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Thursday, November 25, 2004
Where genuine compassion lies

Last night's unmissable Moral Maze, on divorce and custody of children, can be listened to with Reaplayer or similar software here.

There were a number of things striking about the programme: the feebleness of unsupportably denying again and again the evidence that every educated person should know about the benefits to children of marriage; the almost flat-earth style, ridiculous ideological assertions about diverse lifestyles that were offered in their place; the empty selfishness of the liberal attitude that can countenance no responsibility towards one's spouse or children that might provoke one to think again about destroying a relationship.

But above all, I was struck by the power of the way Michael Gove and Melanie Phillips managed to express strong, conservative moral values and traditional sexual ethics in a way that got across their compassionate reality as protectors of the voiceless and vulnerable, who cannot look after themselves. The claret-slurping architects of the sexual revolution so often claimed to work in the interests of the underdog, the desperate and the needy. It is the greatest indictment of the changes they unleashed that their chief victims were the most weak and powerless of all. Until all the mess they have made has been cleared, they mustn't be allowed to forget it.

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