The Anglo-Saxon Social Model

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Rattigan, Dec 17, 2018.

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  1. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    While I am not convinced of the inevitabilities of these drawbacks of the Lismore System, they would, If true, only be another reason for the signatory powers to enforce it: it would protect them against cheap competition, thus keeping their broad Industrial base, and keep Petrol exporting countries just that. The US and UK are industrial Powers who IOTL had some Trouble adapting to competition, while the Soviet Union can boast the so-far single historical example of a country developing without export-oriented capitalism.
     
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  2. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    And even then, the soviet did export quite a bit of its natural resources.
     
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  3. Threadmarks: Second Gaitskell Ministry (1960-1963)

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    A bit more of a bird's-eye update today, covering Gaitskell's domestic agenda and the remainder of African decolonisation, in very general terms. Next time we will be going into more detail about Rhodesia and South Africa.

    [EDIT] I've just realised that I forgot to put in the infobox initially. Many apologies.

    * * *

    "These Very Boring, Very Rich People": Britain under Hugh Gaitskell

    Kids.jpg
    Castle's Children: Two boys play in the first free state daycare opened up under the Castle Education Reforms, September 1961

    1960.JPG

    With the economy performing well and people generally happy with the performance of the government, Gaitskell called an election for the spring of 1960. A loss of 18 seats could not disguise the iron grip that Labour had on Parliament or the formidable electoral machine that the party had developed over the previous decades. A majority of 40 was more than enough to pass most of Gaitskell’s domestic agenda and lock Labour in for at least another decade of power and possibly beyond.

    The new(ish) leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties, Iain Macleod and Jo Grimond respectively, proved popular in the press (who made great fun of the fact that both had stood, unsuccessfully, for the other party in 1945) but this did not translate into significant electoral gains. The Liberals’ overnight gain of 20 seats still left them 112 seats behind Labour and the Conservatives even lost a seat. Both leaders sought to stake out new ground for their parties, the Liberals focusing on personal responsibility and deregulation and the Conservatives trying to stake out a reputation as a ‘country party.’ But what results there was going to be from these tactical shifts, if any, clearly had yet to materialise.

    Reflecting Labour’s position as the new establishment, policy-making was relatively quiet on the domestic front during Gaitskell’s second term. The most important domestic reform that the government undertook was the decision to take on education reform. In 1960, Barbara Castle introduced substantial reforms providing for the phasing out of the old two-track scheme in favour of a nine-year period of compulsory schooling (ages 7-16) with free daycare for children (1-7) and an optional two further years (16-18) to be followed by either undergraduate degrees (18-21) or polytechnic qualifications (18-22). The reforms were phased in over five years, beginning in the 1961/62 school year. Other important reforms undertaken during this period included the introduction of guaranteed maternity leave (one year with the option of a further six months). Castle thus emerged as one of the major figures in the cabinet.

    Other than that, Gaitskell’s second ministry was light on the domestic policy front. The ministry was enlivened occasionally by scandal, the most notable of which was the resignation of Richard Crossman in 1962 over the revelation that his chief of staff was a Soviet agent, but little to serious affect the smooth administration of the governmental system. The Telegraph gossip columnist Auberon Waugh would write in September 1962 that Britain at this time was “a boringly efficient country, full of boringly efficient people and run by boringly efficient minds.” Only two weeks after that column appeared, the Beatles would release their first single, ‘Love Me Do,’ which may or may not have changed Waugh’s mind.

    On foreign and imperial policy, Gaitskell’s second ministry would be deeply involved in African affairs. More shall be said elsewhere about the various crises in the Congo, Rhodesia and South Africa. But the government also had to face the challenges of decolonisation in its western African colonies. These three colonies - Nigeria, Gambia and Sierra Leone (British Cameroons having been incorporated into Nigeria and French Cameroons in 1958) - all favoured the path taken by Nkrumah rather than that being pursued by the colonies in southern and eastern Africa. The reasons for this ranged from these colonies’ different ethnic histories - having only a very small to negligible white settler minority - to the coincidence that many of their leaders were intellectual adherents of Nkrumah’s pan-Africanism. They were also the colonies where the ‘trusteeship’ in which it was said the British held their colonies on behalf of the locals had been most cynically and unsatisfactorily applied. While many British politicians were dismissive of the ambitions of these African leaders, Strachey and Gaitskell understood that to stand in their way would be to end up having to support reactionary and undemocratic elements. This, it was believed, would only open up avenues for the Americans and Soviets to exploit.

    To this end, in late 1960 Gaitskell passed on an unofficial order to colonial administrators to speed up the process of decolonisation, with a vague target being handed down of trying to get it done by 1970. At the same time, the governments of the soon-to-be-independent states were encouraged to enter into agreements with the Commonwealth (known as the ‘Afro-Commonwealth Treaties’ or ‘ACFs’) which guaranteed a continued supply of credit from the Commonwealth.

    The results of these directives would take some time to bear fruit, with Nigeria achieving independence in 1963, Mauritius in 1968, Gambia in 1970 and Sierra Leone in 1971, all as republics. The ACFs gave these countries a degree of stability while also guaranteeing enough money to enable their leaders to undertake their desired social reforms and the ‘Africanisation’ of their economies. However, over the years many people, both inside and outside Africa, have come to criticise the ACFs as making the newly-independent countries overly-dependent on the Commonwealth, creating the concept of ‘Anglo-Africa’ which would recur in those countries’ politics down the decade.

    The experience of west African decolonisation (and the failure of the Dominion of India a decade previously) taught an important lesson to British officials. No longer would they attempt to cultivate one figure as their man to whom independence could be granted (as they had done with Nkrumah). Rather, the progress towards independence would be focused on building up institutional relationships both within the country and between the country and the Commonwealth. This would, theoretically, not only make the newly-independent countries less liable to have their futures changed by the beliefs of one person. But it would also, again theoretically, make a multi-party democracy more likely to develop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  4. Threadmarks: Rhodesian Bush War, 1961-1968

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Rainbow's End: South Africa and the Rhodesian Bush War
    Swart.jpg
    The White Man's Last Stand - C.R. Swart and H.F. Verwoerd at the emergency prime ministers' conference, May 1961

    Scouts.jpg RAF.png
    Selous Scouts (left) and Rhodesian soldiers (right) during the Bush War


    Strachey’s strategy in East Africa and Rhodesia had so far been criticised for a number of reasons. Figures on the political right lamented the end of empire and on the left argued that he was simply finding new ways to control colonised states. As the 1950s turned into the 1960s, and it became clear that Westminster would not be changing tack and would be supported by a majority of the Commonwealth, the policy faced increased opposition from white settlers. Since the Devonshire-Webb Report of 1926, successive British governments had made attempts, with a greater or lesser degree of enthusiasm depending on political flavour, to keep to its commitments. In particular, it continued to resist pressure from South Africa to permit the creation of white minority administrations in Northern Rhodesia (3% white) and Kenya (4% white).

    The amalgamation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland into a single federation governed by a liberal and moderately pro-civil rights government headed by Garfield Todd had managed to keep the lid on trouble since 1953. However, Todd’s success in staying in power thanks to the progressive expansion of the franchise to blacks and the support of the civil rights movement lead by Joshua Nkomo (hardly an uncritical one though - Todd once described him as “my closest ally and worst opponent”) had pushed many conservative white settlers towards the avowedly white supremacist Rhodesian Front Party (“RF”). On 11 November 1960, a bomb exploded inside the Parliament Building in the capital city Chamberlain. Initially timed to go off while the lower house was in session, it detonated early but nonetheless managed to kill seven parliamentary workers and injured 21 more.

    A white supremacist paramilitary group known as the Selous Scouts claimed responsibility for the attack and began a campaign of violence, mostly consisting of bombing campaigns in predominantly black towns and city neighbourhoods. The RF claimed to be entirely separate from the Scouts (a claim regarded as, at best, dubious by most observers) but provided support for them within Parliament and even a veneer of political legitimacy. Although the force of international opinion was against the RF’s and Scouts’ position, Todd was concerned about the ability of his government to put an end to the violence. The Scouts often attacked with weapons that looked military-grade, raising questions of loyalty not only about some of the upper echelons of the Rhodesian officer corps but also the South African government. Certainly, the British South Africa Police (the incongruously-named Rhodesian police service) and the Rhodesian Army proved notably ineffective at putting down the paramilitary.

    A meeting of prime ministers and the Commonwealth Cabinet was hastily convened in Nairobi in November 1960. C.R. Swart, the South African prime minister, proposed that the South African government would act as a mediator between the Scouts/RF and the Rhodesian government. This proposal was given short shrift by the other prime ministers, who (correctly) observed that such an attempt at mediation would suffer from a complete lack of trust from black Africans and seriously undermine the (relatively) peaceful process of decolonisation across the continent. Instead, the majority of the delegates agreed with the New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash’s suggestion that troops be sent from across the Commonwealth. When it became clear that the proposal was going to go forward to a vote, Swart, Eric Louw (the South African member of the Commonwealth Cabinet) and the rest of the South African delegation symbolically departed the conference early.

    Although it was a symbolic move that went some way to satisfying their supporters’ distaste for what they now often called the “Black Commonwealth,” few in the years afterwards thought that Swart’s move was a good decision. With the cracks now unavoidable in the unity of the ‘Old Dominions’ who had previously served as the unofficial high table of Commonwealth decision making, the space was opened up for new countries to step up and take a bigger role. To this end, Pakistan’s prime minister Ayub Khan and its member of the Commonwealth Cabinet, Feroze Khan, put aside their domestic political disagreements to become two of the major figures of the conference. Of particular note was Feroze’s proposal, adopted by the Cabinet and the ICS, that the troops sent to Rhodesia include Maori units from the New Zealand army, mixed-race regiments from Canada and the UK and the Queen’s African Rifles. Both Ayub and Feroze argued strongly that the Scouts’ insurgency be referred to as a “rebellion” in the conference’s official communique.

    The ICS issued a formal request for troops to be sent from every Commonwealth country, a legal nicety that had been a formality on the other occasions where it had been issued. This time, however, Swart flatly refused to honour the request, catalysing another emergency prime minister-Commonwealth Cabinet conference in May 1961. By this time, a ‘Big Four’ of the prime ministers of the UK (Gaitskell), Canada (John Diefenbaker), Australia (Harold Holt) and Pakistan (Ayub) had formed a united front which saw Commonwealth unity and integrity as the most important thing at this moment of crisis. The practical result of this conclusion was that South Africa would either have to be brought into line or expelled. Holt had been in favour of allowing South Africa to remain in the Commonwealth almost up to the beginning of the conference but he was eventually brought round to the expulsion gambit on the basis of preserving greater Commonwealth unity. Diefenbaker, who regarded apartheid as morally unjust and an international embarrassment, appears to have been key in bringing the disparate leaders round to the Big Four’s position and keeping them united.

    Swart and Louw seem to have been out of touch with the real decision-making of their opponents and attempted to call the Big Four’s bluff, refusing their offer to remain in the Commonwealth and participate fully in its decision making. Instead, they allowed their nation’s expulsion to be put to a vote. By all accounts, they were terribly surprised when, with South African representatives excluded from the meeting, the remaining representatives at the conference voted unanimously to expel them.

    In purely military strategic terms, the expulsion was a mistake: South Africa adopted a republican constitution and the national party moved even further to the extreme right when the virulent Afrkanner nationalist and former Axis-sympathiser Hans van Rensburg won the subsequent election to the nation’s new Executive Presidency. Under van Rensburg, South Africa began to send overt military aid and supplies to the Rhodesian rebels. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth’s united front was a rebuke to many strategists, both Soviet and American, who thought it might be possible to exploit racial divisions within the Commonwealth to peel certain member states off from the others. Furthermore, the symbolic message of ‘zero tolerance’ towards the apartheid government was an enormous boon in efforts to encourage African and Asian nationalist leaders to believe that the Commonwealth was negotiating towards their independence in good faith.

    The superior numbers and resources of the Commonwealth forces ensured that they were in complete control of the major population centres by the end of 1962. The Scouts continued a bombing campaign, operating out of bases in South Africa or the Rhodesian bush, but they lost their political cover when the RF signed a peace agreement in April 1963 and Rhodesia was admitted to the Commonwealth as a multi-racial democracy on 31 December 1963. Violence, however, would continue at a lower intensity until the surrender and arrest of the final Scouts paramilitaries in November 1968.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  5. Cool-Eh At The 80th Meridian, Where Lake Nipissing Begins!

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    A reversed Rhodesian bush war, that's interesting.

    Just how united are commonwealth military forces at this point?

    Would something like the Canadian Avro Arrow be more likely to be developed TTL as the Commonwealth views itself as a third superpower standing beside the USA and USSR?
     
  6. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The Royal Navy and the RAF are single services shared and funded by the Commonwealth as a whole. The Navy remains the senior service with seven fleets around the world. Procurement and strategy is in the hands of the ICS and regular conference of Commonwealth defence ministers and in practice there's a lot of haggling over which contracts are awarded to companies in which member states. I had imagined that the Arrow would have been rolled out as at least a part of the RAF's interceptor capacity, basically because I've always thought it was a cool-looking design. I know it's got quite a fan club on this site.

    Each member state is expected to retain its own land forces, even though they are deployed on the command of the ICS. As we saw in the collapse of the Indian Dominion, however, each member state retains a theoretical power to order its forces into battle unilaterally. As such, many of the armies will be slightly differently equipped. The relative size of the budget for land forces is decided at regular conferences of defence ministers and the ICS. Units from different members states take part in integrated training exercises and, in wars like Malaya and Rhodesia, they were often deployed next to one another. There has been a great deal of standardisation of organisation structures. If you want a broad OTL comparison, think of the way that NATO forces are deployed and operated.

    So it's a bit of a confusing mess, which reflects the 'muddling through' nature of the Commonwealth's structures in its early years. There are periodic suggestions that the army should be amalgamated on a Commonwealth-basis but national governments tend to resist this for a variety of reasons (Pakistan tends to be proud of its historic 'Sikh warrior' regiments etc.).
     
  7. traveller76 Member

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    Would we see Commonwealth War Games/Planning Exercises?
     
  8. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
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  9. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Take that, Rhodieboos!

    South Africa may be a problem in the future though.
     
  10. Duke of Nova Scotia The Alpine Oracle

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    I love the plane, but it has a shelf life of nuclear bombers. It would have needed an overhaul to make it modern combat capable, ie CAS, as well as CAP, it didn't even have a gun mount position. The internal weapons storage though did give it flexibility because instead of munitions by the pylon, you could just swap out the whole piece, the internal bays could be categorized by their weapons suite. It is getting first an foremost the British on board with a project from a Dominion, because they were decidedly mum TTL.

    Again, love the plane, but I think a pan-commonwealth weapons group, DARPA for the CW, with labs and facilities in the more important economic centres of the CW, would be capable of providing tools that would have more versatility. So long as they avoid the 'do everything machine' philosophy.
     
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  11. Phradmon Well-Known Member

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    Interesting TL , indeed. By 1963 , Labour would have been for 18 years alone in power. Considering that this tl is about an ,,Anglo -Saxon Social Model,, , i guess that Labour would become the natural party of goverment, unlike OTL conservatives
     
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  12. Threadmarks: Congo Crisis (1960-1964)

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Battleground Africa: Decolonisation and Superpower Strategy in the Congo, 1960-64 Commonwealth.jpg Sweden.jpeg
    The two faces of humanitarian aid in the Congo: Commonwealth troops preparing to clear Congolese insurgents from Katanga (top); a Swedish UN peacekeeper watches over children in a refugee camp in eastern Congo (bottom)


    One of the more unexpected long-term results of the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth was the intervention of the Commonwealth in the unfolding Congo Crisis. Former Belgian Congo had achieved independence on 1 July 1960, following campaigns lead by the Congolese National Movement (“MNC”). However, on independence a number of issues remained outstanding, not least the future of the country as a unitary or federal nation. The MNC was the largest of the new country’s political parties but faced concerted opposition from the Kongo-supremacist Bakongo Alliance (“ABAKO”) of Joseph Kasa-Vubu and the pro-federalist Tribal Association of Katanga (“CONAKAT”) led by Moise Tshombe.

    Within a week of independence being achieved, certain units of the army mutinied and violence broke out between white and black communities. The Benelux army was deployed to the country, notionally to ‘protect’ the white population but in practice to support the secession of the mineral-rich Katanga and South Kasai provinces. That same month, the UN requested that Belgium withdraw from the region and sent in peacekeepers, although Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold refused to allow UN troops to be used to actually fight the secessionists. An attempt by the Congolese President Patrice Lumumba to go around the UN and request direct assistance from both the Americans and the Soviets was opposed by the army, which overthrew and executed him in 1961.

    Over the course of 1960-61, the Congolese army was able to regain control of most of the country but proved unsuccessful in its attempts to overthrow the secessionist governments, leading to a stalemate. Things changed in September 1961, when a plane carrying Commonwealth diplomats en route to ceasefire negotiations was shot down outside of Leopoldville. Although the precise order of events surrounding the shooting remains unclear even to this day, the Commonwealth was quick to point fingers at the Congolese government. When Hammarskjold continued to prevaricate over expanding the UN peacekeepers’ mission, Gaitskell took the lead and argued at the next Prime Ministers’ conference that November for Commonwealth support to be sent to aid the secessionists.

    Commonwealth support for Katanga and South Kasai had two strands: one idealistic and one more cynical. From the idealistic point of view, the Commonwealth could point to the liberal tradition of self-determination. Lester Pearson, the newly-installed Prime Minister of Canada travelled to Elizabethville and met with Moise Tshombe, now the President of Katanga, and praised him as the protector of his people’s rights. There was undoubtedly some validity in this position: after all, as many pointed out, when a region has a different language and culture from the rest of the country and has fought a three year war for independence, it ceases to become clear why that region should be forced to stay. But we should not forget the other reason why an independent Anglophilic Katanga was interesting for Commonwealth strategists: namely its vast mineral resources. With the expulsion of South Africa from the organisation, the Commonwealth was anxious to have a steady supply of uranium for its ambitious nuclear energy plans.

    At first, Commonwealth support took the form of economic aid and the provision of munitions and supplies. However, from May 1963 this expanded to actual military support mostly from special forces. These operations were tacitly supported by Hammarskjold, who perceived this as the only way to end the crisis. Supported by the Commonwealth troops, Katanga and South Kasai successfully cleared Congolese incursions into their territory by the autumn of 1963. The facts on the ground were accepted pursuant by the Luluabourg Treaty of June 1964, in which the Congo accepted the independence of Katanga and South Kasai (the two provinces would merge into the single Federal Republic of Katanga a month later). That same month, Tshombe signed an agreement with the Commonwealth to allow Commonwealth mining agencies to begin extracting uranium, in return for substantial investment in Katangan infrastructure.
     
  13. traveller76 Member

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    So with the Commonwealth supporting Katanga and South Kasai will this push the remaining Congo towards to the Americans and other European states?
     
  14. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    With the army couping the president over suggesting just that? Not so sure.

    In any way, imperialism... Imperialism everywhere. Decolonization changes very little to that.
     
  15. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    So my idea with the Lulabourg Treaty was that the remainder of the Congo would be governed via a power-sharing regime between the MNC and ABAKO under continuing UN oversight. The idea was that, with Hammarskjold still alive, TTL's UN would retain enough of a diplomatic hand (Hammarskjold's tacit support for the Commonwealth in Katanga is publicly unknown at this point) to enforce this.

    The government is managed by two 'First Ministers,' one from each of the two largest parties in the electorate (in practice, this means the MNC and ABAKO). They jointly appoint the cabinet (half from each party) and are the joint heads of state. As the very general OTL comparison, think of something like the Northern Ireland power-sharing before 2017. Of course, this 'solution' isn't final and poor Congo is going to be a troubled state for some time but I imagined this situation holding for at least a decade. These are the First Ministers I'd imagined:

    MNC First Ministers
    1. Joseph Ileo; September 1965 - December 1969
    2. Christophe Gbenye; December 1969 - January 1971
    3. Cyrille Adoula; January 1971 - January 1978
    4. Antoine Gizenga; January 1978 onwards

    ABAKO First Ministers
    1. Joseph Kasa-Vabu; September 1965 - January 1969
    2. Daniel Kanza; January 1969 - December 1969
    3. Joseph Kasa-Vabu; December 1969 onwards
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  16. Threadmarks: Commonwealth Elections of 1962

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Power to the People? Elections to the Commonwealth Assembly

    The expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth both confirmed the power of the individual states and also stimulated demand for greater democratic representation within the organisation’s institutions. Naturally, the focus of this became the Commonwealth Assembly. Although it sounded like an organisation that should be elected, no provisions were made in the Treaty of London or Ottawa Declaration for Commonwealth elections and all members were appointed by national governments on a (broadly speaking) non-partisan basis. The Assembly had thus become a technocratic regulatory body, populated largely by diplomats and civil servants of various stripes. Michael Collins, the veteran Irish politician, had lead the institution capably and in a non-partisan manner, with most regulations being passed by consensus (with the exception of the highly divisive ones regarding Rhodesia and South Africa’s expulsion itself). The high level deliberative body remained the Commonwealth Cabinet in collaboration with the Prime Ministers’ Conferences and/or the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

    Following the expulsion of South Africa, the number of seats in the Assembly was reorganised to reflect the new balance of power within the Commonwealth, resulting in the following division of seats by country:

    1962 (Commonwealth distribution).JPG

    As can be seen, the distribution represented pure power politics rather than any attempt towards an accurate representation of the populations. Thus Canada (population: 17.9 million) and Australia (10.3 million) had more than three times as many Assembly Members (known as ‘AMs’) than Bengal (85.2 million). Pakistan took a large share of the new AMs, recognition of its equal ranking as a member of the ‘Big Four'. The Big Four were nervous about the possibility of diluting their power in the event of ending the old appointments procedure but agreed to let elections take place in 1962 provided that the previous distribution of seats remained in place.

    There were no rules on the system of election to be used. The Big Four and New Zealand all used their first past the post system. Bengal used a proportional system but divided up between different religious franchises, as was the case with their domestic voting arrangements. Ceylon, Newfoundland and Puerto Rico all used proportional representation, albeit with different methods of seat allocation.

    When the elections rolled around, the different intensity with which the political movements in each country competed were key to deciding the results. The left wing and/or progressive parties campaigned together under the banner of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists (“PAS”). Progressive politicians such as Lester Pearson and Walter Nash conducted a Commonwealth-wide campaign taking in stops in every member state. Right wing and centrist parties, however, were more circumspect in their campaigns: the Australian Liberal Party, for example, campaigned largely on domestic issues, attacking the incumbent Labor Party. The Commonwealth’s communist parties also banded together as the Communist Free Alliance under the chairmanship of the Anglo-Indian-Swedish intellectual R. Palme Dutt. More disconcertingly, a coalition of far right parties (some of which explicitly campaigned opposing South Africa’s expulsion) formed under A.K. Chesterton.

    Making use of lessons learned from Labour’s ruthless election-winning tactics, PAS won the most seats in the assembly with 153. The grouping of miscellaneous parties of the Commonwealth’s centre and centre-right together had 171. However, both were short of the 206 seats required to make up a majority. Over the course of a series of cross-party talks, a majority of the centre and centre-right AMs agreed to support PAS’s nominee for Speaker, Anthony Crosland. These 107 individuals, under the leadership of Davie Fulton, would later form the Liberals and Democrats grouping in 1963, while the remaining 64 AMs would form the Conservatives and Reformist grouping under Arthur Fadden.

    Crosland thus took office as Speaker of the Commonwealth Assembly in June 1962. Although this position allowed him to control the Assembly’s business, he was aware that his arrangement with the Liberals and Democrats was some way short of a full coalition. He thus prepared to manage Commonwealth business in the same consensual manner as Collins had done, even though he and his chief of staff Peter Shore had ambitious plans for the future of the organisation.

    1962 (Commonwealth).JPG

    Under Crosland, the Commonwealth Assembly emphasised its powers to admit new members and went on a throughgoing recruitment drive. Under his watch, not only did Crosland make good on the promises of various prime ministers and grant full membership to Rhodesia (31 December 1963), Sarawak (16 September 1964) and the East Indies (9 August 1965), but decolonisation was fast-tracked and membership extended to the West Indies (31 May 1963) and East Africa (12 December 1964). Further down the line, Crosland’s tenure would also see membership expanding to include the Bahamas (10 July 1968), the Pacific Islands (4 June 1970), Papua New Guinea (16 September 1975) and, on the last day before he retired from the role, Belize (8 June 1981).
     
  17. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Shame about the seat allocation and the FPTP voting system. The next election will be tense if a new seat distribution need to be discussed for the new members.
     
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  18. DAv Middle Class... sorry

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    Some good updates here and interesting to see a Cold War developing with a third faction in the mix. How are Russia and America responding to there being a third tier? Is it going to be a case of the US looking to have the Commonwealth as a key ally in places?
     
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  19. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    One of the big things that changes TTL is that FDR's illness is butterflied away so he becomes the first UN General Secretary in February 1946. Partly because of this (and for other reasons: I've got an update covering superpower relations in more detail coming up relatively soon) the wartime relations of wary friendliness continues into the 1940s and '50s. (For example, TTL's Long Telegram says basically the opposite of what OTL's did - probably expressing better what OTL Kennan's later views were.) Even though relations with the Soviets become cooler over the course of the late 1950s, you don't really get the Cold War as we would understand it in OTL.

    Up until the 1960s, the relations between the Commonwealth and the Americans are very close, mostly because the leaders of the relevant countries all remember the close cooperation of the World War. After that, relations between the two will be cooler. They're hardly enemies and there's considerable cultural crossover (as in OTL) through things like Hollywood, music and so forth. The practical result of this is that Commonwealth strategists don't see it in their interests to attach themselves to the Americans on foreign policy issues and cooperation is more on a case-by-case basis and dependant on the personal relationships of the various leaders.

    The same can be said for Commonwealth-Soviet relations, although there there is more of a recognition that Soviet and Commonwealth objectives won't always align.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: The General Election of 1963

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The Rise of the Red Queen: Gaitskell to Castle

    With things developing very quickly on the Commonwealth-front, the UK’s domestic politics were thrown into chaos in December 1962, when Gaitskell fell ill with the flu. Although he was initially passed fit enough to travel to an arms-control summit in the Soviet Union just after Christmas, his condition rapidly deteriorated on his return to London and he died on 18 January 1963 from complications of lupus. He was 56. The abrupt nature of his death, combined with his recent travel itinerary, gave rise to a speculation that foul play might have been involved. A popular conspiracy theory involved a supposed KGB plot to assassinate Gaitskell in order to see him replaced by a figure further from the party’s left. (It is believed that Five Eyes did conduct an investigation but what resulted from that, if anything, has never been released to the public.)

    Following the death of Bevan in 1960, the unofficial leadership of Labour’s left had been taken by Harold Wilson, who immediately announced his candidature. Opinion was split, however, as to who was Gaitskell’s natural successor would be, with the frontrunners generally thought to be George Brown, the Lord President, and Jim Callaghan, the Chancellor. (Of course, Gaitskell’s actual natural successor would have been Evan Durbin but he had left Parliament in 1960 to chair the Bank of England.) Both had acres of cabinet-level experience and were respected by MPs in their own way but also had large drawbacks: Brown’s excessive drinking troubled many people and his pro-American, anti-Soviet views were increasingly out of step with the national mood; Callaghan, on the other hand, was very closely associated with the right wing of the party, too closely, some argued, to be the unifying candidate the party needed with an election expected in the next couple of years. Wilson, too, was a very different candidate from what Bevan would have been: liked but not trusted, few outside of the party’s left would have been happy with him leading them, even if they were quite happy to work with him as a minister and MP.

    With all three men seemingly set on standing, many feared a grueling internecine fight between them which would have damaged all three. This was a particularly big worry given that the Liberals finally looked to have their act together and, under Macleod, seemed like a party that wouldn’t have been out of place in power. It was in this context that a coterie of MPs who were associated with neither the party’s left or right wings began to cast around for a moderate unity candidate. The candidate who eventually emerged from this was Barbara Castle: she had begun her career firmly on the left of the party and was still trusted by them but had, over the course of her parliamentary career, established her cross-factional appeal by working closely with Cripps at the Treasury. Her handling of the 1961 educational reforms, in particular, were fresh in everybody’s mind and had established her as a politician of substance and gravitas.

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    In the initial ballot of MPs, Brown’s and Callaghan’s campaigns split the Gaitskellite vote. Castle, however, managed to peel off more moderate Gaitskellites (who simply wanted to end the internal warfare, which by this stage was of very little substantive policy difference) and Bevanites who simply did not trust Wilson. Castle got 4 more votes than Callaghan to enter the final run-off against Wilson, where she was able to portray herself as the unity candidate rising above petty factional squabbles to grab an extra 80 votes to get herself over the line.

    Although she was not the first female prime minister in the Commonwealth (Sirimavo Bandaranaike had that honour, having become prime minister of Ceylon in 1960), Castle’s appointment as the first ever female head of government of a recognised superpower was considered a significant moment and attracted a large amount of interest from the world’s media. In her first speech as prime minister, on the steps of Number 10, Castle called on Britain to become a global beacon of freedom and fairness. She also announced a snap election for a month’s time, arguing that she wished to have her own personal mandate.

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    In one of the more boring elections in British electoral history, Labour won its sixth successive election with a small increase in seats, fiercely attacking the narrowest marginals and effectively reversing the Liberals’ gains of the previous elections. The Conservatives and the National Liberals stood still (more or less), results that served to underscore the total failure of their parties to retain (or return to) relevance since their collapses in 1945. While the Liberals retained confidence in their leader, they looked to be stagnating once more. This stimulated a fresh round of talks between the three opposition parties with regards to a potential alliance. In the end, the Liberal Nationals formally took the Liberal whip from September 1963, something they had been doing informally anyway for a number of years. The Conservatives, however, had deviated too far from the postwar orthodoxy to be easily absorbed into the Liberals. Under their leader, Jo Grimond, they headed off down a quixotic furrow which was a mix of libertarianism and ‘radical centrism’ (an expression of Grimond’s coining) that acquired a certain kind of niche audience but no more (even if Grimond’s loquacious, charming personna guaranteed the party an outsized media profile).

    From Labour’s point of view, though, the election was a near-total success, with Castle having cemented her control over the Parliamentary party and Labour’s control over the Westminster government. The only real downside was a slight personal one for her, as George Brown resigned his seat and instead stood for, and won, election to the Midlands Assembly in 1965. For the next few years, Brown would use his position as the Midlands’ First Minister to turn Birmingham Town Hall into a bully pulpit criticising the Westminster government. Frustrating though this was, amidst Castle’s and Labour’s successes, it was little more than a flea bite on an elephant.
     
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