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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Kathy Gyngell: Lone parents cause child poverty

Sir Paul Coleridge’s devastating account of the decline of marriage and the inexorable rise of lone parenthood and cohabitation should give Mrs May’s ‘social reform’ team at Number Ten pause for thought.

What’s crystal clear is that Britain’s rising level of illegitimacy – a word made taboo by the Left – is socially catastrophic. On the scale it is today, it drives ever more children ‘into poverty’. It is the cause of this modern evil – the so-called ‘child poverty’ that the Left have artfully characterised as the sin of income inequality.

The truth is that the sin is that of the parents – of disastrous lifestyle choices that decades of welfarism and a 'thou shalt not stigmatise’ threat has encouraged. What more cunning claim could the Left have made to the moral high ground?

Resistance to such analysis is huge. Political correctness took us into a post-truth world years ago, when the Left first took the Right hostage on the traditional family.

I knew that when I was invited onto The Big Questions last week to counter received poverty wisdom.

“What do you mean women are married to the State?” demanded the oh-so-ingenuous Nicky Campbell, as though lone mothers received their state-provided income by immaculate gift, not from the taxpayer.

He was treating the Child Poverty Action Group’s call for new child poverty targets with huge and virtuous concern. Where the extra money was to come from he did not ask, nor did he challenge the premise of their solution. That was left to me, the token social conservative.

My conservative colleagues, MEP Dan Hannan and Christopher Snowden, Head of Lifestyle Economics at IEA, weren’t much help. Their line was to deny the problem, citing economic evidence that showed the poverty gap was narrowing.

That’s as may be. But it dodged the issue that modern poverty is not about money but about destructive behaviours – that the State sponsors.

Government should be in the dock, not for being mean but for ignoring children’s real needs: for condemning three million children of Britain’s 1.8 million lone mother households to fatherlessness, to family breakdown, and to the greater of risk of mortality, ill health, behaviour problems, school failure, drink and drugs and crime. These are all things that their parents' lifestyles inflict on them, cruelties that Government has enabled and perpetuated.

This is not 1950s' poverty. Then just one child in 20 was born out of wedlock. It is not even 1970s' poverty, though wimmins’ lib drove the illegitimacy rate up to one in ten. The 50 per cent of children born to single mothers today is a disaster of this continued liberalism.

Gordon Brown’s grand new tax credits initiative put the final nail in children’s coffin. It replaced child tax and married couple allowances and family income support taking away their chances of security and stability. It conflated, in tax support terms, the working married poor with the non-working and lone parent poor – leveling out their ‘incomes’ whether earned or unearned. Far from thinking the unthinkable on lone parents, Gordon set the lifestyle in stone.

He and his arch-feminist advisers more than anyone else are responsible for what Patricia Morgan once described, brutally but truly, as 'shack up' families.

As these families ‘flourished’, child neglect went up. So have the numbers of children in care. So has child unhappiness and mental ill health.

The 21st century solution so far has been to nationalise childcare – let the State take over where parents fail - to live the lie that children benefit from daycare from as early as possible.

Far from being a panacea, this undermines maternal responsibility and competence further. From Sure Start through to Louise Casey’s Troubled Families scheme, early intervention has proved a busted flush.

But the Conservatives, fearful of the Left’s demonisation and driven by the desire to turn mothers into productivity numbers, have gone along with it. Worklessness is the sole evil on their radar.

Yet the idea that fatherlessness doesn't matter and family forms are equal are costly and cruel lies. American author and columnist Ann Coulter for one refuses to swallow it. “If a woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock wants to do the best thing for her child”, she told an audience of 100 single feminist mums recently, “she’d give it up for adoption”, shocking them into silence.

This is the statistical evidence, here as in the US.

UK research tells us how much marriage matters, and most of all when it comes to boys. Is it surprising that boys with fathers have higher self-esteem, knowing who they ‘belong’ to and who their relations are? When they don’t have to bear the brunt of unstable, ‘blended’ family life and mother’s boyfriends or half or step sibs foisted on them?

Britain is socially ‘bifurcated’, a gap that is set to get wider between the ever fewer socially and economically advantaged families, who continue to marry, and state-supported single-parent, female-headed households, which cluster among the most socially and economically disadvantaged ranks of the population.

That’s unless post-Brexit Britain abandons the Left’s state interventionist ‘compensation’ model that breeds irresponsibility, incompetence, dependence and hopelessness.

Allister Heath is right – the demise of the welfare state is the defining issue of our time. The State cannot spend ever more for shoddy results.

Nothing is shoddier than the State’s ‘care’ for children and takeover of the family. So why then, in his list of collective welfarism that has to go, does Allister avoids mentioning this, the most damaging example of ‘spending somebody else’s money on other people’.

Why the timidity? Does social liberalism trump that most fundamental of individual responsibilities – where sex is concerned?

Mrs May cannot afford to be so mealy mouthed.

What chances otherwise are there of reversing Frank Field’s and Alan Milburn’s (Conservative-commissioned) flawed but costly ‘nationalisation of children’ solutions and the poverty their infantilised parents’ lifestyles will continue to inflict.

Growing up in a single-parent household, as Iain Duncan Smith says, is a form of poverty. Yet his controversial Universal Credit reform addresses neither illegitimacy nor lone parenthood. This £35 billion per annum tax credit juggernaut continues to enable and sustain it.

David Cameron ducked the issue despite ever more evidence pointing to the price of lone parenthood published while he was PM. He even, reportedly, made Mr Duncan Smith’s successor cut from a speech an adjuration that politicians do a ‘huge disservice’ if they are ‘neutral on family structure’.

The problem is that the Conservatives have been far from neutral. In thrall to decades of leftism and feminism, they have sanctioned the worst possible choices parents could make for children.

Kathy Gyngell

  • Bik Byro

    “boys with fathers have higher self-esteem” – that’s assuming that the aforementioned father isn’t a jobless weedhead.

    Seriously, you think that changes to married couple allowances are going to stop Jeremy Kyle wasters from having unprotected sex and then splitting up 5 minutes later?

    • North Angle

      I’m sorry, but the majority of fathers are not “jobless weedheads”. I’d rather focus on those fathers who work their socks off for their family only to be discarded at the first opportunity by women who’d rather be married to the state and not have to work for a living.

      • Stuart Fairney

        No, but withdrawal of state aid might concentrate a few minds, as would concrete proposals such as:

        – deducting half of all social security payments the father/sperm donor receives until the child is 21. Deducting all if said person has two or more children.
        – insisting that jobless welfare recipient females have contraceptive injections as a condition of receipt of monies

        • North Angle

          Very true, but I’m old school anyway – I’d scrap the welfare state for all but the most incapable of working.

        • Groan

          To be honest I think it wouldn’t take the latter draconian measures. Stopping state aid or curtailing it would indeed concentrate minds. The point is that the headline “benefit” is not the only financial input. It is the passport to a range of other benefits in kind or cash. Most notably housing, rents get paid so the housing is “free” but also prescriptions, fuel, food at school , uniforms and so on. So the total can actually be a very substantial amount indeed. Perhaps not to Doctors or solicitors but the current £25k a year “cap” is a very comfortable amount (as someone earning that would also pay tax and NI). I suspect the well paid in Westminster etc. simply can’t grasp how significant these amounts are, and what an incentive.

      • Bik Byro

        Single mothers do not tend to be women who marry fathers who work their socks off. Single mothers tend to be women who make stupid life choices. Sometimes repeatedly.

        • North Angle

          I disagree. I know lots of fathers who work their socks off who are then discarded when someone “better” comes along. Feminism has ensured women can have their cake and eat it.

          • Bik Byro

            Someone “better” is not the state, though, is it?

          • North Angle

            Absolutely. Certainly in my case, and in many other fathers I know. The state makes it easy for them to live off it, and then have as many boyfriends as they want.

          • Bik Byro

            OK fair do’s. I’ve seen lots of fickle women go from man to man based on his salary and his car.

            Deep down, though, I think it’s a cultural thing. We live in a world of immediacy. Nobody writes a letter when they can quickly bang out a few characters on Twitter. Few people learn to play the piano or the violin these days because it takes time and effort and these are things that people can’t be bothered with any more. Fewer people take time and effort to cook and eat a meal, they just shove something in the microwave for 3 minutes.

            It spills over into our relationships. In a world where we don’t have to take time and effort, why should a marriage be any different? Do what you want and then cast the relationship aside at the first hurdle! I believe the overall malaise is quite simply that as a society the younger generation are losing the ability to work at something and make an effort.

          • Groan

            And no one much tries to tell them different. Thus becoming an adult esp. a parent comes as a horrendous and immense shock. No one points out “having it all” means doing it all. Far more than any previous generations those of recent decades seem to have been sold far more fantasy than ever before.

  • John Smith

    this was the plan from the start

    the lesbian misandrist feminazis decided to destroy the nuclear family

    then the black/muzzies/crips/treehuggers jumped on the bandwagon

    simple as

    • Charleston

      Sorry I don’t understand what ‘crip’ is – did I miss something ?

      • Stuart Fairney

        Without speaking for JS, I took it as a reference to a notorious gang

        • John Smith

          i wasnt talking about da hood

      • John Smith

        cripple

        • Charleston

          Interesting – so cripple’s are destroying the family. Would you care to elaborate ?

  • North Angle

    It’s a classic example of how feminism (itself an arm of cultural marxism) – somehow never identified as the root cause of all our society’s woes by the mainstream media – is destroying our society from the family outwards. The fightback has only just begun, but it should be exclaimed at every opportunity that the family is the key to how our society is restored. Mrs May should focus on the family. She’s meant to be a conservative, after all.

  • Labour_is_bunk

    Can anyone tell me if the Child Poverty Action Group has ever achieved anything positive since its been in existence?
    Re Mr Hannan – I’m disappointed in him. I thought he had a reputation for talking sense. Not on this issue it seems.

    • Fubar2

      Course it hasnt. Its only purpose is to sustain its own existence, therefore it must always find that Child Poverty is not only still with us, but getting worse. Too many seats on the gravy train in the third/quango sector depend on the existence of Child Poverty for it ever to be something to be eradicated.

      • Groan

        Indeed. “The Bonfire of the Quangos” never happened.

        • Labour_is_bunk

          Strictly speaking, they’re a charity, not a quango – not that there appears to be much difference in these times.

          • gildedtumbril

            All ‘charities’ in Britain are corrupt and some quite evil. The only one I respect is the PDSA.

    • Bik Byro

      Hannan is one of my favourite politicians, so I would want to read or hear exactly what he did say before I pass judgement on him.

  • Russell

    In Australia, starting with the State of Victoria, families have been redefined as – ‘Women and their children’.

  • Snoffle Gronch

    Excellent article.

    And like most exercises in telling the plain truth, bound to cause offence.

  • Fubar2

    “Conservatives, fearful of the Left’s demonisation and driven by the desire to turn mothers into productivity numbers, have gone along with it. ”

    BOOM. Nail. Head. Bang. A real lack of leadership and vision.

  • Groan

    Leaving aside “social conservatism” the evidence is as plain as can be, simply because we’ve had decades to see how this pans out. It is truly bizarre that we as a country keep pumping ever more treasure and effort into finding ever larger numbers of children replacement families in fostering and adoption and yet can’t point out that it might be better that the “originating” was stable enough to continue.
    You may have seen the recent TV advert campaign. Brightly it points out there are twice as many boys needing a home as girls to try to encourage people to think of taking on boys: as good a measure as any of the greater effect chaotic families are having on boys.
    All the research, with plenty of material to go on, points to the “intergenerational” effects that fuel a growth in this chaos year on year. Indeed the past two Govs. are pouring millions into “Troubled Families” with it seems remarkably little effect.
    Adoptive Parents understandably want a baby or infant and Foster Parents do fantastic work with damaged teens, those left in institutional care or swapped about exhausted foster carers are generally boys.
    How truly bizarre we as a society don’t address the inexhaustible demand for “substitute” families and blithely continue with policies that we now know from the data fuels chaotic families, that fuels the demand for precisely what we deny is “necessary”.
    To be frank I’d settle at this point for simply an intelligent debate about the problem even before considering solutions, for as it stands there seems an endless series of platitudes and failed policies and complete blindness to the real world.
    Thus far I can only put it down to the fact that this chaos isn’t experienced by the sorts of people who run things, who the evidence is still largely conform to traditional family forms at least until the children have left.
    In my previous work a often came across young adults whose history broke ones heart, and not wanting to excuse their terrible behaviour it was ,I’m afraid, all too predictable.
    So good on you Kathy, well done indeed, actually a champion for “the working class”.

    • Tom B

      It is utter madness , on the one hand they support family breakdown by giving out money to the feckless then they spend millions trying to address the consequences

  • Stuart Fairney

    You know this is true by the howls the left raise when you say it.

    Logically, I would and do make gigantic sacrifices of time and money for my seven-year old son. As a result he is happy, confident, three years ahead of academic markers for his age, a decent musician, a really good cricketer. Statistics tell us he is unlikely to be unemployed for sustained periods, or a drug abuser, or a criminal, or to have children outside of wedlock. The reverse is true for boys without fathers present. It is the great challenge of our time and if we can address it, we may yet avoid national bankruptcy.

    • Groan

      As I say in my comment even if one wanted to take all “values” out of the equation all the statistics and research support the idea of a two parent family even better with links to an extended family. Statistically married is better than cohabiting is better than shacked up is better than lone father is better than lone mother in terms of outcomes(results).
      Marriage isn’t a magic bullet but it makes the human relationships that much more stable.
      In the 19th Century if one reads the debates and campaigns of the Gaskells etc. they were so much more “hard headed” than the supposed secular people today. They could see in the huge slums “favellas” that surrounded the industrial revolution the real degradations of a wild society. They were socially conservative for practical reasons and promoted marriage education, sobriety in terms of their practical outcomes, in a way that’s actually startling if one realises they also had strong religious faith.
      They saw that people needed help to do the right thing. What is interesting today is that debate is often far more “airey fairey” wittering on about love, quality of relationships, feelings; apparently completely divorced from the actual evidence (sorry divorced just appeared).
      The religious may be quite right that its Gods plan. But simply looking at the data and following what works with adoption and fostering it is also “science’s” plan.
      We have tried the alternative now for 50 years so definitely know what does and doesn’t work. I’m afraid for parents its potentially bad news if you’re expecting it not include some self sacrifice and determination.
      What of course those 19th century were clear on was the importance of a social institution to bolster inevitably flawed human beings, they weren’t thinking perfect. And what we now can prove cause we’ve got all the evidence we’d ever need. Is that they were quite right. “free love” has proven not to usher in better quality relationships and harmony but the complete reverse.
      .

      • James Chilton

        You’ve written some thoughtful comments lately. This is one of them.

        • Craig Martin

          Yeah, Groan’s on fire at the moment!

          Keep it commin’

      • Argurious

        Does marriage make relationships more stable or are people in stable relationships the ones most likely to marry?

  • noix

    The government should not be the father for children. It can give other people’s money, but nothing else.

  • James Chilton

    Being married to the state has many “benefits” for feckless women. No man around the house getting in the way, and making demands they must “satisfy”, for starters.

    • Colkitto03

      The tradegy if often that these single women apply ‘man of the house’ status to teenage sons who are to immature and unequipped to deal with it

      • Groan

        Then clash terribly with new boyfriend, conflict , marching orders, care or sleeping rough. Trouble , Prison, Drugs cycle repeats. Seen it so often.

    • Groan

      Actually evidence is that a substantial (maybe close to 1m ) number of the supposedly “single” are Shacked up. There was a huge discrepancy between the census data and benefits roll.
      So the benefits (and the other help such as housing that it is a “passport” to) form the stable part of an income that gets variously supplemented by a series of shadowy “partners”. Anyone working in the investigations sections of the benefits agency will rattle off stories of houses supposedly “manless” but with clear evidence one is in residence. These are rarely pursued because of the potential “flood” of work and the blief the politicians wouldn’t support the agency if there was a huge number of “mothers” taken to court.
      In a sense its a perverse form of “matriarchy” with the benefits making the mother the solid income earner and “partners” contributing here and there (often the “goodies” toys holidays, social life etc.) This is often why people on benefits appear wealthier in lifestyle than would be logical, supplementary income to the “pension” paid to the mother.
      Now of course these male “role models” may be a help but generally they are transient, either at the behest of the mother or because they find a better offer.
      From experience and a few stats(its one of those things the agencies prefer not to record) I think this is possibly actually more common than a truly lone mother completely alone.

      • James Chilton

        I know what you’re talking about, but I hadn’t heard of the cheating that’s going as the “gig economy”.

        A steady income from the state plus “cash in hand” from transient “partners” can make life more comfortable and prosperous for a poorly educated “single mum” than being married!

        • Groan

          I certainly don’t condone this but the truth is it is common, so much so as to be taken as a “norm” where I live. It is probably human to take the easiest roads in life and for parts of our society this pattern is simply the easiest means to secure a regular income. People who try the economically harder route are regarded as “mugs”. The very real paradox is if one chats to people about what they actually want ,actually what they want is the traditional family they saw a couple of generations ago! So if that were made the easier option rather than the hardest then maybe a more rapid change would ensue than people expect.
          I really do think affluent people totally underestimate the impact of what to them appear trivial amounts of money or income. And totally over estimate the value of work beyond it being a means to income.

          • Craig Martin

            “…The very real paradox is if one chats to people about what they actually
            want ,actually what they want is the traditional family they saw a
            couple of generations ago! So if that were made the easier option rather
            than the hardest then maybe a more rapid change would ensue than people
            expect…”

            Bingo.
            I just wonder if you know how accurate you really are!

          • Groan

            Well their have been some gracious comments. But for me the point is that the evidence (from all the lefty Unis and quangos etc) is so overwhelming that i’m pretty sure I’m accurate as it chimes with my experience. The problem is the obvious “solutions” are such an anathema to the people producing the evidence they daren’t propose them. And I suspect CW and other organs of Social Conservatism avoid all such left produced information. Yet it all all converges to a point where if social conservatism didn’t exist we’d have to invent it if ever we are to turn round a ship now constantly forcing itself further and further onto rocks it cannot bring itself to see.
            Many of the people I worked with were “challenging” hard going and some deserved punishment and all needed to take responsibility, but honestly the patterns repeated time and time again. We continuously create misery because we are unable to see.
            I’m hoping people such as Kathy will start to force policy makers to stop looking away.

  • Devonian_Prof

    Interesting that comments of this sort from Sir Paul Coleridge when on the Bench earned him a stinging rebuke and caused him to be eased out in 2013. Compare the sneers of Lady Hale on the same subject (see http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/jill-kirby-now-lady-hale-strikes-another-blow-whats-left-marriage/). Any objections? Of course not.

  • Colkitto03

    Anyone who doubts this should watch the present BBC drama ‘The Moorside’ about Shannon Matthews. If you did not know how these people lived you would think it far fetched.
    Seven kids by five men, and clearing £350.00 a week in benefits.
    To be fair at least two of the fathers had already removed their kids from the household.

    • Bik Byro

      She was so useless, at first she told police she had 6 kids – she’d completely forgotten about one of them.

      • Argurious

        It happens to the best of us. David Cameron once drove off and was several miles up the road before remembering he’d left his daughter Nancy behind in a pub.

        • Bik Byro

          To make matters worse, he whisked her away when she only needed a double sixteen to win the darts tournament.

    • Groan

      At the time the Mail I think published a “family .tree” illustrating the descent from the classic fifties “nuclear family” to the chaos three generations later. Its not a message modern society wants to hear but “staying together for the kids” is the key. I really do understand how hard that can be and how much we’d want to believe that leaving a strained or even very difficult relationship would be better for the children. But I’m afraid for all the individual stories the truth from 60 years of research is that almost any parental relationship together is better than anything else. Its a tough message I know. But it doesn’t stop it being true.

      • Colkitto03

        Absolutely
        The other big undealt with issue, is that abuse from unrelated men rockets in these households.

        • Groan

          Yes it does. Certainly from a child protection issue this is a major problem. And of course it is a major contributor to homelessness of young men. Its not a flattering statistic for men, and of course the majority are not abusive, but it is a big risk factor.

        • Partridge

          Studies have shown that children are abused as much by, if not more than, their mothers and other women than they are by fathers, step-fathers and other men. Of course we don’t hear about this from feminists and the media: it’s all ‘men bad, women good’, and ‘all men are potential rapists and paedophiles’..

          • Groan

            Its mothers for infants and young children then unrelated male partners for older children. In child protection parlance the presence of a father is actually a “protective factor”. Of course there are exceptions but the lowest risk is a child living with both biological parents. I could be outraged abut this as I was brought up in a single parent household, but that wouldn’t change the facts.

  • Charleston

    Interesting points Kathy. I’d love to hear how you’d put Ann’s suggestion into practice. I’m sure the statistics for children who have been through the care system show is a much better option for life outcomes than staying with an immoral mother. As many decent people are struggling with the cost of childcare these days I’m sure the church would have to be a big part of the mass adoption programme. They have such an excellent record on safe care for children

  • Timmy

    Single mothers raise single mothers and the cycle continues. But we all know woman, man, fish, bicycle.

    • El Black

      What utter rubbish! I married my husband, we were together 15 years, I had three children with him, was a doting wife and parent. It was not my fault he chose to cheat and then abandon us, I even suggested councilling in the hope of a reconciliation so I could preserve my nuclear family. But no, off he went (only to attempt to return but at that point I simply could not even consider it).
      So, ignorant Timmy, perhaps you could refrain from your generalising, at least in such a public manner.
      Women and men enhance each other’s lives when there is mutual respect, consideration and kindness. It is not a form of selfish feminism that causes the majority of women to find themselves single parents, because trust me, ignorant Timmy, it is a challenge emotionally, financially and physically. No one in their right mind would remove themselves (or someone else) from a loving and happy family home to prove that they are a ‘strong independent woman’.
      One day you will be taught this and you’ll have to swallow your judgements and eat your words. Try not to choke.

      • Timmy

        I prefer the term deplorable over ignorant. The truth is in the US, 70% of divorces are intiated by women.

        Yes, I learned the hard way, you are not the only person that has been cheated on.

        • Groan

          The point for public policy is not rally the individual case but the general rule. In one sense the Europeans may want to be shot of us because we are way in the lead on family breakdown and all the negative consequences. All of us individually have our tragedies but bad cases make bad law.

        • Tom B

          Power grab , secure the children , deny access , more money , state backing .

      • Jethro Asquith

        I think Timmy is referring to the chav-like types that have several kids with various fathers rather than the likes of you who did the right thing but for whom it did not work out. Stop being so touchy.

  • Jenny Wren
  • Tbird

    As a former, male single-parent of mid-80s vintage I recall the ridicule from female contemporaries when, after dropping my son off at nursery, I would say that I was off to look for work (the nursery position being conditional on actively seeking employment – not something that seemed to apply to females!). Fast forward thirty years+ and very little seems to have changed. A brand new block of Housing Association properties near me seems to be occupied exclusively by (very) young, single mothers and their offspring. At the same time, my son and his wife work all hours God sends to pay someone else’s mortgage (buy-to-let rental) to bring up their son with not a cat in Hell’s chance of ever being able to either afford their own home or obtain social housing. More power to your elbow – the Left must not be allowed to keep this off the public agenda any longer!

    • Groan

      Yes it is madness to make doing the “wrong thing” an easier option than the right thing. we can see its madness because we’ve created such a mess. Yet still we plough on.

  • eddie180

    Excellent article which gets to the unspeakable truth. the lefts hatred of the nuclear family, and the destruction they have wrought is what has brought us to this stage.

    Those that bring children into the world deliberately, with no prospect of providing for them, are guilty of neglect from the day the child is born.

  • suemary

    It has long been my contention both as a former teacher and as a mother (please don’t faint at my use of that sexist word) that our society abuses children on an industrial scale. I thought this an excellent article

    • Busy Mum

      Agree – I have shocked many adults who make a career out of pretending they care about my children as much as I do that the concept of ‘children’s rights’ will go down in history as the worst case of child abuse ever.

  • Terry Howard

    Easy poesy – pregnant single women should be forced to get married. Or did you have some other solution?

    Must say, it’s the first time I’ve heard “the left” blamed for pregnancy – does this mean if we all vote UKIP, I will no longer require to buy contraceptives?

    • ratcatcher11

      The free house the child support the Universal credit and child allowance, should not apply to single parents only widows and widowers. The rest can work for a living instead of living off the state/taxpayer.

      • Argurious

        Erm. Suppose, despite their best effort, no employer offers them a job? What then? Euthanasia?

        • chaswarnertoo

          Workhouse and compulsory contraception while they develop required skills?

          • Argurious

            I would love to see the Conservative party try to pull that one off in 21st century post-Brexit Britain. Especially with Mrs May, champion of the “just about managing”, currently Prime Minister. In fact the Labour party did set up work camps for unemployed men which produced not tangible good results but cost a lot of money to run, which is why they were disbanded.

            Workhouses? Compulsory contraception? Forced re-education? Seriously?

            It’s fascinating to see bilious views like this expressed semi-openly in public. Even the overpopulated Chinese, at the height of their one-child policy (which they abandoned in 2015) didn’t go that far. There but for a triple digit IQ and an fine education go I.

    • Groan

      No but the real choice in terms of resources etc. should not be hidden. Even in some “left leaning” European states with generally generous welfare they are far more direct in making benefits in the context of the individual’s responsibility. The truly catastrophic stats in this country are of a different order to some other similar industrial nations . just possibly we could learn something.

    • Little Black Censored

      If that is poesy, it’s not very good.

  • David

    Excellent article Kathy, which hits the nail on its head.
    Until marriage is once again recognised a most valuable social good for the benefit of all generations poverty, and many other social problems, will simply become worse.
    The right needs to learn to say it, as it is !

  • Lechuzha

    You don’t mention what women are supposed to do about fathers who simply leave, father who cheat, fathers who refuse to have anything to do with their children, fathers who tell anyone who’ll listen how much they love their kids but refuse to pay for them (because mothers are quite capable of earning a salary large enough to run a home, pay all bills and the thousands required in childcare, right?), men who suddenly go ‘self employed’ and fiddle their paperwork to claim poverty, men who are violent, men who threaten and stalk and break bones. It would all be so simple to claim these terrible women stole the sperm and legged it, desperate to become ‘wedded to the state’. It isn’t like that. It all starts with a fairytale. A marriage would not stop these men acting as they do.

    Yes, I appreciate there are plenty of anecdotes about womens’ poor behaviour also, while we’re trading in anecdotes, however, amongst friends, family, my sister, my mother, my grandmother, women I’ve worked with, the story has been one of black eyes, of reddened-eyes when the dearest, darling husband meets someone else and vanishes, with no more than a backwards glance at the child he’ll pepper over Instagram, #mylife #bestdad, and withhold cash when the child needs shoes, uniform, food, electricity and working-mum – zero hours? Two jobs? ‘Gig economy’? – has £900 a month to find for the childminder, because woe betide she ‘marries the state’.

    • Groan

      I agree. But either the US GB and Australia are incapable of better and other countries are simply far more moral or we are exacerbating things in some ways. Hardly a popular thing to suggest in the era of Brexit but our record on this is in a different order of disaster from similarly sized neighbours. Somehow if there isn’t a total solution there must be better. And I agree it is about men and women. Writing men out is part of the problem not a solution. And we know this because that’s what we’ve been doing.

    • paul parmenter

      Of those fathers who do disappear, I wonder if there are any statistics on how many did so because they were tricked into fatherhood against their will, or who suspected (or knew) that the child was not their own? I am not aware of any such statistics, although if we had them, it might help to point us towards why fathers (or “putative” fathers to be more precise) walk away. I cannot think of any good reason at all why any man would deliberately turn his back on children he wanted and whom he knew, or was confident, were his own.

      • Tom B

        You’ll always get the bad dads but go to any family court and see the lines of fathers applying for access and you’ll soon get to the main cause of fatherless children .

        • Under-the-weather

          How many of those are a percentage of the whole though?

      • Under-the-weather

        How many such fathers have relied on somebody else ‘taking the pill’ in a relationship with someone they hardly know, and have no real commitment with?
        Personal responsibility is on both sides.

        • Tom B

          Why would any woman take the risk of getting pregnant by someone she doesn’t know ? It’s her choice to get pregnant and her choice to keep the baby or not , the man has no say

          • Under-the-weather

            It’s an abuse of the system behind the idea of an entitlement to motherhood. If we only value ourselves in our capacity to reproduce, it means people see having babies as a means of boosting self esteem, rather than an opportunity to nurture a new and unique human being, to become the best they can be.

      • Lechuzha

        You know, I wonder if that’s a big cause of the kind of disconnect we see between the left and right – we’ve not experienced the other side. So, OK, couple friends of mine. One decided he was going to go live with his new partner, and although his daughter is his, and they were close, eventually he simply became distant. He cancelled visits. He claimed he didn’t know how to talk to a teenager. He asked if she really needed new uniform items every year. His new girlfriend calls the poor girl ugly and tells her she won’t be loved. The father does not protect his daughter from this. Another friend, two sons with physical disabilities, their father has walked away, and though he professes to all he knows how much he ‘loves his kids’, he cancels visits and admits ‘looking after them is too hard’.

        And plenty of good men, I agree with you, shake their heads and say “how can a father do that?” Plenty do. And the sad thing is that, well, they do. And what can we as a society do about that?

        How is a father tricked into fatherhood against his will? Does someone take his condoms away?

    • Tricia

      Marriage has always been the best state for women. If you have legal status as a spouse, you have recourse to settlement and maintenance for the children. If he leaves he has to pay what the settlement decided.
      Now that many women work it should be based on an equitable split and shared childcare.
      I was divorced in 1985 with 2 children as my husband had been unfaithful. I never received any Government help and paid full rates on the property. I worked part time and received maintenance for the children.
      Parents are responsible for their actions and their children, not the tax payer.

      • Tom B

        Well said

      • Lechuzha

        Absolutely true in theory. In practise, men convert their employment to self employed and, via their own company, pay themselves less than the minimum wage. Dividends aren’t counted, they can tick a box saying they’re on minimum wage, ergo, no maintenance. That’s the middle-class technique, anyway.

    • RingedPlover

      ‘Yes, I appreciate there are plenty of anecdotes about womens’ poor behaviour …’. Anecdotes? Invariably when I see a Girl with a Young Child in a Push Chair, the Girl is Glued to her ‘Phone. The Child is Ignored. And if Ignored when Out surely Ignored at Home. The Children suffer from Poverty of Companionship.

      • Tom B

        They see mothering as a job they should get paid for .

        • RingedPlover

          But with a Preference for a ‘Phone rather than their Child are they really Mothers?

      • Lechuzha

        Are we only talking about the poor here, or can we analyse middle and upper classes also?

        • RingedPlover

          Absolutely no idea: I’m talking about the ones I see locally.

    • JohnInCambridge

      Go back a few more generations and a woman remained under the protection of her father and brothers. If you got a woman pregnant you had to do the right thing and stick by her, more or less. So many babies have been thrown out with the bathwater in the name of defeating ‘patriarchy’. Fortunately a lot of people ignore successive attempts to destroy the traditional attitudes. They are called ‘socially conservative’ and IMHO they are the salt of the earth.

      • Tom B

        And the state is now the father & brother

      • Lechuzha

        Just to confirm – you prefer the days of women being property of ‘their father and brothers’?

    • Under-the-weather

      Why did those women choose such ‘potential’ fathers (lie, cheat etc) for their children in the first place?

      • Lechuzha

        Admittedly even as a lefty I remain baffled by the relationship choices of impoverished parts of the working class – and I’m from there – but I know smart, professional men who openly profess to believe all the ‘right’ things, planned for their children, had them, claimed they were ‘their life’ but then descended into weekend-only dads who cancel many of their visits and, if they do show up, habitually drop the children at grandparents to spend time with new girlfriends, socialising and other more ‘fun’ things. Distant fathering knows no class distinction.

    • ReefKnot

      You appear to despise men.

  • Little Black Censored

    What seems to be gone beyond recall is a generally shared moral principle brought about by centuries of Christian teaching, affecting even those who have not received the teaching itself. For the scorn now directed at such on opinion, see the Guardian passim. That is the background for the enormous increase in the rate of bastardy.

  • DAWWolds

    At last someone has the courage to point out the patently obvious!

  • Alan

    An excellent article which explains concisely and accurately both the problem and the (obvious) solution.

    I regret to say that the liberal lefties who infest our public services and our politics will not listen. Ever.

  • Tom B

    So they created the problem and then offered the solution , the CSA , apparently to hunt down absent fathers and make them pay , well not quite , only targeted working fathers who maintained relationships with their children aka soft targets . To this day a man can have 10 children by 10 different women and the CSA won’t touch him .

    • gildedtumbril

      Especially if he has 4 wives and is a member of a certain cult.

    • Thomas Katz

      DNA’ing everyone is the answer, then “hound” the right ones

      • Argurious

        Hounding the penniless is kind of pointless, old chap, since no money is recoverable from them.

        • Tom B

          Agreed but that wasn’t what we were told when they launched the CSA so they don’t actually do what they say on the tin

        • Thomas Katz

          Wrong, they probably get benefits, divert that, or take from their tax in the very rare case they’re working, take everything even their prison earnings, until it’s realised “fathering” and walking away is unacceptable, and that there are consequences.

          They same for the unsupported mothers, no more social housing and benefits, send them to Hostels, it will help other young girls realise it’s
          not a cushy taxpayer funded lifestyle.

          Never give in to apathy

          It’s not pointless, wasting the billions we do on undeserved welfare is though

          • Argurious

            My bet would be that any British government would consider your wish list above impossible based on simple cost-benefit analysis with savings made massively outstripped by the costs of such programmes. I would imagine that people with your… let me try to be civil and polite… somewhat harsh views shall we say still represent in a minority in the UK and the catalogue of casual cruelties you suggest would probably be much more damaging to the electoral success of any political party mooting them than not.

            I doubt that many Conservative MPs would support such regimes.

            Oddly, in 2015 in fact the Labour party of all things did include a policy to strip single mother’s of benefits unless they agreed to move into “Foyers”, i.e., dormitories, where they could be supervised, in its manifesto. This idea was widely criticised by the grand-high-meddler, Iain Duncan Smith, himself and by most Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory politicians as being as undeliverable for many reasons, not least a variety of moral ones.

            Of course if the country does go down the pan post-Brexit after failing to secure all manner of lucrative trade deals with other countries, never before enjoyed historically, anything could happen. It might well be that some government, at some time in the future, might stoop to scapegoating a frowned upon minority or two in order to divert attention from domestic tribulation and its own manifest political failure.

            Presently a return to witch ducking and burning remains unlikely.

            Although I wouldn’t be shocked if an article advocating such things for single parents appeared on this blog momentarily.

          • Thomas Katz

            I’m betting Brexit will be a success, the swamp will be drained, Halal and Kosher slaughter will become illegal and Liberal madness will be washed away in a flood of melting snowflakes.
            It seems we both have Dreams.

          • Argurious

            I hope you’re correct although, based on the numbers, it seems somewhat unlikely to me. I doubt that religious slaughter of animals, much I as might wish it, won’t be outlawed either since we will be looking to please the Muslim world particularly, as much as anybody else, in respect to securing trade and commerce for our small country outside the EU. (England being about the size of Idaho, one of the smallest US states.)

            Hopefully Britannia will avoid becoming a hooker for Uncle Sam.

            The die has been cast and the experiment begun.

            In fifty years the Brexiteers or Bremainers will be proven right or wrong.

          • gildedtumbril

            I like your dreams, Monsieur.

          • Under-the-weather

            There’s no reason why women should get pregnant other than through choice, teens who do that are their parents responsibility. 21 should be the age for adulthood, it’s the same age for a mature brain. There’s nothing more harsh than a government which has gone bust, and people who’ve relied totally on their existence, are the casualties. See Venezuala. The problem is of course there’s no effective opposition , all that can be produced are reasons for more spending.

          • suemary

            I am always astonished that in a country awash with methods of contraception we have so many abortions and so many children who seem ‘unwanted’ judged by the behaviour of the mother.

          • Tom B

            My point is that the welfare state wasn’t a result of mass abandonment by feckless fathers rather it was part of feminist manifesto , replace the dad with handouts then blame the men , ‘ the black family never survived welfare ‘ Thomas Sowell .

    • Argurious

      Trouble is that if a man has few or no assets the CSA couldn’t secure monies from him. Hence chasing naughty fellows impregnating scores of women on council estates and similar couldn’t be targeted because they had no means. Hence, by and large, it was mostly middle class men who ended up chased and caught since they were the ones best able to pay something towards costs associated with their offspring. Kind of funny really.

      • Tom B

        That’s right , it was never about supporting children just revenue collecting

  • Tom B

    Just a reminder to the ladies it was women and only women who were not happy with the traditional family arrangement that worked for centuries , men didnt and haven’t changed , women’s demands have and you’ll never be happy . Just saying .

    • ljb1967

      This is a vacuous comment IMO. Most women you will find in the UK in 2017 have no choice whether to work or not – it takes 2 incomes to pay a mortgage etc even for a modest house. The financial reality now means that we couldn’t go back to the golden days of being housewives and full time mothers even if we wanted to.

      • Tom B

        Agreed but that’s my point , two incomes are needed because women wanted to work and compete with men so now we have a 2 income economy , previously 1 income was enough , I’m not passing judgment just stating the obvious .

  • Alexis

    Male chauvinism and feminism are incompatible to marriage as is the concept that single parenthood is just another lifestyle choice. Prevailing political correctness and a desire not to hurt feelings has silenced warnings against walking out on a marriage. A marriage vow to love and to cherish for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health would at the very least concentrate the mind on the seriousness of the undertaking that is marriage. Having said that, I fully appreciate the tragedy and desolation when a life partnership breaks up because one partner wants out. If both care what happens to the other, there is a chance the errant partner will return in sorrow and ask for forgiveness.

  • Argurious

    Is state sponsored penury really be a good way to curb illegitimacy in twenty-first century Britain?

    Of course not.

    Illegitimacy abounded in this country before social security was even thought of; immense systemic poverty did not stop children from being born, although it did help millions of innocent babies get a chance to meet their maker much earlier than would have otherwise been the case. So what about a more radical and eugenic proposal along lines suggested by that queer old duck Professor David Marsland? Why not legislate to force all poor single women to have contraceptive devices fitted which they have to wear until they get married, or, at the very least, can prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that they have the means to guarantee motherhood would involve no reliance on state benefits?

    (Please don’t post comments agreeing with the foregoing; I’m am being satirical not serious.)

    I don’t believe that impoverishing single parents, who have children out of wedlock, would curb illegitimacy, only make completely innocent babies and children suffer, as was the case historically not so very long ago. I also cannot imagine how many poor single parents can return to work to support themselves, without state help, with minimum wages set so low and childcare charges so costly and expensive. When I give money to charities like Save the Children, it doesn’t occur to me to consider whether the children in need are deserving or not, born in wedlock or not, or anything about how they came to be: All I care to know to be encouraged to offer support is that somewhere a young helpless babe or child cries out for protection and assistance. I feel no differently towards children threatened with hardship or danger anywhere, whether born to single parents or not, living overseas, here in my homeland, or anywhere on earth.

    Poverty is the fault of society more than the individual in my view. It need not be. In a developed nation like the UK the persistence of child poverty should shame every one of us collectively rather than single parents facing very real difficulties individually.

    When Jesus said “suffer the little children” he wasn’t being literal you understand.

    • James Chilton

      There is cheap and reliable contraception available to virtually every woman in the land. Pregnancy can be avoided these days, at least until there’s the material resources and steady income required to look after children properly and independently of the state.

      • gildedtumbril

        More of your crepe. If folk waited until they can afford kiddiewinkies the human race would die out.

      • Argurious

        Roman Catholics are forbidden from using contraception as far as I know. I believe I am correct in saying that the Roman Church suggests abstinence and possibly coitus interruptus as the best ways not to be fruitful and multiply.

        • James Chilton

          I don’t think this discussion is concerned with what the Catholic church teaches. It’s about the number of women having children with no means of support except what the state provides. That number will include a very tiny fraction of women who believe that contraception is immoral. Mostly, it’s a matter of irresponsible behaviour in a secular society.

          • Argurious

            That is true of course. However as far as I know medical intervention and/or treatment depends, most times, on consent from the treated. I can’t see how anybody can therefore demand that anybody, male or female, must use contraception. On the bright side some girls and women who do become inadvertently pregnant may decide to have abortions giving pro-lifers who always seem to haunt Conservative blogs like this another target to point the accusatory finger at and attack vituperatively like Salem witch finders.

            Win-win.

    • gildedtumbril

      Jesus was probably being serious and thinking of catholic priests.

      • James Chilton

        I know it’s useless to correct your ignorance, but here is the relevant quotation from the KJV:

        Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. Matthew 19:14

        • gildedtumbril

          Monsieur chilton., my anachronistic jocularity was wasted on you. Kindly bugger orf.

          • Argurious

            I appreciated it, for what it’s worth.

          • gildedtumbril

            Bless you.

      • Argurious

        You can have no idea how disappointing it is for a confirmed atheist such as myself to find myself embodying Christian virtues and principles more perfectly than the authors of articles and posters on a site which claims to champion Conservative values. It is a sad day indeed when irreligious persons, such as myself, turn out to be much more enlightened, compassionate, forgiving, humane, loving and decent than people who consider themselves formally religious.

        Tragic really but then politics does trump religious principle and seldom prevent men and women of faith from committing cruel and dreadful acts.

        Consider Iain Duncan Smith!

        Q.E.D.

        • Simon Platt

          I thank God that I am not like other men.

        • gildedtumbril

          Argurious, at the age of 7 i formulated the hypothesis that all religions are just droppings. Cows’ droppings, goats, camels, pigs etc. and all promulgators of such are merely dung beetles. That would, of course, include The Archbishop of Candyfloss, and his apprentice the Archbishop of Yuk.
          Would you believe it a couple of weeks later, while in a furious Trooper swearing temper watching sticklebacks, while standing in a stream I met ‘God’?.After a short conversation I enquired as to which religion he belonged. “He replied,I believe the same as you”.’ I am an atheist’, said I.
          “It is the one true religion”, said he, and disappeared.
          Naturally I have yet to meet anyone in my long life who believes this, nevertheless it is true.

    • Under-the-weather

      1) Pregnancy can be avoided in 2017.
      Hormone pills, patches, multiple barriers all create effective contraception when used. Follow on with ‘morning after’ pill, and drugs able to abort within 3 months of conception, Why are they not used is really the question, an aspect of personal responsibility, not society as a whole continually being expected to step up to the plate.
      2) If pregnancy can be avoided in 2017, the only other real issues are the provision for children of broken relationships, when parents were ‘expected’ to stay together but don’t, or one spouse dies. The former scenario has a state sponsored and arguable onerous focus on fathers continuing to contribute to potentially multiple households, however enforcement is still there, it does exist. The latter also be needs to be approached in a slightly different way. The needs of widows/widowers shouldn’t dictate all policy

      It seems to me the only area where there is failure ‘in the system’, is in personal responsibility, and the hedonistic behaviour of choosing personal enjoyment and risk over any possible consequences. Maybe people who are choosing risky behaviour subconsciously do want to experience any negative fall out, – who are we to judge?

      “Poverty is the fault of society more than the individual in my view. It need not be. In a developed nation like the UK the persistence of child poverty should shame every one of us collectively rather than single parents facing very real difficulties individually”.

      Poverty in my view is more often than not a failure of an individual to make wise choices, which should support their own interests rather than somebody else’s, (e.g political influence, choosing the wrong career path, choosing inadequate or non existent birth control). That is really the only aspect where society is generally at fault, because it’s primarily promoting poor decision making and lack of personal responsibility that creates most problems.

      Yes there are a tiny percentage of people who are extremely retarded and need support, but they are a minority who again shouldn’t be dictating the general policy which affects everybody else.

      • Argurious

        Pretty much everything you say is incorrect: No one working a full week on the minimum wage can be self-supporting, let alone set money aside to support themselves in old age, or pay for their own health care unaided, or afford to raise a family based only on their low earnings. What you say might have been true when a low wage was enough to allow a man to rent a property, marry, start a family, and live modestly many years ago but that happy world no longer exists. In a society where working poverty now outstrips non-working poverty and casual insecure employment holds people back low to middle rank workers absolutely cannot these days live acceptable lives alone and unaided.

        Hence Universal Credit a Conservative idea I hasten to add.

        Sadly Universal Credit has proven to be a failure in practice. After six, nearly seven years, less than 6% of citizens which should have been in receipt of Universal Credit by May 2017 are getting the benefit. In areas where the “full digital service” has been rolled out chaos rules, with the very poorest and most desperate people plunged into debt and rent arrears systemically and unavoidably because of the rotten design of the benefit not because of overweening IT problems. It may well be that Universal Credit will have to be completely redesigned or even abandoned altogether: the project really is THAT bad.

        As time goes by and more and more people are affected the things I have written above will become undeniable and your views, which seem based on belief rather than unimpeachable fact, discounted by all but the delusional and dishonest.

        • Under-the-weather

          That’s incorrect. For example its possible to buy a home in Lancashire or Norfolk now for about £50,000 which is easily within the scope of a single £12000.00 salary.
          Split ownership homes are available and below market social housing. Who is taking the social housing is another question. The property bubble in the south east is a result of help to buy policy after the housing market implosion. Property was very cheap to buy then, and availability of homes to buy is also linked to availability of mortgages for multiple investment by business. What I was talking about was a couple working, and a couple are eligible or help to raise up to 2 children. So sorry, yes it is possible.

          Tax credits were introduced by Gordon Brown, (and which have distorted the Labour market), while Universal credit is a different thing entirely which hasn’t been completely rolled out yet.

          • Argurious

            That’s funny.

            Your solution to the housing crises apparently being that people in low paid jobs dotted around the country should move to a few desolate areas in the UK, where a small number of dirt cheap housing still exists, losing their low paid jobs in the process one assumes. Obviously there must be very good reasons why the housing you mention undesirable enough to be offered for purchase at such low cost: usually because the property is massively run down and barely fit/unfit for human habitation requiring costly refurbishment and improvement, and/or is located in inhospitable, quite possibly crime ridden, areas with next to no amenities like shops and schools and non-existent prospects of employment.

            Well, if nothing else, you have made me chuckle.

            But you do seem woefully informed.

            For example: Universal Credit, which is currently tanking everywhere rolled out fully, does consist of a single benefit subsuming six former so-called legacy benefits one of which is none other than the Working Tax Credit! Tax Credits are included in Universal Credit, by design, the only difference being that those who qualify to receive them get them as part of a lump sum payment rather than separately.

            You must have missed a rather cross Iain Duncan Smith berating his own government and insisting that the Tax Credit part of Universal Credit should be increased and the taper, i.e., the amount deducted from benefits based on earnings from part-time work, should be reduced. In fact the taper was made smaller recently by Chancellor Hammond, dropping from 65p in the pound to 63p in the pound – a whole three pence per pound as help to the lowest paid! Hopefully those benefiting from what Hammond called a “tax cut” won’t let this new found wealth go to their heads and encourage them to move to Lancashire or Norfolk with a view to becoming property magnates!

            Good luck to you anyway.

            You seem harmless and happy enough in your own world.

          • Under-the-weather

            I wasn’t suggesting what a solution should actually be, just stating the obvious.
            Low cost housing doesn’t mean it’s in a desolate area, it’s been the case for at least the last 50 years that outside the South East property prices are dramatically different compared to within, and nothing has changed. The East end of London used to be a `desolate` area.

    • gildedtumbril

      ‘Contraceptive devices fitted’, would that be Carbon Fibre/Kevlar chastity belts?

  • perdix

    The church of England has much to answer for. It never offers guidance in these situations.

    • Argurious

      The Roman Church is worse. They forbid the use of contraception to the faithful.

  • ” My conservative colleagues… Christopher Snowden…”

    Steady on Kathy, would this be the same Christopher Snowden who supports drug legalisation?

  • Prompt Critical

    The proper term is not “illegitimacy”. It is “bastardy”.

    • Argurious

      What is the proper term for “gay”? The Conservative MP Allan Duncan wants to know.

      • Prompt Critical

        “Male homosexual”.

        • Argurious

          That’s two words. Alan Duncan, a male homosexual who appreciates brevity, will be disappointed.

          • gildedtumbril

            Dear Oh dear, I believe you hint at the words queen or queer.(I am only semiliterate) Such nuances of colloquial vernacular are difficult for me to grasp.

  • gildedtumbril

    It is my considered opinion, after much deliberation that poverty in children and adults is primarily caused by a lack of money.
    For at least 60 years Britain has been an Outpatient Workhouse Society. Most folk do not comprehend this. It is because of slave wages.

    • Under-the-weather

      I don’t agree:

      1) Money is unlimited, there’s really no limitation on access to it, only self inflicted ‘ceilings’ and ‘barriers’
      2) Everybody starts out on low wages but has an opportunity to work themselves out of it, that is capitalism at work. The only people who can’t are stuck in a low IQ= poor job situation, but functioning as a couple, and with low tax payments, they can still accrue average wages, and it should be the function of charities to support people in that situation
      Whatever government does to try to resolve the idea that society should be equal, they create enormous distortions in the system, which make society ‘unequal’, because what they are doing is basically ‘against nature’.
      If you fail in the choices you make, first there should be an adequate security blanket for workers, but after that, mistakes are an individuals own to resolve and not society as a whole. The problem with the way society is evolving is that children are growing up and leaving the nest with an expectation that a ‘cocoon’ will continue to support them, because that is in effect what single parenting supported by the state is creating- continual reliance on the system.

  • Callumity

    It is also worth noting that the very definition of child poverty – living in a household income of 60% or less of the average wage – will predominantly comprise single income homes on welfare. Having witnessed absolute poverty in Nepal and elsewhere it strikes me the very definition is impoverished. It might meet the tick box needs of statisticians but it utterly fails to address poverty of experience, opportunity etc., otherwise enjoyed in stable two parent households – itself merely optimal but seldom perfect.

  • gildedtumbril

    It appears there is much sex about but little love. There is no way legislation can remedy the shortfall. Hells bells, I did not want to mention Bercow…(shortfall) Wake up at the back.

  • Maggie

    This ongoing lack of support for the traditional family has also resulted in large numbers of children being put into local care and thus made vulnerable to muslim grooming gangs.

    • gildedtumbril

      You fail to mention the paedophiles, perverts and pederasts in politics and the parasites in palaces.

  • Thomas Katz

    Sad reading, it seems we have completely devalued mothers.

  • Mhra Leander Pallat

    The foundation of all this is the so called women’s rights / her body her choice / woman needs a man like fish needs bicycle etc. feminazi outbreak and the white knights who support them hoping to impress them.

  • BillH

    From an anthropological perspective and still in the case of the majority of mankind who live in country’s with little or nothing in the way of welfare, children are vital to provide labour (on peasant farms for example) and as source of respite and security in old age. This has always been the case for humankind for most of its history.

    Welfare since the mid 20th century in the West has changed the balance and the sheer cost in emotional, physical and financial terms of having children can be done away with, hence the falling birth rates in the West and developed world and in the case of Japan or Germany the demographic elimination of entire populations. However , with certain welfare regimes the balance can then switch the other way and become perverse, incentivising Mothers to have children without fathers present. In fact there is an absolute financial penalty in many low income cases to involve a biological father. Hence the state of affairs we have now.

    • gildedtumbril

      In that case it appears we are ‘screwed’.

  • Blowmedown

    It is not just in Western countries that the welfare state contributes to this problem, the UN has funded unlimited child production in poorer countries by linking the amount paid to the number of children in the family for generations. Why wouldn’t those least able to afford to sustain themselves and their families have more offspring when this is the only route to relative wealth?

  • ColTPride

    “David Cameron ducked the issue” . . . .in so many areas.