Hence the marriage tax break. Of course, not every married couple in the land will qualify. And the policy is highly problematic. But £200/year isn't to be sniffed at. So, why the rush to "incentivise" marriage?
1. Beneath the restaurant-smashing Flashman act, Dave is a big old softy. He thinks the hallowed institution is the bee's knees. As it is for many Tories, marriage is the bedrock on which a stable society thrives. Providence has given us the means for realising a secure environment for the raising of children and establishing a strong bond of certainty between two loving people. If more people get married, regardless of the sexuality of the partners, the happier and more fulfilled our society will become. And having one partner take time out from work to raise the kids might do a little bit to massage the jobless figures too.
2. Dave has struggled to find a way of driving a wedge between disenchanted Tory voters and UKIP that won't see the softer support fall away should he adopt a tough rightwing stance on the issues 'kippers care about. Pushing a policy that might be seen as strengthening marriage is one of the precious few ways he could woo fed up Tories giving UKIP the eye without upsetting the other.
3. Admiral Ackbar says "it's a trap!" Dave has divined correctly that Labour, the LibDems and a whole host of other opponents would be opposed to the marriage tax break. And how easy it will be to paint them all as enemies of marriage and "traditional values". As the tropes for 2015's campaign of vilification are being polished up before their ultimate reveal, the reds and the yellows will be singled out for being "anti-family". Now, Dave and Crosby might think they've been clever clever and boxed them into a toxic position. But it's like lobbing a mustard gas shell that not only falls short of the enemy trench, but is blown back toward your position by the wind. They are effectively saying to millions of couples who co-habit, have kids out of marriage, or are single parents that their situation is not good enough and that they should pay more tax than people who've made a lifestyle choice the Tories approve of.
They think they're getting out of a hole. But in fact, they're digging it much deeper.