Date: Friday 12th Dec 1978 Location: Bramlington Grange, North Yorkshire
Prime Minister, William Harmon, is going through a minor crisis. His Chancellor has just resigned after admitting a two year affair with a night club dancer, which will mean a Cabinet reshuffle and promotion of at least one minister to cabinet level. Harmon may well use the opportunity to weed out others. The Daily Telegraph has suggested that the veteran Foreign Secretary, Treddar Jones might also “retire”. Treddar Jones has more pressing matters in the form of the deteriorating situation in Maratusse, one of the last of Britain’s dependent territories. He has convened a meeting with his Permanent Secretary, Sir David Judd, Angela Strong, Minister of State for non-European Affairs, Nancy Benson, his Parliamentary Private Secretary, Kerry Bateman, his Personal Private Secretary and his researcher, Vikki Southgate to be held at Bramlington Grange, a secret location used for conferences that need to be held well away from the prying eyes of the media. Bramlington Grange is run by Max and Jessica Flowers with help from their daughter Jenny. Also at home on vacation from university are Matt, Jenny’s twin brother, and his Norwegian friend Laars Ulrich. But will Marratusse be the most important thing for Treddar and his team to worry about over the weekend?
Meet the cast
Treddar Jones, 70 has been Foreign Secretary for over four years. He was appointed to the post when Labour won the General Election in March 1974. At that election he held the Rhondda Valley with a majority of 24,843 over the Welsh Nationalist. He is from Labour’s old school, having been a miner and a shop steward. He was first elected to Parliament in 1935, and has served there continuously ever since. His political career is:
1936 – 37 Junior Health Minister in the government of Ramsey McDonald
1937 – 41 Back benches
1941 – 45 Junior Health Minister in Churchill’s wartime coalition
1945 – 47 Junior Trade Minister under Attlee
1947 – 51 First Secretary to the Treasury under Attlee
1952 – 55 Shadow Chief Secretary under Gaitskell
1955 – 59 Shadow Leader of the House under Gaitskell
1959 – 62 Shadow Minister of Health under Gaitskell
1962 fought leadership election, coming a poor third to William Harmon
1962 – 64 Back-benches
1964 – 66 Minister of Health, under William Harmon, his first Cabinet post
1966 – 70 Minister of Education, under Harmon
1970 – 74 Shadow Foreign Secretary
1974 – Foreign Secretary
Lyndsay Strong MP, 39 works in the Foreign Office team as Minister of State for non-European Affairs. Considered to be a rising star in the party, she is widely tipped to get a Cabinet post in the pending reshuffle. She entered Parliament as MP for Watford East in 1966, taking the seat from the Conservatives, having fought and lost the same seat in 1964. She lost the seat in 1970, but was re-elected to Parliament in 1974 for the safe seat of Leeds Central. A moderate, coming to Labour from the professions, Lyndsay is a qualified teacher, who reached the level of Head of Department, in History, prior to becoming an MP. She is a typical politically correct teacher turned politician. Her Parliamentary career is:
1966 – 1969 Parliamentary Private Secretary to Douglas Joy at the Home Office
1969 – 1970 Junior Minister at Education
1974 – 1976 Junior Trade Minister
1976 – present Minister of State for non-European Affairs
Kerry Bateman, 41 is Personal Private Secretary (PPS) to Treddar Jones. A career civil servant, she joined straight from University, at the age of 22. She graduated from Christ’s College, Oxford with honours in French. She spent 10 years in the Diplomatic Corp, with tours of duty in France and the Congo. She met her present husband Julian Bateman, a diamond dealer, in the Congo. They married in 1968. At that point she left the Diplomatic service, transferring to the Foreign Office. She rose to the grade of Assistant Secretary in 1973 and was appointed PPS to the Foreign Secretary in 1974. She lives with her husband in Compton, a village just outside Guildford. They have no children.
Vikki Southgate, 23 is a Labour Party researcher who lives with her parents in Poole, Dorset. She is single and very much the partygoer. She has had a string of famous boyfriends, one of which was Piers Leonard, the playboy son of Labour peer Lord Leonard of Roxburgh. Piers took her to a one of his father’s parties at his town house in Hanover Square. There she first met Treddar Jones, who gave her a job as his researcher. Prior to that Vikki, who graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree
in Psychology, did some fashion modelling.
Nancy Benson MP, 35 is the daughter of a Father of Chapel in the National Union of Print Workers and member of the old school of Socialism. She joined the Young Socialists at 16 then, at 18, whilst studying medicine at Lancaster University, the NUS and the Labour Party. She served as a hospital doctor until she entered Parliament as MP for Manchester Trafford in March 1974. In October 1974 she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Treddar Jones. During her time as a doctor she was a
regular on the Aldermaston Marches and spent time at the camp on Greenham Common. She is an avid protagonist of non-violence.
Sir David “Toby” Judd KCMG, MC, 58 Upper class and very bright, Sir Toby is a top civil servant. He is married to Daisy and has three children, Edgar 35, the Minister for Prisons; Peter 32, Commander of Garrison in Maratusse) and Angela Buxton 27, (Solicitor), who lives in Guildford. He has been Permanent Secretary (Foreign Office) since 1973. He was educated at Eton and Kings College Cambridge, where he got a double first in Italian and Classics. He joined the Army straight from College in 1941, serving with distinction in Africa. He won the Military Cross at Tobruk. After the war, in 1945 and at the age of 25, he entered the Civil Service, from the Army, on the fast track. He rose rapidly:
1945 – 49 Foreign Office, rose from Executive Office to Principal
1949 – 58 Ministry of Agriculture, rose to Assistant Secretary
1958 – 68 Home Office, rose to Deputy Secretary
1968 – 70 Under Secretary at Minister of Education
1970 – Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office.
Laars Ulrich, 19 has been a Cadet in the Oslo Police Force for just over two years. He was educated at the Lefotan Islands Primary School and then the prestigious Nobel School in Oslo. After school he joined the Oslo Police force who promised to put him through University of a 6-year programme. He spent his first year as a police cadet doing uniform duty in Oslo, after which he commenced a 4-year course in Criminology at Oslo University. He is on the second year of the course, which has to be taken at a University in another country. He chose the UK and has just started, at the University of York. The choice was not difficult because he has spent many happy holidays in Harrogate with the family of Harold Timpson, a close friend of his father’s. They had met during the war when his father hid Harold, an RAF pilot who had been shot down over Norway, from the occupying Nazis. The holidays were initially accompanied by his parents, but when he grew older he was allowed to visit Harold’s family by himself. He has spent at least one vacation a year with Harold’s family, having last seen Harold two
weeks ago. Harold is very ill now and not expected to live much longer. For that reason his family cannot accommodate Laars this Xmas. Laars wants to stay in England to see Harold at least once more before he dies. He met Matthew Flowers at the start of the year when they began sharing a room. The two have become good friends. Matthew is more of a partygoer and soon found himself a steady girlfriend, Jane Plummer, whom Laars has also grown to like.
Matt Flowers, 18 is a First Year Student at York University, studying Economics and Politics. He was bought up in Guisborough, attending its Primary School and then its Comprehensive, where he gained A Levels in History, Politics and Economics. He has very little idea of what he would like to do after University but chose politics because of his home background. He is the son of Max and Jessica Flowers, who lived in Guisborough until he reached 13, when they moved to Bramlington Grange. He has a twin sister, Jenny, who lives with their parents. Matt met Laars Ulrich at the start of the year when he shared a room with him in rented accommodation. They have become good friends. Matt is more of a partygoer and soon found himself with steady girlfriend, whereas Laars is more studious. Matt met Jane Plummer at Fresher’s week and was instantly attracted to her. Matt and Jane both have an interest in fencing and it was when they were at the fencing club that he asked her for a date. They have been dating all term. Laars gets on well with her which makes for the occasional pleasant evening in the pub. When he discovered that she lived locally he suggested that he would give her a lift home, which she gratefully accepted.
Jane Plummer, 18 is also a First Year Student at York University, studying Law. She was educated at Elliot May primary School in Skipton and then Skipton Grammar School for Girls, where she gained A Levels in History, English and Law. She would like to be a barrister, hence her choice of Law. She was born Tanya Jane Plummer the daughter of Adrian and Christine Plummer. Although her parents still call her Tanya, she does not really like the name so all her friends call her Jane. She was born in Skipton and has lived there all her life. She has a younger sister, Margaret, who is 11. Jane, Matt and Laars get on well and have spent several pleasant evenings in the pub.
Jenny Flowers, 18 has a variety of part-time jobs including doctors’ receptionist 3 days per week, ad-hoc lunchtimes and evenings as a barmaid at the Pig and Bells and helping out as a waitress / housemaid at Bramlington Grange when there are Foreign Office guests. She was educated at Guisborough Primary School and then Guisborough Comprehensive School, where she gained O Levels in History, English, French and Mathematics. She is content with life and expects to stay at Bramlington for some time, probably taking over from her father as manager when he retires. She is a very attractive girl, who gets asked out on dates with boys in the village quite a lot but as yet she has not found anybody to really interest her.
Max Flowers, 56 is Butler and Manager of Bramlington Grange, a remote country house in the Yorkshire Moors maintained by the Foreign Office. Matt and his wife Jessica oversaw the modification of Bramlington Grange when it became a Foreign Office house. Max left school at fifteen with no formal qualifications and started work at a factory making machine tools. At the age of eighteen he volunteered for the RAF, despite being in a reserved occupation. He spent the war in aircraft maintenance at various airfields around the south and east coast. He lost count of the number of Spitfires that he repaired. During the war he met Jessica Hardy, who was working as a land girl on the farms around Biggin Hill airfield. He married her after the war. In 1949 the two of them opened a guest house in Guisborough, funded by the money that her parents left her, which they ran successfully for twenty years. Their children, twins Matt and Jenny, were born in 1960.
Jessica Flowers, 55 is Cook and Housekeeper of Bramlington Grange. She was born Jessica Jane Hardy a farmer’s daughter from Biggin Hill in Kent. She left school at fifteen with no formal qualifications and started work on her parents’ farm. At the age of eighteen she was put in charge of a group of land girls to run the farm while the male farmhands went off to war. The farm was close to the Biggin Hill aerodrome so she spent summer evenings in the local pub with the flyers and mechanics from the
base. It was there that she met Max Flowers who was working as a mechanic at Biggin Hill airfield.
Derek Bonner, 44 is an Inspector in the Metropolitan Police assigned to the VIP protection squad to guard the Prime Minister. He was educated at Cardinal Baines Primary School in Harrow and then Harrow Grammar School, where he gained A Levels in History and French. He joined the Metropolitan Police from school in 1958 and has worked his way up to Inspector. After serving in the uniform branch and traffic division he moved to CID. He has worked in vice, drugs and murder squads before moving to the VIP Protection Squad. He has always protected politicians, but William Harmon is the first Prime
Minister to whom you have been assigned. He has been teamed with Sergeant Brian Forbes protecting Harmon for the last four months. In that time the two of them have developed a good understanding and performed well together. He has also got to know William Harmon and his family. Harman is friendly and chatty as are his wife Julie and his son Arnold, aged 8, making them all easy to work with. He has even run the odd errand for Harmon when the PM is secure at No 10 or Chequers and Forbes is there to look after him. He married Amy Wagstaff in 1961 and lived very happily with her for five years. Unfortunately his dedication to work, with late nights and weekend working, put such a stain on his marriage that Amy left him, for a sales rep, in 1967. They were divorced in 1968. He is now supporting her and his son Eric so has relatively little money left. He lives in a bed-sit in Harrow and runs an old Cortina. He has not had a holiday for 3 years, partly thorough dedication to his work and partly through lack of funds.
Alan Dansie, 24 is a Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police working as an armed response officer in a SWOT team based in Romford, Essex. He was educated at the Arnold Bennett School in Chelmsford and then Chelmsford Grammar School, where he gained 6 O Levels before leaving school in 1970 to join the Metropolitan Police. He has worked his way up to Sergeant, serving for 2 years in the uniform branch then moving to CID. He worked in the murder squad before moving to the SWAT team last year. He has always been interested in firearms, taking every opportunity to gain qualifications in as many weapons
as he could. He is qualified as a marksman with side arms and rifle, so armed response was an obvious choice. In the two years in that role he has never had occasion to use his firearm, which makes his commanders very happy because they regard him as a cool head. Alan is still single and living with his parents. Last year they moved to Romford, so he moved with them, because it was a lot cheaper than living in police accommodation and he does not have a lot of spare cash. When he is not working he enjoys a good night out with the lads and takes the opportunity for one night stands when they arise. He
does not have a steady girlfriend, believing this to be incompatible with his lifestyle with the SWAT team. Earlier today his Inspector called him into his office and offered him something very different. He said that Sergeant Forbes of the VIP protection squad had reported sick and he was to replace him on Prime Ministerial protection duty. He was told to report to Inspector Derek Bonner at No 10 Downing Street.