Other and better worlds

21st July 2188

I have pleasure in welcoming students to this course on alternative histories. As you all know it is nearly fifty years since scientists established that what had been theory was actually fact and that trillions of alternative time lines exist alongside our own. While it is impossible to interact with them we are able to observe them and so we have the means of studying how small individual changes can change the course of history.

This term we will be looking at the effect of a decision by President Eisenhower of the USA to ignore ingrained prejudices against what many of his countrymen saw as imperialism and to support the British and their allies at the time of the Suez crisis in 1956. Although the results of the consequent fall of the Egyptian President Nasser were profound for the Middle East what we are concerned with on this course is the ways in which European, and particularly British history was affected.

Success led to the British Prime Minister Eden recovering from physical and political problems to lead the country for many more years but the most significant change was to the British psyche. For a long time the people had felt they faced nothing but decline but now they were invigorated by the results of standing up for themselves again. It led to the political class becoming dominated by patriots rather than the careerists who so disfigured our own history. In later years the Conservative party was led by those who placed principle above personal advancement, such as Enoch Powell and a Margaret Thatcher unhampered by Euro appeasers. The Labour party elected leaders of the stamp of Peter Shore, a truly patriotic socialist, while even the Liberals turned to better men such as the erstwhile Chairman of the Scottish Young Liberals, Alan Sked, who in our reality became the founder of UKIP.

Abroad the reinforced friendship with the USA allowed the Union of English Speaking peoples and the Commonwealth to become the foundation of the AngloSphere, where like minded nations, linked by language, culture and history became a real force for good in the world. Although America's military and economic might and the growth of India as a world power meant that the UK was not the biggest player the fact that it was the fountainhead and epicentre of the English tradition meant that it retained its position as a truly great nation. The increasing trade across the world and the prosperity it brought ensured that the Royal Navy remained a significant force and the reduction of Britain's armed forces which so damaged our past did not happen in that timeline.

Within Europe, as the UK did not desert EFTA, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland remained members and the organisation prospered, thanks to its concentration on free trade, not on creating a political union. However what was to become the EU faired much less well. Without the British brake on federalist ambitions they very rapidly proceeded to become an economic and political union but, as happened in our reality, this led first to German domination and the impoverishment of the southern states followed by revolution, civil war and the collapse of Europe as a developed area. That we in our reality left the EU in time to avoid their fate is something for which we must be grateful.

Your first project is to prepare a paper on the way in our history principled patriotic politicians were replaced by self interested professional careerists and how they were responsible for the disaster of our now almost forgotten membership of the defunct European Union.

Next term we will look at a timeline in which the death in childhood of the future Kaiser Wilhelm II tempered German militarism and thus avoided the World Wars of the 20th Century, Nazism and the Bolshevik revolution, illustrating how the life of one individual can have tremendous effects on history.