My good friend Caroline Waterston, of the People newspaper, got me involved last week in following up a great story they picked up in Scotland the week before when I was on holiday. Jamie Cumming has apparently usurped the Sunderland Shagger, who had ten kids with ten different mums. Jamie, from Dundee, is on 14 kids from 12 mums, with another on the way by an unlucky 13th mum.
It was pretty clear from the interviews the People had secured for the previous week’s expose _ one with Jamie’s disgusted mum and one with Paula Ryan, mum of his tenth child _ that Jamie doesn’t exactly fill in his new partners on his full parental history. Even the ‘lucky’ woman he has fathered three children with didn’t know quite how prolific he had been.
Now there are one or two massive families I’ve come across in the job where the parents just love having kids and both (somehow) work, or at least the dad does, and they are pretty much self-supporting apart from the child benefit. But as multi-millionaires are eligible for that, I wouldn’t question their right to pick up that cash from the State.
The majority, however, think it’s OK to keep having kids and leave it up to the rest of us to foot the bill. I think that’s irresponsible, but once the kids are here who would want to condemn them to poverty just because their parents are scroungers?
But the point is this. Is there not a case for criminalising Jamie Cumming and his ilk? First of all, if he gets women to sleep with him and risk pregnancy without telling them that he has already fathered multiple children by many mothers and doesn’t support them, has he not achieved his objective of getting his end away via false pretences?
Also, has he explained to them that if they have a baby he will not be a meaningful part of their lives and it will be up to her alone to provide for that child?
If you took your newborn baby for a drive to a distant town and left it in a pram as you went home, you’d be charged with abandoning, neglecting and endangering that child. Is there not a case for extending parental duties of care to unborn children? How can it be right that a man can father a child and walk away without a backward glance, and keep on and on doing it to different victims/women?
Much of the debate on these issues tends to revolve around so-called feckless mothers, but I think it’s the men who should be the target of our contempt. At least mothers tend to look after their children to the best of their ability. Many women probably should ask more questions before falling into bed with the likes of Jamie Cumming, and until they know everything about him, they should insist on condoms, but an awful lot of them will believe it when a man says he loves them and wants them to be a family and, deep down, most women who love a man will believe that becoming pregnant will cement the relationship. Experience tells us that many of them might be foolish, but they are not wicked.
Deception such as that practised by men like Jamie Cumming is evil and legislators should consider making his behaviour criminal _ there can be no doubt his conduct is reckless _ and enforcing sterilisation. They could even raise money to help support his many children by selling tickets to view the operation. He’s about to have his 15th kid _ and that’s only the ones his mum knows about. Just how many is it his human right to have at our expense?