Monday, 15 September 2008

1979 was a watershed year

The number of murdered teens in London continues to rise inexorably. This year it's 26 and counting - and set to pass 30 by the time 2009 comes in. The Times reminds us of the recent totals:

2003 - 15
2004 - 16
2005 - 16
2006 - 17
2007 - 26
2008 - 26 and rising

The true hockey-stick graph isn't climate change - it's British bastardy. Bastardy rose sharply from 1979, and it's the bastards born during that Conservative administration that are now wielding their knives on London's streets. Since the graph has continued its steep climb over the past eleven years, don't expect any fall in these teenage murder figures over the next twenty years.


Nick Drew said...

don't disagree, but as an additional detail may I assure you the fault lies in turn with the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977, which first gave the right to unmarried mothers (inter alia) to a Council property

(writing as the ex-Chairman of Housing of a very large borough - I know that of which I speak)

so it can be pinned on Labour ! well, actually of course, on the 'permissive society' as a whole - probably Woy Jenkins if we want someone to stick pins in

But then again, so pervasive was this mentality that Thatcher never repealed the '77 Act. Its baleful consequences had become evident, nay unmistakable, by around 1981-82. Since, after the 'Falklands' local council elections of 1982, it was largely Town Hall Tories in charge at the sharp end of this - even in many inner-city boroughs - there was no shortage of anguished representations to Govt on this one. But Thatch was not up for changing it.

Raedwald said...

Thanks Nick - you're absolutely right, of course. Both social housing and benefits incentives have catalysed and fuelled the growth of bastardy, and we're all now paying the price.

In an age of universally available contraception, including the morning-after pill, having an illegitimate child is very much a rational decision made in very many cases because it offers economic advantage to the mother. The negative externalities impact on the rest of us.

Newmania said...

"Bastard" is a cruel term to apply to a person who is clearly not to blame for decisions made by their parents don't you think.
The vast majority, after all, do not commit crime and realistically the sort of social fundamentalism you seem to be suggesting is not going to happen.. I certainly support marriage and definitely see the problems we have caused with fatherless wastelands of benefits collection the language is a bit troubling though

Anonymous said...

"bastard" is fine with me.


Kinderling said...

"Fatherless" is the word. Bastard is the bitch-man, the product of being filled only with his mother's resentful nature.

Those men who do remain and stand to give their identity to their sons and daughters, no matter how driven-away by the mothers, they will father-their-children-to-consciousness. Labour has no use for such offspring. Labour first gave these "bitches" (a better word), the breeding homes, now they give them the power to cast suspicion upon these few good men. Behind their backs to have them searched for being a paedophile (that extension of hetero and homo diversity promoted so perniciously by this government) and when found not guilty, the taint of suspicion still remains upon them, by gossip or rumour, so their affection and example cannot guide when it is most needed.

Maybe "Communist" is the right word: to destroy the family, abandon the child to the state, to produce the rudderless Citizen, dead, but won't lie down.

mutleythedog said...


Bastard ! You said bastard!

Raedwald said...

Mr N -

Yes, bastard is a cruel word. The majority of illegitimate citizens don't become knife killers. Yet bastard remains the right term; courts were still making Bastardy Orders up until at least 1959; liberal academics continue to use the term 'bastardy' in the titles of their research on births outside marriage, and the colloquial use of bastard to describe rough files and rasps, or rough and uncaring persons, probably has a derivation in the characteristics more common amongst those growing up without a biological father.

So though conscious of the offence I may cause to a few, I think bastard is too valuable a word to fall in desuetude.

Bessie said...

Hmm. I’m an adopted bastard, and so is my husband -- though our children are legitimate. I’m not offended by your use of the word, but I am in the mood to nitpick.

I’m inclined to agree that society has been harmed by the availability of council flats to young, single pregnant women, who would otherwise have had to (a) give up their baby to a grateful childless couple, or (b) live at home with their (presumably disapproving) parents. Both options would have given the baby a more stable home life, and both would have given the young mother a fairly good deterrent to getting up the duff again.

So is it illegitimacy per se that harms society? Or is it that we no longer favour the older alternative forms of parenting, namely adoption and extended-family parenting?

Raedwald said...

Bessie -

No, illegitimacy per se doesn't cause any damage. What causes damage is kids growing up without their biological fathers - Civitas details the horrendous evidence that condemns many to awful lives. However, the figures for cohabiting couples who have a child suggest that many relationships collapse pretty quickly, so children born within marriage tend to be in stable families and have the fewest problems.

Although adopted kids can have more problems than those with their biological parents, having both a mother and father figure about limits the damage.

So blaming it on bastardy as such is strictly not correct - but it's shorthand. The phrase 'children who grow up without their biological fathers' doesn't flow that well, blog-wise.