Ed Balls is either a very stupid man or one blinded by ideology to the evidence of the effects of family background on children. The evidence that children who grow up without their biological fathers are not only likely to be damaged but likely to damage others is overwhelming. For the sake of balanced, healthy, achieving children and for the sake of society as a whole we should be doing everything we can to promote stable families that retain both biological parents, and marriage is the best mechanism for formalising those bonds. What doesn't Balls understand?
Somewhere in the Sundays over the weekend was a story that surfaces from time to time, of the desire for an equalities counter-reformation. All the things that should have liberated women into a new equal world - the pill, employment rights, the outlawing of taste discrimination - have actually left women worse off, the piece stated, and for every ladette happy to fight their way up the career ladder there was a potential housewife happy to care for home and children, but the latter lifestyle choice had become increasingly difficult.
And of course our tax and benefits system must support not just the best evidential relationship structure for our children, but the most moral also - for without a common morality our laws, our social structure, our respect for the rights of others are nought but dross.
The next government will still have to deal with the underclass, with the street cohort of violent, illiterate young men dealing drugs and murdering each other for the pettiest of reasons, young men whose life expectancy doesn't stretch much beyond their forties, and half of that spent in prisons, care homes or young offenders institutions. These street rats are Ed Balls' bastards; they are the product of Labour's 'any lifestyle choice is good' policy that eschewed fatherhood for State co-parenting. And Balls, like all men who get bastards and flee, will leave it to everyone else to pay to solve his problem.