Chequers (British Prime Ministers Country Estate)

England late 1955

Prime Minister Tittington relaxed back in his study, a fat cigar in one hand and a good port in the other.

Things had been good for Great Britain over the last 10 years since the end of World War II.

One of the consequences of the "scuffle" with the Russians over Berlin was that the Soviets never entered the war against Japan. The potential attack against the Japanese army in Manchuria never happened. The Russians feared further difficulties with the British and for a time maintained vast forces in Europe.

The Americans had been the first to use the A-bomb, at Hiroshima and a few days later at Nagasaki. However some weeks afterwards the Japanese were still prevaricating over surrender and the Americans had no more A-bombs immediately available. It was looking like a long and costly invasion of Japan, for the Americans that is.

However just when things were looking a little grim Tittington used Britain's one and only A-bomb fresh from the production line. The Japanese surrendered the next day, three such attacks being just too much for them. Tittington had wanted to call it "fat man" after Winston Churchill but the Americans had beaten him to it.

Post war relations between the United States and Great Britain were decidedly frosty. A sort of loose military alliance remained in an attempt to counter the Russian bear but the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which would exist in some realities, never got off the ground.

For its part Britain turned both to a slowly recovering Europe and to its former Empire now becoming a Commonwealth. A huge trading block involving Western Europe and the British Commonwealth of Nations was formed.

Economically weak initially Britain haggled with the US in the early days of creating the post war economic framework. Where Tittington lacked economic muscle he made up for it guile, in sheer force of personality and in astute use of his European and Commonwealth connections. Tittington also applied sound economic theories and principles that seemed well ahead of the times. One small example was to float the previously overvalued pound sterling which had started to come under heavy speculative attacks. This saved the Bank of England having to draw down on precious foreign exchange reserves in order to defend a currency overvalued at the then fixed rates of exchange.

When the general election had been called right towards the end of the war the British people had overwhelmingly returned Tittington. They knew they were on to a winner here. "Thank goodness that insipid little man Atlee didn't get in" Tittington had thought to himself at the time.

There was a brief thaw in US/British relations at the time of the Korean War. Reluctant as he was to place British troops under American command he couldn't in all conscience allow the yanks to go it alone in this situation. While they did have concerns in other parts of the world the Brits came to the party. The new swept wing jet fighter the Hawker Hunter being a great relief to the hard pressed Americans, particularly in MIG Alley. The magnificent Vulcan Bomber also saw service here, flying too high for the MIGs and scaring the life out of Chinese, North Koreans and Russian advisers alike. Perhaps Britain's greatest contribution though was the three full armored Divisions equipped with the superlative new Chieftain main battle tank. An armored vehicle that would have the Russians running scared for another two decades.

The Communists eventually surrendered in Korea but by then the UN had reached the Chinese border. The North Korean State had ceased to exist. Ironically it was an example of what Britain and America could do on the rare occasions where they cooperated

Some of those closest to Tittington were relieved to see that he hadn't done too much more of those strange and unexplainable things he had done during the war. Still he had insisted on conferring with his boffins on Britain's first H bomb and getting there just ahead of the Americans.

Tittington's relationship with Stalin remained very tense right up to the dictator's death and didn't markedly improve with the new leader Nikita Khrushchev. Tittington took Khrushchev for the blustering bully that he actually was. Fortunately by the end of 1955 Britain had a sizeable nuclear deterrent of over 200 Vulcan bombers armed all armed with the blue steel stand-off bomb. Also Britain was starting to put in place Blue Streak Intermediate Range Ballistic missiles. Either weapons system could reach any part of European Russia.

Tittington felt he had no need to be intimidated by Khrushchev, nor did he feel the need to be dependant on the Americans who were building up their own powerful nuclear arsenal.

The Prime Ministers Study
10 Downing St
London, England
Late 1970

Tittington took a rare moment to relax and contemplate the last decade and a half for Britain..

Given Britain's smaller population base Tittington had elected not to try to maintain military parity with the two super powers the United States and the Soviet Union. Rather he decided to retain a sizeable totally independent nuclear deterrent and back that up with both flexible and powerful conventional forces. Britain's armed services were fully capable of supporting her interests anywhere in the world without the need for superpower support or say so from either side. Well in advance of other nations, Tittington saw to it that the United Kingdom retained powerful and highly mobile rapid reaction forces for intervention anywhere that would suit British interests.

The British decided to retain a modest fleet of aircraft carriers to represent their interests. However they did not attempt to compete with the Americans either in actual numbers or size of "flat tops". At any one time over the 1960s the British maintained 5 medium sized carriers in the 40,000 – 60,000 ton range. As in most other realities the British saw the need in the face of the growing Russian submarine threat to develop the Invincible class of small carriers designed initially for anti-submarine warfare. In this reality the Invincibles came slightly earlier than in some with both the Illustrious and the Invincible in service by the very late 1960's and two sister ships to come.

By the late 1960s the Vulcan 2 bomber had fully replaced its venerable ancestor. The new aircraft was capable of twice the speed of sound flying above 70,000 feet (although it's predecessor had been capable of 60,000 feet plus) and carrying long range cruise missiles rather than the short range blue steel stand-off weapon. Tittington saw that this weapon system would be more than sufficient for some time to come. As early as 1960 with the shooting down of U2 pilot Gary Powers the Soviet Union had given notice of its increasing air defence capabilities. Britain's now slightly ageing Blue Streak IRBMs had their range extended and now had been mirved with three separate independently targeted warheads to each missile. Tittington decided against the development of a large ICBM fleet on cost grounds. For the time being at least the Blue Streak missile system was perceived as adequate. Going it alone Britain had also developed at a similar time to the Americans a modest fleet of six Polaris missile type nuclear submarines. This was the triad on which the British nuclear deterrent was based.

Late in 1956 the "Suez Crisis" that had humiliated British Governments in some other realities barely caused Tittington to change pace. True Eisenhower was infuriated by British actions but this was not a Britain that the US was close to and there was no sense of betrayal. Nilkita Khruschev blustered and threatened to bully but Tittington saw it for the hot air that it was. In the end it all blew over with British and French custodianship of the Suez Canal continuing for many years. Ultimately Britain's position in the middle east was actually enhanced as nations realised that she was not just a paper tiger.

Under Mr Khruschev the Russians had gone through a period in 1961 where they heavily tested the air defences of Great Britain. For every day for more than two months as many as ten huge, lumbering long range turboprop bombers and reconnaissance aircraft sought to penetrate the United Kingdom air defence zone. They never succeeded with the United Kingdom air defences never found wanting. The Soviets continued to be surprised by the enormous speed and formidable rate of climb of that "screamer of a cold war warrior" the English Electric Lightning fighter interceptor. Tittington's only concern with the Lightning was its relatively short range but work had already begun on its replacement. Tittington was initially tolerant of the Soviet aggression but came to tire of it. He issued orders that Soviet aircraft approaching United Kingdom air space were to receive close warning shots and to be shot down if they actually entered British air space whether accidental or not. After several very near misses the Soviet flights ceased.

However nowhere in this time frame was Britain's continuing substantial status more evident than in the 1965 confrontation with Indonesia. Great Britain and some of her Commonwealth partners responding to Indonesian aggression with overwhelming, even humbling force. Three RN aircraft carriers were accompanied by over 90 other Royal Naval vessels. Over 80,000 ground troops were committed to the theatre with additional forces available in Australia. These were spearheaded by the usual elite units, SAS, SBS, Gurkhas, Paras, and Royal Marine Commandoes. Vulcan Bombers were based in Darwin, Australia as a further precaution. It wasn't long before the Indonesians called it a day.

As in most realities Britain would not become embroiled alongside the United States in Vietnam. Also as in most realities she looked with pride on her "hearts and minds" approach to the Malayan emergency which should serve as a role model to all.

Tittington had met only twice with the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev since the latter came officially to power but the Russian had seen enough of Tittington to realise that the man could not be toyed with. Brezhnev knew instinctively just as Patton and Admiral King had known years before that there was something quite different about Tittington. The coming of the great American president John Kennedy presented the possibility of a thaw in US/British relations but that progress ceased after his untimely assassination.

The United Kingdom economy linked in the huge mutual trade block involving Western Europe and the Commonwealth nations blossomed. As a trading group this huge block was by now far and away the largest economic grouping in existence as it would be for many years to come. United Kingdom Foreign debt was fully repaid and the economic weaknesses of the past were ironed out.

"Yes, all in all, it had been a jolly good period for Great Britain," thought Tittington.

Still Tittington's aides and advisers worried – over a period of some 25 years in the top job the man had aged only slightly. What could be dismissed in 1955 as outstanding good health was much harder to dismiss by 1970. Everyone was talking.

Cecile Tittington the longest serving British Prime Minister in history died (or seemed to die) on Wednesday 19 December 2007 (today in fact). He was 45 when he first became Prime Minister and serving for 62 years died at the age of 107. The oldest serving British Prime Minister by quite some margin.

Reluctantly it has been given to me as his official historian to write no more than 1,000 words on his last 36 years in Office. An impossible task I might add.

I have sometimes wondered had he not served so long what sort of people might have become British Prime Minister. Edward Heath, Harold McMillan, Harold Wilson, Tony Blair, and Margaret Thatcher are a few names that come to mind. Thank goodness they did not reach the top office. Although on second thoughts Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher might have made a reasonable fist of it.

Very early in 1971 Cecile Tittington fell ill for a short while and after that time began to age at a rate a little closer to normal human. These developments seemed to completely put a stop to any comments about his comparative youth and lack of ageing.

If the years 1956 – 1970 could be described as the "golden years" for Great Britain the years from 1971 - 2007 were probably best described as the "platinum years."

Britain's long withdrawal from Empire continued gracefully with almost all former colonies and possessions becoming part of the mighty European/Commonwealth union. Far and away the world's economic giant. While the European/Commonwealth Union was never a British puppet, the United Kingdom continued as always to be it's pre-eminent member simply adding to the overall perceived status of the United Kingdom in the world.

The United Kingdom continued with its own independent nuclear deterrent modernizing it from time to time but never seeking to equal the huge Soviet (later Russian) and American stockpiles. The venerable Vulcan 2 bomber with its long range cruise missiles continues in service to this day. Still a very capable weapons system. In conventional military matters the United Kingdom also persisted in not matching the numerical edge of the two superpowers or in later years the world's one superpower the United States. What it may have lacked for sometimes in sheer numbers the United Kingdom more than made up for with a qualitative edge in most areas. When the Americans had the M60 tank the British had the Challenger 1 MBT. When the Americans had the Abrams M1A1 the British had the Challenger2 MBT and so on. When the Americans had the superlative F16 aircraft the British had the even more superlative Eurofighter Typhoon and so on.

The British armed forces were however pledged to the protection of all members of the huge European/Commonwealth Union and as such were involved in a vast array of military actions through this period making them easily the most experienced and professional armed forces in the world. As indeed they are in many realities.

However the Falklands War, that short, sharp and rather nasty little war that took place in the South Atlantic in 1982 in some realities did not eventuate in this one. The location of reasonable UK military forces at all times in the Falklands, the existence of a credible large carrier force and regular, clear and un ambivalent statements by Tittington himself left no room for misunderstanding.

While Tittington observed it with some relish others must take principal credit for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union around 1990.

For only the second time since the end of World War 11 Tittington allowed British troops to come, at least nominally, under United States command during the first Gulf War. The sheer urgency of the matter and the threat posed to world oil supplies made British participation mandatory. The United Kingdom contributed three armoured divisions, the equivalent of a brigade of Royal Marine Commandoes, three battalions of paras and extensive SAS and SBS. Many hundreds of RAF Eurofighters were employed together with hundreds of the now ageing but still very capable Panavia Tornado (in both the bomber and reconnaissance roles). The British also committed their brand new super carrier. At 125,000 tons (unladen) it was the mightiest warship ever to have existed bearing the proud name of HMS King George V. The ship has never failed to live up to that proud name and reputation.

The United Kingdom did not follow the United States into the invasion of Iraq nor, at least initially, into Afghanistan. As the United States became ever more bogged down in the quagmire of Iraq however Great Britain took over the primary role against the Taleban and others in Afghanistan. In time the world's most experienced and professional and best equipped and simply best army totally crushed the Taleban and their supporters.

At the time of the death of Cecile Tittington the United Kingdom economy is the second largest in the world after that of the United States. However the total gross national product of the European/Commonwealth economic block far exceeds that of any individual nation.

Though not the largest economy in the world nor the largest military the United Kingdom under Cecile Tittington, not least through it's pre-eminence in the European/Commonwealth Union, has emerged as the most respected and influential nation on the Earth. If the full armed forces of the European/Commonwealth Union are taken into account no nation on the Earth would ever countenance conventional war with them.

This is the legacy of Sir Cecile Cedric Tittington probably the longest serving public official in human history. Although serving less time than Queen Victoria.

Shortly before his physical death Cecile was heard wondering what new reality he might soon enter and what his new tasks might be in that reality.

Some dismissed this as the ramblings of a dying man but others knew better.

End