I know). Single people can make excellent loving and effective parents. It's just that married parents can make even better parents.

On the question of civil partnerships, I have been a vocal supporter of homosexual partnerships for nearly twenty years. I thought the Conservatives should have acted on this whilst we were in office. I have never been able to see any good reason why homosexual couples should not be able to set up convenient all-in-one contracts between themselves just as heterosexual couples could.

Indeed, taking up Mark@19:38's point, I am also in favour of permitting polygamous arrangements. Why shouldn't Muslims be able to have four wives, or Mormons fifty, if that is what they want to do? What reason do you have for denying them this, other than that you wish to use the word "deviant" to describe them?

I think you're out on a limb there, Andrew, old boy.

But, by all means, let's start a campaign for people to be allowed to marry corpses, animals and children - if (in your words) "that is what they want to do". Not to do so would be to allow the flagrant discrimination of these opressed sexual minorities.

Why shouldn't Muslims be able to have four wives, or Mormons fifty

You know very well, Andrew, that no Christian is going to support you on that and if the party is not at base Christian (while welcoming members of other decent religions) it is nothing.

You also know that until very recently it would not have been necessary to have any policy on the subject because you could take it for granted that everybody's view would be the same.

I have a number of homosexual friends including 'couples' who frequently drop hints about their rackety lifestyles. While I accept that not all are like that, if I were placing children for adoption I wouldn't want to take the risk.

Nor would I want to place children with heterosexual members of 'swingers' clubs and the like.

I think you can take it that my views would be fairly typical of the party grassroots, with a substantial minority taking a much harder line.

I imagine most Conservatives would now accept Civil Partnerships as a fact of life. I think it is very unlikely that a majority would support child-rearing by homosexuals.

Thats my view, and I am most certainly *not* a Conservative!

Can't see what is wrong with "gay wedding charades" though, but I share your views on gay adoption

Traditional Tory@20:04

I am myself a committed Christian. But I think that you are confusing what ought to be legal with what is *right*. I am not suggesting that I believe it to be *right* for Muslims to take four wives, any more than that I believe that practicising homosexuality, or the legal re-marrying of adulterous partners, or slothfulness, or gluttony is *right* - but all of them should be legal. My views as to what is *right* are, by and large, irrelevant. What matters is what I think should be legal and what should be facilitated by the law. And I see no reason why Muslim men should not be legally able to enter into civil partnerships with several women. (Indeed, I don't honestly know what your view or Mark's view is on this - what reason can you offer?)

I think some people are going down a blind alley, of the left's construction, in discussing gay adoption. This will only be the exception and extremely rare. As for gay parents, I know two children brought up by two women (one of whom is their biological mother) and they are probably some of the best brought up children I know. This practice has been going on for years with children having an extra "aunt".

Of far more importance is the effort in showing materially and emtionally that a Government supports family stability and the real benefits it brings to both parents and children.

Well that's the difference between Libertarianism and Toryism.

In this irreligious age we tend to forget that the traditional outlook of of the Tory has most clearly been defined in the past by a relatively inflexible approach to religious dissent.

So, much as some people might like to suppose that 'the essence of Toryism is a belief in freedom' (or something of that sort), they are in fact rather wide of the mark.

Traditional Tory@20:43

As you know, I am neither Libertarian nor Tory. I am a Whig. And Whigs favour toleration of non-conformists. (That doesn't mean we have to believe them right, of course. Quite the reverse. One can only "tolerate" what one disagrees with...)

Whigs favour toleration of non-conformists.

That's true but I think they would have drawn the line at 50 wives!

Incidentally, Traditional Tory, if I can take it that you, like I, have a Christian view of marriage - including that it is indissoluble and that it is the unique location of sexual activity - we are in a tiny minority in society. What choice, then, do we have but to favour toleration? Otherwise the vast majority of people, whose moral positions on these matters are totally different from and incompatible with our own, might seek to curtail our wacky practices. Even if I did not favour toleration on principle (which I do), this case would seem to recommend itself on pragmatic grounds. It is certainly sufficient reason for me to consider my moral positions totally irrelevant - almost no-one agrees with me, so provided that the law permits me to hold and argue for my view, and to conduct myself in accordance with my beliefs and teach my children and urge others to do the same, then I feel that the State has already granted me an awful lot. Asking that I impose my wacky ethical opinions on others would seem to me like pushing my luck...

Personally I think Lord Devlin had the right idea. Morality should have been strictly enforced while the public were content that it should be enforced.

Instead, the politicians and the 'chattering classes' chose to lead the masses down the slippery slope to where we are now - 'The Broken Society' if you like.

The genie of selfishness and licence has been let out of the bottle and I fear we shall never shoehorn it back in again.

Indeed, Andrew, however much you would like it, you cannot separate the law from morality (something Devlin was particularly eloquent in pointing out). This means that, inevitably, when a community or nation plans how their society is going to be structured, what guidelines that society shall operate within, morality is naturally part of that consideration. To remove any consideration of morality from a human community is to abandon it to the most destructive forces of human nature. Indeed, Andrew, I am sure you are aware of how deeply engrained is Christian morality into our law and our constitution - something worth honoring and defending.

Trad T, you have perhaps encapsulated the attraction of the original Labour Party.

Methodist in origin, it caught so many people in its web because they saw the licence granted to the wealthy as ultimately harmful to those that it claimed to represent.

Faux-environmentalism and GB's stated dislike for the celebrity culture are the same sides of this coin and it seems that old-fashioned authoritarians like yourself are happy to toss it.

A modern party, as I wish to see us become, has to deal with both present and future demons in a compassionate way that doesn't restrict people because of their failings but maximizes their potential.

A modern party, as I wish to see us become, has to deal with both present and future demons in a compassionate way that doesn't restrict people because of their failings but maximizes their potential.

Maybe you'd like to give an example of such a party - anywhere in the world...

Not sure about transferable unused tax allowances - I think focusing on reducing tax rates generally and on raising tax thresholds would be better.

There needs to be changes to the welfare system to equalise benefits for couples with those of single parent families including both partners living separately - this can be done not only by raising benefits for families with children but also cutting benefits for single parents and single people. Why not have Family Premium payable for each parent present - 1 parent perhaps gets £7.50 premium and 2 get £15 premium perhaps. The main rate for a single person would be x amount before reductions for income and for a couple twice that amount. Any thresholds for any reductions for Savings and Capital could be twice that for single people and limits also twice those.

A priority has to be to remove what is basically social engineering for good motives, trying to take into account that more than one person living together mostly will have less than the proportionate multiple in costs equivalent to that of the numbers in the household and basically accept that all that happens if this is attempted is that incentives are added to the system for people to live apart or lie about their circumstances.

Mark is to be commended for standing up for what is right, in the face of PC commenters who have hijacked our party. More power to your elbow Mark.

The EU is just about taken over all this stuff anyway so IDS is wasting his time - unless it's only intended as spin.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker