The family test, whereby all domestic policy must be assessed for its impact on families, is – for want of a more technical phrase – a load of baloney.
It is garbage; in fact it is worse than garbage because it cements the view held by this Government that mothers are losers. Motherhood is such a worthless vocation in fact that in this document it is mentioned a grand total of zero times.
My word search on ‘The Family Test: Guidance for Government Departments’, issued by the Department of Work and Pensions, tells me that ‘mother’ and ‘motherhood’ is “not found.” I’ll say.
This document is written in the kind of gender-neutral language that would make our feminist overlord Harriet Harman proud. It sets out a list of “relationships at the heart of family life (my emphasis).” It is not exhaustive but the relationships listed are:
- Couple relationships (including same-sex couples) including marriage, civil partnerships, co-habitation and those living apart, together;
- Relationships in lone parent families, including relations between the parent and children with a non-resident parent, and with extended family;
- Parent and step-parent to child relationships;
- Relationships with foster children, and adopted children;
- Sibling relationships;
- Children’s relationship with their grandparents;
- Kinship carers;
- Extended families, particularly where they are playing a role in raising children or caring for older or disabled family members.
Just in case we are in any doubt now people, remember same sex-couples can form couple relationships. We know this DWP and really it does not need to be mentioned as marriage follows thereafter, and as gay marriage is now included in the definition of marriage (high-fives all around) it is not necessary to specify same-sex couples.
That is, it is not necessary unless you want to reassure everyone of your right-on credentials, in which case it must be mentioned at every single passing opportunity.
Anyway, more important, is the glaring, obvious admission, of the relationship between mother and child. But then neither is husband and wife, because that is gender specific and we need gender-neutral language. I mean husband and wife?! Let’s just expunge all mention of those roles from public records. Next in the firing line are mothers.
So relationships with foster children and adopted children get explicit mention. Sibling relationships get explicit mention, but mothers? Never I say! Never – who do you think we are – conservatives? So the centrality of the mother-child relationship in human development is ignored.
The document even says the following, “we know that pregnancy and the birth of a child can put tremendous pressure on individuals, couples and families, but that high quality pre- and post-natal care can play an important role in supporting new parents.”
The civil servants even use gender-neutral language when discussing pregnancy. Pre-natal and post-natal care is given to mothers – MOTHERS you dimwits. Have you ever heard of a pre-natal exam being carried out on a father? Well, have you?
Mothers are the ones with the ‘natal’ – not anyone else. Why is it so hard to say the word mother? Were you not breastfed as child, is that it? Do you need a hug now? Please tell us civil servant, what is your problem with mothers?
Most people from life experience know and believe that mothers are at the heart of family life (be they caring at home or working outside it). They keep the engine going. They feed us and clothe us and you know – keep everyone alive. But in DWP-land mothers have somehow magically disappeared to the extent that they are not even worth a mention. This is pretty much the most horrifying version of Newspeak made reality.
So there we have it. In case there was any doubt whatsoever of this Government’s views of mothers and motherhood we know they are now the great unmentionable. To the Conservatives, motherhood is a dirty word.