Friday Review: Of endings and beginnings

Notable things this week:

After the euphoria of the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act last week, back to (un)reality: Patriarch Kirill (left, image:, has informed his congregation at Kazan Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is "a very dangerous sign of the apocalypse". Quite why this should be so is unclear to me, but then I am clearly not as learned as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Whatever, you have been warned that the end is nigh (no doubt the Patriarch will be unimpressed by our hero Dave Cameron's promise to export gay marriage around the world).

Family lawyers returned en masse to the Supreme Court on Monday to argue the mother's appeal in the child abduction case In the matter of A (Children) (AP). She is appealing against the decision of the Court of Appeal that the court had no jurisdiction to order the return of her youngest child to this country, as that child had never lived here, and was not habitually resident here. For further details regarding the Supreme Court appeal, see this news item on Family Law Week.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that the Institute for Fiscal Studies is to say that David Cameron's tax breaks for married couples are largely "symbolic" because marriage provides little benefit to the development of children. Needless to say, this has provoked the expected response from the dinosaurs at the Marriage Foundation, with Sir Paul Iknowbest saying that the IFS has "got it wrong", as what really matters is that married couples stay together. But isn't it the case that the 'type' of couples that get married are also the 'type' that are more likely to stay together - in other words, the signing of a marriage certificate makes no difference to them? Sir Paul also appears to lament the fact that, since the reforms of the 1960s, the divorce rate has increased enormously, but who would want to return to the bad old days of forcing unhappy couples to spend the rest of their lives shackled together?

I suppose I should mention the coming of a certain royal baby. As a republican, I found the circus surrounding the parturition to be both absurd and distasteful. In particular, watching the coverage on BBC News was excruciating (I could only stand a few minutes at a time). Still, I did find some amusement on Twitter, ranging from the silly: the serious:
I also added my own take (not that the idea was original):

And finally, I must draw your attention to this e-petition that I came across during the week: 'FAMIL COURT OVERHAUL URGENTLY NEEDED'. I am tempted to sign...