The Genesis of a Masterpiece

Even had he been well the shock would have been overwhelming but in his weakened state he felt the revelations almost too much to bear. He was he talking to a man whom he knew to be dead, and who had not only conceived of a time machine but actually built one.

"Britain was no longer a nation but merely a region of a supranational European state dominated by an self perpetuating oligarchy, which ruled through a layer of almost mindless bureaucrats, while the main part of the population lived lives of meaningless servitude. Everywhere I looked were instruments of surveillance and the masses were distracted from the realities of their position by constant lies and diversions, such as a national lottery and a concentration on shallow sporting contests. Even their mental life was no longer private but was invaded by a police force not seeking to deal with lawlessness but rather enforcing a uniformity of thought. If you wish a name for them I suggest Mind Police but you may be able to do better.

If my presence had not been invisible to them I should not have survived but I was able to travel back and forth through the decades to see how the freedom and democracy we fought for had died so completely. I saw how, in the 1940s, we once again triumphed in a great war against the Germans but then took a path which led to destruction. The politicians of the main parties ceased to believe in anything but their own advancement and conspired together to hand over the rights of the people to an alien power from which they alone would benefit. Their creatures in the government apparatus and the media lost sight of objective truth and would lie so easily that I felt their brains were no longer involved and that they were automatons, merely responding to orders from above. They seemed capable not only of changing their stated positions entirely but of then denying that they had done so and believing their own denial. An example of this was when they averred, in the year 2007, that a few cosmetic adjustments to a European constitution were actually fundamental changes.

Anyone who stood out against this process were first dismissed as lunatics or worse, but in the final years they merely disappeared, their entire lives being wiped out, as the oligarchy increasingly rewrote history to expunge them entirely. This rewriting of history gradually extended to everything and I saw the great conflicts of the twentieth century described as European civil wars, the blame for which attached as much to the old state of Britain as to Germany. The meaning of words were reversed, as to express patriotism became treason and the education system was systematically undermined, the vast majority of children leaving it knowing less and less of history and using a more and more restricted version of English which only allowed the ideas of the oligarchy to be disseminated.

Eric, I have come to you in this year of 1948 to ask that you write a warning which may change what is to come and save our beloved country from this awful fate. I cannot do so as my time is too early and it is only after the recent defeat of fascism that this even greater threat may be recognised. I know that you have a great knowledge of the political mind and, although of little relevance, it may interest you to know that a Prime Minister in the 1990s, one of those who did much to hasten this fate, shared your surname."

"Of course Wells, I will try", he replied, "although I will need to adjust the details in order that the people of this time do not believe the tale too fanciful. That the politicians of the devastated nations of Europe could so soon destroy Britain may seem to them unlikely but I will find a way to make the end of our nation plausible. I shall set it midway between now and the year you mention and will use that year as the title. Pray I succeed, else all our recent exertions will have been in vain, as will the long evolution of democracy in these islands".

Of course, as we know he did try but not enough believed. It seems the time line is too strong to be diverted, at least by an intellectual exercise alone.