Features

Revealed: the marriage gap between Britain's rich and poor

This ought to concern the left. But they’re too worried about making ‘moral judgments’

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

In the digital era, those looking for soulmates can be brutally clear about who need not apply. There are websites like Blues Match, for alumni of Oxbridge and Ivy League universities only. Then come the smartphone apps: Tinder, for straightforward dating, and ‘BeautifulPeople’, where members are kicked out if deemed too ugly. The latest arrival is Luxy, an app for those who don’t want to date anyone who needs to split a bill. Or, to use its own description, ‘Tinder without the poor people.’

Luxy has been deplored for its overt snobbery but it is, in effect, a digital version of what used to be called the London Season. The idea of the rich marrying other rich people is making a comeback — and alongside it there is another trend, as modern as the internet itself. Those at the top are deadly serious about marriage, prepared to invest time and money in it. But among those at the bottom (often, those under a welfare regime which makes couples poorer), marriage rates are steadily falling. A marriage gap is now opening, bringing with it deep implications for social cohesion.

I have just finished filming a documentary for Channel 4 Dispatches entitled How The Rich Get Richer, looking at inequality in all of its dimensions. We commissioned the Centre for Social Justice (on whose advisory board I sit) to trawl crime, school, wealth and deprivation figures for every neighborhood in the country. Many of the problems have changed depressingly little over the years, in spite of the billions spent in Labour’s battle against poverty. But one inequality was growing faster than any other: that of marriage. For those safely in the top tax bracket, (the cohort which Luxy is targeting) nine in ten new parents are married. For those on minimum wage or less, it’s about half.

Marriage used to be the norm for everyone in Britain. When the Dixie Cups’ ‘Chapel of Love’ was in the charts in 1964, some 93 per cent of children were born within marriage — the same as when records started in the 1850s. But that has now changed, utterly. Strip away immigrants (who tend to be more socially conservative) and almost half of British babies are born to unmarried parents. Cohabitation has not proved stable — today, the average British 15-year-old is more likely to have a smartphone in the pocket than a father in the house. But even this fact disguises massive divergence in social class. The Office for National Statistics conducts surveys every three months, asking Brits about every aspect of their lives and dividing workers into seven social categories. At the top comes ‘higher managerial’ — the likes of company directors, military officers and university lecturers. At the bottom come the ‘routine occupations’ such as cleaners, builders and waiters. Marriage data is not normally published, but supplied upon request.

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It shows that there was already a pronounced marriage gap in 2001, when the figures start, with those in the top category 24 per cent more likely to marry than those at the bottom. That figure now stands at 48 per cent.

GapPic

So a marriage gap that barely existed a generation or two ago has managed to double in the last decade with a minimum of public debate. Somehow marriage, with all the advantages that it confers, is becoming the preserve of the rich.

It’s clear why the rich act as they do. In the documentary I speak to Karen Mooney, who runs a dating agency whose joining fees run up to £10,000. Her clients, she tells me, are thinking so far into the future they plan not just children, but the inheritance they’d like to pass down to those children. The worst thing is that it makes perfect sense. Once, a middle-class earner could afford a family house in a leafy area, and school fees if needed. Now, even the well-paid feel they need to double up their income through marriage before they confront the financial K2 that is family life.

After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, royal parties were cancelled for three years while Queen Victoria mourned. The London Season was shelved. Academics from Pompeu Fabra university in Barcelona recently looked at marriage records to find out what happened next: young debutantes were 80 per cent more likely to marry a commoner. Had the Season been cancelled a decade earlier, they calculate, newcomers would have been 30 per cent more likely to enter the English elite.

Matchmaking technology may have evolved since then, but the underlying principle has not: if the rich are more likely to marry the rich, the inequality problem becomes worse.

This inequality of marriage ought to concern the left. There has been far more family breakdown over the last four decades, but it’s the poorest who are being most affected. There are no absolutes in this argument — successful families do come in all shapes and sizes — but figures do show a broad trend. Fewer than one in ten married parents have split by the time a child is five, but a third of unmarried parents do so. As Tony Blair said, ‘A strong society cannot be morally neutral about the family.’

David Cameron agreed, once. He said he was passionately in favour of marriage, and spoke up for it at the last general election. But the idea of a tax break unnerved the more socially liberal George Osborne, who has refused to implement it until the last four weeks of a five-year parliament. Nick Clegg is hotly against the whole idea, saying politicians should not make ‘moral judgments’. So even talking about the family, far less promoting it, is difficult for a reviled political class terrified of being seen to lecture voters.

The result is a creeping social segregation which is not being discussed, far less addressed. The marriage agenda has fallen foul of a new cross-party consensus: that the toughest questions in politics are, nowadays, best avoided.

Dispatches: How The Rich Get Richer is on Channel 4 on Monday at 8 p.m.

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Show comments
  • Anton

    That is quite interesting because I have noticed a trend amongst friends’ children to opt for marriage in recent years. As is my daughter. Whereas the trend was to “live in sin” when I was young. I am from the working class but my friends over here are, I guess, generally lower middle-class types (teaching, culture, professionals, slightly alternative)

    • Tilly

      I don’t honestly believe a peice of paper matters that much
      love and commitment doesn’t require one.I am also lower-
      middle class.It does depend on what country you actually
      come from.People in Spain think differently to those from
      Germany. Might I add though having children changes everything. If your childless it hardly matters.

      • Coniston

        “Fewer than one in ten married parents have split by the time a child is five, but a third of unmarried parents do so.” Many surveys in many countries have shown that unmarried couples, even with children, split up more often than married couples with children.

        • Bonkim

          Easy Come Easy Go! You make your bed and suffer the consequences. Over-generous benefits have contributed to the situation.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Absolutely. Unmarried mother is awarded her own council house when she reaches 16. Perverse incentives.

          • Bonkim

            You mean rewarded for perverse behaviour.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Tilly, It would be interesting to hear why you think that having children makes such a difference and effects a transformation to the meaningless bit of paper.

        What’s your argument ?

        • Chris Morriss

          If I may jump in here, (as I am of the same view), then I would say that it is far more important for children, as to have their father and mother married to each other gives them a sense of stability through their school days that co-habiting parents don’t provide. If there is no intention of having children then I don’t think it matters, as the only ones affected by a split-up are the couple themselves. I know it can be agued that a dysfunctional marriage may be a poorer environment to bring up children than having divorced parents, but I doubt if that is the case. (I was brought up with a father and mother who had come to realise that the marriage was a mistake, but they learned to make the best of it. I decided not to have children as a result of this, but I am convinced that if they had divorced I would have been in a far worse state.)

  • Damaris Tighe

    Osborne & Clegg are reluctant to make moral judgements? Yet the political class DO make moral judgements when it suits them: on ‘racist’ comments, on private b&b’s who want to give gay couples twin, not double beds, on private bakers who don’t want to ice cakes with pro-SSM messages, on Christian preachers who are arrested for speaking against homosexuality but their attackers left alone.

    This is nothing to do with agreeing or not with the people I’ve listed. It’s about their freedom to have their opinions. They don’t have this freedom because some moral judgements, in this supposedly moral-judgement free world, ARE made & legislated on. The political class aren’t neutral. They push a world view which outlaws certain contrary acts & opinions.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Well said

    • Christian

      You’ve just made the exact post I’d planned. Well said, and thanks for saving me the typing.

      • Damaris Tighe

        You’re welcome!

    • spiritof78

      Its not about opinions in many of those cases: its about their (often unlawful) actions

      • Damaris Tighe

        That’s precisely the point.

        • spiritof78

          As above, the law forbids actions, not opinion.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Lets be accurate:
        These opinions have travelled swiftly from being a traditional, even universal opinion amongst others in an open contest over values in a pluralist society to-as you point out- against The Law

        • spiritof78

          Unjustified discrimination (I.e.behaviour) which is on grounds of gender, race, disability etc has been outlawed. It is widely recognised that it is a mark of a civilised society to protect the vulnerable from unjustified oppression. Surely no one can equate racist or sexist behaviour, for example, with freedom of expression? In the final analysis, the racist is entitled to her opinions. But ACTING on those opinions is, in my view, rightly unlawful.

          • Grace Ironwood

            When the myriad and ever- growing new tertiary-level human rights require the trampling on other peoples basic rights of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion , freedom of speech, the right not to be bought and sold, they must give way to primary human rights if a society is to remain free.

            I have a friend – gay, black, HIV positive – who tells me from his understanding of the broad views of his racial group , many US blacks feel some disgust at gay rights ” trying to piggy back” on the civil- rights struggles of Blacks, and there is also substantial fear about taking on the gay lobby due to its infamous politics of personal destruction against any who stand against it.

            Many ordinary gays are fearful of a backlash against homosexuals generated by the ugly totalitarianism of gay extremists.

          • spiritof78

            I am not really sure what point(s) is/ are being made here. How does any of this outline the ‘legislation of opinion’ that you adduced? And some (!) blacks don’t like gay rights being connected to civil rights for blacks! And so…? Where is the ‘infamous politics of personal destruction’ you talk about!
            My point was that the law outlaws certain actions – those which are harmful to the rights of other, more vulnerable, groups, not beliefs or opinions. Indeed the law in some respects protects opinions (by outlawing discrimination against religion or belief).
            How does your post comnent on this?

    • http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/ StJohnMalta

      Vote labour/Tory/Libdems get Rotherham ,Bradford-istan and Tower Hamlets………

      The Frankfurt School of subversion of the West and its globalist agenda are ruling our political class.The whole White English Christian culture is being demonized. The very systems and institutions that created this nation are slowly being dismantled. There is a discrimination and organized dispossession against Anglo-Saxons in this country.

      In England , the English are less than 30% of London and a minority in Luton,Bradford,Leicester,Dewsbury,Slough,Blackburn,Manchester,

      Birmingham.

      Furthermore, Britons are replaced by 500 000/year non western migrants while around 300 000 of the best educated middle class leave the UK for good . Thus the “net migration” of +200 000 …

      White Christian British Children a minority in Birmingham,Leicester,Bradford,London:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2755654/The-changing-face-Britain-A-child-Birmingham-likely-Muslim-Christian.html

      All the mainstream parties hate the native white English people and want to make them a minority in their own country. There is nothing ethical about mass immigration, it destroys cultures, drives down wages, makes society less harmonious and is a huge burden on the economy.

      ‘Unemployment among ethnic minorities costs the economy almost £8.6 billion a year in benefits and lost revenue from taxes. Half of Muslim men and three quarters of Muslim women are unemployed.’

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8054403/Britains-coping-classes-at-breaking-point.html

      LibLabCon Politicians locally and Nationally put the interests of minority hostile groups before those of the indigenous population.

      Farage and UKIP talk the truth and stand for British People.

      • spiritof78

        Who are the English? How long does someone have to live here before they qualify? How long after someone has left before they cease to be English?

        Have you come across the recent UCL study which shows the contribution migrants make to the economy?

        • balance_and_reason

          The English are the slow cooked hotch potch of people who have suffered slings and arrows of warfare, invasion, pestilence, disease, roman catholicism, puritanism, socialism, and various other setbacks over thousands of years; steadily influenced by a trickle of migrants, occasionally a small surge, but nothing in the last 2000 years that wasn’t pretty rapidly assimilated without too much grief.
          Never in that period have we suffered the extent of betrayal that new labour foisted on this country to gerrymander their voter base without thought to the interests of their own traditional vote base, let alone the interests of the country. We now have a serious problem. As usual Labour are far away, with no solution and disowning responsibility. Blood has already flowed, more to come I fear.

          • spiritof78

            No answer to my second and third questions. Your romantic and ahistorical vision seems to not allow for migrants accepting and taking on this ‘English’ (not British?) History, very soon after migration, as we would if we went to Australia, Spain, France or India.

          • Tom M

            I think I can offer a view on that. I can trace my geneaology back to the 17th Century. I think that gives me something that an immigrant doesn’t have. I would agree everyone should be treated similarly under the law but there has to be some recognition that someone’s whose roots are a lot deeper than an immigrant must mean something.
            As to your second question, I live in France and would never consider myself anything other than Scottish (where I was born). This tends to augment my answer to your first question as well.

          • spiritof78

            If you live in France you may well not be part of the British electorate, in which case the government need not take account of your views. Should you not be trying to integrate to French society, assimilating to their culture?

          • Tom M

            I am part of the UK voting population. What’s that got to do with assimilating into French culture ?
            I consider myself quite well integrated into French culture (we have a local vote and an EU vote), I speak French, contribute socially, financially and take part in the village life. What’s wrong with that?
            I would never consider myself French because I was born in Scotland and I can plainly see around me a lot of people that have personal knowledge of their culture and history of the country that I will never have. I defer to their view on how French society and politics should work and consider myself to be a guest in their country.

          • spiritof78

            If you live in France you are not part of the UK voting population. What makes you think you are?

            I have no objection to you assimilating into French society, nor to the fact that you cannot comp!etely. Perhaps your descendants might, but the whole world is now more mobile than in the time of our ancestors

          • Tom M

            Unfortunately for you I am part of the voting population of the UK. I do not have a national vote in France. The EU rules tell me I must refer my vote to the last place I lived in in the UK. Unfair? Without doubt but not my doing. Blame the EU.
            What physical mobility has to do with where you think you come from or belong to I can’t imagine.
            Your approval, or lack of objection, to me integrating into French society is appreciated.

          • spiritof78

            In which UK constituency are you on the electoral roll?

          • Tom M

            A bit too personal that question for a reply on the internet. Let me say however that Sir George Young is my MP.

          • spiritof78

            You see my point. If you have a residential address here, in what sense do you ‘live’ in France?

          • Tom M

            No I don’t see your point. I don’t have a residential address in the UK. I live 24/7 in France. I vote in the UK because I am a British subject and have family and financial connections there. Electoral law requires I vote (postal) where I was last registered.

          • spiritof78

            If you don’t ordinarily live here you should not be on the register.

          • spiritof78

            I was referring to geographical mobility

          • spiritof78

            What must it mean that your roots are deeper than other UK residents (whatever that means)? What advantage would you suggest that bestows?

          • Tom M

            OK turn that around and ask if you consider yourself (assuming you have an English lineage) as English as someone who arrived in England yesterday?

          • spiritof78

            Why does it matter? Everyone varies, its part of their identity. But how is it connected to public policy?

          • Tom M

            As you say “identity”. It matters. You will only know why when you don’t have one or you live in some other part of the world where you would refer to yourself as what precisely?
            As I explained to you I live in France. I see it from a different perspective than you. Here I am the immigrant and French society requires me to adapt to suit not the other way round (quite rightly in my view).
            It is their culture I like and am happy to live with. As a lifestyle I don’t wish to change anything.
            If my children were born and raised here then I would expect them to be raised as French citizens. I am, however, and remain Scottish as the French would no doubt confirm.

          • spiritof78

            But how does that affect public policy?

          • spiritof78

            If you live in France then presumably you may not be part of the UK electorate? Should you not be seeking to assimilate to French society, to participate in its culture and politics?

          • balance_and_reason

            You become English when you have lived here, melded in one way or another to the other English, contributed steadily as a whole community via taxes and work, demonstrated at times of trouble that you would be willing to step up and fight for your country;

            not when you have built your cultural bastion, marrying within your own community only(either by bringing partners from your home country (see) or inbreeding), demanding the English mould themselves to accommodate your cultural history and pay for your different eccentricities.

            Some migrants can be quite quick to blend, others, not so much.

            The UCL figures are divided between european economic migration characterised by young people moving over to work. Obviously a short term boon to tax…they have no family here, and have not had time to make one themselves. Obviously a very large assumption that this will always be the case.The main costs come later, but at least they contribute.

            Ex-Eu immigration cost us £120bn….thats just the straight financial cost; the social problems of the ballooning of certain muslim communities is just kicking off, as I alluded to above.

          • spiritof78

            So how do you become British?

            Its interesting that you suggest migrants should have to fight for their country before they can be described as belonging to it.

            You suggest that migrants are a short-term boon. But we are talking of generations before the pattern and the demographic would change significantly.

            How would you characterise the behaviour of the British in their former colonies? Did they forgo from building bastions, from marrying within their communities, from having tea in the afternoon and contunuing with their religion?

          • balance_and_reason

            For British, see English above….its not a rule book…its not an EC directive…its a state of mind.

            Your second point /question/rhetoric is not clear.

            Separate issue….they were not immigrants in 90% of cases. Most were thrown out of India, for instance, after independence and certainly most would fail my test above.

          • spiritof78

            Why were the British in India (or Kenya, s Africa etc) not immigrants? Because colonial masters don’t count? Many did put down roots, brought up families etc. Admittedly not as many as the French in Algeria.

          • balance_and_reason

            Correct, East Africa actually is an exception, but largely there were small numbers , in these countries for administrative purposes and very much on a dated work schedule with a return ticket in the distance. Yes some stayed in East Africa, and some now serve East African governments…see Kenya; I’m not sure what your actual point is here.

          • spiritof78

            Did British migrants in the colonies assimilate and integrate in the way most people seem to expect of migrants here?

          • balance_and_reason

            I have already explained to you that they were not migrants….they were running the place, then they left…in 99% of cases, this had been their plan all along. Little house in Henley , pipe and slippers…go and see for yourself.

          • spiritof78

            But many were migrants. They and successive families stayed for generations. And if they are not migrants in your eyes, why are Poles who stay here say 10 years counting as migrants?

          • balance_and_reason

            No, very few were migrants. Some married in and obviously have blended with the local communities. I know, I grew up in the far east and saw it with my own eyes.

          • spiritof78

            In which case, why are the Poles who have moved here (maybe temporarily) migrants?

          • balance_and_reason

            I’m not complaining about the Poles…most are not migrants; work, earn, leave. Quite a few are settling but they are not forming ghetto’s and refusing to integrate at all.

  • John Carins

    Marriage particularly in the UK has been undermined by the social engineering of successive governments. Like devolution they have created uncertainty where once there was certainty. Time to get our values and country back.

    • Grace Ironwood

      How could this be done in today’s amoral, pagan era?

      See the appeal of Islam to women ?

      • John Carins

        Sorry Grace. What is “this” in your statement? It is not clear to me.

        • Grace Ironwood

          “This” is rehabilitate the marriage culture.

          • John Carins

            A difficult one considering the amount of erosion already done. The reverse process is possible. I’d suggest doing it in small increments in the same way the changes were foisted onto us in the first place. Cameron’s marriage tax break is an idea in the right direction. Interesting how he hasn’t had the guts to deliver it.

          • Zanderz

            Christian revival (the return of our nation to a widespread belief in the Bible) is the only actual solution. As Grace pointed out, a secular amoral selfish society will never value marriage.

            However, if politicians made legislative moves to enshrine the sanctity of marriage and promote it in schools that would be a start. The problem is that that would be illegal due to ‘equality laws’.

          • agneau

            That is all rather mixed up. Marriage/family was not originally, nor does it need to be, a religious construct. You lump secular, a system of respect for all legal beliefs, along with amoral, selfish and not valuing marriage. I hold strong secular beliefs, as do many people I’m acquainted with. None of us to my knowledge fit your description. To connect social cohesion to a concept that is tissue thin to a large proportion of the population would be a huge mistake.

          • Zanderz

            You make my point in that one cannot successfully promote an idea to a country unless the majority of the people in a country supports it. Hence, unless there is Christian revival in the country, there will be no upswing for marriage. You may say as a secularist that you believe in marriage but there are many that don’t. And our current liberal progressive (secular) society would not tolerate a government promoting marriage as an ideal over ‘non-marriage’.

            As far as I know there is no secular / humanist ‘Coalition For Marriage’.

          • Zanderz

            Edit: actually, I do think that the vast majority of our society would be quite happy for marriage to be promoted as an ideal, its just the media, politicians and other similar groups that would hate it.

          • agneau

            We don’t have a secular society although the way we mangle it has left a civil wedding as such. There is no secular/humanist coalition for alternatives to marriage.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Im in ! I’m an atheist who has come around to being a ” cultural Christian” because of its ethics, Christianity’s relationship to a strong, western civilisation and a more functional society.

            I agree that a Christian Revival – another of the ” great awakenings” would be the strongest help.

            Churches that haven’t been eviscerated by their encounter with modernity (eg Anglican/ episcopal ). Need to hold fast to their absolutes to have a similar attraction to Islam. No point in being the green left at prayer.

          • Grace Ironwood

            I agree. Recognise that the family is the fundamental group economic unit that operates as a public good.

            The recognition of the family – man woman, mother & father needs to be in the educational system, never mind about any nonsense about ” insulting” the disastrous army of welfare mothers. ( again, they’re never going to vote for him)
            Institutions of the successful west need to be taught about and supported, kids need to be taught their responsibilities as individuals, parents and citizens.

            Worried about being seen as ” judgemental” ? The hippy/ welfare left are never going to vote for him, why pander to them.

  • David

    I am no kill joy or prude but the fact is that the country, indeed the whole west, was sold a myth in the 60s and 70s, by the entertainment and media types, and it ran like this. That free love, no commitments and all that stuff, would work out just fine, so relax and let it all hang out, sleep around and divorce a many times as you like. Well maybe it did work out well if your had the money of the mega-rich, but it hasn’t worked out so well for a large swathe of the working class and considerable chunks of the middle class. Common sense tells us that, although many single parents, which usually means mothers, have done a fine job, heroic even, on average, children and young people do better if raised by the traditional mum/dad, all at home duo, with grandparents and other relatives present in the background.
    There were good reasons for the pair bonding of the procreative, fertile couples and those reasons and its methodology was all encompassed within the concept of marriage. The procreative couple committed to raise the results of their sex up to adulthood, and take full responsibility for them. The idea of marriage between a man and a woman, preferably for life, was based on what worked. It was adopted, made sacred, special, by the main religions of the world – OK I am generalising, because generally, that’s true. But the faiths merely responded to a basic human and social need for creating a unit in society that nurtured children, and which and large worked well.
    But now we have thrown that away and placed little in its place. It is a disaster, expensive in all the ways that matter, to individuals, to society and to the Treasuries of the states’ that attempt to substitute for the earnings of two full time parents. However the state cannot substitute for the absence of a loving parent. We need to rethink this, to end this risky experiment in social innovations and find a new way forward. I suspect it will look not a thousand miles away from the sort of model or arrangement, based on mutual care and commitment, that we had before.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Exactly. It’s not so much that the rich can afford to get married. It’s that they’re about the only people who can afford not to get married. Further down the social heap single mothers become brides of the state. The plague of unmarried parenthood has wrecked the working class & contributed to the creation of an underclass.

      • David

        Spot on, Damaris. To become “Brides of the state” is indeed the fate of many at the bottom of the heap, deluded and cruelly misled as they have been, by the establishment of this now, rather sad country. The disastrous experiment that led them to believe that the state is a better husband than a real, loving committed one, with all of any human being’s faults, is a sad hoax, and millions of maladjusted youngsters have suffered. The slide towards the foot of the slope continues apace…….

        • davidofkent

          Excellent post.

        • Grace Ironwood

          Good post

        • Grace Ironwood

          Problem is, many of the girls in the lower classes see no contest: the state is the only kind of independence they have access to from the many irresponsible, abusive men they associate with.

          • David

            Point taken. We need to encourage those conditions that would make many of those men into worthwhile humans, husbands and fathers, thus making them a more attractive proposition. Methodism worked well in a previous age.

      • Coniston

        In America marriage is becoming more and more restricted to the better educated and the better off. This may be partly due to the better off thinking more of the future, inheritance, etc. But the fact that the poor are (mainly) not married is also due to the fact that because unmarried couples split up more frequently, there are many more lone parents and inevitably they and their children will be poorer. A stable married couple will generally be considerably better off than unstable couples. This is bound to lead to more and more people on welfare if non-marriage continues to grow. The government refuses to accept these implications.

    • JimHHalpert

      It may have wrecked society, especially at the bottom end, but it’s made a lot of rich, well-educated, white women feel good about themselves. So a win overall.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Yes, there has been a role for feminism in this.
        I would like to see all these Official Feminists, constantly policing the minutiae of words and images start participating constructively in more significant policy spaces. There is much to do.

        1. Appalling brutalisation , mutilation and subordination suffered by many of our female citizens.

        2. How can we rehabilitate The Family so it can again perform its positive role for men, women and children as the fundamental group unit of society ?

    • JohnnyVoxx

      Actually, David, at the time Christ instituted marriage as a sacrament (Matthew 19), it was clear the group he was talking to was appalled. They said Moses let us get divorced. But Christ said, that was then, your hearts were hardened. It was not that way from the beginning. I say stick with your wife. These guys were so blown away by this “new law” they said, maybe it’s better not to get married. And Christ said, Yeah, maybe so. I know many who have become eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of God. So he set up the choice starkly: marriage or perfect chastity. Many of the other “major religions” have been fine with polygamy. The fact of the matter is your instincts are correct and you needn’t apologize for being a prude. It was the Catholic Faith — the true religion of Jesus Christ, who is God — that built Western Civilization. As the true faith is lost and picked apart, Western Civilization is being destroyed. Recover your heritage, recover the true faith of Christ, and most of this will get straightened out. Unfortunately, such a proclamation of truth elicits mockery and perplexity now. We are left to save our own souls and watch society burn.

      • David

        “We are left to save our own souls and watch society burn” Since the “progressives” refuse to listen to the good arguments springing from the faith that made the west, you are unfortunately all too right. I believe that the west will not survive the widespread loss of Christian faith, that we see unfolding before us now. It will morph into something quite different, indeed it has already morphed into something quite different, as it plunges down the ever steeper slippery slope towards its own destruction. A few will still stand I believe, as God promised us.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Meanwhile in Cameronland, “equal marriage” means increasing the number of rich people who can benefit from those opportunities to get richer – and this is of course now an official British Value which the little people question at their peril.

    As they say, you couldn’t make it up. Unfortunately not even Ukip seem very interested in breaking that cross-party consensus.

    • Damaris Tighe

      My reply to your post mentioned the taboo of challenging single parenthood & has been deleted. Case made I think.

      I also said that never has a society been so self-deceiving about threats to its well being. I mentioned the death of the traditional family & acknowledging that a particular religion is not one of peace as examples.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Good points.

        I would add the HUGE denial by the adults of effects of divorce on kids.

        The effects do vary, some very resilient, just pocket the two playstations, two bikes etc, but many children find it devastating throughout the rest of their childhood even if they learn to live with it.

      • Chris Morriss

        Apologies for jumping in, but your request re another thread has now been acted upon. My fault (explanation in email, though I think that emails via another web site are not getting through).

        • Damaris Tighe

          Correct.

    • Bonkim

      Mutual attraction is based on affinity factors – don’t expect an educated professional to look for a single parent on benefits.

  • rtj1211

    I don’t think it’s surprising in the least that marriage rates are falling at the bottom of society. Here’s why I think what I think:

    1. Firstly you need to ask what the motivations are for marriage.

    Is it doing what is expected? Is it ‘doing the right thing by a girl you put in the family way’? Is it simply marrying your childhood sweetheart? Or is it true love?

    I think most would agree that simply doing what people have always done is a way of life that has increasingly had its day. The church has had its day as a mainstream control channel of society. Politiicians have had their day. I think even the movies have had their day. To be blunt, the old ways have gone, but has anything actually filled the void?? I’m not sure that it has.

    ‘Doing the right thing’ is also a concept that is rather alien to the large number of young people who grew up with single mothers. If you haven’t seen a working model of a successsful marriage growing up, it’s actually a much greater commitment to take the plunge yourself, particularly if your mother had some choice things to say about your father growing up. Where are the husband role models for the poorest boys growing up??

    As for ‘marrying sweethearts’, well in this digital world of instant porn, how much actual old-fashioned romance goes on down there? Plenty of sex from all accounts, but romance?? I’m sure it happens, but I would have that on a downward population curve too.

    As for true love: what percentage of the poorest in society actually reach a spiritual niveau capable of recognising long-lasting true love? Marrying young as was traditional is much more risky in the modern world with easier divorce. True love more usually comes from the mid-20s to early 30s, with obvious exceptions across all swathes of society. I remain to be convinced that a societal seismic shift into true love for most of the poor has taken place, to be honest.

    2. What about the desirability of the male?

    Traditionally, that went to those with a steady job, prospects etc. A skilled fitter in a factory, a tradesman working on good contracts, the barrow boy made good in the City.

    Will young girls be turned on by a guy whose top prospect is being a Barista in Costa Coffee, always assuming they don’t rapidly become distant, disengaged and seeking escape through such drudgery??

    So, my view is that with the collapse of the traditional working class career paths, you are going to see greater skepticism from the girls and greater reluctance from the boys to tie a knot in the absence of the sort of stability and prospects which make the raising of children possible, practicable and worthwhile.

    3. What if the girls now have better prospects?

    I have to say that my judgement then is that blokes will be after more sex and less settling down. They haven’t found the career which provides self-respect, focus and structure, so what is marriage going to be but a prison of hand-outs, being mothered by a wife and nitpicked by a mother-in-law?

    Some will no doubt say that marriage will be the foundation upon which change can occur. I’ve no doubt it will be true for some. But I’m inclined to the belief that for far more, marriage is the confirmation of one’s place in society rather than an attempt to buy your way in using forged banknotes.

    So my personal view is: if you want more at the bottom to get married, make life prospects for more of them more stable, more predictable and more achieveable. Not certain, pre-ordained or unchangeable. But with the odds less stacked against most of them……

    • David

      Well put. Without a stable economic and social base on which to anchor the institution of marriage, its popularity can only decline amongst the working class, as you’ve explained very well. It is very sad. What’s to be done ? That’s the point !

    • Grace Ironwood

      I think your comments have some truth to them.
      What policy prescriptions could you suggest?

      The sexual smorgasbord is traditionally given up with the monogamous marriage. In the past, men got married-and married young- partly to have regular sex.

      Is their a role for a new wave of chastity norms? Where would such come from ?

    • StephanieJCW

      “They haven’t found the career which provides self-respect, focus and structure, so what is marriage going to be but a prison of hand-outs,”

      If this is acceptable for women, why is it so horrible for men?

    • Grace Ironwood

      Complete detachment of sex from procreation has played big role.

  • Som Trivedi

    While I’m sure generalizations can be drawn, the reasons to get married (or not) are usually quite personal.

    My wife and I got married only because of pressure from our families, who’re originally from the Indian subcontinent and hence of a conservative nature with regard to relationships. The clincher was that they also agreed to pay for the whole week-long vulgar extravaganza that is a punjabi wedding.

    Personally speaking, we just don’t see what the “advantanges” that Fraser cites above were in getting married. The only difference for us (compared to having continued as an unmarried couple) is that we have a certificate which proclaims that we are husband and wife.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Was it you who flagged up my reply to Mr Grumpy?

      • Som Trivedi

        The only ‘reply’ I’ve seen from you is the one I’m replying to. And no I haven’t voted it up (or down). Who’s Mr Grumpy?

        • Damaris Tighe

          Ok, apologies.

    • Bonkim

      May be you should have rejected such backward imported traditions.

      Different culture – one can say the norm of arranged/forced marriages in Asian cultures produces unhappy families – unless the women remain quiet and subservient to the man’s or his family’s wishes – that has nothing to do with British norms and it is a tragedy that these backward cultural habits are creeping into Britain.

      • Som Trivedi

        Haha, looks like you’ve misunderstood my comment.

        My wife and I had lived together for 9 years before we got married, hardly an Indian tradition 😉

        We just didn’t see the point of getting married, it seemed frankly unnecessary since we’d already been living happily as partners for a very long time. Nothing to do with arranged/forced marriages or caste/class, at least in our case. We’re still very much in love, much as we were 21 years ago when we first met 🙂

        But I agree with the gist of your statement, there should be no space for archaic and backward cultural habits (mostly rooted in misogyny) in modern day Britain, we need to root this out.

        • Bonkim

          Good luck – The old fogies will die of soon – India is changing too and the once deferential social hierarchy is crumbling.

          But all that still lives in many communities from the Sub-continent in Britain. The tragedy is India is evolving/moved on but some British Asians still living in their holes.

      • Grace Ironwood

        How do you know this ? Is there evidence for your view ?
        I’ve got an Indian bank manager friend who had an arranged marriage & she adores him. He’s lovely, has been intermittently the house-husband to help her career,

        • Bonkim

          Read Indian media for the proof – Indians are greedy and money and jumping the queue are their key objectives. Women are second class and to be exploited for dowry, etc, despite the dowry being illegal. Sex-selective abortions are rife in many parts of North India. Sex-ratio proves that.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Abortion thing is true, i’m glad to see UK is banning it, Im thinking the marriages thing works out better in the upper classes

          • Bonkim

            Are there upper classes where you live? Don’t see many here.

          • Grace Ironwood

            I am in Australia, many high achieving immigrants from sub continent – more Indian than Pakistani – live here due to our colour blind meritocratic immigration system. High rates of intermarriage between Anglo and East Asians .

            Multi racial more community support than multicultural. Only one group has been a failure.

    • JimHHalpert

      You have omitted to mention Fraser’s most important point: do you have children?

      • Som Trivedi

        Yes, a daughter and a Westie.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Well Som, you can draw comfort from the fact that your kid will be in the right cohort of the statistics. Plus you got to star in the extravaganza !

  • StuzGraz

    Any disparity of wealth or income requires serious thought as to how much you wish to financially invest in the relationship. Given you are effectively signing a contract to hand over probably half the capital to the other party in the event of divorce usually more if children are involved. Sadly it means only the wealthy have the resources to recover from a mistake.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Interesting point. Men tend to recover their financial status within five years of divorce, even if they lose the most money in the divorce. Earning capacity disparities between the parental roles account for this. Children more likely to be in poverty in a female-headed family.

      • StuzGraz

        This article refers to lower and middle not marrying but your comment refers to the whole of society ? But surely if children more likely to live in “poverty” whatever the current definition in a female-headed family then making divorce financially unattractive for lower and middle capital is a hugely backward step ?

        • Grace Ironwood

          My comment relates to stats after divorce. Introduction of no fault divorce increased the divorce rate…unintended consequences. The law has a teaching function as well.

  • Bonkim

    Britain will ghet what it deserves – marriage has over history brought stability in the family – married folk persevered through good times and bad and did not give up. The children had a stable environment to grow up regardless of the family finances.

    Loss of family values has led to instability and increased poverty . The youngster may have a a smart phone but will have no firm direction as he/she grows up, and in turn repeat the same model. Britain has one of the highest percentages of children in care and those with severe mental health problems – thanks to the wayward habits of their natural parents. A society that loses judgement and morality is tossed about in any wave that comes in.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Research has shown that the sexes parent in diferent ways-mum is unconditionally nurturing, dad has expectations and children want to win his approval and love. Dad helps boys express their masculinity in a self-disciplined and socially acceptable manner. Double mother family structures marriages seem to have the lowest achieving daughters, followed by double dads. The intact biological parents seem to be the gold standard. See Doug Allen’s 2013 study . Has a massive sample size- the Canadian census.

      • Bonkim

        Anything abnormal unsettles youngsters – have to agree with you but I believe in equality of the sexes and also that mutual love and respect is the only way for a healthy family life – hiow ever politics/stronger dominates are too often the practical result.

      • StephanieJCW

        Hey Grace, do you have a link to that research?

        • Grace Ironwood

          douglas Allen 2013 study on rates of high school graduation amongst different family structures. Mark regnerus outcomes for children in different family structure, Loren marks review of the 59 studies relied upon by American psych association to support thesis of ” no difference” – established low quality of these tiny, volunteer studies with vague metrics like parents reporting children as ” well adjusted” . The book “no difference” reporting on the conflict and relative quality of research. APA executive in 2005 behind the brief included a number of members awarded hall of fame status for services to gay community plus the infamous deaf lesbian psych Carrie Mccullogh who had her deaf partner inseminated by sperm from deaf man to deliberately create a deaf child on the grounds that deaf people were a cultural identity group that should be respected. Same body were unanimous in considering homosexuals a disease thirty years ago ! APA also issue Foreign Policy positions for psych members to adhere to.

          • StephanieJCW

            I meant to the different manner of parenting.

  • Samson

    I’ve swung up to the lower branches of the middle class and still couldn’t afford to buy a house, have a kid or pay for anything like a real wedding unless I won the lottery, which seems a tad unlikely since I never play. If the Market (praise to the Market, praise it, praise it, amen) could decide to pay a wage that paid for the luxuries of family life – adequate shelter, and food, and water, and heat, and some clothes, and maybe spectacles if we’re getting very picky, but never a holiday because we’re not kings – well, that would be quite cool. Won’t ever happen but hey, it’s good to politic-of-envy.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Married families in the past seemed to get by in much greater poverty than nowadays. Are you sure we need all those things as a precondition ?

      Government financial arrangements do not support families as much as they could. Policies could be changed.

  • DeltaNaught

    Honestly, I think governments (particularly left-wing ones) will do anything they can to destroy the family unit – they see it as a threat to their power.

    • Grace Ironwood

      There is something in this. Preaching sexual revolution values results in the transformation of private citizens into dependent clients of the State. Gives a licence for more and more state interference in private life.

      As economic interference is discredited, the culture is the new space for state control- our current loss of freedom and privacy is legitimated.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “almost half of British babies are born to unmarried parents”
    Or at least parents not married to each other.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    In the hedonistic climate that prevails in Britain today, for men there really is no need to get married in order to plug into the home comforts. While for women, it they don’t put out there are plenty of others that will. Bad deal for women, because even with a baby on the way there’s still no sense of urgency.
    However, at this end of the ranch, getting a permanent resident visa without a Japanese spouse is problematic at the very least, while a wife and child make it a racing certainty. And hey, hardly the ultimate sacrifice. All about motivation; the permissive society that prevails in UK has removed any pressure to make it legal. Compare with homosexual cohabitation, fast becoming the life styles of choice in Gay UK.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • Brasidas44

    I am old enough to remember when society supported marriage and opposed vice. When I was growing up drinking a small quantity of booze with a meal was much less regulated than getting drunk on an empty stomach, for example.
    Today, there is enormous opposition at the top of society to Puritanism, using the word in its best sense. The current arrangements protect the incompetents at the top from social mobility, and allow much self indulgence,. The taxation system now penalizes married couples in many ways, right through the English speaking world. Welfare is oriented to protect the lazy, and the thrifty are penalized.
    This is not, despite what some comments suggest, new. Throughout history, ruling elites have had a choice between protecting their society as a whole or grabbing what they could for themselves. The result of selfishness has always been disaster for the larger society The present English speaking West shows every sign of going down that route.
    As the readers of the Spectator are generally from the wealthier and more educated sections of society, I hope you do your bit. Do NOT interfere with groups of immigrants, Evangelicals, or Muslims who try to enforce reasonable standards of morality within their group. This applies even if you think that their puritanism is irrational.

    • Mike

      “or Muslims who try to enforce reasonable standards of morality within their group” –

      Rotherham anyone ?

  • Fab Ocho

    In the states marriage has declined similarly. One cause is the lack of marriageable men among the lower classes. Many have been in prison and don’t work. If a working class woman has a kid with them, fine. But she will not have them under the roof because they need to be fed and clothed same as the kids.

    Also, there has been for the last 100 or so years the idea of a love marriage. IE, you marry someone because they make you feel good. Not that this person seems nice, has no obvious deformities and will be a good provider or good mother. The upper classes can get away with this because they have money and braqins, but this is much tougher for poorer folks.

    • Grace Ironwood

      The article and research (in the staes by Walter Russel Mead et al) shows there is a lot more calculation is entering into marriage decisions. I note that arranged marriages amonst high-achieving partners in non western groups is a decision made by the individuals in concert with their families.Just sayin.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    I’ve noticed this actually. Married people are so smug, so fragile, so middle-class.

    Rest assured, there are plenty of rich single chaps who like to ‘play the field,’ as it were. And plenty of single women content with their wine, vibrator, and cats.

    One thing we can be certain of is that the institution of marriage is in steep, perhaps terminal, decline.

    • agneau

      Wow – they have the internet in the 1950’s!

  • Jordi

    Dear me, back to Shavian times:

    – You were married to Eliza’s mother.
    – Who told you that, guvnor?
    – Nobody told me, but I concluded naturally.
    – No, no. That ain’t the natural way, guvnor. That’s only the middle-class way.
    – Have you no morals, man?
    – I can’t afford ’em, guvnor. Well, neither could you if you’s as poor as me.

  • Simon_in_London

    “Nick Clegg is hotly against the whole idea, saying politicians should not make ‘moral judgments” – Clegg of course would never dream of pronouncing on the morality of homosexual marriage legislation, right? LOL.
    These people are possibly the most moralistic rulers we have ever had – and the most hypocritical.

    • Grace Ironwood

      YEs- we used to laugh at Victorian wowserism.

  • Clara Albaida

    Avoided? How can politics influence such private decissions?

  • Grace Ironwood

    An important factor in the decline of the budding African American middle class from 50’s onward (even more pronounced under Obama) has been the decline in marriage from 80% to well under 50% in this group .

    Increased social pathologies and degradation.The Fatherless generation has fostered lower achievers, increased & younger single-mother families on welfare who are prey to exploitation by males, higher prison cohort. Victim mentality & self defeating behaviours have succeeded the often christian self-improvement narrative of earlier eras. Disastrous effect of the sexual revolution.
    Again marriage is more common in the upper echelons of that group.

    • StephanieJCW

      I thought the African American middle class was growing, not declining.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Major backsliding under Obama. Wealth of blacks disproportionally effected by financial crisis. Government major employer of black men.

        • StephanieJCW

          Backsliding under Obama or due to falling marriage rates (the subject of this article?) Have African-American marriage rates really shifted all that much over the last 6 years?

          • Grace Ironwood

            Backsliding in wealth occurred disproportionately over Obama’s reign, marriage rates declined over several decades.

    • Bonkim

      The main reason for the decline of marriage has been a decline in the religious nature of US society as a whole. Unmarried mothers and divorcees were not looked upon too kindly in the 1950s, and 60s. The same story in Britain and the West – religion and old fashioned social morality and keeping up appearances is a thing of the past.

      • Grace Ironwood

        I agree.

    • Mike

      So who is to blame for this ?

  • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

    If you can’t be morally neutral then you can’t support marriage as anything other than one man, one woman.

    • Grace Ironwood

      See my comment below. Not sure what you mean by “morally neutral”

      • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

        I was referring to the wording in the article. Will have a look.

  • Grace Ironwood

    Society has become feminised, masculinity devalued and marginalised. A good father teaches his son how to be a strong, responsible man, engaged in his society, At the bottom of society, for a lot of fatherless boys, masculinity means being anti-social, non-compliant- opposite to the girls. In the worst cases the social connection is with other males, gang-style, not “down among the women”.

    There have been very negative unintended consequences of feminism and the sexual revolutio, at its worse consequences in the underclass. The welfare state is staffed predominantly by females, as is the education system.
    Boys at the bottom are doing worse than girls.

    How are we going to rescue and re-socialise masculinity to play a strong role in their own family and society as in the past?

    Bringing back slavery (the subordination of women) is not an option. But neither is more and more Leftist social theory, so attractive to feminist law makers. Theresa May types need to be restrained from indulging their love of Scandinavian Gender Theory & further destruction of the social fabric of the West.
    Gay marriage represents the fag-end of the sexual revolution (excuse the pun) and is not helpful the the reconstruction of Marriage Culture.

  • StephanieJCW

    It’s not about morality it’s about a waste of money. Why give a tax break to somebody just for marrying? It makes no sense.

    If you could prove marriage CAUSED stability instead of being correlated with it, maybe, but a tax break just for tying the knot is daft. Just imagine, you can commit adultery, split up a family, remarry and then get a tax break…well, for signing a piece of paper?

    • RobertC

      “Why give a tax break to somebody just for marrying?”
      As a reward? Why give higher starting salaries to those with higher qualifications? It creates the idea that positive planning, including commitment, should encouraged. It works in most other situations.

      At the moment, governments punish the married and the number of children in the best environment have reduced, so why not reverse the policy and reward the married, and see if the number of children in the best environment can be increased. It is worth trying!

      The tax break is for staying married. What you have suggested will incur a lot of legal bills.
      Marriage is the act of telling everyone else your change of circumstance, the signature is just evidence of that announcement. A signature, without a marriage is, as you state, just a signature.

      • Grace Ironwood

        A tax break for married families not couples – become an economic unit that is a public good.

        • StephanieJCW

          Just do the French model, a tax break for families irrespective of marital status. Although if you made marriage the unit of marriage, it should still be restricted to families, not merely married couples.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Married families are less likely to split than non married ones. Strangely the odds for marriage lasting improve if couple don’t cohabit first – counterintuitive: one would expect that marrying after cohabiting would be more stable as the couple would have better knowledge of whether it was going to work.
            However it has been speculated that it may be because those who don’t live together before marriage may be more conservative, they may take the idea of marriage more seriously, maybe more religious, their marriage lasts longer.
            There’s no established reason, speculation. just the figures on chances of success.

          • Mike

            Not necessarily as if there isn’t that financial marriage commitment, both partners could feel that if it didn’t work out they could split without all the legal consequences. If they co-habited for 10 years feeling free to leave at any time and then get spliced, some probably feel trapped and that leads to issues and then divorce.

            Perhaps the marriage vows mean a lot more than some of us give them credit for to make sure a couple understand what they are entering into.

          • Mike

            You need some proof of a marriage status otherwise it would be open to all manner of abuses.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Fair enough.

      • StephanieJCW

        We don’t give higher salaries to those with higher qualifications as a reward, where on earth did you come up with that?

        Those with higher qualifications, depending on the qualification, are more likely to access highly paid jobs but that’s a different thing to the government giving money to people for nothing more than their marital status. Plus if it’s about “commitment” just reward all couples who can demonstrate a relationship of a minimum timeframe. Why just award a tax break to anybody who marries irrespective of length of marriage? Unless we can prove that marriage causes stability I don’t see why we should just be throwing money at people for marrying. I also don’t see how married people are “punished” either.

        “The tax break is for staying married. What you have suggested will incur a lot of legal bills”

        Actually the tax break is for being married. There appear to be no limitations in terms of the number of marriages it applies to. As for the announcement, you don’t really need to make one. You can elope in secret, as long as you have a signature you’re married. And as most couples cohabit prior to marriage, for most attendees I am not sure they see it as that big a change in status. It’s still a long term relationship (only now legally recognised.)

        • RobertC

          “We
          don’t give higher salaries to those with higher qualifications as a reward”
          Those with a Masters have started on higher salaries than those with a BSc, in the same job.

          We have the evidence that those without a commitment experience less stability, so the converse can be inferred.

          If it isn’t a big change in status, yet it leads to more stability, why not make the commitment?

          Marrying and divorcing several times will not be rewarding financially, so only the very dim would do this – and they might even stay married to the same person!

          We are talking about improving the chances of couples staying together, not guaranteeing every couple does.

          • StephanieJCW

            I am well aware of the figures on graduate salaries (although would like to see the data behind your Msc / BSc claims). But you are still mistaken in your assertion that “we give more money to people with higher qualifications.”

            “We” do no such thing. Those with higher qualifications are more likely to secure positions with more highly skilled responsibilities and more able to access the higher paid salaries but that is not the same. Unemployed graduates working in coffee shops while trying to seek graduate employment don’t receive a higher wage than their fellow coffee shop workers without a degree. And that is the personal choice made by an employer. It isn’t the state paying people with higher qualifications more money.

            So your analogy quite simply doesn’t work.

            “We have the evidence that those without a commitment experience less stability, so the converse can be inferred.”

            No it can’t. Well it can if you have an abysmal understanding of statistics and cannot understand the difference between causation and correlation. Of course those who are unstable are less likely to commit. Conversely those couples who are already stable tend to choose marriage. Giving them money won’t increase that commitment. It just feels like a “nice” thing to do.

            “If it isn’t a big change in status, yet it leads to more stability, why not make the commitment?”

            Because there is no evidence that marriage will lead to more commitment in terms of being a causative factor. So why bother with it if it’s unnecessary (well of course there are inheritance reasons but that aside *shrugs*)

            “We are talking about improving the chances of couples staying together, not guaranteeing every couple does.”

            Well no, we aren’t talking about that as there is no evidence giving people a tax break will make them stay together. What we are talking about is just giving people money for marrying someone. The supposed benefits of marriage are well know. If those don’t inspire people to marry, why would a small tax break?

          • RobertC

            I was talking about initial jobs related to the degree taken. Those with higher qualifications but no experience started the same job, but with fractionally higher salary. It used to be the norm.

            If it isn’t now, then it is part of the decline in valuing relevant knowledge. My example was a real example and not just a comparable, somewhat similar, example.

            So, there is no evidence that marriage will lead to more commitment, but less marriage leads to less commitment. Something wrong with the logic here.

            “The supposed benefits of marriage are well know.”

            The State penalises married couples, especially if they are a high earning one income family or near the poverty line. If being married is benefit to the community, which it is, most of the benefit should go to the couple and the State should at least hint at the best course of action.

          • StephanieJCW

            But you’re still incorrect to state “we pay people more for having higher qualifications”. Not only have you provided no proof for that assertion, you have confused a decision made by a private employer with the state offering money to people solely on the basis of their chosen relationship status.

            “So, there is no evidence that marriage will lead to more commitment, but less marriage leads to less commitment.” You’re still struggling with that correlation / causation thing aren’t you? You also ignore the change in our society which have destigmatised cohabitation, and illegitimacy

            It’s an absolute that the state “penalises” married couples. It does not. Yes our system of taxation, taxing individuals as opposed to households may lead to an imbalance in two households with the same income but where they earn that differently. But that applies to married and unmarried. Except it is easier for the unmarried to pretend they aren’t in a relationship to try and circumvent that.

            And of course that is only that minority of households where one spouse does not work. In dual income households that issue disappears. And as the couple already reaps the benefits from marriage there is no need to throw money at married couples, just because.

          • RobertC

            “the state offering money to people”
            They are being allowed to keep more of their own money! Not the ‘less tax is a subsidy’ agenda!

            “destigmatised cohabitation, and illegitimacy”
            That is why children are experiencing less stability! But who cares? Not those who promote those trends, apparently.

            ” In dual income households that issue disappears.”

            So what? They are still benefitting the community.

          • Mike

            Come on now, its self evident that higher paid jobs require higher skill levels both in qualifications with or without experience.

            Many jobs now require a degree in anything even unrelated to the job so its an obvious truism that the better the qualifications the higher the likely pay scale.

        • Grace Ironwood

          It HAS been demonstrated that marriage causes greater stability Stephanie. Much better outcomes on all metrics for children. It is a public good and that’s why it is good public policy to promote it with policy design that encourages stable marriages.
          Another reason – birth rate.

          Have a look at the research, not just correlation, most people studying the area accept causation.

  • Wee Scitter

    Instead of trying to force parents to give their children to the state to raise (eg tax incentives for childcare), tax incentives instead need to focus on encouraging parents to work together for the better of their children. E.g. By allowing income tax thresholds to be accumulatively shared between a couple, rather than treating each as mere individuals (you rarely hear in debate where some feminist is moaning about male managerial positions that that male is most-likely also supporting a family). This has been as much a problem from the “right”, whereby it is in the selfish short-term interests of big business to get as many people to be corporate slaves as possible.

    Another thing that does not help is that there seems to be a focus by mainly women on the £20000+ fairy-tale wedding day itself rather than the marriage as a whole. If more people had less extravagant weddings and removed this expectation it would be a lot less off-putting for many.

    Finally, all notions of feminism (a lot of it really political lesbianism) also need to stop being placated as, along with destructive factors such as the concept of same-sex marriage (sic), are pushing society in the wrong direction entirely whereby all concern is on desires of selfish individuals and not the outcomes for any of their potential offspring (the latter being the reason why traditional gender roles and ideas of male and female virtue existed in the first place). The role model of the noble male leader of the family (which most women actually want) has been destroyed on favour of encouraging the male degenerate. Liberalism/libertarianism has gone too far and also become blinded to the fact that the basic building block of society is more the family than it is the individual.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Most women want a partner rather than a boss, but it’s clear that Islam seems to attract women for stability and community.

      • kittydeer

        Sorry but I think you are being too kind. Women who convert to islam are usually very stupid or suffered the misfortune of being dropped on the head as a baby.

        • Grace Ironwood

          🙂

      • Mike

        Maybe its a bit like an Apartheid where in places like Southern Rhodesia, you had no voting rights but you had food, healthcare, jobs and shelter but now they have voting rights (sort of), they starve to death or die from AIDs.

  • Whitegold

    Nonsense, David Cameron was up here in Scotland a couple of months ago telling us how great things were.
    There are no poor.
    There is no oil.
    There is no whiskey.
    There is nothing.
    Everybody is rich and happy.
    We just need to join hands and sing ‘we are the world’.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Whisky, Scotland. Why am I surrounded by fools and lunatics?

  • BroderickLangtonStewart

    Correlation is not causation.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Social science in the area leans heavily towards the idea that marriage promotes stable families and reduces chance of split. Look at the research.

  • Gwangi

    Maybe more men would want to marry if divorce didn’t mean a man losing his house, his assets and 70% of everything! The law is so unfair to men at present of ALL social classes.
    Any man who gets married these days is usually suffering from a temporary mental illness called ‘love’ – when that evaporates, he realises he’s just made the worst bet of his life: betting everything, a house, all savings, pension, even a share of future earnings (!!!) – when there is a 50% chance of losing.
    And I won’t even start about how the women almost always get full custody and can then move to another country or, if they stay here, ban the father from seeing his kids for years dragging it through the courts, and then offering two hours a month, if that. Of course, the mother can invite ANY man into her bed (including those recently out of prison and those who are child abusers, and as many as she wants too) and into what is now her house to have access to the kids – and no surprise then that in step families child abuse rates are 5 times higher than when a blood father is at home. For shame!

    • Grace Ironwood

      Sounds like you have been through a nasty divorce. My commiserations.i was a family lawyer for ten years and I’ve seen repeatedly how horrible it gets.
      Nevertheless men tend to recover their wealth fairly quickly- statistically your chances of becoming better off than your ex within five years. The assets especially the home tend to follow the children and the children tend to follow their major carer. The career tends to have reduced earning capacity in comparison to the major earner because she has given up career advancement to look after the kids & her earning capacity may never recover. A major reason for male- female income disparity and achievement,

      Many men resent having to pay to maintain their children especially if access is restricted. The point is they are not paying for access but paying to maintain offspring. Access decided as a separate issue.

      Children are at a hugely greater risk – statistically – of abuse with single mothers & their new partner/s.

      Again, sorry about your divorce. To never love again and experience the great benefits of marriage is a pretty negative view and I hope you can take the risk with a more successful partner in future.

      It’s much worse for the children than the adults & I hope it works out for your relationship with them,

      • Grace Ironwood

        Access arrangements are changeable – often you just have to jump through hoops like parenting courses etc, to convince the judge you are working on whatever the issues restricting access may be,
        Bottom line is that it’s in child’s best interests to have a meaningful, significant relationship with both parents unless the risk outweighs.

        Sometimes you get a nutty judge – a relative of mine lucked into a lunatic !

        • Gwangi

          A huge number of fathers WANT to see their kids but can’t – because ex-wifey, vindictive and evil, is backed by the courts in delaying things for years. And no, I am not talking about the tiny number of dangerous men either. The law needs urgent reform to make it fair – it is FAR too chivalrous at the moment and actively discriminates against men and in favour of women with anything involving families or children. There is a good reason why Fathers 4 Justice exists.
          I think something like 40% of fathers don’t see their kids ever again after a split and yet more lose touch eventually – that is what mummy often wants, and boy can women be nasty, spiteful and vindictive! REVENGE is what this is all about – and children are abused so much by their mothers constantly criticising their fathers as well. Those kids often have problems at school and end up dead or in prison or suicides maybe. Well done mum!
          Ordinary men are being abused by the law daily because of gynecentric laws which see women as carers and men as wallets on legs. If the places were reversed, I am sure you and many other feminists would soon change your opinion.

      • Gwangi

        No, silly – I am FAR too intelligent to ever get married. That is why I am rich and happy and own two house, love, innit?
        Learn not to ASSume, eh? When I post I do not only post of my own experience but what I know of English law and real case histories – and, frankly, we have institutional misandry in the courts in Britain. You can’t see that because you are blinded by feminism’s great lie – that women are disadvantaged but should play the poor victim deserving of preferential treatment when it suits them.
        The ‘major carer’ read herring. Ah yes, so a man works like a slave for years while mummy lives off his money in an easy peasy life; then she divorces him and gets a free house! The assumption MUST be joint parenting – that is where all negotiations should start.
        Many legal experts have also pointed out how unfair the law is to fathers – and unless it changes, expect more tragic events from dads driven crazy by their selfish ex-wives. Poor kids.

  • Mike

    Most would agree that marriage is the best form of union to benefit society and ensure survival of the species but I’m afraid that LibLabCon have destroyed that for a multitude of reasons. The fact that its mainly the rich that marry these days, is not for that old fashioned view of love, companionship or sharing lives but more to do with simple accounting. Stripping out the emotional reasons for marriage, when it comes down to it, its mainly a financial settlement just as divorce is.

    Firstly, there are no real financial benefit for working people to marry and for those out of work, there’s a definite plus not have a spouse or partner at home. There is of course one exception in the case of a Muslim man married to several wives as there is a definite incentive due to all the child support each wife can claim along with housing benefits, but that’s not the norm, yet.

    Secondly, the liberal progressives have brain washed people into thinking that its preferable rather than an alternative to be just living together rather than cementing that relationship formally. Whilst most would pass no judgement on illegitimacy these days and rightly so, nonetheless to make this the preferred option over marriage is wrong and reduced the value of marriage.

    Thirdly, Cameron with his unnecessary gay marriage legislation has diminished the accepted reasons for marriage and removed a lot of its value in the process. Like unwed couples with children, these days very few people have any issues with gay couples. Like me, we don’t even think of them being gay as they are just another couple in our circle of friends. However, bringing in legislation that only the militant gays were demanding hasn’t made any allies amongst many heterosexual couples or many gay couples as well.

    There is one area where marriage can be a must and that of course is marriages of convenience or phony ones to gain a passport or right of residence.

    Being married to an American woman, I had to jump through hoops to get her the right to be resident in the UK by providing all manner of documentation to show she wouldn’t be a burden on the state. Going in the other direction, its even worse for me in trying to get right of residence in the USA for similar reasons. Obviously to gain right of residence and access to services (legally) you have to be married but 15 years and counting it certainly is much more than a bureaucratic marriage of convenience. What I fail to understand is how ethnic minorities appear to get fast tracked into western countries by the liberal progressives whilst those who can provide & support themselves are processed at a snails pace.

    However, I digress, it is LibLabCon policies that has destroyed the value of marriage for the majority and only those born with a silver spoon in their mouth, being linked to bankers (Bob Diamonds Daughter anyone) or generally wealthy, has a vested financial interest in a marriage arrangement.

    • Grace Ironwood

      All true, sadly.
      Notice those promoting the meaninglessness of marriage are married themselves.

    • balance_and_reason

      Oh lordy, you are not a kipper as well…

      • Mike

        Far better a kipper than a pedophile supporter (Labour), pedophile denier (Tory) or having a pedophile MP in your midst (Liberal).

        Then there’s the deniers of Islamic inspired Jihadism (LibLabCon), covering up sex grooming (Labour), lies over the EU demand for 1.7 billion and an increasing national debt (Tory), subservience to Brussels (Libdumbs),

        I could go on with many more LibLabCon failures but you get the picture. Who needs enemies when you have a bunch of traitorous filth sitting at Westminster (Carswell exempted). Its time someone else was given a shot at running the country as it couldn’t be any worse than the whores that are there at the moment !

  • hdb

    The problem is that a young working class male will struggle to get a job that will pay a wage that can make a substantial contribution to maintaining a family home. Why should any woman tie herself down when benefits as a single woman will give her more than if she is one half of a couple?

  • Williams Rose

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