The benefits of bringing up baby on an old-age pension

`Mothers make rotten employees, always thinking about something other than work'

IT WAS one of the great unfairnesses of life, of the human condition, that men stayed fertile all their grown lives but women had to cram their fertility into 25 years or so.

But now male scientists have bestowed upon women the gift of fertility- equality. Deep-freeze your ovarian tissue when young and in peak condition: grow your eggs as late as you like. All of a sudden the biological clock is ticking so softly you can hardly hear it. What you do hear are cries of outrage and fear as everything changes yet again: as we lurch into the sci-fi future of genetic technology, and the scales tilt yet further female-wards. Against God, against Nature! What woman now needs the approval of man, needs to be young and fanciable, before she can reproduce?

And just as well, some might say. A new solution has arisen to meet a new problem. Men and women both now live in a ruthless Ergonarchy (by which I mean rule by accountancy and the work ethic), which sends us all out to work and gives women little time or energy to find the right partner when young, that agreeable search once being the stuff of their idle stay- at-home days. They will need the extra decades.

It may well be the pattern of our working lives in the future, that women have their careers first and then raise their children in their retirement, using their pension plans to fund themselves. It would certainly suit the state if they did, saving the benefits that now have to be paid out to the generously reproducing and improvident young. Employers would appreciate it, too. Mothers make rotten employees, always thinking about something other than work, and dashing off home. Fathers begin to do it too.

What about the children, cry the horrified protesters, groping for argument, and finding only emotion. Who wants to be met at the school gate by a wrinkled hag? Who wants to be orphaned early? But if the choice is between embarrassment and not being born in the first place, being orphaned early or not being born at all, I reckon most of us would choose life. Better to be born to a flawed parent than not born at all. Who ever had faultless parents anyway; who ever was not embarrassed at the school gate? The wrong hat or the wrong car will do it, never mind the wrong age.

You can be too young as well, of course. Try to explain on the Gloria Hunniford Show, as I did last week, that 12-year-olds having babies is not a matter of "failing morals" or "not enough sex education", but of the early maturation of girls in response to better nutrition and housing, and everyone's baffled. Surely, they say, the answer is education, impressing upon the children that a) it's wrong to have sex, and b) that sex leads to babies. Then it won't happen.

But the argument from expediency doesn't work. If a girl's physically able to have a baby, she'll have the urges which go with the state. Talk of "mature, lasting relationships" or "responsibility" or "what about your exams?" all you like - she won't listen. She can't listen. Previous generations solved the problem by separating the boys from the girls, locking up their daughters, threatening hellfire, casting out into the snow without a penny if things went wrong, chaperoning night and day - we find it difficult to be so drastic, so we tut and huff and rely on "sex education in schools".

We do pretty well with it, considering. The young are contrary and court danger. They're not sensible like you or me. They don't heed health warnings. They think they'll live for ever, in perfect health. They think only bad girls get pregnant. Warn them against cigarette smoking by showing them the blackened lungs of those who died of lung cancer, and they'll compete to see who can have the blackest lungs. Show them a heroin addict crouching in a corner, and heroin chic is born.

Sex is a riot, sex education seldom is, that's the problem. We have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe. Why? Are there answers to be found in sensible Holland, where the rate is the lowest? Perhaps the Dutch just have the highest abortion rate? Certainly they have the most sex education in schools, starting really young. But they do also have the lowest age of consent in Europe - in practice 12 - and it may well be that if you stop forbidding people to do a thing, they do less of it - like watching pornographic films, taking drugs, and having unprotected sex.

Uncoerced, we use our own judgement and come up trumps, even at the age of 12, and refrain. As one rather hopes women will do at the other end of an ever-lengthening scale, at 65.

Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2011

Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandal

books
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian Jack Dee has allegedly threatened to quit as chairman of long-running Radio 4 panel show 'I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue'

Edinburgh Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Director Paul Thomas Anderson (right) and his movie The Master featuring Joaquin Phoenix

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
There are no plans to replace R Kelly at the event

music
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>Laura
Carmichael- Lady Edith Crawley</strong></p>
<p>Carmichael currently stars as Sonya in the West End production of
Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre. She made headlines this autumn
when Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall shouted at her in a
half-sleepy state during her performance. </p>
<p>Carmichael made another appearance on the stage in 2011, playing
two characters in David Hare’s <em>Plent</em>y
at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. </p>
<p>Away from the stage she starred as receptionist Sal in the 2011
film <em>Tinker Tailor Solider Spy</em>. </p>

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana admits she's

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain