Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Free Story Idea: The Anglo-French Republic

From the latest New York Review of Books (which, clearly, got it from the Guardian when I wasn't looking):
In January, a government document was discovered in the British national archives which, according to the Guardian newspaper, "shocked historians." This was the note, dated September 28, 1956, of a meeting in London between the British prime minister, the conservative and Francophile Anthony Eden, and his French equivalent, the socialist and Anglophile Guy Mollet—one of those rare encounters when two premiers spoke each other's language both fluently and willingly. ... [A]t this rare moment of concord, Mollet suggested that the two countries unite; or, if not that, then at least France join the Commonwealth. The British note shows that Eden recommended "immediate consideration" of the latter idea; also that Mollet "had not thought there need be difficulty over France accepting the headship of Her Majesty; [and] that the French would welcome a common citizenship arrangement on an Irish basis."
There's the basis for an interesting alternate history. What would the past fifty years have looked like if Mollet and Eden had tried for unification?

The Review notes that the "British treated it as a jokey what-if, speculating on amalgamated soccer teams and the possibly improved quality of croissants in British shops."

Forget if it was successful. What if the countries had tried it, and it failed?

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