David Cameron's constant recommitment to the centrality of family life is, for me, the most encouraging element of his leadership.
He recently appointed Dr Samantha Callan (pictured) as his policy adviser on family policy. Samantha chaired the Centre for Social Justice's policy group on family life. Along with Philippa Stroud, Jill Kirby and Maria Miller MP she is one of a quartet of women who have been critical to the Conservative Party becoming so family-friendly.
Supporting the family is not an issue of marginal importance. UK society has been systematically discouraging good behaviour for fifty years. In yesterday's Daily Mail, Professor Kenneth Minogue penned a devastating essay, recording how we've turned moral norms on their head. My own list would include the way we've...
- incentivised couples on benefit to live apart;
- made exams easier and downgraded competitive sports so every child 'succeeds';
- ducked tough action against disruptive behaviour in the classroom;
- given counselling rather than punishment to persistent young offenders;
- turned a blind eye to celebrities who use hard drugs;
- penalised pensioners who put money aside for their retirement;
- given grants to extremist Muslim groups;
- given the lion's share of attention in the Northern Ireland peace process to Sinn Fein, not the moderate SDLP...
Just speaking to party activists in Wales, David Cameron has spelt out why public policymakers cannot ignore the strength of the family: