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Lord Farmer, on the evening of the 21st October 2019, stood in the House of Lords and gave a profound speech, during a debate on the recent Queen’s Speech. His words need to be echoed around the country.
Free speech and “safe spaces”
Currently, university campuses throughout the United Kingdom are being taken over by totalitarian ideologues who desire to close down opposition to anything they don’t want to hear, or do not want discussed by the public. Lord Farmer said:
In the gracious Speech there was a commitment to,
“protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom”.
Democracy’s integrity rests on freedom of speech. We must keep resisting “no-platforming” in our universities and expose the deceitfulness of the term “safe space”. Settings where ideas or beliefs with no inclination towards terrorism cannot be discussed are dangerous spaces, because they have become sound-proofed against the reality of other people’s opinions.HL Deb, 21 October 2019, c457
It is good to hear a member of the ‘establishment’ stand up for the right to criticise and discuss problems with itself, and with radicals.
Children and family law
The UK’s non-conservative Conservative government has continued the erosion of families from previous governments. It is discussing further damaging the already beleaguered social unit of marriage. The government is also failing to care for children, who need both parents wherever possible.
Lord Farmer said:
Children’s welfare is paramount in family law. However, it can be used to justify superficially attractive policies which may do them more harm than good. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill referred to in the gracious Speech intends to,
“minimise the impact of divorce, particularly on children”.
Removing fault from divorce is unlikely to lead to the more harmonious post-separation world that Ministers predict. Solicitors say that much conflict is actually focused on who gets the children and for how long, and on finances. Evidence contradicting government assertions that de jure unilateral divorce would not impact on marriage or longer-term divorce rates was ignored, as was the large volume of contrary responses to consultation.L Deb, 21 October 2019, c457
There is a mountain of evidence that children are statistically more likely to do well with both parents at home. Why this is the case is not important, even if it is of intellectual interest. What is important for politics is that a normal, healthy, family consists of children and their biological parents.
There is no need to weaken marriage. The government, having spent lots of taxpayer money trying to defend their anti-equality stance, have been forced by the Supreme Court to allow heterosexual couples to join in Civil Union – ‘marriage light’ one might say. If a couple want a weak form of marriage, it is available in Civil Union.
There is no defence to weaken marriage. The terms of the marital promise are mandated by law. They form a social contract between the parties. It is the only contract in the nation in which the terms of the contract have no relevance to the splitting of the contract. In every other case, a contract can only be broken by reference to the terms of the contract. Only divorce law makes a mockery of this.
Far from making marriage weaker, the government should be strengthening it and making it only able to be sundered by reference to the terms of the marital promise that make the contract of marriage.