Greenwich is (probably) getting an Ikea. Here's what we predict will happen when it does:
1. Boat building returns to Greenwich...
... in flat pack form. Entire dreadnoughts are slotted together within hours. Within days England grows its biggest navy since Nelson. Boris wages war on the French. There's a problem with the flat pack boats. Some of the screws are missing. The navy sinks before it's reached Rainham. The navy has forfeited its right to a refund by patching up boats up with a glue gun. Boat building leaves Greenwich.
2. Greenwich Ikea becomes the new Hampton Court
Move aside, that other erstwhile residence of Henry VIII — Hampton Court. Yes, your maze has been around since 1700. Yes, it featured in Three Men in a Boat. But does it reward you with free little pencils along the way? Does it provide you with wing chairs and pouffes to collapse in at every twist and turn? The frisson of losing another £50 every extra five minutes you spend in there? Is it so desperately tricky to navigate that people have wound up getting divorces over it? Your days are numbered, Hampton Court Maze.
3. The birth of the meatball and Daim cheesecake pop-up
The time when eating salmon lasagna off a tray was for sustenance alone, is over. Canteen-style meatballs and Daim cheesecake are now in vogue. It no longer costs you 17p for a slice of Swedish apple cake, but £7.95. A late night pop-up — bafflingly called Ikea and Tina Turner — pumps the Swedish version of Waterloo through the Tannoy system, and offers chauffeured rides in a Volvo estate around the Greenwich Ikea car park. What's that? Meatballs are already hip? Maybe this one won't happen then.
4. People lose need for mum and dad
No one could be bothered to venture out to Croydon. There were rumours that Edmonton wasn't even a real place. But Greenwich? Oh yes, we've heard of Greenwich. The Cutty Sark... Meantime beer... the bit of the marathon with the Cutty Sark in it. Yes, we know Greenwich. Hi mum and dad, no need to come and visit us this weekend, picking up that new Hemnes bed frame on the way. They've got an Ikea in Greenwich now.
5. People realise that North Greenwich isn't Greenwich
Sorry, there's a North Greenwich? And it's not really in Greenwich at all? And it's 20 minutes away from Greenwich by train? And everything in North Greenwich is frozen in the year 2000? And why did I think I could get the entire contents of a bedroom onto a single-decker bus anyway? Got to give mum and dad a quick ring...
6. The O2's new purpose
In a world bereft of Michael Jackson, Prince and Leonard Cohen, The O2 must seek out other sources of revenue. After all, it's only a matter of time before the world realises Muse are an elaborate hoax. After record sales in the first year of Greenwich's new Ikea, they're looking to expand. Some clever clogs realises their next door neighbour is the world's most capacious flat pack building. The O2 becomes The Ikea Dome. This is what the people wanted, Mandelson, THIS is what they wanted.