Choose your own ending

This is how the world ends. In a bang.

In a concerted world war – the first true one, where Asia gets its hands wet. It’s not the story of Imperial Japan wreaking havoc in China and SE Asia, of Britain pulling troops from its colonies to fights in the European or African wars. It ends with nuclear bombs obliterating the big cities of the free world.

Nothing stands except those towns no one wants. The world is literally bombed into the Stone Age.

All because Trump decided that NATO was passe and when Russia invaded the Baltics, he was going to whistle nonchalantly while stealing croissants off the buffet table of world history.

And you blame Chamberlain for appeasing the nasty Nazi Hitler.

This is how the world ends. In a whimper.

The world stares flabbergasted as America decides that trickle down economics is a perfectly reasonable way to run a country. After all, it had, in no way, been thoroughly debunked in Chile.

But, but but… ALL THESE IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING MY JOB AWAY. And, they are not like ME. I need people like me...”

So, on the basis of anti-globalisation and a feeling that coal jobs are relevant today (and why should I learn a new trade, thanks-very-much?), populist parties come to power all over the world. To herald a throwback to a past that no one lived through and really doesn’t exist because, SURELY, it was better to have people like me all around me.

Mother Nature decides that it’s had enough – the glaciers in Greenland melt. The sea levels rise by 3m, with loss of coastal and arable land in many parts of the world. The seasons shift, average temperatures go up and savannahs turn to dry deserts.

The leaders of the free world decide that fiddling while the world burns is a collective great idea.

And, so, the world ends… in a soft whimper. To the self-same historical pattern of history being “filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes going up”.

Whichever way history repeats, we are “living in interesting times” (to paraphrase an ancient Chinese curse, or Terry Pratchett – you pick)


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