2026: an irreverent look into the future

It is the Autumn of 2026. The general election of late 2024 produced historically low voter participation and resulted in no overall parliamentary majority for any single party. A Government of National Unity has now been formed, following a protracted period of bitter in-fighting amongst Tory MPs about the dire consequences of Brexit on the UK economy, and never-ending spats between factions within Labour. SNP MPs – who hold all the constituencies north of the border – are refusing to take up their seats in Westminster until a further referendum on Scottish independence is formally granted. Calls for the re-unification of the island of Ireland grow ever-louder from people of all religious and social groups, as support for Unionist parties dwindles: Brexit has had a catastrophic effect on the economy and the daily life of many in the Six Counties.

The UK has started to default on loans taken out during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21, as global interest rates have risen in the intervening years. Unemployment stands at 12 per cent nationally, with youth unemployment at 20 per cent, highest amongst graduates. Outbreaks of mass protest and riot at renewed government austerity measures are increasing, especially in towns and cities in the north of England, despite calls for calm by popular, locally elected mayors. Cars are no longer produced in the UK. HS2 is more than twice over budget, and three years behind schedule. No free-trade agreement has yet been signed with the USA. 

Once-lionised ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson has embarked upon yet another “An evening with Boris” tour around the few remaining pubs in the southern counties. His “agent” and close friend, Anouska Middle-for-Diddle, 19, was recently quoted as saying “My nan always liked him, you know. What was Brexit, anyway….?”

Former Brexit supremo Michael Gove has a new career as a long-distance lorry-driver. His memoir, Holding all the cards: a life without shame is shortly to be published and will be serialised in The Daily Express. 

Other Conservative ministers who held office when the UK left the EU have fared less well.

Liz Truss, one-time International Secretary for Trade, now works on the bacon counter in her local branch of Aldi. Ex-Home Secretary Priti Patel was recently spotted working for her local authority as a deck-chair attendant on a beach near Dover, a part of the country which she grew to loathe, she says. “Those bloody Syrians, or whatever they are, they never fold the chairs up properly and they’re no good at stackin’ them against the kiosk when the rain comes on.”

Frequently-ridiculed ex-Health Secretary Matt “Protective Ring” Hancock generously continues to support the NHS in practical ways, selling government-surplus Covid-19 PPE items on market stalls around the country. Buoyant sales of NHS lapel badges may soon lead to his becoming a “Star Seller” on eBay, he says. Every pound donated helps the NHS, folks.    

Meanwhile, man-of-many-roles-in-Cabinet Chris Grayling’s latest business venture has failed. His micro-brewery recently advertised evening “tasting sessions” for selected local Tory Party donors:   but unfortunately he’d misread his freebie 2019 Seaborne Freight calendar and had given the incorrect date for the event to the ticket printers. (Plus ça change, eh, Chris?)

Geoffrey Cox, one-time MP for Torridge and West Devon, has developed his long-held interest in amateur dramatics, and has found a niche rôle as a pantomime dame.  (“Behind you, Geoffrey!”)

Dapper man-of-the-people and former Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has been spotted on a beach in the Cayman Islands, his new domicile-for-tax-purposes. Or it may be the British Virgin Islands. Nanny is believed to be in a care home – fully funded by her local Council, of course. 

Dominic “black belt” Raab, once Foreign Secretary, now languishes on the back benches, but also works part-time as a “consultant” to the UK travel industry, specialising in tours of northern France, although curiously this is a region about whose geography he knows but little, it is said. Meanwhile, Robert Jenrick, the still-youthful one-time Housing and Local Government Secretary, has retained his parliamentary seat in Newark, thanks – it is rumoured – to ongoing and unprecedented grants from central government to the town. Close colleagues in the Conservative Party say that great things may be expected of him in the hospitality industry, should he decide to leave politics.

Questions have arisen for years as to the whereabouts of Dominic Cummings – once Boris Johnson’s immediate superior in 10 Downing Street – who disappeared in late 2020 following reported disagreements with Johnson and his then-fiancée Ms Carrie Nut-Nuts, and others. Many others. It would seem that Cummings may be living in a commune of super-forecaster-survivalists in a bunker in Idaho, USA. Durham County Council continues to pursue him for council tax arrears, but on a happier note, his eyesight has miraculously improved, we are told.

Nigel Farage is but a pale shadow of his once-rumbustious self, sadly, and – intending to make good on his 2017 promise to “move abroad if Brexit is a disaster” – has been seeking political asylum in various countries, citing “continuous aggro from those f***ing Remainers” and “ideological persecution”. Rejected by Hungary, Poland and Ecuador, Farage has now appealed to the authorities in Germany, where it is believed he has family connections.

In the USA, raving one-term President, Donald Trump, still maintains that he won the 2020 election. However, his personal spiritual adviser, Pastor Paula White, has tried to reassure him: “God intended you to play golf full-time in your later years, Donald, for the good of mankind”.

Police continue to appeal for any news or sighting of former Essex MP Mark Gino François, last seen in early 2020.

The UK has applied to join the EU. The request has been politely declined.