Alternate PMs #2 - "Something In The Air"

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Comisario, Jun 13, 2015.

  1. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    [​IMG]

    "Call out the instigator
    Because there's something in the air
    We've got to get together sooner or later
    Because the revolution's here..."

    ***

    Red flags lined the Thames, heralding the Admiral’s arrival. The riverbanks, which had been awash with Londoners’ blood only weeks before, were now populated by smiling citizens and the men of the Revolutionary Guards. Their cheers were deafeningly loud, unlike anything the Admiral had heard since the war. His ship, formerly known as the King Edward VIII, cut its way through the river as it passed the many tens of thousands of revellers. It all reminded him of 1947, the end of the war and his return from the Far East. They cheered like this when our tanks passed the Brandenburg Gate. That was a year of respite, when all the bloodshed of those seven years was left behind and the British people appeared unconquerable. But we were conquered. The government soon reminded them of that. The revolt in Bengal and the new “emergency powers” put an end to the delightful, post-war haze. From the sowing of those seeds, the revolution was to be reaped.

    The city seemed new to him. The Admiral hadn’t visited since the bleak winter of 1959, when Mosley stepped down in the wake of his son’s “car accident”. Churchill’s faction won out behind the scenes, with Sandys stepping up to replace Mosley, but the situation was far from stable. The Admiral kept himself close to Whitehall for those few weeks, awaiting orders from his co-conspirators in the civil service. We could never have imagined this. Things were far murkier back then, when the coup existed in the whispered words of private secretaries and petty officers. Now, it was a revolution. It belongs to them now, he thought as he raised his fist in salute. A thousand were raised in turn. The smiles were more sincere to his eyes; the city was saturated with colour. The drab, shambling figures that once appeared to haunt its streets had been brought to life with the flight of Duncan Sandys and the King.

    “Comrade Chairman.” It was Benn’s younger brother. He’d been presented like a gift to the Admiral when he ascended to the chairmanship of the National Revolutionary Council. Michael must have thought he was shoring up his position. “My brother hash been in touch to shay that he will be arriving in Weshtminshter after the declarashion.”

    “Thank you, comrade – what about Colonel Freeman?” I can’t be the only one there. Similar coups had unravelled into military infighting and petty squabbling, serving only to undermine their cause. The three branches had to be kept on side. Otherwise, we’ll be at each other’s throats before long. “Will he still be meeting us at Westminster Bridge?”

    “Yesh, we’ve had confirmashion on that,” Anthony replied. “He ish waiting there already, I believe.”

    “Thank you very much, comrade Benn. Enjoy the celebrations!” The Admiral threw his arms up. He gestured to the people, their spirits so high as to be heaven-bound, as an example to the younger Benn. A smile stretched across the young man’s face and he nodded, turning away and skulking back from the front of the ship.

    The Thames led them ever closer to Westminster, where the United Kingdom would soon be ended and the National regime buried after almost forty years of tyranny. The Admiral ran the speech over in his mind, imagining his voice ringing out as he waved to his comrades that flanked the river’s course. He paced along the deck, waiting and watching as Tower Bridge opened up to let the battleship pass and bouquets of red roses floated down to bless the guns. Jesus had entered Jerusalem with less fanfare.

    The Red Flag rang out in chorus, echoing all the way to the ruins of Blackfriars Bridge. It had been destroyed by a government demolitions expert, believing the destruction of the bridge would slow the advance of the rebel forces as loyalists were expelled from London and sought refuge in the countryside of the Home Counties. The so-called “expert” accidentally, and in a blind panic, detonated the explosives under the bridge before the armoured divisions could cross. The tanks were yet to be fished from the water, but the bodies had been swept up from the embankment and displayed from the lampposts. Thank God I had them taken down – no man deserves that sort of thing. Straw’s “Student Vanguard” were most likely to blame for the incident, but there was little evidence to act upon. His generation have never known war, not like us. Europe under the Kaiser’s jackboot, the atom flare over Russia, and the years lived in fear: the scars of that war were not visible on the cheeks of the younger revolutionaries.

    Waterloo Bridge, the last before Westminster, opened up and closed behind the battleship. The Admiral felt a tension in his stomach and a lump in his throat. This was it - this was the end of the old order. The National Party had been broken, its leaders hanged or in exile, and the King lived as a guest of President Cogny in Paris. Their time was done.

    As the ship approached Westminster Bridge, it slowed. The Admiral was escorted, along with his entourage, off and onto the embankment. The crowds thronged and reached out to touch the Admiral as he passed. The revolution had smoothed his wrinkled front and made him into more than a man. He was, now, a symbol of something greater. The Revolutionary Guards pulled the young Benn from the crowd by the scruff of his neck before he could be subsumed in their multitude. Affront the gates to Parliament, on the roadside dividing the Palace of Westminster from Parliament Square, a stage and podium was set up. Union flags and red flags mingled in the crowd and intertwined around the stage, framing it like the flowery borders of a Victorian postcard.

    Colonel Freeman, bearing the red star on his cap and lapels, stood aside the stage.

    "Ah! Mountbatten!" he cried, his voice straining to be heard over the human sea that had crashed over Parliament Square. "Are you ready, comrade?"

    The Admiral took John Freeman's hand in his and shook firmly. "Of course, comrade." The reply was resolute and definite. Now is the time.

    He climbed the steps to the podium and placed his hands upon its wooden frame. A cough was muttered into the microphone and boomed out of the speakers standing in the road. Silence fell over the people, their passions calmed by their "Red Admiral".

    "Comrades, our time has come! We have wrested control of this great nation from those fascists and saboteurs who would wish to bring us nothing but terror and dictatorship. The world has watched us take our first steps on the path to democracy - a path that few of us can recall from before the woes of war and depression. Britain had sunk to its lowest point, comrades! But, here we are! We have brought it back up to its rightful place amongst the great powers of the world!"

    The crowd cheered in ecstasy. Mountbatten placed his hand out to soothe their passions once more.

    "To further our cause and restore the people's sovereignty, there is one more step to be taken!"

    His hands were clasped tightly around the podium. The tension in his stomach then dissipated, and the words came forth like spring from winter.

    "I, Chairman Mountbatten of the National Revolutionary Council, do hereby dissolve the provisional government. In its place, I declare Britain a sovereign republic - a state for all people - with myself in the positions of both President and Prime Minister until our full democracy can be restored! I swear to you, good comrades, that it will be restored. Long live the revolution!"

    "Long live the revolution!" they replied as one. "Long live Mountbatten!"​
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  2. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

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    Absolutely glorious. Really, an inspired choice peppered with EdT-esque worldbuilding asides and just enough flavour to allow us to hear and almost smell the atmosphere of the ending.

    Top stuff, and may the sovereign republic endure for a thousand years.
     
    Comisario likes this.
  3. shiftygiant Auf Wiedersehen Gone Fishin'

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    Wonderful, really, really wonderull
     
  4. Ed Costello Like tickling a trout in the wild

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    That was properly great. Not entirely sure I believe Lord Louis, though...
     
  5. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

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    Oh yes, I'm getting a strong Bonapartist (or worse, Cromwellian) vibe off him. I'd actually be intrigued by a second installment of this universe, perhaps set at Mountbatten's fall or death (perhaps both at once...).
     
  6. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    Well, this is high praise indeed. To have anything I've written considered "EdT-esque" is most definitely an honour.

    The choice of Mountbatten came about as a combination of little anecdotes about his supposed left-wing, pro-Labour views and also because I was just tinkering with Paint and GIMP one day and realised that I could make Mountbatten look like him -

    [​IMG]

    Thus, the "Red Admiral" was born.

    Thank you very much! Remember to check out Alternate PMs #1 if you haven't already :D

    I thought I'd leave the question open as to the sincerity of his beliefs, especially as he has taken on very large executive responsibilities with massive popular support (which isn't always a good sign for democracy, really).

    I might do another set in this universe - the "Carnationverse", as I like to call it - in the British Republic of the 1970s/1980s. However, I think I'm gonna move onto Prime Minister #3 next (or, hopefully, get stuck into writing a new update for Comrade Cripps).
     
  7. Agent Boot Failing upwards

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    Very enjoyable. To pick out two particular details - the survival of Michael Benn is a great example of "butterflies done good", the peppering (to use Meadow's term) of the main narrative with little divergences from OTL, which the reader may or may not pick up on their first reading. It creates an extra layer of payoff for readers who know their history and thereby get the references - in my view the mark of great AH. I also liked the use of generally underused John Freeman.

    You've got a knack for these and I look forward to the next. EdT-esque indeed.

    You know, what I'd love to see is a combined-PolitiBrit anthology of these Alt-PM vignettes. Like Biteback publishing's "The Prime Ministers Who Never Were", but much much better.
     
  8. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    I wondered when someone would pick up on Michael Benn. I thought about including him as an "Alternate PM" on his own, but I think that niche could be filled by another figure who died in WW2 (we'll have to wait and see). I suppose I wanted to portray how Michael might have affected Tony, seeing as the younger Benn would end up living in the shadow of his older brother - I think I got that across with the changes to Tony's personality.

    I'd agree with you on what makes good AH. I think that's why I like this style - it allows for much more world-building on a grand scale, whilst also allowing small nuances and nods from OTL to be noted by those who really know their history.

    Thank you very much!

    That's a really good idea, actually. We'd definitely put together something much more exciting than their "usual suspects" parade of alternate Prime Ministers.
     
  9. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

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    [sound of cogs whirring]
     
  10. Mumby im that bob

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    I have a vignette of my own planned. But its awful and will make people scream and when I next go to a meet-up, Meadow is going to put me on a bus to a mystery location AND I WILL NEVER GET BACK TO LINCOLN.

    Comisario, I love these vignettes you're doing, this one was particularly delicious. Partly because I knew what was going on, and partly because I HAVE NO IDEA WHATS GOING ON.
     
  11. Techdread Loyal Oppositionist

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    I'm loving these vignettes, Comisario - this is a nice twist on the Mountbatten leading a coup against Wilson theme. I'm looking forward to future ones. You've even got me considering writing a few of my own now too!
     
  12. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    I'm glad people are getting inspired and trying to write their own vignettes! I hope others will soon add to the growing pantheon of Politibrit vignettes and we can make a collection of these stories! :)

    I have the feeling we'll all be writing vignettes and eventually we'll run out of people to become Prime Minister, haha! There will be American, Australian, Spanish, German, etc. spin-offs soon enough, just like the TLIADs.
     
  13. Mumby im that bob

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    Mine won't necessarily have an alternate PM, its just downright bloodcurdling.
     
  14. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    Now I'm intrigued!
     
  15. Agent Boot Failing upwards

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    Regarding the BiteBack volume some of the essays were quite good, but from memory a lot of them suffered from a) a tendency towards wish-fulfillment, b) murdered butterflies and over the top parallelism, and c) some now quite dated ultra-contemporary allusions to coalitions and AV (it was published in 2011). As you say, the combined efforts of some of the talents here would knock them out of the water.

    This suggestion is indeed inspired by what you were talking about at the Birmingham meetup.
     
  16. Mumby im that bob

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    I can guarantee that it will be some dank nubs.[/QUOTE]
     
  17. LancyIain Eternal Typist

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    It was a bit presumptuous to name a battleship HMS King Edward VIII while the king in question was still on the throne, wasn't it? Although his father did allow it to happen to him, so I suppose it could be seen as family tradition.

    I must agree with those who feel the Admiral is somewhat less than likely to relinquish power. That is certainly the vibe I am getting from him, anyway. I initially missed that Jack Straw was leading a group of young student-age people stringing up the corpses of dead enemies, enemies they had not had any hand in. Not exactly pleasant circumstances for this revolution.

    Lots of good stuff here, I think.
     
  18. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    Thank you very much!

    The revolution has certainly been a bloody one, and Straw's group of revolutionaries are indicative of the forces that collaborated to bring down the National regime of Duncan Sandys and King Edward VIII.
     
  19. traveller76 Member

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    Carnations

    I would like to see this Carnationverse
     
  20. Comisario ‘Lim’ is short for ‘Liment Voroshilov’

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    I've already started on vignette #3 - for this one coming up, we'll be on the other wing of British politics in an earlier and bleaker era of history.

    UPDATE: I'm a third of the way through! Expect it in the next day or so.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015