Even though he is a judge, and an expert in dealing with the results of family breakup, Mr Justice Coleridge will be panned for observations like these:
"... almost all of society's social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life."
"I am not saying every broken family produces dysfunctional children, but I am saying that almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family. "
He's not wrong. I'm the last to hug a hoodie, but you have to know why they're like that. Knowing the causes doesn't make them any better; the point is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In years of teaching children in social services care, and children excluded from mainstream education, I don't recall knowing even one case where the child came from a hard-working, addiction-free, two-parent family.
By the way: to what extent is the government fanning the flames, with its tax-greedy promotion of alcohol, its popularity-seeking liberality on drugs law enforcement, and its negligent attitude to employment (especially, I hesitantly suggest - expecting to get it in the neck for saying so - full-time employment for men)?
But it's not just about keeping the parents together. There needs to be a commitment to nurturing the child emotionally: squabbling parents who want the child to take sides make a deep and enduring split in the child's psyche. No law, judge or social worker is going to remedy that; putting the child first should be a screamingly obvious moral point. But who is allowed to make it? "Musn't be judgmental."
Oh yes, we must. Watch the American Judge Judy on Freeview when the subject of children, marriage and responsibility comes up. She did many years in family court, and she doesn't have any time for the mealy-mouthed approach.