by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mailonline:
Family policy does not have a good name in the United Kingdom. For many, it’s synonymous with John Major’s ill-fated ‘Back to Basics’ and a resentment about hypocritical ‘do as I say not as I do’ politicians.
In the past, governmental approach has been too judgemental and unsympathetic to personal circumstances.
Single parents, 90 per cent of whom are women, often battle against considerable difficulties and need both support and understanding.
It is not the role of the Government to tell people how to live their lives or to determine that one way is better than another, but it is reasonable to help people lead the lives they want to lead.
This highlights the divide between Socialism and Conservatism.
The Left wants to tell people, in the interests of the collective, how to behave and to direct their actions.
For its part, the Right understands that individual decision-making is preferable and wants to remove obstacles from people’s paths, allowing them to determine their own way, and this has crucial implications for family policy.
This is not about telling them how to live but helping them do what they want to do anyway. I fear that, currently, public policy discriminates against the family and encourages it both to break down or not to form in the first place.
Official statistics show that only two thirds of British children live with both parents until the age of 14, compared with the OECD average of 84 per cent.
Such a figure is one of the worst in the western world. Inevitably, there’s an effect on mental health, with more than half of the cases that arise being linked to family problems.