I have contributed a chapter to a new book of historical counterfactuals.
Prime Minister Corbyn: And Other Things That Never Happened, edited by Duncan Brack and Iain Dale, runs through a series of “what ifs”. Chris Huhne posits an alternative reality in which Britain joins the euro and Asa Bennett rewrites the Labour leadership contest to crown Andy Burnham the winner. Meanwhile, Francis Beckett and Tom Harris imagine two very different versions of the titular scenario in which Jeremy Corbyn makes it to Number 10.
My chapter is “What if Scotland had voted Yes in 2014” and unveils a tongue-in-cheek, and more than a little absurd, parallel universe in which the nationalists emerged victorious in the Scottish referendum. Things do not go entirely to plan, as this brief excerpt suggests:
There was trouble in the air; Alex Salmond could sniff it. The location was the first hint. This was the inaugural meeting of Scottish and UK government principals to reach an agreement on the timetable for formal independence and to determine an equitable division of the assets. The First Minister and his advisers had always assumed that these discussions would take place in Downing Street. Instead, they had been relegated to Dover House — ‘Colonial House’ per Salmond — as though the Prime Minister wanted to play down the significance. ‘Good luck with that,’ remarked one of Salmond’s aides dryly.
When opposition politicians brought up the value of oil revenues, Salmond would smile beatifically and insist that the market would correct itself soon enough. As a former oil economist, he knew the Rebecca-of-Sunnybrook-Farm routine would only work for so long before the voters started to get cold feet and began questioning the affordability of independence. ‘Look on the bright side,’ he had quipped in Cabinet just the other day. ‘Maybe there are secret oil fields after all.’
The book is published by Biteback and is available on Amazon.