No doubt, unless it was a coded message to his own four children, David Mowat, the junior health minister, meant well last week when he floated a proposal that “we start thinking as a society about how we deal with the care of our own parents”.
Around six months into the job, it has occurred to the primary care minister, he told the communities and local government committee, that a less formal set-up might work wonders. “One thing that has always struck me as I have been doing this role,” he said, “is that nobody ever questions the fact that we look after our children. That is obvious and nobody ever says that is a caring responsibility; it is just what you do.”
Perhaps he has yet to learn about the work, not only of social services and family courts, but of the often unfairly maligned Child Support Agency, created precisely because of the hundreds of thousands of parents, from all kinds of backgrounds, who reject their obligations. In those cases, the state can prove, dismaying though this is to accept, more responsible than an absent parent.
It doesn’t seem to occur to an Observer columnist that the CSA is the arm of the State which insists that people do meet their responsibilities to their children.
The new government wheeze to avoid its obligations is to suggest that children bear the burden, not the state
Well, yes, why not?