It’s budget day in the UK today. Others are far more qualified than I am to discuss the ins and outs of what George Osborne announced.
I will instead – with prompting earlier on Twitter from Liz Disley – look at that old nugget of the budget: how it impacts families. If you’re really lucky you might get how it hits hard working families mentioned. This tweet from Labour Councillor Sundip Meghani is a case in point.
Why, Liz mused, do politicians always insist on using the word families and not just people? As an unmarried person with no kids living a long way away from my nearest blood relatives, I’m about as non-family-connected as you can get, and the repeated use of the term has always rankled with me. But – in political framing terms – these politicians who keep on referring to families might just have a point.
Say it to yourself, if you’re British or follow British politics. Family. Hard working family. What does it conjure up? For me it implies small house in the suburbs, Mondeo in the drive, dog in the garden, two parents and two kids. What politician even dare pass a budget that would penalise these very symbols of British respectability? Perish the thought that these very same people might also be swing voters in swing seats, and readers of the Daily Mail. Even if you’re not a member of one of these mythical families, it might be something that you aspire to be one day.
Am I being fair? Or am I giving too much weight to a term that British politicians just throw around without much thought as to why?