Tom Harris' Damascene conversion to an awareness of the dangers of Welfarism is a welcome one, and earns him plenty of column inches in this morning's Mail. The exponential rise in in the number of children growing up without their biological fathers since the late 1970s has not only damaged the lives of many of those children themselves and their parents, but the lives of us all.
Bastardy brings with it many burdens; many carry them well, and go on to live full, productive and useful lives. An increasingly significant number don't. Each day when I open the paper to read of yet another young man convicted of murder, or rape, or robbery here in London, and read down the column to see that so many of them grew up with no father.
I'd be fascinated to know what percentage of our prison population grew up without their biological father, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the answer was the majority of them. Bastardy doesn't only endanger us all, we also pay through the nose for it, in welfare payments, in costs to the criminal justice system, in social work and special educational support, in health service costs and for policing them.
As knife thug Karl Bishop begins a long prison term for his murder of Harry Potter actor Robert Knox, he himself blamed his absent father for his descent into hopeless crime and randon violence. If his wretched mother had kept her legs closed twenty three years ago the world would have been a better place.