LETTER: Measure of successful economy is happiness of people

Two letters published invite comment.

In one, Conservative County Coun. Susie Charles made a plea for more potential adoptive and foster carers from the “lesbian, gay, bi or transsexual community”.

In my youth, those who sought happiness with a partner of the same sex faced persecution. Rightly, society has recognised some are made that way and one can no more change his or her sexuality than one who is left handed can change his or her handedness.

Toleration is one thing – to try to deny the difference is another. The Conservative Party in particular promotes ideas such as same-sex marriage at its peril. To me, marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

Marriage has existed in every society known and undoubtedly arose as a way to ensure the best and most stable environment for the upbringing of children.

Sometimes, through the misfortune of death or desertion, one parent has to do the job – many single parents cope remarkably well but hardly any would call it easy.

I for one, however, would be reluctant to encourage the bringing up of children in an environment where there is not a mother and a father figure to act as role models. The real danger is a new intolerance where those who honestly share my view themselves face persecution.

Coun. Sheena Dunn, in another letter, bemoans a growing childcare crisis. In my youth, expecting the state to pay for your children to be looked after while you went out to work would never have occurred to anyone.

If you had children, it was your responsibility to work out how to care for them, not the state’s.

Back then, despite our all being much less wealthy, it was common to bring up a family on the income of one parent, maybe supplemented by the part-time earnings of the other. So what has changed? Let me offer some ideas.

Both Labour and Conservative parties have lost sight of the fact the economy should work for the people and not the other way round. The measure of a successful economy is not just gross national product but the happiness of the people.

Take housing for a start. We all need somewhere to live as decently and as cheaply as possible.

For decades, it was common ground that home ownership was an inherently good thing – good for those who could build up some wealth by owning a home and good for society because those with such a stake generally also made good citizens.

The Conservative Party initiated the growth of the private landlord system and both parties failed to ensure enough housing of a decent quality at reasonable rents for those who could not buy a home.

The proportion of owner occupiers continues to decline. Why is this?

There are many reasons: the ever rising population fuelled by immigration is one. Higher taxes than need be are another – often used to pay for foolish foreign wars serving no British interest and foreign aid, much of it wasted on countries which may have massive military spending are examples. On the question of childcare – there is an argument for its provision at the cost of the state in a few cases – I instance the single parent who really wants to make a contribution through working.

Before anyone is seduced into voting Labour because it wants to raid the incomes of the wealthy to pay for childcare, remember the last Labour government was quite happy to make you pay income tax on an income of less than £100 a week and roughly doubled council tax – a tax which hits those just above benefits level far harder than it hits the rich.

The changes of policy I advocate are hardly extreme, but you won’t get them by voting for any of the three major parties.

JOHN ROWE

BNP Candidate,

Pendle East, LCC 2013