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The United Kingdom is the third most powerful and rich nation on the Earth, and the only nation with a truly active space program. In space, the British are miles ahead of their nearest competitors. However, at home, there are many problems. There is political stagnation as the Conservative government, in power for nearly forty years, has a stranglehold on politics and democracy. Many people can not imagine a different kind of government. Crime is rife as powerful drug-lords dominate addicted aliens with easily available, for humans, spices which are drugs. Tensions with other countries are high as Europeans distrust their powerful neighbour and their huge riches, while the Americans are jealous of the prestige Britain has gained as the nation to make First Contact. Northern Ireland is a vast battleground as the Troubles extend and worsen.