Over 40% of retail outlets now have computerised payment terminals which accept credit cards. Certain all-night garages and supermarkets refuse to accept cash at all, to deter the increasing number of armed robberies.
Argentinian thrash metal disc jockeys occupy the Frigg oil rig in the North Sea, by special arrangement with the Government's flagging popularity. Margaret Thatcher assembles a task force in the Falklands and sets it off towards the British Isles. Censorship is reintroduced, under the Emergency Powers Act of February 1988.
Clive Sinclair delivers the first of his revolutionary Z-90 thought processors. Measuring the size of a paperback book, the Z-90 is a fully portable telephone and information terminal, with automatic access to the Cambridge Universal Database. It costs £199.95 including VAT. Within three weeks add-ons are available that plug into standard telephone sockets, enabling users to scramble conversations and blow the brains out of the Government surveillance circuits. These are declared illegal. A joint body of programmers, business and journalists take the CCTA to the Court of Human Rights, and the legislation is overturned. Fertile Fergie gives birth to her second child, also named Wendy. Britain wins the Frigg War with minimal losses incurred when HMS Insufferable rams Muckle Flugga In the Shetlands, due to an unfortunate computer error. Margaret Thatcher calls a snap election.
Returned for a fourth term, with 39% of the vote and a majority of 42 seats, the Conservatives complete the dismantling of Trade Union power. Workers quickly accept the Anglo-Japanese system of company loyalty and job protection. All restrictions are lifted from radio broadcast licensing as the Independent Broadcasting Authority is abolished, and the airwaves are sold off to the highest bidders. National commercial radio networks decimate Radios 1 and 2, pirate stations are tolerated to allow token free expression, but the BBC has become the voice of Government. The Soviet Glasnost satellite achieves surprising success with a schedule of sport, classical music and old Charlie Chaplin films. Sony announce a global interactive satellite system, to commence in late 1992.
Philips market television receivers with an on-board read-write optical disc, capable of recording two hours of near perfect sound and vision. Advance bookings are offered for burials in space, by Eternity Incorporated of California. The incurably ill super-rich are invited to have themselves cryogenically frozen and sent into orbit, until cures are found for their ailments some time in the future. After the US space shuttle explodes on re-entry, Eternity Incorporated negotiates favourable rates for use of the Chinese Long March rocket.
Six months after the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Government is overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists. The four and a half million Afghans who remain in Pakistan become the focus of the new international movement, and the revolution spills across the border. The USA and USSR secretly agree to keep the Iran-Iraq war going indefinitely, to prevent the threat of peace, and any further strengthening of Islam.
Parents now have the option of having their test-tube baby grown with its Walkman fitted. The first such infant, Wendy Wendyson is born, immediately yells 'Go for it!' and signs a deal to have its life story published in the Sunday Sport.
Richard Branson's package holidays to resorts in the Black Sea area of the USSR are having unexpected resuits. Now that muggings, hooliganism and hotel thefts are vital parts of holidays in Spain, Greece, Italy and the traditional destinations, AIDS is part of the African and Far Eastern itinerary and murder comes free in South America, the USSR's guarantee of cheap, safe, uncrowded beach holidays make the Black Sea an attractive retirement prospect for the British middle classes. Emigration of frightened capitalists to the stability of the Moldavian Republic begins.
Meanwhile, Disneyland is forced to change its image to attract the huge demand for Rambo theme holidays. Clients can enjoy Dumbo hunts, feast on Bambiburgers and the authorities turn a blind eye to those who want to snort Ghoofy. Computerised Sim-Stims not only provide fantasy holidays, but are booming in the areas of simulated pornography, warfare and playing live with Eddie Cochran. Domark release the best-selling Sim-Stim yet, which allows the player to take the role of Bonnie Langford's assassin. Sim-Stims are also used for military training, driving lessons, first aid experience and religious conversion.
The first spare-part surgery bank is opened by Joan Collins, for BUPA. with the remnants of the National Health Service in a state of total collapse, the remnants of human beings are offered for sale on the open market. Esther Ranzten endorses a similar service for retired greyhounds and shire horses. The Sun begins a daily prize bingo feature, with lucky winners receiving new livers, kidneys, hearts, etc. In certain Third World countries, and parts of Ludlow, the starving poor form orderly queues to sell off their spare parts.
CRL's seasonal release carries its traditional adults-only certificate. It is a tasteful little number endorsed by Myra Hindley and Little and Large.
Steve Gold's punk anarchist group of computer programmers repeats the success of the German hackers, who broke into the NATO defence computer back in 1987. They manage to persuade a Trident submarine that its girlfriend is having an affair with an Israeli spy satellite, and HMS Dreadlock fires a sea-launch cruise missile in a fit of jealousy. And it came to pass that a brilliant star was seen over Bethlehem in Judea, and Io, the trousers of the world turned brown.
Next issue, Senator Clint Eastwood runs for President, the Yen takes over and Cliff Richard and Wendy get to number one with 'Livin' Death', 1991 and counting...