In my sixtieth year, I will understand that ageing is perception, not reality.
I will not buy a coffee unless I have brought my own cup along; and I won’t ever buy a bag in a supermarket, even though I will forget to bring my own for months. And I will finally buy an electric car, even though I don’t understand them, and will always forget to charge it, and consequently break down on the A3 in the pissing rain. I will go slightly vegetarian and be extremely boring about it. But I will be much more tolerant, with only occasional lapses for utter cretins, about whom I will continue to be rude.
Amber Rudd will be my Prime Minister, at the head of a government of national unity which will consist of the 500 or so MPs who do not represent some extreme or sectional interest. We will somehow leave the EU in a planned way, as friends, acknowledging that we can’t have everything, and rebuilding bridges that have been broken. At the same time the EU will accept through gritted teeth that we remain good citizens of the world, and that threats to remove us from access to the Criminal Database, for example, belittle them, not us. God, because he has a sense of humour, allows Macron and Varadkar to have shit years for being dicks to the UK. We send a ship full of award winning British wine to France to cheer its benighted people up. Trump, Juncker and Putin have a summit in Iceland the week the volcano Eyiafiallajokull goes off again, and they have to stay there for two years, despite strenuous efforts to repatriate them to their loved ones. Their phone batteries run out, and no one has a charger. Even Nicola Sturgeon, who unfortunately was there on holiday.
There will be a barbecue of sacred cows, and its smoky tendrils will permeate into our national life. People will be allowed to suggest new ideas for the NHS, education, housing and even hedgehog conservation without being shouted down, and the sugar tax will be trebled. The company that gets away with charging 6.3% per annum on students loans will be closed down and its board of directors marched in chains down the Embankment. Apart from which isolated incident, politeness will stalk the land, and we will listen courteously to other views, even though we hate them.
We will beat the Australians in the Ashes so much that it physically hurts, Sussex will get promoted and I will score my first fifty for five years. Liverpool will win the League for playing fun football, England will win the 6 Nations by mistake and Roger Federer will retire on the grounds of being very slightly too smug and boring.
In April, Britain will discover an insatiable craze for slightly funny cricket books and also their authors, and will queue up for hours so as not to miss them. The authors will become strangely rich, and part of a new literary elite, almost permanently on prime time chat shows, at which medium they will excel, albeit modestly. The editor of the Saturday Times will seek out a new brand of middle-aged, home-counties, ex-military, privately educated columnist with nothing particularly useful to say on any subject, and will pay them a fortune to contribute.
And through all the smoke, pigs will fly.
Happy new year!