Thursday, October 22

Parliament Uproar at BBC Invitation

London, 22nd October 2034 -- Backbenchers stormed out of the Houses of Parliament this morning in protest at the BBC's refusal to retract its invitation to the Labour Party to tonight's internet debate, People's Questions.

In a show of unity, the leaders of the two main parties reminded backbenchers that as a legally recognised party, Labour should enjoy the same rights of access to the media coverage. Prime Minister Mary Southerland told her BNP backbenchers that until as recently as 24 years ago, Labour were the majority government, while Philip Thompson urged Conservative members to show restraint, pointing out that only last year, Labour had won two seats in the global Union of Nations chamber elections. The Liberal Democrats, ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls for the first time in 17 years, were the only major party whose backbenchers were solidly supportive of the BBC decision to invite Labour to the intercast.

Meanwhile, Euro-Rep David Miliband hit out angrily at those who were calling for the Labour Party to be banned, warning that Britain could soon find itself expelled from the Union of Nations altogether. There was already considerable disquiet, he said, at both European and global levels, over the reduced voting power awarded to non-native ethnic groups. Europeans were particularly incensed, he claimed, at the proposal that the voting power for European immigrants, already set such that each of their votes counts as half of a vote, should now be downgraded to the level of the ethnic-Asian vote, currently standing at a quarter of a vote. The Labour party, he said, was pressing for equal votes for all citizens, regardless of race.

Mr David Dimbleby, who until 2014 chaired the TV equivalent of the BBC debating programme, then called "Question Time", has expressed support for the BBC position, pointing out that 25 years ago, the exact same situation had arisen, but with the shoe on the other foot, with controversy over the BNP being invited to a debate.

It makes one think: where would the BNP be now, if, a quarter of a century ago, the BBC hadn't stood firm on its issue of principle?

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Monday, October 12

Last Scout Camp in the World

Helsinki, 12th October 2034 - More than 125 years of camping history comes to an end today, as the final whistle is blown at the world's last Scout Camp, on the main island of the Ã…lands, half way between mainland Finland and Sweden.

The scouts at Camp Pooki found themselves joined by a mob of hundreds, many of them ex-scouts, who turned up to witness the last camp in the world. John Smithson, from Newcastle in the UK, was at 87 one of the oldest and most vocal demonstrators. He expressed the views of those around him, striking out angrily at the destruction caused by the modern world's nanny culture. It has, he said, stopped youngsters using knives, sleeping under canvas, touching cooking equipment, or ever being out of the sightline of at least two adults. When you add to that the European ban on camp- and bon- fires, the risk assessments to be carried out prior to each camp, the invasive clearance processes that all adults have to undergo before they can assist at such camps, plus the massive insurance coverage that has to be arranged, it is not surprising that the Scout Movement has decided to pull the plug on camps.

It is 25 years to the day since Britain started enforcing the requirement that anyone, even parents, who help out at organised events, would have to undergo a criminal records bureau check. Volunteer numbers immediately fell, young people's sports and outside activity events were called off, and childhood obesity increased. Various countries followed this lead, with the whole of Europe signing up in late 2029, when, shortly after UK-born Blair took office as President, the enhanced Vetting and Barring scheme was instituted across the Union of European States. It is expected to be made global, across the Union of Nations, by the end of this decade.

Baden-Powell would be horrified.

What do you think? Click on COMMENTS below.

Sunday, October 11

Indian Scientists Find Oil on Moon

Delhi, 11th October 2034 - Samples taken by the Indian Space Tourism Corporation from the moon last week have been found to contain traces of oil, according to scientists in Delhi. The pieces of rock were lifted from the Southland sector of the moon, approximately 30 miles west of the site where ISTC's Moon-01 Hotel is to be constructed. Traces of metal were also found.

A profile analysis of the oil has revealed that it is very similar to the kind found in interplanetary rocket fuel, according to the ISTC. The potential is now being explored for a more comprehensive oil exploration survey to be carried out in the Indian sector, similar to the 5-year survey currently underway in the Sino-Russian sector, 1500 miles to the north.

Suggestions that the oil-find could be linked to the rocket attack on the planet, carried out by the Americans a quarter of a century ago, have been dismissed as 'absurdly unlikely'.

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Friday, October 9

US President Angered at Nobel Snub

Washington, 9th October 2034 President Sho Hun Li hit out angrily at the Nobel Peace Prize committee following the announcement that regular citizen, scientist James Ngomba of the Northern Africa Federation would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

This breaks a tradition that goes back to the days of Obama, a quarter of a century ago, of granting newly elected Presidents the award in their first year of presidency. The Director of the 5-member Norwegian Nobel Committee was unapologetic. He explained that the reason for the committee's choice was to return to the broader selection procedures that were used back in the twentieth century. In those days, he said, the Peace Prize would be awarded on the basis of practical achievements completed, rather than on strength of vision, and he rejected the idea that a newly installed US President should receive the Prize as a matter of course.

Insiders at the White House have said that the Norwegian ambassador is to be called to give an explanation for what has been described 'a gross international snub'.

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Waiting for the next silly decision

Whenever a policy is announced that is likely to have long-term negative, and unintended consequences, I'll bring out my crystal ball and offer you a 'news story', as it might be written a quarter century later. A bit of lateral thought like this, and we shall see potential downside of what may at first sight seem to be the right decision.

You know the kind of thing: force motorcyclists to wear helmets, and they go faster; offer allowances to cohabiting unmarried couples, and fewer people get married; make age discrimination illegal, and children can learn to drive.

So I'm on standby, waiting for the next silly announcement...