I've got good news and bad news. Good news: we're number one! Bad news: it's not good news.
New figures reveal that in all of Europe, our teenagers are the most productive, by which I mean pregnant. Maybe it is because our young folk are SO BORED and have nothing else to do, what with only having a choice of all the information and literature that humankind has written, all of the films made over the past hundred years and all of the music and art that has ever been created, right at their fingertips. Not to mention all of the amusements that have been especially made for them such those death-race-sex-killer video games that we know are not warping their minds because their manufacturers have told us so.
Despite all of the distractions that their parents enjoyed in their youth, and those that have been invented since, it is alarming that the young citizens of this great country are doing it old school by doing "it" after school. Quite possibly they are doing it while IN school. In double geography for example, or as part of their physical education programme. As far as the league table of European teenage pregnancy is concerned, we are right up at the top with Bulgaria and Romania, where they have no distractions, as electricity is yet to reach there (must check that).
Down at the bottom of the chart, at the abstemious end of the scale, lies that falsely labelled hotspot of saucy shenanigans: Holland. Only Denmark and Switzerland have a lower rate of teen pregnancy. The former because they have the same open and relaxed attitude to sex as the Dutch and the latter because, like much else in Switzerland, sex is illegal if you are under 55 (must check that too).
If you examine the statistics for other anti-social behaviours, Britain tops nearly every table there is. Drug taking? Violence? Drunken pregnant girls stabbing each other while high? Yes, yes, and yes.
Why should this be? Alcohol may be blamed. It usually is. However, I am pretty sure that alcohol is available in Holland and it may even be for sale in Switzerland, on presentation of the required paper work. So it must be the relationship that we have with booze that is different from our better behaved neighbours. In Holland they have a polite affection for drink. It is something they can take or leave. In this country, we went straight from a nodding acquaintance with alcohol, to sticking our tongues down its throat.
It is not just the falling over water that we excel in consuming excessively. Take drugs - British teenagers certainly do. Our teens hoover up their own body weight of stimulants just to get ready for school, which they then ditch, because we are also pre-eminent at going AWOL from class.
A recent study looked at how the young in Europe spend their spare time. In France and Italy, for instance, teenagers sit down to a family meal and discuss their day like the level headed things they are. In England, teens catch a bite in front of the telly and immediately shoot off to hang out with their mates and see how much grass they can smoke without passing out. And then they get into a fight. And then they get someone pregnant. Sometimes both at the same time, which at least shows that they are capable of multi-tasking.
Experts say that this is all due to the lowered expectations of Britain's young compared to previous generations. For the first time, children can expect to be less well off when they grow up than their parents. They will not be able to afford the same level of housing that their parents could. They will have less money, higher bills and a poorer standard of living. Social mobility has gone into reverse. No wonder the kids are revolting, say the experts.
This might wash if it was not for the fact that we in Britain have been punching above our weight in bad behaviour since the Stone Age, which for us was the stoned age. We were the black sheep of the Neolithic Era. People have been tutting at us since we all started to walk upright.
Some say that judgement is upon us. There is an asteroid coming our way that looks like it might wipe out life on earth. It is a way off - 867 years away - which gives us enough time to mend our ways and prove that we can be trusted with the stewardship of our part of the planet. If not, hot ash will rain down upon us, the kids will try to smoke it and we will have failed.
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