The legal right to have contact with grandchildren bypasses the hard work needed to fix relationships in family breakdown. It is a cheap way to avoid facing the idea that the grandparent might have had a part to play in the breakdown of the situation, and could be partly responsible for amicable contact becoming withheld in the first place.
I notice a difference in him immediately. His blue eyes are less focused, and he looks confused when he first sees me. As if he's thinking "I know that girl, but I just can't place her". His soft, wrinkled hands are shaky when he grasps mine in his, as I help him up from his chair. His smile is wide, but uncertain.
It's Autumn, well and truly. Equinox fell the weekend before last. Autumn is always new year in my heart. Not for me the arbitrariness of a new year in January when the Northern Hemisphere is in darkness. Rather, Autumn, when the air is full of life and death, possibilities and change. That's my new year.
What has changed most for you in the last 20 years? Chances are, it's to do with family: maybe you have started one, or you are caring for one. Maybe you have gained new family members or you have suffered a loss? It's possible you are in a blended family situation, a single parent one, or your family has a dual income.
What might be better than a marriage tax allowance? For a start, what about increased access to relationship counselling? Something which might actually help save a struggling relationship. Unlike the proposed marriage tax break which even David Cameron acknowledges won't stop anyone from getting a divorce.