Archive for September, 2010
With the publication of Tony Blair’s book we learn that Gordon Brown could be ‘maddening’ and that he had ‘zero emotional intelligence’. How fascinating to find that all those rumours, so hotly denied by Downing Street, of a rift between Blair and Brown were true.
It seems that Brown was only kept in his job because he was less of a risk in the government, where Blair could exercise some sort of control, than out of it.
Yet back in the mid-nineties, they were Labour’s golden couple – destined for a long and happy life together in Downing Street.
Doesn’t this remind you of so many divorcing couples? The marriage starts off in a haze of good intentions to the accompaniment of bell-ringing and joy; it settles into a few years of reasonable contentment and production of children (or ‘political policies’); the niggling arguments start; they both start complaining to friends and family about each other (known in politics as ‘briefing’); they struggle to stay together for the sake of the children (or Party); there’s a period of icy separation in the marital home (or Cabinet); finally one can stand it no longer and leaves (or ‘resigns’), leaving the other to pay the bills.
The worrying thing is our government is now headed by a golden couple whose coalition has been likened to a civil partnership ………
Perhaps someone should drop a few leaflets in Downing Street extolling the virtues of Collaborative Law and the advantages of splitting without fighting. Just for future reference, you know, in case the coalition doesn’t last for life.
Family lawyers see many cases that are heart-rending from the point of view of the children involved. Sometimes it seems that the people who would make the best parents can’t have children and those that make the worst parents have them like shelling peas.
Gillian St Lawrence, aged 30, who lives in Washington has recently blogged that she and her husband have decided to freeze their embryos with a view to giving birth when they are able to offer children a secure financial future. So a little test tube of tiny embryos will be kept in frozen suspended animation for the next ten years or so.
It’s understandable that a couple who both grew up in families without much money and who left university with student debts of $250,000 (and we think students have it tough in the UK!) would want to make sure that they can launch their own children into the world free of debt. Understandable, too, they want to hedge against their fertility tailing off. After all, family planning means planning not to have children; you can never be sure that you will have them just when you want them.
Mrs St Lawrence says that she has no moral qualms and has no plan for what would happen if she and her husband should divorce. That ‘will never happen’ she says. Clearly a woman of strong convictions who likes to have her future all planned out.
Recent figures have shown that it now costs over £200,000 to raise a child in the UK but if we all waited until we had that sum safely tucked away in a trust fund, we could end up with a society of very old parents and very young dependent children. Then who would be earning the money to pay the taxes to keep society going?
Somehow, I can’t see a woman whose biological clock is chiming getting quite the same satisfaction from a frozen test tube as from holding a live, warm baby. And if we all waited until we were in our forties to have children, none of us would be grandparents until our eighties and bang goes the built-in free babysitter!
The choices now offered by the advances in medical science just seem to have made life more complicated, don’t they?