On my bookshelf sits a thick, old paperback. Its somehow managed to escape the house moving purges or the Amazon shelf clearances.
This rumpled and paperback has been unread by myself, and probably anyone else too for that matter, for at least 25 and maybe closer to 35 years. Nick's post below reminded me of it.
General Sir John Hackett's Third World War.
Written at the height of the Red Menace, when the USSR had a war machine equal in size, if not ability to all of Europe and USA, the book is about what would happen if the soviets unleashed their forces and made the grab for Western Europe.
Apart from being, IIRC, a great read, nicely paced, it was also considered a pretty likely scenario of what might actually occur. Warsaw Pact doctrine and Nato responses and counterattacks all pulled from the manuals of the day. Sir John spent a while researching what Nato would do would in the event of a shooting war. What the Russkies would do in response to Nato moves. And some other events after that.
Would the children be evacuated? The panic food buying and the refugees from Germany and France blocking the roads.
It was well received by the public. Though thought alarmist by the politicians and joint chiefs. Hackett wasn't a neutral. He was arguing for a much larger amount of GDP to be spent on conventional forces. That the nuclear defence was either a fig leaf or an end of world defence..but could not be both. I expect politicians were quite frightened, as I was, to read of a nuclear bomb detonating on Birmingham. And then Minsk.
Tom Clancy was in his heyday too. Red Storm Rising, a more dramatic fiction, but no less readable account of the same thing. USSR invasion. Red Storm and Red October sold millions of copies.
But events moved on. So Sir John, a genuine WW2 hero, and his book, were left behind by world events. The USSR collapsed, only able to have its centrally planned economy make guns or butter, not both. And the soviets and communism went into the history dumpster.
***100 days: The UKIP story.
That annoyed me. Annoyed me as an avid historical reader and consumer of all manner of historical and political works.
100 days is the Waterloo campaign. Something we shall all be hearing about in this anniversary year of that battle. Don't mess about with Waterloo.
As for the actual C4 program.. UKIP is of only mild interest to me, so I watched about 15 minutes.
And to see how the writers tackled the issue of making a future historical program seem realistic and plausible.
Sadly, they managed that aspect by ignoring it. There was no attempt to tackle the program in a way that something like 'a very British coup, or even House of Cards, did.
In both of those dramas the public mood was a part of the setting. Francis Urquhart ruled as an evil Tory, against a feeble opposition, because, as the series made quite clear, he appealed to two thirds of the voters and so was able to ignore completely, the other third.
When the ultra-left wing trades union workers party, led by a deliberately Lech Walesa look alike, Harry Perkins, take control in A Very British Coup, their cabinet battle the establishment at all levels. Not the populace,who support them.
Because, as UKIP the TV show, utterly failed to comprehend, if the people had not voted for those ideas, then those leaders have no part in the story. If the majority of the public had not voted Tory, Francis Urquhart is just the chief whip of the opposition.
The makers of the UKIP program had a UKIP parliament, enacting legislation from their manifesto, that had the voters rioting in the streets.
Now why would they do that?
They started the program saying "in these unprecedented scenes, we see the new Prime Minister, Nigel Farage, who has come from nowhere, to sweep seat after seat, and now leads a government with a small majority."
So the makers were aware how much of a popular swing that would have to be, to make that possible. UKIP would have to have 50% of the popular vote to make those kinds of inroads into the first past the post British politics.
So why would the voters be angry with them? Its utter nonsense.
Only in Ken Livingstone's bedroom is the idea that vast swathes of the electorate were against council house sell offs. It was the most popular piece of legislation of the 1980s.
Only in Michael Howard's shed does the idea that millions of people voted in Tony Blair in error have any traction. Tony Blair won landslides.
Channel 4 took the 'current' UKIP minority protest party, and made a program that assumed UKIP would still be a minority protest party. Counterfactual history at its most idiotic.
Airbus leaves the UK, almost immediately. I didn't realise international organisations had such spare capacity that they could switch manufacturing, and replace all their skilled workers overnight,without any impact on current or future orders or contracts.
Others complained the program was, absurd, biased, sneering, made by bedwetting liberals out of touch with public opinion..etc.
My complaint was that it was just bad. Really bad. Made with a fixed idea that fell foul of its central premise within minutes.
Next time, do some research. Have a quiet think before leaping in hoping your viewers are shallow X-factor fools.
Sir John's ancient WW3 novel sits on my shelf still.
Labour MP, Chris Mullin's , A very British Coup, is also on that dusty shelf. In a kind of gone, but not forgotten graveyard of old books. Michael Dobbs' House of cards is there too.
If UKIP, the first 100 days was a book, it would have been in the bin already.
With the rest of the trash.