Monday, 2 February 2009

Some or none?

Winner of the Edie Environmental Personality of the Year Award 2008 (no, I didn't make it up - intriguing acceptance speech), former co-convener and moulder of the Green Party, has called for children to be limited. To two per family, that is. To do a Gordon, of course, and save the world. He even said that the government must improve family planning, even if it means shifting money from curing illness to increasing contraception and abortion.

Couple of things:
1. If limiting it to two bairns each is good, surely banning procreation is even better? No children, save the world! Might be a difficulty or two as Homo sapien dies out, but the planet will be safe.

2. OK, that first idea was extreme, but since the fertility rate in Scotland is low and the fertility rate in England is still below 2 in spite of some growth, what's the problem? The replacement rate is about 2.1 if memory serves.

3. Surely larger families actually have a smaller per-person use of planetary resources? I'd also argue that that becomes a life-long habit. The more people under one roof sharing resources the better, surely? Aye, it's a Brave New World, indeed.

Well, the good Green Social Engineer is a member of the Optimum Population Trust which is, of course, opposed to coercion in family planning, but wants to get rid of 4 billion people from the world and reduce the UK population to around 21 million - Scotland's population, one would imagine, would float in around 2 million.
OPT proposes immigration caps and a reduction in unplanned pregnancies (surely the clue is in the word 'unplanned'?) in addition to central direction of family sizes. There are some cracking 'population policies' and 'migration policies':
  • One-child population policies should be the last resort, limited to emergencies such as so-called “demographic entrapment” where the environment of a region is so damaged as to approach being uninhabitable.

  • Government agencies should develop joined-up action by co-ordinating all the stakeholders, to avoid wasteful duplications and gaping omissions.

  • SRE programmes should present all choices in contraception, including what is sometimes termed “saving sex” – not having sex yet.

  • LARCs such as "forgettable" contraceptive implants, injections and the intrauterine methods should be made much more readily available to young people.

  • Clearer interpretation of UK obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and if necessary the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, to prevent further abuse of the ECHR by economic migrants seeking a way to enter signatory countries by claiming asylum.

  • Reintroduction of UK border controls, with computerised logging of all those entering and leaving the country, with intra-EU cross-checking of passport and visa details to check validity.

  • Clear guidance for employers, including those using agencies and subcontractors, on how to check documentation to ensure that employees are not illegal workers, with penalties for employers of illegal migrants.

  • Tougher penalties for solicitors who dishonestly assist illegal immigrants to obtain legal services or documentation, or otherwise knowingly assist in fraudulent asylum claims.

  • Introduction of a centrally cross-checkable system of names, addresses, date of birth, national insurance numbers and work permit details for all UK residents, with strict data protection legislation.

  • Universities could be encouraged to raise the fees they charge to overseas students to a level which reduces the inflow of students while maintaining total fee income.
Personal choice, liberties and the sharing of common human experience - where are they? How do we share the wealth of the world, with aid and handouts rather than trade and fairness? Well, there's some policies that would improve freedom of choice in the list - but only freedoms within the parameters chosen by the OPT, the right to choose your contraception, not the right to choose your behaviour.

Some of the news releases this organisation sends out show an underlying intolerance of their fellow human beings. Some people would impose their views on others rather than debate them, some would restrict the liberties of others rather than grow them, and some would seek to pull up the drawbridge rather than allow others into their country. Those of us who believe that civil and personal liberties are quite important must continue to argue that case - it's only that continued insistence on those rights that keeps them alive.

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