Saturday, 27 December 2014
Old Battsby’s Almanac
'Tis the season to be forecastin’ and now the Great Battsby reveals – in an exciting two-part collector’s edition – what the fuck is what for the coming year. Hear ye, hear ye, for all I foretell may come to pass… and then you’ll look pretty daft if you’re not prepared. (Example Top Tip: stock up on Marmite. As a typical British delicacy there is a buzz in Brussels that the EU are intending to make it illegal. You heard it here first.) And now, before my crystal balls fog up:
There will be snow. In parts; not all parts. I’m on safe ground here in predicting that the country will go into shutdown mode. As oil and gas prices tumble, heating will become so cheap that marauding ideologues will need to sabotage fuel tankers rather than concede their trite point that people need to choose between eating and heating. As people sit in the cosy and cheap warmth of their homes rather than brave the chilly commute to work, protesters will take to the streets having chosen cheating before heating.
The NHS finally succumbs. After twenty years of there being just six days to save it, it takes just six days to sell off every part in a massive public offering, clearing the deficit at a stroke. Shares rapidly rise; leading Labour to denounce the coalition’s cut-price rip off of the UK taxpayers. Within months waiting lists are halved by skilful new management and bouncer-assisted triage and in a ruinous twist for Labour many individuals see a boost to their pensions and retire to the sun, thus further relieving the strain on healthcare. Andy Burnham, in a desperate attempt to claw back some credibility, buys his own hospital and runs it into bankruptcy within a few weeks.
In an unusual coalition of enemies, Labour, Conservatives and LibDems form a giant new party to campaign under the single slogan ‘We are not Ukip’, carpet-bombing the electorate with leaflets claiming that all Ukip prospective MPs – especially former Labour, Conservative and LibDem ones - are vampires, racists and serial killers. Ukip’s polling surges to over 30% with support from Prince Phillip and - for the first time - The Queen herself declaring for Farage. The old three parties and their flag-wavers still remain clueless as to how this could possibly be.
It rains and rains and rains, just as it always does in spring. Three houses are flooded in Somerset and a wave washes a child’s abandoned toy off a seawall in Devon prompting environmental activists to boycott the seaside and mount protests at Downing Street demanding action. In a freak accident a few unwashed eco-warriors are injured when a burst water main causes their ancient VW camper van’s bald tyres to aqua-plane off the road during yet another Balcombe anti-fracking intervention. This is seized upon by Natalie Bennett as evidence of Global Wettening. It immediately stops raining and The Greens poll rating slumps below 1%. Again
The general election proves dramatic and confounds all the pollsters. Labour, campaigning to avoid discussion of any issue of national importance – on which they are universally wrong – push a vague agenda of ‘being nicer’ to everybody. The Greens lose their only MP. The LibDems lose every deposit except Vince Cable’s, who nevertheless loses his seat. And between them Labour and the Conservatives retain just 20% of the overall vote. Turnout is at a record high although voters reject most political parties in favour of the newly included ‘none of the above’ option. At 15% Ukip are invited to preside over a coalition of ‘none of the above’ and decide to declare the election void. Without a government the UK’s international standing rises to its highest in over a century and across Europe countries clamour to leave the EU and join the UK. The Euro falls to a value of just 23p.
There may be trouble ahead...
The rains subside, the sun comes out and my crystal ball begins to mist up… I see swirling vapours and turmoil; there may be trouble ahead…
...to be continued.