All Britain is currently talking about the Williams girls, three U.K. sisters who all got pregnant and gave birth out of wedlock nearly simultaneously, at ages 16, 14, and 12 respectively.
All three girls, themselves born out of wedlock, are currently living with their babies and their twice-divorced 38-year-old mum in a rent-free, government-supplied council house in Derby, where they collect some 650 pounds a week in various forms of welfare, which works out, in U.S. money, to about $60,000 a year. (You can see a photo of Natasha, Jemma, and Jade Atkins with babies Amani, T-Jay, and Lita here). Not a single member of the household is gainfully employed.
Despite the largesse, the girls’ mum, Julie Atkins (her daughters, who all have different fathers, bear the surname of one of the many men in her tangled love-life), thinks her family has been stingily served by U.K. taxpayers. According to Tech Central Station’s Val McQueen (hat tip to National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez), Julie Atkins told the Brit papers that she finds her three-bedroom duplex “cramped” and is trying to persuade the local council to move her into larger quarters.
Julie Atkins blames her daughters’ predicament on Britain’s schools, which she says afforded the girls too little sex education. Actually, the problem might have been too much sex education. The 16-year-old, Natasha, had already had two miscarriages and an abortion by the time she gave birth to little Amani earlier this year. At any rate, Natasha has dropped out of school, so the question of education, sex or otherwise, is moot.
The situation under which the three babies were conceived seems shocking; the 12-year-old, Jemma, was apparently having sex under her mother’s roof at age 11. As for the fathers of these infants all born to legally underage mothers, McQueen writes:
“Jade’s ‘one-night stand’ appears to have no compelling interest in his daughter Lita as he hasn’t been round to have a look. Twelve-year-old Gemma expresses surprise and hurt that her 14-year-old inamorata has shown an identical lack of interest in the well-being of either her or his child. ‘He was my first love,’ she says. But she has heard that he now has another girlfriend and, in the unlovely vernacular of her milieu declares herself ‘gutted’.
“Sixteen-year-old Natasha is marginally luckier. The father of her child is a 38-year-old ‘Asian’ (British media code for Pakistani), who is a professional gambler with whom this teenage girl has been in a ‘long term relationship’. Although he may have thrown the dice once too often with regard to Natasha, he has at least dropped by a few times to see his daughter. However, despite being a gambler, he seems curiously risk averse, living as he does, at home with his mother and father, to whom he has not mentioned his daughter.
“I might note here that not one of the three males involved has been charged with the rape of a child.”
McQueen blames the mess on the U.K. Labor government’s lethal combination of cradle-to-grave socialism and laissez-faire social morality, which deems it politically incorrect even to blink at the idea of an 11-year-old having sex or a 38-year-old impregnating a 16-year-old and not being sent to prison. McQueen writes:
“The British National Health hospitals, where most British mothers give birth, now instructs its doctors and nurses to enquire about the mother’s ‘partner’ rather than her husband. One can’t be judgmental, after all, and, with 49 percent of British births now being outside marriage, they’re not too far off. (This is in the context of a new, intrusive Labour government directive which requires OB-GYN staff to ask the mother if her ‘partner’ has ever engaged in physical abuse. This impertinence alone is a towering argument against socialized medicine.)
“Meanwhile, married couples with children no longer get preferential tax treatment, as Tony Blair’s government has declared that no one form of ‘family’ should have a tax advantage over another. Anything anyone chooses, however temporarily, to regard as a ‘family’ is as good as any other.”
To their credit, most ordinary Britons are up in arms about the Atkins-Williams outrage. But not the British left. Writing in the Guardian, Roy Hattersley, former Socialist Party MP, complained that the council house occupied by the Atkins-Williams household was “rundown” and added:
“[T]he government that has done so much for the working poor has done so little for men and women who cannot or will not find jobs.”
I love that–“will not find jobs.” Yes, slackers have a right to live at government expense, and not in “rundown” quarters, thank you.
Here’s more Hattersley lugubriosity:
“But, even if they gladly sacrifice the joys of unencumbered youth, early motherhood has reduced the chance [the Williams girls] will enjoy the life that most of us would wish for our daughters. They ought, in consequence, to attract the nation’s sympathy. Instead, they have been treated like characters in a Victorian morality play. The Williams sisters have become paradigms of the undeserving poor.”
I wonder why.
Then there’s Ur-patriarchy-basher Germaine Greer, who outdid herself in this column for the Daily Telegraph:
“There have always been women like Yeats’s Crazy Jane whose gardens grow ‘nothing but babies and washing’. They live in an alternative society that is matrilineal, matrifocal, and matrilocal, a society that the patriarchy has always feared and hated….
“So why is everybody so dissatisfied with the Williams family? Here we have three healthy, smiling, modestly dressed, well-groomed young women, who appear happy to have produced healthy babies. Four mothers (counting Julie) and three babies sounds like a recipe for stress-free parenting; many a young mum finding herself in solitary confinement with a shrilling infant might envy the Williams’ situation, and not because they’re ripping off the welfare system to the tune of many thousands of pounds.
“In families where there is a tradition of early pregnancy and illegitimate birth, unplanned juvenile pregnancy is not the cataclysm that it is for ‘respectable’ families. Families that have borne the stigma of bastardy for generations can’t be expected to be appalled by its reappearance.
“As they remain loyal to their unruly forebears, so they will accept their children and their children’s children.”
Leave it to the left to romanticize as cultural revolutionaries and “stress-free” parents the six children, three of them infants in arms, who will grow up fatherless, education-less (that’s Natasha’s plight), and into a cycle of early sex and nonexistent economic opportunity–all thanks to the cultural mores that the left has promulgated and whose devastating consequences it has forced taxpayers to subsidize.