One of the reasons that Morag came into existence in the first place was in an effort to find an environment in which it was possible to say whatever she felt on whichever topic she chose. Do not be fooled we may not always have to pay for it but in modern day Britain our speech is not always free.
There are two topics in today’s climate that are no-go conversational areas under any circumstances: one is the importance of marriage; the other is why it is better for children to be born into a two parent family unit.
Feel free to put forth thoughts on everything about family structures from ‘Why little Johnny has two Mummies’, to ‘Having a child on your own, the brave woman’s choice’. But have the temerity to say ‘Well actually that might not be the best idea……………..’ on any of these subjects and there will be a voice whispering down the microphone in your ear, or a radio presenter waving frantically ‘no don’t go there’. If you’re trying to do it in print you will often be told, ‘I’m sorry but this will offend our readers’ or ‘thank you very much but we were unable to use the piece after all’.
Stand up and be counted as one of the few who is willing to say ‘Marriage is a good thing no matter what the stats say’. ‘Children tend to function better in a stable environment with two parents present’. You will look around and find you are pretty much standing alone.
What has happened to our society when standing up for what one believes in has become a badge of disgrace? When saying ‘listen we may not like to hear it but this is what is best for our children’ became something one didn’t do. When did we become so afraid of not ‘hurting people’s feelings’ or ‘stepping on anyone’s toes’ that we kept our mouths shut while all else around us failed?
So today we stand up and be counted. We make it known that as a party we believe that couples should be married, ‘how quaint’, and that it is better for our children. ‘Not true’ will be heard at dinner parties from one end of Islington to the other. Well marriage is not quaint – it’s hard bloody work. And just about every report on the subject will tell you that yes it is better for your children if there is a Mummy and a Daddy who store their shoes peacefully in the same bedroom.
BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT —– WE MUST BE CAREFUL!!!! We must be very, very careful how we approach this octopus of an issue. On one hand we have a deep-rooted belief in the sanctity of marriage. We believe that marriage is the bedrock of society. We believe that people need to know that ‘marriage is for a lifetime not just for a Saturday in June’. We need to do what we can, when we can to reintroduce the idea of marriage as the way forward and in general ‘a good thing’.
However we also need to be realistic and look at the figures. The divorce rate in this country is now heading towards the 50% mark. And this is where the octopus issue comes into play.
We must campaign for marriage but we must be very, very careful not to campaign against mothers on their own.
Yes we should stand tall and be counted and say loudly that we do not believe in women going out and making a conscious decision to have a child on their own because ‘I just want one that’s why’.
But we must also be very, very careful that we don’t ostracize or penalize any further people who by the choice of the other half of their ‘til death us do part’ decided to go walkabout. I hate the thought that through a decision made by someone other than me, that my son and I now be shunted into some sort of oddbin. Destined to be regarded as second-class citizens and him destined for a life of crime and social exclusion.
He isn’t. Not as long as I am his mother and his father makes the effort that he does. My job is difficult enough without being told I won’t succeed because his father occupies a different postcode. That wasn’t my choice and don’t slap me for it life has slapped me enough.
Yes by all means champion the cause of marriage – tell me where to sign up. Despite everything that has happened I would be the first one to say ‘I do’ to the right chap. There is no institution finer than that of marriage.
But at the same time let us also stand up and loudly say we also need to show people how to do well by their children if the ‘I do’ becomes I don’t.
Don’t let Labor beat us on this one if we ignore the facts we’ll end up slapping Mummy and she just doesn’t deserve it.