It was 9.00am. He stepped out into the sun. It was a clear, peaceful autumn day. He could hear traffic, but no sirens. He headed towards the tube station and shops.
Around the corner, the remains of a burned out police car were being lifted onto a flatbed truck. The introduction of martial law and the 9.00pm curfew had caused a few hiccups, but things seemed quiet now.
The tube station was open, though the presence of a police officer cradling a semi-automatic carbine was slightly disconcerting. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” he thought.
He stooped to pick up a copy of the free Metro newspaper. The banner across the top of the page read, “President Cummings’ first TV address from Buckingham Palace – full transcript P.5.
Then lower down, “Johnson ordered to see Trump again,” was the headline. At the foot of the page were pictures of three former politicians. “Traitors seek bail,” accompanied the story.
He paused to read further: “Lawyers acting for the disgraced former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair and ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve will today appeal for them to be released on bail while awaiting trial for treason, following their failed October coup when the UK was still a member of the EU.”
“Rumours that the government was considering the reintroduction of hanging for treason were not denied by Home Secretary Priti Patel on BBC’s Newsnight last night. “We will consider this proposal carefully,” she said. “The last time a traitor was hanged in this country was in 1946 when William Joyce was found guilty of conspiring with Germany to undermine our great country. Nobody can fail to see the similarities here. Those who seek to place us under the jackboot of Europe can expect no mercy.”
He turned the page. “Our retired Queen settles in to Sandringham – the history of a special royal home.” He turned the page again.
He glanced at the transcript of the president’s speech.
“We will not tolerate looting.”
“Our troops are the finest in the world. They will keep us safe and any illegal foreign nationals will be tracked down and sent home without delay.”
“Our borders are secure. We will soon be producing 90% of our food on these islands.”
On the opposite page was a large photo of military equipment being loaded onto a ferry. “Troops and tanks off to reinforce our Irish border posts.”
The Northern Ireland problem was worrying, but not unexpected. Things seemed to have quietened down after initial skirmishes. Never mind that, he was hungry. He wondered whether there was any food in the supermarket.
He headed down the street and spotted the queue. There must have been about a hundred people there. Another policeman with a semi-automatic weapon was standing beside a notice that read, “Customers will be allowed inside ten at a time, stocks permitting. Please be patient.”
He joined the queue and turned to the football pages. “Spurs thrash Sheffield United as Arsenal slide further behind at Leicester.” That cheered him up.
Forty-five minutes later he was inside. He sadly surveyed the empty shelves. No fruit. No veg. He moved on towards tinned goods where he saw a cluster of people surrounding a loaded pallet containing boxes. “One at a time,” the man said. “You can take three tins each. If you grab more they will be taken back at the checkout and you may be thrown out with nothing.”
There were sighs, and shoppers drifted away as they were allocated their goods. He reached the front and was offered a tin of plum tomatoes and two tins of sardines. “Any rice?” he asked. “Next aisle,” said the man. I think we are still OK for that.”
Only one checkout was open. The automatic tills had bags over them. The cashier was surprisingly cheerful. “I think we’ll be OK,” she said. “Rodney is with the Territorials and he’s off to Belfast tomorrow. Army families will get priority provisions, at least until the rationing system kicks in. That’s the beauty of rationing. Foreigners won’t get ration cards. They’ll soon be off after that!”
He wandered out into the road, passed the armed cop and the queue, that was now twice as long.
He smiled. Yes, it had all been worth it. Now he had sovereignty – and a blue passport. Britain was great again and the president was in his palace. Finally, all was right with the world.