Now is the government’s chance to promote marriage and tackle our social problems

first_imgThe Times – Sir Paul Coleridge 13 July 2017 Family First Comment: This is a great commentary by a senior family court judge in the UK:“In 2012, after 43 years in the family justice system (14 sitting as a judge) watching the inexorable and seemingly unstoppable rise in family breakdown, I began to talk publicly about the scale and depth of the problem I was witnessing daily. I was driven by three motives: first, a desire to challenge the entrenched belief that nothing could be done to stop the rot; second, a conviction, having watched the fallout for so long in the family courts, that our children were the sector of the population most adversely affected by the epidemic and third, that the remedies had to be applied to the causation end of the problem, not the remedy end. In short, our children’s life chances were being seriously and permanently damaged and we had to do something to publicise the scale of the problem and suggest solutions….“…. This is not some moral crusade designed to hark back to some imaginary golden age. It is a public health campaign affecting millions of families, adults and children, of the greatest priority. The less well-off, the next generation and the public purse would be the main beneficiaries.”Exactly!In 2012, after 43 years in the family justice system (14 sitting as a judge) watching the inexorable and seemingly unstoppable rise in family breakdown, I began to talk publicly about the scale and depth of the problem I was witnessing daily. I was driven by three motives: first, a desire to challenge the entrenched belief that nothing could be done to stop the rot; second, a conviction, having watched the fallout for so long in the family courts, that our children were the sector of the population most adversely affected by the epidemic and third, that the remedies had to be applied to the causation end of the problem, not the remedy end. In short, our children’s life chances were being seriously and permanently damaged and we had to do something to publicise the scale of the problem and suggest solutions.Fortunately and wonderfully I discovered that others shared my concerns and vision. Thus was Marriage Foundation born and launched in May that year. Most thought it was a hair-brained idea with no future. Five years on we have confounded our critics.Time and again our research department has injected reality and hard evidence into this debate with eye-catching research that the media has broadcast. We are justifiably proud of our achievements, but we still have a long way to go.In the five years in which Marriage Foundation has been campaigning, the subject of marriage has become highly relevant, but also highly toxic. While the definition of marriage has been redefined to include same-sex couples (in recognition of the huge benefits it confers on the couple) support for marriage generally has been singularly lacking, especially among most policymakers and opinion-formers. George Osborne had to be dragged kicking and screaming into finally including a transferable marriage tax allowance of £200 in his budgetary package. The figure was so derisory that almost no one bothered to apply for it and the government had to advertise its existence. The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have vowed to scrap it.And yet, as we have shown, the cost of family breakdown to the public purse and the impact on the least well-off is beyond doubt. At the same time the so-called couple penalty caused by the financial advantage in benefit legislation in living apart (a whopping £7,000 a year) endures.It is, of course, obvious why this paradox in attitudes has emerged; the least well-off (ie the greatest number of the voting public) have, to their manifest disadvantage, become less enamoured of the commitment of marriage. In an irresponsible attempt not to upset such a large section of the electorate the politicians pretend it matters not. Disingenuously they cry: “It is just a piece of paper.” And yet in the vast majority of cases they are themselves married; 90 per cent of the Cabinet. “Do as I say, not as I do”, perhaps? Or just plain hypocrisy.So, government — now is your chance to make a real difference to the lives of so many and tackle the real causes of our serious social problems. Let me suggest a five-point plan: start by absorbing and understanding what the research is telling us. Successive governments refuse to believe what the figures tell them or ignore them for fear of upsetting parts of the population who most need assistance. Make the issue of families and family breakdown a Cabinet-level priority. Let us have a tax and benefit system directed to promoting and supporting marriage and sustained relationships. Fund and promote relationships education and support at a proper level.In particular, stop being shy about supporting marriage. This is not some moral crusade designed to hark back to some imaginary golden age. It is a public health campaign affecting millions of families, adults and children, of the greatest priority. The less well-off, the next generation and the public purse would be the main beneficiaries.Article written by Sir Paul Coleridge a retired judge of the High Court of England and Wales. He is currently the Chairman of the Marriage Foundation.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/now-is-the-governments-chance-to-promote-marriage-and-tackle-our-social-problems-gghzx6gr5last_img read more

Basketball looks ahead to Oregon game

first_imgA pair of strong victories over the weekend have helped stabilize the USC men’s basketball team after it underwent a bumpy start to Pac-12 competition this season.Senior guard Elijah Stewart scored 9 points against Utah, going 3-for-4 from long range. Tucker Judkins | Daily TrojanA 20-point scoring effort from senior guard Jordan McLaughlin propelled the Trojans past visiting Colorado on Jan. 10, 70-58. The victory over the Buffs was followed up by an 84-67 USC routing of Utah on Sunday, a game which saw the Trojans hit a season-high 14 3-pointers as a team.USC’s (13-6) weekend sweep at the Galen Center improved it’s conference record to 4-2 this season and moved it into a tie for second-place with UCLA in the Pac-12 standings.“Every game in our league is a challenging one this season — we’re in a very deep conference,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “We’re happy with how we played this past week. We beat two tough teams at home and we’ve been playing some good basketball.”  The Trojans will look to extend their conference winning-streak to three games Thursday night, as they travel to Eugene to take on Oregon (12-6, 2-3). The Ducks, who are coming off a 90-83 loss to No. 14 Arizona, are led offensively by sophomore guard Payton Pritchard (who is averaging a team-high 15 PPG).“We’ve been playing some good basketball, very well on the defensive side of things over the past five games,” Enfield said. “We know it’s going to take another good defensive effort from our guys to pick up a win at Oregon.” Pac-12 losses to Arizona (Jan. 13), Oregon State (Jan. 5) and Utah (Dec. 29) have dropped Oregon to a 2-3 record in conference play this season. The Ducks currently find themselves situated at eighth in the Pac-12 standings. USC was swept in its series against Oregon last season, losing both games in double-digit fashion. When the Trojans traveled to Oregon last season, they returned with an 84-61 blowout loss to the Ducks. USC has not won a road contest against Oregon since the 2008-2009 season.“We’ve just got to show up and play some solid defense for an entire 40 minutes and knock down some shots,” McLaughlin, said. “It’s a little tough to be playing there, but then again every road game is tougher … If we can stick to playing fast, smart, unselfish, we should be in it.” McLaughlin, who leads the conference with 7.6 APG this season, is also averaging 13.2 PPG and has been the main offensive cog for the Trojans all season long. USC will look to McLaughlin to feed the other three Trojans scoring in double-figures this season: junior forwards Chimezie Metu (team-high 16.7 PPG) and Bennie Boatwright (15.4 PPG) and senior guard Elijah Stewart (10.9 PPG).“[McLaughlin’s] a great leader for us, and it’s really showing on the court right now,” Metu said. “If you’re in the right place on the floor, he’ll find you. He’s a guy who will make the right pass 10 times out of 10.” After losing to Stanford back on Jan. 7 in the most devastating of fashions (allowing a 55-foot 3-pointer as time expired in regulation), USC has responded resiliently by racking up back-to-back conference victories, both by double digits.After doing battle at Oregon on Thursday night, USC will proceed to play Oregon State (10-7, 2-3) in Corvallis on Saturday.Following a rocky non-conference outing this season, USC will have another opportunity to continue its upward trek in the conference standings this weekend. A successful weekend sweep of the Oregon schools would have the Trojans flirting with the top spot in the Pac-12 standings.“We’ve just got to take this road trip one game at a time,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll keep all our focus on [Oregon] first and see what goes from there.”last_img read more