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Posts Tagged ‘Conservative ideas’

Conservatism and the family

Posted by Matt Walker on January 20, 2010

An important aspect of conservative ideology is a strong belief in the nuclear family. It is believed that the presence of both mother and father is absolutely necessary to successfully bring up children.

If, for example, father is not present, then children will lack the necessary male role model in their life, will be ill-disciplined, and more likely to behave poorly, possibly right through to adulthood. From this point of view, crime is the result of family breakdown.

Today’s Conservative Party still holds to this view. If they win the next election the Tories plan to introduce a tax allowance for married couples, although they are a little unclear about the timing of such a tax reform. David Cameron has said about this policy, that "if you take responsibility you will be rewarded, if you don’t you won’t". In other words, the only responsible family unit is the nuclear family.

Labour’s Ed Balls has accused the Conservatives of ‘social engineering’. He means that the Tories are planning to change society – in this case the nature of the family – by offering tax cuts for certain types of behaviour.

But I think it is Nick Clegg’s response which catches the imagination. He said: “It is immensely unfair. What does it mean for the poor woman who has been left by some philandering husband who goes on to another marriage and gets the tax break and she doesn’t?"

Do you think governments should try to influence behaviour in this way? Is the nuclear family morally superior to say, the single parent family?

Tory plans for married couples tax breaks under fire


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FAQ: What is traditional conservatism?

Posted by Matt Walker on November 3, 2009

Edmund Burke Before taking a look at Conservative Party policy, and in particular what it is that David Cameron believes in, it is worth outlining some of the ideas that conservatives (with a small ‘c’) have traditionally believed in.

  1. Tradition – history is essential for understanding society and an individual’s position within it.
  2. Human imperfection – people are by nature selfish and self-serving.
  3. Hierarchy and authority – society is naturally divided into a hierarchy of leaders and followers. Tough love is needed to maintain social order.
  4. Organic society – society is like a living organism, with all individuals connected to each other, each fulfilling a particular function.
  5. Property – the owning and protection of property is essential and helps to maintain social order.

Not all conservatives believe everything that is in this list, or interpret each element in exactly the same way. But this gives us a clear idea  of the collection of ideas which conservatives to some extent support.

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