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The moral minority

There was shit on the wall and pee running down the staircase. Derek Coombs recalls a problem estate suffering from the inexorable decline of stable families

By Derek Coombs   May 1997

The most momentous changes spring up and transform our lives before we have had a chance to consider their effects. Consider the spread of television or the motor car.

Something even more momentous is now springing up on us which politicians are aware of, indeed constantly condemn, but seem incapable of preventing-the collapse of the family. Over the past 30 years marriage rates have fallen sharply, while the number of divorces and children born out of wedlock has risen exponentially.

The litany of decline is depressingly familiar-about 30 per cent of children are currently born to unmarried mothers (245,700 in…

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