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••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Our Future

Looking Forward to 2021?
• Sam Hawksmoor
What's your plan for the year ahead?


Wouldn’t we all like to know how 2021 will turn out?  You’d have to be especially clairvoyant to see your way to the next few months or even weeks ahead. As Dickens’s wrote ‘It was the worst of times, it was the best of times…’ a man hedging his bets there I think. Jan 7th we've already had an attempted coup in the USA, bet you weren't planning on that. That's the trick about predicting the future. Chances are you'll miss big events or even small ones that gain in importance later.

I managed to have a legal meet-up with friends on Christmas Day for lunch.  It was pleasant and yet tinged with sadness that having a drink and discussing our lives and plans would be forbidden the day after and fraught with risks. As Dominic (one of the hosts reminded me) I had predicted this lockdown life way back in 2006 in the first edition of my pandemic novel. 2nd Edition now Another Place to Die: Endtime Chronicles.  But it’s all very well to get the washing of hands and wearing of masks and worries over vaccines right – I hadn’t actually intended to actually live through a pandemic.  I took my cue from Spanish Flu 1918 and assumed that the virus would be more lethal than it turned out to be.  I am very happy to accept that I got that wrong at least.  But now with Covid mutating to spread faster maybe not as wrong as I’d like. Worse I discovered one of the Christmas guests tested positive with the mutated virus so I'm only now emerging from isolation. The hospital ICU's are choked. The third wave is always the worst...

Sifting through all the on-line opinions about how will we live in 2021, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus.  Baba Venga is dead so her predictions seem a bit suspect to me. Will we go back to socially distanced offices?  How long will it take to have the courage to use mass transit in cities?  Remember how all those who fled the cities to small town America took the virus with them?  Sure I get no one will want to go back to renting an apartment without a balcony, but maybe landlords will slash the rents of these properties and you’ll be tempted back (as long as there is a nearby park).   That’s the danger of making predictions.  Cost benefit vs. Common Sense. I suspect as rents fall, the young and the artists will come back to the cities to live and work as that is where the 'life' is. Space will be at premium but confidence will grow as the vaccines take hold. What we all crave is human companionship after all - not to mention sex.

War? Pestilence? Of course it's always a threat. Taiwan is ever in China's thoughts. But I think most political leaders will be thinking about surviving the fallout from Covid rather than starting wars. I could be wrong of course and starting wars might be the only way to regain popularity for some despots. Or starting 'coups', it turns out.

Then there’s travel.  A number of people are ploughing into airline stocks again thinking that once we’ve had the vaccine (and a passport to prove it) we’ll all be jumping on a Boeing 737 Max to Miami or Nice.  Well you first – I’ll maybe prefer to drive. Ryanair have just announced they are down 95% in customers and they have ordered more 737 Max planes.

Then we have the 90-day rule to contend with for the first time in 47 years for UK citizens visiting Europe (along with the EU no longer recognizing UK qualifications and requiring a work visa or travel visa to go there).  So all those Europeans who study in UK Universities will have a degree or Masters that is invalid back home and that goes for medical and legal professions too.  Having experienced this prejudice against qualifications in Canada myself, I know how awkward it can make any idea of international working.

The best I can do for a prediction is that the next four months will see chaos as the virus reaches some kind of peak infection following New Year celebrations, then as the numbers rise on the vaccinations by early summer we just may get on top of it before the weather turns against us again.  The numbers of people dying will be quite frightening by February/March and with luck with scare enough of us to make sure we get the vaccine, assuming the health workers and volunteers stay healthy enough to deliver it. (Which may require National Armies to organise). The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will be the most useful and cost effective to deliver worldwide. That said, the winner will be Amazon once again as they expand into healthcare worldwide and of course Zoom as we see our doctors and all the other professions only on-line. Person to person care will be the great casualty of the pandemic and will lead to many other problems - telemedicine is going to need everyone having temperature readings and bodycams at home with 3D for full virtual care. A huge business opportunity. Right now thousands of heart and cancer patients are dying at home because they can't get any care or medical attention. This needs to change.

The big problem will be debt. National debts are building up and I suspect some major currencies will be under pressure. (Italy might the first to default as their bank debt is huge). For those with jobs, debt is not an issue as they have built up savings, those without jobs will struggle and I suspect once protections are taken away, the numbers facing eviction and poverty will be scary. The casualisation of work will spread to professions as Ai penetrates all areas and long term the middle-classes are going to get a lot poorer this decade. Those with pensions will find their purchase power disappear as inflation arrives in late 2021 and starts climbing rapidly. Society changes that would have taken ten years will happen in one or two. The winners will be a only a tiny percentage of humanity who will amass enormous wealth.

A large number of retail companies and favored place to drink and eat will never recover under their present owners and we shall emerge like bears shaking off the daze of hibernation to a dearth of places to go.  New people will take places over, start new businesses and in 2022 we shall see the ‘roaring twenties’ that have been promised.  But first we have to cross a very shaky bridge to get there.  I just hope I’m still alive to see it.  And by then, I wish and pray, we will all appreciate the calm twitter free President Biden and have developed amnesia about a man called Trump.

© Sam Hawksmoor Jan 7th 2021

Pain Cover

We Feel Your Pain
Hammer and Tong December 2020
ISBN-13: 979-8699087693

*Review: a captivating adventure that ...could be compared to a Roald Dahl tale filmed by Wes Anderson ..

Sam's new mystery/crime novel We Feel Your Pain is published. 

The Case:
Delaney (42) and Asha (22) run the Office of Berg City Oversight. Their role is to expose the scams, keep the city safe from unscrupulous people.  When something looks too good to be true – it’s a scam, right?  But what if the scam works?  What kind of scam is that? We Feel Your Pain is available in print and as a download
All pain teaches us something - it is for you to understand what that lesson might be.
- Guru Gurajani

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