When UK Labour was in meltdown in the early 1990s, a group of leftists decided that old style politics was so past it that only a ‘radical centre’ with scope for arresting and innovative ideas would get social reform moving again.

Thus was born ‘Demos’, the thinktank which spawned a lot of sensible ideas, on pension reform for example, which flowed into the Blair-Brown government – and a whole lot of whacky stuff about building the brand of Britain, children’s rights. Their whackier side being crowned by one of their leading lights changing his name to ‘Perri 6’ (or 3 to his friends).

An Australian Demos shorn of the whackier stuff has long been wanted. Evan Thornley, prime mover for think tank Per Capita, seems to have grabbed the wrong bits with his recently announced idea that people should be granted votes based on the number of children they have.

According to Thornley, an intelligent fellow who seems to be working too hard, this would not only make people think more effectively about the future, it would also grab the family values high ground from the Tories.

Most amazingly he suggests that this is an extension of the process by which democracy was universalised from propertied white males to everyone in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Quite how the treatment of children as chattel to be chalked up against your name is an extension rather than a reversal of democratic equality is beyond me, but I would be willing to let that pass for the sheer fun of watching how this would be administered.

How would the votes be split between two parents with an odd number of children? If divorced parents lose custody, would they get the vote – even if they weren’t paying maintenance? Could convicted child abusers still claim their kids’ votes? Would it extend to 16 or 18 – whereby a kid with a Che Guevara lunchbox who’s just discovered Bob Marley may find that his parents are using his vote to try and re-elect Bronwyn Bishop? And on it goes.

Clearly it’s nuts and with more than a whiff of clerico-fascism about it – Franco might have been well-disposed, if he had let people vote at all, and Bob Santamaria would have loved it. The idea that the childless are less-deserving of a vote is noxious and sinister, but of course there’s no chance of it going anywhere.

The mystery is why up-and-coming politician Evan 3 thought it was a good idea to even say it out loud. It has a sort of Heath-Robinsonesque crankishness to it which – as with Latham’s fizzing brain space – ensures people will be wary of letting you near the controls.

And is this what we’re going to get from Per Capita? The name is almost aggressively boring, but maybe that’s part of their cunning plan. Maybe they’re handing out the propellor hats even as we speak.