OK, so I’ve broken my rule about not reading comments on my posts. I have read the comments on my post here on Monday in which I argued that I am not biased against fathers, as many seem to think. A lot of points were raised in the comments, and I felt that it would be better to respond to them in a post, rather than piecemeal in the comments section. Please note that I am writing this post on Tuesday evening, when there are currently 24 comments on the post, and there is therefore no disrespect if I do not reply here to any subsequent comments.
Please also note that nothing I say here is intended as a personal criticism of any commenter. It is a rule of this blog that personal remarks are a breach of the comments policy, and I will follow that rule in this post.
OK, so where to start?
Well, ‘Mr T’ was the first commenter. He actually began by saying that my post contained ‘fair comments’, so I can’t argue with that. He then goes on to make some suggestions about how the system might be improved. I’m not sure that I agree with those suggestions, but I’m not going to respond here, as the subject of my post was whether I am biased against fathers, rather than about the ways in which the system can be improved (with respect, this is an error of many commenters: writing comments that are not really relevant to the post, in order to get across their own message, which may be nothing to do with the subject of the post).
Commenter ‘Andy’ also falls into this error. The only relevant point he makes is that he thinks the comments I made in my post were made simply to justify the position that I hold. I’m not sure what that position is (I haven’t been practising for eight years), but whatever it is, I feel no need to justify it. The only intention of the post was to put right an apparent misconception.
I move on to commenter ‘Paul’. He seems to think I am blasé about the problems faced by fathers. I don’t know why. Certainly, nothing in my post was intended to be blasé. I have also not said anywhere that problems are really hard to fix, so we shouldn’t bother trying. I did say that sometimes they simply can’t be fixed, but that is just the reality, not complacency. And, as pointed out by the moderator Cameron Paterson, I did say that I have always been open to reasonable suggestions as to how the system may be improved. Just because I may not agree with your suggestion does not mean that my mind is closed to all suggestions. In a later comment Paul says that my argument that I am a father and it would therefore be illogical for me to be biased against fathers is a “Silly hollow argument”. However, he subsequently says: “You are a dad and as such you really should be more sympathetic to team ‘dad’ I would say.” This seems to me to be a non-sequitur. Either I am sympathetic to ‘team dad’ or I am not. Leaving that aside, Paul makes, as Cameron Paterson points out, some sweeping allegations about my career, suggesting that I exploited fathers for financial reward. As Cameron points out, the allegations could just as well be made against any other service provider. I didn’t ‘exploit’ anyone – I just tried to provide a service to all of my clients, no matter who they were.
I am grateful to commenter ‘Johnny’, who does his best to defend me against the tide of opposition. A beacon of common sense 😉.
And finally we have commenter ‘JamesB’. I’m sorry James, but you have written so many comments that I can’t possibly respond to all of them. Perhaps it might be better if you were to just write one comment, succinctly setting out all the points you wish to make that are relevant to my post. Having said that, it seems that the essence of your argument is that you think the system is biased against fathers, and therefore I, as a representative of the system, must be biased. This is another non-sequitur. Even if the system was biased (and I don’t think it is, save to the extent that it reflects how society is generally arranged in favour of mothers looking after children), it does not follow from that that I must be biased. If I felt the system was biased I could quite well be working within it against that bias. And then you say: “To regard non resident fathers as nothing more than a potential source of income as the courts and you do is out of order, bang out of order and very wrong and bad.” Cameron has quite rightly pointed out that I have never said any such thing.