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Peter Hitchens: Unmarried mothers have broken Britain!

October 13, 2010

Peter Hitchens is, apparently, a Christian, though he seems to lack any sort of christian virtue. In his latest column written for The Mail on Sunday, One benefit reform that would make us happier… and richer, Hitchens declares:

There’s only one lasting, simple welfare reform package this country needs. It goes like this. First, an announcement that nine months from today, all benefits of any kind for new unmarried mothers should cease.

I would guess that what Hitchens means by ‘unmarried’ is single mothers. He fails to give a view on unmarried fathers, most of whom probably live with the unmarried mothers taking the flack in his column. Shocking though it may seem to Hitchens, quite a lot of perfectly nice people live together without being married, and *gasp* some of them have children too. I’m curious about whether Hitchens would remove ‘all benefits of any kind’ from unmarried mothers who are part of a couple, or whether he would restrict the imposition of his religious beliefs to single mothers only. Apologies to any single fathers out there, but Hitchens doesn’t seem to think you exist at all.

Having declared that he would like to get richer by stripping financial support from unmarried (read single) mothers (specifically mothers, not fathers), Hitchens then proceeds to patronise all single mothers across the land. He declares them to be victims of a government conspiracy against marriage, poor delicate flowers who can do nothing but follow the politicians secret plan to do away with marriage… forever!

Note the word ‘new’. Existing victims of one of the stupidest policies in human history should continue to get their handouts and subsidised homes until their children are grown. It is not their fault, or their children’s, that they were misled by weak and wicked politicians into this way of life.

They should not be condemned or harassed. But this state-sponsored assault on marriage should stop. Just to emphasise the point, we should once again distinguish between those who end up as lone parents through no choice of their own and those who choose this state.

Gah! Evil politicians took our marriage! There’s quite a conflict going on in these paragraphs between the idea of not condemning or harassing unmarried mothers, and the reality of Hitchens doing just that, with mention of ‘handouts and subsidised homes’, and the talk of distinguishing between different types of lone parents to ’emphasise the point’ (although the point has, so far, escaped me). He also seems completely unaware that all families are different, married or not. ‘Handouts and subsidised homes’ are by no means the exclusive preserve of single parents, and not all single parents are in receipt of handouts or living in a subsidised home.
The next lines of the article reveal who Hitchens believes to be acceptable single parents.

The Widow’s Pension – scandalously abolished – should be reinstated. Deserted wives should likewise be offered proper support.

Note, you have to be married and be a woman for either of these ‘acceptably single’ definitions to apply.
Hitchens goes on to blame divorce reforms from the 1960s for ‘depriving children of fathers’ and, by extension, for having ‘a grim and painful effect on almost every aspect of our lives’. He makes the extraordinary claim that it’s harder to end a car leasing agreement than it is to get a divorce. Hitchens believes it would be rational and kind to make it harder for people to get divorced, although he fails to give his opinion on what he considers would be acceptable grounds. Violence? Adultery? Stay together no matter what? To be honest, I found it hard to make head or tail of what he was trying to say.

A slightly incoherent attack on the Conservative government is next on Hitchens list, a surprising thing to see in The Mail, but it’s probably the exception that proves the rule. He says that ‘all three parties have been taken over by Sixties liberals’ which is ‘why no message of hope came out of the Tory Conference last week’. He calls them incompetent, says they have a dismissive callousness for mothers who choose to bring up their own children (interpretation: stay at home, married mothers, not feckless, wastrel single mothers), and claims they have forever turned their back on ‘the married family’.

It seems that what Hitchens really wants is his religious beliefs incorporated into government legislation. He appears to be a proponent of a pretty backwards view on women (further reading reveals he has similarly retrograde opinions on homosexuals, sex education, contraception, environmental issues, secularism, Islam, the list goes on) and personally I’d rather he and his beliefs stayed out of legislation made by our elected government.  He fits in well as a Mail columnist, though, with the likes of Littlejohn and Moir keeping him company – women, know your place!

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