Good but not the cure
It's not often these days that I agree with Tony Blair. Today he entered the debate about problem families, following the Unicef report upon the well-being of children in which this country fared so badly, and the recent spate of youth gun-crime. Refusing to accept Tory suggestions that the problem was caused by one-parent families, he said:
In my view, the debate is not about marriage versus lone parents. The debate is about how you target measures specifically on those families some of whom will be lone parents - but some of whom will be couples.
All well and good. However, he also said: "Of course it is the case it is better to have kids in a stable relationship. Of course marriage is a good thing". I have no problem with the first part of this (provided one does not then leap to the conclusion that lone parent equals delinquent child), but I'm not entirely happy with the blind assumption that marriage is 'a good thing'. It is perfectly possible to do an excellent job of bringing up children without having a marriage certificate.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure I agree with Tony Blair after all. That's a relief.