Sunday, December 27, 2009

The UK's Labour Party Tries to Portray Itself as "Familly-Friendly"

In a move that is as cynical as Adolph Hitler suddenly announcing in early 1945 that "some of my best friends are Jews," the UK's Labour government has attempted to spin on a dime with regard to its policy on marriage and family. The Telegraph's Will Heaven reports:
"Since the launch of Webcameron, when the David Cameron allowed a “homemade” video of himself to be broadcast online, the Conservative leader has made it clear that the Tories are the party for families, and that they back marriage. In a speech in March at the Welsh Conservative Conference, he affirmed this, saying: “We want to see a more responsible society, where people behave in a decent and civilised way, where they understand their obligations to others, to their neighbours, to their country. And above all, to their family. Families are the most important institution in our society. We have to do everything in our power to strengthen them.”

Now Labour, recognising the success of this idea, are to publish a green paper in January supporting wedlock and conceding that children fare better when parents stay together. “In the past I think our family policy was all about children. I think our family policy now is actually about the strength of the adult relationships and that is important for the progress of the children,” Ed Balls told the Sunday Times."

Now I trust that readers of this blog will not be surprised that I refuse to be taken in by such blatant posturing and one can only hope that voters in the UK will realize that a death bed "conversion" based on polling numbers is no substitute for a government that actually will implement policies to enhance the institution of marriage. It doesn't take a political Einstein to know that handing out condoms to 12 year old boys in school are not the kind of policies that strengthen marriages or families.

Even the Times of London exhibits a skeptical tone with regard to what it labels in its headline as "Labour's U-Turn on Love and Marriage Ahead of Election"

"Gordon Brown is preparing to pitch Labour as the party of marriage and the family in an audacious bid for core Tory votes.

In a shift in strategy ahead of the general election, the government is abandoning its long-standing ambivalence towards wedlock, conceding that children fare better if their parents are together. A green paper to be published in January will outline new measures to shore up “stable parental relationships”.

Labour’s 11th-hour acknowledgment of the importance of marriage has been derided by the Conservatives, who accuse the government of ignoring evidence about the benefits for the past decade. The Tories are preparing their own green paper on promoting family units, setting the scene for an election battle for the parental vote.

Since 1997 Labour has directed resources at children rather than their parents, fearing voters would see attempts to shore up the declining traditional family unit as discriminatory or judgmental."

I wouldn't call it so much audacious as laughable. But note the final sentence where Labour's excuse for undermining traditional marriage is said to be that it did not want to appear "discriminatory" or "judgmental." How can you be discriminatory for strengthening the family? Who are you discriminating against? Who is potentially being judged? Adulterers, promiscuous individualists who abandon children, swingers? Why not judge such people? What kind of failure of moral nerve causes a person to be hesitant to say that marriage is good and that children deserve to be raised by their biological parents? Tradition, the accumulated experience of the human race, and social scientific studies agree that children thrive in intact families but suffer in broken families.

If Labour has largely abandoned economic Marxist ideology, it has yet to depart from cultural Marxism and its anti-family bias. This is what drives Labour policy and no green paper produced in a hurry just before the Spring election can paper over the evil, anti-family policies and biases of this government. One hopes that the voters treat this tactical maneuver with the disdain it rightly inspires.


David said...

Happy New Year! I was wondering if you'd been following the impact of Phillip Blond (former student of John Milbank and all round RO infantryman) on David Cameron? I assume you have but if not a good back catalog of the British media's focus on it is available here

Thanks so much for the blog which I enjoy greatly and check pretty much daily.
Warmest regards,
David Deane

Craig Carter said...

Happy New Year to you too! I am "following" the Blond think tank and his political influence a bit, but I wish I understood it better. From the little bit that I've read, it seems that his Red Toryism (like the old Progressive Conservative Party in Canada that is now defunct) is an attempt to combine aspects of conservative and socialist thought as opposed to a genuinely third way. Is it an attempt to have economic Marxism without cultural Marxism? But a third way is what we need, so I'll continue to watch and see what unfolds.

One thing I cannot understand about the Conservative Party in the UK is why they cede so much conservative ground to the smaller parties like UKIP. In other words, why isn't the Conservative Party actually conservative?

David said...

As regards the Torys not being Conservative, I think nothing, in the UK, apart from the economy and defence were really considered political issues since the war. Thatcher of course supported the idea that there was 'no such thing as society'. Labour were the party of ideology and the Tory's were the party of ruthless common sense, they presented themselves as clearly and consciously anti-ideological. They promised to keep people safe and (anti USSR, anti terrorists, tough on crime) and fuel the economy. That was enough, until New Labour.
New Labour under Blair oversaw the new post cold war world, saw the end of the IRA as a terrorist threat and presided over unprecedented economic growth. They made the Torys politically irrelevant.
Until Cameron.
In 2006 Cameron took a lot of flak for saying that Politics should be less concerned with GDP and more concerned with what he called GWB, or the General Well-Being index. This indicated a different approach and one which had something in common with conservatives in the U.S. In the U.S. conservatives are focussed on trying to create a certain type of society and see that what liberals would see as 'small' shifts affect overall societal make-up (as in the Gay Marriage issue). Because of this 'social policy' has long been on the U.S. conservative agenda. With Cameron, for the first time, it was genuinely on the UK agenda.
What Cameron didn't know was exactly what kind of society he wanted, how this would fit in to economic policy and how to bring about a good society.
Enter Phillip Blond.
What Blond has provided was answers to these three questions. As I see it, Catholic social teaching is the model for Blond, not communism. What Blond is suggesting is subsidiarity, communities working on a parish style model to take care of the needy. It's radically decentralized, in US language - small government. It's akin to a parish model. Like Milbank, he was interested in Christian socialism 5-10 years ago, but also like John, he knew that Christian socialism was wholly different to Socialism. Blond hasn't used the language of socialism for quite some time and if we look at his ResPublica site we see a political ideology that seems wholly indebted to the tradition of Rerum Novarum.
What Blond hasn't address publicly, although he admits to this privately, is that none of this can work in a 'secular' society. Brittan must be de-secularized if his model can work as "good" can only be a coherent concept within a desecularised framework. For Blond the secular (and this is all Milbank) can only lead to the play of Darwinian forces and so his Brittan needs to embrace their theological traditions, Christian, but also Jewish and Muslim.

Personally, I'm more with Bill Cavanaugh and think that only the Church can represent the kind of body that we are called to be and seeing ourselves as part of another body can only impede this. So I don't really see why Blond and RO want to file down the talons of a secular democracy such as the UK when their attention should be on helping the Church to be the Body of Christ. Still, I'm happy to see the UK changing for the better, even if the extent of its change will always be limited by the fact that it's not the Church.