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The collapse of marriage and the family.” I saw the phrase in the Daily Telegraph but it could have been almost anywhere. It has become a common-place. Right and left-Telegraph and Guardian-join hands to tell us that the family is on the way out. To the right, and to some of the New Labour intelligentsia, the collapse of the family signals the end of civilisation as we know it. It is one of those moral panics which afflicts the professional worriers like a recurrent malaria.

To the old left, the collapse of the family was a liberation. The family was…

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