Skip to content

Ozz – the ‘Wicked Witch’ Flies North

December 5, 2011


It was in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ that children and the world first came across the Wicked Witch of the West,  a person with malevolent intent towards a little orphan girl called Dorothy.

In a sequel by the same author (L. Frank Baum), the Wicked Witch of the East was created.

In the fictional stories, if you recall, the Wicked Witch of the West joined forces with the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the South in a plan to overthrow and conquer the Land of Oz and then divide it among themselves.

One day Dorothy, who lives with her dog Toto at her uncle and aunt’s farmhouse, is caught up in a tornado, whisked away and dumped in a field in Munchkin Country, on the eastern side of the Land of Oz.

How many children whose parents divorce must feel like Dorothy ? Whisked away from familiar people and surroundings and uncerimoniously dumped they-know-not-where and face an uncertain  future that is probably indeterminate.

Equally something similar is happening with the attempts to overthrow the reforms Britain is trying to enact for child custody. We too have a few wicked witches flying into our territory with their own Agendas, trying to carve out a niche for themselves burnish their international ‘reputations’ but in the process generally causing a whole lot of trouble for  ‘orphans’ children of divorce and the Dorothy’ s of this world.

These witches – usually called researchers, or PhDs – appear to have no family or children of their own yet instinctively know what is best for other people’s families and compile data to reinforce their views.

It puts one in mid of the great country singer Hank Williams most famous song “Mind your own business

  • Why don’t you mind your own business
  • ‘Cause if you mind your business,
  • then you won’t be mindin’ mine

Unfortunately, W. W. Denslow’s illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz which included the witches (depicted above) bear no resemblance to our present spat of witches. No, our witches look a lot more mediocre and insignificant. No splendid garb for them. They aren’t even pale imitations but they are at least frumpy middle-aged women.

Right: Joan Hunt           

Happily for Dorothy one of the witches – the Wicked Witch of the East who is the evil ruler of the Munchkins – is killed by a house collapsing on her.

Sadly, though some are getting crusty enough to have reached retirement age,  there is no prospect of a house falling on any of our present day witches. But we do have one or two ‘good witches’ who might just see off the evil ones. Terrie Moffitt is one such ‘good witch’ – though good fairy might be a more suitable title for the purposes of this tale.

Right: Liz Trinder

Terrie Moffitt has to be applauded because she doesn’t let gender politics compromise the value of her work. HerDunedin study of domestic violence over many years doesn’t seek to hide female violence or give it preferential treatment.

While McIntosh is content with 133 families in her sample Terrie Moffitt deals in a thousand.  McIntosh’s work stretches over a number of years but Moffitt’s stretches over decades.

 Left: Terrie Moffitt, one of the good fairies

It is in recognition of her work that Moffitt is a Professor of Psychologyat Duke University, in the USA, and Professor of Social Behavior and Development at the Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College London (UK).

Dr McIntosh isn’t quite a professor and hasn’t earned a string of international awards and honours over the past 10 years that have already accrued to Terrie Moffitt.

The Family Justice Review which has rejected the idea of parents having a legal right to access to their children after separation. This follows considerable intervention by a few wicked witches. The Family Justice Review has been swayed, or intimidated, much of it purportedly by large scale studies (McIntosh’s 133 families v Bauserman’s huge study) and an allegedly ‘large amount’ of evidence-based research.

The problem with this claim is that no source is cited and from our own knowledge of the subject the research (in the form of studies and surveys) are invariably small. British, Canadian and American authorities undertake expensive longitudinal studies involving thousands of participants. The evidence-based research Norgrove is relying upon to reject the idea of parents having a legal right to access to their children after separation cannot include these longitudinal studies since their conclusions do not coincide with what he has been lead to believe, namely they conclude children do benefit when they have the legal right to access their parent.

In Britain the larger longitudinal study results come from bodies like the ONS but their data shows the very opposite of what the Family Justice Review states to be the case.

As for the ‘longitudinal’ claim all credible surveys of this type show that ‘both parents’ are best and shared parenting more approximates ‘both parent’s than any other regime.

The final assertion claiming that the research is ‘Government funded’ and therefore has more authority is unfortunately true. Unfortunate not because it is simply a waste of money but because those ‘with an agenda’ have used their connections to win departmental approval to conduct their research when they already know the answer they are looking for.

Unlikely ?

Well consider just these two examples, Betsty Stanko and Liz Kelly. Betsy Stanko is an feminist advocate against domestic violence and was advisor to the Met Police in London. Through the Home Office connection she succeeded in overseeing the granting of budgets for domestic violence for the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council. The grants made to this American for her own study into domestic violence alone cost the British tax-payer (in 1999) £ ½ million.[1]

The story of Liz Kelly is similar but different. She too won research grants; she too was a radical feminist and later moved to a position of ‘peer reviewing’ other peoples papers for the Home Office. ‘Peer reviewing’ when used objectively can be a force for good and can add to the sum of knowledge by allowing opposite views to be expressed. However, it can be abused and used to censor dissenting voices.

Apparently it would seem thatNorgrove was totally oblivious to all this politicking around him.

Who said ignorance was bliss ?

For all the talk about “father inclusion” over the past 12 years (by the greatand the good) the double meaning of the language used often sets up false dichotomies. A false dichotomy is a type of logical fallacy which is made up of a fallacy of false choice, e.g. where only black vs white thinking is allowed.

Norgrove has fallen headlong into this tiger trap. He feels compelled by forces unseen to choose between only two alternative ‘extremes’  when, in fact, there are additional options, ie many shades of grey.

Incorrect assumption produces false dichotomies and Norgrove has made incorrect assumptions by the lorry load.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paddy'sdaddy permalink
    September 21, 2013 4:12 pm

    I am a neighbour of one of the childless academics pictured and I can confirm that she detests children. She has had garden parties where her guests loudly and openly guffaw about calling child protection if my children are crying. She threatened to have my young family evicted because I built them a playhouse. She can’t decide if it is children crying or children having fun that she hates the most. She is a vindictive gossip and funnily enough my kids have always called her ‘the witch’.

    • rwhiston permalink
      September 22, 2013 12:11 am

      What a great post ! !
      I love it when predictions come true.
      But which one of the ‘witches’ is being referred to here, I wonder ?.
      I wish someone would tell us – or even hint in come way so we could deduce, or take an educated guess.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: