How long does it take for a twisted wrist to recover? It's had two days and my patience has expired. Just have to administer more single malt sedative and keep going. Beware of typos. I'm prone to missing keys at the moment.
Anyhow, with the pseudonymous ghost book in the bag, I'm back to the dystopia. In it, there are no political parties. The government is the Coalition which long ago absorbed all individual parties. This was sold to the drones as a fairer form of government in which all parties have a say. What they didn't mention was that there is nobody in opposition any more. No debates, so no need to televise or even report on Parliament at all.
There are elections. The Coalition choose the candidates and the people vote for the one they want, but it doesn't matter because the 'nobody loses' children are all grown up now so all the candidates get in anyway.
There are no party members in the general population. Orwell's 1984 had government, party members and proles. All I have is government and proles. No need for general party members since all candidates get in so there's no point canvassing, and the Coalition funds itself from taxes (an idea kindly provided by a chap called Clegg) so has no need for membership fees. This means they don't need the unions either so those are gone.
I thought this was outlandish enough to keep me far enough ahead of real life for a change. Then I took a look at Fausty's place and thought some very bad words. I'm going to have to write faster even if I have to do it with a stick taped to my nose.
Well, I still have the homes. All homes are owned by the Coalition and they, or rather the locally unelected council, decide which one you get to live in. I had to come up with a way for the Government to own all private property. They couldn't just steal it, there would be riots, and no way would anyone ever believe they bought it.
It was easy in the end. Banks foreclose on properties all the time. They lend you money knowing full well you'll never be able to keep up repayments and then they get the house, plus they keep everything you've paid towards it so far. All I had to do was have the Coalition lend 100% mortgages to suckers and then foreclose on them. It might take a couple of generations but eventually the Government owns every house. Well, except those owned by the rich but by this stage only the Government and a few of the big industrialists are rich.
That surely has to be in the realms of fantasy. So imagine my dismay when I visited Dioclese.
I was thinking of naming this 2084 as a homage to Orwell but that's much too far away. I think all books will be banned long before then. There are no paper books, magazines or newspapers in the story, by the way. All abolished to save the planet. You get everything on an iBook-like pad and if Winston Smith's equivalent edits something, all copies change at once. There is no option to print anything out, there are no printers and possession of paper is a criminal offence.
I have the precursor on my desk. It's called a Kindle and it is perfectly capable of updating itself even if I'm not using it.
There has to be a way for the rebellious youth to let off steam without threatening the system at all. There is always rape, murder, sadistic torture and theft, and they are allowed to do all that as long as they don't do it to anyone connected to the Government. That part is pretty much here anyway. That just leaves organised protest from the inevitable malcontents and freedom subversives.
They can protest with a licence (already here) and the Government will print approved placards and have copywriters produce non-offensive slogans for them for a fee. The Government permits dissent and is willing to assist the people in getting their voice heard, all they have to do is abide by the guidelines.
Would that ever happen? Would people be daft enough to pay those they protest against to supply them with their materials?
Yes. Yes they would. (Kudos for that post title, by the way.)
As titles go, the original 'Ghosthunters' was pointed out by several people as being misleading. It's true, especially as I write ghostly things too. '2084' was a pretty idea but not practical. I have some other ideas but a decision on titles can wait until the thing's finished.
If I'm going to put a time reference in the title, I'm thinking along the lines of 'The middle of next week'.
Maybe, by the time it's done, 'The middle of last week'.
Hell, I might as well call it 'Here is the news'.