• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

Mazda's Maps and Mwikiboxes

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
When New Zealand fell into the grips of the Depression, the old parties of government - the urban, liberal United Party and the rural, conservative Reform Party - joined together in coalition against the rising Socialist threat. As the 1935 election approached, however, the old parties grew increasingly fearful that they were in for an almighty drubbing. The Finance Minister, Gordon Coates, was assaulted on the streets of Auckland after he mistakenly wandered into the Queen Street Riots.

Exacerbating the problem was New Zealand's 'first past the post' (FPP) electoral system. If United and Reform candidates opposed one another, they could split the vote and let Labour take seats on a minority vote. However, if they didn't oppose each other at all, then the voters who were loyal to one party but not the other might stay at home. Fortunately, a visit to Prime Minister Forbes at this point from a disreputable Uruguayan businessman, Diego Ogardo y Mazda, resulted in the Coalition copying the electoral system of Uruguay - this would, thought Forbes and Coates, allow the parties to differentiate themselves and broaden their electoral support.

Essentially, the system is that voters do not cast their votes for one of the several catch-all parties, but for a particular faction (or 'Motto') within that party. Some of the factions band together with a particular PM candidate, which pools the votes for those factions together and occasionally allows an extra MP to be elected from the surplus votes that haven't contributed towards the election of an MP for the sole faction. In this way, factions such as the United and Reform parties can convincingly differentiate and compete with one another without jeopardising the overall result.

That's the theory, anyway: Labour still won a majority of the vote in 1935, consigning the new 'National Party' to the Opposition benches, and very quickly split into several varied tendencies, which helped them dominate NZ politics for most of the country's modern history. The traditional Labour factions are: the Savageites, who were originally moderate social democrats loyal to Michael Joseph Savage, but have now gradually morphed into power-seeking technocrats; the Leeites, who have generally been an eclectic collection of misfits and radicals on the fringes of respectable politics; and the Real Democracy Movement (sometimes called Langstonites, but very rarely), the partisan sector of the Social Credit movement. The RDM was integral to appealing to centrist and centre-right voters for most of the post-war period, but a series of splits and a general organisational decline have rendered them a very minor faction. Over the ensuing decades, a Savageite split led to the creation of the Kirkites, who are labourist Christian Democrats now running under the 'Mike Moore Club' banner, and the centre-right vote has since been delivered by this Motto and - from the late 1970s - by the Douglasite 'Backbone Group'. These Mottoes traditionally support the Savageite candidate (along with the Maori Ratana movement) unless they feel confident enough to go for the premiership themselves - in 2014, as you can see below, they did not, which caused some trepidation for the Savageites.

In the National Party, both Reform and United are still in existence ('Coatesites and Wardites' in the discourse), while the Democrats of 1935 also joined for a spell before merging with the Wardites. Since then, Muldoon's populist 'AOK' (Alliance of Ordinary Kiwis) swept the old factions away over the course of the late 60s and 70s, but has since died down since the passing of its founder. New Democracy, meanwhile, was a conservative (and quite anti-semitic) splinter from the Real Democracy Movement in the 70s, which has very rarely won seats but refuses to combine with any other factions for reasons of ideological purity - for this reason, Coatesites have some antipathy towards them, accusing them of being Labour entryists designed to take votes away from Reform and increase the relative power of the other, more moderate factions. Reform themselves have put up the same candidate for every election since 1996, because Bill English is equally appealing to the Christian Coalition which grew up in the 80s in protest at the permissive society - and Christian support can swing the victory for Reform over United in a close battle. Finally, One Pacific is an astro-turf party led by South Auckland community leaders.

The Alliance was formed in the early 90s out of several new parties (Values was the first third party to enter the legislature in the post-war period in 1972), the main currents being: 'Andertonite' social democrats who were uncomfortable even in the Lee Tendency; 'Bruntite' Greens and Cannabis fans; and 'Matite' Maori liberationists. There are also minor factions of RDM and United splinters, who mainly serve to strengthen Labour '89 - the Andertonites would have won 15 seats to the Bruntites' 14 if the unused votes of the Liberal Assembly had not been transferred over to the rest of the Woods coalition.

In 2014, as is now quite usual, the centrist Labour candidate was elected Prime Minister, despite coming second in the popular vote and having only the second-largest home faction in his own Party.

And now onto the Upper House, which

Lema14.png
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
Not graphical, but there's no better thread for it.

This is the 1973 Northern Ireland Assembly (i.e. the Sunningdale Assembly) election but if it was a TL where the Northern Ireland Labour Party proposals for electoral reform had been listened to.

Yes, I'm scraping the barrel here.

The actual votes are unchanged, because it's a thought experiment. Basically, the 12 parliamentary constituencies are accorded seats commensurate with the sizes of their electorates, adding up to 100. These range from Fermanagh and South Tyrone with 6 seats to South Antrim with 11. The Unionists were so averse to boundary changes (the Westminster constituencies hadn't been altered since the 30s) that I think it's reasonable to assume that this would be how it went down. The election is held under List PR (d'Hondt) in each constituency, and I've assumed that the pro- and anti-white paper UUP factions would run in a combined list, apart from in West Belfast, where IOTL an anti-white paper Unionist, an Independent Unionist, and a Vanguard Party candidate ran in a combined West Belfast Loyalist Coalition.

South Antrim: 4 UUP, 3 DUP, 1 Alliance, 1 Independent Unionist, 1 Vanguard, 1 SDLP
North Antrim: 4 UUP, 3 DUP, 1 SDLP, 1 Vanguard, 1 Alliance
Londonderry: 4 SDLP, 4 UUP, 1 Vanguard
North Down: 7 UUP, 2 Alliance
South Down: 4 UUP, 4 SDLP, 1 Vanguard
Armagh: 3 SDLP, 3 UUP, 2 Vanguard, 1 Alliance
East Belfast: 5 UUP, 1 Alliance, 1 Vanguard, 1 DUP
Mid Ulster: 4 SDLP, 3 UUP, 1 Vanguard
South Belfast: 5 UUP, 1 Alliance, 1 DUP
North Belfast: 5 UUP, 1 Vanguard, 1 Alliance
West Belfast: 4 West Belfast Loyalist, 3 SDLP
Fermanagh and South Tyrone: 3 SDLP, 2 UUP, 1 Vanguard

Total: 46 UUP, 23 SDLP, 10 Vanguard, 8 DUP, 8 Alliance, 4 West Belfast Loyalist, 1 Independent Unionist

Note 1 - It's pretty much impossible to say how many of the UUP members would have been anti-white paper, because that would have been decided in the selection process for the List. Even if you have them standing against each other, you run into the problem of only one dissident Ulster Unionist standing in North Down but getting enough for 4 seats, and there were only 3 UUP candidates in Londonderry of whatever stripe (they lose a seat to Alliance if the undernomination is carried over for the List election). At a guess, it would be somewhere between 9 and 14.

Note 2 - The West Belfast Loyalist Coalition only nominated 3 candidates (1 Vanguard, 1 UUP (Anti), 1 Independent Unionist) but they have 4 seats here and it's obviously impossible to guess which party the 4th would have come from.

Compared with the OTL results, which used STV, it's actually ironically less proportional: the UUP get almost half the seats on about 36% of the vote because the votes for tiny parties are wasted instead of getting redistributed. It also means that the NILP - who were the ones pushing for this system in the first place - would lose their only OTL seat, in shades of 'Lib Dems actually losing even more seats under AV' scenes.

I think the evidence is pretty clear that STV is In Fact the best sy[BANNED]
 

Nanwe

The Troika always wins
Location
Lund, DK
Using D'Hont on a multi-party system with small constituencies and one big party and everyone else being medium to small, it's nothing short of genius for the large party. Surprised the UUP didn't think of using this approach.

If NILP had suggested using Hare or Sainte-Lague or the Droop quota or Imperiali or essentially any other system of PR except for D'Hont the results would have been widely different.
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
First Among Equals Wikibox Series

The novel First Among Equals, by Jeffrey Archer, follows the political careers of four fictional MPs first elected in 1964 as they go through various trials and tribulations, until one of them becomes Prime Minister in 1991. Apart from the lives of the protagonists, everything’s identical to OTL as far as I can see, until the publication date passes in 1984, after which it becomes Future History for the last hundred pages. These chapters are retroactively AH, and some of the events in the novel are Wikiboxable. Here goes.

There are very few election results given in full in the book – Archer finds it much easier to report the majorities of each of his protagonists after each election, as it reduces the amount of maths he has to do. The first full result comes in 1966, when Harold Wilson calls a snap election to shore up his majority in a time of favourable polls. Naturally, this puts the fear of God into the new Conservative MP for the ultra-marginal Coventry Central, Simon Kerslake.

Kerslake is essentially a Jeffrey Archer expy – a ‘pushy’ middle class public schoolboy whose ambition and lack of independent wealth put roadblocks in the way of his political career. He never really does anything immoral, unlike all the other characters, and defends his wife’s right to have a career of her own, which basically marks him out as The Good Guy in all respects other than the fact that he’s just as much of an unrelenting dickhead as Jeffrey Archer.

In 1964, he gains Coventry Central from Labour’s Alf Abbott against the national swing, but with a very small majority. In the Commons, he organises Reginald Maudling’s leadership campaign among the 1964 Tory intake, but is on the losing side on that one. Instead, he makes his name by asking critical questions in PMQs. In 1966, all the predictions are that he will lose against the swing to Labour, especially as former incumbent Alf Abbott is standing again.

The main set piece of the campaign is a hustings in which Kerslake demonstrates knowledge of all the relevant facts and figures, Abbott rails against the evils of Torydom, and the Liberal candidate, Nigel Bainbridge, accuses the others of failing to understand the real issues before boring everyone to tears with a long, involved discussion of sewage systems. Bainbridge openly aims merely to save his deposit (then set at 12.5%) and does so, despite the fact that Coventry Central must be quite a hotly contested seat between the big parties.

Because Simon Kerslake is a central protagonist of the novel, he wins by 16 votes on the night, which is obviously quite gratifying for him. However, boundary changes later reduce Coventry from four seats down to three in 1974, abolishing the Central constituency and forcing Kerslake to seek another seat, eventually landing on Pucklebridge in Sussex (which I don’t think is a real place).

In real life, of course, Coventry Central would have been safe as houses for Labour in this period, while all the other Coventry seats would have been reasonably marginal. Additionally, Coventry didn’t go down to three seats until 1997.

FAE-Cov.png
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
The next reasonably Wikiboxable election result is that of the Edinburgh Carlton constituency in 1983, just before we depart radically into AH. You will note that there is no neighbourhood of Edinburgh with the name Carlton, although there is a Calton Hill near Leith which may be what Archer means.

Andrew Fraser, the incumbent, is the son of a prominent Conservative and ex-Lord Provost of Edinburgh, but decides dramatically to join the Labour Party when the Tory MP for Carlton stands down in 1964, is selected with great ambivalence, and wins the seat. Carlton is at that point known as a Tory-Labour marginal, but over the course of the 70s, the main opposition to Fraser becomes the SNP. The Nationalist candidate is Jock McPherson, a former Labour man who leaves the Party because it’s too left-wing for his blood. Anyway, the constituency then becomes a Labour-SNP marginal, with the SNP being so confident of Fraser’s doom that they offer him the SNP leadership in an act of magnanimity. This is despite the fact that Andrew Fraser’s maiden speech was all about how brilliant the Union is.

Fraser is the novel’s designated sad-sack. He dumps the daughter of the Scottish Secretary (thereby setting back his ministerial career) in favour of his childhood sweetheart, who then miscarries twice. Their third pregnancy is successful, but one day Fraser is playing football in the garden with his son when a phone-call comes through from the PM, offering him a ministerial position, and the noise distracts him, he kicks the ball into the road, and his son runs after it. Seconds later, both Fraser and his son are run over by a Shell lorry, killing the son and badly maiming Fraser himself. The wife doesn’t speak for a year, but comes out of her shell when they adopt a black girl, whose race causes her to be bullied at school and used in racist attack-pamphlets by the SNP.

Along with all this, the Edinburgh Carlton CLP are gradually taken over by Militant, led by the unpleasant Frank Boyle, who finally manages to deselect Fraser ahead of the ’83 election. Unwilling to give up without a fight, Fraser defects to the SDP and withstands a filthy campaign from Boyle, with help from Jock McPherson and the SNP, who endorse him. Since the seat was previously a Labour-SNP marginal, and Labour still get nearly half the vote in 1983, you kind of have to assume that the vast majority of Fraser’s votes come from the Scottish Nationalists.

There is a third candidate: Andrew Fraser’s old school friend, ‘Loopy’ Lomax, who has been selected by the Tories thanks to the intervention of Andrew’s Dad.

On the night, there are three recounts, which result in an exact tie between Boyle and Fraser. A coin is tossed, and Fraser calls it correctly. He is allowed to keep the coin, presumably because the Returning Officer thinks he’s due a break.

FAE-Carlton.png
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
We’re now getting into the AH section of First Among Equals, beginning in 1984. Archer predicts a spate of by-election losses for the Conservatives, who fall into third place in the polls due to increasing unemployment and oil prices in 1985. Then, bizarrely, we skip forward two years although this is very easy to miss. One minute, it’s the winter of 1985, and then in the next chapter, it’s still winter, but the chronology just doesn’t work with it being the same winter. The next reference to a date is quite a long way later, when Tony Benn challenges for the leadership at the 1988 conference, which takes place immediately after a GE in late June, which is called after a good Tory showing at the locals in May, which is partially influenced by the events of the previous winter. It therefore has to be 1987. It’s very annoying.

The events in question are a re-hash of the Falklands Conflict – sorry, I mean, a foreign policy crisis which ends up showing Margaret Thatcher in a favourable light. Overnight, a group of mercenaries take over a Royal Navy ship, the HMS Broadsword, in the name of Colonel Gaddafi, triggering a tense chapter in which two of our protagonists almost let their mutual distaste get in the way of a successful outcome.

Simon Kerslake, who we have met before, is now Secretary of State for Defence, having previously been injured by an IRA car bomb while Minister of State at Northern Ireland. The reason he got bombed is hilarious, by the way – he was in the middle of pushing through a power-sharing deal which would establish a condominium over NI with the Republic governing anyone who registered as a Catholic. It’s a laughable proposal to anyone who knows anything about the Troubles, it’s completely unworkable, and there’s no earthly reason why the IRA would want to kill him for proposing it, but the fantastic thing is that Jeffrey Archer clearly believes that it’s a great plan and would solve the conflict at a stroke.

Kerslake favours a military solution to the Broadsword crisis, with the SBS going in, taking the Libyans prisoner, and releasing the British crew. Charles Gurney Seymour, on the other hand, wants to do it diplomatically. He’s an Old Etonian son of an Earl who is probably the vilest of the protagonists – among other things, he stalks his first wife, beats his second wife, blackmails a guy who won’t let him be Chairman of the family bank, and when he becomes Chairman, he uses insider trading to make Simon Kerslake go bankrupt in order to rid himself of a rival for the leadership. Compared to him, you even start to support the Jeffrey Archer self-insert character.

At any rate, Seymour easily gets the UN to deplore the seizure of the British ship (the only votes against being Libya, South Yemen and Djibouti), but Thatcher goes with Kerslake’s plan and he gets all the credit for the successful SBS mission.

I’m quite pleased with my triangulation of the date. As above, it’s before the Christmas Recess in 1987, but still in winter. The only other evidence as to the date is that the day after the Libyans take over the ship, the House is scheduled to take Welsh Questions. The day after that, the UN resolution comes through, and that night, the ship is retaken. The last Welsh Questions IOTL in 1987 were on the 7th December, so the resolution must logically have been passed on the 8th.

Other dates and data are… harder to fit into a genuine timeline.

FAE-UN.png
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
Jeffrey Archer, writing in 1984, has some interesting assumptions regarding the Alliance. David Steel is never mentioned at all, and the Liberals only get two mentions after the SDP is founded. In fact, one of those mentions is in relation to the Liberals fighting under the SDP banner (although this seems to relate to the ‘Alliance’ name), with the implication that the same happened in 1983, before the ‘POD’.

Subsequently, it’s all about the SDP potentially holding the balance of power, and when David Owen resigns as the leader of such in 1988, it sounds like the 16 Liberal MPs (out of 42 Alliance) also get a vote for his replacement. It’s all very odd – either Archer thinks that’s how it worked from 1981-4, or he’s Doing Alternate History and believes that the SDP will come to a dominant position within the Alliance, despite having won only 6 seats in 1983 and being the SDP. I would have assumed that there would be references to old Liberals not being happy about being essentially subsumed into the SDP, but no. In fact, Andrew Fraser gets very little to do in the 1980s, apart from to call an emergency debate on the Broadsword Crisis in which nothing particularly interesting happens.

David Owen retires as Leader for no real reason after a hugely successful SDP performance in the 1989 snap election (even relative to their Liberal allies) and Fraser is the only nominee to replace him, although the press spend a couple of weeks coming up with increasingly unlikely suggestions of challengers. Labour have just won a a majority of only four seats, ending Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. But by-election losses result in a successful no-confidence vote in 1991 as Fraser leads the SDP into the Tory lobby to incite yet another general election.

FAE-SDP.png
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
Meanwhile, in the Tory camp, a decade of Thatcher comes to an end. After holding on with a minority Government in 1988, her economic planning is thrown out by the election of Gary Hart in the USA, who plans to use his nation’s wealth to relieve unemployment. This causes the dollar to weaken against the pound, meaning British exporters go bust. Meanwhile, the newly elected democratic governments of Brazil and Argentina refuse to honour the loans their dictatorial predecessors took out. With Thatcher’s Government in the doldrums, a better-than-expected by-election performance encourages her to call a snap election in June 1989.

Her Labour opponent is not named by Archer – he appears quite a lot in the final chapters, but is always referred to as ‘the Leader’ or ‘the Prime Minister’. This is quite bizarre, as Archer has never previously tried to avoid naming and portraying real-life politicians. The Labour leadership election is sparked by Tony Benn challenging Kinnock, and John Smith and Roy Hattersley taking the opportunity to join in. Benn comes first in the first round, while Kinnock comes third and endorses the main anti-Benn candidate, who wins. Archer seems to think that Kinnock not supporting Benn is some sort of big surprise to all concerned.

The result of the 1988 election is given as: Con – 313, Lab – 285, Alliance – 31, Norn – 17, Speaker and Others – 4. The result of the 1989 election is nowhere given, probably because Archer never got round to adding it all up.

This is incredibly irritating, as the seat totals after 1989 are quite important to the plot, and – well, they clearly don’t add up. Labour is supposed to have an ‘absolute majority’ of four, which ought to be 327 (or thereabouts, depending on whether you count the Speaker and possible Sinn Fein members), but then, after losing the requisite number of by-elections, it’s established that Labour has exactly the same number of MPs as the Tories and Alliance combined. The Alliance are elsewhere mentioned as having 42 seats, and the Tory leadership election after Thatcher’s resignation repeatedly establishes them as having 289 seats. 289+42 is 331, which means that Labour must have somewhat more than that, which adds up to more than 650. Even 327 is too many.

In any case, Thatcher resigns the next year, largely due to pressure from her husband, and the contest comes to be largely between Charles Seymour, until then Shadow Chancellor, and Simon Kerslake at Shadow Home. At the last minute, a stolid hard-right ERG type named Alec Pimkin (a comic relief character throughout the novel) enters the lists in order to raise his profile and fend off the SDP threat in his constituency.

The race quickly descends to skulduggery, as Seymour leaks some details of a dodgy-looking business deal implicating Kerslake. In revenge, Kerslake’s wife blackmail’s Seymour with her knowledge of the real parentage of his alleged son, without the knowledge of Kerslake himself. Pimkin is excluded on the first count, and tries to persuade each of the front-runners to send him to the Lords in return for the votes of his supporters – Seymour agrees, while Kerslake doesn’t, leading Pimkin to do something honest for once and endorse Kerslake. In the meantime, Seymour is blackmailed by some other people into donating a priceless painting to the National Portrait Gallery, which makes him look like a pandering dickhead, and loses him a few votes. Kerslake becomes Leader of the Conservative Party on the second ballot.

FAE-Kerslake.png

The next general election is held in 1991. The unnamed PM is hospitalised with heart trouble at the time of a no-confidence vote (my headcanon is that he’s John Smith), which results in the vote passing by one vote (I have no idea why the PM isn’t paired, as pairing procedure is referred to frequently over the previous 500 pages) and our final protagonist, Raymond Gould, steps up as Labour Leader in the snap election.
The date of this election, by the way, is bullshit, because it’s established that it occurs on 9th May, but one of the main strands of this bit of the story is that the Queen is abdicating on her 65th Official Birthday (i.e. early June) and yet, the day after the election, the new PM is invested as such by ‘King Charles III’ – who shouldn’t be King for another month.

The results of the election, at least, add up to 650: Labour win 292 with a slight plurality of the popular vote, but the Tories win 293 seats and the Alliance win 47, including the seat of Alec Pimkin. This leaves 17 Northern Irish seats and the Speaker, which implies that Jeffrey Archer thinks the SNP and Plaid Cymru will be completely wiped out at some point between 1988 and 1991. Be that as it may, the balance of power rests with the Alliance, led by Andrew Fraser. The son of a Tory and a former Labour minister, he keeps the reader in suspense until the final page as to which party he’ll support. Even the Alliance parliamentary party is evenly split, and Fraser has the casting vote. Finally, Charles III calls on Simon Kerslake to come to Buckingham Palace in full view of the media… in order to explain to him why he’s chosen to appoint Raymond Gould as Prime Minister. Prince Charles is a dick.
 

moth

Mothleton
Location
Portsmoth
Doing Alternate History and believes that the SDP will come to a dominant position within the Alliance, despite having won only 6 seats in 1983 and being the SDP. I would have assumed that there would be references to old Liberals not being happy about being essentially subsumed into the SDP, but no.
This isn't too mad on the Authors part- the SDP obviously launched in such a way that outnumbered the Liberals, IIRC, 2 to 1, and from what I recall of some contemporary polling were doing quite well as a distinct identity that had a higher bar than the Liberals until they suddenly weren't, and were by their very design on Steel's part meant to provide the bigger impact by fragmenting the Labour vote and presumably gain a few more seats from that impact crater, at least until the Alliance's position as Opposition became more viable, at which points the Liberals would start to get their boots full and assert their dominance before a merger happened. Presumably the Liberals voting on leader is, on Archers part, meant to be some kind of reference to the 'inevitable merger', and the Liberals participating in the leadership ballot is to show that there has been some kind of semi-merger of sorts (although as you note, it's not clear so how much is me inferring some logic onto Archer's text onto this is obvious).
 

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
I’m not sure if you know this, but Archer wrote a completely separate version for the American audience. In it, the character of Andrew Fraser is completely written out (according to Wikipedia because Archer didn’t think Americans could understand third party politics) and it’s Simon who wins the coin toss (for the close Coventry Central election) and has his son run over. He did not adopt though. Other big differences are that Seymour is slightly more sympathetic a character, no UN resolution happens, and somehow a blood test confirms the son is his. Perhaps the biggest change is the end though, where it’s Raymond getting called to the palace to hear why Simon’s becoming the next PM.
 

Uhura's Mazda

Martinet of the Marshes
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
I’m not sure if you know this, but Archer wrote a completely separate version for the American audience. In it, the character of Andrew Fraser is completely written out (according to Wikipedia because Archer didn’t think Americans could understand third party politics) and it’s Simon who wins the coin toss (for the close Coventry Central election) and has his son run over. He did not adopt though. Other big differences are that Seymour is slightly more sympathetic a character, no UN resolution happens, and somehow a blood test confirms the son is his. Perhaps the biggest change is the end though, where it’s Raymond getting called to the palace to hear why Simon’s becoming the next PM.
I have a later edition of the American edition, where he reinstates Fraser - clearly, though, it's not identical to thr British version, because Charles' son is his and Raymond becomes PM. That's a bit disappointing, axtually.