Chamberlain's Dream - From British Empire to Imperial Commonwealth

At the risk of thread necromancy. This version of the TL has been abandoned. For the exceptionally good reason I personally think it is utter crap. My next attempt was still crap too, but a little better. Things didn't really start improving until my third attempt, but that had serious issues too, requiring a reboot to fix.

The latest iteration can be found here.
Iteration Four

This is one of those delightful "the British Empire survives" timelines. The PoD is in the 1880s, but as the real effects only show post 1900, I've posted it here. Hope that's okay.

A good subtitle for this might be "And why the Japanese play cricket"
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Chapter 1
~1880s: The seed is planted

March 1880: William Gladstone begins his second ministry, concentrating on social and educational reforms. Gladstone appoints a cabinet balanced between radical and whig elements of the Liberal Party, including the appointment of Joseph Chamberlain as Colonial Secretary.

August 1880: Compulsory primary education is introduced in the UK.

July 1881: The Technical and Scientific Scholarships Act establishes government scholarships for "worthy candidates of sober morals and modest means" to foster scientific and technical education amongst the working and middle classes.

August 1883: Viceroy of India, Lord Ripon introduces the Libert Bill reforming the Indian legal system. It includes provision for greater native involvement in the Indian civil service and for Indian judges to hear cases involving Europeans. The bill provokes widespread opposition both in the Westminster parliament and amongst European settlers in India. However, the bill gains the support of Chamberlain and passes with little modification. The modified act allows full participation in the civil service for Indians of "suitable education" and that Indian judges may try cases involving Europeans but that Europeans may demand a jury of 25% Europeans in such cases.

May 1884: The Education in India Act establishes government schools in India to provide suitable education for Indians to enter the civil service.

June 1884: The Representation of the People Act equalised urban and rural representation in Westminster and abolishes multimember constituencies.

November 1885: Gladstone is returned to power in a minority government depending on the Irish Parliamentary Party.

December 1885: Gladstone proposes an Irish home rule bill. He takes the time to consult with his party which results in modification to the bill, limiting the competency of the proposed Irish assembly. The modified bill passes the Commons only to be defeated in the Lords. As a result of the bill, many whig liberals split to form the Unionist Party, but the radical unionists, especially Chamberlain remain.

July 1886: As a result of the split in the qparty, Gladstone goes to the polls for a renewed mandate. The result is another hung parliament with the Liberals again depending on the Irish Parliamentary Party for support, though the combined majority is just four seats.

September 1887: Despite the slim majority, Gladstone introduces a new Irish home rule bill. Yet more whigs defect to the Liberal Unionists and the bill fails to pass the Commons. The Conservatives capitalise of the Liberal defections to bring a motion of no confidence. Gladstone resigns and is replaced as leader of the Liberals by William Harcourt. Harcourt abandons Irish home rule in favour of Chamberlain's Imperial federation. This, along with the electorate blaming the Liberal Unionists for the political instability allows Harcourt to win an absolute majority.

December 1888: The introduction of the new rimless 0.303" service round highlights British industry's inability to produce a modern smokeless powder. The resultant Cordite Scandal results in the creation of the National Development Board to ensure British industry remains abreast of technology. This is followed by the Technical Education Act later in the year, further encouraging engineering and scientific education.

July 1889: The first annual conference of Imperial heads of government to coordinate Imperial policy is held. The venue, Ottawa, is deliberately chosen over London in an effort to emphasise the Dominions improved status in the scheme. Future conferences will rotate throughout the Dominions, with London not hosting until 1897.
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Chapter 2
~1890s: The triumph of radicalism

July 1891: The Melbourne Imperial Conference rejects a proposed Imperial customs union, supporting a far more limited Imperial preference scheme instead.

March 1892: In the scheduled general election several radical left wing groups unite to form the Labour Representation Committee under Keir Hardie and George Lansbury who align with Chamberlain and the radical liberals. This, along with the collapse of the Irish Parliamentary Party vote due to its split allows the Liberals to retain their majority despite more whig defections to the Unionists.

October 1893: In order to further foster British industry, Harcourt introduces tariff reforms limiting free trade. The measure is passed but sees the defection of the many whig liberals to the Unionists. Harcourt, disillusioned by the continued political infighting, resigns and Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister, committed to the radical "Newcastle program" of social reform.

May 1894: Further reforms in India remove the racially weighted jury system of 1884 and introduce compulsory primary education for Indians.

September 1894: Compulsory education in the UK is extended to age 13.

January 1895: The Indian army is reformed and unified. Several regiments are selected for "Indianisation" whereby Indian officers will be posted in at the bottom of the command structure and British officers wasted out through natural attrition. Several public school type colleges are set up in India to provide education for potential candidates and the Indian Military Academy is opened in Derha Dun to train native officers for the Indian army as it is considered "unsuitable" that Indians should train with European officers.

June 1896: Canadian Prime Minister Charles Tupper narrowly wins the federal election and reaches a compromise in the Manitoba Schools Question. Tupper continues the Canadian Conservatives pro-Imperial policies, though still opposing full Imperial federation.

August 1896: Franchise in the UK is extended to women on the same basis as men. The remaining whig liberals desert the party as a result. In what will become known as the Petticoat Election, Chamberlain's Liberals, buoyed by the new women's vote win a comfortable majority. The Unionists however win more votes than the Conservatives, though fewer seats. In a highly controversial move, Chamberlain creates the post of Secretary of State for the Dominions then appoints New Zealander Richard Seddon to the position. Seddon is raised to the Peerage and resigns as Premier of New Zealand to allow him to become the first cabinet minister from the Dominions.

April 1897: The Electrical (Supply) Industry Act introduces national standards electricity supply in the UK.

June 1899: Compulsory education in the UK is extended to 15 years of age.

October 1899: The Second Boer War breaks out in South Africa.
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Chapter 3
~1900s: The genesis of federation

July 1900: The Adelaide Imperial Conference adopts a policy of Imperial free trade zone and the Dominions agree to commit troops to the ongoing Boer War.

August 1900: Despite initial setbacks, the Boer Republics are conquered. However the Boers refuse to surrender and a bitter guerrilla war develops.

January 1901: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South and West Australia unify as the Commonwealth of Australia. Despite being invited to join, New Zealand and Tasmania remain out of the federation.

January 1901: Queen Victoria dies and is succeeded by Edward VII

April 1901: Chancellor of the Exchequer Henry Campbell-Bannerman introduces a radical budget featuring many social welfare reforms. The budget is rejected by the Conservative dominated Lords creating a constitutional crisis. Chamberlain goes to the polls and wins a mandate for a constitutional reform and the Unionists become the second party in the Commons.

June 1902: The Parliament Act removes the Lords power of veto over legislation and ability to reject a budget.

May 1902: The Treaty of Vereeniging ends the Boer War. The Boers are given generous terms and promised self government within five years.

February 1903: In response to the deficiencies shown by the Boer War, Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane begins a comprehensive series of reforms to the British army. One of the first moves is to create a General Staff to coordinate Imperial defence. This General Staff includes permanent representation from the Dominions.

June 1903: The Power Industry in the UK is rationalised into six large privately owned regional companies in a series of government mandated mergers.

September 1903: Compulsory education in India is extended to age 15.

July 1904: The Wellington Imperial Conference agrees set up an officer training corp at universities throughout the Empire to provide a pool of potential officers.

October 1904: Admiral John Fisher is appointed First Sea Lord and begins to reform the Royal Navy.

August 1905: Haldane's reforms create a Territorial Army of 21 divisions for home defence and Regular Expeditionary Force of nine divisions for service overseas.

August 1905: The Treaty of Portsmouth ends the Russo-Japanese War, ceding Sakhalin Island as Karafuto and the Kuriles to Japan in return for the Japanese dropping claims for reparations.

September 1905: Fisher wins the support of Chamberlain in developing specialist amphibious warfare techniques, ostensibly for colonial deployment, but focused on Fisher's favoured Baltic project in the event of war with Germany.

July 1906: The Cape Town Imperial Conference Agrees to expand the National Development Board to cover the entire Empire, creating a second Dominion cabinet post. The Australian, Joseph Cook is appointed to the post.

February 1906: Chamberlain wins the scheduled election but suffers a stroke in September and is replaced by Cambell-Bannerman, who rebuffs calls for new elections.

November 1907: The former Boer Republics are granted self government.

February 1907: In response to continued agitation for Irish home rule Campbell-Bannerman introduces the Devolution of Government bill. This would creates six regional assemblies (England, Wales, Northumbria, Scotland, Ireland and a reduced Ulster) with significant, but below that the Dominions, competence for home rule. Many nationalists reject this, calling for the full competence granted to the Dominions, the more radical republicans still calling for complete independence. The bill narrowly passes the Commons but is sent back by the Lords. The bill will not finally pass until 1910.

April 1908: Campbell-Bannerman resigns due to his failing health in 1908 and succeeded by Herbert Asquith. Asquith continues Campbell-Bannerman's reforms, albeit a reduced pace. By now the political climate in the UK is becoming increasingly favourable to social reform and economic intervention.

March 1909: The Industrial Development Act brings incentives to electrify industry and adopt modern mass production techniques.
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Chapter 4
~1910s: United by war

May 1910: King Edward VII dies and is succeeded by George V.

May 1910: The Canadian government of Wilfred Laurier passes the Naval Service Act establishing the Royal Canadian Navy. The navy is to be based around five cruisers and six destroyers, all to be built in Canadian yards.

May 1910: The Cape Colony, Natal, Orange River Colony, Transvaal and Southern Rhodesia unify as the Union of South Africa.

January 1911: Asquith wins a landslide victory and the Conservatives unite with the Unionists to form the Conservative Unionists

March 1911: Devolution comes into effect. There is widespread sectarian violence in both Ulster and Ireland. The Irish nationalists have split into three factions, the Federalists who want to work within the new system, the Nationalists who wish to continue pushing for full Dominion status and the Republicans who call for full independence. Despite forming a majority, the Nationalists and Republicans are unable to unite and split the vote, allowing the Federalists under William O'Brien to win a plurality and form a coalition government with the Southern Unionists.

March 1911: With devolution, violence breaks out both in Ulster and Ireland. Asquith attempts to remain aloof, allowing the local authorities to deal with the situation. But as violence continues calls for Westminster intervention grow louder. A meeting is held in Galway, which the Republicans boycott. Asquith firmly sticks to his position that it a matter for local government. Eventually it is agreed that troops will be deployed to restore order, but only at the request and under the direction of local government. The violence continues for several months before a tense calm is established. The compromise however, drives the Republicans further toward a hard line.

June 1911: The Ottoman Empire orders the battleship Rasediya in Britain in response to rising tensions in the Balkans.

October 1911: Canadian Premier Laurier is defeated by Robert Bourden's Canadian Conservatives.

November 1911: The War Office and Admiralty are merged into a single Ministry of Defence as a cost cutting measure.

January 1912: The Greek government orders the battleship Salamis from Germany to counter the Ottoman Rasediya. As an interim measure they consider purchasing the US pre-dreadnoughts Mississippi and Idaho but acquire the Brazilian Rio de Janeiro under construction as the Kulkis instead.

July 1912: The Melbourne Imperial Conference accepts a full Imperial customs union. The Imperial federation movement now has solid popular support throughout the Empire, with significant opposition remaining only in Canada.

August 1912: The Canadian government of Borden expands Laurier's plan for an eleven ship navy to one battlecruiser, six cruisers and twelve destroyers. He also allows for the battlecruiser and many of the remaining ships to be built in Britain.

January 1913: The Greek acquisition of two battleships provokes the Ottomans to order a second Rasediya class ship, the Fatih Sultan Mehmed.

February 1913: The British lease over Weihaiwei is exchanged for a permanent secession of the New Territories of Hong Kong.

July 1914: The London Imperial Conference scheduled for July is extended due a developing in the Balkans.

July 1914: With the Kulkis and Rasediya both complete, delivery is delayed due to uncertainty of the Ottoman and Greek positions in the event of war. Pro-British King Constantine of Greece personally reassures Asquith the Greeks will not side with Germany. As a consequence of this, the Kulis is released to Greece.

July 1914: The release of the Kulkis prompts the Ottomans to ally with the Central Powers.

July 1914: The British seize the two Ottoman battleships under construction in Britain. They will enter the RN as the Erin and Cmryu.

August 1914: The German battlecruiser Goeben flees the Mediterranean to Constantinople.

August 1914: The Balkans Crisis develops into a European war. With the Dominion heads of government still in London, Asquith consults before declaring war. The New Zealand Prime Minister William Massey, supported by Imperial Chief of Staff Lord Kitchener, convinces the Conference that contrary to popular opinion, the war will not be short.

August 1914: Admiral Louis Battenburg is replaced as First Sea Lord by Admiral John Jellicoe.

September 1914: The government assumes control a number of strategic industries for the duration of the war. The Expeditionary Force is dispatched to France, but the situation devolves into static trench warfare by the end of the year, before the full Territorial Army can be deployed.

November 1914: With the development of static warfare in France, the Asquith government adopt a more traditional maritime strategy, limiting the contribution to the war in France.

December 1914: Egypt is declared a formal protectorate after an Ottoman attempt to seize the Suez Canal. The decision is made to launch an amphibious assault in February 1915 on Alexandretta to cut the Ottoman supply lines.

February 1915: Germany launches an unrestricted submarine warfare campaign.

February 1915: The assault on Alexandretta is quickly successful and the decision is made to make a second amphibious assault at Gallipoli.

April 1915: The Gallipoli landing is fiercely opposed but a solid foothold is established and the peninsula is secured by July. However the losses are far heavier than expected. Former First Sea Lord Fisher is appointed to head a committee to review amphibious operations.

May 1915: The Italians enter the war on the side of the Entente but fighting on the Italian front quickly deteriorates into a brutal battle of attrition on the Izonzo River.

June 1915: British merchant shipping losses mount alarmingly and the Board of Trade forces the adoption of a convoy system. Shipping losses immediately begin to fall.

June 1915: The success of the campaign brings Greece into the war, opening a supply line to the Serbs and ensures Bulgaria's neutrality.

July 1915: With the successful British operations in the Mediterranean, the Germans occupy Denmark to ensure the entrance to the Baltic remains closed and divert significant forces from France to shore up the Balkans front.

August 1915: Greek reinforcements enables the Bosporus to cleared and an Entente fleet to bombard Constantinople. The Ottoman government flees leading to collapse of their army's moral. Constantinople is occupied in early December forcing the Ottomans out of the war.

November 1915: Germany abandons unrestricted submarine warfare due pressure from neutrals. The British cease the convoy system. Convoys will be resumed and suspended several times over the course of the war.

December 1915: The Fisher report makes a number of recommendations including the development of naval aviation and the acquisition of vessels suitable for providing air cover over future landings. The old cruiser HMS Powerful is selected for conversion as an interim measure.

February 1916: Despite very vocal protests by the French, the decision is made to continue with the maritime strategy, though further troops are deployed to France.

April 1916: Attempting to take advantage of British distraction due to the war, a group of Irish Republicans launch a rising in Dublin. The rising is rapidly suppressed and courts martial are arranged. Asquith intervenes, stating, as at Galway, it is a local matter, transferring the trials to civil courts under local law. This, along with the earlier handling of unrest will later become part of Commonwealth constitutional process as the Galway Doctrine. Few tried are found guilty and only three are sentenced to death. At Asquith's urging, those sentences are commuted to penal servitude. Irish public opinion begins to turn against radical nationalism as a result.

May 1916: The British launch an offensive in the Balkans in concert with the Serbs.

May 1916: The British Grand Fleet under Admiral George Callaghan clashes with the High Seas Fleet under Admiral Reinhard Scheer in the North Sea. The battle is inconclusive but a British strategic victory as Scheer retreats. It also highlights a number of very serous deficiencies in the British fleet.

May 1916: The Goeben, despite being scuttled after the Ottoman surrender, is raised and transferred to the Greeks as the Lemnos.

June 1916: The Russians position has been strengthened by the opening of the Turkish Straits allowing Entente supplies to flow and them to export produce. Thus they launch a major offensive under General Brusilov. The Brusilov offensive is a huge success, inflicting 1,500,000 casualties on the Austro-Hungarians and Germans but at the cost of 1,000,000 Russian losses.

July 1916: The British finally respond to French demands and launch an offensive in Flanders with French support. The Battle of the Somme will last for three months and result in 350,000 Entente casualties against 200,000 German

August 1916: The success of the Brusilov offensive and British operations in the Balkans brings Romania into the war as part of the Entente. The Romanians perform poorly as the Central Powers divert significant forces to face them. However the vital oil fields remain out of the Central Powers hands.

November 1916: The Treaty of Sévres is signed between the Ottomans and the Entente. The Ottoman Empire is dismantled. Armenia is ceded to Russia. Syria, Hatay and Lebanon become French colonies. Palestine, Palestine and Iraq go to the British and Egypt becomes a full colony. Konya is awarded Italy while Symria and East Thrace are ceded to Greece. The Turkish Straits are placed under international control and Constantinople becomes an international city. Finally an independent Kurdistan is created. The rump Turkish state in Anatolia becomes a British client state.

November 1916: Since the start of the war the Entente have been purchasing massive quantities of war materials from the US, funded by loans secured against their gold reserves. This has resulted in an unprecedented economic boom in the US, the economy having grown by at least 10%. Having secured his second term as President, Woodrow Wilson becomes concerned by the seeming unending stalemate in the war. The Entente's gold reserves are finite and likely be exhausted within eighteen months to two years. An abrupt end to those orders would result in an equally unprecedented crash. Likewise an Entente defeat may result in default. He commissions a report on options in either event.

October 1916: The British offensive in the Balkans, though costing 150,000 British casualties brings the badly stretched Austro-Hungarians to breaking point and their army routs, leaving the road to Vienna open.

December 1916: HMS Hermes, the worlds first purpose built aircraft carrier is laid down in December.

December 1916: The conversion of HMS Powerful is completed and she begins trials. She is fitted with a flying off deck forward and a landing deck aft of her superstructure. The aft landing deck is quickly found to be unusable due to turbulence from the superstructure and smoke from the funnels.

January 1917: With the collapse of the Serbian front the Austro-Hungarians sue for peace.

January 1917: With the situation desperate, the Germans decide to resume unrestricted submarine warfare. Fearful this will bring the US into the war, Germany proposes an alliance with Mexico, promising the return of territory taken in the Mexican-American War via telegram. The British intercept the telegram.

February 1917: Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare. However operations are crippled by the lack of fuel and the British resumption of the convoy system.

February 1917: The British publicly reveal the German proposal to Mexico. US popular opinion is outraged.

February 1917: Despite their successes of 1916 and the imminent defeat of Austria-Hungary, a revolution erupts in Russia in February. The new government however pledges to remain in the war. The new Russian government grants Poland independence and restores autonomy to Finland.

February 1917: The US breaks of diplomatic relations with Germany as a result of the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare. Pressure for an actual declaration of war begins to grow.

February 1917: The British adopt the semiautomatic Farquhar-Hill as their standard service rifle.

March 1917: The Austro-Hungarians sign an armistice allowing Entente forces to freely cross their territory to attack Germany.

March 1917: Egyptian nationalists launch a revolt against British control. Troops are diverted to suppress the uprising.

March 1917: Germany desperately redeploys troops in an attempt to fill the hole left by the collapse of the Austro-Hungarians and stabilises the line. However, seeking to capitalise on Germany's over extended state, the Entente launches offensives on all fronts.

April 1917: The German line holds, but the casualties mount and the strain begins to show. The British begin to deploy troops in Austria-Hungary for a final push.

April 1917: After the revelation of the German proposal to Mexico and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, calls for a declaration of war in the US become increasingly vocal. Media opinion strongly favours entering the conflict. The issue of war orders and Entente loans features prominently in the debate.

April 1917: The German line cracks in France and the Entente begin to advance.

April 1917: The US cabinet debates a declaration of war, many of the cabinet are in favour. However, in light of the Entente breakthrough, Wilson rejects the call, believing the war is nearly over. However he agrees the matter should be revisited if the Entente offensive should fail.

May 1917: HMS Argus, the world's first flush deck aircraft carrier is completed.

June 1917: By June it is clear the war is lost and civilian morale cracks. Riots and strikes breakout throughout Germany. In early July the High Seas Fleet mutinies. Revolutionary fervor spreads rapidly. The German government opens negotiations for an armistice and in early August the war comes to an end with Germany's defeat.

September 1917: While the abrupt end of Entente war orders has been cushioned by a major US military expansion program, the end of the war orders has triggered a major downturn in the US economy. Popular debate over the effects of the war orders becomes common.

October 1917: With the end of the war Asquith calls a new election and wins with a landslide. In Ireland, continued infighting between the Nationalists and Republicans, particularly over the 1916 rising, enables O'Brien's coalition to remain in power.

November 1917: Despite the German defeat, Russia is engulfed in Civil War. The war will drag on into the 1920s and result in the emergence of an independent Armenia, Baltic Federation and Finland.

February 1918: The Strategic Industries Act retains temporary government control over the the industries placed under government placed under government control during the war. Asquith embarks on a program of enforced mergers to rationalise and improve efficiency.

April 1918: In the wake of the war, the Royal Air Force is created out of the bulk of the army's Royal Flying Corp and the RN's Royal Naval Air Service. The RFC retains only direct army cooperation aircraft, while the RNAS retains shipborne aviation, maritime reconnaissance and antisubmarine warfare.

July 1918: The first post war Imperial Conference is held in Edinburgh with popular Imperialist sentiment at unprecedented levels throughout the Empire. Despite Canadian opposition, an Imperial common market is agreed upon. But the Dominions, lead by Canada, show their strength by forcing an end to the Anglo-Japanese alliance. The Edinburgh Declaration sets the goal of an Imperial federation with the Dominions as equal members by 1928 to called the Imperial Commonwealth. The Irish Premier O'Brien is particularly keep to move toward federation to gain greater autonomy for Ireland.

August 1918: The Treaty of St Germaine is signed between the Entente and Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary loses Bosnia and Dalmatia to Serbia. Galicia and Silesia to Poland. Transylvania to Romania. The South Tyrol to Italy, which also gains Albania.

October 1918: The earlier reforms in India have lead to the emergence of a strong anglised Indian middle class and an Indian home rule movement is developing. In response a new Government of India Act expands the "Nativisation" of the Indian army and civil service and lays the foundation for responsible government by establishing a legislative assembly with limited competence. This assembly contains a mix of elected and appointed members.

November 1918: The Treaty of Versailles formally ends the war with Germany. Germany loses Alsace-Lorraine to France. Slesvig to Denmark. Posen, West and East Prussia to Poland. Rhineland is demilitarized and restrictions placed on its military. Its overseas colonies are divided between the Entente.

June 1919: The Egyptian Revolt is finally suppressed and British control cemented. Dominion troops have remained involved in operations throughout the revolt.

December 1919: With the end of the war, the battlecruiser New Zealand is placed in reserve. It is commonly accepted she will be scrapped. As she was paid for by the Dominion, a public campaign begins in New Zealand raising funds for her preservation.
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Having seen the recent discussion concerning your timeline, I'm interested in seeing where you take this.

Too often "Surviving British Empire" threads try and whitewash the contradictions and treat it as an exercise in ensuring continued Anglo dominance. I get the feeling this thread isn't going to go down that route.
Having seen the recent discussion concerning your timeline, I'm interested in seeing where you take this.

Too often "Surviving British Empire" threads try and whitewash the contradictions and treat it as an exercise in ensuring continued Anglo dominance. I get the feeling this thread isn't going to go down that route.

Continued anglo dominance simply won't work, the population disparity is too great. The idea is to end up with a delicate confederation with the real centre being in Africa and Asia. The 50s to 90s are the time when the white empire dies
1916: Attempting to take advantage of British distraction due to the war, a group of Irish republicans launch a rising in Dublin. The rising is rapidly suppressed and the Asquith government defers to the Dublin government over treatment of the rebels. The Irish government responds moderately with few executions. Irish public opinion rallies solidly against radical nationalism as a result.

I think this is a critical piece of the puzzle that allows the Empire to survive when the Dominions are in the minority, but will also allow the Anglo nations to continue even in an inevitably Indian-heavy Empire.
Having seen the recent discussion concerning your timeline, I'm interested in seeing where you take this.

Too often "Surviving British Empire" threads try and whitewash the contradictions and treat it as an exercise in ensuring continued Anglo dominance. I get the feeling this thread isn't going to go down that route.

This is where I'm heading

The former British Empire has evolved into a multicultural democratic global devolved state now commonly known as the Commonwealth. While the Commonwealth's heritage is obvious and it retains many features of the Empire, it is clearly a successor state. The old white core still wields much power and influence but the real centre of the state are the former Colonies in Africa and Asia. Despite it's federal nature however, constitutional convention holds the central government sovereign. Authority flows from Westminster to the states. Thus it may act to overrule or even change the status of local governments. A power it has proven willing to use even against full members of the Commonwealth, such as ending apartheid in South Africa or breaking up the West African Federation into its constituent units. It is unusual amongst federal states in that some of constituent entities, such as Canada, Australia, Malaysia are themselves federations; creating a three tier system in some cases. At one point, with the West African Federation, this was a four tier system as Nigeria itself is a federal state. The majority of the Commonwealth are full members. Eleven formal Colonies still exist, However, these are the uninhabited Commonwealth territorial claims in Antarctica. Most of the remaining states are self governing Dependencies, the sole remaining Territory being Aden in the Arabian peninsula.
I think this is a critical piece of the puzzle that allows the Empire to survive when the Dominions are in the minority, but will also allow the Anglo nations to continue even in an inevitably Indian-heavy Empire.

Another critical piece is the unelected upper house. You can play with the Lords to keep any part of the state from dominating.
Looks interesting. There has been a lot of industrial and economic reform in Britain compared to OTL. The Dominions, especially Canads, seem to be developing their own industrial base, as will India after the first provisions of Responsible Government are introduced.

Come World War II, Britain will have an easier time of it economically, even if it is setting the bar pretty low. There are a lot of people here who can give ideas on military development and procurement ITTL.

We're already seeing the drift from hegemony to customs union and coordinated defence policy.
Looks interesting. There has been a lot of industrial and economic reform in Britain compared to OTL. The Dominions, especially Canads, seem to be developing their own industrial base, as will India after the first provisions of Responsible Government are introduced.

Come World War II, Britain will have an easier time of it economically, even if it is setting the bar pretty low. There are a lot of people here who can give ideas on military development and procurement ITTL.

We're already seeing the drift from hegemony to customs union and coordinated defence policy.

The key is economic. You bring the dominions in to a single economic bloc and they will be able to press for a bigger voice in policy. Once they have that, closer political ties start to become more attractive
You mentioned that the Farquar hill semiauto is introduced in 1917.
IOTL it was first designed to use a new rimless .303 round and a recoil
action in 1908. They then switched to the conventional rimmed cartridge
and gas operated action in 1911.

Here the British are using a rimless cartridge from the 1890s onwards.
I'd imagine we'd still have the Mauser controversy from the Boer War,
and there would be a different development path for the FH.

The original weapon used a drum magazine, which I'd imagine
would have been awkward to load (putting individual rounds
into the mag, then the mag into the rifle).

Maybe a change here is a move to a smaller box magazine
and altering the feed system to take stripper clips.
I'd imagine there'd be a fully automatic variant using
the original drum mag serving an LMG from the 20s.

Maybe the Vickers Bethier is conceived as a GPMG using
either a disintegrating belt or or Farquhar-Hill drum mag.