Rather Be a Free Citizen: A Vignette

Rather Be a Free Citizen

The foe long since in silence slept

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps


For just a moment, as the first referendum results were trickling in - the world held its breath. This was self-determination at it's finest; a great nation (once great, the more uncharitable or bitter would say) - deciding whether to go its own way in the world.

The channels began to broadcast; the same announcement flashing across the multiple of screens. The Prime Minister glanced at the screen and then inanely at his watch - did the count from Sunderland always come in this soon?

"And to reiterate - that is twelve hundred and thirty three votes for remaining and six hundred and forty nine votes for leaving the Articles of Confederation."

Prime Minister Charles Duane Baker IV let out a long sigh - as the back of the room burst into cheers. Well they haven't been looking at the polls as closely, have they? 65.5% would have been reassuring - had Sunderland not been nestled up in the Berkshires. The GMNP was not in favor of leaving the Articles of Confederation - unsurprisingly so, considering they'd been promised a stable economy - and didn't exactly like their eastern neighbors. For what felt like the millionth time, Baker wished he could have skinned Kenneth Branagh before he even made that goddamn movie about Ethan Allen. If Sunderland were only around two thirds and not getting into higher margins - this was not going to be a Remain landslide.


326.com began spitting out analysis. Based on the results so far - Leave could be underperforming, or it could be overperforming - or just performing. They had no fucking idea.


Neither did NEIP, apparently. U.S. Representative Jeff Perry hastily went on the stage in Springfield to concede on behalf of his party; only to take it back minutes later, more results were coming in.


Bedford was next - Leave got 44%, a lot better than anyone had been expecting for a town in the commuter belt. Then the first Bradford - and Leave nearly reached two thirds there. Baker sat down rather heavily at that one. Yes - it had been New Hampshire and Maine where he was going to be losing votes, he knew that. But Bradford was both quite wealthy - and near the state capitol. If it was going Leave by those margins - the rest of New Hampshire wasn't going to be much better.

He looked at the screen again and wished he hadn't when he saw the vaguely handsome man waving to a Leave crowd. Muttering something that sounded suspiciously like "You back-stabbing attention-whore." - he turned the TV off. The former mayor of Boston had been a friend, once - and now he was the friend of the man on the street, all for spouting about how he would get jobs back from the Kentuckians and other xenophobic nonsense.


One state to the south, a less important man was saying much the same thing. "All I'm saying is - the Whigs are the only party firmly fighting Anti-Federalism in this country. Baker can't even hold his government together - you've got Brown and LePage openly campaigning against him - spreading their nasty rumors about how America drains our finances and in returns sends waves and waves of Tennesseans to take our jobs - and I am firmly opposed to such xenophobia. Join or die - the Whigs are the party most firmly oppose-"

"What about the Progressives?" one of the more facts-oriented journalists said.

"Well um - Sanders clearly is sending mixed messages here. Pennsylvania simply isn't bullying the rest of the U.S. to the extent he claims, and you know that if he put his heart into it, he'd be much more effe - just as out of touch with the country as ever. One more question then - go on."

One last rather smug looking journalist raised her hand.

'Do you really think the Whigs mattered at all in this? Your party's dead after that coalition surely you realize that - your first time in power since Hughes and you manage to botch the entire thing. People don't want you trying to persuade them which way to vote - and frankly, ninety percent of the people watching this on TV right now are going 'Who on earth is Lincoln Chafee?' But go on - tell me how you'll stop New Engleave."

Chafee bit his lip with a rather crushed expression - and thought of his dad.

And by now, Chafee was truly irrelevant to the news coverage, results sweeping in like a vast wave on the Cape.


Remain was holding in Portsmouth, losing Rye - if coastal New Hampshire wasn't piling up big vote totals for them the rest of the state sure as hell wasn't going to.

Connecticut was almost as bad - New Haven and Hartford couldn't balance out the vast swatches of blue Leave voters in between. A state that had been looking narrowly Remain in some polls beforehand was sliding the other way. Maine was - well Maine was going to take the longest to report, but good results in Portland in Bangor - really only applied to the coast. Most of the interior was heavily, heavily suspicious of the Articles of Confederation. And Rhode Island? Providence was going Remain while the rest of the state wasn't - so more or less a dead heat.

And in Vermont? The GMNP and Progressives were, frankly - not reaching expectations. Glendinning and Sanders working together for the same goal - should have made Vermont hard Remain - rather than a band from Burlington to the mountains corresponding with large Leave strongholds in the Northeast and Southwest of the state.

But of course those five states together mattered only slightly more than the sixth - Massachusetts. Remain was sweeping up in Cambridge - no shit. If world-class universities with students from around the world weren't voting to stay in, who would? Braintree and Chelmsford both went for Leave though - and Baker could begin to feel invisible walls closing in. Suburbs - near Lowell and Boston - supposed to be Remain's backbone. He had expected New Hampshire and Maine, even Connecticut, to go against the government; he had been prepared for how many Federalists were going to defect in the rural north. But Massachusetts? That was supposed to be the backbone of Remain; educated and multicultural - Massachusetts statesman had played in big part in even the founding of the Articles in the first place. But he looked to be somewhere between 50 and 55% there - and that might not be enough to carry the rest of New England.

A dry-mouthed Baker took the phone call. It was President Schwartz. Shit.

"Hello Charles."

"My pleasure Allyson - the results are close but never fear - we New Englanders tend to scrape through in the worst of times." His cheery tone couldn't disguise a certain worry creeping in.

"You do know I grew up in Berlin Charlie."

"I fail to understand?"

Her tone was mild.
"Berlin, in Somerset County. That's in Westsylvania (and he could hear the capitol W clanging into place). How do you think, Charles, I enjoyed growing up with LBJ posters plastered to every building? Reading Houston in school and being taught how Ferguson was our Pa and how Dan Moody was a benevolent leader? Do you think the 'cultural differences' and petty squabbling of states before World War 2 was worth everything Kunze did and then inviting cowboys in to sit on my state for 50 years?"

"Jesus - no Allyson and you know I've been fully behind Remain."

"Have you now? Why are we having this referendum at all then? Why did you feel a need to go begging at the shrine of Arpaio and try and win over some NEIP voters? Because you were so spooked that - horror of horrors - you might lose the election to that born loser Matt Kennedy. I don't know why you thought that would happen and frankly I don't care. The only thing that I care about is the fact that you are tearing the Articles of Confederation apart - if not now, sooner or later with your arrogance. I don't want any young girls to grow up in Berlin any more, Mr. Baker. Oh, and one last thing?"

Charlie Baker nearly pissed himself.

"The results from Boston are coming in now."


Jeffrey Davis Perry had been working at this for a long time - ever since the first day he saw Sandwich's economy sinking - jobs going out of state to Maryland or Delaware as decent New Englanders were kicked to the curb. Ever since the cabbies had been getting more and more foreign, difficult even to understand through their thick southern drawls. Ever since they'd begun selling gumbo from food carts. New England did not want, did not need, did not deserve to be stuck in the Articles of Confederation, bled white by an uncaring foreign government. They deserved independence.

He'd been a natural Federalist at one time - but they had refused to see. Stafford had pushed for joining in the first place, Doloris, conservative on so many things, had still not prioritized undoing the damage, and Rudman and Baker had enjoyed the prospect of cozying up to Europe. So he had left the party, had gradually, oh so gradually gotten people around to the right way of thinking - controlled a fractious bunch - and their vote totals had risen; filling a natural void as all the other parties refused to. State representative Arpaio over in Springfield even defected to them - and held his seat.

And now it was all coming down to this, if all the smug people in the capital who sipped frapuccinos and read the Boston Globe and didn't even bother to go to Red Sox games - could they rack up the margins to overturn the rest of the country - break 85-15 and overwhelm a thousand Maine towns and townsmen. Then independence would truly be dead - for what politician would ever bother to ask the people again when given such a clear go ahead.

And now the screen was doing a mambo as the newscaster looking at the teleprompter began to turn pale.

"We can project for the City of Boston:

Remain: 190,645 votes

Leave: 74,660 votes

Putting Leave at - at twenty-eight percent of the vote in the city of Boston. Sli-slightly over one quarter."

And so my work is coming to it's conclusion.


Baker got another phone call afterwards, this time from Cantor. He didn't even pretend to hide his feelings this time - Manchester, Warwick, Plymouth had all gone Leave. The only bright spot, he supposed, was winning Dixville Notch by the mighty margin of four votes to three - oh how that would make the Amerisceptics quake in their boots.

Prime Minister Cantor was to the point. "I don't think you can scrape together enough votes out of the remaining suburbs and college towns to win this one. Leave seems to have been more popular than what you were putting forward."

Easy for you to say, thought Baker. Your favorability is sitting at 4%, comfortably between carpetbombings and rat entrails.

"Thanks Dan," he said with an incredibly fake tone even by a politicians standards. "Tell the people of New York that New England will always stand beside them and all that - even if Coulter or Giuliani does win next year. Since both of them seem to be more popular than what you are putting forward." He hung up before Cantor could respond.


"Let me make no mistake - this is a victory for the xenophobe and baptistophobe class. But not a total victory! They did not win here in Burlington!" The crowd roared. "And they did not win this great state of Vermont - Progress has won out here!" More roaring. "The working class of this great country have seen that Charlie Baker doesn't care about them - that he uses cynical referendums to divide this great country of New England. Well let's get together and tell Charlie Baker right back - we are united, we are progressive, and New England will still be stronger than ever!" And now the crowd's response was a vast mumbling - and he could sense it, but he wasn't going to lie, wasn't going to go on and on about how faceless bureacrats in Baltimore were the cure all for New Englands problems.

So instead the longtime MP for Burlington North strode off stage.


"Hello Chellis."

"Oh hello - shouldn't you be back in Boston not lurking here in Brattleboro?"

"Lots of Green voters here - even if Green Mountain is more the flavour of the day here. I was trying to convince them to vote to stay - we must not let fear divide us from the other nations of the world."

The head of the GMNP mulled this over for as long as necessary - which was about half a second.

"I agree with you - the Green Mountains are better off in America. But we've still lost, you know - me with my party and you with your one seat couldn't win the country between us. Do you want to know why?"

"There are always recounts - the referendum it can-"

"No. We've lost and I think New England will see how long it can spurn the Green Mountains before they leave too. But what I was saying - we lost because the Berkshires are a minority and so are you - you with your precious well-off educated friends in Lexington - campaigning on how easy it is to push past fear."


"But all of New England isn't Lexington, Jill."


The crowd in Boston was getting a bit rowdy now, and she moved off to side, so as to be less pushed around. At this point she was usually unsurprised at how few people recognized a cabinet member.

As she moved to the side she at least got a better view of the Mayor speaking at the podium. He did not look at his best.

"Um - we all ought to be so proud to have won, Boston. So tremendously proud that we will be free." Scott Brown waved somewhat vaguely at the monument behind him in Plattsburgh square.

"Admiral Preble gave his life for this country - that we might be free of American tyrants. Hamilton's armies marched to the Missisippi but they never took Boston. How does it go - I do not say the New Yorkers cannot come - but they cannot come by Lake Champlain." He briefly realized he was veering off course. "And Preble himself, of course, said 'New England expects that every man will do his duty'. Today - we did our duty - we fought off federalism - and we can all go home to govern now." Brown looked as if any more success for Leave would bring him to tears. "I can lead us - lead us past this."

And if anyone had been listening, they would have heard Susan Collins murmur "We'll see."

Boston had rebelled before.

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I'll just briefly walk through my thought process here (since there isn't going to be a continuation probably)

Originally I just wanted to do a map of: Nova Scotia+New England = New Britain and do a New Brexit story about that. So I looked at how well Trump and Harper did in the recent elections (they got 35.8%) - and prepared to do a universal swing from that and then calculate the ridings and the towns (which I started doing) - before I realized there isn't any map that combines the two at the same level of detail (and I tried and it got hideous) - so I scrapped the maritimes and just went with New England - and originally I was just going to post this with description in the wikiboxes thread until the parallelism got entirely too long.

Just to summarize for people who maybe didn't catch everything,

New England ~ Britain
Green Mountains ~ Scotland
Boston ~ London
Articles of Confederation ~ E.U.

Federalists ~ Conservatives
Progressives ~ Labour
Whigs ~ Lib Dems

Charlie Baker ~ David Cameron
Bernie Sanders ~ Jeremy Corbyn
Lincoln Chafee ~ Tim Farron
Chellis Glendinning ~ Nicola Sturgeon
Jill Stein ~ Caroline Lucas

New York ~ France
Pennsylvania ~ Germany
South ~ Eastern Europe
Texas ~ Russia
[Old Northwest ~ Scandinavia although I never worked this in there]

Allyson Schwartz ~ Angela Merkel
Dan Cantor ~ Francois Hollande

Etc. etc. if people have any questions
Thanks! Anything you liked especially?

The concept itself.

The concept of the US that still follows the Articles of Confederation developing into a EU-like structure is something that is discussed periodically on the board, but this is the first time I've seen it actually used in a TL.
There must be a bunch of jokes ITTL on how one of the most anti-Southern immigration politicians has a name which is so similar to that of a prominent Southern historical figure.