I woke up this morning to a no-name New Labour minister promising to crack down on deadbeat dads. On breakfast tv, she outlined the latest strategy for hunting down absent fathers. In future, a government ministry will have to power to confiscate a non-contributing father's passport and driver's licence. Furthermore, government officials will be able to confiscate these documents without having to go to court.
This is classic New Labour; it is both authoritarian and congenitially incapable of understanding the deeper problem. It is the same old legislate, confiscate and imprison strategy that has marked New Labour's approach to most social problems.
Why have men stopped being fathers? The vast majority of absent fathers have disappeared because the state is willing to take over as the primary breadwinner. Rather than recreating a role for fathers, New Labour want to use the heavy hand of the law.
This measure is such a sad indictment of Britain. The government think that preventing men from leaving the country is the only way to ensure that mothers receive their rightful financial support from their children's fathers.