Thursday, 22 May 2008

Please, Think Of The Children



Gordon Brown has earned himself two points. He voted for the 24-week abortion limit, and he voted to get rid of the heterosexist guff about a child's "need for a father". Well done, Gordon, you impressed me. The Tories, not so much.

First and foremost, I do not understand how, in this day and age, a man like Sir Patrick Cormack can have anything to do with the running of our country. He said: "A child that is deliberately brought into the world with no desire that there should be a man or a woman who is the parent is brought in with a disadvantage." This makes no sense whatsoever, and I sort of hope the BBC did that on purpose because they hate him, but translated into English, it means, "Lesbians shouldn't be parents."

I sincerely hope that David Cameron, a man whom I royally despise but who claims to be leading the charge to modernise his party, will realise that such sentiments are not endearing the Conservatives to the young generation. I seem to be his target voter; a young, white, middle-class woman. Young, white, middle-class women have no truck whatsoever with this sort of insidious gay-bashing. If Cameron ever wishes to win my respect, he must acknowledge that this ridiculous "need for a father" motion tabled by Iain Duncan Smith (the most useless Tory leader ever, and that ought to tell you something) comes out of an out-of-date view of Britain and is representative of his party's subconscious - or, indeed, conscious, in the case of Sir Patrick - bigotries. "Need for supportive parenting" is exactly the correct way to phrase it. When Duncan Smith and his ilk tell us that children who grow up without a father are more likely to go off the rails, they're ignoring a big chunk of the story. I know a lot of people who grew up without fathers, and they're fine. The ones that aren't fine are the ones whose fathers were present and neglectful, or present one day a month. They're the ones who grew up with abuse, casual insulting remarks tossed out to get them to shut up, and not so much as a card or phone call on their birthdays. These are the kids who feel deprived, who feel they've done something wrong to drive Daddy away and end up with no sense of self-worth, or who just can't get Daddy to acknowledge them and end up in deeper and deeper trouble. This is still a generalisation, but it's far more accurate than "single-parent families fuck kids up."

We will keep our 24-week abortion limit, no thanks to Mr Cameron, who voted to lower it by two weeks. Why two weeks? Lord knows. The BBC is careful to point out that all the Catholic Labour ministers voted to lower it to 12. Yeah, fucking 12. Nice one, Ruth Kelly. Someone called Edward Leigh is yacking on about sanctity as though he's a right-wing American pundit, and frankly he is so insignificant that I have nothing else to say about him. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor turned up in the Times supporting everything I argue against and vice versa, using the phrase "incremental change". Remember this, ye who value your freedom: this two-week-at-a-time knockdown is part of the plan to erode your rights completely. If, God forbid, he should ever get his two-week knockdown, he'll be out there again arguing for another two weeks. And another, and another. Before you know it, we're in Ireland. You could have stayed there, y'know, Murph.

There are numerous things I could say about these votes, but I'll stick, for now, to this one: in general, the people voting to restrict IVF were the people voting to slash the abortion limit. This strikes me as a wee bit illogical. These people insist that it's absolutely vital that a baby has a mother and a father, but if a woman accidentally gets pregnant, the man pisses off and the woman doesn't want it, well, tough. Why isn't it better for a loving same-sex couple, or a single woman who wants a child enough to go to these expensive and invasive lengths, to have their baby than for a frightened, abandoned teenager to be unable to choose not to? I am feeling charitable, and so I'll assume the best. I'll assume that these men (as the vast majority are in the Commons) are loving and devoted parents who cannot imagine their babies being unwanted, who cannot imagine abandoning a woman pregnant with their child, who help to change the nappies and get up in the night and play football and read stories and consider there to be no greater joy than the laughter of their sons and daughters. Excellent. But guys, not all men are you. Some men cannot think of anything worse than having a baby. Some men will panic. Some men aren't ready, and have the luxury that women don't of just fucking off. Some men are just assholes. I know men who, variously, forget their children's birthdays, dump them with someone else on their visitation days, run the other way if they see mother and baby in the street, deny the child's existence to their friends, yell at the child, hit the child, hate the child. I know men who conceived children in wedlock - the Conservative lucky charm - and after divorcing the mother, try as hard as they can never to see the kids again. I'll assume, also, that your wives were delighted to be pregnant, wanted children, were ecstatic over the prospect of giving birth to your little one. Do you, any of you, have any idea what it's like to be pregnant and alone? To take an equal part in an 'accident' for which you alone are now reponsible? Do you have any idea what it's like to have something growing in you and hate it with a vicious passion, while sanctimonious arses like you are going on about the sanctity of life, and how abortions are 'social' and calling that horrible little ball of cells your 'baby'? It's not a fucking baby.

I wish people would stop going on about 'tradition' and lamenting the loss of 'traditional family'. I don't want the kind of tradition that forces women to have babies they don't want, and forces couples to shackle themselves together for eternity because one night has unexpected consequences. Duncan Smith complains that by removing the "need for a father" clause, we undermine the traditional family; well, duh. Some people aren't wired that way, mate. We're not all born traditional. Some people would love to be parents. They would love to devote themselves to raising a child. And if they happen to be a pair of women or a pair of men, so fucking what? When Catholic adoption agencies were trying to get themselves excepted from the "no homophobia" law - to ask for Government-sanctioned bigotry takes some nerve, I must admit - numerous commentators pointed out that Catholic adoption agencies took on the most difficult, unplaceable kids, and the people most likely to adopt one of these kids were gay couples. Instead of taking a lesson from this, the agencies threatened to shut down. To paraphrase Dara O Briain, essentially their stance was: "If you won't let us do what we want, we shall release the children into the wild."

Memo to Britain: The Conservative party is still nursing its bigotries. Please do not forget this next time Cameron starts going on about recycling in modern Britain.

Memo to Conservatives: For the love of God, move on. It's 2008. We can't still be proposing laws that basically say "Gays are weird".

Memo to Murphy-O'Connor: I still hate you, and everything you stand for.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

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