13 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 30


Why the British want to reproduce themselves is a question which is as puzzling in its own way as that of the origin of life. Their existence is so wretched, so utterly lacking in anything reasonably resembling a purpose, so devoid of those things that make human life worthwhile (I am merely paraphrasing what thousands have told me) that it is a marvel that they should go in for children. I suppose the nearest I can come to an explanation is that they hope a child will supply the want that they feel: the triumph of hope over experience, for they soon discover that a British child merely adds chores to emptiness.

However, there is a small sub-group of our population that recognises the undesirability of reproducing itself: I mean, of course, some fathers, or perhaps I should say, to be more accurate, baby-fathers. Between fathers, in the old sense, and baby-fathers there is a great gulf fixed. A baby-father is an inseminator merely: the term derives from Jamaican culture, or — again to be more accurate — I should say behaviour.

A true baby-father neglects his offspring, except to buy it a pair of shoes now and again when he wants access to 'his' babymother, to have sex with her and beat her up either afterwards or before. I mustn't generalise, of course: not all baby-fathers are the same, and some believe that prevention is better than neglect. In accordance with this wise view, they attempt to prevent their babies from ever being born, by procuring miscarriages.

There are two main techniques for bringing about this desirable end: they pull their baby-mothers by their hair to the top of the stairs and push them down, or they kick them in the stomach. Of course these methods are not mutually exclusive, and some use both. That'll teach women to conceive, or (as they say) fall pregnant.

Some baby-mothers never learn, however. Last week I met a baby-mother whose baby-father had thrown her down the stairs and kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant, yet subsequently had I use her own words — 'two kids for him'. Of these, one had narrowly missed being kicked into touch, as it were: my own hospital saved the pregnancy after the kicking. Now that we believe that adopted children have a right to know who their biological parents are, should children who narrowly miss being aborted by their fathers have a similar right to knowledge?

That same day, I was preparing to go abroad for a short and much-needed rest from British state-promoted squalor. went to bed late — half-past one — after finishing a couple of medical reports before my departure. At 4.20 a.m. came an urgent and insistent ringing on my doorbell. Blearily I answered it to a drunk woman in her thirties, swaying in a miasma of stale alcohol.

'Can I use your phone to call the police?' she asked. 'I've been raped.'

I asked her in, dialled the number and handed her the receiver, She was too drunk to explain coherently what had happened. A few minutes later, the police arrived, Seeing them, she said, 'Oh, let's forget it.'

A policewoman spoke into her radio. 'She's homeless. She appears to be destitute.'

The woman was mortally offended.

'I'm not a prostitute, I'm not!' she cried.

There is, it seems, only one way to escape British squalor, and that is to escape Britain. Closing your front door behind you is not enough.