Prophet 451Prophet 451's Journal
I've actually been running a homebrew RPG set in this timeframe. Since it's a homebrew, I haven't fully fleshed out the background as yet but here's the Cliff Notes version of what I've got so far (minus the psychic powers and alien incursion).
Since there seems to be a determination among both politicians and a section of the public to not do anything about global warming, the oceans will rise and become too acidic to support life (at least, not anything we could eat). Homes will become much smaller and several cities will be completely lost as coasts creep inland. Much of teh public will chalk this up to the wrath of god. With the rising temprature, more revealing fashions will become teh norm. Due to increasing pressure on grazing land, most people eat a mostly vegetarian diet with only the rich being able to afford meat more than once a week or so. For a more complete overview of this kind of society, see the first half of Ben Elton's Blind Faith.
The US will split into two distinct nations. The South will be a theocracy ruled by the dictates of fundementalist (Southern Baptist) Christianity, combined with a view that capitalism is sacred. Contrary to expectations, they won't reinstate slavery but only because wage slavery is cheaper. No social support or unemployment insurance of any kind. If you lose your job or get sick and are poor, you die. Labour unions will be outlawed; wages will be low, capitalising on a population too desperate to turn down work even if it's for pennies. Most of the population lives in company-owned shacks. Public education is limited to basic literacy and numeracy. The North bans handguns and smoking outright, has a form of universal (albeit basic) health insurance and maintains friendly trading ties with Canada. Economy is based around service industries and IT. Public education, now federally controlled, is comparable to other first-world nations. Public housing is expanding but not fast enough to keep up with a rising population. Porn is banned in both North and South but for different reasons. The North experiments with building artificial islands to contain the growing prison population.
The Commonwealth becomes a formidable trading empire but the UK becomes very much the junior partner in that empire. The UK's health system has now become a combination of tax monies being paid to private healthcare providers. Welfare benefits continue to be cut, eventually leading a situation where only three months of benefits are provided. The Church of England is disestablished when King Charles chooses to take the title "Defender Of The FaithS" i.e. of religion and spirituality generally, rather than any specific denomination. With the loss of land due to global warming, most of the population are herded into high-population blocks akin to those from Judge Dredd, purpose-built to combine housing, work and recreational areas with as little wasted space as possible. Life expectancy is now around 88 and retirement age is 75. Retirement income is savings and work pension, state pension having been abolished (leading to a rising incidence of poverty in the elderly). Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have almost fully devolved powers with Whitehall only setting a UK-wide agenda on the broadest matters.
Modern medicine can look like a miracle to us. Through modern medicine, we can allow the blind to see, we can replace worn-out hearts and give a new lease on life to someone who, only twenty years ago, would have been waiting for death. We can really and truly save lives and medicine does so, every single day. But these miracles rely on the donation of blood and organs from people like you. Blood donation is relatively painless and takes about twenty minutes. What are you going to do with twenty minutes? Flick through your paper, maybe have a cup of coffee? Or you can help someone live. Organ donation doesn't happen until you die. You're not going to be using your organs but they can help someone else live. I'm not going to ask anyone to violate the tenets of their faith but this is life and it is precious and it is fragile and it is up to us to save it. Won't you please, give a gift of life?
US Organ Donor Register
American Red Cross Blood Donors
UK Blood Donors
UK Organ Donor Register
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand Organ Donor Register
New Zealand Blood Donors
Firstly, you have to remember that the media, then and now, loved her. They were largely based in London and the city of London did very well because her privatisation of everything in sight made the City (financial sector) a lot of money.
Secondly, she was elected during the epic Winter of Discontent, when an overreaching by the unions had resulted in a backlash of hard-right feeling.
Thirdly, she was extraordinarily lucky to have an opposition that was determined to self-destruct. The Labour party was falling apart in the Eighties and in no shape to actively oppose her. They fell out with the unions, which cut off most of their funding, so they had no cash to fight elections; elected as their leader a man who, with the best will in the world, was too easily distracted and too prone to windbaggery to effectively oppose her. Labour wouldn't really recover until the mid-Ninties when they took a hard swing to the right under Blair and effectively ran as Tory-lite. The Liberal and SDP parties were characterised during this period by fratricidal in-fighting.
Fourth, she promised the earth and the media covered for her when she failed to deliver (the power of the media in this country really can't be overstated). The people who did well out of Thatcher's reign were the same people who had the ear of the media.
Fifth, the British Constitution means that we don't vote for Prime Ministers, we vote for parties and the head of the winning party becomes PM. While a huge amount of people loathed Thatcher, most people liked their local MP and voted for them. That meant that the Tories got a majority in Parliament and Thatcher became PM even though many people disliked her as a person.
Six, this was during the same time as Reagan was effectively telling America that greed is good, the same period when much of the world was trending to the right. We thought this was how things were done.
You didn't live through her reign of terror, I did. And that gives me every right to be pleased when a monster like that no longer stalks our fair land.
I despised her, so did most of the working class. She came to power amid a national crisis and then proceded to use that crisis to justify diabolical policies. She decimated the mining and manufacturing industries and then told us to hate the poor bastards who ended up on welfare as a result, all purely to break the unions. She stopped the free milk that had been given to pre-schoolers to aid their bone growth. She deliberately under-funded the NHS, resulting in mass shortages that we haven't fully recovered from even today. She forbid teachers to refer to homosexuality as even an abstract concept. She denied there was any such thing as society. Some will tell you she lifted everyone into the middle class, this is a lie. She simply pretended the working class didn't exist. She stopped students from claiming housing benefit, a massive effective cut to their finances. She told poor people to choose between voting and eating and then described the resulting riots as "wickedness". Her cuts to the NHS led to the deaths of both my in-laws. She defunded the mental health institutions in favour of "Care in the community" where the mentally ill were abandoned. Like Reagan, she ushered in a culture of ruthless selfishness, pretended it was good and used that to demonise the poor as undeserving of help. She used the Falklands, a war that any British PM would have fought, to prop up rampant militarism. She pushed unemployment to 10% and didn't give a toss. She supported Pinochet, the Khmer Rouge and apartheid. She wanted to put AIDS victims into camps. She intiiated the housing crisis by insturcting social housing to sell their houses off. She wanted to nuke Argentina and ordered the Belgrano to be sunk even when it was retreating. She ran her Cabinet like a dictator.
As a person (I've read her autobiographies), she was petty, incurious, vindictive, uninterested in anyone else's viewpoint and surprisingly small-minded.
I despised her. I don't use the word "evil" much because I think it's overused to the point of being meaningless but Thatcher was evil. She is far more admired abroad than she is here, largely because those abroad didn't have to live through her reign of terror.
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