The country is in crisis. Unrest and inner city tensions feed on unemployment. And as the Government struggles to contain the soaring debt, no one listens. Most are tired of ‘PR-savvy’ words, tired of the ‘blame-game’ that poses as debate.
Divisions in the Cabinet force the premier’s resignation. Because circumstances are too dire to afford the luxury of an election, the Queen calls a meeting of the three main party leaders.
Some days previously, the Leader of the Opposition had received a letter that intrigued him. The writer, in fact, had held little hope of making contact. For him, it was one last try. Yet much to his amazement he received a phone call from the Opposition leader’s secretary. When they met, the Leader of the Opposition was polite, but blunt: ‘Why should you see the answer when all the experts down the ages have ignored it?’ he asked – yet, his interest had been aroused.
Following the meeting with the Queen, it was announced that the Leader of the Opposition had been asked to form a national government. This gave him the opportunity to explore the practicalities of the suggestion put forward by his correspondent, with the support of the other party leaders.
John Stewart, born in Northern Ireland, moved to London in the 1950s. He is the author of two biographies and three historical novels: The Centurion, translated into German, Italian and Spanish; The Last Romans, placed in the time of Justinian and Boethius; and Marsilio, centred on the early life of the Florentine philosopher-priest, Marsilio Ficino. In this and two companion novels, Visitors and The President, he turns his attention to the present time and explores the contemporary relevance of a reform advocated at the beginning of the 20th century by leading politicians and writers like Bernard Shaw and Leo Tolstoy.
Keywords: Fiction, Politics