Saturday, 6 November 2010

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

After the extraterrestrials landed everything changed. Or did it? Looking back, what appeared to be earth shattering events, somehow, almost imperceptibly, fell gradual into a familiar pattern. Rut-a-tut-tut. Naturally, they had come prepared with a formidable arsenal and, as if by obligation, put on an explosive display of shock-and-awe, predominantly aimed at crippling the manufacturing infrastructure. There was some collateral damage, but too little to make a big-picture, song-and-dance splash in the rain. Or so we were told by the tabloids. They cleared up any misunderstandings by offering generous bridging loans to rebuild and repair the extensive damage. And, indeed, in a stroke of magnanimity, they even offered to buy up key industries, invest their technological expertise and managerial know-how, to get things back on track once again. It was not long before fleets of extraterrestrial migrants came by the interstellar shipload to join the work force. And it soon became apparent that working conditions and practices back on their home worlds, were even more suspect than those on terra firma and, yet again, the standard of living for the many dropped in proportion to the provision of any social safety net. After all, it was only fair. There was unrest. Strikes. Violence. The vast majority of the populace now recognised their new overlords were accelerating and facilitating the practice of “business as usual”. However, the only individuals most vocal in articulating their victimisation, were those ousted from high-profile positions such as executive boards members, regulatory czars and, of course, the odd politico. These fallen elites banded together to create a grass-roots political movement - The After Dinner Party (“Suppers” for short) - to take back power on behalf of voiceless voting public. The extraterrestrial overlords, all too familiar with such self-serving counterinsurgency, offered The After Dinner Party leaders nominally significant positions in key institutions, together generous remuneration packages, in return for acknowledging that significant concessions had been made. So they had, after a fashion. And, once again, everything was back to normal.

Except, another, much larger, extraterrestrial craft landed.

And it began to rain.

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