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YMMV / A Very British Coup

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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A few aspects of the novel would prove not to be prescient:
    • In 1981, when it was being written, the hard-left Tony Benn was challenging strongly for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. Benn narrowly lost that contest to Denis Healey, a heavyweight of Labour's right wing, and in 1983 actually lost his own seat in the House of Commons (though he came back in a by-election within a year).
    • In fact, Labour overall lost the 1983 election very heavily and didn't return to power until 1997, under the very un-Perkins-esque Tony Blair.
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    • When Jeremy Corbyn won Labour's 2015 leadership election, the party went one step further than Perkins — who has (scanty) Cabinet experience. Corbyn had spent the previous 32 years on the backbenches and has never held a ministerial brief.
    • After his victory, Perkins arrives in London from Sheffield on an Advanced Passenger Train. The APT would never enter full passenger service and the St. Pancras to Sheffield line is still not electrified.
    • Foreign Secretary Newsome helps secure an urgent foreign loan from Libya's military strongman — not Muammar Gaddafi. The colonel in this book "had succeeded Gaddafi in a bloody coup two years before [i.e., in 1987]." Gaddafi stayed in power until he was killed in 2011.
    • On the other hand, one senior civil servant tells a colleague one day as winter approaches, "What we need now is a nice long miners' strike." There had been several major miners' strikes in Britain before, but the most famous, most recent, and most sustained one was yet to come even when the novel was published. No miners' strike happened in Coup but had it happened, it would have been engineered to help destroy Perkins — whereas Margaret Thatcher's Real Life strike experience ended with her fighting successfully against it.


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