Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Prognostic Exercise

Chris Martin, of Coldplay fame, caught my attention last Friday in a conversation with Graham Norton with the phrase 'whelmed', i.e. what you are if you're not over or under. I felt that way then and I think it will still resonate with me when we reach the present now, almost ten months on, because as I've no doubt mentioned elsewhere I write way, way, way in advance, not that it crosses my mind at the time that it might be as prophetic as The Simpsons.
I'm amazingly cool and calm about political and world events and national news: nothing shocks me. Trump triumphed and I'd called that, and before that Brexit, not that in declaring it here you'd have any reason to believe me because there are those who claim these things after the outcome. Shift allegiances or sit on a hedge and wait. Timing is everything.
I wouldn't be surprised if the backlash continued and the Right continued to rise; I wouldn't be surprised if we still hadn't invoked Article 50 but Scotland had held or were about to hold another Referendum, which was again hotly debated; and I wouldn't be surprised if the European Union was shakier in its foundations and Merkel's face had a sterner frown as Germany's abilities to mediate fades and people fall out of love with the tough but soft approach. Globalisation finally had its day.
Perhaps Trump, by now, will have erected a better fence rather than a wall to protect what he calls America's interests. Perhaps for some reason unknown to me he will have been removed from the Presidency, though just possibly he might have become more diplomatic, more Reagen-like and less Bush, except without a Maggie but with a Nigel. And no doubt, he will have got himself into more scrapes, because let's be honest he's not the greatest orator, and I seriously doubt that will have improved, that dramatically. Though more drama, I'm sure, will have been had.
And more, I think, could be under threat: livelihoods, homes, things that seemed permanently established now crumbling, and not because of an unstable economy but because of modernity. This drive to supposedly better ourselves and the world we live in with yet more technology. And with this I include, and more importantly, our freedoms too: how we curtail them, almost willingly, as well as how we want them (and let them be) further policed.
Hello cashless and social media, online-driven society, which, true, we long ago gave a golden handshake to in greeting, but the pressure over the last couple of years has ramped up. There is literally no off switch. Yet, whilst some might revolt against global liberalness, the fading out of how goods are paid for and exchanged, in layman's terms, is noticed but nothing done about. The upgrades to swipe, scan, and tap sweeping through many nations like a particularly virulent flu epidemic, of which there is no cure, or more accurately an incentive to find one because you're supposed to believe (as many do) it's a benefit that outweighs any negatives.
So, scamming will be on the rise, again; banks will continue to have poor online security and variable interest rates; energy companies will do their ofgem bit and tell us to switch though the difference will be minimal but the inconvenience high; and politicians will still be vague or deliberately speak what they know to be untruths.
In some areas we'll still be bombarded by choice; in others, more fundamental ones, choice will be stripped away. Email will be virtually obsolete and citizens will take greater risks and accept less responsibility for their very dubious actions. Everyone will grow more and more careless, regardless of where they are or what they're doing, and news will be issued so fast nobody will know if it's true or fake, or possibly even care.
Oh, I paint an imperfect picture, don't I, of 2017? Not that it really matters as in present time we're over halfway through, and this is just one projected view which is not, in all likelihood, a reliable one. But I've started so I might as well finish, and we're nearly there...
In summary of what will possibly prove a very useless exercise, (hindsight's a wonderful thing!): there will always be those who think we're making progressive or retrogressive leaps, and others who will see it as being thrown to the lions.

Picture credit: On the Threshold of Liberty, 1937, Rene Magritte