Saturday, April 12, 2008

Got Carried Away

I have been reading Hopi Sen and gathered a few thoughts on marriage. His stuff is very good as entertainment if morally corruping and wrong

A good amble through of the standard apologist response to inconvenient facts Hopi .I am not quite sure what you have said here that is not said on daily basis in the Guardian new Statesman and the BBC, but you do say it endearingly
The Press , you imply , are perfectly beastly mention the lifestyle of Ms. Mathews . First box ticked then, the lie that the media is dominated by dreadful right wing tendencies …no mention of Murdoch ? Shame .Karen’s previous record of exploiting relationships for housing and benefits is relevant in that such a morally degraded creature would plausibly exploit her child .The social welfare and housing system are of course complicit in the process even if responsibility mainly rest with the doer of the deed. I will not excuse her , as you do , on the basis that ‘society is not fair’ .
Then you fight a valiant battle against the claim made by absolutely no-one that marriage universally ensures moral behaviour . You refute the claim , made by no-one , that in history there have been no examples of immorality predating the current malaise and that marriage was at all times the norm.
You , mystifyingly , blame unemployment ( solution ..get a job) and pronounce yourself overjoyed at the replacement of the family with Soviet style crèches .
Having eaten your cake you then swing into having it , with a call for Labour to value the family and the community. That would be lovely but it would not be Labour who detest ordinary families and express this dislike with hard cash .
The point of this tawdry story can only be symbolic it happens to combine elements like idleness , callous disregard for ordinary values and a benefit suckling single/endlessly coupling mother . The themes that lie behind the way people react to it are not misguided at all. If you want to see flabbily gaseous political campaigning resting on a random meaningless event look at Blair on the Bulger case. Here there is at least some connection to the political reaction.
Leaving aside your Tardis excursions into deep history ( Look what vandals the Vikings were?) . The debate is actually this . Is marriage and family stability valuable ,should the government stop destroying it and how much is it actually the Government’s fault ? Finally is anything new really happening at all
Well it is a new problem . Children now are three times more likely to live in a one parent household than in 1972 ,and Britain now has 1.9 million lone parent households, an increase of 200,000 since Labour came to Power. In London, rules that made it harder to use marriage as means to immigrate lead to a third cut in the number of ceremonies . Marriage has slumped to its lowest level for 150 year and married couples as proportion in the adult population being 53.3%. They were about 2/3 in the 70s.Married women are out numbered by single and divorced women for the fist time this year. One in three children will experience divorce or separation before the age of sixteen and UNICEF.. yes even that left wing collection of whiners, say that Britain’s position as having the least happy children in the developed world is due to the high level of family breakdown.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter though ? Not so. ONS showed that children of single parent families are about twice as likely to have mental health problems .Children from Lone Parent Families are 2,.4 times as likely to smoke ,1.6 times as likely to drink alcohol .In the US 63% of teenage suicides , 90 % of homeless and 85% of juvenile prisoners are form Fatherless homes ( 70 % of UK young offenders coke from fatherless homes and again in the UK about the same proportion of young drug abusers . You might also look at also Patricia Morgan Civitas , Jill Kirby of the Centre for Policy Studies if you are interested in the truth.). Don’t say marriage is just incidental to the single parent story either .Only one in twelve married couples par within five years of the child’s birth for unmarried couples that number is ONE IN TWO.
Marriages decline has been disguised by immigration . It has had a disproportionate effect on white working class boys educationally . This was one of the conclusion of Iain Duncan Smiths report and it has not been refuted. How could it be ? Two out of five children are born to unmarried parents that figure was one in eight in 1980 so it is all getting worse
Alright then but is it New Labour’s fault ?I think the blame can be shared between Labour directly direct fault and the progressive wider constituency . On the obvious side of the equation is the money .The Institute of fiscal studies shows that if a couple are earning £5000 and £15000 a year respectively they will lose £5400 in benefits if they continue to share a home .Care have shown that many couples are £50 per week worse of f they stay together rising to £100. A Couple on £18000 who live in the same house pay a penalty of £8588 per year or 40% of their pre-tax income .A couple on £50,000 per year would be £7000 worse off . Shortfalls then are throughout the population . No wonder 200,000 cohabiting couples are pretending to live apart
I appreciate that social and economic changes are at work and also that groups like war widows show that single motherhood alone is not a curse . Nonetheless Brown abolished the marriage allowance ,already eroded ,and will not allow tax allowances to be transferable. Priority in the housing queue is routinely given to single mothers ,encouragement of the use of abortion as a contraceptive technique , the absurd myth of the girl who does not know she is pregnant or how it happened . (For God’s sake what world do these people live in, some bourgeois island of fantasy ?) Sure Start , has failed to be used by those it was intended for . National colleges for parenting and assorted gimmicks are only that and the blameless middleclass divorcee blonde with grief , wheeled it by the BBC are beside the point.
So it is entirely obvious why Karen Mathews seems to sum up so much that has gone badly wrong . It looks like Labour’s Britain. Sad bored useless and so pathetic as to invent a fantasy scam while idling a feral life away on benefits in social housing with no respect for anything least of all herself . Meanwhile who pays ….Ordinary working families struggling to live decent lives with no help from the state whatsoever .
The left assault on marriage and Conservative Plans to remove the impediments were the precursor to the first swing from Gordon brown to Cameron. One of the groups to do so were women and amongst them were as many unmarried mothers as any other group.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Letter To The Express

I always read the Westminster update with some irritation. Lewes is not , as the Sussex Express sometimes appears to think, exclusively populated by adherents of whatever concoction of mutually contradictory causes the Liberals are espousing this week. Recently Norman Baker’s disgraceful betrayal of the countries sovereignty, by supporting Gordon Brown over the Lisbon sell -out, received a line or two. His opinions on China are of no more importance than mine, and yet we are treated to lengthy hand wringing .
In what is left of Parliament, there are two Parties who might form a Government , and the Liberal Democrats are not one of them. I don’t suppose it does any harm to emote, but by electing a luxury issue, small Party MP, Lewes has decided , for now , it does not want a real say . I for one dearly hope Lewesians will review this position when we are eventually given the opportunity to get rid of New Labour and their side-kick supporters the Liberals .
In the meantime, by all means let us ‘terrify’ the Chinese authorities with meetings in the Town Hall ,it can’t hurt .I would , however , remind participants of Skibbereen. When the Skibbereen Eagle announced that it was "keeping an eye on the Czar of Russia" over his expansionist designs on China’ it condemned the blameless people of this pretty little Irish fishing village, to immortal mockery as a byword for parochialism .
In Mr. Bakers busy desire to obscure his irrelevance I hope he does not make Lewes the Skibbereen of England .

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