Thursday, November 18, 2010


Glasgow c1900 (Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums - Website for this image)

One parent families are not new.

In the UK, in the late 1730s, 24% of marriages were ended by the death of a partner within ten years and 56% within 25 years.

In Liverpool in the UK, in the late 1830s, the life expectancy of child workers was only 15 years. (Life Expectancy)

In the UK, in the period before 1837, it is estimated that over 50% of all births were conceived outside marriage.

In 1939, in the UK, the Registrar General found that 30% of all first children born in the UK in the previous year had been conceived out of wedlock. ('Happy families?' history and policy, by Pat Thane)

High levels of cohabitation and illegitimacy may not be new.

But, did something go wrong in the 1960s?

At, A Mackie wrote about the 'permissiveness' that allegedly came to certain countries in the 1960s:

"Can we say that the triumph of libertarianism was beneficial?

"We have an infantilised population; celebrities who are overpaid and childishly arrogant; a generation of illiterate children out of control; adolescents whose anti-social behaviour is now beyond the point of legislation; the influence of entertainers and satirists exceeding that of the lawmakers; and the denigration of public life.

"I certainly agree with tolerance, but beware of Pandora’s box."

In 1956, the high master of St Paul's School in London described "the gradual dissolution of home life" that he observed around him.

At, Professor Pat Thane, Research Professor in Contemporary History at King's College London, wrote the following ('Happy families?' history and policy, by Pat Thane):

"There is a widespread belief, especially in some political and media circles, that since the 1960s there has been a breakdown of family life in Britain on a scale without historical precedent.

"Such a claim may result, among other things, in policy responses based on false assumptions about the history of the family."

According to Professor Thane:

The 'permissive'1960s were not the decisive break with long-established norms of marital stability and sexual propriety that is often thought.

There was a change in the late 1960s from some of the norms of the post-Second World War period, but that was the historically unusual period, with high rates of relatively long-lasting marriages.

High rates of lone motherhood and of complex step-families were common for centuries due to high death rates especially among younger men.

High rates of marriage break-up, often due to domestic violence towards women and children, were also common in the past.

Remember 1972?

High rates of unmarried cohabitation of men and women bringing up children prevailed over many centuries, mainly due to the difficulty of obtaining a divorce before 1969.

Premarital sex was a normal part of the courtship process for very large sections of the population long before the 1960, and partly accounts for the persistence of illegitimacy over the centuries.

Younger people are not more neglectful of older relatives than in the past: older people are now more likely to have surviving children and to be in regular touch with them, with mutual support between the generations widespread.

The poorest families have always found it hardest to achieve stability and harmony, suggesting that socio-economic inequality may be a more important challenge than features of the family itself.

(Full deatils here: 'Happy families?' history and policy, by Pat Thane)

Are people more rebellious since the 1960s?

Since the 1960s, there may be more children going in for anti-social behaviour.

But, how many children speak out about 9 11?

How many children are not brainwashed by TV?

Back in 1919, people seemed much more rebellious.

Tanks in Glasgow, in 1919, ready to shoot the people.

How vicious are the ruling elite?

"In 1919 Glasgow's engineering unions called for a general strike starting on 27 January in support of the demand for a 40-hour working week...

"The Government sent English troops to Glasgow...

"Six tanks and 100 motor lorries accompanied the troops, and they were sent to strategic points across the city on 1 February in a calculated show of force." - I Belong To Glasgow: Bloody Friday

The British military were prepared to shoot the people.

"Soldiers armed with machine guns, tanks and a howitzer arrived on the Friday night and Saturday to occupy Glasgow's streets.

"A 4.5 inch Howitzer was positioned at the City Chambers, the cattle market was transformed into a tank depot, Lewis Guns were posted on the top of the North British Hotel and the General Post Office, armed troops stood sentry outside power stations, docks and patrolled the streets." - Battle of George Square - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

People got hurt.

"The seriousness of the government's intent can be gauged from Regulation 965 about how to deal with 'civil unrest': 'It is undesirable that firing should take place over the heads of the rioters or that blank ammunition should be used.'" - BBC NEWS.

The people of Glasgow wanted better conditions.

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