Subject: For All Nails #51b: Victoria's Secret (Part 2)
15 February 1973
"With all due respect to Harry," said Prime Minister
Richard Patten, "what the devil is the man thinking?"
"That's always difficult to tell," replied the Foreign
Secretary, John Amalfi. "I assume, though, that this
time he did something more scatterbrained than usual?"
"If he had a brain to scatter, I'd agree with you," said
Patten. "Indicting that Madoka woman, I mean. What
does he think he's _doing_?"
"Removing a thorn in our side, I'd say," answered
Charles Nicholson. Patten sighed; Nicholson was doing
a fine job at Education, but he was a Conservative, and
Conservatives tended to have blinders where they could
least afford them.
"There's a bloody election coming up in May," he said,
tapping his forefinger on the political map that lay on
the table. Sixty-eight of the 119 ridings were colored
in the green of the Prime Minister's Victoria United
Party or the blue of the Conservatives. Twelve of those
ridings, however, were colored in a lighter shade, to
indicate that they had been carried by a majority of
less than a thousand votes.
"There's an election coming, and the bloody trial will
happen right in the middle of it."
"Surely we're stronger now than we were then," said
"With a hundred thousand more niggers on the voting
rolls," the Prime Minister answered, "we can hardly be
sure of that."
"It's about 150,000, actually," Amalfi corrected. Only
nine percent of Victoria's nine million blacks and less
than half the Indians met the income qualification to be
registered as voters, but that was still considerably
more than had qualified in 1969. The three million
whites of Victoria still made up three quarters of the
nation's electorate, but they were losing ground every
year thanks to a constitution that Patten didn't have
the votes to amend.
"Yes, but more immigrants from the Gold Republics are
becoming citizens every day," said Nicholson. "The
Goldies are all our votes, and they won't care if some
fancy nigger goes to gaol."
"They may not, but those Carrollton bastards will," the
Prime Minister answered, naming an upper-middle-class
suburb of Nairobi. "Because she's what you said - a
fancy nigger. The kind they almost think of as one of
themselves. If we indict _her_ for standing in a
meeting hall and making a speech - you know, the sort
of thing they get poetic about - they'll think the
damned Liberals are next."
"Why not?" said Nicholson. "They bloody well are."
Patten regarded him steadily. "Have you ever heard of
social contracts, Charles?" he asked. "Part of ours is
that whites say what they want. And if we even _hint_
that we're changing the rules, half the people who voted
for us last time will go right back to the Democrats.
We won the last election through fear, Charles, and
we'll lose this one if we give the voters something else
to be afraid of."
"Then quash the indictment if you think it'll hurt us
that much," said Amalfi.
"You know I can't do that," Patten said. "The Anti-
Corruption Act, remember? Only the public prosecutor
can quash an indictment. It's supposed to prevent
indictments from being buried for political reasons,
which is a damned inconvenience when I want to bury an
indictment for political reasons."
"Yes, that can be a bother, can't it?" replied Amalfi.
"Harry's a member of your party, Charles. Maybe you can
talk to him..."
The Lambs Club
16 February 1973
"They won the last election through fear, Paul," said
Magistrate Ian Douglas, "and they want to win this one
the same way."
"Well, of course they do," replied Paul Masseret. "What
other platform do they have besides vote for us or lose
your job to a nigger?'"
Ian looked around quickly before remembering where he
was. At the Lambs Club, there were no black people
around to be offended except the waiters, and the
waiters didn't count.
"They're raising the stakes this time, though," he said.
"Harry's indicted Victoria Madoka."
"Madoka?" Paul asked. "Not sure I recall the name -
she's an attorney, isn't she?"
"Yes, and something of a radical," the Magistrate said.
"Evidently, she praised the Victoria National Congress
at a bar association meeting."
"And they're indicting her for that?"
"It does seem a bit much, doesn't it?" asked Ian. "But
they have, and they're very serious about it. Young Mr.
Hodges from the Public Prosecutor's office has told the
_Guardian_ that he'll ask for a two-year sentence."
"Two years for something she said at a meeting?" said
"I believe that's the maximum for violating that section
of the Sedition Act," answered the judge. "I won't give
it, of course, but he evidently thinks the Appellate
Division will disagree with me - or maybe he's just
playing to the gallery."
"I should think that wouldn't impress anyone who isn't
voting for them already."
"I'm not so sure of that," Ian said. "Think about it.
On the one hand, we're starting to have a real black
middle class in this country - and on the other, we've
had 300,000 Goldies come here in the past ten years.
Between them both, there are lots of whites afraid for
their jobs and their social position, and they're
looking for someone who isn't afraid to put the blacks
in their place."
"And this Madoka is being put in hers?" asked Paul.
"Exactly. She's a remarkable woman, Paul - and yes, I
know any black that we can't manage to keep out of
university must be above average, but she's more than
that. She can talk to you about anything in three
languages, she's an outstanding musician - yes, you
should come along to one of her parties sometime - and
she has the manners of a queen. I'll admit I've
sometimes thought of her as the daughter I never had -
does that surprise you?"
Masseret managed something noncommittal.
"At any rate, she's everything they fear - a black
person as good as they are. What did we used to call
her kind - the people who'll share our future? It seems
they're sharing a bit too much of the present for some
"Then you think that Patten's indicting her to make a
point?" asked Paul. "To prove he's tough on the nogs?"
"What other reason could there be?"
18 February 1973
"Would you like cup of tea, dear?" asked Caroline Boyle.
"Yes, thank you," said Victoria Madoka, accepting a cup
from a silver tray carried by a uniformed maid. "Thank
you, too, Letitia."
"You're very welcome, madam," said the maid with a trace
of a smile. Victoria smiled in return, hoping that she
didn't look as embarrassed as she always felt when a
black person called her "madam." She lived comfortably,
but she didn't have a maid; the situation would be too
awkward all around for comfort.
"It's a terrible thing they're doing to you, Victoria
dear," said Caroline. "Of course we'll support you any
way we can."
_That wasn't an empty promise_, Victoria reflected.
Caroline Boyle was one of the Liberal Party's leading
hostesses and was active in several organizations for
the "advancement of the black citizen." _Not that any
of that prevents her from keeping Letitia away from her
family for months at a time, or from being surprised
every time I call her on it_.
"We'll fully support your defense, of course," Caroline
continued, "and we've made the Nairobi diplomatic corps
aware of what's going on. I believe the German
ambassador has already expressed his concern to the
Prime Minister's office."
_That will probably get Patten as many votes as it loses
him_, Madoka thought. "Thank you," she said.
"What I can't understand," said Caroline, "is why
they're doing it. After all, it's not as if you were
out in the bush shooting people."
"I think that's exactly the point they want to make,"
Victoria said. "They want us to know that anyone who
challenges the way things are - even by advocating
peaceful change - will be considered their enemy. They
won the last election through fear, but now they're
becoming frightened themselves. And frightened men do
NOTES TO PART 2:
Victoria's population in 1973 is about the same as that
of Kenya OTL, but its demographics are very different.
The population of OTL Kenya at that time was about 12.4
million, nearly all of it black. In the FAN timeline,
however, I'm assuming that the black Victorians will
undergo an earlier demographic shift. Compared to OTL
Kenya, Victoria is more urbanized, has a larger middle
class (even within the black population) and has a
generally higher standard of living, all of which
contribute to smaller family sizes. (Most Victorian
blacks live at a third world standard, but one that
isn't quite as bad as sub-Saharan Africa OTL.)
The whites have a lower birth rate, but they've managed
to hang on to their 25 percent share of the population
by encouraging immigration. The first wave, which came
during the 1880s-1900s, is already known (via Sobel) to
have consisted mainly of Dutch, English, French and
Italians. Eastern Europeans, including Polish and
Russian Jews, came later, and immigrants from the Gold
Republics (more or less the OTL Boer republics and
Zimbabwe) most recently. The last named have arrived
since the late 1950s, mostly in reaction to the
transition of their homelands to black rule.
Victoria in 1973 is undergoing a political sea change.
On the one hand, an increasing number of blacks are
becoming educated and entering the middle class; the
number of blacks on the voting rolls in 1973 is almost
twice what it was in 1960. On the other hand, the very
emergence of a black middle class has caused many
whites to take a harder line about preserving their
privileges. For most of the twentieth century, the
social contract in Victoria was similar to that of OTL
South Africa - i.e., that the government would provide
sufficient jobs and services to guarantee a middle-class
living standard to the white population. Lately,
however, that contract has become more difficult to
maintain. There isn't much land to give away - and even
though blacks are effectively kept out of white-collar
jobs in government and private industry, they've made
inroads in the professions and independent business.
For the first time, many whites are wondering whether
they'll be able to maintain a decent standard of living.
Add to that the Gold Republic refugees' determination
not to let it happen again, and you've got problems.
Prior to the general election of May 1969, the 119
ridings of the Victoria Parliament were divided as
follows: Democratic Party (DP) 51, Victoria United Party
(VUP) 46, Liberal Party (LP) 13, Conservative Party (CP)
6, All Citizens Party (ACP) 2, independents 1. At the
1969 election, the governing DP-LP coalition was turned
out, and the makeup of Parliament shifted to VUP 58, DP
39, CP 10, LP 8, ACP 3, independents 1. The term of the
Victoria Parliament is four years; the next general
election must be held by 21 May 1973.
The VUP is the least idealistic of Victoria's political
parties; its main interest is in protecting its lower-
middle-class white constituency. The rhetoric of the
VUP is often populist and plays to its voters' distrust
of rich whites and middle-class blacks; its program is
racist, but not nearly as much so as the CP's. The CP
has grown significantly in strength due to the votes of
the Gold Republic immigrants, and supports drastic
measures to keep the blacks in their place.
On the left of what passes for center in Victoria, the
DP is the party of the old-line paternalists, while the
LP stands at least in principle for equal rights. The
ACP is the only real black party - the LP doesn't run
black candidates - but it doesn't do well because most
blacks rich enough to vote live in white-majority
ridings. Rather than waste their votes, the majority
of black voters choose the DP or LP candidate. I
haven't decided who the independent is yet, and I'm
open to suggestions.
Jonathan I. Edelstein in Kew Gardens, NY
"Who is wise? He who learns from all."
- Ben Zoma, Pirkei Avot 4:1