"A Very British Transition" - A Post-Junta Britain TL

Glad to see a new update, I was missing them! Also shame on the Junta boys and their dirty tricks.

Did not UK join the EU club in 2006?

That’s interesting, I remember the last Election was in 2004, do you mean the Commons have a four-years term instead the current five-years one?
Also I’m wondering if this dysfunctional democracy and all the spreading kleptocracy/corruption could produce some populist anti-elite anti-traditional parties media-figure as in other post-authoritarian new democracies like Volodymir Zelenksy in Ukraine, Szymon Holownia in Poland, Andrej Babis in Czech Republic and Slavi Trifonov in Bulgaria and what British figura could fill a such role.
Yes 1986 was a typo, all fixed now, thanks for catching!

Yes the UK has four year parliamentary terms, which was fairly standard up until the fix-terms Parliament act, the last General election was in 2005 so the next will be 2009.

There will certainly be anti-corruption organisations popping up in the next few years.
Chapter 34: Dustbins and Bunting

During the local election campaign Johnson stood on a record of moderation

“Elections held too early tend to strengthen radical leaders who have been in the forefront of instigating conflict. Most election experts tend to agree on the need to differentiate between national and local elections. In general, it is considered to be more prudent to start with the latter. The stakes of power and wealth to be distributed are less dramatic than on the national level. In emerging democracies the population lives far removed from national capitals, where the big power game takes place. Thus, local elections are more relevant for their day-to-day lives than national ones. The real world of conflict management, peacekeeping and peacebuilding is a tough and contradictory one. It is full of dilemmas which are difficult to manage for those in the freshly built arenas.
” - Lecture by Winrich Kühne, John Hopkins University (2010)

Local democracy wasn’t a new idea to the people of Britain, Peter Hill-Norton had legalised local elections in the 1990s and they had gone through five local elections before national democracy had come swanning in. Of course there were some caveats, opposition parties were still illegal, meaning local councillors could only run as National candidates or Independents. Local candidates were still strictly monitored with anyone too critical of the Junta quietly removed from the ballot and sometimes their house. Councils had been balkanised with thousands of tiny councils covering parishes and boroughs. Long gone were the mighty County and City Councils of old. Local Councils also had their powers gutted during the age of the Junta, with policies like transport or social care taken back into the hands of the Westminster Government, most local authorities were reduced to being only slightly more powerful than your traditional parish council responsible for “dustbins and bunting” as Public Administrations Secretary John Major had put it in 1992.

The 2004 local elections had come at a strange time, the Cardiff Accords had been signed a few months earlier, but the Junta wasn’t set to be dissolved for another few months, so they found themselves in an awkward situation, the “dress rehearsal for democracy”. Of course opposition parties had only been legalised a few months earlier so they had scrambled to prepare for these elections, with it being unclear whether the Social Democrats or Socialist Alternative would become the main party of opposition. The results were fairly chaotic with a narrow SDP victory, including a strong result for the Alternative, as well as dozens of smaller parties, independents and Residents Associations making their way onto various local councils.


The local level was the only place independents had a real chance

Four years later the 2008 locals would prove the first test run before the 2009 general. Expectations were mixed, whilst the elections were held in the midst of a corruption scandal there was plenty for the SDP to be proud of. They had brought Britain into the EU and oversaw an explosion in Britain’s economy, many Brits were more prosperous now than they had ever been. National had good reason to be confident, considering the chaos the SDP was in but the Nationalists were divided too and Tim Collin’s leadership was constantly in question.


Collins needed a strong result ahead of the General Election

“It is easy to forget that indications about the outcome of the next general election could rest with the local elections tomorrow. 90,000 council seats are up for grabs. The contests represent Alan Johnson's first electoral test since he became Prime Minister. The Social Democrats are campaigning on neighbourhood police and crime. For Tim Collins the issues are whether he can make inroads into the northern suburbs and continue to hold National's south and rural bases. For John McDonnell, the issue is whether he can avoid a squeeze and help his party continue to outperform their national poll performance. In England, 11,000 local authorities are holding elections. National say it will be trench warfare, with no side making big gains.”
- Real test for Social Democrats lies in local polls, Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (2008)

The Alternative were braced for a bad election, the Alternative had overwhelming support in cities like Liverpool, Manchester and inner-London where for many years they had been the only force opposing the Junta, but their support for the Johnson administration had sapped away that support and angered the party’s grassroots. The Alternative was also starting from an unusually high point at the 2004 locals. In the chaos following the Junta’s fall the Communists and other parties that made up the Alternative were the only really political force still organised, whilst the SDP was building itself up from scratch, this led to the party getting a much greater result in the 2004 locals than the 2005 nationals where the SDP had managed to get itself established. All in all the Alternative was braced for a crash.

As for the minor parties the SNP and RISE were still competing to be the main voice of Scottish separatism, polling neck and neck. With Britain’s growing prosperity and the end of military occupation, support for separatism had ticked down slightly in the polls, meaning both parties were fishing in a smaller pond. Reform had also managed to organise itself properly in unionist areas of Scotland and liberal southern towns across England, this would form the first real test for Brown’s new party. On the sidelines there was also Ecology, hoping to break into being a National force, the hard-right New Nationalists, and a variety of regionalist and smaller parties such as Mebyon Kernow. For these third rate parties local elections offered the only chance of political representation.


The local election results were generally seen as a narrow victory for National, who picked up over 700 council seats, mostly at the expense of the various Residents Associations and independents in rural areas, who had struggled against the organised might of National. The Alternative had the worst night, losing over 600 seats. They even lost some stronghold local councils such as Hackney Town Council. However the overwhelming result of the locals was stagnation, most swings only made up a point or two, there were no dramatic surprises and no sudden upsets. This was good news for the SDP as it meant democracy had stabilised, Britain’s voters had picked their tribes and they were sticking with them. Reform had made some small gains but nowhere near enough to challenge the 2.5 party system.

“How, and to what extent, money influences electoral outcomes in the UK is difficult to assess. Although there is general agreement about the range of ways in which such an influence may be felt. It is argued, for instance,that campaign promises made by incumbents, may be considered as a form of ‘collective bribe’. A strong party system has prompted responsibility for election finance to transfer to party headquarters. This is a development which gave rise to new kinds of corruption, but which reduced the level of traditional malpractice. The UK’s new model of democracy encourages central manipulation of public spending for partisan advantage. Whether or not we choose to regard such governmental expenditure as a form of ‘collective bribe’, incumbents generally start election campaigns with an advantage.” - Public spending and the benefits of incumbency, Report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2008)


The "Cardiff Consensus" remained unchallenged
Glad to see you writing after a brief hiatus. I was just curious about Top Gear and its hosts Jeremy, James and Hammond.
It would also be great if someone can create detailed maps UK's provinces and all elections since 2004.
Glad to see you writing after a brief hiatus. I was just curious about Top Gear and its hosts Jeremy, James and Hammond.
It would also be great if someone can create detailed maps UK's provinces and all elections since 2004.
Top Gear still happened as it was fairly inoffensive to the Junta, however James Dawe and Hammond are the presenters. May still works as a TV presenter on other projects. Clarkson is a Press SPAD for the National Party having made his way into politics from journalism, he is eyeing up a Parliamentary bid for 2009.

As for maps I haven't got on canonically but @Gust made a very good one. I'm afraid I'm not good enough at graphic design to make my own election map, but if someone else has the talent I'd love to see it!
Tried to depict the provinces on a map. The provinces of London are an abomination the way I've tried to depict them. Not sure if it's accurate though.
View attachment 656402
EDIT: I think this is more accurate.
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Top Gear still happened as it was fairly inoffensive to the Junta, however James Dawe and Hammond are the presenters. May still works as a TV presenter on other projects. Clarkson is a Press SPAD for the National Party having made his way into politics from journalism, he is eyeing up a Parliamentary bid for 2009.
If nothing else, it would be good economic propaganda for the British motor industry, flaunting why british built cars are better then their European counterparts


Top Gear still happened as it was fairly inoffensive to the Junta, however James Dawe and Hammond are the presenters. May still works as a TV presenter on other projects. Clarkson is a Press SPAD for the National Party having made his way into politics from journalism, he is eyeing up a Parliamentary bid for 2009.
What is a SPAD?
Glad to see you writing after a brief hiatus. I was just curious about Top Gear and its hosts Jeremy, James and Hammond.
Well, at least original presenters such as former racing car driver Tiff Needell (IIRC) will at least still have their original day job to look forward to.

Otherwise, great update, @powerab!
Chapter 35: Up the LA

Huge storms had wracked Scotland in the early summer, with local leaders struggling to cope

“After last weekend's biblical deluge in Scotland comes the political storms. Following a week when floods filled an Edinburgh underpass with water, the forecast for Scottish separatism is as gloomy as the weather with disappointing local election results. Senior SNP and RISE officials are despondent when you speak to them about the durability of the "non aggression pact" between the two parties. Both parties have cooperated to form administrations in all 4 Scottish provinces and have agreed not to criticise each other in public. Despite this, the two parties are engaged in a nasty form of shadow boxing. The other parties jibe that the separatists can't even bear being in the same room as each other.”
- It's showdown time in Scotland, Paul Kelbie, The Observer (2008)

Scottish politics remained in deadlock after the local elections. It’s two main separatist parties, the SNP and RISE were known as the “world’s worst frenemies”, whilst they often clashed in elections the two parties cooperated in every Scottish Provincial Parliament, trying to put on a united front. Whilst the SNP was slightly larger they often found themselves stalemated during electoral competitions, with neither side gaining a clear upper hand in terms of seats. In fact, both parties had declined slightly in the local elections, mostly attributed to Britain’s growing prosperity and a better organised unionist community under the Reform Party.

RISE especially was a strange case, straddling democratic socialist politicians all the way to hardcore former SNLA fighters. Their leader, Tommy Sheridan was often crass, refusing to condemn the acts of SNLA dissidents and increasingly taking the party in a radical direction. Unfortunately for Tommy, the Security Services’ targeting of left-wing politicians didn’t stop south of the border. He found this out the hard way when armed police stormed into his Glasgow flat at three in the morning. Tommy Sheridan became the first politician of the transition age to be arrested, on charges of collaborating with SNLA dissidents. Papers presented by the security services showed correspondence with SNLA commanders including figurehead Matt Lygate and even a picture of Sheridan meeting with armed masked men.


The tabloids described Sheridan as "inspecting the troops"

COCTI alleged Sheridan had been using his position as a parliamentarian to shuttle secure briefings and even public funds towards dissident separatist groups. Sheridan’s arrest and subsequent trial threw RISE into catastrophe, with two camps emerging in the party. One camp, led by figures such as Alex Neil and Elaine Smith, said the party needed to cut Sheridan loose, move as far away from him as possible, afraid the whole party could be banned under anti-terror legislation. Sheridan’s allies like Rosemary Byrne said Sherridan was facing political persecution, comparing him to Nelson Mandela, they called for the party to take a strong line defending Sheridan, even at the risk of being banned.

“At an inspiring rally in Glasgow on 7 June, 3000 people pledged their support for Tommy Sheridan. Sheridan faces terrorism charges and allegations he has met with SNLA dissidents. The Security Services have spent nearly a million euros of public money accusing Tommy of terrorism. After messages of support from socialists and trade unionists, RISE MP Janice Godrich, gave unconditional support. She described her shock at some of Tommy's parliamentary comrades refusing to support the party leader. Godrich proclaimed "They had a choice, and sided against the movement. It's a sordid story of disgrace and dishonour, they are class traitors." Another RISE MP, Jim Walls, former convener of opencast coal miners in Ayrshire, said that Tommy had his full support.” - Stirring rally backs Tommy Sheridan, Jim McFarlane, The Socialist (2008)


Sheridan had a loyal base of support in the separatist community

Many were suspicious of Sheridan’s arrest, even those in the SDP establishment. Home Secretary Charlie Falconer had seen his SDP comrades persecuted by the security services, and understood how fragile the peace process in Scotland was. Upon hearing of Sheridan’s arrest he had reportedly called COCTI Director Jonathan Evans demanding to know if he wanted “another fucking war”. But counter-terror officials knew how sensitive a target Sheridan was, presenting a water-tight case. This included secret recordings taken from Sheridan’s flat and car, evidence that could have only been collected by bugging. The Security Services didn’t even deny they had bugged Sheridan, calling it a “national security necessity”. Underhanded though their tactics were, the evidence was hard to refute.

As Sheridan’s trial mounted on and more evidence was presented in court, an emergency meeting of RISE's Executive Council was held. Neil and his moderate allies had a very slim majority on the Council and Sheridan was expelled from RISE, with Neil appointed as acting leader. A few days later Sheridan would be found guilty, sentenced to ten years in prison. Riots would break out in separatist areas of Scotland, and there were bitter divisions in Scotland’s separatist movements, Sheridan’s allies were outraged that neither the SDP, SA or RISE had done anything to prevent Sheridan going under. In what was probably poor taste Byrne recited “First they came” by Martin Niemoller in her resignation speech, three other RISE MPs left the party alongside Byrne, followed by dozens of provincial legislators.

Now Alex Neil had to pick up the pieces of his broken party, RISE hadn’t been banned, so he had succeeded in his first goal, now he had to stem the bleeding of members, modernise the party and turn it back into a fighting force by the election next year. Stopping members from leaving wasn’t only a political goal but a moral one. Whilst some RISE members were defecting to Byrne’s new “Workers Party of Scotland” just as many were making their way to the safe-houses of the SNLA dissidents. As one academic put it, Sheridan's arrest was “the greatest SNLA recruiting sergeant since the fall of the Junta ''. RISE had an important place in Britain's political peace process, if Scotland’s radicals lost faith in RISE, and by extension electoral democracy, many could return to violence.

“Between 2005 and 2009 the Scottish media was full of stories of ‘incidents’ that added to the growing mistrust between the parties. The publication of five reports from the Simpson Inquiry into possible collusion between the Civil Guard in Scotland in the murders of five civil rights activists in 2006 and the arrest of Tommy Sheridan in 2008 conspired against any possible thaw in relations between the various political positions. Public Administrations Secretary, Susan Kramer, told the Scottish Select Committee that trust remained key to the political process. Instilling this trust among political representatives remained a difficult job. After the general election results in 2005 National Leader, Tim Collins, insisted that National provincial legislators would not serve alongside separatists in any regional government.” - The Role of Trust in Transition Scotland's Political Institutions and Actors, Lecture by Gery Hassan, University of Dundee (2013)


The SNP had to decide whether to keep the non-aggression pact, or go for the kill whilst RISE was weak
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Johnson can't seem to have enough of this mess. I won't be surprised if he won't run for PM in the upcoming election.
I was curious about the influence of UK's soft culture around the globe. How popular are BBC series or music? Does British actors take part in Hollywood such as the The Wire which started in the early 2000s.
Johnson can't seem to have enough of this mess. I won't be surprised if he won't run for PM in the upcoming election.
I was curious about the influence of UK's soft culture around the globe. How popular are BBC series or music? Does British actors take part in Hollywood such as the The Wire which started in the early 2000s.
A lot weaker than OTL, British shows like James Bond and Doctor Who are no longer international export and the acting community is much smaller. A few British stars have broken through internationally but this is incredibly rare. Britain's film industry is a lot more in line with Australia rather than being the second-biggest film industry in the Anglo world
A lot weaker than OTL, British shows like James Bond and Doctor Who are no longer international export and the acting community is much smaller. A few British stars have broken through internationally but this is incredibly rare. Britain's film industry is a lot more in line with Australia rather than being the second-biggest film industry in the Anglo world
I would assume that the mid-2010s would perhaps be the golden age of British film and pop-culture, assuming democracy survives and the entertainment industry gets their act together. Potential songs about the junta's repression and police brutality, classic British comedy. Maybe Netflix decides to do a Junta-era based Narcos equivalent or even The Crown which may open uncomfortable conversations about the monarchy's relation with the Junta. But as you said, UK would need a large and active acting community. But I'm way too forward in the timeline.
Unrelated to the film industry, Social media may play a key role in the upcoming election which I'm very excited to see.
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Out of curiosity, what happened to Paddy Ashdown?
Ashdown was in Hong Kong for the coup, he briefly served in the early days of the Junta as Lord Lieutenant (military governor) of Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s. He would then be appointed UK Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. During the power struggle after Mountbatten's death in 1980 he would act as a whistleblower, leaking documents detailing Junta human rights abuses in Northern Ireland with the hope of bringing the Junta down. When this failed he and his family would defect to the Republic where he stayed until the Junta's fall.

He now serves as a Foreign Policy adviser to PM Johnson
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Chapter 36: Hail to the Chief

The world's least popular man was stopping by London

“London will be brought to a standstill in 10 days' time when the visit of George Bush will take place. Last-minute road closures and a rally at Trafalgar Square by an estimated 150,000 protesters will paralyse the capital. It will be the first ever post-Junta state visit by an American President, who will be the guest of the Queen for the duration of his stay. For security reasons the Police will not confirm a route for the cavalcade and will be forced to make road closures with minimal notice. After Air Force One touches down, the President and his entourage will be flown by helicopter to a reception at Buckingham Palace. Bush's arrival is likely to follow the pattern of his visit to Australia, when he was spirited away from protesters along empty streets.”
- Bush visit set to paralyse London, Martin Bright, The Guardian (2008)

George Bush was not a popular man in the UK, as the Junta collapsed and most of the world turned against him, including most of the American establishment, Bush and Cheney remained outspoken in a call for “calm and moderation” on behalf of the protesters. Relations further cooled after Alan Johnson pulled British troops out of the war in Iraq under pressure from the Alternative. Britain had been punished by the Bush administration, Bush had refused to make a single state visit to the UK as half the world flocked to see the world’s newest democracy, enraged by Britain’s betrayal in Iraq. There was no love lost between Bush and Johnson, but now Bush was on his way out, the US Presidential election due in just a few months and he was taking his farewell tour across Europe.

The Bush administration decided they needed to make their peace with democratic Britain and arranged a state visit. For Johnson accepting the state visit was a gamble, on one hand Bush was incredibly unpopular, the election was less than a year away, but Britain still needed the US, it’s aid and it’s investors. Above all, being seen with the world’s most powerful man would give his government much needed prestige and legitimacy. The people of Britain were less excited however and as Bush touched down in London he was met with protests up and down the country. Bush saw a packed schedule, alongside the usual affair such as tea with the Queen and inspecting US military bases he had a few more unusual visits.

One trip that raised several eyebrows was a personal visit to General Mike Jackson, the former Prime Minister under First Lord Peter Hill-Norton and close personal friend of Bush. This was of course met with suspicion from the political left, Bush meeting with the last great man of the Junta years, this was seen by many in the press as Bush giving a subtle endorsement to National and the remaining Juntistas. The biggest controversy of the trip was Bush's speech to both Houses of Parliament. In his speech Bush asserted Britain had to reclaim its role as a “productive, proactive partner” on the global stage, warning Britain could “run but not hide” from it’s global responsibilities. This was obviously a not-so-subtle dig at the withdrawal of British troops by Iraq.


Britain was eager to break it's reputation as an American puppet

“The British have grown used to Alan Johnson's hyperactivity at home. Now the rest of the world is getting a measure of it too. Coming up to 1,000 days in office, Johnson has brought Britain into the EU, given a diplomatic push to peacekeeping efforts in Darfur and helped to free journalists on death row in Libya. Britain, Mr Johnson seems to be saying at every turn, is back. What does all this frenetic diplomatic activity add up to? Mr Johnson's top concern seems to be to get Britain taken seriously again. In recent years, its voice has been barely audible. Under the Junta administration, Britain was hardly listened to outside of Washington, DC. Mr Johnson is determined to make good his campaign promise of a “rupture” with the Junta era.”
- Alan Johnson’s foreign policy: running fast, but where is he going?, The Economist (2008)

At the end of his speech Bush received a standing ovation from MPs which was customary for state visitors, but over 50 MPs refused to stand or even clap, including all the Alternative MPs as well as several left-leaning SDP MPs. This was a theme in Bush’s visit, many of these left-leaning MPs had been speaking at the anti-bush rallies earlier in the day and were in no mood to be magnanimous in Bush’s departure. One SDP MP even wore a “Yes We Can” lapel badge during Bush’s speech, a nod to presumptive Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama. The Alternative especially saw opposition to Bush as a great way to distinguish themselves from the SDP and make up for some of the support they had lost over the last few years.


The Alternative gained some standing in the polls after it's strong response to Bush

The Bush visit also had a geopolitical bent to it under the EU’s Treaty of Vienna, which Britain was a signatory to, EU member state Security Council seats would pass to a central EU seat. The US did not see the EU as a reliable partner and many within it’s National Security apparatus wanted Britain to keep it’s seat, or for the seat to at least go to a more reliable partner like Japan. The UN had already clarified that the EU would not be granted two seats, such an arrangement would be against the spirit of the Council. The main dilemma now was whether to keep the Council to four states, as favoured by Russia, or open up the Security Council to a new member, with the US favouring Japan and China favouring Brazil.

Johnson certainly wasn’t going to throw away the UK’s strong EU relationship for Bush’s paranoia. The economic benefits of EU membership far outstripped any prestige that could be gained by Britain desperately clinging onto her Council Seat. Johnson released Britain was going to lose it’s seat one way or the other, however Johnson agreed that the UK would formally petition for it’s seat to transfer to Japan, as a fellow western-aligned regional power. The EU was also likely to back Japan’s membership, meaning the Security Council’s western bloc was now united in support for Japan. For Johnson it was a relative political win, he got to tell Bush to sod off (very popular with the British people) and by magnanimously giving out the Council seat he was bound to lose anyway, Britain’s reputation abroad continued to repair.

“Johnson faced two overarching challenges: restoring Britain's reputation abroad and repairing relations with allies. The Junta got into trouble for both style and substance. UK allies were turned off by his Junta's disdain for multinational organizations, and refusal to tolerate dissent. The criticisms became more pointed when the Junta reinterpreted the Geneva Convention to allow CIA torture black sites on British soil. "Johnson has managed to dump much of the Junta's baggage," said Jonathan McClory, a foreign policy expert at the Institute for Government. "The fact that the UK has dropped its nuclear weapons and Security Council seat has gone a long way toward restoring it's reputation.” - Alan Johnson’s International Mess, Tim Jones, Politico (2008)


Whilst his domestic record was mixed, Johnson's foreign policy had been broadly successful
Great update, I hope London could work better with a Democratic administration. China would veto under every circumstances giving Japan a Permanent Seat and, with Third World being a strong majority in the General Assembly, I think Brazil, the unofficial representative of the World South, could win it, especially under an Obama administration. India is not going to be happy, that’s sure, after all the money for her nuclear program she is not even considered a finalist due Beijing’s opposition.
I doubt France would accept to lose her seat at the Security Council. It would be a great scandal and also a great boost for anti-EU personalities. Wichever president chose to abandon the french seat at the security council is already politicaly dead.