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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

TheButterflyComposer

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Leaving aside clearly irreconcilable arguments about fuel strategy,
AAR prompt, heal the divide between both sides of the fuel strategy debate.
 

Le Jones

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1.png


Chapter 44, Whitehall, 26 August 1936

1602966669398.png


Eden walked through Whitehall, his usual flair dented by the newspaper posters that seemed to have sprung up everywhere. Baldwin had spared him from any real responsibility but as a member of the Cabinet he wondered, now that the affair had become a scandal and that scandal now risked becoming a full-blown constitutional crisis, what it meant for the National Government.

As ever he thrilled to trot up to the Foreign Office, he nodded genially to the porter and practically bounded up the stairs. Today, the dark portents of the King and Mrs Simpson aside, augured well.

“You may, Foreign Secretary,” Vansittart greeted him with faint amusement, “may wish to consult with the newspapers”.

Eden snorted in derision. “No thank you, I am keeping a politic distance between us and the Palace’s woes.”

With a very slight smile, Vansittart handed Eden a collection of cuttings. “This one is my favourite,” he said with relish, “it is quite the likeness of you”.

1602966738465.png


Eden peered at the small print. Vansittart, mischievously, was ready. “It says ‘heah, I say, fair play! You shouldn’t encourage the aggressor, you know. After all, my friend and I aren’t trying to help his victim”.

“Thank you,” Eden said tersely. “Damn that Low!”

“Spain rumbles on, I’m afraid,” Vansittart said pointedly. “Even with Soviet support for our non-intervention plan, there is no sign of the war ending. Heavy shelling against Irun continues, and I have word that an Irish group has formed to fight on behalf of the rebels.”

Eden rolled his eyes. “Is there a nation on this Earth not contemplating involvement in this conflict?”

“Us,” Vansittart said, simply. That earned him an angry look. “Before we go down for the signing, there have been no changes, not even cosmetic ones, overnight. The Admiralty has accepted that Article Seven will give them Alexandria as a port if Malta becomes untenable, the protections of Britons in Egypt are guaranteed.”

“Does it,” Eden wondered aloud, “remove the potential for trouble?”

“I think so, they can take this back to Cairo arguing that it gives them greater autonomy, they get the right to conduct foreign affairs but Lampson remains, we just call him ambassador, and they can’t act in a way which violates the treaty. But it is a virtual blank cheque for us militarily, as British forces, certainly for the next twenty years, will be within a few hours distance of the places where trouble involving risk to the lives of Britons and other Europeans might take place. We can take it for granted that one of our ships will be within a short steaming distance of Egyptian ports. So we have protected our people within Egypt, and there is little risk of intervention by a third power before HMG could intervene.”

Eden nodded. It was all as they had discussed, so many times over the last few months.

They retired to one of the larger chambers for the ceremony, Eden, charmingly, ignoring Lord Halifax and Ramsay MacDonald for the company of Mostafa El-Nahas, the Egyptian Prime Minister. In fluent Arabic he greeted the Egyptian like a long-lost comrade, the Egyptian delighting at the favouritism shown by the elegant Briton. Nahas, a schemer by nature, couldn’t help but push the Englishman on the Simpson Crisis; Vansittart watched, fascinated, as the Foreign Secretary coquettishly laughed away Nahas’ clumsy jibes.

Eden, only slightly irritated by the coarse Arabic utterances at Mrs Simpson's sexual proclivities, continue charmingly in fluent, elegant Arabic. “There was something that you wanted to mention?” With the signatories to the Treaty assembling Eden wanted to get on with the final bits of ‘horse trading’.

“I will shortly be writing formally a diplomatic note,” El-Nahas said, in his earthy Egyptian-Arabic, “that as His Majesty the King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions…”

“Yes yes,” Eden, usually so diplomatic, was suddenly bored, testily keen to keep the discussion moving.

“…is the first foreign sovereign to be represented in Egypt by an ambassador, that ambassadors from Britain will be considered senior to the other representatives accredited to the Court of His Majesty the King of Egypt.”

Eden doubted, very much, that El-Nahas was being entirely honest here. The usual rule of embassy conduct was that the senior ambassador was, as he had stated, the longest serving emissary; the problem was that upon the longest serving ambassador leaving, the next longest would ‘step up. Eden wondered whether this ingratiating gesture was deliberate or due to a lack of understanding. He simply smiled his thanks. Vansittart, never far away, was trying and failing to hide a smirk after Eden translated for him. “You had other points,” Eden continued to El-Nahas, in his effortlessly polished Arabic.

“We will, as you know, shortly abolish the European Bureau of the Public Security Department. We will, however, retain in the City Police European officers for the next five years. The police will remain under the command of British officers for five years also.”

Eden translated for Vansittart, who shrugged. “Seems fair enough,” the diplomat muttered in reply.

“Given our friendship with Britain, we will generally prefer British subjects as possessing the best qualifications in police positions,” El-Nahas continued.

Vansittart was clearly focussed on the detail, and his eyes narrowed as he spotted an issue. “Sir, if I may, what about the Egyptian Army?”

“We will of course remove British officers from the Egyptian Army,” El-Nahas said quickly, “but will only choose British subjects for foreign instructor roles. We will only send Egyptian officers for training courses in Britain or delivered only by British subjects. We would only use British equipment in our forces so that we do not differ in type or organisation from British forces. We would want you to use your influence to ensure that we are supplied, at the same price as British forces, the equipment that we need.”

Vansittart and Eden exchanged knowing looks. “Thank you, Prime Minister”, Eden said finally, “I look forward to those diplomatic notes”.

There was a commotion around the table as the cameramen arrived to film, and take photographs, of the ceremony. Vansittart, frowning at the disturbance, turned back to El-Nahas. “I would also ask, Prime Minister,” he said firmly, “for your written assurance that you will not support the recent Arab disturbances in Palestine. The situation there is a delicate one, and I would hate for our new alliance to be strained by what could be perceived as an unfriendly action.

The look that Eden gave Vansittart was one of goggle-eyed incredulity. Vansittart was impressed at the swiftness with which his face flushed. Turning back to El-Nahas, the Foreign Secretary muttered something very quickly. “Of course,” El-Nahas said, placidly. Vansittart had no way of knowing what Eden said.

“I did not,” Eden hissed to Vansittart, “begin to translate that outrageous question. Not today, not now. Ah, Edward,” Eden moved off to welcome Lord Halifax and Ramsay Madonald, the other British signatories to the treaty.

“Ah Anthony,” Halifax began, stooping over one of the Egyptians as they exchanged pleasantries. “I would be obliged if you would wemind me of the key pwovisions. I, ah, wecall the gist from Cabinet,” as ever Halifax’s plummy tones meant that the word was uttered as ‘cabinnette’.

“Of course, My Lord,” Eden said grandly. "We remove our military forces from the Egyptian cities to the Suez Canal area, but remain in Sudan unconditionally, the number of our troops in Egypt capped at ten thousand soldiers and four hundred pilots with the staff required for administrative and technical work in peacetime.”

“What about war, or cwisis?”

If Eden was irritated at Halifax' ignorance over a treaty that he was going to put his name to, he didn't show it, and instead smiled soothingly. “During a state of war we have the right to increase the number of forces. The Egyptian government would be required to provide all facilities and assistance to the British forces including the right to use Egyptian ports and airports and roads.”

“A ha.” Halifax was clearly overwhelmed.

Eden again supressed any irritation. “There are some other provisions, the key ones, I suppose out of brevity, being that we have twenty years breathing space. After twenty years from the implementation of this agreement we meet again to determine if the presence of British troops is necessary as the Egyptian army may be able to guarantee shipping in the Suez Canal safely. We also allow them the freedom to make treaties with foreign countries, provided that these are not inconsistent with the provisions of our agreement with them.”

Halifax, silent, appeared to have taken in the information, and was as prepared as he was ever going to be. “Thank you, Anthony, the twavails of this Woyal dwama.”

“I understand, Edward,” Eden said reassuringly. “I have been managing this effort on my own,” he said in matter-of-fact way, with only a suggestion of martyrdom.

They all took their seats, Eden making an elegant speech (in both English and Arabic). He insisted that he and El-Nahas sign first, together, a gesture ruined by El-Nahas’ faffing and bumbling that meant that Eden had to wait for him.

1602967413599.png


One by one the dignitaries signed, and then there was the agreement for British forces’ immunities and privileges. Beaming to the camera, Eden basked in the glow. He had achieved something.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

Well, I am sorry for the absence; as ever work-related bollocks as the case of the moment blossomed quite dramatically and your humble author had to do some emergency case management. We're back to August 1936, for a very odd moment, the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936. This is not a game event, but by God it should be...

The treaty considerations are true to the history, for ease I have had Eden summarise them to Halifax (thank you, Edward VIII!) and El-Nahas really did offer a raft, nay a veritable cloud, of clarificatory notes that seemed designed to ‘butter up’ the British (I find the wonderful note about the HE the British Ambassador being the senior member of the diplomatic community particularly crawling). I can’t work out if El-Nahas, who was probably sharper that my portrayal above, did this as an inexpensive way of soothing the British, or whether he truly believed that this was required for his country. I have also chosen to have the British respond in a very mixed way; some things are real strengths (I would contend, in particular, that continued British domination – if not leadership of the Police force is a real asset for internal control). I think that the British did very, very well here, as Vansittart is quick to realise (his words come straight from the FO assessment). The British are not exactly weak in Egypt, but locking in a (theoretically) more independent nation having given very little away (the ability to conduct limited diplomacy, some curtailment on the protection of Europeans) is a victory. The clarification of forces (around 80 – 85% of the Treaty is focussed on military affairs) and blank cheque for emergencies and war was vital for what followed. But...

...ok, ok, the basis for my niggling frustration is that I hate the way that HOI4 handles the British Empire. I firmly believe that Egypt was, even before the treaty, far more of an independent concern than India. It has its own army (heavily dominated by the British, yes, but still much more of a separate concern than the forces of the Raj), manages more of its domestic affairs, and yet is as integrated into the UK as Jamaica or Malta. India, meanwhile, led by a London appointed Viceroy with a Secretary of State in the Cabinet, is much ‘freer’ in the game, and has, thanks to the ever maniacal focus trees, the ability to wander off as a loosely managed puppet. And as for the Army, this is a farce: Indian Army officers, while nominally of a separate organisation, interracted with their British Army colleagues much more than the Egyptians. At the higher ranks, they came and went within the regular British Army. ‘Indian’ Army divisions contained British Army battalions and yet India is a distinct (puppet) regime. No, no, no.

But now the hypocrisy – “well, Le Jones, why don’t you release Egypt as a puppet? No? You tart, you hypocrite!” I'm ascribing that to @TheButterflyComposer - or something like it. And you’d be right. I get an excuse to achieve parity of dealing with the Empire later, but for now, I do nothing. Let’s move on…

This is another update that clings in its main part to real world events, of course I splashed the newspaper headlines around to remind us all that in this timeline the Egyptian treaty is being signed amidst swirling domestic problems. I was tempted to have the Egyptians play a more scheming role, and make the most of the Regal woes, but that would be unrealistic.

Open surprise at a governor knowing what he's doing and allowing ungentlemenly warfare on his patch.
The spook not bumbling around and easily getting caught, nor being a super sleuth who managed to figure out the Italian torpedo tech and code books by himself.
The whole mission being well planned, executed and concluded without a hitch, and with valuable information.

And then Whitehall sits on it until time stops. *sigh* Whilst I rarely have sympathy for secret agencies, you really have to feel for the poor bastarfs risking life and limb only for their own nations to continually attack them and never use anything they manage to achieve for any good.
Not much to say on the naval side of things as is my wont, but a very welcome slice of derring-do. How much Whitehall will do this this new kernel of information is anyone's guess, of course. But nice to have it.
An interesting little vignette. Butler does get around! He took a risk being such a lubber whilst posing as someone nautical, if not an actual sailor, but got away with it. Given how the breaking of treaties had become such a popular international sport by then, in certain quarters anyway, perhaps it’s not surprising the British didn’t bother complaining. What would it have gained them? A sad situation.
And alas this is what happened, more or less, in OTL. The British went to great efforts to get the information, but as @El Pip says shortly it made no sense to shame a nation you're actively hoping to keep onside if / when Ze Germans get silly. I view the whole saga as a good example of the interwar lack of direction in the UK.

Whether it was planned or just a case of serendipity, HMS Bulldog getting a cameo here is quite apropos, considering what she was most known for IOTL.
It was deliberate - she was in the Western Med at the time, and would should shortly sail for Malta for a spot of maintenance. It is therefore plausible / possible that she was alongside Gib at the time of the Gorizia episode.

I can understand not making a formal protest, by this point Italy has already flounced out of the Second London Naval Treaty so it's not going to achieve anything in treaty terms and as everyone was flexing limits it won't make much difference anywhere else. Italy is still seen as having value as a counter to Germany and keeping them 'on side', or at least not going full on Axis, is probably more valuable than any slight benefit from revealing Mussolini's treaty breaking. After all France and the UK did succeed in keeping Italy neutral until France had basically fallen, so on it's own terms that part of the plan worked, sadly it was one of the few that did.
HOLD THAT THOUGHT - when war comes, later on, the role of Italy is one of the more interesting aspects. In this instance, I kind of agree; and in addition to my "Whitehall faff" point, I suspect it was much to learn about the performance of the ships of a potential adversary than anything else.

I do feel that governors get a a bit of a rum deal in popular imagination. Oh you do get the duds, but mostly they do important if unheralded work and do it well, despite the best attempts of the foreign office to prevent them doing so. Indeed I also believe that most governors feel that the real "enemy" they have to face is not whatever immediate local situation they have in front of them, but the foreign office and whichever rhubarb is currently Secretary of State. So it was nice to see one given a chance to shine, if at once remove.
Harington Harington was an interesting character; his quiet, sleepy world became mad in '36 with the SCW, the hilarious Med cruise of Haile Selassie and the rise of Italy. His obsession with Haile Selassie aside (the urgent cables to London on the topic are hilarious), I think that he was a decent administrator; just the right amount of G&S-esque uniform wearing, with some initiative and political resolve.

Very nice, I couldn't tell which way things would go as the door was being opened, luckily for our heroes the Italians kept to their usual level of competence. ;)
One has to feel bad for the Italian navy, they were not particulary good shots and could be lax at times, but they displayed valor and agressive tactics during the war... and had some absolutely beautiful ships!
if not for a fatal lack of oil, the Italian Navy might have proved itself to be a formidable foe. But... if Germany, Japan or Italy had possessed a ready supply of oil the history of that century would be vastly different.
And actually funding their radar scientist. And better fire control. And reliable shell factories. And different leadership. And some sort of co-operation between air and sea. And different tactics. And better morale. And not having orders that torpedoes were 'too expensive to fire'. And ideally not fighting the Royal Navy, but only the French which all their tactics, strategy and ship building had been focused on.

Fuel shortages might not even make their top 10 problems now I think about it. Italy managed plenty of sorties and operations in the first two years of the war, they just didn't have much success when they did leave port, though they did manage some. It wasn't till late in '42 that fuel became a problem and the die had long since been cast by then.
Ah, Italy. You're right about their ships, they still do style (perhaps stereotypically) very well! As for WW2, Italy was a regional power with a great power mentality; in so many areas, as you highlight, she was just not 'up there' with the big boys. I like and agree with the list, perhaps adding that she was tethered to an ally who didn't share her geopolitical and strategic goals, who didn't really consult (and who wasn't consulted) on strategic decisions and whose operational style was, well, slightly different.

But ultimately? Her government just wasn't self aware and waged a war that she wasn't even remotely ready for.

And I'm wondering how we might utilise this resource for the betterment of aarkind. Recent and past threads have demonstrated a strong thirst for topic threads on the writing process, aars, ideas, narratives and all that stuff. Should there be a separate thread somewhere for the prompt list so we can continue to add to it (even post short story/rough drafts of ideas) and talk about stuff like that and just have a general natter, much like the old bAAR system? Or is it a product of this thread that would die swiftly if I foolishly tore it out?
I actually love this idea.

Italy's problems aren't germany's, true. They're under no real threat from Russia, the allies at least speak to them even if they don't like them, and they have a colonial empire. It's shit, but it does/will have oil. Eventually. And all their neighbours are weak or French, so they're basically playing on easy mode, so long as they don't deliberately muck it up for themselves...
Oh bugger - started writing the above and then this. Well, you're right.

Just caught up reading through all the updates. Great writing and coverage of events and working through the game-play vs good, believable story.:)
Thank you, as ever, mon brave.

Avoid that and it probably goes like Franco Spain - not a nice place but nothing blatantly and publiclly horrific, propped up by US money post-war as it's anti-communist and then a return to democracy when the leader dies.
A fascinating 'what if', and one with which I agree. Italy has a more, arguably, to offer the US / NATO - it's a constitutional monarchy - so possibly more stable, has a bigger empire than Spain, hasn't gone through a destructive civil war. Quite an intriguing thought mon brave.

Not sure how much oil Italy can get out of Albania in HOI4? I don't recall it being amazing without supplementing it with foreign exports or Libya. At least, not enough to keep up with a mobile land army and a navy burning fuel. But in game, it is very easy for Italy to take over the balkans, get Spain in an alliance or take their med islands, and Turkey as well. Then stay out of every war unless and until the amercians show up, and just pick their side as per usual.
I am in no way surprised. That sort of alternate history would be the wrong-sort-of-fun so obviously Paradox wouldn't include it.
Well, I would say they seem obsessed with adding in as many royalist factions as possible to every country they update so...I wouldn't be surprised if they did. I hope at least a mod is working on it.
I'm rapidly fed up with the increasingly erratic focus trees, more like a drunken teenager joyriding a stolen Vauxhall Corsa on a deprived small town estate than a logical alternative history. I've bought, but not played, the latest Balkany / Turkey one.

No, a strong industrial base was not a necessity for an effective Italian fleet, just a necessity for rapidly replacing losses and maintaining naval strength. France and the Soviet Union had a stronger industrial base and arguably no better a navy, and Japan's navy was far stronger on an equivalent or weaker base.

Radar would have been nice to have, but really no-one but Britain did, and both German and Japanese navies managed to fight effectively without it - at least for a while.

Italian fire control was apparently quite good, at least on the 'Littorio' class. Apparently, shell quality-control was to blame for the inaccuracy... but while we could look at British issues with shells cracking rather than penetrating, or German and American issues with fuzing, we can just say that most navies had issues of some sort or another. As for different leadership... they didn't do badly considering they were not able to do a lot of training or make many sorties (see 'lack of oil'). It's true they didn't want to risk the big ships, but you are conflating British strategy with Italian. Britain needed the Italians to come out and fight and lose - the Italians were not well-served by doing that.

And as for leadership - read up on the actions of the light forces. A lot of Italian units fought hard and well, though the men weren't gung-ho for the war.

No, I don't agree that Italy needed all of those things you list. I do think the single most necessary thing was a steady oil supply, making naval operations more frequent, giving operational experience and enabling larger components to be used. Britain would still have won but they'd have needed a lot more forces in the Med, I think. I won;t argue that Italy's navy was good - just that, with sufficient oil, it would have performed better.
There is a difference between shells that don't always do their job when they hit and shells you struggle to even achieve a hit with. One seems much worse than the other.


You are trying to have you cake and eat it. Or perhaps bunker your oil and burn it. Italy was either not coming out to fight due to strategy (fleet in being, etc) or wanted to come out more but couldn't (lack of oil). It can't be both and I think it was neither;

Take Vittorio Veneto. Commissioned and operational August 1940 and straight out to attack Convoy MB.3, then sortieing after the British fleet, then out again in October after MB.5 Then in November the Italian Fleet got Tarranto-ed (that is a verb right?). Veneto went out to fight the Battle of Cape Spartivento in December, shortly after Giulio Cesare got bombed by the RAF and put into dock for a few months and Veneto was the only operational battleship Italy had left. But stil she went out to intercept Force H in February '41. Battle of Cape Matapan was March and it took until August for her to be repaired, but then straight back out to try and intercept the British fleet. Then in September trying to attack the Operation Halbeard convoy, a few more sorties later in the year and then getting torpedoed by HMS Urge in Decemeber and out for repairs until early '42, then straight out to try and attack the Op Vigorous convoy in June.

My point is that the Italian fleet seemed busy enough, lots of sorties made and sailing out. Now I accept that having so much of the fleet in dry dock after Taranto made it easier to spread the fuel around the few available units, but for the early years of the war fuel shortages do not appear to be that much of a limiting factor. Middle of 1942 things do change, fuel shortages do start to bite, but in the early years there is enough stocks to enable a lot of operations. That so many sorties end in nothing is in large part because the aerial recon and naval intelligence keep letting them down and fail to find the enemy (and in fairness the RAF also often fail to find the Italians either).

With some radar, better co-ordination with the air force, better tactics around scouting with light units all those sorties might have achieved something, instead a lot of fuel was spent sailing around failing to even make contact.


I'm well aware of their and exploits and I see them as proof of how bad the leadership and morale in the main fleet was. As you say Italian sailors could and did fight well in some units, so the fact that so many did not points to failures in the leadership of the main fleet. Had the light units attached to the fleet shown the same aggression and flair as the MAS forces you'd expect the set piece naval battles to have gone better.
@El Pip -
You have it exactly back-ways round. You cannot be a credible fleet-in-being if you never come out and fight. And choosing a strategy for reasons of strength and oil reserves doesn't mean you'd choose the same one if you had more oil.
I'm on the "oil would've helped, but wouldn't have resisted O'Connor, or stopped the Russians, or persuaded Franco to let them try for Gib" faction.

Oooooh. Thank you!


One of his problems appears to be that he lacks a trusted advisor. he has friends/sycophants in the Belvedere Set and he has inherited his fathers advisors, but it appears he has no-one he trusts and believes who will tell him what he needs to be told but doesn't want to hear. If Duff Cooper did decide to side with parliament and the country told the King "It is love or duty, in this instance you cannot have both." I doubt the King would listen and the result would be cutting his ties with Duff Cooper not a change in the King's thinking.

To be fair I've read that Wallace would also have been prepared to settle as a mistress as even she could see the problems, so if even she couldn't tell him the hard truth I think this is just a fundamental problem with Edward.
She absolutely would, as I hope that I have portrayed, have been prepared to be a mistress. Any attempt for something more formal came, both here and in OTL, from the King.

AAR prompt, heal the divide between both sides of the fuel strategy debate.
I intended to post tomorrow, but I saw the AAR signal in the sky and knew my duty. And also, the wife is watching Strictly. (shudders)
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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This is not a game event, but by God it should be...
It won't come until they update Africa. Which...I mean, it should happen before south America at least. Probably something like 'Desert Rats and Foxes' or some such tosh. Eurgh.

But yeah, that'll be when north Africa especially is 'fixed'. Hopefully Ethiopia as well, so they have something to do. But Italy also needs an updated focus tree because it remains the only one of the major options that hasn't yet.

ok, ok, the basis for my niggling frustration is that I hate the way that HOI4 handles the British Empire.
Mm. Yes. Malaysia makes no sense either apparently, as I found out when El Pip blew his top over it.

I firmly believe that Egypt was, even before the treaty, far more of an independent concern than India.
Well...it is an independent country, and only ever went so far as extremely dependant protectorate puppet at various times. Makes much more sense for the british to own suez, and have eypgt puppeted/vassaled. And India shouldnt be a dominion at the start. Makes all Indian history alt history by default.

It has its own army (heavily dominated by the British, yes, but still much more of a separate concern than the forces of the Raj), manages more of its domestic affairs, and yet is as integrated into the UK as Jamaica or Malta
Cos Africa doesn't matter in hoi4. At all.

India, meanwhile, led by a London appointed Viceroy with a Secretary of State in the Cabinet, is much ‘freer’ and has, thanks to the ever maniacal focus trees, wanders of as a loosely managed puppet. And as for the Army, Indian Army officers, while nominally of a separate organisation, interracted with their British Army colleagues much more than the Egyptians. At the higher ranks, they came and went within the regular British Army. ‘Indian’ Army divisions contained British Army battalions and yet India is a distinct (puppet) regime. No, no, no.
Tbf, India doesn't matter either.

But now the hypocrisy – “well, Le Jones, why don’t you release Egypt as a puppet? No? You tart, you hypocrite!” I'm ascribing that to @TheButterflyComposer - or something like it.
Goodness me, I'd never call you a tart.

And you’d be right.
Of course!

I get an excuse to achieve parity of dealing with the Empire later, but for now, I do nothing. Let’s move on…
Spoken like the spirit of Halifax. What're your plans for the empire then, in game terms? I'm asking, knowing that you can't answer.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT - when war comes, later on, the role of Italy is one of the more interesting aspects.
Oooo. That means Italy did a HOI4 Italy and locked Mussolini in the closet, kept neutral at least for a while and (hopefully) just very carefully mucked around in the balakns out of everyone's way.

As for WW2, Italy was a regional power with a great power mentality; in so many areas, as you highlight, she was just not 'up there' with the big boys.
Not in HOi4 either. Which I quite enjoy actually. Power with limits, and easy to begin. And...crucially, something to fear (Germany and France).

I actually love this idea.
Moved to the bAAR for discussion on that topic...Will update the list when I can though.

Oh bugger - started writing the above and then this. Well, you're right.
Of course!

A fascinating 'what if', and one with which I agree. Italy has a more, arguably, to offer the US / NATO - it's a constitutional monarchy - so possibly more stable, has a bigger empire than Spain, hasn't gone through a destructive civil war. Quite an intriguing thought mon brave.
Imagine if Italy stayed neutral, and basically played it like HOI4. They kept out of the big war, very carefully fiddled with the balkans until they dominated it with force and diplomacy, and basically waited for Germany to collpase.

I'm rapidly fed up with the increasingly erratic focus trees, more like a drunken teenager joyriding a stolen Vauxhall Corsa on a deprived small town estate than a logical alternative history. I've bought, but not played, the latest Balkany / Turkey one.
I haven't got it yet. Not sure why I would really. All I know is it once again makes Italy weaker and more pathetic than all of its neighbours, which makes me sad. I like playing Italy.

I intended to post tomorrow, but I saw the AAR signal in the sky and knew my duty. And also, the wife is watching Strictly. (shudders)
You mean this thing actually works?!

I must inform the Queen!
 

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and I have word that an Irish group has formed to fight on behalf of the rebels
Ah, the not so famous Irish Bandera, probably the most unlucky and short-lived volunteer unit in the Spanish Civil War. I love details like these.
 

DensleyBlair

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A wonderfully pompous ceremony, if I may say so. El-Nahas absolutely sounds like a man who wants something, and Eden is as ever a preening old so-and-so who, nevertheless, has done something pretty handy. (I wonder how that renegotiation will go for him in twenty years time…)
 

stnylan

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I suspect El-Nahas is perhaps knowing quite well what he is doing - a few simple (and largely meaningless) gestures to stroke Britain's pride. Even in the mid-30s it was clear the Empire was going on a trajectory of .. if not dissolution then at least a centripetal evolution. A little patience could go a long way - and in a world where a European nation has just taken over an African one being under the British aegis still conveys some benefits.

This update has also got me thinking - what other Foreign Secretaries have spoken a language traditionally seen as non-European (ie, not French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian etc.).

Again this update also goes to show that the ordinary business of government never stops, even in the midst of crisis. Though I imagine with the crisis this agreement would slip even further from than the front pages than it would usually be.

Final game note: it would be interested to play a HoI4 game where the Empire is largely split up into subjects of varying levels. I understand one reason why it isn't right now - it would end up being a massive boost to the UK from having them all get the default focus tree and access to their manpower via puppet-building etc. (which is why I think you can't release them except as part of the decolonisation focus path in MtG). Still, with a reworked focus tree that isn't quite so powerful might make an interesting mod. Not that I have any time or ability to create such.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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This update has also got me thinking - what other Foreign Secretaries have spoken a language traditionally seen as non-European (ie, not French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian etc.).
Well, french and Latin are the perennial favourites of prime ministers. Occasionally ancient Greek if they're really posh/clever.

Arabic is/was a must in the foreign office civil service for a long time, oil and guns (and increasingly intelligence) makes for keeping them as close to bedfellows as possible.

Final game note: it would be interested to play a HoI4 game where the Empire is largely split up into subjects of varying levels.
You used to be able to just puppet and console command the nations into the proer state condition, but with magical man the guns, paradox made it very difficult for the british empire (and just the british empire) to decolonise itself. Not sure why they did this.

which is why I think you can't release
Quite. Every time you do in the decision tree, you get a million manpower or so. Just allowing someone to run a huge puppet empire right from the begining of the game kinda destroys the object of the game (since that's basically what everyone wants to do). But yes, Britian with every colony and dominion a puppet would be insanely strong.
 

El Pip

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I suppose the argument for keeping Egypt as it is currently represented is that it would all go horribly wrong if it was included - the British AI struggles with defending North Africa as it is, if it wasn't even British territory I dread to think what would happen.

Plus of course while there was an Egyptian Army it was tiny and Egyptian industry, at least on a strategic scale, was minimal. If you want to play as a tiny British puppet that cannot influence anything or build any armed forces of any size, the game already has New Zealand. Or Oman if you want to experience the same thing but in a desert. If you are Egyptian I can understand why you might want to play, but for everyone else it seems like something that will cause problems while adding very little.

On Italy, some interesting teasing. I look forward to seeing what they do differently and how it all links back to Eddie's haste to bring about his doom.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Plus of course while there was an Egyptian Army it was tiny and Egyptian industry, at least on a strategic scale, was minimal. If you want to play as a tiny British puppet that cannot influence anything or build any armed forces of any size, the game already has New Zealand.
Don't be foolish. New Zealand doesn't have the possibility of a decision tree leading to new pharaohs, caliphs and pyramid building.
 

El Pip

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Don't be foolish. New Zealand doesn't have the possibility of a decision tree leading to new pharaohs, caliphs and pyramid building.
But New Zealand does have the truly catastrophic Bob Semple and Schofield Tanks, as well as the entirely fictitious but just as meme worthy "Big Bob" super heavy tank. All of which are clearly worthy of their own individual focus, because they are memes and that's the sort of thing Paradox like.

Actual alt-history options about New Pharaohs and Caliphs or Egypt doing anything interesting would be the wrong sort of fun, so Paradox will never do anything like that. They have strong views about what is the wrong sort of fun and enforce them rigidly.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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But New Zealand does have the truly catastrophic Bob Semple and Schofield Tanks, as well as the entirely fictitious but just as meme worthy "Big Bob" super heavy tank. All of which are clearly worthy of their own individual focus, because they are memes and that's the sort of thing Paradox like.
Memes get YouTube time. And lots and lots of social media time. CK2 pretty much runs its own ad campaign at this point. Makes a lot of business sense.

Actual alt-history options about New Pharaohs and Caliphs or Egypt doing anything interesting would be the wrong sort of fun, so Paradox will never do anything like that. They have strong views about what is the wrong sort of fun and enforce them rigidly.
Can I-

NO. THAT IS THE BAD KIND OF FUN.

I wonder what monarchy options they will give Egypt then (cos they will. They've done that for everyone so far). Napoleon again?
 

DensleyBlair

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I wonder what monarchy options they will give Egypt then (cos they will. They've done that for everyone so far). Napoleon again?
Mamluks for the Twentieth Century as some weird monarcho-populist movement?
 

El Pip

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Mamluks for the Twentieth Century as some weird monarcho-populist movement?
Coptic Pope John XIX becoming ruler of Greater Egypt and gaining cores on the entire continent, in line with his grandiose claim to be Patriarch of all Africa.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Coptic Pope John XIX becoming ruler of Greater Egypt and gaining cores on the entire continent, in line with his grandiose claim to be Patriarch of all Africa.
HRE but in Africa is probably meme enough.
 

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Just a note to say that The Great Big List of Madhouse AAR prompts and Ideas (from A Royal Prerogative) has been updated and is now up to date.
 

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1.png


Chapter 45, London, 31 August 1936

The marchers were a mixed bag; most were working class, easily dismissed by the ever dour Darkins of Scotland Yard as ‘agitators’, a derisive claim made untrue by the presence, among them, of middle class professionals. They were young, old, male and female. Wielding careful, inoffensive banners, there was an air of innocence, something very British, about the eclectic assemblage. The chilly weather continued, the protesters and their police escorts wearing overcoats even though it was, in theory, the height of summer. Forming at Waterloo Station, they advanced, steadily, towards Parliament.


1604467987597.png


“And so, Prime Minister,” Sir John Simon, the Home Secretary, began, “we have three separate protests in support of His Majesty. One, the largest, focussed upon Whitehall and the Palace, one focussed around the East End of London, and the other joining the Whitehall march after marching through the City and through Holborn. The Metropolitan Police believes that it can all be dealt with, all of them, they are so far peaceful.”

Stanley Baldwin rubbed a sour tummy and grunted an acknowledgment of the Home Secretary’s comments. “All because of those newspaper articles?”

“It would seem so, Sir. While the Establishment has rightly closed ranks to support this Government, the artisan and labouring classes appear to believe Beaverbrook’s tripe,” Simon said, his scorn evident.

1604468002987.png


Baldwin frowned, not sure that Simon was particularly helpful. “Anything else?” There was no geniality. Baldwin looked and felt exhausted, and Simon noted that neither he or Vernon Kell, the other visitor, had been offered refreshment.

“We’ve increased the Police presence around key buildings: Parliament, the Palace, Lambeth Palace,” Baldwin frowned at this, Simon saw it and swiftly clarified, “there has been a lot of criticism in the less supportive media of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury”.

“Is Lang under threat?” Baldwin, tetchily, turned to Kell, or ‘K’ as he was known, the Head of the Security Service.

“Frankly, Prime Minister, no. Our intercepts and monitoring reveals nothing alarming.”

“Anything from the Russians? The Irish?” Simon seemed keen to find conspiracy.

1604468075567.png


Kell pulled on his dark tweed waistcoat. “No, Home Secretary. Fenian activity is unremarkable, nothing from home or foreign communists even with the trials taking place in Moscow; there has been an upswing in Spanish Republican sentiment from left-leaning groups and media, but that is focussed upon anti-Nationalist rhetoric.”

Baldwin rubbed his belly again, and, for a moment, closed tired eyes. “Spain, Spain, at the moment it is always Spain. The Americans had a ship bombed off the coast yesterday, it could have been one of ours,” he said, irritated with himself for revealing his frustrations. “Anything from the Palace?”

Simon and Kell exchanged furtive looks. “Nothing, Prime Minister, to suggest a link between Germany and His Majesty,” Simon said warily. “Sir Thomas Gardiner has his people monitoring. A lot of telephone calls to Beaverbrook, and increasing calls between the Palace and the Savoy Hotel.” Baldwin looked blankly, vacantly, at them both. Simon responded. “We believe that Lloyd George has set himself up in the Savoy as this crisis continues. He probably assesses that the will enjoy greater privacy there than in his own residence. Shall I have the Savoy tapped?”

Baldwin thought about it for a moment. “No,” he said, after some consideration. “The time for that has passed, gentlemen.” There was a knock at the door and an aide entered and wordlessly nodded at Baldwin. “Time to go,” he said simply.

He climbed into the car, feeling old and tired, wondering for how long this could go on.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Palace was dark, the minimal lighting trying to downplay the building’s significance and failing miserably while the huge Royal Standard fluttered brilliantly in the night sky. An equerry, a new face for Baldwin, this one a suave looking Flight Lieutenant, welcomed him silkily and escorted him to the audience room, Baldwin wryly wondering if his greater knowledge of the building meant that he was actually guiding the equerry.

The equerry knocked twice, as protocol dictated they didn’t wait, and marched in. Both stopped, both bowed, Baldwin’s noticeably less precise than the Flight Lieutenant’s. “The Prime Minister, Your Majesty.”

“Thank you Inglis, I will be retreating to Fort Belvedere tonight. Would you please let Wallis know to call me there.” That was telling, for the King to so openly mention her name. Baldwin noticed a half empty bottle of a cheap whisky on the side table beside him; the King was clutching a tumbler tightly, his fingers white with the pressure.

“Very good Sir,” Inglis bowed and retreated.

“A new one?” Baldwin jerked a thumb at the door.

“Given recent events the remaining members from my father’s reign felt that they could not continue,” the King said bitterly, not deigning to look at his Prime Minister. “Is this, as they say, it then?”

“Not quite,” Baldwin said in mild reproof, “but this is, I respectfully suggest, the last opportunity for Your Majesty to reconsider your position. I believe that you have two remaining courses; to relinquish your position, or relinquish Mrs Simpson.”

“No, Baldwin,” the King said with a wry smile, “I won’t do it.”

“I have,” Baldwin said wearily, forgetting (but not entirely caring about it) to start with a ‘Sir’, “the endorsement of every one of the Dominion Prime Ministers, I have the Cabinet and the Liberal” he paused, huffing at Sinclair’s recent defection “well I have the Labour leader, I have the Archbishop of Canterbury, I have the Viceroy of India, the Director General of the BBC, all in agreement with my reservations to the Simpson marriage. I have the Houses of Commons and Lords. I have the Duke of York.”

“Ah, Bertie,” the King said sadly. “He and the little wife the golden couple, are they?”

Baldwin ignored what he angrily believed was the King’s self-pitying martyr act. “The Cabinet will convene in two days. As matters stand, Sir, I will recommend that the Government resigns. Should His Majesty wish for me to attend again before then I am at his pleasure.”

"You haven't," the King said, his eyes gazing up as he prepared his words, "convinced Attlee, at least not yet. My people tell me he's offered a hand to the Independents, to the CPGB, for his little meeting."

Baldwin squirmed, Attlee's inability to arrange his wretched gathering was a constant irritant. "Your people," he said with evident, weary scorn, "are obviously well connected." He wondered who it was. Probably Beaverbrook, who was proud of his centrality in the emerging regime.

The King hadn’t summoned Inglis (there was a little bell on a table, discreetly by the King’s side) but Baldwin simply stood up, offered a very correct bow, and retreated. There was a moment of comedy as he tried, and failed, to open the door while still facing the King, and then being swept up in Inglis’ panicked entry. Dignity restored, Baldwin ignored Inglis’ attempts at pleasantries and climbed back into his car, staring out into an uncertain future.

1604468117017.png


In truth he felt desperately tired, fearful for being perceived as the man who brought down the Empire or the Crown, or perhaps even both.

As his car spluttered up to Downing Street he walked sadly past the constable at the door and nodded to Hankey. “Are they all here?”

“They are, Prime Minister,” he said carefully.

“Alright, get a tray of something.”

“Perhaps, given the hour, a whisky? Perhaps a port?”

“Port,” Hankey said wearily.

Baldwin patted his arm. “We’re coming to the end, one way or another,” he said softly.

They went into the Cabinet Room (Baldwin has insisted upon it) to find Chamberlain, Eden and Margesson waiting attentively. “Sit, sit,” Baldwin said, sagging into his usual chair at the centre of the table.

“Prime Minister,” Chamberlain began, stopping when Baldwin wearily waved a hand.

“Neville, Neville, all in good time,” Baldwin’s voice was a tired, raspy whisper. “He’s not going to budge, I’m now certain of it.”

“You delivered,” Hankey asked for all of them, “the ultimatum?”

“I tried,” Baldwin seemed genuinely distressed, “I tried so hard. We may need to resign the Government. Then, I think a new Prime Minister might have the mandate to demand that he abdicate, or else threaten him with it.”

“The Prime Minister is picked by the Sovereign,” Margesson said with pointed glances at Chamberlain and Hankey. “Might not he try and get a supportive man in place?”

Chamberlain snorted. “With no majority? It would be madness. Who would lead it?”

Eden, looking lost in this bickering, stroked his moustache nervously. “Isn’t that irrelevant, at this juncture?”

Hankey, for whom continuity of government mattered very much, frowned, while Chamberlain shook his head. Margesson made a sympathetic expression, “they would be a minority, absolutely, but they’d get some support.”

“Until,” Chamberlain immediately replied, “a vote of no confidence is passed.”

“We need,” Baldwin said sadly, “to plan for that future. Either the King summons whomever I suggest, or he picks his own man to try and buy time.” He sat, quietly, for a few moments, before looking up to Margesson; the Chief Whip offered a silent, subtle, nod. “The name that I will suggest will be Neville’s,” he saw Eden shift awkwardly in his chair, “we need, Anthony, a good domestic head to take the Party and Government through this. You, I hope,” he said with a sharp look at Chamberlain, “will remain as Foreign Secretary.”

Eden said nothing, and the silence stretched out until it was painful. Hankey, finally, broke the silence. “Would it be a National Government?”

1604468250129.png


Baldwin shrugged. “Not after an election,” he said slowly. “If the King summons Neville, then possibly. Simon and MacDonald would support us.”

“Sinclair won’t,” Eden said tartly.

“True,” Baldwin said huffily.

“Atlee?” That was Chamberlain.

Margesson raised an eyebrow. “Labour are all over the place, not to mention the Independent lot. Edwards informs me that they’ll meet in a few days’ time.”

Baldwin shook his head. “I won’t resign until Attlee states his position.” He shook his head again, sadly. “Another promise I won’t keep.”

Margesson was, ever, scribbling in his notebook. “To be frank, Prime Minister, we need the time to get our members back from the recess.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

The beginning of the end for the Baldwin Government, wrapped (rarely) around a game event, the “Working Classes Support Marriage” event. I elected (you will not be surprised) to keep going with the marriage. How would, in a world without easy access to communication capable of broadcasting ordinary subjects’ views around the world, this support be manifested? Well, looking at the real abdication crisis, there were demonstrations of support for Edward VIII in the final days of his reign (hence the first picture, from a chilly December march) and it is logical to conclude that in this scenario, where he has just opened his heart to a sympathetic media, that those elements of the UK populace that supported the King would march on the streets. Clearly this is very British, with some tasteful flags, well dressed marchers and a courteous police force maintaining a respectful but credible distance, but it would, I think, ‘spook’ the Government.

Sir John Simon (urgh) makes another appearance (if there is a God, his last) and is as unpleasant as usual, although I think it is an overreaction, I understand the logic in bringing Vernon (not yet Sir Vernon, he’d have to wait until 1942 for that) Kell along to brief on the security threats faced. Making a return appearance, his first for a while, the doughty head of MI5 would support Simon in reporting any foreign / subversive action on British shores. And he is right – the USSR is busy dealing with its own problems (probably not for this forum), there is nothing from the IRA at the moment, and the Germans aren’t plotting to do anything in support of Edward. Did Simon and Kell use taps? The evidence is pretty clear that there was monitoring of Fort Belvedere and the Palace during the crisis, ostensibly to monitor his communications with “the continent of Europe”. Sir Thomas Gardiner, the head of the General Post Office duly complied, although the content of any eavesdropping isn’t particularly well recorded (probably for the best).

The reference to Spain is, of course, the attack upon the USS Kane, as that conflict, despite British and French attempts to ‘localise’ the conflict, continues its painful course. It was largely, quoting comments that Chamberlain would utter about a later crisis, a "far away country" and the British didn't really understand it, but its effects were felt much more strongly (although caution, dear reader, not that strongly) than is often realised. And so we're going back to the Iberian Peninsula, for one of the stranger episodes of 1936.

Oooo. That means Italy did a HOI4 Italy and locked Mussolini in the closet, kept neutral at least for a while and (hopefully) just very carefully mucked around in the balakns out of everyone's way.
More that it was just utterly mad, completely mad. The Italian AI initially played a challenging hand well, but then it just went mad.

Ah, the not so famous Irish Bandera, probably the most unlucky and short-lived volunteer unit in the Spanish Civil War. I love details like these.
I am planning an update on that, perhaps later in the game year when the UK situation is clearer.

A wonderfully pompous ceremony, if I may say so. El-Nahas absolutely sounds like a man who wants something, and Eden is as ever a preening old so-and-so who, nevertheless, has done something pretty handy. (I wonder how that renegotiation will go for him in twenty years time…)
It was pompous, not just Eden with his traditional love of status and pageantry, but the Egyptians as well. Some of this is the old Victorian courtesy and formality, some of it is the Egyptians playing the Brits at their own game.

I suspect El-Nahas is perhaps knowing quite well what he is doing - a few simple (and largely meaningless) gestures to stroke Britain's pride. Even in the mid-30s it was clear the Empire was going on a trajectory of .. if not dissolution then at least a centripetal evolution. A little patience could go a long way - and in a world where a European nation has just taken over an African one being under the British aegis still conveys some benefits.
You're right, El-Nahas was deliberately flowery to mollify any British fears of losing power / status.

This update has also got me thinking - what other Foreign Secretaries have spoken a language traditionally seen as non-European (ie, not French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian etc.).
Well, french and Latin are the perennial favourites of prime ministers. Occasionally ancient Greek if they're really posh/clever.
Jeremy Hunt? His wife is Chinese (a fact lost on him sometimes, as he famously called her 'Japanese') and appears to be fluent in Mandarin.

I suppose the argument for keeping Egypt as it is currently represented is that it would all go horribly wrong if it was included - the British AI struggles with defending North Africa as it is, if it wasn't even British territory I dread to think what would happen.

Plus of course while there was an Egyptian Army it was tiny and Egyptian industry, at least on a strategic scale, was minimal. If you want to play as a tiny British puppet that cannot influence anything or build any armed forces of any size, the game already has New Zealand. Or Oman if you want to experience the same thing but in a desert. If you are Egyptian I can understand why you might want to play, but for everyone else it seems like something that will cause problems while adding very little.

On Italy, some interesting teasing. I look forward to seeing what they do differently and how it all links back to Eddie's haste to bring about his doom.
You may be right, but in that case Malaya and India shouldn't be puppets.

Don't be foolish. New Zealand doesn't have the possibility of a decision tree leading to new pharaohs, caliphs and pyramid building.
But New Zealand does have the truly catastrophic Bob Semple and Schofield Tanks, as well as the entirely fictitious but just as meme worthy "Big Bob" super heavy tank. All of which are clearly worthy of their own individual focus, because they are memes and that's the sort of thing Paradox like.

Actual alt-history options about New Pharaohs and Caliphs or Egypt doing anything interesting would be the wrong sort of fun, so Paradox will never do anything like that. They have strong views about what is the wrong sort of fun and enforce them rigidly.
I wonder what monarchy options they will give Egypt then (cos they will. They've done that for everyone so far). Napoleon again?
Mamluks for the Twentieth Century as some weird monarcho-populist movement?
Coptic Pope John XIX becoming ruler of Greater Egypt and gaining cores on the entire continent, in line with his grandiose claim to be Patriarch of all Africa.
HRE but in Africa is probably meme enough.
The sad thing is, somewhere in Sweden this very discussion may well be taking place.

Just a note to say that The Great Big List of Madhouse AAR prompts and Ideas (from A Royal Prerogative) has been updated and is now up to date.
And it is glorious (and threadmarked).
 
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DensleyBlair

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For.. possibly obvious reasons... I was watching Eisenstein’s October last night, and i have to say with that still fresh in mind all of this weary-government-popular-uprising-ultimatum stuff is incredibly familiar. I have no doubt that this tale is not going to end with Comrade Pollitt on the steps of Number 10, but as wild leaps into the unknown go – decisive breaks with a past royalist tradition that has endured who knows how long – there are more than a couple of parallels.

Always glad to see another update here, Mr J. Does the tantalising mention of the ILP signal we’re in for some Maxton soon? :D
 

TheButterflyComposer

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“We’ve increased the Police presence around key buildings: Parliament, the Palace, Lambeth Palace,” Baldwin frowned at this, Simon saw it and swiftly clarified, “there has been a lot of criticism in the less supportive media of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury”.
A backlash against the Establishment in general, not just the monarchy? Not good for stability, there. Not before a world war.

Baldwin thought about it for a moment. “No,” he said, after some consideration. “The time for that has passed, gentlemen.” There was a knock at the door and an aide entered and wordlessly nodded at Baldwin. “Time to go,” he said simply.

He climbed into the car, feeling old and tired, wondering for how long this could go on.
Yes, time to go for him.

“I have,” Baldwin said wearily, forgetting (but not entirely caring about it) to start with a ‘Sir’, “the endorsement of every one of the Dominion Prime Ministers, I have the Cabinet and the Liberal” he paused, huffing at Sinclair’s recent defection “well I have the Labour leader, I have the Archbishop of Canterbury, I have the Viceroy of India, the Director General of the BBC, all in agreement with my reservations to the Simpson marriage. I have the Houses of Commons and Lords. I have the Duke of York.”
Very desperate, but also just laying out how screwed the monarch is if he tries anything. This is NOT his empire.

“Ah, Bertie,” the King said sadly. “He and the little wife the golden couple, are they?”
Oh, fuck off.

Baldwin ignored what he angrily believed was the King’s self-pitying martyr act.
Quite.

You haven't," the King said, his eyes gazing up as he prepared his words, "convinced Attlee, at least not yet. My people tell me he's offered a hand to the Independents, to the CPGB, for his little meeting."
Shit.

“I tried,” Baldwin seemed genuinely distressed, “I tried so hard. We may need to resign the Government. Then, I think a new Prime Minister might have the mandate to demand that he abdicate, or else threaten him with it.”
There he goes...and he's passing the buck onto someone else. Let's hope Chamberlain is up to it, though first we have...

“The Prime Minister is picked by the Sovereign,”
...whomever Edwards pick is. This is going to be awful.

More that it was just utterly mad, completely mad. The Italian AI initially played
I'm trying to think of what they could have done. Naturally they presumably won handily in ehtopia, and then stayed neutral ish in European affairs and invaded bits of the balkans instead. However, going utterly mad implies they did something strange, like ignore war with france in a German alliance but then went to war anyway when they invaded yuguslavia. Or perhaps a little smarter, if more crazy, and they stayed neutral and invaded the middle east instead. I do that a lot. Quite fun.
 

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Rexit proceeds to its messy denouement, with chaos and confusion for all. How very 2020. This really needs to be sorted through, given the actual threat is armed with tanks, aircraft and u-boats, not a dodgy mistress, a bunch of tawdry political misfits and a few newspapers.

Plenty of odious, perfidious or just irritating figures lurking under the Establishment skirting boards too, though. One good kick and they will all come scuttling out.
 

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Baldwin noticed a half empty bottle of a cheap whisky on the side
Of course there was. Edward just had no class did he? Oh sure he could dress well and play the dandy, but fundamentally he was a low grade bounder and everything about him was a bit tawdry. I do wonder if that factor also hurt him with the Establishment, certain things are more tolerable, or ignorable, if done with a degree of flair and sophistication, which were just two of the many things Eddie lacked.

I suppose my hope about Attlee's inability to manage his party is it bodes ill for his future chances, so there is at least that small plus amongst the gloom and impending disaster.

More that it was just utterly mad, completely mad. The Italian AI initially played a challenging hand well, but then it just went mad.
That is certainly something to look forward to.

You may be right, but in that case Malaya and India shouldn't be puppets.
Of course they shouldn't. But HOI4 does appear to be fundamentally not a very good game, so I am unsurprised that they are.