The country was going through a difficult patch. It had started ten years in the past, in 2016. Britain had voted to leave the European Union. There was a political crisis. The government split, opposition parties – such as there were – had no idea. Immigrants fled back to their home countries. British Muslims hid out in their mosques. Everything was chaos.
Then a new group calling itself The New Democrats emerged from the shadows. Many people said it was the saviour of the nation. The New Democrats were poorly named, since the things they believed in; discipline, respect for order, deference to the Church, schools, and so on, were not new. They harked back to an imagined past when the country was at ease. Nor, were they particularly democratic. A wave of authoritarianism hit the country. Trade unions were suppressed; women were forced back into the home and sexual minorities were attacked.
The hardest hit were young people. Corporal punishment was reintroduced into schools to great acclaim from teachers and parents. So, it made perfect sense to extend it to colleges and universities. Soon, young apprentices at businesses were added to the list. In no time the law courts were sentencing young criminals to the birch.
People fell into line quickly. Order of a kind was restored. Young people were placed on curfews. Old people could walk the streets at night in safety.
A new series of stories Changed Times starts Friday 12 August 2016 and continues for the following two Fridays.
“Corporal punishment is in use here as you probably know. We believe you boys are an elite group and we expect you to work hard and obey the rules. If you do not our first recourse is to corporal punishment.”
Fraser let the sentence hang in the air a little. For dramatic effect. Like so many college lecturers he was a bit of a ham actor.
“You will be beaten for indiscretions and misdemeanours.”
Twenty nineteen year olds shuffled uncomfortably in their seats.
- Extract from episode one.
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second