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Norwich Gazette
Monday, January 22nd 1900.

Sunrise: 8:10 AM
Sunset: 4:00 PM
Temperature: 25F

Cloudy and dim, significant windchill. Surface snow 2 inches within city, significant chance of light snowfall. Residents are warned of ice and cold.

National Issues

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National Issues

Post  God on Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:19 pm

As of 1900

Imperial Jitters.
It is starting to become obvious that the Empire isn't an irresistible force. British industry is losing it's edge; other industrial powers have come close to equalling the 'workshop of the world'. The chill wind of competition has made some question the keystone to the previous centuries' economic growth – free trade. While currently feint, there are calls for greater autonomy for the white Dominions.

The current war in South Africa has made her military weakness obvious; abysmal leadership, outdated equipment and a shockingly poor level of physical fitness in would-be soldiers. The very fact that a few thousand Boer farmers are holding their own against the Empires' 'finest' is a source of national shame and worries many that rival powers may feel emboldened to attack.

A resurgent France, Britannia's old enemy? An expansionist Russia, moving through Central Asia and take the 'Jewel of the Empire', India? Perhaps the German Kaiser, with his modern factories, grey-coated ranks and declared desire for 'a place in the sun'. The United States may be a future threat; she has recently seized ailing Spain's remaining colonies. Even those Japanese need to be watched; they may be mere Orientals, but her modernisation has been most rapid...

Rising Democracy.

While there have been some reforms, the system of government still works as it did a generation ago; small cliques of peers, financiers and wealthy merchants making decisions in smoky clubs, on the grouse moor or around country house dining-tables. The media and 'public opinion' was essentially considered irrelevant.

However, there are signs of future conflict. The electorate is larger than ever, and increasingly literate and educated. New newspapers such as the Daily Mail attempt to persuade, not just inform. Politicians are increasingly feeling the need to actually talk to their voters; some do this grudgingly, while others embrace it, open to the new possibilities this offers. Increasing amounts of people are less willing to kowtow to peers, which means their position as rulers of the nation is starting to be threatened.

It is not a foregone conclusion that the country will evolve to a full democracy. The peers still have control, and with deft adaptation to these developments, could remain so for the foreseeable future...

Socialism.

The 'reds' are on the rise. Trade unions are growing in numbers and power, with skilled manual workers as it's backbone. Their agitation has gained some reforms; exceedingly timid by our standards, but outrageous curbs on 'freedom' from the viewpoint of the laissez-faire businessmen.

The squalid living conditions of the working class is getting increasing attention; there has been little improvement since Engels wrote of them in the 1850's. Once again, eyes look to the rising Germany and her system of worker's protection, which makes the British ad-hoc biased charity look mean indeed.

More dangerous is the threat from revolutionary groups. The country has long been a refuge for political exiles from Europe; their extreme views are gaining a hold on some. At the moment, they do little more than call for violent revolution, commit a few small-scale terrorist acts, then fall to police or soldier's bullets when cornered.

But to most, the biggest threat is the Labour Party. Recently founded by trade unions with a fully socialist platform, it has won a few seats in the most recent election. While many openly scoff at this, the wiser heads recall that Christianity had an equally modest start. At this point, it is not much more than a flea in the ear of the ruling class. But only time will tell if it will grow...

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