Here are our first cut stories from our Scenarios to Rejoin exercise. We are still working on these and you can join in every Monday at 8 pm via ZOOM. So far we have four thematic stories which may end up mixing and intermingling but at present are separate:
Bluff, Bluster and Bust – predominantly macro-economic
Breadline Britain – predominantly socio-economic
The Empire Strikes Back – predominantly political
The Eye of the Irish Tiger – predominantly global but focused on the post Brexit world outside Albion, so not exclusively Ireland, more a competitive scenario as to how the world responds to Brexit especially near neighbours
I’ve yet to capture some of the other scenarios – environmental and long range legal stuff. But we have made huge progress down to your efforts. Please get in touch to add your fingerprints to the work.
Please be kind. These are by no means finished and need your input.
Bluff, Bluster and Bust
London made a bid for independence in 2030 as news that the UK economy slipped from No 4 in 2015 to No 11. This had been preceded in 2029 after the UK Brexit economy finally tanked. The Sun reported the headline “England sick as a Brexit dog”.
The rot had started much much earlier, when Rishi Sunak removed the triple pension lock in 2022. This produced a generation of pensioners that were effectively living on the breadline, unable to support children and grandchildren, selling off their homes to pay for retirement and care homes. This was compounded by stagflation due to Brexit, as wages levelled off and National Insurance increased. Working people struggled to get well-paid jobs. Brexit economists struggled to find diversions to point the finger for Britain’s problems elsewhere but the underlying logic of high structural costs and declining economic activity defined our early years of so-called freedom. Things became so bad in 2024 that some people in UK insist on being paid in Euros. The Lugano Convention had still not been signed by 2026 but Britain continued to rely upon services to drive it’s economy, yet Lugano prevented UK from thriving in a post Brexit world. Save for an uptake in food production which happened as a necessity after The Hunger Games in 2022, Britain was broken.
The new EU tax avoidance scheme came into force on January 1st 2022. Brexit supporters started to become angry that it meant that Amazon et al had to pay tax in the countries they operated in within EU countries, whilst Britain became a haven for companies who wished to avoid tax. This meant that people were exploited to even greater levels than before and thus the dream of Brexit became even more distant.
Contributory factors to the decline of Britain as a world economic power began quickly after Brexit with Scottish independence in 2023, Irish unification in 2025 and a decision by Wales to seek independence in 2027. Their economies disappeared too, although Boris Johnson tried to hold back Scottish independence by moving UK public service agencies out of Scotland. Once the contagion began, it was unstoppable with London seeking to make itself a Crown Dependency and Cornwall and The North-East asking for Regional Parliaments.
In other disruptive and unexpected events, cybercurrency became regulated as the Bitcoin economy collapsed in 2025. Jacob Rees-Mogg lost everything in 2024 in the Sterling Crisis, after overplaying the markets with his financial trading company. The Daily Express headline said “How the mighty have fallen”, whereas The Sun ran with “Mogged off’. The Brexit illusion of Singapore on Thames came back to bite people where it hurt most. Never more had bluff, bluster and bust made more sense to the blowhards of Brexit.
By 2031, the impact of The Brexit Hunger Games had been felt through civil unrest, the formation of The People’s Progress Party (PPP), formed from the fragments of Labour, Lib Dems, a merger with The Green Party and Memoranda of Friendship with the independent Governments of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and The European Union. Although the party could not stop the damage done by Brexit, Brexit carnage had eventually unified the people against the remnants of the Conservative Party. This took place after an attempted takeover by Jacob Rees Mogg and following the worst riots ever seen on the streets of Britain in 2022, after the impact of Brexit on food supplies, prices and availabilities of goods and services previously taken for granted. One of the earliest acts of the PPP was to prosecute various culture carriers of Brexit. In 2026 a group of these people were jailed for various offences, including Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.
The PPP was formed in 2023 in a complete volte face of traditional politics. People were selected for office, based on rigorous selection methods and then elected by people’s assemblies. Whilst the party had some politicians drawn from the best of the crop, it was formed from people from business, the arts, community leaders and so on. This was informed by the insight that some celebrities and sportspeople were more skilled and popular than Westminster politicians. This was however no populist uprising. The PPP insisted on informed democracy, fought the election in 2024 on some old-fashioned ideas about trust, reforming politics and healing the country. They won a majority of votes but lost the election to the Conservatives due to the existing FPTP system This was based on some very good campaigning, based on an Enough is Enough message and a promise to make a Better Britain in a Better Europe through Better Politics. This included plans for electoral reform. It had become clear that the European Union felt they were better off without Britain at the table and, although they had left the door open to rejoining the EU, it would come with some important pre-conditions. The most important one was for a complete removal of the Brexit ultras from power, to avoid a “Hokey Cokey Brexit” i.e. in/ou/shake it all about approach to EU membership. Other items such as Schengen and Euro membership were negotiable depending on whether they felt that our standards of democracy were acceptable and the degree to which English exceptionalism had been removed from the political culture.
Breadline Britain tipped over in September 2021, when children were seen crying in the aisles of Dudley Tesco, as their parents fought over the last packets of frozen chicken nuggets. An angry woman was heard to say “I voted to get my country back, but not for a chicken shortage. I was duped”. Once Brexit food import restrictions kicked in on October 1st 2021, the situation rapidly deteriorated. Shortages were not limited, sporadic and selected. They were continuous, deep and they touched everyone in strangely different ways. Still one or two leave voters celebrated the Blitz spirit. Laura from Basildon won a prize on “Come Dine Without Me” and went to No 10 Downing Street. She was reported as saying “I’m actually not that hungry”, when having an austerity Christmas lunch with Boris Johnson.
Government plans to mitigate foreign lorry driver shortages due to Brexit backfired badly into 2022. The 2000 army HGV drivers diverted to deal with the 100 000 foreign lorry driver shortage were quickly rediverted to deal with the Autumn of Discontent, which emerged because of the food shortages and rationing of specific items. Attempts by food retailers to up HGV driver wages to £55 000 were of course welcomed by lorry drivers. However, it quickly became apparent that this would “drive traffic” around the supply chain of drivers, as some ambulance drivers, HGV drivers in other sectors etc. decided that they fancied a better wage. It simply created deficits in other areas. The initial reaction of the public to the “Keep on Trucking for Britain” campaign was positive but turned sour quickly, as people realised impacts on prices and NHS services.
A tipping point in the Brexit debate was the so-called “Pigs in Blankets” famine of December 2021 where frantic parents fought for Turkeys and the trimmings in supermarkets after the supply chain broke down. Preceded by a number of marches for and wildcat disturbances at food depots in Britain, Bernard Matthews was asked to join a Government taskforce with Ian Botham and Roger Daltrey on the future of turkeys for Christmas. Botham promptly attempted to blame farmers for the problem and was squewered by Matthews who was heard to say “Bootiful”. Meanwhile M&S Chair and former Conservative Party MP Archie Norman pointed out “This is totally down to Brexit. Nothing to do with COVID and the product of a party I was once proud of, but which has now put Brexit ideology above pragmatism”.
But Britain was not beaten. Boris Johnson, buoyed up by the birth of his second son, Aristotle, whipped up enthusiasm for British Bulldog Spirit and initiated a new scheme called Grow for Britain, where house owners were given a £50 grant to convert their gardens to allotments, using Afghans as live-in labour as part of their cultural conversion. Johnson appeared on Gardener’s World just before Christmas in a project with Monty Don to convert the Rose Garden into a cabbage patch just before Carrie delivered Aristotle to offset people’s thoughts about food shortages at Christmas. In real life however, the British people found that micro farming was not popular, especially in the middle of winter.
Brits, freed from lockdown restrictions and loaded with cash sought to unload their excess financial baggage by holidaying in Europe and beyond in 2022 and 2023. But they faced a new problem. Sterling. In 2022, Sterling had parity with the Euro and in 2023, with the dollar, due to Britain’s new standing in the world as a third country. Although some continued with their holidays, Rishi Sunak introduced restrictions limiting the amount of money taken on holidays to curb the Sterling crisis. The Daily Express was unable to blame the problem on Johnny Foreigner and used the headline “Pounded by Brexit”. Queues at passport control when the EU channel was absolutely empty made holiday makers irate, aside from the hassle and £6 charge to go into Europe. But most staycation holidays in Britain were out of reach financially for many people, as prices were hiked due to supply and demand considerations.
Can’t get no
Shortages continued at a deep level for two more years until 2024, but they never actually went away completely. Some items simply disappeared from shelves. Many were unexpected, such as bleach, diagnostic tests, tonic water and some medicines for rare conditions. As with all crises, human ingenuity finds a way. If an out-of-stock item was discovered in a particular town on a given morning, all the stock would be gone by 9 am and then sold on the black market. “Only Fools and Horses” became the reality in trading scarce goods and every village had a character known as Del Boy. Clandestine banana trading was used as a kind of proxy to preserve community spirit as Del liked to say “’Ave a Banana” to keep the neighbours sweet. The Police noted a small rise in looting, not of money or property, but of vegetables from gardens. All the while Boris Johnson refused to accept humanitarian aid from the EU during the UK “hungry gap”. This is the few weeks, usually in April, May and early June, after the winter crops have ended but before the new season’s plantings are ready to harvest. Boris Johnson continued his campaign of deflection into 2023 after he swapped Carrie up for a debutante who was working as a media relations executive at The Daily Express. This followed Carrie’s failure to host a third child for the Johnson dynasty.
Little things seem to irritate more than the big-ticket items. Whilst people were prepared to forget the £37 billion wasted on fictional PPE and the 150 000 unnecessary COVID deaths, they found it extremely annoying that the EU’s new satellite system Galileo made GPS navigation much more accurate with implications for driverless cars and HGV’s into 2027. Insurance companies started to insist on the use of Galileo as the gold standard for driverless vehicles and people were able to access Galileo on a paid for basis.
Although Boris Johnson attempted to deflect the fact that Britain has systematically degraded its levels of food security over decades, people were more persuaded by the continuing food shortages in 2022 and the so called “Andrex Wars”. Strategies to pay lorry drivers extra by commercial companies are seen to backfire after it becomes obvious that these were taking staff away from NHS ambulance drivers and critical services. In any case smart young people who saw the future did not want to take up careers as lorry drivers as they saw the advent of driverless trucks in 2028. Some hauliers upgraded to LHV rather than training new HGV drivers. The trucks were more efficient, lower GHG emissions per tonne transported.
After a complete meltdown of the Conservative party in 2027 and the removal of the Brexit ultras from power with some being imprisoned, the PPP finally got elected in 2028 and began the business of Rejoining the EU. This was preceded by riots by pensioners after free prescriptions were removed in 2026 on the road to privatisation of the NHS.