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Callan's Graphics and Things

Beata Beatrix

Democratic Bokononists of America
#81
“The Caro era was that of a boiling frog, really. He turned up the heat so slowly that you just got more and more comfortable, until one day you realised that the rich were much richer, the poor were poorer, the state was leaner and meaner, the unions’ backs were broken and Thomas himself had been in charge for ten years.”
I love using the boiling frog as a motif - and Caro is one of the spookier things in the TGS universe - this is great!
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#82
(The Cabinet, as composed under the Ministry of The Rt. Hon. Helen Kendrick MP, June 2013)​
"On their first day in office new Prime Ministers must make snap judgements with enormous long-term consequences. High on victory and utterly exhausted, new leaders are at their strongest and weakest. Kendrick, having settled on most of her choices for cabinet appointments months before, was determined to only show strength.

She started with her main rivals. Nancy Dewar had been long-promised the Foreign Office but had spent her time since her defeat expecting the woman who upset her to renege on her promise. She regularly complained to friends that Kendrick was going to "send me off to deal with fucking farmers". The Prime Minister had no such plans, fearful of a potential challenge. Dewar was overjoyed by the appointment, and could barely conceal her grin as she left Downing Street as Foreign Secretary. Her low expectations meant that she barely objected to Kendrick's choice for Minister for Europe.

Blasdel was the only choice Kendrick had considered for Chancellor, having been impressed by his grasp of economics in Anne-Marie Bertram's cabinet and reassured by his lack of ambition. Blasdel considered himself a loyalist to the party as opposed to any single faction, seeing his position as being to but a leash on the spendthrift ambitions of other ministers, while preparing to implement the wealth taxes that Bertram had vetoed.

One of her election promises was to reduce the size of the cabinet; under Caro and Gardner it had become increasingly bloated and unwieldy, derided by Radicals as "jobs for the boys". Kendrick quickly moved to cut the number of Cabinet posts from thirty to twenty three, restored full cabinet as a space for decision-making and merged and abolished several departments. Imran Rais, who had started off the flashy frontrunner for the Radical leadership and finished a distant third, was appointed to head the new Department of Industry, Trade and Economic Development. Known as DITE within Whitehall, Rais led a beefed-up body for joined-up economic policy and planning, which soon challenging the hegemony of the hegemony of the Treasury. Rais, still seeing himself as a future Prime Minister, declared himself "back from the dead" and was happy to throw his weight around. He was not the only one.

Another of these mergers served a more important rival. When Charles Beck withdrew from the leadership contest, he demanded the Treasury and dominance over social policy. Kendrick played hardline, horrified at the prospect of her government as a dual monarchy. She relied on the calculation that he wanted power and honorifics- Deputy Prime Minister went a long way to soothing his temper. But she knew that she had to give him more the the role of standing in for her when she was out of the country. His ambitions were satisfied with the creation of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, a department merged five ministries that had existed under Gardner. His sprawling portfolio, which included relations with Home Rule Administrations, government bureaucracies, housing policy and Britain's Overseas Territories, guaranteed him a role in almost every aspect of policy making. The media dubbed him "Minister for Everything." Beck embraced the Radical MPs' title of "Minister for Meddling". Kendrick loyalists nicknamed his position "Secretary of State for Everything Else."

The size of Kendrick's plurality and the underperfomance of the Centrists having scrambled her coalition calculations, Henry Petersen became Home Secretary. The two were not close. Kendrick vetoed all of his choices for Minister of State at the Home Office, giving the job to Sarah Garvey-Whelan, a young Kendrick loyalist. It was an early example of who Kendrick was and wasn't willing to push around.

Roisin Dillon reprising her role as Secretary for Ireland was seen as an olive branch to Dewar, who she had backed during the leadership election. The post of Ireland Secretary was now a sinecure to guarantee an Irish voice in the cabinet, so she was given the additional post of Communications Secretary. Setting her sights on securing the 2020 World's Fair for Dublin, she quickly abandoned her previous hostility for Kendrick, lauding her for giving "jobs for the girls."

If it were up to the majority of the new cabinet, Ben Griffin would have been kept out of it. Even many Radicals who backed his attempt to force out Anne-Marie Bertram viewed him as past his prime and not worth the potential blowback. But Kendrick prized his intellect, his experience and his connections; he was a personality strong enough to help counterbalance Beck and Dewar. Griffin himself was conflicted. He saw that his power in large part now flowed from his proximity to the Prime Minister but resented his reliance on her patronage. This mutual dependency was reinforced by his new role: Minister for Europe. Kendrick had made no secret of her ambition to bring bring into Britain into the Concert of Europe, and hoped Griffin would be able to leverage his connections on the continent to do so. Griffin was ambivalent to the Concert but believed success in Berlin would mean a portfolio of influence back at home. As a consolation prize Kendrick made him Paymaster General, a post that made him a full cabinet member. Another hope of Kendrick was that Griffin would be a personality strong enough to counterbalance Dewar and Beck..."
 
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Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#83
On the afternoon of 12 November 2014, Commonwealth Airways Flight 55 and Hellenic Airlines Flight 1242 collided over East London. All 184 passengers and crew aboard both aircraft were killed along with twenty on the ground. It was the second-worst air disaster in the history of the Commonwealth.

The official investigation by the Commonwealth's Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the accident was caused by a number of systemic shortcomings and errors by air traffic control. Eric Mott, the air traffic controller responsible for Hellenic 1242, was overloaded and dealing with outdated equipment, bad weather and a bomb scare that had shut down half of London-Leo Amery airport. Due to these factors, the planes ended up on a collision course which Mott failed to notice, going as far as to give the Hellenic flight incorrect information on the position of Commonwealth 55. Mistakes made by the Hellenic Airlines pilots, confused by instructions from air traffic controllers, were cited as a contributing factor.

The accident triggered a crisis in Britain's aviation industry, characterised by massive flight delays and cancellations, air traffic controller strikes and safety concerns about Britain's airport and air traffic infrastructure. Pathfinder, the navigation service provider responsible for the sector, suffered severe financial difficulties and was eventually nationalised by the Kendrick Government in 2016.

Criminal charges were subsequently brought against several employees of Pathfinder. Three managers were convicted of manslaughter but their sentences were suspended on appeal, while the trial of three other employees collapsed when the judge instructed the jury to acquit them. Mott's own charges were dropped prior to trial.

 
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Walpurgisnacht

Compleat Gamester
Location
Sussex By The Sea
Pronouns
He/Him
#84
Another of these mergers served a more important rival. When Charles Beck withdrew from the leadership contest, he demanded the Treasury and dominance over social policy. Kendrick played hardline, horrified at the prospect of her government as a dual monarchy. She relied on the calculation that he wanted power and honorifics- Deputy Prime Minister went a long way to soothing his temper. But she knew that she had to give him more the the role of standing in for her when she was out of the country. His ambitions were satisfied with the creation of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, a department merged five ministries that had existed under Gardner. His sprawling portfolio, which included relations with Home Rule Administrations, government bureaucracies, housing policy and Britain's Overseas Territories, guaranteed him a role in almost every aspect of policy making. The media dubbed him "Minister for Everything." Beck embraced the Radical MPs' title of "Minister for Meddling". Kendrick loyalists nicknamed his position "Secretary of State for Everything Else."
Really enjoyed this--this sort of mercenary faction-juggling as an explanation for a cabinet post feels very realistic and doesn't come up often in AH.

Which wings of the party are Beck and Kendrick from respectively?
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#85
Which wings of the party are Beck and Kendrick from respectively?
The Radicals are broad centre left, social liberal to social Democratic Party; both Kendrick and Beck are ultimately from the increasingly prominent social democratic wing but there's a big difference between them. Beck represents the "old left"- populist and very closely linked to the union movement, whereas Kendrick is more a product of the "new left"- more female, more professional and open to identity politics .
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#86
“Caro’s resignation was sudden but not shocking. His third term and the avalanche of scandals and protests had quickly eroded the coalition’s polling and Caro’s own personal standing; in spite of the hold he still had over the Unionists, few expected him to lead the party into another election. His resignation came just after his annual physical, where his doctor discovered an undetected heart attack and advised him to retire. The nationwide consensus was that the Prime Minister was using bad news as an out to avoid the inevitable routing due at maximum in two years’ time.

Caro was not enthusiastic about resigning, because of his scepticism of his potential successors. More than a decade in government under the same leader has the function of thinning out the higher ranks as the talented and ambitious either self-destruct or realise that they stand little chance of further promotion. For most of the 2000s, the general assumption was that the succession would be between two safe pairs of hands: Michael Dill and Maria Parsons. Caro himself expected this and spoke highly of both. But by 2006 Parsons was at the centre of the Devonport Scandal facing criminal charges, while Dill had blown his credibility on a quixotic and deeply mistimed leadership challenge earlier in the year, one that even Caro struggled to rationalise.

In spite of the dominance Caro held over his party and the grudging respect he was still held with by much of the country, the mood within both was crying out for change- continuity Caro would not do. Most of the cabinet failed this test, and many ambitious Unionists found their support slipping away.

One of the few cabinet members to pass this test was Leo Gardner. Fat-faced, fair haired and with a soft private school accent, he embodied the new generation of technocratic Unionists who had proliferated in the later years of the Caro Ministry. His relative youth (only 43), his plain-speaking manner and most importantly his unfamiliarity all worked in his favour, and he was quickly propelled to frontrunner status. His friendly relationship with the Centre Party also worked to his favour as the coalition began to fray in Caro’s third term. He won overwhelmingly on the first ballot with little in the way of serious opposition.

This was not for lack of trying. The prospect of Prime Minister Gardner alarmed Caro and many in the party. He was untested- having been Chancellor for less than a year when Caro resigned- and was widely perceived to have risen without trace. What was plain-speaking in private came across as brusque and rude in private, and the high turnover of staffers was seen as a red flag to many. Rumours about his personal life and close relationships with female staffers and MPs also unnerved many- in spite of the tarnished image of the Unionists, Caro’s public perception still lay above personal implication of wrongdoing. The better than expected performance of Gardner’s token opponents reflected these desperations and doubts even as much of the exhausted party came to see him as the chance for genuine renewal.

There were two men who nearly stood in the way of this coronation.

The first was Ajay Mittal. His career was one of firsts: the first visible ethnic minority to serve as a minister, the first to be promoted to cabinet, and many tipped him as the first Minority Briton Prime Minister. (“And the first Catholic,” he was fond of replying) Thomas Caro had personally recruited him as a candidate in 1994 after making his name fighting Caro’s predecessors in in the courts behalf of several veterans’ organisations in the aftermath of the Second Great War. He quickly established a name as Caro’s troubleshooter who would be promoted to contentious and scandal-ridden posts, the most prominent being the Health Secretary in the aftermath of the Devonport Scandal. Having successfully earned the trust of the “Futureless Fifteen Thousand”, his promotion to Defence Secretary in early 2006 was widely seen as Caro grooming a successor. Caro had more than once explicitly asked him to stand against Gardner, “to make it a fair fight if nothing else”.

The most common narrative is that Gardner, desiring a coronation, personally browbeat Mittal out of the contest. The story goes, according to Agnes White’s infamous memoir, that Gardner sat the Defence Secretary down and told him in no uncertain terms that “the Unionists are not going to elect a wog to succeed a yid.” Whether this incident actually occurred has been the subject of much controversy and a libel case, but Mittal’s refusal to confirm or deny its veracity was evidence enough for many. But this confrontation did not force him out of the race; if anything it emboldened him. What really weighed on him were broader value judgements. He had witnessed first-hand the personal attacks and dog-whistle antisemitism levelled at Caro and his family from some in the opposition (and even the odd Unionist MP) and many plots against his life, a couple of which had gotten much further than others. More practically, he knew that his lacked the immediate organisation Gardner had amassed and was sceptical that the support Caro has privately promised him would materialised. Having a young family of his own, he was reluctant to expose them to the same pressure and potential abuse that the Caros has faced, especially if his chances of winning were far from certain.

The second was Jack Durie. Only three years younger than Caro, Durie had dominated Scotland for nearly two decades and in return for regularly returning thirty Scottish Unionists to Westminster, Caro turned a blind eye to his increasingly authoritarian and socially-conservative tenure. If it weren’t for Caro’s hegemony at Westminster and Durie’s satisfaction at his own dominance of Calton Hill, he likely would’ve been tipped as a future Tory leader much earlier. It is unclear whether the abortive “Durie for Westminster” campaign was the originally own man’s idea or that of his allies in Caro’s government, just as it remains unclear just how serious this campaign was. But most outside the Durie’s inner circle took it very seriously. For many Unionists, a reactionary smack was just what was needed as that liberal prosperity led to corruption and stagnation, with all the dog-whistles that came with the talk of the Caro era’s “decadence”. The rise in the polls of the Ecumene Movement weighed heavily. For many others, the prospect of a socially conservative strongman was unnerving after fifteen years of the same man whose main saving graces were his soft touch and his liberalism. The Centre Party, nearly driven to extinction north of the border by Durie’s manoeuvring and demagoguery, made clear that Prime Minister Durie meant the end of the coalition. This only appealed further to many Unionist MPs who privately feared over Caro’s close relationship with successive Centrist leaders.

But this plan overestimated Durie’s appeal outside of Scotland, where the Unionists were dominant and the Scottish press was largely compliant. The Radicals in England and Ireland had long used him to attack the Unionists, warning that his authoritarianism and demagoguery would spread down south if Caro was elected for the first, second or third time. Nancy Dewar, a constant target of attacks from Scottish Unionists, was publicly thrilled with the prospect of a Durie candidacy because of the scrutiny it would finally bring on the man. She described the list of allegations against the Chief Minister as “a mile wide and a furlong deep,” allegations which were largely confirmed in the dying days of the Durie government and afterwards.

This prospect appears to have been the ultimate reason why Durie declined to stand. He had seriously considered standing buoyed by a grassroots “Durie for PM” campaign led by Caro’s old allies in the Daily Sketch. Many of the practicalities for the Chief Minister standing for leader were worked out. While not an MP, the Unionists’ candidacy rules were vague and a plot was hatched for a complaint MP (most likely Durie’s own daughter) to resign from their Highland seat constituency to be followed by a quick by-election. Samantha Durie came close to resigning in favour of her father before he publicly declined to stand. While citing his advancing age, Durie was more concerned (and privately horrified) by the very real prospect of increased scrutiny on his decision making, procurement policies and hiring practices; many London papers (and a couple of international papers) had already began investigations on the potential Prime Minister when he ruled himself out. While his actual chances of victory were unclear, he was Unionist most likely to best Gardner had he stood. His suddenly decision not to became the first crack in the Unionists’ Scottish hegemony...”
 
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Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#87
1577025156348.png

The West Indies Federal Election was held on 3 March 2016. It was the first time in the history of the Federation that no party achieved an overall majority, with the balance of power being held two independents and one MP from the Barbados National Party. Both parties saw swings against them as a record number of votes were cast for third parties and independents.

Doreen Michael's term as Prime Minister was beset by economic as she struggled to deal with rising unemployment and national debts. She publicly clashed with Reichskanzler Lasker and the International Development Group over the terms of international loans to rebuild infrastructure and attract investment. Territorial disputes with Venezuela over oil exploration and fishing rights also featured prominently, with accusations being thrown by both sides of American interference in the West Indian economy in favour of their South American ally. Michael, campaigning on the message of "who governs?", struggled to differentiate herself from her opponent and predecessor Paul Ferris, who had a broadly similar manifesto.

The election was marked with relatively little controversy compared to previous contests, although both sides made allegations of electoral fraud ranging from vote-buying to ballot-stuffing. The late arrival of ballots delayed voting and the returns on many islands. As the political deadlock became clear these allegations became more prominent and led to protracted court battles.

Michael subsequently came to an agreement with the two Independents in exchange for government positions; former Prime Minister Ferris resigned as National Labour's majority became clear.

The election dispute ended in late 2017 when the Federal Supreme Court mandated three by-elections in National Labour-held seats of Port of Spain, Grenada and Dominica. These by-elections, held the following January, were all won by the Popular Democrats. Their new leader David Allens swiftly called and won a motion of no confidence, the first time a government has fallen in this manner since Independence. In the aftermath, Michael resigned as Prime Minister and leader of the National Labour Movement and Allens was appointed Prime Minister by President Maya Persaud the next day.
 
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Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#89
The FWI surviving is one of those things I've always had an interest in but have never quite been able to work out how to get it to plausibly happen.

As opposed to some sort of smaller version that's just the Leeward and Windward island colonies.
The main issues that doomed it otl were that the federation was way too loose (there wasn’t even a customs union) and many of the nationalist leaders didn’t really have much faith in it. Fundamentally the issue was that while it’s political leaders saw it as a stepping stone to independence- gaining independence as a united, federated dominion like Canada and Australia- it came to be seen as a means by which to just stall out the process.

I think you need a relatively far back PoD in order to get a FWI which can sustain itself politically and functionally (even then I’m not completely sure it would make it to the 21st century intact) but at some point I’m going to write a TL about it where the PoD is basically just going to be Gaitskell winning in ‘59.
 

Alex Richards

Lifetime cathedrals built: 8
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
#90
The main issues that doomed it otl were that the federation was way too loose (there wasn’t even a customs union) and many of the nationalist leaders didn’t really have much faith in it. Fundamentally the issue was that while it’s political leaders saw it as a stepping stone to independence- gaining independence as a united, federated dominion like Canada and Australia- it came to be seen as a means by which to just stall out the process.

I think you need a relatively far back PoD in order to get a FWI which can sustain itself politically and functionally (even then I’m not completely sure it would make it to the 21st century intact) but at some point I’m going to write a TL about it where the PoD is basically just going to be Gaitskell winning in ‘59.
That period in the Caribbean is just slightly mental when it comes to the sheer contrast between the places pushing for independence and the places desperately trying to prevent it.

I mean we could have had St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla or we could have had both Nevis and Barbuda staying as BOTs and both are equally plausible.
 

Thande

The End is Nigh / Eat at Joe's Cafe
Published by SLP
#91

The West Indies Federal Election was held on 3 March 2016. It was the first time in the history of the Federation that no party achieved an overall majority, with the balance of power being held two independents and one MP from the Barbados National Party. Both parties saw swings against them as a record number of votes were cast for third parties and independents.

Doreen Michael's term as Prime Minister was beset by economic as she struggled to deal with rising unemployment and national debts. She publicly clashed with Reichskanzler Lasker and the International Development Group over the terms of international loans to rebuild infrastructure and attract investment. Territorial disputes with Venezuela over oil exploration and fishing rights also featured prominently, with accusations being thrown by both sides of American interference in the West Indian economy in favour of their South American ally. Michael, campaigning on the message of "who governs?", struggled to differentiate herself from her opponent and predecessor Paul Ferris, who had a broadly similar manifesto.

The election was marked with relatively little controversy compared to previous contests, although both sides made allegations of electoral fraud ranging from vote-buying to ballot-stuffing. The late arrival of ballots delayed voting and the returns on many islands. As the political deadlock became clear these allegations became more prominent and led to protracted court battles.

Michael subsequently came to an agreement with the two Independents in exchange for government positions; former Prime Minister Ferris resigned as National Labour's majority became clear.

The election dispute ended in late 2017 when the Federal Supreme Court mandated three by-elections in National Labour-held seats of Port of Spain, Grenada and Dominica. These by-elections, held the following January, were all won by the Popular Democrats. Their new leader David Allens swiftly called and won a motion of no confidence, the first time a government has fallen in this manner since Independence. In the aftermath, Michael resigned as Prime Minister and leader of the National Labour Movement and Allens was appointed Prime Minister by President Maya Persaud the next day.
As Alex says, great work.

I kind of want to see an OTL Wikipedia Canadian-style map of this with the little bar charts by each province...
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#92
The second was Jack Durie. Only three years younger than Caro, Durie had dominated Scotland for nearly two decades and in return for regularly returning thirty Scottish Unionists to Westminster, Caro turned a blind eye to his increasingly authoritarian and socially-conservative tenure. If it weren’t for Caro’s hegemony at Westminster and Durie’s satisfaction at his own dominance of Calton Hill, he likely would’ve been tipped as a future Tory leader much earlier. It is unclear whether the abortive “Durie for Westminster” campaign was the originally own man’s idea or that of his allies in Caro’s government, just as it remains unclear just how serious this campaign was. But most outside the Durie’s inner circle took it very seriously. For many Unionists, a reactionary smack was just what was needed as that liberal prosperity led to corruption and stagnation, with all the dog-whistles that came with the talk of the Caro era’s “decadence”. The rise in the polls of the Ecumene Movement weighed heavily. For many others, the prospect of a socially conservative strongman was unnerving after fifteen years of the same man whose main saving graces were his soft touch and his liberalism. The Centre Party, nearly driven to extinction north of the border by Durie’s manoeuvring and demagoguery, made clear that Prime Minister Durie meant the end of the coalition. This only appealed further to many Unionist MPs who privately feared over Caro’s close relationship with successive Centrist leaders.

But this plan overestimated Durie’s appeal outside of Scotland, where the Unionists were dominant and the Scottish press was largely compliant. The Radicals in England and Ireland had long used him to attack the Unionists, warning that his authoritarianism and demagoguery would spread down south if Caro was elected for the first, second or third time. Nancy Dewar, a constant target of attacks from Scottish Unionists, was publicly thrilled with the prospect of a Durie candidacy because of the scrutiny it would finally bring on the man. She described the list of allegations against the Chief Minister as “a mile wide and a furlong deep,” allegations which were largely confirmed in the dying days of the Durie government and afterwards.

This prospect appears to have been the ultimate reason why Durie declined to stand. He had seriously considered standing buoyed by a grassroots “Durie for PM” campaign led by Caro’s old allies in the Daily Sketch. Many of the practicalities for the Chief Minister standing for leader were worked out. While not an MP, the Unionists’ candidacy rules were vague and a plot was hatched for a complaint MP (most likely Durie’s own daughter) to resign from their Highland seat constituency to be followed by a quick by-election. Samantha Durie came close to resigning in favour of her father before he publicly declined to stand. While citing his advancing age, Durie was more concerned (and privately horrified) by the very real prospect of increased scrutiny on his decision making, procurement policies and hiring practices; many London papers (and a couple of international papers) had already began investigations on the potential Prime Minister when he ruled himself out. While his actual chances of victory were unclear, he was Unionist most likely to best Gardner had he stood. His suddenly decision not to became the first crack in the Unionists’ Scottish hegemony...”
“It wasn’t a run. It was a grift. Caro looked after Durie and he wanted to make sure Gardner or whoever else would too. He probably wouldn’t have won- for the reasons everyone said he’d pulled out- but those reasons weren’t the real reasons. Gardner gave him the bungs he wanted and Durie went away. But Gardner didn’t want to be extorted so Durie had to make it all as real and plausible as possible.”

“What did he get?”

“InterCity 1 finally making it to Glasgow. And a few brown envelopes. And maybe a London townhouse.”
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#93
1935-1946: Ministry of Fuel and Power
1946-1970: Ministry of Transport and Power
1970-1978: Ministry of Infrastructure
1978-1998: Ministry of Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources
1999-2010: Responsibilities transferred to Department of Industry
2010-2013: Department of Energy
2013-: Responsibilities transferred to Department of the Environment and Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
 
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Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#94
A Theoretical Look Forward: Capricorn One

1961-1965: John F. Kennedy / Lyndon B. Johnson (Democratic)
1960: Richard Nixon / Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (Republican)
1965-1967: John F. Kennedy / George Smathers (Democratic)
1964: Richard Nixon / John J. Williams (Republican), George Wallace / Various (State's Rights)
1967-1969: George Smathers / Vacant (Democratic)
1969-1973: George Romney / John Tower (Republican)

1968: George Smathers / Terry Sanford (Democratic)
1973-1977: George Smathers / Fred Harris (Democratic)
1972: George Romney / John Tower (Republican), George Wallace / Ezra Taft Benson (Independent), Eugene McCarthy / Benjamin Spock (Independent)
1977-1982: Howard Baker / Donald Rumsfeld (Republican)
1976: Fred Harris / John Glenn (Democratic)
1980: Reubin Askew / Robert Morgenthau (Democratic)

1982: Donald Rumsfeld / Vacant (Republican)
1982-1986: Donald Rumsfeld / Marshall Coleman (Republican)

1984: Robert Kennedy / Neil Goldschmidt (Democratic)
1986: Marshall Coleman / Vacant (Republican)
1986-1989: Marshall Coleman / Charles Evers (Republican)
1989-1993: George McGovern / Leon Panetta (Democratic)

1988: Marshall Coleman / Anne Gorsuch (Republican), Jim Bakker / John K. Singlaub (Moral Majority)
1993-2001: Jim Webb / Larry McDonald (Republican)
1992: Leon Panetta / Mike Espy (Democratic), LaDonna Harris / Ralph Nader (Independent)
1996: Jim Mattox / Booth Gardner (Democratic), Julian Bond / Karen Silkwood (Peace and Freedom)

2001-: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend / Max Baucus (Democratic)
2000: Carroll Campbell / Clarence Thomas (Republican)
The 2020 International Development Forum was the nineteenth meeting of the International Development Group (IDG). It was held on 4–5 September 2020 in the city of Leningrad. It was the first G20 summit to be hosted in Sovereign Union.


 
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Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#95


The Caretaker
The premiership of Thomas Caro has created an almost collective amnesia in the British Commonwealth. It is hard to believe that he was in charge for a longer period of than the more iconic leaders of Allan Bertram, or Seb Taggart or Unity Mitford Amery, for he has a much smaller place than his predecessors in the body politic of the nation. Born in 1942 to a middle-class Jewish family in North London, Thomas Abram Caro was slated by his father to join him in his small accounting firm; growing up into the intolerance of the Cooper era did not create much in the way of aspirations for people who had funny-sounding surnames like “Caro”. Thomas (never Tom, never Tommy) had other ideas, and a place at Oxford and then the Oxford Union put paid to his father's predictions of mediocrity. Caro first went into finance, becoming one of the money-men behind the infamous rescue of the bankrupt Daily Sketch and the mass-sackings of journalists that followed. But he found the politics of the media much more interesting and relevant than the finances of it, and through this, he became involved in the Unionist Party, with Cosgrave appointing him the party's treasurer in 1975. From there, it was a short and easy route to a safe seat in Cambridgeshire.​
Caro was one of the "Younglings" who helped Seb Taggart seize control of the Unionist party in the early 1980s, and by all accounts the two were inseparable throughout the decade. Caro served in several posts in the Taggart governments, being the Labour Secretary who reintroduced conscription on the eve of the Great Pacific War and the Defence Secretary when the Siagon Incident took place. Caro came away much better than his boss from the aftermath of the conflict, never being quite implicated in the massacres allegedly perpetrated by British servicemen in Southeast Asia and being a popular figure in the Unionist’s hapless 1989 election campaign. The break between Taggart and Caro infamously came about in November 1990: Caro becoming increasingly frustrated with his leader's lacklustre performance on the opposition benches and his inability to shake off allegations of war crimes, his opposition to electoral reform proved to be the final straw. The first leadership challenge in November merely sent Caro from the shadow cabinet to the backbenches, but there he amassed enough support from the Unionists' party faithful to take out an exhausted Taggart a year later.​
By this point, George Holland's government was disintegrating and there was little to oppose. It took little effort for him to sweep to victory in 1994, having established good relations with Ellen Hier and negotiating an electoral alliance with liberal Centre Party (the Alliance for Britain) that lasted 14 years. Standing outside Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister, he promised Britain "some calm, some prosperity, some normality".​
He managed to stick to that promise, mostly. The reason for the collective amnesia for the leader of postwar Britain was how little actually seemed under Caro's watch. Not that nothing happened at all. There were treaties and forums, terrorist attacks and denationalisations; his foreign minister and coalition partner became the first female President and the Anglo-French Concorde 8 mission brought men and women to walk on the moon for the first time. Strongmen rose to power in the war-torn rubble of Southeast Asia to the indifference of the world's superpowers. An independence referendum in Ireland was narrowly won by the "No" side, but that had little to do with anything the Prime Minister said or did.​
And while a decade of economic growth and winning three elections in a row is nothing to sniff at, little truly dramatic was came about because of Caro: nothing as sweeping as under Bertram, nothing as brave as under Mitford, nothing as existential as under Taggart. And the voters were largely on board with this "hands-off" style of governance, where Caro allowed his ministers autonomy to run their departments and innovate policies as they saw fit. The biggest scandal that the Prime Minister was personally involved in was when his youngest daughter got arrested at a protest against a nuclear power station that he'd personally approved.​
The one big "push" under Caro was the Cybernet Plan. A vision of of administrative cybernetics had persisted since the sixties, one that had destroyed his predecessor and was slowly and quietly implemented under Caro. But it came to a head with the Unions in 2001, when the Chancellor announced plans to robotise 75% of the administration of the National Hospital Service, much greater than anything Holland had proposed. Unlike before, the government was prepared for a general strike, and the unions were caught flat-footed by the government's stockpiles and roll-outs of boys and girls on National Service to run basic services. The strike collapsed within a fortnight, as did opposition to the policy, being successfully rolled out by 2007. Ben Griffin, having escaped the infighting Radicals to run the International Development Group in Berlin, remarked that the left's humbling would have Allan Bertram turning in his grave.​
The period between the general strike and Caro's third election victory proved to be his peak. In 2003, the Ecumene Movement surged. A High Tory outfit turned pro-Euro populists in the aftermath of the Second Great War, hijacked from its Unionist founders by George Holland’s disgruntled Defence Secretary. The party gained votes from many who had begun to see the boredom of the Caro era turn into stagnation. His reaction to the threat to Unionist safe seats, in the form of tougher crime and immigration policies, caused much consternation among his liberal coalition partners. But they didn't see where else to go. And bigger problems were on the horizon.​
What became known as the Devonport scandal broke around Christmas 2004, and quickly exploded in all directions. It emerged that administrative errors in eugenics programmes, part of a not-yet robotised NHS department, had led to the sterilisation of ten thousand healthy, non-consenting individuals since 2000. Instead of dealing with the problem, civil servants and the Health Secretary Maria Parsons (a "favourite student” of Caro's, tipped as his successor) used illegal means to cover this scandal up. Outrage gripped the nation, the Plymouth Devonport Hospital that the scandal originated from was closed, protests were organised, resignations were tendered, lawsuits were filed and arrests were made. There was never any suggestion that Caro was in any way culpable in this scandal, but his once-popular "hands-off" style of governance most certainly contributed to Parsons thinking she could get away with a cover-up. His credibility was shattered and never properly recovered.​
After 13 years in office, in the Unionist Party were agitating for Caro to go. The postwar boom was ending and the postwar foreign policy settlement was fraying.. The Unionists were polling in the mid-twenties. Caro was still reluctant to resign; his cabinet was deprived of top talent and he believed that the next generation of Unionist leaders wasn't ready to take control. But a health scare forced things along, and Caro left Downing Street for the last time in June 2006. His successor was Leo Gardner, a loyal lieutenant and a capricious Chancellor of middling ability, whose decision to call a snap election early in the new year led to a heavy Unionist defeat, with the Centre Party nearly wiped out. The Alliance for Britain was torn up soon afterwards.​
Thomas Caro has come to be rated relatively highly, admired for presiding over a period of clear stability and prosperity. His post-premiership devotion to charity work and counsel to fellow world leaders created much goodwill. When he announced his resignation, a still bitter Seb Taggart derided him as “The People’s Caretaker.” But that was exactly what Britain wanted.​
 

Callan

Absolutely Dire
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
#98
(Co-writing credits to @Beata Beatrix, with apologies to @Charles EP M.)

//tv.avclub.com/retrospective-our-hero-meets-a-legend-forgets-everyone-else-in-a-middling-Doctor-Wh-137541341

Doctor Who- Season 36- Crime of the Century (2011)

Grade: B

The Doctor (Catherine Tate), Nadia (Gemma Chan) and Danny (Damien Molony) arrive in the 24th Century's Centauri Vault- the most secure and deadly storage facility in the whole of the First Human Empire. But in arriving twenty years early, the team realises that they've wandered straight into the one of the greatest heists in the Galaxy, led by a familiar foe...

"Crime of the Century" is an episode that should be an instant classic but, it's clearly one let down by behind-the-scenes drama and the writers trying to juggle way too many balls. That is still has enough interesting ideas and performances to be worth watching. The Twelfth Doctor's first season is notoriously shaky in quality, Catherine Tate trying her best to fill in a Glenn Quinn-shaped hole. The fandom is still very much divided over whether the Eleventh Doctor was actually any good but there is much consensus over the lost promise his abortive "Pandora Arc". With the context of Quinn's abrupt and public exit from the show to deal with his recurrent addictions, the second half of Season 36 ("36B" as it were) has to be given special credit for the ability of the cast and crew to hold things together as well as they have.

But it's still very shaky. There are way too many characters, meaning that most of them are barely sketched out and Chan and Molony have nothing to do, apart from look shocked and scared, run down corridors behind Tate and occasionally be the figurative tin dog. The set design is mostly bland, largely resembling the interior of many a base-under-siege story. Tate's characterisation is still shaky, with Eleven's traumas and great passion for humanity leaking into the more emotionally stable, sarcastic portrayal that solidified in later seasons. Tate was a big risk at a time when they needed one, and eventually paid off.

This more authoritative, less human Doctor takes shape for the first proper time in reaction to her foil for this episode- the renegade Time Lord of the Navigator. 48 years into Doctor Who this only the fourth renegade Time Lord we've encountered, and like the most famous two they represent mirrors of the Doctor. Where the Master represented a dark mirror of the Doctor's intelligence, and the Rani her boundless desire to learn , the Navigator represents something else- the Doctor's restlessness. But where our hero chooses to keep moving through exploration and saving the day, the Navigator alleviates his boredom by working for anyone. Well, almost anyone, but that's for another season.

Russell Tovey shines as the Navigator, channelling the world-weary amorality of a much older man into his performance and his chemistry with Tate, charming and threatening, coercive and convincing, makes clear that this is a man with his eyes exclusively on the prize. A lot of his conception is still shaky: he's as much as a legend across space and time as the Doctor who we've never heard of until now, and a lot of the Navigator's dialogue was clearly intended to be directed at Tate's predecessor, criticising a sentimentality that's less present in the Doctor he's actually talking to. But their scenes and chemistry manage to mostly carry the episode, as everything else just about manages to get by.
 
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