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Joan Burnie THE WEEK IN HER OWN WORDS; Your dad's for life not just a day.

Byline: Joan Burnie

Gifts can't beat love

HAVE you bought the card, the cufflinks and the cigars yet? Just in case you've missed the endless adverts, this Sunday is for fathers. Bless their new cotton socks.

It's that time of the year when daddies have their own day as the kiddies get coerced into spending their pocket money on a present which is neither wanted nor needed.

It's a con. A cynical ploy to keep the profits of tie manufacturers soaring.

When I was a child we didn't have this nonsense. But I'll tell you what we had - fathers.

These days, dads get increasingly shoved to the margins of their kids' lives. And frequently right out of them. It's easy to blame men.

There are those who are no more fit to be a fathers than a child molester. They breed stray kids with no more thought than a tom cat breeds kittens.

But the majority are good blokes who want to involved in their children's lives. Unfortunately, they don't get much encouragement.

Somehow we've got it into our heads that fathers don't much matter to kids or that they can be replaced by which ever spare guy their mothers shack up with.

But when the relationship between their parents crashes, kids need both parents more than ever. Parents who use their children to get at each other are bad parents. Full stop.

NOR do employers help. We constantly hear about the problem of working mums, but what about working dads?

They don't have it easy either, not when they are forced to work longer hours than in any other European country. And forget that mince about "quality time", quantity counts, too. You can't be a proper dad for a few minutes a day.

Research shows that if a man plays a full part in his children's lives, they are less likely to be criminals and will do better in exams.

So wouldn't it be sensible to include fathers instead of excluding them and implying that, apart from providing sperm, they are useless?

If we're not careful, daddies will go the way of the dinosaurs. Maybe they'll keep a few in a zoo where we can take kids to show them what a real live father looks like.

This week, ditch the gifts. Fathers aren't just for a Sunday, they are for life.

Family from hell should be banished

THE Haney clan will be evicted. Again. And rehoused. Again. Another lot of neighbours will suffer. Again.

Quite what you do to permanently deal with the Haneys and those like them, I do not know.

Give them a chance and they take us for mugs. Treat them decently and they spit in our faces. Like scum, they always end up on top.

Maybe it's time for a judicial version of Survivor, or Castaway - except this time none of them is allowed to get off.

We dump them on their very own Devil's Island with some fish hooks, a few basic supplies and leave them to it.

As the Haneys of this world have made it clear they don't want to be part of a civilised society, we should give them their wish.

And those who have to live beside them might just get some peace.

The force of reason

JUST as well for Lesley Somerset - the woman who waived her right to anonymity after she was raped - that the trial didn't take place in Scotland.

Lesley, a brave, remarkable and resourceful women, told Neil Smith, who broke into her bedroom, that she wasn't going to be raped but if he wanted sex, then she would submit.

Mrs Somerset had her children in the house and didn't want them frightened.

However, if she had appeared in front of Scots judge Lord Abernethy, Smith wouldn't now be serving his sentence, would he?

Milord would have said, as he did when he allowed a man accused of rape to walk free, that there had been no evidence of force.

Thick as a gold brick

TOM MOFFAT, the 79-year-old, pounds 3.2 million lottery winner, says his 49-year-old wife, Emily, is a gold digger.

Doh. Oh yes, she was bewitched by Tom's shiny baldie head, his paunch and his wrinkles.

Did the daft old goat really think a woman of her age would marry him for anything other than the size of his wallet?

Come off it, Grandpa.

Emily was bought and paid for - and pretty cheaply too from the sounds of it.

She was Moffat's equivalent of a boy racer getting himself a Ferrari when he's only fit to handle a clapped-out Cortina.

Lighten up, Maddie

MADONNA "shoots" dead her abusive lover on stage on the first night of her tour and we're all supposed to applaud.

See, she's taking girl power to its ultimate and the law into her own hands.

Lock, stock and her very own smoking barrel .

Except that Madonna isn't a girl, she's a 41-year-old woman with two kids. And maybe it's time, instead of just sticking a T-shirt with Mother on her silicone, she behaved like one and stopped to think of the message she's giving out.

Between them, she and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have collared the market in designer violence and it's sick.

So excuse me, if I can't cheer.
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Title Annotation:Joan Burnie Page
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 15, 2001
Words:883
Previous Article:TORY PORTILLO'S SCOTTISH ROOTS; Would-be party leader's new-found caring views may be traced back to his Conservative One Nation grandad in Fife.
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