Global Population Control

Global over-population is the real issue It is a tragic measure of how far the world has changed - and the infinite capacity of modern man for taking offence - that there are no two subjects that can get you more swiftly into political trouble than motherhood and apple pie. The last time I tentatively suggested that there was something to be said in favour of apple pie, I caused a frenzy of hatred in the healthy-eating lobby. It reached such a pitch that journalists were actually pelting me with pies, and demanding a retraction, and an apology, and a formal denunciation of the role of apple pie in causing obesity. As for motherhood - the fertility of the human race - we are getting to the point where you simply can't discuss it, and we are thereby refusing to say anything sensible about the biggest single challenge facing the Earth; and no, whatever it may now be conventional to say, that single biggest challenge is not global warming. That is a secondary challenge. The primary challenge facing our species is the reproduction of our species itself. Depending on how fast you read, the population of the planet is growing with every word that skitters beneath your eyeball. There are more than 211,000 people being added every day, and a population the size of Germany every year. Continue reading Global Population Control

Review of EU Directive on Jams, Jellies and Marmalades

jam.jpg Stop Brussels and save our home-made jam Eat your heart out, Nigella. Look to your laurels, Jamie. I am about to reveal exclusively to readers of this newspaper the secret of making impeccable damson jam. After two seasons of experiment, in which I have burned saucepans, smashed Moulinexes and splattered so much jam over the kitchen that it resembled a scene from Goodfellas, I have cracked the great damson stone problem. I now present my findings to the Royal Society of Telegraph Jam-Makers with the sense of exhaustion and pride that Rutherford must have felt after splitting the atom. I believe the recipe to be idiot-proof. The result is sensational - sweet and yet tart, but not wince-makingly tart, and once I have explained it, you will want immediately to join the great jam-making community. You will want to rise up and protect the interests of British jam-makers - and indeed small businesses of all kinds - against the insanity of some EU regulations; and when you hear what I mean, your blood will boil hotter than the jam itself. Continue reading Review of EU Directive on Jams, Jellies and Marmalades

Children and Violence

How can we let children live in fear? As soon as we saw the gun, we knew what was going to happen. We all leant forward, hundreds of us watching the flickering film, and all around me in the school in east London I could see the anxious faces of the children. Some of them were averting their eyes, or staring through splayed fingers; and then - Bang! - came the inevitable shot, and a gasp went up from the audience as the life of another child began to leak away, like the lives of the 21 teenagers who have died in London this year, shot or stabbed at the hands of other teenagers. And then it was the climax of the show, and a hip-hop group called Green Jade came on, and started singing a very catchy number all about what it was like to be caught in the crossfire. It was called Brah-kah-kah, and on the instructions of Wizdom, the lead singer, we all started waving peace signs in the air. It would be an exaggeration to say that I understood every word of the lyrics. But I certainly understood the chorus, and I can still hear it in my head. "Brah-ka-kah", sang Wizdom, ducking and weaving his body like a man dodging bullets, and I looked at the singers making their Eminem gestures, flicking their fingers as though trying to rid them of a particularly irritating piece of Sellotape. Continue reading Children and Violence

Thoughts on an early election

Gordon Brown is a quivering jelly of indecision My friends, I have a feeling that everyone is under some misapprehension. People seem to assume that the Prime Minister is cunningly manipulating events. They think he is some gigantic puppetmaster, ingeniously pulling our strings as he prepares for his "snap" election. That's why we are seeing the ballot boxes wiped down on the TV news. That's why troop withdrawal announcements are being brilliantly and disgracefully spun. That's why ad space is booked and halls reserved and Labour candidates are even now being thrust on constituencies. The world assumes that the die is cast; and yet if you talk to Labour MPs they will admit the awful truth - namely, that even at this eleventh hour, at the climax of the Tory conference, the Prime Minister has yet to make up his mind. Yes, after three weeks of solid havering this putative election has less snap than a piece of celery lost at the bottom of the fridge. I stick by my psychological diagnosis of earlier in the week. It is not so much that Gordon Brown is internally divided on the question. His condition is far worse than that. He is a great quivering protoplasmic jelly of indecision, and if you come with me now into the Brown study in Downing Street, you will see what I mean. The floor of the Brown study is littered with fingernail chewings and scrumpled poll findings, and there in the corner is the burbling TV. Continue reading Thoughts on an early election