Feminism Dr Katherine Rake
Last updated at 10:48 PM on 30th November 2009
How depressing and predictable it was to read that Dr Katherine Rake, the new chief executive of the Family And Parenting Institute, is warning against the 'trap' of attempting to preserve traditional family structures through Government initiatives.
Rising divorce rates, fewer marriages and the growth of civil partnerships, she said, meant that the traditional family model is no longer the 'norm' - and government efforts to rescue the family are therefore 'futile'.
Quite apart from the fact that there has been absolutely no sign of this Government doing anything to support the family - on the contrary, it has positively encouraged single motherhood through welfare benefits and an assured place for single mothers at the front of the council house queue - Dr Rake's argument is as wrong-headed as it is defeatist.
Dr Rake talks of how, in the case of family break-up or growing work pressures, children will be raised by relations such as aunts and uncles and grandparents
What survey after survey has shown - and what any parent with an ounce of
common sense has known for a long time - is that children who live with both
parents do better at school, are less likely to get involved in crime, and are
more likely to go on to have a stable family life themselves.
All these are irrefutable facts. Yet the likes of Dr Rake nevertheless appear
determined that the needs of children take second place to some ideologically
inspired agenda to destroy the family, an institution that has been society's
bedrock for hundreds of years.
What do children want most of all? They want love, and they want stability. Uncertainty is the one thing that children find very hard to deal with. Children need a mother, and a father.
They need to feel protected and part of a family unit. That is how children
thrive. Children do best in a situation where there is a long-term, stable
relationship. They need the chance of a good life.
And the best chance of that, without any doubt at all, is within the loving
embrace of a two-parent family. Hang on, Dr Rake and her fellow 'progressives'
What about all those loving relationships with happy children - partnerships which have not been formalised by anything so hidebound and tediously traditional as marriage?
Of course marriage and the traditional family structure are no prerequisites
for a child's happiness. But the statistics show beyond doubt that it is more
likely to result in a child's happiness and eventual success than some undefined
partnership between parents.
The ubiquitous use of the word 'partner' today covers a multitude of sins. It
is one thing for members of the liberal establishment to talk about their
'partners', as this usually implies a long standing relationship.
But 'partner' has become a blanket term for someone met in the pub, for a
one-night stand, for someone who fathered a child and moved on. No distinction
is made between a brief fling or a lifetime relationship.
What message does that send to the children? The words that they want to
hear, need to hear, are 'husband' and 'wife'.
The word 'partner' condones relationships in which there is no framework
other than pure impulse and self-gratification. It can provide a most chaotic
and selfish environment in which to bring up a child. According to Dr Rake the
dissolution of the nuclear family is no cause for concern.
'Rather than fragment, families will evolve to cope with the changes,' she
Dr Rake talks of how, in the case of family break-up or growing work
pressures, children will be raised by relations such as aunts and uncles and
grandparents. And this involvement of the extended family can only be admirable.
But, surely, relations are no substitute for a child's parents. Perhaps the
most insidious aspect of Dr Rake's argument is that it will encourage the role
of the benefits system in the destruction of the family.
Where families are concerned, the welfare state seems to be based on a
feminist notion that women should not be dependent on men. So, no matter how
many children the woman may have, with however many partners, the State will
The consequences for the children have been devastating. Has Dr Rake spent
time in any of the sink estates?
Has she seen the feral children, with no father figure, with no sense of
family or belonging, roaming the streets looking for someone to hurt who is
below them in the food chain? And has she, I wonder, read something that Iain
Duncan Smith wrote: 'The growth in broken families has been mirrored by the huge
increase in the number of children considered to be at risk.'
I did not attend a recent talk on sex education at my daughter's secondary
school, because I had already taken the decision to remove her from the class.
One appalled mother of a 12-year-old girl who did attend explained to me what
form the classes would take.
First, all the children are given a blank piece of paper, and told to write
down the dirtiest, filthiest names they know to do with sex and parts of the
body. This apparently, is to break down inhibitions.
The girls are given plastic penises and condoms, and told to practise putting
them on and off. They are then given a condom to take home, and told to practise
putting it on bananas and carrots.
How's that for homework? No mention of loving relationships, fidelity or
family life. How many ways are there of letting our children down, or robbing
them of their childhood?
They are our nation's future, and we are all responsible for what is
happening to them. They are being let down by a determinedly non-judgmental
ideology which is causing real harm.
There is no sense of duty or obligation; instead they are being taught about
instant gratification with no thought for the consequences.
These girls, inexpertly wielding their condoms, are the future single mothers
who will be at the top of the housing queue, little more than children
themselves, yet raising their own as best they can, with the usual malign
interference, masquerading as assistance, from the State.
We need to encourage the whole notion of family, and it should start in the
kindergarten. The barmy idea of sex education at the age of five should be
shelved. We need to talk about love, the heart, things that matter, and endure.
We need a cross-party acknowledgement that the family should be at the centre
of society, and all that is good, strong and true would flow from that.
Perhaps, as the State is so negligent in this area, we should turn to the
Churches. The family is the basis of what we believe in as a Christian country,
so the Churches should actively be supporting the family values, the sense of
continuity and belonging that defines a nation.
Perhaps the Church of England could stop worrying about 'man-made' climate change and focus instead on trying to preserve, and save, that infinitely precious thing we are in danger of losing - the family, based on the one in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.