Tuesday, June 18, 2013

'Fathers are treated as mere sperm donors': Captain Corelli's Mandolin author hits out at family courts

Father's Day has become a day of sorrow and anger for many because family courts treat men like 'sperm donors', the best-selling author of Captain Captain Corelli's Mandolin has claimed.

Louis de Bernieres, 58, argues that Father's Day goes by completely unnoticed by many children as a man's role in the family is being made to seem increasingly unimportant.

And, on the annual celebration of fatherhood, he has slammed the courts for treating 'fathers heartlessly as mere sperm donors and bankers' and for always favouring the rights of mothers.

He said: 'For too many men, Father's Day is a day of sorrow, frustration and anger, and for too many children it passes unnoticed.'

The author, who has previously spoken about his own struggle to see his children after splitting from their mother, also blamed 'political incorrectness' for making a father's role seem irrelevant.

He argued that the vital role of fathers is left out of literature for new parents and from teaching at school - instead concentrating on the importance of the mother.

In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, he wrote: 'In schools nobody tells boys that fathering is the most important and responsible thing they will ever do, nor that, when done well, fatherhood bestows upon you the deepest, most satisfying and fun relationships of your life.

'The only explanation for this neglect is terror of the political incorrectness of offending single mothers, and the general mythologising of fathers as irrelevant and feckless abusers.'

He called for fathers to be included in education about parenthood and for their role in 'children's lives to be properly respected'.

Mr de Bernieres has been campaigning for equal custody rights for fathers for several years after revealing he was left 'suicidal' after splitting from the mother of his children.

In 2010, the patron of Families Need Fathers (FNF) told how difficult it was for him see his young children, Robin and Sophie, after his 11-year-relationship with Cathy Gill, an actress and theatre director, broke down in 2009.

In newsletter sent out by FNF, he said that mothers do not have a 'divine right to own the children' and called for equal parenting to be the normal arrangement for parting couples.

He said: 'It was really dreadful.  'The worst thing, practically, was finding the house so quiet, because it was always so full of laughter and rampaging and stampeding.  'There was always a lot of noise and fun, and it suddenly went quiet.  'The emotional desolation is hard to describe.

'There were many times when I felt suicidal. One of the most extreme things you feel is a fantastically deep, bitter, anger at being treated so outrageously.'


Shut half of British government departments and save billions, says Dominic Raab

Nearly half of the departments in Whitehall should be shut to save billions of pounds and avoid cuts to frontline services, a Tory MP has said.

Dominic Raab MP suggested that the numbers of departments should be cut from 20 to 11, which if combined with a one per cent public sector pay cap would save £10billion a year.

Under Mr Raab’s plan the Home Office and Ministry of Justice would be merged into one department, reversing a split which happened under Gordon Brown in 2007.

Similarly the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, as well as the departments for Energy and Climate Change, and Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs would be merged.

The culture and transport departments would be combined, as well as the Communities and Local Goverment and the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish offices.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Raab said: “Britain doesn’t need such a bloated bureaucracy. By slashing the number of government departments – from 20 to 11 - we could cut a huge amount of waste without sacrificing front line services.

“We need an overhaul of Whitehall. The UK has twenty separate government departments. That is high by international standards: the US has 15, Japan 12, Germany 14, while even high-spending Sweden only has twelve.

“As well as inflating public spending, the proliferation of departments encourages mandarins to amass self-serving fiefdoms, fuels excessive regulation, and hampers a joined-up approach to policy-making in cross-cutting areas.”

Mr Raab added that “some departments, like DCMS - which also includes the pointless Government Equalities Office - and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), don’t merit separate bureaucracies with all their associated costs, churning out red-tape.

“In other areas, the proliferation of Whitehall silos hampers coordinated policy making. Too often, for example, the Department for International Development has operated a shadow foreign policy – it should be put back under the wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Likewise, do we really need two departments for the environment? In practice, it dislocates energy and de-carbonisation policy from vital task of strengthening UK environmental resilience, such as flood and coastal defences.”

The news came as a Government-commissioned report said the Prime Minister should be given the power to appoint the most senior civil servants who run Whitehall departments, a Government-commissioned report recommended.

The IPPR think-tank said Cabinet ministers should also be able to appoint an “extended office” of staff who work directly for them comprising political advisers and non-partisan outside experts as well as career civil servants.

The proposals are intended to make officials more accountable and responsive to ministers without undermining the fundamental commitment to a non-partisan, merit-based Civil Service.

They are likely, nevertheless, to prove highly contentious and provoke fresh accusations that ministers are trying to politicise Whitehall.

The recruitment process for permanent secretaries would still be overseen by the independent Civil Service Commission which would be responsible for drawing up a short list of suitable candidates.

However the final selection would be made by the Prime Minister who, the report argues, is the person best placed to pick the key personnel who are needed to ensure the successful delivery of his political programme.

The successful candidates would be given fixed-term four-year contracts which would be renewable depending on performance.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who commissioned the report, welcomed the proposals, describing them as “evolutionary” and saying they went “with the grain of our Westminster system”.


Sad when it takes a Russian leader to puncture European fantasies

He’s no Milton Friedman, but he’s right about the welfare state

"Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking ahead of the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland on 17-18 June, said his country would not follow the mistakes of Europe that led to the eurozone crisis. In a wide-ranging interview he blamed the EU’s “mentality” for endangering the economy and the “moral basics of society”. …

Asked if Europe’s welfare state model can be competitive today, Putin said Europe is living beyond its means, losing control of the economic situation and that Europe’s structural distortions were “unacceptable” to Russia. “Many European countries are witnessing a rise of [the] dependency mentality when not working is often much more beneficial than working. This type of mentality endangers not only the economy but also the moral basics of the society. It is not a secret that many citizens of less developed countries come to Europe intentionally to live on social welfare,” Putin said."

It’s hard to disagree with anything Putin says in that passage.

Seems like he understands that Europe made a big mistake by having too many people in the wagon and too few people pulling the wagon.


Depardieu: Never mind Russia, it’s France that’s “almost Bolshevik”

Remember the saga of Gerard Depardieu, the wealthy and much-maligned French actor who had the nerve to seek residence (and, presumably, a lower tax burden) elsewhere? French Socialist politicians flipped their lids when the well-known actor headed for the exits, and even though he hasn’t completely renounced his French citizenship, the actor was pretty clear in a recent interview that nobody has succeeded in guilt-tripping him into backing down. Via The Independent:

In his first lengthy press interview since he announced six months ago that he was “sending back” his French passport, Mr Depardieu said he now saw himself as a “citizen of the world”. …

Last December the actor engaged in a public slanging match with the Socialist government in France after announcing that he intended to live in Belgium to avoid high French taxes. In his interview yesterday with the Journal du Dimanche, he denied that he was a “tax exile”. He said that he still paid 30 per cent of his income in French taxes – but not the 87 per cent that he claimed he would have to pay if he lived full-time in his native country. …

France, he said, was “almost a Bolshevik country”, in view of the “hidden scandals” such as that of the former Budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who avoided taxes by having an illegal bank account abroad.

Well, I don’t know about this guy specifically — getting all buddy-buddy with Vladimir Putin does feel pretty sketchy — but the point is, more central-planning does tend to lead to more corruption and plutocracy, and that the Socialist French government is delusional if they think that wealthy individuals and businesses are going to wait around patiently for the government to serve them with still more decrees about how it’s their duty to pay a still larger majority of their income to sputtering, stalled-out mess that is the inefficient and extravagant bureaucracy. Neither economic pragmatism nor some misbegotten sense of patriotism are going to stop people from making choices in their own rational self-interest, no matter how much outrageous outrage Socialist politicians care to muster.

And speaking of merely that latest of Socialist French President Francois Hollande’s litany of political problems, the WSJ has the scoop:

The French government kicked off a fresh round of talks on Friday to overhaul the country’s state-backed pension fund, the fourth attempt in a decade to fix a generous but underfinanced system.

The effort will test the ability of the Socialist President François Hollande to push through painful measures. Although his predecessor, the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, increased the standard pension age to 62 from 60 in 2010, the government says it is imperative to consider new changes.

Without revision, the retirement of waves of baby boomers, combined with the increase in life expectancy, will leave the pension fund with a €20 billion ($27 billion) deficit in 2020—about 1% of the country’s gross domestic product."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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