So what is it these Central Statists loathe and fear about the family? Well, the family is a micro-nation - 'l'etat, c'est nous'. It makes its own rules, has its own Parliament, taxes and redistributes income, operates a banking system, makes its own decisions about environmental management, defends itself from threats, maintains an active diplomatic service to cement relations or declare war on other families. Counselling, care and health support, education and welfare, diet and nutrition are all services provided within this micro-state. In fact, just about everything the macro-State aspires to do is already done by the family micro-state. And the Leviathan State hates it. As Peter Oborne writes in today's Telegraph;
For this reason, the nuclear family has normally been supported by the Conservative Party – and, of course, hated by progressives. From 1997 onwards, New Labour waged war against the family. Gordon Brown (in a financial statement deceitfully tagged “a budget for the family”) abolished the married couple’s allowance, replacing it with a system of tax credits which viciously punished couples who insisted on getting married.
After the 2001 general election victory, New Labour felt confident enough to obliterate marriage from the official record. The term “marital status” suddenly ceased to appear on government forms, a seemingly innocuous move that went unnoticed at the time but has been full of consequence ever since. Thereafter, the British state no longer acknowledged the institution of marriage as being in any way different from other kinds of connection between couples.For years, we've asked why the French and the Italians had higher-achieving, less problematical, better behaved and more socialised children, and the answer from the political class was always that our State wasn't intervening enough, wasn't controlling enough, wasn't spending enough. What rubbish. The truth is obvious for all to see - it's because these nations have traditionally had strong families to stand against the State.
Robert Nisbet wrote "The war between the family and the state is very old. When one is strong, the other is generally weak". And this is the core of our way forward; the classic economic liberalism of the Lib-Dems, greater sellers-off and privatisers than even Thatcher, will come to nought if it's not combined with classic social Conservatism that boosts the family as the building block of our nation. Only together will economic liberalism and social conservatism succeed in shrinking the State. And the sooner we admit it, and the sooner Clegg and Cameron articulate it, the better.