Hypocrisy and the Conservative family fetish


12:04 pm - July 15th 2009

by Laurie Penny    


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The Family – what does it mean, this ephemeral concept that makes Tory policymakers so very moist and excited? It doesn’t mean any old bunch of people bound together by blood and love. Ian Duncan Smith’s vision of The Family as propounded in his new policy paper, Every Family Matters, is the relatively recent kitsched-out 1950s incarnation of the nuclear heterosexual brood: you know, one man and one woman bound in holy wedlock, living together with their genetic offspring, him in the office, her in the kitchen.

Well, that rules out my family for a start, and probably yours too. And yet Tory wallahs – not even in power yet but already slavering to sink their teeth into Labour’s social reforms – get all gooey over The Family. All you need to do is have a shyster mention ‘ordinary families’, as distinguished from the rest of us scum, and Tory spinsters start wetting their little knickers.

Every Family Matters wants to actively force men and women, who have been drifting gratefully away from the ball-and-chain-and-live-with-it moral mentality for generations, back into the heteronormative marriage model.

If Tory plans are initiated, they will institute a compulsory ‘cooling off’ period of three months before divorce proceedings, offer tax breaks and benefits bribes for married couples, and demolish Labour plans to offer the same recognition to unmarried couples and civil partners, as well as boring us all with a whole pile of ‘Pro-Family’ rhetoric.

I am going to remain calm about this. I’m not going to point a shaking finger at the fact that the Conservatives are coming out with more and more evilly recalcitrant, misery-inducing plans by the minute. I’m not going to squeal and whine over the coming Torygeddon. I’m not even going to point out just how much Every Family Matters is completely at odds with their plans to opt out of the European Social Charter and attack abortion rights. Instead, let’s pretend that this dribbling piece of under-researched excuse for loo roll is actually a balanced and sane piece of policy, and analyse it on its own merits.

Right. The main premise of Every Family Matters is the notion that, since kids whose parents are married do better, more marriage will fix ‘Broken Britain’. Which is balderdash. Married parents do not create happy kids. Stable, affluent families create happy kids, and stable, affluent couples are statistically more likely to get and stay married. Johann Hari explains the statistics so I don’t have to, but the short version is: marriage is a symptom, rather than a cause of social stability. Simply putting incentives in place to bribe quite unhappy people into staying together ‘for the sake of their children’ isn’t going to magically create social stability. That kind of logic is cargo-cultism, and it’s lazy, and it’s stupid, and it won’t work because it’s stupid.

In fact, most research points to the fact that whilst children whose parents are married do, on the whole, perform better than their peers due to aggregate economic and social factors, children whose parents are married but unhappy do worst of all. A recent study of 341 children whose parents had divorced showed that, contrary to expectations, fully 80% said they were as happy or happier now than they had been when their parents were married, and only 25% wanted their parents to get back together. Clearly, pressuring folks back into a model of mandatory heteronormative marriage won’t make kids fitter, happier and more productive. So what’s the Tory agenda?

Well, if they want to create straw men to shift our focus away from social redistribution, they have to start somewhere. The document states: “Poverty places enormous strain on relationships, as does poor housing and lack of meaningful employment.” So the Tory strategy would be to improve housing and increase the minimum wage and thus strengthen relationships, right? Right? Wrong. “Supporting adult relationships must be a key concern of family policy rather than a peripheral interest.” So rather than get to the route of the problem and pursue social justice, they’re going to make laws to sellotape unhappy couples together and ‘readjust people’s expectations’. Brilliant.

Marriage also saves the state money, which is more important than national happiness. Encouraging couples to stay together means that we need to build fewer houses; Duncan Smith practically came out and said it when he told the BBC that ‘the idea of compromise from day one, two living as cheaply as one, seems to have disappeared.’

But the basic agenda is far less subtle. Cameron and his cronies simply do not LIKE women who live independent lives, or single parents, or gay people, or people with alternative notions of what a free and happy family constitutes. Promoting heterosexual marriage above everything else explicitly others those people, singling us out as socially destructive. In Torygeddon, we’re simply freaks. And I’m sorry, but I don’t want to live in Mr Cameron’s world, particularly not when it’s raddled with hypocrisy.

Which brings us right back to this week’s ‘revelation’ about Tory plans to reduce the time limit on legal abortion without any commensurate easing of the sanctions on early-term abortion. This is a move that will not only significantly undermine women’s vital reproductive freedoms: it will bring unwanted children into the world.

It will leave us with more dysfunctional families, and put a great deal more children in the care system – exactly what Every Family Matters claims to stand against. David Cameron’s party has no real agenda for bringing about social change, it doesn’t really care about children, and its happy-clappy cuddly-wuddly mummies-and-daddies lets-fix-broken-Britain rhetoric has all the tenacity of soggy toilet paper. We need to get real about the basic hypocrisy of Tory family fetishism.

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About the author
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger and feminist activist. She is Features Assistant at the Morning Star, and blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Equality ,Feminism ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Given the importance of The Family, please could one of our resident toryboys explain the popularity of boarding schools?

2. Louis Mazzini

Brilliant piece in The Times from Phil Collins on this –

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6710686.ece

Every time I watch Family Guy on BBC3 and the theme music starts up, I can’t help but get an image of Cameron and IDS skipping hand in hand towards the sunlit uplands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEpRNuXwRDg

3. ms_mongoose

Sigh. There’s something so saddening about the Tories – and not just in the ‘they hate everyone’ way.

When they’re out of power it’s easy to dismiss them as silly and misguided, and develop a sort of ‘blue tolerance’ for how awful they are. But when there’s a real possiblity they could get in power it all turns around. It’s like that moment when you’re growing up when you realise your grandparents are racists and your Dad hates queer people.

4. kardinal birkutzki

What I think is so depressing about the UK is that a situation has arisen (we can go on ad ininitum about factors such as “political correctness” that may have produced it) whereby certain opinions are practically off-limits. This is one of them. If you actually have the temerity to decide -for whatever reason- that disencouraging the break-up of the two parent family or, heaven forbid, encouraging marriage, is a laudable idea, then you are painted as some kind of maverick loony. Indeed, this article directly avoids laying down a framework for open honest debate and instead begins in the prevalent “nasty party” tone: ie, it’s those loony old unreconstructed Tories once again…

Yet, having spent much of my life living ouside the UK I know that the policies that the Tory party is putting forward are mainstream in many other countries, albeit not necessarily for the same reasons. Indeed, whether or not commentators agreed with the premise, I have always noticed an open and honest debate about the subject, particularly in Germany and France. Most of all I recognise that proponents of marriage have a legitimate and defensible case. The current debate has merely ellicted the usual blanket barrage of strawman arguments, knocking down the other side because they are Tories, old-fashioned, biased towards heterosexuality etc etc…

The same is true of a more emotive issue, namely abortion. The recent debate on that was dominated by the painting of anyone wanting to reduce the limit as some kind of evil right-wing nutjob. Yet the ideas -for good or bad- that they were espousing would have still kept the limit at more or less twice that of those lunatic, right-wing, illiberal countries, France and Germany. A a doctor friend in Germany told me -negating the smokescreen by the pro-abortion camp in the UK- at the time limit that the UK is aborting, Germany is actually saving miscarried babies. So, opinions that would be in the open and honestly dicussed in continental Europe are made virtually ununtterable in the UK. Moreover, the person who would most have been able to bring some clarity and rationalty to that dbate -David Steele , of course- was deliberatley drowned out. So much for openness and freedom of speech in th UK.

It seems quite clear to me that debate from a left-wing perspective in this country is of a very low quality and riddled with disingenuousness. Personally, I am rather undecided on the issue of tax-breaks for marriage (er..I was happy to take the large atx-breaks i used to receive when in Germany, of course!). Yet whatever my opinion, it is clear the issue is being more sensibly and articulately discussed by right-of-centre commentators. I would encourage you, for instance, to read Fraser Nelson’s comment on the Spectator website for an example of how to explain an argument without simply assuming you have a cast-iron case and that the opposition is worthy only of your snide remarks. By the tone of this prejudiced and scoffing article, however, I doubt whether the writer is actually even able to engage with someone else’s opinion….

“Cameron and his cronies simply do not LIKE women who live independent lives, or single parents, or gay people, or people with alternative notions of what a free and happy family constitutes”

Good thing it’s raining today, this dry worn out straw man might be catching fire in hot weather.

Loving this:
“When they’re out of power it’s easy to dismiss them as silly and misguided, and develop a sort of ‘blue tolerance’ for how awful they”

Best translated as “when people disagree with me it’s okay as long as they get what they want. I’m a nice person when I have all the power

“Given the importance of The Family, please could one of our resident toryboys explain the popularity of boarding schools”

They’ve actually been declining in popularity for years and are nowadays mostly taken up by people whose kids board out of practicality e.g children of servicemen who move around a lot and er rich foreigners who think our education system is good

Given the left’s apparent hositlity to the family could one of our resident lefties explain the popularity of the care system ?

“It’s like that moment when you’re growing up when you realise your grandparents are racists and your Dad hates queer people.”

Yep which for you was probably around the same moment as you realised “I’ve got a 3rd in social sciences, I’m a middle class progressive liberal and my working class family just don’t fit in with that, so I hate them” and then carried on reading the guardian.

@2: is that Phil Collins as in Mike and the Mehanics? 😉

Kardinal:

Mentioning the political correctness myth in the opening para isn’t going to win many fans, also, you don’t seem to have read the post or the policy, becuase the idea of sticky-taping people together when they don’t want to be is clearly a non-starter.

As for the UK niot taking on board ideas that other nations treat as mainstream, the answer is so?

What works for one nation with its own unique social structure and mores may not work for another nation.

As for abortion distraction you take us on, hot air at best and at most a pushing of a moral agenda. Quite frankly, let’s stop making a bloody fuss.

I find it funny how you moan endlessly about the stereotyping of your views and then have an attack dog paragraph. Cool.

James:

Debate the ideas perhaps rather than just picking up the starw man riff and then using it yourself by taking the author’s words and re-phrasing them as you see fit, perhaps the definition of straw manning.

Matt Munro:

I’ve just checked, the number of schools offering boarding has declined but the schools that have boarding have increased capacity so the level effect has been a stable amount of boarding school places, currently the UK has some 70,000 children in boarding school, on full board so to speak.

Twat Munro:

@7, that was a pretty lame dig even for you but glad you put it up because it limits how seriously people will take you.

Also the ‘left’ has no hositilty towards families you nob and whatever you mean by the care comment, you’ll have to dig deeper and perhaps discuss the issue at hand rather than dragging it down to your hobby horses.

Smashing!

So are ‘servicemen who move around alot’ (and necessarily spend long periods away from their families) on the tory ‘not proper parents’ shitlist, too?

And if not, why not?

11. Matt Munro

Daniel – I’ll ignore the de rigeur ad homs but you really are starting to sould like a record stuck in a 1970s undergrad social sciences common room, I thought people like you died out with Dereck Hatton. Anyway

“The left is not anti family” – are you serious ? The left actively promotes alteranatives to the family, skews the tax and benefits system towards anything but 2 first married heterosexuals (i.e the vast majority of family units) and makes it ever easier for the state to intervene in family life and yet they are not anti family ?. What have the left done to support the family ?

“Whatvever I meant by the care system” was the very obvious correlation between the increase in blended/alternative/latest positive sounding euphemism “families” and the number of children in care.

No doubt you’re reply will include “that’s not what I said….complex problems….. deprivation…..all the fault of capitalist and christians blah blah blah…………”

Given the left’s apparent hostility to the family could one of our resident lefties explain the popularity of the care system?

Talk about missing the point!

How exactly are you defining the family Mr Munro? The historically anomalous Nuclear Family or the families people actually live in? The left is fairly varied on this in any case.

As indicated above it’s fairly clear that the evidence is far from conclusive that the Tory “Family” is the best situation to promote children’s well-being.

Why is it a good idea to promote this specific “sub-optimum” Family? Why not let people live with who they want, marry who they want, and if they are suitable adopt children, without attaching various stigma to any of it?

Good article Laurie, guaranteed troll fodder however.

[By “sub-optimum” I mean a family situation which people would not choose without officially sanctioned prejudice, tax breaks and other incentives – as in one in which people are less happy than they would otherwise be]

13. Matt Munro

Neil – Maybe because, flawed as they are, boarding schools are preferable, from a child rearing perpective, to war zones ?

14. Matt Munro

” Why not let people live with who they want, marry who they want, and if they are suitable adopt children, without attaching various stigma to any of it?”

No problem with that whatsover, as long as they pay for it. Most don’t

“What I think is so depressing about the UK is that a situation has arisen (we can go on ad ininitum about factors such as “political correctness” that may have produced it) whereby certain opinions are practically off-limits. This is one of them.”

By ‘practically off-limits’, do you mean ‘advocated by the political party which will probably be in government next year and supported by the established church and most national newspapers’?

16. Matt Munro

“By “sub-optimum” I mean a family situation which people would not choose without officially sanctioned prejudice, tax breaks and other incentives – as in one in which people are less happy than they would otherwise be]”

So single parenthood is sub-optimum ? The only people who get the above now are single parents. And the nuclear familiy is only anamolous as compared to the extended family (which the left hated even more) which has been the universal cultural default for most of human history.

I can’t say that I’m surprised, MM, but that sarcastic little bleat wasn’t actually an answer to the question I asked.

“The only people who get the above now are single parents.”

Married couples still get tax credits. Why do you have to lie, Matt?

I agree with Left Outside that this is a good piece that will generate a large raft of trolling, as seen in the form of Twat Munro; who seems to want everyone in boarding schools, people to pay for the kind of relationship they’re in and thinks that this imaginary conglomerate called ‘the left’ hates families.

Madness, seriously and the main flaw is that you don’t discuss the article, you just trot out your hobby-horse subjects.

When Thatcher was screaming ‘No such thing as society’ and destroying millions of jobs and cavalry charging the miners, was that in defence of the family?

When Lamont was gloating that unemployment ‘was a price worth paying’ no doubt he was defending the family too?

@Don:

Your comment is my favourite so far. 😀

22. Richard (the original)

Where I grew up all my friends had married parents, so far only 2 that I can think of have divorced parents. My friends were well looked after and have gone on (so far, we’re only in mid-20s) to lead happy and successful lives. This may of course have bugger all to do with family structure. But when you’re brought up in an environment like that it’s easy to see why there’s a preference for such a structure. I’m glad I had two married parents who stayed together since marriage and as far as I’m aware, so are my friends.

Epic point miss Richard, the article said that a family environment needs to be good for the child, whether that’s 2 parents, 1 or 8, it is possible in all combinations to have a good family environment.

Yours happened to be 2 and good, some are 2 and turn out hell on earth.

So single parenthood is sub-optimum ? The only people who get the above now are single parents.

You make two points –

1) So single parenthood is sub-optimum?

Yes. It should be more or less neutral, however, going from two potential wage earners to one may lead to poverty and I don’t think someone should be scared of poverty if their relationship is failing and their child’s wellfare is in danger.

As described above, children with parents who stay together are less happy than those which divorce.

2) The only people who get the above now are single parents.

No that’s a lie.

Child Tax Credit. There, one example, I’ve just proved that statement false. Take it back or rephrase it.

And the nuclear familiy is only anamolous as compared to the extended family (which the left hated even more) which has been the universal cultural default for most of human history.

Yeah, you know what the left hate! A sense of community and solidarity. Pah! We hate that.

On a serious note, an extended family can be dangerous, patriarchal and repressive or a wonderful safety net, support structure and source of solidarity. I’m all for an extended family, a gay uncle here, a cohabiting auntie and “uncle” there. Why not?

Is any one really surprised by any of this? Cameron has dropped the green cuddly wash now that he thinks he will win, so we see him in all his brown shirt glory. The very idea that he Puts (I have lived my whole life off the state) Duncan Smith in charge of family policy just shows that they are still the Nasty party.

As for abortion, you are either for it or against it. Cutting the time is just cowardice in the extreme. If Tories don’t want abortion then they should say so and campaign on that platform. This is just pandering to the Christian religious freaks.

But as always with Conservatives you only have to mention social policy and you watch their so called support for freedom disappear before your very eyes.

“What works for one nation with its own unique social structure and mores may not work for another nation.”

Nice to see this stated. That means, of course, that the level of taxation deemed acceptable to enforce the equality of consumption in an already egalitarian country like Sweden might not in fact work in a different nation with its own unique social structure and mores like the UK then, eh?

When Thatcher was divorcing her first husband to marry another man was that for the family?

And when Boris is screwing one bit of posh totty after another is that for the family?

Rules for thee but not for me has always been the Tory way.

Isn’t the very title of the “policy” telling – “Every Family Matters”. It’s obviously a play on Labour’s “Every Child Matters” (emulating the old Labour spin machine which the Tory Party is still envious of, and hoping that some of Labour’s credibility on care and social issues compared to the Tories rubs off on them). But the subject of the clause suggests that where for Labour it is the child’s welfare that matters, for the Tories it’s how the ideological construct of the family is faring that matters.

Tim:

I get the sense you’re trying to make a point? And failing quite badly.

Who knows whether a taxation policy that works in Sweden would work here, having said that, having a closed mind to good practice in other countries is never a good idea.

As always, the devil is in the detail rather than the absolute you’re over reaching for.

To be clear I meant Tory Tim not Tim F.

31. Alisdair Cameron

Simply putting incentives in place to bribe quite unhappy people into staying together ‘for the sake of their children’ isn’t going to magically create social stability

Agreed, but this could become a slippery slope. Happiness isn’t in the gift of the state, and shouldn’t be an aim of Govt either: creating stability (economic, social etc) in which people can find their own happiness (or not: some will alwyas fall short, and so safety-nets are needed) is legit, trying to make people happey a la bloody Layard, and CBT on every street-corner in a mechanised, assembly-line fashion to create a society of ‘happy’ little consumers/worker drones as promulgated by New Labour isn’t an answer.
Personally, I think marriage and civil partnerships should be made harder to achieve. Widen their scope (eg the old right-winger case of the maiden aunts living together) and have recognised family units, which could be composed any-old how (though like it or not, Laurie, the majority will be heteronormative, which is an etymologically nonsensical term). In other words reward stability as the breeding ground for happiness, but widen the scope of those who can provide stability.

32. Richard (the original)

“When Thatcher was divorcing her first husband to marry another man was that for the family?”

Margaret Thatcher only ever had one husband you clown.

Nice to see this stated. That means, of course, that the level of taxation deemed acceptable to enforce the equality of consumption in an already egalitarian country like Sweden might not in fact work in a different nation with its own unique social structure and mores like the UK then, eh?

Absolutely! Nice to see you coming out strongly in favour of raising “sin” taxes on alcohol to tackle our unique and dangerous national drinking culture (Gosh, turning people’s arguments on themselves is fun!).

Communism tried to break down the family in order to impose it’s views on the people. Communists actively encouraged children to betray their parents. Communists feared parents providing a christian education to their children in secret, which would would counter their attempts to control peoples thoughts. A friend of mine explained how when the communists invaded his country, they encouraged the children to betray their parents to Stalin.

1. Neil. In fact people are now thinking of boarding schools for deprived children in order to remove them from bad influences.

They say men think about sex every six seconds; looks like not-a-tory-TimW thinks about his tax bill at roughly the same interval.

@Charlie, that is not an answer to my question, either. Come on, it wasn’t that hard, was it?

Richard: I think Sally meant Dennis who divorced to marry Maggie.

“When Thatcher was divorcing her first husband to marry another man was that for the family?”

When you imagine/invent something happening- for example Margaret Thatcher having had a previous husband- you can’t really use it to prove a point because it only exists in your mind not in reality.

Charlie:

How an earth did we make the leap to Stalin? Bizarre and has no place here.

As for boarding schools for Young Offenders, heh, you think that if you remove them from a circle of influence they will not seek out another? You’ve never worked with Young Offenders clearly, they will seek out destrcutive behaviour until they have the personal strength to do otherwise.

40. Louis Mazzini

@ Sally

Jon Stewart had a great phrase for right wing hypocrisy on social issues that fits Boris Johnson so so well –

‘A conservative mind but a liberal penis’.

Also, Mark Thatcher is divorced. That family really don’t set a very good example, do they?

Ross see 37

Louis, I like that phrase, Jon Stewart is a legend.

I second that. Brilliant phrase

The most amazing thing about Stewart is that the GOP press dept have started issuing major statements when the Daily Show is off-air, or Stewart is on holiday. His lampooning is dictating policy announcement timing!

Jimbo – Comment 20,

“When Thatcher was screaming No such thing as society ………”

Margaret Thatcher was nearly 20 years ago and she didn’t actually say what you were trying to say she did.
Just get over it.
That was probably half your lifetime ago – think about it (to quote The Kid From Brooklyn)

46. Louis Mazzini

I love this clip, we should save it for the first Tory administration sex scandal.

My money’s on Oct 2010

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10cGovernor Mark Sanford’s Affairhttp://www.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJoke of the Day

47. Louis Mazzini

Hmmnn embedding not working, apologies.

Click on Governor Mark Sanford’s Affair and enjoy.

I must say that I liked Johann Hari’s explanation of the statistics that Laurie refers to.

Having gone and read the paper itself (hey, I’m a pendant, what can I say?) I find this:

“In the case of binge drinking, the coefficient on parental conflict is larger than that
on single-mother family structure, suggesting that conflict is more strongly linked to binge
drinking than single motherhood. This story changes slightly once income and mothering are
included in Model 2, where this difference loses statistical significance”

From here:
http://papers.ccpr.ucla.edu/papers/PWP-CCPR-2008-022/PWP-CCPR-2008-022.pdf

Hari of course says:

“If you are raised by arguing parents who stayed together only for you, then you are 33 percent more likely to become a binge-drinking teen than if you have a single parent, for example.”

That’s not precisely and exactly the same thing now, is it? You do need to account for things like family income (which we know influences these things) and the style of mothering (ditto) before you can pull out the influence of being in a high conflict family from that of a stepfamily etc. And when we do there is no statistical significance: ie, for those who don’t know, we can’t be confident that this is not simply a result of chance in our selection of people to study.

To put it very mildly indeed, this isn’t the most robust of findings upon which to base decisions about the taxation system for a nation.

“looks like not-a-tory-TimW thinks about his tax bill at roughly the same interval.”….no, not really, for I don’t live in the UK. But of course, as a good liberal, I do worry about everyone elses’ tax bill…..

“no, not really, for I don’t live in the UK”

Ah, moved to Somalia, have we?

Kojak @45

So what difference does how long ago that statement and the raft of policies she introduced make? It only matters that the Party still hold those views.

Irrespective of what you are claiming she said, you have to admit her policies (and those advocated by others in her Party) pretty much put the tin lid on millions of families throughout the Country. By the time her Party where removed from power the ‘traditional family’ had became an irrelevance in many parts of the Country.

What IDS et al have failed to say is how they can reverse this decline. No one gets married for a tax break, or if they do, they are married for the wrong reasons. Plenty of rich families get divorced, Heather Mills and Sir Paul McCartney got divorced, as did Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It is unlikely that either marriage would have survived if only the couple had received 40 quid in tax breaks. No Western Government can legislate adultery out of existence, unless they adopt the Saudi policy of lashes for the fallen woman, which is highly dubious to say the least..

So why bother trying? The best way to promote marriage is through a stable society, with stable communities. The Tory policy of long term, mass unemployment and grinding communities into the ground destroyed family life, believe me, the Tories are the last Party I would trust to restore the family.

Anecdotal tale :

Parents had me when they were stupidly young, my sister followed a few years after. Dad was an immature twonk, repeated affairs, allegedly yelled at me constantly – to cut a long story short he buggered off when I was 4 and my sister a few weeks old. Mum brought us both up with family help, and we’re both reasonably well-adjusted, well qualified and have no problems with any family members.

Dad remarried – but stayed this time, treated his second wife, stepson and daughter (my half-sister) like crap, scarred them emotionally and now both of them live in Australia to be as far away from him as humanly possible.

IDS and his think-tank buddies are frankly full of shit.

What works for one nation with its own unique social structure and mores may not work for another nation.

Indeed so.
Though of course that would apply to crime rates too now, wouldn’t it?

Can we stop the “nob” and “Twat Munro” abuse?
(Not as bad as Sally, but still…)
Or is that the kind of humour which had them in stitches at your last audition?

On Laurie’s as ever brilliantly written post, I too (gay man in long term relationship to declare an interest) would rather all political parties exercised *extreme caution* in this area.

“Can we stop the “nob” and “Twat Munro” abuse?”

I think the onus is on MM to rectify that.

Clinton considered the following three factors greatly reduced poverty
Completing high school
Not having children until couple are married
Not marrying before the age of 20.

When dealing with human beings hard and fast rules will fail , but general correlations can be useful.

The advantage of the old courtship , say over 2 years was that it gave each partner time to assess the other’s suitability for marriage. Perhaps we ought to have a situation where it is encouraged that people live together for a year before having children. If a couple are at each others throats after a year without children , then it is unlikely to be more harmonious after they have arrived.

The problem in this country is uneducated and unskilled teenage women having one or several children from different uneducated and unskilled fathers, none who provide support and who are often agressive . The mothers often replicate their own upbringing . Consequently we now have up to 3 generations of welfare dependency which is not what Beveredge intended.

“I think the onus is on MM to rectify that.”

It’s funny ’cause you almost say “anus” and “rectum” while talking about Matt Munro. It’s almost like you can’t stop subliminally abusing him…

Charlie @ 55 :
“The problem in this country is uneducated and unskilled teenage women having one or several children from different uneducated and unskilled fathers”

Son of teenage mother and father (divorced at 22, he buggered off) with a couple of O-levels between them here, both my sister and myself carry a reasonable brace of qualifications (as did Mum after we were both in full-time education) and have never been welfare-dependent. Go piss your prejudice up a rope.

Neil @ 50:

No, he’s moved to Portugal.

Presumably, if a Portuguese equivalent to UKIP ever got into power there, they’d throw him out 🙂

(Tim, you really ought to learn to spell “pedant” correctly 😛 )

57. bluepillnation. I said it was a generalisation, not a hard and fast rule.

60. vulpus_rex

Bitchy, immature, vituperative. An absolutely terrifying insight for a casual reader of this blog of how some lefties deal with challenges to their dogma – thank the lord they’ll never have any real power again.

58 – it’s what Polly Toynbee once called him I believe.

62. Dekka Draper

Fuck off, 60.

63. Christopher

I’m always amused by the people who support marriage as a tool of social justice mocking people with 3rd class degrees in social sciences.

If it only takes a third in social work from Salford to work out that where marriage is concerned a correlation with better outcomes does not mean that marriage is the cause of those outcomes, what does it say about the calibre of the Oxbridge scholars sitting on the Tory front bench that they can’t work it out?

Charlie @ 59 :
It’s still naked class-based prejudice no matter which way you swing it. Tax avoidance by wealthy shysters and corporations costs the Treasury far more than state benefits ever could – but hey, it’s much easier to bash the disadvantaged from that blue-rinse ivory tower Thatcher built.

vulpus_rex @ 60 :
Actual common-or-garden left-wingers haven’t had any real power in this country for over 30 years.

If it only takes a third in social work from Salford to work out that where marriage is concerned a correlation with better outcomes does not mean that marriage is the cause of those outcomes, what does it say about the calibre of the Oxbridge scholars sitting on the Tory front bench that they can’t work it out?

I’m assuming yours wasn’t in logic…

“Margaret Thatcher only ever had one husband you clown.”

My apologies for getting that wrong.

Of course, it was Dennis who was married before.

Still ,the point remains Tory morality is full of shit.

Bribing people to get married does not sound like a great idea for long happy marriage to me.
But of course Tory men have always seen marriage as a financial contract rather than love. Goes back to when a woman was just a piece of chattel.

I never take Tories seriously when they lecture others in bringing up children. After all they just pay someone else to bring up their own little darlings. And as someone said above they then send their sprogs off to private schools at the age of 11, and with the exception of holidays don’t see them again until they are 18, and with loads of qualifications. Contracting out your children for someone else to bring them up. It is the Tory way.

What is interesting about this debate is that the view expressed is largely coloured by the personal experience of the contributor. Laurie, by her own admission, had a poor outcome having been brought up in a traditional nuclear family and now lives in a post normative trans gender commune. That her view of traditional families is hostile is hardly surprising.

And yet the fact that the human race is promulgated by heterosexual couples having children and that the outcomes for the children where the parents stay together while they are reared are better than any other model is a powerful argument.

69. Matt Munro

Sally – If tax breaks for married people are “bribing people to get married” then tax credits are “bribing people” to become single parents – what’s the difference ?

70. Matt Munro

“Son of teenage mother and father (divorced at 22, he buggered off) with a couple of O-levels between them here, both my sister and myself carry a reasonable brace of qualifications (as did Mum after we were both in full-time education) and have never been welfare-dependent. Go piss your prejudice up a rope.”

Yeah and my uncle charlie smoked 100 fags a day and died after being run over by a bus. Exeption proves rule. You’re in a minority, get over yourself.

71. Matt Munro

“Isn’t the very title of the “policy” telling – “Every Family Matters”. It’s obviously a play on Labour’s “Every Child Matters” (emulating the old Labour spin machine which the Tory Party is still envious of, and hoping that some of Labour’s credibility on care and social issues compared to the Tories rubs off on them). But the subject of the clause suggests that where for Labour it is the child’s welfare that matters, for the Tories it’s how the ideological construct of the family is faring that matters.”

Bollocks. “Every child matters” was just an excuse to extend the database state to include all children. It has made no difference at all to child protection or welfare.

vulpus_rex @ 60 :
Actual common-or-garden left-wingers haven’t had any real power in this country for over 30 years.

Seconded.

http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/444743/ The Family circa 1974. There was a updated version on Chan 4 – but the Chan 4 one was “middle-class” family. How times have changed, eh?

Cameron and his cronies simply do not LIKE women who live independent lives, or single parents, or gay people, or people with alternative notions of what a free and happy family constitutes.

Interesting timing I have to say, since news today has emerged that the Tories are going to be led in Europe by the homophobic Law and Justice Party (the party that called gays the end of civilisation, and whose member Artur Gurski called the elction of Obama “a catastrophe, and the end of white people’s civilization”) in their anti-federalist grouping.

Pagar @ 68 Leaving the sillness aside:

“And yet the fact that the human race is promulgated by heterosexual couples having children and that the outcomes for the children where the parents stay together while they are reared are better than any other model is a powerful argument.”

A powerful argument for what? An argument that the State can force two people who now hate each other to stay together? That the state should punish children born into different arrangements? That the government of the day should be allowed to snoop into the bedrooms of every adult in the Country? The Government can stop spouse abuse/adultery by offering counselling? A powerful argument for single parents to be lashed in town squares?

If a man comes home from work and finds his wife in bed with the man next door and he subsequently finds out his son is the produce of a one night stand twelve years ago, how should the state react to save that marriage?

MM @ 69

“tax credits are “bribing people” to become single parents – what’s the difference?”

You do realise that married people get tax credits too?

cjcjc:

“What works for one nation with its own unique social structure and mores may not work for another nation.”

Tim quoted me from the prison thread. So what’s your point? As for the ‘abuse’, Neil has it down pat.

“Or is that the kind of humour which had them in stitches at your last audition?”

Thanks for reading my blog, my jokes were based on the M96, using a Maxibon as sunblock and saluting Wilkinson’s lorries.

Charlie:

In the nicest possible way and I’m not calling you a Nazi or a fascist to be clear but your ideas sound like Hitler and as I’m reading Mein Kampf at the moment, I think I can say that. IDS has took this policy straight out of the second part of the book on social ills.

Or as was said better elsehwere: “Go piss your prejudice up a rope.”

vulpus_rex:

You’re a ballbag Brines!

Twat Munro:

You don’t seem to have read any of the rebuttals and keep churning out the same lines? You are not alone in this but that doesn’t make it right.

77. Just Visiting

Laurie, LC at it’s best has some great rational debate, with various flavours of views being expresed, respected and tested.

At it’s worst, is when rationality is thrown out of the window and anger-driven diatribe vented.

Your post was the latter.

Sadly – it seems there are others here on LC who don’t realise the irrationality and anger in your position; and are supporting your views: when it would actually be better for you, to help you work out why you feel such irrational anger, and for a sensible debate, to question your statements more carefully.

You clearly did not want an interesting debate and to hear views from a range of viewpoints, else you would not have written such a blatantly one-sided and un-evidenced piece – full of emotive baggage that is not helpful to a useful debate (just 2 small examples: kicking of the first paragraph with ‘Tory policymakers so very moist and excited’ and ending ‘as distinguished from the rest of us scum, and Tory spinsters start wetting their little knickers.’

Any dispassionate reader would conclude that you and several others here have irrational anger directed at the family.

Excellent piece Laurie – love it. Reinforced more by the typically ignorant comments posted by our usual gaggle of Tory trolls.

Anger is a gift Just Visiting…

78 “Any dispassionate reader would conclude ”

Well that rules you out then.

Just visiting

“Any dispassionate reader would conclude that you and several others here have irrational anger directed at the family.”

Who has directed anger at ‘the family’? here? Who has said that families are to be destroyed or attacked? I cannot see a single coment that matches your attack, where are these comments?

Good spot Sally, Just Visiting’s agenda is a big one.

They can promote marriage as much as they like but people will still have affairs marriages will still end up loveless and no amount of government interference in this will stop marriages ending.

If this is the case with the Tories then they will have to practice what they preach and my prediction is that this will be a very hard act to follow.

TBH I think that this thread really would have benefitted from the “tight comments policy” in which “abusive, sarcastic or silly comments may be deleted”.

@Daniel

…as I’m reading Mein Kampf at the moment…

Good luck with that! Probably one of the most tedious books I ever studied. And most Germans agreed – when Vol I was first published it was a flop.

RubberBaron @87:

“the most owned and least read book in England”: wasn’t it GBS who said that of Mein Kampf, echoing an older joke about the Bible?

“Laurie, by her own admission, had a poor outcome having been brought up in a traditional nuclear family and now lives in a post normative trans gender commune. That her view of traditional families is hostile is hardly surprising.”

Pagar, excellent comment but I wanted to ask you what exactly the poor outcome was? We will never know how much poorer the outcome could have been if her traditional nuclear family would have lost its tradition, split up and merged with another.

@ Daniel

Anger is a gift

Anger undoubtedly has an important and honoured place in polemical writing and in political debate. I like Swift in particular.

However anger that arises because of an unfortunate personal experience directly related to the subject under discussion is likely to so colour the view of the writer that it will cloud rational judgement.

Laurie’s post can accurately be described as a diatribe (a bitter and abusive speech or writing) and whilst her language may provide Sally and others with some momentary excitement, it adds little to a sensible debate on the role and importance of the family in our society.

@ Lilliput

I based my comment on information Laurie bravely put in the public domain regarding her personal circumstances on a previous post.

I am not holding up any kind of family as the model to follow. Some are good. Some are not. Indeed I can speak from personal experience in saying that the same family environment can be good for one child and not another.

But it is fair to say that, statistically, the outcomes for children brought up in families are no worse than average and I object to attacks based on political or gender based dogma unless they are factually based.

Laurie states that families are not “a bunch of people bound together by blood and love”. I am sorry that was her experience but would argue that, at their best, that is exactly what families can be.

That Laurie blames her family for her problems is not a good argument to denounce all families.

90. Laurie Penny

No pagar, what I said was that the *Tory Vision* of the family was not ‘a bunch of people bound together by blood and love’. In fact, that’s precisely what I think a family is and should be – and it shouldn’t have any extra qualifying factors, like ‘definitely a mum and a dad and their kids all living together and noone else’.

Children, like adults, need love, affirmation, boundaries, fun, support, sunshine and good food and increasing amounts of freedom and responsibility as they grow. That can happen within a variety of family settings, though – not just traditional het marriage!

OK Laurie.

Correction accepted. Thanks for clarifying and I agree with everything else you say.

Like you, I have no great passion to reincarnate the “Bisto” family and where a group of people, whatever its make up, can and want to live together based on bonds of love and blood that’s great.

But so far as the children are concerned what helps them get all the things you mention above and grow into successful adult human beings is a degree of stability. So “families” can not be too fluid.

I had some involvement with a boy whose formative years were spent with his mother in a number of seventies style communes and by the age of twelve, his personality was so severely damaged it was clear, even at that age, that he would never recover to function properly.

A stable family is beneficial for children.

Yay, anecdata!

Almost unbelievably, this article links to a posting I made yesterday.

This article confirms exactly the line I was taking.

I was calling for open, honest debate where people are allowed to express what they feel without ad hominem attacks and on the basis of the arguments themselves.

What do we get in respone?. You guessed it: I am a conservative.

This is a catchall description deliberately confusable with big C conservatism and Toryism. A such, its going back to square one of the original argument and just slagging off the other side of the argument per se, even though I am actually particularly on the other side of the argument at all.

Whether I am a conservative is open debate, depending on your definition thereof; I shall ask those who know me personally whether they consider me as such. In any case I am far from being a Conservative or a Tory. But that’s OK; just smear the other guy with a label and you’ve proved your point.

Ironically, I came to this posting via another posting by Daniel Finkelstein on the same subject. Now that is someone who engages with the oher side and actually enjoys open debate on the issues themselves: what a contrast from this website and the majority of posters on this site.

Now can we have another article implying that I am a Finkelstein fan and therefore a Social Democrat – and that your prejudged opinions are therefore justified………?

@86: Second that comment and also, as a newbie, if something seems to be breaking the comment rules do we flag it or are the threads here moderated so to speak?

@87: and I second that too but as a German Jew I felt honour bound to read it over and some bits he made me laugh and other bits it was like walking through mud. I’m still convinced by his volte face to become an anti-Semite but one thing is for sure, people stare at me on the tube.

@88: is it really owned by a lot of people? The bit about designing the Nazi flag is some of the most pompous stuff I’ve ever come across…nearly as pompous as Iain Dale.

Pagar @93

“A stable family is beneficial for children.”

Well I think we can all agree with that. I doubt you will find anyone who says stable families are bad for children. So, given that, how could a Government possibly influence how stable families are or stay? Especially given the rather crude instruments that the Tories propose to use?

How can the ‘Minister for poking his nose in other people’s affairs’ promote marriage? How much tax breaks do you need to make two people who hate each other suddenly fall back in love? How much ‘cooling off period’ will cure adultery or domestic abuse? What real practical steps can a Government really take to prevent dad from blowing his wages on the first three favourites at Kempton Park? Etc, etc etc.

The ‘best’ the Government can do is look at the type of environment where ‘traditional families’ flourish and try to replicate that throughout the Country in the hope that these ‘traditional families’ make a comeback.

Sorry, Jimbo, think you’ve got me wrong entirely.

The creation of stable environments for children to grow up in is the responsibility of those bringing the children up. It is not, in my view, a correct role for Government to become involved in social engineering of any sort.

It is my right to bet my wages on a losing horse. It’s my money.

If I am unable, then, to feed my child that’s an abrogation of my responsibility. It’s my problem.

The Government should keep the fuck out of it.

Very interesting debate. It would have been even more interesting if each of the family experts posting had stated how many children they actually had themselves. I think the author has 0, unless you count a narrow escape that she recently blogged.

(4)

“If I am unable, then, to feed my child that’s an abrogation of my responsibility. It’s my problem.”

No cretin, it is your children’s problem.

Very interesting debate. It would have been even more interesting if each of the family experts posting had stated how many children they actually had themselves. I think the author has 0, unless you count a narrow escape that she recently blogged.

Excellent idea. Let it be decreed that unless you have both a Penis and a Vagina you must never discuss relationships, or sexuality, or reproductive health, because you can never understand all sides.

100. Richard (the original)

“The ‘best’ the Government can do is look at the type of environment where ‘traditional families’ flourish and try to replicate that throughout the Country in the hope that these ‘traditional families’ make a comeback.”

In my experience that involves turning the UK into a giant version of Surrey!

@101, what about a Mangina?

I’m Old Greg!

I’m glad Left Outside spotted the daftness of comment 99.

And Old Greg, manginas are all good, you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

@102 – “…turning the UK into a giant version of Surrey!”

*shudders*

No cretin, it is your children’s problem.

No Sally.

I believe in personal responsibility. I was partly responsible for bringing the child into the world and it cannot be expected to feed itself so it’s my responsibility and therefore my problem.

Simples.

What Ms Penny dissmissively calls the “heteronormative marriage model.” has been the foundation of civilisation for millennia.

Punishing married couples (as does our gargantuan welfare state) is social engineering of those most malignant kind. It a deliberate attempt on the part of the left-wing state to artificially create the maximum moral space for the individual to persue ‘experimental lifestyles’ and absolve him/her of any responsibility for the consequences. It does it by using huge amounts of coercive power against businesses and taxpayers to prevent a dominant culture from emerging. It deliberately removes all pressures on mothers to stay at home or for fathers to stay and provide. It deliberately rewards unmarried mothers with benefits that married couples can only through self-sacrifice.

A conservative solution (not a tory solution) would be to abolish this massive social interference, not replace it with another form of interference. It would be permissive; it would involve permitting normal habits of self-sufficiency to re-emerge. It would involve allowing alternatives to the married family to be marginalised naturally by withdrawing public funds from poisonous feminist university courses. It would be to allow the restoration of circumstances in which responsible ways of living spontaneously emerge.

Even though the facts of life are unnatural and abnormal to marriage-hating leftists like Laurie Penny they’re perfectly normal and natural to human beings.

Adrian, you’ve not read any of the previous comments have you where all you silly ideas have already been dismissed and you could’ve saved yourself and the rest of us some time.

Mr Hoffman Gill. You don’t have to spend any of your time on my arguments. As far as I can see nothing I have written has been addressed yet. If you want to respong to my points then I will respond to yours. If not, fuck off.

Pagar @93:

I had some involvement with a boy whose formative years were spent with his mother in a number of seventies style communes and by the age of twelve, his personality was so severely damaged it was clear, even at that age, that he would never recover to function properly.

The two crucial things in this particular anecdote are, one “a number of” communes, and two, “seventies style”. Both of these things would have exposed the developing child to serious risk. 70s style communes were, a, not well thought-out and b, subject to very severe discrimination and social threat. Nothing like victimhood to give someone a victim complex. And “a number of communes” does suggest that the lack of stability was not caused by the type of community he was living in being unstable, but by the type of person who was dragging him around the country being unstable.

What your anecdote does not do is support the view that a male/female 2-parent family is intrinsically better at offering stability than some of the other models available. For a start, the last 40 years of post-industrial British history have been, in large part, about how unstable the modern nuclear family really is.

I grew up among tribal people who operated an extended-family establishment system; that is, a family establishment included on average five or six direct parents, and probably at least one or two nuclear families embedded within the establishment. The stability level among such families is extraordinary; family establishments 8 generations in with over 100 people living in them. I also see no reason why one woman and one woman are an intrinsically less stable parenting couple than one man and one woman.

Adrian @108:

What Ms Penny dissmissively calls the “heteronormative marriage model.” has been the foundation of civilisation for millennia.

No it hasn’t. Unless your comment is literalist, in the sense that you’re talking only about heterosexual breeding couples being the norm. What worries me more about your thinking is that you can juxtapose this:

It would be permissive;

against this:

alternatives to the married family to be marginalised

So, your ‘permissive’ involves marginalising the alternatives, yes? That’s intrinsically prohibitive, it’s just sneaky.

Also; I cannot help but feel that ‘alternatives to the married family’ here is encoding more nuance than it admits to. Query; would you consider multi-partner heterosexual marriages (a clearly married family, and the norm where I grew up) to be an “alternative”? Would you consider a male couple with children who’re in a civil union to be an “alternative” to the married family?

Basically, is your issue with commitment (families should be founded on a committed parenthood relationship: I agree) or with “normal” (families should be one man, one woman, 2.4 children: I absolutely do not agree)?

“If not, fuck off.”

Lovely conservative values.

Indeed Neil, Adrian is full of nonsense and hot air and in his refusal to read what’s already been typed, he wants to extend this silly argument further.

Read on McDuff…

“Also; I cannot help but feel that ‘alternatives to the married family’ here is encoding more nuance than it admits to. Query; would you consider multi-partner heterosexual marriages (a clearly married family, and the norm where I grew up) to be an “alternative”? Would you consider a male couple with children who’re in a civil union to be an “alternative” to the married family?

Basically, is your issue with commitment (families should be founded on a committed parenthood relationship: I agree) or with “normal” (families should be one man, one woman, 2.4 children: I absolutely do not agree)?”

No, I am talking about households headed by unmarried mothers which are the main alternative to the married family. The villain in this has always been the State, which has encouraged unmarried motherhood by subsidising it. Hundreds of thousands of women are, in effect, married to the State. If the tories seriously wanted fewer fatherless families, there would be a very simple solution. Stop encouraging this form of household. Existing benefits should remain untouched, but we should give nine months’ warning that they will cease for new applicants. Such a policy could never be construed as authoritarian or paternalist since this would in effect be a huge withdrawal from private family life. This would allow the main alternative to the married family to remain marginalised naturally as it is in other countries where there are no provisions for single mothers.

To the infantile prat calling himself Daniel Hoffman Gill- If you don’t want to have an argument, no-ones asking you to hang around this thread so do yourself a favour and fuck off.

Adrian: you’re making a fool of yourself, first off by not reading the comments and then by name calling.

Stop being a silly boy and pull yourself together, all your old hat you’re trotting about the state to blame, the sanctity of marraige, blah blah blah, has already been dealt with, you’ve come to the party a bit late.

Daniel Hoffmann Gill, You seem to be overly concerned that I might be making a fool of myself. That wouldn’t matter to me since Adrian is not even my real name and no-one knows who I am. I can’t fathom as to why my making a fool of myself should matter to a complete stranger like you. Point out to me where my points have been defeated and I will happily concede defeat otherwise …

f u c k o f f.

@ John Q

I also see no reason why one woman and one woman are an intrinsically less stable parenting couple than one man and one woman.

Another can of worms, John, but nor do I.

Statistically, children from a traditional heterosexual family do best on average but of course there will be some such children with poorer outcomes than those who had homosexual guardians, foster parents and adoptive parents. No doubt there will also be successful adults who have emerged from seventies style communes and the care system.

Indeed, I have such a friend.

The key point is that, to have the best opportunities in life, every child benefits from a stable environment.

Adrian @ 114:

This would allow the main alternative to the married family to remain marginalised naturally as it is in other countries where there are no provisions for single mothers.

Otherwise known as the systematic rejection of agency for women, or “medievalist patriarchy” in common modern parlance. I know too many single mothers to see your concerns as anything other than bigoted. Okay, yes, you may not be bigoted about gay people or polyamorists but you are, apparently, opposed to the development of civil autonomy for women.

I appreciate that your prejudice has a scarecrow’s hat on; the social safety-net offered by government is there, in some tiny measure, to balance the grinding effect of hierarchical economics. If it was realistic, for most people, to be self-employed and/or work from home (and there is no technological or economic reason that this working pattern should not become normalised) then the problems you are focusing on go away.

It isn’t. The government is merely trying to provide some basic societal recognition of the fact that our economic establishment is hideously prejudiced against independent women who wish to have children but aren’t endowed with financial security through inheritance or alimony. Plutocracy is against individual autonomy among anyone but plutocrats, in other words.

Pagar:

I was trying to find out which can Adrian crawled out of; it seems to be the misogynist, rather than the puritanical or heteronormalist cans, though I’m still suspicious about the latter.

More substantively:

Statistically, children from a traditional heterosexual family do best on average but of course there will be some such children with poorer outcomes than those who had homosexual guardians, foster parents and adoptive parents.

I’m not sure this statement can be safely made, primarily because of embedded realities which are hard to control for.

Let us list a couple, applying to those in my cohort (children between 1975 and 1985, teenagers during the rave era, young adults in the Internet era). Anyone who was known to have (for example) two mothers would have been mistreated in the playground on a level that would be likely to cause physical and psychological scars for life. The children of single mothers (with single incomes) will have been subjected to the removal of any kind of effective state education system, years on the dole because industry had been excised from your entire county and national unemployment was running between five and six per cent. You’d have faced mistreatment and suspicion from every agent of government you ever talked to, assumptions made about you because of your hairstyle by everyone over the age of 30 you ever met, assumptions made about you by employers because someone had invented the term ‘Generation X’, and so on.

Middle class single mothers can afford to make sure their children get a chance. Poor single mothers can’t. Guess who the prejudice is aimed at… I don’t hear the Tories or the Fail shouting about how barristers earning £150k a year should be bound by law to expose their children to a violent, alcoholic stock-broker or authoritarian, abusive police officer every day; clearly life is better for them and the children alone than with that kind of man. Why is this not true of the poor woman who wants to get her kids away from a violent, alcoholic brickie, or a sexually predatory streetsweeper?

The difference is that in our current socio-economic hierarchy, work must be, for most, on someone else’s terms and outside the home. This systemically sabotages working single mothers. The state offering even a slight attempt to level that playing-field makes economic and social sense as well as being the ethical thing to do.

The social assumption that single motherhood has a 1:1 correspondence with accidental pregnancy and/or benefit fraud needs to be challenged more often.

The key point is that, to have the best opportunities in life, every child benefits from a stable environment.

Yes. And following the thread above; what Adrian’s view fails to even ask is whether a single mother who loves her child and is supported in that love by the state is a more, or a less, stable environment than a bitter, violent household in which the two adult role models are constantly fighting; or than a silently abusive, authoritarian childhood devoid of physical or mental security. Stability of horror is not good.

Adrian’s model seems to be that ‘stability’ is entirely equivalent to “a man in charge of a house with a woman in it”.

Adrian, you come in at 108 with points that have already been bought up and already done with, which is fine but don’t expect to be taken very seriously.

As I keep saying, read the 107 comments before yours.

“The government is merely trying to provide some basic societal recognition of the fact that our economic establishment is hideously prejudiced against independent women who wish to have children but aren’t endowed with financial security through inheritance or alimony.”

Well, that’s where we differ. I don’t think “independent” women i.e. unmarried women who don’t have the financial security should deliberately choose to have children and then leave responsible taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Middle class single mothers can afford to make sure their children get a chance. Poor single mothers can’t.”

Again, you speak as if unmarried mothers have had no choice but to become preganant. Pregnancy let me remind you is freely chosen. This is all part of the deliberate attempt on the part of the cultural left to mix up voluntary and conscript single mothers. I have never assumed that unmarried motherhood has a 1:1 correspondence with accidental pregnancy. The decision to have a child outside wedlock was once a major one, and is still very significant. The widow or the deserted wife or the wife who has been abused may be bringing up a child alone, but they didn’t at any stage choose to do so.

The point I made above is that if the state were to give a nine months’ warning that benefits for new applicants would not be paid, those who would intentionally become pregnant because of the benefits available to single mothers would know in advance that these benefits are not available, and hence would not become pregnant. This is the case in many continental countries which do not supply such benefits. So their lives would not be “sabotaged” as you put it. If they become pregnant, without being married to the father and persuading him to support the child – they will be consciously volunteering for it. If I am right, the main effect will be a sharp and permenant drop in the numbers of such households, just as the introduction of these payments led to a sharp and sustained increase. I would not stop any payments to current single mothers. These women became married to the state and the state has no business deserting them.

“I don’t hear the Tories or the Fail shouting about how barristers earning £150k a year should be bound by law to expose their children to a violent, alcoholic stock-broker or authoritarian, abusive police officer every day; clearly life is better for them and the children alone than with that kind of man. Why is this not true of the poor woman who wants to get her kids away from a violent, alcoholic brickie, or a sexually predatory streetsweeper?”

I never said that women and their children shouldn’t be free to leave violent and abusive relationships. Again youre conflating voluntary and involuntary single parenthood.

“I was trying to find out which can Adrian crawled out of; it seems to be the misogynist, rather than the puritanical or heteronormalist cans, though I’m still suspicious about the latter.”

This is more the same type of intolerance visited by left-liberals on anyone who tries to speak out against the anti-marriage state. This is because leftists actively disdain marriage and are happy to see mothers married to the state or as wage-slaves while their children are dumped in day-‘care’. This makes no moral or economic sense whatever and I am only glad that someone who supports such policies attacks me.

Adrian:

1) Tax credits are a two way stret also aiding the married, so the government is not footing the bill for people’s decisions in the way you think they are.

2) People are not having children ot gain some sort of benefits advantage, their is no cultural left movement trying to bring about some sort of single parent family revolution, neither is the “decision to have a child outside wedlock was once a major one, and is still very significant” you seem to have not moved with the times but it reflects your moral compass.

3) You seem to suffer from a classic problem of many right-wingers that come here, you think you have a get out of jail free card by smearing people that disagree with you as intolerant. No all ideas are of equal value and pushing tired old ideas that have no bearing or basis in modern life is your right but don’t think your ideas have such vigour that they are immune from being refuted.

Just another thing to point out to you, to show how flawed your thinmking is. Statements like this: “This is because leftists actively disdain marriage and are happy to see mothers married to the state or as wage-slaves while their children are dumped in day-’care’.” make you look like a tit and hopefully you can see why. No such people exist and by no means form some sort of liberal cultural elite that make these lofty decisions. It is just not true and a complete effort by you to make stuff up.

Adrian @120:

Well, that’s where we differ. I don’t think “independent” women i.e. unmarried women who don’t have the financial security should deliberately choose to have children and then leave responsible taxpayers to foot the bill.

Okay, no, so it’s not misogyny, it’s class warfare. Let’s try this again.

“unmarried women who don’t have financial security” == “not middle class”. Can you genuinely not see that if your society chooses to offer no opportunities to women for self-supporting work managed in a way compatible with raising children, that means your society is systematically denying autonomy to women? It’s not the council-estate kid’s fault that hierarchical capitalist economics requires work to happen outside the home, where the worker is constantly surveilled by a member of the owning classes. It’s history that made those choices. In that situation, society has therefore artificially created a choice which men can make but women can’t. That’s not good. It’s also economically counter-productive; we could have a much broader and more productive work-force if we included young women in it without precluding their ability to provide for our next generation.

The problem here is that a single mother can work but is not permitted to; at all in the early years, or very much in the later years, because society enshrines archaic religious dogma. There’s all kinds of ways we could modify society so that she could directly contribute and become self-supporting, mostly involving the managing classes learning to trust their employees (which in turn involves appropriate remuneration and dealing in good faith, which the managing classes really don’t like to think about). This restricts female autonomy to the very rich, who already have it because, well, they’re very rich. It’s both class war and gender war; these women don’t get to have any say in their own lives, including the basic fact of reproductive freedom, because … some rich white men two hundred years ago didn’t believe women were people. But my daughter should certainly have reproductive autonomy; she went to Oxford. Of course, in practice, most middle class men of such an age don’t think the latter either.

I take the view that this situation is both socially damaging, and economically unrealistic. To take the matter of practicalities: any job which is based around information flows and makes use of a telephone can be done from home: why can’t call-center work be farmed out to single mothers working from home? An xDSL line and a bit of software is all that takes. Any hand craft job can be done from home. Any research work and most government jobs can be done primarily from home. We;re living in the future, people; we don’t act like it because management don’t trust their employees: so the employees have been given no incentive to deal honestly with management.

Free our work force from the office; let people recapture the concept of personal responsibility rather than top-down authority, and you will see a whole new British economy. For a start, several hundred thousand women will be economically viable who are at the moment able to contribute but denied the chance.

“unmarried women who don’t have financial security” == “not middle class”. Can you genuinely not see that if your society chooses to offer no opportunities to women for self-supporting work managed in a way compatible with raising children, that means your society is systematically denying autonomy to women?”

You’ve contradicted yourself – If providing autonomy for single unmarried mothers requires the state to actively choose a policy of rigorous social engineering in order to provide them with employment oppurtunities, then not choosing to adopt such a policy would not be to deny them anything. If a state refused to offer subsidised sex change operations, that wouldn’t be to deny the choice of a woman to become a man if she wanted one but couldnt afford it.

“It’s history that made those choices. In that situation, society has therefore artificially created a choice which men can make but women can’t.

You seem to have begun with the automatically left-wing axiom that inequality between sexes or classes in society must be the result of unjust or irrational “discrimination rather than by biology, intelligence, personal choice or economic rationality. I have niether the time nor the inclination to argue about this with you at length. However, I think the ultimate test of whether “society” has artificially created such a ‘choice’ through cultural brainwashing is to consider what would happen under natural law in the state of nature where there was no society, no culture, no economy no state and no marriage. Humans lived in a consequently promiscuous world where they only consumed the fruits of their own labour. What would happen to the children? The answer is that the only visible and demonstrable parent would be the mother. Only the mother would have the child, and therefore only the mother would be left with the child and therefore her opportunity to develop all her faculties, in the direction of labour would be limited. So ‘society’ does not artificially create these ‘choices’ of lack thereof. Biology does.

“It’s not the council-estate kid’s fault that hierarchical capitalist economics requires work to happen outside the home, where the worker is constantly surveilled by a member of the owning classes.”

??? It’s neither the fault of ‘hierarchical’ capitalist economics since the market has no “will”. If businesses requires work to take place outside the home, “where the worker is constantly surveilled by a member of the owning classes” (we call it business management these days) it is becuase it makes rational economic sense to do this. To argue against it would therefore be irrational

“That’s not good. It’s also economically counter-productive; we could have a much broader and more productive work-force if we included young women in it without precluding their ability to provide for our next generation.”

How very muddled you are. First you are against economic rationality now you favour it. And again you’re mixing up young women with young mothers again. I do not believe that young single mothers (of any class) should go out to work or should be forced to go out to work by the state. As I explained in my previous posting (which you seem to have ignored completely), the state has created the problem of voluntary unmarried motherhood which doesnt exist in countries in which it is not subsidised. Having made sure their children have only one parent, it seems pretty stupid for the state to conscript a single mother into wage-slavery. Motherhood is the most valuable task in society. If our civilization endures, I expect our grandchildren will be horrified by the wicked, self-indulgent lies we tell ourselves in order to justify the dumping and neglect of an entire generation, for the sake of slogging off to an office.

Adrian:

You’ve contradicted yourself – If providing autonomy for single unmarried mothers requires the state to actively choose a policy of rigorous social engineering in order to provide them with employment oppurtunities, then not choosing to adopt such a policy would not be to deny them anything.

You have clearly failed to understand much of my post, and also the concept of ‘starting conditions’ for a system.

You seem to have begun with the automatically left-wing axiom that inequality between sexes or classes in society must be the result of unjust or irrational “discrimination rather than by biology, intelligence, personal choice or economic rationality.

Er, no, I haven’t. I’m not a lefty; ask me about my attitude to weapon prohibition some time.

I fully understand that, for example, the reason Ghana is staggeringly impoverished compared to Britain is a combination of amoral factors, including climate, population density, ease of mining, culture, linguistics and geographical location relative to the Roman Empire. That doesn’t mean that permitting Western megacorps to leach all the ROI out of a nascent quasi-industrial economy is legitimate; such actions merely reflect the truism that money is power. We have all the money (by which I mean the industrial west); we have therefore had much of the power, and we’ve abused it like bastards.

All the same things can be said of the kyriarchy. The rich win; among the rich, the men win: among the men, the whites win: and among them, the Puritans win. That’s because early industrialisation, which Britain achieved through no fault of its own, confers immense power advantages which then become embedded socially and legally, and which then have a vested interest in maintaining status quo ante. Since Britain between 1650 and 1850 was white, partiarchal, Puritanical and already quite rich, and since the hegemony of industrial Europe became very seriously embedded in geopolitical thinking, correcting those arbitrary idiocies can only be good for the species taken as a whole.

Your theory seems to suggest that the poor all deserve it; that they are lacking something the rich have. You’re right; it’s money; and if you think the rich earned their money, you’re wrong unless you believe inheritance law to have been rescinded at some point.

Returning to the more immediate topic: if you are implying that the embedded power imbalance in JCI society between women and men is an accurate reflection of “biological factors”, then I do not believe any further conversation with you is going to be of use. And I believe I may need to go and drink unwise amounts of ale in order to get the taste of this discussion out of my mouth.

Anyone who sees human society in such kto-kovo terms has absorbed the essence of Marxism, even if he doesn’t think that only the state and criminals should have firearms.

I think you’re right that any further discussion will be useless.

“Cameron and his cronies simply do not LIKE … gay people”
“Tory Tim”
“When Thatcher was divorcing her first husband to marry another man was that for the family?”
“Tory trolls.”
“Tim, you really ought to learn to spell “pedant” correctly”

Gosh, you people don’t really know what you’re against.

Hugo, you come into a long dead thread and have the same tedious little dig that all the other right of centre people have had to the same pathetic effect, in that you look like a massive boob.

Now bugger off!


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