THE BRITISH EMPIRE
The capital of the British Empire is still London, from which the British Royal Family, the House of Hanover, rules. The Royal residence is still Buckingham Palace. This has been rebuilt twice, once in the 1830's, when it was enlarged and made more suitable for a royal residence, and again during and after WWII to rebuild it after the bomb damage it suffered during the War.
In the British Empire, democracy grew during the nineteenth century, although less so than in the real world, being limited partly because of the way society, the monarchy and the government evolved during that time, and partly because of the introduction of a Russian-style Table of Ranks which allowed anyone the opportunity to rise up into the nobility in service to the government. However, the course of WWII and the years after it, when extremist political parties flourished, shifted public faith away from Parliament, who were seen as largely responsible for what had happened during and after the War, and more towards the monarch. Parliament is thus rather less powerful than in the real world, and the monarch more so. Most authority is vested in the Empress Elizabeth III.
All of the regions of the British Empire which are considered 'ready' have what are known as Union governments. These grew out of Benjamin Franklin's Plan of Union put forward, and accepted, at the Albany Congress in 1754. Each region of the Empire with such a government is administered by a Crown-appointed President-General and a General Council of delegates from the region in question. It has exclusive control of local affairs, including relations with native peoples and the acquisition of land for the Crown, and is responsible for the defence of the region. Each of the regions of the Empire send representatives to Parliament in London. As such the Empire is ruledfor the Empire, not for the British Isles alone. Originally this was just for areas with a majority of European settlers, but since WWII Union governments have been implemented in many other areas. Areas which are not yet considered ready for Union government are run by District Officers, who have a staff of trained locals and ex-pats, and a larger staff of workers under them. This same overall form of government also applies in the other Great Powers.
There are, of course, some mal-contents who want full Home Rule for their part of the Empire, but the vast majority of the populations of the various empires do not want independence from them for their particular region. By 1995 the Union governments give the vast majority of people enough control that they see no need for full independence. They have full and basically equal representation in the government of their respective empire, and in general see themselves as being much better off as part of an empire than otherwise. The world has essentially reached a status quo with which a great many people are satisfied, and there are, at present, no great social problems or upheavals looming on the horizon to disturb that status quo. Again, this same situation applies in all of the Great Powers.
In all of the Great Powers, long experience with loyal citizens of all backgrounds, races and sexes, particularly during WWII, has in recent decades eroded sexism and racism in recent decades. Class-ism is also decreasing, though it is still an issue in some places; there are still social classes and so on, but there is mobility between them now, based on ability and the Table of Ranks. Britain has in the main become more meritocratic.
There are five main British political parties:
- The Whigs; this party values industry and commerce over all else, believing that to be the basis for a healthy nation. As such they favour assisting and subsidising industry where they can, but interfering only where necessary. As such vigorously pushing the products of British industry into new markets is very important to them, and vigorous foreign policy generally. They believe in a minimal welfare state, and as much trade unionism as is necessary to keep the workers happy. Religious toleration is very important to them as discriminating against parts of the work force can only be a bad thing for the nation's prosperity.
- The Liberals; this party is made up of what might, in the real world, be called social democrats. They are an offshoot of the Whigs. They believe that there should be a welfare state to protect people, and other organisations such a trade unions to protect workers rights, but also that people should be able to work to improve themselves within that framework. So while the government should have some influence in the economy it should also still be free to be used by people to improve themselves. Toleration and social improvement are important for them.
- The Tories; this is the party of the nobility and landowners. They favour industry, but also government keeping it hands off industry, allowing it to sink or swim on its own. As such things like trade unionism should be banned and the welfare state used to keep people working, via institutions such as the workhouse. Government should focus on a strong foreign policy, internal order, and allowing the economy to work as efficiently as possible via minimal interference.
- The Conservatives; this is a very authoritarian party. They favour a return to old ways, class-ism, Protestantism over all other religions and similar reactionary views. They also favour the removal of the welfare state, allowing people to handle such arrangements for themselves, outlawing trade unions, and allowing industry and so on to run itself with as little government interference as possible. They see nothing to be gained by tolerance, and social improvement as something that will 'trickle down' from the top if the system is allowed to run itself.
- The Socialists; this is a party that might also be called socialists in the real world. They do share some views with the Liberals. That is, they believe in the welfare state, trade unions and so on, but they tend to view the economy as something the government should control via central planning for the good of all, redistributing wealth and jobs as required for the good of the nation as a whole. Toleration and social improvement, while important, are not as important as improving the lot of as many people as possible.
The Whig, Liberal and Socialist parties all have quite strong ties to various elements within the Royal Society of London, under the auspices of which much of Britain's scientific research is carried out.
British North America is quite different to real-world America. There have not been huge waves of immigration from Europe into America, though there has been some. There has been a good deal of immigration from other sources, particularly the Indian sub-continent. Because of this British North America is, ethnically, a mix of mainly British (the Anglo-Saxon type), French (from the old French colonies), Indian (from the sub-continent) and Native American with some Spanish, Chinese and Russian thrown in for good measure. Because of the Indian and Chinese influence there are, in some places, lots of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and other temples.
Indian Territory and Mountain Territory are two regions within British North America run by and for the Native Americans with their own Union governments. As such they were, originally, Indian-only areas where non-Natives were not allowed to settle except at trading towns along major transportation routes, particularly the railways. Although there has been a good deal of mixing over time, and the adoption of European technology, these two regions still retain a largely Native American character.
The British flag is the Union Jack, basically the same as that in the real world.