tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 24

No Future Ch. 24

bybradley_stoke©

XXIV
The Good of the Country
Lord Newbury
2077



It was an uncomfortable fact that Lord Newbury's title was neither ancient nor especially honourable. But it was a title of which he was very proud although the only privileges it endowed on him were those of status and hereditary wealth. There was no political power associated with the hereditary title and there hadn't been for over seventy years. And now the bastards were threatening to dispose of what little value in the title still remained. Over a thousand years of glorious tradition was to be swept aside. A tradition older than England itself. And all because of the unfinished business of the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

It could have been so different if that idiot Princess Rachel hadn't made such a mess of her proposed marriage to that commoner. It was bad enough that centuries of precedent were amended to enable her to succeed to the throne. And then she broke yet more precedent by wanting to marry a mere low-life. But worst of all was for her to have subsequently made such a fuck-up of the whole affair...

It left a very unpleasant taste in the Right Honourable gentleman's mouth. He grimaced as he regarded the images displayed on his library computer screen.

"Excuse me, my lord," said the butler who had discreetly slipped into the room. "Sir Eric Esterhazy is waiting to see you."

"Is he, Edwards?" said the lord. He hurriedly shut down the browser window so that it showed no evidence of the rather undignified website he'd been visiting. "Show him in."

"Yes, my lord."

Lord Newbury stationed himself in a stately position by the bookcase where he could pretend to consult a rather dull nineteenth century volume on fossil snails. It did at least have some passably interesting black-and-white plates.

Sir Eric entered the library and bowed decorously. He stood at a respectful distance and waited for Lord Newbury to address him.

"Good to see you again, Eric."

"It's good to see you also, my lord."

"I guess you must be wondering why I asked you over here."

"It's always a pleasure, my lord."

"I'm afraid it isn't for pleasure this time. The reason I've asked you to visit is for your advice."

"I'm honoured, my lord."

"How long is it since you retired, Eric?"

"I didn't retire as such, my lord."

"No, I guess not. In what year did you last serve as Member of Parliament for Reigate, Eric?"

"The General Election of '68."

"That's when they redrew the boundaries, wasn't it? It's become harder and harder for decent men to represent the country."

"Much harder, my lord."

"Who represents Reigate now, Eric?"

"An incompetent idiot from the Social and Liberal Democratic Party, my lord."

"I can't keep up with all these new political parties. Whatever happened to the old certainties, Eric?"

"The electorate is perverse, my lord. They would prefer to be represented by a rabble of pretty much identical pinko political parties rather than by a sensible choice between a strong Conservative government and a weak coalition of Greens and Socialists."

"You were never one of those who liked it when the Tories merged with the Liberals, were you?"

"It only served to further compromise an already diluted brand, my lord."

"My concern, however, is less to do with the dismal state of English politics, Eric, but the future no less of England's venerable tradition of aristocracy. As you know, the present coalition government of lefties, greens, vegetarians and lesbians has plans to dispense with the very institution of nobility. If they have their way, the title I bear will be gone forever. I would no longer be known as Lord Newbury. I would be known only as Norman Francis Erickson. That's a disgrace. Honourable traditions such as the aristocracy are what made England great."

"England is no longer great, my lord."

"Indeed," agreed the lord. "The lunatic Left and the Greens have taken over. What justification does the coalition government have for wanting to make the Kingdom of England some kind of republic?"

"Pressure from abroad, my lord," said Sir Eric. "The Kingdoms of Scotland and Northern Ireland have unilaterally declared themselves as the Scottish and Northern Irish Republics. Wales has already been a republic for a while. The Commonwealth has totally disbanded. The Royal Family is no longer perceived as a national asset."

Lord Newbury frowned. "You should never have relinquished power, Eric. See what's happened in the last decade or so. This is a fight to the last breath. What hope has England got in its darkest hour?"

"I need to consult a sympathetic expert in constitutional matters, my lord," said Sir Eric, "but I'm certain that overthrowing a Constitutional Monarch isn't as straightforward as the coalition government seems to believe. It's not just English postage stamps that would have to change. There is also the fact that the Armed Forces pledge allegiance to the crown and not to the government of the day."

"How can the fortunes of the Royal Family be the same as those of the Peerage?" said Lord Newbury. "As far as I'm concerned, the wastrels at Buckingham Palace and Windsor deserve to lose their estates."

"The Armed Forces do not pledge allegiance to barons, dukes or earls, my lord."

"I see."

"On the other hand, the Royal Family needs a stock of bona fide blue bloods, my lord. The fortunes of the King and Princess Rachel are very much one with the fortunes of the treacherously dispossessed peers."

"What can be done, Eric?"

"There are legal processes that can be invoked, my lord," said Sir Eric. "If these fail, then there is direct appeal to the electorate..."

"You saw what bloody good that did in Scotland," said the lord. "The ungrateful bastards voted overwhelmingly to dump the monarchy."

"I think there was an element of nationalism in the referendum vote, my lord. The Royal Family was perceived to be English."

"Well, of course they're bloody English. They've not been Scots for nearly four hundred years."

"The English electorate might warm to them in that respect, my lord."

"I suppose so, Eric," said Lord Newbury. "But if that fails, what's left?"

"The military option, my lord."

"Do we really want a second English Civil War?"

"If it defends what's right, my lord."

"Hmm," said the lord. "Would the Scots and the Welsh get involved?"

"It's an internal matter, my lord."

"What about the bloody Sprouts?"

"Brussels won't be involved, my lord. The Northern European Union has been decidedly reluctant to readmit the Kingdom of England."

"It's those bloody Scots again, isn't it? Ungrateful bastards. It's them we should declare war against."

"That was my advice when I was last in the cabinet, my lord. Unofficially, of course."

"You should have nuked the bastards," said the lord bitterly.

"It was mostly because the Scots had access to nuclear weapons that my suggestion was overruled, my lord."

"I guess it would've been a bit risky," Lord Newbury admitted. "After all, the wind sometimes blows from the north. The Geordies wouldn't have been very happy, would they?"

"Not at all, my lord."

"How many right-thinking people can we rely on, Eric?"

"There are fewer than there used to be, my lord," Sir Eric admitted. "But on the other hand, the stakes are higher. It's do or die, my lord."

"It most certainly bloody well is, Eric. But will they stand up and be counted?"

"The glory and pride of England is at risk, my lord."

"Is there enough money?"

"Switzerland remains neutral, my lord. The bank vaults will hold firm against the prying noses of the Sprouts, the Yanks and the Arabs. And they're too high above sea level to get submerged, my lord."

"Unlike the rest of us," said Lord Newbury. "Did you see the news last night?"

"It's dreadful, my lord," said Sir Eric. "The City of London and half of Westminster..."

"They should have piled the sandbags higher," said the lord. "And why did they bother protecting the East End? Who cares if the degenerate scum and illegal immigrants sink under five foot of water?"

"Not me, my lord."

"Anyway, I digress. Do you think we'll be in a position to safeguard the essence of England against those who seek to bring it to its knees?"

"I have already been discussing potential courses of action with other sympathetic parties, my lord."

"Like who?"

"Many, my lord. News media executives. Prominent internet companies. Loyal military men. Fellow Liberal Conservatives..."

"Not the Liberal ones I hope..."

"Of course not, my lord. There are many well-informed, well-financed and well-intentioned parties who are willing to harmonise with our enterprise if need be."

"As they did in '53? Let's hope they have the stomach for the fight this time."

"It is ever more perilous, my lord."

"It's a funny old world altogether, Eric," said the lord. "The Chinks and the Nips run the show. The Yanks, the Krauts and the Frogs are all in the second division. The Yanks have been a bloody disappointment, don't you think?"

"I had high hopes for the Republic of North America, my lord."

"They were just left with the crappy parts of the United States when it all fell apart. It's the world's most heavily defended breadbasket. Bristling with nukes it can't use because the slightest disruption to agriculture would simply cripple the entire nation."

"There are those who call it more a basket-case than a breadbasket, my lord."

"Yes, Eric. President Beck is either senile or mad."

"Or both, my lord."

"I just don't know where things have gone wrong, Eric. You don't think all that global warming nonsense is to blame?"

"The Greens made the right predictions, my lord, but they got on the wrong side of the Business Sector. What's the point of being right, if you can't make money out of it?"

"Absolutely. The interests of English business are paramount, wouldn't you say Eric? Although I'll be damned if I can be sure there's actually much left of English business to be proud about."

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