2040 – A Scottish dystopia

2040 – A Scottish dystopia

by David Bone
article from Saturday 8, August, 2020

IT’S 6.00 AM, you awake from your sleeping pod, in your communal accommodation, blurry-eyed to the sounds of ‘Scots Wha Hae! playing on the alarm app on your phone. You languidly roll over to press ‘Stop’ on the screen to silence the shrill alarm. It coyly laughs as you touch its warm skin and a ‘love’ emoji appears on the screen with a thistle underneath and then winks at you before fading away into the electronic ether.

A small but diverse selection of clothes hangs up on a hook with the remainder deposited in the drawers of your 'pod'. Specifically, your work clothes are rented rather than owned. You subscribe to the 'Wanderlust' plan, entitling you to '4 clothing items + 3 accessories', which are recommended by the top 'influencers' on social media. This costs S£ 110 a month. You forgot to charge your watch last night, so you’ll just have to leave it today. 

You grab your facemask, 70 per cent alcohol hand sanitizer and your SmartKey to avoid touching any surfaces and door handles and leave your communal accommodation.

Your Scotrail train is late again. When it does turn up, it’s like a giant saltire on wheels. The livery from the outside creeps to the inside of the train. It’s all blue and white. Even the seat coverings have tiny saltires woven into them. You alight at the station and pass all the Scotrail staff dressed in pale ‘Yes’ blue as you flash them your e-ticket. The incongruity of this no longer even registers. It’s been so long. 

You stroll along the street and stumble onto an electric bus. Buses are the main form of transport for the majority of people now as parking is so expensive thanks to the Workplace Parking Levy; anyway, cars are classed as a ‘luxury item’ by the Scottish Government and are only for what they view as the ‘elite’. 

You pass the window of the local council ‘One-stop-shop’, an organisation that used to just manage schools, empty bins and grit ‘B’ roads. Now a decal on the window states that it’s ‘Here For You’. Quite how it’s ‘Here For You’ is never quite clear even though it takes up another quarter of your monthly income for very little in return. 

At lunchtime, you listen to Prime Minister Black’s thrice-weekly Press Conference. These originally started as an emergency measure by her predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon in 2020, during the great Covid-19 Pandemic, but twenty years later they are now an indelible part of Scottish life. Today she mentioned deaths from Covid-21 were at an acceptable level, the next round of food parcels would be distributed to those in need and outlined plans to construct another addiction ‘recovery village’ in outside Irvine. 

Next, the news: The state-owned SBC states that once again Russian bombers are menacingly skirting Scottish airspace. A common occurrence, since the four ageing Eurofighter Typhoons, one destroyer and three offshore patrol craft that Scotland received as part of the split with rUK are grounded or in dry-dock through lack of parts and the majority of funding to repair them has been redirected towards social programmes and support. The ‘Scottish Peacekeeping Force’ is essentially a token regiment, with obsolescent equipment from the British Army, but it is still deployed by the UN to missions in sub-Saharan Africa where their disparity in arms, training and material is not as apparent as it otherwise would be.

The Scottish Government has submitted another application to start the accession process to join the EU. This has been the third attempt since Scotland gained independence in 2028. The deficit has increased since then, but Prime Minister Black is undeterred by this, plus it’s a good ploy to distract from Scotland’s internal issues. 

The reporter then mentions the ‘Minister for Child Nurturing’ will be touring Schools throughout the Central Belt, checking to see if the nurturing quota is being met and that Scotland’s children are being ‘emotionally nourished’. The position of Education Secretary was abolished in 2034 after being considered unnecessary as the primary function of schools was no longer to educate but to foster wellbeing in their pupils. 

In other news: Edinburgh's Alex Salmond Sick Children’s Hospital would finally be opening next week to much fanfare. Eighty-six year old, Former Health Minister, Jeanne Freeman would be in attendance to cut the ribbon.

Finally, England’s 91-year-old Charles III would be visiting his flat at Balmoral, which was converted into a home for those suffering from computer game and gambling dependency after it was seized by the Scottish Government in the transfer of Royal assets, two years after ‘independence day’ when Scotland also became a republic.

Thinking of nurturing, your lifelong Scottish Social Services’ worker phones and asks about the status of your mental health this week. The reason they stay in contact is you were classed as having an ‘Adverse Childhood Experience’ because your parents divorced in 2020, ten years after you were born. A fairly common experience in the early 21st century. “I’m fine” you tell her with a straight face, and for the most part it’s true. However, she reminds you that if you do ever consider self-harm that officially sanctioned Scottish Government ‘cutting kits’ should be used to ensure you do so safely and are available at the nearest local authority ‘One Stop Shop’.

Back home in your pod you spend a few hours on your phone again. While laying on your bunk you are alerted to the fact State Police Scotland are monitoring your social media content because you flippantly shared an inoffensive Still Game meme about that someone found wounding. This also means your social credit score has decreased – and will require a lot of pro-Scotland posting tomorrow to build it back up again. 

As a treat, you bought a Twix on your way home from the work station. Thanks to the gradually increasing Sugar Tax and inflation, this cost over five Scottish pounds, but as you gently peel the gold wrapper away and get an illicit hit of sugar and cocoa this is forgotten. 

Finally, you wearily draw the curtains of your pod and gently lay your drowsy medicated head on the pillow – to try to get some sleep to prepare yourself for another day in an independent Scotland.

 

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