How lucky we are: good old Britannia United, a premiership club with a trophy cabinet of which to be proud, evidence of centuries of economic, cultural and political pedigree.
What must it be like for other less fortunate nations? Instead of democracy of and for the people, self-serving leaders propped up by sycophants. Perhaps even an unelected, unremovable head of State. A so-called electoral system leaving most voters completely unrepresented and/or discouraged from voting at all. Instead of a focus on the needs of citizens, power exercised to enrich the powerful. Tax revenues grudgingly trickled out to the people, but generously creamed off to grow the assets of the wealthy. A growing population struggling without sufficient income and in homes they cannot afford; and dwindling public services.
Crony contractors with no experience would carry out whimsical ad hoc projects instead of a professional civil and foreign service keeping the nation’s wheels in motion. Without diplomatic expertise, trade negotiations might lead to more imports than exports, to the detriment of manufacturing, farming, and fishing. Climate science ignored in order to prefer investments with more rapid returns from damaging fossil-based energy sources. Departure from standards of all kinds would inevitably isolate the country from international law and alliances, rendering it a commercial pariah. In such isolation, exceptionalism, jingoism and intolerance of “others” would surely grow.
Unlike even undeveloped societies, respect and care for elderly citizens or those unable to fend for themselves would be victims in such a plutocracy. Lacking the state provision of more civilised democracies, workers would have to find their own means to fund healthcare, education or transport. The most disadvantaged, with disabilities or learning difficulties, retired, homeless or workless, now regarded as lesser beings, would be forced to seek work, regardless of their incapacities and expected to live on insufficient income. Those who might naively seek asylum in such a state, even if allowed to set foot on its soil, would not be afforded even this means to contribute to society.
With all public expenditure seen by those in power as eroding potential private wealth, the country’s infrastructure crumbles: hospitals and schools become unsafe; rivers and sea-water are foul; road and rail transport become less and less reliable; wages are cut, making retention and recruitment unsustainable and services non-existent for anyone who cannot pay. Children grow up without dental care, leading to chronic future sickness. Mental health services go severely underfunded. Libraries, nurseries, swimming pools and gyms are replaced in communities by food banks for the proliferating hungry.
A cautionary tale
To see this decline befall another country could engender pity, sorrow, self-congratulation, schadenfreude. You would think “this could never happen in a country with our history” until you saw, too late, that it had. For this is indeed our reality, not some dystopian novel or mischievous satire. This catalogue of misfortune for this country’s citizenry is not a piecemeal series of accidents but a connected consequence of how governing has been allowed to fall into the wrong hands. The weaknesses of our unwritten constitution coupled with the confluence of ruthless international wealth with libertarian puppets has allowed norms established over generations to be trashed. Our pedigree and the wellbeing of our people mean nothing in the face of such greed and malignity.
Britannia has indeed become a laughing stock, a shameful cautionary tale of the risks inherent in taking one’s eye off the ball, a lower division club, performing badly. We urgently need new owners [ourselves], a new manager, a decent budget and some better players, to get us back up to the Premier League. Rules must be applied to stop this decadence in its tracks, permanently and to win back self-respect, economic success and decency.
If only we had VAR in Downing Street.