The holiday season is well and truly upon us. In fact, according to major retailers, it’s been upon us for about six weeks. It’s a cliché, but it seems to start earlier every year – I suppose they have to do something with the “seasonal” aisle after Bonfire Night. So I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever it is you use to justify (rightly) spoiling your children and loved ones.
Anyway, I’m not here to talk about a family of refugees seeking shelter in a harsh world – I covered that in my Rivers of Blood blog post on immigration a few weeks back. Mainly because I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. I’m not a “bah, humbug” sort; I revel in the pleasure on my kids’ faces as much as the next man, but the idea of peace and goodwill to all men doesn’t fit with my world view. After all, I’m a writer of dystopian fiction.
As such, I watch world events wondering whether I’m writing the wrong kind of books. A positive person might say that it’s a great time to be a dystopian writer because there’s a lot of inspiration to be had, whereas the natural pessimist in me suspects the opposite. For want of a better term, the world is going to shit, and my predictions (the worsening demonisation of benefits claimants and the proliferation of terrorism) have come true in my first two books. To quote Millhouse from The Simpsons (Oliver Stone’s JFK): we are through the looking glass here, people, and I can only hope that some of my more outlandish fears aren’t realised.
Perhaps the most dangerous and immediate threat is that of IS (or ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, The League of Extremist Gentlemen). A murderous death-cult (© David Cameron MP) who are determined to wreck western civilisation and impose their medieval utopia on the rest of the world. Like Revelation, the terrorist faction in SUPERNORMAL, they slaughter innocents for the sake of a flawed ideology. Their motivation is a perversion of a peaceful religion followed by millions of good people worldwide. Our response? Bomb the life out of millions, thereby creating the next generation of radicalised lunatics, a cycle which will continue until someone with brains gets involved.
For this is what we need: leaders possessing the foresight to tackle this problem intelligently with the future in mind, not just the present. Who do we have? Cameron, whose foreign policy is as consistent as a thirteen year old girl’s favourite member of One Direction. Obama – seemingly more concerned with meaningless pop culture cameos than the remainder of his term in charge of the world’s largest democracy.
Who will replace them? Donald Trump? A man who makes our own Bigotmaster-General, Nigel Farage — who I covered in a previous blog — look like John Lennon. If not them, it would only be the usual money-hungry sharks with more vested-interests than scruples. The sort who masterminded the current shambles in the Middle East and will doubtless continue to dirty their hands in the future, regardless of the impact on victims in Baghdad, Paris and elsewhere.
Do we look to the rest of the world? We are friendly with some of the worst human rights abusers in the Arab world. The most meme-friendly psychopath on Earth is in charge of Russia and its military might, and his sabre grows more rattlesome with every passing month. Right-wing politics grows in popularity across Europe. Africa is as impoverished as ever. And we still have a cartoon nutjob to worry about in North Korea, with his chubby little forefinger hovering over the nuke button.
Just in case a global nuclear apocalypse doesn’t kill us, Mother Nature is ready to take revenge for the last two hundred years of industrialisation. It was 16°C in Manchester yesterday! (Didn’t stop the wife putting the fire and heating on, mind.) And what do we do? Charge 5p for a carrier bag while we consider fracking and building new runways, and China chokes us all to death.
If that weren’t enough, my beloved Manchester United are a mess. A trifling problem when compared with those already mentioned, but one which is in keeping with the general decline of the world as a whole. A once-great empire, bereft of leadership and beleaguered from all sides, is slipping into obscurity and chaos. The barbarians are at the gate; Rome is ripe for sacking. Like Nero, we play the fiddle, watching X Factor, idolising imbeciles and taking selfies as society crumbles. Sure, we’ve been through darker days, but are we as strong and united as were in the past?
Just in case you were thinking I’m completely devoid of festive cheer, I am looking forward to Christmas. A few days off work and time with my lovely wife and children, turkey with all the trimmings, the usual rubbish on TV.
Season’s Greetings to one and all!
If you share my world view, or even if you don’t, consider buying my books; they’d make great Christmas gifts. Despite what I’ve just said above. Also, subscribe to my newsletter here.