A modest proposal

I have this idea. It might just save the world. Now, I know what you”re thinking: we”ve heard all this before. There”ve been loads of ideas that were intended to save the world, but they”ve mostly made things worse, if they weren”t utter rubbish. What have you got, Killeen, that”s new?

Fair enough. Just hear me out. This is my idea:

We ask everybody, whenever they speak on a matter of public interest, where they stand on the killing of children. Now, I don”t imagine many people will think killing children is a good thing. I imagine they”ll generally be against it. But there are some who will see it as a necessary evil, and this is where my idea becomes brilliant.

Some people, particularly politicians, will say that, for very good and serious and grown up reasons, some children will have to die. This is because we cannot infringe the right of Americans to arm themselves against potential tyrants, or Israelis to defend themselves against aggression, or Muslims to fight against western-Zionist oppression. Or because drone missiles will sometimes accidentally hit a wedding feast instead of a terrorist cell, and suicide bombers will kill kids as well as soldiers.

After we”ve established this, we can divide the whole world into two groups of people: those who consider the death of children a price worth paying for their struggle, and those who see it as unacceptable at any cost. This means whether they are politicians or freedom fighters, Jews or Muslims or Christians, Americans or Palestinians or Israelis, Republicans or Loyalists, New Labour or Taliban, we judge them, not on our tribal loyalties, but on where they stand on the killing of children. Then – and here we enter the realm of inspiration – we lock up all the people who are willing to see children die, and we throw away the key. All of them. Once we”ve done that, the rest of us can just get on with trying to solve the world”s problems. My hunch is, we might just get somewhere.

Madness? Maybe. Or maybe it”s the way things are now which is mad. It”s just an idea.