our-blog-icon-top
NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

October 17, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

The politicians are at it again in Great Britain. They’re proving once again, as if they needed to, that they have not a single clue about why 33% of children in the country have no relationship with their fathers. For the past three years now we’ve watched as the coalition government has retreated on pre-election promises to reform the Family Law Act to give fathers real relationships with their children post-divorce. What sounded good before voters went to the polls, immediately became the infamous Norgrove Commission that produced an utterly worthless document based on junk science. Said report was duly dispatched to the round file.

That got a lot of us hoping that the Cameron/Clegg government was serious about reform, but of course, we should have known better. The disgrace that is the proposed law makes no effort to guarantee even the best fathers any role in their children’s lives once Mom has filed for divorce. Put simply, it requires family court judges to do nothing they can’t already do, and, since they’re not doing it now, there’s no reason to expect they’ll start once the law is passed.

Family laws need to aggressively take on the deep cultural bias against fathers. Until they do, children by the million will continue to be raised without a father and seek their paternal role models in gangs and on television. Our deeply dysfunctional families will continue to mar the cultural landscape, and children will continue to suffer the many emotional, psychological, educational, criminal and substance abuse-related ills that are the hallmarks of fatherlessness. Government after government, in thrall to a misandric feminism that has been shown for decades to be wrong on the value of fathers to children, attempts to paper over the problem with initiatives that would be called silly if they weren’t so tragic.

The Conservative/Liberal Democratic coalition having dropped the ball not once but twice, it looks like it may soon be Labour’s turn to do nothing for fathers and children. Here’s the latest (The Telegraph, 10/14/13).

It seems that Labour MP Jon Cruddas took the opportunity recently to demonstrate his profound ignorance of the obstacles fathers face in trying to maintain contact with their children. Oh, Cruddas is all for fathers taking an active role in childcare, but steadfastly ignores essentially all the reasons so many of them don’t. His solution to the absence of fathers in children’s lives? Pay them tax money to take pre-natal classes.  No, seriously, that’s the plan of the Man with the Plan.

Cruddas said some of the right words. For example, he said, “We need to value father’s family role as highly as his working role…” I agree. He said the Labour Party wants “to have high expectations of fathers” and to help create “one nation of caring, earning and belonging.” To the extent I know what he means, I agree.

But of course we’ve heard the words before. The last time we did, it sounded like the conservatives and liberal democrats might actually be serious. At least Cruddas spares us that misconception. If this is Labour’s plan to put fathers back in the lives of their children where they belong, we can get back to worrying about the upcoming football match. Even if Labour takes over Parliament and even if they pass Cruddas’s bill to further empty the public purse, it’ll make precisely no difference to children or their dads.

And it’s not just because Labour’s boat is, as usual, running before the feminist wind. True, Cruddas trots out the usual feminist nonsense by actually claiming that the unfairness of family courts is directed at women.

“But there is a deep sense of unfairness amongst women at the burden they have to shoulder. Too many have a triple shift of paid work, looking after the children and caring for an older relative.”

How did that come to pass? Cruddas doesn’t ask. After all, if he asked the question, someone might answer it for him and then he might have to deal with the unpleasant realities radically anti-father laws and court practices inflict on fathers, mothers and children. And we can’t have that, can we? No, better force the pabulum of paid pre-natal classes down the throats of bemused voters.

Frankly, Cruddas and indeed all British office holders have the same problem feminists have. Feminists have always claimed they want women to have equal rights and opportunities in the workplace, a stance many of us applaud. The problem comes when they also want to deny fathers an equal role in childcare. To date, there have been many, many bills in various different states, provinces and countries to encourage equal parenting post-divorce. Never has a feminist organization backed a one of them, and in many cases, they’ve actively opposed them.

The usual obeisance paid by politicians to everything feminist results in existing anti-father legislation staying pretty much as it has been. And guess what that results in. Yep, we see ever more fathers spending ever less time with their children. As of this time two years ago, that came to 33% of British children with no meaningful relationship with their kids. Typically, fathers end up spending at most four days a month with their children, plus a holiday here and there and maybe some extra time during the summer.

Who does 100% of the parenting in the meantime? That’s right, Mom. Typically she’s the one who filed for divorce, she’s the one who wanted primary or sole custody, she’s the one whose wishes the judge granted and, often as not, she’s the one to obstruct Dad’s meager contact with his kids.

With all that childcare and interfering with her ex’s visitation, there’s not a lot of time for Mom to work much, earn much or save much. And yet, it’s exactly that scenario that feminists - and, as night follows day, politicians like Cruddas – fight tooth and nail for, all the while wailing that women don’t earn as much as men and that men don’t pull their weight in the nursery.

You can’t make this stuff up. The self-contradictions in feminist behavior on the rights of fathers are too blatant; their obvious disservice to mothers is too clear. People who think seriously about work and domestic life and who care about the welfare of fathers, mothers and children would never say and do what feminists and their yes-man politicians say and do. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Actually, there’s one way to rationalize their two positions, but it’s a way that no politician will ever admit and none will ever vote for. For a time during the 1970s, some feminists were honest enough to come out and say that men should simply be out of the family picture altogether. In that scenario, mothers would have exclusive custody of children, taxpayers would pay for day care and men would have nothing to do with their children. That may still be the golden future many feminists dream of, but politically, it’s fantasy land.

Given that, the feminist plaint about women saddled with work and childcare is a direct outgrowth of feminist policies that invariably oppose even the slightest improvements in paternal rights.

And of course Cruddas, like his feminist backers, has no clue about any of this. Were he to actually do something about the matter, he’d be backing legislation to ensure that both fathers and mothers receive the maximum parenting time possible, given their respective situations, following divorce. He’d be educating everyone he talks to about the value of fathers to children and how full paternal rights benefit mothers too. He’d be speaking out about the ills of maternal gatekeeping and the need for mothers to step aside and allow fathers the hands-on role that today he only talks about. He’d be passing legislation to educate judges about what the “best interests of the child really means,” i.e. a real relationship with both parents.

Don’t hold your breath. Jon Cruddas will never say those things, much less go to bat for fathers. As long as he can couch it in terms that describe fathers as uncaring and uninvolved, Cruddas and his ilk are happy to natter on about things like pre-natal classes. But when it comes to admitting reality – that the vast majority of fathers would dearly love to have more time with their children, that the huge obstacle to that consists of (a) mothers who demand as near to sole custody as they can get and (b) judges and laws that give it to them – Cruddas is silent as the grave.

It looks like Labour may gain a majority in Parliament soon and if that happens, we’ll be treated to more nonsense like that purveyed by Cruddas. That means more of the same. That means more children without fathers and more fathers without children, and all of the disastrous societal consequences that entails. It means more words by politicians that demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that they don’t see the obvious and likely wouldn’t lift a finger to fix things if they did.

National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

Contribute

#UK, #LabourCoalition, #Fathers, #Children, #Cameron, #Clegg, #JonCruddas

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn