Let's all move to Bristol
I imagine that there are plenty of JC readers out there getting ready to try for children right now. Well, perhaps you should wait until you have read this article before you start.
The general line in the Jewish community is you should go for it – either you will conceive which will be good for our future, or you won't be successful in which case you will still have fun trying.
However, should we be having children at all? Springwatch presenter Chris Packham is quoted in this week's Radio Times as saying that we should all stop having babies, to counteract the world's population explosion. Even in Britain, the population is set to grow from its current 60 million to 70 million in 2029. That means an annual rise equivalent to the population of Bristol
Packham thinks we should be encouraged by tax breaks to have one-child families, as are the Chinese. Clearly something needs to be done if we are not be overrun by millions of young people talking in West Country accents. Or does it? Much as I would welcome a tax break, I already have two children, and would quite like to keep both of them. And I have more children than most. The average household has only 1.94, so I have 0.06 more of a child than most of you.
If we carry on reproducing at a rate of less than two per couple, at some point the population will start to drop. This must be a good thing. Or is it?
Make the area around Radlett a nature reserve
We have already been told by government that there is pressure on pensions because a smaller population of young people will be providing for a large number of elderly people in the future. So it seems we might need to produce a few nippers after all.
We could invite healthy young workers from abroad to fill in the gap left by our shrinking younger generation but this is called immigration and is thought by our government to be a bad thing. It seems we don't want to be overrun by foreign people even if they will be providing for us in our old age. Of course, the only people they can stop from coming over here are those from outside the EU. The government has taken measures to stop the flood despite the fact that, according to the latest figures, there is no flood. In 2008, more people from outside the EU left the UK than arrived here.
So if we are not producing enough children to maintain the population and the immigrants are all going home, shouldn't we be having more babies? Well if you are Jewish there is no question that you should be. Our population is dwindling by more than the national average. Therefore, despite the world population explosion, we should be declared a special case and given protected status by the EU, rather like the Cornish pasty has recently. Or, to use an analogy familiar to Packham, we should be designated an endangered species and encouraged to breed. I would suggest making the area surrounding Radlett, Herts, into a giant nature reserve, where the habitat is preserved and surrounded by lots of bearded people with binoculars speaking in hushed tones.
Either that or we could all move to Bristol.