All caught up on this now. Love it! Great work. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Tommy Thompson Presidency done before. Hopefully there’s some more Russia content soon too but I’m really enjoying the UK focus
 
Huh, now there’s a name I haven’t heard before.
Yeah, I saw Meek when I was doing research for Scotland and thought he's someone with the right luck in a friendlier (Heseltine-led) Party could get the top job. I like using obscure people and with the P.O.D now 13 years back (in 1995), I've got a bit more leeway to work with.

Charles Dance as Thrawn is *chefs kiss* casting
He's definitely got the face for it. I was worried he'd be a bit young for Thrawn, but nice to see you agree!

All caught up on this now. Love it! Great work. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Tommy Thompson Presidency done before. Hopefully there’s some more Russia content soon too but I’m really enjoying the UK focus
Thanks! I've got plans for Russia, so keep your eyes peeled.
 
Yeah, I saw Meek when I was doing research for Scotland and thought he's someone with the right luck in a friendlier (Heseltine-led) Party could get the top job. I like using obscure people and with the P.O.D now 13 years back (in 1995), I've got a bit more leeway to work with.


He's definitely got the face for it. I was worried he'd be a bit young for Thrawn, but nice to see you agree!


Thanks! I've got plans for Russia, so keep your eyes peeled.
There’s no such thing as a wrong role for Charles Dance. They could have cast him as QEII in the Crown and it’d have worked.

Looking forward to it!
 
1995 French presidential election
Jacques Chirac’s presidency had not been an easy one with hubris setting in almost immediately after victory. Vindicated by victory, Chirac dramatically consolidated power in the Elysée, both by side-lining the UDF in the National Assembly and by making Alain Juppé, an ultra-loyalist, Prime Minister.

Chirac and Juppé accelerated their controversial liberalisation of the French state and economy, which they had initiated after the 1986 legislative election. The protest movement which had begun prior to the election (encouraged by then-President Mitterrand), continued with it becoming commonplace to see protesters picketing city streets and government buildings in opposition to the government’s agenda.

Chirac’s centralisation of power also explains his decision not to renominate EC Commission President Jacques Delors in 1989, one which left bad blood between the two Jacques. Chirac’s nomination of Giscard d’Estaing to be Delors’ successor as both French Commissioner and Commission President was widely seen as at attempt to deprive UDF of one its strongest figureheads, rather than being based on merit. This would however prove a fatal miscalculation for Chirac as it would both raise D’Estaing’s profile and anger Delors, now a domestic political rival. Whilst Chirac was seen as politically amenable to Europe and integration, his personality and mindset saw a period of europessimism set in. Instinctively cautious towards deeper integration, having once been a fierce critic of Europe, alongside Chirac’s tense relationship with German Chancellor Lothar Späth, saw France put pause to moves which would deepen the Union.

By 1993, Chirac was deeply unpopular, and a rash of tax cuts and infrastructure works, in response to the early 1990s recession, did little to help either the economy or his poll ratings. Chirac’s party and allies were soon wiped out in the legislative elections with Chirac being forced to cohabitate with socialist Lionel Jospin, who became the odds-on favourite to win the next presidential election.

Then France was attacked. The immediate aftermath of the Noël Attack and the subsequent invasion of Algeria and Libya saw Chirac enjoy a rally-around-the-flag polling bounce. His forceful and nationalistic speeches on the ruined Champs de Mars and in the deserts of Algeria seemed to articulate the view of the French people, who wanted vengeance. Coinciding with this, France suffered from an increased number of hate crimes directed at Muslims and other ethnic minorities, whilst far-right figures such as Jean-Marie Le Pen surged in popularity, gaining greater attention from across the political spectrum.

Yet, when the election campaign kicked off in March, Chirac began to feel the weight of incumbency. Questions were asked about; why Noël happened; about how the terrorists got the plane; about how they flew it across the Metropole without causing concern and why the French intelligence services did not intercept active intelligence on the plot to stop it. It was not only Chirac who faced difficult questions but Jospin, the Prime Minister at the time, as his office was aware of the hijacked plane but chose not to intercept it, instead believing that the radio was malfunctioning. Jospin chose not to run, in part because of this and instead backed the eventual PS nominee, Jacques Delors.

Meanwhile the right was divided mainly between three candidates. Furthest right was Le Pen who had gained airtime with (his supporters would argue prescient) attacks and racism towards Islam and minorities. Then there was the incumbent, Chirac, who would find the support of the French in the aftermath of the Noel was less secure than it seemed. The more centrist of the three, was UDF candidate and former President, was Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who had been invigorated by his time as Commission President and wanted one more go at it.

However, when the first rounds results were forecasted and counted, a sense of collective horror fell France. Whilst Delors advanced to the second round, his challenger and by a margin of 0.05% was not Chirac, nor d’Estaing, but Le Pen. It was the first time in the Fifth Republic that a far-right candidate had made it to the second round. Le Pen had used the wave of nationalistic fervour and anger from Noël to find a receptive audience and one large enough to propel him to the second round. Chirac and D’Estaing immediately endorsed Delors for President, even if the centre-right soon descended into recriminations.

mn3XqIS.png

Le Pen posing with an assault rifle in Algeria contrasted with Delors empathising with grieving families. Le Pen’s angry speeches about the threat posed by Islam was met with Delors holding meet-and-greets in ethnically diverse cities and neighbourhoods. Delors’ last rally before the election, with d’Estaing and Mitterrand beside him, saw him implore voters to say “Non” to Le Pen, to racism and to nationalism. To the collective relief of the establishment and Europe, they would do so by a historic margin.

JW0G0Hi.png
 
Last edited:
An alt-2002 is a good take. And yeah with VGE eating into the moderate right that Chirac needed against Le Pen I can definitely see that result
 
A very interesting ALT 95/02 election. Two quibbles: 1. Surely the parties of the left would have done a little better in the first round, especially with 'bulldozer' Chirac being a much more Thatcherite President than OTL? and the PS not having to deal with the trauma of rivals jockeying to be Mitterrand's successor in 1990-95? 2. Almost impossible that Le Pen would lose voters in the second round who voted for him in the first.

All in all though a very interesting TL, watched!
 
An alt-2002 is a good take. And yeah with VGE eating into the moderate right that Chirac needed against Le Pen I can definitely see that result
Thankfully for France, I don't think there's any way for Le Pen to be elected, even with an alt-9/11, but I'd say there's definitely enough juice to get him to the second round.

A very interesting ALT 95/02 election. Two quibbles: 1. Surely the parties of the left would have done a little better in the first round, especially with 'bulldozer' Chirac being a much more Thatcherite President than OTL? and the PS not having to deal with the trauma of rivals jockeying to be Mitterrand's successor in 1990-95? 2. Almost impossible that Le Pen would lose voters in the second round who voted for him in the first.

All in all though a very interesting TL, watched!

Yeah, both of those quibbles are fair to raise.

Yeah, I do agree it’s a far lower share of the vote for the left than what you’d expect based on Chirac’s tenure. I reasoned it being lower because of Noël and Delors. Noël and the atmosphere created by the attack, hampers the domestic left-wing criticisms of Chirac and the election moves away from domestic politics. Like how no one really remembers Bush spearheaded a major programme of tax cuts in 2001 and despite it being controversial, was barely mentioned by voters in 2002 Midterms or in the 2004 election.
Delors is also pretty moderate and ran on his record as Commission President and almost apolitically, to be a unifier, so he wouldn’t get as much support from activists as someone like Jospin or Fabius. The PS would’ve also still been divided as Rocard would’ve still been there and still trouble making and Mitterrand (whose still in active politics in TTL) would’ve held a monumental grudge against him (and the party too).

The lower vote share is less based on reason, but more to show how bad a second round Le Pen had and in contrast how good Delors had it. It’s also to show how Len Pen’s support is softer than in OTL, because of the atmosphere. In the aftermath of such an attack (it’s only been four months since it), there’d be a large number of people who would want to send a message and then immediately regret their vote. The higher absentation rate is also a measure of that.

I hope that explains things a bit and thanks for reading.

EDIT: I meant spoilt ballots, not higher abstention rate.

As I understand it he never had a particularly good reputation in the RN at the time.
And, thanks to the manner of his death, you'd never hear a word of those criticisms, outside of anti-monarchist and anti-british media...
 
Last edited:
1995 London mayoral election
The creation of a directly elected London mayor, the brainchild of Labour MP Tony Banks, was expected to be a wash for Labour and Ken Livingstone. The former leader of the Greater London Council in the 1980s, before its scrapping by the Heseltine ministry, Livingstone announced he would be running for the mayoral election almost immediately after the legislation establishing the position had passed parliament. Livingstone would be the frontrunner throughout the election, winning the Labour nomination by a large margin against no-name opponents.

In a voting system similar to French presidential elections, Londoners would first vote for a field of candidates, then the top-two who would advance to a second round, held a week later. It was hoped that this style of voting would be both more proportional than FPTP (Labour fearing a divided left would see right-wing candidates triumph) and majoritarian enough to stop smaller left-wing parties from qualifying for the second round, guaranteeing Labour domination of city hall. Criticisms about the extra costs and effectiveness of holding two rounds of voting were ignored by the government.

When the election was scheduled in 1994, only Labour party grandees in Number 10 foresaw Cook’s snap election and the landslide majority which followed. In part due to the general election, the Conservative Party was in a weak position in the capital prior to the mayoral election. Potential candidates like David Mellor and Edwina Currie were uninterested in running. However, Conservatives found themselves a self-proclaimed winner, a man with charisma, talent and youth, Michael Portillo. With his career stalling in Westminster, and polling in his Enfield Southgate seat looking shaky for the upcoming general election, Portillo made the jump to the local arena to run for London mayor. Portillo, having cultivated himself a reputation of being an independent and progressive voice within the Conservative party, with his support for devolution and the equalization of the age of consent, whilst against European integration, was a far stronger candidate than his detractors made him out to be. Against soon-to-be disgraced author Jeffery Archer, Portillo won his party’s nomination in a landslide.

The first round of the election saw Portillo and Livingstone in first and second place respectively at 39.5% and 38.7%, consistent with Labour’s fears of a FPTP election. So, as the second round began, Portillo and Livingstone began to rally support for the final week of campaigning. However, Livingstone who had grown arrogant during his time as an MP, seemingly took a step back from the process and acted disinterested, as if he was the pre-ordained winner. This was worsened by the national Labour party having entered a period of complacency after its 1995 landslide re-election and the similarly positive results in Scotland. In contrast, Portillo campaigned heavily, canvassing streets, knocking on doors, and promising change, gaining endorsements from businessmen like Richard Branson, political heavyweights like Michael Heseltine (who was still popular in the capital) and from the Alliance nominee for mayor (who had lost in the first round and backed Portillo against the wishes of the national leadership) David Owen.

Whether it was Livingstone’s complacency that lost him his mayoralty, or if it was Labour’s landslide spurring voters to give the party a bloody nose, or Portillo’s positioning as a "New Conservative" with his party was decimated and leaderless, voters made Michael Portillo London’s first metro mayor.

Up3Zu5n.png
 
Falkland Islands
The Madrid Accords is a deeply contentious and unpopular document for the Falklands and Falklanders. The Madrid Accords, rather than deal with the territorial disputes which caused the Falklands Conflict and settle long-term ownership of the islands, threw the issue to the United Nations, and invited them to create a protectorate on the disputed islands. This protectorate was originally agreed in the Madrid Accord to be administered for 10 years, to cool tensions, before a plebiscite would be held by Falklanders’ to determine who owned islands. It was agreed by the UN Security Council with Resolution 528 (with Britain being arm-twisted to accept by Argentinean-friendly US Ambassador to the UN, Jeane Kirkpatrick), however, that the plebiscite would be held a year after the 10 years was up, with Falklanders given nominal control of their affairs during this year. UN Peacekeepers, in the form of a two patrol ships with 59 soldiers, thus prepared and landed at Port Stanley on the 23 March 1983, with the Argentinean garrison leaving shortly after. With the UN flag raised above the town hall, the United Nations Mission in the Falklands and its Dependencies (UNMIFAD) had begun.

A major problem for the islands was that in the year of occupation, Argentina had encouraged people to settle on the islands, which saw an influx of over 300 (the collapse of the Junta and subsequent chaos meant that the numbers were lower than the 1000 expected) settlers, who were excluded by native Falklanders and would face discrimination by the British majority. Attempts to build an Argentinian self-sufficient settlement near Port Stanley failed and by 1984, most of the settlers had returned to Argentina. Whilst the peacekeepers and UN officials would try and help these settlers integrate, these actions made them deeply unpopular to Falklanders.

The Falklands Islands, with approximately 4000 residents was the one with the largest population out of the islands administered by the mission and was the most resistant to the changes brought on by both the Madrid Accords and the UN Mission. With the suspension of the economic exclusion zone, Argentinean fishing vessels soon had a free rite of passage into Falkland’s waters and soon fishermen were seeing a depletion of the available fishing stock and of their livelihoods. This lead to infamous “trawler wars”, which saw multiple skirmishes at sea, with Falklander and Argentinean fishing boats sabotaging nets, sailing dangerously close to each other and, in some instances, ramming each other. In 1984, shots were fired between two fishing boats, which led to the death of one Argentinean fisherman. The UN patrol ships spent most of their time trying to stop this conflict, which made the UN mission and peacekeepers unpopular. Many fishermen and their families, unable to earn a living, left the islands and returned to Britain (still having British citizenship), grumbling.

oyFS3Ev.png

The UN Mission being unpopular, saw the base being repeatedly vandalised in Port Stanley by graffiti and ‘fly dumped’ with refuse being left on the street outside the compound by disgruntled Falklanders. Peacekeepers also found themselves banned from local establishments like the Stanley Arms Bar and the Prince Andrew Bar. The eventual withdrawal of the second patrol ship in 1989 saw half the peacekeepers leave and calmed tensions of the island, but for most, the UN was still seen as an occupying and hostile force.

However, a benefit for the islands, especially South Georgia and the unhabituated South Sandwich Islands was that the protectorate allowed for greater scientific exploration from the international community. Being under UN control (and thus technically neutral), allowed for scientists to visit to study global warming and Antarctica, was a boon for some with the islands becoming a hotspot for scientific research.

By 1994, the islands were ready for the sovereignty plebiscite, even though Argentinian President Eduardo Angeloz lodged an official complaint at the United Nations about the legitimacy of the plebiscite. Complaining that the British had effectively colonized Las Malvinas and that the land belonged to Argentina, if not the people, Angeloz saw his complaint ignored by the UN. To many, an independently organised self-determination referendum, was the only peaceful and democratic way to solve the problem.

And so, with only two voters not showing up to the polls (both had left the Falklands in January for Britain and were in the process of dropping their citizenship), referendum day saw 98% vote in favour of re-joining the United Kingdom. South Georgia (with only 30 voters) saw the lesser support for British unification, the reasons for which were the benefits gained by the scientific and the distance of South Georgia from Argentina proper.

akHb0re.png

It took another year for the UN to organise a withdrawal and for sovereignty to be transferred back to Britain. The UN forced a settlement between the two countries which meant that the EEZ would be shared, and any future oil exploration or resource extraction would either be a joint effort to be monitored by the UN.

Robin Cook would become the first British PM to visit the Falklands and would stand by the former leader (and recently elected Governor) Sir Rex Hunt to welcome “reunification day”, closing the sorry saga of the conflict and of the UNMIFAD.

BCHfBnW.png
 
Last edited:
Portillo as London Mayor is an interesting one! Seems to me he moderated a bit off his more righty reputation? In the late 80s if I recall correctly he was one of Thatcher’s favorites
 
Portillo as London Mayor is an interesting one! Seems to me he moderated a bit off his more righty reputation? In the late 80s if I recall correctly he was one of Thatcher’s favorites
Yeah, exactly like that. Without Thatcher around in TTL, he'd be less well known and be more able to define an more moderate image for himself. Also, it was losing his seat in 1997 which forced him to moderate, and I'd say being passed over in Westminster would have a similar effect to the ego. So, I've sort of imagined him as a mixture of "Who Dares Wins" and "Railway Journeys" Portillo, so he's both *slightly* out-there but he can appeal to the middle classes and focus on things like transportation at the same time. A sort of proto-Boris, if you will.
 
Yeah, exactly like that. Without Thatcher around in TTL, he'd be less well known and be more able to define an more moderate image for himself. Also, it was losing his seat in 1997 which forced him to moderate, and I'd say being passed over in Westminster would have a similar effect to the ego. So, I've sort of imagined him as a mixture of "Who Dares Wins" and "Railway Journeys" Portillo, so he's both *slightly* out-there but he can appeal to the middle classes and focus on things like transportation at the same time. A sort of proto-Boris, if you will.
I could see that. Good analogy
 
1995 Canadian federal election
John Crosbie’s 1991 re-election defied both domestic political gravity and the international trend against incumbents, which saw them fall to defeat in the US, UK, and Japan. This victory would create enough political capital (alongside the election of Tommy Thompson) to force the Canadian Senate to finally pass NAFTZ, which created a comprehensive free trade zone between the US and Canada. Mexico’s attempts to join the free trade zone, however failed, with the nation struggling from internal crisis and a deepening democratic deficit which led to its failed application in 1994. Whilst Crosbie claimed that NAFTZ would stimulate Canada’s struggling economy, which had slumped into recession in Autumn 1990, it did little in the short-term, with the wave of expected American investment instead going to newer and more exciting markets in Japan, China and Russia.

Further attempts to stimulate growth also failed to break end the recession and lower the deficit. Even with the creation of new and unpopular taxes like the GST, the deficit continued to rise, peaking at -41,000m C($) in 1993, the highest it had been since the 1960s. In a further headache to Crosbie, unemployment also remained above 10% during his entire second term in office, further damaging the government. Politically, it would be Paul Martin, the newly elected Liberal leader, who gained the advantage from this. Martin, a fiscal conservative, made the state of the economy the focus of his leadership, which resonated with voters.

This is not to say the government was without success. In an achievement for Crosbie, he oversaw the legalisation of same-sex unions with the Same Sex Couples Act 1994 (necessary after the Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of LGB couples from the rights afforded to straight couples by marriage was incompatible with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Whilst lauded by historians and seen as a personal achievement for the socially liberal Crosbie, it would lead to blowback in the form of enraged social conservatives in the West and a boost to Reform.

What saw Crosbie’s end was the rising tide of nationalism and separatism. Lucien Bouchard dramatically resigned from Cabinet in September 1993, lamenting Crosbie’s indifference towards further constitutional reform. Bouchard’s defection to sit as an Independent (later becoming a Bloquiste), along with five fellow Quebecers saw Crosbie lose his majority, rendering him unable to introduce and pass legislation without first consulting opposition parties like Reform and said ‘Bloquistes’. On top of this, the 1994 Quebec general election saw Jacques Parizeau win a majority of the seats allowing for an independence referendum for October 1995. Crosbie in his memoirs, spoke that the moment he lost his majority was the moment he decided that he wouldn’t fight the next election and resign, which he would do in April 1995.

In the resulting leadership election to determine who would be both the next Progressive Conservative leader and the next Prime Minister, Jean Charest, a close supporter and ally of Crosbie, won against Perrin Beatty and Kim Campbell, both of whom wanted the party to reposition itself to try and fight Reform in the West. Charest proved a charismatic and appealing figure during the leadership contest, enjoying strong approval ratings. Once elected, he saw a polling bounce and accordingly, called a June snap election, to try and win in honeymoon period like Chrétien did in 1984. Based on the state of the official opposition, it was understandable why he called the election.

sks78PH.jpg

The NDP, the official opposition, were having a torrid time of it, despite being closer to government than they ever had been before. Whilst a relatively stable and united force under Broadbent, his retirement in 1992 signalled the return of intra-party fighting and factional warfare. Whilst Dave Barrett, the former NDP premier of BC won the leadership against Bob Rae and Audrey McLaughlin, his victory did little to steer the party away from these fights. A westerner, Barrett tried to focus the party on dealing with Western alienation, to little avail. The conservative voters of the West saw more to like in the populist Reform than in the socialist NDP. This tactic was ruthlessly attacked both because of its failure to pay dividends in key seats and because of the moderation of party policy needed to better appeal to the West. Compounding these challenges was a donations scandal in British Columbia, which saw the resignation of BC’s NDP premier, making the NDP unpopular in the province, further undermining Barrett’s work.

OjwClJo.png

The Liberals, meanwhile, were able to portray themselves as a responsible voice of government by having learnt the lessons of 1987 and 1991. Martin’s close relationship with the former Mayor of Calgary and MP from Calgary Centre, Ralph Klein, epitomised this new approach. A passionate budget-balancer, Klein would be used to drum up support in the West whilst Martin stayed almost exclusively in Ontario and Quebec. To portray himself as a strong leader Martin also spent trying to marginalise the 'Rat Pack', a group of Chrétien loyalists who came from the progressive wing of the party. This strategy paid dividends and allowed Martin to focus on the economy and bring the party unity, (and when in compared to the NDP), helped the Liberals distinguish themselves on the campaign trail.

The election mostly saw the trends which defined the 1991-1995 parliamentary term play out in a 6-week campaign. Charest tried to keep his party above water, Barrett spent most of his time fighting fires in his own caucus and Martin ran on the economy and the deficit. Reform and BC, the polar opposites of one another, ran similar campaigns, in preaching to the already converted and disillusioned. The debates did little to change public opinion, with voters amenable to Charest, but not willing to give the PCs another term in office.

And so, despite Charest’s appeal on the campaign trail, the Progressive Conservatives lost a historic 137 MPs, losing to Reform in the West and the Liberals in the East. Among the losses included Kim Campbell, Perrin Beatty and even Crosbie’s old parliamentary seat, with the PC candidate losing out to the Liberals who had attacked the government for ending cod fishing in the region. The NDP were also clear losers, losing half its caucus, almost half its vote share and almost losing its leader, Dave Barrett, who had held his seat, after two recounts, by only 19 votes. The BQ’s also underperformed, to the fears of the Oui campaign, mostly thanks to tactical voting by federalists in Quebec, mostly due to the upcoming independence referendum scheduled for October.

The winners were the Liberals, who returned to government with a healthy majority, and Reform who had captured Western anger and alienation at Ottawa and had broken the PCs. Reform becoming the official opposition, was the cherry on top for the party after a historic election. Martin had won, but with the independence referendum on the horizon, this victory could be short-lived. Martin made it the number one priority of his new government to prepare for Quebec’s independence referendum and convince the nation to stay in. If he failed, then his hard-fought victory would become a poisoned chalice.

KnREi9C.png
 
Last edited:
Still a better result for the PC's than OTL, somehow
You can thank Charest for that (also no Chrétien means no face ad, which was a monumentally stupid move by the PCs) and for the fact that economy and deficit are in a better position in 1995 than in 1993.
 
You can thank Charest for that (also no Chrétien means no face ad, which was a monumentally stupid move by the PCs) and for the fact that economy and deficit are in a better position in 1995 than in 1993.
Yeah Charest even with as short a window as Campbell had after Mulroney noped out and left her with the bag would be much more capable, that much is certain
 
Top