LIFE IN THE U.K. TODAY – Part 4
[These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years. Why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing it values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.]
British home and gift shops are awash with the current trendy artwork of ‘statement’. A single word, carved usually in wood; such words as ‘Relax’, ‘Home’, ‘Love’ and ‘Family’, are the most affordable popular words to display in your home. It says everything about you, your life, your marriage, and your children. They are ‘nice’ objects. They epitomise everything we want in life, but don’t always know how to achieve. They emphasize an ‘ideal’ of how things should be, but are unfortunately rare in most homes today.
Constables ‘Hay Wain’ from 1821, is another piece of British artwork, but this time hangs in the National Gallery in London. One of the most famous of paintings, well above the average household budget, it is estimated to be worth millions. Some consider it ‘Priceless’. Other works by John Constable can be seen in the Albert and Victoria Museum
The Hay Wain is a depiction of the British countryside, an idyllic scene from its era. Painted in East Berghoft, Suffolk it is near to a place called Flatford Mill, and shows a hay cart standing in the River Stour, and in the distance, workers collecting hay in the fields. It is a picture of ‘Peace’. It was however recently vandalized, as one of a series of attacks on artwork in Britain. In depth enquiries are now being made into how security was breached and the painting allowed to be ‘damaged’.
Another painting, this time of the Queen, and called The Coronation Theatre, and which was hanging in Westminster Abby, has also been vandalized. A member of the Fathers4Justice organization had attempted to spray paint the word ‘HELP’ across it.
Julie Jackson, who was visiting London from Maine, said: “I’m a little surprised, we’ve been saying how friendly and non violent the city is compared to New York. I’m really sorry to hear this happened.”
Lee Irvine, from Arizona, added: “I think what’s happened is really unfriendly and distasteful.
Lee made an interesting comment about having to see the empty space.
Although the picture had been removed for repair, it is also rare to see a portrait of the Queen and her husband together.
Paul Manning, the perpetrator of the Hay Wain crime, and another member and protestor of the organization Fathers4Justice recently attended court and was charged with criminal damage. Paul had glued a photograph of his son Elliot, again with the words ‘HELP’ on the photograph on to the painting in a desperate plea after he lost a final appeal for custody rights to his son. It drew attention to the plight of the numerous fathers and fatherless children across the country who are being alienated from each other. They know about empty spaces.
They believe their children are being damaged by the secret family closed court system, currently operating within the UK. They want to do something about it. They want equal parenting. They have gained attention. They also believe there is a ‘reverse sexism’ taking place, that men are being demonized. It is as unacceptable as discrimination against women, but profoundly damaging to young men and boys who increasing feel isolated and disconnected from their families and society. I agree.
Paul is an alienated father who loves his son. He is one of millions. Contrary to the belief that fathers instigate and abandon families, and in many cases clearly do, statistics show that the majority of family breakdowns are now being instigated by women. In Paul’s case, his wife had stated the ‘spark’ was missing from their marriage. Fifty per cent of children today, before they reach the age of 16, will also hear the news that their parents are divorcing. So what is happening to family life today and what are the effects this is having on our children?
According to the Office of National Statistics, it is recorded that the UK has the highest proportion of fatherless families of any other European country. 1 in every 3 children live in fatherless homes. This makes about 4 million children today. One in 3 of those will lose contact with their father permanently. A fatherless child is not a small problem. It is one of the major problems with us today.
It is the ‘Plight’ of poor ‘Blighty’.
It cannot be ignored that it is reported 70% of young offenders also come from lone parent families (Youth Justice Board 2002) 93% of families are headed by a single mother, and 40% of mothers admit to obstructing contact (Department for Social Security)
What fills the empty vacuum inside a child’s heart when it has no close contact with a father? Besides the mother, who and what do they bond to?
Throughout my own childhood, in the 60’s and 70’s, despite the cultural changes and sexual revolution of those days, I rarely heard of single parents, unless they were widowed, and rarely heard of divorce. The ‘spark’ which I often hear missing in today’s ‘relationships’, was certainly missing in my own parent’s lives, yet I am eternally grateful that I grew up in a household with a mother and a father who were able to stay together. One of the most poignant memories I now have is of my father standing on the doorstep looking at his watch if I was late home. The fact that someone was looking out for me, and cared enough to do that instilled a sense of security. I think of it today.
I believe when a father is missing from a family an invisible screen of safety is removed, and all sorts of insecurities and problems are then allowed to enter. Will this apply to all single lone women raising children? No, but the above statistics do not lie.
Britain, with its plight of the fatherless represents how the spirit of the country feels as a whole. There is emptiness, that there is no genuine loving strength surrounding you. Looking out for you. It is a spiritual dilemma as well as a physical one. People sense it, but don’t know what it is.
Fathers need to be reunited and encouraged to be with their children as much as possible. Men need to be reinstated to their importance within society and in the family, which I believe has been overlooked at the expense of promoting the equality of women over the course of 50 years.
The British male now often lives in secret servitude and fear to his wife who confidently knows without any doubt she ultimately has the winning upper hand with the custody of children should relationships not go how they wish.
Children are often used as a leverage tool, a threat to the family, by women, who in 93% of cases are always awarded priority carers.
The secret family courts, meant to protect the child, sometimes only confuse the child and their parents. Most cases may be better transparent. In secrecy, outsiders also believe the priority carer must have been the most fit parent. This may not always be the case. The anguish of thousands of British fathers, and grandparents, who feel they are being unjustly denied access to children they love, when they feel they have done nothing wrong, testifies to this.
The fictional novel by British children’s author, Michelle Magorian, called ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’, can attest to the story of troubled youth and the impact that a lost father can have on a child. The novel is one of the better exports from the UK, and I can really recommend the film version starring actor John Thaw in his role as widower Mr Tom
The story is about a troubled young boy called William who is evacuated during the Second World War and finds himself in the care of widower, Mr Tom. It is a wonderful story about learning about trust and finding stability. The genuine love that children need from a father figure. When William is requested back to London by his mother and Tom does not hear from him, he does what any loving man and father should do. He goes looking for him, until he finds him, and ultimately saves him.
Though a fictional piece of writing, the truth of its message will ring true with any fatherless child, and even re-kindle some appreciation for your own. One cannot help but be inspired and reminded of how important a good father is. Everybody wants one.
Fathers-4-Justice, pull some pretty crazy and bizarre stunts. The eccentricity of a father dressed as Batman climbing the wall of Buckingham Palace and hundreds of fathers dressed as Father Christmas storming department stores might have given us all a chuckle at some time, even irritated us, most especially as they are sometimes carried out in such staunch and cold establishments, which are meant to be serious; but no-one can deny that these fathers care. Men who love their children fight for them. The founder of the organization believes in humour, but says himself they are a tragic ‘comedy’.
De-facing famous art work is not something to be encouraged. Fortunately, the paintings were not damaged permanently. Carrying out such acts is not always a good representation of the organization; they are criminalizing themselves, and will lose respect, despite many understanding their desperation.
Some of these fathers are being labelled ‘terrorists’.
However, the response to how we view works of art, and the reason why we value such paintings as the Hay Wain, reflect a huge contradiction in comparison to how little we speak and show concern for the actual ‘reality’ on what is destroying family life, and what we can do about it. Do we cherish it? Do we care? Do we need an in depth enquiry into how security was breached and the family allowed to be ‘damaged’.
What is to become of the generation of the fatherless?
Many young people hold on to the ideals of ‘Family’, ‘Love’ and ‘Home’. Despite confusion, there is an ‘inward’ ideal which drives them on. We all inwardly know how things should be.
The leaders who are meant to be in control of the country, and could be excellent role models, do not seem to possess the genuine characteristics of what strength and stability is; rather their leadership appears counterfeit, petulant and unjust. Wayward. It appears to reward the wrong, and punish the right. And like the carved words in the gift shop, can only offer an interpretation and pretence of leadership rather than the genuine thing.
Many people in Britain fell the same way as Americans do about their country. Despite the odd flag waving event, and the certain pride we take in sport, we have however lost our patriotism.
Patriotism, Patriarch, Father.
Many cannot put into words what they see. They outwardly cry ‘HELP’
We should inwardly cry too. Everyone needs a father.
People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.
“By the end of today, another 200 children will have been cruelly separated from their fathers in secret family courts.”
Matt O’Connor, Founder, Fathers4Justice
Fatherless ness is an obscenity. No child should be denied their human right to a father.
Speak not in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. Remove not the old landmark and enter not into the fields of the fatherless.
Psalm 23: 10.
© 2013 Shirley Edwards – All Rights Reserve
Shirley Edwards was born and lives in Great Britain. She has always worked in administration, but have also taught and studied complimentary health. In administrative roles, she has worked within The Church of England. She also worked for some years as a volunteer within the hospice movement.
Shirley has an interest in all health issues, loves the British countryside, and enjoys writing. She is thankful for talk radio and loves listening.
Shirley has always been concerned about the loss of freedoms in her country, also the demise of America, a country she loves for the original reasons on which it was founded. She believe in the Pursuit of Genuine Happiness.