Middle Temple was packed yesterday evening for the long awaited grand launch of Sir Paul Coleridge’s Marriage Foundation. We were plied with delicious snacks and quite reasonable wines as Coleridge articulated his vision aided by contributions from the Romance Academy, his Patrons, and the ever brilliant Jonathan Sacks. We were all impressed. The big idea is of course to argue the case for marriage, and to promote marriage as “gold standard” to young people.
It’s a tough challenge for a number of reasons; firstly, as Iain Duncan Smith said at the launch of Marriage Week UK in 2010, to paraphrase “ ten years prior mine was the only parliamentary voice that dared to use the M word, now (2010) I can get cross party support for the pre eminence of marriage, such has been the success of the robust and effective research based arguments”. Harry Benson, Coleridge’s new Director of Communications, will I’m sure do a sterling job in batting down what’s left of the wooly liberals in media interviews on marriage, so long as he can appropriate the common touch. He is a first class recruit, and clearly marriage is always on the agenda, so he will be kept busy no doubt.
My thoughts, for what they are worth are that the case for marriage is well made and established already within the minds of opinion formers. It’s pretty evident that they don’t really know why marriage is best, they just seem to scratch their heads a bit and say that for some reason the statistics are compelling. Scott Stanley’s visit in February, set up by the unstoppable Dave Percival began this process of explanation.
The area of work where Coleridge et al should probably take a peep might be, I suggest, looking at some sort of a primary preventative campaign, using crucially and hopefully Government funds to reason with the populous and persuade us all that a good marriage can be appropriated, for those who care to learn. Furthermore, particularly where children are involved couples have a duty to invest in their marriage to make it a success. It is indeed what we at Marriage Week have been struggling to deliver for 15 years now, in this nation and overseas.
Sir Paul and his distinguished team have my enthusiastic support. The challenge is of course to find something useful to do after the advocacy has waned that does not take an existing organisation’s funds or raison d’être. As they say; The Jury’s out!