Monday, 23 April 2018

Yet another - rather longer-established - DAY!

Today is Saint George’s Day. Yes, another DAY! Here is a link to a quiz about Saint George.
I did really badly. Does that mean I am unpatriotic and have no right to fly a flag of Saint George anywhere near my house?

Saint George was a Roman, some say of Greek origin, but he may have been born in Turkey where his father came from. His mother was from Syria. He never came to England. I wonder if he went to the other countries whose patron saint he is - Portugal, Malta, Romania, a few bits of Spain, among others. He is a Christian saint and a Jewish and Muslim prophet.

On reflection he sounds like the perfect mix to be the patron saint of a country like England with its racial and religious diversity. It’s just a pity that some of the more racist elements of our society are not aware of this. A young mixed-race friend of mine has proposed that we should change our patron saint to Paddington Bear, a native of Peru but who did at least come to live in England. Altogether a more peace-loving, less warlike figure that George the dragon-slayer. My young friend’s main argument in favour of such a change is that he has never suffered racial abuse from anyone with a marmalade sandwich tattoo!

Some news bulletins today are leading with the news that the Duchess of Cambridge is in labour. If she has a boy, and if she didn’t already have a sone called George, she could name this one George. Maybe if it is a girl she can be called Georgina.

There is at least one person camped outside the maternity hospital already. Amazing!

Inside the hospital a crack team is ready for the delivery. Apparently for the two previous births a team of 23 “top medics” were working or on standby. It’s reassuring that Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust – which runs St Mary’s hospital - provides such good care!

I also read that the duchess has been on maternity leave since March 22nd, exactly as if she had a proper job!

She’s not alone in producing babies. According to UN figures there are on average about 250 babies born every minute – more than 130 million in a year. It is projected that there will be 11 billion people by 2100.

Here’s some information about fertility rates:

“The fertility rate is the number of children born for every woman of childbearing age in a population. The things that tend to affect it include female empowerment, wellbeing and the status of children, technological and economic changes, and opportunities for family planning.

The level of education in a society – of women in particular – is one of the most important predictors for the number of children families have. The global average fertility rate is just below 2.5 children per woman today. Over the last 50 years the global fertility rate has halved, as some of these factors bore down on family sizes.

In the pre-modern era, fertility rates of 4.5 to 7 children per woman were common. At that time high mortality rates of young people kept population growth low. As health improved, the population growth rate began to soar, only flattening out as the fertility rate declined towards 2 children per woman.”

So this educated young woman, in a stable economic situation, with plenty of opportunities for family planning, is bucking a trend but is producing high status children.

Mind you, all of this may be completely irrelevant as some of the loonies of the world are predicting once more that the end is nigh. It seems that the doomsday source material is the Bible, and although the holy scripture has been studied meticulously for centuries, only now has one man discovered that it states the world will end on June 24, 2018.

Wait and see!

Happy Saint George’s Day!

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