Notes to a flurry of letters

1 March 2007

Opportunities to get a letter on demography into the press are rare, but four opportunities arose in the last two months. There was one in the Leicester Mercury, one in The Newman, the Journal of the Newman Association (at 910 words the longest letter published so far), and two in the Catholic Herald. The Newman letter was printed word for word. The other three letters were abbreviated – the parts the Editors left out are in italics.

(1) The opportunity for the Leicester Mercury letter came because Iqbal Ghodiwala had written critical of Israel for holding onto Palestinian territory and had also responded to a claim that Israel had owned the land in ancient times. Mr Ghodiwala thought we should not go into this “long history”.

(2) The opportunity for my letter to the Catholic Herald of January 26 is made clear in the opening paragraph. Mrs Ann Farmer replied to this letter and put forward the most frequently used argument of those who believe artificial contraception is not needed to control population. She wrote that prosperity leads to smaller families – implying that contraception is not needed. I have heard this view many times. It is sometimes summarised as “prosperity is the best contraceptive”. My letter of February 9 explains that there is an important middle step between prosperity and low birth rates. (The statistics left out by the Editor are from the United Nations site at Click on World Contraception use 2005, and download wall chart data. Excel)

(3) The opportunity for the letter to The Newman came from the publication of a talk by Christine Allen of the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR).