Agent Lavender: The Flight of Harold Wilson Whither the update? :p

Meadow tricked us.
Don't worry, I have a plan. I shall lay a trap somewhere in Croydon - perhaps the promise of free coffee and some original Keir Hardie posters


Patience, the day is not yet done and Meadow and Jack are very busy gentleman, what with their respective actoring and hobnobbing with MPs.
I've googled Wison. The accusaitons are that he was a KGB agent. I'massuming that's what this is based on. If so, it's peaked my interest. I may not have toime to read through the other page, so, perhaps some would catch me up please?


I've googled Wison. The accusaitons are that he was a KGB agent. I'massuming that's what this is based on. If so, it's peaked my interest. I may not have toime to read through the other page, so, perhaps some would catch me up please?

How busy are you that you can't read a story that has about four updates thus far?


I've googled Wison. The accusaitons are that he was a KGB agent. I'massuming that's what this is based on. If so, it's peaked my interest. I may not have toime to read through the other page, so, perhaps some would catch me up please?

If you want to read the TL, I would advise reading the TL.


Well, since I actually feel kinda bad about being so short with historyfan, just because he is incredibly busy as the owner as a Forbes 100 company, I have kindly got the links to all of the chapters thus far.

I'll be waitn patiently for another chapter. Very interesting. Some of the funniest lines. Upside-diwon letters. Stupid computer keys!
Five - Saturday 1st November - 0745

“It has to be Peter.”

“Donaldson?” Charles Curran, Director-General of the BBC, frowned. “He’s a bit young."

“He is thirty. And listeners will not be able to see him.”

Curran shook his head at the senior newsreader sat opposite him. Bryan Martin looked politely back. Curran protested.

“I can’t say I agree, Bryan. This is a time for seniority and stability.”

“With respect, Charles, this is a time for calm. I can ‘do’ seniority. I can ‘do’ stability. I can even ‘do’ gravitas.”

As if to prove the point, Martin paused for effect. Curran waited for him to continue.

“Peter, on the other hand, is the voice I would want to hear if I could see mushroom clouds over the Thames.”

“We’re not at war, Bryan.”

“Not yet. If half of what they’ve told us off the record is true, we might be by The World At One.”

Curran massaged the bridge of his nose and sighed.

“You won’t read it?”

“Charles, I will read whatever the Corporation tells me is the news. But this is more than the news. This is a declaration of a state of emergency.”

“It’s not -”

“A rose by any other name, Charles.”

The two men looked at each other in exasperated silence. Curran thought for a moment. Donaldson was excellent, there was no denying it. His voice and tone probably was perfect. But Bryan was the senior newsreader. What did it say about the Corporation if it wasn’t him on the airwaves this morning?

As if he could read the Director-General’s mind, Martin interjected.

“Forget the politics, Charles. There are other things on the bastards’ minds at the moment.”

Curran smiled for the first time since the gentlemen from Whitehall had left.

“Is Peter even in Broadcasting House?” he asked.

“Yes. He’s meant to be doing the eight o’clock anyway.”

“Right. I’ll make a call immediately.”

Martin rose from his seat as Charles left, calling out to him when he was at the door.

“Who will it be on the television?”

"I've got Robert in a cab already."


Curran rolled his eyes.

"No, Maxwell. Yes, of course Dougall. He was the face of Watergate, he can do it again."

"He is retired, Charles."

"It's times like this we call up the reserves, Bryan."

Let's hope the Red Army aren't doing the same thing, Martin thought as he strode towards the door.


Peter Donaldson reread the script in front of him for the hundredth time. It had been thrust into his hands by a breathless runner four minutes ago. Humming and running his tongue around his mouth, he got into position behind the microphone and closed his eyes as the pips began.


He breathed in.


He breathed out.


He opened his eyes.


He cleared his throat.


He nodded to the producer.


“The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, has resigned. It is also understood that the cabinet has resigned with him. A statement will be given from Downing Street at nine o’clock this morning by Margaret Thatcher, who has been asked to form a new government by Her Majesty the Queen.”

There followed the longest silence that had been heard on Radio 4 since Remembrance Sunday. Donaldson wet his lips before continuing.

"The BBC has been informed that, pending a full investigation into extremely serious allegations, all members of Mr Wilson's cabinet and government have been placed under temporary police guard at their homes. I will repeat that: the Parliamentary Labour Party has been placed under police guard at their homes. The Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, will explain the nature of the allegations, which are understood to be a matter of national security, in her statement at nine. There will now follow some light music. In a change to regular programming, this bulletin has been recorded and will be repeated every ten minutes."

Donaldson breathed out as the producer gave a thumbs up. Removing his headphones as Holst's Jupiter began to play, he stepped forward and tapped on the window.

"Is it too early to start drinking?"


Enoch Powell rarely listened to the radio on a morning, much preferring the half-hour of blissful ignorance between waking and walking to the newsagent’s at the other end of South Eaton Place.

The November chill had had seemingly little effect on the number of people walking to work. Indeed, he mused, there were far more people milling around the southern end of Belgravia than he would have expected for 8:30am on a Saturday morning. The postman was being held up at every house, engaged in what appeared to be the same conversation, with the nannies milling about like bemused pepperpots, talking as if at a coven.

The street cleaners weren’t working either, but - he harrumphed - that was hardly new as the bell of the cornershop trilled the familiar ‘ding.’

“اسلام و علیکم” Powell hailed, walking to the counter. “The Telegraph, if you be so kind, Mr Chaudhry.”

“Heard the news Enoch?” Aziz said in his usual, overly-familiar way.

“That would somewhat defeat the purpose of me purchasing one of your fine periodicals, Mr Chaudhry.” Powell replied. “Whilst I admire that charitable part of your nature, it rather seems to defeat the purpose of you becoming a newsvendor.”

“Sorry Enoch, I just thought that you would have known, although I suppose that not everyone has been appointed to the Cabinet yet.”

Aziz flung a paper into Powell’s hands. As well as the the usual thick-set paper, a thin sheet had been hurriedly wrapped around the front page. The former Minister of State for Health grasped it, the newsprint already coming away at his fingers, as he read.


Fine, Powell thought.


LSD, Hashish, Ownership of a small Machine Tractor Factory in the Urals? Powell mused.




Paddy Ashdown closed the overhead baggage compartment and looked down at the seat next to the Home Secretary. To be seated next to Mr Jenkins had required only the flash of a smile and an oh-so-polite request of the girl at the flight desk. Ashdown’s instructions were technically to tail, but he saw no harm in making contact with a man he’d briefly met twice before, and Jenkins was to be met by someone at the airport anyway. He sat down just as Jenkins was trying to put on his seatbelt. With a turn of his head and an infinitesimally small raise of one eyebrow, he smiled curiously.

“Mr Jenkins?” he said with polite mock-surprise. Jenkins looked up from his seatbelt with a jolt.

“That’s right,” he said guardedly. Paddy could see he was hoping he wouldn’t get A Real Voter’s Opinion for the next ninety minutes.

“I’m Ashdown. We met at Geneva a few months ago. And, indeed, a few months before that.”

Jenkins’ face softened slightly as he did indeed recall an efficient cultural attaché helping him find somewhere in Switzerland that served fried bread.

“Yes. I remember. Nice to see you again.”

Paddy feigned a pout.

“Oh, Home Secretary, please don’t give me the usual knockback. I recall we had a merry jaunt around the salon district one morning.”

Jenkins, after a pause, smiled wryly.

“We did, didn’t we? You must accept my apologies, I’m just very on-edge. Something’s happened in Whitehall and they won’t tell me over the phone.”

Paddy tilted his head.

“That sounds significant.”

“It must be. Between you and me and the gatepost, I think it might be something to do with - no, I shouldn’t say.”

“I quite understand, sir,” said Paddy, admittedly disappointed at a missed chance for Whitehall gossip, then added with a presumptively raised hand, “shall I have the girl bring us some drinks?”

The Home Secretary shot Paddy a look.

“Why not?”

Why not indeed, thought Paddy as he leant out into the aisle, that smile back on his face.


Margaret Thatcher had always put a great deal of faith in her hatpins. Now, as the makeup girl dabbed what the Prime Minister hoped was foundation onto her face, Thatcher hoped that her choice of pin this morning would keep the functional yet fetching blue number in place. The man from the BBC blustered through the room, barking an order about levels. The fellow behind the camera looked at his watch, checked a clipboard and raised a hand to show three fingers. Three minutes, then. Or seconds? Thatcher's heart began to race, but calmed when it became clear the red light was not going to come on just yet.

"Is everything ready?” she demanded of nobody in particular.

“Yes, sir,” shouted the ‘floor manager’ absently. Margaret fumed but, as she had before the selection committee at Finchley and a thousand times before and since, steeled herself. She knew what she was capable of. She knew what lay before her. She would begin with strength and then nothing would stand in her way. The crucial thing was to appear sure of oneself, it always had been -

The red light came on.

Everyone in the room froze, while the cameraman helplessly shrugged and motioned for her to begin. Margaret looked up, into the camera, which suddenly seemed very close to her face. After perhaps slightly too long a moment, she spoke.

"Good evening- good morning. Harold Wilson, the leader of the Labour Party, has fled London and is currently being sought by police..."


Tony Benn pressed his ear through the bars of his holding cell. He’d demanded the radio be turned up so he could hear Thatcher’s statement, and now almost regretted it. He voice was shrill and scratchy, a discomfort made worse by the tinny radio set.

“...these allegations are extremely serious, and the government and country must tread with care, must tread carefully, as we seek the truth of what has happened.”

Benn tutted. She sounded uncertain, aloof and irritating. He had some sympathy for the pressure of the situation, but the country needed stability and certainty. He winced as she began another sentence with a particularly high ‘Frankly...’.


“...the suspicion that is now levelled at the Labour Party is not groundless, but nor is it certain. Those members who are committed, patriotic democrats will be soon exonerated and invited to return to the, the House. The work of Parliament, pardon, of government can only go on with the consent of Parliament, and while unity is...”

In the corner of the Downing Street lounge in which most of the new cabinet found themselves, Airey Neave massaged his temples and tried to avoid the many anxious gazes being sent his way. What was Maggie doing? He cursed himself for not supporting Gordon Reece’s more radical proposals for reworking her image and speaking style. ‘We’ve got time,’ he’d always said. Now, it seemed, time was the one thing they did not have.

“ invitation to Mr Thorpe and the Liberal Party to enter negotiations on forming a National Front, I mean, a National Government, to unite the country in this trying time...”

Airey closed his eyes and swore under his breath.


Enoch Powell allowed his jaw to drop as That Woman seemed to muddle her way through the destruction of eight-hundred years of Parliamentary tradition, dignity and propriety. Her voice was shrill, her eyes manic and her tone like that of a hectoring Mathematics mistress. The owner of the betting shop - whose televisions were now, involuntarily, broadcasting the same thing that could be found on all frequencies - piped up.

“She hasn’t got a clue!”

Someone hushed him, but others spoke.

“What gives her the right? Who voted for her?”

“I don’t believe it. Our Harold? This is a fix.”

As a bearded man in a cloth cap bellowed “Remember Chile!”, Powell frowned and thought it best to position himself nearer to the door. The intimidating face on the screen went on.

“The investigation into Mr Wilson’s alleged treason is complex and, no doubt, will go on for quite some time, but the full resources of the British intelligence, justice and police services are at the government’s disposal...”

“I bet they are, you fascist bitch!” the bearded fellow shouted, and Enoch suddenly felt very worried.


"...and Mr Howe, the Attorney General, has my full confidence in this."

Margaret Thatcher knew when she was flagging. The speech was too dry and she knew her delivery had not been up to scratch. She needed to rally herself. After a second's hesitation, she went off-book.

"This government faces a gargantuan task. I think, now, more than ever, I am reminded of some words by Saint Francis of Assisi. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. Where there is error, may we bring truth. And where there is harmony, may we bring discord."

As the final word left her mouth, the colour drained from the Prime Minister's sweaty face. The people of Britain watched in transfixed horror as it seemed to impossibly contort. Her eyes bulging, she looked deep into the camera before continuing in a rushed, cracked tone.

"Thank you, and I hope that this government can continue with the support of the people."

The red light switched off. No-one spoke. Mrs Thatcher left the room without another word.


With as much dignity as was possible, Paddy Ashdown stretched out his right leg in the queue for passport control. It had gone to sleep on the plane and was still somewhat painful. Next to him, Jenkins was agitatedly looking at his watch.

“We’ll be through in no time, I’m sure, sir,” Paddy offered. Jenkins only grunted.

“I must say, I’m very grateful for your company on the journey,” Ashdown continued, unfazed, “it makes a change from the usual stony-faced stockbroker, ordering scotch after scotch to drown the shame of his infidelity with the pretty Dutch girl who carries Mr Rutjer’s bags.”

Jenkins chortled.

“And you,” he began, “wouldn’t know anything about infidelity, would you, Ashdown?”

Ashdown laughed and held up his hands.

“I’m a happily married man, sir.”

“I’m sure.”

Ashdown put a hand into his pocket for his passport as they reached the front of the queue. He was telling the truth, of course - despite the best efforts of some of Europe’s most delectable First Ladies, he’d never dreamt of being unfaithful to Jane. But his flirtatiousness was a useful tool, just as his charm had been with Jenkins on the flight. Truth be told, he’d genuinely enjoyed speaking to him. There was a sadness behind his eyes, not unlike that which Paddy feared his own would one day betray. He stopped that train of thought before things became unpleasant. Borneo was a long time ago.

Jenkins was having his passport handed back to him by the officer at the desk. As he walked past it, a man in a grey suit stepped to the Home Secretary’s side and asked him to follow. Paddy, flashing his passport but with his eyes glued to Jenkins, followed the two men as soon as he was able.

They walked in silence through the airport, which Paddy gradually realised was practically deserted. Staff were present, but apart from those who had just arrived from Brussels, there didn’t seem to be anyone around. Keeping about twenty paces behind Jenkins, Paddy followed them into the car park and nimbly made his way behind a pillar to eavesdrop. He just had to make sure the handover was complete. The man in grey had started speaking, and Jenkins suddenly looked angry.

“...on suspicion. You...”

“Excuse me?” Jenkins bellowed.


“No, repeat what you just said.”

With an embarrassed shuffle, the man in grey spoke again.

“Roy Jenkins, I am arresting you on suspicion. You...”

“On suspicion of what?! I am the Home bloody Secretary, don’t expect me not to know how an arrest is supposed to work!”

Paddy’s eyes widened and he instinctively closed his hand around his Browning. Was this man a fraud? An imposter out to abduct the Home Secretary?

His question was answered when two police cars came screaming towards Jenkins and the man in grey. Uniformed officers got out and one of them immediately started putting Jenkins in handcuffs.

“What on earth is going on?”

“Mr Jenkins, I assure you that you are under no particular suspicion, it’s just that events have moved somewhat quickly in the last few hours-”

“Events? Will you stop speaking in code and tell me what the hell-”

Paddy didn’t hear what Jenkins said next, as the Home Secretary was bundled into the back of the police car. He frowned and stepped out from the pillar, just in time to dodge out of the way of the now-accelerating vehicle. The man in grey got into the second car, which raced after it. Paddy steadied himself against the pillar and scratched the back of his head. He wasn’t sure what had just happened, but he knew he didn’t like it. He decided it was about time he bought a newspaper.


Enoch Powell was a man prone to briskness, but the usual spring in his step had mutated into a rather ungainly jog. As he rounded the corner, he groaned inwardly at the mass of people, at least fifty strong, that had gathered just outside his front door.

“Make way” a uniformed constable was saying. “Do allow the Honourable Member to get through on his own accord.”

Powell pressed through the admiring rabble and host of microphones, barking snarled denials that he had any intention of serving in the new Prime Minister’s Cabinet. For each reporter felled, a dozen others replaced them, funnelling him away from his sanctuary. The door opened fractionally, revealing his wife’s perturbed face looking worryingly towards him.

Eventually, throat raw from uttering a hundred variations on “nothing to say at this moment in time.” Enoch finally pushed his way to the front of the crowd, where a police officer was finally able to drag him inside. With a murmured word of thanks, Powell entered the hallway, slamming the door behind him.

Groaning in frustration, he entered the living room and slumped into the welcoming armchair. After about thirty seconds, he noticed that the adjacent sofa had two Record Breakers sitting in it. He looked at them incongruously.

“Good morning, Mr Powell,” one of them said, “I’m Mr McWhirter.”

“And I’m Mr McWhirter,” the other one added.

“Right,” Powell replied, “What are you both doing here?”

“We wish to approach you formally on behalf of our organisation,” Ross, or possibly Norris, said. “In addition to a number of senior members of the House of Lords.”

“Have you made an appointment?” Powell asked, looking irritated at the duo. “Or did you elect to shimmy in via the vestibule window?”

Norris, or perhaps Ross, responded. “Your wife...”

Powell glared at Pam, who had reappeared holding a tea tray. She set it at the coffee table and retreated, looking apologetic.

“I see,” Powell said. “Whilst I would dearly like to assist you two...” He paused, searching for the correct term. “...gentlemen. I was rather hoping to finish translating another chapter of Gibbon into Persian by lunchtime.”

“This won’t take long.” said either Ross or Norris.

Before Powell could respond, Norris or Ross began to explain. Against his better judgement, Enoch listened.

“The KGB?” he asked after about ten minutes.

Ross or Norris replied. “Indeed. Hardly a surprise, although the question remains why Mr Whitelaw or Mrs Thatcher did not pick up on it.”

“Mrs Thatcher in particular,” added either Norris or Ross.

“I fail to understand what you expect me to do with this,” Powell retorted, “it isn’t as though I am a member of the new governing party.”

“We expect you to take action.” Ross or Norris replied. “The current Prime Minister has already proven herself rather incapable of doing so.”

“That, Mr McWhirter, would be treason.”

“With respect, Mr Powell, it would be the opposite.” said Norris and Ross, in harmony.

“I have nothing more to say to either of you.” Powell said angrily, rushing to his feet. “I respectfully ask that you leave. Via the back entrance would be better, and I wish to add that this conversation never occurred.”

The Brothers McWhirter shrugged their collective shoulders, calmly leaving the room.

It was only later in the day that Enoch Powell wondered how either of them had known about Wilson’s links to the Soviets before the BBC.


“...and on the same day that the British Prime Minister resigned under mysterious circumstances, this is Radio Luxembourg with Mr Bob Dylan...”

Harold Wilson relaxed in the bath as the water, already tan with mud, sloshed around his ears. It was a curious indulgence to have had the radio brought in, but it had become clear after about ten minutes that nothing much was going to be resolved until the end of the day. With the BBC being so dull, it had seemed perfectly sensible to tune into another station, especially as the Continental media seemed less bothered by the whole business.

“...wherever you roam...”

For the first time in around five hours, Harold Wilson closed his eyes. He thought back to ‘65 and the memo about British involvement in Vietnam. The version he had prepared for the Cabinet was rather less detailed than the one that had been presented to him. For a start, the proposal to share the counter-insurgency tactics with the Americans had been whited out and largely replaced with a load of faff about “containment” and the prevention of the War moving outside the regional sphere.

“Come writers and critics, who prophesize with your pen...”

There had been a lot of furious notes being sent between Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the MoD during the first few summers. Wilson remembered it well. The engineered bust-up in Smethwick and Leyton had removed the irksome Secretary of State from the picture, allowing him to ensure that nothing much was done to antagonise Control whilst Gordon Walker hurried around trying to win a seat.

“...and there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’...”

“Permanent Revolution” had been the watchword, Harold thought as he grabbed the loofah from the side of the bath. Of course, that hadn’t been the term used whilst discussing South East Asia at dinner. It had been far more palatable to talk about “Confrontation” as they had done whenever Malaya had come up whenever Michael had been engaged in one of his increasingly bitter arguments with Dean Rusk.

“It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your halls...”

He’d given a sigh of relief when Nixon had won back in ‘68. It had been a perfect example of showing that, when all was said and done, capitalism couldn’t be rolled back by weak-willed progressives. He had feared Lyndon’s “Great Society” nonsense for a while, but just as Clem’s legacy had unravelled during austerity and Roosevelt had been undone during the Great Patriotic War, so too had the limp-wristed idiocy of Progressivism been undone by the legacy of My Lai and Hue.

“...your old road is rapidly agin’...”

For a while, he had entertained some notion of making a bigger fuss about it. It was so typical of the British public’s hatred of the establishment that even when a manifesto pledge was kept, people protested it. He had laughed when Woy had been pelted with eggs at the LSE that one time, but Lilac had been very clear not to push any further outside Washington’s zone during the first term. ‘Leave it to your successor’ had been the implied remark.

“...the slow one now will later be fast...”

Yet Vietnam had not been the end of everything. Nixon was gone now - of course - but when Ford lost the nomination, either Reagan or Jackson would be along to point the missiles back towards Leningrad.

“...and the first one now will later be last...”

Wilson grabbed a cigar from the battered box he’d placed on the side of the sink and, with an accomplished single handed-cut, lit it and exhaled the first smoke of the day.

“...for the times, they are a changin’.”


There were days when it was good to be Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. This one was not turning out to be one of them. He’d been woken at the crack of dawn by two absurdly agitated twins bearing ‘news of the highest importance to the future of the country’, he’d told them where to go and found himself unable to get back to sleep. By the time he had given up and resigned himself to a morning of Radio 3 and a relaxing read of the paper, he found all frequencies broadcasting a mix of some interminable loop of Holst’s Planets Suite and some hysterical proclamation about the latest business in Whitehall. On top of that, the newspaper (thanks to a hastily-added wrapping sheet) was anything but relaxing.

Now, dressed in his favourite dark blue suit and wishing his coffee were something stronger, he read through the telegram again. It read, in full:


“Stop Margaret Thatcher?” he pondered aloud. Also, there hadn’t been a Minister for Information since the war, had there? The whole thing left a bad taste in his mouth. Yet, however unconvincing Mrs Thatcher had been on the television, one thing was clear. She was - for better or worse - Prime Minister. Somehow. If, in her wisdom, she required his services, who was he to turn her down? Mountbatten sighed. He felt he ought to ask around. He rose from his chair and moved to the telephone, dialling a number only a handful of people knew about. After the usual pause, it connected.

“The Sorting Office,” said the rather brusque woman at the other end.

“This is Pelican. I’d like to speak to Kestrel, if I may.”

The woman’s voice immediately softened and Mountbatten could hear her smiling as she spoke.

“I’d know your voice any day of the week, Lord Louis. I’ll put you right through.”

“Much appreciated.”

Before the second hand on his watch had made a full cycle, a familiar voice came on the line.

“Hello, Louis.”

“Your Majesty.”

“Don’t. How are you?”

“I’m well. And you?”

“Fine,” she replied, sounding bored, “do you know what’s going on? Nobody is really telling me anything.”

“I’m afraid I only know what everybody knows. Although, come to think of it, two gentlemen visited me this morning and seemed very interested in telling me a lot more than that.” He thought back to the McWhirters, then continued.

“I’ve been asked to join the government. Minister for Information.”

“Oh, I think that would be splendid,” came the reply.


“But of course. You were born for public service.”

Mountbatten smirked. “I believe the Americans have a saying. ‘Look who’s talking.’”

She tittered, then regained her composure. “I do think you should do it.”

“I think so too, in my heart of hearts. You know about what happened in 1969, don’t you? They approached me before. They could have caught him. I was... I was a fool. I didn’t think it possible.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t think anyone did, Louis. I certainly didn’t. He is one of my favourites. Well, he was.”


“Well, now that I know he probably spent every one of our meetings fantasising about putting a bullet in my head in some godawful cellar somewhere, I’m less inclined to think kindly of him.”

“A fair point, Your Majesty.”

“I told you to stop that,” came the exasperated reply, followed by a sigh. “You’d better be off. Get a cab to Whitehall and sort this whole mess out for me, will you?”

Mountbatten stood to attention, even though no-one could see him.

“As ever, I serve the Crown and my Sovereign.”

“Oh, sod off, you pompous ass.”

There was a click as the Queen hung up, and Louis chuckled as he reached for his hat.


“Visitor for you.”

Tony Benn’s cell door opened with a creak, the light blinding him momentarily. Through the haze, he thought for one horrible moment that Mrs Thatcher had come along to deal with him personally. As his eyes recovered, the altogether more welcoming figure of his wife appeared.

“They got you then, Jimmy?”

The former Secretary of State for Energy gave a dark smile at that, which quickly faded as he noticed the two Special Branch officers standing just outside the hallway, clearly listening to every word.

“I’m sure that my innocence in all of this will be proven in the next few days.” Benn eventually responded. “There’s clearly not much to talk about until then.”

He shunted over slightly as Caroline sat beside him on the bench.

“The kids hope that you are well.” She said, we’re all safe, although Stephen hates having to ask for permission every time he wants to leave the house.”

Benn smiled - more warmly this time - at the stability that family seemed to be affording him.

“Tom Driberg sends his regards as well,” she continued, passing over a copy of The Guardian. “Also, I rather figured that you would fancy reading some news, rather than straining your ears towards the old bakelite antique in the hallway.”

Something about the pointed way in which she handed the paper to him prompted Benn to look far more closely than he would usually have done so at half-past eight on a Saturday morning. With a tiny glance at the tired-looking Constables, his eyes fluttered back down towards the page that had had the corner folded down slightly. He smiled at the half-completed crossword as one of the officers irritably tapped his watch.

“Mull should be the answer, Caroline,” Benn said, pointing at four missing letters for 4 across. “You know, in Argyllshire.”

“Oh, of course!” Caroline smiled, “how silly of me not to see that sooner. Funny how often Mull is the answer.”

“You’ve had other things on your mind. Anyway, hopefully I’ll be out of here at the end of the day.”

“I wouldn’t count on it, Mr Benn,” the other guard said, leading Caroline back outside. “I hope she was was worth your only phone call.”

“You know,” Benn said as the couple shared an infinitesimally brief moment of eye contact, “I rather think that she was.”


“...while Mr Donoughue, Baroness Falkender and Mr Haines are all still being questioned, Mrs Wilson was released from custody an hour ago. The police are obviously treating her delicately but it’s quite clear she knows nothing about all this. All the same, she’s in no hurry to go anywhere and is under police guard.”

“Thank you, Sir Michael,” said Mrs Thatcher, turning to make sure the rest of her cabinet echoed her thanks. “Although, with respect, I hope this is the last time you are required to brief us on the security situation in person. The Home Secretary now being in place, I am sure he will be able to oversee the operation from a more... proper standpoint.”

Sir Michael bristled inwardly and suppressed a dirty look.

“Of course, Prime Minister. I just believed -”

“I know, Sir Michael, and your assistance is greatly appreciated. We will catch Mr Wilson, we will put him on trial and we will move forward from this crisis, and it will be thanks in no small part to you.”

Airey Neave leant back in his chair and gave a satisfied nod. Margaret seemed to be back on form. Ian Gilmour, the new Home Secretary, looked rather daunted at the prospect of organising the manhunt for Wilson, but Keith Joseph, his eyes shining, had never looked happier than he had when Margaret told the room he would be Chancellor. That, of course, was the post Geoffrey had been shadowing, and his appointment as Attorney General had surprised everyone and didn’t seem to be exciting him very much. Airey looked up as the door was opened and Sir John Hunt entered.

“My apologies, Prime Minister, but the Minister for Information has arrived.”

There was an intake of breath from some quarters of the room as Lord Mountbatten glided effortlessly through the open door.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” he began, “I’m very sorry I’m so late.”

“Nonsense, it is a privilege to have you with us,” Thatcher replied with a toothy smile. Airey felt someone next to him shudder. Mountbatten scanned the room for a seat and sat down between Whitelaw and Prior before looking quizzically around the table.

“No Ted?” he asked. There was an uncomfortable silence. Thatcher broke it.

“I have decided, in the interests of unity, to initially invite only those figures who we can be certain will focus on the immediate crisis at hand.”

That was a bit strong. Airey could see eyebrows rising around the room. Prior spoke.

“Prime Minister - and may I say how much pleasure I take in calling you that - have you determined a timetable for the election?”

“There isn’t going to be an election just yet, Jim.”

Geoffrey Howe visibly gagged. Thatcher continued.

“In time, of course, a mandate will be sought. But at present, the Labour Party is under de facto house arrest and in no position to campaign or seek a mandate of its own. Paradoxically, it would be undemocratic to hold an election.”

“They’re a bunch of traitors, why shouldn’t we take the opportunity to destroy them electorally?” snarled Joseph.

“The Prime Minister is right,” Mountbatten said with a commanding tone, “now is not the time to divide the nation further. But, if I may, I would like to register my concern that the former Prime Minister - I mean Mr Heath, not Mr Wilson - is not being given enough credit here. He could -”

“Thank you, Lord Mountbatten,” cut in Thatcher with a hint of ice, “your objection is noted.”

Sir John cleared his throat.

“Might I enquire as to the immediate priority, Prime Minister?”

“I will be telephoning Moscow this afternoon, within the hour, to be exact. NATO Command has been watching troop movements and we have no reason to believe that an attack is imminent. MI6 believe the Soviets are more frightened of us than we are of them - but none of that is certain until I speak to Mr Brezhnev. After that, in the early evening, I will be making another television broadcast.”

Sir Michael coughed. Sir John nodded.

“Prime Minister,” Sir John began, with all the tact and grace a civil servant could muster, “after the incident this morning, I wanted to suggest that perhaps you are better placed behind the scenes of this government.”

Airey swore you could cut the tension in the room with a knife. Thatcher turned to face Sir John and opened her mouth to say something that may have ended matters then and there. But fate intervened, in the form of Geoffrey Howe.

“I have to say I agree, Sir John.”

Thatcher shot him her best ‘et tu, Brute?’ look, but the new reluctant Attorney General continued.

“I mean no disrespect to the Prime Minister, and she will know that, but the public need a reassuring, confident and familiar face to lead them at this time. If we had been elected, with a public mandate, then perhaps this would not be an issue, but...”

“And let’s face it, you do have some presentation issues, Margaret,” added John Biffen. Airey summoned up the courage to intervene, but found that even he couldn’t possibly argue that the morning’s broadcast had not been a disaster.

Thatcher finally got a word in.

“I understand these concerns, really, I do, but -”

“Why not ask the Minister for Information to make regular television and radio broadcasts on the situation as it unfolds?” asked Sir John, his heart pounding hard against his chest.

All eyes turned to Mountbatten, who spoke with a delicate coolness.

“I will serve this government in whatever capacity I am asked to.”

Howe spoke again.

“I think that would be an excellent idea.”

Biffen nodded.

“You can keep us all in line here, Margaret, and run the country - God knows you know what needs to be done - but the Lord here can tell people what’s going on in a way that doesn’t make them want to build an Anderson Shelter.”

“Are you suggesting,” Thatcher thundered, “that I, the Prime Minister, should not represent my government in the public eye?”

“Not at all,” came the reply, from Keith Joseph this time, “there’s nothing wrong with interviews, statements et cetera - I don’t think anyone here wants to gag you, Margaret,” he shot Howe a look, “it’s just that until things have calmed down and you’re in a better position to speak to the country, Lord Mountbatten is the perfect mouthpiece for the Transitional Authority.”

“Honestly?” Thatcher said.

“I am afraid so, Margaret,” Norman St John-Stevas piped up from the far end of the table. “Really, there is no alternative.”

There was another long silence. Airey felt Margaret’s eyes searching for him, but he could not bring himself to look at her. He had nothing to say.

“Very well then,” Thatcher said at last, “Lord Mountbatten shall make broadcasts on behalf of the government, provided he is happy to do so.”

Lord Louis nodded his consent.

“For what it’s worth, Margaret,” John Biffen said, “there’s no-one I’d want on the phone to Moscow more than you. And if the unions give us trouble, you’ll show them no quarter. It’s just a presentation issue.”

“I understand, John, thank you,” Thatcher said through pursed lips.

Sir John interjected.

“Shall I inform the BBC that they should expect Lord Mountbatten tonight, Prime Minister?”

“Yes,” replied Thatcher, sounding somewhat far away, “yes, I suppose you’d better.”

Sir John nodded, turned and exited the cabinet room. As he walked briskly down the corridor, he could not stop himself softly humming the theme tune from The Dam Busters.


Caroline Benn finished dialling. In an office on the other side of London, a phone rang for the third time in five minutes. Exasperated, its owner pushed his glasses up onto his head and pressed the receiver to his ear.

“World In Action. This is Chris Mullin.”​
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Hope you all like this latest joint-chapter. To act as a coda, here is the first in a series of teaser posters. I do have some more authentic in-universe ones waiting to go, but they are rather massive spoilers at this stage.

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Dear lord, that update was great and well worth the wait.

Could I be correct that Wilson's relaxation could be broken abruptly?
Google Translate says "خوش" simply means 'good'. Is it used by itself as a greeting? I'm well aware of its limitations, so I wouldn't be surprised if they were wrong.

Hmmm... considering that it thinks it means "there" in Urdu (presumably the language being used here), so I'm guessing Google is way off here.

Enough of pickiness. Ouch. Mega-ouch.

Minister for Information, eh? Formally establishing MiniTru, are we? As I say, mega-ouch.

By the way, I'm guessing from reading between the lines, that OTL there was enough time to soften Maggie's presentation?
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All I can say about the TL and this update is wow.:eek: Things are spiraling out of control very quickly, with Thatcher appearing not to be up to the job at the moment and Mountbatten being told (possibly unintentionally) to stop her. A large portion of the country probably believe Wilson has been framed and that this is a coup.

I really can't see how the new Government can hold things together. Mountbatten needs to be very reassuring if they're to have any chance of doing so. I await the next installment with baited breath.
I've googled Wison. The accusaitons are that he was a KGB agent. I'massuming that's what this is based on. If so, it's peaked my interest. I may not have toime to read through the other page, so, perhaps some would catch me up please?
I hope Meadow and Lord Roem don't mind me adding this.

It's a BBC documentary on the Wilson Plot with secret recordings of Wilson stating he wanted it investigated.