Whitehall, Westminster, and Downing Street: The Workings of the British Government


  • Commission

    [b]06 August 2015[/b] [i]10 Downing Street London, England, United Kingdom[/i]

    The new Prime Minister had only been in the job for a few days before realising the extent of his caucus' division on the subject of nuclear weapons. Mr. Obama personally did not want to add to the arsenal, but Councillor Ali had recently stated that the United Kingdom's three major parties would not support nuclear disarmament.

    'Silly thing she said,' Mr. Obama thought. 'Surely, there will be some kind of compromise we can reach on this issue at least within Labour. Then we can act on it one way or another.'

    The Cabinet ministers and were all coming into the meeting room inside Number 10 and the discussion on many different issues were about to begin. Mr. Obama looked and smiled at the Deputy Prime Minister, Kamala Harris. She and the Chief Whip, Rosie Winterton, were both absolutely thrilled to be leading a Cabinet with the most women on it ever.

    "Hello, everyone," Mr. Obama said in a rather warm tone, hoping to get everyone on board with a strategy. "Let's get started. Of course, the King moved up our weekly meeting and he expressed concern not with the economy, but particularly with the discourse on the idea of nuclear weapons in our country. He views the current method in which we are conducting business. So, I thought we ought to address that issue." The room fell silent for several seconds. The Secretary of State for Defence, Douglas Alexander, spoke up.

    "Prime Minister, if I could start by saying our position in Europe has improved to be one of the strongest nations in the region, and it is on the back of our defence strength. If we were to sacrifice an ounce of that, we do believe that Britain's best interests would not be served," Mr. Alexander began. "Now, having said that, do we need to add to our arsenal? No. Do we need to improve the technology containing it? Certainly. The Ministry of Defence has drawn up proposals for a replacement to Trident, one that will be modern and ensure the safety of our people. The CASD standard of deterrent is perhaps why we are able to embark on such a project..."

    Interrupting him was the recently deposed Prime Minister, now Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ed Miliband.

    "Douglas, we've talked for a long time before about how justifying £15 billion annually to the country is becoming increasingly difficult," Ed began.

    "But public opinion thinks that the security of the country is of the utmost importance, and only 15% think that nuclear weapons ought to go. We are in the majority of the country when we say we ought to keep nuclear weapons," Lucy Powell, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, jumped in.

    Mr. Obama could only watch as the Cabinet started to go at each other before he finally regained control of the situation.

    "That's enough. Now, here's what we should do, and I want your opinion on this...we should actively engage in research and development for further ideas, and we should go ahead with developing new submarines with our partners, the Duxburian Union. I do think we should go for the Concept 35.

    "As for the programme itself, I know we cannot get rid of it. There is no safe storage for any of the waste, nor do I want to get rid of it. It is a part of the United Kingdom's strength and readiness to respond to have that arsenal, and no outside force will be making us get rid of it any time soon," The Prime Minister said to the Cabinet. "Now, we must all be behind this proposal when asked and when we bring it to Parliament. We cannot give up ground to the Tories and Lib Dems on this issue."

    "The economy debate we've got. We have more people in work, the highest salaries in the European Union, one of the highest standards of living. The Bank of England just released their figures for the first quarter, and the economy grew by 7%. I commend the policies researched by Lord Adonis, and Alistair for their clear economic vision. That will help us continue to supply the people with high quality, good paying jobs and the economy with income."

    The Cabinet meeting continued, but the spat over Trident hung over their heads for the rest of the meeting.


  • Commission

    The meeting ended, and Mr. Obama turned to Deputy Prime Minister Harris and didn't really say much. He didn't have to, as she already began walking to him.

    "You wanted a word, Prime Minister?"

    "Yes...do you mind if we talk outside?" Mr. Obama said to the Deputy. The two walked out into the expansive gardens behind Number 10. The mood had changed drastically, having finally gotten outside. The two politicians knew each other, having gone to the same university together and known each other before that through the Labour Party functions before that.

    "Kamala, we're going to really need your help to get that Trident position to be one unified stance," the Prime Minister said to Ms. Harris. "This is going to require a lot of deals, and I'm counting on you to deliver on this. The Labour Party could really put the Tories out of commission for an entire generation if we can get this through, showing that we are not just a party who can't run a country but whose hearts are in the right place. This is going to take real leadership on both of our parts," Mr. Obama said to his Deputy.

    "Of course, Prime Minister. We see eye to eye on this issue," the Deputy said. The Prime Minister stopped and turned to Ms. Harris.

    "Kamala, let's get one thing established, though. I am not Ed. I will not go away. You know that. You are a close friend, but let me be clear: if you ever try to knife me in the back, your entire political career will be finished. Understood?" Mr. Obama said in frank terms. "Now, let's get some things done before the election. This Cabinet has no direction and everyone wants to run policy. I want you, Alistair, David, Douglas, and Ed to come up with the big policy decisions and get consensus from the rest of the party. Douglas, especially, is going to be crucial in getting the Scottish far left to come along with us."

    Kamala looked uneasily at the Prime Minister, whose face was entirely no nonsense. He knew that the downfall of Ed's leadership was that he couldn't unite the party, and all of the factions from the unions to the ideological left ran rampant over him. He knew right away he was not going to have that happen to him. The Labour Party could be assured of that. She seemed to pick up on that right away.

    "So where are we going Prime Minister?" Ms. Harris asked.

    "We need to get back some of the support from the centre if we're going to maintain this majority. Fiscal responsibility and pushing that is going to be key. The assurance that we are there for them if they are willing to work, and be the party of economic prosperity for all and equal access to that prosperity. If we can say that the Labour Party stands for a strong economy and a level playing field for all, including equal access for all our citizens, then we can really be that engine for change. The change you wanted back in West Bowling when your family couldn't get a good job because there wasn't equal access and equal opportunity. The change you wanted when you decided to join the Labour Party," Mr. Obama replied.

    Ms. Harris stopped walking, stopped in her tracks remembering the struggles of her youth in Bradford, unfair hiring practices abound in that Britain.

    "Certainly, Mr. Prime Minister," Ms. Harris responded. The two shook hands before going back inside Number 10.

    "Now, if you excuse me, I have to get to a school opening in King's Lynn," Mr. Obama answered. He had a little jaunt in his step and renewed energy.

    He effectively secured his leadership and his vision of the Labour Party and his Ministry in one short meeting in the gardens.


  • Commission

    [left][b]12 August 2015[/b] [i]10 Downing Street [/i][/left]The Prime Minister waited for the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband, to show up and get on with what they called him about regarding some intelligence matters of the utmost importance. The two arrived hurriedly and, of course, the morning press did not hesitate to report the Foreign Secretary and Chief of MI6 hurrying into Downing Street. It seemed to happen simultaneously. Mr. Obama already seemed perturbed and angry with his Cabinet minister by the time he showed up.

    "This better be good; you've got all of London and potentially the rest of the country thinking there's a national security issue of the utmost importance going on," Mr. Obama said to Mr. Miliband and Mr. Alex Younger, the Chief of MI6.

    "Well," Mr. Miliband began. "We've been conducting since 2014 a report on the Saharan election, especially since the big part of our foreign policy has been international consensus and backing our allies. We wanted to make sure that the Saharan referendum of independence from Marrakechia was legal."

    The Prime Minister looked at David with a look of both mild pain and great disdain for what he was about to say next. It was as if he knew what Mr. Miliband was going to say next.

    "We've found suggestions that the referendum had several thousands of falsified votes of people who do not exist," Mr. Miliband said to the Prime Minister. The Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service spoke up.

    "Further more, Mr. Prime Minister, we have evidence that there was a potential of Inquistans crossing into the Sahwari and influencing the voting process with various threats, coming from sources who previously lived in the Sahwari part of Marrakechia and, when it became clear that the regime would simply be a puppet state of Inquista and Red Croatia, moved to London," Mr. Younger said to the Prime Minister. "The Cabinet and the Foreign Office have both been working together to try and come up with a solution and several options of where to go from there based on the Joint Intelligence Committee's findings through MI6."

    Mr. Obama sat down in the drawing room and motioned for tea to be served. An intern brought in a tray with the Downing Street silver and sat it down between all three men who finally sat down.

    "Tea?" Mr. Obama offered. Mr. Miliband helped himself and poured out the brew while Mr. Younger declined. "So, what would the suggestions be, David?"

    "Well, the best option would be to support Marrakechian claims to the region, despite our recent green light on recognition. We haven't yet opened formal diplomatic relations with them, we've merely recognised their existence, which is tenuous on the fact that the referendum findings would have to be proven wrong," Mr. Miliband suggested. "You could do a myriad of options from there, including support the Marrakechian claim with complete military backing since they have no military. However, that could be a dicey situation. Inquista and the United Kingdom do have great relations and it will be very difficult to potentially go against that, and many even in our Parliamentary party will not go for it. The Conservatives will and the Lib Dems might. Now, we could could go on that route and but we could lose our Parliamentary party and they will be even less willing to support you in the future."

    "Well, let's at least start by supporting the Marrakechian claim. We can sort out the military option later," Mr. Obama said. "Get more of our caucus behind us. What kind of god damn broad church am I leading?"

    "Welcome to the mess that the faithful to Brown and Blair. Ed had the same problem. All they do is worship an election result and have no real meat," Mr. Miliband replied. "I'm sure if you can convince Jeremy, Andy and Yvette, we'll get much more of the parliamentary party behind you."

    "Or instead of doing that, they just stop because I'm the god damn leader of the Labour Party and party unity should trump some things, especially petty squabbling," Mr. Obama muttered under his breath. He couldn't believe what was happening within his own party and what Ed's leadership had allowed to happen to the Labour Party. Mr. Miliband and Mr. Younger both stood up.

    "So we're going to go with the support first, and then worry about a military option later?" Mr. Miliband asked.

    "You heard me David; get it done," Mr. Obama said to Mr. Miliband. His tone softened and watched as both Younger and David Miliband left the room.

    'Kamala and David are going to have to help Rosie get the party back in line. They can't just be on the verge of defying leadership every single time we need to make a tough decision,' Mr. Obama thought.


  • Commission

    [b]17 August 2015[/b] [i]Palace of Westminster, London[/i] [i]08:04[/i]   The great scenes from the Commission debate faded away to a dreary London morning. Walking into the Palace of Westminster to meet with other members of the Parliamentary party was the Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham. Mr. Burnham gave at least the outward appearance of being approachable and earnestly a Labour man. Being the MP for Leigh, a solid Labour seat since 1922, he brought with him the support of the Manchester unions, which were traditionally much more moderate in tendencies than the London academic socialist class of Labour politician. His support along with the London socialist class of Jeremy Corbyn would be key to keeping the Labour Party in power. But one wouldn’t suspect that from Mr. Burnham, who cheerfully jaunted into Westminster that day, greeting the doorman with a pleasant smile before heading up to his office. He sat down and began working on the computer when he heard a knock on the door.

    “Mr.Burnham,” a female voice said, stepping into the room. She was wearing a smart, functional suit a dark brown, skirt coming down to just above the knees, accented by a pink shirt. “The Cabinet Office wanted you to have this document, listing how your potential changes and addition of a National Care Service would work as implemented. They also handed me a different file.”

    Andy looked confused. He wasn’t anticipating the second file. He looked at it. It was in a red HM Government folder. He opened it, and at the very top it read: [b] Potential Saharan Question and Teutonic Policies[/b]

    “Did you know what as in here?” Andy asked his intern. “I mean, goodness, Michelle, what a way to kill a mood. I was doing so well, too.”

    “Was it bad news, sir?” Michelle answered.

    “…No, but a foreign policy question wasn’t exactly my idea of a Monday start. I take it the Prime Minister will want to see us at some point this week,” Andy answered. Michelle nodded in a slightly upset manner. “Alright, I bet he will want me to get there soon. When is the Commons going to debate the National Care Service…”

    Andy began typing away at his computer in his modest Government office.

    ~*~ [i] Palace of Whitehall[/i] [i] [/i] “No, no, no…a thousand times no,” said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Jon Thompson. He and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nick Houghton, were going at it in the Ministry’s headquarters.   “Come off it,” Sir Houghton said angrily. “We have to prepare a strategy in the event the Prime Minister wants you to do both operations. You have to let the Civil Servants and Cabinet Office bridge the gap between the professional army and the civilian department.”   “But this is not even something the Secretary of State for Defence would even approve of…he is also just going to say no. The Cabinet haven’t even come to an agreement yet. I will not prepare until they pick a direction they want to go in,” Mr. Thompson grumbled. “Freezing the entire Ministry on something that might not happen is asinine and I will not tolerate that here.”   “We need to prepare so that when Parliament goes ahead with the operation, we aren’t ill-prepared,” Sir Houghton reasoned. The Permanent Secretary was intransigent though, and after several minutes of back and forth and name calling, the two stopped. The civil servants working in the Ministry of Defence were frozen as they could hear the two bellowing. Then there was nothing and the hall once again continued with activity.   “We’ll have to do something,” Sir Houghton replied, the two men now walking down the hallway to their respective offices. “I will be working on plans now for both events. Hopefully you will work out the coordination so that the Secretary has something to work with.”   The two men went about their business, still fuming.



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