Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fornicating Frontman

The cultural dominoes are tumbling. Nick Clegg was AFAIK the first openly Godless party leader in British history - and, while not the first politician to notch the bedpost, the first to share his score with the electorate.

Now Ed Miliband is (AFAIK) the first party leader to be openly cohabiting and the first to be openly producing children whose parents aren't married.

The Guardian are outraged that the Mail has pointed this out - after all, aren't all family structures equally valid ? (having lived communally for more than 40 years, he is survived by seven children)

Laban into the breach :

Why is that anyone's business?

Because the personal is political. The Miliband/Thorntons are stating that "they don't need no piece of paper from the City Hall".

A view which is perhaps defensible when Daddy was born into our ruling class and Mummy is a highly-paid lawyer. But for Mr and (especially) Ms Average that view's a disaster.

Remember the UNICEF report a few years back ?

"The UK is bottom of the league of 21 economically advanced countries according to a "report card"' put together by Unicef on the wellbeing of children and adolescents, trailing the United States which comes second to last."

Did you know that one of the indicators of child well-being used in that report was whether a child lived with both biological parents ?

"The use of data on the proportion of children living in single-parent families and stepfamilies as an indicator of wellbeing may seem unfair and insensitive. Plenty of children in two-parent families are damaged by their parents relationships; plenty of children in single-parent and stepfamilies are growing up secure and happy. Nor can the terms 'single-parent families' and 'stepfamilies' do justice to the many different kinds of family unit that have become common in recent decades. But at the statistical level there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families and stepfamilies with greater risk to well-being – including a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, of poorer health, of low skills, and of low pay. Furthermore such risks appear to persist even when the substantial effect of increased poverty levels in single-parent and stepfamilies have been taken into account (although it might be noted that the research establishing these links has largely been conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom and it is not certain that the same patterns prevail across the OECD)."

And what's one of the key producers of one-parent families ? Cohabiting partnerships a la Miliband.

# Cohabitation is one of the main routes into lone parenthood. Between 15% and 25% of all lone-parent families are created through the break-up of cohabitating unions.

# Children born into married unions are estimated to be twice as likely as those born into cohabiting unions to spend their entire childhood with both natural parents (70% versus 36%)

So there. The new Labour leader is setting a dreadful example - albeit one that's being followed by an ever-increasing number of his countrymen.

You could of course produce the beautifully circular argument, as the Institute of Fiscal Studies did a while back, that while it's true that cohabitees are more likely to split up, maybe they are just the sort of people who are more likely to split up. An unanswerable assertion.

"it is true that cohabiting parents are more likely to split up than married ones"

"it seems simply that different sorts of people choose to get married and have children, rather than to have children as a cohabiting couple, and that those relationships with the best prospects of lasting are the ones that are most likely to lead to marriage. "

So a/c/t the IFS, maybe cohabitees just aren't that serious about their children's welfare....


Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mark said...

The thing I find amusing in the "It's just a piece of paper" and "we don't need it to be committed" argument is that the couple almost always act as if they were indifferent to marriage - i.e. that they don't care one way or the other whether they are married or not. Whereas in reality one or other of them actively doesn't want to get married. If they were truly indifferent they would be prepared to just toss a coin and run with the result. Of course the're not.

Anonymous said...

Good point Mark.

I've used a form of this argument re immigration a number of times now.

Generic Liberal: I dont care what race the population is, black, brown, or green with purple spots!

Me: Fine. Because, as of tomorrow we are instituting a whites only immigration policy, followed up with a well funded repatriation scheme. What do you say to that, no complaints I hope? Of course not. Because, in your own words: I dont care what race the population is.

You know what, I think they must agree, because Ive never yet had any of them come back at me after that sort of exchange.

Laban said...

Nancy - if you want me to link to your Uncensored Israeli News site (no idea what it's like btw), why not ask instead of spamming me ?

Interested said...

Mark - the flaw in your coin-tossing argument is that marriage costs more than unmarriage, both in terms of the set-up costs (whether you go for just the register office job or the full white wedding with Rolls and cake) and in tax etc afterwards.

I speak, mind you, as a married man who believes in marriage.

The really naughty kids at my children's school tend to be the progeny of single (usually divorced - it's a middle class school) mothers.

I accept that all kids, mine included, are naughty some times, but I'm talking gleefully stamping on beetles, pulling wings off flies, getting the boy with disabilities to drink from the toilet and telling the new Irish girl that she's fat, ugly and weird.

Recently an avowedly leftist acquaintance of mine was abandoned with her two daughters, after 14 years of 'partnership', by the Eton-educated and naturally leftwing Times journalist who fathered them.

This was bittersweet for me; on the one hand, I enjoyed the anguish and misery she is now suffering, as she's been happy enough for many years to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to the misery of others in the same position, a position made easier to find oneself in by her ideology;
on the other hand, her poor daughters are going through hell.

These people have so much to answer for.

Ross said...

"Nick Clegg was AFAIK the first openly Godless party leader in British history "

Wasn't Neil Kinnock an open atheist?