For the Sake of a Shower: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

For the Sake of a Shower: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

The bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton on the eve of the 1984 Conservative Party Conference failed in its primary objective of killing the Prime Minister of the day, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher. Despite destroying her bathroom, killing five people and injuring many others including the wife of the prominent Minister Norman Tebbit, the rest of her hotel suit remained largely intact and both she and her husband Denis were unharmed by the incident. In a statement soon after the news broke, the IRA issued a statement stating “Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always”.

For the sake of a late night shower, it could have been very different.

THE PRIME MINISTER IS DEAD

BRIGHTON: An explosion at the Grand Hotel in Brighton has claimed the lives of six people, amongst them the Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher. The Prime Minister, who was due to address the Conservative Party conference this morning, was killed in an explosion that ripped through her hotel bathroom in the early hours of this morning. The Irish Republican Army has already claimed responsibility for the attack, which is seen as a reprisal for the Government policy towards Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister’s successor will be decided upon at an emergency meeting of Conservative MPs later this afternoon.

Tributes to Mrs. Thatcher have rapidly been given by the American President Ronald Reagan, the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Neil Kinnock, Soviet Premier…”

-From The Times 12th October 1984

“Ding Dong the Bitch is Dead”

-Quote attributed to anonymous member of the NUM

“The lady is dead.

I heard the news after Jane woke me in a fluster this morning; the bastards got her at her most vulnerable. I went downstairs to see the carnage of the hotel, the TV footage was almost obscene in how vivid it was. Tebbit, (indestructible as always) was in tears, stomping around the ruins in his dressing gown. That smug toad Heseltine was talking to the camera. C***, I’d bet he was praying for this moment. How can we manage with him as leader? He must be stopped.

Can’t write much, too upset.

I’ll rip the Paddies to shreds when I get them. This will never turn into their own sordid little Tet Offensive”

-Alan Clark: Diaries

“Thatcher’s assassination left a problematic constitutional problem to overcome during the frenzied hours following the bombing. Under the terms of simple convention, the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Whitelaw became Prime Minister, despite a long held belief that a member of the House of Lords could not gain that position. However, his statement in the early hours of October 12th announcing his refusal to stand for the emergency leadership election soon relegated the problem to little more than a small historical anomaly. Despite Whitelaw’s declared intention not to be considered de facto Prime Minister, under the rules of the Conservative Party at the time, he is still considered to have held the shortest tenure of any Prime Minister in history, although technically, he can only be dubbed to have been acting in that position.

Nevertheless, given the extraordinary events of the previous night, the conclave that met to choose a new leader of the Conservative Party ensured an election that would be anything other than normal. Firstly, only a fraction of the PCP was in Brighton at the time, most had intended to arrive during the next day or so. As a result, many prominent Ministers called for a simple show of hands to choose an interim leader. Given the nature of the assassination, many expected the right-wing of the party to elect a new leader with Norman Tebbit and Sir Keith Joseph seen as consensus candidates of the right. However, Acting Prime Minister Whitelaw, in perhaps the most crucial decision of his brief leadership, choose to delay the election until the early evening, by which time, the majority of the Conservative Parliamentary Party had arrived in Brighton.

The first ballot, carried out in the Brighton Conference Centre resulted in a three-way spit between the Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, the Trade and Industry Secretary Norman Tebbit and the Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe.

Howe dropped out after the first ballot, leaving a two horse race between Heseltine and Tebbit. Heseltine ultimately gained a slim 19 vote victory over his rival and as such became Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.”

-From “The 1984 Conservative Leadership Election”

“Those that feel that their cause will be aided by terror and violence should be very much mistaken. Britain has lost a great woman today, and I will never be the Prime Minister she was. Nevertheless, my message to the IRA is very clear, you will never win and I can only pledge that you will pay for this atrocity with far more than your lives”

-Speech by then Prime Minister Michael Heseltine to Tory Party Conference: 13th October 1984

“And now the blood truly begins to flow”

-Enoch Powell MP
 
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Woah... what an opening!

You've truly captured the feel of the time and the personalities of the MPs involved, given such circumstances. The veneer of authenticity is polished to a high sheen. I sense many bad things are now about to happen...
 
Holy -!

Talk about opening with a hook. I'll be watching this TL, I get the feeling things are about to get interesting in the chinese sense.

Can't wait for the next update!
 

Hashasheen

Banned
Have to agree with Wanda and Jord. I don't know or care for the broad, but this is a serious TL and that's all that matters.
 
It looks good, looking forward to more :)


Would the times really have "Ding Dong the Bitch is Dead" though?
 
Very nice. I do look forward to seeing the effect of this on Northern Ireland, The Conservatives, and her image, or public opinion. This could have a huge, very bloody effect :D
 
It looks good, looking forward to more :)


Would the times really have "Ding Dong the Bitch is Dead" though?
Most definetly not! The Guardian maybe.

This was just a quote overheard in a typical mining town during the aftermath of the bombing. I don't wish to offend anyone so lets just call it Barnsley.
 
I will quite happily admit that this timeline has been inspired by oakvales excellent series An Era of Limits on a possible Jerry Brown Presidency. When I say inspired, I really mean stolen down to the layout. I do hope he is not too offended.

Anyway, updateage.

HESELTINE APPOINTS CABINET AS DUST SETTLES

The Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine today announced the formation of the new Cabinet, which he has stated is "On wartime footing to fight the greatest domestic threat to the United Kingdom since the General Strike" As expected, there are prominent positions for the two runners up in last weeks election contest with Sir Geoffrey Howe remaining as Foreign Secretary and the new vanguard of the Tory right Norman Tebbit promoted to Home Secretary as well as Deputy Prime Minister to replace Lord Whitelaw. The Prime Minister’s close ally, Tom King, has been promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer in order to replace Nigel Lawson who has announced a desire to retire to the backbenches following Mrs. Thatcher’s death. The Prime Minister has already announced a joint Home and Foreign Office effort to bring down the IRA both domestically and aboard and has also announced the formation of a new Department of Nation Security to increase the resources of the Security Services. This new Department is to be headed by the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan. In addition, the old Ministry of Economic Affairs has been resurrected, incorporating areas of the Treasury, Science and Environment. Also re-established is the Ministry of Information to be headed by former Home Secretary William Whitelaw who also becomes Lord Privy Seal. Finally, following the resignation of Jim Prior, the Mrs. Thatcher's former PPS Ian Gow becomes Northern Ireland Secretary, heading what is expected to be a far more hard-line policy towards the province.

Full appointments are show below;

Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury: Michael Heseltine
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Tom King
Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister: Norman Tebbit
Foreign Secretary: Sir Geoffrey Howe
Defence: Norman Fowler
National Security: Leon Britten
Education: George Younger
Health: Lynda Chalker
Employment: Cecil Parkinson
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: Michael Jopling
Environment and Local Government: Carol Mather
Energy: Peter Walker
Economic Affairs: Norman Lamont
Transport: Peter Bottomley
Northern Ireland: Ian Gow
Scotland: Ian Lang
Wales: Peter Walker
Chief Whip: Patrick Jenkin
Lord Chancellor: The Lord Douglas-Hamilton
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Harvey Proctor
Leader of the House of Commons and
Lord President of the Council: Sir Keith Joseph

Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Information: The Lord Whitelaw
Leader of the House of Lords: The Baroness Young
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Christopher Patten

-From The Guardian: 19th October 1984

“It was when I saw that Ian Gow had been appointed to the Cabinet that I thought, ‘Well, if Heseltine thinks that we can have a neo-Fascist in charge its up to me to stop it’. Until that point I was happy enough at University. Really, I was hoping to go into the media. However, the second that Tebbit announced that suspected IRA members could now be detained for six weeks without charge, I decided that I had to stand for Parliament at the next possible opportunity”.

-Former Education Secretary Christopher Morris in a recent interview for the Observer magazine

“Dismal day in the House, all were still subdued from the bombing last week, regrettable, but there is surely no need for more than three days of mourning? Nothing of any note has been getting done and all are downcast and weeping. David Owen was blubbing like a baby, the weak-willed proto-Tory that he is. Frankly, the entire situation seems so frightfully Victorian and morbid.

Saw Enoch in the members Lobby, grinning like some grim parody of the Cheshire cat. All the UUP members are the same really, they can’t wait to cleanse the entire north of Ireland from those they view as “Catholic Degenerates” I fear for the future now that Ian Gow has got the Northern Ireland Office. Apparently Mrs. Thatcher was working on an agreement with the Taoiseach. That’s been scrapped entirely, dreadful news for all the Nationalists on our side of the Benches. Ian Paisley was jeering, (jeering!) at John Hume as I entered the Central Lobby. It does little to improve public perceptions of democracy.

I witnessed the pro-Irish demonstration in Hyde Park on the way home. All good, sober, honest people frightened of loyalist reprisals. All they want is peace and the chance to go about their lives in peace, but all the Government wants is to promise Enoch, Paisley and their ilk more violence. I despair for the world.”

- Excerpt from Tony Benn: Diaries 1983-90

“Inter arma enim silent leges.

Personally, if it was up to me I’d invade the entire republic, it isn’t though. I can’t see how I could have become Prime Minister

[Unintelligible]

Pardon? What about the sports pages? No, I’m sorry but I don’t really have time to worry about what Gordon Banks is up to!”

-Overheard conversation by Enoch Powell

“Frankly the whole business was a dreadful blot on British history that is going to take generations to heal. People have criticised Heseltine, Tebbit, Gow, Alan Clark, quite rightly I should add, but really the worse of the entire bunch was Fowler, the new head of the Gestapo, which is really all the “Department of National Security” amounted to. It took them about three weeks to start waging war on “Private Eye” I think. We had a photograph of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague I believe with the caption “New Information Minister Appointed”, not particularly clever I must admit but it definitely ruffled a few feathers.

Anyway, less than ten minutes before we were meant to go to press, the police barged in an announced that they were here to confiscate our printing presses. Now, I’m not a solicitor (thank god), but I knew that not even Tebbit could have been that audacious or the Government that well organised to bring out legislation in that space of time without it being announced. So, we sent them on their way seen as they had no warrant to be there.

I was arrested for the first time about six days later I think. The first time, not the last time I must add!”

-Ian Hislop, interviewed for Confessions of a British Dissident
 
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:D:D:D @ The Gordon Banks shoutout.

Now, these are some pretty bad developments. Suspected IRA can be held for that long without being charged? This does not bode well at all.

Still, keep up the good work.
 
Ian Paisley was jeering, (jeering!) at Gerry Adams as I entered the Central Lobby. It does little to improve public perceptions of democracy.
Excellent start!

Only nitpick is that Sinn Fein refuse to take their seats in the Commons so Adams would not be there. May I suggest John Hume?
 
Excellent start pulling off the characters personalities to a tee.

I think Hesseltine gets a bit too much credit OTL I agree with you he'd be just as bad or worse. Still you have to love him for getting rid of the old cow.
 
Excellent start!

Only nitpick is that Sinn Fein refuse to take their seats in the Commons so Adams would not be there. May I suggest John Hume?
Damn! I had forgotten about that. Sorry. I'll change ASAP.

:D:D:D @ The Gordon Banks shoutout.
Thank-you, that was the first timeline I ever read so it was great to be able to reference it.

Did you all like Chris Morris as an MP? I may do more like that.
 
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I was arrested for the first time about six days later I think. The first time, not the last time I must add!”

-Ian Hislop, interviewed for Confessions of a British Dissident
Oh dear. I rather enjoyed the start of this thread, but is this really going to turn into another of those dreadful lefty timelines where TEH EVUL TORIEEES take the opportunity to revel in those corrupt, tyrannical impulses that they unaccountably failed to show in real life but you JUST KNOW they are nursing deep in their souls? I mean, six weeks after the bomb, and they're already trying shut down Private Eye? :rolleyes:

I mean - Heseltine, of all people? I didn't think much of the guy myself, but he's no Heydrich.
 
Oh dear. I rather enjoyed the start of this thread, but is this really going to turn into another of those dreadful lefty timelines where TEH EVUL TORIEEES take the opportunity to revel in those corrupt, tyrannical impulses that they unaccountably failed to show in real life but you JUST KNOW they are nursing deep in their souls? I mean, six weeks after the bomb, and they're already trying shut down Private Eye? :rolleyes:

I mean - Heseltine, of all people? I didn't think much of the guy myself, but he's no Heydrich.
Shouldn't you Thatcherites enjoy this TL after all it puts the Iron Cow in a good light or at least shows we might have been better with her.
 
Oh dear. I rather enjoyed the start of this thread, but is this really going to turn into another of those dreadful lefty timelines where TEH EVUL TORIEEES take the opportunity to revel in those corrupt, tyrannical impulses that they unaccountably failed to show in real life but you JUST KNOW they are nursing deep in their souls? I mean, six weeks after the bomb, and they're already trying shut down Private Eye? :rolleyes:

I mean - Heseltine, of all people? I didn't think much of the guy myself, but he's no Heydrich.
I more than understand your concern sir, understand the fact that the whole point of this timeline is to make an entertaining, slightly destopian tl that's within the realms of plausability.
 
Things become slightly worse as Mrs. Thatcher's State Funeral approaches

TOUGH MOVES AGAINST SUSPECTED TERRORISTS


In a joint statement to the House of Commons today, the Home and National Security Secretaries announced a series of anti-terror legislation aimed at reducing the internal power of the IRA at both the domestic and international level. Areas which will be introduced under the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act include the formal right of police to intern suspected IRA members for up to six weeks without charge, thus bringing into force the interim measures announced by Mr. Tebbit last week. Other measures include the freezing of IRA bank accounts outside the United Kingdom, the right to detain members of nationalist paramilitary groups without charge and substantial increases in funding for the RUC and Security Services. The Defence Secretary, Mr. Norman Fowler has also announced that an additional 5 000 military personnel will be moved to Northern Ireland to support troops already stationed there.

Response to the measures have been mixed with Labour leader Neil Kinnock and SDP spokesperson David Owen both giving tacit support for the proposed legislation although many within the Opposition benches have expressed their personal concern to the proposals, which have been described as “draconian and an affront to national liberty” by former Leader of the Opposition Michael Foot, and “a knee-jerk, unprecedented move” by Gerald Kaufman. Civil Liberties campaigners have also voiced their opposition.

The legislation will be voted on the first reading of the Bill on Thursday following Prime Minister’s Questions; however, it is not expected to be formally passed until after the funeral of Mrs. Thatcher, the arrangements of which are to be announced this afternoon.”

-From The Times: 26th October 1984

“I’m finding it difficult to warm to my new post as Minister for Defence Procurement. Fowler has centralised power within the Department to an astonishing degree, shame really as his is simply dreadful. He is a typical Central House appointee, totally lacking in initiative. Frankly, I don’t see how he can last long, the Prime Minister only appointed him to avoid giving him too great a demotion. How he can sleep at night knowing that there are murderers and war criminal running wild is beyond me.

Do not be too hasty though Clark, I shall gain from this in due course. I was perhaps too hasty to misjudge our new Prime Minister, mea culpa mea culpa. With Tebbit to advise him I would hope that he is not moved to compromise with these terrorists. If it weren’t for the bloody EEC we could hang them, I understand that dear Ian is preparing a get around clause to ensure that the nationalists will get what is only too well deserved for them.

I managed to have a drink with Teddy Taylor in the Commons Bar after Home Office Questions, he’s also been promoted to Minister of State. Good man. Sound.

I wonder if we could both be in the Cabinet this time next year?

-Alan Clark: Diaries

REAGAN UNDER FIRE FROM KENNEDY

WASHINGTON DC: President Reagan was today called upon to clarify his position regarding Northern Ireland by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MT) after statements at a press conference on Friday in which he appeared to give support to the new Anti-IRA measures announced by the British Government on Thursday. Senator Kennedy, who has taken a strong interest in the situation within Ireland stemming from the assassination of Prime Minister Thatcher, stated that “if the President can honestly claim that these measures against innocent Irish-Americans are morally justifiable, I must question his competence to run our foreign policy given his desire to avoid criticising such authoritarian measures”. The White House has not yet commented on the accusations.

The claims seem to have done little to affect the President’s standing however, in the latest national opinion poll commissioned with less than two weeks to Presidential Election which continues to show a comfortable lead by President Reagan over Democratic challenger Walter Mondale.”

-From The New York Times: 29th October 1984

“STATE FUNERAL NEXT SATURDAY, BYOB”

-Anonymous graffiti seen close to Westminster Abbey

“Rob,

I enclose the latest draft of the Cabinet Room sketch which we think can open the new series. I know that we have until the New Year for the broadcast but I think that the humour has a somewhat timeless quality to it given the nature of the events, please make any comments you feel suitable for the writers meeting on Tuesday,

Geoff.

SCENE: Cabinet Room. The entire set has been created to look as if in a time of great warfare, (flak curtains, military maps etc.) Heseltine sits at far end of Cabinet Table. He is wearing full body armour and visibly shaking. Norman Tebbit enters, his character now modified to resemble Emperor Palpatine (hooded black robes, rasping voice etc.) face turned away from camera, we see a small portrait of Mrs. Thatcher clutched in his right hand.

TEBBIT: [To picture] Soon my sweet, you shall return.

[To Heseltine] Prime Minister?

HESELTINE: [Screams and hides under table] Oh no! You won’t get me you swines. I didn’t want this job anyway, get Tebbit! He’s the one you want!

TEBBIT: No, Prime Minister, it’s only me.

HESELTINE: Oh, sorry Norman. I eh, thought you were err. That is to say…

TEBBIT: Quite understandable Prime Minister. Now, I do have a plan to bring our dear Leader back to life.

HESELTINE: Oh wonderful, I didn’t want this job anyway. Did I already say that? Anyway, it’s true.

TEBBIT: Excellent Prime Minister, now, I will need your help.

HESELTINE: Anything, I didn’t want this job anyway, did I mention that?

TEBBIT: You may have done milady.

HESELTINE: You what?

Tebbit ignores him and begins to draw a pentangle on the floor, we cut sound as he beckons Heseltine to light black candles. Thunder rumbles and lighting flashes. We cut to black and back again to reveal.

SCENE: Cabinet Room, later, all members present. Tom King (as invisible man) turns to Fowler.

KING: Does Michael seem somewhat different to you?

We move to Heseltine, his hair is now white and he also sports glowing red eyes.

HESELTINE: [As Thatcher] We must sacrifice old people to keep Satan content. This means that we can use them as coal and thus we can use the miners as shells to bomb Londonderry.

FOWLER: I know, he seems less feminine that usual.

OPENING CREDITS”

-Excerpt from ITV Internal Memo- Spitting Image Production Office

“All hon. members are invited to join the remembrance service for the Rt. Hon Mrs. Margaret Thatcher MP which is to take place in Westminster Abbey on Saturday. Members are warned that security is paramount and as such, passes must be presented on arrive at one of the police cordons at the junction of Victoria Street and Great Smith Street, the end of Birdcage Walk, the Westminster End of Bridge Street and at the corner of Milbank and Great Peter Street. A security blockade will also be in place at the entrance to the Abbey proper.”

-Newsletter circulated to all members of the Commons prior to the State Funeral

“Frankly, I can’t see what else we could have done. The funeral was held with almost undue haste anyway, most of the force had not even found change to arrange their family life before being posted. Given the situation I’m surprised the loss of life was so little.

It was the memo that held the most damage I think. One of the House cleaning staff must have been an IRA sympathiser or had connections to a loyalist group. I am only a witness I trust? You can’t expect to hold an Inspector to account can you?

-Testimony of Ian Blair to the Templeman Commission into the Westminster Abbey Shootings

“I would sooner eat my own foot than see that women off. On the other hand, I would like to make sure that she is dead”

-Comment overheard from Dennis Skinner MP
 
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