While the media has gauged itself silly on riot stories this week (the Murdoch stuffing does seem all of about a fortnight ago now), there is one crumb of moralising yet to be considered; the effect of all this anti-social behaviour on birth rates.
Now don’t tizz yourself, twitching readers – this isn’t the beginning of some splenetic, eugenics-friendly pizzle about to claim that the best way to stop future generations filling their swag bags is by introducing looter sterilisation. Nor is it a neo-hippy plead with everyone to make love not war (Mary Maggers, how quaint that sounds in the age of post-sex symbols – mirkins off to Ms Gaga, of course). No, it’s just a musing on how many ambulances carrying fit-to-pop pregger-ladies you’ll hear sirening-singing along in, oooh, about nine months’ time.
Because, contrary to Sky New’s apocalyptic scenes, some of us haven’t been stealing. Oh no. We’ve actually been shagging.
Let me make it clear (in case my pseudo-wife deigns to read this) – I have not. But I’ve been thinking about it. And I’ve been thinking about it because the old death drive has been gnawing at my cuticles and by turns, whispering sweet loosenings to my knicker elastic, all to the tumultuous serenade of police sirens.
Remember that urban myth about why women aren’t allowed to serve with men on the front line? Because when the enemy is all but upon them, they’ll swap shooting for, er, banging? Well, riots, or any civil chaos for that matter, have the same effect on civvies. Danger causes our kinky wiring to substitute fight or flight for fight and something else beginning with f and we are compelled to act on it before we can enjoin upon ourselves an outraged moral response to our shameful sexual opportunism.
Contrary to whatever the Daily Mail knows, naughty people don’t actually shag on the street. If you have no sense of shame or danger, you can’t be swayed from your six pack of salt and vinegar, or your nine hundred and ninety nine inch flatscreen TV, by the temptation of a quickie. But if you’ve been trembling in front of Newsnight, a little closer to your partner, flatmate or landlord than usual, and still had a flame-free bed to retire to (once Ms Maitles had stopped failing to tease the ultimate social good aphorism out of the talking heads, of course) you probably didn’t retire there alone. And you may have shocked yourself in the process. You are probably so shocked you are in deep denial, to the extent that you have amnesia about having had sex at all. Because if YouGov or the like had asked you last month what you would do in the event of civil disobedience (ie if there was a national riot, would you retire to bed and shag your worries away? STRONGLY AGREE) you wouldn’t actually have answered that question. You would have thought Russell Brand (who, in another bizarre parody of reality, wrote a really rather astute comment on the riots for the Guardian) was guest-editing an impartial national survey, now that the novelty of being married to a lady who can squirt cream from her conicals has worn off, and the Press Complaints Commission really can’t stop anyone from doing anything any more.
If we pretend that contraception went on strike for fear of being stolen, it’s not that everyone who did shag the fear away on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday would have been intending to create life. Especially not when there’ve been so many dazzling specimens captured on CCTV for us all to admire and wish we had one that turned out just like that. It wasn’t that conscious. Or maybe that’s exactly the point. Maybe the law abiders acting like horn dogs while Britain burns was nature’s way of trying to populate the earth with a few less pilferers.
On the off-chance that anyone now feels like writing to the Press Complaints Commission, or their MP about this post, or will just ensure that my name and writing is forever associated with the most sulphurous kind of dog doo from hereon, do yourself a favour and wait nine months before you file the complaint. If next May doesn’t turn out to be an especially sprog-effulgent Spring, I’ll hand myself in for flippant, riot-tired whimsy masquerading as journalism.