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

Thanks @powerab for the kind word and response.

I struggle with the notion there would be such a strong pro-Junta sentiment so soon after the restoration of democracy. There does tend to be a "wistful" recollection of such things some years later but the turning of the page would be quite popular.

I'm curious with how the Junta managed to inculcate such a strong aversion to democracy amongst younger people - were newspapers and radio strictly controlled?

Even so, it's not North Korea, nor, I imagine, the German Democratic Republic. Presumably British people were able to travel abroad ? It's hard to isolate Britain from the rest of the world and to be fair you don't suggest Mountbatten or Hill-Norton advocating a form of British Juche.

I'm not sure how the continuing provision of state control in the economy would look especially at a time when the direction of travel elsewhere was so different. Would there still be a British Rail, a British Leyland, a GPO?

What about the cinema? Would American movies be allowed - how does a film like "Saturday Night Fever" resonate to a British audience in mid-70s Junta-run Britain?

What about the arts in general ?

Sport - I could imagine an earlier return of a South African team to England and I imagine Australia and New Zealand would be welcome (that's a thought - how would the Gough Whitlam business develop?) but what about India, Pakistan or the West Indies? Elsewhere, I suspect the top footballers would head to Europe as they did in OTL to some extent - does Hillsborough still happen, presumably Heysel doesn't? What about football hooliganism in general?
People like Yaxley and other members of CA make up a fringe group of British Society, The New Nationalist Party, a neo-fascist party of the Junta's most hardline defenders, got less than 1% of the vote. For those diehard Junta supporters, it's a mix of nationalism, racism, and dangerous nostalgia, similar to how most people end up in OTL far-right groups. It's most concentrated in the very young (who are too young to remember the dark days of the 70s) or the very old who was insulated from a lot of the chaos.

There was some form of censorship to films around moral standards under the BBFC and general education was supportive of the Junta but it wasn't on the levels of Juche.

British people were allowed to travel abroad with some monitoring by MI6, with the obvious exceptions of countries like the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Things that the Junta saw as strategically important such as Rail and the Post Office remained in public hands, but companies like Leyland were privatised by Hill-Norton. In fact, communications and post being so centralised was one of the reasons that brought the Junta down. Alan Johnson served as head of the Communications Union and organised a walk-out after Hill-Norton's death. This would completely cripple Britain's communications and snowball into the General Strike of 2003.

British arts are generally much weaker than OTL, many of the big acts of the 60s and 70s like the Beatles emigrated, and new acts were unable to grow in isolated Britain. If you're a European and want to make it in the arts and can't afford to move to LA, you go to Paris, not London.

As for sport, I confess I know very little about sport so I can't really give you an answer, but I encourage wiser people than me to speculate and form a headcanon. I imagine hooliganism would be very political, especially in cities like Liverpool and inner London which had strong Red Brigade presences. I can see the Red Brigades recruiting amongst Liverpool fans. I imagine Hillsborough would still happen leading to increasing amnesty between Merseyside and the Junta.
I'm going off of the Spanish coup attempt in 1980. Juan Carlos told them to stand down and they did. The Queen is far more respected in the UK than Juan Carlos ever was in Spain. If the coup succeeds, I'm going to assume its because the palace allowed it to. In which case she would lose most of the world's respect.

Edit: come to think of it, David Windsor might have agreed to a coup, were he and Wallis not exiled in France
You are right @Saluriel the Crown's international standing is lessened considerably, they did support the transition to democracy and are trying to rebuild their image (one of the motivations behind the Buckingham Party) but it will take a lot of work to restore their reputation.
What about the Falklands? Did Argentina invade them as IOTL or having a military government in London deterred her? If yes, UK was able to fight back or the international isolation crippled his response? Or again, did this response more aggressive even then Thatcher’s one, maybe following the worst “Sink-Belgrano-Bomb-Buenos Aires” Thatcherian instincts? I would suppose the war didn’t happen or was a British victory due the assumption that a humiliating defeat would buy little time to the Junta while it endures until 2004.
The Falkands did happen, unlike places like Hong Kong Argentina is a much weaker power and unlike places like Rhodesia the people of the Falkands wanted to remain British. The response was a lot more aggressive including some bombing raids on mainland Argentina, the result was a British victory, helping to stabilise the Junta at home. But its over-aggressive response did further harm its international standing.
How do you address the First Lord? Is it "Your Lordship" or "Mr First Lord?"

And more to the point, if it's the former, and you have an American president like Jimmy Carter who probably doesn't appreciate Britain's democracy being overturned by a coup, is it possible an unfriendly American president might tweak the nose the first Lord by calling him "Mr First Lord?"
The informal title is "My Lord" or "Your Lordship" similar to how one would address a regular member of the House of Lords. Officially his title would be "His Excellency" but yes that doesn't stop Americans calling him "Mr First Lord"
I wonder what was the junta's relationship to the Commonwealth & NATO like? Also, what happened to its Overseas Territories? Did they lose more or kept more than OTL?
The Junta was expelled from NATO but thanks to US pressure remains a Major Non-NATO ally and is effectively a NATO member in all but name. Most overseas territories were lost around the same time if not faster as Britain didn't have the political capital or international support to fight for its overseas territories. The loss of colonies was generally more chaotic and less mutually consensual than in OTL.

As for the Commonwealth, most nations remain out of loyalty to each other or the Crown, but the Commonwealth has lost a lot of the moral high ground when one of its developing nations undergoes a coup.
Very interesting and well written timeline, well done on the opening context evoking the same feelings I felt when reading A Very British Coup. I’ll admit though it’s upsetting to see Wiltshire seemingly partitioned between Somerset, Gloucestershire and perhaps Hampshire. I can’t imagine the victims of these province mergers would be very happy about being split between other counties!
Yes, there was a lot of grumbling from the English Counties but nothing really concrete, the worse responses came from the partitions of Scotland and Wales which in the most extreme cases caused minor riots to break out.
I wonder how this affects punk.
During the Junta it probably battled with the local police, had underground clubs, records and radio stations. Lots of young people listening to it, drinking and fighting. Now with the transition there is an explosion of punk bands of various backgrounds and political opinions.
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On 21 March 2005, Bob Wareing, the British Socialist Alternative Member of Parliament for Merseyside died after being shot. His assailant, Stephen Yaxley, was shot and killed by an armed officer at the scene. An inquest concluded that Yaxley wanted to prevent Britain's transition to democracy.

The incident was the first killing of an MP since Michael Ancram was assassinated by the Scottish National Liberation Army in 2001.


Wareing, a pre-Junta Liverpool City Councillor was elected to represent Merseyside at the 2005 general election, having spent several years in exile.

On 21 March 2005 Wareing was on his way to a party for new MPs at Buckingham Palace when Yaxley shot him twice with a modified Browning Hi-Power handgun.

Armed Police Officer Lewis Smith 26, shot Yaxley. He was awarded the George Medal for his bravery.


The perpetrator of the attack was Stephen Yaxley a 23-year-old engineer from Luton. Yaxley had mental health problems, though he was declared sane at the moment of the crime. He believed individuals of pro-democracy viewpoints were the cause of Britain's problems. Investigators writers suggested that he targeted Wareing, as he was a "passionate defender" of Socialism.

Yaxley had links to British far-right groups including Civil Assistance. In his home were found Junta regalia, far-right books, and information on the construction of bombs. He had searched the internet for information about the far-right New Nationalist Party (NNP). He also owned Mountbatten iconography as well as books and films related to the 68 Coup. A police official described Yaxley as a "loner."
Unrealistic, there is no timeline where Tommy Robinson isn't a pussy 0/10
The Liberals just went along with the coup? They were no fans of Harold Wilson but I highly doubt they’d support that kind of action against him.
Yes not very likely that this would happen You might get a handful of right wing has beens or oppoortunists may be Clare Brooks ' its too eatly for Alex Carlile or Alton' no one else is joining' ironically this could save Thorpes reputation in exile safely away from Scott
Chapter 3: Two Funerals and a Flight

Despite worries of violence, Wareing's funeral was mostly peaceful

“About 3,000 mourners have attended the funeral of murdered MP Bob Wareing in Liverpool. The 76-year-old died after he was shot outside Buckingham Palace. His family wanted the service, which was held at Liverpool Cathedral to be a joyous celebration of his life. The service opened with tributes from Prime Minister Alan Johnson and was led by Socialist Leader, John McDonnell, a confirmed pastor. Johnson called for an end to political violence. "To ensure that no other family has to go through this pain, today's tears must be transformed into action tomorrow. Words of sympathy today must lead to a vision in which politicians of any party can live and work without harassment, abuse or attacks."”
- Thousands pay tribute to Wareing, BBC News (2005)

Wareing’s coffin was marched through Liverpool before being buried at St James’ Cemetery. Several senior politicians joined the precession including Johnson and McDonnell. In his speech at the funeral, Johnson pledged an end to political violence and a crackdown on illegal arms import, condemning Civil Assistance. The early stages of the Home Office’s investigation had found most of Civil Assistance’s weapons had been imported via loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Initial Home Office actons had been a success, allowing the police to seize Civil Assistance safehouses and weapon caches but many CA leaders remained at large, including Mark Collett.

Wareing’s wasn’t the only funeral, Jim Callaghan too was dead. Callaghan had fled abroad during the coup and for 30 years served as the face of the British Freedom Campaign. The 93-year-old had been suffering from cardiac and kidney problems for the last four years but insisted on traveling back to Britain to see his home freed. He was there for election day but the journey took its toll and Callaghan died of Kidney failure. Johnson paid tribute to the man who “never let the light of Britain flitter out, no matter how dark things looked”. As one of the last surviving members of the Wilson Government, Callaghan’s death represented a link to past Britain could never get back.

“James Callaghan, a World War II veteran who led the British Government in Exile has died at age 93. Callaghan passed away at his home in East Sussex, the U.K. Press Association reported. Callaghan died 11 days after the first democratic elections. He is survived by two children, Margaret Jay, and Michael Callaghan. Prime Minister Alan Johnson called Callaghan was "one of the giants of the democratic movement" who lived a "long and active life". "He was one of the generations who fought in the war and came back determined to build a better, fairer, and different Britain," Johnson said in a statement. Callaghan, nicknamed "Big Jim" or "Sunny Jim," held the posts of Prime Minister in Exile, Home Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer.” - CNN Report (2005)


Callaghan was Prime Minister in Exile and Chair of the British Freedom Campaign from 1968 to 1998

Next on the agenda for Johnson and Foreign Secretary Tony Blair was a flight to Brussels to open talks around EU accession, with a population of nearly 60 million, Britain would be the EU’s most significant enlargement in history. Before Britain could join there were several issues that needed to be resolved, Britain’s relatively closed economy and weak finances, concerns of mass immigration, especially from war-torn Northern Ireland, and Britain's acceptance of the Euro. Above all the situation in Northern Ireland concerned the EU, the region had become a hub for weapons smuggling and political violence, although major IRA leaders like Gerry Adams had signed onto the Cardiff Accords, there was a considerable dissident faction still committing acts of violence. If Britain was to join the EU, it had to show it had Northern Ireland under control.

Whilst Britain still had a long way to go before joining the EU, they did take tentative steps to align themselves with Europe. Johnson and EU Commission President Margot Wallström signed a trade and cooperation agreement in Britain’s first step back to the international community. Johnson’s speech to the European Parliament pledging stable institutions with respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law across Europe received a standing ovation from MEPs. Despite eagerness on both sides, and promises of “fast-track” membership, it would still take several years for Britain to join the EU, but it was a start.


President Wallstrom was supportive of British accesion

Whilst in Brussels Johnson met with other major European leaders including German Chancellor Otto Schily, French President Édouard Balladur, and most importantly Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Johnson got on well with all three men, all being relative liberals. Cowen and Johnson were able to agree on further cooperation combating terrorism, smuggling, and other issues in Northern Ireland, with both men hoping to work together to bring about lasting peace. Johnson flew back to London with a new trade agreement and some cool new friends, some welcomed good news amongst the pressure at home.

Whilst in Brussells Johnson had been welcomed with open arms, at home the situation might be a bit more tricky. Whilst the SDP was strongly pro-European it did have a small eurosceptic enclave, most notably John Prescott and the trade union old guard. Furthermore, Johnson would need more than just SDP votes to bring Britain into the EU. The Socialist Alternative and RISE were mostly Eurosceptic and with the death of Wareing McDonnell was in no mood to compromise. There was also the issue of National, whilst some reformists like Ken Clarke supported EU accession, there was a considerable hardline influence who would run a mile at the idea. There was also the ever-present problem of the military, how would Her Majesty's Finest react to handing over sovereignty to the EU? Especially if this required giving up the pound? How would this decision be made, would he copy some countries and hold a referendum? That had never been done in British history before, or would a straight Parliamentary vote be enough? Decisions, decisions, all of them wrong.

“Britain's PM Johnson is confident EU leaders will announce his country can open accession negotiations. His confidence seems justly placed as the EU-14 are set to announce that talks with London will start early next year. The local media have been quoting “sources” saying that the negotiations are going to begin before the end of the year or early in 2006. The speculation has added to restlessness among the people to know where their country stands. One gets the feeling this is an ‘all or nothing game for a nation where everyone is convinced that they already are part of Western, ‘civilized’ Europe. But, by focusing on an accession date, they fail to pay attention to the transformation the country has to go through to qualify for EU membership. “The media are concentrating on the date,” said analyst Jon Worth, but “they have not been reporting on reforms in Poland or the Czech Republic.”” - Britain eagerly awaits EU accession talks, Helena Varendorff, Politico EU (2005)


Britain's accession would need to be approved by the European Parliament and all 14 Member States
Honestly there's something nice about a timeline where Callaghan gets some respect. Fair play to him. And after all the fuss in your previous timeline, going to be fascinating to see how talks with the EU go.
Wikibox: James Callaghan

Leonard James Callaghan, (27 March 1912 – 23 March 2005) was a British politician who served as Prime in Exile Minister of the United Kingdom and Chair of the British Freedom Campaign from 1968 to 1998. Callaghan served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1964 to 1967 and Home Secretary from 1967 to 1968. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1945 to 1968.

Born into a working class family, Callaghan left school early and worked as a tax inspector, before becoming a trade union official. He served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was elected to Parliament at the 1945 election, and was regarded as being on the left wing of the Labour Party. He was appointed to the Attlee government as a parliamentary secretary in 1947. He then began to move towards the right-wing of the Labour Party, while maintaining his reputation as a "Keeper of the Cloth Cap". After Labour's defeat at the 1951 election, Callaghan became regarded as the leader of the right-wing of the Labour Party. He stood for the positions of deputy leader in 1960 and for leader in 1963, but was defeated by George Brown for the former and Harold Wilson for the latter.

After Labour's victory at the 1964 election, Wilson appointed Callaghan as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This appointment coincided with a turbulent period for the British economy. Callaghan had to tackle both a chronic balance of payments deficit and various attacks on the pound sterling. On 18 November 1967, having denied that it would do so, the government devalued the pound sterling. In the wake of the decision, Wilson moved Callaghan to the role of Home Secretary. During this time, Callaghan was responsible for overseeing the operations of the British Army to support the police in Northern Ireland. During the 1968 Coup Callaghan was conducting a visit to the Northern Irish border and was able to escape to the Republic of Ireland. He successfully applied for political asylum with the Irish Government. Callaghan was the most senior Cabinet Minister to escape the coup. Alongside fellow exile Denis Healey he established the British Government in Exile.

He would remain Prime Minister in Exile from 1968 to 1998. Callaghan appointed Healey as Foreign Secretary and his deputy. As Chair of the British Freedom Campaign Callaghan was responsible for generating international support against the Junta. Callaghan resigned in 1998 to be replaced by Denis Healey. He supported the Cardiff Accords which confirmed the UK's transition to democracy. He was made Honorary President of the SDP party and its headquarters in London was named Callaghan House in his honour. He died on 23 March 2005 and remains to date the UK's de-jure longest-lived and longest-serving prime minister.
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What kind of economic or diplomatic relations the various members of the Commonwealth and former Empire have with the Nationalist government?