Rosie by Jay Begrims

A hovercar buzzed by outside. Steve glanced at the window, blinked twice, and the windows went into one-way blackout mode. He still wrestled with his decision not to leave the window in this mode permanently – but he was old-fashioned at heart and felt that if he could see out, other people should be able to see in. He was outgoing President of The Republic of England and Wales, and so he felt it was almost his democratic duty to let people see in. He felt it was one of the things that kept him honest.

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It was one of the few days in the year that he found time to devote to himself, rather than the people he served. And so he turned to compiling his memoirs.

It wasn’t easy. Especially “The Early Years”. No one really keeps a diary when they’re young. But he could use his Microsoft GoogleBook posting history to remind him of some things, and could fill in the gaps from memory. How weird it was to have to actually read text in GoogleBook, rather than listen to postings or watch them.

He had already written of his education and parenting, but now his early political awakening needed documenting. It had started on a day in July 2014, over 40 years ago. It was the first Thursday of the month, as it apparently had always been.

The place? A long since demolished pub called the Rose & Crown. All that exists now of the momentus events that took place there is a plaque with the simple inscription “On this site once stood the birthplace of English Political Libertarianism, c2008”

His GoogleBook entry for that day stated:
“Going to a political thing with Rosie – at a pub ironically called the Rose & Crown. Expect to be bored. Oh the things I do for love”.

The entries for the following day were, in sequence:
09:00 “Hungover. Drinkfail”
10:34: “Quite a nice night last night. Suprisingly”
19:18: “Think this politics thing could be fun”

And that was it. No other mention of his embryonic political thoughts until the he went again two months later. And that’s when it all really began….

In August It was a talk on the futility of Libertarian politics. “Libertarianism and Party Politics are incompatible” went the headline for the evening. It was a talk by an anarchist, a special type of anarchist that believes in property rights, an anarcho-capitalist or AnCap. It was only his second meeting, but his reading since the first meeting and the pre-talk chat over a pint meant he was getting the hang of the language. He was also beginning to appreciate the seemingly irreconcilable differences between this highly diverse (although nearly exclusively male) group.

Steve had worked in his father’s marketing business and this made him a realist, and he realised that the only way to make any change was through organisation and actually doing things, rather than talking about theory. And a his second meeting he spoke for the first time. He asked the question “Surely it’s better to be organised and actually change things…”

There was some mumbling, some heckling
“We’ve tried that THREE times, it doesn’t work”.
“Herding cats” was another phrase bleated out.
And the ultimate insult.

“STATIST!”.

He didn’t go again until the Christmas social. Nice buffet. Although people complained that it wasn’t as good as the “old days” before the pub was taken over.

But it was in 2015 that things began to take shape.

He had counted fourteen different Libertarian groups and political parties: Two Liberatarian Alliances, five political parties, a think tank or two, and some other less formalised groups. All fighting for the same space, and sometimes (often) fighting against each other.

He tried to remember all the details for his memoir. What he thought, what he saw, who he met. But it was hazy at best.

It was almost a relief when his concentration was broken by a call. It was the Justice Secretary. There had been an attempted breakout from the London Prison but the Securiguard staff had prevented it. No one was hurt largely thanks to the Stunfall technology. There were only 1500 inmates – all in for violent crimes against people or property – and it was all voluntarily funded by the insurance industry. This setup was perhaps his proudest achievement and had swept away one of the few powers that the state had previously retained. This, combined with the People’s Courts, meant that justice was truly fair for the first time in history. And the rest of the world was taking notice and following his lead.

But back to 2015. By the end of the year, he had combined ten of the fourteen previous groups into a single entity. In 2016 the party was formed. And in 2018 the first council seat was won. Who would have thought that 15 short years later, they would become the second largest party in the country, and that 5 years after that they would be in government?

Steve knew that it was a combination of unpredictable circumstances that helped this all happen. Firstly there economic crash of 2028, which made the credit crunch of 2008 look like a gnat on a mountainside. This ripped asunder the old order – and created a vacuum to be filled.

Then there was the final discreditation of socialism – when France went bankrupt for the third time.

But most of all it was the internet. It enabled people to get together and solve nearly all their problems themselves, rather than rely on the government to mess things up as usual.

He spoke at length. He was still getting the hang of speaking for a book reader, rather than speaking to a person or an audience. A different tone was required.

As his spoken words scrolled onto the flexiscreen, he reached the end of the chapter. He called the Chapter “The Two Rosies that changed the world”. The Rose & Crown and his now wife Rosie who had taken him there that July evening.

Time for cabinet. He wandered down to where Simon, Richard, James, Rob, Michael, Andy, Olly, Nico, Clarissa, Rosie and Pavel were already seated.

First agenda item: Proposed reduction of the unitary corporate and income tax rate from 3% to 2.5%. All those in favour….

It was a no-brainer.

END

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