Due to an error setting up my Amazon account in which I accidentally gave my birth year as 2069 instead of the century before, I now occasionally get deliveries from the near future through Prime+ which starts as a premium subscription service in 2027, becomes a religion in the middle of the century and apparently is destroyed in a war with a race of giant, sentient, mutated spermatozoa originally recovered from a filing cabinet in the ruins of the Oval Office. So it goes.
Anyway, I thought that the following chapter in a 2032 book from children’s series ‘Horrible Histories’ might prove illuminating.
“After the last-gasp Brexit delay, when Jacob Rees-Mogg failed to hit the Speaker of the House of Commons with a poisoned crossbow bolt, thereby postponing the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, followed by the Brexit Riots of 2019, The Brexit Amendment Riots of 2020 and the Amended Brexit Riots of 2021, it became clear that the British Government were essentially a bunch of clowns. This realisation led them to take inspiration from classic British comedy and attempt to solve the problem of a hard Irish border with an idea from the 1972 Steptoe and Son episode “Divided we Stand”.
The UK was divided up, initially with masking tape, into areas where a majority had voted to remain in the European Union, like London, Bristol, the Cotswolds and the whole of Scotland, and areas where a majority had voted to leave, like pretty much everywhere else. This meant that instead of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, there was a soft, sticky border pretty much everywhere else. This caused some problems with things like goods inspection and tariffs but mostly with people getting their hair stuck to the tape when they popped out for a loaf.
Eventually, it was decided that the tape was inconvenient and that Remainers would have to learn to “unsee” the “Leave” parts of the UK as the passed through, and vice versa, in the manner of China Miéville’s celebrated novel “The City and The City”, which someone in the Cabinet had seen half of the TV adaptation of and therefore considered himself an expert.
There was some resistance to this plan from senior Conservatives, who argued that this was not the work of speculative fiction that they were modelling the future of Britain upon; preferring the Orwell/Huxley model sketched hastily on a cocktail napkin found in Rees-Mogg’s top hat after a night out. However the plan was put into effect in the worryingly prophetically-titled “China Rule Directive” of 2022.
Naturally, it took a long time for legislation to catch up with this rapidly changing state of affairs and both the self styled “Kingdom of Brexitannia” and the “Republic of Europium” rapidly descended into squabbling city states reminiscent of Middle-ages Italy.
Bizarrely, at this point, the collective rage and frustration of the country’s intelligentsia grew so potent that it manifested itself as a giant celestial Mark Steel, (a prominent left-wing comedian of the time), which leaned down through the permanent cloud cover (caused by the Trump Environment Act of 2020) and shouted: “OI! That’s enough! This is completely fucking stupid. It didn’t even work for Steptoe and Son, did it? Did you not even watch the episode to the end before you made up your minds? You don’t profit from dividing everything up and being stupid and greedy and afraid. You grow stronger by sharing and learning from each other. It’s the whole reason that the human race was successful in the first place, learning to share and cooperate. Sort yourselves out!”
So unexpected was this event that almost every single person was prompted to sit down and take a long hard look at themselves. A short but incredibly busy period of political reform was enough to reunite the country and resolve all European issues and a period of peace and prosperity came about that lasted for almost three months until a trade deal signed by Jeremy Hunt resulted in the United Kingdom being sold wholesale to the Apple Corporation, asset-stripped and leased as a battlefield training ground to Putin’s Imperial Army.”
So, I say let’s get ahead of the game and stock up on masking tape.
Happy political debating everyone.