Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Love or Economic Growth?
Victoria Coren writes in the Guardian that the government have told us that they are going to focus on "the things that really matter" and forget about issues such as 'gay marraige' for the time being.
She quotes defence secretary Philip Hammond who said: "Clearly [gay marriage] is not the number one priority. If you stop people in the street and ask them what their concerns are, they'll talk to you about jobs and economic growth… The government has got to show that it is focused on the things that really matter."
She then highlights the fact George Osborne said something very similar; that gay marriage is "not a priority of the government" because the government is "focused on the really important issues that matter to people".
Coren suggests that the gay marriage debate is conveniently being sidelined by Tory ministers not in favour of it. It is easier to say that economics needs to be a priority than saying you don't agree with same-sex marriages.
She avoids the debate on whether gay marriage is right or wrong, but highlights the real question here, is love more or less important that the economy?
"The economy in this country – the basic, central core of what an economy is – is extremely healthy. We have an abundant climate, hardy British labour for building and farming and crafting, and brilliant inventive minds at work. If those gambling international speculators, who create nothing and build nothing, with their massive fantasy "derivatives market" and their mind-blowing "trillions of debt", all disappeared tomorrow, we'd still have an economy. We might not have flat-screen TVs with 200 channels – and City traders might not have private jets – but we'd still have food and coal and tables and new ideas."
She then goes on to make clear that:
"We'd also still have love. Stripped of our credit cards, our electronic goods, our super-fast broadband, our international travel – and even of our welfare system based on cash and paperwork rather than simple sharing – we'd still have men and women, and men and men, and women and women, who felt joy and safety and hope, making promises and planning futures, because of this free and powerful human instinct alone."
Coren makes it very clear that people may well want to oppose gay marriage and have some valid reasons for it, but that to trivialise the feelings of love and desire for marriage is totally wrong.
I have a new daydream, of a parallel world, where our democratic leaders say: "We'll do our best for economic growth, but our priority is to concentrate on the things that really matter to people."
Should Cameron and Osbourne be sidelining issues such as gay marriage? Is it economic growth really more important than love? What is it that really does make us get up each morning? A safe job and a decent income, or having a loving partner?
Read full article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/20/victoria-coren-love-beats-business