WHEN, LAST WEEK, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, finally removed the last vestige of government support for the institution of marriage, he was able to quote in his own defence the words of his Tory predecessor, Kenneth Clarke, who in 1995 began the process of phasing out the Married Couple's Allowance with words which will return to haunt his party for some time to come: "It is," he announced, "a bit of an anomaly". The Conservatives have since been through what is not so much a deathbed conversion as a process of penitence in the purgatorial fires of opposition.
They will have to sweat it out for a good while yet before they are taken seriously. In the meantime, however, Catholics of whatever persuasion
should not be deterred from criticism of the present government's antimarriage policy by fear that they may be accused of playing party politics. The Herald has already been accused of having become a Tory paper because of its defence of the Marriage Allowance.
But we were equally critical of the Tories in their day. Similarly, the eminent sociologist Dr Patricia Morgan (whose brilliant and swingeing analysis of New Labour family policy we publish today) was in her day a merciless critic of the Conservatives' approach to marriage. This is a question which transcends party politics. We will not be intimidated into abandoning our stance.