Polly Toynbee lets something slip as she pursues her campaign for the nationalisation of children. "An Englishman's home is a castle where his children are his to chastise. Never mind the complication that these days it's often stepfathers - with horrendous implications."
Horrendous implications ? Stepfathers ? Hang on a minute. I thought any arrangement of mum, significant other(s) and kids constituted a family these days. And children, as everyone knows, are far better off if their unhappy mum and dad split, rather than witnessing the rows and domestic abuse inseparable from the patriarchal unit of Mummy and Daddy. Surely only obscure Christian fundamentalists care about marriage or being brought up by your biological parents. After all, look at what a good job the state can do.
Back in the non-liberal world, of course, the evidence that children are best brought up by married parents is overwhelming. On every indicator they do best even after adjusting for income and social class.
I had a quick look at the Home Office's latest Domestic Violence research the other day. It's full of feminist fatuity (abuse can, for example consist of 'not getting your fair share of the household money'. A quick show of hands in my house revealed that husband, wife and four children all considered they were being abused on this definition) and I still haven't been able to work out whether their definition of rape includes having sex when you'd really rather not, but I'm presuming the figures are uncooked, if the presentation isn't.
Table 5.13 is the one - Prevalence of IPV (inter personal violence - doesn't include the household money) by marital status.
2% of married women experienced violence in the last year (so, interestingly, did 1.8% of married men)
Now assume, as the survey does, that a large proportion (say half) of the 'Separated' figure consists of angry exes. You're still looking at a rate for singles/cohabitees three times that of the dull straights.
And a quick look at the single mums (of whom my mother was one) shows us an even grimmer picture. The rate for a single mother with children is up there at 14.9%, topping even the 'separateds'.
Stop Domestic Violence - Defend Bourgeois Marriage !
McDonnell, Mao and Yeo
3 hours ago