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12 August 2023

Britannica

Tag(s): History, Languages & Culture
I have had three books published.  The first The 20 Ps of Marketing was published ten years ago by Kogan Page and is based on my idea that the well-established concept of the Four Ps of Marketing- Product, Price, Place and Promotion is far too limited and to really understand marketing you need to consider several other factors like Positioning, People and Profit. It has sold quite well in the thousands and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. My second book Marketing for Good is Good Marketing was self-published after my year as Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and is based on the blogs that I published that year on this site which were describing the events I attended but also various factors of the City of London and the Livery. I believe it is unique as despite the fact that there are 110 Livery companies each of which except one elects a new Master every year which means there are thousands of us, I am not aware of any other book of that kind. It has not sold so well, mainly because as the publisher I have no one to help me with the marketing. (Irony there). But I do make it my practice to give a copy to upcoming Masters of my own company. My third book was also self-published. It is called Threads and Patches and while it is not an autobiography it is autobiographical and includes a number of personal essays which I have written over the years. I have not tried to commercialise it but gave a copy to each of my guests at a luncheon at Barber Surgeons Hall in the City to mark my 70th birthday.

I have just competed my fourth book which is also autobiographical but only one copy will be produced. My daughter and her husband as a Christmas present two years ago gave me an exercise book called Tell Me Your Story, Grandpa.  Every two pages there is a question about my life, childhood, family, friends, school, career, beliefs etc. Altogether there are 60 questions and I have just finished it. My daughter and her family are coming to stay with us next week and I will give my six-year old grandson the book then. I may read some of the chapters to him.

I have long had an idea for a novel but have never got around to writing it. I think writing a novel is much more challenging than writing the books that I have managed which are all based on my own experiences and observations. While I think the idea of my novel is quite powerful, nevertheless I would have to invent a cast of characters, develop the plot, imagine the dialogue and make sure the reader would stay interested to the end.  In my Christmas Newsletters which I have been writing for 36 years now I do some of this but only for 3 or 4 pages. I always try to find a new theme and sometimes this involves telling our family story  in a different style. I have done Sherlock Holmes, Jeeves and Bertie Wooster and an opera.  But I don’t have to keep it up for long.

My idea for the novel is based on the concept of alternative history. There have been many novels written where the writer imagines what it would have been like if history had taken a different turn. Several novels have been based on the idea that the Nazis won the Second World War. Fatherland by Robert Harris and SS-GB by Len Deighton are two excellent examples. There are novels based on the idea that the Confederates won the Civil War, that the Japanese did not surrender after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and so on.

The idea behind my novel is that the United States did not declare independence but remained as British colonies. The Congress at Philadelphia in 1776 might have taken a different turn or the British might have put up a better fight in the War of Independence. No doubt my American readers would be horrified by this but the consequences could have been far reaching. Firstly, slavery. The British Empire abolished slavery in 1807 after many previous failed attempts. Great Britain had played a major part in the slave trade prior to this but by 1833 all the slaves in its dominions had been freed. Furthermore, for many years the British Navy, then the most powerful fleet in the world, set out to enforce this law everywhere. If the American colonies had remained part of the British Empire this would have also happened in America much earlier than it did.

In the 19th century Great Britain was the most powerful nation in the world and used its power to good effect, often maintaining peace. Gradually Germany, a relatively new country, and Japan, only recently emerged from self-enforced isolation, built up their power leading to the Japanese war with Russia, the First World War and, of course, the Second World War. In both World Wars America  maintained a policy of isolation only coming into the wars late and on both occasions that proved decisive.

But if the American colonies had stayed as part of the British Empire and expanded in the same way that they actually did that huge combined power would have been so formidable that it is unlikely that Germany, Japan and their allies would ever have taken it on and neither war would have taken place. This combined entity would have been known as Britannica. The Soviet Union undoubtedly played an important role in the defeat of the Nazis and got a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council as a result. If there had been no war there might not have been a United Nations but if there was Britannica would have had the biggest influence over its leadership and the Cold War might never have happened. There would still have been rivalry between Communism and Capitalism but Communism has always failed and only persists under authoritarian regimes.

It would have been like the Roman Empire which maintained the Pax Romana for centuries. And like the Roman Empire where Emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople it is quite possible that the capital of Britannica might have moved from London to somewhere in the American continent. It would not have been Washington but possibly Philadelphia.



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