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The real priority is to keep families together
23:26 GMT, 26 December 2012
As a rule, judges should keep well clear of the political arena. But when a man sees as much as the High Court’s Sir Paul Coleridge of the devastation caused by family breakdown, it is easy to understand why he feels a duty to speak out.
So can anyone blame him when he attacks the Government for wasting its energies on trying to legalise gay marriage, while it fails to tackle the source of most of this country’s social problems
Indeed, many will share Sir Paul’s bafflement that ministers are staking so much political capital on an issue that affects a tiny minority, while the age-old institution of the family is itself in crisis, bringing unhappiness to millions.
This Christmas, a survey found that the tenth most yearned-for gift on British children's lists was 'a father'. At a time when 45 per cent of 15-year-olds have seen their parents separate, how can gay marriage be a more urgent priority
This paper fully accepts the sincerity of David Cameron’s belief that allowing same-sex couples to marry is an important point of principle.
But the fact remains that the Tories didn’t even mention gay marriage in their manifesto. They did, however, commit to recognising marriage (and civil partnerships) in the tax system.
Why, then, are they so determined to pursue a highly controversial policy on which they made no promises, dismaying religious traditionalists and many of their own natural supporters, while doing nothing so far to honour a pre-election pledge on which they laid great stress
True, tax breaks on their own are unlikely to prevent families breaking up.
But they would send a powerful message, and a far more practical one than merely redefining marriage, that this Government is on the side of couples who make a lifelong commitment to each other.
This Christmas, a survey found that the tenth most yearned-for gift on British children’s lists was ‘a father’. At a time when 45 per cent of 15-year-olds have seen their parents separate, how can gay marriage be a more urgent priority
Why the secrecy
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE
In a ruling with deeply disturbing implications for transparency, court officials maintain that taxpayers have no right to know how much of their money was spent defending Stephen Lawrence’s racist murderers.
Defying all logic, the Legal Services Commission argues that disclosing the killers’ legal aid bill could compromise any retrial that might follow an appeal.
Leave aside the extreme unlikelihood that the case against Gary Dobson and David Norris, who’ve been refused leave to appeal once already, will come before another jury. Even if it does, what relevance could the size of their lawyers’ fees have to the verdict
Like the move towards secret justice, and the post-Leveson curbs on police whistleblowers’ contacts with the Press, isn’t this just another attempt to suppress information that could embarrass officialdom and the establishment
One thing’s for sure: when secrecy triumphs, democracy is the first casualty.
Price of a sick society
Accepted by civilised nations the world over, it’s every society’s duty to do what it can for its sick and disabled. But when Britain spends more on disability benefits than almost any other developed country, something is clearly awry.
Indeed, it stretches credulity that more than 3million Britons are classified as sick, disabled or incapacitated, while spending on their welfare soared by a third in just four years after 2005.
As a proportion of national output, finds an OECD survey, these benefits now cost twice as much as in the US, and six times the amount spent in Japan.
For legitimate claimants, it may seem irksome that the Government is making them face rigorous reassessment.
But these startling figures show just how urgent the crackdown is.