A Possible Future.

A Possible Future For Climbing.

It's quite fun to have a go at predicting the future, especially in satirical list form.  Gambling is also predicting the future, but less fun when it costs you money or becomes an addiction.

I read with pleasure Johnny Dawes predictions for the future of climbing in Summit Magazine , his problem is he just isn't cynical enough.  Here are mine.

1.  In the run up to the 2020 Olympics, Britain is looking increasingly chaotic and bleak.  A tumbling pound, record unemployment and the highest boredom rate in Europe, an anomalous legal situation which sees Britain both In and Out of Europe, increasing hate crime and dithery increasingly reactionary political parties now nakedly enslaved to the Murdoch press: can the Olympics give Britain a much needed boost?

2.  Initially the answer looks like a no.  An obviously biased cycling Olympic committee supported by every other nation in the world bans British cyclists left and right for retroactively applied last minute medication changes; complex new immigration laws strip Team GB of two thirds of their athletes, including Mo Farah; and excruciating embarrassment is felt when one of Britain's sailing teams use their event as cover for a carefully planned escape attempt. Eventually turning up in China where they claim asylum, claiming that they have been threatened with firing squad if they return without medals.

3.  The climbing event produces Britain's only two medals of the whole competition:  Golds in both the males and females Climbing.  The media initially ignores the event, but a rising groundswell of public opinion catapults the event into the news.  The returning climbers are feted and greeted at the airport by an ugly scrum of politicians from all parties.  Other returning athletes are quietly disappeared by UK Border Force Officials, it will be years before any bodies are returned to relatives.  Some of the gymnasts will never be found.

4.  Public opinion surges in favour of climbing, and politicians get on the band wagon.  Nigel Farage says in one interview 'I'd like to think that one day I could climb a V. Diff.  That means Very Difficult which I think speaks for itself.'

5.  Plans to make Britain's outdoors available only to people willing to pay a 'per-step' tariff through their smartphone attract massive protests.  Marches have of course been banned under the Criminal Justice Act following the brief civil war in 2019; there are forty arrests.  Lawyers defending the protesters successfully argue  to a sympathetic judge that they were in fact climbers ascending the 'shallow-angled slab' of Pall Mall and 'topping out' in Trafalgar Square.

6.  Nicola Sturgeon begins the ninth legal bid for Scotland to attain Independence. In her opening speech she says 'Munroes are a uniquely Scottish mountain.  There are no Munroes in England.'  She further claims 'that Scotland is continuing to rise under orographic lift, while England sinks further into the sea.'  One day later record floods finally submerge two-thirds of East Anglia under a sea level now three metres higher.  

7.   Climbing now enjoys a counter-culture appeal that spreads across classes and ethnicities.  It is not uncommon for many of the 18 million Benefit Claim Clients to seek grants to buy rope and cams, which job centre staff now feel it would be unpatriotic - and therefore illegal - to refuse. Statistics show that listing climbing in your CV makes you 18% more likely to be offered a job in the Saturday Night lottery organised by Camelot.

8.  Climbing popularity spreads to the boardroom.   White collar workers in the banking sector are now expected to be knowledgeable about Tom Randall's Market Trading Portfolio, and have opinions on shoe rubber composition.  Being able to onsight E2 and wearing CAC t-shirts are the 'soft' rand unspoken requirements for being eligible for promotion.  Climbing is the new golf.

7.  Bear Grylls emerges as the unlikely leader - given his questionable role in the 2019 Civil War - of a political party representing 'British Climbers, British Values and British Grit'.  Climbers join and support the party which guarantees outdoor access and tax breaks on polyester, lycra and rubber compounds.  Idiot newspaper journalists repeatedly burble 'Can Bear Conquer Westminster the way he Conquered Everest?'

8.  By 2028, Bear Grylls is voted Prime Minister for a whole life term. His victory speech is a carefully orchestrated spectacular event which involves him soloing up the Westminster Clock Tower then leading the nation in mass-prayer while being lit up by a spotlight.  Persistent rumours abound that heavy amounts of holographic projection were employed, and that Grylls was actually in the Member's Bar throughout the broadcast.

9.  A new Monarch of the Realm Act passes through Parliament due to the increasing unsuitability of Prince Charles as Head of State.  Chris Bonington is chosen, despite being dead for the last five years.  Boffins at Cambridge University recreate his personality from his extensive writings, and the first 'true' artificially intelligent being - Bonington 2.9- is sworn in as head of state.  It later emerges that 'packer' intelligence had been inserted from the writings of Pete Boardman, Joe Tasker and Doug Scott, raising tricky legal questions of identity, discussion of which is soon banned.

10.  Immigration Laws are formally reversed with the Desirable Persons Act.  Over two thousand Sherpas are forcibly abducted from their homes in Nepal and rehoused in Snowdonia.  Nationalities with 'Great Mountaineering Cultures' receive automatic entitlement to live in the UK.  Slovenians, Slovakians, Russians, Canadians, Austrians, Poles and Norwegians are enticed in by glossy tv promotion and put to work by international guiding agencies.  Racism and anti-climber attacks rises.

11.  An  unpopular administration at the whim of Grylls' increasingly severe religious mania reacts badly to protests by paddlers, mountain-bikers and base-jumpers.  Home Secretary Leo Houlding, widely seen as a moderate voice within the cabinet, is found dead at the bottom of Indian Face.  The National Police declare the death an accident, explaining that getting caught in his own ropes by his writs and ankles apparently 'mimicked' someone tying him up.  Gaffer tape across his mouth is described as ' consistent' with Houlding using it hold marginal Sky-hooks in place on route.

Cheery eh?  Lets see how many come true.