Yes we can (control ourselves)

Headline news the other day: NEW BABY BOOM - big population increase. This was portrayed almost unanimously by the media as something to be marvelled at for all the right reasons. I am a member of the orgainisation Population Matters.  This is my snail-mailed letter today. You never know, water can wear out the stronest stone ...Inhcidentally I do recommend

The message may not be the easiest you've ever encountered but then, as my letter points out, neither was the drive against slavery, smoking cigarettes or the employment of children in mines. All solutions begin with the recognition of the problem.

Bryan Islip:         Kirkhill House  Aultbea  Ross-shire  IV22 2HU
                                 01445 731322

Fiona Hyslop MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

12 August 2013


Even though I do have four much loved children and thirteen grandchildren I am a member of Population Matters. I also used to smoke cigarettes and once believed that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’. But times have changed and now is now and I have read your comments on Scotland’s population increase aspirations, which is why I am addressing you.
The Government will pay you £20.30 per week for your first offspring and £13.40 per each additional child. There are in addition many kinds of payment by the government in respect of your childcare. According to these include ‘vouchers, tax credits, Sure Start, Discretionary Learner Support, Childcare Grant, Care to Learn’, and more. Of course these are only a part of it. Unemployment pay and housing benefits are the nation’s principal gifts, should you be for instance a young lady contemplating the fulfilment of her nature and her ongoing life options.
The message seems clear enough. Have as many children as you like. Your nation needs them and therefore you will be amply paid by the nation to look after them. More children equals more money for you, equals less incentive to do anything for the community at large. Oh, and by the way you don’t need any male partner. You will be comfortable enough without one - other than, naturally, for the possible pleasure of his company and the actual act/s of conception.
The result is a baby boom unequalled in modern times and an economy staggering quite alarmingly along the edge of the precipice. The result is also a public morality disintegrating in the face of advertised materialism / greed . Yes, I am well aware that, should you be the CEO of a major employer / producer of foods, cars, loans, power or fizzy drinks the more the merrier in terms of consumers / consumption, but surely the elected government of the State has a duty to look beyond? To seek and find the greater good?
What, exactly,do we see as the social state of play when ‘looking beyond’, assuming eyes wide open and mind unclouded? Do we see less hunger, less unhappiness, less misery of indebtedness (of the State, as of its citizenry), less degradation of that marvellously conceived NHS, less despoilation of the land and, equally important, of the surrounding sea? Do we see world population ten billions and climbing with love and happiness all around? Do we see, when looking beyond, the diminution, even the banishment of plague, pestilence, criminality, cruelty and wars?
Perhaps not. Perhaps we should be looking at and facing up to the opposite. Perhaps we should be concerned or at least afraid for those who come next. Perhaps we should take some action. Two actions?
1.      Recognising that, in the same way as a 100,000 tonne oil tanker captain has to begin slowing or turning many sea miles ahead of the desired end result, the State can perhaps begin to use its apparatus to stop lauding population growth and start some discreet public questioning, even sow some legitimate doubt about the benefits of population growth. As Scottish Government external affairs secretary you recently said the population rise continues “in the right direction”.  Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said:  ‘A country like ours needs people, particularly young people, to come in to work and increase the tax base – that is absolutely essential for the economy. Oh, Fiona and Gavin! Some looking beyond is clearly called for!
2.      Very simple, this one;  increase child support for a first born / eldest child by up to 100% and cut out all other support including any support at all for further children. It could be done  over time without political loss - in conjunction with (1) above - in the same way as the UK government once moved against cigarette smoking or slavery or the employment of children in our mines - and against so many other perceived social / public aberrations and threats.
Present and future over-population is to me quite obviously far more threatening  than any danger to humanity that has gone before or conceivably could come after us. I remain in hope that our elected government will look beyond and will take action now.
With best wishes
Yours sincerely

Bryan Islip

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