Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
0

20 Years Later: Ireland 2037.

News Future logoPreviously published in The Times Ireland Edition.

For the citizens of the Federal Union of Ireland, looking back from their vantage point of the year 2037, 2017 would turn out to be one of those years when a nation’s destiny pivots, even if it isn’t realized at the time.

The road to Irish unification began that year, as unionism went from being the dominant ideology of Northern Ireland to merely one option on the table. The triggering of Britain’s exit from the European Union, and the realisation that the interests of Northern Ireland barely registered if at all in high places in England was another key moment.

But it wasn’t just unionists who were forced to confront new realities. If unionists were left open mouthed at England’s lack of interest in them, nationalists were forced to confront the intellectual emptiness of Irish unification, and the fact that almost no thought had been given to what a united Ireland would look like. The old pub closing time declarations of running a tricolour up over Stormont and job done were rapidly revealed to be absolutely worthless. Indeed, once nationalists in both the north and the south grasped that unity meant Irishness suddenly meaning one in five Irish being monarchists with totally different view of the old enemy, it triggered as big a crisis in nationalist political circles in both Dublin and Belfast.

The hard reality of Brexit, and the refusal of English voters to regard subsidising Northern Ireland as being their problem led to unionists looking south at a country that, unlike their English cousins, actually was interested in them.

The negotiations were started by proxies of proxies, people who had no public association with either side, but had access to major players in Dublin and Belfast. The draft papers that emerged on the desks of the taoiseach and the first minister by circuitous route, caused a bigger panic in Dublin than Belfast, in that they weren’t a German style reintegration of the country but a South African style blueprint for a new one, with a new name, flag, anthem, constitution, official language, and a constitutional guarantee as to what proportion of the national budget would be given to the northern assembly.

It was during the negotiations that Dublin realised the fundamental weakness in its argument. That it really wanted a united Ireland, whereas Belfast could only deliver unionism to an all bells and whistles deal, and both sides knew it. As Trumpism had proven, even economic hardship can be overwhelmed by a fear of “them”.

The talks collapsed a number of times, but history now shows that this had been a deliberate tactic of the new young  Taoiseach who recognised that the longer it took, the more time the Irish people would have to get used to the idea that what was on offer was a new and different country.

Even after the new agreement was passed on both sides of the border the new country faced challenges. Within ten years, the rapidly escalating automation of the global economy delivered to Ireland the challenge of shrinking labour demand just as the country crashed through the six million population barrier.

As it happened, Ireland turned out to be the perfect size for the dynamic innovation needed for a country to compete in the age of the robot. The social welfare system was replaced with a basic income, and Europe, having defeated the far right challenge that had overwhelmed both the US and the UK, recognised that tax harmonisation and access to its single market were the two weapons vital to funding that new system.

The Ireland of 2037, presided over by President The Lord Paisley, remains one of the richest most free nations in the world, its population swelling with liberal refugees from the US and England. There are tensions with England, as EU countries refuse to extradite suspects who may be executed, and England is one of the more casual nations with the noose these days, as Tony Blair nearly discovered before Irish diplomats smuggled him out of the UK and to asylum in Ireland.

In the Phoenix Park the finishing touches are being put on the memorial to the 237 Irish volunteers who served and died in the joint Scottish-Irish regiment of the European Defence Force liberating Poland and the Baltics from the Russians. Scotland’s entry into the EU coincided with the signing of the Edinburgh treaty between Scotland and Ireland, much to the delight of the Ulster Party in the Dail/National Assembly, both countries agreeing to fund a joint air and sea force to patrol their waters and airspace. The first shared ship, the William Wallace, is based in Cork. The Tom Crean will be based in Aberdeen.

Robots are everywhere, from the permanent police drones that replaced small police stations, solar powered and hovering silently, their infrared cameras seeing all, to the automated vehicles that make up 90% of the vehicles on the road.

What few predicted was the new creative age the robots would unleash. Ireland is now awash with poets, artists, musicians, performers, writers, people who thought they had been left on the economic scrapheap but instead found themselves liberated. Ireland’s most recent Oscar winner, for best supporting actor, had been a Dublin Bus driver five years previously.

 
0

News from the Future: President Trump demands US taxpayers compensate him for terrorist attacks on his properties.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 24, 2016 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious., US Politics

president-trump
Washington DC, January 2019.

Sources in the White House have confirmed that President Trump will soon meet the congressional leadership to discuss the ongoing impact on his personal wealth following the terrorist attacks on four of his hotels across the world.

Following attacks on the Trump Hotels in Brazil, Panama and Hawaii, with a combined death toll of 643 people, and the foiled bomb attack in Vancouver, the organisation has seen a sharp drop in bookings and revenue as the businesses have become seen as proxy targets against the president and his policies.

In addition, the business has struggled to secure insurance in recent months, and is engaged in an expensive legal battle with its current insurers to maintain policies. The current insurer has been required to make nearly $250 million in payments so far as a result of the attacks. Another $1 billion is expected to be paid out.

News Future logoA spokesperson for the Trump family has suggested that as the attacks on the United States and the Trump family are “de facto the same thing”, the US taxpayer should compensate the family for its financial losses as a result of their willingness to serve as first family.

In addition, the president has ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans to deploy US troops to protect the various assets. He has also insisted that the State department demand those forces be permitted to be deployed in those countries to protect the properties. Both the British and Irish governments have already agreed.

A number of terrorist groups have declared Trump businesses to be legitimate targets across the world, given the president’s close involvement.

A source in the CIA has stated that “they see these attacks as a means of reducing the president’s wealth, which, as we all know, is a subject he is very sensitive about. They know it’s a way of getting under his skin. The fact that he rants about it on Twitter after every attack doesn’t help.”

 
0

Montana last US state to ban non-driverless cars.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 9, 2015 in Fiction, News from The Future!, Not quite serious., Science Fiction

News Future logoDateline: Helena, Montana, 2099

Tommy T. Thompson-Guiterrez (Libertarian), Governor of Montana, signed the Driverless Cars Act banning all non-automated cars from operating on the main roads and highways of the state in the state capitol this morning, making Montana the final state in the union to do so. The law itself is primarily symbolic, the governor said, given that 98.7% of all vehicles in the state are driverless anyway.

The bill was rushed through the state senate on Tuesday following an accident where a 103 year old pensioner driving a 2047 Buick caused a pile up on the interstate when he missed his turn, and killed four people. The State Road Agency has pointed out that all vehicle accidents reported in the last  22 years  have been caused by human drivers.

The act will allow driver required cars to be driven on private property, after intensive lobbying by the Vintage Automobile Association of America. A second amendment, sponsored by Hot Tubs On Wheels billionaire J. Stevenson, which would have permitted the provision of hot tubs and related “adult services” in commercial driverless vehicles was rejected. Stevenson pointed out that such a provision in Nevada provides employment for a large number of high school leavers and provides relaxation for tired consumers on their long drives home. The state police have reminded occupants that whilst legal sexual activity in driverless cars is legal, occupants are obliged to close blinds on their vehicles, following last year’s case between Montana Vs. Montana Bondage and S&M Community Annual Roadtrip Ltd.

McDonalds have confirmed that they will be expanding their short-haul “Big Mac Taxi” service to the state, allowing customers to order a McDonalds meal and eat it as they are driven to their destination. Over 45% of all McDonalds meals in the US are now consumed in Big Mac Taxis.

 
0

PIRATE ATTACK ON BILLIONAIRES TAX HAVEN ISLAND RESULTS IN 1200 DEAD.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 2, 2015 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious.

Dateline: South Pacific, 2099.

News Future logoChinese naval forces have confirmed that at least 1200 people have died in a large-scale pirate attack on the southern Pacific tax haven of Liberty Island yesterday. The attack, which began at approximately 2am Pacific time, seems to have been well planned and involved several hundred well-armed and disciplined pirates, who quickly overwhelmed the island’s small security force and communications centre. Widescale looting, killing and sexual assaults have been reported, and large fires are engulfing the island.

Liberty Island, an artificial atoll which first opened in the 2060s as a tax shelter for those persons of exceptional wealth wishing to escape global tax treaties, is a sovereign nation owned by its residents as shareholders. Although it does boast a well-resourced private security force, the sheer size and surprise nature of the attack led to most of the force being wiped out. Rumours that a number of the security force helped the pirates are unconfirmed.

The founder of the island, libertarian billionaire T. Rawle Jessup, was killed in the attack. Footage has since been uploaded onto the web of the tax exile businessman sobbing and begging nearby governments to send help.

Chinese and Australian naval forces were alerted by desperate residents pleading for help by satellite phone, and arrived as the last of the pirates were leaving, engaging them in a two-hour gunbattle and killing an estimated 70 pirates.

Initial reports suggest that the main pirate force may have escaped with jewelry, gold, cash and treasury bonds worth billions of dollars and yuan. A number of celebrities are also missing and maybe have been kidnapped. The well-known transexual model Leslie? is amongst the missing.

 
0

“RefugeeLand” continues to thrive as EU debates independence.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 1, 2015 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious.

News Future logoDateline: Merkelville, 2099.

Recent economic figures continue to show strong economic growth in the 4m strong European Union Migration Transition Zone, nicknamed “RefugeeLand” in Libya. The city and its surrounds, founded in 2017 by the EU in response to the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis continues to be run and funded jointly by the United Nations and the European Union.

The current governor of the city, former Irish premier Willow Kiely, has confirmed that whilst the EU is willing to look at devolving more power to the city’s elected assembly, it was not willing to grant the city independence.

“The truth is, Europe still needs the Zone, and that means we need to control it, and both access and egress from it. Despite the fact that business continues to grow, and unemployment is very low, this city only started generating more revenue than expenditure in the last ten years. Having said that, that’s more than can be said for most EU member states.”

The city, despite a difficult beginning and still with its fair share of attacks from various religious extremist groups, has turned out to be a fascinating spectacle for the world, its huge open air markets now a major tourist draw for cruise ships.

Commissioner Kiely points out: “This is one of the few places on Earth where Christians and Muslims are pretty much equal in numbers. Everybody has to get along. By force if necessary.”

The EU maintains a large number of combat drones, both air and ground mobile, to respond quickly to terrorist incidents. But Kiely has been quick to point out that local city militia, raised by prominent leaders in both communities, often deal with extremists faster than the drones can.

“This city is the only access point for refugees into Europe. You have to be processed here, and indeed many people here have family members who live legally or commute to the EU having been processed here. As a result, both communities have a vested interest in maintaining order here. A good clean record serving with the militia, for example, earns points towards a residency visa for the EU. “

The commissioner also pointed out that both communities take turns providing a small militia force to protect the city’s one synagogue.

“There’s a real pride about that here. People value what they have, want to protect it.”

 
0

GUN LOBBY SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND RIGHT TO CARRY WEAPONS ON AIRCRAFT.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 30, 2015 in Fiction, News from The Future!, Not quite serious.

News Future logoDateline: Austin, Texas, 2099.

Lobbyists for the National Rifle & American Values Association last night successfully defeated an attempt by the minority Democratic group in the Texas state legislature to end the right of passengers to bring assault rifles onto an aircraft with their hand luggage.

Unlike the states of the north-east and west coast, Texas remains with those states that support the so-called 9/11 law, inspired by gun lobbyists who suggest that if passengers had been armed the infamous terrorist attack of a near century ago would not have occurred. In Texas, the right is so vigorously defended that even Texas Airlines cabin crew wear sidearms as a point of principle.

As it happens, since the Second Amendment was devolved to state level, Texas has had the greatest number of IFIs (In-flight Firearms Incidents) of any state. A small number of planes have been brought down through explosive decompression.

In 2095 two men on a Texas Airlines flight from Houston to Nashville got into a drunken row, and in the gun battle that followed the flight crew were all killed by armour piercing bullets through the door of the flight-deck. The Attorney General of Texas attempted to sue Boeing-Airbus for not supplying an aircraft capable of landing automatically and instead crashing into a mountain.

The company pointed out that the plane did indeed have automatic landing capacity, but its flight controls were not designed to survive a burst of armour piercing machine gun fire. The Texas AG regarded that as an admission of liability, and wanted to know why the entire plane wasn’t armoured. Boeing-Airbus pointed out that it would then be a tank. The case is continuing.

The north-east states, Illinois and the west coast refuse to recognise the law, with flights from “Right to Carry Onboard” (RCO) states not permitted to fly into non-RCO states with armed passengers.

Guns continue to be very much a defining issue in the late 21st Century United States. Those essentially “blue” states have become less tolerant of the casual, if anything hysterical attitude to guns in the south and mid-west. With the Second Amendment now devolved, the borders of the states that take gun control seriously have heavily armed checkpoints of state police and National Guard to prevent Right-to-Carry (RTC) hardliners entering whilst armed, and it gets heated.

Last year, 32 Virginia law enforcement officials were killed in gun battles on the border with North Carolina, both states representing the frontline. On the Illinois/Indiana border in the same year a group of drunks decided to load up their pick-ups and taunt the Illinois State Police, who responded with an anti-vehicle missile fired from a drone.

Kennedy Airport, despite being in the heart of a gun control state, still has to take a tough line with the flights coming in from RTC states. Often, the security at those airports is deliberately scant, sometimes as a political point, and so when the flights land in NY they have to be met by state police with heavily armed combat drones to provide support if the situation gets out of hand.

Last month a newly-elected US Senator from Montana, C. James Dickerson III, found his flight directed by bad weather away from Dulles airport in DC, which as the federal capital turns a blind eye to RTC. Instead he arrived in New York, where his automatic pistol was detected by a SecuriDrone(R) and he was requested to surrender his weapon. Still giddy from his election, and possibly taken in by his own rhetoric, he refused to surrender his weapon, finally drawing it against the drone, which machine gunned him to death.

The US Senate protested vigorously, but the Governor of New York defended the actions of the drone.

 
0

Coming soon: News from The Future!

Posted by Jason O on Nov 30, 2015 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious.


News Future logoBEHOLD! THE FUTURE TODAY!

Dateline: EUROPE 2099

I’ll soon be posting a regular feature, News from The Future!, where I’ll be putting up some speculative reportage from the year 2099, on news items and comment from around the world, on everything from politics to technology to society.

Just a bit of fun that I’m enjoying writing, maybe slightly tongue in cheek in parts, but on subjects that have caught my eye and where they could be heading.

I hope you enjoy them too.

Copyright © 2017 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.