Sunday, August 03, 2008

80% of men DNA tested by the Child Support Agency are lying bastards?

The Guardian's article on Friday, highlighting the fact that 1 in 5 DNA tests carried out by the CSA show that the man tested is not actually the biological father is a perfect example of how to promote the Conservative agenda.

The headline alone seems designed to raise the blood pressure, and it's only when you look at the numbers that you realise that we're talking about 20% of 3,500 DNA tests in 2007/08. Bearing in mind that those tests only take place when men deny parentage, it means that 80% of women know exactly what they're saying. As for the rest, women are just as capable of maintaining multiple relationships as men, are just as likely to wake up in a strange bed with someone they barely know as men, and so on. To err is human, remember?

Chris Grayling, the Conservative spokesperson for stigmatising the poor and needy (sorry, Work and Pensions) and a man incapable of putting a bow tie on (and I have photographic evidence on the latter point) is only too capable of spotting a bandwagon and taking a comfy seat on it.

He believes that the rate of negative tests is too high and that 'something must be done'. Actually, he might be better off studying the data and looking for the underlying reasons why women make mistakes or, in a small number of cases, lie. If a woman has more than one sexual partner, is she likely to be encouraged to tell the CSA that? Does the CSA pressure her to name the father and is her 'nomination' going to be any more than an informed guess?

The Guardian's political editor, Patrick Wintour, should be ashamed to have his name placed against such an article, but then given his newspaper's consistent stance that all would be well with the Labour Party if only they adopted the Liberal Denocrat manifesto (errr... why not call on your readers to vote for the real thing?), I shouldn't really be surprised to see a once fine journal stoop to New Labour authoritarianism...


Jennie Rigg said...

This post FTW.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the figures demonstrate that Chris Grayling and the Tories are talking nonsense.

However your verdict on the men involved is a little unfair.

If you were to receive a claim than you are the father of a baby you may know that you had intercourse with the mother, but you don't necessarily know that you are the father.

Depending on the circumstances it may well be the reasonable course of action to have the test first.

You wouldn't want to end up committing yourself to eighteen years of maintenance for a child that isn't yours.

Mark Valladares said...


Quite right with regard to the headline, although I'm merely being as provocative as the original headline was.

Life is complex, and people's motivations are more complex still. You're entirely right that some men will have legitimate doubts, and the system is rightly designed to protect men from false accusations of fatherhood. At least they've got one element of a fairly poor system right...

Anonymous said...

Grayling is an idiot, we all know that, however the headline is sexist in the extreme. Where there is doubt why should the man not challenge whether the child is his if he is going to spend the next 18 years paying for that child. I believe in parental responsibility but I do not believe a man should pay for anothers child.

Quite frankly your attitude is neither Liberal nor democratic but is sexist and heterosexist. You play into our opponents hands. Well done, I hopy you are proud of your thick rant.

Hywel said...

Are the figures that high? There may well be cases where a women legitimately names two men as possible fathers. In that case you'd get one positive and one negative test.

Mark Valladares said...


As someone making an accusation of a 'thick rant', you really know how to set an example, don't you? There is no rant here, merely an exposition as to why the Guardian should be ashamed of itself.

And as for your accusation that I am neither Liberal or democratic but sexist and heterosexist, you might like to do two things, get a dictionary, and read this blog with more than a shallow glance. Too much like hard work, I suspect...

Anonymous said...

Oh wow Mark, you are so witty.

Try harder next time, if you can be bothered. However your original blog was poorly written and poorly thought out and you may not like being called out over it so you react by throwing mud. So be it.

The Guardian has no need to be ashamed of itself, especially at the behest of a loon in the blogosphere.

Mark Valladares said...


I firmly believe that the headline was written in such a way as to suggest that a significant number of women are lying about the parentage of their children. The numbers clearly prove this to be an exaggeration. Regardless of your view of my use of language, the case I made is, I believe, a valid one.

Your suggestion of my failure of liberalism is trite, as are your accusations of being undemocratic, sexist and heterosexist. The use of such attacks indicates that you don't want to argue the case, you merely wish to discredit it. That's fine, but don't expect me to go quietly.

Anonymous said...

I thought your blog was well written.