Sunday, June 20, 2010

Letter from the future

Last night I travelled to 2012 and Cameron is right, the future looks bright. This is what I saw.

Dear people,

I don't know if it was last night's unfortunate combination of whisky, wine and ale with a handful of crisps later floating in the guts, but here's what happened.

My head was spinning and the last thing I remember was a bit of sick which later teletransported me to June 2012. It may have been for an hour only, but it was a trip I'll never forget.

You will not believe what I have to tell you, but the future really is bright. Stop listening to the scaremongers doubting the daily content of 'the Sun says' or Gideon's briefings. I'll say it again: the future is bright.

Britain in 2012 is a place where there are shops and businesses everywhere. Anywhere. I was walking down a mixed council & private area and the number of neon-lit signs was a spectacle to behold. Where state handouts and dole money used to be the norm, now there were wealth-creating private enterprises gushing out of each flat. Where tracksuited kids used to smoke weed or drank white lightning while shouting 'cunt' at each passer-by, now there were lines of Lamborghinis or shiny Bentleys peacefully parked.

I had to rub my eyes in disbelief. A car pulled up and a gentleman asked me if I was alright. I said "I'm from June 2010, I just can't believe what I'm seeing". The man said "No worries. Sir, let me tell you, the changes of the last couple of years are the best thing that ever happened to us".

"It's all down to the Great Cuts of 2010. Made in the National Interest", he continued. "They did wonders for the country. Do you remember all those incapacity benefits? The minute they were abolished, all those fake disabled decided to start their own business. I don't quite know where they got the capital to begin with, that may be a bit overly technical, but I can tell you they just did. And those who didn't were offered well-paid jobs by the new wave of entrepreneurs".

I was gobsmacked.

"State jobs were practically abolished", the chap went on. "Forget the burden of council-employed street cleaners, gardeners, carers and social workers. All that useless bureaucracy. Prime Minister Cameron and his colleague Iain Duncan Smith decided to get thousands of welfare scroungers out of bed, forced them to brush their teeth, wear a clean shirt and marshalled them to private-run welfare-to-work programmes immediately, as opposed to after 12 months".

"Remember all those projects and plans bankrolled by the previous administration? Axed. Those new hospitals and roads and libraries that the state was gonna pay for? Axed. And you know what happened next? The private sector moved in. I don't know where from, but it moved in. Entrepreneurs gently fell from the sky - mostly people previously on welfare, like I said, others I don't know (but it certainly wasn't the foreigners, we don't get them anymore) - and the private sector took over".

"Suddenly everyone was a wealth creator...". I interrupted the gentleman.

I'm sorry, I said. But we're talking about 1.5m people who lost jobs in 2008-2010, plus many more when the axe fell on the public sector. What happened to all of them?

The guy almost looked pissed off. "You don't get it, do you?", he said. "I know that you lot from 2010 find it hard to get. But the answer is this. The private sector moved in and millions of jobs were created".

OK, I said, I believe you. After all, the streets do all look like Solihull. But do the people earn enough? "Oh. I see", he answered. "Well, most employees are those from welfare-to-work schemes. They have to come in to work, otherwise Iain Duncan Smith will personally clip them round the head in the morning. I don't know where they live. Maybe they do a Dubai and they get trucked back to their dormitory areas at night. All I can tell you for sure is that they've suddenly developed an impeccable work ethic. Even the window cleaners. You've never seen them keener. The other day one was smiling while holding the chamois. What a picture it was. He looked so happy."*

"Anyway", he added, "'proper employees, let's call them that, are incredibly well-paid".

Are they? I asked. "Yes. And there's no legal enforcement either. The minimum wage was abolished a while back. The whole thing magically self-regulated. Greed as well. Gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Thanks to the private capitals on tap (the consequence of the above-mentioned Great Cuts of 2010), money has been coming out of people's arses. Wages are now the highest in Europe. I'm a call centre worker myself and look at the car I'm driving. £12 an hour I make. We're all paid really well. We've never had it so good".

And how about crime and social problems? Are things looking up on that front as well? "Absolutely. That's the best bit", the guy nodded enthusiastically.

"People receive an extra pint a week to stay married. The other day someone snitched on our neighbours because they were having a massive row. Within ten minutes we got Iain Duncan Smith and Nadine Dorris turning up on their doorstep accompanied by a couple of smiling welfare-to-work henchmen. The minister patted the raging husband on the back and said in a priestly voice: 'if I buy you a pint a week will you promise me you'll stay together and stop rowing?'.

The fuming husband took a deep breath. His fury quickly eased off. 'Yes', he answered hesitantly, 'give us a mini tax break and I'll do my best'.'re not going to believe it but I haven't heard a single row since! Every week the family get money to buy a pint and now it all looks hunky dory".

Then the chap said: "I don't know if you remember when Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced he was leaving his wife for his PR lady two years ago". Yes, vaguely, I nodded. "Well, that changed the moment marriage tax breaks became law. Apparently IDS sneaked £20 under the table to him at a Cabinet meeting. Believe it or not, power-of-the-tax-break, Huhne and his wife salvaged their marriage"!

I was flabbergasted.

"Needless to say, with all mums and dads staying together now, crime has been nosediving and also kids are no longer wearing hoodies and tracksuits".

Wow. What a society, I marvelled.

Then I got a text message saying my time in 2012 was coming to an end. I had just about time for one final question. OK. How about the England team, I asked. Did we at least win Euro 2012?

"I don't know. It's underway as we speak. But I can tell you that all the newspapers are talking about 'The Spirit of '66' all over again and the Sun had a picture of Winston Churchill on its front page". Nothing ever changes, nothing ever changes.

[*kudos to you if you can spot the window-cleaning reference].


Anonymous said...

"After all, the streets do all look like Solihull."

Oh the blessed Solihull.... indeed.

The future is bright, the future is privatisation. Actually LOL at your post because you made many pertinent points with the help of humour and satire. Cheered me up recovering from the evils of infected tonsils (certainly if I get that again in 2012 I won't be relying on the NHS for free meds etc.)

I also think that once these cuts come into focus then they won't stop here, they will attack the pensions and indeed the minimum wage. NL and Con/Dems always had this stoopid belief that the private sector will come to the rescue. But then it is about neoliberalism, creating and accumulating huge amounts of private wealth...

Oh, you forgot to mention Olympics 2012 and the major waste of cash spent on this elitist jamboree + the 'big brother' state style security.

claude said...

I agree. The minimum wage is definitely next. Wait and see.

BTW, you have all my sympathy - tonsilitis is an absolute pain, possibly one of the most nagging things.
Hope you get better soon!