One voice in Westminster speaks volumes about Britain’s social crisis.
In last week’s editorial we said that family breakdown was at the heart of many of the problems facing the NHS. Those problems continue to hit the headlines today and at least one voice in Westminster has recognised their source.
Lord Farmer, former Treasurer of the Conservative Party and outspoken advocate of family values has called for a ‘Minister for Family Breakdown’ to tackle the huge problems facing the nation.
Michael Farmer, a committed Christian, grew up in a chaotic family with alcoholic parents but became a successful businessman and has since devoted his life to championing the importance of strong and stable families in public policy. In an article in the Daily Telegraph this week he refers to the “devastating effect of family breakdown upon the lives of young people that affect their ability to succeed in life.”
He says that every department of Government is experiencing the costs of family breakdown and the public are at last beginning to recognise the serious problems it causes.
Politicians of all parties are guilty of causing the problems we are experiencing today. A new phase started in the year 1997, when the New Labour Government of Tony Blair had just been elected promising a whole new political arena. A lot of the new MPs were women – dubbed ‘Blair Babes’– some of whom had had a bad experience of marriage, and there was a lot of anti-men sentiment around in Westminster.
Divorce rates were high and family breakdown was just being recognised as a social problem. I was the Research Director of the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group. Jack Straw MP was Home Secretary and he offered Home Office support for the research we were carrying out on the health of the family in the nation.
Our report ‘Family Matters’ was presented in Parliament in July 1998 at a packed meeting in the Moses Room at which Jack Straw accepted the report and promised Government action to strengthen family life in Britain. But the White Paper he promised he was never able to produce, due to strong opposition in the Cabinet from the rising anti-family lobby, whose mantra was “There’s nothing wrong with the family, it is just changing”.
They said that all types of family were of equal value. This was ignoring the truth that had been known since the time of Aristotle, who defined the worst inequality as the treating of unequal things as equal.1
The Facts Ignored
The report noted the complex character of family structures. It stated:
Social analysts now refer to ‘first marriages’, ‘remarriages’, ‘cohabiting couples’, ‘lone-mother families’, ‘lone-father families’, ‘step families’, ‘multi-parent families’ [where children spend some time with one parent and some time with another], ‘multi-sibling families’ [where children from different unions live in a single household with one parent, or stepparent, or other carer]…2
It was noted that these ‘re-constituted families’ not only placed a stress upon the adults involved, but they had strongly negative effects upon the children, in terms of health, education, peer group relationships and life chances.
Research for the Report found that 98% of children involved in persistent youth crime came from broken homes. It concluded that if the present rate of marriage and relationship breakdown continued, it would have catastrophic effects upon the lives of children and young people, and upon the future stability of the national social structure.
Two years later, July 2000, we published another report, ‘The Cost of Family Breakdown’ which stated:
Britain’s children are suffering as never before, family fragmentation is a major cause of poverty, inequality and social exclusion. Yet there are few attempts to engage with ideas to strengthen family and marriage. Research shows that children are twice as likely to suffer adverse outcomes from family breakdown as those from intact families. This is a huge disadvantage in education, emotional and physical health, and in life-chances for employment and personal fulfilment. But ‘political correctness’ produces a kind of conspiracy of silence to ignore the facts, the outcome of which is to institutionalize the disadvantage of children and to promote depression and mental instability among adults.3
All these facts have been known for at least the past 20 years and yet they continue to be ignored by politicians so that generations of children in Britain are being denied the right to a happy, healthy home life that will enable them to be fulfilled in adult life.
It is surely time for our politicians to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity by continuing to ignore the words of Jack Straw MP who stated, “The family is the building block of society and marriage is the ideal form of family life” (in the Green Paper ‘Supporting Families’, published by the Home Office in 1998).
Sadly, the Church has no better record than the politicians. When Jack Straw’s words were published, an Education Bill was going through Parliament. A Peer introduced an amendment to the Bill in the House of Lords to ensure that “marriage is the ideal form of family life” was included in what should be taught to children. Tony Blair’s Government opposed it (against its own Home Secretary) but so too did nine bishops.
If they had voted for the amendment, it would have been passed. How strange! The official representatives of the Church of England voted against a measure to teach children the value of faithful monogamous marriage! So, the Church colluded with the state to destroy the biblical basis of family and marriage in Britain.
Isn’t it time we Christians acknowledged our part in bringing upon the nation the troubles we are now seeing in our NHS and everywhere else in the life of the nation – our overflowing prisons, our neglected lonely old people, our children who know nothing of the teaching of the Bible about what is right and wrong? Jesus said that it would be better for those who cause children to sin to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied round their neck (Luke 17:2).
It’s time to recognize that the Church has been part of the conspiracy of silence that has allowed the nation to reject its Judeo-Christian heritage. Surely, repentance and weeping before the Lord should be high in our priorities.
But if Lord Farmer is right that there is a shift in public opinion towards recognizing the problems created by family breakdown – then surely it’s time for Christians to break their silence and join him in the battle against the powers of darkness!
1 ‘Aristotle’s Axiom’. Peter, LJ, 1979. Peter’s People. NY: Morrow.
2 Click here for the full report.
3 Cost of Family Breakdown. Family Matters Institute, Bedford, 2000, p80.
Copyright © 2018, Dr Clifford Hill, Prophecy Today UK–All rights reserved