Stem the Decline

DAVID, FRASER, and BARBARA sit around a large table, in an austere conference room. There is a PowerPoint presentation projecting on the wall behind them. It shows human population projections and a range of catastrophic facts. Below that are Tweets with suggestions about how to deal with the population explosion. It indicates that the year is 2017. The group looks tired and frustrated.

(DAVID raises his head off of his hands, looks at the Tweets and speaks.)

DAVID

I cannot believe we have nothing, we’ve been at this for days. We’re presenting to the PM in an hour.

FRASER

We’ll just have to cancel.

BARBARA

You want to cancel on the Prime Minister and tell him what?

(The room is quiet, they all look at the Tweets.)

DAVID

I can’t believe we thought this was a good idea; putting the future of mankind in the hands of social networking. As if the world can be saved in 140 characters.

(DAVID gets up from his chair and starts pacing.)

BARBARA

You know they can write more than one Tweet?

FRASER

This was a really stupid idea. The world is massively over populated. We’re running out of fresh water, the atmosphere is practically gone. There is now a total ban on immigration into the UK, the freedom to work across Europe vanished with the EU and, if the law is passed next week, there’ll be a huge wall around most of the country. We’re in a mess and the PM thinks it’s a good idea to look for a solution on Twitter. TWITTER!

BARBARA

Oh, calm down FRASER! What do you expect from a man who allowed voting via social networking?

FRASER

He only did that because he’s charming and photogenic.

(DAVID glares at FRASER then gets up from his seat and takes a remote keyboard and starts hitting the refresh button on the Tweets.)

DAVID

But you advised him to do that, I remember now. Well done FRASER, we’re in this mess because of you. If you didn’t have a crush on the man, none of this would have happened.

FRASER

I don’t have a crush on the man but, at the time, it was my job to get the man elected, and he wasn’t going to win for his brains.

DAVID

Fine, as pointless as all that is, we have to go in front of him this afternoon and give him a solution to deal with the population explosion. We have to have something. The world’s gone insane, so many babies, I can’t believe we’re nearly at the 10 billion mark.

FRASER

It is somewhat ridiculous given the scientists said we’d be sunk if the number reached 8 billion. Just shows you want they know.

DAVID

You really are a fool, FRASER…

FRASER

How dare you…

BARBARA

No, he’s right, you are a fool. You’ve always been one of those bury-your-head-in-the-sand advisors. As long as you have food then sod the rest of the world.

FRASER

I resent that…

BARBARA

I’m sure you do. But the truth stands. Within a year we’re going to reach 10 billion souls on our pitiful dying planet. And worse than that, two-thirds of them are in underdeveloped countries where there hasn’t been enough food for over a century and yet more and more helpless children keep being born.

DAVID

On that note, didn’t I read a Tweet about condom drops over Africa?

FRASER

Nice suggestion – if we’d have killed the Pope and tried it years ago.

DAVID

I’m sure I read a plan to that effect years ago, I wonder why it didn’t go through.

FRASER

Is it because it’s stupid?

DAVID

Perhaps back then, but the Pope’s pretty much out of commission since the paedophile fiasco bankrupt the Church. Perhaps it’ll work now.

BARBARA

Seriously, you seriously think dropping bags of condoms over African villages would make a blind bit of difference?

DAVID

It might, and we’re a little short on decent ideas.

BARBARA

This isn’t a decent idea. Do you not read the news? You know that you are meant to be a parliamentary advisor?

DAVID

Of course I read the news!

BARBARA

Well then surely you know that because the scientists turned out to be right about global warming…

(BARBARA glares at FRASER at the mention of the scientists being right)

 

There is no way we could fly planes over Africa. Most of the coastline is no go thanks to violent storms and most of the interior is besieged by freak solar busts.

FRASER

I saw the pictures, when the sun gets it’s mojo on solar waves hit our atmosphere like a laser hitting disco ball. Less Grease Lightning and more, well, more just vaporized bodies and a whole big mess. Still, if we gave them a bunch of condoms they would at least have something to store the body parts in.

DAVID

Is that what you’re going to tell the PM, condoms for body parts? I’m sure he’ll love that. Though I have to say it is amazing that even with starvation levels at their highest since recorded history, births still outnumber the deaths. It’s a miracle the earth doesn’t just fall out of the sky under the weight.

BARBARA

Can we please concentrate! Let’s go over what we have so far.

(DAVID slightly hysterical)

DAVID

We have nothing, absolutely nothing.

BARBARA

That’s not true. I’m sure that’s not true. Come on, gentlemen, what do we have?

(FRASER picks up a clipboard with a list of recently Tweeted ideas.)

FRASER

Fair enough, let’s see what the geniuses on Twitter have come up with so far. Well one man believes we should deport all gang members, though he doesn’t say to where.

DAVID

I vote for France.

BARBARA

Perpetuating stereotypes, I’m sure the PM would like that and I’m not sure deporting anyone would really help.

FRASER

Well, that counts out the idea of deporting anyone who isn’t at least second generation British.

(FRASER flicks through the pages)

Actually, there is a whole list of people the Tweeting generation would have us deport: the over 60s, the under 20s, anyone whose first language is not English. A selection of people of various different colours, pretty much everyone who isn’t albino white would have to go.

DAVID

(Takes the clipboard away from FRASER)

There must be something of use…. What about this? It suggests we use the Chinese system of letting couples only have one child.

BARBARA

But that didn’t work for China. They gave up on the idea and now there’s nearly 1.5 billion of them.

FRASER

Plus, now they have loads of women who live under bridges.

DAVID

I don’t think that’s true.

BARBARA

Perhaps it needs to be a little more radical.

FRASER

Than living under bridges?

BARBARA

No, Muppet, than the one-child rule. Now, hear me out just for a second. What about a no-child rule? We could build on that. Perhaps no children at all for the next ten years? Someone would have to fill in the details.

DAVID

But, how would we enforce something like that?

BARBARA

Technically that’s not our problem, we’re just here to come up with ideas. But, off of the top of my head we could put something in the drinking water, contraception. Or, perhaps we could use some kind of dispersal system, I’m not sure, I know our government scientists are doing wonderful things with nanobots.

(The group is quiet for a moment.)

FRASER

That’s not an entirely stupid idea. It would cause problems with the diminished workforce being unable to support our aging nation, but that’s the problem of another think-tank.

DAVID

(Thumbing down the information on the clipboard.)

Thinking about it, this might go rather well with one of the ideas here. The Tweet states that, ‘we should not let anyone breed who doesn’t have an IQ over 110.’

BARBARA

How do they go together?

DAVID

Well it gives us the perfect opportunity to tackle one of the problems that has landed us in this mess. The poor, the under-educated and general pond life are the ones who are having the most children. People are having kids so they can claim more benefits, move into better housing and not because they want them or want to spend time any with them; it’s just greed.

FRASER

I think that’s a little harsh, I’m sure it’s more complicated than that.

DAVID

Most things are, still, there is no point banning everyone from having children for ten years then letting just any old moron start populating the future once the ban is lifted. If we introduced some form of IQ testing for parents, we could then start sterilizing those who didn’t match up. Perhaps for the next 20 years after the ban we stick to one child, only for people with the right IQ, and see where we are then.

BARBARA

I can’t see that making the masses happy.

FRASER

Well the smarter masses are already screaming for something to be done. That’s why the PM needs ideas for the world leaders’ summit next week. They’ve seen the news, the climate disasters, the starving millions, no jobs, the benefit system in near ruin. Pensions gone, people having to work into old age even, when they’re physically unable to work, having their brains wired into call-centre bots where they can answer pointless gas bill enquires without moving their lips. It’s a mess.

BARBARA

And, what about the not so smart masses?

FRASER

Well it’s not as if they are going to riot, not with the introduction of a robotic laser cam on every street corner. If people thought speeding cameras were annoying, being zapped into a coma by a laser cam is far worse. Still, it put an end to protesting.

DAVID

We would still have to do something to keep the masses from revolt. If nothing else they can still have a vote and no Prime Minister is going to want to upset the Tweeting generation, now are they?

FRASER

Surely we’ll just do what we’ve done before?

BARBARA

Which is that?

FRASER

Oh you know, just keep them wrapped up in reality shows. We’ve already made the prizes bigger and, now people know they can be set for life by winning a show, half the population enter. We’ll just get the social construction department to come up with a couple of new ideas. Stuff that keeps them invested and we’ll quietly nanobot the hordes on the side.

BARBARA

So what about the people who don’t watch reality TV? What about them?

FRASER

Well hopefully they are the smarter ones who understand what we’re doing, but if they feel the urge to protest we’ll vamp up the shows they like.

BARBARA

It can’t all be about TV surely.

DAVID

Seriously BARBARA I can’t believe you’re saying that. Didn’t you sit on the committee that repealed the law on subliminal advertising? I’m sure you did.

BARBARA

Of course you’re sure – you were sitting beside me. What’s your point?

DAVID

My point is that now, when celebutards are ice, ballroom or, the recently fatal, fire dancing their way holographically around our living rooms, we’re all having our brains filled with one subliminal message after another.

FRASER

I thought it was just two messages: buy and watch more.

DAVID

It is, though now it’s go and buy, and then watch more. Until we did that no one was leaving the house and internet shopping sites kept crashing under the load.

BARBARA

I know I’m tired, but I’m struggling to see how any of this keeps the smarter, non-reality TV watching masses under control.

FRASER

Oh, yes, that.



BARBARA

Yes that.

FRASER

Well we can just add more high quality drama, Downton Abbey has about made it to the 1990s, for example and once we have everyone hooked to the TV we can start adding in more subliminals about not ignoring our new plans.

BARBARA

Why don’t we just fill all the shows with ‘don’t have any more babies’ subliminals?

FRASER

Sadly wanting a baby is so deeply conditioned into society that it’s unlikely to work. Or at least not that alone, we could try it but I think we need this bigger, more drastic plan.

BARBARA

So we distract the dumb people with reality TV, we get the smarter ones with costume dramas and we fill everyone’s head with subliminal messages. Brilliant.

DAVID

And if anyone decides to protest too loudly, we can have the laser cams “accidentally” blow them up on their way to work.

FRASER

So, are we saying we have a plan? Really, this is something we think we can present to the PM?

DAVID

I don’t see why not. It would need fleshing out a bit but the basic idea is there. It is at least an idea and it could be rolled out to developed countries and with a little tweaking, everywhere.

BARBARA

So we’re basically going to say that we stop everyone from having a child for the next ten years – mention forced contraception and lets not forget the nanobots, of course.

David and FRASER

Of course.

BARBARA

And during the ten year ban we can IQ test everyone and, if they don’t score more than a given number, we sterilize them.

DAVID

Which leaves the only people able to have children needing a decent IQ and for the at least the 20 years after the ban we only allow one child per family.

FRASER

Excellent, that definitely sounds like a plan. I wonder what Twitter will make of it.

(They all look at the screen and a final Tweet loads up.)

Twitter

Insane. But it might just work #thesepeopleareclearlymad.

 FADE TO BLACK.

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