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
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'