Conservative councillor in mandatory sterilisation uproar quits

John Ward, the Conservative councillor who talked about mandatory sterilisation for parents who have more children than he thinks they should have, has resigned as a councillor.

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  • Actually, isnt it better that the unproductive members of society do something useful like have children, rather than it taking up the time and energy of those who would otherwise be out creating business and generating wealth?

  • Grammar Police 26th Mar '08 - 10:09am

    @ Asquith, I’m pleased to hear that I’m not a “productive member of society”.

    Btw, it should be *fewer* children, not less.

  • Gosh. Sir Sheath Joseph got himself into trouble for saying something much like this.

    The moral right speaks with a forked tongue on this issue.

    On the one hand, they express a perfectly legitimate concern that the birth rate tends to be highest among those with the lowest IQs, and among those dependent on the state (ie, taking money from the rest of us).

    On the other hand, among their number are those like Ratzinger and Murphy-O’Connor who say that everybody should have as many children as possible.

    The left insists that everyone is born with the same IQ, differences in intelligence being a product of environment only, so the problem for them is the inadequacy of state benefits.

  • Fruitcakes like this normally end up joining UKIP.

    I can recall 2 or 3 occaisions when a tory councillor has said something, normally racist – and then they jump ship to UKIP.

    UKIP is a handy bin for all tory trash!

  • Cheltenham Robin 26th Mar '08 - 1:02pm

    I have to admit that I haven’t read the full text of what this councillor was saying but shouldn’t we be defending his right to say it?

  • David Morton 26th Mar '08 - 2:41pm

    I’ve read the original comments in quotation marks in the Mail article. The single word “Compulsory” turns it from a silly rant into something the Nazi’s would do. Lots of people say things they regret on Blogs and he should have made a grovelling apology and that would be the end of it. If not and he really believes that then he should have been thrown out of the Conservative Party. I suppose the interesting point would be wether the people of his ward would have been entitled to re elect him. Is he worse than the BNP which we haven’t banned|?

  • Steve Cooke, the Housebuilders’Federation will be reading your post with glee. You are putting ideas into their heads. Now they can accuse people objecting to the despoilation of the environment not just of being middle-class nimbies who hate progress, but wicked “Daily Mail” reading racists to boot.

    No, we are not in the least bit interested in protecting the countryside, we just want to keep blacks out of it. And it isn’t the Green Belt, it is the White Belt.

    Strange alliances indeed!

  • Over-population – that’s quite an opinion if ever I heard one! I guess it depends on where you live and what the demographic pressures on your community are…

    How come it’s always poor or undesirable people who are the over-populators? I find it hilarious that the social-climbers can never have enough servants in their entourage, yet they begrudge every penny they pay for the service.

    But no, the underlying question is about equitable levels of state investment, not the types of individual behaviour we should tolerate or try to control.

  • Does anyone recall Mr Nicholas Dribley, the chain-smoking Old Etonian who once served as Thatcher’s Environment Secretary?

    Yes, this was the Nicholas Dribley who told people living in villages who objected to new housing that they were being “selfish” (Dribley was a free-marketeer opposed to any kind of planning or environmental controls). Yet, when someone proposed to build a bungalow at the end of Dribley’s back garden in the Cotswolds, Dribley objected!

    Labour’s record on the environment is mixed. On the plus side there is the designation of the New Forest and North Downs as national parks, and the financial incentives that have persuaded hundreds of farmers to replant hedgerows. On the minus side, we have the steady relaxation of planning controls and the drive towards airport expansion.

    All of which takes us some distance from a Conservative councillor’s OTT rant.

    There is a minority of feckless people who live on state benefits, smoke, chew gum and watch trashy TV all day. And they tend to breed more prolifically than the rest of us. No doubt about it.

    Overall, the birth rate in the UK and most of Europe is so low that is is barely replacing itself. That is a concern, particularly to those who worry about immigration and fear for the future of European civilisation (lots of them in Germany).

    Professor Peter Hall has suggested building a mega airport in the Thames Estuary and filling the Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted sites with buy-to-let flats and social housing. Trouble is, it would be hugely expensive, and you have the problem of the geese that put the kibosh up Maplin.

  • This is the point at which a LVT disciple like me pops up and says:
    “LVT would put pressure on landlords to either use empty homes or sell them to someone who can, and in the process would raise cash fairly for local/national govt to use.”

    But since you are Liberals you knew that was coming.

  • Alix Mortimer 27th Mar '08 - 12:35am

    “Are you really comfortable and easy with the thought of there being 70 million people on these islands?”

    Um, yes? Why shouldn’t I be? The onus is on anyone who believes this to persuade the rest of us that some arbitrary number plucked out of thin air is “too many”. On what are you basing this calculation?

  • For those who want to read the original comments first-hand I have found Google’s cache of the page, which may disappear soon:

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Mar '08 - 5:10pm

    It’s very easy to say silly things without thinking too much, or if placed under pressure for a quick reply. I do not think we should hound people into resignation for it. I am sorry Cllr Ward felt it necessary to resign. Politics is worsened if people keep their mouths shut for fear they might say something they would regret, or feel they can only mouth party-approved platitudes which have been policed for non-offensiveness.

    As a minor point to Sesenco, the RC position is not actually that people should have as many children as possible. I face a problem with this sort of thing, because coming from a Catholic background I am in the dilemma of either remaining silent when the position of the RC Church is mis-represented (as I find it ALWAYS is by non-Catholics in this forum), or jumping in and having to defend something I might not fully agree with on the grounds that at least the real position needs to be acknowledged and if I don’t say what it is, no-one else will.

  • Hold on a second, before descending into pointless Tory bashing or falling quickly into the knee-jerk taboos surrounding any invocation of eugenics consider that John Ward might actually have a point:

    He isn’t suggesting compulsory sterilisation of a section of society. He’s suggesting that if families heavily reliant on benefit go on to have a certain number of children then at some threshold number of children certain classes of their benefits should become contingent on sterilisation.

    The benefit recipient doesn’t have to choose to have so many kids, just as he might not necessarily have to receive benefits if he didn’t have kids in the first place. If he refuses to claim welfare he won’t be sterilized. In fact the current system is so constructed that in some cases there is a perverse economic incentive to have kids because doing so brings in more benefits. Now if he were suggesting forcible sterilization of a lower socio-economic group regardless of any decisions those people have made, it would be a gross violation of liberty and totally fascist, but given the choices to a) have children and b) accept government benefits conditionally there is no violation of rights occurring here. It’s simply a case of compulsory versus voluntary sterlisation and with the latter in this case its to the benefit of the existent children, society at large and probably for the benefit recipient’s own good.

    Where people do have serious objections to this its likely to be for religious reasons concerning the right of anybody, including the individual, to denigrate the reproductive capacity of the human body. Fortunately we live in a secular society.

  • passing tory 21st Apr '08 - 5:02am

    It is fascinating to see the impact of population being openly discussed; although it is an important area it is such a potential minefield (as the article at the head proves).

    Is 70m people a sensible population for the UK? I think it depends what you want, in terms of impact on the environment, usage of resources and so on. I don’t think that anyone should believe that a population in the UK of 70m is going to suddenly descend into a canabalistic orgy of Malthusian J-curve disaster. But it is certainly true that, in adapting the environment to his own needs, man will definitely force other species to adapt their behaviour or struggle to survive. In this sense, I think that population is central to the environmental question.

    It also strikes me as crass to say that it is OK for the UK to have such a high population density and yet pin the world’s problems on India and China, and the USA. The USA, in particular, is a remarkably under-populated country by European standards (with a population density practically one tenth of the UK).
    Should we really object if a country chooses to organise its affairs so that it has a relatively low population and relatively high consumption per capita?

    Now, I suppose we can just take the chance that, as affluence tends to be the best contraceptive, that we can just hope that if we help the whole world become nice and rich that the sums balance out and a sustainable population will be reached. However, this seems like a bit of a long shot to me, so I think that population management is a matter that should concern politicians who have any interest in long-term conservation of the planet’s current ecosystems.

    Of course, for this to happen, you need rational debate and this is unlikely as long as Mark and his like are eager to score political points against anyone who wades in with an unorthodox view.

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