The Balmoral Accord

After the collapse of the SNP administration in 2024 and the Spring General Election swept the newly re-branded British Labour Party (BLP) to power, forces north and south of the border were quick to draw new alliances. The Balmoral Accord of 30 November that year brought King Charles, Sir Keir Starmer and the new First Minister Gordon Brown together to ‘ensure stability’ of the devolution settlement and make new constitutional arrangements on a firmer footing.

The Accord assured the protection of Holyrood giving it permanent status in return for reduced powers and the stricture that it was the ‘settled will’ of the British people was to be ‘united as one nation’.  The new ‘Holyrood Assembly’ would have the ability to host cultural events including annual Burns Suppers and special St Andrews Day celebrations in New York and overseas, but would have reduced legislative authority in such areas as sports and the arts, justice and policing, taxation and the benefits system. Despite protests the moves were popular as the new Starmer government initiated a programme to ‘Rebuild Britain’ amid a wave of patriotic fervour and greatly increased regional funding.

Shortly after the Balmoral Accord was signed the One Island Bill was passed through Westminster which consolidated the new relationships and strengthened bonds across Britain. The bill included provision for a British Youth Service (BYS), an environmentally-focused compulsory programme for young people aimed at giving opportunities for youngsters between the ages of 16-18. The project was championed by King Charles who described it as ‘an opportunity for this generation to do their bit for the climate’ and included street and river litter clean-ups. Young people attending university would be exempt but all others were required to participate and could choose from a range of activities to take part.

The bill also created for the first time a UK-wide British football team to represent the country. The team would play home games at Wembley but also play additional fixtures at Old Trafford, Windsor Park and Hampden Park, as well as charity matches abroad. The boldness of the British Labour Party’s vision surprised many but the sweeping changes included a new national anthem written by Adele and the adoption of US-style school assembles where the new anthem and pledge of honour was recited.

Although in Scotland there were some protests at the reabsorption of the arts and sports into a UK government setting, these were quickly offset by sporting success and the realisation that arts funding had effectively collapsed in Scotland by the winter of 2023.

The British Labour Party (BLP) electoral success was cemented by the election of President Musk in the USA which in turn led quickly to dramatic changes in geopolitics and peace talks. After Trident was decommissioned and WMD withdrawn from Faslane, there was a huge increase in drone production and other military hardware with new jobs being created across Scotland as part of the new peace dividend. Although it was not apparent at the time there was also heavy investment in psy-ops training based in Edinburgh instead of the outdated Cold war weaponry.

Prime Minister Starmer

While the British Labour Party won an unprecedented majority in Westminster and Holyrood their response to the legacy adopted from the Conservative’s was two-fold. On the one hand they set up a series of public inquiries into the levels of corruption in public office that led to the imprisonment of several kay former cabinet ministers, on the other they adopted wholesale the Conservatives law-enforcement proposals for ‘public safety’ and ensured the continuance of the ‘Rwanda and illegal immigration plans’ which had proved popular as part of their 2024 manifesto. Migrant crossings were effectively eliminated soon after the navy was put on stand-by and the problem of migrant workers was resolved by a generous Seasonal Work Permit scheme that was brought in after the collapse of the food supply in 2023 had caused widespread hunger and the start of the ‘Supermarket Strikes’.

A key pledge of Prime Minister Starmer’s vision was to deal with the problem of poverty and inequality. He promised a ‘foodbank in every town and village’ and guaranteed energy bills to be capped by the newly nationalised British Energy Company.

The popularity of the new government surprised many but the combination of new job opportunities in the armed forces (which had a permanent on-campus presence in schools) as well as the leadership shown by King Charles meant that government and monarch were working in unison for the common good.

The role of the arts and sports should not be underestimated in forging the new sense of nationhood. The National Theatre toured the whole country packing out theatres and cinemas for ‘live’ performances and sporting success on the football field quickly overtook any yearning for former parochial formats. Livestreaming the deportation of asylum seekers was popular on social media and on big screens in city centres and helped the sense of cohesion and unity of the whole country.

Starmer’s government initiated a range of imaginative policies aimed at improving social and business connections and incentivising exchanges throughout Britain. Exchange programmes between towns and cities were introduced with Scotch and English places ‘twinned’ and able to apply for improvement grants. There was more to come with civic organisations and institutions sponsoring schools to twin up as environmental champions in their respective communities.

The new settlement allowed for security and prosperity on these islands in ways that was unimaginable as recently as 2023.

Comments (28)

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  1. Jake Solo says:

    The “One Nation” is Greater England and it’s been the intent for some time.

    I do laugh at these supposedly clever people who believe that winning independence is like climbing a hill, to be tackled only as and when you feel like it and in the very best of weather, with endless opportunities to “do over”.

    Since 19 September 2014 we haven’t been climbing a hill, we’ve been in a race. And the race is between independence and a new “indivisible” UK.

    I don’t like it but I get it from the unionist perspective, but what makes me genuinely angry is the cadre of professional fools and liars on our side only just waking up to this or still trying to hide it.

    1. Iain MacLean says:

      The race is only made possible by the bbc and press, remove them and Scotland would have been independent generations ago. The bbc has and will continue to be the main opposition in in Scotland, Gary Lineker take note!

      I don’t think it’s a shoe in for labour, the tory controlled press and tory controlled bbc still have great influence and both are working closely with the tories to minimise tory loses.

      Regardless of who wins the race to be FM, it’s time to take a leaf out of the tory’s book and go for the jugular and make the tories the scape goat (justifiably), along with unionism for all the ills Scotland faces, past, present and future!

      For what could be, we only need to look at Ireland, powering ahead economically of Scotland at an alarming rate with a fraction of Scotland’s resources! The why and how needs to be communicated to Scots constantly!

      Stephen Flynn is setting the correct tone on how to deal with tories and unionism, let’s hope the new FM follows suit!

  2. Alasdair Galloway says:

    Obviously fictional, but is Gordon Brown as First Minister not pushing it a bit?

    1. Possibly, though no less so that FM Sarwar or FM Murray? I think on a ‘Father of the Nation’ / ‘need for stability’ ticket its there…

  3. Sandy Watson says:

    And then climate change really hit hard and the whole shooting match fell apart.

  4. Cathie Lloyd says:

    I find these dystopian fantasies annoying! Better to think seriously about the political context we find ourselves in. For instance the challenges which a new snp leader and fm will face. Very different from those in 2014. We need a cool appraisal of the situation to frame our expectations of the future leader.

    1. Dave Millar says:

      Given the quality of the three candidates, my expectations are dismally low. They’ll probably go for the religious loon, Kate Forbes, as she realises the importance of the economy, ignoring her Old Testament prejudices.

  5. Graham Gemmell says:

    Mike Small. The new George Orwell??? For those with a sufficiently long memory, or those who have studied their history, there is an echo of Nazi Germany in almost every line. We live in perilous times. Be aware! Stay alert!!!

  6. Shaun says:

    Much despair and desperation upon reading this piece. The implosion of the SNP will set indy supporters back quite some way in the “race” that Jake Solo mentions and I agree that some don’t see it as that but only as a good weather aspiration. I’ve always doubted the SNP claim of “indy-inevitability” through generational shift for two good reasons.

    1: More people from other parts of the island have chosen to make Scotland their home in the last 10 – 20 years than ever before. Many have come here out of political despair but many more for economic and health reasons and they will continue to come and most will likely continue to vote Blue and Red Tory.

    2: The majority of young people don’t buy newspapers or use traditional broadcast media. ( for what that is worth in Scotland anyway ) So how do they become engaged and energised towards self-determination?

    Whatever Potato-head Starmer promises this time will be met with the usual derision by most but I do agree it’s a race against further subsumption, culturally and most probably through some “new green deal” that will see Scotland used increasingly as a battery to power all of the island. Please Mike, don’t give them any more great ideas.

  7. Robbie says:

    Mike , is 86 to old to emigrate .

    1. No, you’re a Spring Chicken

      1. Feuderali says:

        Unfortunately it was spring 1953.

      2. SleepingDog says:

        As in, a quick splash of chlorine and you’re ready to go?

  8. Graeme Purves says:

    It will always be possible to find chinks in the crusty old carapace of Britishness. Even the Festival of Britain hosted a Scots language poetry competition!

  9. George S Gordon says:

    You forgot to mention what would happen to Gary Lineker – prison, deportation in a small boat?

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @George S Gordon, surely Gary gets a prison named after him. HMP Lineker? Of course, these might wholly in the private sector with corporate brands like football stadia by then.

      1. Niemand says:

        Prisoners could have sponsors, helping pay for their keep

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @Niemand, I have just finished reading Work Without the Worker: labour in the age of platform capitalism by Phil Jones (Verso, 2021). The book focuses on microwork, and its spread throughout prisons, slums, refugee camps, occupied territories and pandemic homeworkers. One problem with that is the microworker often doesn’t know (cannot know) who they are really completing tasks for, nor for what purpose. They may be training the drones flying overhead to target those below (including themselves). Well, I guess at least those drones will have Union Jacks painted on them. Some of them, anyway. Our future of neofeudalism sounds like One Big Prison.

  10. David says:

    That picture is depressing I feel like going to the local hardware store, buying a length of rope and hanging myself.

    1. Squigglypen says:

      No! We need you. And you can always use that piece of rope tae batter quislings!
      For Scotland!

  11. John Learmonth says:

    You missed out ‘Rangers and Celtic to join the Premiership’.
    Get that done and I’m all for it!

  12. Niemand says:

    This is grim stuff, but the new national anthem being written by Adele is the stuff of real nightmares.

  13. BSA says:

    I gave up after para 1, overcome with irritation and depression – first time ever in Bella. It’s a Kevin McKenna fantasy funny piece.

  14. Interpolar says:

    Mike – don’t give them ideas. They’d really do it if they got the opportunity.

  15. Alistair Taylor says:

    Arise, Sir Mike.

  16. Alistair Taylor says:

    Thought provoking tale. Thank you Mr. Small.
    Someone else mentioned George Orwell. I wonder what Orwell would make of today.

    Anyway, although I am certainly no Royalist, I think that Charles is no a bad lad, and he’s probably aware that the Scottish population are not wholly behind him, to say the least.
    Divesting himself of his holiday home on Deeside could be a good move for him.
    Community gardens, rewilding, education, housing. So many positive offspins to be had.
    The King downsizes, and the community benefits.
    Cake for everyone.
    First class travel for everyone.

  17. Alec Lomax says:

    British Labour Party wins a unprecedented majority at Holyrood? Oh ma sides ! As likely as making Brexit work.

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