What in truth lies ahead

In association with Sony, The Guardian newspaper has launched a short story competition. Not much new about that, you're thinking, but this one is different. Very challenging. They ask you to write a story of not more than 3000 words set in year 2025. The story will be judged as a fictional story i.e. with a beginning, a middle and an ending and peopled with characters who really resonate with the reader. As in all good stories, you have to care about them. But the story must indicate, alsost as an incidental, how life will really be 13 years hence. Of course in the opinion of the writer, but we all are futurists if you think about it. Who is there who hasn't got a view about what lies ahead - especially if they have children / grandchildren?

I may or may not enter but as a pre-exercise I wrote down some thoughts about the shape of a future UK society. Not sure if all of the following will happen in as short a timescale as the next 13 years. Of course, I cannot be sure of anything that hasn't already happened. As someone pointed out, even the sun one day will not rise....

  1. Local community on the road to self-sufficiency. Stock dealing, commodities dealing, newspaper writing, art works and photography, all work that can be done from home and incidental tourism provide the income.
  2. Own build own run community school with long range advanced tutorials, own build cottage hospital with long range diagnostics, total waste re-cycling and out-sale, local shop targeting 50% locally made / grown general stores. Mobile shop offers house to house fresh produce (meat, fish, fruit and veg). Mobile cinema. Own build own run village bank (local tokens only - see 11)
  3.  Own area energy supply generated publically (hydro and wind and tidal) and privately (all new houses have rooftop wind turbines and solar panels).
  4. All houses except those for the elderly have to produce an allocation of foodstuffs via livestock and/or cultivation.
  5. Council rotates monthly. All are called for duty. Local issues raised on-screen anonymously  including this month’s chairperson decided by anonymous electronic vote in the hall.
  6. Westminster has closed its doors after the riots and major damage. New constitution for England (only) based in Manchester with one representative per county. (60 counties in the list up to 1961). Similar for Wales. Similar for independent Scotland.
  7. Party system discarded with the new constitution. National issues including election of no-party-less individual representatives voted en bloc by majority vote of the village council - like union vote for some party leadership today.
  8. Few can afford to operate private motorcars. Most are in store. Motorised bicycles and all-weather clothing are the norm.  Public minibus on 12 hour local circuit and long-range bus on constant shuttle, paid for and running cost paid by the community. Ascertain availability by continuous on-line position and heading. International air transport for the very wealthy only.
  9. International radio and TV on free offer, only e-newspapers, (no newspapers) and a thriving used paper books exchange in the village hall topped up by exchange with other similar communities.
  10. Payment locally by cash or local work-token. Payment to outside by barter or e-cash.
In other words the small, largely self-run village has re-emerged as the way to go. That's what I think, anyway.

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