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Since last Wednesday, when ‘no-fault’ divorce became law south of the border (Scotland did this in 2006), civil marriage in England has become little more than a middle-class foible. 

Families are temporary arrangements, easily scattered. Why should most people bother with a ‘commitment’ so readily torn up that it isn’t worth the paper it’s scribbled on?

I say civil marriage because I believe there are still couples from all layers of society who make serious pledges of lifelong marriage in religious weddings. But civil marriage is now less binding than a car lease. It offers no guarantee of stability to those who marry, let alone to their children, the real victims of this trend in the law.

In fact, these are the two fascinating things about modern marriage law in the West. It virtually ignores the dreadful damage divorce does to children. It correctly claims to liberate adults – but at what price to their offspring, who are in so many cases made miserable, not liberated?

The clever, slick BBC TV drama The Split, starring Nicola Walker, portrays the smooth, moneyed industry that now feeds off marital break-up. But now it is terminal. Why is that?

The clever, slick BBC TV drama The Split, starring Nicola Walker, portrays the smooth, moneyed industry that now feeds off marital break-up. But now it is terminal. Why is that?

The clever, slick BBC TV drama The Split, starring Nicola Walker, portrays the smooth, moneyed industry that now feeds off marital break-up. But now it is terminal. Why is that? 

And it turns normal law upside down. It sides with the contract-breaker rather than with the person who wants to keep his or her word. 

Try telling your mortgage lender that you don’t actually owe them any money any more, even though you solemnly promised to pay it back, because your relationship with them has irretrievably broken down. This has been getting worse for many years. 

The clever, slick BBC TV drama The Split, starring Nicola Walker, portrays the smooth, moneyed industry that now feeds off marital break-up. But now it is terminal. Why is that?

I have long thought that both the state and business do not much like families. Families have private lives and pass on opinions and stories that contradict all the official dogmas. 

Try telling your mortgage lender that you don’t actually owe them any money any more, even though you solemnly promised to pay it back, because your relationship with them has irretrievably broken down. This has been getting worse for many years

Try telling your mortgage lender that you don’t actually owe them any money any more, even though you solemnly promised to pay it back, because your relationship with them has irretrievably broken down. This has been getting worse for many years

Try telling your mortgage lender that you don’t actually owe them any money any more, even though you solemnly promised to pay it back, because your relationship with them has irretrievably broken down. This has been getting worse for many years

Families like to have weekends and evenings off rather than working the whole time. 

Families spread and sustain old-fashioned ideas such as inheritance, continuity, thrift and providence. Families can stand against the hypnotic power of advertising and political propaganda.

Families have ferociously strong bonds of loyalty. People who are in families are harder to push around and brainwash than isolated individuals. The old Soviet state specifically made war on proper families. Marriage was a scrap of paper easily dissolved.

Children were, literally, taught to put the state above their parents. They were trained to worship the obscene child traitor Pavlik Morozov, idolised for betraying his mother and father to the secret police. There was still a statue to this horror in Moscow until 1991.

The young used to be paraded in front of it and told to revere him, even though he probably never existed. But here it’s been more subtle. If you make what was once a binding oath easy to get out of, you will in the end undermine its power.

The strong possibility of break-up has been inserted, by the State, into every marriage ceremony. So when difficulties come, people swiftly think of divorce as the remedy.

The first thing that happens is that there are more divorces.

The next is that it becomes increasingly difficult to be critical of divorce because divorcees take it personally. Then this settles down, and there are fewer marriages in the first place. And so we get a stronger state, greedier commerce – and more and more lonely, unhappy children who tragically think it is all their fault.

I have long thought that both the state and business do not much like families. Families have private lives and pass on opinions and stories that contradict all the official dogmas, writes Peter Hitchens (pictured)

I have long thought that both the state and business do not much like families. Families have private lives and pass on opinions and stories that contradict all the official dogmas, writes Peter Hitchens (pictured)

I have long thought that both the state and business do not much like families. Families have private lives and pass on opinions and stories that contradict all the official dogmas, writes Peter Hitchens (pictured)

Some cold, hard facts they don’t tell you about Ukraine 

Here are some facts about the Ukraine crisis you may not be aware of. I have listed them to try to cool down the hot temper of so much of the debate about this issue, which threatens to widen and deepen an appalling war.

Q. How long have Western countries been giving military aid to Ukraine?

A. The US has been giving Ukraine generous foreign and military aid since 1991, when Ukraine became a country. In the decade after 1991, Ukraine received almost $2.6 billion. In the years leading up to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, it was getting roughly $105 million per year, including military financing, most given long before any threat of Russian invasion. The US began supplying weapons in 2018. Britain began giving military aid to Ukraine in 2014, in the form of advisers and training.

Q. Did anyone ever try to solve the problem that some of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking citizens did not want to be in Ukraine – a main reason for hostility between Moscow and Kiev after 1991?

A. Yes, right from the start. On August 26, 1991, two days after Kiev declared independence from Moscow, the then Russian president Boris Yeltsin said that the old Soviet borders between Russia and Ukraine would have to be redrawn to deal with this problem. He retracted this within a day, almost certainly thanks to pressure from the United States. By May 1992, 250,000 of Crimea’s roughly two million mostly Russian people had signed a petition asking for a referendum on independence – enough to trigger a vote under Ukrainian law. On May 5 that year, Crimea’s parliament voted 118 to 28 to secede from Ukraine. But the Kiev government prevented a referendum from taking place.

Q. Would it have been possible to change the borders of Ukraine peacefully to avoid this obvious problem?

A. Yes, as European borders are not sacrosanct. The US and the UK, along with dozens of other countries (though not Ukraine), have recognised Kosovo’s breakaway from Serbia in 2008. The whole of the former Yugoslavia has been scissored into many new states, mostly recognised by the majority of nations. Ukraine, for instance, was among the earliest countries to recognise Croatia’s 1991 breakaway from Yugoslavia, then a highly controversial step.

Q. What is the biggest political snub in modern history?

A. In March 2007, Vladimir Putin warned very specifically against further expansion of Nato. Just a year later, President George W. Bush announced that he wanted Ukraine to join Nato, wholly aware that his action would infuriate Moscow. It did.

Q. Is Russia alone in committing alleged atrocities in Ukraine?

A. No. More than one allegation has been made, supported by apparent video evidence, of Ukrainian soldiers killing or maiming captured and helpless Russian prisoners of war. It must be stressed that these claims have not been proven. 

However, it is incontestable that both Russian and Ukrainian forces were guilty of military actions leading to the deaths of civilians, including children, during the war which has raged since 2014 in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Q. Could the current war have been avoided?

A. Very much so. President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected largely on a promise to seek peace, which he courageously did in 2019. But political rivals and hard-Right militias both opposed him. 

On a visit to soldiers on the front line, he told one Rightist who lectured him: ‘You can’t issue me ultimatums. I’m the president of this country. I am 42 years old. I’m no sucker. I came here to tell you to move your weapons away from the front line.’ 

But in the end, Mr Zelensky gave in to the pressure, and the peace deal withered away.

Q. Whatever happened to the United Nations, which is supposed to prevent or end wars such as this?

A. I have no idea. It seems to have evaporated.

To comment on Peter Hitchens, click here

Source: Daily Mail

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