Hiatis

Your correspondent is taking (or rather extending) his hiatus until after the election. 

As announced on Wittenberg, I am a candidate on the FreeDem list for the 50th Cosa. So as not to have to engage myself insome mind bending double-think, I will refrain from reporting on the ins and outs of the election until it is over.

US election: Trump victory, carries WI

Against most poll predictions, Republican candidate Donald Trump appears certain to win the Presidency of the United States, defeating Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton.

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Mr Trump is predicted to win the state of Wisconsin, in which the North American territories of the Kingdom are located. 

However according to unofficial results Mrs Clinton has appeared to have carried Milwaukee County itself. This area, which adjoins the national territory, is a traditional Democratic Party stronghold in the state. 
According to the Journal-Sentinel, Mr Trump would be the first Republican party candidate to win the state since 1984, and his success is ascribed to an unanticipated surge in support from rural and low income white voters. Mrs Clinton had indeed been predicted to win the state by most observers, leading in opinion polls throughout the campaign.

Incumbent Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson was also re-elected, defeating former Senator Russ Feingold. The Republican Party also retained its majority in the US House of Representatives, led by the Wisconsin-based Speaker of the House, Congressman Paul Ryan.

50th Cosa election: King dissolves Cosa

HM King John has dissolved the 49th Cosa, formally beginning the historic 50th Cosa general election.

The King thanked the Members of the outgoing Cosa and Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül and his government for their service. The King’s issuance of the writ of dissolution allows the Chancery to proceed with its election preparations.

The head of the Chancery, Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir, confirmed that the election would be held between 15th November and 1st December. He also declared that parties that wished to contest the election should contact him as soon as possible to ensure their presence on the ballot.

The Moderate Radical Party, whose Party Congress will conclude this week, is currently voting on the final version of its election manifesto. Party leader Senator Lüc da Schir has told ETT that he is prepared to serve as Seneschal, and that he would be “disappointed” if his party failed to surpass 40 seats in the election. 

The ModRad leader has struck a noticeably more confident tone in his Congress interventions when compared with the 49th Cosa campaign, and during its Congress party leaders have insisted on its legislative record in the 49th Cosa and its central position in the political chequerboard.

Colonel Mximo Carbonel has also declared his intention to run for the Cosa. The outspoken Republican has promised to “make Talossa great again”, an allusion that prompted a dismayed “please no” from ModRad MC Glüc da Dhi.

No official statement has been issued by the FreeDems or the RUMP, the two largest parties in tne Cosa. Requests for comment from the leaders of both parties had not been answered at the time of writing.

For the FreeDems, acting party leader Senator Dien Tresplet had previously told ETT that he intended to lead his party into the next election, with a formal leadership vote to be held in December.

The FreeDems, despite being the largest party in the 49th Cosa, have had limited activity recently. Senior party stalwarts have been occupied with extra-Talossan affairs, and the surprise resignation of Miestrâ Schivâ at the beginning of the Summer left the party effectively leaderless for a number of months.

RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu has maintained a low profile on Wittenberg recently, undoubtedly related to the recent birth of his daughter. No details are as yet available as to the RUMP’s plans for the campaign, in contrast with the detailed platform presented during the 49th Cosa campaign.

Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül, his party colleague, has however enquired about the procedures for registering a party. As well as the Coda campaign, Senate seats in Florencia and Vuode currently held by RUMP-aligned incumbents are also up for election.

With the resignation of its founder and party leader Breneir Itravilatx, the TNC would seem to be defunct, though surviving MC Tamàs Ònodi continued to cast votes in the Cosa. Progressive Party leader Owen Edwards has also continued to vote in the Cosa, though it is not clear if he has any plans to contest the election.

Opinion: When changing the OrgLaw, check it twice

The frankly confusing twin proposals clarked by the Secretary of State relating to the term of office of the Cosa, coupled with the unfortunate last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the OLSC’s latest hunt for OrgLaw deadwood, highlight the need for a more detailed scrutiny of OrgLaw changes by the Ziu.

Firstly, the well-intenioned privilege given to the Chancery, that allows a non-MZ direct access to the legislative Clark, should be withdrawn.

A non-member of the legislature can have the right to suggest action, by placing bills in the Hopper. They should not however be permitted to dictate the agenda for elected representatives. This is particularly true when he or she is unsure of the appropriate course of action themselves. That two mutually contradictory amendments proposed by the same person can land on the desks of MZs demonstrates that the current system is broken.

Secondly, no change to the Organic Law should appear on the Clark without the sponsorship of at least two MZs.

By obliging proposals to seek the approval of at least one other MZ before they can be Clarked, MZs will at least have to allow one other individual to scrutinise their text. This may make for improved bills in the Hopper, and better quality law overall.

Thirdly, no change to the Organic Law should be presented at referendum without having been considered twice by the Ziu. This might take the form of two “readings” on two separate Clarks, or by separate consecutive consideration by both houses of the Ziu- the latter would itself be an actualisation of our otherwise fictional bicameralism.

Even the most conscientous among our MZs can make mistakes, and extended scrutiny seems to ferret out these errors, as has been demonstrated by the abandonment of the OLSC amendments.

Either way, since amendments cannot take force until they have been approved by voters, at the next election, the Ziu has the opportunity to take more time to study in detail the consequences of each amendment. It should take it.

Chancery prepares for 50th Cosa election

Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has published the rules for the 50th Cosa election.

Parties planning to contest the election are encouraged to pre-register with the Chancery. As well as the Cosa election, four provinces will be electing a Senator, three under the auspices of the Chancery. 

Benito and Vuode’s Senators are up for election following the usual schedule, while Florencia and Fiova are holding by-elections.

Benito Senator and ModRad Lüc da Schir has already announced he intends to seek an additional term in the Senäts. No other candidate has yet announced in this contest.

In the case of Vuode Senator Grischun has publicly announced that he will not seek an additional term as Senator. No candidate to replace him has emerged since this announcement.

Florencia will be voting to permanently replace its Upper House representative after the resignation and subsequent renunciation of citizenship of Pôl d’Aurìbuérg earlier this year. Mà la Mhà was appointed as a temporary relacement and appears to be returning to activity after a series of family bereavements limited his,Talossan time.

Fiova will also elect a Senator to replace C. Carlüs Xheraltescú following his failure to vote on two consecutive Clarks. Fiova organises its own Senäts elections and so does not depend on the Chancery system.

The Chancery traditionally publishes the rules of the election well.in advance of the actual launch. At the time of writing the King has yet to dissolve the Cosa as required under the Organic Law.

October Clark: One for the road…

The results of the final Clark of the 49th Cosa were published by the Chancery this week.

Without surprise,the government easily survived the last VoC of the term, 94 votes Për to 18 Contrâ. However due to absent coalition MCs the government did so without achieving an absolute majority of seats.

RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu unexpectedly failed to vote on the Clark, a first for him in a number of years. Sir Alexandreu was among 5 MCs, representing 50 of the 200 seats in the Cosa, who failed to vote on the Clark.

It was a disappointing Clark for Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir, who saw both of his attempts to reform the term of office of the Cosa fail. The head of the Chancery is not an MZ but may in principle Clark bills relating to electoral matters.

The twin proposals would ended the need for the King to formally dissolve the Cosa at the end of its term . They would also have closed the possibity of early dissolution by fixing the term of office of the lower house, but in the case of the first would have extended that term of office to a year, and the second would have limited the usual six-month term to five Clarks. 

A related measure that would have granted the Seneschal the authority to recess the Ziu for both July and August, proposed by ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun, was also defeated, this time due to Senäts opposition.

It was also an unfortunate Clark for the Organic Law Standing Committee, whose second set of Organic Law amendments proposed by ModRad MC Ian Plätschisch were abandoned due to the last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the bill. The OLSC is a working group of interested MZs from different parties who seek to remove redundancies and inappropriate clauses from the constitution. 

By contrast, the Ziu looked more favourably upon reform proposals made bySeneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül and FreeDem leader Senator Dien Tresplet.

Sir Cresti successfully called on the Ziu to close the door on elections for the Túischac’h of the Cosa, a reform first introduced in 2014 and which has remained controversial in practice since. Sir Cresti’s bill, if approved by referendum, will return to the previous system of appointment by the Crown on the nomination of the Seneschal, but with the Seneschal now legally required to consult other party leaders beforehand. 

Senator Tresplet’s bill would remove an historical reference to the punishment of “anti-Talossan activities” in the Organic Law. The Senator claimed that the use of the term was reminiscent of “McCarthyism” and inappropriate in modern Talossa, with which the Ziu apparently agreed, sending the amendment to referendum.

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!

Meirci

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.

a Talossan Press Association affiliate publication