1994 Italian general election
Prior to the ‘mani pulite’ (clean hands) scandal, Italian politics had been characterised by a high level of political stability alongside the dominant power of the Democrazia Cristiana / Christian Democrats (CD). However, the mani pulite scandal unearthed the corruption present in Italian politics and saw both this stability collapse and ushered in the CD’s collapse. Beginning in February 1992, with the arrest of Mario Chiesa a manager of a public hospice, mani pulite soon exploded onto the national level. By the 1994 election, six former prime ministers, more than five hundred members of Parliament and several thousand local and public administrators were being investigated on charges of corruption and malpractice. Amongst the victims of mani pulite was Silvio Berlusconi, who was accused of bribing public officials.

The 1994 election saw the fracturing and collapse of the mainstream parties and the rise of the extremes, on both the left and the right. The left had organised themselves into the Alliance of the Progressives bloc led by Achille Occhetto, who himself led the PDS, the successor to the Italian Communist party. The right, meanwhile, struggled to create a united bloc. The Pole of Good Government, led by Giuseppe Tatarella, a member of the neo-fascist National Alliance, came closest to forming a united right bloc. However, Lega Nord (Northern League) resisted joining this bloc, with tensions between the National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini and Umberto Bossi proving too difficult to overcome.

Accordingly, the election saw the Alliance of Progressives win a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but was forced to enter discussions with Mario Segni, a liberal, to try and patch together a majority (and thus government) in the Senate. The eventual agreement reached increased tensions within the Alliance of Progressives, itself a disparate coalition of Communists, socialists, progressives and democrats.

The stability which once defined Italian politics was gone.

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Star Wars Episode IV – Heir to the Empire
A.N. I've both used and slightly edited Mathieu Lauffray's work and Tom Jung's title from the 1991 front cover when creating this update. I did this to better fit in both elements to create a realistic movie poster to better serve the story. This is in no way me trying to claim credit for either of their amazing work, and I thought I should reference this prior.
The original link for the picture I've used is here: Lauffray's original picture
I've also included Lauffray's ArtStation profile f you want to see more of his incredible work: lauffray.artstation.com


Star Wars IV Heir to the Empire is a 1994 American epic space opera co-written by Timothy Zahn (who wrote 1991 book of the same name), Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas who also directs. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker reprising their characters from the original trilogy alongside a slate of new characters. Charles Dance plays Grand Admiral Thrawn, Gillian Anderson plays Mara Jade and Jeff Bridges plays Talon Karrde. It is the fourth film released in the Star Wars film series and the 6th in 'in-universe' chronological order.

Set 11 years after the Battle of Endor, during the New Republic Era, the film follows Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Dance) plot to overthrow the New Republic and the search for the former Emperor’s hidden weapons vault, guarded by a crazed clone of former Jedi Master Joruus C'Baoth (Lee). Whilst the New Republic is attacked by Thrawn, Luke Skywalker is tasked with finding the weapons vault with the help of Mara Jade (Anderson), who later is discovered to be a Sith, who served as the Emperor’s Hand, alongside Darth Vader.

The film struggled during production, with Lucas’ initial hesitancy to continue Star Wars, preferring to work on a prequel storyline instead. However, close collaboration with Zahn and Kasdan convinced Lucas to move forward with the film, alongside the election of Tommy Thompson as President (who Lucas would come to despise). Filming took place in January – September 1993 in England, Romania and Iceland. During filming, the fake production title ‘The Middle’ was used to divert attention and maintain its secrecy.

The film was released in May 1994 to critical acclaim and grossed over $1.1 billion, becoming the highest grossing film in both 1994 and in the 1990s. Whilst the film did receive some criticism for its overly complicated plot structure (with particular scorn for the Senate and politics subplot), it was strongly received and became an instant classic. Much praise was heaped on Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Mara Jade as a conflicted and angry Sith assassin, who would deceive the main protagonist Luke Skywalker, before trying to kill him and Gabriel Byrne’s Gilad Pellaeon a loyal but underutilised commander, who is shown to suffer from PTSD from the Clone and Civil War.

The film would be followed by two sequels, which veered further away from the Zahn trilogy, with 1997’s The Rise of the Sith and 1999’s The Last Stand, which whilst well-received, failed to match the hype and acclaim of Heir to the Empire.

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A.N. I've both used and slightly edited Mathieu Lauffray's work and Tom Jung's title from the 1991 front cover when creating this update. I did this to better fit in both elements to create a realistic movie poster to better serve the story. This is in no way me trying to claim credit for either of their amazing work, and I thought I should reference this prior.
The original link for the picture I've used is here: Lauffray's original picture
I've also included Lauffray's ArtStation profile f you want to see more of his incredible work: lauffray.artstation.com


Star Wars IV Heir to the Empire is a 1994 American epic space opera co-written by Timothy Zahn (who wrote 1991 book of the same name), Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas who also directs. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker reprising their characters from the original trilogy alongside a slate of new characters. Charles Dance plays Grand Admiral Thrawn, Gillian Anderson plays Mara Jade and Jeff Bridges plays Talon Karrde. It is the fourth film released in the Star Wars film series and the 6th in 'in-universe' chronological order.

Set 11 years after the Battle of Endor, during the New Republic Era, the film follows Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Dance) plot to overthrow the New Republic and the search for the former Emperor’s hidden weapons vault, guarded by a crazed clone of former Jedi Master Joruus C'Baoth (Lee). Whilst the New Republic is attacked by Thrawn, Luke Skywalker is tasked with finding the weapons vault with the help of Mara Jade (Anderson), who later is discovered to be a Sith, who served as the Emperor’s Hand, alongside Darth Vader.

The film struggled during production, with Lucas’ initial hesitancy to continue Star Wars, preferring to work on a prequel storyline instead. However, close collaboration with Zahn and Kasdan convinced Lucas to move forward with the film, alongside the election of Tommy Thompson as President (who Lucas would come to despise). Filming took place in January – September 1993 in England, Romania and Iceland. During filming, the fake production title ‘The Middle’ was used to divert attention and maintain its secrecy.

The film was released in May 1994 to critical acclaim and grossed over $1.1 billion, becoming the highest grossing film in both 1994 and in the 1990s. Whilst the film did receive some criticism for its overly complicated plot structure (with particular scorn for the Senate and politics subplot), it was strongly received and became an instant classic. Much praise was heaped on Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Mara Jade as a conflicted and angry Sith assassin, who would deceive the main protagonist Luke Skywalker, before trying to kill him and Gabriel Byrne’s Gilad Pellaeon a loyal but underutilised commander, who is shown to suffer from PTSD from the Clone and Civil War.

The film would be followed by two sequels, which veered further away from the Zahn trilogy, with 1997’s The Rise of the Sith and 1999’s The Last Stand, which whilst well-received, failed to match the hype and acclaim of Heir to the Empire.

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I would kill to have this movie IOTL. Who did Michael Douglas play, borsk fey'lya?
 
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I would kill to have this movie IOTL. Who did Michael Douglas play, borsk fey'lya?
Haha, yeah it would be awesome to see in real life.
Bingo! Michael Douglas, the American President from The American President (creative, Sorkin) is everyone's favourite Bothan who survived Return of the Jedi. I was originally going to do a bit about how the political side of Heir to the Empire was going to be really bad, courtesy of co-writer George Lucas, but I thought nah, lets keep it good and positive.
No Jar Jar Binks.

Good, good.
I aim to please.
 
1994 European Parliament election
The 1994 European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom saw the Labour and Conservative Party remain steady whilst the Alliance experienced a breakthrough. This would be the last election held without the use of a proportional voting system for European Parliament elections, as mandated by the EU.

Labour under Robin Cook had styled itself as a modern and progressive party and had initiated a broadly popular agenda of devolution and rights legislation. Fiscally, with Chancellor Gordon Brown, the government remained cautious and avoided the “tax-and-spend bombshell” policies that the Conservatives warned voters about if Labour was in power. Further, with the economy on the mend from the realignment crisis, Labour was in a good position prior to the election.

This confident agenda and economic stability also meant that Labour gained credibility, whilst Hurd’s Conservatives, unused to being in opposition, lost it. Hurd’s hands-off approach led to continual spats between his MPs and did little to heal the divisions in the party about Europe. The Alliance meanwhile, went from strength to strength, and capitalised on the momentum gained in 1993.

The EP elections were seen by Cook and Labour as a ‘midterm’ (borrowing a phrase from America) on whether they should risk calling an early election in the next year, to try and win an outright majority. Labour, maintaining a similar vote and seat share to 1989, had seen that its time in government hadn’t led to voter backlash. Cook and his government agreed, the elections were good enough to call a snap election for the next year.

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Europe-wide, the picture proved positive for the incumbents too. The elections saw the dramatic rise of the European People’s Party (EPP) as the predominant party of Europe and heralded the end to the resurgent europessimism which defined Valéry Giscard d'Estaing term as Commission President. The EPP (which had undertaken an aggressive campaign of bringing national parties such as the UK Conservatives under their whip), consolidated centrist and centre-right parties, and accordingly saw a rise in the number of seats despite unpopular national parties such as the Conservatives, the CDU/CSU, RPR and the remnants of the CD in Italy.

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The election also marked the end to Giscard d'Estaing term. The Giscard d'Estaing's Commission would be unable to convince the disparate leaders of Europe to agree a date for the introduction of a common currency, mostly thanks to French and Italian intransigence. Instead, Giscard d'Estaing focused on expansion of the Union, acting as a campaigning commissioner, visiting and courting prospective members such as Sweden, Austria, Finland and Norway. After referendums in favour of joining the European Union, all 4 would enter on the 1 January 1995.

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In the negotiations to find a new Commission President, the EPP pushed hard for one of its own members to become the Commission President. In part due to the domestic concerns of Chancellor Späth who feared an internal CDU coup, he proposed and nominated former Chancellor Helmut Kohl to become Commission President. A titan of European politics, Kohl’s respected nature and affable personality meant that all 11 EU leaders, across the political spectrum, supported his nomination.
 
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Noël Attack
Four armed men, disguised as pilots, hijacked Air France Flight 8969 in Houari Boumedienne Airport, on December 24, 1994 and seized the plane without drawing attention to themselves. These men, led by Abdullah Yahia, were members of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA) an Islamist insurgent group fighting against the French-backed Algerian government. With links across North Africa, in both Algeria and war-torn Libya (which was mired by sectarian violence after Colonel Gaddafi’s death to American missiles), the GIA had cultivated a large, experienced and fanatically loyal following. The French, who supported the Algerian government, had been attacked previously by the GIA with a series of bombings in Paris, Lyon and Villeurbanne. Despite this, the French government had little in active intelligence on both the strength and capabilities of GIA and the immediate threat posed by the group.

After being delayed for 20 minutes, Flight 8969 would be allowed to take off from Algiers and soon entered radio silence. Onboard the plane, the hijackers told the crew and passengers that if they stayed calm, they would live. They claimed that they had hijacked the plane in order to land it in Paris to start a series of hostage negotiations with French authorities. This was a lie told to maintain calm onboard the plane. When they reached Paris, the hijackers killed the pilots and would crash the plane directly into the Eiffel Tower at 12:45pm.

It would become one worst atrocities to happen on French soil and stands as the deadliest terror attack in human history. Jacques Chirac made a national address the same evening, with the smoke still rising from the Champs De Mars, and declared that he would "find this evil, end this evil and give justice to those who died". Accordingly, France prepared its military and began to make plans to directly intervene in Algeria to hunt and destroy the GIA and support the embattled government. Meanwhile, in solidarity with France, NATO invoked Article V (the common defence clause), and pledged its support. The first air strikes would take place on New Year’s Eve and shortly thereafter, an international coalition would follow into the desert sands.

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Oh boy, what a mixture of sections to see. The Paris section is understandable grim.

A quick question unrelated to them both, what’s the Republic of Ireland like? Does Labour still have a Spring Tide or does other stuff happen.
 
I love how you even managed to get a photo of the tower collapsing and worked it into the infobox. Great work!
Thank you, but I can't take all the credit. Shout-out to GI Joe: Rise of Cobra for the original image.
Oh boy, what a mixture of sections to see. The Paris section is understandable grim.

A quick question unrelated to them both, what’s the Republic of Ireland like? Does Labour still have a Spring Tide or does other stuff happen.
Yeah, its this world's 9/11, becoming the moment where people ask "where were you when the plane hit?" This is a big reason for why the 1990s will prove a lot more turbulent than in OTL.

Ah okay, well here’s my rough sketch of Ireland.

Labour is having a worse time in Ireland than in OTL, unfortunately for Dick Spring. Without the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Fitzgerald and Spring don’t have as close a relationship, which precipitates an earlier fall on the coalition government in Spring 1986.

Fianna Fáil, without the issues of Anglo-Irish Agreement (and Haughney’s opposition to it) and against an unpopular economic programme of Fine Gael is able to win an absolute majority, with Fine Gael and Labour crushed, alongside Spring losing his seat and resigning as Labour leader. This sees him resign and is replaced by Michael Higgins as Labour leader. Sinn Fein also continues to do better than OTL, as without the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the electoral appeal of the party isn’t neutralised south of the border (which was a large reason for the Anglo-Irish Agreement for Fitzgerald).

To add another insult to injury, Spring runs for President himself (rather than return to the Dáil) but doesn’t catch fire like Robinson did OTL. He loses out to former PM Garret FitzGerald and eventual President Brian Lenihan (who survives the ‘mature recollection’ gaffe).

Labour does recovers from 1986 in 1989 and 1992 (not enough to see Haughney and his successor Ahern out of government by 1994) but chooses to remain in opposition to attempt to rebuild the party, rather than enter a Fianna Fáil led government.

I’ll do an Ireland update sometime, but I’m not an expert at their politics, so I’ll have to do more research before fully committing.
 
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1995 UK general election
Cook implicitly believed that Labour’s victory in 1993 was more a reaction against the unpopular Conservative government, than an endorsement of Labour and his policies. Accordingly, when in power, Cook continued to try and moderate and modernise the party, in order to prove that they could govern and that they could be trusted in power. The focus on self-styled (and spin-doctor approved) ‘progressive’ policies such as the creation of devolved assemblies, the codification of human rights and legislation promoting government transparency whilst radical, was an attempt to prove that Labour could be trusted with the levers of power.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Gordon Brown’s commitment to remaining in the E.E.R.M after the Realignment Crisis (sharing the same view as Brittan and King, in that the E.E.R.M was an inflation-buster and trade facilitator) and his proposal to give the Bank of England independence from the central government shored the party up with big business and the City. Further, Labour and Cook’s reaction to the horrifying Noël Attack and support of the NATO intervention into Algeria (later expanded to Libya which was in a state of humanitarian crisis alongside harbouring the terrorists responsible for the attack) shook off the public perception of Labour being ‘soft’. Whilst in a far more comfortable position in terms of the parliamentary arithmetic than Heseltine’s government before his, Cook wanted a majority to "allow Labour to govern as Labour". So, in late January, with his Cabinet behind him, Cook announced to the nation that he would be holding a snap election for late April.

The Conservative Party had been consumed by turmoil of opposition and internal divisions. After Heseltine’s resignation, the party held a divisive leadership contest which saw Douglas Hurd, Home Secretary, and the only minister to have been in cabinet continually from 1979, win the contest. His leadership however did little to restore the party or sooth the divisions within, with Private Eye’s quip of Hurd’s leadership style akin to "trying to hurd [sic] a pack of man-eating wolves" summarising his ineffective leadership. The Alliance, meanwhile, could claim to have both moderated Labour in government and have spearheaded the progressive reforms introduced in the 1993-1995 parliament. With popular leader Menzies Campbell still at the helm, they went into the election optimistic.

Cook campaigned vigorously across the nation after calling the election. In speeches to the TUC and CBI, he would highlight Labour’s progressive record in government and that, with Brown, the economy had returned to growth (albeit sluggish growth with interest rates remaining at 9%) and that the budget deficit was falling. In speeches to activists and Labour clubs however, he would strike a different tone and he would speak of the need for a radical government which would correct the inequalities of the Thatcher/Heseltine era.

The election debate, the first to be broadcast live in British political history, saw Cook flex his oratory skills to rout Hurd, who was visibly uncomfortable on the debate stage. Cook’s vacillation when questioned about his stance on a European common currency was quickly forgotten by voters, after Hurd’s stuttering response to the same question became the moment of the debate.

The 1995 election returned the largest Labour majority since 1966 (coincidentally with a similar number of seats) alongside the party gaining a strong plurality of the vote. Further, the Conservative Party saw their seat total fall to 213, the worst result for the both the Conservative Party and for HM Opposition since 1945. The continued rise of the vote-sapping Referendum Party, and the abandonment of centrist voters who favoured Campbell’s Alliance continued the trends which had hurt the party so badly in 1993. Hurd’s resignation soon followed the results.

Cook, returning to Downing Street, thanked voters for the opportunity and for the trust they had placed in him and Labour. However, this optimism was quickly dampened by fears that Cook, like Wilson before him, would be unable to win Labour a second consecutive full term in office. With this in mind, Cook would embrace the mantra of this being a "once in a lifetime" government.

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Hewson is PM beating PJK in 1993 avoiding his birthday cake interview. What is Howard doing ITTL?
 
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This sees him resign and is replaced by Michael Higgins as Labour leader. Sinn Fein also continues to do better than OTL, as without the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the electoral appeal of the party isn’t neutralised south of the border (which was a large reason for the Anglo-Irish Agreement for Fitzgerald).
Interesting stuff, though I doubt Michael Higgins would be made Leader (too Left Wing) probably be someone like Barry Desmond or Rurai Quinn. Additionally Sinn Fèin were still competing with the Workers Party at this point in the South, and if the Workers Party continues to do well in the 80s, then you probably get a situation where there on the same level as Labour.

Sinn Fèin did better in the North at this point because unlike the Workers Party they didn’t decide to randomly push aside there Catholic Working class voters to chase imaginary Protestant ones in the name of Workers Solidarity.
Labour does recovers from 1986 in 1989 and 1992 (not enough to see Haughney and his successor Ahern out of government by 1994) but chooses to remain in opposition to attempt to rebuild the party, rather than enter a Fianna Fáil led government.
That is understandable, especially since Fine Gael is probably trying to present itself as a Social Liberal party at this point and all that. Enjoyed Labour gaining a Majority, that’s good to see, keep up the good work.
 
Wasn't the Falklands referendum scheduled for 1994? What happened with that particular dumpsterfire?
The referendum was held in June 1994 which saw 99% of the residents vote in favour of returning to UK control. Argentina complains about the result because of course it does, but outside the Cold War context and the fact Britain is at the forefront of the New War (TTL War on Terror) and is in good standing with the Thompson Administration. Argentina’s also transitioned to democracy so there's little chance of war breaking out.

It and its dependencies will re-join the UK on June 1995. It’ll be covered in an update soon.

Why are there 651 seats in the House?
It’s the OTL number of constituency boundaries from 1992 - 1995.

Hewson is PM beating PJK in 1993 avoiding his birthday cake interview. What is Howard doing ITTL?
The “unlosable election” actually is *unlosable*. Unfortunately for Hewson however, is that his government is an absolute car crash, with the economy still trapped in recession and the unpopular GST is still introduced.

So it’s of no surprise that Howard has just knifed Hewson and become PM as of January 1995. Whether he can win the next election ,after pledging to repeal GST...

Interesting stuff, though I doubt Michael Higgins would be made Leader (too Left Wing)
Thanks!

Ah okay, yeah that’s fair. I mostly chose Higgins to be the next leader because I thought he would've been well positioned to be the leader of the party because he was one of the most vocal against the coalition and I wanted to (to steal a phrase) shuffle the deck, to see politicians rising to prominence earlier than in OTL in TTL.

Yeah makes sense. Workers' and Sinn Fein sharing similar support bases and voter groups. And it would make sense too r.e. Worker's the third largest party, Labour's decline in this TL with Workers' gaining vote share through a change in their tactics, there could be a potential to see the parties converging to a similar size.

I was gonna do a super-update like with America which started from the 1990 Irish presidential election and end it with an Irish general election.

Enjoyed Labour gaining a Majority, that’s good to see, keep up the good work.
Well, as you'll see its not smooth sailing for Cook or Labour at all. There's a reason they don't call an election for 1999....
Bit of foreshadowing there, but thanks!
 
1995 Scottish Assembly election
Donald Dewar, a committed advocate of devolution and Scotland Secretary in Cook’s government was the only choice to become Scottish Labour leader to contest the upcoming assembly election. Dewar campaigned leisurely for the Assembly election with the national Labour party machine, which was fighting a general election at the same time, making the arguments for him. Cook’s frequent visits during the Westminster general election campaign and afterwards, greatly improved Labour's poll ratings in Scotland, meaning (alongside Scotland's inherent bent towards Labour) Dewar felt confident he would become the inaugural First Minister.

The SNP led by Margaret Ewing, married to SNP politician Fergus Ewing and the step-daughter of long time MP and MEP (and SNP president) Winnie Ewing, however, had a harder campaign. Originally polling first, the SNP saw a decline in its polling as the campaign got underway. On top of the party recovering from a gruelling leadership contest between Ewing and Alex Salmond, the moderate Ewing's attempts to portray the SNP as a 'catch-all' nationalist party, stifled the party greatly in the election campaign.

For the Conservatives, the general election meant that many big-name MPs chose not the make the jump from the national to the regional level. Whilst Malcolm Rifkind was the bookies favourite to become the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, the promise of either a major position in Hurd's government, or a chance at the leadership kept his interest firmly to the south of Holyrood. So it fell to Brian Meek, the former MP for Edinburgh West and one of the most outspoken Conservatives in favour of devolution, to fight the election. A mooted plan to change the party’s name to the ‘Unionists’ was considered by Meek but rejected, with the belief that such a change would have no real impact on the election and would waste tens of thousands of pounds to rebrand.

David Steel returned from the House of Lords to lead the Alliance, both out of a sense of pride that his home country had finally received its own legislative body and to try win the Alliance more seats in the Assembly, with Steel polling as both the most popular and well-known leader.

The campaign, despite being dominated by the general election and then by its aftermath, was a largely consensual and respectful affair. The four main leaders were in agreement on major policies and principles and all four attempted to appeal to the middle ground. Dewar’s attacks on the Conservatives for their record in rejecting devolution fell on deaf ears, with voters instead acknowledging the promises made by Heseltine and the advocacy of Meek as a sign the Conservatives were serious about Scotland's domestic affairs and sovereignty.

To no-one’s surprise, Labour came first with a clear lead over the other parties. In a surprise result however, the Conservatives came second by two seats which saw the SNP in third, far below the original expectations of the election. Alongside a strong showing for the Alliance, Robin Harper became the first ever directly elected Green politician in the UK after being elected in the Lothians regional list. Dewar extended his hand to David Steel and the two parties and two men formed a centre-left coalition government.

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Ah okay, yeah that’s fair. I mostly chose Higgins to be the next leader because I thought he would've been well positioned to be the leader of the party because he was one of the most vocal against the coalition and I wanted to (to steal a phrase) shuffle the deck, to see politicians rising to prominence earlier than in OTL in TTL.
Ireland is at times, a bit odd. Folks who say coalitions are a bad thing often don’t see time of day, because Labour’s main path to power is through coalitions with either one of the two Centre Right Parties. Additionally Irish Labour was for much of it’s existence, embarrassed of being considered as ‘Socialist’ and was mainly dominated by Social Conservative Trade Unionist, Populist types. Indeed it was only when first Brendan Corish and then Dick Spring got into power did things start to shift towards making Labour a European Style Social Democratic Party. Ironically, Spring could be considered for shifting Irish Labour leftward despite being fairly middle of the road by European standards.
I was gonna do a super-update like with America which started from the 1990 Irish presidential election and end it with an Irish general election.
Oooh, sounds good. Can’t wait to see it.
So it fell to Brian Meek, the former MP for Edinburgh West and one of the most outspoken Conservatives in favour of devolution, to fight the election.
Huh, now there’s a name I haven’t heard before. Intresting stuff.
 
A.N. I've both used and slightly edited Mathieu Lauffray's work and Tom Jung's title from the 1991 front cover when creating this update. I did this to better fit in both elements to create a realistic movie poster to better serve the story. This is in no way me trying to claim credit for either of their amazing work, and I thought I should reference this prior.
The original link for the picture I've used is here: Lauffray's original picture
I've also included Lauffray's ArtStation profile f you want to see more of his incredible work: lauffray.artstation.com


Star Wars IV Heir to the Empire is a 1994 American epic space opera co-written by Timothy Zahn (who wrote 1991 book of the same name), Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas who also directs. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker reprising their characters from the original trilogy alongside a slate of new characters. Charles Dance plays Grand Admiral Thrawn, Gillian Anderson plays Mara Jade and Jeff Bridges plays Talon Karrde. It is the fourth film released in the Star Wars film series and the 6th in 'in-universe' chronological order.

Set 11 years after the Battle of Endor, during the New Republic Era, the film follows Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Dance) plot to overthrow the New Republic and the search for the former Emperor’s hidden weapons vault, guarded by a crazed clone of former Jedi Master Joruus C'Baoth (Lee). Whilst the New Republic is attacked by Thrawn, Luke Skywalker is tasked with finding the weapons vault with the help of Mara Jade (Anderson), who later is discovered to be a Sith, who served as the Emperor’s Hand, alongside Darth Vader.

The film struggled during production, with Lucas’ initial hesitancy to continue Star Wars, preferring to work on a prequel storyline instead. However, close collaboration with Zahn and Kasdan convinced Lucas to move forward with the film, alongside the election of Tommy Thompson as President (who Lucas would come to despise). Filming took place in January – September 1993 in England, Romania and Iceland. During filming, the fake production title ‘The Middle’ was used to divert attention and maintain its secrecy.

The film was released in May 1994 to critical acclaim and grossed over $1.1 billion, becoming the highest grossing film in both 1994 and in the 1990s. Whilst the film did receive some criticism for its overly complicated plot structure (with particular scorn for the Senate and politics subplot), it was strongly received and became an instant classic. Much praise was heaped on Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Mara Jade as a conflicted and angry Sith assassin, who would deceive the main protagonist Luke Skywalker, before trying to kill him and Gabriel Byrne’s Gilad Pellaeon a loyal but underutilised commander, who is shown to suffer from PTSD from the Clone and Civil War.

The film would be followed by two sequels, which veered further away from the Zahn trilogy, with 1997’s The Rise of the Sith and 1999’s The Last Stand, which whilst well-received, failed to match the hype and acclaim of Heir to the Empire.

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Charles Dance as Thrawn is *chefs kiss* casting
 
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