In light of the government proposals, I want to remind everyone what F4J stands for.

Firstly, we cannot work with other groups who are diametrically opposed to what we stand for for. (See the advert attached). It defies belief that some people believe we are all campaigning for the same thing. Please do not assume this. Our position hasn’t changed – others have. Let me spell out what we stand for – what we have ALWAYS stood for since 2001.

  1. Legal presumption to contact – we will give all parents and grandparents a right in law to see their children and grandchildren.
  2. Legal presumption to equal parenting – we will give all parents the right in law to be treated equally and share parenting time equally.
  3. We advocate a new Bill of Rights for the Family in the 21st Century as outlined in our Blueprint for Family Law.
  4. We support wholesale family law reform, open courts and a public enquiry led by Sir Bob Geldof into the operations of the secret family courts. Courts are for criminals, not families.
  5. We support a Truth & Reconciliation Commission which will investigate the conduct of the judiciary and government and compensate those families affected for loss of family life.
  6. We believe Child Support should mean emotional and financial support and the benefits should be divided on the basis of parenting time.

Our starting point is this: as fathers we are not recognised in law. We have no representation in our parliament and no voice in our country. Clearly, the other groups do not represent our views either. This isn’t a difficult or complicated issue. Some people seem to be getting tangled up in cod philosophy by over-intellectualising the issues.

Let me be clear – this is a Civil Rights issue and a Human Rights issue.

Let me remind everyone that David Norgrove said last year that fathers had no rights and deserved no rights.

It is unthinkable that any other race, gender or religion would fall over itself to apologise for standing up for its own rights to the extent it hides behind that pathetic catch call ‘children’s rights’ position – a position that has been so abused by government and the secret courts that it is now a euphemism for the state sponsored abuse of children in the family courts.

Forget Jimmy Savile, the biggest child abuse scandal is still going on behind closed doors – the closed doors of secret family courts. Courts that proclaim the ‘best interests of the child’ whilst failing to keep any records on the outcomes for children. So when anyone tells you they are campaigning for ‘children’s rights, treat these words with extreme caution.

Lets look at some of the groups out there who are supposed to share the same position but in reality, often have little in common with our founding principles.

One group has neutered itself and renounced it’s own name. It won’t even mention the ‘F’ word – ‘father’. Another apparently opposes equal parenting (and we are seeking clarification on this). At a men’s conference recently the event was apparently hijacked by anti-male feminists. What hope is there for fathers and families if we have become so emasculated that we can’t even defend ourselves? There are jellyfish with stronger backbones than some of these people.

Why is it that it takes a woman to say fathers deserve equal rights in an interview surrounded by three other men?

Worse still, these groups lend credibility to a process which is a sham. Since 2001 a procession of groups have enjoyed tea and jammy dodgers with HM government without changing anything apart from the cutlery on his masters table. Now, by attending committees that refuse to give a voice to the world’s largest equal parenting group, Fathers4Justice, they legitimise the whole ‘reform’ process.

Back in 2005, Sir Bob Geldof REFUSED to attend the Parliamentary Select Committee on Family Law if F4J were not invited. He said it was impossible to have any kind of debate without the largest group being represented at the table. He said, “I refused to attend a Parliamentary Select Committee on the issue because they wouldn’t hear Fathers For Justice. They can fuck off. Why do they think those guys do it? Simply because they are deprived of the voice of talking to a Parliamentary Select Committee. Fuckin’ idiots. Not Fathers For Justice, the other twats.” http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/bobgeldof

But rather than adopt a principled stand, the other groups continue to take government money, lend legitimacy to a process that is illegitimate and provide support and succor for a brutal and inhuman regime which strips children from their fathers. As with apartheid, constructive engagement was meaningless. Rather than ending apartheid, it supported it.

What these collaborators forget is that they cannot negotiate without a lever. Fathers4Justice is that lever.

These groups have failed to hold the government to account over it’s broken pre-election promises and condemned all of us to a reality which have seen fraudulent proposals masquerading as real change and will not see family law debated again until 2020 at the earliest. This condemns yet another generation of children and fathers to share our fate.

That is unacceptable and this is why we will continue to highlight injustice wherever we find it and if that means exposing the position of other groups, so be it. It might be hard for some people to swallow, but not as hard as our collective failure to change the law is proving to be.

Our mission is not only to endure, but to finish the job we started and we need your help – and that of your friends and family – to help us make that happen in the face of impossible odds.

To paraphrase a late US President, we choose to go this distance, to change the law, to go where others fear to tread, not because these things are easy, but because they are hard, because the challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone or compromise on, and one which we intend to win for every child and family in this country.

Matt O’Connor, Founder, Fathers4Justice

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