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January 14, 2010updated 29 Jan 2016 11:33am

Post Apocalyptic

By Alessandro Tome

A prolonged Royal Mail strike could actually put the smiles back on our faces, says a hopeful Alessandro Tomé
WITH ALL THE doom and gloom around, I felt we were due for some good news. But looking around, good news stories were harder to find than bad ones. For one, this moronic, inept and morally corrupt government still has the opportunity to further the social and economic decay they have wrought on the fabric of English society. Not that they really care, as they are unelected Scottish officials in the main.

And as befits people not trained to rule and unfamiliar with its corrupting influence, allowed to brush with it too long, they have gorged on an orgy of power and cronyism and need to be expunged. But as with all rulers in their death throes, expect them to go down in blazing, if costly to you, glory. This is where military coups or revolutions came in so handy.

For two, ConAir is still allowed to fly, hustling passengers by extracting money under unclear pretences, discriminating against people without access to a computer or the internet, penalising those who like to travel with a change of clothes and a wash bag, and abusing them if they complain. At least here there is no attempt at democracy; it is dictatorial abuse in full flow.

For three, Christmas is fast approaching with all its attendant marketing and merchandising hoopla. So still no good news to be found. Obviously, in the current conditions, I am not going for ‘good’ in an absolute sense, more in a relative sense. What one may term ‘good’ now may have been ‘bad’ in other times. A bit like some decisions made by the banks… in reverse.

Although here I do find some of the animosity is misdirected. Let’s remember that banks by definition have only ever existed to make money out of our money. So, unlike ConAir, at least there is no subterfuge to their intent. It is just that, as with the airlines, the people paid to look over them and ensure that they did not exceed or abuse their position were badly paid and pretty useless on the one side, and the ones elected to do so mostly clueless.

With the result that the smart guys at the banks ran circles around them. So with a typical Communist-inspired approach, the political answer in this country is that the banks should now only afford to keep poorly paid and therefore pretty useless and clueless people as well. In this way, the theory goes, their people are as bad as ours so we can keep a better eye on them. Lowest common denominator, as for television programmes, schooling, and, dare I say it, Jedward.

so back to the search for ‘good’ news. And here it was: the Royal Mail strike. I really felt this was very good news in the run-up to Christmas, on many fronts. So when it was called off (I am writing this in early November, so who knows, perhaps it is back on), I was somewhat dejected and considered various plots to derail the negotiations, for I had started to consider the possible ramifications of a Christmas with no post, and it had some intriguing, potentially positive consequences, even economically. Imagine this if you would.

Greatest joy of joy for me, of course, would be that there would only be very few Christmas cards. The only ones would be from people who really wanted to make the effort to hand-deliver them. Now those are cards that would really be worth receiving, because those wishes would really be meant. All the splashy-flashy, stamped-signature ones would go by the wayside, undoubtedly replaced by email-based alternatives.

Double ‘good’ news there, as this would help the environment and any junk filter worthy of its name would save you from seeing most of them. Bad news for the printers there, but good news for web designers and the like, so overall neutral from an economic point of view.

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We also wouldn’t get any of the bad news the post often bears, such as credit card bills and the like. Able to stay in denial about our financial condition, this would elevate our mood, which is badly needed for the good of the economy. Feeling better, we would be more enticed to spend over the festive season.

But we need to spend at home rather than abroad. So here radical government action is required. Firstly, force all airlines not already on strike to actually go on strike. (Except ConAir, of course, as it’s not worth keeping here the people who still want to fly with them.) The second idea is inspired by a small bottle that sprays mineral water salted using sea salt from Formentera, for use on salads.

The government would send to everyone who was planning a now-cancelled trip a salt-water spray (from the Channel will do), so that they can spray it on themselves several times a day, particularly at night and therefore once in the dark, giving them the illusion, feel and taste of being on holiday in the sun by the sea.

NOW IN A better mood (helped by the illusion of seaside sex) and with spare cash from the non-trip, we would be left frustrated by being unable to shop on the now cut-off internet (non-payment due to no bill received) and because we couldn’t get any of those purchases delivered by post. We would all be forced to actually physically make it to the high street to shop for Christmas and unleash this newfound happiness and cash.

We would all be healthier for the fresh air and exercise; no mass inoculation would be needed for swine flu, as we would all be 100 per cent guaranteed to get it; we would spend more under the excitement of a shared shopping frenzy; we would reconnect with other humans face to face rather than webcam to webcam; retailers would report bumper sales; economists would predict a miraculous recovery; banks would lend again; jobs would be created; loans would be repaid; and as the world is all perceptions and relativity rather than fact and reality, all was well that ended well.

And all this if only we could stop the post for three months and put things on pause for a little while… 

Illustration by Jeremy Leasor

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