Gordon Brown is set to pitch labour as the party of marriage and the family in an effort to win core tory votes. This is from the leader of a party which has openly discouraged marriage for more than a generation.
Labour have finally realised children fare better if their parents are together in a stable and committed relationship. A green paper, to be published in January, will outline new measures to shore up "stable parental relationships".
Since 1997 labour has directed resources at children rather than their parents, hearing voters would see attempts to promote the declining traditional family unit as discriminatory or judgmental.
One in four children now live in a single parent family, compared with one in fourteen in the early 70s. Almost half of children are born outside wedlock. Married couples became a minority in Britain this year for the first time since records began.
In compulsory sex and relationship lessons to be introduced from 2011, children from the age of seven will be taught about the “nature and importance of marriage and stable relationships for family life and bringing up children”.
The compulsory sex lessons for seven year olds is a subject for another post but let me get one thing straight - I have no desire whatsoever for illegitimacy to become the stigma it was when I was young. It had horrendous consequences for some children and many never quite managed to cope with it. But we now have thousands of children who are (usually) fatherless and the father's name isn't even entered on their birth certificates. Having thousands of children in that position rather than the hundreds 50+ years ago, doesn't make it right. By that I mean right for the children concerned. It creates insecurity, affects confidence and lessens self esteem.
There will be no softening of the government’s opposition to tax advantages for married couples. Ministers say this would discriminate against the 4m children brought up by non-married parents.
If labour are serious about this they would make tax advantages for married couples. By not promoting marriage in this way labour are discriminating against it. Many couples openly say they receive more benefit 'living apart' than together. That's not right and it never will be.
As well as having 4 million children brought up in one parent families, we have a generation of parents who don't understand what parenting is all about. That's not always their fault, it's the fault of this government who discourage them from learning about responsibility. We have an army of people who now do the parenting for many - teachers, social workers, charities - there's no need for any parent to learn parenting skills if they don't feel inclined.
I'm a firm believer that, if at all possible, children should be brought up in a solid and committed relationship. Marriage is the best solution we, as a society, have at present.