The news this morning informed me once again that China has partially lifted it’s one child rule. Of course this was an opportunity for vilification of the state for the evils of birth control. There were stories of the high levels of fines imposed for having a second child and the fact that second children don’t get access to state services. There was even the harrowing story of a woman in a village who had been fined and the state officials were demanding she was sterilised.
Unless I missed something then China is a communist state, so breaking laws is more than frowned upon. The law says that you can only have one child so you get fined for having a second, that makes sense. I would rather travel the M1 at 90 mph but, since the limit is 70, such ‘choice’ will incur a fine. I appreciate that sterilisation is a serious step but let’s be clear, you live in a country that limits you to one child, you have had two. Do you need the ability to have more? You remember the massive fine, the state is helping you to avoid another. That the child does not get access to things like free healthcare may seem harsh but that is because of the way we describe the service. If we call it tax payer funded healthcare then it makes more sense. Everybody pays their tax and as part of the states provision health and education is available to them and a single child, it is free at the point of use. That one person should be rewarded for breaking the law by taking more from the pot than everyone else doesn’t only go against the communist ideal but also democracy.
The news then cut to some African country with starving children dressed in Nike. There are no controls on the birth rate here which is not just a legal gap but, more significantly, a moral one. Breeding when you cannot feed yourself is nothing short of evil. The headlines of “poor manjuta has to walk 3 miles to get water for her baby” are garbage, the ‘hardship’ is inflicted on the young by parents that haven’t got the human decency to stop breeding. But what of the access to contraception and cultural issues the media cry, here’s a thought keep your bloody clothes on!
Then we come to our own backyard, after all the UK is the world’s leading baby producer. Apparently women are leaving it too late to have children, some are reaching 40 without breeding. This makes me wonder if the press reads the stories that it writes, after all anyone that did wouldn’t want to have children. Could it be that these women are educated and caring enough to not want to bring more children into a world where they have no future? Oh no they are just waiting too long.
In that simple interpretation of one fact we can see a lot of what is wrong with the west and certainly the UK. There is no golden right to have children, they are not a commodity. Until we are made to be moraly and financially responsible for our offspring we will continue to breed irresponsibly and that makes us no better than Manjuta. The broadcasters make much of balance so perhaps the next time that they want to criticise the Chinese model they could do a split screen. On one side an industrious but poor couple in China looking after their child an on the other Sharon rocking a baby seat with her foot whilst smoking and watching Jeremy Kyle*
*other daytime television is available, apparently
I had a nice weekend,spent with friends. Great to catch up with people and the glorious weather frames the coast at its best. I awoke early this morning to streaming sunshine reflecting off an ocean as calm as glass. As I drank my tea and looked out at the beach I saw the street cleaner busily returning escaped sand back to the beach. I have seen this guy loose this battle repeatedly, fighting the elements to keep the sand in place. Like painting the forth bridge or writing lines the task seems thankless and more than a little soul destroying. But on a morning like this morning this man is one of the luckiest out there. Not for him the rush of the commute, the office gossip does not call to him. The money might not be great and I guess the sense of achievement is not so much but today this man has the best job. Just in case you think that I have lost it I will continue my observations. As a beautiful sunseeker lazily ploughed the surf I realised that there are better jobs. Hell I love the coast but it always looks better from several million pounds worth of yacht!
While catching up with friends this weekend I realised, once again, how privileged I am to have the friends that I have. My friendships, like my life, are unique. The conversations that I have had over the weekend would not sit naturally with anyone else I am sure. I love where I live, I love my friends and I love my job. I am in fact a very lucky guy, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. I guess that some of us are pre-programmed to look for change though, it’s not about being unsatisfied it’s just about change. And so it is that my mornings this weekend were spent looking through local news and property for the next location.
One snippet of news that hit me this weekend was that if your single at 40 then you will remain that way. Obviously this is worked out by statistical analysis but the numbers were pretty convincing. Given the train wreck that is my relationship history this is fairly reassuring and it certainly supports my experience. Whilst writing this I did look for the article in question but had no luck, it was one of those silly search engine ads. Scarily I did find a plethora of results explaining that single over 40s are a lost cause. I have to tip my hat to the guy who commented on an article saying that single over 40s were damaged goods. He noted that whenever he is asked ‘why is a good looking successful guy like you single?’ he cuts straight to the chase with “I’m damaged goods”. That has to save so much wasted time!
I close this morning’s post with a conversation that I had with the elderly lady that boards the train with me. When you are as approachable as me it takes some time to build up to conversation. I think we were 4 or 5 months in before exchanging salutations. This morning I was asked if I was ‘off to that place I would love to be in’. We had a faltering conversation while I tried to work out where she had confused my destination with. I realised that she hears me purchase my ticket and therefore knows that I am going to Stratford, does she think this is Stratford upon Avon perhaps?
Apparently not, this elderly lady would love to win the lottery and reverse what she claims to be her biggest regret, moving to the coast. I can’t imagine how many years ago she moved from town, I have no fond memories of it and I’m 40. The lady in question takes the train 6 days a week. Colchester is the closest town that she can reach and she spends the day wandering around the shops. A couple of times a month she extends her trip to Chelmsford as a treat. I have no reason to believe that this ladies mind is anything less than pin sharp and I must presume that the move was made when she was younger anyway. Did she not realise that the shopping experience would be less? Did she not evaluate the move? Surely the lure of the open coast and fresh air had delivered on the promise? But then perhaps she moved at 39 years of age in a desperate attempt to avoid the single at forty curse. . . .