Opinion: Address to the 6th ModRad Congress

​Estimadâs és estimats cüncitaxhiêns,

Let me first thank Senator da Schir for his kind words of introduction, and for providing me the opportunity to address you today. Permit me also to congratulate you on the launch of your Sixth Party Congress, a testament to your success in building a constituency for your ideas and also to your commitment to the Talossan project.

I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the future direction of our country. Specifically, how we can get Talossa working better between elections, without losing the fun and spectacle of party politics.

Talossa has a stable constitutional order, and all things considered a fairly developed body of law (ephemera aside, and S:reu Platschisch will be taking care of those in due course, no doubt!) Our parliamentary institutions function fairly effectively, even at our present low level of enthusiasm. There are many recognised countries that would envy our political stability and civic freedom.

It is at the level of administration, that most essential dimension of nation-building, where in my opinion we fall down. 

  • On paper we have Civil Service, but it remains a dead letter. 
  • Our financial affairs are responsibly managed by the Burgermeister, S:reu Perþonest, but he is alone in that task, as far as I know, and has had health issues. 
  • S:reu Furxheir continues to earn his soubriquet of “Resident Miracle Worker” despite his oft-repeated warnings about a lack of assistance in his vital role(s). 
  • Language initiatives have also stalled, both due to a lack of supply but also unfortunately to a lack of public demand. 
  • Our courts maintain a shuffling, fitful existence. 
  • And I need not remind you of our most recent case of Vanishing Minister, that of S:reu Itravilatx. 

Moralising about duty and promising to do the same, only with more intensity, is clearly not an answer. Neither is the problematising of politics, as if there is some great reservoir of labour waiting for a non-partisan government. This is our national conundrum: that a gathering of process-oriented people such as ourselves can’t seem to organise their way out of a paper bag between elections. 

My suggestion would be to approach the issue as an economic problem. 

Campaign clichés aside, most Talosans who show up are interested in the politics of it. So much so that until recently a considerable number of people were prepared to pay US$40 each year for the privilege of participating in our elections.

This tax on democracy is thankfully now defunct. We don’t really need the money, as the pile of unused dollars in our Treasury attests, and asking for hard cash online clearly discriminated against our younger  and more financially marginal citizens. 

However knowing the economic value that quite a few of our citizens put on the political process is an opportunity. We can use this understanding to further our country’s prestige and to reach our national goals beyond the political dimension.

My proposal is this: let us replace the flat US dollar party registration fee with a levy proportionate to Cosa seats won, payable in an electronic version of our own national currency.

Each citzen would receive a minimum amount as a right, so that they can elect themselves to the Cosa if they wish. Beyond this, the necessary fees could be collected from one’s fellow citizens, either as donations or as the result of commerce. It could also be earned by working in the unglamorous fields of administration, the law or linguistics.

How would this help solve our national conundrum? 

  • A functioning “pocket” economy would be a matter of considerable national prestige. It would make Talossa a leader  among “nation-like communities”, and would be an additional talking point when trying to attract new immigrants.
  • It would provide governments with an opportunity to prioritise among nation-building projects. It would allow them to offer a concrete incentive to people who cooperate in helping them achieve their aims, even if those people are not necessarily in sympathy with that government’s ideology – since they could turn their “pay” into the basis of a political challenge later.
  • The old fee was a tax that discriminated against those without cash to spare, or those that didn’t have credit cards or possibly even a bank account. Using our own money, the “wealth” of a participant is based on how much time and effort they are prepared to devote to serving the country, not on their particular life circumstances outside of Talossa. It is not only more just but might actually encourage greater commitment (if nothing else due to a diabolical combination of the money illusion  and the sunk cost fallacy!) 

To take an example, if you had the competency to lead a foundation class in el ghleþ, (or even successfully complete one as a student) you could get more of the means to fulfil your ambition to get elected, regardless of the political colour of the government that paid you. Of course even if the reason you started it is political, you might even find that you enjoy the “work” you engaged in.

And even if you don’t personally care for politics, you can help your friends or show support to an admired public figure via your donations, helping to cement personal bonds and contributing to a healthy public life. Eventually, it might be possible to spend the money earned on goods or services offered by private enterprise.  

There is an extensive literature on what is known as “complementary currency”.The common thread is that these upstart means of payment are all conceived in mainly social and ethical rather than commercial terms. They are used to encourage local, community based mobilisation of resources that are otherwise marginal to the mainstream economy. They are often designed for use by people who are poorly served by the financial system, whether due to a specific economic crisis or long-term social exclusion.

The application in a Talossan context is obvious. We are a small, multicultural country with a widely scattered population, who primarily interact asynchronously. Anything that allows us to build better and deep community links can only be to the good.

The devil is in the detail of course, though I am convinced that there are enough people motivated politically to make such a scheme viable. It may also be there are alternative incentives we can offer either instead of or alongside a complementary currency, such as a more extensive honours system, to encourage socially useful activity. After all, as Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said, “it is by baubles men are led”, and for a tinpot constitutional monarchy we are rather parsimonius on the self-esteem building front.

Whatever the case, I hope in this 50th Cosa campaign, and in the Clarks to follow, you and your counterparts in our other political parties will take inspiration from the spirit, if not necessarily the detail, of these remarks. Please don’t just suggest “cookbooks” or a TalossaFest as the answer to our problems!

Present and future Talossans are counting on you to keep the dream alive, and I personally can’t wait to see what you come up with!


ModRads: da Schir launches Sixth Party Congress

Senator Lüc da Schir has launched the Sixth ModRad Party Congress, serving as Congress Leader for the first time in three years.

The Senator from Benito described the developments since his last stint presiding over the Congress as “eventful”, listing his party’s participation in three governments, and their conquest of a plurality of Senäts seats.

He also claimed that the “proud centrists, European liberals, moderate monarchists, firebrand progressives” in his party were able to achieve much of their manifesto aims, “while leaving the partisan bickering to others”. The question for the delegates now, according to the ModRad leader, was “how can we keep improving Talossa and our party?”

The MRPT Congress will run until 12th November, with party members voting on the manifesto.and party statutes, as well as choosing a new Party Whip.

[ETT: contributor Inxheneu Crovâ will deliver an address to the Congress this weekend, in a personal capacity]

Xhorxh appointed Foreign Minister; Itravilatx makes exit official

Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül has announced that TNC leader and former MC Breneir Itravilatx has offered his resignation “due to his extra-Talossan responsibilities”.

The announcement comes after weeks of speculation about the political future of S:reu Itravilatx, who lost his Cosa seats due to missing two Clark votes in a row. His party colleage Tariq Zubair also lost his seats in the same way, leaving a somewhat bewildered Tamás Ónodi as the sole TNC representative in the Ziu.

The Seneschal thanked S:reu Itravilatx for his service, in particular highlighting his work establishing BHAID, the Kingdom’s official humanitarian agency. S:reu Itravilatx will be replaced by Éovart Xhorxh, a low-profile RUMP MC. S:reu Xhorxh previously served in the position in 2014, and is currently Ambassador-General for Asia and Oceania.

Gaming: MPF promises Talossan-themed “Risk killer”

As an ardent competitor in the ongoing Risk tournament currently being hosted on Wittenberg, Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has apparently been inspired by the experience.

In a post on Wittenberg today, he announced a project to develop a Talossan-themed adaptation of the game “SmallWorld“.

The publishers of the original game describe it as a “”fun, zany, light-hearted civilization board game…[in which] players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all”. However instead of the fantasy characters in the original game, the civilizations in what S:reu Furxheir is calling “Small Talossa” would be “factions” based on past and present Talossan political movements.

S:reu Furxheir describes the game as focused on area control and wargaming like Risk, but with the advantage of a small playing area, shorter games and a reduced element of chance. This led him to describe it as a “Risk Killer”.

Senator Ian Anglatzarâ, though reluctant to agree that SmallWorld was indeed a “Risk Killer”, was the first potential contrstant to make himself known.

“Intriguing” language proposal from immigrant

Jack Walker, a prospective citizen with an interest in el ghleþ (the Talossan language) has made a linguistic reform proposal on Wittenberg that HM King John has described as “intriguing”.

S:reu Walker has suggested revising the grammar rules to allow for an optional accusative case that would permit a change in word order, by adding a prefix to a word. Like most Romance languages el ghleþ does not have the elaborate system of cases found in Latin, though it still exists in Romanian, according to S:reu Walker. He feels that such an option would be not only be a tribute to Talossan’s Latin and Oriental roots, but would be unique to the language, since no other tongue has quite the same feature, though Turkish uses something similar.

Initial reaction from Ladintsch has been enthusiastic, with Senator Ian Anglatzarâ applauding a potential nrw member of CÛG, the Talossan language academy. The proposal also prompted a rare intervention from King John, who described it as “intriguing”.

Miestrâ Schivâ breaks silence, claims RUMP could win “by default”

Former FreeDem party leader Dama Miestrâ Schivâ has broken her self-imposed silence following her retirement from national politics in June.The FreeDem MC was responding to @ElTamlalt‘s latest revelations about the disarray in the TNC. 

Tamás Ónodi, the remaining TNC MC, told ETT that to his knowledge the party did not have any internal discussion forum or mailing list, and that he had no personal insight into the circumstances surrounding the exit of party leader Breneir Itravilatx from the Cosa. This deepens the mystery surrounding the fate of the upstart ModRad splinter group, which enjoyed a surprisingly strong showing in tbe 49th Cosa election before apparently fading away over the Summer.

Dama Miestrâ claimed that this revelation demonstrated that the TNC had “sold a bill of goods” to the electorate, having a “nice manifesto but no structure backing it up”. The then FreeDem leader had in fact clashed with S:reu Itravilatx when already making this point during the election campaign.

She also revealed that she would consider returning to public life if “made a good offer” and if the discourse on Wittenberg did not “anger” her. She also claimed that in contrast to the TNC the FreeDems continued to have a “structure, despite retirement and absences”. She deflected questions on the FreeDem attitude to coalition, stating that it was up to party leader Senator Dien Tresplet to respond.

Cabinet Chief of Staff and Finance Minister Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, also commenting on Twitter, called on Dama Miestrâ and other absent FreeDem leaders to return to activity, claiming that their absence was “bad for everyone” in the country, and that they should continue to play a role even if they were not in power.

Dama Schivâ described this as “hypocritical” and said that the withdrawl of FreeDem leadership was due to the what she claimed was the “win-at-all costs mendacity” of the Crown and the RUMP party. She also claimed that conservative forces could win the election for the 50th Cosa “by default, rulers of a burnt out shell”.

Despite questioning from @ElTamlalt in response to his intervention the Chief of Staff did not offer any statement on the status of S:reu Itravilatx as Foreign Minister. 

The coalition has still not publicly addressed the effective collapse of the junior partner in the alliance, despite the TNC leader nominally continuing to be a member of Cabinet. Senior coalition members have also not responded to questions on the status of the Foreign Ministry’s projects as listed in the Activities Plan issued early in the term.

Strategy and sports in Talossan gaming

​Alèxandreu Soleighlfred has launched a Talossan-oriented online adaptation of the well-known strategy game Risk.

The map for the game is based on the eight provinces of the Talossan realm. S:reu Soleighlfred is looking for at least three other players before hostlilities can commence. The former ModRad MC, who recently reapplied for cotozenship after a public renunciation, warns however that play will “not be too fast because I will conduct it manually”.

In other gaming news, the Talossan Football League, reestablished by former National Gamesmaster Senator Dien Tresplet in 2016 as a private venture, also continues for enthusiasts of American Football. And in a more purist version of Talossa’s National Pastime, Senator Ian Anglatzarâ offered a blow by blow account of a recent round of Sails of Glory.

Opinion: Coalition must level with the people

The three party coalition that took office after the 49th Cosa general election promised accountable and transparent government that “got things done”.It has, to an extent. 

The indefatigable Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, despite having a young baby in the house, has received over 30 identity card applications, and is steadily working through the demand. The Kingdom’s social media is back in government control, even if seems to have been rarely used. Coalition members have led the successful effort to legislate for provincial assignment and Cosa reforms, previously controversial measures that in the end passed with overwheling support in the Ziu.

However, when compared to the ambitious targets laid out in the Activity Report the results are meagre. The lack of interest displayed by most Ministers in their actual portfolios is flagrant. Important projects that would improve the Talossan experience, like Telecommuna, or just be cool, like coins, have clearly stalled. And while legal reform is worthy, it is not the stimulus the country needs, culturally, socially or politically. 

The feeble state of the FreeDems, despite the valiant efforts of Dien Tresplet, should not suggest government strength, but merely that the rot has spread. The experience in government was not kind to the FreeDems, and life seems to be taking its historic leaders away from Talossa, which can only be regretted. For the moment it leaves the Senator from Maricopa a general without an army.

It is also a fact that of the three parties in the coalition, only the TNC actually experienced an increase in support in the 49th Cosa election. The RUMP continued their steady decline in support, and lost their position as largest party. The ModRads lost a quarter of their votes compared to the 48th Cosa election. Only the TNC, winning 14% of the vote from a standing start, can truly be said to have enjoyed popular enthusiasm.

For all these reasons, I feel it is imperative that the Seneschal make a statement to the Cosa on the state of his government and what role, if any, the TNC now play in it. At the very least, the government needs to reassess its priorities and release Ministers from the burden of titular responsibility. A clearing of the air is required.

If it transpires that this incident is a sign that the TNC has collapsed, it may be time for Sir Cresti to go to the King and request a dissolution. It may not be the most convenient timing for the parties, but electoralism is a proven shot in the arm for the country, and the TNC’s voters deserve to have their say if their champion has left the field. 

TNC called for “hard-line” on Cabinet accountability 

Breneir Itravilatx’s upstart Talossan National Congress promised a “hard-line” on what the Foreign Minister called “the most significant factor in the dysfunction” of the 48th Cosa Cabinet: the failure to hold non-performing Ministers accountable.

Responding to the third question of the 49th Cosa election All-Party leaders debate, the TNC leader declared that any coalition deal his party joined would have to agree that “any minister, regardless of coalition logistics, will be dismissed…upon unsatisfactory performance”.

The TNC leader also called for the nomination of a deputy or alternate for each Minister, so that dismissed Cabinet members could be rapidly replaced. It is not clear whether these elements were finally included in the three-party coalition agreement, as this has never been published.

At the time of writing the government has not issued a formal statement on the departure of S:reu Itravilatx from the Cosa, and requests for comment from a number of senior government figures have not been returned. It therefore appears that S:reu Itravilatx remains Foreign Minister for now.

Government silent on consequences of TNC travails

The government has remained tight-lipped about the future of the TNC in the coalition. This follows the loss of Cosa seats by two of the party’s three MCs for failing to vote on two consecutive Clarks. At the time of writing it appears now ex-MC Breneir Itravilatx remains in place as Foreign Minister.

Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül and ModRad party leader Senator Lüc da Schir had not responded to questions from ETT at the time of writing. ETT asked about the status of the Foreign Minister, and whether any sanctions would arise from a lack of engagement in government business, should this be the case.

Cabinet Chief of Staff Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, the most senior government figure to publicly comment on the situation, asked “wonder what is going on with him [i.e., S:reu Itravilatx]”. Sir Alexandreu had not responded to a request from ETT for further comment at the time of writing. 

The RUMP leader was a fierce critic of what he claimed was the inactivity of the previous government, and during the 49th Cosa election campaign called for greater accountability for recalcitrant Ministers, including their removal from office for non-performance.

Asked by ETT if the expulsion of the TNC MCs would in his opinion effect their participation in the coalition, ModRad MC and Minister of STUFF Ian Plätschisch would only say that “it is not my place to speculate on the future of the TNC, that is for the voters to decide”.

Opposition leader Senator Dien Tresplet was philosophical about the events, telling ETT that “it’s common for Ministers to disappear, regardless of what party leads the government”. He also expressed disappointment at his party colleague C. Carlüs Xheraltescu’s loss of the Fiova Senate seat, though he claimed that “with the general level of activity we’ve seen the last few months, I’m honestly surprised more people haven’t lost seats in the Ziu”.

Attempts to contact S:reux Itravilatx, Zubair and Tamás Ónodi, who is the sole survivor of the TNC caucus, have as yet been unsuccessful. Both Itravilatx and Zubair have however been active recently on social media. Ónodi last logged on to Wittenberg in early September, according to his profile.

a Talossan Press Association affiliate publication