Children Of Men (2006)
The Government: It’s 2027, and with global infertility leaving humankind somewhat on their last legs, the UK is the last fully operating country on a planet that’s gradually going kaput. Naturally, all manner of asylum seekers have made their way over to Blighty in search of shelter, only for the Government to round them up and sling them into detention camps.
Meanwhile, anyone caught so much as smiling at an immigrant is bundled in with them, whilst suicide kits are not-so-subtly marketed as a viable and helpful way out. Makes the Winter of Discontent look like a picnic. Rubbish in the streets? Pah, what were they whinging about?
Better than Labour? Definitely not. With anyone with an accent shunted into a holding pen, it’s a bit like watching a party broadcast by the BNP.
V For Vendetta (2005)
The Government: Enjoy the next seventeen years while you can, because 2027 sounds like it’s going to be a real stinker. Setting their Alan Moore adaptation in the year of choice for cinematic doom-mongers, the Wachowski brothers present a Britain governed by totalitarian crazies Norsefire.
As well as imposing the usual fascist nastiness (ethnic minorities, lefties and homosexuals placed in concentration camps, constant propaganda churned out through state-owned telly etc.) they’ve also set up an extensive and invasive CCTV network to keep a beady eye on any potential troublemakers. Unhappily for them, they soon come up against one troublemaker who quite enjoys the attention…
Better than Labour? No. For all their faults, Labour have at least managed to keep the Houses of Parliament in one piece.
The Government: In the city of Libria, the repressive Tetragrammaton Council rules with an iron fist. Not that anyone minds too much, as human emotion was outlawed years ago. After World War 3 left the planet in a bit of a state, the council decided that stupid old “feelings” were to blame, thus declaring anything other than total contentment illegal.
In order to make sure everyone stays on an even keel, citizens are forced to drug themselves with the emotion-suppressant Prozium, and turn in any “emotionally stimulating” material to the state.
Meanwhile, the mysterious crackpot running the place, known only as “The Father”, projects his benevolent image throughout the city. Anyone suggesting he might not actually be their best bet is swiftly confronted by a martial arts-trained, gun-toting police-force. All of which seems a bit far-fetched until you have a gander at present-day North Korea. Hmmm.
Better than Labour? Gordon sometimes seems like he’s been at the old Prozium himself, but at least his police force are a bit less punchy. Usually…
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984)
The Government: Uh-oh, it’s the daddy of creepy governments, the Party, rulers of Oceania and inadvertent inspiration for godawful reality shows everywhere. In Orwell’s Oceania the concept of “truth” has been hijacked, history books tinkered with, all individual thought outlawed… you get the idea.
Any potential contradictions are to be ignored via the concept of “doublethink”, i.e. accepting that something doesn’t make sense, and just rolling with it. The status quo is maintained by the sinister Thought Police, who take a very dim view of political dissenters, brandishing Room 101 (a nifty creation, capable of making flesh the worst fears of its inhabitants) as an effective deterrent to any would-be revolutionaries.
Society’s only hope is… a mild-mannered civil servant. And he doesn’t even have a Guy Fawkes mask. *Sigh*
Better Than Labour? No, but still a virtual “how-to” for every government since its release. If there’s a politician out there that doesn’t use “doublespeak” on a regular basis, we’ve yet to meet them.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Government: Welcome to a Daily Mail reader’s worst nightmare, as drug-fuelled teenage gangs prowl the streets, terrorising helpless Middle-Englanders and, er, listening to Beethoven. Broken Britain indeed, but who’s running the place? A government at the end of their tether it seems, perhaps explaining their radical new technique for dealing with teenage tearaways.
Involving a heady mix of straitjacket, drugs and intensely violent films, the Ludovico technique is a form of brainwashing that turns a potential menace to society into a gibbering wreck. Test-subject Alex might be a bit of a wrong’un, but it’s the free will-fearing government bods that are the film’s real scaries.
Better Than Labour? Cameron would have you believe they’ve let the country go to the dogs in a similar fashion, although in fairness, Alex and his Droogs would be prime candidates for membership to the Bullingdon Club.
In The Loop (2009)
The Government: A thinly veiled pastiche of the Bush administration, where the Hawks call the shots and the Doves do their best to make themselves heard, before jumping ship when things don’t go their way.
With rabid neocon Linton Barwick (a man who keeps a live grenade on his desk as a paperweight) running the show, even brass-balled Scotsman Malcolm Tucker is manipulated into making sure a shiny new war is whipped up, post-haste. Most of the other governments on this list are dystopian fantasies. This one is pretty much the real deal. *Shudder*
Better than Labour? Very much in cahoots with Labour, sadly. Better in the sense that they get to push Labour around!
Star Wars (1977-2005)
The Government: George Lucas’ intergalactic baddies the Empire are the playground bullies of this list, largely retaining power by being bigger and harder than anyone else. Presided over by crinkly-faced sneak Darth Sidious who, in fine political style, pretends to be one thing before revealing himself to be quite another.
Presenting himself as benevolent old gent Palpatine, he engineers the collapse of the Republic from his position as Supreme Chancellor, before neatly ushering in a new totalitarian regime and awarding himself the role of dictator-for-life. He may be many things, but that Sidious is no mug.
Better Than Labour? No, the Empire is far more, well, evil than Labour. Although even Sidious is cuddlier than dour old Gordon.
Soylent Green (1973)
The Government: In a future plagued by overpopulation, the US government has a problem on its hands: how to feed a bloated nation not best known for its ability to cut back on eating? Enter the Soylent Corporation, an industrial giant producing “high energy vegetable concentrates”, whose newest product, the surprisingly tasty “Soylent Green” could be the answer.
So where are these yummy green wafers coming from, if there’s no food left on poor old Earth? “High-energy plankton,” apparently. The fact that the Government has recently set up a load of assisted-suicide centres is mere coincidence, surely?
Better Than Labour? No, but then Labour have got Jamie Oliver to make sure today’s Soylent Green, otherwise known as Turkey Twizzlers, stays off the menu.
Logan's Run (1976)
The Government: More population issues crop up in Logan’s Run , but the government of the film’s unnamed domed city have come up with a fairly simple way of dealing with them. As soon as citizens hit thirty, they’re legally obliged to top themselves. Anyone trying to pull a fast one can expect a call from a Sandman, a laser-gun wielding enforcer charged with helping the process along a little.
On the flipside, life up until thirty is a relative breeze, with no work to be done and sexual pleasure available on tap. Obviously, there’s the whole enforced death thing to deal with, but if you can see past that…
Better Than Labour? Ritual suicide is a bit of a tough-sell, but they’ve managed to sort out fuel emissions in the dome so they’d probably get the green vote.
Starship Troopers (1997)
The Government: Earth, the moderately distant future. Government types The Federation are in charge, and are faced with the unsettling truth that we earthlings are not the only inhabitants of the universe. An icky race of giant bugs have set-up shop on the planet of Klendathu, handily situated within meteor-tossing distance of Earth.
With interplanetary relations increasingly tense, the Federation decides its high time humans were top dog again, cunningly announcing that citizenship and its inherent rights will only be granted to those who sign up for military service.
In the blink of an eye an army is amassed, a war is on and a bunch of high-school kids are getting shot at a long way from home. Hang on, haven’t we heard this somewhere before?
Better Than Labour? Tough one. A bit more sneaky about packing people off to war, although at least the giant killer-bugs were real. WMDs on the other hand…
Battle Royale (2000)
The Government: The film takes place in an alternative Japan, where everything has gone fairly pear-shaped. With millions out of work and poverty widespread the nation’s yoof have turned feral. So as to prevent a hormone-fuelled uprising, the government passes a radical bit of legislation that allows the wholesale kidnapping of a particularly disruptive class.
The troublesome kids are then tooled up with various weapons, placed on a remote island and instructed to kill each other, as the rest of the country watches on live TV. No “hug a hoody” pussyfooting here!
Better Than Labour? Certainly tougher on youth crime. All Labour ever came up with was the ASBO. But it’s not too late, Gordon. With Big Brother ending, Channel 4 have got room for a new reality show…
Erasing David (2010)
The Government: Gulp, it’s only the lot who are actually in power. David Bond’s new documentary takes a look at how our nation has become one of the most advanced surveillance states in the world, as information databases and CCTV cameras allow our every move to be monitored by the powers that be.
When Bond received a letter explaining how his daughter was among the 25 million children whose details were lost by the HRMC in 2007, he decided to find out just how much of our information is actually out there.
Disappearing for a month, he hired two private detectives to track him down by only using publicly available info. Thanks to the boys in Westminster, it’s a lot easier than you’d think…
Better Than Labour? They are Labour. Inconvenient timing, eh Gordon?