2020 Vision

Nostradamus, that famous clairvoyant from the 16th Century, would have been 517 years old this year had he not died in 1566. Many people laud his powers of prediction and believe he still has relevance today. For example, I discovered that if you take Nostradamus’s birth year of 1503, and divide this by my age (never you mind) you get 25, which is the number of unpaid parking tickets I found in my car this morning. Amazing!

Devotees of Nostradamus will cite that he forecast the French revolution and the rise of Adolph Hitler. Sceptics point out that the statements of Nostradamus were vague and have been fitted to these events after they occurred, something called retroactive clairvoyance. Personally, I think that predicting civil unrest in France and the rise of a nationalistic nutcase isn’t that difficult, and is something that I could easily have done.

In a bold step I’m prepared to prove my skills of clairvoyance by stating my predictions for 2020:

  • Donald Trump will not be impeached in 2020. Instead he’ll cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi whereby the impeachment process is halted in return for his exile to another country.
  • Vladimir Putin, flushed with the success of his Crimean conquest, invades Greenland on a Sunday in April while Denmark is distracted with ‘Dancing Cow Day’ (it exists – look it up). Vladimir had been alerted to Greenland’s mineral wealth and strategic importance by Donald’s interest in buying it in 2019. As a sign of his gratitude Vladamir gifts an isolated rocky outcrop in the far north of Greenland for a Trump Tower. Donald, Melania, Don Junior and a certain New York hairdresser now reside there.
  • In the UK a review of the first referendum finds that a computer glitch underreported the remain vote. The vote was much closer than first thought, a tie in fact, with 16,788,671 votes both to remain and to leave. After much debate in parliament it is agreed that instead of another referendum the result will be decided by the toss of a coin. This will be carried out at Buckingham Palace by the Queen using a specially minted gold coin with a pound on one side and it’s euro equivalent on the other.
  • The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s political life gets more and more difficult as fires rage across parts of the country while other parts drown underwater, adding to his woes is a growing body of evidence that the Barrier Reef is dying. His only respite was looking like a family holiday in the Marshall Islands. Unfortunately on his flight to the islands the resort is flooded due to a combination of spring tides and sea-level rise. The Morrison’s flight is diverted to nearby Manus Island where Scott spent the night in a refugee detention centre.
  • In the 2020 Oscars the early favourite ‘The Irishman’ is defeated on the night by ‘Jo Jo Rabbit’. This New Zealand movie gave the beleaguered Scott Morrison some relief as he was able to claim it as an Australian icon, along with Phar Lap, Pavlova, Russell Crowe, Crowded House and Lorde.
  • In New Zealand the 2019 investigations into electoral fraud by the two centre-right parties are completed, with shady dealings being proven. The centre-left win the 2020 election by a landslide.

There you have it, Cecily’s 2020 vision. Next year, when the future is the present I’ll look at these thoughts again. Whether I’ve been prophetic or not I’ll at least prove Nostradamus correct in one of his assertions, namely, ‘The present time, together with the past, shall be judged by a great jovialist.’ (Nostradamus). Until then have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cartoons

Cecily – The Factual Alternative

Just before the recent US elections I read George Orwell’s 1984 for the first time. At least I think it was for the first time, I might have read it years ago and then been re-educated to reject such thoughtcrime. Stranger things have happened. In fact, stranger things are happening.
The ghost of Orwell’s doublethink came back to haunt us recently when we were told by US White House officials that more people attended the new President’s inauguration than previous ceremonies – despite what photographs or travel statistics showed. The White House staff explained away the discrepancy by saying their claim was an ‘alternative fact’. To accept this type of doublethink all you have to do is to believe two contrary ideas at the same time. Seeing things as black or white is so 1983.
Fake news is another doublethink. Normally used to describe such publications as the ‘Sunday Sport’, with such classics as ‘World War 2 Bomber Found on the Moon’, it has now been applied to the BBC. Of course this is not the first time the BBC has been accused of telling lies, it’s just that it’s normally done by people like Robert Mugabe.
Of course we all play with the truth at times. Occasionally it is not only socially acceptable, but essential that we do. Imagine a friend showing you her new purchase – a very expensive ski suit to take to Japan – that makes her look enormous. She asks your opinion on the purchase. Do you manage to say, with misgivings, that it looks ‘nice’ (a lie), or do you tell the truth, namely that when she’s finished she may be able to find a buyer in a sumo wrestling school? Most of us would lie – I certainly hope my friends would.
However all lies are not created equally. The lie to your friend was for her sake, was inconsequential and didn’t lower trust. Whereas when White House staff issue falsehoods, alternative facts or doublespeak then trust in them and their office is lowered.
Perhaps I need to accept some doublethink myself. Orwell’s themes of nationalism, censorship and surveillance are on the rise, but in the end everything’s going to be great.