Of all the emotive devices and sound bites used by politicians, the abstract “hardworking family” is the one that makes me the most nauseous. It isn’t limited to the UK either, as shown by Obama’s chosen labour secretary, who promised to "improve the opportunities for hardworking families."
We elect politicians to represent all of us, so why do they think it’s acceptable to focus all their attention on “hardworking families.” If it were just the “hardworking” or “families” it would be bad enough, but it seems that you’ve got to tick both boxes before you are worthy of appearing on your representative’s radar.
Quite. Except that it's worse than that: because "families" implies having children too and so that's another box that you need to tick. In fact, if you are single and hardworking, the government pays absolutely no attention to you beyond making sure that you are paying as much tax as possible.
Given that, the line that I take issue with is this one...
Why do families that want to work less and spend more time at home deserve to be ignored?
As far as I can see, most policies aimed at hard-working families are, in fact, policies designed to ensure that they don't have to work so hard. Essentially, if any government announces an initiative to help "hardworking families", then it's time to hang onto your wallet if you are single or an employer.
Because, ultimately, most of these policies involve the politicians deciding that said families should actually do less work and stay at home—to gain the politically mandated "work-life balanace". Paternity leave, maternity leave and the 48 hour week, for instance, are justified under the banner of helping "hardworking families" and it's not the "hardworking families" who are going to pay for them...
And that means that the rest of us pay for them.