Alternative Prime Ministers #2: "Share or Shaft"

So, the second in my occasional series of stand-alone vignettes regarding alternative Prime Ministers; hopefully not too ridiculous compared to the last one, although certainly with more homo-eroticism....

Part 1 can be found here.




"It's good to share, but sometimes it pays to shaft"

****

“The Prime Minister will see you now, Chancellor,” the Political Assistant said, opening the door leading off from the Cabinet Room. Gordon Brown gave her a venomous stare. Oh, he’ll see me, will he? He thought. How fucking generous of him.

Sweeping past without a word, he marched into the office, barely registering the door being closed behind him. A TV set to Sky was burbling away in the corner, something about the on-going fighting in Macedonia. I’ll have to see if I can find a way to leak what he said about the Albanians the other day, Brown thought, smiling, and sat down in an armchair.

“If this is about the Welfare estimates,” he said, “I’m not budging. I don’t care if Frank tries to go over my head to get more money for his pet schemes- if he wants more support for children’s centres, he can take it from the money he saved from the benefits cap.” He crossed his arms, defiantly.

From behind the desk, the Prime Minister regarded him with what appeared to be smugness, although given his usual expression it was hard to tell. Look at you, Brown thought with keenly-honed irritation. Fresh from the tanning bed, and the colour of the wall-panelling. You’re even more orange than Hain, if such a thing is possible.

“Nice to see you too Gordon,” he replied, with his trademark drawl. “Actually, this isn’t about Welfare. It’s not even about immigration, though I will bear in mind your paper objecting to ‘British Jobs for British Workers’. No. I wanted to see you for another reason.”

Brown rolled his eyes at the melodrama of it. The Prime Minister, media tart that he was, had always loved his own voice. “Get on with it,” he muttered, and was surprised to see that rarest of things in response- a genuine, almost predatory, Prime Ministerial smile.

“The pre-election reshuffle is next month, and I’m moving you,” he said, bluntly. “I want a clear-out of the Treasury so we can go into the campaign with a fresh approach. You’ve done good work, but any longer in that place and it’ll stagnate. Foreign Office or Home, your choice. I’ll even create an international aid department for you if you like.” He waved his hand, dismissively. “I know you always love giving money to the darkies.”

Brown closed his good eye for a second, and exhaled slowly. The anger was always there in the background, but this? This was something more. White hot rage burned in him. They had always tried to destroy him, of course, to cheat him out of what was his; whether it was the Rectorship, or the seat in Hamilton that the scumbag Robertson stole from under his nose, or….

Bastards.

“I… I… will destroy you for this,” he eventually whispered, breathless with fury. “I’ll go to the backbenches, and I’ll destroy you.”

The Prime Minister smirked. “Calm down Gordon, we’re not in the fucking Godfather. I’m offering you a fair deal. Foreign Secretary would be a step sideways, and a healthy thing for you. You need to get out of the Treasury more, meet new people. Get a girlfriend. It might stop you obsessing over things.”

“You promised me the Treasury!” Brown roared, punctuating each word by banging his fist on the table.

“I didn’t mean in perpetuity! Jesus, Gordon, you’ve been in Number 11 for years now. You’ve had your time. You did the things you wanted; now it’s time to move on. I’m giving you a way out.”

There was a pause, as Brown seethed. Finally, he shook his head. “No. I know you’ve always hated me. Laughing at me. I’m going to the backbenches. And I’ll have supporters, and we will bring you down.”

The Prime Minister, angry himself now, jabbed his finger at the other man. “Oh, you’ll have supporters, will you? Who the fuck is going to support you? Not on the backbenches- I don’t give a toss about them- but in Cabinet. Robin hates you, Cherie can hardly stand to be in the same room as you-“ a look flashed across Brown’s face that confirmed the feeling was entirely mutual “- and John… well, John has been asking me to sack you for months. What’s going to happen, are you going to make Clare Chancellor and run the Government as a twosome? You’re like Hitler in his bunker, playing with non-existent armies.”

He sighed. “This is all about ‘94, isn’t it? You could never get over the fact that I won the leadership when John died, while you were too proud to stand yourself. You go on about a deal. What deal? I said you could be Shadow Chancellor were I to become leader. That’s it! And yet you pretend that I gave you control of domestic policy, that I promised I’d stand down after a term to let you take over. All delusions- and even if it was true, which it isn’t, what does it matter? I’m Prime Minister now, not you. I can do whatever the hell I want!”

Brown stared at him, with perfect hatred. Why did people like him? But they did, and he despised him for it. The idiosyncratic speech, the jerky hand-gestures, the palpable insincerity oozing from every pore of his spray-tanned skin, the chiselled features… Why couldn’t they find substance, gravitas, sincerity, appealing? If only they knew what lay behind the mask. The arrogance, the vanity, the spite… They were already beginning to discover these things, though, and he could speed things along. Yes, he could bring this Government down. It would be a pleasure. He’d show them. He’d show all of them.

“People want a Labour Prime Minister, not… whatever you are,” he muttered venomously. “And they’ll get one, soon enough.”

The Prime Minister barked a laugh. “I met you in 1975. I remember what your views were then. Mine haven't changed. You’ve gone to the right, and I still believe what I believed then. The Left were fools then, and they’re fools now. Why? Because they enjoy losing!”

He leant forward, warming to his theme. “Being on the Left doesn’t win you elections. The average man on the street doesn’t care about social justice! He wants criminals locked up, immigrants out, Europe told to butt out… He reads the Express, not the Guardian! And that’s what I’m giving them, and because of it I won a landslide.”

He jabbed his finger at the Chancellor. “That landslide? That was because of me! Not you! And you know what? I’m going to be the first Labour Prime Minister ever to be re-elected to boot! There’s nothing that Michael Howard can do about that, and there’s certainly nothing that you can do.”

He began to raise his voice; his eyes, shockingly white against his brown skin, bulged from his face. “I’ve experienced it all, Gordon. There’s nothing that scares me now. Not the Tories, not those whining shits at the BBC and the Guardian, and least of all you. You know what happened in the 80s, how Militant threw everything they had at me, slashed my tyres, spat at me, tried to destroy my good name, even my sanity! I even thought about quitting for a time, did you know that? But I realised that my Party- my Country- needed me. They couldn’t bring me down then, and you won’t bring me down now. Do you know why?”

He stood angrily, sending his chair tipping backwards. “Because I’m Robert Kilroy-Silk! Do you understand? Robert Kilroy-Silk! I’m the fucking Prime Minister! Robert Kilroy-Silk, First Lord of the Treasury! If you want to take me on, then come and take me.”

The Prime Minister’s voice dropped to a whispered hiss as he leant forwards, his head inches from Brown’s own. “You want to destroy me, Gordon? Well you’d better be careful. Because perhaps, just perhaps, Robert Kilroy-Silk will destroy you first.”

The two men stared at each other for a moment, both shaking with emotion, willing the other to be the first to back down.

Finally, Brown chuckled, turning away. “I don’t care what you say, Robert. You’ve not heard the last of this. I’m going to resign. And then the shit will really hit the tan.” He grinned nastily, and stormed out of the room.

The Prime Minister watched him go, and leant back, stretching, as he thought of the speech he would make upon his re-election. He whispered something to himself, as if confirming something in his own mind, and smiled.

“I’m Robert Kilroy-Silk…”
 
I see that the British public have elected a perfectly sane and sensible man to the noble position of Prime Minister though I assume Kilroy-Silk means being the first Labour Prime Minister re-elected twice, unless Attlee and Wilson have been erased from existence.

The tension between Brown and Silk, one who lashes out against imaginary opponents and the other who hasn't really gotten his war with the real ones. Militant have done a number on him anyway and I can see a lot of policy decisions of his being done just to hear them squeal as well as his own personal satisfaction.

I'm not sure who I would want to win, both Silk and Brown seem to have sunk in the deep end in their own way. Probably some type of MAD scenario with Howard coming on top.

Great work, as usual.

EDIT: I like what you did with British Workers and British Jobs, though I have a feeling that Silk's version is just a bit more right wing on the matter.
 
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Oh dear lord, the country has got a Prime Minster who reads the Express. May the last one out turn off the lights.


On the other hand great if terrifying story and substantially more plausible, in a very depressing I hate humanity way.
 
Beautiful again. I like how Kilroy is essentially a madder, oranger Blair. Which begs the question, surely, what happened to dear old Tone? Or are we to assume he took a back seat to allow Cherie to go for it? But then, we don't find out her surname...

You know your subject better than I, but is he being loose with his definition of 'left' in 1975 or is he just being revisionist when he says he saw how they were fools? He crops up as a Tribunite in the Benn diaries, you see.

Please keep doing these, even if they do make my only TLIAD so far look like child's play.
 
Great stuff. But I must ask, as an uninformed American- what is so bad about The Express and this Kilroy-Silk character to warrant such strong reactions?
 
Great stuff. But I must ask, as an uninformed American- what is so bad about The Express and this Kilroy-Silk character to warrant such strong reactions?

The Express is basically the gutteriest of the gutter tabloids, everything in there is about a.) which "celebrity*" woman is either too fat, too thin, just turned 16 and thus okay to perve on etc. b.) What is going to cause you cancer/stop you getting cancer. c.) IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING 'ERE AND STEALING UR JOBS AND R WIMMIN!!!!
All delivered at a 8 year olds reading level with an open policy of having at least 70% of every page devoted to pictures. Because the average Daily Express customer can barely read. Oh and did I mention that they are owned by a porn baron aka Richard "Dirty Des" Desmond.

As for Kilroy-Silk imagine Jerry Springer but even more of an arsehole and racist to boot.




*very loose definition, i.e. Suri Cruise
 
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I assume Kilroy-Silk means being the first Labour Prime Minister re-elected twice, unless Attlee and Wilson have been erased from existence.

Good point! I think he means in terms of getting a decent majority. I’ll amend…


The tension between Brown and Silk, one who lashes out against imaginary opponents and the other who hasn't really gotten his war with the real ones. Militant have done a number on him anyway and I can see a lot of policy decisions of his being done just to hear them squeal as well as his own personal satisfaction.

I'm not sure who I would want to win, both Silk and Brown seem to have sunk in the deep end in their own way. Probably some type of MAD scenario with Howard coming on top.

Whoever wins it’s not going to be pretty; I think Brown could probably topple Kilroy in the end, but not in such a way as to actually benefit himself. Either way it’ll be brutal, messy and deeply unedifying for all concerned. Of course, the internet has already provided us with clues as to the ultimate consequences. Toss a coin; Heads or Tails?


EDIT: I like what you did with British Workers and British Jobs, though I have a feeling that Silk's version is just a bit more right wing on the matter.

Actually, I imagine it’s pretty similar to what Brown suggested; it’s just that Kilroy actually believes the rhetoric.


Beautiful again. I like how Kilroy is essentially a madder, oranger Blair. Which begs the question, surely, what happened to dear old Tone? Or are we to assume he took a back seat to allow Cherie to go for it? But then, we don't find out her surname...

Madder, oranger but also with some fairly big policy differences; Field has been able to oust Harman and continue with his Welfare reforms, Kosovo never happened, and the Government has a very Eurosceptic tinge compared with OTL. Given his OTL views, Christ knows what will happen when September 11th rolls around…

As for the Blairs, my PoD was a bit purposefully vague but it probably involved Cherie standing in ’83 rather than Tony, and then her convincing Kilroy not to walk away from Parliament over the Militant takeover of his constituency party. I suspect ITTL Tony is a prominent, and extremely wealthy, QC.


You know your subject better than I, but is he being loose with his definition of 'left' in 1975 or is he just being revisionist when he says he saw how they were fools? He crops up as a Tribunite in the Benn diaries, you see.

Funnily enough, that section of the vignette was lifted wholesale from an interview he gave in the boom days of Veritas; he was attacking Jack Straw in particular as a former lefty who sold out. For all that this is clearly what he believes, I’m not sure I would necessarily trust his recall on anything; I suspect the Kilroy version


Please keep doing these, even if they do make my only TLIAD so far look like child's play.

Really glad you enjoyed it! There are another couple in the pipeline. Not sure as to the acronym TLIAD though; sounds pleasantly Homeric. Mind giving me a clue?

Thanks for the PM btw, shall reply sharpish.


Great stuff. But I must ask, as an uninformed American- what is so bad about The Express and this Kilroy-Silk character to warrant such strong reactions?

Thoresby’s just about got it, but I can’t help but think that Springer’s not enough of a gobshite; imagine President Geraldo Rivera, and you’re pretty close to the mark. This and this may give a sense of the horror.
 

Thande

Donor
I'm not sure I understand where you were going for with this. The way it was structured made me think that we were meant to think it was Blair and Brown at first (referring to him as being orange, etc.) and I'm guessing it was meant to be a big reveal that it was Robert Kilroy-Silk, but the title and the poster at the beginning give the game away.

Good concept, by all means, but I think it falls down there.
 
The Express is basically the gutteriest of the gutter tabloids, everything in there is about a.) which "celebrity*" woman is either too fat, too thin, just turned 16 and thus okay to perve on etc. b.) What is going to cause you cancer/stop you getting cancer. c.) IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING 'ERE AND STEALING UR JOBS AND R WIMMIN!!!!
All delivered at a 8 year olds reading level with an open policy of having at least 70% of every page devoted to pictures. Because the average Daily Express customer can barely read. Oh and did I mention that they are owned by a porn baron aka Richard "Dirty Des" Desmond.

As for Kilroy-Silk imagine Jerry Springer but even more of an arsehole and racist to boot.




*very loose definition, i.e. Suri Cruise

You forgot d) "DID DIANA'S DRIVER HAVE BIRD FLU?"
 
Whoever wins it’s not going to be pretty; I think Brown could probably topple Kilroy in the end, but not in such a way as to actually benefit himself. Either way it’ll be brutal, messy and deeply unedifying for all concerned. Of course, the internet has already provided us with clues as to the ultimate consequences. Toss a coin; Heads or Tails?

So either Brown takes over and builds a government based on him, Clare Short and the Cabinet ministers who don't despise his guts for splitting the party to bits (the only way I could see Silk leaving) or Kilroy, using a miracle to survive, becomes vindicated by his victory and goes up to eleven.

Madder, oranger but also with some fairly big policy differences; Field has been able to oust Harman and continue with his Welfare reforms, Kosovo never happened, and the Government has a very Eurosceptic tinge compared with OTL. Given his OTL views, Christ knows what will happen when September 11th rolls around…

As for the Blairs, my PoD was a bit purposefully vague but it probably involved Cherie standing in ’83 rather than Tony, and then her convincing Kilroy not to walk away from Parliament over the Militant takeover of his constituency party. I suspect ITTL Tony is a prominent, and extremely wealthy, QC.

My Thatcherism TL had Kilroy-Silk defecting to the SDP but getting himself into serious trouble due to him being himself and being exiled to the backbenchers before the Epilogue but your one is infinitely more interesting and of higher quality. A lot of people forget that Cherie and Tony basically swapped jobs to become the figures they are today, though both may be more than a little bit worried about their orange friend, only the alternative of Bastard Brown keeping them from being open.

It's strange, apart from Kosovo, Kilroy-Silk has actually created a New Labour that I could see myself as part of, though he may be more economically left-wing or perhaps a pro-Section 28 man in office which is slightly worrying. He's mostly done what I thought Blair should have in the first term but seeing him at this personal level and his motives make me almost want Brown to win, though Howard taking charge would be the better option.

Saying that, I have the feeling that Good Friday is in the realm of non-existence, the Labour landslide is more around 90 seats and that Silk is personally hated, or strongly disliked, in the left and centre of the Labour Party but is tolerated for his high public approval. A New Labour of a different coat.

Funnily enough, that section of the vignette was lifted wholesale from an interview he gave in the boom days of Veritas; he was attacking Jack Straw in particular as a former lefty who sold out. For all that this is clearly what he believes, I’m not sure I would necessarily trust his recall on anything; I suspect the Kilroy version

Sorry if I'm being stupid or rude but have you finished that sentence?

Really glad you enjoyed it! There are another couple in the pipeline. Not sure as to the acronym TLIAD though; sounds pleasantly Homeric. Mind giving me a clue?

Timeline In A Day, Meadow did one about Major winning 1997 and the consequences of it and was pretty good and non-ASB, well for a Major wins 1997 TL.
 
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Fun fact: I live in what was Kilroy's old constituency, Knowsley North (now just Knowsley). That also includes Harold Wilson's old constituency of Huyton. It seems that, in this TL, my grey little corner of Merseyside might have an aura of apparent political importance...

Actually, that's an interesting off-topic thought - have there ever been two PMs elected from the same constituency or its direct successors?

I'm really enjoying this little project of yours, Ed; when can we expect another?
 
It's strange, apart from Kosovo, Kilroy-Silk has actually created a New Labour that I could see myself as part of, though he may be more economically left-wing or perhaps a pro-Section 28 man in office which is slightly worrying. He's mostly done what I thought Blair should have in the first term but seeing him at this personal level and his motives make me almost want Brown to win, though Howard taking charge would be the better option.

Aren't you a Tory?
 
Timeline In A Day, Meadow did one about Major winning 1997 and the consequences of it and was pretty good and non-ASB, well for a Major wins 1997 TL.

Beat me to it, and you're too kind. You can read it here if you missed it, if you'll forgive such a public plug. I'm hoping TLIAD will catch on, or, if not the acronym, the practice - short, sharp, one-shot or vignette TLs are great fun to read and write.
 
Aren't you a Tory?

Indeed I am, what I mean is that while having Kilroy-Silk as PM is more than slightly worrying, his Eurosceptic direction and backing of Frank Field is something that I would identify with and back but that he could also be more to the left in terms of economics e.g. no pledge to stay in Conservative spending limits for the first few years. Doesn't mean I think that Section 28 was something that should be maintained.

The three-way choice of Silk, Brown and Howard becomes very easier after seeing the confrontation that EdT's portrayed though. ;)
 
Very chilling. The poster somehow actually looks more more believable with Kilroy's face than it ever did with Blair's. I almost want to hide under the covers now and I don't even live in this timeline (for which I am very greatful).

Amazing how much impact you can get out of such a short vignette.
 
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