Suffer Not The Little Tory Children
As is well-known, New Labour is very fond of 'hard-working families'. Families who work a little less to spend more time with each other can presumably rot in hell.
The Tories have always professed a more generalised love of the family, not altogether dissimilar from that of the brawling, criminal siblings of Eastenders - 'but you're family!'
In the last Tory Government, Ministers often appeared surrounded by their wives and children shortly after revelations about their extra-familial sexual exploits.
Margaret Thatcher famously believed there was no such thing as society. Families, however, were the very bedrock of society - well....er.... they would be if there was such a thing as society.
So I was amused by this childhood memory from Carol Thatcher, quoted in last Sunday's Observer:
"My mother was prone to calling me by her secretaries' names and working through each of them until she got to Carol."
Let's just try transferring that vignette to the scenario of a very different kind of family.
A social worker is presenting the case for issuing a Care Order to the Case Conference:
'From an early age this child was placed by Mum in the care of total strangers for long periods [boarding school at age nine].
The seriousness of the emotional neglect in this case was emphasised by an occasion when Mum was unable to remember Carol's name, despite the fact that there is only one other sibling who is male. Although Dad is seldom seen without a drink in his hand, there is no evidence that this amnesia was caused by alcoholism.
Nor do the reports show any conclusive evidence of mental illness although the clinical psychologist noted that Mum has a tendency to talk about herself in the third person which can sometimes be an indicator of personality disorder.
When Mum was asked about her very limited contact with Carol she would only repeat "There was no alternative". When warned that this history of neglect might lead to Carol being permanently removed from her care, she said "Rejoice! Rejoice!"
In the circumstances and to prevent further emotional abuse, the Social Work Team recommend that a Care Order be issued immediately.'