An end to cock tax? Not likely…but women are more economically empowered now

Apparently, according to Jane Shilling at The Telegraph women have moved on from gold digging.

But if anyone thinks that this is an end to cock tax then I have a bridge I can sell you.

I have never been to an Islington dinner party, mainly because I’m nervous of the conversations I might have to endure. Over plates laden with Nigel Slater’s pumpkin laksa, I shudder to imagine the banter that embraces the outrageous cost of educating one’s children or the thrilling rise in London property prices – areas in which I find myself sadly short of conversational roughage.

Then again, the independent peer Baroness Deech, evidently an habituée of such gatherings, suggests that the discourse runs in different channels. According to her, the hot topic for kitchen supps in north London isn’t state versus private or equity release, but d-i-v-o-r-c-e. “Go to an Islington dinner party and say the word divorce,” she remarked recently, “and people will tell you the most horrendous stories.”

Divorce, like people’s operations, does lend itself to horrendous stories. When flesh or emotions are raw and weeping, the narratives tend to come up lengthy and lurid. But what the Baroness really seems to have meant is that it’s the men who will tell you horrendous divorce stories. And on this vivid anecdotal basis, she proposes a change in the law.

Baroness Deech is currently steering a private member’s Bill through the Upper House that would make pre- and post-nuptial agreements binding. The idea is that in future, when couples divorce, the assets they acquire after their wedding should be divided, but that the division should not include whatever the parties brought to the marriage. A jolly sensible idea, you might think, and a boon to the sweet-natured Bertie Wooster type of chap who gets his assets ruthlessly stripped by gold-digging trollops from vaudeville and other low joints.

Do they still exist, these delightful stereotypes? Yes indeed, according to Baroness Deech – though in a slightly different social milieu from that of PG Wodehouse’s Drones Club (or, indeed, the Islington dinner tables or the High Table of St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she was principal for 14 years). Existing divorce legislation, she argues, intimates to young women that financial security lies not in an honest day’s toil, but in marrying a rich man.  

Seems a it out of touch. Especially when pesky little things like facts are presented.

If Baroness Deech’s grasp of the marital affairs of footballers is impressionistic, so too is her sense of the aspirations of young women. The Baroness is 71. She came of age when it was still accepted that wives might expect to exchange their domestic skills for a lifelong meal ticket provided by a working husband.

But if we are admitting anecdotal evidence when it comes to the drafting of legislation, I have to say that I know almost no one from my own, fifty-something generation who embraced that fate, and not a single twenty-something whose life’s ambition it is to be a housewife.

Fortunately, there is no need to rely on anecdote when there are statistics to hand, which show that, far from throwing academic qualifications in the hope of snagging a susceptible booby with a big wad, young women are in a rising majority when it comes to university admissions, and are entering professions such as teaching and the law or becoming doctors or vets.

A recent study by The Economist magazine found that the economic empowerment of women across the developed world was “one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years… millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates”.

There are, of course, excellent reasons for scrutinising divorce law in the light of changing social attitudes. But perhaps the learned figures who frame the legislation by which the rest of us must live our lives should consider getting out more.

Could we be soon seeing reverse cock tax…Adam Parore seemed to score on that front.

 

– The Telegraph


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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