2028 by Ken Saunders

‘Well, Prime Minister … it’s the Luddites.’

Fast forward to Australia, 2028.  It’s not far away …  Picture parking meters as poker machines, virtual (instead of actual) radio shock-jocks … ASIO surveillance of a Charles Dickens Reading Group at Low Expectations, and the Communist Party of China as a multinational corporation.

Prime Minister Adrian Fitzwilliams’s finely honed political instincts tell him that now is the time to call a snap election. Will he ever have another opportunity like this?  His cabinet team is barely adequate, which is as good as it gets, the doctors have finally stopped protesting about the GP changes and (perhaps best of all) the Australian Greens are in receivership.  Winning the election should be a lay down misère.  In the absence of any organised credible opposition, what could possibly go wrong?

Meet the Luddites. The Luddites have their own rules.  They have no virtual presence (no website, no social media) they use carrier pigeons to communicate, and all their candidates are called Ned Ludd.  Yes, they have changed their names by deed poll, and they intend to run a candidate in every seat.

And somehow, they are a step ahead of the government at every turn. Policy announcements, nude protests, clever use of media.

I laughed my way through this novel, enjoying the fictional chaos and trying hard not to see any real parallels in current politics.  Great satire, and just what I needed.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith