Wednesday, 22 February 2012

2020 Vision: A Warning from the Future

Today, I was shocked to receive an email purporting to come from Britain in the year 2020. There's a faint possibility it may be a hoax, but it did explain that technology was invented at the end of 2019 which enables emails to be sent backwards in time using superluminal neutrinos or something - only emails though - so I guess it's entirely legit. It certainly seems to ring true when you read its account of what Britain is like in the year 2020. Here is the main part of the text:

Dear Citizen, 

This is a message of solidarity from the future. It is the year 2020 and the Conservative-Neo-Liberal-Corporate Alliance Party has won its third successive electoral victory with the biggest landslide majority in history. This was inevitable, following first the abolition of voting rights for the unemployed in 2016 and then the introduction of corporate block votes for companies with more than £10 million annual turnover in 2018. It was felt that this was fair, in view of the 'wealth' that these companies create. Besides, it was also just an honest reflection of the fact that these big companies have provided most of the funding for all three of the big political parties anyway for many years. Seeing as they wield so much power behind the scenes, why not just give them votes, so they can wield that power more openly, it was argued - and everyone simply agreed because, well, the media were in favour and it would have been political suicide to gainsay them and their advertisers. 

Unemployment itself is now at a new record high of 91%, although productivity has never been higher and the economy is actually booming. Of course, only very few people are sharing this bounty. When I say, 'unemployment' is 91%, that is actually a bit misleading, because everybody still has to work, apart from the top 1% who are rich enough to live off their investments.

The Government introduced various 'workfare' schemes at the end of 2011. This was in response to a terrible outbreak of laziness, especially among young people. For some strange reason, which economists  at the world-renowned think-tank, the Institute for Economic Affairs, are still researching, poorer people are prone to becoming lazier in harsh economic times, but not when jobs are plentiful. The young are disproportionately affected, too, as are women. No one is sure why the inability to get out of bed seems so strongly correlated with economic recessions, but the finest minds in economics are working on this problem and it can only be a matter of time before a Nobel Prize is awarded for this ground-breaking research. A few dissident voices who suggested that by sacking thousands of public sector workers, the Government might, in some way, be adding to the laziness epidemic, were dismissed as 'moaning minnies' and 'economically illiterate'.

Poster from Arts Against Cuts

Thus it was that big companies such as Tesco, Arcadia Group (Topshop, Topman, Burton etc.), Boots, Asda, Serco and so on were offered the chance to obtain free labour from unemployed people who were told that they had to do it or else they would be made destitute and left to starve or beg on the streets. By an odd coincidence, most of these companies had made generous political donations and yet were far less generous when it came to paying the tax that was due from them.

It soon became obvious to many of these companies that they were paying their regular workers far too much, considering that they now had access to a large pool of free labour. Soon, they stopped advertising actual paid jobs, since they no longer needed to hire people and pay them a wage when they could simply get people in at the expense of the taxpayer (i.e. someone else). The Government was managing the economy so badly that unemployment was already pretty high and there were plenty of well-qualified graduates and people with good CVs among the 2.8 million on the dole, so why pay wages when you can get these people for nothing? A few audacious companies even began to contemplate a rather cheeky strategy, suggested by management consultants and accountants: why not simply sack your entire workforce and then get them back in for free once they started signing on?

It was a brilliant idea and the consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers who suggested it was later knighted for services to industry. At first, some companies baulked at the idea, as they weren't sure they could get away with such a blatant scam; surely people wouldn't be so utterly moronic as to fall for this, they thought. Wouldn't there be an outcry? They needn't have worried.  It turned out that the British public were amazingly docile and incredibly easy to fool. Years of corporate propaganda throughout the media, washed down with reality TV, celebrity gossip and sport, combined with a natural deference to authority and there was barely a whimper of opposition - especially from the official opposition (the so-called 'Labour' Party).

How coerced labour destroys real jobs

All over the country, companies started sacking their workers en masse in 2013, only to get them back within weeks, without having to pay them a penny. The bill to the taxpayer (who is currently a man called Mike from Dorking) soared, of course, as did the official unemployment figures, but the economy itself was largely unchanged, as people continued to do their old jobs. The only real difference was that people were now working for benefits, paid out by the Government, rather than proper wages. Salaried jobs became so scarce they were auctioned to the highest bidders and given as prizes in the national lottery.

Today in 2020, the only salaried jobs are senior management positions or top jobs in the media and banking 'industries'. The army is largely supplied by forced labour too, which is just as well, since a US-UK led coalition invaded Scotland 'to restore democracy' in 2016 following Scottish independence. Scotland almost immediately descended into civil war between two rival factions; one supporting Celtic and the other Rangers. Rangers fans immediately seized the North Sea oil fields, including those claimed by England, causing alarm in the oil markets. They also alienated the US after they announced their intention to trade Scottish oil directly in return for Mars bars, eggs, flour and hydrogenated fats, instead of US dollars.

A full scale invasion of Scotland, however, only received UN backing after a 'dirty bomb' was left in a shortbread tin at the gates of Buckingham Palace, together with a note saying "Och, pal, stuff this up yer boggin Sassenach airses and haunds aff oor oil, ya wee bawheid shites!" US intelligence sources immediately blamed Scottish religious fanatics and ordered an invasion, saying it had nothing whatsoever to do with oil, although 'conspiracy theories' have proliferated on the internet, some even claiming that the bomb might not have been planted by Scots at all! (Ridiculous. I mean there was a note and everything and a guy in a kilt was seen placing it on CCTV. Come on, FFS it was in a shortbread tin!).

Meanwhile, an unexpected side-effect of workfare is that many new work-for-benefits jobs have been created which curiously recall the kind of jobs which might have existed in medieval times, when we last had this kind of feudal system. The textile industry is back, as Britain now exports cut-price clothing to newly-affluent China, made by children as young as 12 in the revived Lancashire cotton mills, following the lowering of the working age in 2017. Most people don't go to secondary school any more, since tuition fees were extended to secondary education in 2015, after the Liberal Democrat wing of the Party promised categorically that it would never happen on their watch. But it's OK, because no one needs education any more.

Soon after workfare was introduced, the billionaire Sir Philip Green, who controls the Arcadia retail clothing group, created the new post of 'Anal Hygienist' leading to an honours degree from his newly created private university. The new 'Anal Hygiene' profession has flourished due to high demand from super-rich socialites such as multi-talentless heiress, Tamara Ecclestone, who never quite mastered the art of wiping their own bottoms. However, highly-paid economists have proven with irrefutable mathematics that laziness is a problem confined to the poor, since rich people obviously must have been extremely industrious in order to acquire their wealth (it stands to reason). Tamara, for example, barely has enough hours in the day to buy enough shoes to keep her on her feet, in between visiting beauty therapists and furiously employing people to be creative on her behalf. In 2020, such people are truly the wealth creators and workfare-job-creators of the nation.

I urge you therefore, not to change anything! Just keep on not doing whatever it is you're not doing. Capitalism is feudalism and feudalism works! It's a time-honoured system and there is absolutely no alternative. Don't think for yourself. Don't protest. Do as you're told.

Yours sincerely,

D. Cameron

President-for-Life, 2020

There is a UK-wide day of action against workfare on Saturday 3rd March, 2012.