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In 1984 an alien spacecraft containing 100,000 aliens called Umplanians landed in Hyde Park in the UK. Although there was at first hopes the aliens could help humanity, it soon became clear that the Umplanians did not operate the spacecraft. They were, in fact, slaves being transported to another planet. On their planet whole swathes of their populace has been exterminated and the remainder shipped away as slaves. This ship's engines broke and the ships computer directed it to a random habitable planet in the galaxy. The slaves had been put into hibernation. When they arrived the slaves were set free as the computer assumed that the planet was occupied by its creators. Her Majesty's Government agreed to grant the aliens asylum. Seven months afterwards the ship partly self-destructed. There was now no hope of the aliens leaving. The aliens were granted British citizenship and were given citizenship classes.
Of course, many people opposed the appearance of the Umplanians, especially far-right groups who took to blaming everything on the new arrivals. What also aggravated the authorities was that various spices such as turmeric and beef Oxo cubes proved to act as an addictive drug on the Umplanian physiology, and drugs that effected the human physiology such as cannabis and ecstasy had no more effect on the Umplanian physiology than household spices. This has a somewhat unusual effect on the meals of the more naive middle class Umplanians when they invite their human friends to dinner. Drug dealers in the UK have a whole new market and were soon dealing in beef Oxo cubes and turmeric and making a colossal profit off the more vulnerable of the aliens.
But as well as internal problems, there was condemnation from outside the UK. The superpowers were upset that the aliens hadn't gone to them for help, and the Americans were particularly annoyed with the British Government as they believed they were supposed to achieve first contact with alien life. Not just that but the government had nationalised the spacecraft remains and refused to allow other nations to study the technology. Europe too, was alienated from the UK as they refused to open up research or allow scientist to study or dissect the aliens. Margaret Thatcher made a speech on television saying 'These people are not aliens any longer. They are British citizens and they are not just meat that can be dissected by the scientists of Europe.' After this the UK withdrew from NATO. This shocked most of the Western World as it appeared that the UK was withdrawing from international affairs for the first time since World War I.
However, the finest scientists in the UK were poring over the wreckage of the spacecraft. Soon new products started arriving first on the British markets and then spreading into Europe. The first hydrogen fuel cell was developed in 1990. In 1999 the first nuclear fusion reactor was built. In 2003 the British Space Agency was re-established, breaking away from Europe. 2007 the first British man landed on the Moon in a hydrogen fueled rocket and planted the Union Flag on the Moon. By 2010, the first space elevator was under construction.
Now in 2010, the UK has had a Conservative government since 1979, the longest time a party has been in power in British history. The UK is at the forefront of the European economy, the richest country in Europe thanks to its new technologies. Its industry is strong and it uses sustainable fuels. It still however struggles to keep up with the USA and Japan economically though it is by far the third strongest economy in the world. Unemployment is low thanks to the establishment of the Space Agency and the huge consumption of people into scientific industries. The financial sector is huge thanks to the City of London and Hong Kong. The Overseas Territories are integrated as part of the UK. However crime is rife as the more vulnerable Umplanians are addicted to easily available spices, which they can't buy legally, purveyed by drug lords who are now some of the wealthiest men in Britain and the world.