Why have I been entranced by population, of all things? I have my theories. I grew up in a religious, left-leaning American household that tyrannised my childhood with guilt. Before we ate, we had to pray for hungry Chinese peasants, and then we had to clean our plates for the starving Armenians (long dead, but no one told me). Everything nice that we had we were supposed to feel bad about; and I was required to give 10 cents of my 25c weekly allowance (thatâ€™s about 12p) to charity. So I think I resented all these poor people for whom I was supposed to feel sorry. They were a burden. Then I discovered that there were going to be more and more of them. Just because they had large families, I was going to have to feel even worse and give away more of my allowance.
The Duke of Edinburgh may not have employed the trendiest vocabulary but heâ€™s not suffering from undiagnosed dementia. Whatever you call it, the threat of overpopulation is back and here to stay â€“ because it never really went away. This could be a good time to start learning Arabic.