Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Good And Bad News ....

For Guardianistas and other liberal types.

The good news is that Harriet Harman's review of child murder convictions makes it likely that Home Office murder figures will have to be revised downwards. One in the eye for those moral panic merchants who think murder has been going up !

The bad news is that this may destroy the famous claim that 'most child murders are committed in the family'.

But don't worry. As far as academics are concerned, 'the family' means whoever's shacked up with mummy at the time. I quote "Focusing solely upon children killed by men in the family reveals that the greatest risk is from stepfathers who are cohabiting with the child’s mother (34%), followed by birth fathers who cohabit with the birth mother (29%)."

Norman Dennis puts it better then I can:

"Confusion between, on the one hand, ‘families’ as any sexual or childrearing arrangement and, on the other, the institutional married family, is nowadays so complete, and hostility to the institutional family so widespread in the political, academic, and media community, that—an intellectual disgrace—‘child abuse’, which proportionately predominates in the non-married ‘setting’, is one of the sticks with which the married family is then beaten.

Jasmine Beckford’s father was not married to her mother, and Jasmine was born when her mother was cohabiting with a man who was not her father. Jasmine’s setting at the time of her death was with her mother who was living with another man who was not Jasmine’s father. Tyra Henry’s father was not married to her mother. Her unmarried father and mother were ‘probably mainly cohabiting’ at the time of Tyra’s death. Kimberley Carlile’s parents were married when she was born. Her setting at the time of her death was with her mother who was cohabiting with a man who was not Kimberley’s father.

So Beatrix Campbell, the famed author and socialist, who is frequently called upon by television, the radio and the press to comment on family matters, writes of these three cases: ‘The ghosts of dead children—Jasmine Beckford, Tyra Henry and Kimberly Carlile, all destroyed by their fathers—smiled from the newspapers … these children died within the family, the institution sanctified by Thatcherism.’"