What if…The UK elected a genuine hard right Tory government.

The Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer MP, leaving Downing Street having announced his resignation.

The Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer MP, leaving Downing Street having announced his resignation.

The exit poll turned out to be accurate when it predicted that Sir Keir Starmer was going to be a one-term prime minister. The Labour vote had collapsed to the late twenties, with the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats hoovering up the disgruntled voters of the “Keirslide” of 2024. The Tories, with 36% of the vote, were back with a 60 seat majority, wiping out among others the 150 Labour MPs who had five years previously wiped out 150 Tory MPs.

The new Conservative leader had come out of nowhere, sweeping aside the Bravermans and Mordaunts with his telegenic looks and a set of policies that would have gotten one expelled from the party 15 years previously. He was Marmite from the word go, his posh diction carrying positions once unacceptable in polite company. Almost immediate a third of the country adored him, and a third hated him with a passion. Jude Law with Nigel Farage’s beliefs.

He moved quickly, bringing not just one but two former PMs back into the cabinet, as Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary specifically. He also immediately announced the UK’s withdrawal from the Treaty of Dublin which had been the cornerstone of the Starmer administration re-engagement with Europe. Rejoining the customs union in all but name, and quietly rejoining many EU programmes was now, once again, suspended with the stroke of a pen. “They need us more than we need them, etc, etc”.

There was no doddering around. A stack of ready to go bills were on the order paper in days.

The Deep State Expulsion Act allowed ministers to appoint their own Permanent Secretaries from outside the civil service.

The Fairness in Broadcasting Act guaranteed freedom of speech to all broadcasters within libel constraints, and abolished OFCOM. It also permitted paid political advertising on all forms of broadcasting. All restrictions on political donations were abolished, and all taxpayer funding of political parties and campaigning organisations was scrapped.

A judicial reform bill allowed for the appointment by the Home Secretary of hundreds of new judges “more in tune with modern thinking” and a very generous but time-limited retirement package was offered to existing judges. Many took it up.

A bill to hold a referendum on the restoration of the death penalty was rushed through, as was a Parliament Act to remove the ability of the House of Lords to do anything but hiss at legislation passed by the Commons. Owen Jones MP, the new Green MP for Bristol, was quick to point out that the upper house was now simply a members club for big party donors that just happened to be attached to parliament.

The new PM announced that all local and regional elections would be held on a single “Mid-Term” election day and that all forms of proportional representation would be scrapped. When this was pointed out that it would lead to a massive SNP landslide in Scotland, he shrugged.

But the most controversial bill was the NHS Reform Act which moved every single NHS trust and asset into a public company, the shares of which were then shared out to every adult in the country.

Over a million people marched against the bill, and polls showed 70% of voters were against the proposal, but the prime minister was adamant. He was not “privatising” the NHS. Yes, the shares would be listed on the London Stock Exchange, but they’d only be available to trade if the ordinary British citizens who now held the share certificates chose to sell them. He had made it a a truly public-owned health service. “I shall be keeping my shares. But if ordinary Brits choose to sell theirs, it’s them privatising the NHS, not me.”

As soon as members of the public used the handy phone app to offer their shares for sale, there was a stampede, and by close of business on the first day 80% of the shares had been sold. The protests started to peter out.

Keir Starmer the former prime minister, who had specifically blocked any electoral reform that would required a British government to win the support of at least 50% of the electorate, was physically attacked so many times that he had to withdraw from public appearances. The new PM offered publicly to give Sir Keir bodyguards to protect him from “his former supporters”.

The Mid-Term elections were dominated by the Death Penalty referendum which saw a huge Brexit-style increase in turnout in traditional low-vote areas, and boosted the Conservative vote share to 40% and a landslide win against the splintered opposition’s 60% share of the vote. The referendum passed 52%- 48%.

The new PM, along with his blonde principle-flexible foreign minister then surprised everyone by flying to Moscow to meet the elderly Russian tyrant, and announced that it was time for Europe to reintegrate the Russia of the Bolshoi, Tolstoy and traditional Christian values back into the continent, and that the now low intensity war in Ukraine be brought to a negotiated end.

The prime minister told Steve Bannon’s Patriot News Network in an exclusive interview that he would be withdrawing the UK from the Treaty of Warsaw negotiated by Starmer which had created an Anglo-Polish led defence alliance in Eastern Europe, and confirmed that it was his belief that the maintaining of UK forces near the Russian frontier did little to “contribute to trust” and that he’d be withdrawing them.

“Pouring more weapons into this conflict is not the way to go,” the new foreign secretary said without a glimmer of shame.

The Russian dictator smiled on approvingly.

To the surprise of even itself, Brexit has been a success primarily for the European Union.

I never believed that Brexit would be an absolute catastrophe for the United Kingdom. The UK is a significant mid-sized military, economic and cultural power, and was more than capable of making its own way in the world outside the European Union. For me, the big lie at the heart of the Brexit campaign, was the false promise that Britain would gain hugely from exiting the European Union.

This is proven to have been true, Brexit has not delivered any huge benefit or bonus to the British people. It’s not, of course, true to say that nobody has gained from Brexit. Boris Johnson, someone who ironically did not really believe that that Britain should be outside the European Union, has personally benefited very substantially from Brexit. Having chosen the right article to submit before the referendum, and chosen a side in the referendum, that he believed would benefit his ultimate ambition of becoming Prime Minister, Boris’ judgment had proven right. His initial plan to ensure that even if it was defeated, which I genuinely believe he expected, that he would then be able to go to the very Brexit-friendly Tory party membership and submit himself as their candidate for the party leadership, even if Britain had remained within the European Union.

Having said that, he did go onto achieve his aim of becoming Prime Minister, and also very substantially increasing his personal wealth. Indeed, one of the reasons he recently resigned a seat in the House of Commons was to no longer have to publicly declare the vast sums of money he was receiving for writing columns, giving speeches, and writing books, a huge increase of income, which has recently allowed him to purchase a new home in Cheshire, for the sum of 3.8m pounds. 

Boris certainly benefited from it. The other major party to gain from Brexit, much to everybody’s surprise, is of course the European Union itself. There was genuine sadness in the European Union when Britain decided to depart the union, as Britain had been an important player within the EU and on balance a force for good and positive contributions.

Unforeseen by both Britain and the EU was the benefit to the union of Britain no longer being a member. The various points made by the remain campaign, that the rules and regulations of European Union membership that applied to Britain, the so-called “red tape” of much Brexiteer ballyhoo, were not as much a product of Britain’s membership of the EU as the product of life in a modern industrialized nation.

The reality is that the British public, alongside the public of any modern European nation, expect their government to regulate everything from the workplace to what appears on your dinner plate, and those regulations were, for the most part going to remain in one form of another, regardless of whether Britain was inside or outside Europe.

What was not truly appreciated at the time was the fact Europe is now benefiting from the bonus of Britain remaining within huge economic and regulatory gravity of the EU whilst having surrendered the British seat at the table, which draws up those regulations and rules.

Britain is now a rule, taker, not a rule maker, effectively a nominally sovereign dominion state of the EU. This is something that Europe is quite happy with, and can very easily live with. One only has to look at the Windsor protocol, and the fact that the EU has created internal border between Northern Ireland, and the rest of Britain, or the fact that the European Union is now providing Frontex border force officials in Gibraltar, once a literal Symbol of British sovereignty, shows that the consequences Brexit for the most part being beneficial to the European Union to a greater degree they have been to the United Kingdom.

What was supposed to have been a campaign of Taking Back Control has in Europe’s case essentially involved keeping control, and that is a situation that Europe is very comfortable with, thank you very much.

We are obsessed with holding people accountable, and it’s for the wrong reasons.

It’s the word that beats all words in the Rock Paper Scissors arguments within politics. Being “accountable” beats everything else, the “Will someone PLEASE think of the children!” argument that no one dares oppose or stand up to.

Take the scandal involving the Post Office in the UK. There COULD be grey areas in all of it: diligent PO senior executives taking their job of protecting public money from in-house fraud and theft very very seriously. And there probably are, in an organization that big, sub-postmasters who do have their fingers in the till. There’s also the confirmation bias of introducing a new IT system to combat fraud which from day one generates loads of evidence of fraud which confirms, in the eyes of those who commissioned it just how good their new system is.

But there’s also a moment where the same senior executives surely realized that the Horizon system was generating incorrect information that made accusations of theft at best unsound and at worse actually a threat to the individual freedom of SPMs if pursued for prosecution.

Likewise, surely those same executives must had been in a meeting during which someone revealed that yes, it was possible to literally move money around within a branch without leaving a trace and the SPM’s knowledge. Any fan of a TV courtroom drama could tell you that you were on very rocky natural justice grounds there, not just presumably the highly-paid legal advisers to the Post Office.

Surely someone must have raised the question, or is it the case, as it often is, that once the ball is rolling it becomes so much easier just to believe what you want to believe, and ignore the awkward bits?

Having said all that, there’s the danger that accountability is that at all, but the gut instinct to blame. Every now and again you see, particularly in the United States, a story where a mother is arrested for leaving a child unattended in a car, possibly on a hot day. Often, it’s a simple act of recklessness. But every now and again, it’s a single mother going to a job interview, trying to earn a living to provide for both herself and the child with neither the money nor the support network to provide child support, and then she gets judged as a bad mother for taking the risk.

If you want accountability ask yourself who is responsible for not allocating limited public funds to provide affordable childcare for that woman but happily allocating funding to put her in jail and her kid into social care? You want accountability? Answer that one. I suspect you won’t like the answer.

The reality is that we aren’t obsessed with accountability. Often we’re obsessed with allocating blame, finding a human face to link to the scandal or problem that we can then personalize. Like ministers who get blamed for not spending enough on X or cutting Y. Why did you do it, you bastard? It’s because you don’t care, isn’t it? Or because your personal ideology means you actually want to hurt a section of society. Not because the public are only willing to contribute a finite amount of tax revenue for an infinite amount of calls for more public spending.

The truth is that often the lack of accountability isn’t a moral failing but a failure of the culture in an organisation, and the sheer resistance to standing up against the flow. In the Zombie novel “World War Z” by Max Brooks, one country (Israel) manages to be ready for the coming zombie apocalypse by following the (fictional) Tenth Man Rule. This is a proposed policy-making method whereby in a meeting one person is designated to specifically and rigorously oppose the consensus and play Devil’s Advocate, challenging every agreed assumption. It doesn’t mean they’re right all the time: often the consensus is correct. But it means every argument is tested even if it is uncomfortable, and also it can be used to prove later on that every angle has been considered or stress-tested,

Of course holding people accountable is important. But doing that, and attributing blame, can often be two different things entirely. 

A unionist leader with guts would call Dublin’s bluff.

Imagine a chap wanted to buy your house. He REALLY wanted to buy it. And you don’t want to sell it. But he put together an offer and asked you to at least read the offer.

You’d read it, if anything out of curiosity to see what value he put on your house. It doesn’t mean you’ve committed to selling the house nor that you like your house less.

Watching the DUP in the north of Ireland go round and round in circles over the border protocol reminds me of how consistently the timid leadership of unionism has weakened unionism, and I write this as a believer in a United Ireland.

The late David Trimble did show courage, and it got him a dismantled IRA, changes to articles two and three and a recognition BY THE IRA that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland could not change without a majority vote. All the while Big Ian played it safe and then two-facedly took up all the positions he had destroyed Trimble for.

History will remember Trimble (and Hume) better than it remembers Big Ian the freeloader.

What unionism needs now is a leader that calls Dublin (and nationalism)’s bluff. A leader who says “Look: I want to remain in the union. But show me what’s on offer anyway.”

Would he/she really care about what’s on offer? Beyond pure curiosity, probably not. But thinking strategically, imagine the effect on nationalist politics, north and south, if a DUP leader said he’d like to see the details. What would a United Ireland actually look like?

It would cause bedlam in the south because very little public debate has actually gone into the nuts and bolts. Yes, there’s been much symposia and meetings about how wonderful a United Ireland will be, but where is the actual text of a United Ireland constitution?

If your answer to that is to just point at Bunreacht na hEireann, fair enough. That’s as clear a message to the potential British Minority in Ireland as any. You’ll take what you’re given and know your place. The Downton Abbey Option, to give it a name. And it won’t just be unionists in the north who will not be thrilled at the dismissiveness of that.

But if the south got into a real debate about a South African approach to a new country, we’d be quickly bogged down in the fact that almost no nationalist wants to make the first concession in front of other nationalists and be called a West Brit sellout. If Gutsy Unionist said he/she would only consider a draft document if it was endorsed by two thirds of the Dail, the ball would be very firmly in our court and stay there it would as we hopped it off each other.

Gutsy unionist leader can then go back to Belfast as Mr/Miss Reasonable.

There’s one other thing a strategic thinking unionist leader will know: the moment a border poll passes, the desire for compromise in the south will evaporate. Foolishly, because a unionist minority dragged into the republic against its majority will is not going to be a happy minority, and if there’s one thing this island knows something about, it’s how unhappy minorities respond. But it’ll still happen in the short term, nationalists greeting a border poll win, no matter how narrow, as a First Past the Post Winner Takes All result. Whereas if he/she can come out of Dublin with a draft compromise that at least has some appeal to unionists, that’s something to be put away for the future just in case.

In short, a unionist leader wanting to discuss THE DETAILS of a United Ireland will at best cause chaos in nationalist circles and at worst a document written by nationalists still trying to woo as opposed to having already won a border poll.

But even discussing it will weaken the union, some unionists say. How? By making some unionists think that they might be better off in a United Ireland? If that’s unionism’s big sell it is in serious trouble.

What’s to lose? The ultimate defemce of the union is a border poll, and if that’s lost then it’s lost because a majority of NI voters decide that. But it is also a sturdy and secure handbrake.

You don’t want to sell your house. But if the guy offered you ten million and says the offer stands forever, you’d be absolutely mad not to keep his phone number.

Will the DUP get such a leader? Well, they thought Brexit would strengthen the union, so make of that what you will.


What if…terrorists targeted the mega wealthy?

The assassination of The Richest Man In The World™ (TRM) was the biggest story in the world. The clip of a bullet passing through his skull, caught on a bystander’s phone as he exited a building in San Francisco, instantly became one of the defining images of the 21st century. He was dead before he hit the ground. Interestingly, it was not even to be the most startling event of the day.

That came exactly two hours later, when a handsome AI generated man in a video took credit for the murder. He informed the rapidly increasing number of viewers that an email containing information about the murder had been sent directly to the FBI and would confirm his claim to be the voice of the assassins.

He then introduced himself as George, after “another great revolutionary” and said that he spoke for The 99, an organization dedicated to addressing the wealth imbalance between the mega wealthy and everyone else. He stressed that he was neither on the far right or far left, and that this was not an ideological matter. This was a simple matter of wealth transfer. The murder of TRM, he said, was a statement of intent, a proof of concept as to their seriousness. But no one else need die.

He then published a list of the world’s 200 richest individuals, and offered a deal. If they transferred 10% of their wealth to a stated list of popular banks and micro finance charities across the world, and ordered that the money be distributed equally among every account holder with less than $1000 in their account, they would be safe for one year. As would their families.

George finished by saying that they would act again soon if the individuals did not respond within 72 hours.

Continue reading

eNovella: A Little Piece of Europe.

The very near future. Welcome to the European Union Safezone in North Africa.

2 million refugees trying to make a life in a city-state on the edge of Europe.

For the disgraced former British prime minister and his Irish deputy put in charge of running it, a chance at redemption.

For the refugee Syrian businessman, it’s a chance at a new life for his family.

For the young Somali woman fleeing terror, it’s a chance to perhaps no longer be afraid.

For the young Islamic State operative, it’s a chance to strike at the west… 

Now available as an eBook on Amazon here.

ALPOE cover


What if…Putin detonates a nuclear weapon in Ukraine?

It’s not impossible. Vladimir Putin, facing stalemate or possibly even defeat by a better motivated and well-resourced Ukrainian army, might decide to play the “madman” card.

A small, low-yield tactical nuclear weapon, detonated in a low population rural part of Ukraine. Not a military act, but a political one, to cause panic in the nuclear-phobic West and particularly in western Europe.

The message would be clear: I am willing to go further than you, so give me what I want. Stop helping Ukraine and let me defeat them. 

It’s a high-risk strategy, but also a viable one. The panic it will cause in NATO will be very real, and the response not automatic or even obvious. The idea that NATO will automatically respond with a like-for-like nuclear retaliation should not be assumed at all.

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What if…King Charles III sought a democratic mandate?

The British prime minister brushed her sweeping blonde hair back from her eyes, giving herself a moment to consider what the new king had just asked her. It had to be said: Charles had taken on the mantle of sovereign before her eyes, with surprising ease.

Yes, he had spent his whole life waiting for this moment, as had the country, but the transformation from gangly awkward youth to a more well-filled figure had made him look, quite simply, more like a king.

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The High Risk Voter.

Whatever happens in the French presidential election, there is a reality that will need to be confronted. It’s a phenomenon we have seen in the last two US presidential elections, in the Brexit referendum, and will no doubt be a feature in future elections.
It is the huge danger caused by reckless voters.
Now, let me be clear: this is not your standard Metropolitan Globalist Liberal (of which I am all three) complaining about how disappointed I am about people who don’t share my views, or their level of intelligence or prejudice. I accept that there are many decent people who voted for Trump, Brexit and yes, even Marine Le Pen. People who in many cases did not share the more extreme views of those candidates.
I even accept that there are people, particularly non-urban, low-income and low-educational achievers who vote for candidates I would regard as extremist because they simply feel they are being ignored by the mainstream parties. I get that too., and it may surprise you that I don’t blame them.
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Sinn Fein backs pre-unification Unity Tax.

Mary Lou McDonald TD

The leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald TD (Dublin Central), has announced that Sinn Fein will support the creation of a significant levy on all incomes, pensions and social welfare payments ahead of a border poll to create a unification fund.

“It makes sense that given the fact that the north of Ireland will require a significant subsidy from taxpayers in the south, at least in the short to medium term, that we start preparing for this now. By putting aside the funds now, with a gradually increasing Unity Levy we will avoid the sharp tax raises that a sudden British departure would require,” Ms McDonald said in an interview with RTE yesterday.

“I’m confident that in the long-term the economic growth generated by unity will allow the north to pay its way. Sinn Fein in government will introduce this levy to allow us to smooth the way without disrupting public services in the north. When East Germany was integrated into the EU there was some EU support, but the vast majority of funding came from west German taxpayers through a solidarity tax they just stopped paying recently. We need to study that model.”

When asked would all adults be required to contribute, she said that she had no doubt that regardless of income, every patriot would want to play their part and make their contribution.

Questioned about the British taxpayer continuing to meet the financial obligations of the north of Ireland after unification, she pointed out that “we can’t even get the Tories to fund the north when they actually own it, so I wouldn’t be relying on them.”