Horrorscope revisited

(Updated from a short story in the February 1984 Socialist Standard)
Right behind the headlines of the papers there’s a space entitled Horoscope
Do you think I’m some sort of dope?
Because it’s always there I turn to first of all to help me cope.

(With apologies to Jake Thackray)

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that the government has increased the retirement age yet again. You’re now expected to continue to work until you’re 81. Or until you fall down dead from exhaustion. Whichever comes first. The good news is that as part of the government’s compulsory mobilisation plans you are in the third tier of those awaiting the call.

A tall stranger will appear on your doorstep today. You immediately realise that he is not someone who swiped right on the dating app. Although uniforms are something that can be a turn on they are not so when the dark blue also wears at the hip a Sig Sauer P250. You have been accused of offending someone by your use of mean hurty words. You are strongly advised not to criticise the government. Bear in mind, Big Brother is watching you at all times. Or else.

You will have trouble at work today. You are summoned to appear before Human Resources. HR is run by the boss’s daughter. Are you happy working here, is the first question put to you. Your bat senses immediately perceive that you are not here to be given a pay rise but that instead the proverbial is about to hit the fan. Miss Otis regrets to inform you that it has come to their attention that you have been making disparaging remarks on your private social media about working conditions at the company, and further, you have made extremely rude comment about the boss, her father, but she wants you to know she is being very objective in dealing with this matter. Describing your boss as a mean grasping slave driver of a capitalist will not be tolerated. Perhaps you would not only like to delete those comments but you should post something very positive about him and the company too. She is deeply concerned and strongly suggests that you are much more careful what you post privately in future. Or else.

Beware of turmoil in the home. Your private landlord notifies you that given the continual interest rate rises his property empire is faced with extra costs that are seriously reducing the amount of unearned income that he is able to extract from his tenants. He says that next month’s rent will be double what you are paying at present. Failure to comply with these new terms blah blah blah will result in the eviction of you and your family. Your partner has a complete meltdown at the effect eviction would have on you all especially the children. He points out that there are plenty of desperate people looking for accommodation who are prepared to pay whatever exorbitant rent he might charge. Remember, before you start complaining that landlords provide a public service, and their altruistic motives should not be at all questioned blah blah blah. Further, don’t you know we live in a capitalist system which means never give a sucker a break and if you and yours end up on the street then it will be your fault for being such a tight-fisted git.

A letter bearing bad news. Dear Patient, as a result of the government having privatised the National Health Service we wish to inform you that every appointment made with a doctor at this surgery will now incur a cost of twenty pounds. If you are taking regular medication please be aware that all drugs will have to be paid for at whatever price is levied by the drug manufacture.

A slight bit of bad luck. You’re a single mother. Your child minder says they can no longer look after your child. What to do? Basically, you’re screwed.

You receive a summons. You are alleged to have transgressed the Public Order Act. What’s it going to take to make you realise that you can’t go around demonstrating in favour of things the government disapproves of? Are you one of those freaks who believe in democracy? It might go easier with you if you snitch on those who imbued you with such insidious beliefs. You’ve already been warned about saying mean hurty things. You need to learn to keep quiet about things that don’t concern you and to kowtow to your betters.

A marvellous time for you. You’re dreaming.

You are in a spending mood. Spoiler alert: Unfortunately, you do not possess the wherewithal to indulge such ridiculous fantasies. You decide to cheer everyone up so you say, how about a treat? Let’s have three pennorth of chips! At the fish and chip shop you peruse the prices on the board and wonder how food could have become so expensive since your last sojourn there. As you didn’t have a win on the national Lottery that week you reluctantly leave there empty handed.

You are developing some strange habits. Resolve never to believe in astrology ever again. You have come to realise that what politicians and the media tell you has as much credence as the pseudoscience of star signs which may or may not be taken seriously by very many. Please temper your greatest heresy which is no longer believing that capitalism is the best of all possible worlds which benefits the majority as opposed to the minority ruling class who continue to have power over your everyday life. You are treading on a slippery slope. If you let these invidious thoughts get the better of you, you will be challenging the prevailing heterodoxy and before you know it you will be confronting capitalism and saying that it should be abolished. Cleanse your mind of such thoughts. Or else!


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