Mything the obvious

Yep, I was right. The ongoing shambles that is the CSA is rapidly turning into amother issue in which it is impossible to conduct a reasoned and mature debate.

Today’s dose of crass gender politics comes courtesy of Zoe William’s in the Guardian who’s pissed off that men who have the temerity to question liabilities for child support on the unreasonable grounds of not being the father are getting subsidised DNA tests AND, horror of all horrors, a refund if it turns out that they’re not the father after all.

Worse still, it seems that, according to Zoe, staff at the CSA have even dared to e-mail round some of the weird and wonderful replies that have turned up in response to the question about the ‘father’s details’ on application forms:

somewhere in the basement of this great, tottering joke of a financial agency, there was an employee – maybe a couple – who, despite being desperately incompetent, behind with everything, unable to work their computers, writing off money hand over fist, who despite all this still found time to collate a round-robin showing what laughable slags single mothers were. That’s funnier than someone just making it up, wouldn’t you say?

Oh dear, it seems Zoe’s got something wrong with her head this morning – it’s stuck firmly up her ass!

Dumb stories on claim forms e-mails have been doing the rounds for years – the CSA one is the latest in a long series which probably started with the insurance industry and some of the bizarre statements that appear on insurance claim forms, some of which made their way, IIRC, into Jasper Carrot’s act.

Of course, the mere fact that Zoe’s got so fired up over this e-mail is an open invitation to track it down to see what it actually said, so here goes:

The following are all replies that women have put on Child Support Agency forms in the section for listing father’s details: These are genuine excerpts from the forms.

01. Regarding the identity of the father of my wins, child A was fathered by Jim X. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of child B, but I believe that he was conceived on the same night.

02. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of my child as I was being sick out of a window when taken unexpectedly from behind. I can provide you with a list of names of men that I think were at the party if this helps.

03. I do not know the name of the father of my little girl. She was conceived at a party on Acacia Avenue where I had unprotected sex with a man I met that night. I do remember that the sex was so good that I fainted. If you do manage to track down the father can you send me his phone number? Thanks.

04. I don’t know the identity of the father of my daughter. He drives a BMW that now has a hole made by my stiletto in one of the door panels. Perhaps you can contact BMW service stations in this area and see if he’s had it replaced.

05. I have never had sex with a man. I am awaiting a letter from the Pope confirming that my son’s conception was immaculate and that he is Christ risen again.

06. I cannot tell you the name of child A’s dad as he informs me that to do so would blow his cover and that would have cataclysmic implications for the economy. I am torn between doing right by you and right by the country. Please advise.

07. I do not know who the father of my child was as all sailors look the same to me. I can confirm that he was on a ship berthed at Norfolk.

08. Peter X is the father of child A. If you do catch up with him can you ask him what he did with my AC/DC CDs?

09. From the dates it seems that my daughter was conceived at Disney – maybe it really is the Magic Kingdom.

10. So much about that night is a blur. The only thing that I remember for sure is Delia Smith did a program about eggs earlier in the evening. If I’d have stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to the party at Miller Drive, mine might have remained unfertilised.

11. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of my baby – after all when you eat a can of beans you can’t be sure which one made you fart.

By now, having read all this, you’ll surely be coming to the same conclusion I have – this e-mail is nothing more than a collection of piss-takes which may or may not have turned up on actual forms – you can’t discount the possibility that some of these are real in the sense of actually appearing on CSA forms, even if the forms themselves were piss-takes.

Whatever, they’re not real and all they prove is that journalists should always check their facts before going into print, which would not have been difficult in this case as the ever reliable Snopes has this particular joke listed (and more embarassingly for Zoe, dated to November 2000)

Whether what follows will appear in the Grauniad is another matter but obviously I couldn’t resist sending this:

To: letters@guardian.co.uk

Subject: CSA and Urban Myths

Regarding Zoe William’s article (“Chap Support Agency” – 29 November 2005) can I point out that the e-mail round-robin that she refers to as ‘showing what laughable slags single mothers were’ is quite obviously a joke, not a real list of responses culled from claim forms, and has been listed as such on Snopes.com since November 2000.

Regards

I should note in reference to Zoe’s comment about the ‘e-mail’ – “That’s funnier than someone just making it up, wouldn’t you say?” – that the answer to her question is:

No, what’s funnier is the sight of a journalist spitting feathers over a joke e-mail she’s neglected to check out and making a complete prat of herself in the process.

  • Lawyers were better! They really were.
    Talk Politics are continuing to point out the absurdities of the Child Support Agency. Rather an easy target. I can remember when all maintenance were dealt with by courts. Lawyers would be paid for sorting these things out. OK they