by Samuel Dale
It’s May 13th 2015 and Ed Miliband is walking down Downing Street after being asked to form a government by the Queen.
It’s been an unpredictable and gruelling week of horse trading and backroom deals.
Labour and the Tories tied on 285 seats each and Miliband has done a deal with Alex Salmond to seize power.
His pact with the SNP – which won an incredible 45 seats – has put him into Number 10 but he is the weakest prime minister in decades, maybe ever.
As he makes his first speech outside that famous door, Sterling starts to plummet.
The FTSE 100 has already fallen almost 10% in the first part of the week as the likelihood of Miliband in power became clear. It tanks further as he talks.
The creme of Britain’s financial services industry are implementing their plans to leave London.
Hedge funds quickly plan moves to Jersey, big asset managers to the US while big banks look to Asia and New York.
Energy firms instantly scrap investment plans as the price freeze becomes reality while pension funds put their UK infrastructure investments on hold.
The SNP-Labour deal has promised to “end austerity” and increase spending in cash terms every year this parliament. Investors are spooked.
The International Monetary Fund has already warned that the UK must stick to its deficit programme and Angela Merkel has subtley warned London not to turn itself into Paris, or even Athens.
As Miliband speaks the price of UK Government debt – gilts – starts to rocket.
Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s are calling emergency meetings to re-assess the UK’s credit rating. Sources at the agencies say a negative warning on Britain’s rating is imminent.
Meanwhile, Labour MPs are furious at the SNP deal promising devo-max to Scotland including the long-sought after devolved corporation tax. In exchange the SNP will vote to implement all Labour’s policy platform.
Mobile multi-national companies are already discussing relocating to a new business-friendly Edinburgh in the next few years, undermining confidence in London and the City.
Gordon Brown publicly blasts the deal while Tony Blair says it recklessly threatens to break up Britain.
Boris Johnson, the newly elected MP and clear favourite for the vacant Tory leadership after Cameron’s resignation earlier in the day, says Miliband has betrayed Britain.
The new PM finishes his speech and turns to enter Number 10 for the first time as leader, a dream fulfilled.
As he enters a frantic looking permanent secretary brings him up to speed on the unfolding economic crisis and recommends an emergency cabinet meeting, which still needs appointing.
Meanwhile, the political crisis is even worse. There is chaos in his own party as panicked SpAds tell him about the huge schism in the PLP and more grandees speaking out. Some are already calling for his head for putting the union at risk, which they describe as above party politics.
All the while he faces the prospect of Boris, a popular new Tory leader, while leading the most fragile Government in decades.
At just 32% of the popular vote, Labour is the most unpopular government party in British history. The SNP deal has seen the party’s poll share plummet in the last few days to around 25% as English voters desert Miliband.
It makes a quick second election out of the question even if he managed to secure majority agreement to overturn the Fixed Parliament Act.
Meanwhile, the SNP deal raises the prospect of a new independence referendum in the coming years. The break-up of Britain looks closer than ever.
All this within the first hour of a Miliband premiership. This is A Very British Coup for the Twitter age.
As he is shown into his office and considers the multiple chaotic crises, he wonders: what have I done?
Sam Dale is a financial and political journalist