Author: Stendahl

Take a deep breath. No really. Go on. Take a good deep breath. In… And how was that? Was the air good enough? Was it good enough? Or were you a bit disappointed? Good enough? You think so? Are you sure? Well what about your temperature? Are you too hot? Are you sure? Wouldn’t you like to be a bit colder? Okay. Now take another deep breath and read on.

You’re going to hear a lot of this fifteen-minute stuff, because a lot of places in Scotland are going to become fifteen minute zones. But this is probably going to happen all over the UK. And the world. Just like lockdown. Everywhere. And you’ll be reading a lot of articles saying this is going to be wonderful, and its an absolutely necessary response to pollution and global warming. But you’re also going to see a lot of other articles from alternative media saying it’s part of a conspiracy by the ‘World Economic Forum’ (the WEF for short,) called the ‘Great Reset’.

Who are the they? What is that? Don’t worry. Everyone who was an expert on epidemics when lockdown hit, and an expert on geopolitics when Ukraine was invaded, will soon be an expert on the WEF, so you will be an expert too. And it’ll be so easy and so simple. Like a breath of fresh air. So here it is. The new, wonderful plan. They say they’re going to “re-design existing towns, so that everything you need will be within fifteen minute’s walk from your home”. That way, you won’t need to travel by car, bus or train, or at least, only occasionally. And that way all the global warming will stop. Aren’t you excited? What’s not to like?

And how are they going to do this? Are they going to get everything within-fifteen-minutes-walk by installing new fire stations, new furniture stores and new hairdressers closer to you, by using spare buildings that nobody had noticed were unoccupied? Umm… No. No. No, initially, they’re putting up road blocks around the place, so you have to drive around the houses to get where you’re going. Then they’re going to establish zones. So you think twice about driving anywhere. And then after that, they’ll check you by camera, going from one zone to another. So after you used up your annual “100 incursions”, (an incursion is anything further than a bike ride,) you get a fine.

Now if you’re not picking up anything like the weekly shopping, a lawnmower or four kids from school, you get free exercise. And lots of fresh air. And this air will be a bit colder than it used to be. So you get to enjoy that. But if you have a wheelchair, a hip replacement or it’s raining and freezing and you’re a bit too bushed today for going for a jog? Tough. Nobody voted for it. Nobody asked them to do it. They’re just doing it. So I think they’re when they say they’re “going to redesign your community, so that you will have “everything you need within fifteen minutes”, what they actually mean is, they’re going to constrain your movement so that you will only have access to what is within a half a mile or so. Make do and mend.

How will that play out? Let’s imagine you’re a 20-something who likes to meet their friends from around Glasgow. And there’s a fancy bar with a DJ downtown and lots of cool people and you all go there on a Saturday and have a cappuccino and snacks and, you know, check out the scene. Tough. But hey, maybe your local bakery has coffee. Maybe they’ll set up some plastic seats beside the window. I mean coffee’s coffee, right? Or maybe they won’t. Well okay. You’ve got coffee at home. What’s with the moany face? And if you are the owner of that fancy bar? Again: Tough. This is about global warming pal, and you are the problem, okay?

But let’s imagine you’re a parent of two kids and you go to a discount supermarket to buy a car load of shopping and you need to take the kids with you, because you’re a single parent. Well if you have it’s in another zone, you only get to go there now and again. So mind you don’t forget the toilet paper, yes? Or maybe you’re a supermarket manager, and you’ve been worried about how business will go after lockdown.  No more government subsidies.  Can you avoid job losses?  Can you stay open.  Hopefully you’re back in business, right? Well sorry, but suddenly, very few of them can come within a mile of you.  You are, as they say, On. Your. Bike.

But don’t listen to me.  I’m just a conspiracy theorist.  It’s going to be wonderful. It is. Because who doesn’t like cycling? And it’s saving the planet. Yes really. And you get all that lovely air! Lovely, cold air. I can’t wait for it? Can you? Breathe everyone! Brrrrreathe!



I am a realist writer from 18th century France.