When Jonathon Porritt publicly advocated couples having no more than 2 children recently, the press jumped on it. For the Green Party, one direct result was elected Green councillors in Liverpool having to suffer a Lib-Dem smear leaflet telling voters of a “looney” and “despicable” Green plan to “ban” children through a “2 child legal limit”. The only element of the LibDem leaflet that was factually true – and of course upon which their ridiculous fabrication was based – was the quote from Jonathon Porritt “Having more than two children is irresponsible”.
Now, to be fair to Jonathon, even that quote was taken out of context. What he said was “I think we ["we" meaning civil society in general] will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible”, which to my mind is an especially politic way to say it.
Furthermore, in the Daily Telegraph, the headline became “Government Green Guru Calls for 2-Child Limit“, which, again, makes it sound like a legal limit, when as far as I’m aware he was making a judgement, not indicating that there should be some sort of legal enforcement.
Indeed, Jonathon Porritt’s logic is to my mind impeccable, as seen on his blog where he also admits “I’m in the population doghouse” not because of his logic, but because of people’s emotional reactions to it.
Nevertheless – although I cannot think of another time when I have thought this (including his defense of capitalism) – I believe Jonathon Porritt has made a mistake. Only a very small mistake, and one that was distorted by even the papers who interviewed him, pounced upon by the Tories and pro-life campaigners (personally I see abortion as an entirely seperate issue), and distorted monstrously by local LibDems in their libellous leaflet… but a mistake nonetheless.