Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

IT'S quite difficult to make Saudi Arabia look liberated; but Malta has managed it.

The tiny Mediterranean island is one of only two countries in the world where divorce is illegal, and in two days' time it will be holding a fiercely-fought referendum on whether to change the law.

I say fiercely-fought because the Roman Catholic church - which is tasked in the country's constitution with teaching its population right and wrong - says that allowing divorce will spell the end of the family and civilisation as we know it.

You can divorce in Saudi. You can do it in North Korea. You can even do it in Afghanistan or Iran. But not, it seems, in the middle of Europe.

Divorce is not a doddle, whatever politicians or priests say. It took me almost as long to disentangle myself from my ex-husband as I had actually been married to him for, it cost more than the wedding, and I didn't even get a frock.

There are people who think I should have stayed married to an abusive cheat. If I'd had children, I should have let them remain under his influence, and my promise to him should have held even if he broke his promise to me. Well, I disagree.

Divorce is great. Divorce is the freedom to admit you made a mistake, and not let it blight the rest of your life. I never wanted to do it but I had the right to say 'I am better than this'. It was difficult, awful, gut-wrenching, but my life now is a million times better than it was.

I didn't get divorced just for the hell of it; I did it because the alternative was no choice at all.

We should celebrate the fact it is socially acceptable. We should hire a hall, and a band, and have a party when we take that step. We should applaud single parents who raise children on their own, rather than demonise or penalise them. And we really ought to stop this fallacy that giving people choice is harmful, when in fact it is the ultimate freedom.

It's funny, because if a church ordered everyone in Malta to wear a burqa they'd kick off.

Give it six months.