The most covenantal speech of the week
Each year, the State Opening of Parliament brings together the Commoners and Lords to hear the Monarch set out the government’s legislative agenda for the year ahead. This year Prince Charles read the speech, which detailed a range of bills that will come before both houses over the coming year.
Several days of debate on the contents of the speech provided MPs with ample opportunity to prove their covenantal credentials in the chamber. The Unit’s co-chair’s Danny Kruger MP and Miriam Cates MP did us proud.
A resilient nation depends on society, not the state, says Danny Kruger MP
Danny opened with a quote from the father of covenantal thinking:
A nation in which it is good to grow up and grow old is one that is also ready for the threats of our times. I am with Edmund Burke who said that
“the sources of the commonwealth are in the households”.
The strength of our country is found in our families and in our communities.
Danny went on to argue that national resilience lay in the strength of society, not just the state. And society is made up of the associations that rise above the individual: the family and community.
He closed his speech with a focus on our economy of care, arguing that too many children and elderly people end up being looked after in facilities, rather than at home.
The family is the best and most important welfare agency that we have or possibly could have. We should invest in it and trust in it.
We need fairer finance for families, says Miriam Cates MP
In a later debate, and without any conferring, Miriam seamlessly picked up where Danny left off.
Miriam opened with an account of recent social history:
…not so long ago, when the welfare state was born, life expectancy was 65, people started work at 15, and few lived long into retirement, while the state was not required to pay for childcare or adult social care because women and the wider community provided it unpaid. Now, longer life expectancy, many years spent in education and retirement, and ever better healthcare have increased, probably permanently, the cost of the state.
She went on to make the case for reforming our model of taxation away from an individualistic approach and towards one that considers household income and the number of dependants in any given household.
This individualistic approach to taxation means that to have the same standard of living as a single person on a wage of £30,000, a family of four must earn £74,500—an unachievable figure for many.
…Our system makes it very hard for families to work their way out of poverty, discourages family stability, and fails to recognise the important contribution that parents make to society.
When it comes to the cost of living crisis, the Chancellor is right that the state cannot fix everything. But the state can fortify national resilience by strengthening shock absorbing and enduring relationships in the family and community.