The root of all the problems in the modern world has been revealed, and it turns out to have nothing to do with carbon emissions, City traders or young women binge drinking on a Saturday night. Last week it emerged that humanity is clearly going to hell in a handcart because we are all too busy obsessing about sex. If it were not for furtive bunk-ups, one-handed texting and guilty daydreaming during meetings, man would have invented the teleporter by now. This much is obvious.
The first intimation that all this filthy onanism is coming between the human race and the realisation of its true potential came from Clara Meadmore, a 105-year-old virgin who lives in Cornwall. Ms Meadmore confirms that she owes her longevity largely to her rejection of All That Nonsense. "I imagine there is a lot of hassle involved and I have always been busy doing other things," she said, on the eve of her 105th birthday this weekend. "I've never been bothered about relationships... I made up my mind at the age of 12 never to marry and I've never gone back on that."
Where Ms Meadmore has led, celebrity couples follow. Last week, tabloids shed light on the reason why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are not immediately planning to have any more children. It is because they don't have time for any sex, apparently. Adoption is a possibility; even the busiest global superstar can spare an hour or two in Malawi by modern methods of transport. But with six children, there is certainly no time for all the hassle involved in engendering more. It's a sacrifice, but you don't get to be an award-winning actress and a UN Goodwill Ambassador if your mind is half-occupied with plotting that midnight booty call.
We mortals can learn a lot from the iron will and ruthless self-sacrifice of better women, such as Ms Jolie. In most offices, for instance, many email hours are wasted on opportunistic flirting and the ultimately thankless pursuit of the clandestine snog. Each electronic billet-doux contributes infinitesimally but crucially to global warming as it pings its way towards its panting recipient. Every sordid text adds to the congestion of filth that pollutes the city air.
Instead of sex and fumbling and relentlessly obsessing about that one square inch at the base of a favoured neck, Clara Meadmore fills her time with hobbies. Rather than spending fruitless hours pondering the exact ratio of strength to sensitivity in a particular pair of hands, she enjoys gardening, cooking and listening to the radio. Just think what could be achieved if others followed her example. Work would be finished in an instant. The definitive novel of the 21st century might have been completed a hundred times over by now had all the nation's writers not been entirely preoccupied by smut.
If Britain is to weather the credit crisis and the worldwide recession that is bound to follow, we have to get our minds out of the gutter. Ms Meadmore, not Gordon Brown, is the leader we need. On her birthday, she said, she would enjoy a glass of wine and a telegram from the Queen – but added: "I'm hardly likely to get drunk and do something silly at my age." Here's to it, Ms Meadmore. Many happy returns. Stay strong.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies