I’m down at the new PBC (Peoples Broadcasting Centre) to cover the Plaid Cymru leader becoming newly appointed chair of the Council of the Isles.
It’s been nine years since the fire at Notre Dame and eight years since the Zuckenberg Trial. Looking back it all seemed to happen so fast. Brexit is hardly remembered by young people nowadays after what happened in Chicago in 2020 but what seemed to really kick it all off was when the Hong Kong protests spread to mainland China.
The protests had started around deportation and police brutality but quickly shifted to being more about facial recognition and surveillance technology. When this spread to the mainland the Chinese regime toppled after only three months as hacked internet access spread across the continent. But this new ‘Truthers’ movement had none of the zeal of western ‘liberation’ about it but a new hybrid global consciousness quickly making links with the dark-data movement in Europe and America.
After Facebook was broken up and taken into GCO (Global Commons Ownership) and Mark Zuckenberg was arrested the new information technology looked very different and the rapid changes happened simultaneously across the globe. When profitable disinformation ceased in the west and the Chinese people formed the world’s first democratic confederation, the changes that flowed from this had deep impact. Protests around police violence, surveillance technology and democracy quickly morphed and accelerated and when Renren and Weibo supplanted Twitter as more democratic forums and Instagram and Google was handed over to be run from Chiapas, the transformation that had started with taking Facebook into public ownership was complete.
In hindsight seizing the means of production of information was only one half of the equation. When access to indium and yttrium became impossible in the early 2020s new social configurations started emerging. Chancellor Mason in the first Lucas-Sturgeon government had ordered all former bank buildings to be handed over to the digital community groups that quickly emerged to create public spaces for learning. Information became freely available but also socialised and rationed. This had the effect that the torrent of information could be trusted but it could also be absorbed without isolation.
The bank takeover wasn’t the only physical change to British cities. After the three-day week had been introduced the government and the Church of England had taken up the initiative to disband and become centres of health and wellbeing. Churches, chapels, mosques and synagogues effectively merged into a free yoga network and abandoned doctrinal religion in the face of the climate crisis and the new economic system. At first competition between Hatha, Bikram, and Astanga approaches had threatened to replace the religious conflicts but differences were resolved by an intervention by the Quaker Mediation Unit.
None of this seemed possible when Trump was assassinated in Chicago and the emergency Mike Pompeo administration quickly run into trouble.
The attempt to resist an election and enforce martial law had led to widespread social disorder and rioting that could only be quelled by a combination of the National Guard and the people’s militia after it was discovered that the police force had been so contaminated by racism and the far-right it had to be disbanded.
The Pete Buttigieg v Mike Pompeo election campaign of 2021 was a watershed for America and would result in the first openly gay US president.
Buttigieg’s use of Dari would prove pivotal in resolving the Afghan crisis with his own personal intervention, whilst Vice President Elizabeth Warren and Secretary of Health Bernie Sanders initiated widespread social reforms as Buttigieg conducted his world tour of reconciliation and reconnection.
If the US has changed in the last decade or so, so too has the UK.
Soon after Priti Patel became the first Home Secretary to go to prison after the Johnson Trials exposed corruption in the deals which led to the 2020 Food Collapse, the Lucas-Sturgeon leadership of the New Party agreed a Section 30 Order with First Minister Riddoch. The newly established Scottish Republic had worked closely with its neighbours after the death of the Queen.
The cessation of global car production and air travel in 2021 had a dramatic impact on trade but a boom for Scottish whisky exports from the newly expanded ports of Leith, Dundee and Stranraer. The re-birth of sail led to a resurgence in traditional boat-building and the new shipyards were an unexpected release of innovation and training for the Scottish economy.
Other changes were even more unexpected. When global sports events were converted to gaming avatars rather than live events, Scotland unexpectedly won the first digital World Cup celebrated by the Tartan Army.
The end of car production and the new yoga networks had a dramatic impact on people’s mental and physical health in Scotland, as did the initiation of the urban agriculture ‘Organopónicos’ programme by the Permaculture Council. Food production was concentrated in the cities and surrounding areas as large swathes of what was formerly known as ‘Grouselands’ were now given over to extensive re-wilding and reforestation.
Language was now diverse and, despite some jokes about English road signs the Scots-Gaelic revival was accelerating beyond the earliest targets.
Rule from Westminster seems an other-worldly dystopia from the ancient past.