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Kathy Gyngell: How the Left have stolen the foundations of life from children


Clearing up the mess the Left left: that really should have been the title of the Sunday Morning Live (45 minutes in) discussion I was invited to take part in last weekend.

One of my co-editor’s many skills is to turn a phrase and nail a point. Laura did it again discussing it with me afterwards.

But of course they didn’t promote it that way. Their ‘peg’ was the Department for Education’s decision to give Britain’s anxious teens – victims of the internet, the social media, pushy parents and exams – resilience training, coping strategies and self esteem-raising lessons. Or so to instruct schools to add to their already overcrowded PHSE extra-curricular curriculum. What was not to like? The young sage from The Self Esteem Team on the sofa with me, smilingly encouraged by presenter Sean Fletcher, was all for it and all for making kids ‘feel good about themselves’.

The idea that we might reason the need did not occur to the programme’s producers. To them, teen stress or anxiety was inevitable, a modern given with no other cause.

So I suspect it was in the name of the BBC’s residual sense of ‘balance’ (and a bit of fun setting up a rep of the old-fashioned Right) that I was encouraged to trash what they hoped I’d cast as a soppy and teacher time-wasting initiative, and tell the kids to toughen up and get on with it.

Such an approach to troubled teens may not be without merit, I grant, but it had the demerit of setting me up to be knocked down. I did not oblige. Even more importantly, it dodged the real issue.

The issue being that, uniquely, today’s teens can’t face any adversity. Not there are not pressures – there are – but snowflakes they are. They are not equipped to face adversity and why they can’t is really very simple. Their foundation in life has been stolen by the Left. A good foundation in life equals a strong (by definition married) family with a mum and a dad, ideally with mum at home at least when the kids are young, together providing love and security, setting the boundaries and passing on some solid Christian morals and values. That’s what give young people strength to traverse the minefield of life.

This is the family norm that, from the day  ‘moral’ was made a dirty word (I remember being reprimanded for using it at university), Leftist ideology has all but destroyed, the ideology that the rest of society, led by our culpable political classes, has surrendered to.

What is shocking now is how little they seem to care about the result – about the havoc wreaked on society by the wrecking ball they’ve sent through the family. Who amongst our politicians apparently really cares at all that half of all babies are now born outside marriage (in 1950 it was just one in ten)? Do they care that by the age of two, one in four infants are not living with both natural parents, or that by the age of 16 this figure has risen to 50 per cent? Do they care that the subsequent effect of this breakdown and instability on children’s mental health is as bad as poverty?

Give me the name of one.

It’s not just Harriet Harman I am aiming my fire at. I have not noted one Conservative woman MP express concern that 3million children, nearly a quarter of the total number, now live in (2million) lone parent-headed families – in which the mums are statistically far more likely to be depressed – let alone taking to a soapbox to say that this is no way to bring up the next generation. They are too busy delivering the usual platitudes that single mums are good mums, so worried are they about causing offence. Whether they are or not is not the point. Their childrens’ outcomes are poor.

Is it really surprising, after years of discrimination against marriage in the tax and benefits system, and even worse discrimination against single-earner married families, to which all politicians have ceded, that UK has the highest rate of family instability in the developed world? The Left, of course, continue to cast the plight of lone parent families and the poor outcomes for their children in terms of poverty and inequality, never on their own promotion of this socially or economically unviable ‘family form’.

Politicians of all colours remain determinedly blind to the harm caused by quite deliberately feminist-driven anti-family policies that have proved most destructive for the poorest and least able, and for those with fewest resources to cope and most in need of reliable family structures.

Marry the mothers to the State, kick the kids into childcare and send the dads to hell in a handcart. Let’s have more small children soiling and wetting themselves in their first year at school.

Welcome to the carnage.

Witness now an adolescent mental health problem reaching crisis point, a 30,000-long and growing waiting list for adolescent mental health services, and 25,000 young drug and alcohol addicts in so-called treatment – a number which may be just the tip of the iceberg. Witness teen suicide at an all-time high and self-harm statistics that bely any idea that it was ever thus for teens.

No, UK children were not always the unhappiest in the world. But they are now, as Sunday Morning Live confirms, revealing that one in four believe they won’t amount to much.

Do the Left care? No matter, they can send in a cute ‘self esteem’ pop star team (who of course are better placed than the kids’ own parents to help them) to make lonely schoolchildren feel even more inadequate because they aren’t supercool them.

What did anyone really expect to happen?

That teens left in a moral and social vacuum, beset by daft and empty equality and diversity dictums, pretty much allowed to do what they want by  parents who spend less and less time with them (no boundaries is a frightening thing), would confidently make sensible and ‘informed’ choices about their behaviour and lives? On what basis? Google, Facebook or the advice of a self esteem team and friends who are equally at sea?

If children hadn’t been sacrificed on the altar of the Left’s selfish family-wrecking polices, these young people would not be so out on a limb, or so at the mercy of their peer group and long school days, lacking the sanctuary of warm and stable homes; nor would schools always be dumped on and forever mopping up the mess that Leftist thinking has landed on them.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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