Sharing Mum, Dad & The Unsavoury Truth

This week was shared parentings ‘horsemeat burger’ moment. On Monday Channel 4’s Dispatches programme broadcast ‘Sharing Mum & Dad’, a programme about shared parenting presented by Tim Lovejoy.

When the ingredients should have been cuts of children separated from their fathers in secret courts, tests confirmed we got cheap cuts of easily digestible tripe.

Butler Sloss starred in the role of the knackered old horse and Tim Lovejoy as the stumbling food inspector who turned a blind eye to the worst practices of the family courts. Where Geldof served 100% pure beef, Lovejoy stuck to his Soccer AM presenting style with mechanically reclaimed propaganda from various talking dead heads. Cathy Come Home it wasn’t.

Homogenised and sanitised to within an inch of the programmes alleged DNA, we never heard from a single child or father separated in the family courts. Instead we heard from the usual vested interests with the exception of one family where shared parenting worked. Interestingly, they had never been near a family court. Hardly a success story for our disgraceful family justice system.

Instead of horror and outrage, Tim served up a buffet of 26 minutes of ineffectual fluff. To the uninitiated you would barely have realised there was a social catastrophe unfolding under our noses, merely a minor social irritant that could be treated with a few minor tweaks to the system.

If it had been a programme about apartheid era South Africa, white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche would have had a starring role and Tim would have played the role of the token black man. In falling over itself to be ‘balanced’, it forgot about the victims and distorted the cruel reality of fatherlessness.

Perhaps the most excrutiating moment was when a fawning Lovejoy joyfully announced his discovery that Sloss was related to a famous actor and then proceeded her to allow her to make the most outrageous comments which he allowed to go unchallenged.

Even a contact centre got a glowing write up. But then Tim had never had to see his kids in one and had de facto 50/50 shared parenting.

We know Tim doesn’t like Fathers4Justice, the people without whom none of this would be discussed. ‘No wonder men turn to Fathers4Justice.’ he said disdainfully at one point as if referring to some contaminated meat.

Yes Tim, that’s where the men you excluded from your programme go to. It’s a shame you wouldn’t hear their testimonies. But then sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.

Matt O’Connor, 19th January 2013

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