23 July 2011

Thinking Paper #34 - Why is everyone getting married?

By Jacinta Burrow

Abstract

Before it was upstaged by the discovery that journalists might not all be whiter than white, the welcome news reached the IIPBA that Frank Lampard Jnr, runner-up 2005 FIFA Player of the Year and celebrity Conservative supporter, is now engaged to that one from Daybreak.

So, why is everyone suddenly getting married? First, it was Kate and Wills, then Ed and Justine (Miliband), then Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, and, on 30 July, we’ll be treated to the nuptials of Zara Phillips and something resembling a blancmange with human features called a “Mike Tindall”. As the nation tries to come to terms with the end of the Jordan-and-Peter-Andre-affair, what still drives people to get hitched?




Research

The IIPBA asked 406 married people what the hell possessed them to do such a thing. Here are the results:
  • It offers a perfect excuse to ditch friends you secretly find annoying (6%)
  • There is now someone who is legally obliged to have sex with you (17%)
  • You will not die alone (25%)
  • A wedding reception is the one time in life when a punch up only adds to the general carnival atmosphere (18%)
  • Hey, what else were you going to spend that £21k on? (14%)
  • There’s always divorce… (15%)
  • I was drunk in Las Vegas (5%)
Current Policy

A tax break for people who put a ring on it is a flagship Tory policy and, as we all know, getting married to someone of a different gender is crucial to mending Breakdown Britain (remember that?).

And just look at Iain Duncan-Smith: he’s been a husband for 29 years and seems fine. Whereas there was absolutely no way in the world that Ed Miliband could win the next General Election without a wife. Probably.

Recommendations

So should we just give in to the Archbishop of Canterbury who’s had a right mard on since The Royal Wedding, and tie the knot? Dave wants us to. Rowan wants us to. Our Mums probably want us to. The influential IFS think tank recently found “no strong evidence that marriage leads to better cognitive or social outcomes for children than cohabitation”, but then its work has really slackened off since the head honcho went off to defeat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

This government even seems content for us to get divorced, as long as we do not become “runaway dads”. And, really, what have you done lately to support Britain’s occasion cake industry, especially in this Age of Austerity? Thought so.

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