Thursday, 5 March 2009

Tom Harris, teenage mums and the death of a young actor

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.


Blue Eyes said...

I think it's interesting that Mr Harris took the "moral" line in that he said that it is not fair that others who do work should pay for those who choose not to. That is telling. When righties say the same thing they are branded as nasty or worse.

What a shame the Frank Field faction have been dormant until it's too late for them to change Gordon's mind.

12 years wasted.

Olly Keeling said...

I do think all this social engineering has a lot to answer for. By removing the stigma associated with being a single parent there is little dis-incentive from doing it.

If people were publically chastised and shunned for acts not accepted by the general public rather than sympathised with, I suspect we'd have far fewer social problems today.

Matthew Cain said...

But that's not what Harris was arguing was it? I thought his problem was not with the number of parents but their age? Either way, it was ill considered:

formertory said...

I wonder if the problem isn't "just" an absentee and uncaring father, but the effect of an absentee and uncaring father combined with the effect of one or more semi-feral "stepfathers". I found being a stepfather very, very difficult at times - more so than being a father. It's certainly a bloody sight harder to remember sometimes who's supposed to be the grown-up in the relationship. If you're one of those stepfathers, and your principal motivation for being there is a roof over your head and sex when you want it, then a child who's not yours and yet has emotional and intellectual needs isn't going to on the receiving end of anything good.

To have no father setting limits and acceptable norms, combined with sundry casual stepfathers setting examples of poor-to-appalling behaviour, must be capable of subverting the most intelligent, loving child.

With children as benefit-tickets, they're a utility, not a blessing. Utilities by definition get taken for granted and tuned out of daily life.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

"I'd be fascinated to know what percentage of our prison population grew up without their biological father"

Absent fathers are no doubt a bad thing but one of the prime indicators of a young man likely to end up in prison is for him to have a father who preceded him there.