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What if Gordon Banks had Played

Japhy

Harry Turtledove thinks I'm funny
Published by SLP
#21
I think the author did a sequel to AWOLAWOT, but it only ever had one or two updates and I suspect they only put it up so they could avoid being asked about it; but they could have easily been hit by real-life pressures.
Jeff really was planning to make a go of the sequel but Real Life did catch up, his daughter was born and she's unfortunately to this day in need of constant medical care. He's still around on FB and in a group I run there for AH/Scifi/Nerd shit and he did express interest in adapting the story for SLP but obvious Real Life is the top priority.
 

iainbhx

Nichts. Aufhängen und neuwählen.
Moderator
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
#22
I haven't read Banks for a few years now, but I remember it coming out piece by piece and like Thaxted each section was very eagerly awaited and commented on. I still think the final scene at Stanlow with a manic Alan Clark is one of the best endings in AH and I'm still not entirely sure who killed Jim Molyneaux.

I will admit that I have kept Powell very much on the edges of Azure and quite deliberately, I did start to work him in and then decided "No, Stop".
 

Stateless

Statey and Skinless in Da Führerbungalow
#23
@anthonyjwells, did you ever read Nick Hancock's (of They Think It's All Over fame) take on the same point of departure? Hancock was writing for comic effect, but has it result in the Butskellite consensus politics continuing indefinitely and Thatcher becoming a marginal figure in British politics.
 

Meadow

Fullmetal Brexit
Administrator
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
Location
Balham
#24
Jeff really was planning to make a go of the sequel but Real Life did catch up, his daughter was born and she's unfortunately to this day in need of constant medical care. He's still around on FB and in a group I run there for AH/Scifi/Nerd shit and he did express interest in adapting the story for SLP but obvious Real Life is the top priority.
That's right, we spoke a few times and the door is always open.
 

Warthog

a product of cultural adsorption
Location
Mzansi
#25
WIGHP was the first AH work that I read knowing that was the genre - as opposed to things like Times without number that I'd read because I knew I enoyed the authors other work (usually SF). It was probably also one of the first things I read online for entertainment*

I really enjoyed it for the drama and the level of detail - but also since what I saw as the underlying basis - what if the security services actually were trying to prevent an elected Labour government by any means necessary talked well to the paranoid fringe on the edge of my worldview. Plus how good the outcome in mainland Britain at the end felt to my own biases. I still re-read every few years actually.

In a way, I enoyed Lavender as a kind of reverse Banks - what if what the right said to each other in 70s was true... though of course Lavender is a very different style of writing too

*because Zimbabwe lagged a while in connectivity...
 

Elektronaut

Cobs? 3? Yes we do.
#26
We should probably close the forum now. We’re not going to top this.
Yeah.

Superb, fascinating retrospective. And I'm not remotely swayed by being called 'only too correct'. No way.

My feeling, my sense btw, is that it doesn't even matter if Heath would have Been Heath after a 1970 loss. In 1975 he was a former PM, and there wasn't an obvious equal-stature person, a rival, who didn't necessarily feel they owed Heath anything. Maudling's career had collapsed and Iain Macleod had died. If the rules are revised, and Only-ever-opposition-leader-twice-failed Heath insists on standing, I think Maudling would say 'No'. Especially if the alternative is going to be Powell.

Also, Reggie Maudling was not Willie Whitelaw. Or rather, Willie Whitelaw was no Reggie Maudling.

But that's all just me ruminating. As BMK2 said, it deserves to be studied and appreciated by anyone getting into AH, particularly British political stuff. It's stayed the course and I'm not sure many of us would be here if it hadn't been a thing. I certainly remember reading before I started being an AH poster.
 

Thande

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares
Published by SLP
#27
@anthonyjwells, did you ever read Nick Hancock's (of They Think It's All Over fame) take on the same point of departure? Hancock was writing for comic effect, but has it result in the Butskellite consensus politics continuing indefinitely and Thatcher becoming a marginal figure in British politics.
Now that's something I've not heard before. Interesting.
 

Elektronaut

Cobs? 3? Yes we do.
#28
Now that's something I've not heard before. Interesting.
I just got shot of my copy of it, I think, as part of my preparations for my move. As said, it's mostly comedy scenarios, a bit of more serious pop history AH. As you can probably discern from the title, it's mostly sports related stuff.

I'm pretty sure one of the scenarios is Argentina losing the 1978 world cup, and that leading to an earlier Falklands War, which is something I used before reading the book (I claim parallel evolution, m'lud) in my Boothroydite Consensus list, though in that instance it's a Conservative government in power in 1978. And I think I said that they lost it to the Dutch due to Cyuff going to the tournament, which I don't think Hancock used.
 

Stateless

Statey and Skinless in Da Führerbungalow
#29
I just got shot of my copy of it, I think, as part of my preparations for my move. As said, it's mostly comedy scenarios, a bit of more serious pop history AH. As you can probably discern from the title, it's mostly sports related stuff.

I'm pretty sure one of the scenarios is Argentina losing the 1978 world cup, and that leading to an earlier Falklands War, which is something I used before reading the book (I claim parallel evolution, m'lud) in my Boothroydite Consensus list, though in that instance it's a Conservative government in power in 1978. And I think I said that they lost it to the Dutch due to Cyuff going to the tournament, which I don't think Hancock used.
The 1978 one sees Scotland beat the Dutch by enough goals to go through at the expense of the Dutch. In the second round, this means that the Italians win their group (which is now missing the Netherlands) and beat Argentina in the final. The resulting unrest sees the junta overthrown early, and Thatcher becomes a marginal figure in British politics (having lost an election in 1983 or 1984).

The only one that results in a 'better' result for Thatcher is the introduction of ID cards for football fans, which ultimately allows her to throw anyone who has any interest in football in prison and rule forever.
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#30
Hopefully this thread isn't too old for me to make a new post.

So I decided to go and reread Gordon Banks, which I first read a few years ago. I just finished, and I think that the timeline still holds up very well. It certainly does an excellent job of creating that sort of "snowball domino" effect that many ascribed to "For All Time" in the least favorite AH thread, with factor after factor being introduced and then elaborated on satisfactorily until, suddenly, you've got a police state on your hands. Toward the end, I think perhaps the timeline's most glaring weakness is its characterization of Margaret Thatcher. Believe what you want about Maggie (I certainly have my own opinions on her as an outsider looking in), but she wasn't a blood-running-in-the-streets fascist and she most definitely wasn't stupid. Yet, much of the authoritarian "payoff" of the timeline depends heavily on her being a shrieking figure who is stubborn to the point of foolishness, dominating cabinet meetings with her insistence on using live ammunition on civilian protesters and arrest anyone for being the slightest bit disruptive. The Iron Lady she may have been, but she did compromise on certain things. WIGBHP portrays her as aggressively shouting down opposition to truly daft government proposals, something which I found difficult to picture.

That being said, I always find it interesting upon finishing a timeline to wonder how ATL people would react to OTL. ITTL, Margaret Thatcher is reviled—she serves as Home Secretary for less than three years, and bears much of the responsibility for the police state that develops during that time. IOTL, she ran Britain for more than a decade and didn't turn it into a police state. If someone were to write OTL on the Gordon Banks-verse's version of AH.com, it would be seen as implausible at best and a piece of Powellite apologia at worst, and perhaps get the poster banned from the site.
 

Tovarich

a sinking dumpling. He/Him.
#31
Yet, much of the authoritarian "payoff" of the timeline depends heavily on her being a shrieking figure
I think the shrieking references were a comedic dig about her having IRL elocution lessons upon reaching Shadow Ministerial level.
Prior to those, she had a voice you could cut glass with.

her insistence on using live ammunition on civilian protesters and arrest anyone for being the slightest bit disruptive.
Public Order Act 1986.

I wasn't actually there for the prior 'Battle of the Beanfield', but I was at Molesworth when she sent 1500 actual bloody soldiers* in to bash up some hippies because she didn't like the look of us.


The Iron Lady she may have been, but she did compromise on certain things. WIGBHP portrays her as aggressively shouting down opposition to truly daft government proposals, something which I found difficult to picture.
Poll Tax.



* (Note to ex-Forces members here: It's not a platitude when I say I respect you guys, I genuinely do. But that day is why you do not get, nor deserve, unqualified respect. You all let that happen, and I'm not going to just forget about it.)
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#32
Public Order Act 1986.

I wasn't actually there for the prior 'Battle of the Beanfield', but I was at Molesworth when she sent 1500 actual bloody soldiers* in to bash up some hippies because she didn't like the look of us.
Dang, that's awful you were subject to that kind of political persecution in modern England. You have all my sympathy for that.

As to your point, yes, she was certainly authoritarian at times—I'm not denying that. But to my knowledge (and correct me if I'm wrong), she never tried to use lethal force on unarmed political adversaries, nor did she invoke the Public Order Act to infiltrate constituency meetings of the Labour Party and throw the participants into actual prison camps. Whereas in Gordon Banks, after the climactic moment where soldiers refuse orders to use live ammo on 4,000 men, women and children who are picketing a fuel station, Thatcher calls it "treason" and tells Airey Neave "There are enough soldiers who remain loyal to his Majesty. We will fight on. [We will form] A military government." I think the implication is that she's starting to become slightly unhinged (though perhaps not, given the lucidity with which her TTL memoir is written), but it still stretches credibility in my eyes.

Fair enough. I didn't mean to imply that Thatcher wasn't a stubborn, domineering figure—I've seen Spitting Image, after all. The Poll Tax is a fine example of her habit of shouting down opposition coming back to haunt her. But that came after eleven years of being top dog, and in the previous decade she'd compromised on plenty of occasions. And whereas the political consequences of the Poll Tax did end up forcing her to step down, the Conservative government survived the fiasco, as evidenced by the fact that it would continue to govern for seven years after. In Gordon Banks, her stubbornness doesn't just lead to her own downfall, it leads to the catastrophic collapse of Powell's government and, indirectly, to the demise of many aspects of the British system of government.
 

Tovarich

a sinking dumpling. He/Him.
#33
Fair enough. I didn't mean to imply that Thatcher wasn't a stubborn, domineering figure—I've seen Spitting Image, after all. The Poll Tax is a fine example of her habit of shouting down opposition coming back to haunt her. But that came after eleven years of being top dog, and in the previous decade she'd compromised on plenty of occasions.
Oh indeed, I don't think the hubris factor can be overstated there.
That probably started around the time she began asking "Is he one of us?" about appointments; something which should be anathema to a meritocrat.

Thatcher in WIGBHP is not OTL Thatcher, of course, and if butterflies can affect anything than something as malleable as the human mind is most susceptible.

However, one thing which leapt out at me in the story as 'wrong' was the part in her memoir where she takes pride in refusing even a single (out of over a thousand) commutation of capital punishment.
IRL, even whilst sponsoring Commons free votes on re-introducing the rope, she firmly stated she would never support re-introduction of a mandatory death sentence, and I genuinely believe she meant that; probably from being a trained lawyer and therefore knowing (as even Kenneth Clarke has said about her) that the judicial process is inherently flawed in some ways.
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#34
However, one thing which leapt out at me in the story as 'wrong' was the part in her memoir where she takes pride in refusing even a single (out of over a thousand) commutation of capital punishment.
IRL, even whilst sponsoring Commons free votes on re-introducing the rope, she firmly stated she would never support re-introduction of a mandatory death sentence, and I genuinely believe she meant that; probably from being a trained lawyer and therefore knowing (as even Kenneth Clarke has said about her) that the judicial process is inherently flawed in some ways.
Really? Huh. I just read that part today and I figured it was one of the more plausible Moments of Maggie Madness®. I wasn't aware that she opposed a mandatory death penalty IOTL, and so I figured that she would have no problem prosecuting murder convicts to the fullest extent of the law. The new bit of context does make that part seem much more dubious. I've just been reading through "Fear, Loathing and Gumbo", and her characterization there as anti-IRA hardliner has probably influenced my perception of her as perfectly willing to kill where the law permits.

The one bit earlier on where she details her "reforms" in the field of social welfare (cutting benefits across the board) also seemed to fit in with the image I have of her, but I don't have enough context to know how much benefit-cutting she actually did as Prime Minister, so I don't think I can accurately evaluate that part for plausibility.
 
#35
I've just been reading through "Fear, Loathing and Gumbo", and her characterization there as anti-IRA hardliner has probably influenced my perception of her as perfectly willing to kill where the law permits.
If set after 1984, then the events of Brighton, 1984 are likely to colour her perception of the IRA. There was also the assassinations of Ewart-Biggs, Airey Neave, and Lord Mountbatten (off the top of my head). Given those, it would not be surprising for her to be an anti-IRA hardliner.

And yet there was the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, which is hardly the act of a simple anti-IRA hardliner.
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#36
If set after 1984, then the events of Brighton, 1984 are likely to colour her perception of the IRA. There was also the assassinations of Ewart-Biggs, Airey Neave, and Lord Mountbatten (off the top of my head). Given those, it would not be surprising for her to be an anti-IRA hardliner.

And yet there was the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, which is hardly the act of a simple anti-IRA hardliner.
It isn't set after 1984. The POD of that sprawling timeline happens in Louisiana in 1971, but the main divergence with regards to the UK is that Heath hangs on in 1974 and makes Thatcher Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in an effort to "break" her. She then implements a bunch of highly draconian laws that make the situation many times worse and force her resignation.
 
#37
It isn't set after 1984. The POD of that sprawling timeline happens in Louisiana in 1971, but the main divergence with regards to the UK is that Heath hangs on in 1974 and makes Thatcher Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in an effort to "break" her. She then implements a bunch of highly draconian laws that make the situation many times worse and force her resignation.
Thatcher of 1974 was still gathering experience, and was more willing to compromise than many gave her credit for. Her first confrontation with the miners in 1980 (I think it was that date) resulted in a negotiated settlement because she didn't think she'd win. She was also the architect of the Anglo-Irish Agreement - even after the 1984 bomb.

As one who has a bit of knowledge about the Troubles in the 1970s, well, I can get very picky. OTL, Roy Mason was Northern Ireland Secretary 1976-1979, and he was without doubt a hardliner. It's debated whether there is cause and effect, but his appointment coincided with a sharp drop in the murder rate (1976: 297. 1977: 111. 1978: 80. 1979: 120). He also faced the Ulster Workers Council strike attempts in 1977. Previously, UWC strikes had brought about concessions to the loyalists. Not this time.

Frankly, given the situation in Northern Ireland in the 1974-1976 period, I'd be curious to know how the situation could be made worse. You had Prod-a-Prod, in which the boys in Green would kidnap a teenage Protestant, and beat them to death in a pub as entertainment. You had Loyalist bombs going off without warning in Mothercare shops, because Catholics used them more than Protestants. You had firefighters and ambulance drivers being threatened with kneecappings if they dared help someone from the other side.

My apologies. The Troubles of the 1970s is something of a specialist subject for me.
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#38
Frankly, given the situation in Northern Ireland in the 1974-1976 period, I'd be curious to know how the situation could be made worse. You had Prod-a-Prod, in which the boys in Green would kidnap a teenage Protestant, and beat them to death in a pub as entertainment. You had Loyalist bombs going off without warning in Mothercare shops, because Catholics used them more than Protestants. You had firefighters and ambulance drivers being threatened with kneecappings if they dared help someone from the other side.

My apologies. The Troubles of the 1970s is something of a specialist subject for me.
No need to apologize, it makes sense. I don't know much about the Troubles, so I only assumed that those of "Gumbo" are worse than those of OTL. "Gumbo"'s updates often go on a day-by-day basis, and by 1975-1976, there's another IRA attack on unarmed civilians every couple of days. I don't know if the violence reached that level in OTL but in neither case is it a pretty situation, as you have pointed out here.
 
#39
No need to apologize, it makes sense. I don't know much about the Troubles, so I only assumed that those of "Gumbo" are worse than those of OTL. "Gumbo"'s updates often go on a day-by-day basis, and by 1975-1976, there's another IRA attack on unarmed civilians every couple of days. I don't know if the violence reached that level in OTL but in neither case is it a pretty situation, as you have pointed out here.
I did a TL once from June-Dec 1976, which focused on the Troubles. It sprawled rather, taking in US Presidential election, Lebanese Civil War, Uganda/Tanzania war, Cyprus, developments towards the Iranian Revolution, the UK political scene, Jimmy Savile, and all sorts of stuff.

I very specifically did it on a one day Real Life matched one day TL. It was an interesting experiment. Some parts worked, some not so much.

I also happened to have done a couple of tours in Northern Ireland, in Belfast 1973, and along the border (without being terribly specific which side of the border) in 1978.

The situation was such that in 1976 OTL, people got pissed off enough with it for the Peace Marches to start up. Daily attacks for 1976 was about par. Some successful, some less so. You also had a lot of very high tech gear floating around, including anti-tank missiles, claymore mines, and so on. One enterprising, if not necessarily terribly clever group, had the Cunning Plan to hold up a petrol (gas) station. That wasn't so bad. The fact that one of the group was armed with a flamethrower made one question the sanity of the place.

It wasn't just the IRA. People talk about the IRA, but they weren't exactly the only group of balaclava maniacs. Off the top of my head, there was the INLA, the UVF, UDF, UFF, Third Force. You then had the splinter groups, because the IRA, as one example, broke into the Provisionals, Continuity, New, and so on.

Northern Ireland of the 1970s (and 1980s, although I know less about the 1980s. I wasn't there) was a mess, which is why I get a bit annoyed at those current politicians and others who casually dismiss the likelihood of a return of the Troubles. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that playing fast and loose with the situation isn't a great idea.
 

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Location
Reims
#40
I did a TL once from June-Dec 1976, which focused on the Troubles. It sprawled rather, taking in US Presidential election, Lebanese Civil War, Uganda/Tanzania war, Cyprus, developments towards the Iranian Revolution, the UK political scene, Jimmy Savile, and all sorts of stuff.
Can you link that? I’d love to read it!
I very specifically did it on a one day Real Life matched one day TL. It was an interesting experiment. Some parts worked, some not so much.

I also happened to have done a couple of tours in Northern Ireland, in Belfast 1973, and along the border (without being terribly specific which side of the border) in 1978.
That’s incredible. Research can never be an equal substitute for real-life experience. I imagine that your 1976 story was all the more poignant to write because of your experiences.