RICHARD ORD: I've seen the future... it's hover boots and fag ratting!

It’s not always easy to predict how your life is going to turn out, but I feel I’m the ideal candidate to be a ‘fag rat’ in the not too distant future.
'Sorry miss, but are you old enough to be smoking that cigarette?''Sorry miss, but are you old enough to be smoking that cigarette?'
'Sorry miss, but are you old enough to be smoking that cigarette?'

What, you may ask, is a fag rat? Well, it’s a name I’ve just made up for the ne’er do wells who make money buying cigarettes for those too young to buy them themselves.

And in the year 2050 that’ll be anyone under the age of 41.

While I like Rishi Sunak’s idea of making it illegal for kids under the age of 14 to buy cigarettes and increasing that by a year every 12 months after that, it does result in some interesting social dynamics. I mean, by the year 2050, people in their 40s will be having to prove their age before they can buy a packet of ciggies.

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A young looking 45-year-old may be pulled up by the local newsagent before he’ll part with a packet of Lambert and Butlers.

‘Look at my eyes,’ the 45-year-old smoker will say. ‘Can’t you see the lack of hope. Jeez, how more hangdog do I need to look? Have you seen the car I drive? Of course I’m in my forties. Do you think I’d choose to look like this?’

Middle-aged smokers may have to get their kids to vouch for them. Or their grandkids. ‘Honestly mister, grandad is in his mid-forties. Give him his Benson and Hedges or he won’t treat us to an ice cream. He’s really grumpy when he doesn’t have his fags.’

Which is where I’ll come in. Your reliable fag rat. By 2050 I’ll be in my 80s and looking to supplement my meagre pension. Fag ratting could be a nice little earner.

‘Oi mister, can you buy me and me mate some fags?’

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I look the two 35-year-olds up and down trying to suss out if they’re on the level.

‘What kind of work do you do?’

‘I’m an accountant, my mate works for the council. Planning department.’

Both in suits, holding £20 notes. I’ll do it for them.

‘It’ll cost you a fiver,’ I’ll say.

‘No problem.’

‘Each!’ Their faces drop. It’s the year 2050, you have to drive a hard bargain. Those hover boots won’t buy themselves.

The unintended future consequence of today’s Tory policies. A lucrative trade in fag ratting, and the abolishing of HS2 results in the fast tracking of alternative modes of transport. Hover boots. I’d use them to nip over to the Rwanda penal colony to see how my kids are getting on...

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