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Sun 30th July 2006

Says It All 2

Filed under: General — dpex @ 7:38 am

Why Labour despises the family
Daily Mail, 27 July 2006

When New Labour came to power in 1997, a battle royal took place within its ranks over the issue of the family.

In one camp was Tony Blair, who understood that family breakdown was the hole at the heart of British society and who wanted to strengthen the two-parent family. Ranged against him was just about everyone else, all of whom thought that every form of relationship should be afforded equal status. The Prime Minister lost this argument hands-down.

The result was the lame formula subsequently adopted by his Government that it supported marriage and every other type of ‘family’, too – a transparently verbal camouflage for a relationship free-for-all.

Now, that camouflage has finally been thrown aside. An all-out attack on marriage and the two-parent family by the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, has laid bare the true Labour agenda.

Twice-married Mr Johnson, who was himself raised by his sister after his father walked out and his mother died, sneered at the image of mothers in ‘frilly pinnies’ and fathers dressed in shirt and tie for Sunday lunch during the Fifties as a damaging

That era, he said, concealed discrimination against lone parents and children born outside marriage. Marriage could provide stability, but it wasn’t for everyone. The focus should not be on marriage, but on the welfare of the child and the quality of the upbringing.

What an astounding display of ignorance, prejudice and muddled thinking – and from an Education Secretary who has a duty to safeguard children’s interests, what gross irresponsibility.

Ridiculing marriage as a Fifties caricature is a cheap and dishonest substitute for argument. The fact is that far from being outdated or confined to that period, marriage remains the bedrock institution which holds a society together.

For all its frailties, marriage is still the best way of ensuring that a child’s parents stay together for the duration of its upbringing. Other relationships break down much faster, and their encouragement has led directly to our horrifying epidemic of mass fatherlessness.

The result has been such a catastrophic failure in parenting, particularly among the poor, that the Government is now assuming the role of surrogate state parent, with an oppressively detailed and prescriptive strategy for telling parents how to bring up their children.

Yesterday, the Government’s ‘respect czar’ Louise Casey – who previously landed in hot water for bizarrely praising binge drinking – claimed parenting was now a ‘mystery’ that lay beyond the scope of both the middle classes and the poor.

Thus, the Government had to respond to this ‘cry for help’ – by forcing some parents on to state parenting courses so that mothers with children by multiple partners could be taught the basics of controlling their offspring.

Such arrogance! Having torn up all the rules on marriage, the state then claims that it is best placed to bring up the unfortunate children who are the result of the collapse of this institution.

Thus, the state takes draconian control of our lives, parents are radically disempowered, freedom is grossly undermined – and the social catastrophe of family disintegration still continues apace.

Parenting is not a ‘mystery’ – we know beyond a shadow of doubt that, by and large, being brought up by their own mother and father is the best guarantee that children will be raised healthily and happily.

Of course it doesn’t always work out like that. Of course there are lone parent households who do a magnificent job in raising secure and thriving children, but increasingly there are households where a man plays no role whatsoever.

Indeed, it emerged this week that in one in five cases examined by the Child Support Agency (CSA), no father was registered on the child’s birth certificate. And too often the absence of a parent is directly linked to the crime, educational underachievement, drug and drink abuse, mental and physical ill health and other disadvantages that now blight so many of our children’s lives and cause so much damage to our society.

The reason our society once revered marriage was because everyone knew it was the fundamental institution that kept the national show on the road. Take an axe to marriage and society itself cracks wide open.

That is what has happened. There are now areas in our country where committed fatherhood is almost entirely unknown and where children are simply abandoned to emotional chaos and blighted life chances.

The reason for focusing upon marriage, as Mr Johnson so signally fails to grasp, is precisely because that is the best way of focusing upon the welfare of the child and the quality of its upbringing.

Yes, the stigma that was once attached to unmarried mothers and children from broken homes was often cruel. But what Mr Johnson decries as prejudice was, in fact, society’s way of protecting the most vulnerable and enforcing rules of behaviour that upheld the sense of commitment and duty to others that binds us together as a civilised society.

Mr Johnson appears to think the worst thing that can happen is treating people differently and hurting their feelings by criticising their behaviour. But treating everyone the same regardless of how badly they behave is a totally amoral position. It licenses people to behave badly and creates victims out of betrayed spouses or children to whom lasting damage is done.

Since Mr Blair was first elected – and found himself facing within Labour’s ranks an assortment of radical feminist man-haters, serial adulterers, cohabiting partners who thought marriage was irrelevant and gays – this Government’s whole family agenda has been about putting the desires of irresponsible adults first and then crying crocodile tears over the human tragedies left in its wake.

It has systematically undermined marriage by loading the financial dice heavily against married couples and in favour of lone parents. By doing so, it put a rocket motor under the phenomenon of mass fatherlessness. The result is that more than one in every four babies is now born out of wedlock – a terrifying indicator of social breakdown for which the taxpayer has actually been paying through the nose.

In the past eight years, the benefits bill for lone parents has, according to maverick Labour MP Frank Field, rung up an astounding £50billion. This massive sum has been poured into subsidising family breakdown. Has there ever been a society that has put its hands so deeply into its pockets to fund the mechanism for its own disintegration?

Further billions have been wasted in attempting to pick up the pieces. The CSA has been an unmitigated disaster, with billions of pounds of unpaid maintenance that will remain uncollected while the Government plans desperately to create yet another type of maintenance payments agency.

But the real reason for this failure lies deeper. The concept of restoring responsibility to parenthood by forcing fathers to pay maintenance is fundamentally flawed. It has actually subsidised mass fatherlessness.

This is because family breakdown is too often driven not by feckless fathers (who certainly exist, to the detriment of the women they betray), but by girls and women who now treat men as no more than sperm donors, walking wallets and occasional au pairs, and think they are otherwise entirely disposable.

And one of the principal reasons they think like that is that disapproval of lone parenthood is now forbidden, as Mr Johnson has so foolishly exulted.

The family, because it promotes self-reliance, is the bulwark of individual liberty against the incursions of an oppressive state.

In the light of that, Mr Johnson’s attempt to bury the traditional family is not just irresponsible, it is a sinister attempt to recast our society so that the state – not mothers and fathers – takes the dominant role in bringing up children.

7 Responses to “Says It All 2”

  1. julie says:

    You are so right, that says it all. Now I wonder how it will ever be possible to reverse it.

  2. Peter Burns says:

    Thanks to Muriel Newman – wonderful article below ….. I wish she was the Prime Minister instead of the childless , vindictive , vengeful , man hating , lemon faced dyke Miss Clark !!!Bring it on – dad4justice

    Exposing the Real Culprit

    As the country struggles to come to terms with the extent of New Zealand’s child abuse problem and what can be done about it, the real culprits have remained hidden.

    The worst child abusers in the country are the government. Successive governments have put in place social policies that have created the very conditions in which child abuse flourishes: whole communities in which the two-parent family has vanished, where work is rare or non-existent, and where multiple generations have grown up relying on welfare. This disintegration of family and values has resulted in severe social pathologies, deprivation, squalor, crime and violence.

    Just this week, South Auckland social service agencies working at the coalface of the child abuse crisis spoke openly of benefit money being spent on alcohol and drugs instead of food and clothing for children; of parents deciding to separate to get more welfare; of the system discouraging fathers from taking responsibility for their children; of young mothers having to lock their bedroom doors at night to keep themselves and their babies safe – from their brothers who are their baby’s fathers — but who are afraid to report serious illegal activities in the home for fear the police will involve CYFs and their babies will be taken off them…

    Other governments in other countries have had the courage to admit that their social policies have created a dysfunctional underclass where children are no longer safe. As a result they have changed the policies that caused the problem.

    But even though our problems are bigger than most, our Government remains defiant, turning a blind eye to their own culpability.

    Meanwhile, the State continues to pay girls and women with little education, few prospects, and without stable partners, to have and raise children on their own, even though the evidence is overwhelming that child abuse most often occurs in single parent families on welfare. The State then ensures that the fathers – the traditional protectors of children – don’t stick around, by threatening to stop the mother’s welfare payments and to prosecute her if the dad gets too involved in her family.

    Further, even though marriage is well proven to be the best guarantee that children have of growing up safely and well, the State mercilessly undermines it. It makes welfare payments so generous that marriage has become unaffordable for most low-income parents who can now make far more money by being on welfare. Just recently we saw how the families of the murdered twins Chris and Cru Kahui reportedly had upwards of two thousand dollars of benefit money coming into the homes each week.

    Labour has also undermined marriage legally by introducing laws, which give cohabiting partners the same legal privileges as a married couple. The result is that more and more young people are now saying, “why bother getting married?” (An excellent article on this subject has just been written by Melanie Philips; you can read, “Why Labour Despises the Family” by clicking on the sidebar link>>>)

    To further create an environment in which child abuse flourishes, the State herds struggling solo mothers into state housing areas where fatherhood scarcely exists, where there are few role models of anyone who works for a living, and where children view truancy, delinquency and crime as commonplace.

    Worse, with its ideological rejection of school vouchers — a scholarship system which enables children to be better educated – the State denies these illiterate and dysfunctional youngsters access to educators who can turn their lives around. Instead, they are forced into the nearest State school to fail. The end result is something that we should all fear, as this week’s NZCPD guest commentary “The Crime Within” – a recent Otago Daily Times editorial — explains (click the sidebar link to view>>>).

    But rather than despair about the human misery caused by Government policies, we should demand they take action to turn the situation around. The solutions are clear: throughout the world, Governments that really care about children are reforming welfare.

    Just this week in the Economist, an article entitled “Tough Love Works” (click the sidebar link to view >>>) reflects on the outstanding success of American reforms that ended sole parent welfare entitlements:

    “A decade ago, Americans began a bold social experiment. In August 1996, Bill Clinton signed into law the bill that introduced ‘welfare to work’. From that point, poor families could no longer claim welfare indefinitely as an entitlement. Instead, parents had to find a job.

    “Ten years on… America’s welfare rolls have fallen by over half as existing claimants have found work and fewer people have gone on benefit in the first place. Furthermore, there has been no upsurge in the poverty rate; in fact, it has fallen over the period.

    “Welfare reform was once regarded as a harsh, right-wing, America-only idea. But an unexpected lesson of the past ten years is that it enjoys much wider political appeal. Within America, its success has silenced the former fierce opposition of left-wing Democrats, which Mr Clinton had overruled. For the Labour government in Britain and for social democrats in Europe, reform offers a way to reintegrate people who would otherwise live in a welfare apartheid. Furthermore, it is a way to defend generous support for the poor – as long as they find work. Another attraction for developed countries as their populations age is that it mobilises more employment to maintain living standards and help pay for the old. And, best of all, it works”.

    The reforms were based on the principle that families are better off if parents work, so open-ended sole parent benefits were replaced with support and services that lead to jobs. In order to encourage teenagers to postpone parenting and complete their education, cash payments and housing assistance to teenage parents were stopped, although schooling, life skills training, career guidance, and child-care are all readily available to help young parents prepare for an independent future.

    In public policy, you get what you pay for. If our Government did its job and changed the incentives in the welfare system to reinforce work, family, and independence, the record levels of child abuse and neglect that each year breaks our hearts, would finally — and thankfully – begin to be a thing of the past.

  3. julie says:

    Fantasitc comment Peter. That says it as it is for real.

  4. John Brett says:

    So what will the other political parties think about this? Are they: Pro-family, Anti family, or just to shy to say?
    National sees a need to gain the ‘women’s vote’, perhaps they think most women are Feminasties?
    Good marketing strategy involves “Test and Measure”- perhaps they should see what voters actually want?

  5. Intrepid says:

    Right on the mark. In many countries it is the same in the end result too. Now its time for finding unity and compromise, or we will have more of Jonh P

    idea’s men run amuck

    .

  6. Stephen says:

    Thanks for the postings dpex.
    Once again Muriel Newman hits the mark spot on.
    Despite what socialist feminist defenders of state policy might say I can categorically say that in over 20 years of social work during the 80s and 90s in nz I’ve seen everything she talks about and more close up.
    It’s grim.
    No doubt the same old tired left wing accusations of ‘benefit bashing’ will surface from the likes of Sue Bradford.
    From what I can tell the only thing she didn’t mention was the gangs who IMO represent the most extreme edges of the phenomena Muriel so cogently describes.
    Here in Korea there is concern that unemployment is at 4.1% which is high by standards here. Meanwhile in nz the household labour survey is used to ‘measure’ employment. If a respondent says they work as little as an hour a week in paid employment they’re ticked as ’employed’. Then the nz govt crows that employment there is at a record low of 4.2%!
    The razor wire and pitbull guarded barracks which gangs have built in nz would immediately be razed to the ground by the police and army here in Korea.
    Politically nz is pathetic, and I have much better things to do than support a nation which has such vacuous and corrupt social systems.
    I’m part of the brain drain.
    I’m no genius.
    I’ve just joined a few dots.
    Go figure.

  7. starr says:

    i met an old friend from the islands recently here on a visit. his words about the situation was “in the islands there is a new saying.. when a woman drinks the waters of NZ.. she loses all reason”

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