Echoes of A New Tomorrow: Life after Revolution in the Commonwealth of Britain

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DensleyBlair

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Just an update: KH is going to be away from the forums for a bit, so the crisis will once again be going on hold. It will be resolved in due course, but something’s come up which means our American correspondent won’t be able to write for a little while.

In the meantime, seeing as we’ve hit the halfway point of the Swinging(?) Sixties, I thought I’d do a few short social and cultural pieces to give a more ‘on the ground’ taste of Nye Bevan’s New Britain. Music I’ve already got basically ready to go, and I’ll probably do something on cinema, but I’d also like to do some more ‘sociological’ stuff…

Does anyone have any special requests that are perhaps a little more niche? Sunday league football, perhaps? Or, say, a day in the life of a schoolteacher? Or maybe a trip to the seaside?

Just thought it might be worth taking the opportunity to go in a bit more fine grain beyond the political and the cultural. Any writing prompts anyone may care to think of would be very welcome. I’d be happy to whip up a short vignette.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Space race and sci fi maybe? Star trek is bound to have been affected. And if star trek is affected, so is star wars, and from there every other media project ever.
 

DensleyBlair

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Space race and sci fi maybe? Star trek is bound to have been affected. And if star trek is affected, so is star wars, and from there every other media project ever.

There was a bit of sci-fi the other month in this update, but I can happily think of something more. I seem to remember there was talk some time ago of a look in at Quartermass, which might be fun?

I’m really not sure what the state of the Space Race is. No one has made any indication of going to the moon yet, so presumably the last couple of years have just seen better rockets and more satellites. (I’ll need to check my notes on whether anything living has been in space yet…)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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There was a bit of sci-fi the other month in this update, but I can happily think of something more. I seem to remember there was talk some time ago of a look in at Quartermass, which might be fun?

I’m really not sure what the state of the Space Race is. No one has made any indication of going to the moon yet, so presumably the last couple of years have just seen better rockets and more satellites. (I’ll need to check my notes on whether anything living has been in space yet…)

Quartermass is mostly significant for one thing and one thing only: it made Hammer Horror. Quartermass has to happen on the CBC, and then be remade as an X rated version by Hammer, be a gigantic success and give them the kick into focusing on Horror, gore and breasts. These three things lead the way to the highlife for a good few decades.

hmm...speaking of hammer, what of Pinewood? No James Bond presumably, so no ridiculous money tree to make one of the largest studio lots in the world (and the best practical effect studios in the world). That is going to have a massive impact on cinema generally, but especially the British film industry.

Might be worth fudging and have Fleming willing to sell the rights to Broccoli anyway...
 

DensleyBlair

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Quartermass is mostly significant for one thing and one thing only: it made Hammer Horror. Quartermass has to happen on the CBC, and then be remade as an X rated version by Hammer, be a gigantic success and give them the kick into focusing on Horror, gore and breasts. These three things lead the way to the highlife for a good few decades.

I was watching some of the films Tinto Brass made in Sixties London last week, so coincidentally I had the idea of a British giallo tendency in mind anyway of late. I'll revisit this for sure.

hmm...speaking of hammer, what of Pinewood? No James Bond presumably, so no ridiculous money tree to make one of the largest studio lots in the world (and the best practical effect studios in the world). That is going to have a massive impact on cinema generally, but especially the British film industry.

Might be worth fudging and have Fleming willing to sell the rights to Broccoli anyway...

There's a James Bond analogue called The Man Digby (here) that appears in about 1963, where Cary Grant plays a heavily fictionalised wartime spymaster foiling a plot to reinstate the British monarchy. The implication seems to be that this continues as a series of films. Maybe I'll get drag that out again for some more fun.

On a practical level, the studio lot at Heatherden is huge and probably a safe bet for the most advanced stages in Britain, having been state-funded since pretty much the day after the revolution. It will have come out from any sort of strict paternalistic government influence c.1964 along with the CBC and the Daily Herald, so there's likely going to be an explosion in people being quite innovative towards the end of the Sixties. (Kubrick made his Strangelove analogue there, for example.)

I'm actually quite interested in exploring how media production develops on a practical level as it gets further from government influence, but I think I might wait until vol 2 for that and look at it under a slightly larger scope.
 

El Pip

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I’d also like to do some more ‘sociological’ stuff…

Does anyone have any special requests that are perhaps a little more niche? Sunday league football, perhaps? Or, say, a day in the life of a schoolteacher? Or maybe a trip to the seaside?
A trip to the shops. I'm imaging a vignette of the huddled masses freezing in line while waiting to look around empty shelves and place orders for goods that will never come. But who knows, perhaps it's even worse and they aren't even allowed the pretence of shops and just have to receive whatever they are allocated (which also never arrives).
 

DensleyBlair

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A trip to the shops. I'm imaging a vignette of the huddled masses freezing in line while waiting to look around empty shelves and place orders for goods that will never come. But who knows, perhaps it's even worse and they aren't even allowed the pretence of shops and just have to receive whatever they are allocated (which also never arrives).

This is exactly the sort of thing, thank you Pip. I'd been of a mind to fit something in about food and eating habits in the aftermath of the formation of the Eurosyn, so I could tie that in as well. A whole update perhaps on the joys of discovering spaghetti bolognese…

Presumably the shopping front involves a lot of co-ops. And covered markets, perhaps. I'll think on.

I am currently engaged in the exciting but energy-consuming task of writing an MA application statement, so all of this won't come until the start of Feb probably, but I do enjoy the ideas people throw out there a lot. So thanks all.
 
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BigBadBob

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I am currently engaged in the exciting but energy-consuming task of writing an MA application statement, so all of this won't come until the start of Feb probably, but I do enjoy the ideas people throw out there a lot. So thanks all.

Bonne chance on the application, old chap!

Personally, riffing on Pip's suggestion, I'd quite like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich... I mean, Ian Dennison.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Bonne chance on the application, old chap!

Personally, riffing on Pip's suggestion, I'd quite like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich... I mean, Ian Dennison.

Thank you, my friend!

As it happens, I’ve been going back this week and listening to a load of recordings of old John Berger essays. There’s a great one which touches incidentally upon similar themes as Ivan Denisovich, which gives me a fun idea for a piece on “de-Mosleyification”…
 
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99KingHigh

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Hey all, apologies for the delay -- disaster after disaster has seem to have greeted 2021 on a personal front, so obligations must be fulfilled. Should be back in full action on Monday.
 

El Pip

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Presumably the shopping front involves a lot of co-ops.
A front yes, but a front for Kulaks!

And covered markets, perhaps. I'll think on.
Secretive hives of scum and villainy where Kulaks carry out their evil trade!

I am currently engaged in the exciting but energy-consuming task of writing an MA application statement, so all of this won't come until the start of Feb probably, but I do enjoy the ideas people throw out there a lot. So thanks all.
Is this the threatened English MA or have you decided to take an alternative path? You will of course have my best wishes regardless, this is just curiosity.
 
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DensleyBlair

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A front yes, but a front for Kulaks!
Secretive hives of scum and villainy where Kulaks carry out their evil trade!

I’ve never really given major thought to what Mosley would have done with the land. The CPGB got all of their collectivisation programmes underway before they were deposed, but Mosley was always an “economy first, ownership second” figure. He’d probably be relatively tolerant of the Kulaks and their covered market dens of iniquity.

Is this the threatened English MA or have you decided to take an alternative path? You will of course have my best wishes regardless, this is just curiosity.

This is indeed the previously threatened English Lit MA. (And curiosity is always welcome in this thread. :)) Not six months ago I was adamant I would never want to return to academia, but actually what I think I meant was “I don’t want to do a RIBA Part II”.

Many thanks for the well wishes. :)
 

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My sedate trawl through the early episodes continues its majestic progress ;) I have reached MacDonald’s first Labour government and the introduction of a young and ambitious Mosley: bound to be one of those Cassius types, all lean and hungry.
The report commission was chaired by J. H. “Jimmy” Thomas, MacDonald’s Lord Privy Seal and a former railway union boss. It was an inauspicious appointment; Thomas, while a union man by background, had long been considered by the workers he represented to have taken the side of the Capitalist cause. He was assisted by the young Oswald Mosley, then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Oho! He rears his charismatic head.
In Parliament, Mosley was expanding his efforts to deal with the problem of coal and began to talk more widely of a programme to alleviate the unemployment issue also. To this end, in mid-June he published a memorandum outlining a radical programme of economic re-structuring in order to carry Britain out of depression.
It was a radical prescription for a British economy struggling under the burden of chronic problems, and would require an enormous effort of infrastructure, both material and political, in order to achieve its realisation.
Sounds rather like the beginnings of a New Deal for Britain!
His efforts to achieve systemic reform all but defeated, Mosley took his memorandum’s cool reception as evidence that he did not hold the confidence of his colleagues in cabinet. He resigned his ministerial post the following morning and returned to the backbenches.
Far more dangerous lurking in those more shadowy places, getting leaner and hungrier all the time, I’m willing to bet.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I’ve never really given major thought to what Mosley would have done with the land.

Hmm. You haven't mentioned this before? If not, then yes, there is a huge amount of land in the former UK unaccounted for. The Crown and the Church and the landed artisotracy held a fuckton of it (still do, or at least the first two do). Mostly farmland, heath and Forestry but there's surely something to be done with most of it aside from giving it to the national trust.

Speaking of, what happened to the national trust? Somewhat socialist in practice and theory, but also at heart extremely classit and obsessed with country estates. All the various heritage places probably got nationalised, unified into one and then (depending on what they had) stripped of much resource (orphans and patients need those houses! Etx).

so...yes, what happened to the land, what happened to the trusts (and the concept of heritage/preservation) and what happened to Hammer/do the british still fund the insanely expensive tv shows like Thunderbirds even though they can't sell them to amercia anymore?

This is indeed the previously threatened English Lit MA. (And curiosity is always welcome in this thread. :)) Not six months ago I was adamant I would never want to return to academia, but actually what I think I meant was “I don’t want to do a RIBA Part II”.

The weird academic effect. Everyone goes through relief, withdrawal and craving after graduation. I should expect most if not all MA students are examples of this. And doctorals definitely are.
 
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DensleyBlair

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My sedate trawl through the early episodes continues its majestic progress ;)

And majestic it is from this end, too! :D

I have reached MacDonald’s first Labour government and the introduction of a young and ambitious Mosley: bound to be one of those Cassius types, all lean and hungry.

Cassius is a good figure to keep in mind. Lean and hungry indeed…

Oho! He rears his charismatic head.

Dun dun duhhhhhh!

Sounds rather like the beginnings of a New Deal for Britain!

Safe to say, more than than any could have perhaps foreseen (or would have wanted to…)

Far more dangerous lurking in those more shadowy places, getting leaner and hungrier all the time, I’m willing to bet.

Quite so. I’ll be interested to watch his rise through your eyes. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone back and traced it from the start.
 

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(This came through while I was responding to @Bullfilter, but I was on my phone so I didn't want to faff about trying to add more multi quotes to the above post.)

Hmm. You haven't mentioned this before? If not, then yes, there is a huge amount of land in the former UK unaccounted for.

So the land itself got dealt with pretty much immediately by the CPGB, as you might expect. The question is mostly how Mosley's rise complicates this after 1934 – or whether it does at all.

The Crown and the Church and the landed artisotracy held a fuckton of it (still do, or at least the first two do). Mostly farmland, heath and Forestry but there's surely something to be done with most of it aside from giving it to the national trust.

As a first step, the land obviously all got nationalised. The specific programme occurred in accordance with the CPGB 1929 manifesto, which dictates that most of this (the stuff able to be cultivated) would be given over to the new farming co-ops. This is what the manifesto says about the management of such co-ops:

(4) Farms over 150 acres would be run as Workers’ State Farms. Farms of 150 acres would be rented to present tenants on a new valuation and on conditions of (a) actual working; (b) maintaining a reasonable level of cultivation, and (c) observance of trade union conditions. All tithes would be abolished. Unoccupied cultivatable land would be allocated to agricultural workers, each worker receiving land according to capacity to work it, assisted by credits to work collectively. Small farmers would be encouraged to develop agricultural co-operative societies to facilitate collective use, and control of wage conditions and hours of labour would be vested in the agricultural workers’ trade union and the workers’ State Department of Agriculture.

In my mind, the farms probably work something like the Land Settlement Association farms that the government was doing anyway in a small way in the 1930s with the assistance of the charitable sector.

I don't think Mosley will have touched this so long as it carried on working. Possibly he would have been keen to institute larger agricultural operations if regional associations failed, but in the schema of things I don't think it would be high on his list barring crisis.

As for the national trust…

Speaking of, what happened to the national trust? Somewhat socialist in practice and theory, but also at heart extremely classit and obsessed with country estates. All the various heritage places probably got nationalised, unified into one and then (depending on what they had) stripped of much resource (orphans and patients need those houses! Etx).

This is covered back in one of the early post-revolution updates (I think maybe the first Skidelsky one – "The Mongrel Collective", perhaps) but briefly: as per CPGB 1929, the great houses in effect become the basis of the early Syndicated Health. As the manifesto describes,

(10) The Revolutionary Workers’ Government would confiscate all house property, transform the palaces and large houses of the rich into rest homes for the workers under the control of the State Health Department. It would abolish the slums of the towns and the tied cottages of the villages and redistribute housing accommodation on the basis of the housing needs of the workers, rent for workers’ houses to be paid to the Workers’ State or a local Workers’ Council, and regulated according to income (10 per cent. of wages). The rooms of large houses would be let off as workers’ flats on the same principle. (Where a worker has been fortunate enough to secure his own house to live in, the Revolutionary Workers’ Government would not confiscate, the main line of attack being upon landlordism.)

THere's a note somewhere about how Mosley's own family seat got turned into workers' flats, although his family had already sold it on before the revolution.

So everything more or less proceeds as one might predict. I may revisit the Land as an issue gin the 70's and 80's when a character arrives who has quite the thing for Gerard Winstanley…

and what happened to Hammer/do the british still fund the insanely expensive tv shows like Thunderbirds even though they can't sell them to amercia anymore?

This reminds me that I've been meaning to do an update on Postgate and Firmin. I'll add that to the list.

Thunderbirds? Hmm. Probably wouldn't quite fit the mood by 1965. Maybe one for the doubtful column.

The weird academic effect. Everyone goes through relief, withdrawal and craving after graduation. I should expect most if not all MA students are examples of this. And doctorals definitely are.

Yeah, I was always determined not be like my diss supervisor, who has something like 5 degrees and told me very early on in our relationship that he got most of them by accident for want of something else to do. I also spent the entirety of my time at uni under the cloud of severe industrial action, so I'm intimately acquainted with the shittiness of academia as a "career". But at this point in time I've found a course I'd actually really like to do, and it's not like there's owt else going on, so I thought I may as well go for it.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Thunderbirds? Hmm. Probably wouldn't quite fit the mood by 1965. Maybe one for the doubtful column.

Idealistic one world nation.

Actually, this makes any sci fi series with a unified and optimistic future a little questionable, or maybe more likely to occur, just in different places. I can see eurosyn being mostly optimistic. Star Trek though might be cut up. And no star trek, no new wave of sci fi interest in the 70s, which means no 80s renaissance of making sci fi cool and interesting.

No...actually, I think it will still get made. Maybe a little less blatantly science socialist utopia...but otherwise as OTL. Probably die the same death as OTL too, and then revitalised when the 80s do their thing.

Maybe there is more cross pollination in the 60s and 70s with eurosyn and the amercians coming to some form of understanding? Or at least they trade and talk to each other more, like China and the US today? So they can and would sell tv licences and music and stuff to each other. It may even become part of US strategy to keep the socialist movements of the world divided from each other...
 

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Actually, this makes any sci fi series with a unified and optimistic future a little questionable, or maybe more likely to occur, just in different places. I can see eurosyn being mostly optimistic. Star Trek though might be cut up. And no star trek, no new wave of sci fi interest in the 70s, which means no 80s renaissance of making sci fi cool and interesting.

I think different places is the key thing. The optimism of the 1960s OTL I think gets pushed back in this world slightly so that it comes more with the 1970s. (Which hopefully will be a fun twist on the grim familiarity of the 1970s.) After the bright first few years of the Bevanite thaw, I think the second half of the 60s is going to build culturally towards a sort of 'age of anxiety' mentality.

(I think most people know where Vol 1 is headed by now, so I don't think this vague hint at the future will come as any great shock)

The 80s I have some ideas for – more musically than for tv/film, but still involving sci-fi stuff. (*Kraftwerk, OMD, Heaven 17 etc etc). Obviously always up for input along the way.

No...actually, I think it will still get made. Maybe a little less blatantly science socialist utopia...but otherwise as OTL. Probably die the same death as OTL too, and then revitalised when the 80s do their thing.

There's a Czech film from this time called Ikarie XB-1 which subverts 1960s space utopianism in a fun way. It's based on a Stanislas Lem story so it's all meant to be very thoughtful and say interesting things political, but my understanding (I haven't seen the whole thing) is that there's one bit where the crew of the Ikarie encounter an 'ancient' (so 1960s) rocket ship, derelict but still fitted out with nuclear weapons. I'd like to get hold of it to watch if I can, but in the mean time I think it's safe to assume that any sci-fi utopianism going around in the Echoesverse is going t be deeply qualified by some sort of supervise moral or political lesson about a blind faith in scientific progress.

but then idk, the world almost blew up a few times OTL too, and we still had a load of people looking to space to try and forget all of the problems on earth.

Maybe there is more cross pollination in the 60s and 70s with eurosyn and the amercians coming to some form of understanding? Or at least they trade and talk to each other more, like China and the US today? So they can and would sell tv licences and music and stuff to each other. It may even become part of US strategy to keep the socialist movements of the world divided from each other...

As I understand stuff on KH's end, this is all broadly on the cards. A period of detente and internationalism to offset the darkest days of factionalism in the 1960s.
 
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