Imagine a UKIPian future – welcome to Gloryhole UK plc
In this book of short stories by debut author WK Grainger, the eponymous novelette describes a dystopian Britain in 2045 with a government made up of corporate CEOs, military leaders and celebrities. The UK is involved in wars in every continent and the workhouse has returned in the form of Economic Opportunity Centres, alongside corporate-sponsored brothels. In Tales from Middle England pts 1-4, we hear the voices of working people who could be waving or drowning. ‘I chose the title to reflect what is more likely to be the typical middle England, unlike that portrayed in the media whereby the average household has an annual income of £80,000,’ explained Grainger. Hyde Park, London 1983 is based on actual events at a CND rally and was originally titled ‘Kicking the Prime Minister Up the Arse’ but had to be altered for legal reasons…
The book is prefaced with two quotes that set the tone and outline the themes of the stories that follow: ‘It is a beautiful thing, the composure of an English bourgeois’ from Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1844 and ‘We’re all in this together’ from George Osborne at the Tory conference, 2009. ‘With years of politically-motivated austerity behind us already, and even more cuts planned almost indefinitely, I started writing some stories based on my own experiences and how millions of people, including many in work, are struggling to get by. I’m a keen reader and there is a gap out there in the world of fiction with issues of poverty and inequality,’ Grainger said. He self-published with Amazon CreateSpace as he was unable to find an agent or a publisher, but explained that he originally wanted a sticker on the front of the book saying ‘Not available from Amazon’ even though that may not be legally possible. ‘Beggars can’t be choosers, so I’ve had to sup with the devil,’ he commented.
WK Grainger is a low-paid public sector worker living with his young family on a council estate in the north of England. He has been a teacher, clerk, union activist and road sweeper and previously worked in the freight industry and stockbroking. After financial circumstances led him to relocate from east London, he started writing stories about the effects of austerity politics on ordinary people and British society. Grainger does not have any great literary ambitions, but hopes that the book will be regarded as being both relevant and topical and therefore get an echo. He plans to write some more stories but is still doing the day job.