Is it a pre-requisite for ministers to be idiots

  hssutton 12:14 03 Feb 2008

Multiple wives mean multiple benefits. I despair of this country.

Why didn't I emigrate when I was young enough. Or then again why didn't I have several wifes :)

click here;jsessionid=CFQRL4LN3AX11QFIQMFCFGGAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2008/02/03/nbenefit103.xml#form

click here;jsessionid=CFQRL4LN3AX11QFIQMFCFGGAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2008/02/03/nbenefit103.xml#form

  lofty29 12:21 03 Feb 2008

main requirement is to be able to fill in their expences claim forms

  egapup 12:52 03 Feb 2008

They can also claim for kids that dont even live here....we must be the laughing stock.

  johndrew 13:10 03 Feb 2008

It would appear there are now (at least) two sets of laws in this country; one for those of us who are subject to Statute and one for those who are subject to something completely different. Given that bigamy is a criminal offence in the UK why should a section be provided with a form of indemnity.

In common with hssutton, I also despair of this country.

  Belatucadrus 13:13 03 Feb 2008

According to my ex civil servant brother, the only minister capable of reading and understanding full briefing notes is Hillary Benn, all the others get the Idiots guide version.

  Forum Editor 14:25 03 Feb 2008

that you can become a government minister by being an idiot is probably one, too.

That's the first thing to say. The second thing is to point out that we make numerous concessions to people who, for cultural and/or religious reasons find that their convictions or cultural identities prevent them from doing - or not doing - certain things. We allow Sikhs to wear turbans, for instance, when other people have to wear a uniform hat, or are forbidden to wear headgear.

We acknowledge that there are differences between people from different countries, and we accommodate those differences, it is to our credit that we do so.

That's well and good, as far as it goes, but this latest decision does seem to be almost designed to irritate and inflame those of us who do not practice polygamy. The facts are always helpful, so here are a few:

1. Our government only recognises polygamous marriages if they have taken place in a country where such marriages are legally recognised - you cannot legally be married to more than one person at any one time in the UK.

2. For a long time our government has said that its policy is to prevent polygamous marriages proliferating here by the simple expedient of only allowing one wife to enter the country, although the Home Office has said it would allow other wifes of polygamous marriages to come here as tourists, or students.

3. The Department for Work and Pensions estimates the number of valid (their word) polygamous marriages in this country is less than 1000, very few of which are claiming benefit. In fact they say that the number of claimants in this category is so small that "our IT systems do not specifically record such information.”

There's a good deal of confusion about this in government circles because nobody really knows the extent to which the rules about benefits are being abused by people who succeed in getting benefits for more than one spouse - there are loopholes, as there always are. The government seems to be trying to keep a lid on this, but what's happening is what always happens in such circumstances - when the news gets out the fuss is that much greater.

Any government that creates a financial disparity between groups of people because of their cultural differences is riding right on the brink, and I think we can look forward to some interesting media interviews with ministers over the comong week.

  Miros 15:05 03 Feb 2008

"Why didn't I emigrate when I was young enough."

The most likely of places you would have emigrated to would have been one of the Old Commonwealth countries, think you will find much the same goes on there as here.

This is the world we live in, the world of mass migration, our problems are not unique to us alone.

  oresome 17:39 03 Feb 2008

"Multiple wives mean multiple benefits"

I should think so to. You'd want compensating for all that grief and think of all the time you'd spend hanging about outside Marks & Sparks.

  lotvic 18:32 03 Feb 2008

see this re egapup's comment
click here
"A loophole in EU regulations means migrants from other EU countries who are seeking work in the UK can claim state handouts for children they have left behind in their home countries."

  WhiteTruckMan 20:32 03 Feb 2008

lotvics link makes no mention at all of the marital status of the mother(s) of the children in question. Whether or not poligamy is mentioned in the actual rules or not, I have no way of knowing. But all that IS mentioned is a birth certificate, so (possibly) the subject of poligamy may be a red herring.


  lotvic 21:11 03 Feb 2008

Yes, maybe that wasn't what egapup meant, my mistake.

I think that click here makes some sense of the multiple wives legal status
"The reception of Muslim family laws in western liberal states"
it covers France, Germany, Britain and has links for other countries

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