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

What kind of economic or diplomatic relations the various members of the Commonwealth and former Empire have with the Nationalist government?
Most Commonwealth countries stayed in the Commonwealth out of loyalty to the Queen/their fellow members, although because Britain's economy and global standing isn't as great as it once was, it isn't as dominant as it is OTL within the Commonwealth. It also means Britain has lost the moral high-ground when a developing country undergoes a civil war or coup. So generally the Commonwealth is weaker.
 
Chapter 4: Strategic Retreat
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John Bercow was one of the most high-profile Reformist figures in the National Party

“MP John Bercow is right that National can’t afford to wait for the economy to fail. But that may still represent one of their best chances of regaining power. National is, as we write, embarking on a divisive disagreement on the required depth, breadth and meaning of its ‘transition’. Such reform is hard to sustain as many traditionalist Nationalists do not believe such changes are necessary. For all the talk of a large influx of reformists among the 2005 intake, they still constitute a minority in the party. For every Michael Gove, there is a Mike Nattrass. Any attempts at radical change could result in renewed factional infighting within the party. This is unlikely to help it regain power.”
- New Office, Same Problems: The National Party, Lecture by Philip Cowley, University of Nottingham (2005)

Whilst the SDP’s honeymoon momentum was seemingly unstoppable, over in the Norman Shaw building of Parliament, Opposition Leader Tim Collins was getting comfortable in the Leader of the Opposition's Office, the first permanent residence since 1968. The elections had been fairly disastrous for National, whilst they had expected to lose they hoped fear of change and Collins’ personal popularity would keep them above 200 seats, now they were solidly in the wilderness. The National Party hadn’t experienced failure for over 30 years, for many of its MPs the election was traumatic.

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As well as being political damaged, National was in dire financial straits, struggling to afford it's headquarters in central London

National had always been a confederation, Tories, Liberals, Ulster Unionists, army officers, businessmen and media moguls made up its founding. It’s modern caucus was split between several factions, from the hardliners on the right who wanted to go back to the good old days of troops on the streets, to the reformists, eager to put the Junta behind them and get Britain into the EU. Collins found himself between the two wings, a former Governor of Northern Ireland, Collins was used to people not getting on, but not to treachery. Thanks to the newly freed press, leaks became a thing again, parliamentary questions, press releases, PMQs, Collins was in a brave new world, and not all his troops were behind him.

His most pressing concern was the more radical liberals in his party, many of them would naturally feel at home in the SDP, staying in National out of loyalty or opportunism, now National’s polling had taken a nosedive they might defect or even start their own party. Men like David Laws and John Bercow who’s political instincts were for Europe and deeply distrusted the hardliner factions of the party. Whispers in the Parliamentary tearoom said Laws was already having conversations with the SDP around defection, even possibly being offered a Cabinet job, if MPs began to jump Collins would quickly find himself alone with the hardliners.

“Tim Collins today put Europe centre-stage in an interview with The Sun , pledging a referendum on joining the EU if he became prime minister. Although Collins stops short of suggesting Britain not join the EU, he says a referendum would "give us the view of the British people". His tactic was immediately attacked as a "whip up their core vote" strategy by EU Minister Geoff Hoon. Mr Hoon, told the BBC: " I hope this doesn't mean that National are going to the, 'Let's whip up our core vote with right-wing issues' approach to elections. In his interview with the Eurosceptic Sun newspaper General Collins said if he became PM he would not secede powers on a variety of issues to Europe. A poll, he said, would allow voters to judge if joining the EU would deliver for Britain.” - Collins pledges EU referendum, Matthew Tempest, The Guardian (2005)

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Collins pledged a referendum on joining the EU to placate his hardline wing

To his right there were the hardliner factions, made up of various nationalists, officers and spooks. Amongst the colonels and admirals their unlikely leader was Robert Kilroy-Silk. Kilroy was the former head anchor of the BBC, he had served as the Junta’s erratic propaganda mouth since 1983 and had built up quite a following, especially amongst older people. The Labour MP turned Junta hardliner was captivating, charismatic and most of all ambitious. The threats from stuffy old generals Collins could handle, but Kilroy was a force unto himself, a certain song about clowns to the right sang true for Collins.

Collins and his aides, in typical military fashion, dubbed their plan “Operation Strategic Retreat”, this would include a unity reshuffle and reforms to the National Party’s head office, including an unequivocal condemnation of political violence. Collins hoped Strategic Retreat would stop the party bleeding support in the polls, reform it as an effective opposition tool, and shore up Collins’ own position at the head of the National Party. The Shadow Cabinet would be the most difficult task, Collins had to balance the competing factions of his party to create a competent face to the public. To great fanfare Collins unveiled the first Shadow Cabinet for forty years.

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Opposition was a bitter pill for National to swallow

Tim Collins Shadow Cabinet 2005-
  • Leader of the Opposition - Tim Collins (National)
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition - Theresa May (National)
  • Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer - Nick Clegg (National)
  • Shadow Foreign Secretary - David Davis (National)
  • Shadow Justice Secretary - Kenneth Clarke (National)
  • Shadow Defence Secretary - Vacant (Non-Political)
  • Shadow Home Secretary - Ian Blair (National)
  • Development Secretary - Robert Kilroy Silk (National)
  • Shadow Education Secretary - Liam Fox (National)
  • Shadow Industry, Tourism and Trade Secretary - David Willets (National)
  • Shadow Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Secretary - David Laws (National)
  • Shadow Public Administrations Secretary - Nicholas Soames (National)
  • Shadow Culture Secretary - Oliver Letwin (National)
  • Shadow Health Secretary - Mark Oaten (National)
  • Shadow Environment Secretary - Bob Stewart (National)
  • Shadow Housing Secretary - David Richards (National)
Collin’s reshuffle included a major promotion for Theresa May, a key Collins ally and the only woman to serve in the Hill-Norton Government as it sank. May was promoted from Environment Secretary to Deputy Leader. Nick Clegg, former ambassador to the European Union and a key member of the reformist faction was promoted to Shadow Chancellor. Ian Blair, the former Commissioner of the Met Police was made Shadow Home Secretary in a nod to some of National’s more hardliner MPs. The reshuffle was noticeable for the lack of military officers in senior positions, Soames, Stewart and Richards remained the only senior military figures, with Davis being a squaddie and almost all other Shadow Ministers being civilians. Collins hoped the reshuffle and the sacking of the officers would show National’s Junta days were behind them.

“Hard line former Minister Norman Tebbit has wondered whether Tim Collins is ‘National's chairman Mao, intent on purging the memory of Mountbattenism’ . By the summer of 2005, Tebbit was becoming unhappy at the direction in which Collins was leading the Party. He warned that the ‘present National strategy is eroding its ultra-loyalist bedrock vote’. Also attacking the reformist's’ ‘myth’ that supporting further democratisation provides electoral success is Maurice Saatchi. He has argued that National should once again embrace ideology rather than become slaves to pragmatism. Indeed, without actually naming Tim Collins, Saatchi has called on true nationalists ‘to man the barricades’. Quite apart from their disapproval of his ideology, many of Collin's critics are aggrieved at his refusal to stand up for the military amidst inquiries into their conduct during the Junta years.” - A New Direction or Another False Dawn? Tim Collins and the Crisis of the National Party, Peter Dorey (2007)

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Theresa May, a civilian and a woman, became the second most senior National politician
 
Honestly the silliest thing is that I had the Legion of Doom in my head when I was reading who the Shadow Government was. Which is ridiculous, but it is what stuck there. Sorry National.

Interesting here that you've gone for a good mixture of recognizable names and ones that are less so. I think it works wonders and pushes the idea that this is a timeline and a Britain really far removed from the norm of what I'm used to. Even with your previous timelime, it was close enough to reality (Despite some obvious differences) to have an understanding about most of the politicians. Here it's different.
 
Wikibox: The National Party
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The National Party; commonly known as National is a conservative and nationalist political party in the United Kingdom.

The National Party was founded in 1969 as a merger of the various parties of the National Government, led by former First Lord Louis Mountbatten. The new party combined the Conservative Party with the Liberal Party and several smaller unionist parties.

National was the only legal party in the United Kingdom during the Mountbatten Junta, dominating British politics for 40 years. During the 1990s under the leadership of Admiral Peter Hill-Norton the party went through a period of liberalisation.

During the 2005 election National was ousted from power by the SDP. National is now the second largest party in the House of Commons. It's leader; General Tim Collins currently serves as Leader of the Opposition.

National is a member of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). National is also a member of the Centrist Democrat International and the International Democrat Union.

(Author's Note: Apologies, I couldn't work out how to get the local government bar to work)
 
Chapter 5: Coming Home
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Despite personal reservations, Johnson had promised full Iraq withdrawal during the election campaign

“Britain's new prime minister, Alan Johnson, announced today that he was ordering British troops to leave Iraq "as soon as possible." Mr. Johnson said he had ordered Defence Minister Mike Jackson to "do what is necessary for the troops in Iraq to return home". Mr. Johnson said he had made his decision because it was unlikely that the UN would be playing a leading role in Iraq any time soon. The prime minister spoke at Downing Street shortly after meeting with the General Staff. His new foreign minister, Tony Blair, is leaving for Madrid this week for meetings on Wednesday with Spanish PM Jose Zapatero. Iraq is expected to figure in his discussions. Mr. Johnson's move, though a serious setback, comes as no surprise to the United States.”
- Spanish Leader Pulling Troops From Iraq, Marlise Simons, New York Times (2005)

As spring wore on, high on the Johnson Government’s agenda was the issue of Iraq. The Junta had been strongly involved with the Bush’s administration's invasion of Iraq, around 40,000 British troops were currently posted in the country. The war in Iraq was hugely unpopular, several hundred thousand had marched against the war even at the risk of arrest, its huge unpopularity was one of the many reasons the Junta had fallen. Johnson had promised immediate withdrawal from Iraq during the election campaign, and his Confidence and Supply partners in the Socialist Alternative had made it a red line of their Parliamentary negotiations.

Despite this, withdrawal had its downsides. It would infuriate the Bush administration, one of Britain’s few friends on the international stage. If Britain pulled out of Iraq it was unlikely the States would do them any favours. More pressingly at home it would anger many of the more conservative generals within the military, who saw action in Iraq as necessary to combat terrorism. Johnson was already on unsteady ground with the military establishment, and for it’s more politically inclined members withdrawal would show Johnson as a weak Prime Minister, unwilling to back the military.

The domestic pressure was too much to ignore, and Johnson announced the full withdrawal of all 40,000 troops from Iraqi soil. Getting acclaim within anti-war countries and with the EU. Johnson said the British Government was not shirking it’s responsibilities to the international community, pledging to send more troops to UN approved conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Haiti. The loss of so many troops was a huge blow for the mission in Iraq, with President Bush declaring Britain’s withdrawal as “a victory for terrorists everywhere”. Bush was hardly popular amongst the British people, having supported Hill-Norton and given the Junta international legitimacy during its darkest days, so Bush’s ire could have been seen as a political win, but in the international arena relations between the two nations considerably cooled.

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Bush was incredibly unpopular amongst British voters

“The UK’s relationship is different from, indeed in important respects, closer than, that of other European countries. The UK has also especially intertwined with the US: what Kennedy called the ‘reef’ dimension of the Atlantic alliance. But, constant worry about London’s closeness to Washington being eroded damages the clarity of pursuit of Britain’s interests. British diplomacy has tended to value the special relationship too much in the opportunities it has been seen to offer. Privileged access to the ear of the hegemonic power did little for UK interests at the time of the Iraq invasion. A more hard-headed commitment to re-balancing the relationship would serve Britain well in the post-Junta era.”
- Briefing by John Dumbrell, US Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister (2005)

Johnson had hoped to move away from the Atlanatisit Foreign Policy associated with the Junta and towards a more pan-European foreign policy. As Bush and the Iraq War were very unpopular in Europe, Johnson hoped his withdrawal would help accession negotiations. Alongside the withdrawal from Iraq, Johnson held talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero over the issue of Gibraltar. Alongside Ireland, Spain’s veto remained the biggest threat to British membership of the EU.

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Foreign Secretary Tony Blair had opened discussions with the Zapatero Government

Alongside Foreign Secretary Tony Blair, Johnson flew out to Gibraltar for talks with Zapatero and the Spanish Government. After weeks of talks, representatives from both countries signed a series of agreements aimed at improving Spanish/British relations and improving conditions for Gibraltar citizens. The accords included easier border crossing, better transport links and strong communication infrastructure between Gibraltar and mainland Spain. Foreign Secretary Blair hailed the talks as the most significant progress around Gibraltar for 30 years. In return for these concessions on Gibraltar, Zapatero pledged Spain would not stand in the way of Britain’s EU accession. Western Europe’s two oldest former dictatorships now stood side by side in a more democratic, multilateral and European future.

Whilst Blair and Johnson soaked up the sun in Gibraltar, Public Administrations Secretary Charlie Falconer was in Scotland to meet the four provincial Presidents of Scotland; Adam Ingram, Colin Fox, Jim Mather and Stewart Stevenson for discussion around Scotland's place in the union and civil rights. Whilst all four Presidents demanded a single unified Scottish Parliament this was denied, but concessions were made around joint operations against remaining Scottish National Liberation Army cells, and it was agreed the national Parliament would pass a Scottish language act, enshrining Scottish Gaelic as an official language of the United Kingdom, giving it equal respect to English and mandating the Scottish Gaelic be taught in Scottish schools

SNP national leader John Swinney hailed the result as a “historic day for Scotland’s native tongue”. Gaelic had long been a declining language, facing particular backlash from the Junta Government, who had been eager to stamp out the Scottish identity in the goal of creating a single unified British identity. As such Gaelic had become the language of a few islands and SNLA fighters. A census in 2001 had found there were less than 50,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, making up less than 1% of the population, now the Scottish Presidents hoped to revive their language. Falconer hailed the recognition as proof the SDP Government was taking Scottish views seriously, and reiterated his calls for the remaining SNLA fighters to lay down their arms and engage in the political process.

“The leadership of Arm Saorsa Nàiseanta na h-Alba has ordered an end to the armed campaign. All SNLA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of political programmes. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever. The SNLA leadership has also authorised our representative to engage with the IICD to complete the process to put its arms beyond use. We have invited independent witnesses to testify to this. The Council took these decisions following an unprecedented internal discussion and consultation process. We appreciate the honest and forthright way in which the consultation process was carried out. We are proud of the way in which this historic discussion was conducted.” - SNLA Ceasefire Order (2004)

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Whilst the SNLA leadership had relinquished their arms, several rogue cells remained at large in the Scottish Highlands
 
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Wikibox: Alan Johnson
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Alan Arthur Johnson (born 17 May 1950) is a British politician who has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2004. A member of the Social Democratic Party, Johnson is the Member of Parliament for the East Riding of Yorkshire since 2004.

Johnson served as General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers after it's legalisation in 1998. Known as a pro-democracy advocate he pioneered non-violence resistance to the British Junta. He played a leading role in organising the Postal Strike of 2003, which would grow into the General Strike of 2003. After the fall of the British Junta he was elected leader of the Social Democratic Party, defeating left-winger Peter Tatchell and fellow moderate Alan Milburn.

Johnson was elected Prime Minister at the 2004 election. In his campaign he pledged withdrawal from Iraq and entry into the Europe Union. As well as social and economic liberalisation. He entered power via a confidence and supply agreement with the Socialist Alternative. He is the first civilian Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1968.
 
Britain is not Portugal of course. But one possible political monkey wrench I can imagine is that lurking in the ranks of apparently conservative Nationalist base voters are military soldiers/sailors and officers who appear to be as conservative as their fellow rankers, but actually have come to entertain different notions privately. OTL not all military coups have been right-wing--most have, because these are the factions that tend to be recruited by Western intelligence/covert action agents and are most responsive to the package of incentives such agencies offer. But it can happen, as it did happen in Portugal 1975, that a coup is a conspiracy of more moderate-technocratic or even progressive factions.

Such officers and enlisted people would dissemble a great deal of course, and one major barrier to it happening, especially in a nation like Britain as described here, is that they cannot find one another out and network and organize without risking being discovered by security organs. Add to this the general form of camaraderie that military service at any level fundamentally seeks to cultivate. Short-timer conscripts might be expected to have recalcitrant attitudes and beliefs versus the norms idealized for the military, but this is one thing boot camp is all about; anyway insofar as endgame Junta rule had to rely on conscripts rather than volunteers, these recruits would be more carefully watched, and it is those among them who show the most signs of getting with the program socially who will be approached with invitations to consider staying in as a regular and look forward to promotion.

This camaraderie is usually assumed to be enough to guarantee a conservative groupthink, especially among officers, but the fact remains that moderate and left leaning officers and soldiers are hardly unknown to history.

Why wouldn't any such dissident left leaning military people just shift their votes leftward then? If balloting is done in secret, protecting the privacy of each vote, perhaps this is exactly what they do. But perhaps a great many vote Nationalist out of inertia and because it is what their personal associates all say they are doing. It is the safe career move, just in case Big Brother is secretly and illegally but effectively looking over their shoulders, and being able to honestly say "I voted National" among their comrades would be most expedient and least suspicious.

I suspect that among those swept up to actively serve the Junta directly as military enforcement (as well as fight Britain's enemies abroad of course) some have come to different conclusions than the Nationalist line. They vote Nationalist, they routinely are overheard echoing Nationalist sentiments and slogans, but privately think it is actually no bad thing the Nationalist Party must compete in open democracy, be accountable and limited and checked when in power, and be out of power via the electoral revolving door. As long as their party and military commanders abide by the law and follow the complete civil government-military chain of command that is supposed to exist in their parliamentary constitutional monarchy, well and good, they follow their orders meticulously and even when these verge on doing political intel for the NP, they do it.

I certainly don't think this nebulous moderate-lefty wing of the military ranks will organize a left-leaning coupist faction as willing and able to contemplate military dictatorship in the name of the working class or any such. Some might dream of it (rather few I think) but most quite understand they have no parallel chain of command, no secure communications, no clear intel on how many of them they are nor firm ties to non-military interest groups, and would likely go down in ruin, and probably most would think "deservedly so" because I am attributing a belief in the validation of authority by democratic consensus to them.

But on the other hand--should their right wing comrades, following the stereotype and historic track record of the real-world recent Junta, decide that "enough is enough" and attempt to toss the Cardiff constitution aside...well it would depend on circumstances. If the left of center popular vote ratified SDP government were to fail spectacularly on every or most fronts, if their ideologically motivated reforms and initiatives fly in the face of common sense and lead predictably and by their own lack of merit into incompetent failure....they may sigh and conclude their rightist squaddies know what they are talking about, a firm hand is needed, and trust their own loyalty as soft-spoken moderates will keep the new Junta on track and they'd best influence from within.

But if in fact the Parliamentary regime is performing reasonably well considering the nature and magnitude of the troubles they must take on, if their attempts are fair minded and sensible and the moderate troopers can see for themselves quite a few of these problems come from the bloody minded obstructionism of Nationalists and others setting their selfish partisan interests against obedience to the law and the common good...then when the orders to mobilize for another coup come down, they have a moral decision to make. If a coup seems neither necessary nor justified, it is their duty to monarch and Country to blow the whistle and pull the plug on the coup, as much as they separately think they can. If their isolation is total, each might be intimidated by the thought they are the only one in the royal services who thinks as they do. But odds are, they have some sense that not everyone is of the same gung-ho mentality and that, if they can rely on good sense and firmness in the civilian factions, the coup can in fact be stopped if enough brave servicemembers step out of line and inform the civil authorities. This might well involve quite plainly criminal dereliction of their sworn duties as military people of course, and conviction in court-martial might be the only legal outcome to be expected--but many will probably reason that the civil society, having been saved from another generation of lockdown, will be grateful and intervene in the process to limit their liability on the grounds they served the kingdom in a higher sense. And some might simply disregard their own fate as relevant and focus on this higher duty completely.

Thus, the Nationalists as a coalition party, shaken down to a smaller minority by the defection of fair-weather friends, might be overconfident in their ability to win by simply tipping the table, and overplay that hand, threatening disruption at every turn. If the civil parties never call their bluff they can get much of what they want for the asking...but in fact the reason there was a Cardiff Accord in the first place was because of large numbers of Britons defying the Junta on many levels, and daring to question their legitimacy. The parliamentary factions might have leadership who press the Nationalists into a put up or shut up, being on alert for wrong moves from the military and paramilitary factions supporting the threatened coup. And this in turn telegraphs to the hidden moderate officers and squaddies and sailors that they are not alone, and gets them thinking hard about their true duty to monarch and country. So--the Nationalist hard liners, challenged, impatient, frustrated and seeing another victory in their grasp with a whiff of grapeshot, move--and find themselves tripping as their plans are leaked, their maneuvers opposed, the integrity of the chain of command cast into doubt.

Note that quite aside from the "danger" of principled service members supporting a Parliamentary but not autocratic service, there are rival factions among those who are agreed that the Junta should rule, but not agreed about which clique among them should be in charge. Any coup plan must involve sounding out a sufficient number of factional networks to guarantee reasonable integrity and compliance in their illegal venture, and any subfaction bypassed or thrown under the bus would become so many more officers and rankers betrayed and inclined to line up with the legitimist types out of spite and in self-defense.

The Cardiff Accord government might thus be stronger than it might look, if we assume at least some service members have integrity.
 
The domestic pressure was too much to ignore, and Johnson announced the full withdrawal of all 40,000 troops from Iraqi soil. Getting acclaim within anti-war countries and with the EU. Johnson said the British Government was not shirking it’s responsibilities to the international community, pledging to send more troops to UN approved conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Uhhhhhhh

I see a bit of a contradiction here.
 
Chapter 6: The Shadow of Mountbatten
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Statues of Mountbatten were still all over the UK, many wanted them pulled down

“Dictatorships like to advertise their power by constructing monuments that dominate public space. So one of the first things that happens during a revolution or a regime change is the destruction of hated symbols. The removal of emblems and statues signifies the transformation and heralds a new dispensation. No one who watched the live TV coverage from Baghdad as it fell to US troops will forget the sight of Saddam Hussein's statue being brought down. Throughout the Soviet Bloc during 1989-90 the hated representations of Lenin and Stalin were purged from urban vistas. Nobody who has suffered repression wants to be reminded of a bad past, to see the face of dead tyrants every day on the way to work. But what happens when the transition from dictatorship to democracy is more modulated and negotiated?”
- Pieces from the Past: Mountbattenist Monuments in Modern-Day Britain, Lecture by Jo Sharp, University of St Andrews (2005)

Mountbatten Square sat just outside Civic Hall, the Home of Leeds City Council. At the centre of Mountbatten Square was a statue of the man himself, standing at nearly eight feet tall. At 3am on the 7th of May 2005 a boom erupted across the square, and the statue was rubble. A rogue Leeds cell of the Red Brigades took responsibility for the bombing, although no one was hurt, the bombing did make national news, opening up a conversation around the role of statues in the post Junta world. Statues of Mountbatten and other Junta-era figures could be found up and down the country, many had been defaced and now some were even being blown up.

West Yorkshire’s Provincial Government, under a SDP/SA coalition led by former union organiser Gerry Sutcliffe announced they would be taking down all monuments related to Mountbatten and the Junta in their province. The West Yorkshire Government argued the monuments were a flash-point for violence and that preserving them would leave a prime target for political violence. There was a backlash to this from some members of National and especially from supporters of Civil Assistance and the New Nationalist Party, a far-right neo-fascist party. The NNP had been fairly successful in West Yorkshire, picking up 8% of the vote and 4 seats in the local legislature. NNP protests in Leeds City Centre would sporadically turn violent, leading to a riot, further pushing the issue of Junta iconography into the public consciousness.

“More than 80 people were injured in violent clashes in Leeds yesterday as demonstrators fought with riot police. Officers were pelted with bricks,rocks, bottles, smoke bombs and placards for 90 minutes as they separated NNP and left-wing protesters. A small group of counter-protesters tried to break through their lines to reach NNP demonstrators. The police responded with repeated baton charges, and charges by officers at the demonstrators. Hand-to-hand fighting spilled into side roads, leaving residents terrified. Worse violence was avoided when police relieved one of the protesters of a bag containing seven petrol bombs. Last night the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service said 84 people had been taken to hospital with two officers in 'very serious' conditions.” - The night Leeds was rocked by rioting, BBC News (2005)

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The riots would spill across the city of Leeds

Under pressure from their allies in the Socialist Alternative, Prime Minister Johnson would announce in Westminster the removal of all statues hailing Junta era and other anti-democratic figures under the new “Junta Remembrance Act ''. Outraged hardliners in National and disgruntled former Generals would take to the airwaves to condemn the statue’s removal. NNP Leader Godfrey Bloom said the Leeds statue was a tribute to Mountbatten’s “military achievements” not his role in the dictatorship. In Parliament Tim Collins gave a more muted response, whilst he acknowledged Mountbatten’s role in ending Britain’s democracy, he argued the removal of statues created “problems and division”; “Why do we need to create where there is none?”

The removal of the statues was seen as Johnson garnering more confidence to face down the elements of the military and opposition. The press dubbed these reforms “demountbattenisation”, a tongue-twister of a word, evoking the destalinisation efforts taken in the Soviet Union. Alongside the removal of statues Johnson pledged a reform of the education system to teach the true story of the Junta years, as well as this the Government established a “Memorial Commission”, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Alan Milburn. The commission would be devoted to those imprisoned during the darkest days of the Junta and compensating those who had especially suffered at the hands of the military. These moves were criticised by some in the opposition who argued the Commission would present an unbalanced view of history, ignoring the violence caused by pro-democratic, left-wing and separatist organisations.

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Deputy PM Alan Milburn was appointed to head up the commission, passing over more radical candidates

The backlash to these reforms wasn’t entirely peaceful, during a visit to Manchester Socialist Alternative MP Bob Crow was shot at by a gunman toting a sawn-off shotgun. The would-be assassin was only able to get two shots off (both missing) before being tackled by police. The gunman was identified as a 37 year old associated with Civil Assistance. Crow was the second Socialist Alternative MP to face an assassination attempt in a few short weeks. Manchester especially became a hotbed of Paramilitary activity, alongside regular bust-ups between Civil Assistance and left-wing counter protesters, one alleged Red Brigade Member threw a pipe bomb into the constituency office of a National MP (although it failed to detonate), this ramping up of political violence came to be known as the “Manchester Spring”.

This instability would come at the worst possible time, as world leaders arrived in Nottingham for discussions around Britain joining the G8. Anti-establishment and anti-capitalist protests lined the street, particularly targeting US President Bush. Security concerns were heightened as authorities feared a rogue Red Brigade cell could try and strike at the meeting. Row after row of heavily armoured police officers was not the image Britain wanted to send to the world, but Home Secretary Tatchell decided it was best for security. As Johnson made his pitch for Britain to rejoin the “civilised” world leaders of the G8, many only had to look out the window or pick up a paper to see a hundred reasons why Britain wasn’t ready.

“Several traditions of protest will be celebrated in Nottingham when representatives of the G8 meet with Alan Johnson to discuss British membership. As is usual on such occasions, many groups of demonstrators will be present (now with the added novelty of being legal), some seeking to push out the boundaries of permitted protest. On the revolutionary left are the activists who have made these meetings a priority ever since their explosion onto the scene at Seattle in 1999. They will assemble under the banner "Another World is Possible" - the slogan of the luminaries of the Socialist Alternative. Judging by past experience, there could be more than a clash of ideas. These are the new generation of protesters, who attract the most police attention. They do not court violence, but they belong to a tradition of direct action, of taking a protest beyond the limits of the law.” - G8 protest: how far should you go, Richard Gott, New Statesman (2005)

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Protest had been outlawed for 40 years, now decades of anger was unleashed
 
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I've been really enjoying the timeline so far Powerab! I think writing it is a far harder needle to thread than your previous timeline, given that we are 'missing' 30-40 years of history rather than only a few years as was the case in your previous work. Nevertheless, I think you've done a really good job and the timeline thus far is a fun and interesting read.

However, I have some problems with the Scottish section of chapter 5. In it, you state that there is a desire by the body politic in Scotland to see a united Scottish parliament but that Westminster politicians overrule this and instead grant protections to previously violent groups and grant rights and protections for Scottish Gaelic including 'mandating the Scottish Gaelic be taught in Scottish schools'. In reaction to this announcement, you state that although the body politic in Scotland presumably isn't overjoyed, 'SNP national leader John Swinney hailed the result as a “historic day for Scotland’s native tongue”.' You also said that the suggested that the Scottish extremist groups were operating out of the Highlands and were Gaelic in nature.

Okay, so there are five problems with this:
  1. It is factually wrong to call Gaelic Scotland's historical language and John Swinny would never say that
  2. It would exacerbate the situation to announce language rights but fail to address political rights
  3. The current debate around the Gaelic language in Scotland is the result of very specific political circumstances that would not be replicated in TTL
  4. Thinking the body politic in Scotland would be happy with cultural rights without political rights shows a complete misunderstanding of the Scottish mindset and
  5. Scottish extremist groups are far more likely to be city-based than rural-based.
John Swinney is factually wrong when he calls Gaelic Scotland's native tongue and I don't think he'd ever say that because it would piss off Scots and Doric speakers who are far more common than Gaelic speakers.


Secondly, if the UK gov in this TL did announce that Gaelic language rights were the main/only measure they were taking to address Scottish desires for self-determination and cultural expression you're going to get folk doubling down on extremism rather than rowing back from it. It comes off as a token measure (as you said, Gaelic speakers make up a tiny percentage of Scotland's population) and it also harks to a kind of divide and rule mentality, giving a small subsection of the Scottish population additional rights and mandating the learning of that language while ignoring the desires of the majority of the body politics and, by extension, the population is not going to go down well. Unless of course in reaction to the Junta the notion of what being 'Scottish' means changes to include fluency in the Gaelic language, but I think that is extremely unlikely.

Thirdly, the current debate and reinforcement of Gaelic speaking in Scotland comes from the fact it's one of the few areas left that the SNP can attempt to reinforce an aspect of Scottish identity with the powers the Scottish government currently has. Basically, they've done almost all they can do to reinforce a distinctly Scottish identity with the powers they have and it's the last wee thing they can do. It's not a massive vote winner, only really mattering to folk in the Western Highlands and some of the more hardcore Nats.

Alright, your references to the Scottish political mindset is unrealistic. I suspect this is because it's hard for folk from large nations (England, France, US, etc) to imagine what it's like to be from a small nation with large neighbours. Where did the desire for Scottish self-determination in OTL come from? The collapse of the Empire and the rise of the English conservative state, as exemplified by Thatcher's government. Scotland is a small nation of roughly 5 million people. Like all small nations, we have two routes to survival, international cooperation with others or for the state to maximize the use of the minimal resources available to allow for the defense of their interests. The collapse of the Empire led to Scots being unable to rely upon international cooperation, while the rise of the English conservative state resulted in the desire for a Scottish parliament to maximise Scottish state power.

In the past, the empire represented the way in which Scotland could use international cooperation with others to prevent its domination by a foreign power. Okay, so in present-day England makes up 84% of the UK population and so Scottish folk feel in the minority and threatened, but back in 1900 or 1800 you could be British and live in Australia, Canada, Kenya, etc. So England made up a far smaller proportion of the UK's population in 1900 than it does now and therefore was less of a big, scary neighbor for Scottish folk. Fast forward to the present day and you get the main reason Scotland wants to rejoin the EU. Just look at the political clout EU membership gave Ireland during Brexit. Right now Scotland's stuck next to a neighbor 10 times its size and is fearful. I see no reason why this attitude wouldn't also exist in TTL and in fact be even more prominent given the fact there was an English-dominated military dictatorship conducting military operations in Scotland. You can bet your arse the Scottish body politic are going to be desperate to join the EU ITL. Hopefully, this will be useful for you when writing your TL.

This brings me on to the second part of understanding the Scottish (or any small nations) mindset. If you have a big neighbour who you're afraid of and you can't rely upon international cooperation to temper them then what can you do? You can use the state to maximise the resources available to allow you to better defend your interests. Why do Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Estonia have conscription and large states? Because they're right next to Russia. If you're the United States you can afford to be inefficient because you're the top dog but if you're Canada you have to have a larger government presence to ensure that you look unappetising should your large neighbour look North. It's the same with Scotland, the rise of the English conservative state in the 1980s produced the Scottish parliament in 1999. It's why Scotland has a larger state than England and why some Scottish MPs have called for Scotland to have a form of national conscription post-independence. Now OTL's 1980s English state scared Scottish folk and produced OTL's Scottish parliament. What would this TTL's English military dictatorship result in and what would it take to keep Scots in the union and from violent succession? That's what you need to be asking yourself. I think if Scotland had been through an English military dictatorship but was still at the point where you have people who remember the 1960s welfare state around then a fully fiscally autonomous Scotland might do it but obv it's up to you.

Last point, whatever most Americans might think Scotland is an urban society and we're not all highland teuchters running around in kilts. If you're going to have an insurgency against an English military dictatorship in Scotland it's going to come from Motherwell, Glasgow, Dundee, and the like. Look at those areas with the largest pro-indy support in OTL, those are where your insurgencies will be based. Also, my last point on this is that it'd actually be really easy to pacify the Highlands. Most of the forests are gone so there's nowhere to hide, you can have the collaboration of large landowners, there's good infrastructure in the region precisely for this reason (see road and canal building in the Highlands post-Jacobite rising) and the area is massively depopulated (thank you Highland clearances). The British state spent a lot of money in the 1800s to ensure there'd never be another rising in the Highlands and they did a really good job. If you want to occupy Scotland it's the inner cities and ex-industrial areas you need to worry about.

One last final, final point. I imagine there's been even more emigration from Scotland in TTL and you might want to comment on that. As I love to point out 'Scotland's population decreased in size by 150,000 from 1971 to 2001'. On the upside in TTL, there will be less deindustrialization than OTL but on the downside, you know...military dictatorship. Actually, it's worth noting that Scotland's population only started to grow again once the new Scottish parliament was established. It does however make one sad when you read the debate in Hansard on the Scottish Home Rule Bill on 1913 and see William Cowan, the MP for Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern, state Scotland needed home rule because 'Scotland has become a reservoir for the filling up of Canada.' How little changes.
 
I've been really enjoying the timeline so far Powerab! I think writing it is a far harder needle to thread than your previous timeline, given that we are 'missing' 30-40 years of history rather than only a few years as was the case in your previous work. Nevertheless, I think you've done a really good job and the timeline thus far is a fun and interesting read.

However, I have some problems with the Scottish section of chapter 5.
Hi there pal, firstly I really appreciate this feedback, I'll try and go through point by point

It is factually wrong to call Gaelic Scotland's historical language and John Swinny would never say that
Genuinely didn't know that, nice bit of English ignorance for you there, mia culpa, I'll change some things around

It would exacerbate the situation to announce language rights but fail to address political rights
This is absolutely true, I didn't mean to make it seem like some big win for the Scottish Nationalists, they are still balkanised and under an English dominated Government, I just meant to emphasise that ScotsNats and the UK government were now talking rather than shooting at each other. As you go on to discuss in more detail and as I pointed out Gaelic is very much a minority language. The whole situation an inexperienced liberal government trying to help without actually supporting real change.
The current debate around the Gaelic language in Scotland is the result of very specific political circumstances that would not be replicated in TTL
Again fairly similar to above I think I have misunderstood the context of the Gaelic language debate in the early 2000s, I tried to draw a parallel with negotiations in Ireland, Catalonia and the Basque County but obviously these are very different contexts
Thinking the body politic in Scotland would be happy with cultural rights without political rights shows a complete misunderstanding of the Scottish mindset and
I think I might have given the wrong impression that Scottish politicians were overjoyed at these cultural rights, apart from that one Swinney quote, most of the pride around the act was spoken of by Falconer and the SDP. For the provincial Presidents, especially radical ones like Colin Fox, unification is more important than cultural rights, but the SDP government won't grant them that.
Scottish extremist groups are far more likely to be city-based than rural-based.
Yes absolutely, the SNLA's heartlands were places like inner Glasgow, and leading SNLA figures such as Tommy Sheridan as Glaswegian. I didn't mean to make out that SNLA fighters were mostly disgruntled highlanders (as obviously they tend to be more Conservative), but as peace came under the Cardiff Accords the reaming cells were forced out to the countryside, despite most members being young urban men. Similar to how Sinn Fein's strongest neighbourhoods are in inner Belfast/Derry but lots of its activity took place in rural Northern Ireland where ironically unionist support can be stronger. The SNLA's main strongholds are still places like Glasgow and Dundee but since much of it's leaderships jumped ship to team politics, the old Glasgow stashes and safe-houses are no longer safe.

As for stuff around the EU, absolutely the SNP are incredibly pro-EU. The SNP of this timeline is a bit more centrist than the OTL SNP as most the lefty Nats either died in prison or are in RISE.

In regards to keeping Scotland in the Union, pro-independence parties got 62% of the vote and there was a long term violent rebellion to the Junta, I imagine if their was a referendum tomorrow ITTL Independence would win by a landslide, that's why central Government has balkanised Scotland, in order to reduce it's political power. You also have to remember that whilst the Independence Movement is stronger than OTL 2005, it is also more divided, between SNP and RISE supporters who generally don't get along, preventing the nationalist movement to form a united front. For Scotland to gain a referendum on independence without violence their most likely route is through one nationalist party defeating the other and then a hung Parliament where Indie parties hold the balance of power.

In summary thanks again for this feedback, I have tried to mix research around Northern Ireland, Catalonia and the Basque counties when writing Junta Scotland but obviously its a very different country with a different culture and political context. I will endeavour to keep this in mind in future Scotland updates.
 
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The Mountbatten Square Riot took place in Leeds (West Yorkshire, England) in 2005. The riot occurred after the destruction of a statue of Louis Mountbatten by a cell of the West Yorkshire Red Brigades. 60,000 people were involved in the Eight-hour-long rioting against the police. It was the first rioting in Leeds since the Hyde Park riots of 2002.

Most of the confrontation took place in Mountbatten Square, but disturbances spread across Leeds. By the time darkness had fallen the rioting had begun, and continued into the early hours of the following morning.

Several thousand participants spent over eight hours rioting. The police managed to make enough arrests to quell the size of the crowd to a point where it dispersed and the police could regain control.

Over the course of the rioting 27 cars were burnt out, two police officers and two journalists were severely injured, and a shop was set alight. Both police officers and members of the public were pelted with bottles and bricks.

Many arrests took place following the rioting, local shops were advised only to secure their premises.

On 6 February 2006, 25 men were imprisoned after being found guilty of their inciting the riot.
 
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