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Jape

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The Times
March 14th 1898​

Chamberlain Returns For A Third Prime Ministerial Term
Addresses the Empire with the Queen. Speaks on Social and Foreign Policy at Westminster.
Words by Arthur Lambert

Chamberlain2.jpg

Joseph Chamberlain, leader of the Radical-Liberal Party took up the office of Prime Minister for the third time yesterday following a landslide victory against his Conservative opponent, Lord Salisbury. Despite a surprisingly strong showing in the Overseas States, particularly in South Africa and British America, managing to sweep Ontario for the first time, the Conservatives secured only 41% of the vote. The Rad-Libs swept Australia, Wales and Scotland clean while only the staunch Tory and Whig strongholds of the Southeast, East Anglia and the Midlands were denied in England. Also of note were the Rad-Lib victories in North England and Greater London, were their alliance with the Independent Labour Party proved vital to success. Shortly after the result was announced, Lord Salisbury revealed his intentions to retire from public life... [see more, pages 2,3,4,6]

Mr. Chamberlain, after visiting Buckingham Palace to request the forming of a government, joined Her Royal and Imperial Highness Queen-Empress Victoria, in addressing the entire Empire simultaneously via a Wireless Radio broadcast! The seminal speech, heard by over two hundred million people was the first of its kind. The nation’s two leaders praised the marvels of modern technology that allowed them to speak, as Her Majesty put it, “To every subject from the bankers of London to the Bushmen of Zululand”. They also praised the British ingenuity behind the technology, giving particular praise to Sir Donald Percival-Smith and his groundbreaking heavier-than-air flight in February at Dover… [broadcast story continued, page 5]

Later in the afternoon, the new Prime Minister made a far less grandiose speech at Westminster to journalists, discussing his party’ intended policies for the coming term. Chamberlain mostly rounded up his campaign speeches, declaring that his vision for the country had been “vindicated at the ballot box”. He paid particular attention to social and foreign policy, attacking what he called the “twin evils of the Tory-Whig alliance [the Conservative Party]” that of “olive branch social reform to placate the masses” and “Lord Salisbury’s so-called ‘splendid isolation’”. He revealed future plans for social reform, including a massive building programme to give the working-class cheap, affordable housing, improved state pensions and medical insurance, and the re-initiation of the Colonial Education Programme, cut short by Salisbury’s government in 1895. Chamberlain said on the matter “This Empire, this global United Kingdom that we proudly call home should be an example to all, as a civilising hand across dark lands, that does not exploit but nurtures and teaches the savages of this world. Lord Salisbury twisted this aim, laid down by my predecessor Lord Byron, father of my party and this Empire, to nothing but jingoist gain, no better than Monsieur Napoleon’s enslavement of Indochina or King Leopold’s rape of the Congo… The people have once again chosen the Radical-Liberal Party because they know we demand the best of the Empire, and shun petty, selfish gains in the name of enlightenment”.

The Prime Minister then went on to discuss foreign policy, reasserting Britain’s role as head of the Commonwealth of Nations. “The Commonwealth”, said Chamberlain “unlike Napoleon’s Latin Monetary Union which stands only for French economic gain, is a true fellowship of free nations, united together in the duty of prosperity and international peace”. He went on to denounce what he saw as Conservative dereliction of duty, sighting the conquest of Abyssinia, a Commonwealth member at the time, by French and Italian forces last year as the perfect example. “Our friend, the Emperor of Abyssinia, a fellow Christian and dedicated moderniser, who fought for years to bring his nation into the civilised world is now an exile here in London because our isolation was so splendid. His people are persecuted and forced to convert to Catholicism by Papal agents, little better than Medieval Inquisitors. His people are worked to death for Italian gain, backed by French arms and we have done nothing! This so-called Italian Federation, little more than the Vatican’s puppet, which in turn is Napoleon’s puppet, is the bread and butter of France’s Latin Union; if Britain, as the head of the Commonwealth does not oppose this insidious force at every turn, then who will? A crippled United States? Napoleon’s bedfellow in Vienna? The statelettes of Germany? Even Russia, the sleeping the giant does not stir as the French carry out their whims. No, it must be the Empire and the Commonwealth, we must take up our place as a world leader in the name of both Imperial and international interests”.

Prime Minister Chamberlain also issued public support for President Lee on his stance towards Spain following the suspected sabotage of CSS Alabama in February at Havana Harbour. He again mentioned France, Spain’s ally, warning them not to intervene in “Caribbean matters”, possibly hinting at British military support for the Confederacy in the event of war.
 

El Pip

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Frankly I knew I was going to love this AAR when I saw the word 'Steampunk' in your sig and then I read that post. Old Joe as PM! An existing CSA! German statettes! A Latin Union! Many other things that end in a exclamation mark!

So many possibilities in one opening post alone, I can hardly wait.
 

unmerged(51818)

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This looks like a very interesting alternate history. A Napoleon on the throne this late? France as a superpower? How far back does the alternate history begin?
 

GeneralHannibal

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OMG this looks good. Any chance of you released the mod eventually?
 

LeonTrotsky

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Wow, an apparently centre-left government finding itself supporting the Confederacy due to some contradictory foreign policy principles? A Bonapartist France with no serious rival on the continent?
I can honestly say I'm riveted. Oh and I like the newspaper format.
 

Nikolai

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A great start! Now, try to finish the aar this time.;)
 
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*attaches monocle in place, and sits behind the operational mechanism of the Chaos Engine*
 

Jape

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London
British Empire

March 14th 1898

Untitled-1copy.jpg


“Arthur”!

Stanley Murrell, too concerned with getting his friend’s attention, gave out a girlish shriek as a locomobile sped past, the motorist rudely honking his horn as he swerved though the busy streets, vast clouds of steam spewing from the exhaust, frightening horses and pedestrians alike. The little incident worked however and Arthur stood on the pavement, grinning widely at Stanley.

“How rude”! Exclaimed Stanley, brushing dust off of his grey pin-stripped suit dutifully with a copy of The Times.

“Oh, I’m sure he was some big wig doctor or lawyer rushing to get to work”, joked Arthur “you shouldn’t stand in the middle of the road Stanley, that Apple Cart almost got you the other week and now lokes!* Be careful or you might get run over by a Dreadnought one of these days”!

“Terribly droll my friend but enough of me. I must say Arthur Lambert on the front page! Well done old chap”! Congratulated Stanley, hitting his friend lightly on the shoulder with his rolled-up newspaper.

“Why thank you, I must say I am quite pleased about it myself, as was my editor, he’s finally considering me for foreign correspondence work”

“Foreign correspondence”? Quizzed Stanley “Surely after your deft analysis of Joe Chamberlain’s victory speech you’d be up for a comfortable political spot, you always went on about it when you were starting out, being forced to stand in the rain, reviewing Church Fairs and what not”?

“I never reviewed a Church Fair! What in heavens are you talking about”?

“Well it was no doubt something equally dreadful…” Stanley thought long and hard, his face constipated by contemplation “…oh that’s right it was that stint when you reviewed Music Hall ‘comedy acts’ for the London Herald. What a load of dreadful shite”.

Stanley’s unabashed exclamation was overheard by two elderly ladies passing by, who scowled at the young man, to which he responded with mock embarrassment, covering his mouth and giving an overly shocked expression. The women didn’t take kindly to the mockery and quickly stormed off.

“Stanley, you cad”!

“What? They should be happy they can hear anything at all, stuffy old crows. Anyway to celebrate your journalistic coup, I suggest Lunch on me”

“A nice first”

“Be quiet friend or I might revoke the offer. Lunch on me, followed by drinks at that delightful Café at Trafalgar Square”

“Sounds delightful”, answered Arthur with a mock bow

****

The two young men sat outside of Miggin’s Tea House, an awning shielding them from the midday heat. A waiter collected a small pile of plates from their table, which had held a very English luncheon of cucumber sandwiches and bakewell tarts. Hot and full, they lounged in their chairs, sipping tea. Stanley was stirring into space, at once consumed and attempting to ignore the hangover that had crept up on him only half an hour previous, his initial intent to have a celebratory sherry had quickly been shelved. Arthur on the other hand gazed up at Nelson’s Column just over the road, ever since he was a child and came to the city with his father the statue had enthralled him, he had driven Mr. Lambert crazy with his incessant demands to visit it on any occasion. He always fell under some kind of spell when he saw it. But it wasn’t just the centrepiece that drew him; it was the great bronze lions, forged from captured French guns a century ago, it was the lesser statues, if such massive pieces could be called such, of great war heroes like Sir Charles Napier and Henry Havelock. Most of all, the massive statue of Lord Byron that stood on a plinth a third the size of Nelson’s. It was an open secret that when erected, Disreali’s Conservative government scaled the statue’s size down to snub their Radical-Liberal opponents but none could deny his worth of immortalisation. Writer, poet, soldier, politician, dubbed the ‘Liberator of Greece’, he was a true symbol of Empire, an enlightened warrior. Similar statues stood around the world, in Athens, in Bombay for his removal of the hated East India Company administration, in Boston for his protection of New England’s independence and even in Paris, were his greatness couldn’t even be denied by a Bonaparte; Napoleon III said of him “A man I curse, but a man I can only admire”.

“So Arthur”, began Stanley weakly as he dabbed his forehead with a wet napkin “What was this foreign correspondence malarkey about? You have a thick salary and a place in high society set for you here if you stick to Westminster but you want to go abroad”?

“Money and luxury I may be guaranteed here but the glory and the excitement, and the fame only come from scandal and from war, and I have never been a fan of gossip”

“So war? What war? Where? Are we at war”? Stanley’s forehead wrinkled in startled confusion.

“No you fool! Cuba”!

“You’re going to Cuba”?

“The Confederates will be invading any day now. I proposed it to my editor and he jumped at the idea. I have a flight to Halifax for the 20th, from their I’m taking the train down to Florida to see what the Confederates are up to and by April 1st I should be in Havana, hopefully they won’t have started without me”

“So are you attaching yourself to the Confederate troops or the Spanish”?

“Neither, that’s the beauty of it, I’ll be the first war journalist to get into the action, my editor loved it. I’ll be able to see from both sides, I might even meet some Cuban… what do they call them”?

“Guerrillas”?

“That’s right, guerrillas, I better write that down”

“I don’t know Arthur”, mused Stanley, his forehead still wrinkled but his voice almost motherly in tone “Dangerous stuff, I won’t be able to sleep for fear thinking about you”

“Oh Stanley, you sound like a wife”

“Seriously”, Stanley sat up, looking Arthur in the eyes “This isn’t a wild adventure, this will be war, people get killed, and you could be one of them”

“Not if I keep my wits about me, don’t worry I’ll be fine”

“All this talk has sobered me up… Waiter! A quadruple whiskey and a cider! Ice in the cider! Arthur? What will you be having”?

*Lokes- colloquial name for locomobiles, itself a portmanteau of locomotive and automobile
 
Last edited:

Jape

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El Pip: A fellow Steampunk fan excellent! A must admit the Steampunk element will be a bit more mellow than you may expect but it will be there no doubt about it! The background is based loosely on the novel the Difference Engine, hence the title. Glad you like the global set-up, more will be revealed as time goes on

DaveK: I think a great deal of Frenchmen would be offended by your judgement of Paris' international standing at the end of the 19th century as a superpower as fantasy :p. There is no direct link to THE Napoleon ruling longer etc., the current L'Empreur is Napoleon IV, son of OTL's Napoleon III

GeneralHannibal: Cheers! I'm quite the muggle when it comes to such things and this wasn't a mod, it comes from a game I manipulated (cheated :eek:o ) to turn Britain into a true hyperpower, akin to contemporary America, add a little Steampunk add a background story and I thought the setting was ripe for an AAR

LeonTrotsky: Geopolitical situations often demand 'concessions' of ideology, take the USA's bond with Saudi Arabia of present day- Britain's relationship with the nations of North America will be fleshed out in due time. The newspaper format will be important but narrative will dominate, but glad you liked it

Nikolai: The elephant in the corner, damn you! :p

Vincent Julien: Excellent sir, I trust the wonders of the modern age will enthrall you. A glass of Port?
 

unmerged(59077)

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This is class.

Count me subscribed.
 

El Pip

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While I must confess my disappointment at the toning down of the Steampunk, I had hoped for some kind of elaborate and intricate mechanism enabling Byron and Nelson's statues to crush the French, I am comforted by the ever increasing revelations of this most interesting world.

I will now join Mr Julien in enjoying a pie, presumably a commemorative one in the shape of a giant pie.
 

The_Carbonater

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Not sure if I'll be able to keep my reading up but this will certainly be a wonderful ride.
I'm in. :cool:
 

stnylan

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Well this has grabbed my attention. Excellent start.
 

Jape

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Croyden Aerodrome
British Empire
March 20th 1898

macon-hanger-350.jpg

Arthur Lambert fell into a chair at the waiting terminal, stretching his legs out for the first time all morning, the hard wood seat hurt his back but he didn’t rightly care. After waking up at five o’clock in the morning at his home in Highgate, Arthur had three and a half hours to make it fifteen miles across London to Croydon Aerodrome for the 8:25 flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, he finally sat down at 8:19. Arthur lugged his suitcases down to the train station for half five only to be met by a picket. Much to his embarrassment, Arthur, a journalist of politics and current affairs had forgotten there was a one-day strike by the General Railway Worker’s Union. Quickly rushing, or rather slugging around with his weighty bags to find transport, he learned that the Association of Tram and Omnibus Drivers had joined the GRWU in solidarity. Luckily the term organised labour is alien to most cabbies and by six o’clock he was in a horse-drawn carriage southward bound.

Unfortunately, his driver, a rather blunt Cockney by the name of Colin who insisted on ‘colourful’ language in his critique of Prime Minister Chamberlain decided on the most geographically direct route to Croydon. This had led Colin and his Shire horse, Anne to cross Waterloo Bridge. At seven o’clock. In London. Along with several hundred other cabs simultaneously. After twenty minutes of standstill in which Colin mixed politics with his opinion of the City of London’s transport system, shouting at least two-thirds of the time, Arthur finally gave up and tipping the man for his ‘banter’ walked on into Lambeth.

From here the congestion of countless thousands attempting to get to work without train, tram or omnibus was apparent and a virtual free-for-all rampage for a ride was in swing. Arthur witnessed and eventually realised he had to join in the odd situation of literally dozens of lawyers, civil servants, bankers or other suited gentlemen pushing, shoving and biting each other to win a hackney carriage. Arthur watched in bemusement as an overly excited department store manager outbid three barristers to ride on a manure cart for £3 and 5 shillings. The passing crowds of plebeians watched as well, most lived within walking distance of their work and if not, probably got up early especially. Suddenly, Arthur’s pleasant suburban home, and no doubt the homes of many of the loons beating each other with umbrellas, canes and the Financial Times on Kennington Road at rush hour, never seemed more of a curse.

After fifteen minutes of making his way through the chaos of Lambeth, Arthur was convinced he would miss his flight. Then, out of Chester Way came a locomobile taxi-cab, puffing and spluttering, waiting for a fare. Before rushing for the ride, Arthur peered to his left to see a lanky, monocled accountant also called Arthur (though Arthur would never find this out) standing next to him. They both looked at each other and then to the taxi-cab, and then back to each. Like a shot both sprinted for the parked locomobile, unfortunately for Arthur, other Arthur was both a former track-runner for King’s College, Cambridge and had far longer legs. Fortunately for Arthur a rather ‘beefy’ travelling salesman from Crewe was tripped over by the penny loafer of an irate bit-part actor scrambling into the back seat of a carriage, destined for a fantastic audition later that day, followed by a mediocre three-week run of Othello at the Old Vic Theatre. The salesman’s girth knocked other Arthur flat and allowed Arthur to politely board his transport before chugging once more in the direction of Croydon Aerodrome.

Whisking through the not-so wide boulevards of London, Lambert relaxed as he made up time, he would be booked in and waiting by eight o’clock. Then the locomobile broke down a mile down the road from the aerodrome. Then it rained.

Now sitting with wet socks and a complementary tea, waiting for Imperial Airways Flight 14-H, better known as RMAS Mercury one of the world’s largest dirigible, Arthur felt slightly relaxed. Then he saw Stanley.

“Good morning Arthur”! Called Stanley from across the small terminal, his dishevelled Welsh butler Evans dragging a large suitcase behind. Arthur stood up and walked over to his friend who held his arms open, a broad smile on his face.

“What the hell are you doing here Stanley”? Whispered Arthur exasperatedly

“What does it look like”, he answered, pointing towards his case “Holiday”! Arthur only responded with a wide-eyed look of disbelief “I thought, if I’m going to be worried out of my mind with you in Cuba, I best come along and look after you”

“But you’re not a member of the press”!

“Ha-ha”! Stanley reached into his jacket pocket.

“Oh god”!

“My great-uncle as you know is a major shareholder in The Times Company”, Stanley pulled out a set of papers “After a little arm-twisting I am now a fully-fledged member of The Times Foreign Correspondents Corps. Surprise”!

“Stanley you can’t do thi…”, Arthur stared his friend up and down “How did you get here? You live in Buckinghamshire”!

“I purchased a new loke, lovely red Reynolds Model A, got my license in the post yesterday. Lucky too what with the rail strike and all”

“Indeed”

“Why are you wet, old chap”?

“Rail strike”

“Dash bad luck”.

A porter walked over, pushing a luggage trolley, asking for the two gentlemen to place their bags down. Evans hauled over his employer’s suitcase and as gently as possible dropped it into place, a large clanking noise coming from it.

“Sir”, quizzed the porter “What may I ask is making that noise”?

“Three bottles of rum, three bottles of chardonnay, three bottles of Polish vodka and a half bottle of green absinthe”, announced Stanley proudly. The porter shrugged and proceeded to move the trolley away.

“Good god”! Exclaimed Arthur “Have you packed any clothes”?

“Of course not! Evans packed them”

Arthur shook his head and sat down, returning to his cup of tea. Stanley sat next to him.

“Has my appearance upset you Arthur”?

“No, no, I suppose it will be good having company on the trip. My only companion was to be a Canadian photographer, a man named Alf Henderson”

“Good! I feel this will be a most excellent adventure”!

The porter returned to the waiting terminal again, this time he stood in the centre of the room, and asked for attention from the passengers “I am afraid to announce Imperial Airways Flight 14-H has been delayed. Hopefully we should be off the ground before noon.

Arthur spat tea back into his cup.
 
Last edited:

Jape

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Vincent Julien: Very sharp good sir! As a MASSIVE Blackadder fan, expect more references, but now I see I have a fan on the watch, I'll see how subtle I can make them ;)

RGB:
Thank you muchly!

El Pip: Another fan! This may be doubly tough :p . Consdier this less Steampunk and more Historypunk! A combo of Victorian Sci-Fi and a Wikipedia fanatics grasp of turn of the century politics and warfare. Sound good?

Lloyien: Much obliged, I hope I can entertain

The_Carbonater: Wonderful- full of wonders, that good sir I can most certainly deliver!

stnylan: Cheers! :D
 

unmerged(59077)

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Damn Stanley, raining all over Arthur's parade.

Rich brat.
 

Drake Rlugia

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Wow, this is certainly interesting, and addictive!

You've got another reader onboard.
 

Cyrus_The_Great

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Drake Rlugia said:
You've got another reader onboard.

Make that two more readers aboard! Amazing writing and story so far. Seems Arthur doesn't have the greatest luck, even if it seems he will.