Why Don't You Just Send Them Flowers? Rowling Asks CameronApril 14, 2010 No Comments
It works out to £150 a year. He hopes this will reduce the number of single parent households in the country.
Familiar with fiction, JK Rowling has taken aim at the Tories for their ill-thought out plan.
So everyone agrees that single motherhood is a problem. Well, we agree that single parenthood is a problem and then proceed to ignore the dads.
The concern is that the mother will be stuck in poverty and the children will be raised on council flats and will grow up to smoke cigarettes menacingly from under their hoodies.
The bleeding-heart liberals generally want to give these people more money, with the idea that this will give them opportunities in life and can break the cycle of poverty.
The stone-hearted conservatives blame the breakdown of marriage and redirect the money to schemes to support matrimony, like the Tory’s tax break scheme.
In theory both would work. In practice Rowling tears one to shreds:
Maybe you know people who would legally bind themselves to another human being, for life, for an extra £150 a year? Perhaps you were contemplating leaving a loveless or abusive marriage, but underwent a change of heart on hearing about a possible £150 tax break?
Not that the money isn’t important. For families in poverty £150 is a lot. The former single mother says:
When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150”, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.
Which, of course, pisses her off. She doesn’t blame him for being an Eton-educated toff, she blames him for being an Eton-educated toff who couldn’t be bothered to learn about the situations he is legislating for.
Apparently Cameron understands that £150 will not change people’s lives, but he says: “It’s not the money, it’s the message.” (The message that marriage is less important than one of his suits? The message that marriage actually is prostitution? The message that throwing money at a problem will fix it?).
Rowling has a much more practical, and whimsical idea:
Half a billion pounds, to send a message — would it not be more cost-effective, more personal, to send all the lower-income married people flowers?
But married people get flowers all the time. Cameron should send the single mothers something show how much he values their contributions to society.