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Making (up) News

For approximately the next 24 hours (at a minimum) there is going to be nothing in the public media spotlight except an impending fertility ritual involving an amiable but allegedly none too bright helicopter pilot and a conventionally pretty party planner.

So I thought I'd make up a somewhat less happy news report from another time line for you to talk about.

(Royalists and those of a nervous disposition may prefer to ignore this blog entry.)


Scenes of confusion surround Westminster Abbey today after an explosion ripped through the Lady Chapel, engulfing the royal wedding party in a rain of masonry and debris.

There are reports of a rocket trail seen moments before the explosion ...


The devastating explosion that ripped through Westminster Abbey less than an hour ago is confirmed to be a meteorite. The 10 meter object was tracked on radar by National Air Traffic Service (NATS) prior to impact. According to Project Spaceguard it was considered to be of low significance, Official sources say terrorism is not involved.

Rescue workers and police are frantically searching the scene of the disaster for survivors, but the surviving south wall of the abbey is believed to be unstable and could collapse at any moment.

The meteor left a burning trail across the sky and was seen as far away as Bristol before disintegrating. Smaller fragments landed in central London, severely damaging the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the Supreme Court buildings. The largest fragment, believed to weigh over ten tons, tore through the wall of Lady Chapel at high speed and shattered two stone buttresses, partially collapsing the roof. Television footage showed the royal wedding party and guests engulfed in fragments.

Unconfirmed reports are coming in that bodies recovered so far include those of former Prime Minister Sir John Major, Maid of honour Pippa Middleton, Sir Elton John, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Other famous meteorite impacts include New Orleans (Louisiana, 2003), Tunguska (Siberia, 1908), Chicxulub (Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, 65 million BC) ...


It has been confirmed that William Hague (Foreign Secretary), Justine Thornton (fianceé of Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband), and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar have been pronounced dead at the scene.

Stones are falling from the buttresses of the South Door tower, and it is expected to collapse imminently.

More bodies have been recovered.


At T + 48 hours, the scale of the disaster is apparent: with the exception of a former Australian Olympic swimmer and a television comedian, everyone on the royal guest list is dead (along with over 700 onlookers, well-wishers, tourists, and emergency service workers crushed to death when the towers of the Abbey finally collapsed).

What are the consequences?

Over to you!



A good number in the succession list are gone, too. How does this affect the government? Or is the crisis limited to who will carry out the ceremonial duties?


Not only does it completely hose the British monarchy's line of succession -- which will probably devolve onto someone implausible and quite possibly unsuitable (by the standards of The Firm) -- it takes out the prime minister and the head of the opposition, and a bundle of sundry other heads of state and monarchs from around the world.

It's a lower death toll than 9/11, and there's no human agency to blame for it, but the diplomatic shit-storm will be of epic proportions ...


More importantly, how does the Laundary respond? Is this an occult meteorite? Is the death of so many royals an event felt beyond the mortal plane?


For the sake of argument, let's play this one straight: no Laundry, no occult shit, just horrendously bad luck for an ill-starred wedding.


Commemorative editions of both the original Quatermass movie and The Medusa Touch are released.


One might get the impression you're a /republican/, Charlie.


God save the Queen!

(Coz tourists mean money!)


This is a though cookie, For stares the UK will need new elections, but with no monarch we cant desolve parliament.


After most of the royal family is obliterated, the next in line to the throne is found to be an American lounge singer who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Goodman.


You really need to get out of Britain, don't you?

As for the effects, I remember being rather young when Princess Diana died, and hearing "Candle in the Wind" far, far more times than I'd have liked. That was in America, even. So I'd predict a pop song getting bludgeoned to death by being played a ridiculous amount.


Haha instant conspiracy theory that Obama was really really annoyed at not being invited :-D


This is the equivalent of me considering what would happen if some disastrous piece of space debris obliterated the Capitol during the State of the Union address. Interesting to discuss, but do I really want to end up on a terrorist watch list?

Well, okay, not quite the same, less foreign dignitaries. So.

I speculate given the nature of the disaster and the number of high-ranking clergy present, anyone with an axe to grind against the various Churches starts thumping their chests while everyone else engages in a day/week/month of mourning. Does that escalate to violence? Perhaps.

England goes absolutely batshit while the government tries to sort itself out, and depending on who comes out on top the monarchy ceases to exist entirely (foreigner speaking, I may be wrong on this point). Regardless, you end up seeing fear, panic and disorder running rampant for at least a month.

Australia and New Zealand still have clear lines of succession in their governments, so they mourn and move on. The same probably can't be said for the tropical islands that now find themselves leaderless: if any one of them can't get its government back up in double-quick time, expect unrest and violence.

The United States offers sincere condolences and offers of aid that are somewhat less sincere, or at least logistically FUBAR. The Red Cross takes in massive donations that it then holds interminably. Inside of two weeks one party or another is trying to use the disaster for political gain in some fashion. Ratings for the E! channel go through the fucking roof.


Well, there are plenty of people in line of succession known so you can have the government back up and running quite quickly. The UK will make billions on commemorative things (as will China). And we'll end up with dozens of low-quality tv - films.

On the other hand reconstructions of the event will make good use of the thousands of hours of video-footage made by all the tourists, CCTV, and media-crews, resulting in a deepening in our understanding of meteorite impacts.

And the referendum will be postponed indefinitely meaning the UK is stuck with FPTP for the foreseeable future


Seeking somebody to blame, the US government announces the new War on Rocks, and re-activates the Apollo programme with a new objective: launching meteor-busting nuclear missiles into space. Funding this by cutting federal welfare spending and raising taxes, protesters include everybody.

When the programme finally comes on line, concern is expressed in the international community about the US focus on protecting only their own citizens from meteorite strikes and their refusal to permit other nations to participate or send observers. The EU fails for the third time to pass a directive that would fund the construction of their own missile screen system, and seismographic data points to China testing their own weapons in underground bunkers.

Three months and many rocks blown into bits later, a poorly aimed US shot at a "potential threat" in the asteroid belt sends a massive fragment ricocheting towards Earth at high speed. Panicking astronomers estimate that it will come down somewhere in Asia, in about a week.

The first launch of a hastily prepared prototype Chinese anti-meteor weapon is a partial success. The warhead detonates on target, striking the rock near the upper atmosphere, but at a far lower yield than was intended. It shatters into thousands of pieces. Most of them burn up, but dozens smash down across Asia. Casualties are in the millions. Worse yet, one of them hits a major suburb in Pyongyang.

Everybody blames everybody else, as riots erupt across the globe...


The intelligence and military services will be put on high alert and there will probably be a meeting of all senior government officials and civil servent to try and decide what the frak they're going to do next.


So, we're assuming most of the cleverest, cunning & well connected movers and shakers in the British political establishment ('cause they are the ones who'd be blagging an invite to this, no?) are all annihilated by a freak of nature, and an undeniable one at that, so there's no obvious revenge target?

That's a fascinating scenario.

What would happen after the initial shock & mourning is that a consensus would emerge amongst the people (encouraged by a thoughtful a reflective media) that this awful tragedy should serve as springboard from which to launch a new, more enlightened & democratic...ha, sorry, got carried away there!

What normally happens when something like this occurs?

Has it even ever?

Nothing springs to mind as a remotely applicable historical example. Vesuvius maybe...but that more or less nuked everyone concerned, not just the elite, and back then the whole global interconnectedness thing wasn't nearly as much of a factor.

Worst case scenario: some flavour of loony extremists manage to take control, or at least exert too much influence, and we regress to being some arse-backwards European no-marks,, lets look at the best-case:

Somehow, some hitherto unknown, but practical-minded and charismatic leader emerges to re-define the (now chaotically broken) party political system a bit, and, with the aid of the massive amounts of worldwide sympathy that will no doubt ensue, starts the beginning of, well, something better!

Cheers for making me think about something so interesting anyway;)


It's possibly the only chance of Iain Duncan-Smith ever getting to be Prime Minister - looks like it's between him and Liam Fox. The LibDems look better off; whichever of Vince Cable or Chris Huhne gets to be DPM is likely to run rings around the surviving Tories.

Also, the Daily Mail would go even more bonkers insane.

The resulting Government would be anxious to not call an immediate election, determined to show continuity and stability. That means a lot of by-elections in very safe seats, though, so expect a bitter (if initially discreet) series of selection battles.

I was going to say that this might significantly increase the number of woman Tory MPs, as wives stand for their late husband's seat, except that all the wives were invited to the wedding as well.


Surely this is a lead-in to a "War of the Worlds" riff, a la LoEG volume 2.


Shades of 'King Xander'. A Buffy crossover fanfic involving Xander. It is a serious takoff of 'King Ralph'. It is rather good. Unfortunately it wasn't finished.

For those who want to read it:


Isn't this just the plot from King Ralph Someone needs to prep John Goodman..


Looks like the next Monarch would be Savannah Phillips, Princess Anne's granddaughter. She's just 5 months old, though, so the real battle would be who became Regent.


Science fiction writer and internet blogger Charlie Stross was detained by police under counter-terrorism laws today.

A police spokesperson said that Mr. Stross was helping them with their enquiries after a number of death threats against the Royal Family and members of the government were posted on his blog.

Friends and supporters of Mr. Stross argue that the alleged "death threats" were a fictional scenario involving a meteor hitting Westminster Abbey during the Royal Wedding. They point to the line "Official sources say terrorism is not involved." As evidence that Mr. Stross had no malicious intent.

When questioned on this, a police spokesperson responded that Mr. Stross had expressed Republican and extreme anti-capitalist sentiments and had, in effect, publicly fantasised about the deaths of the Royal Family and members of the government. As a result he had become a "person of interest" in ongoing investigations.


Cross-referencing wikipedia and the guest list from the Telegraph, the throne passes to the 8th in line, 'James, Viscount Severn', Prince Edward's 4 year old son, who I guess is too young to attend. That probably leaves the UK as still technically a monarchy, in a way it wouldn't be if it ended up in the hands of a random 4th-cousin Earl too obscure to get an invite.

Top 9 politicians also dead, including anyone who could argue they had a right of succession (it's not really formalised the way it is in the US). But plenty of MPs left and not much infrastructure disruption. So Cobra run things until, within 48 hours, there's a vote and a new PM chosen, with someone pp'ing on behalf of King James.

Not that interesting really - technothriller, not science fiction.


The official succession list provides a couple possible heirs. Assuming, of course, at least one of them wasn't there.

If all else fails, you can go into the full and impossibly long list which allows, given enough improbabilities for someone named Soliman El-Hakim to become the new english king...


I'm guessing that, like the State of the Union address in the US, there are designated successors of both the Queen and the Prime Minister who are required to be not present at an event like this. You can't tell me that the security services don't at least imagine and plan for something like this, natural or otherwise.


Blair, Brown and the Syrian Ambassador all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

  • Neil.

There will be no real news on American TV for at least a week.


Should read like this:

Other famous meteorite impacts include New Orleans (Louisiana, 2003), Tunguska (Siberia, 1908), Chicxulub (Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, 65 million BC), Theia (Protoearth, 4.53 billion BC)



All government business is postponed for precisely two days - the official amount of time after the death of a monarch. This means that council elections, devolved assembly/parliament elections and the AV referendum take place on Saturday 7th May, giving us an extra two days to try to win AV. At a time of national mourning, turnout is low, leading to surprise gains for the BNP in many council seats as people are feeling extra patriotic and flag-wavey. The SNP and Plaid have massive losses because 'now is a time for unity', and Labour form governments in both devolved chambers - in coalition with the Lib Dems in Wales, leading to a slightly less strained tone between the two parties, but only in Wales.

Simon Hughes, as caretaker leader of the Lib Dems, becomes acting Deputy Prime Minister, becoming the first openly-bisexual cabinet member. However, this is only a temporary measure, as Tim Farron becomes Lib Dem leader in September's leadership election. These two left-leaning party members do not get on nearly as well with the new extreme-right wing Tory leadership as the centrist predecessors (literally) did. Combined with Sheffield Hallam having a massive swing to the Labour party in the subsequent by-election, the Lib Dems start discussing an exit strategy from the coalition.

The deaths of every major religious leader is, bizarrely, the cue for a national wave of religious conversion - it must have been God getting rid of the corrupt leaders of His Church (whichever Church) and replacing them with the moral purity of X.


Year later, new London tourist atraction: Westminster Vrater, the site of the famous Royal Extinction Event.


The parliamentary impact would be limited, at least in the short term. Some by-elections, of which the only really interesting one would be Sheffield Hallam, with the coalition government continuing under an acting Prime Minister. IDS is the obvious choice: Liam Fox wouldn't be acceptable to the Liberal Democrat side of the coalition, and none of the other surviving Conservative cabinet ministers have the political weight. (Possibly Phil Hammond, at a push)

Local elections and the AV referendum continue as planned. They're far too advanced to be realistically postponed, continuing with them would be a serious show of carrying on through adversity, and in any case only the Lib Dems would see much partisan advantage in a postponement.

The most interesting consequence would be the leadership elections in the three main parties. Fox might well win the Tory leadership, which would only add to tensions in the coalition. On the LD side, the obvious candidates would be Huhne and Farron, with a Farron victory more likely to pull the LDs away from the Tories.

As for Labour, Ed Balls might well become leader. His major potential rival would be David Miliband, but would Miliband Sr really be willing to step into the leadership over his brother's corpse - and if he were so disposed, would the public countenance it?

If we did end up with Fox, Farron and Balls, the potential for forming and maintaining a stable government would be greatly reduced. Farron and Fox would find it a lot harder to get on than Clegg and Cameron, while no one wants to work with Balls. A serious blow to the economy as confidence plummets, followed by a dissolution, a new election and perhaps Ed Balls, PM? Our troubles would only just be starting.


Well, not really. The UK system works differently, in that the people don't vote for the PM like the US does for a President. They vote for their local representative, and that's it. That Rep is a member of a party, and the winning party/coalition of parties then vote amongst themselves to decide who the PM will be.

They can redo this vote at any time, so the PM can change easily, and in this situation, the remaining MP's would vote up another PM amongst themselves. There's usually a deputy PM who would be in charge until the decision was made, but s/he's probably at the wedding as well.


You don't think the REAL Royal Family go to these events?


Conspiracy theorists insist that it was in fact a missile. Riots ensue in Ulster when the natural conclusion is drawn.


Rupert Murdoch dies of excitment after realising how much money his newspapers/tabloid tv stations will make spinning the story.

Most of world goes meh and returns to thinking about supper.


Fred Phelps says it's God's punishment of Britain for allowing gay marriage. Fred Phelps is struck by small but perfectly formed lightning bolt which burns the words "now explain this one" into his torso.


It's all peaches and cream; until someone discovers the miniature thrusters in the wreckage...


It's all over the Commonwealth, Royal Wedding fever is in New Zealand too - frankly I'm not getting the fever symptom, but I'm certainly getting a headache.

"In breaking news, hundreds dead, thousands injured in outbreak of extreme boredom, more at 11"


Blair, Brown and the Syrian Ambassador all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

The Syrian Ambassador has already heaved a great sigh of relief when he found he didn't have to attend.


Oh Kevin Rudd is going to love this.

Australian public, now suddenly realising that Swan is PM, don't.

Although, since we Aussies named a swimming pool after a PM that drowned, what would we name after a PM that was crushed by a small astral body?? :)



The Thorpedo survives the blast, and returns to Australia to become the true Messiah of all Australia's sporting gods.

Really, we wouldn'ta minded if Ian Thorpe got squished too...


If it weren't for this blog, I'd have no idea a royal wedding was imminent.

Sure, I've noticed the headlines in the local fish wrapper, but before reading this blog entry, I thought it was still weeks away...

Am I lucky or ignorant or what?


19-year-old Laura Berlin, hitherto 1329th in the line of succession to the British throne, is now set to be crowned as Her Royal Highness Queen Laura I.

Constitutional scholars in Canada and other Commonwealth realms are investigating whether she is also in the line of succession for their thrones.


Assume for starters a monarchy with a long history of being assassination targets. Of course there's an official guest list. The backup heir is officially on the list. Come the day, the designated survivor regrets they are unable to attend, because of a previously planned medical indisposition.

Defense in depth: there's a backup surviver pretty far down the line of succession, but they are an adult, and not obviously incompetent. They are also on the official guest list, with similar prearranged plans not to be present with a plausible excuse.

Drop a rock on all three of them? Looks suspiciously like enemy action, and an entirely different story focus. Back to you.


The sucession is remarkably well-defined; If any of the younger royals left their children at home, they'll get the throne, otherwise it'll be the Earl of Harewood. The government has procedures fro death in office tht are also worked out.


Awww, Charlie, such a beautiful building!


Surely the biggest impact would be that with the death of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme would have to cancel it's "Thought For The Day" slot.


An interesting situation for Australia. There would be huge temptation for the opposition to try and capitalise on the situation while they have the numbers in Parliament (Julia Gillard has a safe seat, so numbers would be restored after the by-election) but they couldn't achieve anything until a new Governor General is appointed. That doesn't rule out the stand in GG (one of the state Governors) from going rogue but they tend to be very unpolitical people.

It would however make an Australian republic a certainty, even if it took twenty years of bickering to find the right model.


And now, for more on the Royal Meteor disaster, it's over to the only media crew who weren't caught in the impact's blast radius: Julian Morrow and Chas Licciardello of Australia's "The Chaser".


Oh happy day . . .


Goddam Charlie, you are going to wind up on every know watch list in the known universe with a post like that. I sympathize, but, for your own good, please stop.

It is interesting to me, that the "# watching" has gone from 4 billion to 2 billion in the last few days. I have yet to talk to a single person who intends to watch it. The US news agencies are pushing "we need a break from all the bad news" -- whatever.



Okay, things I can see happening here in .au

1) Tony Abbott, despite existing parliamentary conventions and similar, claims the meteorite impact is evidence of divine disapproval of the ALP Labor government and starts campaigning heavily to promote his own succession to the Prime Ministerial office (he's currently Leader of the Opposition, in a parliament which is rather precariously hung in the lower house). The Australian tabloid press (and The Australian newspaper) plus the radio shock jocks and talkback hosts swing solidly behind him, pushing the whole line that this latest disaster (on the tail of so many others) must have been due to divine dislike of Julia Gillard, and campaigning strongly to get the ALP out of power.

2) Wayne Swan, the current Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, steps up to take over the reins of power, but he hasn't really got the kind of public profile to do the job credit. There's a leadership challenge from within the ALP ranks, and Kevin Rudd pulls a swiftie to re-emerge as Prime Minister once more. Any media which covers the event (not many, and not much) regard it as a rebirth similar to that of Lazarus (or possibly John Howard), and suggest a conspiracy of some kind.

3) The entertainment and sporting media hail Ian Thorpe as a god from heaven for surviving. The Thorpedo enters the chat-show circuit and is set for life with appearances on just about everything. Tabloid pages which aren't occupied with the divine immanence of Tony Abbott are occupied with discussion of just about anything Ian Thorpe says. Thorpe ends up being offered a role in a prominent ongoing soap opera, where he turns in a wooden performance which still garners popular support and wins him the Gold Logie at the first Logie awards he's eligible for.

4) The Australian public, as is their wont, pays far more attention to the football (AFL or Rugby, depending on state of residence), the weather (particularly in QLD) and the Lotto results than to any of the political convulsions. Church attendance increases slightly for the fortnight following the disaster, then tails off again.


My telly viewing is fucked for the next week.

Any chance of the press pack getting smooshed as well?

International press creams themselves with initial 15 minute updates on [insert country] fatalities. There will be a "miracle" at some point as some mauled guest is dragged alive from the wreckage days later.

Locally, Wayne Swan would be interesting and, of course, Abbott would be shrilly demanding a new election so he can lose again. I wonder if I can change the scenario to have Abbott sneaking in to the event in Gillard's handbag, obviously, he'd be slap-fighting Howard for first dibs.


I hereby designate the event as "The Royal Weeding".

Both NZ PM John Key and the Governer General will be among the slain. While an interim government led by the Deputy PM is a certainty, there may well be constitutional issues with no Head of State to confirm Parliament. I expect NZ will solve the problem in the usual fashion of muddling it out pragmatically immediately and then arguing about it endlessly afterwards.

Expect each and every TV preacher under the sun to claim Gawd was responsible, probably citing Willy slipping it to Kate before marriage as a reason.


Come on, Charlie, you know perfectly well what would happen: Things would just get worse and worse and worse for everyone until the Doctor (or, optionally, Jack Harkness, but this is London, so it really sounds like the Doctor's bailiwick to me) manages to escape from whatever predicament had prevented a more timely intervention and swoops in to arrange it so the whole thing never happened. The royal wedding proceeds, with an extra helping of treacly sentimentality and happy smiles from a small group of attendees whom no one can remember inviting, who are the only ones now able to remember the averted timeline with the meteorite impact and its tragic consequences. And the credits roll.


Britain wins Eurovision with the sympathy vote, and Shooting Stars comes back for an 8th series.


I assume Thorpe will lose his right foot, the one that sheltered Rowan from debris.


Sorry Charlie there were no survivors, using the provided info on the asteroid (mass and volume) we get a rough crater size of 451 meters from rim to rim. With a blast of 1.88 MegaTons killing a large chunk of the population of London who were lining the streets in the surrounding area.

Calculations done with:

However from a New Zealand left wing view point, things couldn't be better after the explosion. With current Prime Minister John Key now dead his Party is no longer able to sell his right wing stupidity to the New Zealand public, so the plummet in the polls in the lead up to the November election. Jerry Brownlee Nationals appointed Dictator in charge of Christchurch recovery (His powers are that broad and badly written) decides to use his powers to keep National in charge of the country. Claiming it is in the best interests of Christchurch he gives his party 5 million Party List votes from Christchurch, along with 1 million Party List votes for his Allies in the Act Party. Then Orders that no one is allowed to report the election rout in the media, the media do not oblige and report to the Nation what he has done. After one Bloody week of revolution against the Right and others facing grudges, order is restored, due to the mass nature of most of the crimes committed a general amnesty is declared by the provisional government. Fresh elections are organised for January and most of the surviving Parties run campaigns based of repealing and replacing most of the rights law changes.


Mind you, it's just about the one constitutional advantage of monarchy that you can't kill the monarch; the next one pops into existence before the bloody gobbets of the old one hit the floor. "The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed." — Terry Pratchett (Mort)


Aww, crap! Not Joss Stone!




FOR REAL, NO FOOLING/. The US government has cut the budget for looking for big rocks. They said if it was going to kill everyone then others should pay too.


The Angevins return.


Nitpick: Actually given a final size of 10 metres diameter and given usual asteroidal velocities the calculator delivers a yiezld somewhere between 188 and 14.5 kilotonnes (1.88 times ten to the minus one megatonnes).

Since that yield is in the range of the airburst which destroyed Hiroshima (historically estimated on the order of 20 kilotonnes) the rest of you point remains valid and rips the heart out of London


What a tragic loss of such a wonderful bit of architecture.


Westminster Abby was an inside job! The government admitted that they knew about the rock ahead of time!


That bigfooted Australian ex-Olympian makes out like nobody's business. TV deals, books, films; you name it, he's coining it.

Oh, and some guy takes over running the UK. And someone else almost as forgettable dresses outrageously while squatting on the throne and looking regal. The British shrug and get on with it.


"a red-hot anvil was inexplicably found embedded in the floor just yards away from where the royal couple was standing"


Tony Blair, never one to miss an opportunity, announces his return to UK politics to "save the nation"...

Badly shopped photos and spliced video footage from the fruitbat brigades circulate on the Internet, "proving" that the meteor strikes were terrorist attacks.


Gare du Nord, Paris. It is a classic Parisian spring morning, dappled sunlight through plane trees, despite low cloud over much of northern Europe. Outside a simple tabac, a tanned middle-aged man in an immaculate linen jacket takes a relaxed sip of his cafe au lait. His associate, smaller and darker of complexion is smoking a pungent reefer, unnoticed apparently by the nearby transport police.

"Last time, OK? If you weren't so entertaining I'd have called this in five years ago. And no Peter this time, he even gives me the creeps."

Linen suit nods slowly. Their eyes meet, and neither finds it easy to disengage. Reefer breaks the spell with a deep inhale. Linen finishes his coffee, stands and nods slowly, his lips pursed. Wordless, he takes Eurostar tickets from his pocket and walks toward the station entrance. He looks back once, but the other man is gone, though the smoke is lingering heavily.


The last video feed from the Abbey shows members of the Royal Family in extremis letting their disguises slip, and the world sees that David Icke was right all along: the world has been being ruled by 12-foot, blood-drinking, shape-shifting lizards.

In reaction, many people accept all his other claims uncritically, and start worshipping the former football commentator as the actual son of God.

A counter conspiracy then alleges that the whole incident was a False Flag operation arranged by the real hidden rulers - the cats - but this is laughed off as being far too ridiculous.


Minor German nobleman living with a Scandinavian lover namedSven becomes the next King of England by being the next in line of succession.


There has been much tabloidizing in Denmark over the fact that the queen is invited but not the crown-prince. In an interview the crown-prince didn't sound miffed at all, quite the contrary in fact.

I wonder what he knows...

Anyway, as far as I can see, the average age of monarchs in the rest of europe would drop by a lot, but the kingeons have their targets all mapped out, so no break in tabloid-material would be anticipated.


My overiding concern is to find out if my good friend A, who works for the Supreme Court, and has been driven loopy by various news organisations and others dithering about using the building for stuff on the day, is safe and well!


I'd have to disagree about the consequences for NZ. The country would recover from the loss of our boringly media-friendly and utterly hollow PM by replacing him with our boringly media-friendly and utterly hollow finance minister.

So no change whatsoever this far from the impact point.


T + 50 Hours: Rumbling noises heard from the devastation. T + 51 Hours: Rumbling noises continue to be heard. T + 55 Hours: Swarms of darkly clad, sombre people begin to gather around the site. T + 57 Hours: Gatherers begin chanting something unintelligible. T + 58 Hours: Police attempt to disperse gatherers, but are savagely murdered en masse. T + 61 Hours: Cthulhu rises...


the still hot meteor emits a noise, squatting embedded in the suspiciously small crater. a tiny metal screw drops out of its base and tiny, tiny martian war machines begin their < badly miscalculated> conquest of earth


The French do pretty well tourist-wise out of their royalty, despite having exterminated them 200-odd years ago...


Oh dear, a literal dis-aster. Ill-starred indeed.

I predict a hot trade in meteor fragments.

(and, yes, those object sizes seemed disturbingly large for such a minor impact, definitely suspicious...)


At the bottom of the impact crater, disaster workers find the lost continent of Atlantis, containing amazing riches and lots of uranium. Despite the regrettable loss of life, the meteor strike works out well for the UK as these new resources bring about a second coming of the British Empire.


Finally, the Norwegians succeeded in reclaiming England thus fulfilling the Viking dream. The Battle of Stanford Bridge is forgotten as the new heir to the British throne, HRH Haakon Magnus of Norway, adress the nation from Oslo.


The French invade, claiming that they intend to free England from tyranny of monarchy and establish the rights of all humans. Claimants to the royal succession fall quiet when a guillotine is established in Trafalgar Square.

The Danish and Norwegians invade. Stamford Bridge, the rematch.

The Dutch invade. Hey, it worked in 1688.


The Metropolitan Police insist that their policy of raiding various squats round London on dubious grounds in advance of the wedding was the right thing to do.

Their intelligence-led approach to policing gave no hint of impending meteor strikes.



  • Watch and rewatch the footage of wed-stinction about a thousand times
  • Accept the Catholic faith, because obviously God has had enough of our shenanigans
  • Gibber

Rest of the world - Old monsters quickly replaced by new monsters


You beat me to it. (I suppose that's what I get from being at GMT-4, rather than GMT...)

Wikipedia claims that its list of succession is potentially 'incomplete', and puts James at position number 8 in succession.


Who cares? It missed Thatcher.


Remember, these are press reports of the event. They're likely to get the tonnage involved off.

(On American television, after Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, CNN show ran a detail-blurb reading 'shuttle was traveling nearly 18 times the speed of light' underneath the image of the talking-head.)


I was going for that, but had it prefaced with "Radical Pan-Scandinavian Unionists claim responsibility, begin asassination campaign against suviving royals. When asked if they intend to recreate the empire of Canute, their spokesman replied 'I think you meant to say Cnut'."


After the immediate reaction and outpourings of grief...

The Vatican announces that this is God's message that Catholicism is the true faith. (In the US, the fundies claim that this really, really is the end times).

England finally has a referendum to opt for a republic. Popular uprisings around the world mount, with stone throwing a popular taunt for monarchs and dictators.

Street vendors around the crater sell tasteless t-shirts with "I survived the meteorite, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt". Business as usual.

It takes 25 years for a decision on how to rebuild the site. Should it be a monument, a rebuilding of the abbey, a Disney theme park? Lack of consensus and money, result in the site just accreting street vendors catering to the tourists.

Scotland belatedly realizes that they can be independent without the symbol of the Stone of Scone. The timing is perfect, the last of the oil in the North Sea has been economically extracted.

One hundred years later, Britain has only the haziest recollection of why the monarchy ended.

In 2317, Washington DC is similarly struck.

China, now dominating the economics of the solar system from Mercury to Saturn, barely acknowledges the event.


[news coverage in America...] At T+1 hours, some religious nut-case in America claims his Prophet predicted a Great Tragedy Overseas a decade ago. The Prophet had dreamed of a wedding and a funeral...

At T+10 hours, a small-time astronomer from Australia claims to have taken photos of the (admittedly-almost-too-small-to-see) asteroid during the night before up to the wedding. His emails to astronomy authorities for detecting Near Earth Objects were unanswered, as he was not a recognized astronomer.


I was pipped on the Norwegian theme.

In the Glorious Republic of Hegemonia we have the NFL Draft, the retirmement of an old transport system and the after-effects of a shocking, if limited, real natural disaster. So nothing of interest to us happening over your way after all. Enjoy your local news.

Half the women in my office are gossiping about the draft instead of the wedding: what a change from 1981.


My 4 year old insisted on being woken for the Royal Event. When they announced the new couple as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, she got very irate and said: There was supposed to be a Princess!!! Argghhhh!!! (very much in the mode of Charlie Brown's sister)


Personally, I'm hoping that the Endeavour gets off the launch pad today.

I'll admit, waking up to see the RAF rescue copter flying a salute (Union Jack trailing from their winch) was a nice touch.

Otherwise, I guess it's time to send more money to the Red Cross, this time for Alabama. Call it my tithe to cover my contribution to global warming this year.


Whatever you do Charlie just make sure Michael Bay doesn't hear about this idea or he is going to make a movie out of it...


The required infrastructure gets put rapidly into place by the U.N. in order for the first Rama spacecraft to be detected in 2130.


What should happen next - another wedding held on the anniversary, with all of the arab princes invited.


Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice's eye-catching headgear quickly becomes the rage around the globe, sparking a Victorian cultural revival as well as a trade-war with China over imitation designer knock-offs.

Lady Gaga launches her "We are not amused" world tour playing to sold-out crowds.


But seriously, what do you call those things they were wearing on their heads as suddenly my interest is piqued by the royal's fashion sense.

(I know you said not to but I sense the Laundry had a hand in those designs, because normal people would not be caught dead in public with something like that on their head...therefore I will keep this post brief for easy deletion)


Sorry, coming to the party late.

Per the binding rules of monarchy, all that matters is the canonical geneological structure, and its branching rules.

Therefore, in Charlie's delightful timeline, this Australian Plantagenet would have a fair shot at the throne.


Saturday 30th April: At a rally somewhere near the Irish border, a man in a balaclava proclaims a success for the Real IRA in that the Queen is no longer visiting Ireland.

Sunday 1st May: A leak from the unofficial IDS leadership campaign reveals that his closest supporters were planning to use the expected drop in unemployment following the deaths of an estimated one million people thronging the streets of London as evidence of the success of the government's tough stance on false benefit claims.

Monday 2nd May: Al Jazeera receive a recording of Osama bin Laden in which he says that the wrath of Allah will fall on all his opponents.

Tuesday 3rd May: Millions of London commuters complain that the public transport system has not returned to normal even after a long weekend.


I didn't watch, but if you're referring to hat-like objects that aren't actually hats:

It's the sort of thing that appears when the primary purpose of your actual hat - keeping sun and/or rain off - has twindled due to the modern urban environment.


And if you're referring to what I see Princess Beatrice was wearing, the answer is, who knows?


Regarding Canada

In the current timeline, Jack Layton of the NDP stands a fair chance to overturn the conservative hold on the Canadian government on May 2nd. Either way, Canada will remain that reasonably polite place that counterbalances Russia.

In Charlie's timeline, there are a number of more interesting possible outcomes:

Variant 1

All the traditionalists are in deep mourning and sit out the election. The Greens come in second to the NDP. Alberta secedes and becomes Yet Another Oil Sheikhdom. Quebec threatens to secede but is mollified by increased federal spending in the province.

Variant 2

Steven Harper sees his chance and stages a Very Canadian Coup by ramrodding passage of a bill declaring the current Governor General as King of Canada and repurposing the Senate as a new House of Lords. Quebec threatens to secede but is mollified by increased federal spending in the province.

Variant 3

In a time of constitutional crisis, the Canadians retreat to their comfort zone. The only timeline change - Peter Mansbridge (the Walter Cronkite of the CBC) is named King Peter the First. Quebec threatens to secede but is mollified by increased federal spending in the province.


A Philip Treacy design...(yes, the anglophile in me is rearing it's ugly head today)

Can someone from the UK comment on this: Is this a true statement? The British call them fascinators.


James VIII becomes king (the highest applicable regnal number is from the Scottish succession) after legal fiction of momentary reigns of Charles III, William V, Henry IX, Andrew, Beatrice, Eugenie and Edward IX. As Viscount Severn is under eighteen there will be a regency the regent is the first person on the line of succession who is over the age of 18, a British citizen domiciled in the United Kingdom and capable of succeeding to the Crown under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701. A regent cannot assent to an act altering the order of succession so fixing that is off the agenda until 2025. Comparing the order of succession with the guest list it looks like the Regent would be Zenouska Mowatt currently 45th in order of succession all of those higher are either listed or under eighteen.


Regarding Scotland, Ireland, and Wales

The Scots Pairliament meets in emergency session, declares for independence, and schedules a binding vote for secession on ⟨consults Wikipedia⟩ um… September 11th. Scotland secedes from the United Kingdom and declares itself the Republic of Scotland. The US market for utili-kilts enjoys a brief boom among the impressionable.

Northern Ireland descends into chaos as it becomes clear the British are far too pre-occupied with genealogical disputes to keep the peace. The Troubles are back, with a vengeance. Ireland proper (and most of the English-speaking world) calls for peace and reconciliation. Outcome TBD, as usual.

Wales threatens to secede but is mollified by increased Union spending in the province.


Serious consequence: the Houses of Parliament have been wrecked so Parliament has to meet outside London for the first time in ages. Sudden demand for flats within travelling distance of the NEC in Birmingham.

Trivial and personal consequence: my workplace also destroyed so I work from home for the foreseeable future, saving on travel costs and time.


As the dust has settled there's a single woman left standing; focusing the camera she's holding up her ID and introduces herself, firmly:

"Harriet Jones, MP"


That wasn't the final diameter, it was the diameter of the object tracked before it disintegrated. With the final mass placed at ~10 tons, assuming a rocky piece, it's more like a 2 meter or less diameter object.

Which would still probably make a bigger crater, but not the same as something with ~125 times the volume and mass.


To which the cameraman presumably responds "We know who you are!".


Viscount Severn (Edward's three-year-old son) becomes King James VIII, annoying any surviving Jacobites (the Old Pretender was James III & VIII).

Zenoushka Mowatt will be Regent, at the grand old age of 20. She would be replaced by her brother Christian on 4 June, then by Columbus Taylor on 6 August 2012, then by Samuel Chatto on 28 July 2014, then by Princess Louise of Wessex on 8 November 2021 before the King coming into his own on 17 November 2025.

This highlights something of a problem with the Regency Act, but no Regent can grant the Royal Assent to an amendment to the Regency Act, so we get five Regents in 14 years.

The Regent, however, only acts as Regent for the King when reigning in right of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; the King reigning in right of his seventeen other crowns is represented by the Governor or Governor-General - but of course, they're all dead too, so the Regent will be appointing new Governors and Governors-General on the advice of her Prime Ministers in those realms. I dread to imagine the political messes in the countries that lose both a Governor-General and a Prime Minister.

The Counsellors of State (the five over-21s highest in the line to the throne) will be even more obscure to start with, but the ex-Regents will each become Counsellors of State in turn - and the Counsellors of State will form a Regency Council and make things function. If they can get through the first year or two unscathed, then they should have a functioning monarchy, especially once Samuel Chatto is Regent and you have three ex-Regents on the Council (and that's only 2014).

Politically, the first business of the House of Commons will be electing a new Speaker, then reading the writs for the various by-elections.

I have no idea who the new PM would be - if I were King or Regent, I'd suggest a temporary PM while the Tories have a leadership election. The best safe pair of hands around would be the Baron Strathclyde. He's the senior peer in the Cabinet, is a veteran operator, and can't get Number 10 in his own right.

With the immense slowness of (all three parties') leadership elections, you're going to have Sir George Young (Leader of the House of Commons), Simon Hughes and Harriet Harman across the dispatch box until at least September.

I'd bet on Tim Farron winning the Lib Dem leadership election and David Miliband the Labour one. That leaves the Tories. I have no idea; IDS is a joke, but everyone else is dead. Remember that there are a bunch of safe seat by-elections for comebacks to arrive through, but Howard is the only other ex-leader, and everyone else (Portillo) has too many enemies. Looking at the rest of the Cabinet, the Lib Dems hate Liam Fox and Eric Pickles, Lansley's politically dead, Gove and Hunt are jokes, which leaves Philip Hammond, Caroline Spelman, Andrew Mitchell, Owen Paterson and Cheryl Gillan. On the backbenches, there's David Davis, who will run.

So Davis / IDS / Fox (on a right-wing, end-the-coalition platform - someone will grab that platform) and then probably at least one other. If it's Caroline Spelman, she could win.

If it is IDS or Fox, then Farron will pull the plug on the coalition, or make such extravagant demands that he gets rejected; Davis could be interesting, but I don't give him much chance of winning.

This probably means a General Election in late October or early November, with the nation still in shock. Unless.... could the Tories lose enough seats in the summer by-elections to make a Lab/LD coalition viable? David Miliband as PM.


And here in Bristol we do our current nightly thing of waiting to see if we have a party or a riot.... (or both)


The couple would have earned my undying respect if after the bestowing of their three new titles, one of them (preferably Kate) had said: Aye and I'll have Peebles as well.


Oh, wait, what actually happens? Nothing. Everything goes on as before.


Peebles? Basic googling has failed me, alas (unless it refers to Walter Scott, and even then I'm not getting it)



If we call them anything, that is. It's a term I've not exactly had a lot of use for, never having been to Ascot or Epsom for the racing.

(I knew the term already, and then did the Wikipedia lookup for a more fully featured explanation. But just drop the term into Google for others.)


Peebles? It's a place. Not as interesting as Cambridge, but what the heck, I'm not entirely sure where Strathearn is either.


NASA backtracks the path of the metorite. . . more on the way?


You might be pleased to learn that in this one throw-away blog post you managed to completely spoil the basic premises for a novelette I've been working on for sometime (since before the royal engagement). Thanks so much for that :>

On a more serious (?) note, I've been kinda anxious about this piece, because for me the British Royal Family is such an exotic phenomenon that I feared I might inadvertently end up hurting the feeling of those who know them as real people (maybe they know them exclusively via The Sun daily, but still). I read a lot of articles about the lot of them, and I actually started feeling genuinely bad about wanting to off those nice people. I imagined that any Briton who grew up hearing about prince this and princess that every other day would be shocked and horrified to find out that here I am, performing a fictional royal family-cide for fun and profit. And then I learned that there is at least one Briton who would gladly kill them off fictionally for no profit, just plain ol' fun. It was very reassuring.


Did not think that would be obscure for a Anglocentric audience. Think of a certain poisonous snake native to Britain and the crests of certain 15th century ne'er do wells.


What kind of meteorite was it? Chondritic? Achondritic? Nickel-iron? It sounds like an important find and I think we should be told.


Enter King Ralph!


God save Mrs. Ethel Shroak!

And I'm embarrassed that it took 123 comments for someone to say that.


But, thankfully, the United States seems to have been spared. There's no mention of 'United', or even a relevant 'us ' on that BBC guest list.

Possibly that generic hatred of USians by UKians currently goes rather high in political circles? If you've any luck at all, the King of Swaziland was spared, that he may contribute precision strike aircraft to the Libyan effort.


For nearly two years Belgium has no government and now the kng and queen are dead .... So far for Belgium ! French Left asks to invade south of Belgium (as well as Monaco). The 1st may celebration demand the end of monarchy everywhere in Europe. The first european civil war begins ... and everyone in France ask themselves "Why the F... didn't they invite Sarkozy ?"


Apparently, in this timeline, the Doctor sorted it all out, and attended the wedding. We have the picture.

"Bow-ties are cool."


I was half expecting Kate Adie!


Greg, as I understand it, it's not an affair of state, but rather an internal matter: the son of the heir to the throne is getting married. He's not the direct heir, and it's not really a state affair like a coronation (equivalent to a presidential inauguration): technically it's just a wedding, and because $SPOUSE isn't of royal descent there are no political side-effects.

If it was a coronation (there hasn't been one since 1953) I would expect invitations to go out to heads of state all over the world, and quite possibly to see the US VPOTUS or at least Secretary of State in the audience.


"First european civil war"? I think you need to read a few history books ...!


I think that last paragraph makes sense. By-elections could weaken the coalition enough to force a General Election. And some people might vote against their usual party-choice to force a General Election.

Readers outside the UK should remember that the Westminster Parliament doesn't have a formally fixed election cycle, just an upper limit. The Coalition parties did agree to stick together so as not to force an early election. Something on the scale of this scenario could change things enough to make that agreement irrelevant.


Look for the first series/season of the " Blackadder "

I think that this is the 'Peebles ' episode ...

"Dougal McAngus, arrives for a feast to celebrate Richard's impending return, and asks for land in Scotland as a reward for his service, ignoring the fact said land belongs to Edmund. When the land is given away, a furious Edmund plots with Baldrick and Percy to kill McAngus. "


Looking up the various European civil wars on this merry and cheerful site would be a good start ...


Has it all gone away yet? Is it safe to go out?


"Funding this by cutting federal welfare spending and raising taxes, protesters include everybody."

I'm sorry, but 'raising taxes' in the USA is not possible, at least for those who have the most money (I'll grant that taxing the lower 75% would probably pass, but that's of limited value). We should limit this discussion to things which are more likely, like an meteor just happening to strike the wedding :)


Bishop Pete Broadbent of Willesden becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, because God is obviously on his side.


The bureaucracy/civil service remains. So government continues even if the PM and most cabinet ministers are declared dead. Surely Britain doesn't allow the entire cabinet to appear in one place at one time. So whoever was picked to stay at home becomes acting PM. The majorities still remain from the election, so a new PM can be chosen. Certainly a number MPs would be dead and whatever replacement plan for them would need to kick in. They would find the nearest suitable repacement for the monarch from the English aristocracy. At such a time it would be necessary to turn to existing institutions for support and consistency. Net effect would be rather nil.


Another Duncan@ 22:

"Science fiction writer and internet blogger Charlie Stross was detained by police under counter-terrorism laws today."

After extensive torture, including the torture of his wife, cats, all UK-dwelling fans who attended any convention at which he spoke, and all UK-dwelling readers of any of his books, Charles 'flaming death to the Royals!' Stross was released from charges under the UK's terrorism laws. This, however, was not a good development, since he was immediately charged with Libel, under the UK's famed 'we hates the truth, we does indeed' libel law.

Spokespeople said that the terrorrism laws weren't harsh enough, and that the 'Nacht un Nebel' provisions of the libel law had to be used. One member of the UK's Special Anti-terrorism-and-Dark-People Police squad resigned in protest, claiming that his membership in the Church of Satan placed limitations on his actions: "torture, yes; torturing children, more fun; torturing cats - hey, I'm a Satanist. But UK Libel Laws? Even the CoS can't sink that low."


Stross' Comet, last sighted 24/2/1981 and cause of yesterday's unprecedented worldleaderocide is next due to appear 27 July 2012, co-incidentally

In other news the Beckham's State Funeral as secured the Friday night primetime slot, pushing out hot favourite Pippa Middleton's cremation.

On other other news New Line Cinema has cancelled Armageddon II.


The Westboro Baptist Church would blame this on the fact that the Anglican church allows gay clergy, and totally forget that the Anglican church is nearly atheistic. The meteorite will have had lucky timing, since the wedding occurred two days before International Socialist Solidarity Day. There will be a minimized police presence because of the sudden lack of many governmental figures and the ensuing confusion about chain of command within various european law enforcement agencies. The planned socialist and anarchist demonstrations for May Day (and the imaginary anarchist and socialist demonstrations for the wedding itself -- which, since they didn't happen, did not cause any drop in the group of demonstrating anarchists and socialists) will combine with existing race riots and demonstrations over the EU economy, and then (due to poor journalism) begin to be confused with the 'Arab Spring' demonstrations, which will bring anti-arab bigots into the street as well. The dominant surviving group in europe will be frail old people, little children, and people who don't own televisions. In france, the dominant surviving group will be little children who don't own televisions because of the confusion that occurs when the demonstrations against lowering the retirement age run into the may day demonstrations and the race riots.


Stross' Comet, last sighted 24/2/1981 and cause of yesterday's unprecedented worldleaderocide is next due to appear 27 July 2012 at 6pm. NASA says the chance the comet will hit the London Olympics Opening Ceremony is "one in a billion".

In other news the Beckham's State Funeral as secured the Friday night primetime slot, pushing out hot favourite Pippa Middleton's cremation.

On other other news New Line Cinema has cancelled Armageddon II.

[edit: double post, forgot I hadn't typed the olympics joke. Sorry.]


Of course you were beaten to it by no less than Richard Burton (the actor, not the explorer) when he did more or less the same thing in

That said I don't think the simultaneous death of a large number of the great and the good would change anything much in as much as there are well defined succession procedures in place both for the monarch and the government. We did after all - as a society - think about this during the years we lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation and old plans could be dusted off.

Which frankly makes me think about the luck of Teela Brown.


A casual glance through Google at the English line of succession to the Throne does reveal that the Historical Family/Clan /Norman/ Euro Aristocracy is about as resilient to extermination as are Bed Bugs ... you have to go a Long Long Way down the line before you hit commoners, and even then, if a Powerful Commoner were to accept the Crown - Oliver Cromwell was offered it but refused on moral grounds - he would have demonstrated that he was Royal and thus deserved to be KING in true Sword in The Stone fashion.

We have KINGS - and King Like Queens from time to time - because a horribly large percentage of the Human Race want and maybe NEED to be told what to do.

It's Sad But True that we are still at heart Pack Animals and all too many of us do long for a Leader Of The Pack.


It's all fun and games until the rest of the hot hail arrives, the earthquake beams kick in and the Moon shifts out of orbit... I, for one, welcome our Mongolian overlord. Hail Ming!


Not exactly political side-effects, but Diana's family sat on the Middleton side when traditionally they would have been on the Queen's side. They're not fond of the royals.


The consequences to me? Personally, an over the road trucker in the US. I'd probably read it...think something like "oh...too sad"...and think it was probably caused by the ragheads....and then go on with life.

No significance to any degree/ \


"all too many of us do long for a Leader Of The Pack." A FIRM LEADER SO TO SAY. Look over here in the states.


See? Told you. (I'm sure Amy and Rory were nearby as well, but they're sensible enough to duck when they see a photographer.)


In the hunter/gather times the graves have bones like champions. They can tell when farming starts, Most of the bones are smaller and weaker. But not all, a few are still big, strong and have shiny things. A gang of Royals has been formed and they steal what they want and make the other do the work. Its a deficit setting for humans.


I call dibs on the crown jewels.


Here's how we dealt with a similar event in the States...


Boris wins leader of the CP and later, the general election.


Not Pippa too? Noooo.

Apparently to get on the guest list all you had to do was meet the prince once - Thorpedo?

And, "Sir Elton John, performer who sang at Diana's funeral". Great job description - Funeral singer.

Loved the link to the wiki on the succession. Around 3000 spares. Many of the already kings and queens were at the wedding but they all have plenty of offspring. Even "our" Princess Mary's sprogs were on the list. A Tasmanian king of England and Australia? Yikes. Interestingly the Duke of Edinburgh is/was about 1500th in line had he survived the meteor.


Are you sure that a Regent can act at 18? It is 21 for Counsellors of State. Zenouska Mowatt does not turn 21 until May 26th. Until then, the first over-21 in the line of succession would be the Queen's 88-year-old cousin the Earl of Harewood. Christian Mowatt turns 21 on 4th June 2014 (3 years after turning 18, obviously), Columbus Taylor on 6th August 2015, and Samuel Chatto on 28th July 2017. Princess Louise of Wessex/Lady Louise Windsor would not turn 21 on 8th November 2024, as she was a bridesmaid at the wedding. I think that Viscount Severn was born on 17th December (not November) 2007. So he would come into his own on his 18th birthday on 17th December 2025 (following the precedent of Queen Victoria).

Come 28/7/2017, Samuel Chatto would be Regent. The senior Counsellor would be the Duke of Kent's grandson Columbus Taylor (ex-Regent). Then Princess Alexandra's grand-daughter Flora Ogilvy - she is junior in line to (as well as younger than) Columbus, but still senior in line to Christian Mowatt. Then Christian (ex-Regent). Then Zenouska (ex-Regent).


There is disagreement over whether regents have to be 21 (as Counsellors of State do) or only 18 (the Sovereign needs no Regent once 18,and I believe an Heir-Presumptive can be Counsellor at 18). If 21 is correct Lord Harewood would be the first Regent.

Samuel Chatto was at the ceremony,Louise of Wessex a bridesmaid, and presumably would be among the dead rather than the future Regents.

Heiress presumptive to King James would be the infant Savannah Phillips.


Has anybody ever talked about drafting the government. Nobody likes politicians but to get elected you must not just be one, but be a bigger one. So if you set up a draft lottery of everybody who legally could be elected and pick numbers, you would get leaders who a not politicians. Are real people who know what's going on and have not sold the souls to win. And probably not be a power mad sociopath. Would that be worse than we all have now.


What would old FDR say about the dangers of fear? Is this how the "terrorists" win, by getting people so fearful and stupid that we terrorize ourselves? That's more or less what FDR worried about.

One hundred or so activists were arrested before last week’s British royal wedding on "PRE-crime" charges. Street-theatre actors and critics of the royal family were rounded up ahead of time because they said they wanted to use the occasion to demonstrate their disapproval of the monarchy. Notice the double standard going on when the U.S. Supreme Court says it’s alright for nut fundamentalists to yell at (commoners’) military funerals but police are allowed to round up commoner activists in advance of national special security events or royal weddings Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, was legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003. She wrote a "whistleblower" memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI's pre 9-11 failures. She retired at the end of 2004, and now writes and speaks on ethical decision-making and balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation.


He was kinda busy that day anyway!


The minimum age for a Regent is 18, under the Regency Act 1937 it was 21 this was later changed by the Regency Act 1953. Under the Regency Act 1937 all of the Counsellors of State had to be 21 the Regency Act 1943 changed this so that the Heir Apparent or Heir Presumptive could be a Counsellor of State from the age of 18.


The problems with choosing by lot include firstly it takes a considerable period to become familiar enough with parliamentary procedure the bureaucracy and your colleagues to be effective. So you need to have a fairly long term. Secondly as the job ends after your term you have a strong incentive to spend a good deal of your effort on ensuring a comfortable retirement, an elected politician has to devote considerable efforts to retaining their current job. This means that a lottery based system is likely to have a severe corruption problem.


And this is not whats going on now?


In America, conservative media blame President Obama for the meteorite and say it is the opening strike of communist revolution.

Wait...wasn't this a movie with John Goodman and Peter O'Toole called King Ralph?


This was all part of the ritual invocation that killed ibn-Ladeen.


Nah. More likely is this:

"In a surprise announcement, Prince William revealed himself to be a long-time admirer of the Scottish SF scene, and an occasional contributor to the Antipope blog.

His stated that as an author of Speculative Fiction, it would be remiss of Mr. Stross not to explore such concepts; because, of course, his loyalty to the Realm was not in question..."


Oh come oh, his wife had bought a new outfit...


The Regency Act 1953 is at AFAICS, it says nothing about [a Regent other than the heir apparent or heir presumptive] being able to act at 18 (the Duke of Edinburgh was in his thirties in 1953). In this scenario, the heir presumptive to James VIII is his cousin's daughter Savannah Phillips, who is 3 years younger than him, and thus will never be able to act as his Regent during his minority.


In order to be re elected you need to get people to vote for you, so you need to retain popularity with the electorate so you have incentives to serve the people. Corrupt politicians tend to be unpopular. While if serving a single term you have incentives is to ensure that you are comfortably off when your term ends so you either accumulate money or favours and no incentive to take account of the views of the populace.


Something like that happened recently, when the president and many Polish politicians and officials died in a plane crash. An election was sufficient to put government back on track, though it looks like royalty makes this scenario much more complicated.


Actually I think the UK would cope politically and legally with a catastrophe that wiped out a large chunk of the government quite well. Most legislation simply empowers "the Secretary of State" to make executive decisions, without specifying which departmental Secretary so as long as at least one Secretary of State survives, government can continue.


Why would corrupt politicians be unpopular? By definition, they're in it to keep making money, and you can't do that if you don't get elected - so they don't just take, they also bribe enough to keep getting elected.

It's also difficult to spring onto the national political stage in one bound - so typically, the corrupt work their way upwards gradually. It's the stupid ones that get caught, which of course means that corrupt politicians at a national level are generally clever about it.

IMHO, it is interesting that Charles Haughey kept getting reelected, and that Silvio Berlusconi is still in power.


If you are elected you have to keep the electorate sufficiently happy to re elect you, if you aren't elected you don't. Dictatorships in general score worse on perceived corruption surveys than democracies. There are exceptions but the trend is very strong.


Whhhhoooooowheeee! Go that one wrong Charlie:

"Black Man Viciously Assaults Elderly Arab Citizen at Home"

I always said you sf types were terrible at predicting the future.


"Corrupt politicians tend to be unpopular" If you know how bad pre-war California was you know how hard it was for ROBERT HEINLEN and his war-vet progressives to clean it up. In 1952 he wrote a book called TAKING BACK YOUR CITY. He said machences like Kansas City's were almost impossible to get ride of. It not only gave voters what they wanted but it did a better job of making sure they got what they needed than most cities run by hard bankers and business men. I think they stole less too.


In reality when something really big and bad happens, just about everyone wants the good old days when they felt better. Not something new.


I did say tend to be unpopular, not are always unpopular. As I pointed out democratic regimes tend to score well on the transparency international corruption perception index while dictatorships tend to score badly. A regime selected by lot has the same lack of accountability as a dictatorship and would therefore have the same sort of corruption problems.


Corrupt dose not always mean un-democrat. And assassin seems to happen less and be less effective in a open democracy a little corrupt or not. . But boy, are drug stores full book on of that theme in America now days.


Damn good thing it was only a royal wedding, not a royal funeral (for Auntie Betty, therefore a State occasion). So apart from Gus O'Donnell (and that's a big "apart") the top civil service aren't on the list. I wonder what the procedure for replacing the Cabinet Secretary is? Fortunately I think the Civil Service Commissioners are still around in this scenario.

No Speaker -> Father of the House is the speaker until one is elected.

I would suspect that in the light of the near decapitation of the government, officials' advice would be to forget about the original coalition agreement and perhaps even invite Labour ministers into a grand coalition. Really interesting to see who gets the Exchequer. Maude, Letwin, Cable, or even a Labour figure all in the frame.

Were I Cabinet Secretary I'd lean towards Cable to No.11 to calm the markets and one of the secondary Tories to the Foreign Office.

Fox spends his weekend signing a LOT of letters patent for top military appointments. Unless something really weird happens, I'd guess that we'd just follow the chain of command. The chiefs of staff have deputies, who would be in charge post-meteorite, and the safe course would be to have them shuffle up one. That's likely to be the first thing the new Sovereign has on their plate.

It's kinda annoying that Rear-Admiral Submarines gets it as his command includes Very Sensitive Matters. Has anyone else tried to guess who are the Designated Deputies for Retaliation from the list, btw? One of them is usually the Defence Secretary, but who's the other? IDS? Maude? A Lib Dem - Cable?

I would expect a Labour government pretty quick - basically as soon as the writs are served - as the Tories less the butcher's bill are a fairly uninspiring lot. David Miliband might stand again, but there's no reason to think that the union members would like him any more than they did the first time.

All sorts of interesting trouble in the devolved administrations - this could bring forward the point at which Martin McGuinness gets to be the first nationalist PM of NI. That includes London, of course. Checking, there would simply be an election within 35 days.


Well, if the equivalent happened in Merka, we'd spare no expence invading Proxima Centauri.


That's not exactly how it works; going into an election, each party already has a leader. The leader of the party with the most seats is invited by the monarch to attempt to form a government- meaning that the PM designate has to be able to command sufficient votes to carry business in the House. This can be upset at any time by a vote of No Confidence. It's convention (though only that) that losing such a vote means that the PM must resign and apply to the monarch to dissolve Parliament.


Corrupt politicians tend to be unpopular because (from the POV of the electorate) they are favouring the wrong people. They are normally feathering their own nests at the expense (literally and/or figuratively) of the electors, by doing favours for special interests, and giving the electorate just enough of what they want to stay in power. Once it's proven that they are corrupt (rather than just suspected), their days are numbered.


"if the equivalent happened in Merka," We are what two World Wars, that most of us did not want to get into, made us.


The Chief of the Defence Staff has a Vice-Chief,and I think there's a clear second-ranking figure in the RN,but are the RAF and Army set up with no doubt as to who's next in line? Meanwhile the Pope would be naming new ordinaries to Westminster,Armagh,and St. Andrews & Edinburgh.New CoE appointments would be needed for Canterbury and London,would there be much point in naming a new Dean of Westminster Abbey?


The Navy and the RAF would be fine - the Navy has a Second Sea Lord/C-in-C Naval Home Command who is the successor, and he wasn't on the guest list. The RAF successor is the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff and he wasn't either.

However, the Army is more complicated. I made a mistake here - I misremembered Nick Houghton as still being the head of joint operations. He's stepped up to be Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff and therefore No.2 in the whole command structure. And he's on the list, so both the CDS and the VCDS were killed. The CGS, Peter Wall, was present. The most likely successor as CGS would seem to be Nick Parker, current head of the Land Command.

Which means, in the event of a straightforward close-up of the ranks, immediate vacancies at Land and somewhere else, and a rather junior CDS. Perhaps the decision would be taken to treat it as a normal change of CDS, which usually rotates between the services, with out-of-phase rotation for the VCDS - the current situation with two Army officers in charge is unusual. As the CDS before Richards was an RAF officer, that would put the CNS in charge, with a concurrent step up for someone, and perhaps Parker going to VCDS if it's considered necessary in the light of Afghanistan to have an Army officer in one of the top spots. (This is the justification for having both Richards and Houghton rather than Richards plus a sailor - that and the fact that General Sir Rupert Smith missed out on the top job for political reasons last time*.)

Relatively speaking the CDS and the VCDS and ACDS slots are much more important than the service chiefs as most of the general staff functions are centralised in the Defence Staff.

*He was right about Iraq


The next day a telegram from the Pope arrives: Did you think we'd forgotten, dissolute that practitioners of maternal intercourse.


"Corrupt politicians tend to be unpopular. "

Could you please send me a bunch of e-books from your world? I'll publish them here, where nobody has heard of those authors, and split the money with you. Also, I congratulate you at your command of English, since our timelines must have diverged several thousand years ago. As an American, learning another language would be difficult; learning one which is further from my own than any other in my world is just mind-boggling.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 28, 2011 7:59 PM.

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