It is not only Al Gore who is left to ponder what might have been...The day on which President Al Gore was assured his landslide 2004 re-election is widely held to be 30 August 2001.
For it was on that day that his Republican critics organised a press conference to claim that he was playing politics with national security. The fateful events of 11 September 2001 rebounded on them so overwhelmingly that just two weeks later Gore was guaranteed victory in the next election.
Of course, his global healthcare initiative was a masterstroke, and the boom created by his broadband-for-all investment got even his critics joking that he really did invent the internet...The march of history can often be diverted by the smallest of events.
What would have happened, for example, if the Great Reform Act of 1832 had lost, rather than survived, its crucial second reading by one vote the previous year?
What if Archduke Franz Ferdinands driver had been informed of his new itinery and had not driven down the street where Gavrilo Princip was waiting, pistol in hand, on 28 June 1914? What if the Scots had voted for devolution in 1979 (as, in reality, they did)?
In this book a collection of distinguished commentators, academics and journalists examine a series of political what-ifs, when very little needed to have happened differently for the outcome to have been transformed, sometimes out of all recognition.
Among them are Peter Riddell, who analyses the consequences of Britains entry into the Common Market in 1957; Robert Waller, who asks whether the Labour Party would ever have got off the ground if their 1903 pact with the Liberals had not been agreed; and John Gittings, who considers the potential outcome of the meeting between Mao Zedong and President Roosevelt which Mao requested in 1945.
The individual contributors are: David Broyle, Duncan Brack, R. J. Briand, Simon Buckby, Matt Cole, Byron Criddle, Matt Garnett, John Gittings, Richard S. Grayson, Rab Houston, David Hughes, Tony Little, York Membery, Jon Mendelsohn, John Nichols, Mark Pack, Jaime Reynolds, Peter Riddell, Helen Szamuely and Robert Waller.
Praise for Politicos first book of political counterfactual, Prime Minister Portillo: A delicious book of What Ifs... A host of journalists, academics and politicos offer a tantalising glimpse into how things might have been, for better or worse, if fortune had smile differently.
- New Statesman. A stellar examination that will appeal to both political junkies and the plain curious. - Good Book Guide.
Hardcover: 384 pages Publisher: Politicos Publishing Ltd (25 Sept. 2006) Language: English ISBN-10: 1842751727 ISBN-13: 978-1842751725