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Yet Another Letter to Mr.Cameron.

February 20, 2010

I am listening to you on Womens Hour, discussing your help for single parents.

First of all you say that we should not have a tax credit system which rewards people for seperating, and encourages them to do the ‘right’ thing(direct quote)- by staying in their marriages.

Can I point out, that I am an adult, and I am quite capable of deciding when my relationship ends, and managing the effect of that on my daughter. I am struggling to see how staying in an unhappy marriage, would have been the ‘right’ thing-but am sure you know best.

The tax credit system did not reward me for leaving my husband. I am substantially worse off financially, than when I was in a family with a combined income of over 80k a year. My income is made up of part-time earnings, tax credits, and housing benefit. Tax credits mean I don’t starve, and neither does my daughter.

You then say that in order to encourage ‘single mums’ to vote for you, you want to ‘help’ single mums, by extending the Health Visitor network.

I use my health visitor, when I have concerns, about my daughter. I rang my health visitor, when I was toilet training her. I rang her, when I was stopping breastfeeding. When I was a social worker, I would advise that Health Visitors visited more often, if a family was struggling, or if a parent needed more guidance-often as part of child protection plans. I took the responsibility of  intervening in peoples private family life, very seriously, and treated it, as something only to be done, in the most serious circumstances.

I am racking my brains, to find out what happened, when me, and my husband seperated, that means that I need state intervention, in parenting my daughter. My husband, and I, fell out of love. I didn’t somehow become the type of parent, who needs someone to pop round and tell me whether I am bathing her correctly, or assessing her diet.

You marital status does not affect your ability to parent your child.  Living in a society where one of the main political parties, has decided me and my daughter should be stigmatised, for doing the wrong thing in not being in love with her dad, might have an effect.

Now, I appreciate your attempt to ‘help poor young single mums’- but  I think you are labouring under a misconception, about what a change in marital status, means. The casual misogyny, running through your  policies for ‘families’,  is actually really offensive. Basing your attempts to ‘woo’ the female vote,  on an understanding that single women raising children, have done something wrong, and must need state intervention, as they are not capable of parenting, is sending out a very clear message about the Conservative view of women.

Still, the more you talk- the less votes you get. So carry on.

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6 comments

  1. “Dave”‘s problem is he only sees the never-been-in-a-relationship single mothers. The type who want to have their cake and eat it, or rather, babies and benefits….


  2. And here is the thing I don’t understand. Did these women have children alone? I didn’t know that was physically possible.

    It is very clearly recorded, every year, that the majority of single parent claims, are made by people leaving relationships. And if a woman is left with the responsibility of raising a child, without the childs father- should the state be then kicking the boot in, as well- because she wasn’t smart enough- to hang on to her man?

    Single- is a relationship status. Thats it. THe fact that society has these ridiculous notions of what a single mother is, is not my fault, or the fault of my friends. The willingness of a political party, to stick the boot into the women who are already on their own, bearing a great responsibility, and who are more likely to be in poverty than any other group- worries me. It smacks of bullying to win votes.

    Perhaps being single, means we don’t vote….


  3. I don’t know of any couple who have split up, who would still be together if only there’d been some sort of tax benefit for them. Yes, there is an issue there to be tackled, but the “genius” that came up with this plan is….hmmm…not sure there’s a word for what they are….misguided isn’t it, perhaps unguided would be closer.


    • The hilarious thing is, that in the same package of policies- Osborne called the tax credit paid to high earning families wasteful- yet that is actually the remain of the old Married Persons Tax Allowance.


  4. What really offends me about all of this is the assumption that marriages don’t split up for good reasons. What about those that break up because of domestic violence? I would like to know David Cameron’s thoughts on why he wants women to stick with an abusive marriage. My sister is a single mum because she decided when my niece was six months old that being in a violent situation was not good for her or her daughter.

    I just hope to god enough of us vote against the Tory’s so they don’t get in. If David Cameron’s bad I hate to think what some of the other MPs are capable of bestowing on us.


    • Precisely. The idea that marriage is the ‘right’ thing- is an idea that belongs a century ago, and an idea that kept women in situations which were not actually that great for them.

      My marriage wasn’t abusive- but it was certainly the right thing to end it. What on earth would have been the alternative?

      The whole tone about ‘helping young single mums’ said volumes. He clearly believes, as the poster above said- that we are all teen mums, on council estates, who need Health Visitors checking to see if we are raising our kids right.

      HOw many single parent votes do you think he just lost?



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