What if…China intervened in Gaza?

The People’s Republic of China task force departed the huge naval base in Djibouti just as the Chinese ambassador began to speak at the UN Security Council. The People’s Republic, he said, was no longer willing to tolerate the suffering of the people of Gaza. China was going to intervene directly in the conflict.

The global response was predictable.

Those states opposed to Israel, deftly sidestepped the novelty of China taking the high moral road and endorsed the audacious action.

The United States and some of its European allies condemned the announcement, and the US Navy put the Mediterranean fleet on standby.

In Tel Aviv, the Israeli cabinet met in crisis session. The far-right elements of the cabinet called on Israel’s defense forces to attack and destroy the Chinese task force before it entered the canal. The Chief of Staff (COS) of the Israeli military was less than enthusiastic about the proposal. He pointed out that satellite images provided by their American allies showed the Chinese task force was a very significant military force, centered around the People’s Republic’s newest aircraft carrier.

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What if…The UK elected a genuine hard right Tory government.

The Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer MP, leaving Downing Street having announced his resignation.

The Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer MP, leaving Downing Street having announced his resignation.

The exit poll turned out to be accurate when it predicted that Sir Keir Starmer was going to be a one-term prime minister. The Labour vote had collapsed to the late twenties, with the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats hoovering up the disgruntled voters of the “Keirslide” of 2024. The Tories, with 36% of the vote, were back with a 60 seat majority, wiping out among others the 150 Labour MPs who had five years previously wiped out 150 Tory MPs.

The new Conservative leader had come out of nowhere, sweeping aside the Bravermans and Mordaunts with his telegenic looks and a set of policies that would have gotten one expelled from the party 15 years previously. He was Marmite from the word go, his posh diction carrying positions once unacceptable in polite company. Almost immediate a third of the country adored him, and a third hated him with a passion. Jude Law with Nigel Farage’s beliefs.

He moved quickly, bringing not just one but two former PMs back into the cabinet, as Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary specifically. He also immediately announced the UK’s withdrawal from the Treaty of Dublin which had been the cornerstone of the Starmer administration re-engagement with Europe. Rejoining the customs union in all but name, and quietly rejoining many EU programmes was now, once again, suspended with the stroke of a pen. “They need us more than we need them, etc, etc”.

There was no doddering around. A stack of ready to go bills were on the order paper in days.

The Deep State Expulsion Act allowed ministers to appoint their own Permanent Secretaries from outside the civil service.

The Fairness in Broadcasting Act guaranteed freedom of speech to all broadcasters within libel constraints, and abolished OFCOM. It also permitted paid political advertising on all forms of broadcasting. All restrictions on political donations were abolished, and all taxpayer funding of political parties and campaigning organisations was scrapped.

A judicial reform bill allowed for the appointment by the Home Secretary of hundreds of new judges “more in tune with modern thinking” and a very generous but time-limited retirement package was offered to existing judges. Many took it up.

A bill to hold a referendum on the restoration of the death penalty was rushed through, as was a Parliament Act to remove the ability of the House of Lords to do anything but hiss at legislation passed by the Commons. Owen Jones MP, the new Green MP for Bristol, was quick to point out that the upper house was now simply a members club for big party donors that just happened to be attached to parliament.

The new PM announced that all local and regional elections would be held on a single “Mid-Term” election day and that all forms of proportional representation would be scrapped. When this was pointed out that it would lead to a massive SNP landslide in Scotland, he shrugged.

But the most controversial bill was the NHS Reform Act which moved every single NHS trust and asset into a public company, the shares of which were then shared out to every adult in the country.

Over a million people marched against the bill, and polls showed 70% of voters were against the proposal, but the prime minister was adamant. He was not “privatising” the NHS. Yes, the shares would be listed on the London Stock Exchange, but they’d only be available to trade if the ordinary British citizens who now held the share certificates chose to sell them. He had made it a a truly public-owned health service. “I shall be keeping my shares. But if ordinary Brits choose to sell theirs, it’s them privatising the NHS, not me.”

As soon as members of the public used the handy phone app to offer their shares for sale, there was a stampede, and by close of business on the first day 80% of the shares had been sold. The protests started to peter out.

Keir Starmer the former prime minister, who had specifically blocked any electoral reform that would required a British government to win the support of at least 50% of the electorate, was physically attacked so many times that he had to withdraw from public appearances. The new PM offered publicly to give Sir Keir bodyguards to protect him from “his former supporters”.

The Mid-Term elections were dominated by the Death Penalty referendum which saw a huge Brexit-style increase in turnout in traditional low-vote areas, and boosted the Conservative vote share to 40% and a landslide win against the splintered opposition’s 60% share of the vote. The referendum passed 52%- 48%.

The new PM, along with his blonde principle-flexible foreign minister then surprised everyone by flying to Moscow to meet the elderly Russian tyrant, and announced that it was time for Europe to reintegrate the Russia of the Bolshoi, Tolstoy and traditional Christian values back into the continent, and that the now low intensity war in Ukraine be brought to a negotiated end.

The prime minister told Steve Bannon’s Patriot News Network in an exclusive interview that he would be withdrawing the UK from the Treaty of Warsaw negotiated by Starmer which had created an Anglo-Polish led defence alliance in Eastern Europe, and confirmed that it was his belief that the maintaining of UK forces near the Russian frontier did little to “contribute to trust” and that he’d be withdrawing them.

“Pouring more weapons into this conflict is not the way to go,” the new foreign secretary said without a glimmer of shame.

The Russian dictator smiled on approvingly.

The Jupiter Decision: A political short story about nuclear war in Europe.

FRANCE-POLITICS-DEFENCEThe Airbus A380 started moving as soon as the door was closed, before the cars in the motorcade even had time to get fully clear of the massive thrust of the engines. The pilot, a colonel in the French air force, slammed the engines into full throttle to execute what was called a hard take-off, the plane getting into the air quickly and immediately into a sharp incline to gain as much height as possible. A number of Elysee officials who had been busy securing the president of the French Republic before getting back to their seats were knocked off their feet by the angle, both being grabbed by burly bodyguards and pulled into seats as the plane reached its cruising height.

The military cabin crew, briefed as to the situation, had immediately lowered all the blinds on the windows, so that the passengers on-board could not see the military airbase and Paris speed away into the distance.

It actually meant they would not be blinded by the detonation of a nuclear warhead over the French capital as was one possibility they were expecting at this very moment. Nor could they see the four heavily fuelled and armed Rafale fighters escorting the plane on its pre-planned flight plan, designed to avoid major urban areas and military targets (for spotting purposes and also because they were likely nuclear targets) and take the plane out over the Atlantic.

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GUN LOBBY SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND RIGHT TO CARRY WEAPONS ON AIRCRAFT.

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.

Montana last US state to ban non-driverless cars.

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.

What if…a nuclear attack on Israel?

nuke

Repost: originally written in 2015.

The weapon, later identified as a 10 mega-ton former Soviet warhead, detonated just as the new Knesset began proceedings. In a flash, Israel’s administrative capital, political leadership and just under three quarters of a million Israelis died, along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank.

The news was greeted in different ways. In the US, the president was rushed to the emergency national airborne command post, whilst the vice president and others were sent to the alternate national command centre in Mount Weather. US forces were ordered to def con 2.

In Cairo, Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh, spontaneous crowds gathered in grotesque displays of euphoria.

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What if…terrorists targeted the mega wealthy?

The assassination of The Richest Man In The World™ (TRM) was the biggest story in the world. The clip of a bullet passing through his skull, caught on a bystander’s phone as he exited a building in San Francisco, instantly became one of the defining images of the 21st century. He was dead before he hit the ground. Interestingly, it was not even to be the most startling event of the day.

That came exactly two hours later, when a handsome AI generated man in a video took credit for the murder. He informed the rapidly increasing number of viewers that an email containing information about the murder had been sent directly to the FBI and would confirm his claim to be the voice of the assassins.

He then introduced himself as George, after “another great revolutionary” and said that he spoke for The 99, an organization dedicated to addressing the wealth imbalance between the mega wealthy and everyone else. He stressed that he was neither on the far right or far left, and that this was not an ideological matter. This was a simple matter of wealth transfer. The murder of TRM, he said, was a statement of intent, a proof of concept as to their seriousness. But no one else need die.

He then published a list of the world’s 200 richest individuals, and offered a deal. If they transferred 10% of their wealth to a stated list of popular banks and micro finance charities across the world, and ordered that the money be distributed equally among every account holder with less than $1000 in their account, they would be safe for one year. As would their families.

George finished by saying that they would act again soon if the individuals did not respond within 72 hours.

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Supposing Bertie HAD done the right thing… (Repost from 2012)

Image result for bertie ahern 2012

June 2007.

COWEN, BLAMING AHERN, CONCEDES DEFEAT AS KENNY OPENS NEGOTIATIONS WITH RABBITTE.

The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, has conceded defeat after tallymen said that FF senator Cyprian Brady would narrowly fail to be elected to the last seat in Dublin Central. This result confirmed that Fianna Fail’s loss of five seats in the general election meant that it was now impossible for the party to attempt to cobble together a majority with the remaining PDs and independents.

Cowen launched a blistering attack on his predecessor, Bertie Ahern TD,  for his decision, following the 2002 general election, to restrict mortgage lending and tax breaks. He identified Ahern’s attempts to dampen down the property market as the key reason for Fianna Fail’s defeat in the general election. The decision to restrict lending was very badly received by first time buyers, who accused the government of treating them like children and not letting them borrow as much as they wished.

Ahern’s January 2003 RTE Prime Time interview, where he suggested that the banks and mortgage holders were piling debts upon themselves based on massively overvalued assets caused the Taoiseach to be savaged by the media, who attacked him (and not just in their weighty property supplements) of being alarmist and talking down the market. Ahern’s refusal to back down led to a gradual slow down and modest dip  in property values, and following heated rows in heated tents in Galway with party supporters, finance minister Charlie McCreevy announced his resignation, accusing Ahern of lacking courage.

The policy led to a substantial drop in employment in the construction industry, with unemployment leaping from 3.1% to 5.1%, and demands for the Taoiseach’s resignation by some FF backbenchers. Fianna Fail suffered heavy losses in middle class areas in the 2004 local and European elections, with Fine Gael trouncing FF with a clear call to reverse Ahern’s restrictions. Polls showed clearly that Ahern’s interference in the property market was deeply unpopular with middle class and aspiring middle class voters,  and in June 2006, following a sustained campaign in the media, Charlie McCreevey announced that he was challenging Bertie Ahern for the party leadership. Although he defeated Ahern in the vote, McCreevy was beaten in the subsequent leadership election by Brian Cowen, his successor as finance minister, who pointed out that he believed in the “traditional idea that the leader of Fianna Failer should be, you know, a member of Fianna Fail.” The new cabinet announced it was reversing Ahern’s restricting on lending and restoring the tax breaks to the building industry.

The incoming Fine Gael/Labour coalition has said that it does not believe the fact that the country is building over 80,000 housing units when Sweden, with double the population, is only building 12,000, to be a cause for concern.

In other news, the family of Capt. Edward Smith, the “mad” captain of the RMS Titanic who rammed an iceberg in 1912 and caused over a £100,000 worth of damage to his own ship, have petitioned the British Government to clear the captain’s name. Smith, who died disgraced in 1950, always maintained that if he attempted to turn the ship away from the iceberg it could have been badly damaged along its hull in such a way as to sink the ship, a theory that modern engineers have recently begun to suggest has merit. For years, the phrase “To Smith Oneself” was a derogatory naval slogan to describe a foolish action taken by a person who claimed that they were attempting to avoid a greater catastrophe.

The former luxury liner continues to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in London, where it is moored.

What if…Ireland elected a Right-Wing Government?

The exit poll for the 2029 general election caused gasps in the studio. Recent polls had shown that the outgoing Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail coalition was struggling but still competitive. The New Democrats, led by former FG TD for Dublin Rathdown, Eve Hennessy,  were doing better than expected. The polls had given the new party a consistent support level in the late-thirties, with her former party struggling to keep about 10%. But as the first boxes opened on the Saturday morning, there was much talk of what was termed “shy Tory syndrome”, where voters are embarrassed to admit to voting for certain (usually right wing) parties, but acting accordingly in the privacy of the polling booth.

Hennessy had been mocked when she had been elected in the disastrous (for FG) election of 2025 which had seen SF come to power. From a wealthy south Dublin family, Hennessy had proceeded to become one of the wealthiest people in the country when she founded the Banshee Group which manufactured both civilian and military drones. She had rapidly become disheartened with FG in opposition, and the prevailing belief that some sort of natural electoral pendulum would restore the party to power eventually. Watching SF in power, she simply did not accept that, and speaking in a debate in UCD (in what the media would call The Belfield Platform) she took no prisoners and outlined a broadly right wing view of how Ireland should proceed.

“…It is time to be blunt about it. The people who get out of bed to go to work, who do overtime, who save money to get a nicer car, or bring their kids to Disneyland, are national heroes. They, through their taxes, carry the country, fund the welfare system and should not have to apologize for wanting to keep some of their own money. It is their money.”

“…it is a liberal value to want to walk the streets without fear of attack, and yes, someone with a string of previous convictions should have those convictions taken into account, and put into prison, and that means that yes, we build more prisons. And if judges can’t understand society’s need for violent offenders to be jailed, then let’s get new judges. They are, after all, just public sector employees.”

“..I believe in the welfare system. I am a European, and I believe in the social safety net. What I don’t believe in is the “social leaba”, that those capable of working simply choose not to and put the lámh out. Let me give you something to ponder: what would happen if we restricted the dole, in a time of labour shortage, to 18 months? What would be the effect?” Continue reading

Pressure Point: A Romney/Obama Adventure. (repost from 2012)

Obama, Romney battle over economic visionsRepost from 2012: The following post is an idea for a short story I had about Governor Romney and President Obama being locked in a room together. It’s a very long post. You have been warned!

The governor waved once more to the crowd in the Lynn University auditorium, and walked off the stage, Ann’s hand held firmly in his. In the wings, his campaign manager beamed his reaction to the governor’s performance in the final presidential debate with an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

“Governor, that was marvellous!” he said, with a wide grin. The governor raised an eyebrow. It had been the theme inside the campaign, his alleged 1950s style stiffness becoming a source of light ribbing from his campaign team. He actually found it  quite funny, especially as his sons were very much the ringleaders.

The debate had been the hardest of the three, with the president holding his own and the governor having to tread very carefully, especially on Iran. His pollsters had been very clear: Defend Israel Yes, lead America into another Republican war, a big fat No. He felt he had kept the balance.

His sons were giving him firm handshakes and slapping his back when he noticed the head of his Secret Service detail speaking to another man he didn’t recognise. The agent walked over.

“Governor, the president has asked that you join him. A traditional matter, I’m told.”

The governor stiffened. It was not commonly known, and he had certainly not known until he had been informed on winning his party’s nomination, that a communications line between the sitting president and his likely opponent was agreed early in the campaign. If the candidate was informed of the phrase “a traditional matter” it meant that there was a national security issue he needed to be briefed on, off the record and not for campaign exploitation. It was a matter of pride to all in the know that the system had never been abused since it was set up by President Ford in the 1970s. Continue reading