Open letter to David Cameron in response to the “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers” article.

19th June 2011

Dear Mr Cameron

I read the article in the Daily Telegraph on 18th June titled “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers” with great interest and even greater dismay.

It is rather unfortunate that you have chosen the day before Father’s Day to single out only the dads who allegedly take no emotional or financial responsibility towards their children.  True, some dads may not care about their kids, in which case they can not be made to feel something which they don’t.  This concept is alien to you and me… how can a normal human being NOT care about their children?  My late step father was one such person.  He had kids before he married my mother which he never saw nor wanted to, and speaking from personal experience, such people should not be MADE to give emotional support or be around their kids, because quite simply, they are incapable of doing so, and would probably cause more damage then good.  That said, I agree that they should at least pay maintenance for their kids.

My utter dismay comes from, first of all, your complete lack of understanding on family matters outside the scope of marriage; parents separate, and in most cases, carrying on as a family unit would most probably have been unhealthy for all concerned, especially the child.  I am happy for you that you have your little family bubble, however a lot of people don’t… and it’s outside this bubble where your ignorance screams blue murder, I’m sorry to say!

Let me, therefore, attempt to fill in a few blanks for you.  Believe it or not, there are actually dads who, after separation, desperately want to participate in their children’s lives.  Unfortunately, the law in this country is such, that upon separation it is perfectly acceptable for the mother to remove the child from dads care completely, imposing how often, if at all, the dad can see the child, and if the wannabe supportive dad feels that he sees too little of the child, he then has to instigate court proceedings.

Even worse, if the mother is hostile to the dad (and I do think that the psychology upon separation and after finding a new partner is in desperate need of a study)… or worse,  suddenly decides she wants to relocate out of town, or even worse, overseas… and even worse (can it get any worse?!!)… she has a new partner who is also hostile to the dad, and they together, put all kinds of spanners in the works for the dad, and lead the child into believing all sorts of nonsense (which, by the way, is very deeply damaging to the child and utterly heartbreaking for the dad).  Do you have any idea what dads in this situation have to go through, what kind of emotional and psychological hell it is to have your child removed from you, kept and being damaged in a lair of of abhorrent hostility, out of your reach?  This is the other side of the coin, which you have completely failed to mention in your interview in the Telegraph.

Now how do you think those dads, who are on the receiving end of being deprived of their children (and more importantly, their children being deprived of them) feel after reading your interview in the Telegraph?

There is NO mention of hostile mothers, or the family courts who mostly support them.

Children need both parents in their lives, which you imply that you also believe.  I strongly believe that it is every child’s basic human right to have both parents in their lives.

Unfortunately, the family law does not make this easy.  I know that your aim is to promote marriage, give tax breaks for married couples, and make happy little family units like your own, but like I said, it doesn’t always work like this.  Couples fall out of love with each other; couples break up.

Therefore my questions, Mr Cameron, are firstly… what are you going to say to those on the other side of coin, who brazenly block dads access to children for their own gratification, whatever that may be?

And secondly, what are you going to do for the dads who WANT to participate in their children’s lives – emotionally, not just financially – but are unable to due to family laws which belong in the dark ages?

Best wishes,
Bojan Timotijevic (Lily’s dad)

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9 thoughts on “Open letter to David Cameron in response to the “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers” article.

  1. Pingback: Cameron’s Balance Goes AWOL : Pink Tape

  2. Very well written and absolutely spot on. This man is an ignorant buffoon who is completely detached from reality. I was absolutely disgusted with is article. How about teling two sides of the story? Well done.

  3. Excellent, well done and well written. I, like thousands of others, am in exactly the same situation. If only the morons running this country could understand what a problem it is!
    I assumed it was very few people suffering from the situation you mention until I read the backlash from Camerons foolish statements. Although it does give me a sense of unity and thus strength it changes nothing and I can’t help but feel that with a little organisation things could be made to change for the better?

  4. Anyone who voted this pratt in must be kicking themselves by now, surely? The leader of our government has in one fell swoop demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the modern-day family. We don’t all live in a rose-tinted family unit and it is not always the father who is doing the running. Cameron’s comments are misnformed and badly timed. He’s a man who clearly does not appreciate the equal rights to both mother and father. You’d be forgiven for thinking his ideal is the father going out to work whilst loyal little wifey stays at home and tends to the housework and the kiddies. As has already been said, the man is a buffoon.

    Meanwhile, “the law is an ass”. Outdated and irrelevant, it needs to change. In the last year at least three of my aquaintances have struggled to gain access to their children, battling partners not fit to look after themselves, let alone a child.

    Mr Cameron, it may be hard to believe, but some ‘modern’ men are as capable of parenting as their partners. I know, shocking, isn’t it?

  5. Well said. As a father who has been through the UK Family Courts and spent more money there just fighting to see my child, than most would spend on raising a child in their lifetime, it makes me very angry that Fathers Day was chosen by Cameron to say such negative things about fathers. He wouldn’t dare criticise mothers on Mothers Day.

    I won Residence of my child, after being denied contact after separation/divorce. I am in the rare minority. So many dads don’t win anything, and fight a losing battle just to try and be the dad they know their children deserve. Feckless dads are bad, but until you can clearly identify the difference between a feckless father and a dad unable to see his kids, you can’t start stigmatising them.

    Should we treat all mothers who deny fathers and children a loving relationship like drunk drivers? How can we know one of these bad single mothers from the good ones making the best of a compromised parenting situation? We can’t. Secret family courts certainly won’t expose the bad ones. Fathers climbing on rooftops aren’t aloud to name and shame the bad ones. So there is no way to stigmatise bad mothers, just as there is no way to do the same with bad fathers.

    Rather than try the impossible, lets focus on what is possible. Stop allowing bad parents to abuse their position of power and control, or lack there of. Make parents fully responsible for their actions, and place safety net laws that respect the rights of children, and their parents protection from abuse and neglect.

    A mother and child being abandoned by a feckless father is serious neglect. A father locked out of a child’s life is abuse. Both forms of action should be punishable, and remedies to avoid such situations should be the primary focus, with punishment acting as a strong deterrent in the first place.

    We don’t stigmatise drink drivers, we deter them with effective policing and campaigns of awareness, and robust laws to catch any that fail to comply. Lets treat abusive mothers, and feckless fathers with a similar process of education, awareness and effective laws.

  6. I am a married man who lives with his wife and daughter in a, more or less, happy and stable family. I thank my lucky stars that things have worked out well thus far.

    Nevertheless, I really sympathise with those men who have been separated from their children; who want to be involved, loving and responsible fathers, but who cannot for reason of a prejudiced legal system. My heart really goes out to all of you in that position. The problem is compounded by the secrecy surrounding Family Courts, whereby responsible men can then be demonised in public as ‘runaway Dads’, and fathers have little or no opportunity to rebut such claims or, more importantly, restore their relationships with their children.

    David Cameron has demonstrated terrible ignorance of modern Britain. Children have a right to see and be involved with both of their parents, and the law right now allows this not to happen on too many occasions. To say these things on Father’s Day, of all days, is deeply wounding to all reasonable, sensitive and knowledgeable people in Britain today, regardless of the state of their family relationships. Of course, he would not dare say similar things about feckless mothers on Mother’s Day; though they do, sadly, also exist.

    It is so difficult for people to distinguish between a feckless runaway and a father who wants to take an active role in his children’s lives but is prevented from doing so by the law as it stands. Under these circumstances, it is inevitable that many decent, responsible, but defenseless men who wish to play an active role in their children’s lives but cannot will end up being stigmatised by a prejudiced state and society. Cameron’s words, and their intended outcome, represent some of the very worst aspects of human nature.

  7. Just a comment to Ben Fisher above, you aren’t alone mate. Join Families Need Fathers and you will be amazed just how mant of us there are.

  8. Hi Ben

    Families Need Fathers can be found on http://www.fnf.org.uk

    We work to help children keep in contact with both their parents following a parental separation. We hold branch meetings all over the UK. Some branches have pro-bono solicitors who will give people advice.

    We do such a lot Ben and we are working very hard lobbying for shared parenting an trying to raise awareness of the problems that non-resident parents endure ( usually ( Over 90% of the time) the dad but sometimes the mum ( whom we will also help in those circumstances)

    There are so many problems that need addressing

    Not enough contact centres. Court reports too slow, Reports not carried out on an equal basis, anotherwords child seen with mother but not with father, child interviewed in front of mother about child’s wishes.

    Police not recording Domestic Violence against men. They should do, they are supposed to but it doesn’t always happen.

    Schools not following the Education Act and not appreciating that BOTH the parents have rights

    I could go on …. but we have made progress and the more people who join us the more we can do

    Best wishes
    HelenCymru
    :- )

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