A Prediction from 1988

Over half of all households in Britain now receive more money from the State than they pay in tax. And one in five people in England and Wales are classified as disabled.

Here, below, is what I wrote 35 years ago in a book called The Health Scandal. Reading it again I am startled by just how accurate it has turned out to be – especially the last bit.

‘By the year 2020 one third of the population in the developed world will be over the age of sixty five. One quarter of the population will be diabetic. In every home where there are two healthy parents and two healthy children there will be four disabled or dependent individuals needing constant care. Diseases such as blindness (which is ten times as common among the over 65s and thirty times as common among the over 75s) will be as common as indigestion and hay fever are today. Unemployment will be normal. Stress related diseases will be endemic. Developed countries around the world will face bankruptcy as they struggle to find the cash to pay pensions, sick pay and unemployment benefits.

Resentment, bitterness and anger will divide the young and the old, the able bodied and the dependent, the employed and the unemployed. There will be anarchy despair and civil war. There will be ghettoes of elderly and disabled citizens abandoned to care for themselves. There will be armed guards on our hospitals. Those with jobs will travel to work in armoured cars.

For years those who have forecast the end of the human race have talked of nuclear war, starvation in the Third World and pollution as being the major threats to our survival. But the decline I predict for the year 2020 will be triggered not by any of these forces but by much simpler and entirely predictable developments. The human race will be destroyed by medical ambition, commercial greed and political opportunism.’

I wrote that in 1988. Sadly, it wasn’t the science fiction many readers thought it was. A new edition of The Health Scandal is now available in paperback from the bookshop on this website.

Vernon Coleman’s book How to stop your doctor killing you is available as a paperback from the bookshop on this website.