What do you think about this proposed timeline?

  • It's interesting, keep it going

    Votes: 63 85.1%
  • It could be interesting, but you need to change it a great deal

    Votes: 5 6.8%
  • This is way off base, couldn't happen, abandon ship, Tory-boy

    Votes: 6 8.1%

  • Total voters
    74
Alright guys, this is my first timeline. I have a rough outline for what I'd like to do, but I'd like feedback, both on the concept and on what I have so far.

POD: 1944. Tories realize that the coalition isn't going to continue after the war, and start working on an actual alternative domestic program to the Labour Party's platform of radical change to every facet of British life.

Churchill wins, by the skin of his teeth, promising an equally radical platform, but based much more on the market. To any Americans in the room, this looks a lot like what happened in the postwar United States (GI Bill, Levittowns, etc.)

What do you think the long-term effects are? I plan to at the very least take this timeline to 1960, post-Suez.
 
Victory at Home
Victory at Home: The 1945 General Election

In September 1944, just as news arrived that the Allies had liberated Paris and were advancing through the South of France, a young colonel was sitting at a desk in Delhi serving as the assistant director of military intelligence in British India when a surprising note passed across his desk. The British government had authorised a secret delegation of leading Tories to travel to India with instructions to meet with the highest-ranking British officials within British India, and with representatives of the Indian independence movements, to ascertain what the postwar position of British India would be. Chief among these Tories was the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Thomas Lionel Dugdale. The young colonel would be tasked with briefing Mr. Dugdale on the military situation in British India when he arrived in Delhi in just five days’ time.

Mr. Dugdale arrived and greeted the young intelligence warmly, “My dear Colonel Powell, what have you to tell me?” The young intelligence officer treated the Chairman with the utmost respect. However, the conversation soon drifted away from the official business for which he had been tasked. Accustomed to sitting in a damp and dark office in London, Mr. Dugdale steered the conversation towards politics. Although immensely courteous and tactful, the young Colonel Enoch Powell was not one to hold his tongue, and proceeded to dress down the Chairman on virtually every Tory policy since 1935.

Although it could have been with all reason considered relatively uneventful, this meeting was to change the course of British history. Two days later, the young colonel found himself again in a meeting with Mr. Dugdale, this time accompanied by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of the South East Asia Command. An opportunity had arisen for Mr. Powell to take his services back to London, his commanding officer said, where he “would best serve his country.” Conveniently, he would also be able to serve the Conservative Party, if he so desired. Mr. Powell accepted the invitation, and left India for London on 1 October 1944.

Initially a researcher within the Conservative Research Department advising on Indian affairs, and still harbouring an ambition to serve as Viceroy of India, Enoch Powell began to find himself noticed for his thoughts on returning British soldiers from the war. His cornerstone idea was a housing policy which differed markedly from the Labour proposal of a massive State building programme.

His proposal included:

  • A new Servicemen’s Home Lending Authority, which would guarantee low-cost home mortgages for all returning British servicemen from the war, with no deposit required.
  • A new National Housing Authority, which would insure home mortgages for those who had served on the British home front during the war, publish guidelines for property developers, work with private developers to plan “New Towns” across the UK, and establish planning regulations across the whole of the United Kingdom to ensure a speedy building of homes
  • Within the National Housing Authority, a Servicemen’s Temporary Housing Authority, which would pay for rent or lodging expenses, for up to one year, for returning British servicemen
Enoch’s plan met with the enthusiastic approval of the Conservative Party, not least his new friend Mr. Dugdale, just as it was becoming increasingly clear that the wartime coalition would not be continued after the war, and the prospect of a general election before the war had entirely finished became a much greater possibility. This willingness to deviate from the specific recommendations of the Beveridge Report, but not necessarily the goals that had been embraced by Prime Minister Churchill on housing led a massive rethink in what Tory Party policy should be in this election.

Partially inspired by the bold vision Enoch had created, in forging an alternative to the political vision of the Labour Party for a centrally planned economy following the end of the war, the Conservative Party began to develop more distinct policies on many areas:

  • A National Servicemen’s Act:
    • Guaranteeing unemployment benefit equal to 100% of the average weekly wage up to 1 year following the date the serviceman was demobilised
    • Granting returning servicemen the full cost of tuition for any course of study to which they were accepted by any university or trade school, plus a stipend to live on
    • Establishing a Servicemen’s Business Loan Authority to grant low-cost loans to returning servicemen to establish new businesses
  • A National Railways Act, which would leave the railways in private hands, but would establish a National Railways Authority to guarantee loans to the railways to expand services
  • A new National Highways Act which would radically increase spending on road infrastructure within the UK
  • An Industrial Adjustment Act, which would provide grants to businesses to rebuild property damaged or destroyed during the war, and underwrite low-cost loans to transition from wartime production
  • A National Education Act, which would:
    • Establish two new degree-granting universities from the University Colleges in Nottingham and Southampton
    • Create four new “Technical Colleges” (in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, and London) which would grant technical certifications
    • Establish a new means-tested bursary system
In February 1945, a new public opinion poll for the evermore-likely upcoming general election was released which was initially barely noticed within the Conservative Research Department. The poll showed the Labour Party on course for a massive win in the upcoming general election. However, when young Enoch Powell saw this poll, he identified the grave risk that it posed not only to continued leadership by Churchill and the Tories, but to the implementation of his own carefully crafted policy proposals. He urged Dugdale to immediately begin to build a ground campaign out in the country to counter what had clearly been an incredibly successful campaign by Labour.

On 23 March 1945, Allied troops crossed the Rhine and it became abundantly clear that the war in Europe was rapidly drawing to a close. Although the coalition was still technically in force, the ground campaign suggested by Enoch, manned, uniquely, primarily by the housewives of servicemen, got well underway and Mr. Powell’s proposals became the crux of what was quickly becoming an unofficial election manifesto. Given the dual focus on servicemen and housing in the policy platform now being put forward in this quasi-manifesto, it was frequently summed up as a campaign for “Homes for Heroes”.

In May 1945, as Victory in Europe was declared by a triumphant Winston Churchill and the nation celebrated, the new ground campaign received a further boost as any remaining doubt was removed that a general election would very soon be held and Winston Churchill prepared to lead the Conservative Party into the election. However, this soon brought controversy within the highest echelons of the Tory leadership. Churchill remained completely focused on both the war and foreign affairs and was convinced that the British people would share his concerns. Recalling the dire warnings of Mr. Powell, his newfound friend Thomas Dugdale, Chairman of the Tory Party, requested a dinner with the Prime Minister to discuss electoral strategy. He brought Mr. Powell with him to Chequers on the night of 27 May.

Telling both Mr. Dugdale and Mr. Powell of his intention to address the nation on 4 June, he said he intended to draw a comparison between the horrors of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule even now still being uncovered and the Labour manifesto. Horrified, Mr. Powell implored the Prime Minister to reconsider this and to instead focus on domestic policies. The servicemen did not want to hear the Prime Minister attack his erstwhile government partners for seeking to provide them a better life, and instead wanted to the Prime Minister’s own plans. Mr. Dugdale provided the Prime Minister with a draft manifesto, the three discussed potential talking points to draw from it for his upcoming speech. Impressed with Mr. Powell’s apparent deep connection to the “man at the front” but still unconvinced, the Prime Minister promised to reflect upon these points in the coming days.

On 4 June, Winston Churchill, the man who had shepherded Britain through its darkest hour, addressed the British people with the following speech:

“The British nation have performed yet another of the great feats which have long characterised our people. We have, with the help of our brothers in the Empire, in the United States of America, and across the whole of the European continent, defeated the most pernicious force we have ever seen. It has taken much sacrifice. It has taken much toil.

The Socialists are fighting in this campaign, no doubt in good faith, with proposals which they say will ensure that the British people who have made this possible will enjoy the fruits of this victory. I tell you that they will not. They will, in trying to secure the fruits of this victory, poison the roots of the tree that provides the fruits.

Now, I tell you, I will not suggest that my party has an unblemished record. But I will promise you that under my leadership our proposals are the right ones. We shall ensure that the servicemen who won us this Victory Abroad shall also find Victory at Home. We shall fight this battle with as much vigour as we fought abroad. We shall ensure that our servicemen are able to live like free men, with homes to call their own, taking an education, or starting a business, with all the assistance that His Majesty’s Government can possibly provide.

We have won Victory in Europe. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, we will win Victory in Britain, with the right policies.”

Nearly exactly one month later, on 5 July 1945, the British people returned Mr. Churchill, the wartime hero, the man who many credited with nearly singlehandedly saving democracy in Europe, to power, albeit with a much-reduced majority.
 
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Results of 1945 General Election
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My immediate thought is that the POD will have to be before 1944. The "socialisation " of Britain had been happening for some while by then, both as a necessity of the war and because Churchill effectively left domestic policy to the Labour members of the Coalition who seized the opportunity. Churchill was really only interested in being a big player on the world stage.
Also, Churchill did not have a great history as a "domestic" politician, eg re-introduction of the Gold Standard, causing much hardship. These things had not been forgotten by much of the population.
 
My immediate thought is that the POD will have to be before 1944. The "socialisation " of Britain had been happening for some while by then, both as a necessity of the war and because Churchill effectively left domestic policy to the Labour members of the Coalition who seized the opportunity. Churchill was really only interested in being a big player on the world stage.
Also, Churchill did not have a great history as a "domestic" politician, eg re-introduction of the Gold Standard, causing much hardship. These things had not been forgotten by much of the population.
I think you're right about Churchill being much more concerned with the world chess game rather than domestic policy. He even made this the centerpiece of his election campaign in 1945, clearly misjudging the mood of the country. My thought process here is what if Churchill regained his usually adept political skills and realized that even during a world war the people want to know what your policies are that will affect them, not comparing your opponent's policies to the Gestapo and banging on about foreign policy.
 

bobbins

Donor
Watching with interest. Avoiding the post war mistakes as much as possible would make a big difference. However I do think as mentioned the POD may be a little late.
 
I think you're right about Churchill being much more concerned with the world chess game rather than domestic policy. He even made this the centerpiece of his election campaign in 1945, clearly misjudging the mood of the country. My thought process here is what if Churchill regained his usually adept political skills and realized that even during a world war the people want to know what your policies are that will affect them, not comparing your opponent's policies to the Gestapo and banging on about foreign policy.
I don't think Churchill's personality can be changed. Possibly have a progressive Conservative be given a major domestic post in the Coalition government, rather than have them dominated by Labour. Don't know who...Macmillan?
Btw, don't mean to hijack or torpedo your timeline...
 
re: POD .. around 1932-33 when five to seven million Ukranians were starved to death as a direct result of Soviet communist policies ..... or maybe 1935-6 after a few more facts emerge of the pogroms, purges, Gulag slave camps and so on.

I believe it was Churchill who said that if Hilter invaded Hell he would at least make a faverable reference to the Devil .. well after that he should have gone back to telling like it was (yes, the Soviet Union is Hell, at least for it's people) , rather than denying things like the Katyn Massacre and finding excuses for every one of Stalins excesses ..
By 'talking up' the Soviets, Churchill effectivly sowed the seeds of his own downfall .. instead he needs to point out that the Soviet industrial production rates are achieved by using more forced labour than the Nazi's .. and that a 'centrally planned economy' means there will be inevitable shortages of basic needs such as food, clothing and housing ...
In short, the socilist / communist 'adjenda' has to be linked to the destruction of wealth and living standards ..
 
Imo the best thing to do would be replace Churchill with Eden as soon as possible.
Well maybe (but only some time after mid 1945 = before that Eden would likley have messed up something on the military front) .. But the problem with Eden (I suggest) is he's too closley linked to the pre-war appeasement era of Chamberlain ... then he tries to make up for it during the Suez Crisis ...
 
Well maybe (but only some time after mid 1945 = before that Eden would likley have messed up something on the military front) .. But the problem with Eden (I suggest) is he's too closley linked to the pre-war appeasement era of Chamberlain ... then he tries to make up for it during the Suez Crisis ...
So much tension and immobility in the Conservative Party from 1945-55 came from Churchill hanging on and Eden snapping at his heels as successor in-perpetual-waiting.

Churchill was definitely past it by 1950. Eden would breath some freshness into the Tories, and had some quite intriguing ideas.
 

Garrison

Donor
The Conservatives could promise the moon in 1945, I doubt many voters are going to be swayed by their Damascene conversion to social change. Labour simply has to remind people about the 'Land fit for Heroes' rhetoric after 1918, not to mention the memories of the Depression and the laisse faire policies of the Tories will loom large with the working class electorate.

Also having Churchill, who was remembered as the man who sent in the troops to break up strikers as home secretary, trying to play social radical and sell these policies is just not a goer. There are solid reasons why the man who held the country together throughout the war was dumped as soon as it was over.
 
Well maybe (but only some time after mid 1945 = before that Eden would likley have messed up something on the military front) .. But the problem with Eden (I suggest) is he's too closley linked to the pre-war appeasement era of Chamberlain ... then he tries to make up for it during the Suez Crisis ...
Why do you believe Eden would have messed up on the military front? He would surely leave military matters to military men; the military operation of Suez was a success.
Also I'm not sure he was linked to appeasement; rather the reverse.
I actually believe Eden was a capable and pragmatic politician, prior to the botched bike duct operation which almost killed him. He was in favour of a deal with Nasser, but then apparently lost patience, presumably an effect of the drugs he was taking.
However, whether he could have reversed the unpopularity of the Conservatives in 1945 seems unlikely, for the reasons set out by Garrison. Although I agree that dumping Churchill would have helped immensely.
 
The thought of a govt involving Enoch Powell butterflying away Clem Attlee’s made me feel quite ill. If tax cutting Tories are in power post WW2, let them give tax breaks to companies willing to invest massively in R&D and in new plant.
 
As others have said, you need to shift things up a lot earlier.

In addition, facsimiles of US policy simply aren’t going to have the same follow through in Britain. There is not the same demand for soldiers coming home to go to the relatively few universities around at the time, for one. It is rather precipitous to have huge road programmes in the mid 1940s, in another glaring example.

Having Powell, a political non-entity at the time, become the agent for chosen policies and radical change adopted overnight, simply doesn’t work. It is a deus ex machina too far.

The elephant in the room, which you haven’t dealt with so far, is how to pay for it all.

What you want isn’t impossible, but will need a lot more change a lot earlier and need to be crafted together a lot mor organically.
 
I don't think Churchill's personality can be changed. Possibly have a progressive Conservative be given a major domestic post in the Coalition government, rather than have them dominated by Labour. Don't know who...Macmillan?
Btw, don't mean to hijack or torpedo your timeline...
Not at all, I welcome the feedback. I think you're right that changing Churchill's true personality is impossible. But he was a shrewd politician for most of his life. I think he could possibly put aside his desperation to talk about foreign policy for a few months if he's correctly judged the mood of the country as wanting a focus on domestic development.

I had considered an earlier departure point, in a similar vein to what you'd described. The trouble is that I'm worried about potential butterflies in how the war actually goes. I'd like to keep the war pretty much as it was, with the only difference being a...different postwar consensus.
 
Well maybe (but only some time after mid 1945 = before that Eden would likley have messed up something on the military front) .. But the problem with Eden (I suggest) is he's too closley linked to the pre-war appeasement era of Chamberlain ... then he tries to make up for it during the Suez Crisis ...
Eden wasn't really an appeaser at all. He'd resigned over Chamberlain trying to play nice with Mussolini. Are you saying that the public would have nonetheless associated him with that? I doubt it, because when he did eventually take over from Churchill, his anti-appeasement stance and resignation were mentioned by the press constantly, especially during Suez.
 
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