High Wire Eire: Kennedys in Britain

Chapter One: Poverty to Privilege

Patrick Kennedy had just experienced another disappointing crop season, and felt despondent. Fellow Limerickians had been enthusiastically lighting out for the United States or Canada. Preferring to stay with the known, eternal Britain, he moved to London to work as a peddler. On Sept. 4, 1849 he married Mary Willoughby, a Catholic merchant's daughter. Their son Patrick Joseph was born on Nov. 5, 1853.

"Life is joyless and earnest. Our only hope is that P.J. can make something of himself."

- Mary to Patrick, 1860

From the age of ten, P.J. went to watch the great Tory MP Benjamin Disraeli during his many public appearances and outdoor debates. The man who had toppled Peel from No. 10 was about to reside there himself, but P.J. was more interested in the "electric speechifying" as one of his descendants would later term it.

"Met a girl named Elizabeth Warfield- she's a merchant's daughter also. Among others things, her father works in Tory backrooms. Most interestingly enough, she accepted a date next Saturday."

P.J.'s diary, Oct. 6, 1874

UK general election, Nov. 7, 1874

652 Commons seats

Conservative: 363 seats (+92)
Liberal: 229 seats
Home Rule: 60 seats

Incumbent PM: William Gladstone (Lib)
Subsequent PM: Benjamin Disraeli (Tory)

P.J. acquired two pubs from his uncle, and began to prosper economically, socially and even politically, having now joined the local Conservative Association. Life went on in earnest, and Patrick died of typhoid fever in 1875. Empire was approaching its zenith, such as when Prime Minister Disraeli conferred the title of Empress of India on Queen Victoria. Imperial glory and war fever in the Crimea concealed mounting discontent at home. Disraeli's focus on foreign affairs in Afghanistan and Russia diverted attention from his domestic policy, which was later characterized as a "constant outflanking of the Liberals" and "turning the center blue undetected".

"Been finding a lot of anti-Tory sentiment around the constituency lately. Even more vilification of the PM. Worst cartoon was one depicting him as Shylock strangling Baby Brittania, ironic since he's done so much for the Imperial Cause. Have no illusions about the election, it will be a horrible massacre and maybe the end of Disraeli's career."

P.J's diary

On Oct. 7, 1880 Britons went to the polls to judge Prime Minister Disraeli's Tories. And judge they did...

UK general election, 1880

Liberal: 349 seats (+113), 55%
Conservative: 240 seats
Home Rule: 63 seats

Incumbent PM: Benjamin Disraeli (Tory)
Subsequent PM: William Gladstone (Lib)


Political life continued during Gladstone's Second Ministry, but there were important developments in Ireland. After the 1885 election, Gladstone formed a minority government with Irish support, but tensions over Home Rule sparked a snap election the following year. A record that would last for over a century began on May 6, 1886...

UK general election, 1886

Conservative/ Liberal Unionist: 397 seats (+147), 53.3%
Liberal: 188 seats
Irish Parliamentary: 85 seats

Incumbent PM: William Gladstone (Lib)
Subsequent PM: Lord Salisbury (Tory)

On Sept. 5, 1888, Elizabeth Kennedy gave birth to her only son, Joseph Patrick. Joe proved to be an exceptionally talented and intelligent child, so much so that in 1900, he was sent to Harrow. The end of the Boer War marked the zenith of Empire, as did one of the longest and most interesting Prime Ministerships in British history. On July 10, 1902 Lord Salisbury resigned as Prime Minister, as the newly minted widow and increasingly frail 72 year old handed over No. 10 and the Tory leadership to his nephew Arthur Balfour. Britons would undergo yet another blow to the national consciousness on Oct. 9, when...


"Harrow is certainly harrowing. Been beaten twice but always on the honour roll. Perhaps controlled rabble-rousing isn't as bad as it has been made out."

- Joe Kennedy's diary, Jan. 20, 1903

Meanwhile, in London, Prime Minister Balfour was having to deal with an increasingly divided Conservative party. The fault line was the same that had toppled Peel nearly seventy years earlier, the question of free trade. Increasing tension between the militant free-traders and protectionists, and Balfour's careful neutrality, sapped his authority both as Prime Minister and party leader. On the Opposition benches, the Liberals gained momentum and unity under Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Conservatives, including P.J. Kennedy, worried about the Tories having received too wide a mandate in the 1900 election, with over 400 MPs, which to quote Sir John A. Macdonald "could corrupt a committee of archangels." After Joe was sent to Oxford in September 1905, the tension was reaching a boiling point. On Nov. 30...


"Balfour has tried to blackmail the Tories into giving a vote of confidence in his leadership. He and Peel have the same quality, namely using fists when a loaded .45 would achieve the desired results, as Salisbury had in abundance."

-Diary of Joe Kennedy, Nov. 30, 1905

The following day, Campbell-Bannerman was sworn in as Prime Minister of a minority government, and King Edward dissolved Parliament for a Feb. 4, 1906 election. Since preferential tariffs were the first step down the free-trade road, many working class voters saw the issue as being over food prices. One young free-trader who saw the necessity of party reform was the young Winston Churchill, who secretly gathered like-minded backbench Tories to discuss the issue.

UK general election, 1906

670 Commons seats

Liberal: 401 seats (+217)
Conservative: 155 seats
Irish Parliamentary: 82 seats
Labour: 28 seats

Incumbent PM: Arthur Balfour (Tory)
Subsequent PM: Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Lib)

"CB might've wiped the floor with us, but I don't think all is lost. All those radical reforms he's proposing, by next time we'll be smelling like roses. We really should find someone other than Balfour as the leader."

Joe Kennedy's diary, Mar. 10, 1906

As Joe prepared to leave Oxford in the spring of 1908...

June 5, 1908


Britons did not know what to make of their new Prime Minister, though as Chancellor of the Exchequer and effective Deputy Prime Minister, he had been one of the most visible members of the Liberal Cabinet. A self-confessed policy wonk, Asquith began to ram through many measures which would simply be known as the "Liberal reforms", though not all would survive upcoming events. One of the men to watch was the "Welsh wizard" David Lloyd George, now the dauphin of the Liberal Party.

Joe left Oxford in June 1908 and immediately began to involve himself in business affairs. One fast new friend was the Canadian-born press baron Max Aitken, also deeply involved in Conservative politics. Joe was on his way to wealth and prominence, and while in search of a wife, politics intervened once again. Under Balfour's direction, the heavily Conservative Lords vetoed many Liberal bills, substituting "principled opposition to radicalism with spiteful nays on first reading!" as Winston Churchill would declare in an Oldham constituency meeting. Balfour began to hear rumbles of royal displeasure, and thereafter toned it down. Before the results were apparent, Prime Minister Asquith dissolved Parliament barely halfway through its term on the "People's Budget".

"I was right, Max was so impressed that I won the bet with him."

- Joe Kennedy's diary, Jan. 17, 1910

UK general election, Jan. 1910

Liberal: 275 seats (-126)
Conservative: 271 seats
Irish Parliamentary: 74 seats
Labour: 42 seats

Incumbent PM: H.H. Asquith (Lib)

Britons, it seemed, could not decide on the government they wanted. Tories had firmly decided they no longer wanted Arthur Balfour as leader, but due to the "standing alert" of a minority Parliament, a bloody coup would be foolish. Winston Churchill had already decided on the man he would support, whom many fellow backbenchers liked and admired.

UK general election, Dec. 7-15, 1910, 670 Commons seats

Liberal: 277 seats (+2)
Conservative: 269 seats
Irish Parliamentary: 81 seats
Labour: 42 seats

Incumbent PM: H.H. Asquith (Lib)



Joe Kennedy obtained a deferment from military service, and was on the verge of making his first million pounds in the London stock market, when on Oct. 10, 1914 he married Dame Jennifer Ryerson, becoming Sir Joseph Kennedy. On Dec. 3, 1915, his first son, Joe Jr. was born. Before any more children came along, the United States went "Back to the Future" as the saying went. On Nov. 7, 1916...


(R) Theodore Roosevelt/ Charles E. Hughes- 318 ECV, 54.7%
(D): Woodrow Wilson/ Thomas R. Marshall- 213 ECV, 43.3%

Incumbent President: Woodrow Wilson (D)
President-elect: Theodore Roosevelt (R)

On Nov. 20, 1916 Wilson appointed Roosevelt Secretary of State while he and Marshall resigned, allowing Roosevelt to reenter the White House nearly four months ahead of schedule.

To be continued...
Why would Wilson and Marshall resign after losing the election?

No president has ever done that in American history, (resigning after not be reelected).

They would have stayed President and Vice President until Roosevelt was inaugurated in March.

Even if they did, the Secretary of State would have become Acting President due to the order of succession at the time.
The Wiki source is #19, also the PBS doc Wilson and Black's FDR bio. Acting President because he felt that in wartime, having a lame duck admin for four months would be potentially very dangerous. What do you think so far?

..."he created a hypothetical plan where if Hughes were elected he would name Hughes United States Secretary of State and then resign along with the vice-president to enable Hughes to become the president"


Why would Wilson and Marshall resign after losing the election?

No president has ever done that in American history, (resigning after not be reelected).

They would have stayed President and Vice President until Roosevelt was inaugurated in March.

Even if they did, the Secretary of State would have become Acting President due to the order of succession at the time.
I cannot remember what documentary it was, but I do remember watching it in my History of American Diplomacy course. I can't for the life of me remember the situation but remember that it was in fact a valid option. Its not that ASB
If PBS talked about that, then I am fine with that.

Does that mean the US is already involved in WWI?

What Teddy president before running in 1916? Was the 1912 election different than OTL?


Re the title, if you were trying for a rhyme, Eire is pronounced like "Air-uh", not "Ire".
What happened was that TR sat out the 1912 election, allowing Wilson over 500 ECV, and gained the GOP nomination in '16. The US had been involved since mid-1915, because TR, like his cousin needed time to convince the US public.
Follow the Blue Brick Road

On Apr. 29, 1917 Jennifer gave birth to John Fitzwilliam Kennedy. Thereafter shortly followed by Kathleen on Aug. 30, 1918. With the end of the war approaching, Prime Minister Lloyd George sought a mandate to "Hang Attila" as he once declared during one of the most fiery stump speeches of the entire campaign. On Dec. 20, 1918, after the War to End All Wars ended on Nov. 11, the British electorate granted him that request.

UK general election, 1918

707 Commons seats

National (Conservative/Liberal Coalition): 459 seats
Sinn Fein: 73 seats
Labour: 57 seats
Liberal: 36 seats

Incumbent PM: David Lloyd George (National)

"There is a danger sign here that the Liberals should take note of. Labour outpolled part of the Liberal Party for the first time. With all the upheaval in Ireland caused by De Valera, and probable secession on the way, we just might see the party of Gladstone go the way of the dinosaurs within the next decade."

- Joe Kennedy's diary, May 4, 1920

Rose was born on June 11, 1920, and was her cognitive development was well behind average. It would take a while for doctors to reach the final conclusion, but in the meantime Joe had made his first million, which combined with Jennifer's inheritance, made them well to do in the heavily stratified London society in which they thrived. Lloyd George's inspired war leadership had given way to a recessionary postwar economy and increasing discontent with the Liberal-led government. At a closed door caucus meeting in February 1922, Chamberlain decided to withdraw from the coalition.


"This campaign has but one issue, which has been neglected by the Government to an almost criminal extent. That is the economy. Millions of Britons have been unemployed since war's end, and Lloyd George fiddles while Britain burns. Vote Conservative to secure your futures!"

- Austen Chamberlain's radio address of Jan. 26, 1922

UK general election, 1922

Conservative: 381 seats (+49)
Labour: 155 seats
Liberal: 86 seats

Incumbent PM: David Lloyd George (Lib)
Subsequent PM: Austen Chamberlain (Tory)

Official portrait of Prime Minister Austen Chamberlain, Feb. 1924

The new Cabinet had many fresh faces, including the Prime Minister's half brother Neville and Winston Churchill.

Chamberlain P&P Committee (Planning and Priorities, inner Cabinet)

Sir Austen Chamberlain: Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, House Leader
Lord Chancellor: Lord Cave
Lord Salisbury: Deputy Prime Minister (replaced Lord President)
Lord Robert Cecil: Lord Privy Seal
Neville Chamberlain: Minister of Health
Lord Curzon: Foreign Secretary, Lords Government Leader
Winston Churchill: Secretary of State for the Colonies
Stanley Baldwin: Home Secretary
Lord Derby: Secretary of War
Leo Amery: First Lord of the Admiralty

Prime Minister Chamberlain's first action was to hammer out a compromise on free trade, in order to present "a sea of blue" in the Commons, as Churchill often declared. Preferential tariffs would not be introduced until "the time is ripe", nor would any additional protectionist measures be adopted for the time being. All were satisfied, and the Government turned to partial war-readiness. The Prime Minister and Secretary Churchill were in agreement on the German question, and President Roosevelt had been unable to prevent harsh reparations exacted by Lloyd George and Clemenceau at the end of World War One. Chamberlain also considered Indian reform, though Churchill had moderated his previous stance opposing concessions to the INC leadership. All the other colonies were secure, and Churchill had always been a strong believer in air power, convincing the Prime Minister to support limited RAF expansion.

Meanwhile, Joe Kennedy's second daughter Eunice was born on Sept. 17, 1924, followed shortly by Robert Francis on Nov. 20, 1925. The American economy was booming after Hughes had succeeded Theodore Roosevelt earlier that year. Danger signs had been spotted, and were beginning to be addressed, but the seeds that had been laid in 1907 were too deep. In the meantime, Joe continued making money while Joe Jr. and Jack began their schooling. On June 17, 1926 Britons went to the polls, and the results were hardly surprising...

UK general election, 1926

Conservative: 374 seats (-7)
Labour: 162 seats
Liberal: 80 seats

Incumbent PM: Austen Chamberlain (Tory)

Meanwhile, President Hughes, increasingly elderly, turned to Treasury Secretary Herbert Hoover as his successor. On the Democratic front, the rising New York Senator Franklin Roosevelt was attracting the attention of many, though politics was a secondary consideration in those carefree days. In London, Prime Minister Chamberlain had warned repeatedly of the dangers of protectionism, and found an ally at the Commonwealth Conference in Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. King, an industrial relations specialist in private life, knew that scene better than most. What many didn't know was that he, like Chamberlain, was a closet free-trader, though willing to bend with the wind. Neville Chamberlain thought him "rather slippery, and not really looking like a man of his education and stature." By 1928, Joe Jr. was at Harrow and excelling in the academic, athletic and social fields. As Joe prepared to send Jack there the following year, he sensed something wrong with the stock market and pulled out, making a second mini-fortune in the process. President Hoover believed conditions were relatively sound, but that was far from the truth.

"When the market crashed, it wasn't like hitting a brick wall. We read about it in the papers, saw it on the way to school, but life didn't change one iota."

- Robert Kennedy interview with Robin Day, 1981

Prime Minister Chamberlain's reaction to the crisis was swift and immediate, preferential tariffs, pushing for free trade, limited intervention. During an economic crisis, the electorate generally doesn't give incumbent governments much leeway, and 1931 was hardly different.

UK general election, July 10, 1931

616 Commons seats

Labour: 317 seats (+155)
Conservative: 257 seats
Liberal: 42 seats

Incumbent PM: Austen Chamberlain (Tory)
Subsequent PM: Ramsay Macdonald (Coalition)

Macdonald's decision to form an all-party coalition saw him expelled from the Labour Party, since as Clement Attlee pointed out, "hadn't we won a majority government?" The Prime Minister's view was that a "National Crisis requires a National Government" and that was what he proceeded to do. Macdonald soon discovered that a coalition government required a coalition Cabinet, which produced irreconcilable views on how to deal with the economic crisis. Meanwhile, the Liberals were feeling left out, though Macdonald, the Chamberlains and Baldwin "didn't give a rat's ass" as Joe rather bluntly told Lord Beaverbrook. Churchill, though somewhat more sympathetic, also agreed and held his peace. The United States also had an anti-incumbent mood on Nov. 8, 1932...


(D): Franklin D. Roosevelt/ John N. Garner: 480 ECV, 57.3%
(R): Herbert C. Hoover/ Charles Curtis: 51 ECV, 42.7%

Incumbent President: Herbert Hoover (R)
President-elect: Franklin Roosevelt (D)

To be continued...
In OTL Austen Chamberlain supported the Conservatives staying in the coalition government headed by Lloyd George, so why did he withdraw from the Coalition in this TL?

Was Churchill a cabinet minister in the Conservative/Liberal Coalition in this TL? If so, I believe that because of his friendship with Lloyd George he would still be a Liberal in 1922.

In this TL in the general election of April 7, 1922 is the Liberal Party divided as it was in the general election of November 15, 1922 between the National Liberal Party under Lloyd George and the Liberal Party under Asquith?

In what ways did the foreign policy of the Chamberlain government differ from those of the Bonar Law, Baldwin and MacDonald governments in OTL?
Churchill is still a Tory, because Chamberlain is a free-trader, as previously mentioned. The Liberals are still divided and will go the way of the dodo bird as per OTL. About A.C.- well he was an opportunist, as are all good politicos. Chamberlain, unlike his half-brother and Baldwin, was actually a more prominent anti-Nazi than Churchill in the Thirties, and more respected within the Tory Party at the time. Churchill's slightly more moderate stance on India saves him from backbench exile. Had Chamberlain not exerted influence to prevent Baldwin's censure on the Commons floor- likely requiring his resignation as PM and leader- A.C. could've become PM. I'm planning a twist in the next chapter...
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Mr. Beaver,

One small point. You have TR running with Charles Evans Hughes as his VP candidate in 1916. This is unlikely since both were from New York and this would prevent the Electors from that state from voting for the ticket (Article II, Section 1). Of course, you could have TR declare that he was actually a resident of North Dakota (where he did live for a year or two back in the 1880's) but this is more of a modern thing (Cheney "moved" back to Wyoming in 2000 so the Texas electoral votes would not be in question) but I could not see TR with his Victorian sense of honor attempting to make such a claim.
I think that TR's VP candidate would likely be a mildly progressive Senator from the Midwest or the West. Was Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin in the Senate in 1916?
TR was not a big fan of Hughes and in 1916 in OTL he called him a "bearded lady" because of his unwillingness to commit to war with Germany. I think TR would have left Hughes on the Supreme Court when he started his search for a running mate.

Storm Clouds Gathering, Sea of Blue

Upon Roosevelt's election, Prime Minister Macdonald phoned to offer FDR his sincerest congratulations. The President-elect, an avid follower of British politics, knew that Chamberlain was the defacto Prime Minister behind the weak and increasingly senile Macdonald. Roosevelt played the cards he was dealt, and trusted Austen Chamberlain, Churchill, and most of the senior Cabinet, though not Neville, Baldwin or Macdonald. "Austen and Winston are the only ones with color in London", Roosevelt once remarked to Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. "the others are almost a cabinet composed of my neighbors in Hyde Park. Colorless civil servants with no imagination, charisma or any redeeming features." Everyone from Mussolini to Lloyd George were awestruck at the oratorical power of President Roosevelt's first Inaugural on March 4, 1933. Hitler's installation as German Chancellor necessitated coordination on both the economic and foreign policy fronts with the Americans.

While international tension was on the rise, Joe Jr. went to Oxford in September, where he excelled in all fields as his father had done many years before. Jack was in his final two years at Harrow, and excelled like his brother and father. Joe and Jennifer were dealt a blow in April 1934, when Rose was finally diagnosed retarded and sent to live in a Kent nursing home. For as long as he lived, Joe never mentioned her outside the family ever again. After Jack went to Oxford in September, Joe began to pay more attention to politics once again.

Cabinet tension was running high, for coalition Cabinets are by definition rather fractious to begin with. The hawks, led by the Deputy Prime Minister and War Secretary Churchill, had managed to push through modest rearmament programs for all three services, though the Army got the short straw as usual. What was somewhat unusual was that both Percy Hobart and Basil Liddell-Hart were asked to prepare a White Paper on armoured warfare by Churchill, who always had time for new inventions and scientific breakthroughs. An attempt to convince the Secretary of Air to do the same with Robert Watson-Watt met with limited success. On Feb. 10, 1935, the British political world was rocked twofold...


An increasingly unhappy Chamberlain saw his chance and withdrew from the coalition in March. On Apr. 3, 1935 King George dissolved Parliament for a June 17 election. The results saw a sea of blue...

UK general election, 1935

616 Commons seats

Conservative: 389 seats (+232)
Labour: 151 seats
Liberal: 21 seats

Incumbent PM: Ramsay Macdonald (Lab)
Subsequent PM: Austen Chamberlain (Tory)

Second Chamberlain P&P Committee

Prime Minister: Austen Chamberlain
Deputy Prime Minister: Winston Churchill
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Stanley Baldwin
Home Secretary: Winston Churchill
Lord Chancellor: Lord Robert Cecil
Foreign Secretary: Anthony Eden
Secretary of War: Leo Amery
Minister of Health: Lord Salisbury

Sept. 26, 1935-


On Feb. 10, 1936 the Government placed orders for the new Hurricane and Spitfire fighters coming off the Hawker and Vickers lines, though it would take until 1940 for the rearmament to be fully completed. The increasingly frail Prime Minister was taking increasingly lengthy absences in the Commons due to the treatment. As Churchill and Baldwin began preparing for the inevitable, the issue of King Edward's marriage came to the fore. There were two constitutional options: 1) Morganatic marriage 2) Abdication. Mrs. Simpson becoming queen was unacceptable to Chamberlain and Baldwin. Churchill, always the royalist, believed that the King should be allowed time, but Chamberlain privately warned him that this was an issue of Cabinet solidarity. Negotiations between the King, the Prime Minister, and the Archbishop of Canterbury all came down to the same two options.

"HM proposes a national radio broadcast. PM, Churchill and Baldwin won't allow it, and if he defies them, there will be a constitutional crisis."

- Jack's diary, Nov. 11, 1936


On Feb. 10, 1937, Austen Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister and as an MP, while Stanley Baldwin also retired due to increasing ill-health. The following day, the country cheered as Winston Churchill was sworn in as Prime Minister. The new Cabinet stayed much the same, with the exception of Sir Robert Vansittart becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer and Anthony Eden assuming the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Prime Minister Churchill resolved to meet President Roosevelt, re-elected in a 538-0 sweep the previous November, as soon as possible. Joe Jr, about to graduate from Oxford, desired to go into politics as soon as possible, but began working as a cub reporter for Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express in the interim. Joe respected Churchill, though thinking him too tough on the German question. After the French intervention in the Saarland in 1936, the Germans had supposedly backed down. But Churchill was never one to underestimate Hitler's desire for German domination of Europe, and began quietly preparing as Germany quickly became one of the Continent's leading military powers. After Churchill confronted Hitler over Czechleslovakia, diplomatic relations between Britain and Germany had been severed. All estimates were that a general European war President Roosevelt also shared that view, and as tensions rose on both sides of the Channel, Europe began sliding inexorably towards war. On Sept. 1, 1939...


Churchill began immediate preparations to send an Expeditionary Force to France, but the French had not been as lucky in their political leaders. Edouard Daladier had given way to Paul Reynaud as Premier, and he had begun to untangle the jungle of the French military. Among the officers whom he promoted was General Charles de Gaulle, who was made commander of the 1ere Division Blinde on Oct. 25, 1939. There were too few talented young officers to bridge the gap, however, and General Gamelin resembled "a pot-bellied provincial grocer" (Churchill) or "an absent-minded physicist" (de Gaulle).

Both Joe Jr. and Jack enlisted in the RAF, with Joe going to Bomber Command, while Jack became a Spitfire pilot attached to No. 11 Group at Biggin Hill. Joe was worried about his two sons, but with both enlisted, he turned his attention to the thirteen year old Bobby, who was attending Harrow as had his father and brothers. Meanwhile, Churchill sought a war mandate, and Parliament was dissolved for a Jan. 26, 1940 election. Ironically Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King chose that date to announce a snap election for March 26...

UK general election, Jan. 26, 1940

616 Commons seats

Conservative: 443 seats (+54)
Labour: 161 seats
Liberal: 12 seats

Incumbent PM: Winston Churchill (Tory)

During March, the situation worsened in France, as General de Gaulle, contrary to accepted military wisdom, firmly believed that the German armoured columns would come through the Ardennes. None of his superiors believed him, thinking it "preposterous nonsense" as Marshal Petain said in February when de Gaulle had visited him. The early news was bad, very bad...


On June 15 1940, Reynaud decided to move the French government to Algiers in order to continue the fight.


Churchill's standing, somewhat precarious, improved dramatically after France had continued the fight against Nazi Germany. The Allied cause would be given another invaluable boost on Nov. 5, 1940...


(D) Franklin D. Roosevelt/ Henry A. Wallace: 468 ECV, 55.7%
(R): Wendell L. Willkie/ Charles L. McNary: 63 ECV, 43.3%

Incumbent President: Franklin Roosevelt (D)

With the European air war in full swing, Roosevelt's and Churchill's attentions were drawn to the Pacific, where the President had been negotiating with the Japanese throughout his second term, to little avail. A bitterly divided government forced Prince Konoye's resignation as Prime Minister on Jan. 16, 1941, after General Tojo, Minister of War, had rejected the Prince's proposal to meet Roosevelt in Honolulu or Anchorage to discuss all the contested issues. Tojo was sworn in as Prime Minister the following day by Emperor Hirohito. Asia was also inexorably moving towards war, but not before June 22...


Churchill immediately ordered the dispatch of Lend-Lease supplies to the beleagured Soviets, and Roosevelt's rearmament program was entering full swing. On Dec. 7, 1941...


"In retrospect, I was amazed at the amount of information Roosevelt managed to conceal. That would have been impossible today."

- Alistair Cooke BBC interview, 1991

From the Pacific, the early news was all bad. Island outposts, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya and Singapore all fell to the Japanese. But the stunning American victory at Midway in June 1942, followed by the invasion of Guadalcanal in August and Operation Torch in November, boosted Allied morale and turned the war's tide decisively in the Allies' favour.

"I would like you to prepare a report for me on ideas for our next manifesto. Don't tell a soul, Beveridge was bad enough."

- Prime Minister Churchill to Chancellor Vansittart, Feb. 5, 1943

"Mrs. Kennedy, we're sorry to report that Joe was on that DC-3. There are no survivors."

RAF officer to Jennifer, June 1, 1943

On Sept. 5, 1943...


German troops under Field Marshal Kesselring poured into the Italian peninsula, and Allied troops remained bogged down in the Alps, where airpower and armour was useless. Slow, grinding progress was being made in the Pacific with the invasion of Tarawa later that year. As 1944 opened, Roosevelt and Churchill had promised Stalin relief by means of the Second Front. When Roosevelt told the Soviet leader that the landing would occur in June and General Eisenhower would be in command, Stalin was satisfied. At a private meeting on Mar. 7, 1944, Sir Robert met with the Prime Minister to discuss his findings.

TO: P.M.

Prime Minister, after consulting the focus group, we found the following results.


I) VETERANS BILL OF RIGHTS: Legislation to permit demobilized servicemen the privilege of attending university aided by partial grants from the Government. Guaranteed places in most universities. Recommend negotiations with the Big Two- Cambridge more amenable than Oxford as of the present.

II) NATIONAL HEALTH REFORM: Prepaid health insurance only, no National Health Service as proposed by the Beveridge report. Recommend two-tier system, thereby achieving universal healthcare by means of a public-private partnership (PPP). Financial wizardry may be required to soften the tax burden without deficits over 200 million pounds per year. Introduction in stages, with completion within the term of the next Parliament.

III) RETENTION OF WARTIME CONTROLS: Necessary in order to avoid shortages of basic supplies and foodstuff, specifically milk, eggs, poultry, beef and tea.


I) SELF-GOVERNMENT WITHIN EMPIRE: Colonies should be granted internal self-government with our retention of control over foreign and defense affairs...

Yours sincerely,

Bob V.


"Bob, I agree with your domestic recommendations. They have already been sent to Central Office for printing. We might have to ask for an extension of Parliament's term until war's end."

- Prime Minister Churchill to Chancellor Vansittart, Apr. 2, 1944

On June 6...


In September, Robert began his Oxford Law studies, immersing himself fully into campus life. After the deaths of Joe Sr and Jr, Rose had asked Jack to take over the family business, now in the hands of one of Joe's old associates. This precluded the political career which Jack had so ardently hoped for. Inept planning had led to the Market Garden disaster, but the Allies had liberated Paris and were driving towards Berlin by the fall of 1944. MacArthur had liberated the Marianas and was about to land on Leyte in October, when American voters had their final wartime say on Nov. 7, 1944...


(D) Franklin D. Roosevelt/ Harry S. Truman: 444 ECV, 54.7%
(R): Thomas E. Dewey/ Earl Warren: 82 ECV, 44.3%

Incumbent President: Franklin Roosevelt (D)

Belgium was liberated in January 1945, and the end of the war was in sight. In February, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met for the last time at Yalta. Churchill was shocked at the President's haggard, drawn appearance. As Vice President Truman had told a friend: "He has the pallor of death on his face." Lord Moran was even blunter, telling Churchill that "his arteries are harder than Stonehenge's walls. I'd say he goes between Easter and Pentecost."

Apr. 12, 1945, Warm Springs, GA

"I have a terrific headache." "Did you drop something?" "Lucy get Dr. Bruenn right now!"

At 1535 Eastern time...

"This is CBS Breaking News, President Roosevelt just died in Warm Springs, Georgia. President Truman has been sworn in as Mrs. Roosevelt prepares to leave the White House."

A few weeks later...


Truman and Churchill's attention turned once more to the Pacific, but not for long. On June 4, 1945, Prime Minister Churchill dissolved Parliament for a July 20 election. King won an unprecedented sixth term the following week. While Churchill would not break any records...

UK general election, 1945

Conservative: 391 seats (-52)
Labour: 240 seats
Liberal: 7 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Winston Churchill (Tory)

Meanwhile, Bobby was fully involved in the Oxford Young Conservative Association, meeting fellow students from all walks of life. There were two in particular whom he became close to, Peter Garrett and a female friend of his. Robert was elected vice-president of the YCA in February 1946, when one of his favourite photos was taken. It showed him greeting Prime Minister Churchill after his address to the Far Eastern Studies Faculty. Included was the Prime Minister's autograph, which would thereafter hang on his dorm wall, and other places down the road...

Jack Kennedy had taken over his late father's investment portfolio, and quickly proved to be an adept fiscal manager. So much so that it grew 8% in a single year, excluding inflation. He also began searching for a suitable wife, for Jennifer had made it clear that all three of her sons had to marry by the age of thirty-five.

Robert graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oxford in June 1948, and thereafter began working as a corporate lawyer in downtown London. Meanwhile, he had begun dating a friend of Peter Robbins, and was quite enamored with his fellow Oxford graduate...

In London, Prime Minister Churchill had his 75th birthday in mid-1949, and many Tories began to think of the succession. Though still in complete control, Churchill had begun to slow down, focusing most of his attention on foreign affairs. Sir Robert had taken over a chunk of domestic policy, and Eden refused to press Churchill, who had privately assured him that he would step down by 1953 at the latest. On Feb. 17, 1950, Parliament was dissolved for a March 29 election.

UK general election, 1950
625 Commons seats

Conservative: 367 seats (-24)
Labour: 247 seats
Liberal: 11 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Sir Winston Churchill (Tory)

After a fourth successive defeat, Clement Attlee resigned as Labour leader, to be replaced by Hugh Gaitskell. Other events were taking place in the spring of 1950...

On Apr. 25...

Married: Robert F. Kennedy to Margaret Roberts, both 25.

(Yes, the two famous Scorpios. Please comment ;))


After the Incheon landing in October, General MacArthur pressed for total victory, including reunification of the peninsula under President Rhee, and some said, reunification of China under Chiang Kai-Shek. Churchill and Truman considered those ideas preposterous and often said so in their transatlantic phone conversations.

Jack had married Jean Witherspoon on Apr. 26, 1951, and both brothers were thoroughly enjoying married life.

After Chinese intervention in early 1951, by the summer the war had settled down to a stalemate. General MacArthur's sacking in April had led President Truman's approval ratings to near-subterranean levels, and privately told Bess and his staff that a third term "was simply not an option". Britons were also ready for a change, and on Feb. 25, 1952...


Prime Minister Eden was putting Anglo-American relations on hold until the Presidential election in November. In the interim, he visited India and met with Prime Minister Patel to mark the fifth anniversary of Indian self-governance, having been only given control of defense and external affairs in 1950. On June 16, 1952...


A few months later...


(R) Dwight D. Eisenhower/ Richard M. Nixon: 452 ECV, 56.7%
(D): Adlai E. Stevenson II/ Estes Kefauver: 79 ECV, 43.3%

Incumbent President: Harry Truman (D)
President-elect: Dwight Eisenhower (R)

President Eisenhower saw the continuation of the bloody Korean stalemate as militarily pointless, and thought Clark's offensive plans rather foolish and ineffective. He and Eden floated the idea of one last summit with the Soviets, but on March 5, 1953...


Since neither Eisenhower nor Eden knew who the new Soviet leader really was, the Geneva summit later that year provided an opportunity. Both instinctively, and correctly, believed that Khruschev was the strongest of the Central Committeemen.

"Margaret! I got it!" "You got what Bob?" "The nomination of course. I just returned from the meeting." "That's great news. But what about young Joe?" "The governess can take care of it when the time comes. Don't expect the election before the snow melts."

- Bobby to Margaret, Dec. 6, 1953

Meanwhile, Sir Robert Vansittart had finally retired, and Prime Minister Eden decided to leave the seat vacant until the next election.


On Apr. 27...

UK general election, 1954

630 Commons seats

Conservative: 375 seats (+8)
Labour: 251 seats
Liberal: 4 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Sir Anthony Eden (Tory)

Kensington and Chelsea

Robert Kennedy (C): 16,589

Next stop, Parliament...
Thoughts, comments, suggestions? Too many political marriages in my TL's? :D I'll be adding more personal details starting in the next installment, much more than diary entries...
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Yes- I've wondered about uniting our two most famous political Scorpios in nuptials. If you want to imagine RFK's TTL voice, think a mix of OTL and Conrad Black's. When enervated, more like Chef Gordon Ramsay. :cool:
Bobby the Backbencher, Bob the Builder

"Sworn in today as the new MP today. That gets me the title Hon. Hopefully more honourable than some with that title appear to act"

- Robert's diary, May 1, 1954

For an ambitious backbencher, the best counsel was patience. "Impotence or impudence" as Robert's friend Willie Whitelaw often said. He was splitting his time between Parliament and home, though increasingly the latter after the birth of Bobby Jr in June of that year. Since backbenchers often did little other than vote, attend caucus and Parliament's short sessions, most remained in private life for most of the year. Bobby was no exception, still maintaining his practice in downtown London.

Jack was also enjoying his life managing his father's portfolio. "It's great. I call one guy and we move 30 million from one place to another. Do you think we should put some more into Tory coffers?" he often joked to Bobby.

Prime Minister Eden was somewhat relieved that MI6 had done the job properly. He could not imagine what would've happened if Col. Nasser and Gen. Naguib had overthrown King Farouk. Though Eden had contempt for the obese, vainglorious playboy, he could be controlled, and that's all that mattered in the Prime Minister's eyes. What the public did not know was that Eden's health was increasingly worse. He was secretly addicted to painkillers, unknown to all outside the family circle. Cabinet was a "nest of snakes, egotists and lapdogs" as Winston Churchill privately said to intimates.

"Macmillan's waiting for the signal, Rab Butler's waiting to grab his throat in a death struggle, Enoch is trying to make the party execute a sharp starboard turn as usual, and Gaitskell's eagerly licking his chops, awaiting dissolution. Increasing loss of direction."

- Robert's diary, Oct. 4, 1956


"Rumours have been spreading that he'll go soon after Xmas. Jack was so sure he didn't even want to place our traditional 50 pound wager on it. At least there's something to talk about in the P.L. these days. Believe Macmillan would be the best choice. Polls show he'll beat Gaitskell easily. They're not helped by their wide-open divisions either."

- Robert's diary, Dec. 22, 1956


Prime Minister Macmillan continued improving Anglo-American relations with his wartime friend President Eisenhower, but was dealt a blow later that year when his Treasury team resigned.

"Only a little local difficulty"

- Prime Minister Macmillan at a Bermuda press conference, Jan. 25, 1958

"Fundamental and irreconcilable policy differences between Number Ten and Number Eleven"

- Enoch Powell, Jan. 23, 1958

"Near-criminal flippancy in regards to a grave Cabinet crisis" Sir Winston Churchill, privately

"Necessary, but badly managed"

- Robert Kennedy to Enoch Powell in the Conservative Members' Lounge, Jan. 26, 1958

"We might have to ride it out sir. Balderdash! We'll go in April and that's that!"

- Prime Minister Macmillan to Commonwealth Secretary Home, Mar. 4, 1958


"Life's better under the Conservatives. Don't let Labour ruin it."

- Saatchi and Saatchi Tory poster, May 1958

"Willie, outside the usual areas, I've hardly seen any Labour posters. Looks like another indigo sea on my end."

- Robert Kennedy to Willie Whitelaw, May 26, 1958

UK general election, 1958

630 Commons seats

Conservative: 371 seats
Labour: 253 seats
Liberal: 6 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Harold Macmillan (Tory)

After winning over 60% of the vote in K&C, Robert was offered the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Lord Chancellor, which he eagerly accepted. As such, Bobby got to see the inner workings of Cabinet, and often replied in Lord Kilmuir's stead during Commons debates. His debating style was dubbed by both Margaret and Enoch Powell as "honey-studded spears, aimed from the side". As 1960 opened, Macmillan was awaiting the election of a new American President in November.

In the meantime, the new Lord Chancellor was Ted Heath, whom Robert distrusted, though he was always cordial with Heath. Bobby's ideological colours were "indigo, not turquoise" as Willie Whitelaw once remarked. The same could not be said of Heath, many senior Cabinet figures, and event the Prime Minister himself. Macmillan was optimistic about continued Republican incumbency, and American voters agreed on Nov. 8...


(R): Richard M. Nixon/ Kenneth B. Keating: 331 ECV, 54.7%
(D): Hubert H. Humphrey/ Lyndon B. Johnson: 195 ECV, 43.3%
(I): Harry Byrd/ Strom Thurmond: 11 ECV, 2%

Incumbent President: Dwight Eisenhower (R)
President-elect: Richard Nixon (R)

Jack had continued expanding his father's business empire, and was shocked when Macmillan offered him a hereditary peerage in early 1961. "It would be improper when my brother is a member of your Cabinet" he bluntly told the Prime Minister.

"Marples is an embarrassment to myself and the party. Robert, effective immediately, you're replacing him in Transport. Here's a word of advice: work with your mandarins, but remember that they're implenting your agenda, not you theirs."

- Prime Minister Macmillan to Robert at a private meeting, Feb. 3, 1961

"Now I'm Minister of Transport. What could be called a "middlebencher". In Cabinet, but a middling portfolio, not on P&P."

Bobby's diary entry, Feb. 10, 1961

"Arnold, I want infrastructure development. Heathrow badly needs renovation and a new runway. What we should be looking at are purchases of either the DC-8 or the 707 for BOAC. Have a departmental comparative analysis on my desk by Friday."

- Robert Kennedy to Deputy Minister for Air Arnold Hainsworth, Apr. 26, 1961

"Britain's motorways must be expanded, improved and modernized. That is why I have started M70, which will add nearly 800 km of additional expressways, and a six-lane expansion for the M4 in particular. This includes an extension to Heathrow. Of course, the planned completion date is 1970."

- Transport Minister Kennedy's press conference, June 25

After the announcement of the Underground expansion, the media on both sides gave Bobby one of the nicknames that would stick with him throughout his career: Bob the Builder. One Labour wag added "of bureaucratic empires". There was "more truth to that than they think" according to Robert himself. After all, hadn't he convinced the Prime Minister to merge the Aviation portfolio into Transport? His work made him close allies of two Cabinet colleagues in particular, Labour Minister John Hare and Health Minister Enoch Powell, both personal friends. Lord Privy Seal Ted Heath once said that "the Triple Entente will make or break domestic policy." Macmillan was fond of Robert, for he too had made his career in infrastructure development, under Churchill. By mid-1962 M70 was fourteen months ahead of schedule. What was behind schedule were Britain's balance of payments. Negotiations between the Treasury team and US Treasury Secretary George Romney had only been saved by President Nixon's personal intervention on Britain's behalf.

"Been hearing rumours of a Cabinet shuffle. I've been told that I might get a promotion if my cards are properly shuffled."

- Robert's diary, July 11, 1962

And so he did...

Macmillan IV Cabinet (changes only)

Rab Butler: Deputy Prime Minister, First Secretary of State
Lord Dilhorne: Chancellor of the Exchequer
Peter Thorneycroft: Minister of Defence
Robert Kennedy: Minister of Education
Sir Keith Joseph: Minister of Housing
William Whitelaw: Minister without Portfolio, Deputy Whip
Ian MacLeod: Secretary of State for Scotland

"My portfolio was vastly different, and in Education it was clear how many could get sucked into Heath's corporatism. The door was open and the food smelled delicious. But I knew it was all cow fertilizer. Again, I began another reform program, but this time with parents taking an important role. Curricula, until then widely diversified, were to be molded into one national curriculum, and I began looking into GCSEs and grammar schools. There was never a lack of enjoyable work to be done. With a daughter in public school, this took on a personal twist for me."

- In the Arena, The End of the Beginning, Robert Kennedy, 1996

On Sept. 27, 1962...


"Fortunately Jack's gotten them to hush up about our homo loon Allegedly even with the PM's wife..."

-Robert's diary, Aug. 3, 1962

"I cannot go on. They're screaming for my head, and I'll have to give it to them."


When Sir Alec Douglas-Home (as he now was) became Prime Minister, many were relieved, and the national tension was deflated almost instantly. Though many liked the new Prime Minister, the election had to be called within the next six months. On Feb. 3, 1963 Parliament was dissolved for an April 1 election. The results were no April Fool's joke...

UK general election, 1963

630 Commons seats

Labour: 323 seats (+70)
Conservative: 297 seats
Liberal: 10 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Sir Alec Douglas-Home (Tory)
Subsequent Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Lab)

Prime Minister Wilson's Labour Government had a small majority of 8 MPs, making any controversial decisions potentially fatal. Surprisingly, Robert's M70 and education task forces were kept in place due to "their love of spending". Alec Douglas-Home resigned as leader in September, and the Conservative leadership election was held on 24 October.

"There has been many misrepresentations of my thoughts on Ted Heath. Let me clarify once and for all. I have no problems with Heath the man. Heathism, namely anti-Americanism, Eurofederalism and corporatism, I find loathsome and repulsive."

- Robert Kennedy interview with Robin Day, 1977

"You know Willie, there's more truth to that photo than most are aware."

-Robert Kennedy to Willie Whitelaw, on seeing a Telegraph photo with then-PM Heath toasting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, 1973

Conservative leadership election, 1963

1st ballot

Edward Heath: 147 votes
Reginald Maudling: 134 votes
Enoch Powell: 13 votes

2nd ballot

Edward Heath: 165 votes
Reginald Maudling: 132 votes

Ted Heath was now Leader of the Opposition, but he was forced to appoint Maudling as his deputy. Powell was far too controversial for any major post, but Maudling remained Shadow Chancellor. Then he decided to appoint Douglas-Home Shadow Foreign Secretary, an appropriately distinguished post. Though knowing that Robert Kennedy had supported Maudling, he was appointed Shadow Defence Secretary. This suited both men perfectly. Robert got involvement in foreign affairs without major clashes over the EEC. Those sort of hedged compromises would govern their relations for the next few years...

Wilson's first Government began loosening the morality laws, or in some cases abolishing them altogether. Capital punishment was narrowly retained, but abortion and homosexuality were both decriminalized. All votes were free, and Robert voted no on both. "It's an issue of Church morality" he wrote the Archbishop of York in late 1964. Liberalization of immigration laws took place, with racial quotas being abolished and outlawed altogether. The quota system itself was retained, and even modernized, under Jim Callaghan at the Home Office. Steel renationalization failed when 10 Labour backbenchers voted nay, and Parliament was dissolved for a March 29, 1966 election.

UK general election, 1966

630 Commons seats

Labour: 371 seats (+48)
Conservative: 246 seats
Liberal: 12 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Lab)

"This is a blessing in disguise. Once Wilson's through, they'll remember why they gave him a minority in the first place."

- Bobby to Margaret, June 1966

Margaret had become one of the leading tax lawyers in the country, constantly making rounds in London, and even attending overseas conferences. Meanwhile, Robert sat down with Heath at a curry house frequented by many Conservative MPs on Feb. 10, 1967 to discuss the future.

"Our discussion ranged all over the place, from the food to politics and back again. Heath asked whether I wanted a different Shadow Cabinet post. I replied that I would take another post only if it was senior to my current one and would have a reasonable chance, specifically using the word reasonable, of being named to that ministry come the next election. We both knew that the post I wanted was the Lord Chancellorship, and he was unwilling to cede that or the deputy leadership, vacant since Reg had lost his seat in the previous election. In retrospect, it would have been foolish for me to take it, given later events in that field. Assuming either of those posts would've tarred me as a Heathite for life. Now the two deputy posts, those were what I really wanted, but was only given to the State officers, naturally a diehard loyalist of his. The reason we left it at that was because I planned to do more than be a middlebencher. This is why he threw me no crumbs until he was cornered..."

In the Arena, Robert Kennedy, 1996

1967 was fairly uneventful, with the exception of the Six Day War, and by 1968 Britons were mostly focused on the Vietnam War, winding down after the great US victory at Tet and the Presidential election to replace President Nixon. Their foreign focus was suddenly diverted on March 20, 1968...

Shadow Commonwealth Secretary Robert Kennedy, March 1968

"Mr Kennedy, have you heard Mr Powell's speech?" "No, I have not heard it or seen a transcript. No comment until I've seen it. Was it racist? Incitement? Forgive me, but being a lawyer, I like to see evidence before I make any judgments. No more questions on this subject today. Any questions on my Immigration Bill?..."

"Some would ask whether this is Nixon disguised as Wallace or vice versa. I say neither. Rather fears of the unknown, nativism, and admittedly racialism mixed in. But that's Enoch simultaneously at his best and worst. The worst side of him delivered in his best oratorical flourish."

- Robert's diary entry, Mar. 23, 1968

"Bob, telephone! Yes Margaret!"

HEATH: Bob, it's me.
KENNEDY: What is it Ted? Enoch's speech?
HEATH: Yes, I'm going to sack him from the shadow team. That's unacceptable for a senior representative of our party. I mean really, you read the news from the States, and people who say those sort of messages start riots. I'm thinking of those Panthers. Since you're one of the few who talk to him these days...
KENNEDY: Just so you know, it's basically personal, not political. But go on. Don't tell me you're going to expel him from caucus.
HEATH: He'll do that to himself, but that's for another conversation. There were many letters in your brother's paper in support. What's it like on your end?
KENNEDY: I was walking my dog around the neighbourhood today, and many people agree with the essentials, if not the "minorities the majority" nonsense that he mentioned most of the way through. My idea, which is in my bill, was to keep general numerical quotas in place for the time being. We won't be turning anyone away, but not opening offices in Surinam and soliciting, if you get my drift. Try to get people of middle-class or public school background. That's where our voters are anyways.
HEATH: Maybe Central Office for you?
KENNEDY: (Chuckles): No, too familiar. Thanks for calling.
HEATH: See you on Monday.



"Spoke to Enoch today. Entirely unapolegetic about it, says Heath was right to do it. Of course, he firmly believes in the righteousness of that cause. We've always been closer personally than politically. Like him, I believe in monetarism and free trade, but not on foreign policy or race. Anyhow, he knows ten languages, whereas I only know only four others (French, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi). Try to listen to the tapes on planes, but rarely enough time."

- Robert's diary, Apr. 7, 1968

The summer and fall passed relatively uneventfully, that is until Nov. 5...


(R): Nelson A. Rockefeller/ John Tower: 345 ECV, 56.3%
(D): Lyndon B. Johnson/ Eugene J. McCarthy: 193 ECV: 43.7%

Incumbent President: Richard Nixon (R)
President-elect: Nelson Rockefeller (R)

On Mar. 17, 1969...


For the rest of the year, except for the moon landing, things were relatively calm. While Kathleen was attending Oxford, and Bobby Jr was still at Harrow, Joe was at Cambridge, unlike his parents, uncle and grandfather. On Feb. 10, 1970, Robert sent this memo to Central Office:


"Alan, I would expect an election by summer's end. Many seem to think October, including Heath. Wilson always likes to play these tricks, and that's what he wants them to think. Try and convince him to put us on standing alert. Not so much for me in this safe hideaway, but for our exposed friends. Don't expect to do much here, so I'll help out where I can. My estimate is between a 35 to 40 seat majority, but you have access to the raw numbers. Something tells me Enoch's speech helped in those areas, but that's just a suspicion on my part."

All the best,

Bob Kennedy


July 10, 1970- "That brilliant bastard"- Tory Leader Ted Heath on seeing the polling data on effects of the RoB speech.

UK general election, 1970

630 Commons seats

Conservative: 345 seats (+99)
Labour: 273 seats
Liberal: 6 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Lab)
Subsequent Prime Minister: Ted Heath (Tory)

Prime Minister Heath at No 10, Aug. 7, 1970

Heath P&P Committee

Deputy Prime Minister: Sir Robert Kennedy
Lord Chancellor: Lord Hailsham
Lord Privy Seal and Lords Government Leader: Lord Jellicoe
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Iain MacLeod
Home Secretary: Reginald Maudling
Foreign Secretary: Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Secretary of Defence: Sir Robert Kennedy
Before I continue, are there any comments, suggestions, etc so far? I'll try to give a highly detailed account of the Heath years...
Lord Dilhorne was Reginald Manningham-Buller before he was given that title. If he had been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer it would be as Manningham-Buller. He was known as Reginald Bullying-Manner.
Reality's Roller Coaster

On Aug. 25, the Heath Cabinet held its inaugural meeting. There were no rookies on this team, and it transpired as follows:


PM: What we are here to accomplish is the implementation of our programme. Nothing less will suffice. To begin, Mr Carr will introduce a taxation bill which will abolish the Selective Employment tax and replace it with a VAT, which will substantially improve our economic prospects. Now I will give the Defence Minister the floor.

SECDEF: Thank you Prime Minister. Sir Alec and myself will be traveling to Southeast Asia and the Gulf States in order to set up the Commonwealth Mutual Security Pact. Details are to be found on the briefing papers in front of you. Deployment information is only available to committee members. While I am there, I will be simultaneously conducting several arms sales. Specifically, Tiger destroyers, Centurion tanks, and Lightning fighters. Again, the estimated numbers are in the briefing papers.

FS: I will be conducting the Rhodesian negotiations beginning on the 15th of September in Valetta. You know what the objectives are.

PM: Any questions on these issues?

SECDEF: Will the Employment and Taxation bills be two large bills or multiple smaller ones?

SECEMP: Two large ones Bob.

PM: Seeing no other questions, Cabinet is hereby adjourned.


"Sir, will we be able to do both?" "Jim, I just spoke to Ian. I've made the decision to scrap the Eagle and continue the Harrier programme. This way we provide NATO valuable CAS and keep the Ark. My popularity among the airmen might not be as high as I wish..."

Defence Minister Robert Kennedy to Assistant Air Minister Jim Gilmore

"Bob, look at this telex from Wellington." "Those bloody New Zealanders. Two firm Tigers and two brigades of Centurions. Fortunately we're not playing with Ian's budget."

Defence Minister Kennedy and Foreign Secretary Home over the Pacific, Aug. 1, 1970

"Salaam aleikum." "Aleikum salaam my friend. Let's talk away from these pesky mosquitoes."

Malaysian PM Tunku Rahman to Defence Minister Kennedy upon his arrival at Kuala Lumpur

"The price is rather steep, but the quality is impeccable." "Just what I wanted to hear. Sign the contract, have it faxed over. Your generals will be happy come October. Sabres, Lightnings and C-130's."

"We'd be willing to join, and I might be able to convince my fellow Arabs of this necessary and adventurous joint venture."

Saudi King Faisal to Foreign Secretary Home, Aug. 7, 1970

Saudi Lightning T55 before delivery, Sept. 1970

Among the new sales were Centurion tanks to the Gulf States and two Tiger destroyers to New Zealand. On Sept. 8, 1970, Robert Kennedy and Alec Home held a joint press conference.


"This is a new chapter in the British-Asian relationship, and only the beginning"

Jack Kennedy was thrilled at the latest reports from his papers. Both the Express and the Daily Mail were thriving, with an 8% profit increase over the previous year. Awards for "best foreign" and "best Parliamentary" correspondence bemedalled his office. He was preparing to send Jack Jr to Harrow, and all seemed peachy.

"Saw Bobby today. After we relaxed for a while, he told me that Heath is absolutely adamant about keeping both IR and taxes in two massive bills. Don't see how it makes sense, but knowing Heath, I'm not surprised."

- Diary of Jack Kennedy, Sept. 15, 1970

"You're wasting your time. Even Rob (Carr) lost his enthusiasm for these two monstrosities. Heath gave him a direct order to proceed as before. Remember your earmuffs."

Robert Kennedy to a 1922 Committee delegation seeking his advice

The Industrial Relations Act of 1970 and the Tax Simplification Act were both passed in Parliament's fall session, completing the Government's legislative agenda for that year. As 1971 began, Bobby left with Heath and Home for the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) in Singapore.

"We see no problems with either proposal."

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to Prime Minister Heath

"What's going are arms and free trade. Both necessary, and the latter quite desirable."

- Robert Kennedy's diary, Jan. 8, 1971


"If they're losing so much, let them go into bankruptcy protection, restructure and restore solvency." "Rolls Royce is too big to fail." "Conservative nationalization?" "That's my final decision. Tell the others."

- Heath and Kennedy, private conversation, PMO, Jan. 13, 1971

"Asylum is not an option. Neither is reapplication. Students and certain workers can stay at my discretion. Sounds fair to me Reg."

- Home Secretary Reginald Maudling and Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kennedy, P&P Committee



"There's word that this miners strike will go on indefinitely." "We have the power, let us use it. Break them, then we'll talk." "Not an option." "Their objective is the destruction of Tory Governments. Labour gets ice cream before their throat's slit."

Robert Carr, Robert Kennedy and Prime Minister Heath, P&P meeting, Feb. 5, 1972



"There's a price to pay for our entry. What the Eurocrats will eventually implement is not just a free-trade zone, but European federalism. Single currency, "European" courts, etcetera. In my opinion, there should be research done. I've already asked Lord Kilmuir to investigate. Thank you."

- Prime Minister Heath and Deputy Prime Minister Kennedy, private meeting, July 15

"Mental note: take a vacation or arrange a foreign trip when the Community vote comes. I hear Tehran's lovely in the winter."

-Robert's diary, July 16

"He's the most articulate and informed of the Euroskeptics. Expect he won't vote or absent himself. Tough balancing camouflaged, yet obscene, ambition and principle."

Prime Minister Heath's journal, July 17

"He wants the record to read: "I, Ted Heath, brought Britain into the Community. In the process, it will also read: "I, Ted Heath, failed the Commonwealth, failed the Special Relationship and buckled to Scargill due to fear of losing an election. Kissinger's told me that Rockefeller dislikes Heath, much prefers when D-H and myself visit."

- Robert's diary, Aug. 10


"Now this is relaxation, instead of Heath staring at me like his cat's litter."

- Robert to himself after flying as a WSO with Shah Pahlavi in an IIAF F-4E, Dec. 8, 1972


"Those bastards! They either abstained or absented. None voted no! He just returned from Tehran. Arrives at the airport in shades and when asked about the vote, says that he accepts the outcome and looks forward to the next session! I'll have to promote him once Sir Alec retires this spring to the FO. Out of the country, out of my ******* hair."

- Prime Minister Heath's diary, Jan. 10, 1973

"Mideast tensions are rising. I've gotten phone calls from Dayan and my IDF contacts complaining of our perceived bias." We gave them the bloody tanks didn't we! Not to mention their bloody country. Nixon will give them what they want. I'll gladly give you or Alec the visit." "Some media friends of my brother say their press will give you the fabled label." "Robert, I don't know about your constituency, but in mine that's hardly a shameful thing requiring public penance. Same for Enoch's."

Conversation between Robert Kennedy and PM Heath, Feb. 19

On May 24...


"Not one used bolt."

- Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Israeli Amb. Yitzhak Rabin over request for preemptive strike approval.


"After the ceasefire a few weeks later, the Heath Government was finishing the highly controversial Sunningdale Agreement in Northern Ireland. All the strikes had badly damaged the Government's popularity. By year's end, Heath was being urged by many members of his Cabinet to either prorogue Parliament to implement an action plan, or a snap election. He chose the latter."

British Conservatives in the 20th Century, Sir Martin Gilbert, 2006









UK general election, 1974

635 Commons seats

Labour: 361 seats (+92)
Conservative: 263 seats
Liberal: 11 seats

Incumbent Prime Minister: Edward Heath (Tory)
Subsequent Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Lab)

"Now we're in for a bumpy ride. Heath's probably finished, but some forget the new rules that Sir Alec imposed a few years back."

Diary of Willie Whitelaw, Mar. 10

"If you do it, count on our support. My fans and myself."

-Enoch Powell to Robert Kennedy, Mar. 17, 1974

"I like him, and nothing beats seeing Heath start cursing like a sailor in front of journalists."

- Prime Minister Harold Wilson to Press Secretary Joe Haines


"Simply appalling."

-Robert Kennedy on the Heath years, Oct. 1981

"Some of us are thinking of invoking the clause. While you were away, the ball started rolling."

Anonymous member of the 1922 Committee to Tory candidate Conrad Black

"Seeing as more than fifteen percent of the caucus has asked for a leadership review, and one quarter of the full Parliamentary caucus has voted for the above, a leadership convention is hereby scheduled for the 15th of June."

"If I win, he's out. OUT I tell you. Caucus, every ******* thing. The Party will be hijacked by Bobby Kennedy over my dead body. That lad will be politically dead once I finish."

- Ted Heath to James Prior, May 5, 1974

"Count on my support. Knife him and put what's left in Harrod's Christmas display."

- Robert Carr and Willie Whitelaw to Robert Kennedy, May 7


Until the next time...
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