Second Thoughts on the Family
By Anastasia de Waal
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
229 pages, 6 3/8 x 9 1/4"
$27.50, Paper Original
The family is a central battleground of British politics. The conservative Party believes that the two-parent family needs to be promoted by financial incentives to marry, while Labour has taken up a neutral position in which family structure doesn't matter. Second Thoughts on the Family argues that both positions are out of touch.
- Marriage does not need to be "incentivised": despite declining marriage rates and a high number of divorces, marraige is arguably more popular today than ever before
- Family structure in the UK should matter to Labour because of a hugely significant trend underlying it. Family 'diversity' today is disproportionately experienced by the poor.
The premise of both New Labour and Conservative policy is that people not living in married two-parent families are choosing not to. This signifies positive diversity to Labour and a decline in family values to Conservatives. Both miss a critical reality: that high marriage rates are characteristic of the middle and upper classes, whereas family instability is concentrated amongst those on low incomes. The true divide on the family is about poverty now politics.
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